Two FRESH new ways to be an annoying Christian

Christianity

I’m good at annoying people. Sometimes I repel people from Jesus, the very thing, the very Person, I’d like to compel them to without even trying. How about you?

I was thinking that some of you may not have the gift of annoyance like I do. #blessed 

This blog is for you, dear brothers and sisters.

Here are a couple of ways that I’ve found are good at repelling people from Jesus.

Do these faithfully and you’re sure to succeed at being annoying for the cause of Christ:

  1. Use Christian-ese or churchy lingo so that ordinary people have absolutely no idea what you’re saying.

For example:

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I’ll use a conversation for a church announcement to illustrate this point.

“Ladies, if you want to be a woman of the Word, come Friday to fellowship with us. You’ll be blessed as we share time together.

Get prayed up and show up, and bring your lost friends because you are the only Bible that someone might read.”

I think this one is self explanatory.

What the heck does this mean, you may ask?

If you don’t know, then you need to get yo-self to CHURCH and start taking notes on our lingo right away so you can speak it fluently.

 

2. Love the sinner, hate the sin. I’ve actually said this. (gasp)

One of the problems with this is that I don’t see it anywhere in Scripture.

Yeah, I’m REAL good at annoying people. I’ve turned off my fair share of people from Christianity and from Jesus when I get all Pharisee-ical. See, I did it again!

That’s Church lingo for: legalist, person who looks down on others for not following the letter of the law perfectly and shuts people out for the very cause they are zealous for in doing so.

Don’t tell me you’ve done it, too? Told someone that you think they are great, but you don’t agree with their lifestyle. If this is you, maybe we can start a support group for Annoyers Anonymous.

How about if we do what Jesus did, and just love people?

Care about them and what concerns them? Period.

Right now, just as they are. Not in spite of a lifestyle, or choices. Because that’s one of the things I love most about Jesus.

He doesn’t require me to clean myself up from my sin before I approach Him, although He is Holy and could require that from me.

He wants me to turn to Him and away from my sin, but He still seeks me and you and each lowest-of-the-low person before we’ve even thought about turning to Him.

He simply loves me, and you, and the person that’s [fill in the blank] just as we each are. Right now.

He doesn’t like sin, but He also doesn’t say stuff like “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

By the way, that’s all of us. Not one of us is without wrongdoing.

When we aren’t able, or don’t FEEL love for people of a certain category, then maybe the problem is us, not them.

This is a red flag to ask ourselves, “What’s going on in my heart that I’m making Christ’s love for them conditional based on _______? (fill in the blank with behavior, lifestyle, or looks)

I don’t have the power to love people without God or without Christ in me. His love overflows from me, out to others.

Don’t be an annoying Christian. Unless you want to repel people from Jesus. If you do, these are two very successful methods I’ve used through the years.

You’re welcome. 🙂

Christine

coffeewithchristine.com

 

 

 

Jesus in a corner

Christianity, Christmas, Uncategorized

Sometimes we put Jesus in a corner. Or an attic.

I find myself doing that sometimes, literally and figuratively. I was ALL happy with myself three days after Christmas when I took all the decor down and put almost all of it in boxes.

Since I’ve de-glittered the house, and still had packed up boxes of Christmas decor out in view, I’ve thought about how we treat Jesus sometimes.

I packed up my nativity scene from the dining table and had Baby Jesus tucked safely in styrofoam. You could still see him because I didn’t put away the styrofoam completely in the box for a while.

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I’m missing a piece, but I don’t think anyone noticed this Christmas. The most important Person was in the scene….Jesus.

After I procrastinated a couple of weeks, I taped up the tired Christmas tree box and put it all the way in the back of the attic. We won’t need it for 11 months, and I wanted it out of the way.

I wonder how often we do this with Jesus in our lives. We have seasons and times that we give Him the spotlight. He’s the focus, the reason, our everything. We may give Him full and complete access to every part of our hearts and lives.

Little by little, though, sometimes we put him in a corner. Subtly.

It doesn’t happen on purpose. At first.

But when we begin to struggle with anger, or disappointment, or hurt, we may shun Jesus a little because we don’t want to forgive. Or we don’t want to face our part and change. Or we want justice, and that feels right.

Jesus may be put into a corner because we begin to get busy. It is, after all, a new year. New goals, health focus, workouts, check my social media feed, work, sports, kids activities, hobbies, gotta check my phone again.

Distractions. Not on purpose, but it happens sometimes.

Sometimes giving Jesus full access to our hearts feels scary. Paradoxically. Because there’s no one more trustworthy than the One who crafted and created us. He knows the deepest parts of us, every longing and worst thought, yet lavishly loves us.

Intentionality. If you and I want to keep Jesus front and center in our lives, it will take the choice to be intentional. Carving out time to be with Him. Choosing to focus my thoughts on Him during my everyday tasks.

Brother Lawrence in Practice of the Presence of God explains this much better that I can. It’s a short and sweet, very practical read.

Will you and I put Jesus in a corner, or way back in the recesses of our heart’s “attic”?

May we people who seek Him with our whole hearts, forsaking other stuff that doesn’t really matter. May we be people who REST and soak in His presence.

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I know I was thinking this the whole time. How about you?

Healing prayers

God

Have you ever prayed for healing? Maybe you asked God to heal you, or a loved one.

Whether it was a silent plea to what felt like the air, or universe, or whether it was a prayer read aloud from the scripture, you can know that God hears and he cares.

Maybe you, like me, have battled disappointment with God.

If you have prayed earnestly and he didn’t answer your heartfelt requests, it can feel as if God has forgotten or forsaken you.

I know, as I’ve felt that way many times over the past several years.

Four years ago I began having a severe tremor that I’d never had before, and an increasing amount of terrible migraines. If I’m honest, I had never empathized with migraine sufferers before that. The searing pain along with sound and light sensitivity can be maddening and is debilitating.

Soon there were more symptoms. Electric type shocks in my hands and legs. Double vision that made it dangerous to drive, so my friends and kids began to drive me to do errands. My balance was off and I could be quite clumsy and have difficulty standing at times.

My family doctor and neurologist were terrific, although along the way I did see other doctors who implied that the symptoms may be psychological. Eventually, my husband went with me to the Mayo Clinic.

They prescribed a life-altering pair of glasses with a prism that helped correct the double vision. I couldn’t believe the difference and much of the time I could see clearly with the new prism glasses.

During all of this I did the fundamental things that I knew to do as a follower of Jesus. I had laid out my heart with God all of my unconfessed sin, and asked him to show me any sin I was unaware of.

I went to the elders of our church and asked them to anoint me with oil and pray for my healing as the Bible instructs us to do in James.

[James on prayer and healing]

Nonetheless, my healing didn’t come. For these years I wrestled with my beliefs of God. I had come to know God over a decade ago. I had begun to see his character through the scriptures and debunked many of the false ideas I’d had about who he really was.

I rightly began to believe that he is a good father and is always there, even when I don’t feel him or see him at work in my life. This reality stared right in the face of the reality that I wasn’t healed.

I knew and believed that God was able to miraculously heal me. Yet he hadn’t.

Enter disappointment with God. Self doubt and condemnation. Along with well-meant comments from others, this was a recipe for turmoil on my worst days. Did God forget about me? I know I deserve punishment for my sin. Is this as chastisement for something I’ve done?

A month ago I asked God again for healing. I felt a sensation, sort of a wave through my whole body. I shot up the question, “God, are you healing me?” and felt nothing else; heard nothing; sensed nothing.

Later that evening, I flipped my glasses up, then down. Up, then down. I was checking to see if my vision was healed. I wanted so badly for this to be the time. Yet I didn’t want the disappointment again. Nothing, no change.

I woke up the next morning blurry-eyed as usual. Although my vision wasn’t crystal clear, it was better without the glasses than with them! It’s been 5 weeks since then and my vision is still better! I’ve had a day when my vision was very blurry and doubled, yet it was still better without glasses.

Although I’ve still had an occasional migraine in the past five weeks, it is clear that healing is taking place in me. I stand on the truth of what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said in essence when they were commanded to bow down to a statue of God or be thrown into a fiery blaze:

God is able to deliver us from any fiery trial. Even if he does not, he is still worthy of our praise and he is good.

[The king spoke to the three] “But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

(Daniel 3:15 and following, emphasis mine.)

This is a call to persevere in your prayers. God loves you and is concerned with what concerns you.

God is good. Whether he answers our prayers the way we desire or not, his character and heart for us is good and loving. We can’t see everything and understand God’s ways, but we can trust the ancient and relevant words he has given us in the Bible when we don’t get it.

God is listening. God loves you and wants you to turn from self-reliance to relying on him when you are weak.

He is able to deliver and heal, and if not, he is still good.

 

To read more of this story in context, click here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%203&version=NIV

Then I saw the clouds

God

If you read the last post, you know that I was struck by the gravity of eternity recently as my dad and I walked through the cemetery visiting my grandparent’s plots. Each headstone that I saw touched me deeply, reminding me of how short our fleeting lives on earth really are. How inconsequential material things are. The little annoyances and things that felt important earlier that morning suddenly faded into insignificance as I weighed them against the backdrop of time and eternity.

Yeah, I think like that a lot. We got into the car, and I leaned back and exhaled deeply, relaxing. I looked up and saw a perfect blue sky, with just the right amount of white, puffy clouds.

Then I thought: Eternity isn’t the only thing that matters. Knowing God and enjoying Him right now matters, too.

Thank you, God, for this moment. It is so beautiful. I love you and I love this moment. 

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I breathed in again, enjoying the perfect temperature and sunny, blue sky.

My dad and I drove away, content with the ebb and flow of our conversation. It was a very good day.

Walk by faith, not by sight

Christianity
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No more progressive lenses, I’m switching between readers and distance glasses.

Have you ever wanted to dance at a doctor’s office? Kiss and hug your doctor? Weep for joy with thanks and gratitude at your doctor’s office? Inside I wanted to, recently, but I could tell by Dr. Romero’s reserved demeanor that I should keep the displays of emotion to a minimum. I simply ended with, “Tell your wife to give you a big hug and kiss.” My happiness was because the doctor gave me a clear and concise explanation for the double-vision and migraines that have been troubling me for the past couple of years. I had a micro-vascular stroke during a severe migraine at that point in time (2.5 years ago) and it caused a palsy in the oblique muscle of my eye, resulting in double vision. Eureka! It all made sense now….

In more simple terms, a killer migraine caused a “short” in the nerve that goes to my eye muscle, causing it not to work properly, so that I now have double vision. That causes a vicious cycle of more migraines and other complications. I’m pretty happy with this news. It doesn’t really change the circumstances, but it does affirm what I’ve been telling doctors and everyone who will listen for quite a while now. My takeaway…we know our own body better than anyone. Except for our Maker. And boy, are we wonderfully and intricately woven together!

Walk by faith, not by sight. These words have a more profound meaning than ever before to me, because without my glasses, I see everything double! Even with my glasses, my eyes fatigue very easily and sometimes I can only do half of what I’d planned in a day. That used to really frustrate me and make me so mad. Kicking and screaming mad inside. Feeling sorry for myself mad.

Recently walk by faith, not by sight means when I don’t have sight, quite literally, because of fatigued eyes, I must rest. Rest can be active, you know. That’s something I’m learning. When I am not sleepy at all and it’s only 1:00pm in the afternoon, but my eyes must rest, I am forced to close them. I have choices in that moment. I can be really frustrated at my situation, and obsess on what I’m not able to do at that time, or I can simply take the time to be still.

What would a visitor say?

commitment, Jesus, spirituality

My son, Christian, was telling me about a family that he loves to spend time with. Christian is almost 20 years old, so he really decides where he hangs out when he’s got down time. I was curious what compelled him to spend so much time at this family’s house. He told me that when he is there, he feels the presence of God in a unique way that is hard to describe. One night last week when he spent the night there, he passed through the living room several times, and each time the dad was reading the Bible. It was late in the night, Christian passes through going to the kitchen, and the dad is again reading his Bible. Early the next morning, guess what the dad is doing when Christian peeks out? Yep, reading his Bible.

The dad is a humble and strong man that is respected by our entire family. I found it interesting, the colleration of how Christian experiences peace and God’s presence in a home where God’s word is elevated and devoured as food for a starving man. I was challenged with the question: What behavior characterizes me? Would a visitor see that I’m a woman who treasures Jesus and His word, or am I always on the computer, or  ___________?

Change-Not so much

Uncategorized

If you have known me for a year or more, you know that I love to change my hairstyle.  I get bored with it pretty quick and want something new.  I like change when it comes to my hair.  It’s been almost every color that occurs naturally.  (or not so naturally!) Currently I love L’Oreal 5 1/2 RB with highlights.  I’ve been hooked on it since last fall.  I love to change outfits.  I love fashion and mixing up clothes and accessories.  But when it comes to the big things in life, I hate change.  Maybe it’s because I like to be control of the change in my life.

If I had to characterize the last few years of my life, one of the big titles would be Change or Transition or Contentment in the Midst of Change.  Ouch.  So now it seems that we could be near the end of a season of change in our lives, at least geographically.  Moving back into the original house that Herschel and I lived in 14 years ago seems to bring us full circle.  Part of me is giddy with excitement about the fun stuff with remodeling, new paint & flooring, decorating and organizing, and part of me realizes that I will not be any more content in the “new” house that I have been ever before, unless I choose to be.  I think one of the things I’m learning is that contentment might just be a choice that I make.  I don’t have to like the season of change I’m in.  Sometimes I kick and scream or pout about it, to be truthful.  Or complain. But there are times when I look around and think:  Life is good.  I am loved deeply, I love others deeply.

Why we homeschool

Uncategorized

Because it’s what all the cool people do.  Not really.  I feel like education is a personal choice for each family.  We have done it all with academics: public school, home school, private and international school.  Did I leave any out?  With our oldest starting his sophomore year in college, and youngest going into 8th grade, we’re learning a lot but there’s still several years to go.

Back to answer, “Why we home school”, there are several reasons.  The most important one is because we feel it’s what God wants us to do this year.  I’m not a hard-core “If you’re a real woman, you home school the whole way through” kind of chic.  I prefer to think about the following things as we look at our education choices:  What does this child need right now: in their academics, character, confidence, people skills, and spiritual life?  The other big question is this:  What’s going on in my life as a mom?  Can I commit to homeschooling, or do we need to look at other options right now because of our family situation, finances, or other personal matters?  And of course, we pray.  A lot.  And wait to hear what direction we feel God is taking us.

When people discover that we home school, they’ll often ask me, “Did you home school Christian, your oldest, all the way through?”   It makes me smile when they ask that, because I feel like they’re asking me, “Do you have x-ray vision?” or “Did you make that entire quilt by hand?”  (By the way, the answer is definitely no)  Because I know that many, many days, I feel completely inadequate as a home educator.  I know that in my own self, I could not do it.  But this is where God has us right now.  It’s really fun and really challenging.

A couple of years ago, I really struggled with the question of whether or not we should home school that year.  As I prayed about it often, God spoke to me clearly through a song.  The lyrics repeat over and over again “I don’t wanna gain the whole world and lose my soul”, reminding me of the verse in Mark 8:36- What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  I remembered that years ago I had planned what I would do when my kids reached school age.  I would take tennis lessons, have a lot of cute tennis outfits, and lunch with my girlfriends.  Wow, has it turned out different from what I planned!  I felt like God was asking me if I wanted to “gain the whole world” with those things that I had planned, or give up that for a while and pour life into my child’s soul.  I still think about how fun the tennis thing would be one day…Maybe later!