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Recently, I’ve encountered a lot of talk on “relationships and love” with people – and it got me thinking about God’s love. How his love sets us apart (as well as himself) from all the other people and their religions/beliefs. This also made me think of how even when we fall into chaos and unknown territory – he is there; he’s always there, for us. And he’s never mad, even when we fumble big-time, or turn out backs on him, or even commit a serious wrong or hold a grudge against someone that we need to let go of – he’s always there calling to us. And when we find him – his bright and ever-lasting light in the darkness of our lives, he opens his arms wide and embraces us, crying or laughing, or smiling with us.

There’s a verse my youth past told us and taught about to us on Sunday (11/3). This is about God’s love and relates to all the things I’ve said. Luke 6:27-33:

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do no withhold you tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”

Now, I want to first point out that the first phrase of the verse says “to you who hear.” Why do I point this out first and foremost? Because Jesus is calling people to really listen, as what he’s about to say hasn’t been said before. He knows – as well as you and I, that some people just zone things out or do that “half-listening” thing when people preach/teach on a topic that’s been heard before. He wants to get everyone’s attention, letting them know that this is a new topic, it’s a topic that people really need to whole-heartedly pay attention. Make sense, right? I hope so.

Okay, with that covered, let’s talk about the rest of the verse. This verse is obviously about loving our enemies and treating others how we want to be treated, right? In fact, one of the verses (vs 3) – “do to others as you would have them do to you” as many know it by – is a very well-known verse to many people (not just Christians). And at a first glance of the verse, people get the obvious theme (which I pointed out at the beginning of this paragraph) – be kind to people I don’t like/are considered my enemies, treat others fairly, and take care of the needy. Easy right? No. Is there more to the verse? Of course. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t tend to those who need help or turn the other cheek, or treat others wrongly – their all great and wonderful things to be practiced, but I want to focus on the last bit of the verse plus a few in-depth details about the first part verse.

I’m going to start at the end – with verses 32-33 (the last paragraph of the given verse). Jesus is saying that when we love and treat those who are good to us and love us – what’s the point? What do you truly gain? Yes, it’s crucial for those who love you to love you and for you to love them back, but what about that kid who bullied or you really bad once – maybe more? It’s easy to hold a grudge against them, hoping something bad will happen to them, just as something bad happened to you, or if they try to apologize, you want them down on their knees begging for mercy while you have your arms crossed, foot tapping, and your head angled enough to look down on them making a disgusted face and refusing – until they collapse – to forgive (Jesus even points out that when we love those who love us – even murderers, prostitutes, etc. love those who love them – that’s what he’s referring to when he says “sinners.”) Why is it easy to hold a grudge and not “love our enemies” as we’re instructed? Let me tell you a secret – it’s called flesh; sin. We want to have revenge; satisfaction, making whoever made us feel unloved, unwanted, and not good enough… we those who weren’t good to us, have the same feelings, if not worse.

See, if we only love and do good to those who love us and do good to us, then we do not truly treat those how we want to be treated, we don’t understand truly what it is like to love our enemies. We don’t know what it’s really like to show them God’s love, and we don’t try to understand how to act or reply in a Godly way to those who wrong us. Just like in school, teachers teach and have the students practice the concept they teach – for without practice how can we truly learn and know the material?

Rewinding to the first section of the verse (vs. 27-31)… try applying what I just said about verses 32-33 to these verses. Have a different perspective now? What about a new plan or way to approach situations in relation to these?

Now, in verse 27, isn’t just loving loving your enemies that “Oh, that wasn’t nice – but all well” attitude, it’s about coming along side them, helping them; showing God’s true love, and forgiving them even if they haven’t asked forgiveness. As a Christian, we should always strive to go that extra step. And – or more – but, when these situations come up, we need to check ourselves – giving/praying (to) our hearts to hearts to God and letting him take those grudges and put them away – destroy them. We also need to make sure our actions are for self-glorifying reasons.

You know that sarcastic phrase that people (you) often mutter when in or towards a situation that comes up and is hurtful, benigning, etc.? The one that goes: “Well, that was a slap in the face.” Literally, it could of been – but that’s also when you show grace and turn the other cheek. Don’t lash out, don’t retaliate. Humbly offer the other side of your face. Either they will “hit” you again or be in shock from your actions. And even if it seems that your actions had no effect – let me assure you, they did. God is planting that seed in their heart through you. Some may often even come back asking questions, because their so dumb-founded, of “Why?” and “How?”. That is your opportunity to tell of the “why” and “how.” The same application can go for the second half of verse 29 – where it talks about offering someone your “tunic.” When someone begs – have a compassionate heart. Give to them – and don’t demand repayment or ask for what you gave to be given back to you. Whether is was simply loaning a money to a friend who forgot their lunch at school to food to someone needy… don’t ask for repayment. These actions and showing love sets us Christians apart (and God), as I said before.

You do need to be careful though, of people who have a false claim, do show them God’s love, but be wary, going to God and seeking counsel on the situation you’re in. It’s sad, but there are people who imitate and act in ways that are deceiving to gain things they are have and don’t need.

Referring back to the first paragraph – where I was talking about how we oh-so-often struggle, I want to conclude partially in reference to Tammy Maltby’s book, Confessions of a Good Christian Girl. In the book, she talks and tells of women who struggled – these were good Christian women, leading Christ-like lives and living well, or that’s what it appeared. Yes, they loved God, but these women were conflicted with suicide, cutting, addictions (drugs, alcohol, pornography), self-image and confidence. The book tells countless testimonies of how in the deep dark, these women found the light, the love. One of the quotes Maltby put in her book, which is by Angela Thomas, goes:

“Jesus wants you to know that when you are broken, shivering, alone, or afraid, with nothing left and nowhere to go, then you can turn in His direction and lay yourself at the foot of his love…. God wants you to know that when everything is gone, that makes more room for Him, and every time there is more room for Him, you are blessed.”

(pg 5, Maltby)

In this we can take an apply the concept of that when we hold on to grudges, hate, and hurt (etc.) when you give them up and lay “yourself at the foot of His love” we are revived with his love and forgiveness. This helps us make that step to forgiving those who may have hurt us or even ourselves. Because just as other people may be our enemies and slap us in the face, we can do just as much damage, if not more to ourselves; we can easily become our own enemy. We must learn to have compassion on ourselves and others and to have respect for ourselves and others.

I wish I could write on about this topic, but time is such an enemy to me lately, so short and demanding. Before I part, until next time, here’s some verses in parting. Don’t just go, “Oh cool, verses to look at!” and ignore them or think I’ll look at them later. Look at them now. It won’t take much time.

Psalm 36:5, 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, 1 John 3:1-2, 1 John 4:7-12, 16-18

Some questions for reflection:

  1. Are you able and confident that in times when people wrong you, you can stand up, humbly, forgive, and give your burden to God, even though it’s not easy?
  2. Even when you mess up, or others, are you able to go the extra mile for God’s sake?
  3. Loving your enemy will be hard, but will you be able to rise above the offense and “offer the other cheek?”
  4. In times of distress it’s easy to forget about God – it’s easy to blame him, and in times when you want something badly, and it may not be his will – are you able to accept him and trust him to lead you 100% through?
  5. Sometimes it’s our very selves that get in the way of seeing truly what’s right – having a personal conflict is hard to accept, confess, and be able to reason and respect yourself, but sometimes that’s the first step to forgiveness. If some of these questions were hard to answer, maybe start deep in your heart and soul. Really think about it.
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The focal verse is from Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV):

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this worldand of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Starting with verses 1 and 2, it talks about how we were dead in our sins – alive to human nature, dead to a godly nature. We lived a lost life, following this world’s evil ways. Committing horrible acts, we were destroying ourselves and others. Satan and his followers at are constantly at work trying to destroy us (Christians) and those around us, too. Our — everyone’s — sinful human nature; flesh, was already working to makes those lost continue in their transgressions.

In the next few verses, verses 3 to 5, states that we once all lived in a lost state – “slaves to sin.” Our flesh was just consuming its desires, following and granting; feeding our sinful cravings, following its thoughts, likes a dog follows its master. Before coming to know Hm, we were subject to his righteous judgement; his wrath. But we were sanctified – saved – from that wrath by God’s grace. His love for us is never ending, never failing. When we have faults he still loves us, when we drift away he calls us back, and still loves us. He is a patient God. His mercy is unending. He gives many second chances, even when we do screw up (please excuse my language, but seriously), recognize it, and repent. We were indeed once dead but He made us alive with Christ – when Jesus died on the cross, he saved us from ourselves and sin – he took (literally) all that crap, that honestly, we really deserved, we should have paid for.

In verses 6 to 8you can see something totally amazing… God raised us up from being dead; a “zombie” to sin. Through the ages to com are unknown to us, Christians today are still severely persecuted, what is still to come? When we die, we’ll go to heaven to be with God, all because of our Savior. Through and through God’s kindness and riches of his grace. By our faith and God’s grace, we are saved. The faith was acquired on our own integrity, but instead it was a gift from God, a truly amazing and humbling gift.  Life is a gift, new life by Christ is a gift from God that cannot ever be repaid. We need not boast about it, for then that is our sinful nature speaking, showing people – giving them the impression that we believe we are better than them. The gift of live is precious, if you’re going to boast, check yourself, remember that this is God you’re talking about, and how would he want you to act, and then go out and share his word in a kindly, humble, and godly manner. I’m sure you know this old saying: If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all. It applies to everyone in every manner. We did not deserve a second change, at all, but God thought we did, and it was by his works, not ours, that we are (and all can be) saved.

The final two verses, 9 and 10, we are told that we are created by God, in his  perfect image. He made us to do good works, not bad, so that others may learn about Him. He prepared these works for us, before we were even born. God is gracious, but he does cry when his children lose their way, he gets angry at us, too. Just like a father. He disciplines us according to our train of thoughts and actions, like a parent to a child, because he loves us and wants us to do and see good, not evil.

Life is a gift… One shouldn’t just “throw it out the window”

Because of a foolish

Mistake.

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View part 1 here: Trust Governs How We Love

The passage we will be looking at today is a continuation of 2 John; 2 John 1:7-13 (NIV):

Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face,so that our joy may be complete.

The children of your chosen sister send their greetings.

Our God is holy and loving to much; everything isn’t good, it must hate something, right? Right, that something is sin. Truth governs the expression of love. In verses 7-9 (the few two) it shows that we must beware of those who deceive us. Satan uses works in the realm of the mind, shifting the image of God; the philosophy, just a bit so that we may become confused and not know the right works of God. He (Satan) and his ‘servants’ are masts actors – “clothing” themselves as righteousness, even though they not really have that relationship with Christ.

The false preachers teach that Jesus did nothave a body, instead they teach that he was just a spirit occupying a body. This means if you don’t believe, you do not accept that Jesus, God’s one and only son, came to earth in flesh, and died on the cross; otherwise they are saying he’s not a savior. They teach that the Bible, well, it doesn’t have the answer we all are “searching” for. – But see, they had this “vision” (etc.) and they know how we can get to heaven and all, cause they  know it.

– Now, before we go freaking out, you have to realize, this is reality. As Christians, in this world, is just time spent in this awful battle; the battle between good and evil; righteousness, salvation, and love against sin. It’s the world between the two kingdoms; the battle grounds. And we are the soldiers. –

Continuing on, now just because out enemies, false teachers, have a different belief doesn’t mean we treat them like crap (excuse my language). Instead, we need to love the truth more. How does this make sense? How does it apply? You may be wondering? Read on and you’ll see why… it’s because we need to watch ourselves, we need to be more careful not to stumble and suddenly loose everything in a snap. This is because if you lose that spiritual stability, you lose the rewards that follow, because there are actually rewards for those who continue to truly believe.

Warning: If you aren’t loyal in truth, you destroy the works God has done.

Through our pride and selfish acts comes our ruin.

Whoever believes Jesus came to the earth, took on sin, and smashed it, then we can only, and only then, say we understand.

Where the believers in Jesus’ time often fell was with people who were the outcast; “underdogs” (whatever you’d like to call them). Why? Because the feeling of empathy happened. Letting them in their home and then suddenly those people would be teaching them false words. They needed to boot them out! But also they needed to just get to know them, to teach them the truth. This applies to us now-a-days.

For those who you push away, are travelers, Jehovah’s witnesses, etc. they use the “excuse:” But you’re a Christian. You have to let me in, what would Jesus do?  to get in, to get to you. Right, they have that right don’t they? NO! Absolutely not. That’s no excuse. That’s them trying to sell you out. You must be prepared to defend yourself and the truth of which you behold. What do I do though? You may ask. Well simple. You tell them this:

“I am no Jesus.”

Simple. Smart. Leaves them shell-shocked (supposedly) .

People these days advertise false things, at first you criticize, but soon people send in money asking for that thing, and everything goes down hill from there. Satan tries to do the same thing, he tries to get us to spend our money on everything, instead of that which is right.

You remember the person John is writing this letter to? If not go back and take a second to read part one, it’ll tell you who the audience  is; the recipient of the letter. The recipient is a woman. John wants to give the woman more, to talk to her face to face, not formally from which he wrote this letter, but personally. He wants to teach her for hearing the truth governs the pure; true joy.

The application is this: When you aren’t believing that Christ dealt with sin, how he came, died, and vanquished sin, well I can tell you this: It won’t get you far, not far at all in your journey of life. You must not believe every word someone who claims to know everything, cause even though they claim to know everything, it doesn’t show that they accept Christ’s sacrifice, because they truly aren’t a believer.

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I’m going to be doing this post a little different that the recent ones I’ve done, being I’m doing it off of some notes I have.

The passage I will be “dissecting” is 2 John 1:1-6 (NIV):

The elder,

To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth —and not I only, but also all who know the truth — because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.  And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

First we’ll look at the theme, which is this: “Truth governs how we love.”

Second, let’s ask ourselves, “Who’s the audience?” in most cases it’d be a man, but in this case it appears to be a lady, unnamed.

Thirdly, the base of the passage is that there were “fake leaders” entering the houses of the real – to say – leaders of the church and staying, afterwards they ask who the other leaders of the church are and earn their trust so that they may preach and teach false – only known to them – scripture. Thus, converting, turning, and confusing people.

“Truth is that which accurately reflects God. In the end, that is the scripture.”

The Greek word for truth is “αλήθεια” (pronouced “al-líth-ei-a”). In our time, the 21st century, the post-modernistic era is a talented bender at truth. Companies use “trustworthy” sayings, like: 9 out of 10 Doctors recommend and say it will make you better in beauty (phyical appearance) if you buy our product. They make things sound safe and usable. They want you to love it, not like, but love it, and they even heap all those guarantees and such on, “We’ll guarantee 100% satisfaction, and if you don’t like it you can send it back for a refund, but please keep this (product from us) as a gift (in remembrance of us).” But are they really telling the truth or just trying to get people to suck up and buy it? It may be a cheap product, it may not.

But people (especially in politics) stretch the truth and bend so often it’s hard to tell if they really mean it or not, especially with relationships, sometimes people just fake their love to use people – which is just gross and selfish.

 “Truth defines the love to one another.”

Marriage. Committing your life to someone you absolutely love is huge. And when you say your vows, and mean it truthfully, you really love them, now in some cases it lasts for 50+ years… others 2 years.

Taking a somewhat temporary detour… I want to kind of use my grandparents as an example. They show an amazing example of God’s love for others and are wise people, because of time, and it is always the people like your elders, who know more  than you and can give you advice, and when they do: listen. They’ve been through more and understand how to get through. My grandmother and grandfather are an amazing example of the quote, they are strong Christians, are always full of amazing stories and advice to give, and their love for one another grows stronger each day and hour. They have been married for over 50 years.

“Relationships in the church can only thrive as much as we dwell in reality.”

For the first and second verses, a summary of them is this: “We are love in Christ in truth.” Being part of a local church is not just attending, but in knowledge, truth, and understanding in Christ. When Jesus addresses this woman, look at the detail he uses. “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.” The Israelites were very formal when writing a letter and most often they always put their name at the beginning of the letter, instead of the end, like we do now, so that other can see who it’s from better and not having to read down to the bottom and then discover who it was from.

“If you don’t understand Him, you don’t know how to walk.”

Jesus gave us his all, love is natural, but we as flesh need commandments to help us love like we are supposed to. Loving and showing it properly is hard, even if you really don’t want to. And when I’m talking about love, I don’t mean it in that “ooky” way, I mean it as “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:14) way. We need to understand Christ’s view, and that’s being kind and loving all who persecute, make fun of you, etc.

“If you don’t have an understanding of truth, you cannot love correctly.”

In 1 John, he [Jesus] talks and teaches about love, in 2 John he teaches us how to balance love with truth. In 1 Timothy 3:14-16 (NIV) it says “truth never changes.” Neither should our love for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. When we see a friend who needs help we should do it out of love, not hate or to make ourselves look good. Before you act to anything big, think this:

“What would Jesus do?”

Application: That we never lose sight of Christ.

Concluded Moral: As Christians we need to keep a watch for the fake leaders. Make sure you dig for evidence and truth, before you love and become attached.

“Truth is that which respond to reality.”

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Just another small entry I made a while back and thought someone might enjoy (:

Feb. 14

 

God is our savior. He saves/saved us. However if someone saved you would you just say ‘thanks’ and walk away? Then next time you needed saving call them up? Not bothering to build any other sort of relationship with them? Probably not…

But we seem to only remember God when we are in trouble, then don’t bother ‘calling’ him up when we are doing just fine. Or we get tired and we try to use our own strength to get through it. We believe somehow we will grow stronger by doing that. Yet we only grow stronger by following God.

We think we are better off alone, then at breaking point we scream out for God to rescue us… like He only lives to save us. God doesn’t just want to save us; He wants to keep us safe.  And in order to do this, we must have a real, active relationship with Him.

~Andi.C

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“Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.”

-Psalm 25:20 (NIV)

Suicide. It’s a sensitive topic, to everyone. Before I go into the biblical study of the topic I want to share some statics, ways to prevent, review, and at the end, story with you. A site called TeenDepression.org, which is a site that has information on teen depression and such, states,

“Teen suicide is a major cause of death among teens, though many do not recognize suicide as a serious threat to a teenager’s well being. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and teenagers. According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), about 8 out of every 100,000 teenagers committed suicide in 2000. For every teen suicide death, experts estimate there are 10 other teen suicide attempts. In a survey of high school students, the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center found that almost 1 in 5 teens had thought about suicide, about 1 in 6 teens had made plans for suicide, and more than 1 in 12 teens had attempted suicide in the last year. As many as 8 out of 10 teens who commit suicide try to ask for help in some way before committing suicide, such as by seeing a doctor shortly before the suicide attempt.”

It’s surprising and sad. For everyone. I know a friend who experienced almost losing a friend while talking to her. I won’t say what happened further, but  I know for people who see, hear, add to the cause, or are actually the ones who hit the person (like with underground subways) it’s very depressing and can send that person into a total shell shock. It requires a lot of strength and help to overcome, and even with professional help, it can still be hard. People nowadays go to the furthest extent to keep teens from slipping up, people too. In high school there are counselors who keep up with you and check in, or who you can go to vent to. There are “procedures” you can go through to attempt your best to prevent someone from committing this undo-able act.

The Teen Suicide site lists warning signs of someone who may attempt or is thinking about suicide.

Somethings that can lead to suicide:

  • Emotional distress brings on physical complaints (aches, fatigues, migraines)
  • Hard time concentrating and paying attention
  • Problems at work and losing interest in a job
  • Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug (illegal and legal drugs) use
  • Behavioral problems
  • There are also verbal hints that could indicate suicidal thoughts or plans. These include such phrases as: “I want you to know something, in case something happens to me” or “I won’t trouble you anymore.”
  • Creates suicide notes.
  • Expresses bizarre or unsettling thoughts on occasion.

Also, verbal things like “I want to kill myself,” “I’d rather die,” “I wish  I could just die,” etc. are also things to take note of and investigate with seriousness.

In Ecclesiastes 7:17 (NIV) it says:

“Do not be overwicked,
and do not be a fool—
why die before your time?”

For those struggling: remember: God has a purpose for you and you alone, no one else can fill that spot where your life is. He also has numbered your days specifically to what you’ll do and what’ll happen in your life. Let me ask you some questions –

Do you really think there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, to live for? 
What “evidence” do you have to have the right to kill yourself?
Is there no hope left, no “second chances?”
Are you willing to give up everything for something you’ll never live to do again? Because there aren’t any second chances.

If you answered, “yes” to the first question, I’m going to say you’re wrong, you may think that, but there’s plenty to live for. What would your family do if you left the planet? They absolutely adore and love you. What about your friends? They wouldn’t know what they’d do if you were gone. For who’d fill that hole when shopping or playing a sport together? None, but you. Even your pet(s) love you. And there’s someone who loves you more than you can imagine; God. He created you in his amazing, and perfect image. There’s a verse that goes:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation —
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?”

-Psalm 27:1 (NIV)

What shall we fear? People? No. Not fitting in? No. Death? No. What will my life be like? No. It says, “The Lord my light…” he’s the one we need to be focused on. [He] “Is the stronghold of my life,” he’s the one who’s holding down your life, my life. Keeping it safely in his hands that comfort and help. The Lord has many names of different meaning, but they all refer to the same person. There’s El Roi – the God Who Sees Me. He sees you in your worst and best moments of life; the most depressing and joyful. Yahweh Raphe – God Provides. I have this written on my right wrist. And on my left I have written in Hebrew, “Yahweh Nissi” which means “God is My Banner; My Refuge.” He’s the one I go to in time of trouble, the one I let all my anger, sadness, and feelings go and let him guide me.

God didn’t make life perfect, I can testify to that. But he made it so that in times life would be easy; leisurely, but God knows when you start to stray, just like he knew that Adam and Eve would leave; human would leave him because who needs a God when everything is perfect, no granted, God didn’t create sin. He didn’t make Adam and Eve sin, it was their faults that got them to sin and fall. He creates those hills in your life that can test your faith and trust, making you run to him.

Now, for the second question that you may have answered “yes” to. There’s no evidence you can say that makes it right for you to kill yourself. Or for anyone to kill themselves as a matter-of-fact. You may be thinking, No, you’re wrong. My life stinks. My friends abandoned me. My family hates me, my parents are divorced. School is so hard, I’m not sure if I can bare it. No one cares for me, who’d care that I was gone anyway… no one would notice... Stop.

Yes, your parents would notice. Your friends would notice. People who are aware of you and know you would notice. God would cry at what would happen. Sure, sometimes there are friends who leave or ignore you. I know the feeling. But there’s always at least one friends who’s your real friend,you can tell that friends are real friends when they stay by your side no matter what, and care about you like a sister or brother, when they express concern. Sometimes, though you may not notice, but that people push others away, instead of you thinking they blocked you out, make sure you’re not the one actually blocking them out.  Now school. Oh boy, no one likes it. Especially when you have to wake up at (what seems) the crack of dawn. You may be failing your classes, or suffering with some part, but never fear! Most teachers are eager to help if you seek it and are willing to work hard. People care for you, for who you are- fun, energetic, intelligent, kind, silly, etc.

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”

-2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV)

There is hope. There are counselors, your parents, youth leaders, and people who are trained to help you and want to make sure you live a life that’s amazing, even God wants and makes sure your path is made for you! There is always room for second, third, and fourth, (so-on) chances. God gives us hope and tells us to live a holy life, one made possible by his death on the Cross (and rising again).

Would you be willing to give up everything? Your amazing and precious life, love, and future. The fun, spending time at the amusemet park, riding the roller coasters, going to the mall, or going to that concert you dreamed of going to? You may think it’s your fate – well Humph! Fate. Only God knows your fate, not you, remember that. He’s in control of everything.

Now, I’d like to tell you a few stories, one I heard, or watched at my Youth Group meet, and the second will be a personal story; journal, from my life…

There’s a story of a woman, who’s two daughters where abducted and killed; murdered. And the woman couldn’t let go of what that man had done, she started to turned from God. Thoughts like, Why did he…? and How dare he… started to course through the mother’s mind. She suffered depression and the feeling of lost. It was when someone came and helped her realize, praying to God, confessing and handing over; letting go, of those feelings she felt a weight be lifted and was able to forgive the person who was responsible for the murder. This was about 10-20 years (if I remember right) after the incident.

Amazing, huh? God provides and he’s all sufficient; El Shaddai.

There’s a song by Matt Redman, actually a couple songs, one called You Never Let Go and 10,000 Reasons.

I’d like for you to listen to them – You Never Let Go and 10,000 Reasons.

Remember and “absorb” the lyrics, when I find myself in a situation that seem hopeless, if you will, I remember theses songs, and repeat them in my head.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

-Romans 12:2 (NIV)

“If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.”

-2 Corinthians 1:6 (NIV)

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.”

-Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

If you or you know someone thinking about Suicide, call the National Suicide Hotline at: 1-800-273-TALK

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“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.”

– 2 Thessalonians 1:3

A moral in life: Be thankful and love those one cares about, even if it’s hard to love them. Once a loved one is gone, they can never come back… unless a miracle happens. In the story The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst, this moral is printed within the text itself. The story of a boy with a severely disabled brother who, through selfishness, teaches his little brother to walk, talk, and run, though out of this the older boy ends up helping his little brother learn to walk. The older brother also, not knowingly, helps kill his younger brother.  The older boy, who is the narrator, talks about how he loves his little brother, but he also talks about how he doesn’t love him. This is because the reputation he had at school and with his friends was in jeopardy. He didn’t want to lose his friends because he had this brother who was, in his eyes, a complete loser. In this book, the oldest brother’s attitude toward his little brother’s disability causes him to lose track of what’s most important to him: the love of his brother and having him around.  It is because through hope and prayer, the boy lived long enough to make memories. The helpless child was able to make a place in his older brother’s heart which caused his brother to develop brotherly love towards him. And lastly, he helped teach his brother what the true meaning of love is and the importance of real companionship.

To begin, the boy explains how his little brother came to be near death’s doorstep, while everyone doubted, even the narrator, hope was still among some. The only person who had hope for the helpless child was the mother. It only takes a little bit of hope to feed a soul. The little boy’s mother emphasizes that her child will live, “She said he would live because he was born in a caul and cauls were made from Jesus’ nightgown,” (Hurst 385).  At this time people were very religious, they attended church often, and their faith was remarkably strong. The narrator’s Aunt Nicey, knew that her Savior was born in the membrane surrounding the child at birth, the caul. With that thought in line Auny Nicey points out that, “caul babies should be treated with special respect since they might turn out to be saints,” (Hurst 386). And since she knew that through prayer which was the handiest, and best, tool God had given her, and hope her delicate little child would live. What is sad is since no one thought the boy would live past a week his family did not name him. It was not until he was three months old that they decided to name him William Armstrong. The narrator describes  how a name so big fits on such a small boy, “They named him William Armstrong, which was like tying a big tail on a small kite. Such a name sounds good only on a tombstone” (Hurst 385).  Unfortunately the name they decided would, and did, sound good on a tombstone. Everyone’s thoughts were still on the boy’s survival. But the tiny, helpless William Armstrong lived.  A few things were off about William though. Those few things were his size and his thinking capacity, as well as the capability to move.

Since William lived past the age of where everyone expected him to decease and his maneuvering skills where poor, not to mention his thought process, they renamed him Doodle. This was by the courtesy of his bigger brother. They named him Doodle because of how he was able to crawl around, since he mustered up the strength in his earlier years to teach himself to crawl. “Although Doodle learned to crawl, he showed no signs of walking, but he wasn’t idle. He talked so much that we all quit listening to what he said,” (Hurst 386).  Do not all kids at some age start talking so much and then just can’t seem to stop?! Doodle was acting like a normal kid right there, even though others would be thinking of walking, he was not. Doodle talked so much when he was with his older brother that sometimes his brother quit listening, “He talked so much that we all quit listening to what he said,” (Hurst 386). Even though Doodle may be limited to moving around  he still was able to see, hear, and touch things (and know what they are),  just like everyone else. Out of all the most important things, he has feelings and thoughts. He can be happy, sad, angry, and stubborn, or be thinking what he may eat, what his brother thinks about him, and more.

Views. There are scenery views, people’s view on things, and view from a tree.  This is where the family of Doodle, and himself, meet a scarlet ibis. This bird is out of place, and in the rainy weather after a hurricane that went by is confronted by death.

At that moment the bird began to flutter, but the wings were uncoordinated , and amid much flapping and a spray of feathers, it tumbled down, bumping through the limbs of the bleeding tree and landing at our feet with a thud. Its long, graceful neck jerked twice into an S, then straightened out, and the bird was still. A white veil came over the eyes and the long white beak unhinged. Its legs were crossed and its clawlike feet were delicately curved at rest. Even death did not mar its grace, for it lay on the earth like a broken vase of red flowers, and we stood around it, awed by its exotic beauty. (Hurst 392-393)

This was a very dramatic scene of which the whole family witnessed, the death of the bird. The dramatic and horrifying descent of which the bird made, claiming its life. The scarlet ibis had been carried by a hurricane the family had endured. The bird was not in the right place, he belonged in the tropics. Doodle was stunned and though everyone did not care about the bird and they were just going to leave it, he (Doodle) went to carefully burry it. Doodle was not hungry, especially since they had peach cobbler, he was heartbroken and with everyone getting on his case, especially Aunt Nicey, who said ‘twas bad luck to cross or see a dead bird, did not help any. This leads up to the symbolism of the story, with some relation of Doodle to the ibis. Leading from the death of the ibis to the death of dear Doodle, whose heart exploded of sadness and terror. He too, died with the rain. It was then his brother began to seriously care and regret his earlier actions.

In conclusion to all the events, there is still one thing that a person needs remember. The essential tool is that one must remember to love and care about what the one thing it has before it disappears forever, because it can happen right before one’s eyes or when one’s eyes seem to deceive the recollection of what people perceive. Doodle’s brother seemed to take notice of this moral after the death of his beloved brother. His perception, or view of people like Doodle, hopefully changes, no one will know. As time passed after a loved one was gone, realization set in.

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