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Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Gold Bands Showing Eternal Commitment

Recently, I was given the opportunity to respond to an 8th grade student who had written a paper for her American History class favoring same-sex “marriage.”  Anya began her defense of same-sex “marriage” by praising Harvey Milk, “an openly gay politician in California who was only in office eleven months before he was assassinated.  Harvey “opened the door for us to now be able to talk about gay rights issues.”  Anya explained that “Mr. Milk started a revolution . . . If Harvey Milk wouldn’t have fought so hard, gay marriage may not be legal.  It needs to be legal.  It is a basic human right to love and marry who you love.” 

In conclusion Anya wrote, “Love who you love, marry who you love, and love your life, because it is your Constitutional right. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’”

What follows is my response to Anya.

Dear Anya,

Thanks for letting me take this opportunity to respond to your paper on same-sex marriage.  I’m a woman who is involved in our present-day culture as a national speaker, author, and advocate for human life.  I respect people, no matter their differences of opinion.  I care enough to ask questions, listen to the responses, and remain someone’s friend even when we don’t agree.

As you are learning in American History, men and women—human beings in general—will always have differing perspectives on what we should and should not do.  Whatever the faith or worldview of a person might be, it should influence that person’s decision-making and actions.  Perhaps one of the best things about a nation like the United States is that it allows for different faiths or worldviews to be expressed, lived, and judged as helpful in building up—or tearing down—society and the nation.

America is truly “exceptional” because it defends the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  But what is the origin of those “rights”?  Did we give them to ourselves?  And from where does life come?  Is it an accident, or by design?  Who ultimately defines liberty and who grants it?  Does the pursuit of happiness mean that every citizen gets to do anything we darn well please, or does it mean that we have the opportunity to pursue right things for the benefit of not just ourselves, but our family and neighbors, too?

Sexual Revolutionaries: Good for Society?

As you report, Harvey Milk was an openly gay politician.  It is a crime against humanity that he was assassinated.  Someone took it upon themselves to deny him the “right to life.”   Murder—be it the murder of an adult man like Harvey Milk or a pre-born child residing in his or her mother’s womb—is never right.  Harvey has been remembered by some as the man who opened the door for this country to talk about “gay rights.”  But two questions should be asked by any critical thinker.  1) Is a human being defined by their sexual behavior, or something more?  And, 2) If homosexuality is “normal” and “good,” why is sickness and a shorter life span associated with its practice?  Harvey Milk may have had the freedom to express his thoughts and beliefs, but like all of us, he also bore the responsibility of proving why those beliefs would be helpful to himself, his neighbors, and the future of the country in which he lives.

No matter what one’s opinions or religion (i.e. secular humanism, atheism, Islam, New Age, Buddhism, or Christianity) might be, the holder of that belief bears the responsibility of allowing it to be put to the test.  When a person like Harvey Milk proclaims his belief, he must be open to discussing the consequences of that belief.  He must show why calling the union of two men or two women “marriage” when it was not instituted as that (nor ever could be that) is in the best interests of an entire society.

It is always appropriate for citizens to hear someone’s opinion or belief, discuss it, and choose to act or not act upon it.  Whether we agree or disagree, we owe one another the honesty of facts rather than emotion, kindness rather than meanness, general welfare of neighbors rather than “me, myself, and I,” and long-range perspective rather than “all I care about is right here, right now.”

Alfred Kinsey is another person in our American history who started a revolution.  It was the revolution, in fact, that opened the door for men like Harvey Milk.  Alfred Kinsey was a practicing homosexual, pedophile, and perpetrator of hideous crimes against humanity.  His theory was that “children are sexual from birth,” and to make that claim stick, he knowingly allowed convicted pedophiles to sexually abuse and experiment with children, ages six months to 14 years of age.  He took the “statistics” gathered from those experiments, called them “science,” and used them to prove that children and adults alike should be permitted to participate in any kind of sex if it brought them pleasure.  After 30 years of research and study of Kinsey, Dr. Judith Reisman and others proved that Kinsey had abused science in order to change public opinion on sex and the teaching of sex to children.  But it was too late.  Kinsey, a zoologist with absolutely no respect for women, had changed the way we view men, women, and children.

Yes, Kinsey had freedom to express his beliefs.  But he did not have the freedom to abuse science, use deceit, or do harm.  The duty of the American public was to question Kinsey.  Not to call him names, or belittle him, or deny him the right to speak, but to ask him to show the source of his “science,” reveal the methods used for research, and verify his data.

The same is true with same-sex “marriage.”  Anyone who demands that marriage become what it was never intended to be should be asked to give evidence of why non-traditional, two men or two women, and intentional non-procreative marriage is healthy, sustainable, and in the best interest of family, society and civilization.  In Rome, it was common for a man to have a sexual relationship with a young boy, but even Rome never legalized same-sex “marriage.”   Why?  Because Romans knew that marriage, and the stability of the family, was foundational to Rome’s existence.  For this reason, when a boy was old enough, he was expected to marry a woman and father children for whom he would be responsible.

Marriage: To Anyone I Love?

Marriage does not intrinsically mean uniting oneself to someone you love and who makes you “feel good.”

That brings us to the now popular thinking that “as long as you love someone, you should be able to marry them.”  I love my dad.  I love my brother.  I love my son.  I love my niece.  I love my best friend, Jane.  Can I love them so much that I want to marry them?  Maybe.  But is it in your best interest that my “right” to marry my son becomes the law of the land?  Is something in jeopardy here?  And what will be the cost?

Marriage is not founded on someone’s concept of love.  Human concepts and ideas of love are changing all the time.  Today, I love you.  Tomorrow, I don’t.  Or, I love you because you make me feel good about myself.  But when you don’t make me feel good about myself, I won’t love you anymore.  And so on and so on.

Here’s where love needs to be put to the test, too.  Love is about more than feelings.  It is about patience, kindness, selflessness, and perseverance in good and bad times.  Marriage requires this kind of love.  Marriage also requires one man and one woman, two different genders, because it makes biological sense!  Not only do male and female fit together perfectly to create new little humans, but they also mentor male and female characteristics… both needed by a son or daughter.  Even if two men or two women (who call themselves “married”) don’t have children of their own, but adopt or use a surrogate mother or in vitro fertilization, it is unfair and actually quite selfish to intentionally deny any child the right of both a mother (female) and a father (male).

For many years, I have kept a file of the testimonies and true stories of women who thought they were in love with another woman and so took up the lesbian lifestyle, or men who thought they were in love with another man so took up the gay lifestyle.  The relationships did not last.  Why?  Because they were built on an idea of love, and not the truth and faithfulness of love.

Have you ever noticed that even in a same-sex relationship, one plays the role of “husband” (or the male) and one plays the role of the “wife” (or the female)?  It’s true!  A young friend of mine “married” a woman.  Her partner took on the role of the “man” and she took on the role of the “woman.”  My young friend became pregnant by way of in vitro fertilization and she stayed home to be the “mom.”  Her partner went outside the home to play the “male” role of “provider.”  Now, years later, my young friend is hurting.  She is in conflict with herself, with nature, and with the God she says she believes in.  She might be wondering: What am I teaching my little boy about the value of becoming a man?  How can I help him learn about manhood when he’s being parented by two moms?

Alfred Kinsey and Harvey Milk may be commended for their courage in speaking up about things they believed to be true.  But can we see the consequences of what happens when all ideas are considered “equal” and valid?

People are equal, yes! 

People of different colors, nationalities, and cultures are equal, yes! 

But not all ideas, desires, and practices (sexual or otherwise) are equal.  They must be questioned and put to the test.

Anya, that is the responsibility of people like you and me.  It is ok to differ in thought and behavior.   But with concern for more than just ourselves, we must wisely consider the consequences of each thought and every behavior.

With sincere respect for you as a person,

Linda

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mother & daughterLet’s keep rolling with opportunity #5…

#5 — MENTOR SELF-CONTROL
The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us . . . to purify for Himself a people . . . who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:12-13).

Take a step toward happiness by learning to control your nature. In a fallen world, men and women must daily fight our natural tendency to sin. Parents in civilized societies have always known the wisdom of helping boys suppress two of their natural tendencies: strong sexual desires and a predilection to aggression or even violence. Likewise, parents in civilized societies have understood the wisdom of helping girls suppress their natural tendency to be ruled by emotions. Why is a woman who lives by her feelings and emotions less likely to be happy or content? What is the effect on others when a woman lets her emotions dictate her behavior? Visit Titus 2 for Life.

Resist following your heart. Ponder the following statements: “When it’s time to make a decision, I’ll trust my heart.” “He told me he loved me. The moment felt so right and my heart said ‘yes’”. “Some people say he’s not right for me, but I’m following my heart.” Can we trust our heart? What does God say in Genesis 8:21; Jeremiah 17:9; and Matthew 15:19? How can we help younger women train their hearts and minds? See Psalm 119:41-48; Proverbs 16:20; and Matthew 22:37.

Stay in training and run the race. St. Paul encourages believers to “run the race”, not “aimlessly” but with self-control (1 Corinthians 9:25-27). The world convinces women that we have the right to dress, speak, or act however we please. At what point do our “rights” hinder others? Can our lack of self-control put the faith of others at risk? A pastor’s wife used the ten-lesson Bible study I wrote entitled Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up with her volley-ball team at Christian camp (#LFLDFL, downloadable PDF from Concordia Publishing House). Her goal was to help the girls “exercise self-control in all things”, including their dress and behavior, so that they could be of help and not hindrance to young men who are also trying to “run the race” of faithfulness. Another resource for moms to use with daughters is Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Mahaney Whitacre (Amazon).

Prepare young women to practice self-control with the goal of guarding their body, mind and soul. Mothers of daughters will find a great deal of biological wisdom in the book Unprotected by Miriam Grossman, M.D. (Amazon). As a campus psychiatrist at UCLA, Dr. Grossman treated some 2000 young women whose physical and emotional lives were impacted by sexually-transmitted infections, depression, abortion, and fertility issues. Fed up by the feminist ideology that insists that women are the same as men, Dr. Grossman left her position to tell the world why a woman’s body is more vulnerable and how to avoid physical, psychological and spiritual harm caused by unnecessary behavior. Purchase copies of the book for your local pregnancy resource center and young women in high school and college.

Be faithful in times of waiting. It’s not easy to wait for something wonderful. Too often, times of waiting stretch out for months and even years. While we wait, we can choose to be foolish or wise. A foolish woman anticipates good things but is not prepared to wait and does not have extra oil for her lamp (Matthew 25:1-13). A wise woman anticipates good things to come by keeping her lamp of faith burning brightly. When the waiting gets long, she doesn’t need to fear darkness and despair because her hope is sustained by the means of grace, namely God’s Word and Holy Communion. She remembers her Baptism and trusts her identity as a daughter of God in Christ Jesus. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she lives for Him rather than herself. Why do you think that “patience” and “self-control” are fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)? While a young woman anticipates something wonderful in her life—most especially Jesus’ second coming—how might an older woman help her bear “good fruit” in her attitude, work habits and love for her neighbor? Does your congregational family intentionally mentor from one generation to the next?

What’s Next?  #6: Mentor the Vocation of Motherhood

Ezer’s Handbook is a resource developed by
Linda Bartlett and presented at Titus 2 Retreats

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No one knows why, but a young woman is dead.   She was found in the garage of her parent’s home.  It appears that she hung herself.

Why?  Why would a young woman fear life itself?

What makes this especially personal is that I was on the phone with my son when it happened.  This young woman was his neighbor.  “The police have pulled up, Mom.  People are milling about outside the garage.  I’ll call you back.”  When he did, he explained what had just happened.  “Her mom and dad are standing outside.  Her dad is talking loud.  People are on cell phones.  The neighborhood is stunned.”

So, why?  Why was a young life cut short?  Not long ago, when our son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren were out for a walk, this young woman approached them with interest.  She was friendly.  Talkative.  During the course of the conversation, she explained that she was a psychology major in college.  She asked if she could hold baby Kate.

Now the girl who held my granddaughter is dead.  Evidence suggests that it was by her own hand.  I never met this young woman.  I don’t know her parents.  But, the ache inside me is real.

What happened?  Her parents, family and friends may never know.  But, one thing is certain.

Human life, because of sin, is very fragile.  The enemy of life knows this.  He delights in this weakness.  He takes advantage of our frailty.

Satan despises the humans who are created “a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5).  He is jealous of God’s beloved creations who have been given “dominion over the works of [His] hands;” with “all things under [our] feet” (v. 6).  Satan is a thief.  He comes to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10a).

But, Jesus says, “I came that [you] may have life and have it abundantly.  I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (v. 10b-11).  Jesus left heaven for our sake.  He lowered Himself so that He might battle Satan for every fragile life.  Jesus won eternal victory over Satan when He died on the Cross at Calvary.  His resurrection proves that victory.  He ascended back to heaven.  There He waits, until the Father tells the Son it is time to return to earth on the last day.  Then He will call every believer home.  To heaven.  To new life without the chains of sin.

For now, Satan is having his little day.  The destruction he leaves in his wake can take our breath away.  In our most vulnerable moments, he hisses, “Did God really say . . .?”  His best weapon is to deceive.  Once deceived, we doubt.  Then fear.  In fear, we are desperate to take control.  To do anything… anything that might stop the confusion or loneliness or suffering.

For this – and every other reason – our identity matters.  Knowing Whose we are matters.  Knowing that we are adopted sons and daughters of God because of what Jesus did for us matters.  Trusting our identity as God’s beloved creation serves us well in all circumstances.  No matter if we don’t feel loved or attractive or significant.  No matter if we are unhappy or in pain or seemingly spinning out of control and knocked off our foundation, we remain God’s treasures in Christ.

Trusting our identity in Christ, we become less vulnerable.  When Satan comes to deceive, Jesus stands close.  When Satan hisses in one ear, Jesus calls us to Him.  “Trust Me, My child.  Hear My word of hope.  When all forsake you, I never will.”

Our identity matters.  Trusting our identity in Christ makes a difference.  Even if something snaps… if a neuron misfires… our identity does not change.

One question remains.  It is for us.  The living.  Do we know our identity?  Do we see ourselves as treasures of great price?  In the battle for our very souls, do we look past the thief to focus hearts and minds on the Good Shepherd?  No matter the circumstances, do we cling to His promise?

Dear Father, comfort the parents of this young woman.  They suffer loss beyond my imagination.  In their loss, draw them to the Cross of their Savior.  Send Your Spirit to fill the emptiness.  To work Your will for good.  Amen. 

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There is a stage being set.  I see male and female players, but focus on those of my own gender.  Why?  Because the way we women choose to play our role determines much for men and children.  Our character matters.   Each woman being called on stage is a daughter of Eve.  Each one is prompted with one question.  “Did God really say . . . ?”  So far in my lifetime, I have heard many responses.

“We are not created, but self-evolved!” proclaim deceived women.  “We are unbound sexual beings with the right to express our sensuality and seek pleasure.  Our daughters must be made comfortable with their sexuality.  Give them all knowledge and they will choose well.”

“We are no different from men,” proclaim foolish women, “and entitled to an equal playing field.  Men do not have to bear children, nor should we.”

“We have the right,” proclaim restless women, “to unlimited access to birth control and abortion.”

Deceived, foolish, and restless women have difficulty holding men accountable as faithful husbands.  Devoted fathers of their children.  Laborers who work for honest pay.   Builders of vibrant community.

When the act of sex is disconnected from procreation, an entire culture pays the price.  Everything – from the family to the economy, from ethics to health care – is affected.

Choosing to follow after the sensual lifestyle because “it’s who I am” comes with tremendous cost to society.  There are pills before sex and after sex.  Pills to fight infection.  Pills to fertilize life or abort life.  Fearing they may lose their “sexual freedom,” women cry out, “Do not come between me and my right to health care.”  In fact, “whether the conscience of my neighbor is good with my lifestyle or not, they must help fund my pills and procedures.”

The stage is set for Election Day.  Do you see the lines forming?  “Stand here, if you’re in favor of women’s health!”  “Over there, if you don’t give a wit.”  Backstage are powers and principalities busy pitting women against men, parents against children, a people against God.

Well, I give a wit.  But, my conscience can’t embrace the funding of Planned Parenthood or health care that mandates religious institutions to cover abortion-causing drugs.  Nor can my conscience turn away from deceived and restless women.  They may speak in one trained voice: “My body, my choice.”  They may be loud.  Bold.  Impassioned.  But, loud, bold, and impassioned voices can be a cover for unhappiness.  Fear.  Discontent.

Knowing this, I am compelled – mercifully compelled – to take a stand for women.  Not for our foolish and hurtful choices, but for women of character who are needed by men.  Children.  A nation.

Because God really did say there is a way that is right.  A way with blessings.  A future.  Hope.

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“Myinnermostthinking” responded recently to “Religion, Sex & Biology.”  It would seem that he wants very much for his god to approve his chosen lifestyle.  Christian or not, how many times do any of us try to make God in our image?  Tell ourselves that He, the Creator of life, would certainly accept our self-shaped world… and make us happy in it.  Imagine that!  The pot telling the Potter the way things should be.

Taking the time to respond may not be as productive as I’d like because “Myinnermostthinking” and I don’t speak the same language.  I trust that the Word of God is what God says it is.  “Myinnermostthinking” does not.  Regardless, I’d like to take a stab at this.

Three women, so far, have responded to “Myinnermostthinking.”  What strikes me about their responses is that none of them are heckling a man who thinks and lives very different from them.   Each one of these women have uttered not a single word that could be interpreted as “hate speech.”  Each one has taken the time to study God’s Word and respond in a way that honors that Word.  Each one has responded to a person different from them with patience, kindness, and words of hope.

These women speak from a worldview “Myinnermostthinking” seems to reject.  It is the worldview that determines how I identify myself and make the choices I make.  That worldview — the Biblical worldview — is this: Creation — The Fall — Redemption.  That worldview explains the origin of my life, why things go wrong in my life, and where I’m going when this life is over.  The Biblical worldview trusts that God really did say what He said, when He said it, to whom He said it, and why.

There is one thing that I would like to clarify based on this worldview.  There is a fine line between saying God created us the way we are and saying that He allows us to be the way we are.  MommyLiberty stated that, personally, she thinks “God did allow for some people to be straight and some people to be gay . . . some to be prone to addiction and others not . . . some to struggle with anger, pride, gossip and worry.”  My husband appreciated her husband’s observation: “He gave everybody a different car to drive.  Some  people’s cars are harder than others’ to steer.”  🙂  But, here’s the thing.

God’s original creation was perfect.  Happily, joyfully perfect.  Anything imperfect, unhappy, or without joy is the opposite of God.  God would not create us to be in opposition with our own anatomy.  To be tortured by feelings we shouldn’t have.  To be at risk physicially, emotionally, and spiritually.  But, after the first man and woman sinned, everything changed.  The relationship between God and His creation changed.  The relationship between men and women changed.  We live in a sinfully changed world.  A struggling world.  An unhappy world.  Unhappy, not because God doesn’t want us to be happy, but because we keep doing the things that put us at odds with Him.   Hetero.  Homo.  Bi.  Trans.  Focusing on our “sexuality,” our flesh side, we are hard pressed to find happiness.   Because of sin, we all die. 

But God, in spite of sin, chooses life.  He allowed Adam and Eve to go on living.  He allowed them to do so, — not by changing His design and intent for them, not by throwing all warnings and caution aside — but by mercifully covering their new emotions of embarrassment and shame.  Never before had their nakedness embarrassed them.  Never before had they felt shame.  God covered their embarrassment with clothing (neck to knee) and their shame with the promised Robe of Righteousness, the Savior Jesus Christ.  All of the Old Testament points to the Christ who did, indeed, come to be our Robe of Righteousness.  To cover the sins of the world (all of us) and then ask: “Will you follow Me?” 

Jesus Christ died.  Conquered death.  And returned to the right hand of God.  But, God in Christ will return.  Will He find us striving to follow Him… or doing what is right in our own eyes? 

“My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord.  So, I guess it comes down to this: How we see the Lord Jesus — who calls Himself the Word for life — determines how we choose to live.  Do we seek His way to happiness… or our own?

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This culture seems bent to the will of a liar.   Jesus knows who he is.  Calls him what he is.  “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

The father of lies comes often to our door.  He doesn’t have to work very hard.  He hisses, we listen.  We listen because he appeals to our selfish desires. “Do this one thing and find happiness.”  Or, “Determine what will make you happy and don’t let anything get in your way.”   Believing the lie, we trip over ourselves to step into God’s place or, if we acknowledge Him at all, declare that He’s not relevant to our happiness.

The liar stood often before a woman named Traudi.  But, to her last breath, she testified that God was not only real, but the very Source of her happiness.  No matter what.  In all circumstances.  Whenever I think of Traudi, I am encouraged in my own battle with the lie.  Traudi taught me that happiness isn’t what we create.  It doesn’t come when our will is done.  Happiness is often a surprise.  What we least expect.  A peace in the midst of a storm.   Traudi appeared to have so little in life, yet so much spilled from hers to others.  If ever I’ve seen anyone’s well replenished in the midst of drought, it was Traudi’s.

Traudi was a young girl in pre-war Austria.  She grew up in a culture that believed it could find happiness if certain people were removed.  She and I once compared The Holocaust to legalized abortion.  I asked, “How could you and your family allow neighbors to be taken away to be murdered?”  Her answer was sobering.  When the lie is told often enough and we believe our happiness is at stake, “we blame those who might steal it away and do whatever we have to do.”

Traudi admitted being mesmerized by a man who used the lie to his advantage.  “I once passed by Adolph Hitler,” Traudi told me.  “When I looked him in the eye, I sensed a certain power.”  An entire culture, in times of vulnerability, can succumb to the power of the lie.  See it as some sort of salvation.  Traudi helped me see what even people who call themselves by God’s name are capable of doing.  Citizens of Traudi’s beloved Austria re-defined what they considered human and turned their backs on helpless neighbors.  Were they so different from the Israelites who failed to trust God and, instead, believed the lie that claimed their firstborn children on the altar of Baal?  Did they offer the blood sacrifice of one life so that another’s might be better.  Richer.  Happier.

The war ended, but Traudi’s trials had just begun.  Austria came under Russian control.  She and other women her age feared abuse at the hands of immoral conquerors.  One day, she met an American soldier who asked her to be his bride.  Traudi imagined a happiness beyond her dreams.  Go to America?  Leave pain and poverty?  “Ja!  Bitte!”  No matter if it meant traveling alone.  Her fiance went ahead to tell his parents about her and prepare a home.  Traudi arrived in New York frightened and without a penney.  No one covered her fare.  No one assisted her.  And, when she found her way to Iowa, she was rejected by her husband’s family.

The lie came frequently to haunt Traudi. Your happiness, it hissed, is dependent on other people.  But, her new American family didn’t like her.  Her husband offered little support or encouragement.  Their only son broke her heart with his foolish choices.  But, I never heard her complain.  To this day, I can’t find anyone else who heard her complain.  There were so many sad things all around her.  But, her well of happiness was never dry.

When cancer invaded her body, she attended to the cares and concerns of others.  Once, walking across the street, she was hit by a car and tossed to near death, but she was the one who brightened the days of her visitors.  When her only grandchild was torn between divorced parents, Traudi devoted herself to full-time mentoring as well as full days earning the family income.  The lie told Traudi to think of herself.  But, The Word reminded her that she didn’t have to.  Her Robe of mercy was secure.

Traudi helped me understand that happiness does not come when we focus on ourselves.  We do not create it, nor do we plan it.  We do not demand it from others.  It comes to us by surprise.  It is, Traudi discovered, all the gifts of the Spirit that come just when we need them.  Love.  Peace.  Patience.  Kindness.  Faithfulness.  Yes, even self-control.

It was my privilege to be mentored by this woman of faith.  She’s gone on ahead to pure happiness, but I am left with her example.  It serves me well.   The lie wants me captive.  But, it didn’t hold Traudi.  And, because of Christ, it can’t hold me.

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Does it seem that the culture is captive to the lie?  Chuck Colson recently quoted T.M. Moore who writes, “The lie insists that God either does not exist or is not really relevant to human happiness . . . [that] every human being must decide for himself” where and how to find happiness. 

The lie is ancient.  It’s old human stuff with repetitive consequences of disappointment, despair and death.   It’s the root of “my body,  my choice.”   Broken relationships.  Hopelessness. 

But, looking around me, I see the lie being faced head on.  Denounced.  Stripped of its power.   

It is denounced by Terry and Connie whose son, Chris, suffers a malignant brain tumor.  Certainly God has so many things to accomplish using their son in his vocations of husband, father, and pastor.  Yet, knowing how many times my friends have seen God bring contentment out of chaos in their lives, I am confidant that their happiness is not dependent on having their will be done.   They are resisting the lie by choosing to see how the Lord of life is at work even in the weakness of their son. 

It is denounced by Dagny who once thought an abortion would return happiness to her life.  She was deceived, but only for a while.  The pain of her choice helped her confront the lie.  The Word of the Lord released her from its grip.  It is that Word that brings new mercies to her every morning.    When I first met Dagny, she was timid and surprised that God could use her for anything good.  Today, I see a woman of courage and conviction.  Reality is not her youthful dream, but evidence that God involves Himself in the day to day affairs of those who love Him.   Her happiness is not what she has created, but what God is doing in spite of her for others. 

It is denounced by Marta whose young heart longs for true love.  More than anything, she desires to be a wife and mom.  To make a home.  Two men have asked for her hand in marriage.  But, at the core of each love-offering was the lie.  Both of these men promised her happiness shabbily wrapped in conditional love.  Marta believes that God is relevant to her life.  Where self-help books and human opinions fail her, God’s Word does not.  It calms her fears and sheds light in dark corners.  It reminds her that she is more than the desires of her heart.  She is eternal soul.  And, says Marta, who knows my soul better than the God who made it?

It was denounced by a young Austrian bride named Traudi who left parents, siblings, and the life she knew to follow her husband to America.  I’d like to tell Traudi’s story, but it requires a blog of its own.  Will you be patient while I gather my thoughts?  I want to explain why remembering Traudi has always helped me face the lie head on. 

Contrast it with Truth. 

Silence the liar.

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