Daily Walking with God

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Plant City's First Baptist Church

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I am so grateful to my friend, Gwen, for capturing this moment.  This was a couple of days after our "parent/child chat".  Turning to God is a daily thing.  Look to The Ultimate Parent.

I am so grateful to my friend, Gwen, for capturing this moment. This was a couple of days after our “parent/child chat”. Turning to God is a daily thing. Look to The Ultimate Parent.

“I will praise you, Lord.  Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.  The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:1-2

I love how God equips us for situations through His word, and then when that situation arises, we are ready. (“…these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10 )

The morning that I read Isaiah 12:1-2 was one of those moments.

Without being transparent at this moment, let’s just say that this is what I learned about parenting via God:

  • Parents do get upset/angry with their children. The Ultimate Parent (God) gets angry with us. We disappoint Him, just like our own children may disappoint us at times…much like we probably did our parents when we were younger.
  • When we listen to God (and to the whole story of our children) He gives us peace. The anger shouldn’t last. When we permit anger to settle, that is when human judgment, bitterness, and unforgiveness can inhabit you.
  • The peace that comes straight from God turns our words and reaction into comfort for ourselves AND our children. This occurs when we allow ourselves to be filled with God’s words.
  • God’s ­­got this! He is our Savior.
  • We need to trust in Jesus to show us how to be a parent.
  • Even though parenting is often frightening, we don’t need to be afraid if we are relying on Christ.
  • When we are weak and don’t know what to say, God strengthens us. He will give us the words to articulate.
  • No matter what circumstances will occur, God must be praised.
  • And remember…this too shall pass. God always wins.

The morning that Tim and I sat our son down for a parent/child chat, God did turn our frustration into seeing our son’s aggravation.  God turned the words “we” were ready to say to words of compassion and comfort for our son.  God allowed us to see the big picture and share words of wisdom and scripture with our offspring.

Parents, I hope that you will seek God’s guidance first when dealing with and raising your children.  No matter the age, no matter the stage, we all need Jesus’ supervision.

God is The Ultimate Parent.  Let’s learn from Him.  Open the bible and follow His example in parenting. Pray without ceasing.

  • Children are a gift from the Lord; Psalm 127:3
  • Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6
  • “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! Have a wonderful day. – Stephanie

There are more, but here are some journal entries on parenting:

The Joys of Parenting

Being a Parent isn’t for Sissies

Do you have Attitude?

They may get mad but they’ll end up glad

When you were young you watched your parents and tried to mimic their expressions, styles, walk, talk, etc.  Now, you may have children or grandchildren of your own, and you notice them putting their elbow on the table and resting their chin on their hand like you do. Or when your teen is driving and reacts to a situation, and you see yourself in them. What about you notice you say the same thing to your kids that your parents said to you when you were a certain age.

Imitating your parents has been a long standing tradition.  It’s a tradition that should continue for us all until we leave this earth. But not just any parent, our Ultimate Parent…God.  In Ephesians 5:1-2a it says, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.”

When I read these verse, I was reminded of the country song, “Watching you” by Rodney Atkins.  I love it!  While viewing the video tonight for this journal entry, I even teared up watching it thinking about my children and how I want and need to imitate my Heavenly Father more.

Enjoy the video and enjoy imitating Christ.  Let’s be more like Him!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqYUns2YQik

Blessings to you!

This is Tim's Father's Day gift.  When Cole and I brought it home, he took this photo and we sent it to Tim.  It brought joy to him.  He got a laugh out of  seeing his bride in the turtle shell.  (No, it's not a real shell...that's illegal.)

This is Tim’s Father’s Day gift. When Cole and I brought it home, he took this photo and we sent it to Tim. It brought joy to him. He got a laugh out of seeing his bride in the turtle shell. (No, it’s not a real shell…that’s illegal.)

We all make mistakes. When we do, those choices we make not only affect us but others around us. Our choices can and will result in an emotional state of mind. Those emotions may range from feelings of sadness to feelings of joy, or so much more.

Choose JOY!

Father’s Day is approaching. In Proverbs 23:24 we read, “The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise.” It doesn’t matter the age or stage you are in, I believe we’d all appreciate the result of our choices bringing joy to ourselves and those around us, especially the parent…and particularly The Ultimate Parent…our Heavenly Father.

I reflect on the choices I made as a teen and young adult…some good, and some “WHAT WAS I THINKING???” Now, as a parent of three between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one, I am more empathetic towards my parents, and am apologetic for those foolish choices I made. (Sorry, mom and dad! If you only knew…or not.) All I can say now is…thank God there wasn’t GPS, cell phone, computers, and all the tracking devices and social media that we have (to deal with) now. Whew and whoa!

Even now, at this age and stage in my life, I still want to bring joy to my parents through the choices I make. I’m certain they look and me now and think, “we did pretty good”, and still there are moments when they shake their head and say to themselves, “just wait until you’re our age”. When we’re younger we think we know it all…well, that undeniably has changed. Wiser? Yes! Know it all? I’m a work in progress.

So how are we supposed to bring joy to our parent? Do as Proverbs 23:23 says, “Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.” 

How in the world do you obtain those characteristics? Seek God. Read His word. Believe His written breath. Obey. Desire to please Him. Pray. Ask Christ to be the Lord of your life. The more you read pray, study, and apply His truths to your life…you are bringing immense joy to your life, and to those around you.

As you celebrate Father’s Day, whether your earthly father is present or passed, whether you are a father yourself or not or in-waiting, celebrate your Heavenly Father and bring a smile to His face through your words and actions.

I pray that you have accepted your right to call God “Daddy”. He is The Ultimate Parent. That right there brings joy to my heart, simply knowing that He is mine and I am His.

Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment. The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise.   Proverbs 23:23-24

Have a beautiful and joyful day soaking up The Son wherever you are. Blessings and much love to you and yours, Stephanie.

 

i've got your back

I have two framed photographs on my bedside table. One of me and my husband from years ago, and the other is a recent one of me and my children. I look at them daily. But when I gazed at them the other day, before closing my eyes, a thought came to my mind…“I’ve got your back.”

I had to giggle when I realized that I am positioned the same way in both photos, on the backs of my man (Tim) and my eldest child (Hunter). (I know…child? He is a grown man.)

My children may rephrase that statement and say that at times I am “on their backs”. True. I am their mother. Yet, more importantly, I’ve GOT their backs. Don’t mess with my babies! The same thing goes for my man too…Don’t mess with my man!

There is a parent who I call The Ultimate Parent. I know that He has my back at all times. He is my judge, leader, and King of all kings. He cares for, provides, loves, and saves me. He’s “got my back”. His name is God.

For the Lord is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us. Isaiah 33:22

Yes, there are multiple times when He has been “on” my back, but I sure needed His guidance, wisdom, and discipline.

I’m grateful for the times that God is “on” my back, and I am confident that He “has” my back as well.

Have a wonderful day.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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"Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it."  Proverbs 22:6

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6

I don’t know about what happens in your home, but in my house “what momma wants momma usually gets”, especially around Mother’s Day.

The majority of the time, what I want is most likely within reason, beneficial, and bathed in prayer. Okay, there are those extravagant moments as well, but for the most part I am a practical kinda girl.

During the sermon last week I jotted down a phrase and shared it with all three of my children. They each read it, and nodded their head in agreement. (Sorry, pastor, that I don’t believe it had anything to do with the sermon that I was definitely listening to…being a light and making God known…, but God whispered a little louder in my ear and I wrote what He told me.)

This little phrase I shared with my children was, “I want you to want what God wants for you.”

Is this too much to ask?

Let’s see if it follows my usual desires:

“Within reason”: this means that my desire is wise, reasonable, with a purpose, and motivating. Whichever synonym you choose to apply will still execute to the phrase I penned. For my children to desire God is definitely wise and with great purpose. Why? In Deuteronomy 5:33 we read, “Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper…” What mom wouldn’t want this for her children? I pray that they will LIVE life to its fullest, the way God intends them to live.

“Beneficial”: Desiring what God wants is just what The Doctor/The Great Physician ordered. He will prescribe you with hope, joy, and peace. Glory! “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

“Bathed in prayer”: Boy oh boy do I pray for my children! When I wake, walk, think, eat, even sleep…Hunter, Holly, and Cole’s names are lifted up to my Heavenly Father. He is The Ultimate Parent. When there are those times I want to just throw my hands up and shake my head, well…that is exactly what I do. I raise my hands to Him. I seek My Daddy’s advice and guidance in raising the children He so graciously gave to me to care for here on earth.

I’d say that this desire is spot on. And the “extravagance” that they will acquire through Christ is WOW! Incredible!

One of my all-time “go-to” “favorite” verses is found in Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I’ve discovered in life that when we find joy in the Lord, He IS our desire.

Let’s take a look at a few things that GOD WANTS:

God wants everyone to be saved and to fully understand the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4

So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. 17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. John 7:16-17

Always be full of joy. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17

God wants you to be holy. (verse 3) 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

We even see what God DOES NOT WANT:

He does not want us to live in sin. (verse 7) 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

Yes, I desire for my children to:

  • fully understand the truth and not believe the lies that the world will dangle in front of them
  • do the will of God and not their own
  • always be full of joy
  • never stop praying
  • always be thankful
  • live holy lives
  • and WANT WHAT GOD WANTS!

Amen.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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you do not belongJohnny did me wrong.

Sally hurt my feelings.

Tom is spreading rumors about me.

Cathy stole my boyfriend.

So-and-so is bullying me.

Some people are just hard to love. We are to love them anyhow. “What?” Yes sir and yes ma’am.

As hard as it is, we (Christians) are to rise above, do as Jesus did, pray for our enemies, and let our great God take care of you and deal with those who have persecuted you.

43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.” Matthew 5:43-47

Buckle up for the ride. You will have troubles. You will have people who do you wrong and persecute you.

“Everyone who wants to live showing true devotion to God in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12

Remember…you are not like the world. You belong to God. You are different; so act and respond the way the Ultimate Parent desires for you to.

“If the world hates you, remember that they hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as it loves its own people. But I have chosen you to be different from those in the world. So you don’t belong to the world, and that is why the world hates you.” John 15:18-19 

We need to live for what is right. We need to strive to imitate Christ. Will we ever be exactly like Him? No. He was perfect. But we sure can make every effort to.

“This is what you were chosen to do. Christ gave you an example to follow. He suffered for you. So you should do the same as he did: 22 “He never sinned, and he never told a lie.” 23 People insulted him, but he did not insult them back. He suffered, but he did not threaten anyone. No, he let God take care of him. God is the one who judges rightly. 24 Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross. He did this so that we would stop living for sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:21-24

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Follow me on Instagram @stephanie_shuff

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

god will do what he says he will doJournal writing about Jeremiah 29:11 is nothing new for me. I searched and discovered I’ve written about those God-breathed words about seventeen times (Click here). I appreciate how God reveals something different to me when I read the same verse I’ve read over and over again, just at a different season of my life.

Today is no different. I was reassured that my God will do what He says He will do. Do you sometimes need to be reminded of that fact?

We know God will do what He says He will do be in Numbers 23:19 we read, “God is not a man, so He does not lie.

1 Thessalonians 5:24confirms for us again that God will do what He says He will do. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (Click on the verse to find out what He will do. Good stuff.)

So, let’s take a look at what He says He will do from Jeremiah 29:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

If you were keeping track of how many times He said “I will, that was God…5 vs. man…1 (Okay, we’ll imply three for man, I’ll explain more.)

Let’s take a quick look at what we will do:

  • Pray
  • Look
  • Find

Jeremiah 29 is a letter that God sent to all the people He sent in to captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. (Remember, God also says that when we do wrong, we will have consequences. His people had suffered their consequences and are now coming out of captivity.) He so desires the best for us, His people.

Do you want to best for your life? Then pray to God. Sincerely pray. When you do this He will listen. Don’t just pray, but look for God. Don’t just glance around and wonder when He will show, but look with passion. Be enthusiastic about your search. Seek Him with all your heart. God loves a good ole game of “Hide-and-Seek” but for Him, He’s not really hiding, He’s standing in the wide open space waiting on you to run to Him and find Him. We are often the ones who try to hide from Him, but He sees all.

Now, what will God do:

  • Listen
  • Be found
  • End your troubles and restore you
  • Gather you back to Him
  • Bring you home

Reread these verses and find comfort in knowing that God is in control. We just need to let go and let God do His thing. He will do great things!

  • I 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

He is not a difficult and unloving God. He is a Savior! He is your Savior. He is The Ultimate Parent. He is a good listener. He wants to give your glory. He wants to spend time with you. He wants to keep you near to Him. He can be your very Best Friend is you will let Him.

I pray many blessings and much JOY for you! Have a wonderful day. – Stephanie

 

God is the Boss of my lifeMy son, listen to your father when he corrects you, and don’t ignore what your mother teaches you. What you learn from your parents will bring you honor and respect, like a crown or a gold medal.” Proverbs 1:8-9

Can I get an “Amen, Praise the Lord. Absolutely”?

Not too long ago our family was having dinner. We were having conversation and then instructing/reminding Cole what to do after he had finished with dinner. He replied, “I can’t wait to be a parent and boss my kids around like y’all do. Y’all sure do a great job of it.”

We had to laugh! A good ole belly laugh. Even Hunter and Holly cracked up at Cole’s remark. All the while, Cole looks at us with a grin and says, “Seriously.” Hahahahahaha. (That kid cracks me up.)

When I read today’s scripture I couldn’t help but think of Cole’s comment, amongst other instances going on in all of my children’s lives.

As much as I’d like to have my kiddos write this verse a hundred times on a chalkboard (remember those days), I have to admit… I could feel God nudging me and reminding me that He IS my Heavenly Father and I need to make sure that I listen to Him when He corrects me, don’t ignore Him when He’s teaching me a lesson, and to learn from Him.

Sounds like God is not only the Ultimate Parent, but the Ultimate Teacher as well.

Jesus said, “I didn’t make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up. A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn’t tamper with reality.” John 7:16-18 MSG

Cole says Tim and I are bossy. Well, Who’s the Boss of your life? God’s mine.

I pray many blessings and much JOY for you! Have a wonderful day. – Stephanie

biblesBefore you even start reading, please know that I’m by no means casting any stones. I’m a work in progress. I just reveal what God reveals to me.

“Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:20-21

Oh me oh my. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Raising children is not for sissies.” (Click here to read these three journal entries on parenting.)

When I read today’s scripture, it made me think of a country song that I’ve been hearing on the radio lately by Frankie Ballard called “Young & Crazy”.

In the chorus of the song it ends by saying, “How am I ever gonna get old and wise if I ain’t ever young and crazy.”

Now let’s compare and contrast the bible verses to this song for a minute. Does God’s word say “Don’t take anyone’s advice nor learn from others mistakes, go make your own”? Hmmm, on the contrary. You must read 1 Corinthians 10. It is clearly titled, “A Warning from History”. In verse 6 Paul wrote, “These examples should stop us from wanting evil things like those people did.”

Now, someone is probably reading this and thinking, “Those mistakes/lessons from my past weren’t ‘evil’, they were fun, but it probably wasn’t the best decision when I look back on it, but it was fun at the time (*wink*wink).”

If you look up the word evil in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary you will see that it means morally bad.

I know that I did some morally bad/evil when I was “Young and Crazy”. I honestly can say that I DO NOT want my children making the same mistakes that I did.

Parents often say when their children are doing wrong or going through a certain stage in their lives, “Well, I know what I did when I was their age.” Or, “They aren’t doing as bad as I did when I was a teenager.” And the list of phrases could go on. I’ve even said it myself. But think about it…when you are a born again Christian, you are a child of God. He is The Ultimate Parent. We need to strive to be more like Him, NOT who we (parents) used to be.

We parents don’t need to make excuses for our kids. Remember…if they are Christians, they are God’s children anyhow. God didn’t call us to be ordinary, but to be EXTRAordinary.

Just imagine if they lived according to God’s will. Wow! Oh the stories they really could tell! They could tell because they weren’t ashamed, and most like could actually remember.

I have stories that I am ashamed of. I have stories that I don’t even want my momma to know, still at my age. LOL. I have stories that I pray my children never have to go through. Yes, I have stories that make me laugh, but I’m not always proud of them. Oh, enough about me, let’s get back to the scripture at hand.

“Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:20-21

So, no, the bible doesn’t instruct us to make mistakes. There will be bumps along our path, but when we walk with God, He has a tendency of making those paths straight.

Where are we supposed to get all this advice and instruction from? The bible. God’s word is the Instruction Book for Living. And like 1 Corinthians 10 informed us that we are to learn from others mistakes. We don’t have to (as Beth Moore says) “take that field trip ourselves”. By all means, learn from others. When we open, read, and apply God’s word and learn from others we gain wisdom. The bible is slam full of verses on wisdom. Here’s a few to get you started.

Let’s go back to the country song, and take it literally (I KNOW it’s just a song, but these words do get ingrained in minds). Verse two of “Young & Crazy” says,

Now I might have to kiss not telling how many lips before I ever really figure out what love is.

Go through some heartbreaks, wake up with headaches, don’t learn nothing ‘til you make a lot of mistakes.

How will I know where to draw the line if I don’t cross it a few hundred times?

                                                                                                                                           http://www.azlyrics.com

No, you don’t. You really don’t have to kiss a lot of lips to figure out what love is.  God is love. When we focus on Him and His will for our lives, we really could end up kissing a lot less to find your true love. If you youngins will stop worrying about who you’re going to date and marry and just fall in love with Jesus, you just might be pleasantly surprised that He’s got you in the palm of His hands and has great plans for you without you going through an unpleasant search yourself.

A few hundred times? Yikes! All I’m going to say is “draw the line” when you become a child of God. You are a new creation. He has, can, and will transform your life. Allow God to be God and you can relax for being in command.

“Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:20-21

So to wrap things up:

  • Learn from others mistakes.
  • Let the bible be your Instruction Book for Life.
  • Be wise. Don’t be a fool. You won’t come off as being a prude, you’ll be smart and not look so stupid. (I’ve actually been called a prude. So be it. I’d rather be that than make the crazy mistake I could have made. Just sayin’.)
  • Dream big for your life. Just be ready to be flexible because God may turn you a bit for what’s best.
  • Want what God wants for you. His will is grand!

I pray many blessings and much JOY for you! Have a wonderful day. – Stephanie

 

1 Corinthians 10 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Warning From History

10 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know what happened to our ancestors who were with Moses. They were all under the cloud, and they all walked through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and they all drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from that spiritual rock that was with them, and that rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of those people, so they were killed in the desert.

And these things that happened are examples for us. These examples should stop us from wanting evil things like those people did. Don’t worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people sat down to eat and drink and then got up to have a wild party.” We should not commit sexual sins as some of them did. In one day 23,000 of them died because of their sin. We should not test Christ as some of them did. Because of that, they were killed by snakes. 10 And don’t complain as some of them did. Because they complained, they were killed by the angel that destroys.

11 The things that happened to those people are examples. They were written to be warnings for us. We live in the time that all those past histories were pointing to. 12 So anyone who thinks they are standing strong should be careful that they don’t fall. 13 The only temptations that you have are the same temptations that all people have. But you can trust God. He will not let you be tempted more than you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will also give you a way to escape that temptation. Then you will be able to endure it…”

(Click here to read 1 Corinthians 10 in its entirety. You won’t regret it!)

 

loveDisclaimer:  I would encourage adults to read this before you decide to share it with a younger audience.

Here we go…First of all, I am not here to pass judgment onto anyone.  God clearly tells us not to do that throughout the bible. I want to share with you some things that I’ve discovered this past week.

Last week I felt God put on my heart to share about the upcoming movie “Fifty Shades of Grey”.  Now, this is a book that I did not read, so I knew that I needed to educate myself about it and share what I’ve learned, instead of just throwing my opinion out there.  After hearing so many facts and opinions about the book and movie, I’m grateful that (as Beth Moore says) “I learned this in the classroom instead of taking the fieldtrip myself.”

“The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5 NLT

When I visited the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, EL James’s website, the first sign tells me that I better be careful.  Why?  It warns you that you should be seventeen years or older to enter the site. Really?!   Here is a description taken from the site regarding the books:  “Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.”  I for one do not want to obsess over anything that is not godly, be or feel possessed (that’s just not right), and allow evilness to stay with me forever.  I am grateful that I serve a living and loving God that can rid me of any possessions and forgive me of my sins.

This book/movie is a hyped up book that focuses on SMBD.  Here is what those initials mean and synonyms to correspond with each word:

  • Sadism: the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others. (violent behavior, bloodshed, cruelty, aggression)
  • Masochism: the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from one’s own pain or humiliation.
  • Bondage: sexual practice that involves the tying up or restraining of one partner. (repression, oppression, burden)
  • Discipline: the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience. (control, restraint, authority)

This does not sound like the type of sex life for me and my husband.  I don’t like pain. I enjoy pleasure.  And this definitely does not sound like the type of book that any unmarried folks need to submit their eyes and thoughts to. (Just my opinion.)

Earlier in the week I posted two questions on Facebook and received approximately a hundred responses.  I asked many what they would say to younger adults and teens about seeing the movie.  Please read their responses and of course I may say a little diddy after them:

50 Shades of Grey Question:  OK, Please private message me and give me your thoughts and input:  (1) If you read the book, what did you think about it and are you going to see the movie?  (2)  If you did not read the book, why not and are you going to see it and why?

Quotes from some of those surveyed (and a quick response from me):

“I did read the book. The s/m got kind of boring. (I had to laugh hear at how this sounds!) It wound up a good love story although I thought his turnaround at the end was kind of unbelievable. I thought that somebody with such serious sexual issues could not or would not change for good. Can’t decide about the movie. It can’t be as graphic as the book or it would be rated x.” (I have heard that from several people about how it would be rated X.  Nowadays, they sure put more out there on the screen that my little eyes need to see. I hope you make the right decision for you as to whether or not you see the movie.)

“Basically it was a typical love story between an average girl and this powerful handsome man. The guy had horrible childhood which caused him to do the sexual things he did. He used it as a way to get back at what happened in his childhood in a way” (Ouch!  I don’t believe that S&M is a “typical love story”.  Yes, I can see the attraction between the “average girl and the powerful handsome man”, but this story isn’t anything basic.  It is abnormal.)

“It’s not a true picture of love and marriage. The story involves two people not married and based on a contract (not a marriage contract).”  (Colossians 3:18-19, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.”)

“I read all of the books (& really enjoyed them. I actually own all of them) and did plan on seeing the movie when it 1st came out that there was going to be one. However, I am now choosing to NOT go see the movie or read the books again. I just feel that I shouldn’t and my views on it have mostly changed. I also feel that the devil is working through these books and movie(s) right now and I shouldn’t/don’t want to give it or him my support or money. I can see what the controversy is about but I’m also glad I was able to base my own feelings and opinion about it, having read it. When reading it it can very much and easily consumes you. I now wouldn’t suggest someone to read it unless it was for research sake; and would suggest for them to be in the word constantly, and be very aware.” (I needn’t say more.)

“Some of my friends want to see it so I might go with them on Valentine’s Day, although it’s not something I’m dying to see.” (Then PLEASE DON’T go waste your money and see it.)

“I had heard a little about it and didn’t really want it in my house around a teenage girl.” (Wise decision.  Thank you for not only thinking about your own mind, but remember that old saying, ‘Practice what you preach’…and thinking of others. Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.”)

“I would not suggest that you read it because I do not think that it would be something that you would particularly enjoy reading.” (That is good advice.  Thank you.  And…I would add that if you don’t think that it is good for me, then please take your own advice and don’t go see the movie yourself. “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.” Matthew 5:15.)

“Started reading the book. Hated it. Could not finish. Actually had hard copy and discarded. Will not go to movie. Hopefully most marriages are too strong to let book or movie ruin them.”  (I pray that those married couples who do choose to see it will learn that that is not the submissive behavior God talks about in the bible.  In Hebrews 13:4 we are instructed to, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

“Degrading to women. Disrespecting women. Devaluing women. Just didn’t find it enjoyable reading.” (Disrespect and Devaluing are two things I detest.  Have you heard of the saying ‘Garbage in, garbage out’?  Hey, I’ve written a short journal entry before with that title.  Please click here for a quick read.

“I did read the book. The s/m got kind of boring. (I had to laugh hear at how this sounds!) It wound up a good love story although I thought his turnaround at the end was kind of unbelievable. I thought that somebody with such serious sexual issues could not or would not change for good. Can’t decide about the movie. It can’t be as graphic as the book or it would be rated x.” (I have heard that from several people about how it would be rated X.  Nowadays, they sure put more out there on the screen that my little eyes need to see. I hope you make the right decision for you as to whether or not you see the movie.)

“Basically it was a typical love story between an average girl and this powerful handsome man. The guy had horrible childhood which caused him to do the sexual things he did. He used it as a way to get back at what happened in his childhood in a way” (Ouch!  I don’t believe that S&M is a “typical love story”.  Yes, I can see the attraction between the “average girl and the powerful handsome man”, but this story isn’t anything basic.  It is abnormal.)

“It’s not a true picture of love and marriage. The story involves two people not married and based on a contract (not a marriage contract).”  (Colossians 3:18-19, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.”)

“I read all of the books (& really enjoyed them. I actually own all of them) and did plan on seeing the movie when it 1st came out that there was going to be one. However, I am now choosing to NOT go see the movie or read the books again. I just feel that I shouldn’t and my views on it have mostly changed. I also feel that the devil is working through these books and movie(s) right now and I shouldn’t/don’t want to give it or him my support or money. I can see what the controversy is about but I’m also glad I was able to base my own feelings and opinion about it, having read it. When reading it it can very much and easily consumes you. I now wouldn’t suggest someone to read it unless it was for research sake; and would suggest for them to be in the word constantly, and be very aware.” (I needn’t say more.)

“I downloaded the sample on my Kindle to see what all the fuss was about and stopped within 5 pages. The writing itself (sentence structure, word choice for descriptions) were weak. The published romance authors I know personally hated it. …And I’ll admit I’m curious. The movie may be better than the book. But I will wait until it comes to Pay per View and watch it then.” (I’m with you on the curiosity.  I’m hoping that just like many shows that I DVR on television that my “first curiosity” will get pushed to the wayside, and once I have time to sit down and watch it my interest will be gone. Then, I realize that life goes on just fine without me seeing what I had recorded.  Delete recorded show and move on.)

“I had a friend who recommended 50 shades and I got it before I knew what it was. I didn’t get far before I stopped reading it. I’ve read other books that had some “racy” parts that didn’t really bother me but this one did. So, no, I have no desire to see it.” (That’s what we often discover in life.  Sins are usually attractive and enticing, but when we actually start to dabble in it, we discover that it’s not what we really need in our lives.  I’m glad you had the self discipline to put it down and walk away.)

“If you are an avid reader, you’d barely be able to get through the first book, like I did. It is really poorly written and had too many grammatical errors to count! I held off reading it for a long time because I usually tend to not enjoy “hype books” but I finally gave it a try to see what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, I stopped after the first and have no interest in finishing out the series. Not to mention all that S&M business doesn’t really do it for me… I don’t like pain! All I could think about was how much all of that stuff would hurt! Haha. If I do end up watching the movie, it definitely won’t be in a theater filled with dozens of other women, it will be at home with my husband, or with a glass of wine…Or both. I don’t feel like reading that book or seeing the movie would personally encourage me to have adulterous thoughts. If anything, it made me more thankful for the healthy and functional relationship I have! But that’s just me.” (Amen.)

“I read all 3 books of 50 shades. I think everything in context. I think if you get to the third book & understand that he came out of his darkness’ & turned his life around. There is a message in there. Understanding that everyone sins and that sin does not have a degree of severity. Sin is sin. No desire to see the movie, maybe because I am more of a bookworm than movies.” (I’m glad that you were able to read between the lines.  I am one who often has to read to submerge myself in a book to better retain and understand it.  It’s a good thing that I didn’t read it. Haha.  Yes, sin is a sin, and for me to put those words and visions in my head would be a sin for me.)

“I did not read it and do not intend to see the movie. Just didn’t feel right about it.” (Good idea.  Listening to your gut and heart will keep you out of a lot of trouble.)

“I don’t want to spoil what I have by introducing that into my thoughts…Know what I mean? (I totally know what you mean!  My mind doesn’t need to go there.  Now, spicing thing up with my man is all good, but pain…no thanks!)

So I am one who has read the trilogy of Fifty Shades. Yes, I do plan on seeing all 3 movies…actually will be seeing them with my mom, who also read all 3 books. I think I saw the love story it presents over the “explicit sex scenes.”” (I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts after you saw the movie. I’m glad it’s you and not me, especially with mom! LOL!)

As a parent of three teens, ranging from the ages thirteen to just shy of nineteen, I definitely had my own opinion of the book and movie, but I wanted to hear from those who have read the book.  So…When asked if teens and young adults should see this, a few of the responses were the following:

“Definitely not. It is abnormal sex presented in a romantic way. It also promotes male domination even though the girl seems to win in the end but I still think a man who is that sexually deviant is sick. Young people are normally preoccupied with sex. To be exposed to such sexual practices, boys and girls, I think would not be good in developing sexual behavior appropriate to their age. Another thing is that the guy is rich, cool, good looking…all the things that young people think are important.”

“To the girls I would say that you must set your standards high and guard your heart. The reality is most fellas want to get in your pants so know where you stand. Also, the scare factor of pregnancy and STDs needs to be on the table- that’s reality. Guys like to talk so they should be prepared for whatever they do to be public knowledge. I would imagine the movie should be off limits to high schoolers (that have any parental guidance). To college girls- it’s not reality, be careful little eyes what you see!”

 “I think it is not suitable for underage girls or boys, but then again it is more suitable than much of what they have in many games and or violence/oriented movies. Sensuality and dominance and submission all merit adult guidance and discussion beyond an unsupervised movie or book experience.”

 “I really wouldn’t suggest for a younger female or male to read it; it’s definitely not for younger eyes or minds. To the question of it affecting ones relationship/marriage: I believe it very well, blindly, can; Christian relationship/marriage or not. Just like another erotica book can. The woman &/or man can start searching for something they don’t think they are finding is their spouse. Also I feel that reading those types of books can cause someone to want to “spice things up” and it may cause it to back fire if not approached appropriately in the marriage. The book portrays something where the guy is completely controlling. It takes it to a whole different level of submission. It’s not in a loving, Christian way. However, I feel that if one is aware of this and reading the books for let’s say research sake I feel the affect can be less. The difference with 50 shades of grey is people are making it popular but in reality it’s really no different than the other ones out there. Also, if you have not heard of the book ‘pulling back the shades’ you should look into it and read it (I’ve just started but seems good/insightful) It’s written by 2 authors, one who did read the books and one who did not; they have some great views both looking at it differently & from a Christian perspective. I really think you’d enjoy it. Just a side note: in my personal opinion, I think in theater wise the movie can’t be too explicit because of it being in theaters. I think it can only be just as bad as some of the other ‘R’ rated movies out there. However that opinion could always be wrong…there’s no telling these days…”

 “Teenager girls, definitely should NOT see the movie. The submissiveness can be pretty harsh for a young woman.  He does give her a safe word that if it gets to be too much she is to say it and he will stop…she does use the safe word once and he does stop. … I don’t think I would have ever shown interest in the book if I was unmarried…I would have probably felt ashamed. I do think being in a strong marriage (My husband knew I was reading the books) is a good thing and being honest about what is in the book.” (Praise God for strong marriages.  Just please be careful and stay strong in the Lord.)

“I did not read the book nor am I planning to see the movie. I was involved in a brief conversation once with a two people who had discussed the book and it did not seem like anything I really cared about. I think sex/love is a very personal thing and I’m truly not interested in others sex lives / routines lol.”

“I did read it. I ignored the sex parts to be honest. The sad reality is that is how some people live, which is terrible. I feel sorry for them. The backstory was interesting about the male character and how the female character helps him to overcome his demons. I do not think I will watch the film.”

My friend is a family therapist. He said it is one of the worst books for people to read because they begin the internalize that that is how a relationship is suppose to be. To me it was just a book. No more, no less. The therapist shared that he had many cases come into his office because couples struggled after one or the other read the book. To me that is mind blowing….I have heard people critiqued others for reading it. I have been critiqued for reading it. To me that is judgment. My character has not changed since reading the book. (That breaks my heart about the struggling marriages.  Prayers for all.)

“I did not read the book and I have no desire to see the movie. The movie Old Fashion is more appealing to me.” (Thank you. Thank you, for sharing this other movie option with us!)

Okay, I have viewed the trailer, read articles and endorsements, and I am sharing this website with you.  I want to encourage you all to share this with others.  I want to encourage you to GO and see this instead of Fifty Shades if you are going out to the movies.  I hope that you will even take your family to see it.  I am planning on taking my whole crew with me.  I would rather my children see a real “love story” where a man knows how to treat a lady with respect and honor.  Had the main character lived out his life earlier and made mistakes?  It sure sounds like it to me, but we don’t have to view all his mistakes.  What we do get to see is how his life has changed for the better…for God.

Click here to view the trailer and read about Old Fashioned.  

Here is a synopsis of the movie taken from the website:

A romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh, a former frat boy who gives up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance as well as for his devout belief in God. When Amber Hewson, a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America.

I journaled about his movie just yesterday:  An “Old Fashioned” Love

A precious friend of mine has sent me articles and blogs from others regarding the movie, Fifty Shades.  The authors are men and women.  I thought I’d share them with you as well:

“5 Things ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Teaches About Sex”

http://www.chastity.com/blog/five-fat-lies-in-fifty-shades-of-grey

http://www.scissortailsilk.com/2015/02/10/christian-women-and-christian-grey/

I hope that you are a little more informed about the book and value the opinion of others. 

I know that I personally will not be sharing my money with Ms. EL James’.  I don’t believe that her writings bring glory to God, so I’ll be spending my money elsewhere.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! Have a wonderful day. – Stephanie