Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

A Christian Girl Walks into a Bat Mitzvah…

Psalm 133

Background Photo Source: WikiCommons

No, it’s not a joke with a punchline. I was recently invited to share in a friend’s Bat Mitzvah.

I am a little ashamed to say I have lived a rather sheltered Christian life. I grew up in a Nazarene Church. For a time during my teenage years I was exposed to what I can only describe as a doomsday Biblical Church. As an adult I attended a Nazarene Church for many years, and currently attend a non-denominational Christian Church.

There was this one time I attended Mass with my one Catholic friend. And Jewish? Well, I have eaten Latkes and Brisket…but that is as close as it gets. I read about other religions, but I haven’t had much personal experiences with different faiths other than my own.

So, when I was invite to this thing called a Bat Mitzvah, I was excited to learn more about the Jewish faith.

WHAT IS A BAT/BAR MITZVAH? It is the “coming of age” ceremony in the Jewish religion. The teen or pre-teen is considered an adult in the Jewish Community. For boys this is at 13-years-old, for girls it is at 12-years-old.

It was an honor to share this momentous occasion with these friends…even if I had no idea what they were saying because the ceremony was spoken mostly in Hebrew, with some English thrown in for us non-Jewish.

Mostly I was impress with the young lady, Sydney, at the center of her Bat Mitzvah. She spent countless months learning Hebrew. To speak in front of a room full of people, in a language she just learned…well, it’s impressive!

When most 12-year-olds are a little distracted these days, she had the determination to push forward, even when it got really hard. Maybe it’s the mother in me…I got a little teary-eyed just watching her, and she’s not my kid!

My take away from this experience is Jews and Christians have a lot in common. We may disagree on who Jesus was (and other points), but fundamentally, Jews and Christian believe and worship the One, almighty God. We both believe in extending love to one another, and our enemies. We live by forgiveness, grace, and the same moral codes.

Jews and Christians share a common heritage, after all, Jesus was Jewish. We have the same desire to have an intimate relationship with God. And, that is good enough for me.

So, if you ever have the chance to share in a religious ceremony other than your own, don’t shy away from it. I hope that you will embrace it, learn from it, and who knows, you may realize you have more in common that you thought.

Thank you my friends from allowing our family to share in your special day.

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LINKING UP with Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart.

What to do When it Feels Like the World is Falling Apart

Okay. So.

I had a post ready for today. It is thoughts on our summer bible reading of Ephesians 5. I can’t post that today.

My heart is heavy.

I can’t post that when planes are shot down. When Hamas is raging war against Israel. When ISIS is persecuting Christians, forcing them from their homeland they have had for the past 2000 years. When girls are kidnapped from schools. When children are dying to cross the border. When war rages in Ukraine.

That’s heavy stuff.

So. What’s a girl to do when it feels like the world is falling apart?

When the chaos of the world crushes my heart.

When injustice reins and hope has been drowned out.

When I feel helpless and hopeless.

When I sit safe at home.

When there is nothing I can do but Tweet information and support for fellow Christians being killed for our faith.

When governments, the U.N. turn a blind eye.

When hashtags don’t help.

When evil runs wild, and good is hard see.

My heart needs protection. I desperately need it.

Ephesians6

Source: unlockingthebible.org

I need to put on the Armor of God, as Paul instructs us to do in Ephesians 6.

[10] A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. [11] Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. [12] For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

[13] Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. [14] Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. [15] For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. [16] In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. [17] Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

[18] Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:10-18

Today, I will ‘put on all of God’s armor’.

Today, I will ‘pray for all believers everywhere’.

Today, I will ‘hold up my shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil’.

Today, I will ‘take the sword of the Spirit’ and ‘stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

Leap of Faith | Ephesians 3

My One Word for 2014 is Leap. It’s all about leaping to find my writing voice in the blog. Leap and trust His plan. Leap and plant Small Seeds.

Have the guts to leap.

I have been refocusing on that word lately. This week’s Bible study of Ephesians 3 screams of leaping.

At times I feel a lot like Paul who confessed he felt he was “…writing about things that are way over my head…” (Ephesians 3:11-12 MSG)

Do you ever feel that way? To have an idea but feel completely unprepared and overwhelmed that you don’t know what to do next? In situations like this, you have one of two choices. You can do nothing, which will get you nowhere closer to your dream, or you can take a leap of faith and do something. Anything.

“When we trust in him, we’re FREE to say whatever needs to be said, BOLD to go whatever we need to go.” (Emphasis in all caps are mine.) Ephesians 3:11-12 MSG

And then I think of Dr. Phil. He often says, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Weird, I know. But, Dr. Phil, like Paul, was on to something big.

Here we are in Ephesians, a letter written by Paul. Paul was once Saul, the go-to Christian persecutor of his day. Like us, Paul didn’t know what he didn’t know. God used him in a way he never thought possible. I think, at times, Paul even has trouble believing it himself.

God turned a persecutor into a crusader. (Galatians 1:13)

In his own words, Paul felt he was over his head when speaking about Christ. But, get this, Paul took a leap of faith. He leaped with his heart. He leaped and trusted God. He spoke, even if he didn’t know it all, yet. He said what he needed to say anyway.

He spoke FREE and BOLD.

“God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever image or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” Ephesians 3:20 MSG

I guess Paul knew more than he thought…

This Sunday my prayer for you, the one on the verge of taking a leap of faith, in the words of Paul, is this:

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 MSG

Amen.

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LINKING UP | at MyFreshlyBrewedLife. 

For Your Weekend

spring has sprung spring has sprung spring has sprung May your weekend be filled with little surprises that delight and bring you joy.

Easter Bible Study The Good Morning Girls are starting a free Easter Bible Study tomorrow. It’s entitled Why Easter Matters. All printed materials are FREE (provided you subscribe to their blog), and it is only 4 weeks long.

“…we can’t think of a better time to make it a priority to stay in God’s Word, and focus your hearts on the One who died in our place, for our sins.”

 

I can do all things-PREVIEW DISPLAY YOUR FAITH IN YOUR HOME | New designs in the SHOP today. Now you can print your Christian artwork prints on metal! Metal prints are a sheet of lightweight aluminum that is literally infused with the chosen artwork creating a sharp and vibrant finish and supplied ready to immediately hang. They also appear to be floating on you wall. So cool!

Be the Author of Your Own Life

I start typing this today by taking a deep breath because I have something huge hanging on my heart.

Be the autho quote

(Background Photo Source.)

So, what does your life book look like? Yeah, I don’t know what mine looks like either. Just taking it one day at a time, sister.

This past Sunday’s sermon at our church got me thinking about that, again. The sermon was focused on our OLW, “MADE”. (Yeah, our church chose a One Little Word for 2014. How cool is that?)

This year, as a church community, its been all about being MADE in His image. Being MADE to do more, be more, for Him and because of Him. Yesterday our pastor focused on followers of Christ being MADE to make disciples. Like Simon Peter.

I think to myself, I am not Peter. Peter was the rock on which Jesus built his church.

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Encouraging Words for Anxiety and Worry

I am in a funk. Ugh. Anxiety and worry about little stuff has got me feeling down. It’s nothing that won’t work out on its own. But, still. I can’t shake this funk. Anyone out there feeling the same?

Anxiety and Worry [27] And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure to his stature or to the span of his life? [28] And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. [34] So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own,. Sufficient for each day is its own troubles. [Matthew 6:27-28, 34]

Yeah, just let those words wash over you.

Make Your Life a Work of Art

Matisse quote Henri, you speak the truth.

My oldest daughter gets frustrated when creating art. The watercolors aren’t laying on the paper right; the paint is too think; it isn’t working out the way she envisioned. I tell her that art is not perfect. It’s not meant to be. Art school taught me this. She will not listen to any of it! She struggles with the limited medium; she struggles with her need to be perfect in whatever art she is doing.

Art is a lot like life. It’s messy, it’s never perfect, and it’s limited depending on how we view ourselves, which is at the very essence our “medium”. If we view ourselves as “not good enough” or “not ready” for the next step we will fight the ourselves, the medium. And, our art will be left unfinished.

Do you get the picture I am painting here?

Another great artist was Vincent Van Gogh. Do you think Van Gogh was happy with his masterpiece “Starry Night”? Did you know it was painted from memory of his nightly view outside of his sanitarium room window at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence? I don’t know about you, but if I was in an Asylum, experiencing incapacitating panic attacks, I would be feeling pretty down about myself. I don’t know if I would think I could create something so beautiful. But he did. He didn’t let a hospital room confine, or define, him. He found inspiration right where he was in that moment of his life. Outside his window looking at the heavens.

It does me good to do what’s difficult, ” Van Gogh wrote, “That doesn’t stop me having a tremendous need for, shall I say the word—for religion—so I go outside at night to paint the stars.”

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Three Lies the Enemy is Telling You

Three Lies the enemy is telling you

LIE #1: You are not good enough.

You’re not a good mother; a good wife; a good employee; a good friend. You’re not pretty enough; thin enough; rich enough. You are a screw up, worthless, and not worth loving. We’ve all repeated hateful words like these to ourselves at one time or another. The enemy is just waiting for you to plant the seed of doubt so he can confirm our secret fears. He will use TV, magazines, the Internet, even your loved ones to confirm those fears. He is sneaky that way.

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Are you Believing in God, or do you Believe God?

faith Do you believe in God, or do you believe God? And, yes, there is a difference.

Many Christians I know, myself included, are really good at believing in God.

We do the church-thing. We cling to our Bibles every Sunday. We sit in the pews, we stand, we sing, we tithe, we say, “Amen”. We drink ceremonious wine in little plastic cups. We wear the cross (and I love my crosses). We donated soup cans, coats, shoes, Christmas presents to those in need. We try to lead “good Christian” lives. And, we uttered the phrase, “God works in mysterious ways,” when speaking of things we can’t explain.

Can I get an Amen?

But, is it enough just to believe in God?

Is that enough for me? For you?

Is that enough for Him?

Although I feel I have faith, that is the name of this blog after all, I do not fully believe God.

Why? Well, there are a number of reasons. Early church experiences gone wrong, prayers unanswered, heart-ache unburdened, bad things that cannot be explained away by, “everything happens for a reason”. Whatever.

All I know is, I want more from my faith.

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7 reasons why I love that my kids love Duck Dynasty

Airing on A&E Wednesday nights, Duck Dynasty is a reality show that follows the antics of a fun loving bearded Louisiana duck call mogul family. The Robertson’s, looking more like a ZZ Top cover band than the millionaires that they are, have a huge fan following.

The numbers don’t lie. This season’s premiere of Duck Dynasty was the most watched non-fiction series in cable television history with 11.8 million viewers.

And, my kids love it!

Most reality shows on TV today are mind-numbing-train-wreck-of-girls-behaving-badly-stab-you-in-the-back-scream-in-your-face-at-high-octives-and-profanity-laced programming. (Think Dance Moms, Real Housewives, anything Kardashian.)

Okay, full disclosure here. My little guilty pleasure is the original Real Housewives of OC, and it’s really just for “research” to see how the other half lives and thinks. (wink) But, I don’t want my kids watching it!

So, why would I love that my girls love a reality show? (Seriously? Didn’t you at least chuckle at that video above?)

  1. I don’t need to have a long discussion about inappropriate or lewd behavior. It’s not your typical reality show as stated above. Actually, they call it a “docu-style sitcom”, and it’s film more like a sitcom.
  2. They value family. The Robertson family loves one another. They bicker without holding a grudge. They tease without meanness in their heart. They irritate without screaming and dropping the f-bomb every other sentence.
  3. They are funny. Scripted, or not, this family, with their Southern charm and sharp wit, is laugh-out-load funny.
  4. The show has a counter-cultural message with its Christian family values, traditional gender roles, and mutual respect  for each other, and their spouses. There is no profanity, no twerking, and no cat-fights. They end each show thanking God for what He has done for them while sitting around the dinner table. Jase Robertson’s personal motto: God. Family. Ducks. In that order.”
  5. It’s a rags to riches story. From dirt poor, addictions, humble beginnings of making duck calls in the backyard shed to running a successful family business, filming a wildly popular TV show, writing books, and managing lucrative merchandising deals. Don’t believe me about the merchandising? Just take a trip to Walmart sometime. It’s the American dream. If these guys can make it big by making, of all things, duck calls, then so can I.
  6. They eat squirrel and frog legs. My inner Missouri country girl smiles.
  7. They are authentic. They claim the show is only “scripted” in the sense that the producers put the Robertson family in situations just to sit back and see how it plays out. It’s long been reported that these guys can be difficult — refusing to recite lines, or go along with a story line – instead they say what they please. And honestly, I don’t care. I am in it for the message.

All this makes for a “Happy, Happy, Happy” Wednesday night in our house.

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