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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Does Spiritual Independence Bring Freedom? Happy 4th!

posted by Linda Mintle

HAPPY FOURTH of JULY!

4 of July

As we celebrate our country’s freedom today, here is an interesting take on the concept of independence as a Christian trait. My brother, the Reverend Dennis Marquardt, preached a sermon on the spiritual difference between independence versus interdependence. One of these concepts is more a mark of our spiritual walk. 

 

The 4th of July always reminds us of our freedom as a people. It is a great celebration of independence. Unfortunately, this word “independence” has come to mean something that our forefathers never meant it to mean. Today it means “no one tells me what to do, I can do whatever I want, and I’m INDEPENDENT.” To our forefathers however, the idea of INDEPENDENCE was more like INTERDEPENDENCE.

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This is also true spiritually. One of the reasons American Christianity is in trouble today is because we have a false idea of what it means to be a Christian. We think being a Christian is like being an American … we are independent, we don’t answer to anyone but God (although actually if this were true we would not be independent, we would be interdependent), and no one can tell us what to do, and attending a church or being a member of one is optional.

The Bible NEVER supports the idea that we are supposed to be independent! Actually, this is the concept of EVIL! Satan got Eve to think and act INDEPENDENTLY from God and her husband — sin resulted! Satan himself acted INDEPENDENTLY from God and it was his downfall … the drive for independence is built on a foundation of sin and evil!

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The Bible teaches INTERDEPENDENCE … we are not alone, and we don’t grow alone … we are built together as a Holy Temple, upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets. Nothing good happens spiritually with independent Christians … it is a contradiction in terms! There is no power in being independent.

 

For the full sermon, go to SermonSearch online

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Couples: How Far is Too Far?

posted by Linda Mintle

 “I did not have sex with that woman.”

couple unhappy

These words from President Clinton concerning his relationship with  White House intern. Monica Lewinsky. raised questions about what does and does not constitute marital infidelity.

How does one define infidelity?

Is it an act of the heart, a break of trust and/or a physical breach of the martial vow? Can you be emotionally involved with someone outside of the marital covenant and still be faithful? If you are physical, but stop short of intercourse, are you OK?

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Tom was a bright guy who found himself restless and bored at his job. He began flirting with a co-worker. The two started having lunch together and met after work for a drink. Eventually they became very physically involved but never had sexual intercourse. Fearing he might step over his self-imposed line, Tom came to therapy. His first question, “Have I really been unfaithful to my wife? I haven’t had intercourse and we haven’t been together fully undressed. We’ve done a lot of kissing and fondling, but does that really count?”

My response, “If you told your wife what you just told me, what would she say?”

Infidelity is a breach of trust, a breaking of the covenant, a betrayal of the relationship. It goes beyond sexual intercourse to include the physical, emotional and thought life of a person.

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God wants you to be faithful to your spouse. Jesus takes a hard line on extramarital relationships, addressing both the heart and impure thoughts (Matt. 5:27, 28; 19:18,19). According to His words, emotional adultery is as serious as sexual immorality. I know this sounds incredible to many living in our society. Lust, the root of infidelity, is encouraged because it is economically profitable and satisfies basic urges. Self-restraint is not popular in many facets of American living.

Infidelity is almost always draped in secrecy and lies. So not only are you breaching a marital vow, but you must lie to cover up. Obviously this breeds appropriate guilt that must be pushed out of the mind in order to continue the infidelity. A vicious cycle ensues- extramarital involvement, cover-up, lying, guilt, pushing the guilt away, more extramarital behavior, and so on.

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While adultery is a term used to describe sex outside of marriage, infidelity is about sexual dishonesty. If you hide any acts, thoughts and inappropriate emotional attachments from your partner, it may be because you are wandering into dangerous territory.

Ask yourself these questions:

How would my spouse feel if he/she knew?

Would it be a betrayal of the trust and covenant we have together?

Is my behavior and thought life pleasing to God?

Then, determine to make changes if you think they are needed. Staying faithful to marital vows requires a continuouswalk with God. It is very difficult to do on your own. Ask God to help you to be faithful to your marital covenant.

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If You Could See In Someone’s Heart–4 Minutes To Think of Others

posted by Linda Mintle

With all the bad news about hate speech, hurting people, murder and mayhem, use this 4 minutes to stop, reflect and care about those you encounter every day.

Instead of selfishness, hate, anger and uncaring, let’s build love, support and compassion.

Today, who do you know today who needs your prayers? From the Cleveland Clinic. Click on the picture and share!

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 11.06.09 AM

 

 

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What Do Trayvon Martin and Paula Deen Have in Common?

posted by Linda Mintle

I’m doing tomorrow’s blog right now. The reason is I couldn’t believe the sound bite I just heard from Fox News. It was an audio piece from the Trayvon Martin case. The star witness from the prosecution, Rachel Jeantel, was asked about  her phone conversation with Trayvon Martin moments before he was shot.

She reported that Trayvon said, A ” creepy ass cracker” was following him. When she was asked if she thought this was a racist comment, she said NO.  The defense attorney repeated the question again to make sure she understood and she held her position that Trayvon’s comment was NOT racist.

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Next, I heard the sound bite from Paula Deen’s apology with Matt Laurer on Today. She, if you don’t know,  has admitted to using a  racial slur. She claims she used the “N” word 30 years after a gun was put to her head. Some people think her apology was insincere. I don’t know. Only God knows her heart.

But I was glad she apologized and admitted making a mistake. What else can people do? Once they’ve made a mistake, asking forgiveness is the right response and then do what you can to make things right.

Still, apology or not, she is being crucified in the media. People will have to decide what to do with her in terms of her celebrity.

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I wonder if the media will pick up on the star witness’ comment that calling someone a “creepy ass cracker” is not racist. Will they be outraged by that?

Look hate speech is wrong. It shouldn’t matter who says it.

Many people in our country have grown up with bigotry and discrimination and need to be confronted when it comes out. But to ignore specific racists comments and then feature the ones you choose is wrong.

Again, hear me. Both comments are racially discriminating. I am not justifying either person.

And Yes, Deen is a celebrity and influences far more people. But what is really at the root here is what is in the heart of people.

You can outlaw hate speech, but you can’t outlaw what people think and feel.

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The solution isn’t to crucify people in the media. It is to look honestly at the heart.Scripture tells us that a person’s heart reveals his or her true nature. God cares about repentance and external action.

Jeremiah 17:9 that the “heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Thus, we need to examine our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to show us those things that are not pleasing to the Lord–discrimination of any kind is one of those things.

In Luke 12:34, Jesus says that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In Luke 21:34, He warns us to “be careful” in the end times “or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life.”

Most of us could do better at looking inward and examining our hearts. I pray Rachel comes to understand that Trayvon’s comment, if true, was racist as was Paula Deen’s. Maybe we can all learn a little from these stories.

 

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