Posts Tagged ‘ Relationship ’

Allegations Amok: A Response to the Wave of Sexual Allegations

Hey, y’all! Welcome back to a simple man of God!

Yesterday — Wednesday, November 29 — the US was shocked to learn that Matt Lauer, co-anchor of NBC’s Today news show for the past 20 years, was fired after an allegation of sexual misconduct – specifically during the Sochi Olympics a couple of years ago.

This is after a string of accusations that began with Harvey Weinstein several weeks earlier. If you ask some of my friends, I sort of called this tsunami of accusations at that time, saying Weinstein was the catalyst that opened the floodgates.

Sadly, I was right.

In terms of Lauer’s accusation, this one made me stop and actually cry at the news. The big reason is that his accuser did it right. She went privately with her lawyers to the NBC execs, did not demand money or attention, and only requested the right thing be done.

This is not to say that others are liars or only out for some attention. Nor is this to say that every accusation is true. I am merely saying that the manner in which this woman (and others with their allegations) is handling it gives more credence. And this is what helped to break my heart a little more than other accusations of late.

NBC even came out and said they had enough evidence that this was not an isolated incident, which immediately brought into question so many past moments.

  • A few years ago, former co-host Katie Couric responded (half-jokingly) in an interview that the worst thing about her former colleague was that he would pinch her “rear-end” (she used a different term).
  • There were times his questions (to both genders) seemed awkward, weird, or “creepery” even then.
  • Why did some people – most notably Ann Curry – not get along with him?

With this and so many other allegations, one can easily ask:

Why do so many people do such inappropriate/vile things?

I was not surprised by this wave of allegations. Why? Why did I seem to expect it?

Simply, because the Bible told us it would be so.

I do not mean specifically in 21st Century United States of America. This was a general thing.

For starters, several other people have pointed out – as well as the Bible – that whenever people live however they want, especially when the abandon God, they focus on sex.

Think about what the Bible says, especially in Judges: “The people did what was right in their own eyes.”

Does that not sound much like our society?

“Do what feels good. Do what feels right. Do not tell others that what they are doing is wrong.”

And what happened the most frequently? Sexual sins … of all sorts.

In fact, Paul specifically mentioned this and other sins in his letter to the Romans:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. . . .

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. . . .

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Romans 1:20-21, 24-26, 28-32, ESV

Now, this may sound like I am saying the victims deserved it. Am I?

Consider the number of artists (actresses, singers, etc.) who expressed their excitement at being able to take their clothes off, be in sex scenes, and the like.

This is almost begging for unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances.

But no one deserves it!

And it is not a one way street, only men against women. It is also women against men, men against men, women against women, adults against children …

Some may immediately jump to the Catholic Church’s issues in this area, but it is at least as prevalent outside of the Church, as well.

What Scriptures tells us is that this is all because God basically says, “Fine. Turn away from me. I will let your nature take its course.” He gives us over to our sinful nature, and it plays out … just like we see it today with all of these allegations.

Some may say, “But even Christians do these things (not just sexual)! How can you say they turn away from God?”

This is all about denying the image of God in each other. Whenever we do anything against another human being, we are turning away from God by spurning his image in them.

But God is a God of love, grace, and mercy. He even extends it to those who have abused and been abused.

The answer either way is the same: REPENT! Turn from you evil ways and change your thinking!

We must turn away from our own desires and actions to have our minds renewed by Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Only this will keep us from even wanting to commit such acts, let alone doing them, and only this will bring about full healing.

 

Who Am I? Knowing My Identity

“Hello, again!

In the last few weeks, I have been hearing and reading a lot about identity.

Who am I?

In terms of identity, the major theme has been how we identify ourselves. This includes:

  • Identity politics — Being known by political party or with whom you most closely agree.
  • Job-based/Skill-set identity — Being known by what you do or know.
  • Relationship identity — To whom you are connected: husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, father/son, mother/daughter, friend …

It is this last one that has the most applicability to today’s topic, especially for the Christian.

Losing myself

What happens when the ideology, job, or relationship status changes?

You see, if your identity is dependent on something external, it can lead to major confusion and even crisis-mode inside. You could be screaming, “I don’t know who I am anymore!”

This is where someone may say, “This is why we need strong self-esteem.”

completely disagree.

Yes, I said completely disagree.

Why?

Because self-esteem focuses on the self. This is the antithesis of Christianity and relationship with God, as it says you can find peace within yourself.

Instead, you need something stronger.

So, how then should we live?

Where is your identity? How about starting with the Bible.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me”
Matthew 18:5

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:20

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
John 14:13-14

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;”
Mark 16:17

Now, what does Jesus mean by “in my Name”? Does he mean “Lord, please do this for me, in Jesus Name. Amen”?

No.

I think this hearkens back to the 10 Commandments, specifically number 3:

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain …”
Exodus 20:7

Is using the Lord’s Name in vain using it as a curse word?

Partially, yes. Mostly, no. It is more like saying you are a Christian (My identity!), doing something wrong, and claiming God either approves or even commanded it. THAT is using the Lord’s Name in vain more than anything else.

But what does Jesus mean?

Literally taking on the identity of Jesus Christ.

Not just living by “What Would Jesus Do?”

It means to think, talk, and act like Christ.

It means you put yourself out of the way, and you let Jesus Christ live through you.

Then it does not matter your skill-set, job title, political affiliation, who you know … well … a little bit who you know … 😉

Whatever happens around you and in your life does not matter that much when you know you have the Lord of the Universe living in and through you!

So, how do you identify? What is your first thought when asked who you are?

  • I’m a Republican/Democrat/Libertarian.
  • I’m this or that.
  • I am a husband/father/wife/mother/sibling.
  • I know so-in-so.

Or is your first thought “I am a Christian. I am a child of the living God. I am a son (or daughter) of the Most High! My heavenly Father adopted me through my Brother, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!”

This is why it is important to study and memorize Scripture (I admit to being weak in memorization!), because it helps us better understand the meaning of life.

What is the meaning of life?

To glorify God.

This is why theology is important. (Scary, I know, but that is the big reason I make these blogs/vlogs, to give you a hand in it.)

Theology is simply the study of God: who He is, what He wants from and for us, and how we can live for Him.

We find our identity by living for him. We glorify God the Father by allowing God the Son to live in and through us by the power of God the Holy Spirit in us.

Then we can know that no matter what is going on around us and in our lives, we are good to go. Because we are in Christ.

It is who we are.

He is our identity.

And it is not by our own power. It is through our weakness that He is stronger! (2 Corinthians 11-13, especially in 12:9!)

Be excellent, my friends!

 

One of My Reformation Days

Many today are commenting on Martin Luther, the other Reformers, the Reformation in general, or something along those lines.

Those are very important, and I will undoubtedly share something in the future.

Today, however, instead of focusing on the 95 Theses of Luther, I will do my wife a favor.

You see, we met ten years ago on this day. And what she did not know that day ten years ago was that I had a list of things God and I worked out to find my future wife. (She learned of the list just a few weeks later, but she has not seen/heard the entire list … until today!)

The incredibly shortened, Readers-Digest-version of the story is this:

On the Ides of March of 2007, I ended a previous engagement. I had come to realize that we were not as compatible with each other as we could be, and there were many factors in play in that decision, including a deviation from biblical standards of relationships, if you dig.My Reformation Day/Halloween Costume 2017, Beatnik Daniel

A mere two weeks after that, I was ready to simply swear off marriage to “be as I am,” according to Paul (1 Corinthians 7:7). Instead, I was led to create a list of attributes to confirm a particular woman was my wife.

Then, ten years ago today, my life was reformed when I met my wife.

Interestingly, we half-met when I was having a civil debate with an unorthodox Jew about the anti-Semitic writings of Martin Luther … and then fully met on the way to a Campus Crusade for Christ costume party, at which we shared her costume. (Hence our dressing up in matching costumes each year.)

Anyway, without further ado, here are my 17 Theses of my Relational Reformation (first the more fleshly, then the more godly, but I will leave much of the fulfillment of these between the two of us for now!):

  1. I should find her attractive.
  2. We should have a similar sense of humor.
  3. We will be fascinated by the mundane and the spectacular.
  4. We will be able to have intelligent conversations.
  5. We will be able to be silly with each other.
  6. She will seek clarity in all things. (Friends call us both “clarifiers.”)
  7. She will be willing to think and change.
  8. She will have dramatic changes in her life so that we can be together. (When we met, she was attending the Mormon church and was dating someone else.)
  9. She will have a passion for God.
  10. She will love kids. (She is a wonderful Kindergarten teacher, now! She demonstrated that passion when we met.)
  11. She will be passionate about people.
  12. She will challenge me to go deeper with God.
  13. She will be willing to serve anyone, any time.
  14. She will desire that others know God’s love.
  15. She will be tender toward the needy.
  16. She will feel the need for forgiveness.
  17. She will forgive me.

It literally took 17 days for her to fulfill everything on this list. Not one every day, as we did not see each other every single day, but on November 16, she only had (from my perspective) two more to meet … the last two … and that morning she met them.

It has been a great 10 years! Not always easy. Not always the best. But God brought us together and has brought us through thus far.

Now, I only pray our relationship with each other continues to bless and inspire others to seek God and godly relationships.

May His purity, light, and mercy continue to shine through us!*

(*sidenote: this sentence is a pun on her full name!)

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/12/2015

Find that woman Wisdom (for example, Proverbs 8) through the thoughts at Proverbial Thought!

There are two ways of looking at things (for my purposes today, at least): literally and allegorically. This is done with the Bible regularly ( in both good and correct ways and bad and incorrect ways). The Bible itself does this, as many verses in the New Testament make the allegorical connection to Jesus with Old Testament verses.

Likewise, the poem today has a double viewing in mind.

The literal view is based on the relationship I have with my wife. The message I would point to for others to take is that your significant other, specifically your spouse, should constantly point you back to God in the name of Jesus and through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The allegorical view is based on how God relates to us through His Church.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:22-27, ESV

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Revelation 21:1-3

Love your husband or wife. Love the Bride of Christ. In so doing, you will see and share the love of Christ.

The woman in my life …

… makes me happy and brings me joy.

She leads me to the Father and pushes me to praise my Lord.

The woman in my life is my gift from Jesus Christ.

She mixes me up inside and also makes me smile.

The woman in my life …

… brings the love of God and shows me there is still good.

She brings me to a place of love and guides me to my God above.

This woman is a woman meant for a godly man.

 

If I am considered godly …

… then I must do more to honor our sovereign Lord.

I must seek His Heart and keep doing so in my heart.

If I am considered godly, it is because He made me.

I will keep my God first and give Him all He deserves.

If I am considered godly …

… then I must try the hardest to remember Jesus,

because I cannot forfeit what my Lord has sent.

 

The woman in my life …

   … helps me be godly.

     If I am considered godly …

   … it is because of a godly woman in my life.

An #OldFashionedMovie Review

It may be old fashioned, but God’s wisdom is always the best. Get some at Proverbial Thought!

This past weekend was St. Valentines’ Day. A couple movies were released just in time: 50 Shades of Grey, and what I call the Anti-50-Shades-of-Grey, Old Fashioned. I saw one of these. I saw it twice, actually: once as a triple date and once with our youth group.

Obviously I am talking about 50 Shades … no … wait …

Old Fashioned poster

Just Old Fashioned, I guess …

In the movie, Clay Walsh (played by writer/director/producer Rik Swartzwelder) owns the antique shop “Old Fashioned Antiques” that has an apartment upstairs. Clay used to be the epitome of the college partying frat boy, including having a successful “Girls Gone Wild” type of business. Then his life changed, and he became known more as a legalistic Christian who has rules and theories about life and love, including not being in a room alone with a woman who is not his wife (within reason, of course).

Enter Amber Hewson (played by Elizabeth Roberts), a bit of a free spirit who stays in a town until she fills her jar with enough money to fill her car with enough gas to get away. She then drives until she runs out of gas, and where that happens she stays. You probably guessed, she runs out in Clay’s town and rents his apartment. To pay for it, she gets a job at the local florist.

She makes friends with her coworkers, one a disillusioned three-times divorcee, the other a young fun-living woman. His best friends are two of his old frat brothers who stuck with him, one who lives with his longtime girlfriend and their daughter, and the other a womanizing, chauvinistic DJ. In other words, their friends do not share Clay’s views on traditional marriage and love.

Needless to say, she helps him to loosen up a little (while respecting his beliefs and values) while he shows her that chivalry is not dead. And they fall in love.

The Anti-50-Shades-of-Grey

My wife and me doing what we do ...

My wife and me doing what we do …

One reason I love this film: It is as if the makers looked at how my wife and I started out and made a “based on a true story” adaptation. (Remember, you only need 7% of the story to be “based on” a story.)

Now for the actual review:

Many people tend to think, “Oh. A Christian film. That means cheesy acting and an in-your-face “believe this right now!” gospel presentation.” In the first 15 minutes, there are a few (maybe three or four) “that could have been acted better” moments, but not cheesy. If I had to complain, it would be that the gospel could have been clearer.

I do not see that as a real problem, though. It simply leaves the door open for Christians to do their job as Christ followers. This movie can just make that job easier.

Some dangerous things:

I have no issue with dangerous. Christ warned us of dangers (John 16:33), and He, Peter, and Paul (as well as several others) demonstrated how conversations and standing up for what is right and godly can be dangerous. (I mean, come on, The Parable of the Good Samaritan? So many Jews would have killed Him for that alone!)

  • Amber is not necessarily a Christian
  • Clay has not attended church for a while (due to the “hypocrisy show”)
  • There are several scenes of alcoholic drinking
  • It deals with issues of “frat boy carousing,” one night stands, divorce, and non-believing friends

For the record: I would not change a thing! (It is PG-13, and I agree with that!)

Some of the goodness (even though I have seen it twice, I might miss a bit):

  • Out of dirty backstory comes something many can relate to: real life. As I said above, I like the movie because of how closely it hits home (both with my past and how my wife and I met and began our relationship).
  • It has many natural conversations (as in, they do not feel scripted). As the gospel is presented, it is done in bits and pieces over the course of the film, much like happens so often in real life.
  • As the story progresses, we see how choices affect others, both in good and bad ways. There are times that both of their pasts come back to haunt them. There are times when . . . morals and chivalry  the minds of others.
  • The need for a savior is made evident.
  • The Christians are not perfect! In fact, the Christian lead overcomes some of his own shortcomings.
  • God’s “mysterious ways” are shown through many characters (especially his great aunt Zella!)

Old Fashioned puts grace, mercy, and biblical love on full display. Two of my (many) favorite quotes are:

  1. “There is no goodness … without mercy.”
  2. “When did treating women with respect become the joke?” (or as my wife re-phrased it, “When did treating [anyone, men or women] with respect become the joke?”)
This is a great movie, and everyone should see this. My suggestion: only mature junior highers and older should watch this movie. It is rated PG-13, after all.

My Soul’s Quinceañera? (My 15th Re-Birthday)

For starters, I know that a Quinceañera is a celebration for young Latinas becoming women at the age of 15!

In reply, I refer you Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

That being said …

Fifteen years ago today, at 6:47 pm (CST), the Holy Spirit got a hold of me, and to the glory of the Father I knelt down for the first time to make that blessed confession (see Matthew 16:15-16):

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” [Daniel M. Klem] replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Has your soul been wrapped in the arms of the Savior?

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 3:3-21, ESV

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 01/04/2015

Relax in the Father’s wisdom, and find some at Proverbial Thought!

These year, our church has a renewed focus on evangelism, specifically by better equipping the saints to reach out to their friends, families, and co-workers.

It is therefore fitting that the next poem on my list and the first one for the year is based on Jeremiah 20:9 (ESV)

If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.

May all of us who call on the name of the Lord find this passion to share that Name above all names, even when (as in the context of this passage) it is difficult and even dangerous to do so!

right now my mind is racing

and my heart palpitating

struggling to concentrate

on anything but Your face

longing to be in Your Presence

searching out Your countenance

that You would look on this servant

to whom You have said “We are friends”

knowing that You will always love me

want me with You for eternity

is hard for me to grasp and believe

but this love set me completely free

knowing all this has taken me aback

my spirit stirred and i cannot relax

because Your love is keeping me held back

in a constant almost panic attack