Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

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Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 66 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am continuing to get more fit. Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of six (four boys and 2 girls between two families) with a third girl on the way. I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Teenager's Voice...

I was looking through my old web page, and found this—think it fits as well in today’s landscape as it did in 1999 and bears repeating. Our nation isn’t any less violent than it was then, and throwing God and His values out caused our morals to become subjective. Many of our teenagers know this is true. This article is about that, but it is also about those young people God wants to use in this day. Are you one of them? How does God want to use you? After reading this, please let me know under Great Ideas below. Every adult reading this can use the encouragement

“I found this passed to me on my email. It was an excellent article that came with an internet-ready copy attached, so I assume its author, Sarah Roney, doesn't mind if I edit and use it. I don't know her personally to ask her, but I believe she would be happy to see the message go out far and wide. I hope, pray and believe there are many more teens like her who have the courage to prayerfully think, then speak. In case you ever see this, Sarah, I respect and appreciate you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I pray they go into people's hearts. It is young people such as yourself whom God delights in using in this disobedient, hurting, broken world. - Barb Irwin 05-17-99”

A Teenager's Voice from Inside the Culture of Death

On April 20, 1999, there was yet another gruesome shooting in Littleton, Colorado. Kids killing kids. And again, the entire nation in its uproar is trying to figure out why.

I am eighteen years old. I live in a small town near Madison, Wisconsin, just like the ones where these horrifying shootings always seem to take place. Every time those stories come on the television, I can't help but notice how easily it could be my small town next. And I want to know why this is happening just as badly as any parent or police chief or anchorman.

The thing is… I am in the same age group as all of these high school kids. So I may have some insight… .

The night of the Littleton shooting, I heard something that struck a chord in me. An anchorman asked the mother of a victim in the Jonesboro shooting, "If you look at America in the 1950's, you will find that this kind of thing never happened; whereas if you look at America today, this kind of thing is becoming more and more frequent. Why do you think this is happening?"

The woman, of course, could not answer the question. In fact, she didn't really even try. But I did. I thought about it for a long time that night. And again the next morning, when my favorite morning radio talk show asked its listeners why they thought this has been happening. Many people said it's the parents of the kids. Many people suggested television and video games and popular musicians, looking to put the blame somewhere.

But I will tell you what I, a regular teenager riding on the coattails of Generation X, think it is. It is not the parents or the movies or the rock stars. It is AMERICA. It is this culture of death, this culture in which liberals and feminists and activists are so anxious to let anything be "OK" that the once tightened, knotted rope of society is unraveling right beneath us.

Don't you see? There can be no order without discipline. All of those things people think are causing children to run into a school and shoot their teachers and peers and even kids they don't know - the movies, the video games, the parents, the rap artists - they are only REFLECTIONS of our society. Society breaks down, from one big metaphoric "family" into 50 metaphoric "families" and so on and so on, until you have the actual FAMILY, the one with the parents and the kids and the dog. It is not one thing or two things; it is the attitude of an entire "familiar" nation being reflected back at us in the kids.

Just as that anchorman suggested, something was different about the 1950's. WE WERE CONSERVATIVE. We had boundaries; we had a definite knowledge of right and wrong throughout the entire nation. We didn't have feminists pushing women so hard to go get a job that a woman who didn't have a job was somehow "bad," thereby leaving kids at home with inadequate parental guidance and often times with parents who were truly unhappy. We didn't have liberals fighting so avidly to legalize everything that it was at the point of completely blurring the line between good and bad. We didn't have a nationwide media surge dedicated to sex and violence so intense that if you weren't playing killing video games at age 14, then you were trying to choose between contraceptives beforehand or abortion afterwards. We didn't have disputes over whether or not we should help someone who is dying die sooner, over whether or not we should ASSIST them in committing SUICIDE. And we certainly didn't have a President who was in favor of NATO bombing and killing children in Serbia come on the television to grieve the loss for the families of children killed in America.

We live in a loosely tied society, a culture dedicated to death. If you don't want the kid, kill it. If you don't want to live out the rest of your God-given days, kill yourself. Or better yet, have someone else come help you do it. I guess, no matter how horrible or gruesome or gut-wrenching it may be, it was just a matter of time before someone got that "killing-as-a-means-to-an-end" idea stuck in their head for the part between birth and death as well. Everything that happens in families and cities and states and countries is the mirror image of the big picture.

We are falling apart as a society. Am I, some random normal teenager in Farmertown, U.S.A., the only one who sees that? It's sad and it's hard to believe, but what's worse is that it's scary.

I think it's time for our-America's-Mom and Dad to ground us-to say, "If you don't shape up by the time I count to three..." And then really count to three. Because we are running wild and pretty soon we're going to be too far from home to ever get back. [Barb here—I will add that it is every person’s responsibility to embrace God’s values and influence others in that direction to become a culture of honor and respect again.]

There was once a great saying by a famous man that has rung true throughout the history of mankind - in every family and in every society and in every social group and in every religion - it was a frighteningly true statement that cannot be disputed. I am reminded of it now, in the wake of yet another indescribably tormenting result of a nation gone haywire...

"By their fruits you shall know them."

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Effectively Effecting Change

Well, the election is over. Time for business as usual again? Not really. We cannot just look to our leaders to change our country. Each of us has a part as well, and that means more than voting, though I believe that is often part of the picture.

I last wrote about how God wants us to do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with our God, according to Micah 6:8. Most of us as humans weigh in too heavily on the "do justly" or the "love mercy" side of things. I don't think any of us, in fact, has the proper balance. That is why we need to "walk humbly with our God." If we don't we will miss it every time, for only He knows how and when to apply what He says in individual situations.

When I fall too heavily on justice, I have a lot of legalism and become a "pharisee" or control freak, wanting people to do what I say--rather than what I do, because I don't perform perfectly. I like to forget about that, however. On the other hand, when I weigh in too heavily on the side of mercy I can forget that going against a holy God has serious consequences in my relationships with people and even more, with God.

This is where I can greatly simplify things. God has said I can talk with Him every time, asking His guidance. He alone knows people's motivations, what's in their (and our) hearts, and He alone knows how we should conduct ourselves in any situation. He knows when we should speak, how we should speak, and what we should speak. At least as importantly, He also knows when we should remain still and in prayer.

If we will determine in our hearts to walk humbly with our God He will teach us many things. His ways and thoughts are so much better than ours. He will first teach us to listen. But what about when we have speaking gifts, you ask? Can't we use those? Only under the Lord's direction will they be beneficial. Just because I know something doesn't mean I should share it. I always need to be in direct contact with my Lord to be effective. And as I'm led by Him, even silences will be fruitful.

As more of us begin to walk in this way more often, we will see more change in ourselves, in our relationships and in our nation. Are we humble enough to acknowledge our need for help? 

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Sunday, November 04, 2012

America 2012--Where are We Going?

I’ve been thinking about the upcoming election…and wondering why I am so uncomfortable on all levels. I just turned off the morning news after hearing the ad about what Richard Mourdock said about rape and abortion for the umpteenth time. That ad really upsets me, because I know he didn’t mean that rape is a gift of God, but that life is. I also believe that the ‘misunderstanding’ is being played up for gain, if possible.

I agree with Richard that life is a blessing and needs to be cherished as God’s gift however it came about. Children born out of sin are as loved by God as anyone else, and it grieves Him for them to be aborted. That story, along with a lot of others, needs to be told and grappled with in our society today. That is not why I’m uncomfortable, though.

As I keep thinking and meditating on these things, I think what makes me uncomfortable is the realization that we need more than just people with correct moral principles in office today. Some of the most dangerous people are ‘pharisees’—those who are morally right, but have wrong application of those principles.

I don’t know about Richard Mourdock—I only know the few things I see. But I’m considering the election as a whole—and frankly, I’m scared. I think it’s also because I’ve been reading The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. I knew the ground had shifted in some permanent way when we had the terrorist attack on 9/11/01, and that book is explaining it to me.

One thing of many I am being reminded of from that book is that America will not get right with God just through correct principles. Without relationship with Him those correct principles will be applied wrongly. That lesson is driven home in the Bible many times, and the story in John 8:3-11 is a good example of this potential for wrong application, and how relationship with God, as opposed to just correct doctrine made it work out right:

John 8:3-11  As he [Jesus] was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. 4 "Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?" 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!" 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" 11 "No, Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more." NLT

The Bible says we need correct doctrine or principles. But we also need to hear how to apply them in a life-giving way. What did Micah in the Bible say God wanted of us? Mic 6:8  But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously — take God seriously.  The MESSAGE

That’s what I’m looking for in leaders—is that what we will get? I’m praying to that end…

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