— Psalm 96: 11-13
This church is doing such big things.
Amazing. Five minutes of worship and you can feel the Spirit just pulsing through the room.
Looking back through some of my posts from the last two years tonight, I was reminded of the reason why I started this Tumblr in the first place.
This was going to be a space for me to post about the beauty of God’s creation. It was where I was going to glorify Him and the work that he was doing in my life.
I’ve gotten lazy lately.
I don’t write anymore. The purpose of this Tumblr has been put on the back burner.
Instead of posting my spiritual devotionals (or of writing them at all), I check my Tumblr before bed and queue the pretty pictures that I find.
Unfortunately, the lackluster spiritual energy of my blog can pretty accurately parallel my personal life right now. I’ve been so busy with finishing school, my social life, and editing my manuscript that I’ve fallen to simply going through the motions with my faith.
I’ve let God slip through my fingers. But He hasn’t let me slip through His.
I may not have made any Resolutions this New Years, but I’m making one now.
This blog is going to go back to what it used to be. It’s always been a blog about the beauty of creation and humanity- and so I’ll continue to put up pictures that I love. From here on out, however, I’m going back to my devotionals. I’m going to start actively disciplining myself to cut out time for God each day.
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God ? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our Government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’
In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.
Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard it…. no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
I used to have a very good friend who was (and still is, I’m sure) a very stubborn and outspoken Atheist. It began with a growing dislike of organized religion and by the time he was halfway through high school, he had denounced the existence of God altogether.
During the last few years of our friendship (we have since grown apart, but for unrelated reasons) we had some heated and repetitive arguments about spirituality. From our arguments, which were sometimes more educated than others, I learned a great deal about Christianity. More so, even, than I think I’ve learned from fellow Christians.
This friend of mine was an admirable member of the community in which he lived. He volunteered his time to the less unfortunate, and rallied for the causes he thought important. He was involved in school in all the most important ways. He was one of the best gift givers I knew, and also one of the best listeners. His friends and his family always came first, no matter what he had on his plate. He was, in every sense of the word, a “Christian”. No one, without talking to him, would have guessed that he didn’t believe in God. He gave and gave and gave of himself to the less fortunate, and he loved them more than I knew it was possible for a person to love strangers.
I was curious about his drive to love others, and so one day I asked him why he continued to give of himself so much when he didn’t even believe in God.
He, in turn, asked me why he needed God to tell him to love others in order to truly love them. Why did he need to carry out acts of kindness only because he was trying to obey some higher being?
It was a good question, and one that he backed up with the following statement: “You Christians believe that, for all of your good deeds on earth, you are building up a life for yourself in heaven. The nicer you are to everyone else, the bigger your house will be when you die. I don’t need an ulterior motive to love the people I’m stuck here with. We’re all in this together, and I want to do whatever I can do to ease the pain other people have.”
I think he was generalizing, yes, but I think there is something crucial in what he was saying. Many Christians do missionary work and do volunteer services because they think it is a way of tithing, and of giving of themselves in a way that is pleasing to God. They are obeying the commands to love others as Jesus loves them, but they are not always fueled with a deep love for what it is they are doing.
God loves each and every one of us more than we can imagine, and we should be burning with such a love for Him that all we want to do is be there for those whom he cares for. Obedience is important, but it isn’t all there is.
I was talking on the phone with my boyfriend today, and we were discussing what Christians have to do in order to bring about earth shattering revivals of faith. It was an interesting conversation, and one that brought about the conversation I had had with my Atheist friend all those years ago. We discussed obedience, and about the motivation behind acts of Christianity.
The question that arose was this: If tomorrow Jesus appeared before you and told you that no matter what you did from here on out you would be going to hell when you died, would you continue to love others the way Jesus calls us to love them?
Would you be so in love and in awe of God that even if you were forsaken, you would continue to strive for Him and to try and show His glory to those around you?
My old friend, the Atheist, believes that when he dies his body will rot under the ground. He doesn’t believe there is anything else. And yet he loves stronger and harder than most people I know, and I’m sure beyond a doubt that he will continue to give of himself until the day he dies.
All my life I have heard people around me talk about accepting Jesus.
My acceptance of Jesus as my Savior was merely my way of acknowledging the infinite price that was paid for my sins. I have put my personal faith and trust in Him, and realized that there is no way I can make things right with God on my own. My own fallibility as a human leaves me incapable of saving myself.
In the face of all this acceptance, however, I feel that it becomes easy for people to lose sight of the real magnitude of being “saved” in Christ’s name. We accept Jesus as our Savior because we need Him, not because He needs us.
This occurred to me over the weekend while I was in the midst of a heated spiritual debate with my father. We were talking about the immense stress that is often put on the (sometimes unintentional) psychological mantra of “accept Jesus as your Savior or go to hell”.
All of a sudden, I had this comical picture in my head of Jesus in some 20th century ‘Mean Girls’ type flick, just sitting on His own at the reject table waiting for the acceptance of his classmates. It’s a pretty absurd notion when we think about it that way, isn’t it?
We need Jesus in order to be able to receive the unconditional love and Grace that comes from God. In an unprecedented and unmatched act of selflessness, Jesus died upon the cross so that we might have a chance at being accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven in spite of our fallen nature. He died for all of us- for those of us who cried tears of sorrow at the ground by His bleeding feet, and for those who jeered and rejoiced from a distance.
Even the dying words of Jesus, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”, indicates that all Jesus wanted was for God to accept us- sin and all. I mean, WOW, even in the bold face of rejection from His brothers and sisters, He used the last of His strength to pray for our acceptance.
It’s important for Christians to accept Jesus as their Savior, but next time someone asks you about it remember this: Jesus isn’t waiting for your acceptance. He’s waiting for you to realize your own need for it and come to him for help.
Today is the day, guys.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church are protesting homosexuality at the Mars Hill Megachurch. I’ve been thinking and praying about this day for a long time, and I know that a lot of my followers have been too.
Here is a quote from their website; “to picket the false prophet and blind lemmings at Mars Hill Whore House where they teach the lies that God love [sic] everyone and Jesus died for the sins of all of mankind… You have caused the people to trust in lies to their destruction, and to your damnation.”
God’s love- His unconditional and timeless love- is for every single one of His children. Every single one. I can’t even begin to stress that enough, and I can literally feel a heaviness in my heart at the idea that anyone would be taught to think otherwise.
The implication that Jesus died on the cross for only a chosen few and their sins is both careless and ignorant. It shows an enormous lack of understanding of the sacrifice made by the Prince of Peace.
Today, I am praying for the boundless love of God to shine through the ugliness and the hatred that is on display as though it is being done so in His name. I pray that those who find themselves victims of that hatred today are given the capacity to understand that this is human ignorance, and not God’s.
I came across this passage in my Bible last night, and I think it is an empowering verse for all of us to remember today:
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” -Ephesians 3:17-19
The love of Christ surpasses knowledge. This is a beautiful concept. His love for all of us- whoever we are and whatever we do- is stronger, better, and deeper than what we as humans think we understand.
He died for all of us. Today, whoever you are, don’t let the Westboro Baptist Church take that away from you.
— 2 Peter 1:5-7
— Your Love Never Fails
— J.R.R. Tolkien
“My hands are searching for You, my arms are outstretched towards You. I feel You on my fingertips, my tongue dances behind my lips for You.”
All Around Me; Flyleaf
— Isaiah 43:2
— Give Me Your Eyes; Brandon Heath