Why I Am Not Green

I recently asked a question about the scriptural basis used by many calling for a Christian’s responsibility to the environment. A friend of mine responded to this question. One comment he made was:  “Whatever I call mine is from Him and first belongs to Him. At the Bema seat of judgment for believers, our stewardship of all that He entrusted to me will be examined.”

I have decided to publish my response to him as an open letter in hopes that those believers who accept “going green” as something our Lord desires of them will re-consider their convictions on this issue.

Please NOTE:  I have made some minor editorial tweaks for the sake of clarity and anonymity. Please also note that I have read countless scriptures used by believers to warrant their concept of being stewards of our earth. I feel every scripture shared with me is taken out of context and meaning. I specifically address the 2 found in Genesis, since they are the most commonly used, in this letter. Continue reading

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God’s Green Earth

NOTE: The following are thoughts put together by Jan (my husband). I think they are so important I am saving them here for consideration. Please understand that this is NOT being presented as doctrine; rather, it is shared with the intent of being worthy of thought and pondering — of presenting a different take on the entire cultural issue.
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God may have shown me an excellent subject with which to highlight the difference between His perspectives and good intentioned, but human, perspectives. The subject in this case is specifically related to environmental issues but I am hoping to establish in it a somewhat generic spiritual approach for most social/political issues of the day: meaning that with all issues, the spiritual solution is so supernatural that it is incomprehensible from a natural perspective. I am frequently frustrated for allowing myself to get drawn into political discussions that never get past a natural logic level just because the allure of logic is so tempting.

So, regardless of your political/spiritual posture, the common consensus is that the environment is suffering from some degree of contamination that has resulted in some degree of impurities in the water/air/food chain, etc. The degree and level of corruption (i.e. has it been raped, ransacked, and pillaged, or just somewhat abused?) is hotly debated. Just how much is the earth groaning and longing to be freed from man’s destructive affects on it? All proposed solutions are obviously linked to the proposer’s theory of the root causes of the destruction, so there should be no surprise that God’s solution is directly linked to His view of the cause. (All bold emphases that follow are mine.)

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. Isa 55:7-13

Why does God lump all this together? Wicked and unrighteous men whose thoughts and ways are far from his – He will abundantly pardon – rain and water refreshing the land – the whole of creation soaking it up and breaking into rejoicing before these redeemed sons.

As revealed in Romans 8, He is promising a pouring rain of forgiveness, healing, and restoration of man to the place of sonship. This results in the deliverance of creation from the chains of corruption. These two passages (previous and below) are virtually synonymous.

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Rom 8:19-22

Who said one can be so spiritually-minded they are of no earthly good? The earth is groaning for us to become spiritually-minded sons of God. According to God, creation is not groaning over chemical spills and litter, it is groaning over our spiritual condition. We need to be abundantly pardoned because we are abundantly flawed in our ways and thinking.

The thinking and ways of Him who “destroyed” the earth in the days of Noah are not those of a modern day environmentalist. But it did temporarily rid the earth of the destructive force of wickedness. It would appear that the purpose of preserving Noah was for a lineage to Jesus. And Jesus, through his spirit, will ultimately produce the remnant the creation is waiting for. The final outcome of this process is addressed in the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Please read this chapter carefully, especially verses 33 thru 52, pondering it in the following sequence:

· Verse 50 – corruption is a hopeless condition that cannot inherit (become) incorruption
· Verse 45 – The reversal of corruption can only be done through the last Adam who is a quickening spirit
· Verses 51 & 52 – with believers, dead or alive, corruption (death) will be reversed
· Verses 39 & 40 – this pertains to all bodily forms – plants, men, beasts, terrestrial, celestial, et al
· Verse 33 &34 – this dialogue is prefaced with forsaking wickedness and awakening to righteousness

God’s word is full of references to the condition of the earth but never ties the causes and solutions to anything but the condition of the hearts of His people. It is thoughtful and considerate (natural outcomes of a Godly heart) to remove litter and assist with oil spill cleanup, etc., for the temporal enjoyment of it. But…do not confuse that with saving the planet.

(Don’t distort this concept of dominion with pride and boasting. Good grief, all we have to do is look around us and in our mirrors. Don’t let’s forget what manner of man we are without His workmanship. It is absolutely amazing and bizarre to think that God will get any of us wretched specimens to such a place. But, He is God. We need to look in the mirror of the Word, be doers of the Word, and not forget what manner of man the Word sees us as [James 1:21-25].)

I long to see us shift the dialogue from natural causes and solutions of environmental issues to the more difficult subject of how one becomes a healing force with Godly impact (dominion). Scripture indicates His plan is to unleash His sanctified ones as quickening spirits before whose presence all of God’s green earth bursts forth in delight. Selah.

A Devastating Moment of Truth

First, please don’t say I don’t know what I’m talking about with this post, which is about marijuana. I do. My husband was pretty seriously into drugs of most kinds back in the 60’s and 70’s before he became a Christian, after which point he has never used any since. And most of my kids have/did/do smoke it. So, yeah, while I personally don’t have a drug background, I am married to someone with one and he’s the first to tell you that to say there’s nothing mind altering about marijuana is to simply deny the truth — as are two of my kids who did succeed in breaking their addictions. And who will argue you down that yes, it IS addicting.

I am heartbroken to have just recently learned that an older adult I love dearly is a regular pot smoker. I am stunned to realize how many adults even in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s smoke pot regularly. And it explains a lot of things that have puzzled me. Erratic behavior and thinking. Poverty as a lack of rational decision making. And yes, it breaks my heart.

I think I’ve just had a Moment of Truth in realizing truly the extent that smoking pot is now a normal part of our society and culture, with even believers living in a state of denial that there is nothing wrong with it. Anything that alters your mind is dangerous, I don’t care what it is. If it’s so non-addictive why don’t people give it up?

Drunkenness is not just a result of excessive alcoholic consumption; it’s a state of not being able to think clearly and rationally, directly as a result of something you have put in your body — and for Christians, scripture very specifically speaks against it. We really are a culture that is choosing to live in a state of denial about many, many things, and this is one of them. And yeah…………. it really does break my little ole heart. I feel like I’ve just been totally blindsided by a semi……………….

The Way Home

Back in the turbulent 60’s and early 70’s, I, like most of my female peers, eagerly embraced the feminist movement, with all its promises of better pay and excitement in the work force. What we did not see was the destruction of the home and utter disillusionment as women were now suddenly supposed to repress their God-given desires and instincts to care for a loving, providing husband and to nurture precious children and homes. Instead, we were to replace them with demanding careers and jobs and responsibilities. To do otherwise was to be a Failure. Their God-ordained roles were suddenly presented as burdens and the rest is history.

In that background, I ultimately became a Christian and began reading about God’s design for women, something very different from what I, too, had begun eagerly embracing from the world. This book was one of the several I ran across. It’s been years now since I read it and it might have a few things I would question, but if so, I don’t recall them. So, like I do with all books I ever recommend to anyone, I encourage those interested to read it, always keeping scripture in mind. I’ve heard it referred to as a great book for homeschoolers; possibly. But that was not my biggest take. It simply gave me great encouragement to thoroughly embrace and enjoy being that strange new term that I still feel sad about, the Stay-at-Home Mom. The situation that is so rare it now must be distinguished with a title.

The book: The Way Home by Mary Pride.

One final thought: As someone so aptly put it recently, Jesus called us to be servants. We have a choice — be servants to our bosses and jobs and clocks and anyone else who has a demand on our time, or be servants to our husbands, children, and homes. It’s actually not a bad thing, serving others; the real heart of the matter is in who we choose to serve.

The Trump Dilemma

Most of the comments coming from those opposing Trump are coming from a place of fear and anxiety. He represents the opposite of the things we feel will give us comfort and security.

I believe the Trump election is a wonderful example of Isa 55:8, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Also I Cor 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

The things the world today tells us to honor and esteem, things the world says will bring us security and comfort — these things are foolishness with God. This is a hard word, for we love our Causes, but if we truly want the living Word, Jesus, to change us, there comes a time we must be willing to let go of things that are very dear to us.

The world tells us that comfort and security can only come from leaders who are non-combative, cultured, and refined. Jesus never even hinted at that. In fact, he said the opposite. He said there would be wars and rumors of war. He did not say that was bad. (Why didn’t he? It was a great opportunity He missed.) He simply said they would happen. We let the world and its ways shape our affections. It’s time for us to grow up in the Lord and realize His kingdom is inward, not external, and it never will be. We desire certain things/conditions in the world, but we need to be sure we don’t somehow think we are “more of a Christian” when doing so. The kingdom of God is not meat, nor drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy. Romans 14:17.

Many think it’s a fearful and terrifying thing to have our future in the hands of Trump. Scripture says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Heb 10:31. I am NOT saying Trump is God; but I AM saying be mindful that it will be a fearful thing to stand in front of God and say, “But Lord, didn’t I eat organic food? Lord, didn’t I keep the environment clean? Lord, didn’t I fight for animal rights and open borders? Wasn’t I a ‘nice guy’?” and hear Him say,“Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity,” Luke 13:27 (I am very well aware that this passage is about clothing and feeding people and visiting them in jail, but that is on a personal basis, and NOT an organizational one, which actually SEPARATES us from “the messy.”) What I’m trying to say is that we need to be sure we can stand in front of Him and ask ourselves, “Did I allow Him to remove the “worldliness” and worldly values from my heart? I am saying that, unknowingly, Trump is actually challenging many of the things of the world that we hold dear. “….and fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt 10:28.

And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear him. Luke 12:4-5

Friends, what are we choosing to fear in our lives?

Egomania

What I am about to write may sound like just a bunch of hot air and maybe it is…..but actually I think it is incredibly important. Christianity is not about hating and condemning other people. It’s actually about doing what Jesus said: taking his yoke (which involves trust if you are attached to someone) and learning about him for he is meek and lowly in heart. We spend so much time elevating ourselves and who we are and our accomplishments — our importance.

We’re a bunch of egomaniacs trying to be better than each other and it’s sad. When a person’s focus is on himself and how great he is, others suffer. And from my observation, that’s the heart of what’s wrong with the world and what so many Christians either have forgotten or simply never knew. Jesus lived a life of sacrifice, not self-realization, and He is our model.

The Pattern of Crosses

I have been working on a cross-stitch quilted bedspread for many years. Like many things in life that have the potential to be beautiful, but that take a lot of effort, I find that I actually work on it in spurts. In fact, I’m afraid the truth is that the work spurts are often years apart.

I got on a roll recently. I love watching the neatness of the stitches and the various colors of thread unfold the beautiful pattern another artist created for me to work out. However, a few days ago I discovered a terrible mistake.

At some point I had let another person help me with it. The spread is large and there is plenty of material for two of us to work on, so I put another section in the wooden hoop and we sat and stitched and visited and had a wonderful afternoon. After she left, I decided to continue working on the section she had stitched and over the weeks had stitched a fairly substantial section. Thing is, though, recently I realized I was having trouble seeing the crosses that are stamped on the material. I put it down to poor lighting, but it was really a bummer. I mean, I could see the pattern and worked quietly and steadfastly, but it was always nagging at me that the pattern was faded and not clear anymore.

Well, a few days ago I decided to go back and work on the original section I had previously been working on. And I discovered THOSE crosses were much clearer and easier to see. So, suddenly I had a terrible thought. Was it possible….maybe just possible….that when I had set up the material for her to stitch I had put it in the hoop on the wrong side? That is, that this whole time she, and then I, had stitched the beautiful threads on the wrong side of the spread? And, as you have probably guessed, the answer was yes.

So, now I was faced with a dilemma. I actually had two sections of the same piece that had been stitched. One, rather small, one, rather large. Obviously one would have to be removed, but which one? It made sense to re-do the smaller section, but the problem was then I would have to continue sewing it on the wrong side with a faded pattern that was actually difficult to see. Or I could un-do all the work my friend and I had done on the larger area and re-do it correctly. And trust me, un-doing all those stitches was not going to be an easy task.

Well, thankfully for me, I eventually realized that the pattern was not reversible and actually, if I was going to have the bedspread I had set out to make, then yes, all the work would have to be re-done.

So, now I was presented with another problem. How to undo the work I had done incorrectly so that I could proceed correctly. There were actually two ways of doing it that I could see. One would be to use a seam ripper and cut through all the threads, then pull the small pieces out, bit by bit. Or, pick the various ends of stitching in each small design and literally un-do each section, stitch by stich. Pull out each stitch by hand.

Wow. Both were daunting in sound to me, but after a few minutes of working through the sick feeling in my stomach, I began. First, because I really wanted to re-use the thread, I tried it stitch by stich. And it mainly worked ok, but I ran into a few bumps along the way, and it was obviously quite tedious. Besides, I soon realized the thread was not going to be re-usable. So I tried doing it by cutting through the fibers. Actually, a friend was with me and she began doing the cutting. Both of us worked on then pulling the small pieces, but I could see pretty quickly it, too, was going to be time-consuming. I soon realized that the best way, painful as it would be, was going to be undoing it stitch-by-stitch. There would be no shortcut.

When I was finally finished, there were many small holes left from the needle entries, but I realized that when I re-did it on the correct side (which I now saw was clearly marked and not faded), the holes would disappear into the new stitches and the spread would still be the beautiful covering it was designed to be.

As I ponder over this event, I see a truth begin to emerge, worth my consideration. I could actually draw several different parallels, but the one I am going to focus on is that of a believer, working on the tapestry of her life. She recognizes the necessity of the cross and is working the stitches correctly at first. Then something else presents itself, she goes on a different course, and at some point she realizes that now the going is a bit more difficult. That she is not seeing the pattern as clearly. That something is simply not right. But she is seeing something and so continues to stitch away oblivious to the sad reality that she is now working on the wrong side of the pattern…not on the side it was designed to be. The crosses are not clear any longer. She has the aha moment and wrestles through the gut-wrenching reality that what she has put much effort into must not only be re-done, but must first be undone. In a sense, she must now renounce a great deal of what she has put herself into before she can actually proceed forward, once again following the crosses that had been stamped for her to see.

The analogy ends when we understand the incredible and awesome truth that in our lives it is Jesus who unravels the wrong stitches, not us. Many times we try to use the ripper and cut through sections at a time, but trust me, pulling those teeny bits of thread is a lot harder that it appears.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving us the pattern of the cross. Please help us stay on the right side of the fabric and not let other things take us to the faded side. It looks the same on the surface, but a little bit of stitching soon begins to show us that something is wrong. Thank you for being the Redeemer who then comes in and undoes all the wrong we did, turns the fabric over, and then continues to give us the true pattern to follow.

Easter or Resurrection Sunday?

I once again feel like I’m standing alone on something, but here it is. I love my Lord and I know that Easter is really all about His resurrection, but I just can’t get into this latest trend of calling what I have known all my life as Easter, “Resurrection Sunday.”

Why? Not sure. Well, yes, I am sure from one aspect. When I think of the word “Easter,” I see pastels — pink and yellow and light blue and green and white — happy, soft, cheerful colors, all representing to me the love of my Lord. Yes, I also see Easter bunnies and baskets and colored eggs. I know they are supposedly pagan in origin, but that doesn’t bother me. I also see a cross rising on the hill with a background of a beautiful sunrise. I see them all as representing life. And my Lord is Life. So for me, that is not a conflict.

Unfortunately, the word “Resurrection” just doesn’t bring forth the same images. It brings forth the solemnity of what He did, so probably I am sounding sacrilegious to say this, but there is a subtlety of joy He gives that is absent and that I miss.

However, I think more than all of this is the in-my-face awareness of the Christian community’s pandering once more time to the world, even in their “fighting” back against the secularization of the event. Yes, to the world, it is Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts, but that doesn’t bother me. It bothers me that I am letting the world once again rob me of something precious; the whole ambiance of what the word “Easter” represents.

So…….friends, you are free to change it all to Resurrection Sunday. But I still see My Lord Jesus as having come forth out of that tomb early on Easter morning, with the beauty of the early dawn and mists, clearing up into a beautiful clear spring day, full of promise and hope and the Life He gives.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for Easter morning and the empty tomb. And all you accomplished on the cross for me.