Listening to little girls

Are young people being exploited in order to change public opinion?

I think so.

Greta Thunberg is a just-turned seventeen-year-old climate activist. How did this happen? She began by sailing across the Atlantic Ocean twice in order to attend climate change summits. She has addressed the U. N. and other important international bodies. She’s smart and passionate and obviously believes the earth is in dire trouble.

I’m reminded of Malala, the Afghan girl who also addressed the United Nations at sixteen years of age—after having being shot by the Taliban and mostly recovering from her wounds. She rose to prominence as an advocate for girls’ education at a very young age. (See The Malala Effect, written by yours truly. You can access it, here.)

They’ve been hailed as heroes—which I would agree they are. Not many young girls have crossed the Atlantic solo or promoted the cause of female education while in an Afghani grade school.

But, I’m wondering if adults aren’t setting these young women up as experts and exploiting their innocence in order to accomplish their own goals. Who is speaking through these mini-activists? I’m not sure.

There are quite a few more. In fact, in the court case Juliana versus the United States, a group of 21 children, some as young as eleven, has won the right to go to trial, suing the U. S. government over climate change.

Think about it: what kind of maturity and discernment did you have at sixteen? (I shudder to think about my own “incredible wisdom.”) Even brilliant people have very little maturity at that age.

Yet, these young ladies and children are the spokespersons of the world. For climate issues, why not consult a scientist with a PhD? Do we not want to listen to those who seriously know what they’re talking about?

Or do we prefer the fresh innocence and passion of youth?

Granted, young, smart women offer the wow factor—especially accomplished young ladies like Malala and Greta.

But, maybe we should be getting advice from older, wiser sources. Maybe the U.N. chould give the platform to scholars and scientists, people who have proved themselves over many years.

I don’t know.

It just seems a little strange to put teenagers on the world stage.

I’m not surprised someone helped Malala withdraw from the spotlight and concentrate on her university studies.

I sincerely hope someone helps Greta do the same.

The Bible speaks of young people being wise and their parents therefore being happy. It also tells us the source of wisdom: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). I pray for both Malala and Greta to find that holy wisdom in their hearts. I would love for them to know the Lord. I believe, as a result, Greta would become less strident and angry. A godly woman’s speech is filled with kindness.

It’s interesting that when God gives the qualifications for pastors and deacons—the leaders in the church—He wants them to be mature. I don’t think this necessarily applies to children speaking out about a cause, but it’s interesting that leadership comes from mature, practiced-and-proved men. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1 Timothy 3:4-7).

To whom do you listen: a seasoned veteran or a young teen?

Do you believe these children and teens have been exploited? If so, does this bother you?

Your thoughts? Please feel free to share.

Transparency: How much of your story should you tell?

I know I appreciate a transparent person. Don’t you? A sincere testimony, someone admitting “I’ve been there” and telling his story. Empathy. Understanding.

If you follow social media, you probably have been embarrassed a time or two when someone shared too much very publicly—at least in your opinion.

How much transparency is too much?

I believe it varies from person to person and with situations, but I also believe we can find a balance.

It is good to tell our stories.

It helps others when we share how we’ve overcome.

It’s encouraging when we can truly empathize with people going through the same kind of trial we’ve been through.

But, there can be some issues with transparency:

  1. Pride—building ourselves up as the superhero who overcame. The truth is, we all need the Lord’s help.
  2. Hurting others when we tell our story—We might reference someone who did us wrong and identify the person, trouble in our family, financial information, or something else. Is that person still living? Has this wrong been reported and justice been served? Or, will telling the story hurt someone’s feelings? Are you betraying a confidence? If abuse is part of the story, consider other people in the families and other victims.
  3. Forgetting to edify—Some people tell all the sad parts of their story, set themselves on a pedestal as an overcomer, and forget to help others. Christians should build up and help others. Your transparency should have that goal in mind.
  4. Couching gossip as a “prayer request”—While it is great to share prayer requests, we need to be careful not to air someone else’s dirty laundry in the guise of sharing a prayer request.

Be real. Let people feel your humanity. Tell how you learned a particular lesson, and give the glory to the Lord.

Do you need wisdom? (All the time.) If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (James 1:5). Pray for wisdom about sharing (yes or no) and for how to share, if God gives you a yes answer.

Think and pray before you speak—even in casual conversation.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

God bless you as you bless others.

Women of the Bible 14: Who am I?

I married my brother.

Don’t judge me harshly.*

Let me tell you about my husband. He’s repentant now, but he wasn’t until after his punishment. Marked and banned from society by Almighty God, my husband reacted, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” He was afraid our siblings and their children would want to kill him.

And, why not? After all, he had shed innocent blood in a fit of wrath. My husband is the eldest child—and the first murderer on the earth.

My God was merciful. “The LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth (my husband), vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon (him), lest any finding him should kill him.”

So my husband moved his home to the land of Nod, on the eastern side of the Garden of Eden. There, we married, and I had our first child. My husband built a city and named it after our son. (Another man in the Bible would have the same name, and he was a great man, as well.)

But no one would name their son for my husband.

I am thankful for our merciful God, who gave a second chance to a murderer, forgave him, protected his life, and gave him a family. I praise God every day for prospering us. May God be praised.

Who am I?

Who is my husband?

Why do you think God had mercy upon this man instead of killing him outright?

My post surmises that he married his sister. The Bible doesn’t say. Do you think he married someone else? Feel free to share your ideas.

*Because Adam and Eve were commanded to populate the earth (Genesis 1), their children were not yet under the commands that prevented siblings and family members from marrying each other. Those did not come until hundreds of years later, in Leviticus 18:6-18.

So, where’s Hosea?

Okay, I admit it.

Sometimes I have a hard time finding a book of the Bible. Take Hosea, for example. Old Testament for sure, but is it one of those before Psalms or after the Major Prophets? I have to think about it every single time—and go back over my memorized books list until I find it. Amos is another one that trips me up. And, which book comes before Nehemiah? Where’s Nahum?

Familiarity with the Bible comes with use, but it also helps to memorize the order of the books in the Old and New Testaments. I surely won’t judge you if the preacher announces Obadiah and you look in the Table of Contents.

Have you ever read the Bible—all the way through? Or did you get bogged down in Leviticus and quit—forever?

We’re at the beginning of a new year, and I hope you’ve considered Bible reading as a regular practice. There are all kinds of Bible reading plans. You can use an app. or the Internet or have it on your phone. There are lists you can check off. My personal favorite is The Bible in One Year. See what works best for you.

The important thing is to read God’s Word. Make it a priority.

The Bible is the only living book. That means that it is supernatural—God breathed—and the Holy Spirit applies it to each person’s life. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). No other book can do that. It’s the only Book that knows you.

If you started once in Genesis and got bogged down by Leviticus or so, consider starting in a different place: the Gospel of John. It’s 21 chapters. That means you can easily finish it in less than a month, reading a chapter a day. The gospels are about Jesus and His ministry, and any of them would make a great place to start (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Ask God to speak to you. He will.

After John, try Acts. A good friend calls it the “Acts of the Holy Spirit”—which is an accurate representation. It chronicles the time after the resurrection of Jesus and what was happening in the early church. Read the entire New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. Go for the Old Testament, as well. Genesis 1-11 is all about beginnings. There’s lots of history in Chronicles, Kings, and the Samuels. Enjoy reading about the Old Testament heroes and villains. Learn how God works in the history of mankind. Read prophecy and find out what has already happened and what is yet to come. Finish up with Revelation—almost all of it still to occur. There’s a blessing for everyone who reads it (Revelation 1:3).

As you read through the Bible, you’ll see the amazing connections between then and now and different passages. It’s the most awesome Book in the world, and it will change your life, if you let it.

Find out where Hosea is, Nahum, and all the rest. Become biblically literate, and let the Word of God change you.

Begin today! You still have 29 days in January to finish the 21 chapters in John.

God bless you.

Blogaversary Musings

A year ago, I launched out into the deep and began “Walking in the Way.” I’m not sure it has completely met my expectations or yours, but I’m experimenting and learning, and that counts for something, at least. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” So, I began, and I’m happy with completing this first year.

I also decided on a key phrase for last year. Truthfully, it has helped to ground my thinking through the year. 2019’s phrase was “Trusting God through the labyrinth.” At the time I decided on it, I had no idea how convoluted a path we would travel. 2019 was a good year, but we were faced with some unanticipated turns and changes in our lives, some real challenges, and different jobs. We also had many blessings. Indeed, God proved Himself faithful every single day.

This New Year 2020, I am thinking about a new theme for the year. It’s one word:

Worship.

I need to keep first things first—spending more time, energy, and prioritizing worship—praising, adoring, and keeping a correct perspective. My focus needs tweaking: more Bible, more getting to know my Lord, and definitely more true worship.

How about yours? I’m guessing we can all use a spiritual retuning in some area.

My husband and I are in one of the most uncertain phases of our lives: an overseas transition. We’ve had our house in Spain on the market since July, and exactly one person has come to see it. So, we have no idea when our house will sell and when we will be making our move. It might be in 2020—and maybe not. God knows, and we will rest in His best plan for us.

Also, we’ve faced some health challenges we didn’t expect. (Who does?) No one knows what the future holds. Thankfully, the Lord is sovereign, and He allows what He wills in our lives.

In the Bible, we read about invitations to worship Christ.* At Jesus’ birth, angels, shepherds, and wise men were called to worship Jesus. Simeon and Anna worshiped Him.

True believers are called to worship Jesus. Sinners are called to repentance and worship. Every nation will be gathered before the King of kings—and every knee will bow before Him.

Jesus said, But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

I want to worship in spirit and truth.

Do you have a theme word or phrase for 2020? Please consider sharing.