Tight Pants: “Because It’s Comfortable”

LeggingsTights, leggings, yoga pants, spandex, whatever you want to call them, you can’t escape them because women wear them everywhere.

My wife read to me a recent online conversation in which a women defended her two teenage daughters’ choice of pants. The woman said she and her husband would never tell their daughters what to wear and what not to wear, and if she catches anyone staring she gives them a piece of her mind: “Don’t you know she’s only seventeen?” I’m sure the embarrassed man thinks, “What’s it matter what age she is? I’m just looking at what is publicly on display.”

Some women wear such tight clothing for the express purpose of drawing the attention of men. I dearly hope (and expect) it’s usually not the case. The number one reason I have heard from women as to why they wear such revealing and attention-drawing clothing is that it’s the most comfortable thing to wear.

Let’s think through that logic. If it’s okay to wear in public because it’s the most comfortable thing, then I might expect to see many women walking around in their bathrobes and slippers. I have known a number of children who are most comfortable in their own skin…and nothing else, yet we expect them to wear clothing in public for some reason.

Using the reason “because it’s comfortable” is the same as saying “because it feels good” or “this is what I like best.” Has that ever been a helpful moral guide? There have been times when knocking a guy’s block off would have made me feel good. Why do we avoid drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous sex? After all, they appeal strongly to our flesh and make us feel quite nice at several levels. “Because it’s comfortable” turns out to be a motivation born of the flesh–it’s pure selfishness!

Modest ClothingI challenge you to make clothing decisions based on a MORAL standard, not a “because it’s comfortable” standard. The first is based on God’s revealed will; the second is based on your selfish fleshly desires.

For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error… (2 Peter 2.18)

The word for “sensuality” includes the idea of lewdness, debauchery, and sexual promiscuity, but it is built upon the concept of license. In other words, we engage in sensuality when we cast off God’s ways–we feel we have license to do whatever we want. Notice how sensuality is coupled with “fleshly desires” in this passage. When we find ourselves defending what we wear with “because it’s comfortable,” we should recognize we are simply appealing to our fleshly desires!

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality(Galatians 5.19)

Now just because something is comfortable doesn’t mean it’s sinful! But comfort must not be the driving principle behind our wardrobe choices.

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Parents, Act Like Adults!

RageIn the grocery store parking lot last night I heard an angry yell: “Get out, now!” I squinted across the dark lot and saw a door open on a nice SUV. Out jumped a girl I estimated to be about twelve or thirteen, arms crossed, determinedly not looking at the man who I suppose was her father. She kept a good fifteen feet away from him, marching angrily along, while he fumed and scowled at her. As they walked into the store, I overheard one biting word he shot at her: “Stupid!”

Being a young teenager, I am sure the girl was not without fault in the altercation. Those young ones know how to push buttons and kick soft spots. But let’s say this was her most horrendous night ever and she had been disrespectful and disobedient towards her father. On absolutely NO condition should a father tell his daughter she’s stupid. I believe I can say that with confidence.

On the heels of last night’s event, this afternoon I was notified of a little baby girl who was taken to the hospital last week and diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome. She’s in critical condition at the moment. I have not the words to describe my sadness for that little one.

How often we parents blame our children for OUR sins!

Next time you feel like flying off the handle at one of your children (which for me will probably be this evening–just sayin’), think hard before you speak or act. Do not tell your son, “You are making me lose my temper!” No. Take ownership of your temper, your anger, and your actions. Sure, your son may be throwing all he has at you because he lost his temper, but what do you think happens when you react in kind? What do you teach your son?

Angry boyNext time your daughter screams in your face, resist the temptation to scowl at her and demean her. There is no place for that. In fact, if she is screaming in your face, she probably learned it from someone close to home–maybe from you.

Sons and daughters need discipline, not abuse! Children are growing up these days with child-parents who have yet to grow up and take responsibility for themselves. Don’t get me wrong and think I’m pointing fingers at anyone in particular–I am thinking long and hard about my own actions and reactions towards my own children. There’s much that’s not pretty; much needs to change.

Our Heavenly Father presents the great parental standard, and He treats His children with love and mercy. Jesus teaches us not to call a brother “empty-head” or “a fool” (Matthew 5.22) and also to love our enemies (Matthew 5.44). Sometimes our enemies will be those of our own household (Matthew 10.36), and they require our prayers and attention.

Parents, let us be the adults. Be the man, father. Show a backbone, mother. Let’s keep our heads, hearts, and hands in check and under control at all times. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath (Ephesians 4.26).

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So Abram Lied

Camel CaravanWhy do Bible studies always get derailed at the story of Abram’s deceit in Genesis 12? Abram hauls his family to Egypt because of a famine, and he asks his wife Sarai to lie and say she’s just his sister “that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.” Sure enough, Pharaoh snatches his beautiful wife right up and intends to keep her for himself. Following the rest of the story, you find that God plagues Pharaoh until he realizes what’s happening, gives Sarai back to Abram, and boots them out of town.

Why was this story recorded for us? Everything in Genesis relates to the purposes of God in bringing forth and executing His divine plan to redeem human-kind from our sins, so how does this story fit? Are we supposed to argue over whether or not it was okay for Abram to lie, since God didn’t punish him for it? I’ll give you a hint: the text does not at all deal with Abram’s morality. God is not said to be angry or pleased with Abram. I’m thinking we shouldn’t dwell on it, then.

Sarah Was IncludedWe are tracing the seed of Abram. Just a few verses earlier, God had promised Abram, “I will make you a great nation” and “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12.2-3). I could be wrong, but I suppose Abram probably knew he would need a wife in order for those promises to bear fruit. What Abram didn’t understand, perhaps, is that God intended to fulfill those promises through Abram and Sarai, specifically. We find that Abram and Sarai later attempted to help God out by having a child through Sarai’s Egyptian maidservant, Hagar, to which God responded a few years later by explaining, “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son…I will establish My covenant with him…and with his descendants after him” (Gen. 17.19).

God’s plan included Abraham and Sarah, and so this story of Abram’s deceit is not really about what Abram did but about how God rescued Sarai from a bad situation in order to preserve her as holy to Abram and as the mother of the child of promise.

God’s plans will not fail no matter what we decide to do!

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Old Testament Crash Course

If you want a quick overview of the entire Old Testament story, this video is for you! In less than 12 minutes, I take you through all 39 Old Testament books (more or less) and try to give you a few entry points which you can use to dive into the story. Please let me know if you find it helpful or if you have questions about how it’s laid out.

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Jesus Shines in the Old Testament

Jesus ShinesDid you know you can teach the gospel of Jesus Christ from the Old Testament? In fact, the gospel shines gloriously throughout the pages of the Hebrew Scriptures. Just before Jesus left the earth, He opened the minds of His disciples, saying,

“These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (Luke 24.44-45)

Bob Utley writes regarding this passage in his Luke commentary: “These represent the three divisions of the Hebrew Canon: Law, Prophets, and Writings. This context says something of the Christocentric unity of the Old Testament.”

Indeed, the entire Bible repeats a consistent theme with laser-like focus: Christ. In the Old Testament God lays the groundwork of the gospel, shows the necessity for a Savior, and promises to send a Messiah. In the New Testament God accomplishes and fulfills all things through His Son, Jesus.

Are you reading about the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden? Jesus fixes that broken relationship.

The Good ShepherdJesus is the Moses figure who leads His people out of slavery to sin, through the wilderness of this life, and finally into the promised land of heaven.

Jesus is the seed of Abraham through whom all nations would be blessed.

Jesus is the gentle lamb they ate at Passover.

Jesus is the manna which sustained Israel in the wilderness.

Jesus is the rock which followed Israel around in the wilderness providing them water.

Jesus is King David, the anointed one of God, the good shepherd.

Jesus is the sacrifice whose blood actually remits our sins.

I’m excited this year to read through the Old Testament history again–not because I find excitement in a bunch of dusty old stories, but because I find Jesus everywhere in them! He shines all around us, if we would only stop to see.

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A Facebook-Free 2015

Shoot the ComputerPlease do not think, as you read the following, that I am condemning your use of Facebook. I only wish to explain why I’m happy to be free of the online monster right now.

Last Friday I made the decision to ditch my online account. If you search for me now you will find absolutely nothing because I disabled my login for the foreseeable future.

You know when you watch a loud movie for a couple of hours–the credits roll and you turn it off–and you soak in the resulting dead silence? That’s kind of like what I’m experiencing. What are all my “friends” doing? What is the latest political craze? Where are all the funny little videos and wisecracks? Now it’s just me and my books. Oh yeah–and my family. There they are in real life!

On problem for me was it just became a total time drain.

He who is slothful in his work
Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer. (Prov 18.9)

Then there’s the tendency for gossip.

He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends. (Prov 17.9)

A talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. (Prov 11.13)

There but Not ThereI see a whole lot of rebuking but little actual change. When a debate goes public, the stakes are raised and you feel like you have to stand your ground (no matter how stupid your initial comment was) so you don’t look weak. And if you delete the whole thread everyone will know you backed down!

A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a castle. (Prov 18.19)

Even though Proverbs 17.14 says, “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts,” Facebook encourages contention and quarreling. I find it much too easy to get caught up in the wrangling and disputing–mostly about matters that don’t matter. But even if it’s about matters that do matter, we often dispute in despicable ways–ways in which we would never engage if we sat across the kitchen table from one another.

My wise wife explained to me that Facebook fosters pride. Why do we post comments? Isn’t it so our voice will be heard, so hopefully our friends will like our comment and give us props? So we often word our comments in such a way as to either send the biggest zinger at an opponent or to get the most likes in the discussion. If you spend time on Facebook, you know the feeling of reading down a list of comments and seeing a gal whose comment has 17 likes while your comment only has 2. What a bummer!

We just want to be liked, right?

Angry at ComputerThis probably exposes some serious psychological issues in me… I am a words of affirmation guy, so when someone likes other people’s comments and don’t like mine, I’m discouraged. What’s wrong with what I said? Is it because they don’t like me? They must like the other person better than me. Well, I guess they made it clear they are in that person’s club and not mine! Let us draw the line here! We are now divided!

Okay, I’ll quit ranting about my problems (issues) with online media now. Really, the problem is with me–I have certain personal tendencies (because of sin in my flesh) which make it unwise for me to continue with it. I hope you all miss me and don’t like the fact that I’m gone. :-)

You can pray for me.

I now look forward to a Facebook-free 2015.

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Bible Reading Plan for 2015

Reading the BibleWe are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind.

Yes, God expects us to apply our minds to loving Him and His word. He did not give us a complex world, create us as complex creatures, and give us a deep book for us to twiddle our thumbs through life singing “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so” and that be the end of things. He expects us to think about Him and His word. David write in Psalm 119.9-16:

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O LORD!
Teach me Your statutes.
With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.

Reaching for the BibleDo you see God’s word directly affects your life? Do you wish to travel a righteous path and avoid sin? You must know God’s commandments, laws, and statutes. Do we ask God to teach us His ways while refusing to read His book? It’s like a child asking her parents to teach her how to tie her shoes while insisting she can do it herself.

As amazing as it may seem, 2015 quickly approaches, and with the new year comes a fresh sense of all things new. I love the turn of the year for this reason! It’s a great time to make a commitment to a Bible reading plan.

Helpful Bible Reading Apps

  • I received a notice this morning from FaithLife advertising their new Every Day Bible App. It looks simple and useful.
  • Of course, YouVersion has a great app that’s been available for a few years, and I’ve found a number of excellent reading plans available on it. You can even have it read to you with several audio selections.

Read the Bible Online

Bible StudyOnline Bible Reading Schedules

If you want to stick with an actual Bible you can hold in your hand (isn’t it amazing folks are getting away from paper books?!), there are many reading plans available online.

Perhaps one of those will spark your interest. It doesn’t matter how you absorb God’s word into your mind, but you need it! I’d love to hear of your preferred methods and what you would recommend to others.

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