Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Aurora Shootings

posted by Ruth Graham

I was out of the country when the shootings in Colorado took place but I tried to follow the news as best I could. My heart aches for those who lost their loved ones that terrible night. The coming days, weeks, months, years will have an overlay of grief as the families try to adjust to the new empty place in their hearts. I pray for them as well as those who were wounded. I cannot imagine the horror of such a thing: to go out for an evening anticipated as fun only to have it turn so hideous. The memories that  haunt…the “what ifs…” Life can change so fast. And it is a long road back from the depths of the pain and loss.

That’s uppermost in my heart but we have to stop and ask questions of our culture, society, oursleves.

If we continue to wean our children on violence in videos, movies, music…how can we expect anything less than violence to erupt? I was shocked, maybe I shouldn’t have been – that such young children were in the theatre that late at night to view such a film. Why weren’t they safely tucked in bed? Why would a parent want to expose their little children to such a film? Although I have not seen this particular film I have seen similar films of this genre. They are fast-paced, loud and action packed – they maybe fun for older teens and adults but hardly the kind of film children ought to be exposed to late at night – or any other time. Young minds need to be protected and developed – nurtured – with carefulness.

Where has “wholesome” gone? Is it out of style? When did that happen? I say let’s bring it back.

Let’s bring back the family dinner, conversation (not Tweets), book reading and family devotions. Naive? I don’t think so. I think we are just too caught up in our own needs and desires to push through the reisitence of,  ”Oh mom/dad, not that.”, to make it happen. Are we too busy to raise “intentional” kids? Are we letting society dictate to us what is best for our kids? Do we let society push our convictions aside, make us feel out of touch, not “with it”?  Are we letting our children rear themselves?

The stakes are high folks. Our children and grandchildren are at risk. Are we going to abdicate our God-given roles? We are to set the example, instill values, discipline, respect and a sense of purpose for each child. Maybe we have lost that ourselves…It’s not too late.

Individual Responsibility

posted by Ruth Graham

Recently there are those that think when a child’s team plays a sport they all get a trophy so no one will feel left out. They are all treated the same, those that played hard and those who sat on the bench. That takes away incentive to be better, try harder, to be the winner.

When Roger Federer won Wimbledon they didn’t give a trophy to all the players. He was the winner. He had spent hours practicing, sweating, listening to his coach…When Bubba Watson won the Masters they didn’t give a green jacket to every player. They recognized his dedicated effort and skill. These champions had dedicated their lives to becoming the best – and they were. No apologies.There is nothing wrong with being a winner. It is a recognition that you have tried harder, developed your skills more, worked more diligently. It is not a put down of the others it is a recognition of skill and hard work. We admire them  - or I do. And I resent when someone comes along and says that if you have worked hard and done your best and dedicated you life to a goal and achieved it, that somehow you really didn’t do that. What sort of reasoning is that? It takes away incentive.

Ask the Olympians in the next couple of weeks what they think about the notion that they didn’t get there with their own hard work. Yes, there are coaches pushing them, family members supporting them, friends encouraging them and God-given talent but in the end they are the ones who have trained, sweat, agonized, suffered the injuries…There achievement is a singular accomplishment. They will not apaologize for their having won. Nor should they. We will all applaud loudly and be thrilled for them.

We are all unique individuals. God made us that way and one day we will stand before Him individually and answer for our lives. We cannot pass it off to a group. We face Him alone. God isn’t into “group think” or “passing the buck”. We are responsible for our achievements and our failures. Our sins. We will not be able to blame it on our parents, our siblings, our culture, our society…Adam tried to blame Eve, Eve blamed the serpent…and see where it got them – and us.

Fortunately when we do stand before God in all our nakedness and He sees everything we ever thought or did…we have and Advocate in Jesus and will find mercy.

 

Olympic Uniforms

posted by Ruth Graham

We were informed this week that the uniforms that our wonderful athletes will wear to the Olympic games in London were made in China. There was an outcry in this country – as well there should be. Majority leader of the House of Representatives, Harry Reid, went on the air decrying this and suggested the uniforms be burned. Not wise. If we want to get rid of these particular uniforms, then lets give them to folks who need them – burning them is a horrible waste – suggested by those who don’t know need or have forgotten what need is.

I was just in Colorado Springs and witnessed people sifting through the ashes – they have nothing left. They’d love some clothes.

However, let’s consider why the clothes were made in China. Politics. The atmosphere in this country is not conducive to having things made in the USA. Costs are too high. Labor is too expensive and hard to come by.

Things need to change.

 

 

50 Shades of Gray…Pornography

posted by Ruth Graham

The book, Fifty Shades of Gray, and the sequels are best sellers. I will state up front that I haven’t read them. I have read the reviews and watched Ellen DeGeneres’ spoof  on reading it for the audio version.

From what I have read, it is a poorly written book. The subject matter is pornography. Therefore, I need not waste my time.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know why they are bestsellers. People like titillation. It appeals to the baser nature – our sin nature. Why do you think pornography is such a problem?

I feel that these books are a subtle way that Satan is using to hook people on pornography. They are not harmless novels. These kinds of things have the law of diminishing returns. What satisfies you on one day only increases your appetite for something more. Soon you are going deeper until you are trapped. I have seen it happen. Once curiosity moves to attraction it soon moves to desire then on to addiction. The addiction takes over.  You loose control. It isn’t long before your family, reputation, career, money and  soul are in jeopardy. It is a long road back. The images in your head are hard if not impossible to erase. My first husband brought pornography into our marriage saying it would enhance our sex life. That is a lie straight from hell! And I can still bring up those images after nearly 40 years.

I have seen the effects of pornography. It is ugly. I know people whose lives were ruined by it. I knew a man highly respected in his community. A leading pastor and licensed counsellor. He had been abused as a young boy which awakened his sexual feelings. He began to look at pornography. It became an addiction. As an adult he got caught up in voyeurism and looking at younger and younger images. He was caught. Sent to jail. He was charged with child pornography and is now a felon. He lost his family, his pastorate, his counselling practice, his money, his reputation. From time to time he tried to self-correct but was unsuccessful. The addiction was too strong. His life, he had worked so hard to build, was destroyed.

Pornography takes away the ability to bond with a person of the opposite sex. You are so used to relating to a fake, impersonal image on screen or on the page that a real person or image cannot satisfy. You have invested all you are and have into a false world. You have taken from a person without investing in them – we call that “using” someone.

It’s not just men. Women now are becoming involved  in pornography – even addicted. I am not sure why. But to me it seems clear that the person wants intimacy without relationship. We were not created for that. We long for relationships that are satisfying and fulfilling – that is God’s purpose for us. But relationships take work – perhaps pornography looks like a short-cut to intimacy. It isn’t. It is a sewer hole.

God has invited us into relationship with Him and with each other. He made us for real relationship.

Pornography is evil. It may be appealing and seem harmless. I don’t buy the idea that, “I just read the articles.”

I am sure you can tell I have strong feelings about this. My life has been affected by pornography. I get letters almost every week from people whose lives have been damaged by this scourge. And folks in the church, even pastors, are not immune. It can remain hidden and secret for years. But it will come out.

Let me say that there is help. The addiction can be broken. It is very difficult – but with God’s help, it can be done. My friend,Tal Prince, has a powerful ministry to those addcited to porn. He has Tapestry of Hope out of Birmingham, AL. Dr. Mark Laaser and his wife, Deb, have a ministry: Faithful and True out of Minneapolis. I have worked with these people and know them to have integrity and gracious hearts because they have “been there and done that”.

Guard your computer and the Internet. There are programs like Covenant Eyes and Child Safe that you can install. Because the Internet is like an open door to a sewer. We don’t allow open sewers in our communities. The Internet pornographers know how to trick children especially. Parents, pay attention!

I will have more to say on this…stay tuned. I welcome your comments and any suggestions you may have to help someone.

 

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