How many observe Christ's birthday! How few his precepts!
O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.
I grew up in the church; Dearest didn't. Dearest is conservative in his thinking; I'm not. I appreciate the liturgy; no~one else in this house does. Our children have been raised non~denominational yet 4 out of 5 were baptised as Presbyterians. Not Star, as it so happens. Star chose to be baptised when she was 8 in our little non~denom Island church.
Denomalisation sits uncomfortably with Dearest ~ & with our children. They have been taught the word of God combined with the Spirit of God is the final authority ~ not some man~made creed or theological doctrine because they grew up here. Here, where more often than not they were the only children, then the only teenagers, in church. They learnt early you pay a price for being a Christian. They have been part of our struggle to be in the world yet not of the world. They have struggled. We have struggled. They have watched churches over here rise & fall. They have witnessed God rebuke the sin amongst His people ~ & they have been disgusted by the poor witness of those who profess to belong to the Living God. They have learnt some hard lessons.
So I have been fascinated as I have listened to my household discuss last Sunday's service. Star, who from her earliest years has had a ministry, was plain & simply bored out of her brain. Dino was envious that these kids had grown up surrounded by adults & children who shared the same beliefs. He has stated openly he wished he'd grown up like that. Liddy, who has made this her home church, is a little protective despite refusing to take out membership. Membership would require full immersion dunking & my very non~denom child, who has been both baptised & confirmed in 2 other denominations, fails to see the point. Dearest was like an arid desert suddenly drenched with water. I hate it: too noisy, too distracting, too lacking in reverence for me ~ but then I'm the oddest of the odd so pay no attention to me. And then, as my children circled warily they put an unerring finger on the deepest problem, & one that is not confined to this particular church. Many, if not most western churches suffer from this particular illness: they are soft.
It is a wealthy church where most parents each hold a job, own multiple cars & even multiple houses & can afford the toys but they are not spiritually strong. So many who should be mature & ready for strong meat are still supping on baby's milk. For me this is both disturbing & deeply troubling. As the Lord begins to shake the very foundations of the earth Christendom should be readying for battle. We are the ones who will be persecuted. We are the ones the Lord will send out to gather in His harvest. We are the ones called to stand in the gap & plead for an unrighteous people.
I have been surprised by how many Christians have been surprised by our willingness to let Liddy go to the mission field. Willing does not equal easy but one of the stats that has shocked me profoundly is the one that states the biggest impediment to missionary outreach is Christian parents! Christian parents do not want their children on the mission field. Let others go, but they want theirs safe at home. Even with Liddy stating unequivocally she is called to missions, even with our willingness to back her up, we still have Christians, Christians, telling us this is wrong; she should not go.
Paul uses some very strong language when discussing who we are in Christ. Amongst other things he says we are not our own, we have been bought with a price; he calls us slaves. A slave is owned body & soul by their master. They go where they are told, when they are told, to do what they are told. They work until they drop from exhaustion ~ & that is only their rightful duty. The concept of slavery is foreign to us. It disgusts us ~ as in a worldly sense it should. No man can rightfully own another human being. This is not so in a spiritual sense. We are already God's for He made us & every breath we take is a gift from Him. I do know there is no room for compromise in the Kingdom to come. It is all or nothing & so my prayer for me, for my family, is that the Holy Spirit would be a consuming fire in our bones. As Job discovered when he had nothing but God, he needed nothing but God.
As Liddy admits, it was hard spiritually growing up here but she is immensly grateful for the lessons learnt. She is spiritually stronger for it & she has learnt survival lessons that can be learned no other way.