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What shall a man give in exchange for his soul…

In the mid 1980’s, while studying Mann’s Doctor Faustus with my AP English class, I found it interesting that I was the only one lacking pathos — neither the other teenagers, nor the teacher felt the same way I did about the bargain. Even before my conversion, I found it hard to feel compassion for a man who sells his soul to Satan. Though we all sin, Proverbs enlightens those interested in the difference between a just man who sins and a wicked man, For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief (Proverbs 24:16).

One of my favorite movie quotes is from Peter Jackson's rendition of Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring, “The Ring passed to Isildur, who had this one chance to destroy evil forever, but the hearts of men are easily corrupted. And the ring of power has a will of its own.” That corruption is a simple way to remember the difference between a just man who falls and a wicked man. The just man falls and rises up. Think King David. The wicked man is corrupted and does not turn back. Think King Saul.

This answers the age old question, “Why?" Though often ignored, God answers it over and over again in His word. It started in the garden and it has not changed since — men are drawn away by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). It is as old as Eve and technology doesn’t change the fundamentals. Here’s how James describes it in chapter 1 verses 14-15, But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

I fully understand the power of Satan — the lure of the prince of this world. I felt his pull, dallied with him, gave in to his whims, lived as his servant and, thankfully, turned away and took the Narrow Road. I decided to flee Satan and draw near to God. I was asked recently if I believed in demon possession today (partially a tongue in cheek question). Really, I believe that Satan does possess us. Not in the way he did in past times. Not in the horror movie manner. No, I believe Satan possesses us when we give in to our temptations. We choose Satan over God time and again when we sin. We allow him to possess us in a figurative sense.

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Better a thousand times careful…

 

 

Better a thousand times careful than once dead. ~Proverb

After pondering this for many weeks, I have come to an inescapable conclusion: this will be long and disturbing. The length is, in part, due to the fact that I feel compelled to share the ‘whys’ of my dedication to this serious topic, for an explanation of the issue is not all that is needed. Ideas on countering the dangers will follow the more troubling aspects caused by touching on a topic that cannot possibly be discussed pleasantly. Crimes against children are too devastating…too horrible…too heartbreaking…too prevalent…

This will be the type of article that you read when you have time to do something lighthearted afterward…you may want to clear your mind of these things and go to a happy place…a place where all children everywhere are loved and nurtured and safe from harm. This world is not that place.

Many months ago, I answered a question a friend posted regarding supervising children. The question was about when it was acceptable to leave children in the car alone. Here’s what I said: “My first rule of thumb was that I was would never do it younger than the law allowed, but as that time approached and our oldest reached that age I decided that it was not worth it the very real, albeit small in some people's eyes, risk that something unimaginable might happen. No convenience is worth living with the realization that I did not protect my little ones when it was in my power to do so. Children are easy targets for the deranged predators that serve Satan. I did not leave my children in the car until the oldest was 15 and almost 6 feet tall. And, if you really want a good laugh, I didn't let our son go in the men's room alone until he was taller than me (which admittedly isn't that tall…he was about eleven I think). I stood outside and made my presence known, even cracking the door and talking if anyone else was in there.

An older mother (and grandmother), who saw a need for more teaching on child safety, wrote me privately and suggested that I turn my comment into an article. Her suggestion compelled me to research, once again, something that has been dear to my heart, but that I often don’t address because of the disturbing nature.

You may read this and call me radical, you may call me a helicopter parent, and you may even call me paranoid, pessimistic or untrusting. The bottom line is this: my sole concern was protecting my children. I made them based on studies in criminal justice, news accounts and what I knew from others’ experiences. Six children later – I’d not change a thing. It comes down to this simple truth: God entrusted Jonathan and I with our children and we determined to take good care of them and keep them safe.

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