TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

A species that does not understand and accept, promote and protect, its male – female sexual distinctions is a species that abides in silliness, senselessness, and desolation.

 

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BETTER GENERATIONS

In 1998 Tom Brokaw released a book titled The Greatest Generation, that tells us about the generation of Americans who grew up during the Great Depression, and then fought in and/or contributed from the home front, in World War II. Though I haven’t yet read this book, I agree with Mr. Brokaw that this was (and is) a great generation which accomplished much. What stands out most to me is at the core of who these men and women were (and still are for those living today) was a true willingness to make sacrifices and go without, to share and direct resources where they were most needed, and to voluntarily serve one’s country and community for the greater good of all. Sacrifice, sharing, and service – three characteristics best expressed in the life of Jesus Christ.

But, by enduring so much through an era of depression and then war, these men and women from The Greatest Generation didn’t do the rest of us any favors in one aspect – for they vowed that their children and grandchildren “will have it better than I did” – and this declaration, I believe, is where many of our problems today stem from. Though it sounds wonderful in theory, the results have been disastrous, because “better” has erroneously equated to mean “easier,” and as we now see, “easier” doesn’t turn out “better”. For in wanting their children and grandchildren “to have it better than I did,” each succeeding generation has had more and more given to it, with less and less expected from it. Thus, every subsequent generation has received a lesser degree of parenting as well.

Here are four different versions of two verses from The Bible on the topic of parenting:

 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6 (King James Version)

Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life.  Proverbs 22:6 (Good News Translation)

 Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.  Proverbs 22:6 (The Message)

 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.  Proverbs 22:6 (New Living Translation)

 

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.  Proverbs 13:24 (King James Version)

 Those who don’t correct their children hate them. But those who love them are careful to correct them.  Proverbs 13:24 (New International Reader’s Version)

 If you love your children, you will correct them; if you don’t love them, you won’t correct them.  Proverbs 13:24 (Common English Version)

 A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them.  Proverbs 13:24 (The Message)

 

Effective parenting requires training, teaching, pointing, and directing; it also includes lots of correction through loving discipline. Unfortunately, when parents decide that their children and grandchildren “will have it better than I did” it often ends up like this:

Not saying “No”, “Don’t”, “Stop It”, “Knock It Off”, “Quit That”, “Cut It Out”, “Wait”, etc…

Giving in to all wants (which soon turn into demands);

Rewarding all “participants” as well as not keeping score to determine the winners and losers in anything;

Excusing inappropriate behavior;

Ignoring a lack of manners;

Foregoing common social courtesies.

 

As Proverbs 30:15 (The Message) states:

A leech has twin daughters named “Gimme” and “Gimme more.” Three things are never satisfied, no, there are four that never say, “That’s enough, thank you!”— hell, a barren womb, a parched land, a forest fire.

 

Since WWII, we have produced multiple generations of children who cry out “Gimme” and “Gimme more.” Thus we have millions of spoiled brats and crybabies in our society who have entered into adulthood and run into roadblocks, because they have never had to wait for or work toward anything in their lives, nor have they developed the ability to think and speak intelligently for themselves. Now, as adults, they are unable to discuss and debate important life issues, so instead they call foul, cry victim, and play the “hate” card. They accuse, attack, and attempt to silence those who disagree with them, and continually jump from bandwagon to bandwagon in their support of popular causes endorsed by celebrities and perceived “social victims.”

Compounding this has been the ever increasing divorce rate over past decades, that is now around fifty percent. Think about it – at least half of all men, women, and children in the United States are products of at least one broken family unit, which carries varying levels of emotional and relational baggage. Parenting is difficult enough in homes which have never experienced a divorce, but after divorce occurs everything becomes more complicated for an infinite number of reasons. This isn’t to place blame, just to state the facts of a situation that has greatly contributed to our current state of affairs, as divorce is usually accompanied by things like guilt, fear, confusion, misunderstanding, struggle, bitterness, pain, etc…, and often leads parents to give more and expect less from their children.

Of course, at the root of this is our broken human nature. The more we have handed to us, the less we appreciate it, the less we care about it, and less gratitude we show for it. Getting something for nothing breeds contempt. It produces disrespect for ourselves, as well as for those who give us what we know we don’t deserve and haven’t earned. Deep inside we realize there is something wrong in not having any of our own “skin in the game”, but we are too under-developed and undisciplined to do anything about it.

Having it “better” (easier) has cut short the critical character-building required to produce offspring who are as honest, hardworking, committed, disciplined, and responsible as those from The Greatest Generation were (and are). By having it “better” (easier), most of us have no clear concept of what sacrifice, sharing, and service even mean.

Today, so much of American culture is centered around “self” – self-expression, self-indulgence, self-promotion, self-satisfaction – it’s all Me, Myself, and I (along with my Homies, of course). But what made The Greatest Generation so great was that for a brief period in our history, the notion of “self” was removed, because the survival of our nation demanded it to be that way. Life became an all-encompassing matter of country and community with everyone making sacrifices, sharing resources, and serving in whatever way they could.

How do we get that back? Will it require another depression or recession? Will it take another world war to unite us again? I hope not, but with so much self-interest, self-love, and attention seeking taking place, it will take something significant to wake us up, to shake us up. Perhaps this is why GOD allows us to wallow around in our sin sometimes; why we endure suffering, and experience pain. We need to get to a place where we can actually understand what true mercy, grace, and love really are. Even though The Greatest Generation may never be duplicated, we can certainly turn out Better Generations in our future if we start teaching, training, correcting, and disciplining our children and grandchildren in ways that create greatness, since we are living proof of what doesn’t,  since “easier” hasn’t turned out “better”.

CONTROL

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  Philippians 2:5

Life happens…and most of it is completely outside of our control, yet we do have 100% complete control in some very important areas:

We choose how we react and respond to life’s happenings;

We also choose the attitude we bring into and carry out of life’s happenings.

We choose to use the happenings of life as opportunities to help us grow up, or as excuses to make us grumble;

We choose to become bitter, broken down people, or a bigger, better people.

Our reactions, responses, and attitudes are totally up to us – nothing else and no one else.

 

MY GO TO

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.   
Psalm 121:1-2

We all have a go to. What’s yours? We all go to something, to someone… to cope with life. When stressors come, when pressures mount; When we become fearful and frustrated; When failures occur; When anxiety and anger build up; When death, disaster, and despair show up; When you hurt, when you need help, when you have lost hope…

What do you go to? Who do you go to?

Each of us copes in our own unique way. We all employ strategies, mechanisms, and ways to cope when life gets hard.

Some of us go to medications – both prescription and non-prescription;

Some of us go to other drugs – both legal and illegal;

Some of us go to alcohol;

Some of us go to caffeine;

Some of us go to sugar;

Some of us go to food – either eating too much or eating too little;

Some of us go to cigarettes, cigars, and chew;

Some of us go to the store – shopping for and purchasing new things we do or don’t need with money we do or don’t have;

Some of us go to bed and sleep; some of us stay awake for days at a time;

Some of us go to work and put in far too many hours; some of us call in sick;

Some of us go to the gym and exercise; some of us go for a run or a walk;

Some of us go to the movies or watch television;

Some of us go to our music or video games;

Some of us go to Facebook, Twitter, or email;

Some of us go to our journals, diaries, and blogs;

Some of us go to our friends and family;

Some of us go to a counselor, mentor, teacher, or coach;

Some of us go to cleaning everything in sight whether it needs it or not;

Some of us go to physically harming ourselves or others;

Some of us go to using, abusing, and neglecting others;

Some of us go to engaging in sexual activity that is unwise, unsafe, or illicit;

Some of us go to getting mad and venting at everything and everyone;

Some of us go into isolation from others;

Some of us go to insolating ourselves around others – those who tell us what we want to hear, rather than what we need to hear;

Some of us go to nature to get away from it all;

Some of us go to doing nothing at all;

Some of us go to _____________(fill in the blank);

We all have our regular, favorite go to’s to help us cope with life, and most of us employ many of the ones listed above. Some of our ways of coping actually do help us, but the majority only mask our pain and problems temporarily, then we find ourselves looking for new go to’s. Because we all need a go to place – better yet, a go to person to find rest and refreshment. We need a rescuer to save us from all the evil in this world, in others, and within ourselves.

May I offer a suggestion:

The LORD Jesus Christ is a strong shoulder, a stable shelter, a safe person to go to. He knows us better than we know ourselves and loves us more as well. This is the chorus from a song titled “Shoulders” by the group For King and Country:

My help comes from You
You’re right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders
Your shoulders

If He isn’t already, make JESUS your new go to – talk to Him, sing to Him, and worship Him. Read and meditate upon His wonderful Word, The Bible. Turn to JESUS and trust Him, joining with all who already know Him as the best go to of all:

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.   Psalm 121:2

IT CAN’T BE A MATTER OF SEX…

So God created human beings, making them to be like Himself. He created them male and female, blessed them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals.    Genesis 1:27-28

 

Lets just state the obvious, which should be pretty much apparent to anyone with even an ounce of common sense – it can’t be a matter sex, sexual identity, or sexual orientation because in other words, “that dog don’t hunt.” I’m referring to this latest homosexual, bisexual, transgender, etc… movement going on that appears to be gaining many enthusiasts. Men with men, women with women, and changing genders just don’t work. These are mistakes and misuses of how human beings have been created. It’s forced, it’s unnatural, and it’s vulgar. Forcing body parts into places where they don’t belong, forcing foreign apparatuses to arouse and whatever else, forcing doctors to change one’s sex is absolute madness. Women were made for men, and men were made for women by the great GOD who created us to be either male or female for a reason.

 

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him.” …Then the Lord God made the man fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the flesh. He formed a woman out of the rib and brought her to him. Then the man said, “At last, here is one of my own kind— bone taken from my bone, and flesh from my flesh. ‘Woman’ is her name because she was taken out of man.”  That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one.   Genesis 2:18, 21-24

 

Only GOD has the right to determine how sex works and where sex belongs, and we have really messed this up – big time. If the human race has fallen so far that we can’t even get male and female right, we’re in major trouble, as nothing is more plain and clear than this is. As a society, we’ve got to learn that sex doesn’t make the world go around and we must take sex out of those places it doesn’t belong. Sex works well and right in the one place where it has always been intended to be – in the marriage between one man and one woman. There really is no such thing as a “same-sex marriage” since there is nothing to “marry” together between a man to a man, or a woman to a woman. The same substance cannot be “married” into the same substance since that’s what it already is.

 

Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex.       Hebrews 13:4

 

 Yet sex is and has been human being’s demise and default through the ages, so this current push to mainstream anything and everything sexual should come as no surprise. But if sex is removed from this homosexual and transgender craziness (since it doesn’t work anyway), what are we left with? Something called friendship – pure and simple friendship. Friendship is a wonderful thing as it gives meaning to life in a variety of ways. People don’t need sex to survive, but we do need other people.

Sure, many people have forced themselves into believing they are something and someone other than what the facts tell them, and the term for this is called cognitive dissonance, which is well defined in the book titled Mistakes Were Made (but not by me), by authors, Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, (Copyright 2007, A Harvest Book, Harcourt Inc., Orlando, FL) who write:

 

“The engine that drives self-justification, the energy that produces the need to justify our actions and decisions – especially the wrong ones – is an unpleasant feeling…called “cognitive dissonance.” Cognitive dissonance is a state of tension that occurs whenever a person holds two cognitions (ideas, attitudes, beliefs, opinions) that are psychologically inconsistent, such as “Smoking is a dumb thing to do because it could kill me” and “I smoke two packs a day.” Dissonance produces mental discomfort, ranging from minor pangs to deep anguish; people don’t rest easy until they find a way to reduce it… Dissonance is disquieting because to hold two ideas that contradict each other is to flirt with absurdity and…we humans are creatures who spend our lives trying to convince ourselves that our existence is not absurd.” (Pgs. 13-14)

 

Cognitive dissonance is what allowed people to participate in things like the Holocaust in Germany, the slavery of Africans, and taking the land and way of life away from Native Americans in North America. Cognitive dissonance is what drives people to believe that if they don’t have a strong attraction to the opposite sex, or fit the stereotypical and popular characteristics of most others of their gender, they must be homosexual or should attempt to change their identity. Cognitive dissonance is what leads hurting, wounded, lonely people, who feel isolated and alienated, and who don’t have the support of family and friends, to do just about anything to cope with their pain and try to feel better about themselves. When people believe they don’t belong it creates many problems – things like joining gangs, engaging in unsafe sexual activity and prostitution, abusing drugs and alcohol, over-working, over/under-eating, over-spending, over-medicating, etc… and even convincing themselves that they must be gay, lesbian, or the other gender. But they have it all wrong.

And since this movement can’t be a matter of sex or sexual identity or sexual orientation, it’s really about the basic human relational and emotional need of belonging. Everybody needs a place to belong. Everybody wants and needs proper and healthy amounts of affection, attention, connection, and correction. Everyone wants and needs to be accepted, affirmed, and approved of by other people. Everyone wants and needs to feel welcomed and valued. This is why GOD has gone to such great lengths to save people – to give everyone a place to really belong – no matter how messed up and empty one’s life may seem to be, or how much other people have abused, neglected, rejected, and disappointed us.

GOD welcomes us into His family and makes us His own sons and daughters when we exercise faith in His Son, JESUS, the Savior of the world.

 

“And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.      2 Corinthians 6:18

 

Yes, the real matter is not sex, but belonging. Being alone and isolated, feeling outside and alienated is a maddening, depressing, and hopeless place to be. But JESUS has provided a better way, a good and safe place to belong, find love, and have real true life.

 

We know that we belong to God and the whole world belongs to the devil. We know that the Son of God has come. He has given us a heart to know Him who is true. We belong to Him who is true, because we belong to His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God. He has the life that will live for ever.      1 John 5:19-20

 

And with JESUS, there is no forcing required.

IN THE KNOW

Where do you look for information and instructions? Not news, weather, and sports information. Not instructions on how to build, bake, or fix something. But “in the know” information and instructions like:

How to deal with real life situations?

How to interact with difficult people?

How to handle challenging circumstances?

How to respond when unexpected events occur?

Here’s where people “in the know” look:

That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith.

The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.

God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds. You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries. There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure. Otherwise how will we find our way?

Or know when we play the fool?

Psalm 19:6-12

 

Where do you turn to uncover truth, to get help, to receive healing, to find hope?

Here’s where people “in the know” turn:

There’s nothing like the written Word of GOD for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live GOD’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks GOD has for us. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

People “in the know” know GOD’s Word is the best source for finding answers to life’s questions and in dealing with life’s problems. Nothing else is more practical, powerful, profound, and poignant. In the late 90’s a group named Burlap To Cashmere came out with a song titled Basic Instructions (Before Leaving Earth) which forms the acronym BIBLE (this song can be found on YouTube). Only The BIBLE reveals what has been, what is, and what will be. It explains who GOD is, who we are, and what this life is all about. GOD’s Word provides insight and understanding in regards to the happenings in our world today both near and far away. GOD’s Word puts life into life.

The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

 

Unfortunately, we live in an age where most people are not “in the know” when it comes to the Word of GOD, but rather just say “no” to it. The majority of people place no value on the information and instructions it contains, and believe it is archaic and irrelevant. This passage describes the state of affairs today:

 …because a time will come when some will no longer tolerate sound teaching. Instead, they will live by their own desires; they’ll scratch their itching ears by surrounding themselves with teachers who approve of their lifestyles and tell them what they want to hear. They will turn away from the real truth you have to offer because they prefer the sound of fables and myths.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

What is offensive about the Word of GOD? Why is it ridiculed, mocked, and ignored? How is knowing about GOD and knowing about ourselves a bad thing? Does learning to live fully and love fully have a negative side to it? Even people who claim to love Jesus and consider themselves to be Christians rarely or never read their Bibles – which is ludicrous. It’s like a person who claims to be a swimmer but never gets into the water; or a vegetarian who avoids eating vegetables.

So here are a couple questions:

Do you find information and instructions for living and loving from The Bible or from fancy fads, novel notions, and tired traditions? And when it comes to the Word of GOD are you “in the know” crowd or in the “no” crowd?

WONDERS & WOWS

I’m at that age where I get to enjoy the blessings of grandchildren. This has helped me notice again how life is full of wonders and wows. Everything is new, special, and fun for children. This past week, my 6 month old grandson, Charlie, found out about the wonders of Cheerios. He looked them over, picked them up with his tiny fingers, and attempted to get them into his mouth to experience their texture and taste. WOW!  A couple months ago, I assisted my 5 year old grandson, Brady, in the wonder of riding a bicycle without training wheels. The look on his face when he knew he had mastered this was priceless. WOW!

Here are a few more wonders and wows of childhood you may remember: building a sand castle, catching a firefly, sucking an ice cube, hearing a cricket, picking a bouquet of dandelions, making a snow angel, losing a tooth, roasting a marshmallow, chasing a butterfly.

While wonders and wows seem especially true for little ones, they are present throughout our lives. There is still much to wow us and make us wonder, even as we grow up and move through adolescence and adulthood. Do you ever wonder now? Do you ever wonder enough to be wowed?

Take a good look at God’s wonders—they’ll take your breath away.  Psalm 66:5

Do you ever wonder about GOD and His creation? Things like a volcano, a coral reef, a galaxy? Do you ever wonder about the uniqueness’s of a walking stick, a sea horse, a humming bird, a giraffe, a blue whale? How about a rainbow, a snowflake, a shooting star, the morning dew, the ocean tides? Have you ever wondered about a spider’s web, a chicken’s egg, a bee hive? WOW!

Do you ever wonder how GOD gave us human beings the capacity, the intellect, and the ambition to imagine, invent, engineer, build, and manufacture? Things like the Panama Canal, the Great Pyramids, the Mackinaw Bridge, the Channel Tunnel, and Hoover Dam? Do you ever wonder how the power of hundreds of horses is harnessed into automobiles that everyday take us everywhere we want to go? How huge, heavy airplanes are able to fly through the air at unimaginable speeds and altitudes? How ships the size of a Midwestern town can float across the ocean? How we can communicate with people all over the world on devices that have no wires attached to them? WOW!

Wonders and Wows are all around, but most of us just don’t take the time to notice them. We’re too busy, too much in a hurry, too distracted, too dull. Instead of wonders and wows, our lives consist more of worries and woes. We can choose otherwise, though. And here is perhaps the greatest wonder ever:

 For Christ died for sins once and for all, a good man on behalf of sinners, in order to lead you to God. 1 Peter 3:18a

WOW!