Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another Layer, Another Lesson

As the beginning of a new year rolls around, I often contemplate what I have learned over the past year. Most of the time, I find that God has shown me many things and I have either chosen to learn them or ignore them.

While my family was driving home from church this week, I was looking at the road which was becoming quite rough and had many potholes. Now, this road had been fixed two years ago, and I was surprised that it was already so bad. I then began thinking about how the road is often like my spiritual connection with God. I begin in a state that I believe is perfect, and yet God wears down the layers of sin that still coat my life. It may make my road a little bumpier, but in the end it is all for good. Like the cars that have worn down the road near my house, God has worn away the layers of evil that I have failed to recognize.

Through all this “wearing away”, God teaches me lessons in trust and prayer. All lessons revert back to the Bible, and I can choose whether or not I want to accept this lesson from God. Sadly, I do still ignore a great many teachings from Him, because I am scared of what they will do to my life. And yet, when I take a big step in God’s direction, He rewards me with a strengthened relationship with Him.

So what have I learned this year? I have learned:

-A- How to work hard.

My job has taught me more about a strong work ethic than anything else ever has. Working in a place where everyone is in a different mood has helped me come out of my shy shell every now and then and be a friendly, smiling employee. I am so thankful for my job, and hope to continue there through college.

-B- To have God’s joy!

I think one of the most important things I have learned this year is to find joy in every situation. Although I do not always succeed, I know that God’s joy radiates through the happy and sad. Smiling most definitely comes from God, and I aim to use this gift often! Like my sweet cousin Esther, I want to laugh and smile through everything.

-C- To trust Him in everything.

Through the many good times this year, bad times have been lightly sprinkled. Throughout these times I have questioned God and wondered when He will come through for me, and every time I am reverted back to the Bible and its many answers. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5, has become my rock that I cling to.

-D- To pray through all.

When 2009 began, my prayer life was practically non-existent. It was not because of the lack of time I had, rather it was because I chose not to pray. I decided to remedy that, and I have found strength through my newfound prayer life. I have a long list on my desk, and I every time I think to pray, I look at that list and ask God to fulfill that person with His all-consuming love. This has been a very good technique, and I have loved growing even closer to God.
This year has been one filled with joy and God’s light, and I am so thankful to be beginning another year where God will teach me even more! I look forward to His lessons, and am thankful that He is slowly wearing away the layers of sin that once engulfed me.

May your new year be filled with happiness and God’s presence!

Psalm 25:5, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long!”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Journey to Bethlehem - Part 4

(The final week of the Christmas story from Mary’s perspective. Merry Christmas!)

The pain gripped me with such force that a small sob escaped my lips. Joseph had settled me onto a bed made of straw, and was watching me with wide eyes. I knew I had to be brave for his sake. The terror in his eyes was evident, and I did not want the birth of a child we would raise together to be a bad experience.

After breathing through the pain for several hours, I knew the time had come. God’s Son would be born tonight, in a stable filled with animals and dirt. As the baby’s head appeared, the pain could not keep the joy off my face. Although I had feared this day for nine months, I no longer felt inept. Having attended many births in Nazareth helped. I knew what to expect, but the miracle of life was even more amazing when it was my own child being born.

“Joseph! He’s almost here!” I cried in excitement. Joseph ran to my side, grabbed my hands and offered his support while I brought Jesus into the world. An infant’s cry pierced the silent night and I looked up to see Joseph holding the baby. The wonder and love in his eyes made me weep with joy and I thought back to the miraculous events that had led up to the birth of Jesus.

Joseph handed the child to me, and I could see tears trickling down his cheeks.
Never had I known my husband to weep! His happiness was evident to me, and I, too wept when I looked at my child’s perfect face and body. I tore linens into strips and swaddled him. Bringing him close to my heart I whispered, “Jesus, you are born this night into a world filled with darkness. Yet you have brought light!”

At that very moment, a light pierced the surrounding darkness. Looking through the slats of the stable, I saw a star, brighter than all the rest twinkling in the heavens. I laid my baby in the manger, an inadequate bed for the Son of Adonai, yet felt a peace when I watched the face of my newborn slowly drift off into sleep.

A knock outside shattered my reverie, and Joseph got up to see who came. Three finely dressed men walked in carrying gifts for the baby. The baby! How had they known? A laugh bubbled softly within me. Most likely because of their faith in a coming Messiah, of course!

Another knock led a bewildered Joseph to let in several shepherds who had heard from the angels that the Messiah had just been born. As I watched the grown men gaze upon my beautiful baby, I knew that this was the happiest night of my life. Although I was not sure I would be a good mother, I had no doubt that I loved my baby more than words could express.

After our evening guests had left, I watched Joseph pick up Jesus with a tenderness I did not know he possessed.

“Mary, he’s beautiful,” Joseph whispered, tears threatening to spill over once more. I nodded and placed my hand on his. He looked at me with more love then I had ever seen before, and I knew that he would be a good father.

Jesus was brought into the world that night to a poor family of Nazareth, and yet I knew that God had special plans for him, plans that would make him more special than anyone else on earth. God chose me, a young girl, to mature into a woman so that He could fulfill a mighty work: the birth of His Son.

That night would live in a special place in my heart, and no one could ever take away the joy I felt at bringing that small babe into the world.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Journey to Bethlehem - Part 3

(Continued from last week – Mary’s Perspective.)

We’ve been traveling for over two months and I am exhausted. I can tell that Joseph is, too. I can’t believe he has walked this whole way, letting me ride the donkey! I can’t imagine how exhausted he must be.

I am nearly nine months pregnant, now. I can’t believe how quickly it has gone! Although it has been difficult, I cannot wait to bring this babe into the world.

With this excitement comes fear, though. I am so afraid of the pain of childbirth, but I cannot let my fear get in the way of God’s will. My mother’s instructions relieve some of my trepidation, but I still can think of nothing else.
Joseph has been kind to me, letting me stop as often as I need to stretch my legs. The long months on the road have put so much stress on him, and yet he has never lost his temper or been rude to me. I truly have found a gem for a husband.

Early this morning we reached Bethlehem! It seems like so long since we have seen other people and eaten real food! After many months of eating the same foods, we will finally taste fresh fruits and vegetables! I have been craving something other than the salted meat and dry bread that has made up our meals for so long.

I climbed off the donkey and shook my legs, excited to see my husband’s birthplace.
A catch in my back kept me from straightening for a moment, and Joseph looked down at me in concern.

“I’m all right, Joseph. Just tired and sore!” I said. Joseph sighed with relief, and tied the donkey to a tree. Then he grabbed my arm to support me and we began walking through the town. Every now and then, Joseph would point out something that he remembered, and even tell stories about his childhood.

It was then that I realized how little I knew about my husband. Although we’d known each other for ten years, I never thought to ask him many questions. To do so would be inappropriate, but now that we are married, such questions are not unseemly! The rest of the day we took turns asking each other questions, and I learned much about my sweet husband.

On the way back into town, my back pain began getting worse and worse. Joseph once again glanced at me in concern, but this time I could not reassure him.

“Mary! What is happening? What is wrong?” Joseph asked. I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself down, but I could not deny the fact that my labor pains had begun.

“Joseph, please go find us a place to stay. I think the baby is coming!” Joseph looked at me in horror, and began running toward the nearest inn. But then he quickly ran back out again. I was in terrible pain, and I did not know what Joseph was doing. He had been in four inns already!

“Mary, there is no room for us! The only place available is this farmer’s stable. I’m so sorry!” Joseph gasped, out of breath from worry.

I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. The son of God would be born in a dirty stable. And it would happen tonight.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Journey to Bethlehem - Part 2

(Continued from last week… Mary’s Perspective. Part Two in a four-part series.)

I was six months pregnant when it happened. I was walking down the street, on the way to my dear friend Maya’s house, when Joseph ran from his house in my direction!
He had not spoken with me since the day I told him that I was pregnant. I was very surprised, and even more so when he started calling my name!

“Yes? Is something wrong?” I asked. Joseph shook his head no, and then motioned me into his house. I stepped in, my legs shaking with fear, but Joseph quelled my fright with one loving look.

“Mary! An angel of the Lord appeared to me in a dream last night, and I believe your story! The son you will bear truly is the son of the Holy Spirit,” Joseph said calmly.

I broke into tears of relief. Finally, someone believed my story! Then questions flooded my mind. Would he take me back as his wife? Would he support the child that was growing within me?

“Joseph, what can this mean for us?” It may not have been a very proper question for a girl to ask, but I had to know. Joseph slowly reached for my hand, covering it in his scabbed, carpenter’s hands, and smiled at me. I knew that no longer would I have to worry for the baby. He would have a home and a father!

I gave Joseph one last grateful look, then walked out of his house with more joy that I had experienced in many months. So great was my relief, that I almost forgot that I was on my way to Maya’s house. With one hand on my stomach, I proceeded on my journey. I had not seen Maya since the day I saw the angel, but I knew that she surely would know of my pregnancy by now.

I was right. When I knocked on the door, Maya answered it, all the color draining from her face when she saw me.

“Hello, Maya! I have not seen you in many months! How are you, my friend?” I asked cheerfully. Maya just shook her head and began to close the door. Having received this response from several people since my shocking announcement, I knew I had to stop her. I put one hand on the door and met Maya’s cold eyes.

“Why are you shutting me out?” I asked tearfully. Maya motioned me inside with a sigh, and proceeded to tell me what her grievance was.

“I should not be talking to you. You are pregnant outside of marriage. How could you do such a thing? My father has told me to stay as far away from you because or your choices!” Maya yelled loudly.

Tears welled up in my eyes, and I ran to Maya to give her a hug. She pushed me away, as tears began rolling down her cheeks.

“I used to know you, Mary, but now I cannot be your friend. Please leave my house,” Maya said coldly. I had no choice but to let myself out. All the joy from Joseph’s acceptance of me was gone. I had no one who believed me except my betrothed. The rejection from so many of my past friends overwhelmed me, but I did not let it show.

As I made my way back to my home, I heard the pounding of horses’ hooves. Seven horses with Roman soldiers came barreling into Nazareth. I had to run out of the way, for fear of being trampled! What could their hurry be?

“I have a message from Caesar Augustus! All people must journey back to their homeland and attend a census there! You must leave in enough time to complete this journey!” a soldier cried and then galloped off to the next town.

I gasped when I realized what this could mean. A tap on my shoulder made me turn around too quickly and I bumped into Joseph.

“Mary, as my betrothed, you must journey with me to my homeland. We must go to Bethlehem,” Joseph said solemnly. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, nervous and excited. I nodded my head, and made plans with Joseph to leave in a week’s time.

I walked home quickly, making a mental list of all the things that had to be done. I then realized that my baby would not be born in my quiet, safe little town. It would be born in Bethlehem! This realization scared me, but I knew that I was in God’s hands. It was His child, and He would make sure it was born safely.

That week was spent packing up all of the provisions and clothing needed for the trip. My mother who had not hardly spoken with me since I became pregnant sat me down and told me all the steps that I would go through when I was in labor. Although the thought terrified me, it was good to have a woman’s perspective on what was going to happen.

Early in the morning, Joseph helped me onto a donkey, and loaded all the provisions as well. Goodbyes were said, and we set out on our journey.

The journey to Bethlehem, where the son of God would be born.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Journey to Bethlehem - Part 1

As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, it is always good to stop and remember the true meaning of Christmas. It’s easy to get caught up in the shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, and typical hustle and bustle that comes with December 25th. So, to commemorate the birth of my Lord, I will be writing a four week series, retelling the events that led up to the birth of Jesus from how I believe Mary would have felt. This does have basis from Luke 2 and Matthew 1, but I have fictionalized it greatly to tell the story in a more personal way. Have a very Merry Christmas!

(From Mary’s Perspective)

I grabbed the pitcher and began making the half mile trek to the well. It seemed we were always in need of water on the hottest days! I did not like walking in the heat, but I tried to be cheerful about it all the same. My friend Maya came out of her house as I passed and offered to walk with me to the well. I denied her offer, knowing she was doing it to be nice. She nodded her head goodbye, and I carried on
with my task.

As I reached the well, I found it odd that no one was around. Typically, there were several mothers with children drawing the water for their families. I thought no more of it, however, and dipped my jar into the full well. As I drew it out, I had a strange sensation that someone was near. I turned around and dropped my pitcher to the ground in fright. An angel stood before me, smiling!

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for I have great news! You are to bear a son and he shall be called Immanuel, God with us,” the angel Gabriel said. I was so frightened, and many thoughts were racing through my already confused mind. Yes, I was engaged to a man named Joseph, but I was still a virgin! What could the angel mean?

“How can this be? For I am a virgin!” I cried. The angel smiled and told me that I would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. I was calmed, somewhat, and then Gabriel was gone. I took a deep breath to steady myself, now thinking of how I would tell Joseph and my family. Babies born out of wedlock were terribly mistreated, and the mothers condemned to death in some cases.

I drew more water from the well, and started home, dreading what was to come. Although I was terrified, a wonderful peace settled around me. I was to bear the Son of God! How could this be? I was not a particularly perfect girl, nor did I seem special in any way. I was just Mary, betrothed to Joseph in a small town called Nazareth. Yet God had chosen me, and I felt so very special because of it.

I had finally reached my home, and knew that I needed to tell my family as quickly as possible. I set the jar of water down, and sent a quick prayer for strength up to God. I walked into my house, and saw that both my parents were in the kitchen talking quietly. And there in the corner, was Joseph! God had obviously arranged this gathering, and I was to tell them my news at that very moment.

“Father, Mother, Joseph,” I whispered, scared nearly to death. “I must tell you something.” They all looked at me with worry written across their faces, and I knew this would not be easy. I took a deep breath and began again, “As I walked to the well today, an angel of the Lord appeared to me! It was most wonderful, and he said that I am to become pregnant and bear the Son of God!” From the looks on their faces, I knew they thought I was crazy.

“How could you! What a lie you have told! How could you betray your betrothed and become pregnant by another man? What a wicked girl you are,” my father yelled. Tears began rolling down my cheeks as I realized that my family would not accept my explanation. Both were God-fearing people, but such a thing was unheard of. I bowed my head meekly, accepting his criticism, although not agreeing with it. My mother ran from the room, sobbing angrily.

At that moment, I felt the hand of God comforting me and telling me to trust Him. Joseph looked me in the eye and I could see the heartbreak and betrayal that he thought I was doing to him. Then Joseph said, “Mary, I don’t know why you would betray me like this, and I should have you stoned. It is not against the law to murder an adulteress, and if I had the mind to do it, I would. But I think I would rather divorce you in quiet so that you are not hurt.”

I could contain it no longer, and began weeping with a broken heart. My father sternly told me to leave until I could regain my composure, and I ran outside and all the way to the well. I looked around thinking of all the things that were happening because of the baby growing inside me. I did not know how I would deal with it! Overcome with emotion and sadness, I threw myself to the ground, sobbing like I never had before. Then I remembered that God had chosen me, a poor young girl to bear His son. The tears stopped flowing as I raised my hands to the heavens, crying out to God.

Then I made this commitment: “I will bear this child, O Lord! I will bear him for you!”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks

It is the season to be grateful, and I have so many things to be thankful for! Remember on Thanksgiving that you have been blessed with so many things that you take for granted. Don’t let anything slip by you unnoticed! Recognize every blessing and give thanks for it.

Five Things I am Thankful for:

1. My Faith
You have no idea how much my Lord Jesus means to me! Without Him, I would be lost and sad most of the time. Jesus is my Savior, and He guides me every step of the way. Without His forgiveness and purpose, I would be a meaningless mess, but because He has a divine purpose for my life, I am no longer afraid.

2. My Family
Without my family, I would be so very lonely! Dad: Thank you for working so hard to fulfill my needs, and for being an example of Godly love! Mom: Thank you for always being ready to listen. Whether I need advice or just to vent, I am so grateful for you! Noah: Thank you for being such a fun brother. I love you so much, and want to be your best friend forever! Lexi: I have so much fun playing dress up and dolls with you. Let’s keep our relationship strong!

3. Dance
There are so many things that could prevent me from dancing, but God has allowed me to keep worshiping Him through dance. I love all my teachers and thank them for helping me grow in my technique and strength. May I always dance for God, and not let my focus be shifted from Him!

4. My job
I love my job, even if it is sometimes hard. The values and lessons I have learned through it have taught me so much. I have learned how to be a gracious, smiling server, even when the grumpiest of people comes my way. Thank you, Lord, for my job!

5. Being Homeschooled
What a blessing it is to be able to escape all the influences and distractions that teens face at public school. Not only can I go my own pace and learn everything well, but I can use curricula that gives God credit for being the Creator of the universe. Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity!

I give God the glory for all of my blessings, and want to love and serve Him all of my days. What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I, Judas

I have always disliked the story of Judas Iscariot in the Bible. Judas started out as a close follower of Christ, but in the end betrayed Jesus into the hands of an angry mob who crucified God’s son on the cross. Jesus lost His life and spent three days in Hell because Judas wanted thirty pieces of silver. Judas, overcome by guilt, hanged himself. This story is depressing and leaves no hope for Judas Iscariot in the end.

There are many characters in the Bible who choose money over good intentions. Ananias and Saphira are another example of people who choose money over truth and life. They, however, were not overcome with guilt, but were struck down by God because of their lying, greedy ways.

It occurred to me several Sundays ago while worshiping that I am no better than Judas, Ananias, or Saphira. Every time I choose my ways over God’s ways, I am betraying Jesus. I am a traitor and a liar, and I deserve the same ends that Ananias, Saphira, and Judas met. Why has God allowed me to live when I should be struck down for my evil ways? Why has God given me grace?

The answer comes in the name of Jesus Christ. Because I have repented of my many sins and chosen to place my hope in Jesus, my sins are forgiven, and I am given eternal life. Jesus provides the only lasting hope in this world, and it can be obtained by everyone. God gives hope to all who choose to believe and live their lives according to His ways.

Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 says, “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.” Choosing God means choosing life! I do not want to be like Judas and let myself be overcome by evil. Judas chose suicide instead of redemption. Although what he did was of the utmost evil, God would have forgiven and washed him clean if he had chosen to repent. Instead, Judas ended his own life out of grief and guilt without accepting God’s redeeming love.

Judas may have chosen death, but I have chosen life in Jesus. Instead of letting my sins overcome me, I have let Jesus take them away. Because God sent His only son to die on the cross, my sins can be washed away and I can have eternal life in heaven with the other believers who have chosen the free gift of life.

Although I started out like Judas, I have been redeemed. I, Judas, was a traitor and a liar. I, Judas, sinned often. I, Judas, betrayed my Lord every time I chose the world’s ways over God’s ways. I, Judas, have chosen God’s ways. I, Judas, will be given a new name when I reach my heavenly reward. I, Judas, no longer bend to the world’s ways. Although I still stumble, I am covered by God’s love.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Five Things I Have Learned (while working at a fast food restaurant!)

In May, I interviewed twice for a job at a Christian fast food restaurant. I was in need of a job, and this seemed like a perfect situation. God blessed me with the job, and I have enjoyed it immensely. Throughout this new experience, I have learned many things; some good, some bad.

#1 – Parent’s with Children

Mom’s and Dad’s with Children are very appreciative when you carry their food to their table. This is a rule at my company, and I have gotten much gratitude from overwhelmed parents because of it. When a mom walks in with children, we automatically tell them that they can take a seat and we will bring it to their table. I have even been asked by one dad if I would watch his kids for a few minutes while he went back to the car to look for his wallet!

#2 – Efforts of the Customers

I have encountered many cranky, cantankerous customers, and I certainly can’t wait until I no longer have to deal with them. Every now and then, however, a customer will make a point to call me by name and ask how I am doing. It doesn’t matter if they know me or not, they just know that I make an effort to be cheerful and welcoming, so they try to reciprocate the feeling. It makes my day when someone makes a point to ask how I am doing… Most people tend to want to get through ordering right away, instead of be polite and friendly.

#3 – Two Different Attitudes

There are two kinds of people that come to my register: those who are impatient and difficult, and those who are the exact opposite. I love dealing with customers who are polite, but I dread dealing with someone who is impatient. I try to be sweet and calm with everyone, but let me tell you, it is NOT always easy! I am not the fastest employee (although I do try), and I have had many people ask me what the holdup is with their order. I had one lady tell me to make her ice cream “faster next time!” I always feel terrible after encounters like this, and make sure to do better. It is obvious that people either choose to be patient and willing to wait, or demanding and unreasonable. It’s no wonder why people can be so cranky!

#4 – Messed Up Orders

I have been known on occasion to mess orders up. I do not do it on purpose, and it is not always my fault, but it has been known to happen. My company’s policy is to assume that the customer is always right, even when it is obvious that they are not. One day, I messed up a lady’s order and she asked to speak with the manager. I was extremely anxious, but my manager came over to me, explained the situation, and asked for my side of the story. Thankfully, I did not get into any trouble (it wasn’t even my fault), but the lady was extremely angry with me. Several weeks ago, another woman’s order got overlooked, and she waited around for ten minutes. I finally looked up and realized that she had not gotten her food. I went over to her and apologized profusely, afraid that she would be very angry, and she just looked at me and said, “It’s alright, honey! I’m not going to bite you! I’ll be coming back again, don’t you worry.” I was extremely grateful, and finally made her order right, but I was absolutely thrilled that she was not angry. It is very difficult to work with upset customers, but patient customers are truly a blessing!

#5 – Hard Work Pays Off

I love my job, and dearly want to keep it through college, so I have made a point to always work hard. Several of my managers have complimented me on always keeping busy, and I have maintained a perfect change count since I have worked there. The owner and operator of my store once told me I was amazing. Because I have dedicated myself to working hard and not being lazy, God has blessed me. I am not afraid of being fired, because I know my managers and operator appreciate my work. When a manager corrects me, I take it to heart and make an earnest effort to fix it, instead of ignore it.

I have learned so much through my job, and look forward to working because of the environment and opportunities to do great things for God. Although it can sometimes be difficult, I enjoy the new experiences and challenges that it brings.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Long Lasting Joy

I have been contemplating a lot lately why the teenage generation is never happy. It seems that no iPod, television show, or clothing item is ever good enough, so they keep buying more and more stuff. It also seems like a typical teen’s time is often spent playing video games, reading the latest books, and watching television. So why is my generation so unhappy? We have all the modern conveniences, but still are not satisfied!

Then I realized that it is because the things they are filling their lives with only make them happy for a short time. Material possessions and wasted time are not going to fill the hole that eats them up inside. I don’t know why they think buying more stuff is going to make them feel better about themselves, but I know that it will only last a short time.

I also realized that happiness is only temporary. However, God’s joy is eternal. I have blogged before about my cousin Esther, and how much joy she brings to my aunt and uncle. The joy Esther has is because she now has parents who love her and are bringing her up in God’s light. This is the kind of joy that will last forever, because it is of God.

I know from personal experience that the afterglow of a good book, movie, or conversation only lasts for a little while before it fades into the forgotten. I wish I could capture my favorite moments in time and bottle them up to save forever, but the only way to do that is to allow God’s joy to penetrate everything.

One of the most joyful people I have ever met obviously has let the joy of God fill her life. Her husband died almost a year ago of ALS, and she has six children to take care of all by herself. I have never heard her complain, however, even though her life has been made immeasurably hard. She lets the joy of heaven seep into every crack of her life, and chooses to see the positive side of things rather than the depressing aspects that life has thrown at her.

It is very hard for me to choose to be positive all the time because I am not an overly cheerful person. I’m not saying I’m negative or cranky (well, sometimes), but I am definitely not a perpetually smiling person. This is definitely something I need to work on. I don’t really know how to be joyful all the time, but I am learning.

The Bible has lots to say on joyfulness, but one of my favorites is Psalm 5:11: But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them; that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” Because I love Jesus and am saved by His death on the cross, I have joy inside me. I don’t have to ever be sad or worried, because His joy overshadows my life.

I know how hard it is to stay positive all the time, but that is definitely something my generation needs to work on. There is a hole inside each of us that begs to be filled with something. You may choose to fill it with electronics or clothes, but Jesus is the only thing that will fulfill you completely. Choose to be content with what you have so that you may radiate the joy of Christ in everything you do. Although happiness lasts only moments, God’s joy will last forever.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mighty Things through Willing People

If you have ever read the story of David and Goliath, you know that David defeats Goliath in the end with only a stone and a slingshot. But what is not focused on, is that David had three older brothers named Eliab, Aminadab, and Shammah. Even though there were three older men, God chose David to be his servant, so that the Israelites and Philistines could see that mighty things can be done through those who are willing to do them.

But what about David’s brothers? 1 Samuel 17:8-11 says, “Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, "Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us." 10 Then the Philistine said, "This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other." 11 On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

The last sentence is what I really want to focus on. It says that Saul, the King of Israel and all the people of Israel were terrified! Yes, Goliath was big, and yes the challenge seemed insurmountable, but isn’t God capable of overcoming anything? It reminds me of the song I used to sing when I was very little, “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do!” Apparently the Israelites were not so keen on the idea that God might want to use them to defeat the giant.

This got me to thinking about which I am: a willing person like David or an untrusting, fearful person like the rest of the Israelites? I hope I am a willing servant of God, but I know I have a hard time trusting God to take my life into His hands. I have a problem with letting go of my control over my life, and it is not something I am proud of. Somehow I have convinced myself that my life is in my control, when it was in God’s hands in the first place. God created me and watches over me, and yet I still will not relinquish my hold on my life.

When I finally let God take my life into His control, I feel wonderful and free. Until something out of the ordinary happens that I do not like. Then I backpedal on my promise to God and take my future back into my own hands. This leaves me a coward, which is not something I strive to be.

It is so hard to give God control over everything in my life, even though I am so terrible at controlling my own life. I am not wise nor do I have the experience to keep my life on the right track, yet I am so sure that I am better at being in control.

The people of Israel are just like me. They were unwilling to do the difficult and more terrifying things, so they chose not to allow God to do amazing things through them. I most certainly do not want to be like the people of Israel. I do not want God to see me as a coward who does not trust Him enough to let Him work a miracle through me. I want to be like David: A willing servant of God.

Goliath was killed with a single stone and slingshot by a man who had barely grown out of childhood, all because that man trusted God enough to let Him work a mighty miracle through him. If I am to be like David, I will have to give up my grasp on what I think is better. God is God and I am not, so I best listen to him over my own ideas. Although it is not easy to give up control, it is what God wants me to do. God will be able to do powerful things through me, but only if I trust Him completely.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sources of Hope

A little less than a year ago, a man was elected to be president of the United States because he promised to bring hope and peace to a nation that was hurting and becoming chaotic. This man soothed many people’s fears by promising to do the impossible and restore order in a hurry. This man, Barack Obama, has not brought hope to the world, and many are now disappointed in him.

I find it interesting that people can so easily put their faith in a man who is no more capable of restoring order to a quickly deteriorating culture than they, themselves are. Why should we trust any human being when we know they are no more proficient than ourselves?

As a Christian, my faith has been tested by the inauguration of a president who I oppose completely. The decisions he has made have not lined up with God’s word, and are not restoring order. I have asked God in my prayers why he would put such a man into office. But then I remember. I am not putting my hope in a mortal, I am putting it in God Almighty.

I know God has put President Obama in a position of power for a reason, whether or not I think it is a good idea. God is in control, and I can put my hope in Him, alone. Although I do not know why God would let a man make the decision to fund abortions overseas with taxpayer’s money, I know there is a reason.

I have a hard time respecting President Obama because of the decisions he’s made. Just last week, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, even though he has not done anything amazing or peaceful. If the millions of babies aborted each year could vote, do you think they would vote for a man who has furthered the murder of innocent babies? I highly doubt it. President Obama did not deserve the Nobel, but he accepted it anyway.

It is things like this that make me angry and upset. How could he accept such a high honor, even though he has not done anything remarkable besides become president? How he could he be so prideful?

And then I stumbled upon this verse: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God,” Romans 13:1. Once more, God brings me back to the fact that HE has placed President Obama in a position of power! God does have a reason, even if I don’t see it yet.

Psalm 25:5 is an excellent verse about hope: “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” This verse also points me back to God, for my hope is in HIM! I no longer have to be discouraged because of the leaders that are governing America… I am not trusting them to rule my country, I am trusting God, the Savior of the world to guide and lead me!

Although I have strayed from my typical blogs about standing up for what is right and being different, this is a topic that has been heavy on my heart. Remember to put your hope in God, and not in this world.

Psalm 42:11, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my SAVIOR and my GOD!”

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Breaking the Barrier

Lately I’ve been noticing that there is a wall that keeps teens from overcoming different things such as low expectations, pre-marital sex, and the downhill slide of our culture. This seems to be a very prominent problem that no one seems to want to change.

How come there is a barrier that is restricting teens today? Who put that in place, and why aren’t people trying to overcome it? I think it is the teens that allowed this wall to be built. This barrier gives teens an excuse to not work hard and do big things.

I kind of feel like Marlin and Dory from “Finding Nemo.” In the middle of the movie, Dory and Marlin have to break through the “EAC” (East Australian Current) in order to continue on their quest. The EAC is a current of turtles all swimming in the same direction at high speeds. Dory and Marlin have to jump off a sea turtle’s back in order to get outside the current. As soon as they have accomplished this, Marlin and Dory sit there watching the current go by.

I feel like I have just jumped off the turtle’s back and am waiting outside the current for everyone else to follow. I sit there waiting and waiting, but no one will join me. There is always one who jumps outside the current, but then quickly dives back in when things get uncomfortable.

I daily have to make the choice to go against the cultural norm to be different, and it is not easy. It is sometimes a very lonely decision, unless you are fully relying on God. You can make the decision to be different, but it won’t make a difference unless you are being different for Christ! That is a critical element to not being lonely.

I have broken the barrier of low expectations in several different ways. First of all, I am homeschooled. That automatically makes me different. I value family time above all activities, and my mom is my best friend. I would much rather be best friends with my mom than a peer, because she can provide comfort and wisdom. Being friends with peers is not a bad thing, but it is easy to be pulled into things by those who are no wiser than you.

I also choose to keep my body as pure as possible. Whether it is choosing not to curse or use mild profanities or going to the point where I am saving even my first kiss for my wedding day, people often look at me and think I am STRANGE. I’m pretty accustomed to being thought of as “weird”, and it doesn’t really bother me anymore. In a culture where sex, drugs, and profanity is rampant, I am definitely breaking the barrier.

My country is being held captive by low expectations, and I am determined not to let it ensnare me. I am willing to work as hard as possible to reverse the idea that teens are not capable of working hard or being young adults. A “teen” is really just an overgrown child.

When someone calls me a “teen”, I say, “No, I am a young adult.” I am determined not to let my age get in the way of my abilities. Just because I am in between the ages of 13-18, does not mean I have to sink to that level! I can be excellent in all my work, whether hugely important or something small like keeping my room clean.

Please understand that because someone calls you a teen does not mean that you have to act like it. Our generation needs to raise the expectations of our world so that we can make a difference for God in everything we do. Make the decision to break the barrier of low expectations so that you can do great things for Jesus now, without having to wait until you are an adult. God does not care if you are 14 or 65…He created you to do big things now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Battle Against Complacency

Several weeks ago, the pastor at my church talked about not settling for “good”, and deciding to strive for “excellence”. This is an issue that God has put upon my heart, and I now realize how often I stoop to this worldly concept.

When I was still in public school, I could easily make A’s by exerting as little effort as possible. I never had to study very hard, and I never learned what hard work really was. Thankfully, when we started homeschooling, my mom broke me of that dangerous habit. She realized that I was not being excellent in all my work, so she began to change the way I looked at my schoolwork. I am not saying that I am perfect now in that respect, but I do think that I am much better than I used to be. I no longer say, “How can I get away with as little work as possible and still make a good grade?” Instead, I think to myself, “How can I do this in a manner that is pleasing to God? How can I do this excellently?” My mom is not afraid to tell me when she can tell that I have been slacking, and I am so grateful for it. I do not want to grow up to find that I know nothing about working hard.

Why am I so worried about this topic? Because our world has become complacent. If I am to change the world, than I must not be complacent in the least. What if a missionary to Africa said, “Well, I’ve brought four people to Christ, that should be enough,” and then returned to the USA to be a couch potato? Wouldn’t that defeat the whole purpose of bringing people into God’s Kingdom? I for one, do not want to be in that category of Good-enough-ers (and yes, I just made that word up).

Everyone has settled for “good enough” at one point in their life. We have to realize that we will not ever be respected if we do not work hard to be excellent. I do not want to be known as “lazy” or a “slacker”.

How do we change this? Complacency is not an easy rut to get out of, believe me. It takes determination and perseverance. You must first determine to change your ways and then persevere until you reach your destination. The battle against complacency is ongoing, however, and you will always have to strive to be excellent. Although we will never be fully excellent until Jesus comes back, we must still try while we are here on earth.

It has been said that we should not strive for perfection, since we cannot attain it until we reach heaven, but that is no excuse for becoming complacent. We must still strive for perfection, so that we may glorify God through it. It doesn’t matter if we cannot reach it, we still have to try.

Jesus was here on earth for less than forty years, and He was able to strive for perfection the entire time. Jesus did not settle for “good”. Instead, he strove for excellence. I, too, want to have that reputation. God has put me on this earth for a reason, but He will not be able to use me if I become complacent and settle for less than God has planned.

All of us have to make the decision to resist complacency and strive for perfection, no matter how hard it may be. God did not put us on earth to be “pretty good”. Follow the example of Jesus and pray to Him for strength and endurance. The battle may not be won for many years, but we do know who wins in the end. Make the choice to fight against complacency and not settle for any less than your best.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Presence of Him

It made me shiver. I was awestruck, scared, and yet very happy. I lifted my hands in worship and just stood there for the entire song wondering what I should do. I felt like I had a choice. I could jump from my ledge of security and take that one step into the completely foreign world of wonder, or I could take a step back and hold onto the familiar.

That was the first time that I had felt God’s presence with absolute certainty. There was no doubt in my mind that God was lifting me in His arms and holding me close to His heart. He was trying to tell me something, but He was asking me to first trust Him completely.

I seriously was about to fall over with the amazement that wracked my body. I was in absolute awe at what I was experiencing, and wanted to just stand still and stay there forever. The decision God was asking me to make left thoughts churning in my head. I wondered what I should do, and I once again felt a gentle nudge from God telling me in no uncertain words that He wanted me to leap into His arms with no doubt left in my body.

This decision was one I have been holding back from for a very long time. I was comfortable where I was in my little bubble, and didn’t want anything to change. Lately, though, I have felt God nudging me toward a deeper relationship with Him.
For a long time, I prayed my normal, rote prayer (“Thank you for this day and for everything you’ve given me. Please help this person and that person…”), and even skimmed my Bible instead of studied it. About six months ago, however, I made the decision to try to work as hard as possible to further my relationship with Jesus.
It was not easy for me to make some of the changes that I did, but it has overall been a wonderful thing.

When I went to church and felt God’s all-consuming presence, I knew that He was pleased with my efforts. I knew that God wanted me to keep drawing closer to Him. I knew that God was there, and that He wanted me to leap off my ledge of comfort and fall into His arms. There was no doubt in my mind that God was there, and I felt like God was confirming my faith over and over again.

That experience has changed something inside me. I no longer want to stay comfortable; I want to spread the love of God so that others may have an experience like that, too. If only I could make people feel God in the way that I did, I am sure even the strongest atheist could believe in my Lord.

So jump off that ledge! Don’t take time to analyze what will happen, just do it! God will catch you in the arms that created the universe. All you have to do is take that first step. He loves you, and will not let you fall. I hope one day you can have an experience like I did. It is amazing and scary at the same time, but I would not trade that one moment for all the chocolate in the world. But my story is not over.

There were so many emotions running through my body, making my fingers tingle and my arms shake a little while raised in worship. I decided to take that step toward the unknown, and I was no longer afraid to do it. As I leapt off my ledge, I could feel God catching me. In that amazing moment, I heard the God of the universe say four words that have resonated throughout my entire being since that experience. All He had to say to me was summed up in those four words, and I have the need to find proof that He exists. I am absolutely certain now, that He is there in heaven and on earth. And that amazing revelation was summed up in four words. Those words were, “Molly, I love you.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Level of Commitment

I had an experience this past week which made me seriously examine my level of commitment to my faith. While I will not go into details since that would be gossip, I will say that it was a time in which several people said Christians tend to be hypocrites. It was said that Christians say one thing, but then live their lives in a way contrary to their words.

If you have ever read “The Pardoner’s Tale” by Geoffrey Chaucer, you will notice how Chaucer feels about hypocrisy. To him, it is the greatest of all sins. While I’m not sure what level of sin it is, I do despise hypocrisy with my entire being.

Or do I? Don’t I sometimes give Christianity a bad name when I don’t stop to help someone (such as the story of the Samaritan in the Bible) in need?

I realize now that my level of commitment needs to be blatantly obvious to everyone around me. If I become a hypocrite, I only show people that all Christians may really be hypocrites as well.

Peter in the Bible also had to examine his level of commitment when Jesus asked him this question: “Peter, do you love me?” Peter replied that he was Jesus’ friend, but Jesus asked him twice more if Peter loved him. Jesus was trying to get Peter to examine his own heart and see if he really was fully committed to Him.

Sometimes I can identify with Peter so well! He, like me, was a sinner and struggled with being completely sold out to Christ. I do that every day, and as much as I hate feeling that way, I still don’t take my level of commitment further. For some reason, I continue to sin over and over, turning my back on Jesus and discouraging people from turning to God.

Why do I do this? It is because I am afraid; afraid of taking a leap into the unknown, and afraid to take the plunge into living by God’s word alone. No longer could I fall back on my excuses and safety nets nor could I change my mind if I leapt out of my comfort zone.

So am I ready to take that risk? Oh yes, because eventually it will lead me to the greatest Reward ever known: eternal life. All of the fear inside my body will eventually dissipate because I know Jesus is holding my right hand, ready to lead me on the path He has made! His plan is so much better than mine, even if I think mine is always better.

Peter was only willing to be the friend of Jesus, but I want to go further. I want to say, “Yes Lord, I love you with my entire being!” and not be stretching the truth at all. It will not be easy, but Jesus does not call us to live lives of ease. Instead He says to “take up your cross and follow Me”. Jesus’ cross was a burden and a trial, and yet He faced it with grace and love as His life ended for three long days… If Jesus calls me to be crucified, whether literally or figuratively, I am now ready to do it, not by myself, but with Him at my side.

Are you ready? Then jump off the cliff into His arms, and take your level of commitment further than you have ever been.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

That the World May Know

As Tina walked through the mall, she noticed a Christian bookstore. She figured that it would be good to stop in and see what new devotional books were out. Tina had been a Christian since she was eight, and had always made a point to do a devotional in the morning before she went to school. Walking around to the teen section, Tina noticed Rita (a girl from school) looking at the large array of Bibles. Rita looked up from the table and smiled in Tina’s direction. “Hi! What are you doing here?” Rita asks. Tina answers that she is looking for a devotional book. When Rita looks surprised, Tina asks her what she is thinking. “Oh, I just didn’t even know you were a Christian!” Rita answers.

First of all, Rita and Tina are two figments from my imagination. This is not a real experience, conversation, or encounter. This is not even a story I have been told, so please do not think I am writing about you.

However, I am not saying this won’t ever happen to you or me, because I think it can. That is, unless we do something about it. Our world has taught us to hide our personal beliefs and fit in without causing a stir. I agree that it is harder to be conspicuous, but I do not think that this is necessarily a bad thing.

I often discuss how we need to be different and be world-changers instead of go-with-the-flow-ers (if that’s a word…), but that is not what I’m after today. Although these are still important subjects, there is an even more important issue that I have not addressed much.

Let me start out with this question: If a person off the street could look over the past two days of your life, could they tell that you are a Christian? Or would they be surprised to find this out? I sure hope that in my life, it would take only five minutes for them to see that I am a Christian, redeemed by Christ’s love, and granted freedom from my sins!

I do not go to public school like Tina, but I have plenty of opportunities to reveal my Lord and Savior through the way I live. I have a job that grants me a plethora of instances in which to show the love of Jesus. I dance at a studio where I can openly reach out to those who are hurting or sad. Even going to the store with my family can be a place to exemplify Christ!

I can honestly tell you that if Rita had told me instead of Tina that she was surprised I was a Christian, I would have been utterly heartbroken. I want my life to be a living testimony to the wonders of my Lord, and if I knew that I wasn’t doing a good job of it, I would want to immediately change the way I was living.

John 13:15 says, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” If we live like Christ, people will notice. Like Tina, our culture has told us to fit in with the rest of the crowd, not stand out and shout to the corners of the earth what the Son of God has done for us.

If you walked down the street, would people notice that there was something different about you? Or would they just pass you by without even a glance? Rita gave Tina a major wakeup call. Tina had been a faithful Christian inside of her home, but in the world, no one could even tell that she was a follower of Jesus.
Is this not what has happened to us? Have we decided to keep God boxed in at home only? Isn’t it true that Jesus has washed us clean on the inside, and yet we don’t let anyone else find out about this redeeming love?

So, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Let the world know that you are a Christian, and proud to be so! Scream of His glory and power and strength! Make a difference in our dark world! God will win in the end, but we are put here for a purpose.

Are you like Tina? Have you hidden the light that burns so brightly inside you? Or are you going to take off the mask and live like you are a Christian inside and out?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"But it's NORMAL!"

I am actually a very shy person, believe it or not. I often hear someone say something that I think is wrong, but I do not usually give that person a piece of my mind. This blog is the outpouring of my soul in written form. I take all the instances in my own life that bother me, and I correct them for others to see and learn from. I do not back down from my beliefs, but I’m not very outgoing or loud about what I think deep down inside. Even though I’m quiet, however, I have quite a reputation for being abnormal. This doesn’t really bother me, because I do not strive to be “normal”. I strive to be different in the eyes of the world.

I frequently hear the phrase “it’s normal”. Typically, the context centers around something that has been deemed “okay” because it is “normal”. I want to shout, “Just because it’s normal doesn’t make it okay!” but I can’t for fear of offending someone and losing a friendship.

What do you think is considered “normal” in our society that isn’t okay in the sight of God? I can think of many examples, but I will specifically talk about five of them.

#1 – Teenage Attitude
This is one in particular that has bothered me for a very long time. I often hear people say, “Well, he’s a teenager!” or “I can’t wait until she’s out of this teenage phase”. It drives me crazy, because I know that “teenagerism” has become normal, though it did not start out that way. There was no such thing as a teenager back in Bible times! You were either a child or an adult. Because there was no intermediate stage, it forced the children to be mature and competent. Do you think maybe we should revert back to that??? It’s hard for me to hold my tongue when people refer to their teens as “normal”. A normal teen should choose to be a young adult, and not an overgrown child.

#2 – Public Displays of Affection
You almost can’t avoid it. I’ll be walking down the street, and there will be a couple either my age or younger holding hands, hugging, or kissing. I don’t have any problem with married couples doing these things, but it does bother me that nearly everyone my age has a boyfriend/girlfriend and is not shy about showing affection in public. It’s sick, gross, and very “normal”. That does not make it right. I don’t have a problem with dating or courting, but I do prefer it be done when it can actually lead to something. Honestly, I don’t see any point in dating until a person is old enough to get married. I don’t think having a boyfriend just because everyone else does is a very good reason.

#3 – Cussing
I have never understood why using mild to severe language is so “cool”. It does not appeal to me in the least, and even if I wasn’t a Christian, I most likely wouldn’t use bad language. Actual swear words really bother me, but the take-offs of those words (such as “crap”, “suck”, “freaking”, and more) are what really bother me. Who said that one was a curse word, but the other was okay to say? Who makes up these rules anyway? These words frequent most teenage conversations, and are extremely rude. Just because this is “normal” still does not make it “good”.

#4 – Immodest clothing
Sometimes I wonder what fashion designers are thinking. Some of the latest styles are weird and ugly, but that doesn’t stop teen girls from buying them anyway just because they are “trendy”. I am not very fashionable with my clothing (and frankly, I don’t care), but I am especially bothered by immodesty. This problem is rampant among teen girls, and it is mainly because they follow the examples of latest Hollywood sensations. Whatever is “cool” to wear, teen girls buy. I don’t know when this cycle started, but I have a feeling that it’s been going on for a very long time. “Normal” clothing nowadays is provocative and flashy, and I am not going to buy it just because it is “cool”.

#5 – Laziness
It seems to me that if a teenager can do as little as possible and still get away with it, they will. I used to be like that, but then I realized that no one respected my work ethic. I now can say that I do try to work as hard as possible. Don’t get me wrong: I still succumb to laziness, but I’m working on it. I don’t know what happened to working hard and doing your best, but it has obviously been thrown out the window with modesty and clean language. I know it’s “normal” for a teenager to sleep in until 1:00 PM on a Saturday, but maybe the day would be better spent working hard or at least spending time with family. I was complimented by my manager at the place I work for always keeping my hands busy. This made me feel good and bad at the same time. I was glad my manager was pleased, but sad that I was the only one who did work the entire time I’m there. I hope that just because being lazy is typical, that there are still a few souls out there who are not afraid of hard work.

I am obviously “different”, but I am not afraid to be so. I will not give in to the “normal” trends when they are wrong, and I don’t care what kind of weirdo other teens think I am. I’m not afraid of being different, as long as it is right and good in God’s eyes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How many Christians...

…does it take to change the world?

On Sunday, my family went to a very special Colorado Rockies game. The Rockies are known as a Christian Team, and every summer they have “Faith Day”. Basically, you come to an afternoon game, and stay afterward for a certain Christian music artist concert. This year, MercyMe was asked to do it. As we found this out right around my Dad’s birthday, we decided to buy him an experience instead of a present. He was very excited and we all anticipated it eagerly. We had a great time at the game (the Rockies won 4-2), but the concert was amazing. Although the sound was slightly distorted, we couldn’t really see the stage, and there were some loud, obnoxious kids behind me, I found it to be one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. Worshiping with 20,000 fellow Christians is something that brings goose-bumps to my arms and pitter-patters to my heart! We sang “I can only Imagine”, “Amazing Grace”, and ended on “I Love you Lord”. To hear 20,000 people who have hearts similar to mine was a heart-stopping experience. I felt like Jesus was standing right on home plate just beckoning for me to run to Him!

Being with that many people who know Jesus made me wonder why our country is in such bad shape. I mean, honestly, we are no longer leaning toward being a Christian country. Abortions take place every day, gay marriages are legal in some states, and euthanasia is being talked about. If we were truly a Christian country, these things would not be taking place.

I think our world has gotten this way because the Christians have let it become that way.

I know that sounds a bit harsh, but if each of those 20,000 Christians at the baseball game had gone out and done something to change a small part of our world, don’t you think it would have made a noticeable difference? And if every Christian no matter what country, spent their lives reaching out to others and spreading God’s word, wouldn’t it make a huge difference? I’m almost positive that it would.

We as Christians have become lazy and content with sitting back and letting someone else do the hard work. We don’t want to have to face persecution or rejection, so we sit at home reading our Bibles but not acting upon what God commands us to do.

1 Peter 2:16 says, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants for God.” Does this verse say, “Do as little as you possibly can while still believing in God”? NO! It says to live as servants to God. We must obey our Lord and follow wherever He leads us.

I want to commit to being a world-changer. I want to do something to make my country become a Christian nation. Paganism and corruption are rampant, but I can stand against it. It will not be easy, and it will take a lot of prayer and persistence, but I believe God will bless me on my journey. I hope to be successful, but even if I fail, I know God will be pleased.

So…How many Christians does it take to change the world?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Terms of Respect

Before reading this blog please watch this video

Now, most of you probably have heard of this incident with Senator Barbara Boxer. It has been plastered all over the news and the internet. My dad was the first one who showed me this clip, and I was very angry at Senator Boxer. Well, I didn’t like her in the first place because of some of the things she has done, but this angered me greatly.

How could she ask an army general to not call her “MA’AM”?? The poor general was just following protocol and she has the audacity to tell him that she’s worked hard for her “title” and she would rather he use that term rather than “ma’am”! I couldn’t believe she would say something to a man who has worked with great diligence to earn his title! Do you think if she called him “sir” that he would ask her to call him “general” because he worked hard for it? I think this is absurd. Apparently Senator Boxer doesn’t know that “ma’am” is a term of respect, not a put-down.

It angered me to know that Senator Boxer could put down a man who fights for her own country. And yet, the general complied with her haughty request, and called her “Senator Boxer” instead of “ma’am”. I don’t think I could have done that. If I was in the general’s place, I would have called her “Senator” but with a lot of sarcasm.

I respect the general greatly for obeying her when it would have been easy to disregard her wishes. That takes a lot of self-control!

This whole incident concerning titles and terms of respect got me to thinking. I paralleled it with the times in the Bible when Jesus walked on this earth. Do you think Jesus was called by the names that were respectful to Him? Shouldn’t he have been called the Messiah, Almighty, Prince of Peace, and the Son of God?

And yet He was beaten, and mocked. The soldiers called Him the “king of the Jews”, but it was not meant as a term of respect, it was a slam against who He was. The soldiers did not believe that He really was God’s Son, so they mocked Him mercilessly. Throughout His time on earth, He was scorned, beaten, crucified, and disregarded. Jesus deserved the highest of praise, and yet He accepted the lowest of insults.

Should Senator Boxer be so concerned about her title? She is but a woman on earth for a short time only, and yet she is concerned about what she is called. Jesus should have been called Christ, and yet He was called a liar. Jesus was not concerned about His title, but about what kind of legacy He was leaving behind.

Jesus showed that a title does not matter here on earth. We are all equal in God’s eyes, therefore no one is higher than another. Perhaps Senator Boxer should be more concerned about what she does in office rather than what name she is called by.
Jesus should have been called the Lion of Judah, the Word of God, Christ, the King, and the author of Life, and yet we still scorn His name. Perhaps we should all take a lesson from Him.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This week my cousins are here. I have been enjoying my time immensely, and have learned some great things from all of them! On Thursday night, my cousin Johanna and I stayed up until 3 AM just talking about the things that we struggle with. If you know me very well, you will know that I am NOT a late night person! I can barely keep my eyes open past ten o’ clock, so staying up until three was a big deal for me (and yes, I paid for it dearly the next day…). Johanna thinks just like me in so many ways, we can almost finish each other’s sentences! We talked a lot about what is wrong with this world, how purity of mind is just as important as purity of body, but mostly about what we are tempted to do. We both agreed that when we are tempted, we feel dirty inside, regardless of whether we fell into the temptation or not. Johanna said that even though she usually resists temptation, it still leaves a mark on her heart. I agreed with her completely, and felt that finally someone understood how I felt when I was tempted!

Although we may feel dirty, being tempted is not a sin. Really. It is when we give into that temptation that it becomes a sin.

We have to get used to the idea that we are going to be tempted. Temptation entered into the world the moment Eve took a bite of the apple. Satan now has the power to tempt us with whatever he can use to make us stumble. He cannot make us actually fall, but he can place the stumbling blocks right in our paths to trip up our lives.

Although I wish it was not so, it is a part of my everyday life. I am tempted daily, sometimes more than once. I am tempted to cheat on my schoolwork, struggle with my parents, lash out in anger at my siblings, make up a story to be funny, compromise my standards to fit in, do a job sloppily, not live the life that God intends for me, and so much more. Although these are only some of the many temptations I face, these are the ones I struggle with often.

Everyone has different temptations, so I think it is a good idea to write them out. That way, when you feel that tug on your heart to give in to that temptation, you can resist! Find some scriptures that counteract your temptation so that you can use the Word of God which is sharper than a two-edged sword to battle it! It will not be easy to overcome.

The story of Adam and Eve has always been one that brought tears to my eyes. I have often felt angry at them for giving in to temptation, resulting in their banishment from the Garden of Eden. I have often wished that I could go back to that day and tell them to resist so that I can live in the luxury of the Garden where there is no pain or death. But God has a plan, and it will bring Him glory. The apple was instrumental in the time of Adam and Eve, and we could not have been warned against temptation in a better manner.

There are many apples in our lives, and we must learn to resist them with all our might. Remember: To be tempted is not a sin! Do not feel angry at yourself for being tempted. Just make sure you are resisting that apple with all your might, so that your actions will not lead to sin. Jesus was able to resist all temptations, so we can, too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Drastically Different

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with the fact that I am so very different from other people my age. I’m not complaining, it’s just hard sometimes.

I love being with my family and I enjoy their presence. I enjoy movie night with my family much more than I ever enjoy a movie night anywhere else. I don’t really care for hanging out with big groups of people because I am pretty shy. Unfortunately, when you are a fifteen-year-old, a lot of things are done in big groups such as church camp, retreats, and other church activities. I choose to stay home with my family instead, so I can’t ever seem to get to the point where I’m accepted within a group of people.

I also am homeschooled, which makes me drastically different from others. My values are different from other Christian teens, I don’t always agree with everything that is done, and sometimes I am even made an outcast just because I am so different. I have been pushed to the outskirts many times based only on the reason that I am not like the others. People don’t know how to relate to me (even though I can carry on a conversation, quite well), so they don’t even try. It’s hard to be homeschooled for this reason, but I wouldn’t give it up just to fit in. I have a feeling that even if I did go to public school, I would still be different.

I wear skirts. Skirts that go below the knee, and sometimes even to the ankle. Not every day, but I LIKE wearing skirts. I had a girl come up and ask me once if I was Amish. Yeah, that was kind of weird. It’s not that I have anything against wearing pants (I even wear shorts as long as they are modest), I just truly enjoy wearing skirts and dresses. I even dress up to go to church. Most people my age don’t wear anything different to church than they would to go to a ball game, but I do. I think it’s a sign of respect toward God, and that’s just what I have always done. I wish people wouldn’t judge me based on my clothing. Aren’t we supposed to look past the outer layer? I have no problem with people who wear jeans to church. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever even thought about it! I just wish people wouldn’t think I’m weird because I wear skirts two or three times a week!!!

My mom is my best friend. I know that’s pretty unusual in the world today, but for me she is who I turn to! When people ask me who my best friend is and I tell them that my mom is, they all look at me in disbelief. I don’t have to have a bunch of friends I can turn to because I have my mom! I wish more girls realized how wonderful a close mother and daughter relationship can be!

I’m not allowed to watch certain movies, listen to certain music, or read certain books. And I’M OKAY WITH THAT. Yes, really. I don’t care if it’s “popular” or “cool”. My parents set my boundaries and I completely trust their judgment. I know that if they say, “Molly, don’t read this,” that it is for my own good! I don’t go behind my parents’ back and do things that I know are wrong, because their rules are for my protection. AND I’M STILL OKAY WITH THAT.

I may have become an outcast in this world, but ultimately, that doesn’t matter. It may be hard for a time, but I know it is more important to be doing the things God wants for me to do! The standards of this world will be thrown out and trampled on the day Jesus returns, so I need to live up to His will, not my own.

I would appreciate prayers and encouragement, because it will still not be easy. However, I am determined not to let that make me give in to what I know is wrong.

“And if on some point you think differently,that too God will make clear to you.” Philippians 3:15

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One Foot Out

Almost two years ago, I attended a mother and daughter retreat with some wonderful people from my church. My mom and I were excited to go, and anxious to learn something new. We had read the description of the retreat online, and decided that it sounded like a great idea. We drove to Denver with some friends, excitedly speaking of what we were expecting out of the retreat. I often have expectations that never work out the way I had planned, and this is one of those times. We arrived for the first evening of lessons, and were sadly disappointed with what we saw. There were hundreds of teenage girls not even bothering to sit with their moms, even though it was supposed to be a mother/daughter event. This saddened both my mother and me, but we did realize that our relationship is not usual, so we didn’t think much more about it. When the speakers began to talk and tell about some very serious subjects, our hearts broke even more. The speakers may have said that they were passionate about spreading the love of God, but they seemed to make every subject easier to do nothing about. The speakers gave talks that centered a lot around worldly problems and they even gave some worldly answers. One of the speakers even used the Lord’s name in vain several times! They did several giveaways, and the screaming of hundreds of teen girls scrabbling to get the best prize was excruciatingly annoying. It was honestly hard to tell if it was a Christian conference or a mad house.

Although this experience was a long time ago, it still burdens my heart. I went to this conference hoping to learn more about Jesus and how to encourage a great relationship with my mom, but instead I got only eye-candy for the world. It was very hard to learn something from people who you definitely don’t want to be like! The girls there were not eager to learn about God, but only to get a cool prize or the latest CD. They seemed to have forgotten completely the reason for going to a conference about God, and the speakers seemed to have been disillusioned by the world’s charms.

I kept wondering throughout the whole conference if these people had never heard John 15:19? Had they never heard that we are supposed to be in the world but not of it? I was horrified that a Christian conference could be taken in by the world and Satan’s disguising tactics.

Jesus tells us that he has chosen us to be out of the world, not of it! This means that we must set ourselves apart from Satan’s worldly ploys that take in so many Christians every day. We must make a conscious choice to stay separate from the things that are so easy to make a part of our daily lives. It is not easy, but we will be rewarded for it.

It is interesting that we obviously have one foot here on earth for a short time, and yet we still have one foot in the heavens. God lets us reside on earth for any number of years no matter whether we live for Him or for ourselves. God could easily force us to serve Him, but He gives us that choice. God puts us here on earth so that we can bring glory to Him. Therefore, we must have one foot in the world (but not of it), and one foot in Heaven (but not of it until the day of our death). If we choose not to glorify God, then our eternal punishment with far outweigh the pleasure we may have experienced here on earth.

Although it is sad that so many people have two feet planted firmly into the world, we cannot sit idly by and do the same thing. We must get off our worldly cushions and glorify God through all that we have.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On the Surface

Have you ever had a conversation with someone that lasted a little while, but when you stopped talking you realized you really hadn’t said anything of lasting importance? Have you ever taken a class on an important subject and had a teacher who just barely covered the needed information? Or have you gone to a church that ignores the touchy subjects and preaches all fluff?

These things surround us every day, and yet we do nothing about them. I am blessed enough to have a wonderful church with a minister who leaves no subject untouched. My minister says what needs to be said and does not sugarcoat the words so as to make them easier to swallow. I’m so glad I can ask him a question, and he will give me an honest, godly opinion.

Although I have a wonderful church and don’t have to fight very many battles within my congregation, I do face instances everyday that hurt my heart and my soul. For instance, a little while ago, I was in a Bible class with many teenagers my own age. We were asked to find a book of the Bible, and as I flipped to it, I saw many of the Christian teenagers around me going to the Table of Contents to find the book of the Bible. This saddened me that they had not become familiar enough with their Bibles to know the order of the books. (I learned them when I was young by putting them to a melody of a song. And yes, I still sing the song in my head sometimes when I’m trying to find something!) I didn’t think much of this until the Bible teacher asked how many people had read their entire Bible. (Note: This was not a class of new Christians… These were mostly people who had grown up in the church all their lives.) I raised my hand expecting every hand to go up. Of about twenty people, only three or four raised their hands.

This surprised me greatly. I had no idea that so very few high school Christians had read their entire Bible. I didn’t know it was so unusual to have read the entire Bible, much less many times! I just assumed that every Christian had done so at some point in their life. That’s when I realized that the expectations are so low in the present culture that even Christians have succumbed to them.

It hurt me to know that even Christians who had grown up in Christian families were not taking the time to delve deeper into the Word of God.

I have often watched Christian teenagers listen to a powerfully impacting message and say they are going to change and try to do better. Unfortunately, it seems to last not much longer than a week! The hearts of teens today are so hard; it takes many blows to break them down into what Jesus would want. I feel bad for the ministers and teachers who pour their lives into changing teens, only to see results for a little while. It must be so discouraging at times.

And then something else hit me so hard, I was about knocked over.

I realized how self-righteous I was being! I was condemning all these people for not living up to God’s expectations, even though I was also failing miserably! Yes, I may have read the Bible many times, have quiet times daily, and pray, but how many times have I listened to a heart-wrenching sermon and only said, “Hmmm. That’s interesting. Someone should do something about that!” Why can’t I be the person to change that! Why can’t I make a ripple in the pond that will not just scratch the surface, but dig deep into the very core of the lives of people! I want to make a difference!

But I don’t know how. Or at least, I don’t want to know how. I want God to just do it all for me instead of having to work hard and serve others with my life. This is what my flesh desires, but when I was baptized, I made a commitment to serve not my flesh, but my LORD.

I’m challenging you today to choose to find a way to make a difference in someone’s life. If that is by being a good example to your fellow believers, then go for it. If it is serving as a missionary in Africa, then go for it. But whatever it is that God calls you to be, do it for Him alone. Don’t do it so that someday you will have a YWAM Heroes book about you. Don’t do it to make yourself feel righteous. DO IT FOR GOD.

The world may be a place where no one goes deep enough to learn about God and serve Him wholeheartedly, but that doesn’t mean you and I don’t have to.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Firm Foundation

It seems to me that our world is falling apart.

That sentence is not an exaggeration; rather it is an observation that has been made by many people. So many things are going wrong nowadays. Abortion is no longer looked upon with disdain, euthanasia is becoming more widely accepted, teenagers are idiotic, and marriages are much shorter than God intended. All of these things have become normal and even expected. It breaks my heart to know that I am not a “normal” teenager, but one that is highly unusual. A “normal” teen would be doing things that I would not even like to describe.

All these things have led me to a conclusion about why our world is falling apart. We have taken a world created by God, and sucked all the godliness out of it. God’s design has been thrown out the window, and worldliness has taken its place.

Think of it this way; a builder is given instructions by his superior to build a brick house. While in the midst of the building process, the builder begins to get cocky. The builder begins to value his own ideas over the plans the superior has given him. When the time comes to place the bricks in the mortar, the builder decides that Jell-O would be a better substance for keeping the bricks in place, so he substitutes that in place of the mortar. In the end, the house comes crumbling down.

Is that not what we have done in our world? Have we not become cocky and decided that we are a better judge of our lives than God is? Haven’t we completely rejected the plans God has given us only to trade them in for plans of instant pleasure but future heartache? Why are we so set in our OWN ways?

It disgusts me to see how even I as a Christian think I know better than God does! I often make split decisions without consulting God, and I always regret them later. Sometimes my selfishness takes over, and I decide that I will just do what I want so I can have that instant gratification.

God has given us all consciences to guide us in everything that we do, but we often shut them out so we don’t have to take the time to see if our choices are good ones. We need to listen to our God-given consciences so we will not make choices that will require future consequences! Perhaps that little voice in each of our heads is there for a reason! Perhaps we should listen to it once in a while!

One of my favorite analogies in the Bible is that of the man who builds his house on a rock opposed to the man who builds his on sand. When we choose to follow the plans God has given us, we are choosing a firm foundation…one that will never falter. But when we choose our own directed path, it is only a matter of time before the sand shifts beneath our feet.

I hope you and I alike will be able to make the conscious choice to build upon solid rock and follow the plan God has prepared for your life. I pray that the world will see that they are replacing the mortar with Jell-O and will decide to change their wicked ways.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Resounding Words

I have always been imaginative. I lie in bed at night and think up stories and imagine just about everything. I like to imagine I’m in a certain time period and how I would deal with a certain situation. I wouldn’t say I’m super creative (believe me, my artistic ability ends at stick figures), but I’ve always loved to pretend I’m something else. My sister and I still play dress up together, and yes, I still enjoy it.

When I’m lying in bed at night thinking about things and making up stories, I often dwell upon the day that I meet Jesus. I don’t consciously make the choice to think about it, but it just seems to happen. This day obviously hold great importance for me, and it is no wonder that I find it so fascinating. For me, it is just one of those things that I can never create as amazing as it really will be. Believe me, I’ve tried, but it is completely beyond the grasp of the human mind.

Several months ago, the minister at my church preached about going to heaven and the day that we all meet Jesus. For some reason, I had never thought of it that way. I had always thought that only Christians met Jesus, but I was wrong. On Judgment Day, EVERYONE will meet Jesus, whether they go to heaven or not. I have often reflected upon the phrase, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” It has always been special to me, because that phrase is what I live my life for. It holds special importance for me, because it is what I desire with all my heart to hear. The sermon brought an interesting thought to the forefront of my mind: What will those who are not Christians hear on Judgment Day?

This was something I had never thought of before. Perhaps they would hear something along the lines of, “You have fallen short of My glory,” or “You have displeased Me.” Either phrase would send the toughest man weeping and begging on his knees. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see the disappointment in the eyes of Jesus. Can you see now why my life is lived to hear only approving words from my Jesus?

Imagine with me, if you will, what it would be like to die and moments later be standing before the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Pretend you have lived your life well; making good money, having a good family, and for the most part, morally. Yet you somehow managed to skip over the pieces containing God. You didn’t really care whether or not Jesus was real, but you lived a good life nonetheless. The minute you see the face of Jesus you realize how horribly wrong you were. You realize the many years you lived on earth were all for naught. Absolutely nothing you did was worthwhile, and you have failed in the eyes of God.

Does that not create a horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach? Do you really want your life to end up that way? I’m assuming you don’t.

Whether you live your life morally but without God, or immorally and still without God, you will still hear those same words: “You have failed Me.” Make the choice today to hear the words: “Well done, My good and faithful servant!” It is a choice you must make. Do not delay, for you do not know how long or short your life here on earth is. This is the most important decision anyone can ever make, so choose wisely.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


This past week was my first taste of summer vacation. It was nice not having to get up and face a day full of Geometry, Government, Economics, Latin, Biology, and many other things. Although I love school, I also love to sleep late in the morning.
While I enjoyed my first summer days I reflected a lot on this past year. This was my first year in high school, and a lot of things happened. Most of these things were good, but even the bad things made an impact on my life.

At the beginning of the school year, I found out what it meant to truly have to work to get good grades. I have always been able to get good grades with little effort, and it was a shock to me to suddenly find that my work was hard. I learned very quickly that high school is NOT all it’s cracked up to be. It may be some of the best years of my life, but the constant studying, writing, and confusion got to me, but I was able to work through it (sometimes through tears) and get the grade I wanted. (Note to readers: If you follow my blog, you probably have noticed that I have not been posting as often as I used to. This is mainly due to an intensive Literary Analysis course. I wrote so many essays, I did not have any creative energy left to put into my blog. I apologize, and promise to post more faithfully this summer.)

In addition to learning how to work hard and do my best, I learned how prayer works. Around Christmas, a dear man, Mr. Scott flew to Jesus, leaving behind six children and a wife. I have never prayed harder in my life. I wanted God to heal Mr. Scott and make everything perfect again. But God didn’t. He took Mr. Scott home, and left the family all alone. And yet, I finally came to understand that I shouldn’t mourn for him! He was in heaven and made whole. Through a dark, sad time of my life, I learned that God’s plan is perfect, and I should never try to override His authority.

One of the hardest things that happened to me this year was finding out that my closest friend is moving to Fiji. This friend has truly been my kindred spirit through some very difficult times in my life. This friend has helped me stay away from the things that make me stumble and has encouraged me every step of the way in my spiritual life. For one to three years, I will have nearly no contact with her, and will no longer be able to enjoy her companionship. I love you, my friend, and am praying for you with all my might. Through this difficult experience, I learned that I do not lean on God hardly at all. I like to be in charge, and I like to know exactly what is coming up ahead. God showed me that I cannot always be in control. I have to let go and let Him take the wheel.

In March, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic nerve disorder that causes severe fatigue, joint pain, and brain fog. I felt sorry for myself for quite a while, and felt pretty sad. Fibromyalgia never goes away, and I will have to live with it for the rest of my life. I was sad for a long time, and then I realized that God has given me this condition for a reason. I do not have any idea what that reason is yet, but I am sure it will be revealed to me eventually. God once again showed me that His plan is perfect and I should never doubt it.

Although all these things so far have been bad, there have been many good things, too. However, it seems that the most important lessons are learned from the more difficult things. This year, I have learned: what true joy is from my cousin Esther, what it is to be seven years old in the Lord, how important and supportive my family is to me, what complete forgiveness feels like after a rocky friendship, and what an awesome God I worship.

Thank you to all my readers for sharing my journey in Christ, and for supporting me along the way. Please leave comments, as they are a great encouragement to me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Bleak Surrounding

Our country is headed for a recession. Only 4% of Americans have a Biblical worldview. Drug use is becoming rampant among junior high students. The majority of high school students do not graduate with their virginity still intact.

We are living in a very bleak surrounding.

If you turn on your television, you will see reports on the news of absolutely horrible things that are happening to people every day. You will see murder, cheating, lying, and a world with no hope. We may be great at keeping our world “green” but we sure aren’t keeping it moral.

I do not watch hardly any television or read any of the popular books because they are so filled with evil. Lying has become okay, and truth has become relative. Christianity has become scarcer and Agnosticism and Atheism is growing.

If you are not a Christian, I don’t know how you can keep on living. Obviously the
world is not what it should be, and it will come to an end someday. If the world keeps getting steadily more evil, what is the point in prolonging your distress? Wouldn’t it be easier to just give up hope and die?

I have good news and bad news. This world will come to an end. It will get worse and evil will appear to prevail. This is not the bad news, however, because Jesus is coming back to take his followers to a new earth that is emptied of evil and is perfect because God made it! Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea.” Can you imagine what it will be like to go to a completely new world?! This is the good news: If you believe and follow Jesus Christ, you will go to the new earth and live with Him forever. The bad news is this: if you do not believe, you will go to hell and will suffer eternal separation from God.

This is the bleak surrounding. As humans, we can handle turmoil in our lives, a bad economy, and poverty. But we cannot handle complete separation from God. It is God’s will for all people to love and obey Him, but because we are idiots, we reject God’s will and try to make one of our own. The separation of heaven and hell is great, and there is no way to do over your life once in hell. Do you really want to die not believing in God and then stand before Him on judgment day knowing that you have rejected Him all your life? How terrible it will be for those who did not believe and finally see that they were the ones who were wrong. Can you imagine what the screaming will be like when their fate is announced?

In a world that is falling apart, it seems as if there is no hope. Yet in a world where evil is rampant, there is a shaft of light piercing the darkness of Satan. This light comes from the only one who emanates absolute truth, agape love, and amazing grace. This light is our Redeemer, Savior, and Everlasting Hope. In a world with no love, no truth, and no trust, God shines his glory to those willing to accept it. I plead with each and every one of you to receive the truth before it is too late. Do not let the bleak outlook of the world envelop your senses. Do not let Satan win the battle over your life now, for Jesus will prevail in the end.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Eternal Holiday

Did you have a good Easter? Was your day filled with presents and candy? Or was it spent worshiping God’s Son who died for your sins?

It amazes me how the world can simply remove the true meaning of Easter from the world and convince so many people that it is about the Easter Bunny or egg-dyeing or candy. How many people do you think woke up this morning with a stomach ache from all the candy and food? How many people didn’t enjoy their day just because they knew it would be over too soon?

All the world gets after Easter is a stomach ache and a bummed spirit.

But there is good news, too. If you are a Christian, you know that we celebrate Easter for a much more wonderful reason. We are celebrating the resurrection of Christ who takes away the sin of the world! Without this monumental occasion, there would be no eternal importance to Easter, Christmas, or Good Friday. The world misses out on an extremely important part of one of the most important holidays!

Can you imagine celebrating Easter only for the food, candy, and gifts? Can you imagine never knowing what Christ did for the world and how we can enter eternity in heaven through it? Can you imagine that kind of spiritual darkness?

I have been raised in a Christian setting my entire life, so I don’t know what these things truly feel like, though I believe it would be truly horrible. God has made it our mission to make sure no one has to live in that type of ignorance! I think it is crazy how people say that Christians are the ignorant ones… Aren’t we the ones that truly understand what life’s importance is?

What did you do to spread the message of Easter? Did you invite someone over to your house to share the marvel of Christ’s resurrection? Plan ahead next year if you didn’t, so that you may share the joyous news of the empty tomb!

It saddens me to walk into Wal-Mart, Target, or just about any store and see only chocolate bunnies, sugar coated peeps, and creamy eggs. What about the cross? What about the true meaning? Why can’t the world see that not every holiday is just about the material things?

It is up to us as Christians to expose the true meaning of Easter to the world. There will be many who will refuse to see it, but many hearts will be touched by the message they have never heard. We all must try harder than ever to expose the world’s temporary pleasures and instead reveal the everlasting meaning of Christ.

“He himself bore our sins, in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed!” 1 Peter 2:24

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Bunch of Smart Idiots

Recently, my family watched the documentary entitled: “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” This was produced by the popular comedian Ben Stein who used his own money to fund a movie that supported the Christian perspective of intelligent design. In this funny, but rather shocking movie, Ben Stein goes around asking evolutionists and intelligent design supporters and professors about their viewpoints of how intelligent design is being stamped out of public school systems, colleges, and America as a whole. Some of the remarks that come out of the evolutionary scientists’ mouths are shocking and frankly, they made me mad. One professor stated that religion should be kept separate from science, and should be something that people do on the weekends as a hobby, not something that should play a role in a person’s entire life. Another said that man did evolve, but not for a purpose. They were put on earth simply to be born, live, and die. What a lame existence! Yet another stated that religion should be slowly eradicated so it would stop causing
problems between people.

I think Ben Stein met and talked to a bunch of smart idiots.

It struck me though, that the evolutionists were so sure that they were right and that the believers in intelligent design were absolutely 100 percent wrong. It didn’t matter what anyone said to them, they would not be swayed in their judgment. One professor said that he went into a high school biology class a Christian, but after reading his text book and taking a semester class from an evolutionist, he gave up his belief in God and became a devoted Darwinist. Sadly, this same man was diagnosed with a brain tumor late in his life, and this still did not shake his belief in Darwin’s theory. I don’t know if this man is still alive, but I pray that he found (or finds) God’s truth before his death. The evolutionists were not willing to even listen to a creationist’s perspective they were so sure they were right! I think that happens a lot in a Christian’s life, because they are so sure they are right about something, but are not willing to listen to another side. I agree that sometimes it is dangerous to let an idea enter your head, but shouldn’t we at least give a person with a different view the opportunity to tell us why they believe how they do? We may even come to find that we are wrong!

I think what struck me most was what that one professor said about church and religion becoming something one does on the weekend, and the weekend only. It’s like when people are “Christian” on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday don’t count. I don’t think on Judgment Day God is going to judge us on what we did only on Sundays. Religion is not a hobby or a social club; it is something to take seriously and live out every day. So many churches have enough activities to fill a person’s social calendar, but they are not meeting the people’s spiritual needs. I don’t want a church that just gives me stuff to do… I want one that will help me grow in my EVERYDAY relationship with Christ, and my spiritual walk with God! If I never mature in my faith, what is the point? The humanist view of how church should be something that is enjoyable, fun, or entertaining is ruining many churches throughout America.

I find it sad and disturbing that politicians are trying their hardest to separate religion from government, when our own Declaration of Independence names God as our Creator! The Declaration does not say, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by that which they evolved through with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” No! It says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The authors of the Declaration were not trying to separate religion from government, they were trying to ensure that they always went together! The idea that man was created by God was not even questioned. I think it is sad that the theory of intelligent design isn’t even the primary scientific explanation that is taught in public schools today. I don’t think Creation is looked upon as a scientific theory (or law), but it is seen as a stupid, unbelievable idea that the Christian fanatics thought up.

I wish I could say that one day everything would be better, and creationism would be re-established, but I’m not so sure. Our country needs every Christian to fall to their knees in prayer for it, or it may become worse than a Communist country. Please join me in praying for America and its future.