Dying by Morality

This post is a repost from something I wrote in 2009. I’m thinking of writing a follow-up post to this.

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I have attended over eight churches in my lifetime, so please don’t connect what I am about to say to any particular church. I have spent my Sundays in churches, listening to sermons on all topics with different emphases.

This morning as I woke up after wrestling with something all night, I realized something crucial.

You can try to live for morality, but you will certainly die by morality.

Allow me to clarify.

At several of my past churches, the sermons were largely calls to morality loosely held together with the occasional scripture (that was sometimes pulled out of context). I am sure you’ve heard it.

Christians need to live a moral life. Give to the poor, look for places to serve, glorify God with your money, abstain from sexual immorality, don’t do drugs, ect.

Again, God is holy, therefore sin disgusts him. I’m not denying that. But when that becomes a main focus, you have a problem.

The church that preaches morality constantly but fails to preach forgiveness and grace is not going to have a thriving congregation. They will not have people come forward and confess that they are struggling with something. Why? Because these people know they don’t have it together and by this standard of morality, they have definitely failed.

This morality, Moses’ law (given by God as part of the old covenant), will inevitability send you to hell. Why? Because no human can keep this law.

I presently attend a church where I feel grace has a heavy emphasis. They have a program called Celebrate Recovery, similar to the 12 step program for alcoholics. The message? Repent, and be welcomed into the family.

Picture this. You are attending a church where almost every message is about how a good Christian should live, serve, and what they should say. These sermons point to morality (which again, is not bad) but very rarely say anything about God’s mercy, forgiveness or anything about God Himself. You are a born again Christian, struggling with a porn problem. There’s no place for repentance, confession, or forgiveness in this church. There is no way you are going to ask the church leadership for support.

Where there is no grace, there is no forgiveness, no room for error.

Just in case you were classing me as a heretic at this point, take a look at what Paul had to say.

“Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead you live under the freedom of God’s grace…You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ…But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! …But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died.” (Romans 6: 14, 7:4, 6, 7, 9)

We see this concept again in Galatians 2:19
“For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God.”

Also Galatians 5:1, 7-8
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law…You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.”

Don’t be held captive—God calls us to freedom through His grace.

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Thursday: Three Little Things

For some time now, I’ve been brainstorming about what kind of a post I could do on a regular basis. I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers do this. For example:

At “Already Pretty,” Sal chooses Saturday as her “Groove Your Body to…” day.

At “Blonde at Heart,” Natalie periodically has an “Awkward and Awesome” post.

The other day it occurred to me that I could choose something that would fit my blog. I couldn’t choose something too specific, because I’m not disciplined enough to have consistent content. Nothing earth shattering (obviously), but here’s the first of many to come: “Thursday: Three Little Things.”

1) The book “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I just finished reading this book for the first time. It’s definitely one I would like on my bookshelf eventually, and one that needs several more readings through.

2) A quote from the above book. “There is great power in inactivity. Do not let an out-of-control person be the cue for you to change your course.”

3) This adorable picture stand. It was a gift from a dear friend who got married this last weekend.

 

Guest Blogger: Shawnee

I am so excited to introduce my first guest blogger on my blog. Her name is Shawnee, and she blogs over at The Ex-Perfectionist. One of the things I love about Shawnee is her transparency as she writes and shares her life. I always learn something new when I read her posts. Be sure to check out her blog!

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Guest Blogger: Shawnee Randolph

I keep my face wash in the fridge next to the garlic, salsa and Tapitio. My face wash is, as you may have guessed, 100% edible, all natural and completely dreamy.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but store bought beauty products freak me out.  Wondering what has my panties in a knot?  Take a look at the ingredients of your face wash. Most of what you will read is probably…unreadable.  And the rest?  Not fit for your skin.

Our skin is the largest organ in our body.  The epidermis (outer layer) and the dermis (inner layer) help to regulate temperature and gives us our wonderful sense of touch. More importantly our fabulous skin protects our bodies from toxins and helps excrete toxins from our bodies.

Aside from all the technical stuff, our skin is what ages us or keeps us looking young.  I’m sorry to break it to you, but alcohol, acids, and scents will only age you.  Don’t believe that these things are in your face wash?  Stop reading, right now, and look at the ingredients.

I know right?

So if you wouldn’t put those things in your body, why apply them to the largest organ of your body?

Don’t have the cash to purchase a new line of organic skin care?  Me either.  Plus, there are likely many preservatives in your “organic” products, including alcohol.  Instead of breaking your childhood piggy bank, try a homemade face wash and scrub.

 Honey Oatmeal Facewash

½-¾ part Oatmeal (ground in a coffee grinder)

1 part Almond or Coconut milk

1/8 part Olive Oil (adjust according to your skin)

1/8 part Honey

Mix it all up, place it in a container that can be shaken before each use and there you have it.  The oatmeal helps to clean; honey is an emulsifier and also has healing and anti inflammatory properties (good for those pesky pimples); Almond and Coconut milk, especially those fortified with vitamins, will help to cleanse and refresh; and olive oil will give you a nice glow and can take the place of your moisturizer.

Tip: make sure to rinse with cool to warm water, so as not to dry out your skin.

Olive Oil Sugar Scrub

1 part sugar

½-3/4 part olive oil

Mix together.  To use, cleanse your face with the oatmeal wash and rinse.  Place a small amount of the scrub in your hand and very gently massage into your skin.  The skin on your face is the most delicate so it is important not to be harsh with it.  Rinse and pat dry.

Tip: this scrub is also awesome for your whole body.  Note, that when using it in the shower, your tub can become very slippery.  Be careful!

I hope you’ll give natural a try.  Enjoy!

Little Flirts

One of the joys of this summer has been the constant stream of hummingbirds to my little feeders. They didn’t seem to discover my feeders for about a month (during which time I felt very rejected). Now they are constantly at the feeder, and I often see two of them flirting with each other (or fighting? Sometimes it’s hard to tell). Just thought I’d share a couple pictures with you.

I caught this little guy taking a rest

Terrible picture quality, but I love to see the motion of their wings

Kiva–small business loans

Just thought I would take a quick moment to mention Kiva. My sister-in-law actually got me started on Kiva loans. The Kiva website has pictures and stories for various entrepreneurs around the world. To start, you choose who you would like to loan to (a minimum $25 loan is required). I find that most of the people I have chosen to loan to receive total funding fairly quickly. In a relatively short amount of time, I get emails about how they are repaying what I loaned them. Once I have enough, I choose another business/person to loan the money to.

I’m mentioning this today because I got an email from Kiva. Click on this link to “experience the joys of microlending on Kiva with a $25 free trial loan.”