Monday, May 21, 2012

Live a life of contrast!
Whether you were a merchantman or a sailor or a naval officer or even a pirate, when you were on land, most people could tell that you lived a life at sea!  How? Sailors in the past had a different way of dressing, of walking, of talking. In any port town, it was easy to spot the seamen. Their checkered shirts, baggy pants, hobbled gait and sun-tanned skin told people they worked on a ship. But even the blind could determine that fact by only a few minutes listening to the sailors speak. They had a language all their own. Words such as windlass, leadline, keelhaul, starboard, bulkhead were known only to those hardened by wind and wave.

If a sailor didn't understand the lingo. If he dressed funny and couldn't preform his duties, he was cast off from the ship and the profession.

Let's face it, all of us want to belong. We want to fit in. Have friends. Be popular. But in order to do so, you have to behave a certain way, dress a certain way, speak a certain way.  You have to become a sheep. Remember High School? It was all the kids that were different who got picked on, who stood out from the crowd and weren't allowed in.
But I'm sick of sheep! The world is full of sheep, following the latest trends in fashion, music, entertainment, values, cultural ideas, etc. Do you even notice the sheep? Not really. There are so many of them, they all blend together. We don't notice them because they are all doing the same thing!

So, who do you notice? It's the person doing something different. The person swimming against the tide. The person doing something extraordinary and totally unexpected.

Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead let your lives be so in contrast as to expose and reprove and convict them. Ephesians 5:11 Amplified

What saddens me is that when I examine the lives of many Christians in America, I can't tell them apart from anyone else. They get divorced, have wayward kids, have drinking and drug problems, have extramarital affairs, cuss, throw temper tantrums, behave selfishly. They hoard money for their future, buy luxury items, and are stingy with their charity (Good grief, do we believe in Heaven or not? Why are we storing up riches here?). In addition, many are sick and dying and impoverished. (I realize people get sick and die, but when we profess in a God who heals, shouldn't we have a lower rate of illness? Just saying).

So I ask you, why would anyone be drawn to Christianity?  Where's the contrast with the world? It would seem to me that it's a pretty bum deal. You have all these rules to follow, have to go to church on Sunday, and you still have all the same problems as the world does. No thanks.

For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light  Ephesians 5:8 Amplified

Just imagine with me for a moment what a group of Christians completely sold out for the Lord would look like:
  • Families would stay together and love each other. Kids would grow up normal and loved.
  • No drug or alcohol addictions. No abuse.
  • People would live a life of high morals. Honesty, Integrity, Goodness. You could count on them
  • People would help each other in time of need
  • People would love each other
  • People would always have enough
  • People wouldn't be sick all the time
  • People would be happy, joyful and fulfilled with their daily tasks

Now, wouldn't that be attractive to this dying world?  I know it would have been for me before I met the Lord. I was looking for this kind of life. I wanted fulfillment, happiness, peace and love. I looked everywhere in the world.. even at Christians I knew, and couldn't find it.

(note: I don't advocate the prosperity Gospel which says the Christian life is all fun and happiness. We do have struggles. But they are good struggles with good endings, driven by God and used for our good. And it's how we handle these struggles that matters. With faith, patience, love, perseverance? or do we grumble and complain and walk away from God? The World is watching! )

Why are we melding with the world? Our lives should be so different than those around us, that we should be a beacon for all to see. Some will be drawn to us. Others will mock. But at least we are letting God's light shine through us. At least we are doing something rather than spending our time here on earth pleasing ourselves.  

Therefore He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon you and give you light. Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise, sensible, intelligent people, making the very most of the time because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:14-17 Amplified
So, don't be a sheep. Don't be afraid to be different. To be the outcast. The person swimming against the stream. The person people whisper about behind raised hands. Be a light. Be bold in your faith and your convictions. And love people. Love them like Jesus does. 

Live a life of contrast!


  1. Monday, May 21st,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Excellent word today (again) !!! And I love the final picture you chose to get the point across ... that of "one fish" daring to swim in the opposite direction from 'all the other fish', to stand 'apart' !
    To be different from the rest of the world, to 'live a life of contrast' ... being 'bold in our faith and convictions' ... Amen, and, Amen !!!
    Thanks MaryLu ... for yet 'another timely word in due season' !!!
    "Today, Monday, May 21st" is Canada's -- Victoria Day Holiday (celebrating the Queen's birthday) ... so except for the birds singing away, it is a relatively quiet day here. But come tonight ... probably many fireworks will be going off (as they actually already have been going off ALL weekend long) !
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. Yes - in agreement with Brenda again. I love this post. It's something that plays on my heart a lot too, maybe since I'm raising children now and I have such hopes for them - that they will walk uprightly; that they will be strong in who they are in Christ, standing firm on His foundation; that they will follow His leading, and not the leading of the world. It's a tough place for youth but it excites me when I think of the possibility of the believing youth making a stand and not being intimidated into going with the flow. Of course this doesn't stop at the youth. I'm well aware of it in adulthood too ... we all just have to stay close to the true shepherd, know His voice, know Him. Oh dear... I could almost 'preach' a sermon on this one! Thanks again MaryLu, for an encouraging word this morning. I needed to hear it.
    And Brenda - have a lovely holiday today! It's been an absolutely gorgeous weekend here; the beach has been calling ...
    Have a great day MaryLu, as well!

  3. .... Thanks, Caroline .... "Happy Victoria Day" to you too ! Going to the beach, huh ? Enjoy ! Yes, it's been a lovely weekend. Yesterday was extremely hot with high humidity ... but today is much more "refreshing". Just enjoying the beautiful view out my apt window of the Canal (not where the ships go through though) ... with windows all open, and wonderful breezes blowing !!! Love it !
    They were calling for a 'chance' of thunder-showers today, but it sure doesn't look like rain for this area.
    And, as I'm waiting for "new reading material" ... namely MaryLu's next book (no pressure, MaryLu) ... I am "re-reading" her previous novels for now. Presently enjoying "The Red Siren".
    Have a good day ! You too, MaryLu ... and to all the 'other pirate-fans' !!!
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  4. BEAUTIFUL!!!!

    We actually just had a sermon on this recently. We call ourselves Christians, but do we really act as we are supposed to; made in Christ? The world today has become black and white, with only small streaks of color remaining. That's definitely something we all need to work on!
    I also loved your point about sicknesss and disease. I never thought about it before, but maybe we should be healthier, or at least happier about our circumstances. We are told that there will be trouble in this world, and there definitely is! Even if our lives aren't any better than non-christians, we should at least continue to thrive in our faith at all times, showing people that we don't need health, riches, or people's acceptance to be happy, as we have the one true form of happiness; God.
    Thank's for evoking the thought!


  5. Happy Victoria Day to Brenda and Caroline and any other Canadians out there!! Enjoy your fireworks. And so glad your weather is nice.. Only one more month for Veil of Pearls! I'm writing them as fast as I can. ;-) Have a wonderful day!

    Caroline.. it is a tough world for the youth. It's so hard to swim against the tide, so hard to be teased and disliked, but all you can do as a Mom is raise your kids as God leads and then never cease to pray for them. And feel free to preach anytime you want!

    Emily, well I'm glad your pastor preached about this. I think it's a topic most shy away from for fear of offending. Yes.. shouldn't Christians be healthier, happier, kinder, more at peace, than the world? If not, what are we doing? Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. Mon May 21st,
    "Evening, MaryLu."
    Just "re-read" my comments (above) ... and it 'sounded like' I came across as being -- rude, a smart-mouth, and sarcastic. Oh, MaryLu ... I never meant it to 'sound' that way !!! (Re -- "waiting" for your new novel to come out, and "no pressure".)
    Oh my goodness ... I should have explained my comment further.
    Had not told you that over the past few months (while awaiting your next novel to be released) ... I had ordered a few books by other various Christian authors, to fill in the time ... and as it turned out, I was disappointed with the books. So, I made a decision to just re-read your novels (to date) ... "knowing for sure" that I like your writings so very much.
    Just excited for your next book to come out ... and no, you surely don't need to feel any rush on "writing them as fast as you can" !
    Sorry about that MaryLu ... truly I wasn't trying to sound so 'flippant'. Hope this better explains my comments.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  7. Dear sweet Brenda, No.. I didn't take offense at all! In fact I was flattered you were so anxious for Veil to release and that you were rereading my other books.. I was the one being sarcastic.. saying.. I'm writing as fast as I can! with a huge smile on my face. I do hate online chatting sometimes because you can't tell the other person's intentions. But no harm done.
    You're sweet to worry about it.. Hugs..

  8. MaryLu, I have said these statements many times!
    You asked the question: "Do you even notice the sheep?" No,I agree with you. Oh, you might notice the "mock" shepherd (latest trend, etc), but the sheep seem mesmerized or transported (blindfolded by nuance)by it all.

    Another point that I would add to your post would be the surrounding community have torn down the walls that was once valued by all these; now it embraces it. All it takes is a foothole or unpatched hole by the enemy just like the very first sin.
    Surroundings have been allowed to change and much of that I lay at the feet of elected officals who boast of being a Christian, but now revealed as a lie through compromises made. We don't have to follow and we should stand against the tide. Christians leaders, too.
    Instead of endorsements--how about pointing out truths & falsehoods.
    May I swim even bolder against the flow.

  9. *perhaps I should have said

    "blindfolded nuances"

    instead of community--"agendas and special interest groups"

    I still on this life journey and am grateful for the Christians who swim in the direction the Lord has. You and I once talked about prodigals (before I was moved to your fb page--not upset by that--wholeheartedly understand)We also talked about growing up on beaches :) Thought of e mailing you.

    MaryLu, sorry for the editing--lol!
    It must be me finding my 'writer's voice' and learning to choose words wisely. Not saying this about you, but I am seeing this in the Christian fiction market, too, as well as other areas. Once again saying...still swimming/running this race.

    Blessings & sweet tidings!

  10. Miriam, thank you for your though provoking response. I couldn't agree more about this culture's agendas and special interests. In particular, as you said, politicians and professors who try to grab money and power in the name of "social justice" and "environmental policies". They deceive the masses with their rhetoric and like sheep, the masses follow. (Right over a cliff!)
    I remember our discussion on prodigals and growing up on beaches. Yes. the curse of FB when my fan base grew too large.. I just can't keep up with everyone.. My blog seems to be a better place to converse.
    Regarding the Christian Fiction market, I also couldn't agree more. Which is why I hope to keep swimming against the tide as long as God allows. Glad to know you're swimming with me!

    And all of you, too!