5 Things I Know For Sure

Confident WomanSome days are definitely better than others. Some days it seems everything goes wrong: perhaps the washing machine doesn’t work, a forgotten item shows up on your bank statement, and your spouse is sick.  A person’s emotions can get more than a little upset!

I don’t believe God intends for every one of our days to be easy. We would have no incentive to grow and mature if that were the case. He uses the difficult times to work transformation in us that nothing else can accomplish. He’s much more interested in our character than our comfort! He hurts when we hurt, but His purpose is much bigger than what we often see.

When things are frustrating, painful, difficult, or confusing, it helps to have some things settled – some things you know for sure. It gives you a place to go back to if you feel you’re getting lost. And that’s especially valuable on bad days – or weeks, or longer.

Here are a few things I have settled for good, things I know for sure:

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5 Thoughts Before You Speak Harshly

5 Thoughts Before You Speak Harshly

Words can hurt!

Right now, think of something someone said to you that still hurts. Perhaps a parent who sighs, “Why did I ever have another kid?” Or a teacher who declares, “You’re just too stupid to teach!” Or a spouse who yells, “I don’t love you anymore!” Sometimes the wounds caused by such words are never completely healed. Apologies help, but the effects cannot always be completely undone.

It takes real emotional and spiritual maturity to pause before speaking, and to consistently use our words for good and not for ill. (See James 1:26, 3:5)

Husbands and wives have a unique power to build each other up or tear each other down. Much of that power resides in your words. Speaking harshly to your spouse is one of the most destructive things you can do to your marriage.

But what do you do when you’re upset, frustrated, or downright angry at something your spouse has said or done?

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The Ethics of a Christian Doctor

Doctor in SurgeryAs an OB-Gyn physician I come face-to-face with the ethical edges of medical care perhaps more often than most. Biology has given us an understanding of the beginnings of human life to an amazing degree, and that’s only one of the cutting-edge arenas science has opened up.

Consider some of the abilities we now have that were unthinkable only a few years or decades ago. Here are only a few of the things we can now do:

  • Know the genetic makeup of an unborn child, or even an embryo
  • Engineer an embryo (and thereby a child) from an egg and sperm totally unrelated to the “intended parents”
  • Separate the recreational and procreative aspects of sexual activity
  • Decide which pregnancies live or die
  • Change some aspect of the genetic makeup of an organ, or a whole human being (almost a reality now)

Only yesterday I had a conversation with a doctor-in-training who is about to go out on her own. She had just been faced with a situation where her ethical philosophy collided with that of another attending physician.

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What God Will NOT Do For You

Ambulance at HospitalThere are a few things God will not do for you.

That sounds terrible! But it’s true.

Let me first assure you that I am a believer. I have experienced God doing some pretty awesome things for me and around me. I believe in miracles. I pray for them, and I know God hears and answers prayer.

But we human beings sometimes presume on God’s grace and think that will excuse our bad behavior. Just recently two different friends have been in the hospital for heart or blood pressure problems almost certainly caused by a very unhealthy lifestyle. Another wonders why God does not bring her a godly husband, while still playing around sexually with a drug addict. A preacher friend grieves over his daughter running away from home, but was never there when she needed him.

Al (my husband) has told many times how he would leave the doctor’s office after getting a chest X-ray, and celebrate the “no news is good news” result with another cigarette. (Thankfully he quit smoking some years ago now.)

Thankfully God does not treat us as we deserve. He offers us grace. But He does not always reverse the natural consequences of our behavior.

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An Entitlement Mentality in Church

An Entitlement Mentality in Church

An entitlement mentality says, “You owe me!” It encourages me to demand that you do something for me, give me something, or treat me in a uniquely special way – just because. And I have no particular responsibility in return. And sometimes there can be an entitlement mentality in church.

Our Western culture has incorporated an entitlement mentality into much of our lifestyle. This mindset honestly believes that “they” owe me an education, health care, a job, a comfortable home, and just about anything else I want. Social programs abound and enormous amounts of tax money are spent to bolster people’s quality of life without requiring anything of significance from the recipients.

Yes, that’s probably an oversimplification. And I’m not going to comment on the politics or social policy involved. But I DO want to talk about how this entitlement mentality displays itself in the Christian community.

I had a classmate in graduate school whose story highlighted this for me.

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