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Don’t Water It Down.

LB50ContributorSQOriginally written for Living Better 50 Magazine.

Over Memorial Day weekend, we headed to the pancake feed in Priest Lake, Idaho. With my plate of yummy pancakes in hand I began to fill my cup with orange juice. I thought it might be too sweet so I decided to water it down. I assumed the other beverage choice was water. Wrong! It was milk. What was in my cup was now a cloudy substance that tasted badly.

Often I think we do the same with our relationship with God. We water it down by picking and choosing what best fits our lifestyle and ignore what the Bible calls us to do. Why? Because it doesn’t fit with how we choose to live.

Let me explain. In college I thought I believed in God but I didn’t need to read the Bible or go to church. I believed there was a God but I was going to live with my boyfriend, now my husband. I had to be sure he was the right guy for me. I went to church on Christmas and Easter. I said a prayer only when I needed something. If God was that cup of orange juice, I dumped a whole lot of my selfish desires into it to water it down in order to achieve what tasted good to me.

What I got was nothing close to what God wanted our relationship to look like. I had clouded something that was to be so sweet. Psalm 34:8 says, Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. We are not called to take a tiny taste and mix what we want with it. God wants us to open up and take it all in. That means all His goodness and all His commands. I gave little thought about how it must look to God because I knew what I wanted. I wanted to enjoy whatever liberties I saw fit.

Today I am quick to say, “Please do not do what I did. Wait until you are married. Don’t move in with someone before you get married. Please treat the gift of sex with respect. Save it for your spouse. On my wedding day I mourned the fact that I had not waited.”

I am not trying to pick on anyone because I have my fair share of sin. But over the years I have heard adults who claim to be walking with the Lord, talk about teens with so much disgust because they feel the teen is sleeping around and yet they themselves are sleeping with more than one person outside of marriage. They water down their walk with the Lord by what feels good to them and use their age to justify it. The last time I checked, God did not say sex outside of marriage is okay if you are over a certain age.

Love for money, power, gossip, lust, and slander are just a few of the things we find ourselves adding to our cup because they bring us a temporary feeling of happiness. But in the end we are left with something that tastes way worse than my drink at the pancake feed. Watering down our orange juice to cut the amount of sugar is one thing but we should not be watering down our relationship with the Lord by filling ourselves half way with God and the other half with what is of the world.

Please take a look at your walk with God. If it could be put in a cup would you accept all of what He offers or water it down with what works for you? Choose wisely.

 

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The Importance Of Being Vertically Centered

10954215_553447656161_602363106_nGuest Post By Josh Wallace

I grew up in a strict Christian family when I was a kid, my parents were (and still are) very spiritual and strong Christians, for better or for worse it was a sheltered life. I’m not saying being sheltered was a bad thing, just giving you a little insight on how I was raised. From the eyes of a little kid being a Christian was going to church, praying before you ate your food, before your went to bed, following the rules and getting baptized.

I was baptized at a young age; I didn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t want to be baptized. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing like any good young Christian, I wish I had waited. A little while later I got caught up in the middle of some church politics and experienced my first buffeting in my faith. I couldn’t understand why anyone who professed to follow Christ would act so un-Christ like.

For many years I allowed this to affect me, I floundered along spiritually through high school and college. I would have spiritual highs during week of prayers and times spent with my high school Chaplin Fred Riffel, but they wouldn’t last long. I would refer to my Christianity during those years as lukewarm. I still went to church, I still prayed, but the zeal for Jesus wasn’t there.

After college I wasn’t able to find a job. I applied, interviewed but never got a job, it was a hard time for me. The positive of the situation was that it gave me time to spend with my grandparents. During morning worships I saw just how close to God they were, I knew of the struggles they had earlier in their life and how they overcame them with God’s help and it pointed to their being hope for me. I talked at length to my grandpa (Poppie) one day10965167_553447651171_1704685783_n while golfing about my past; he asked me why I would let anyone affect a relationship that they weren’t involved in? “What does anyone in the church have to do with your relationship with Jesus Christ?” he asked.

It started to hit me that I was allowing outside forces that were not directly involved mold my relationship with God.

It’s been over six years since that talk, but I won’t forget it. It was a turning point for me in my relationship with God. Luckily I didn’t have to travel it alone, I was blessed to spend a lot of time with my grandparents between 2009 and 2012. Having worship every morning with them was a big help for me. I started having my own worships when I wasn’t with them, whether it was reading a chapter of Proverbs or reading devotionals.

The time with my grandparents taught me a lot of what being a Christian really was, it wasn’t just following rules and going to church. It’s about building a relationship with God and then doing what Jesus did when he was here, he went about doing good. Following Jesus and focusing on a relationship produces the fruits of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

Would I go back and change my past? Absolutely not, all the up and downs led me to where I am now in my spiritual walk with God. I would advise others though to take your decisions about God seriously, don’t let others come between you and him. Make those decisions for yourself, don’t feel rushed, God will meet you where you are at, focus on building a relationship with him and everything else will fall into place.

As I have grown older my idea of what being a Christian has changed from what it was when I was little. I now see that Christianity is more than just praying before my meals, my bedtime and going to church. It is about having an undisturbed vertical relationship with God, and allowing him to use me to do good to others.

10962023_553447646181_327057833_nMy grandparents have taught me so much in my walk with Christ and I want to share the wisdom he has shared with me. Below I’ve added a list my grandpa gave me that has helped over the years; it is what my grandpa has attributed his relationship with God to. I hope they help you too!

The Gospel of Joy and Happiness according to Poppie

  • Have a thankful heart
  • Have a forgiving spirit
  • Have a child like trust in God
  • Have an optimistic attitude
  • Give more-expect less
  • Live simply
  • Love generously
  • Care deeply
  • Speak kindly
  • Free your heart from hatred and your mind from worries. Worry is pain suffered for something that hasn’t happened and most likely won’t
  • Get in the word-Bible- morning worship
  • 12 Leave the rest to God

I hope you have enjoyed this awesome post from Josh.  I love what he said about being in a vertical relationship with God. Take a moment to really think about your relationship with God.  Are you vertically lined up with God? This is the second post in this series that gives the awesome wisdom of “Poppie” and I hope to meet him some day. 

If you have not caught the other posts in the “Dirt, Trucks, and Faith series” you can read the other posts by going to the tab in the menu bar and clicking on the series name.  Blessings from the Midlife Domestic Goddess 

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