Divided We Fall

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Hi there!

I’m going to try to keep this as neutral politically as I can, since, really, this article is more about division within self. But I would be remiss if I didn’t use as an example the political division happening within our country (United States) right now.

So enough disclaimer let’s jump right in. Our country is falling apart around our eyes. Every “side” knows it, though the reasons quoted are different. But I think it’s safe to say to you that it’s a conspiracy from all sides. The over-arching, supreme leader of this conspiracy is the Adversary himself. He is exploiting our weaknesses and egging us on in anger and hatred of those who believe differently than us. We have all fallen prey, at one moment or another, to thinking cruel things about those on the “other side” of the conflict; I know I have.

And we know where this is leading, for Christ taught us in Matthew 12:25: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand”

The thing is, this is not just happening on the global and national and local scales, but this is also happening in our own hearts. He is stirring us up to anger against our parents, siblings, spouses, and even ourselves.

Be honest now, how much do you beat yourself up?

I know I could beat myself up over how often I beat myself up! Heheh. But this is not Christ’s way. Did he lecture and destroy the confidence of the woman accused of adultery? No, of course not. He knew she was repentant, she didn’t need a lecture. He simply told her: “Neither do I condemn thee.” Then he followed with the best part, “Go, and sin no more.”

That’s all. As they say in Meet the Robinsons, “Keep Moving Forward.”

Christ wants us to Forgive as we have been Forgiven. That means ourselves, our spouses, our parents, our siblings, our Mayors, our Judges, our Police Officers, our Governors, and our President. Also we must forgive our church leaders, and all those who basically drive us nuts. But this isn’t an admonishment, this is to let you remind you that you are allowed to move forward.

You are allowed a second chance. You can restart, renew, refresh your growth and discipleship. You can be forgiven when you stumble, and you can learn to let go when someone else stumbles.

You are loved dearly by Our Father in Heaven, and, perhaps annoyingly, so are they. They are human, and so are you. Maybe they should know better, and maybe they’ve forgotten, and maybe they are just being swept up in the tide of discontent. Don’t follow.

Let the world go by, because you are blessed.

Blessings!
Sarah

 

What My Peers Want

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Hi there,

I was teaching my children a lesson on the difference between peer pressure and positive influence, and it got me thinking.

Do you remember the story of Rehoboam? He was the grandson of King David. He became King of Israel only to drive Israel away and lose 10 of the 12 tribes. Just in case it’s been awhile since you’ve studied 1 Kings chapters 11 & 12, I’ll give you a quick summary;

  1. King Solomon, started out good and wise, but was led astray by his later “wives” into worshiping false gods. As he did so, his ego grew bigger than his budget and he placed heavy taxes on the people.
  2. After Solomon’s death, his son, Rehoboam, became king. The people’s spokesman, Jeroboam, asked him to lighten his father’s tax burden.
  3. Rehoboam asked for advice on the matter from 2 different groups of advisors:
    1. The older wise men, or Elders, who told him that the people will serve him more faithfully if he listens to their request.
    2. His “college buddies” (younger peers), who told him to “show the people who’s the boss” with whips and heavier taxes.
  4. Rehoboam showed that he’s easily swayed by his peers, and ignored the sage advice of his Elders. He increased the taxes and added harsh penalties for non-payment. (Brilliant, right?)
  5. Not surprisingly, the Israelites thought this was a boneheaded move. They rebelled and created their own kingdom with Jeroboam as King.
  6. Rehoboam lost 5/6ths of his kingdom, and the blessing of God for his inability to follow the wisest counsel.

So, my question is, in what way or ways am I listening to my peers instead of my Elders? Unfortunately, my parents have strayed from the gospel path, so their advice doesn’t always qualify as wise counsel. So first, who are my Elders? Then, what are they trying to teach me.

In my case, I can safely say my Elders are the older and experienced leaders of my church. I can look at their life critically and see if they have set an example of Christ. Are they living modestly? Are they managing the church’s tithes responsibly? Are they caring for the poor and needy? Are they living like Christ? Since they are doing all these things, I can safely heed their advice.

So, what are they trying to teach me? Well, from the front page of the church’s website, I can find these articles:

  1. Weaving Christ Into Our Souls
  2. The 3 P’s that Changed My Perspective on Talking to God
  3. How to Be a Strong Link in Your Family Chain
  4. Saved After My Daughter’s Suicide
  5. People Can’t Live Without Hope

What I don’t see is anything on protests becoming riots, gossip, or famous peoples’ wardrobes. There’s nothing on who is more fascist, how to decorate my living room, or what one world leader thinks about another.

I am trying to focus my daily thoughts and worries on how to draw closer to my Savior by following the advice of my church leaders. I am also trying to ignore the opinions of my peers. Truly, no-one needs to be offended by everything, and faith in God IS more important than fear of the world.

Here’s hoping you are finding peace in the chaos!

Blessings,
Sarah

Photo by Bruce Dixon on Unsplash

Who Am I Without Him

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I remember as a young adult there was a lot of talk about “finding oneself,” and I was encouraged to go out into the world and discover who I was. The trouble was that the more I searched for myself, the less I found, and the less I understood about myself.

I didn’t know that my true identity was a Child of God, a Princess in His Kingdom. I didn’t know who I was until I started to learn who Christ was. Once I turned to Him and studied Him, my identity became clear. My purpose, talents, strengths and weaknesses, all that I had been seeking diligently for, suddenly became evident; once I stopped seeking for myself, and started seeking Him.

I searched through the world and found nothing. I searched through Heaven and found everything. The selfish focus of the world we live in gives us tunnel-vision. It blinds us to who we truly are. It prohibits us from finding peace, joy, and purpose.

It saddens me to see friends and family who are blinded to His Love, blinded to the object of their search. My repeated prayer is that Our Father in Heaven help us open our eyes to His Son, that we may become a better people, a better nation, and a better species.

Blessings,
Sarah

 

Using Our Words Wisely

IMG_20170831_145921336.jpgHi there,

One of the good things that I’ve seen come out of Hurricane Harvey is the way so many have bonded together to support, uplift, and care for the victims of this historic disaster. Our empathy for this great tragedy has brought us closer together as a nation and as the human race.

As time moves forward and the empathy begins to wear off, I hope and pray that we can remember to keep a bridle on our “tongue,” as counseled by the apostle James.

A bridle is the headgear used by a rider to control which way a horse is going. “To bridle,” in the way James uses it here, means to control or restrain. By tongue, he means all words spoken or written.

So the question I pose is whether you control your tongue, or let it run free, unchecked. I know I have been guilty of letting my tongue wag freely, and, amazingly enough, nobody wanted to listen to what I had to say. More recently, I have seen freely wagging tongues on social media. We have all fallen into the trap of letting our emotions control what we say, rather than exercising self-mastery to edit our words before they are published to the world.

Those who seem to have the most influence in these tumultuous days, are those whose true agenda is never revealed. They know how to censor their words so well, that their followers do not believe when the truth finally is revealed.

As Disciples, it is of paramount importance that we set the better example of mastery over our tongues. We should not attack, profane, gossip, boast, or be rash in speaking, we should encourage envying, nor strife. We should study and follow the counsel of James (chapter 3) and speak wisdom from above, which is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”

I know that I have work to do to bridle my tongue, will you join me?

Blessings,
Sarah

Is the News Driving You Nuts?

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I’m going to be straight up honest here, I don’t like the insanity I’m hearing from “both sides” about current events. Most everyone seems to be trying to stir up the pot more. I don’t like the drama, I don’t like the hypocrisy, and I don’t like the demonization of — well, everyone.

So as I try to stay positive or silent in my social media posts, I struggle to find the sanity. One scripture I studied yesterday that seemed to bring me some peace, it was Galatians 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

This helped me several ways:

  1. It reminded me to breathe and check in with God to listen to the Spirit more.
  2. It reminded me that He has peace for all of us, fully understanding the world surrounding us.
  3. It reminded me to listen to those who have the fruits of the Spirit in their words and deeds.

It also made me think of Matthew 7:15-16.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

This scripture combined with the first, reminded me to put aside the hateful words of those who have lost their way, and again focus on the good fruits and good trees.

My hope for myself, my family, and you is that we are able to remember to turn down the ravings of a mad world, and tune in to the Spirit more. That we may receive “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance: against such there is no law.”

Blessings!
Sarah