Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

Some days it can be hard to follow Christ instead of the world

Some days it can be hard to follow Christ instead of the world.
And for that, I think God maybe disappointed and a little ashamed of me.
Some days it’s hard to display grace to others.
Some days I try hard to be a ‘good Christian’ but know, deep down I am failing.
And that makes me feel ashamed of myself.
Some days I am guilty of spending more time online, reading blogs, than reading the only Word that matters.
Some days I am scared when I see what is happening in this world.
Some days I am sick when I read the hate that comes out of a fellow Christian’s mouth, or from behind a computer screen. That also scares me.
Some days I don’t love thy neighbor.
Some days I wonder if I am doing this for His glory, or for mine.
Some days I see the evil in this world and I cry real, full-on tears.
Some days speaking the Truth is scary when the world demands you to be tolerant of every other belief, even when they are not tolerant of yours.
Some days I forget that I am a sinner too.
Some days I forget Christ died for my sins, all our sins.
Some days I forget that the laws made here on earth are not the laws made in heaven.
Some days I can’t find the words that I am feeling in my heart.
Some day I hope to get it right, but I won’t hold my breath.

Lately it feels like Christians have struggled with a lot of some days. Last week’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states has caught many Christians off guard about how to respond.

Some days the world feels crushing and confusing and out of its mind, but Christians have a choice to make. How will we respond? Some days we will respond with love, other days not so much. Because we are human. Christian does not equal perfect.

Some days speaking the Truth gets you yelled at IN ALL CAPS, especially when it is not among popular opinion of this world. Thankfully, the opinion of this world is not the one I worry most about.

I wanted to share four posts that have made me stop and think this week in some way. This ruling has made me think deeper about my faith than ever before. Being Christian is not about being perfect, or having all the answers. It’s a journey.

We Are That Family | “This is What I am going to do today (in response of the Supreme Court Ruling)”
Into The Wild | “Dear Homosexual America: I am Sorry. An Open Letter From a Christian”
The Blaze, Matt Walsh | “Yes, Gay Marriage Hurts Me Personally”
Grace to You | “Why Biblical Christianity Is Intolerable in an Age of “Tolerance”

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” 1 Timothy 1:15

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LINKING UP with these amazing bloggers who continue to speak truth: Holley Gerth’s Coffee for your Heart and Bonnie’s Spiritual Whitespace. l visit other bloggers writing from the heart.

Who Was the Real Mary Magdalene?

The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about Mary Magdalene’s past. Her back story is hidden from us, left to speculation by many.  Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute, Jesus’ wife, the most loved disciple and Peter’s adversary? We can speculation all day long, or we can look to the Bible for clues about the real Mary Magdalene.

the real mayry magdalene

Background Image Source: StockVault

Luke first introduces us to Mary Magdalene, “Mary who was call Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out…” (Luke 8:2)

Mary was called Magdalene because she was from the fishing village, Magdala on the northwest shore on the Sea of Galilee.

We know Jesus had exorcised many demonic possessions in that area, so we can assume that He was the one who released her from Satan, and because she was following Him. It makes sense if He saved her, she would then follow Him.

Satan tortured her with seven demons…SEVEN! The number seven in the Bible is symbolic of something being finished or complete. In other words, Mary was completely possessed. Read more about the number 7 in the Bible.

Demon possession is bondage of an evil spirit. Mary’s exact afflictions we don’t know, but because of the number 7 we know it was severe. There is enough information in the New Testament that we can imagine what her afflictions could have been. The New Testament tells us such afflictions included insanity, blindness, anxiety, self-loathing or any other disorder(s) commonly described as demonic possession.

Mary Magdalene was truly suffering.

No worries, though. Jesus Christ delivered Mary from all that torment.

Side note: people tormented by demons never sought out Christ for healing/deliverance. They were always brought to Him by loved ones. I assume that was because the demons were rightfully afraid of Christ.

Other than being saved from demons, we don’t know anything else about Mary’s past, but we do know her life after Christ.

So, what does the Bible tell us about the real Mary Magdalene?

  • Because Mary Magdalene was saved by Christ, she was free and righteous (Romans 6:18). Mary Magdalene was born anew.
  • Mary Magdalene traveled with Christ and his 12 disciples. (Luke 8:1-3)
  • Mary Magdalene used her “property and personal belongings” to help support Christ and his ministry. (Luke 8:3)
  • Mary Magdalene was faithfully devoted. She prepared cleaning spices after Christ’s death. (Luke 23:56, 24:1)
  • She was faithfully devoted to Christ. She was there at Pilate’s Hall when His death sentence was announced. She stayed with Him during the crucifixion. She was there when a Roman solider thrust his spear into Christ’s side and pronounced Him dead. She stayed to the bitter end. (Luke 23:54-55)
  • Christ revealed himself first to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection. (John 20:12-17) She was the first to know the most important event in human history. Christ chose a woman to reveal the Good News to the disciples.
  • Mary Magdalene loved Christ with all her heart and soul. He saved her from her demons and for that she gave her life to Him.

Mary Magdalene is a shining example of the power of Christ’s redemption. He is glorified when He rescues us from our demons then uses us for a greater purpose. His purpose. Like Mary Magdalene, we are rescued from a hopeless life to a life that knows the deep love of Christ, but only if we seek Him.

Let’s be like Mary Magdalene. Let’s seek Him. Always.

LINKING UP at these encouraging faith blogs: Counting My blessings, Simple Moments StickJennifer Dukes Lee, Holley Gerth’s Coffee for your Heart, and Missional Women. Go. Read something to lift you up this Friday morning.

Don’t be Alarmed. He Has Risen!

  Easter bible verse

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” (Mark 16:1-8 NIV)

I don’t know about you, but if I was the one standing in that tomb to find Jesus had risen, I would have been freaking out. I would have ran away, trembling, too.

Do not be alarmed, in other words, do not be afraid. In the Bible, “Do not be afraid”, and other variations of the phrase (don’t be alarmed, fear not, do not fear) appear a lot. One popular myth is that it appears 365 times, but it is closer to 150ish times. 

Fortunately for us, the disciples pushed through their initial reaction of fear. They went on to spread the Word, despite the fear of persecution; and they had very good reason to fear persecution.

Today is Easter Sunday. Let’s take in the heaviness of that day. The day the women went to the tomb to find Jesus risen. There was fear, at first, then there was hope, and probably tears of joy too.

Even in death, Jesus is teaching us a lesson. Push through the fear because on the other side there is hope. There is also faith, comfort, and courage.

The Lord our God is with us. Do not be afraid.

RESOURCES | 365 “Do not be afraid” phrase in the Bible? Miley’s Scribblings has put together a great list here.

The Power of Prayer is Real

Have you ever prayed for something that you wanted/needed badly? Have you ever prayed for healing, whether for yourself or a loved one? Were those prayers answered? I have, so I know the power of prayer is real.

It’s not to say those prayers were answered just the way I wanted, because God answers prayers, and sometimes the answer is “No”. But there is always an answer.

Which brings me to ask, “How’s your prayer-life?” My hubby says he has trouble praying for himself because he already has so much more than others. So, he prays for others. Lifting up others in prayer is a great thing.

Let me introduce you to someone who knows personally the power of prayer. Her name is Sister Mary.

power of prayer

For years, Sister Mary suffered from painful stomach aches. Doctors couldn’t help her. The pain was so great, one night she made the decision to take her own life. On that night she meet someone who would change that decision, and her life forever.

His name was Jesus.

Since meeting Jesus in a vision ten years ago, Sister Mary has used the power of prayer to help the sick and suffering in her small village. She has prayed for thousands, transforming their lives and hers. Jesus has a way of doing that.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

As followers of Christ we are called to pray for others. Prayer is one of the best ways to strengthen our relationship with Him.  By the way, He wants us to ask for help, when we need it, too.

So, maybe you are like my hubby, and don’t want to pray for yourself, but want to pray for others. He can change the lives of others through your prayers.

Power of prayer

Here are some ways you can put your prayer life into action:

Pray for Widows. The treatment of widows in South Asia is unimaginably horrific.
Pray for Abandoned Children. Countless children in Asia have been discarded, aborted, and abused, but they are not forgotten.
Pray for Asia’s Youth. Did you know that 40 percent of India’s 1 billion people are under the age of 18?
Pray for Missionaries. Everyday missionaries in South Asia risk their lives as they share the love of Christ with others.

Watch this inspirational video entitled “When Sister Mary Prays”. Then, humbly lift up Sister Mary in prayer.

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He may give to you.” John 16:15

Do not doubt the power of prayer.

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*I am a Gospel for Asia blogger. I am not paid for my posts. I feel blessed to share inspirational stories like this one with my readers. GFA is a Small Seed. Photos courtesy of GFA. You can learn more about GFA here.

A Love List for Jesus

Because we don’t say “I love you” enough. Because sometimes we ‘forget’ to say it. Just in time for Valentine’s Day…A love list for Jesus. Because it needs to be said.

I love Him

  1.  He said the truth, not what people wanted to hear. He wasn’t afraid to call out the Pharisees on their bad behavior. Luke 11:37-44
  2. He is dependable in His own time. John 11:38-44
  3. He is an encourager. Matthew 6:34
  4. He is compassionate. John 8:1-11
  5. He is calm in the storm. Mark 4:35-41
  6. He didn’t care what others thought about the company he kept. Matthew 9:11
  7. He forgives. 1 John 1:9
  8. He lost his patience a few times too. Matthew 21:12
  9. He endured the worst of human-kind had to offer on the cross, yet He did it all for us. 1 Peter 2:23-25
  10. His family tree is full of broken people, just like all of us. Matthew 1:1-17

Because it takes writing a list of things I love about someone that reminds me how much I love them. Thanks to Pastor Steve for this little assignment.

So, what would be on your list?

LINKING UP | Faith Barista // Missional Woman // The Jenny Evolution // Holy Splendor // Simple Moments Stick // My Freshly Brewed Life // Sandra Heska King // Click on over to read inspirational words written by women for women.

Merry Christmas to You…

I designed a Christmas card this year…but in my quest to do less this year I became a total slacker. I also didn’t get a few presents mailed out in time either, or even ordered in time….they will arrive after Christmas, which kind of defeats the purpose. But, hey, that’s not what is important, right?

If I had order and mailed my Christmas cards, this is what it would have looked like:

Christmas card design

Photo by ReasonYou Photography

May you have a Merry Christmas, and a joyous New Year!

 

Making Macarons and December Daily Stuff

The prettiest of the cookies has to be the Macaron. This little French cookie is one I don’t bake well. And, by ‘don’t bake well’, I mean I bake something that resembles a hockey puck than a Macaron.

DecDaily-MacaronBox

Kit is full of promise

Oh, I’ve tried…and failed. But this year I spied this little kit at, where else, Target.

It spoke to me. It said, “Nous allons faire des biscuits!” (Let’s bake cookies!)

*** Insert random December Daily photos here, which have nothing to do with Macarons. ***

DecDaily-Rocco

I can’t help it if Rocco loves his ugly Christmas sweater…

DecDaily-Starbucks

Starbucks treat almost too pretty to eat…almost

DecDaily-Socks

Fuzzy socks to keep their tootsie toes warm

DecDaily-Party

New party shoes for the school Christmas party

Back to the Macarons…

DecDaily-Macarons

Chocolate Macarons with mint filling (3 ‘good’ cookies)

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advent

In the true spirit of Advent, here’s something I learned this week following along with the Advent Bible study at She Reads Truth:

Bethlehem means “House of Bread”.

In Hebrew, Beth•lehem is two words, Beth (House) & Lehem (Bread). Jesus was born in the House of Bread…and 33 years after his birth, He would break bread with his disciples saying, “Take, eat; this is My body.” (Matthew 26:26) 

Reading this kind of stopped me in my tracks. His perfect irony is amazing, isn’t it? Maybe you knew this little tidbit already, or maybe, like me, you are hearing this for the first time. Either way, be still and let that soak in a moment. Because it’s pretty awesome.

You can read the full post at She Reads Truth.

Not Every Little Girl is Celebrated | Gendercide in So Asia

I have two daughters. The first took nearly two years to conceive. Oh, how we tested, tried, and waited. We found out she was a she on 9/11. That 9/11. Is it possible to feel overwhelming sadness and joy on the same day?

We painted walls in girl appropriate colors, bought little girly clothes, registered at Babies R Us, searched for the perfect girly name. When she was born, she almost forced me to deliver in the hospital parking lot. When we held her in our arms for the first time, she was the picture of perfection. Perfectly bald and beautiful.

My pregnancy and delivery with my second daughter was slightly different…it was more difficult. However, we repeated the whole process of painting, buying, primping, and anxiously awaiting her arrival. When we held her in our arms for the first time, it was hard to believe we held perfection for a second time. She too, was bald and beautiful.

Our daughters are perfect. I can’t think of anything better than having daughters. And, personally, there is nothing better than holding a bald baby girl. All my opinion, of course.

In some parts of the world, holding a newborn daughter in one’s arms is considered unfortunate, a waste, a disappointment, unloved. This is heart crushing.

Isaiah1

In some cultures, daughters have zero value. That’s hard to hear if you have grown up in America. But, it’s the sad reality of millions of girls in South Asia.

There is no baby shower celebrating a girl. There is no joyous birth announcement. In South Asia, a girl is not to be celebrated.

That is 600,000 dead babies every year simply because they are a girl. [Gender-based abortion, or Gendercide, is what it is called. Abortion based solely on the gender of the baby.]

Girls who are born into this world, face hatred and abuse from the ones who should love them unconditionally. They face the real possibility of sex trafficking, child labor, bride burning, and oppression. They spend their entire life being told they are unloved and unwanted.

UNWANTED.

UNLOVED.

ABUSED.

ABANDONED.

GENDER-BASED ABORTION.

SOLD FOR SEX.

Crimes against girls and women are frightening and sickening to hear, but it needs to be said.

Gospel For Asia made this amazing movie called Veil of Tears. This movies sheds light on the plight of girls and women in South Asia. I am warning you, keep the Kleenex close by when watching this movie!

It’s not all despair, though. Because of generous supporters, GFA is working to change cultural attitudes toward girls. They are spreading hope in girl’s lives through the love of Jesus Christ. Hearing of Christ’s love for them, when they have been told they are unlovable, has changed the hearts and minds of those who need it the most.

It only takes planting one small seed to grow Christ’s love.

GFA is speaking for millions of suffering girls, and taking action to change the lives of future girls through sharing the Gospel.

My daughters are the most precious people in my life. Every girl deserves to have someone who feels that way about them. Do you want to help change the life of a girl? Then, click here to learn more about Gospel for Asia and how they are working to share God’s love with those most in need.

*I am a Gospel for Asia Blogger. The more you know, the more you can make a difference. Become a #SmallSeed today. No deed is too small. Small Seeds, growing in faith and compassion.

If Jesus Had a Facebook Account…

Do you spend more time ‘liking’ status updates of people you hardly know, more than liking the One who knows you best?

Do you spend more time keeping up with the Kardashians than keeping up with your Bible study?

Do you follow more blogs than you follow Peter’s example? (This blog excluded, of course.)

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may be in need of a divine social intervention.

The NFL debate, celebrity photo hacking, viral hashtags, oh my. There is so much to distract us on a daily basis; information at our fingertips, literally.

Our cell phone beeps with alerts that beg for our attention.right.now. We just can’t resist swiping our phone, can we?

But, there is someone else who, through all the chatter, is trying to get our attention…Jesus.

What does Jesus have to do to connect with us? Open a Facebook, Twitter, an Instagram account? Dying for us wasn’t enough?

Would He tweet “Frustrated with human-kind and their constant distractions.”?

Would His Facebook status read, “Missing you.”?

Would that get your attention, or at least a ‘share’?

What would happen if we spent as much time in His presence as on social media? What would we gain? Would we truly follow Him?

[Thumbs Up Graphic Source]

 

Bible Journaling | Works for Me

I may have mentioned once or twice (or more) how I like to highlight books I am reading. I highlight passages I don’t want to forget. I take notes in the margins. This is why I can never lend out my books to friends. Who wants to read a book with highlighter and notes written all over the pages?

Bible journaling

Even my Bible doesn’t escape the highlighter. I take notes in the margins too. I am not limited to the highlighter; I have even drawn pictures, used stickers, Washi tape, and attached note cards.

Bible journaling

I recently discovered people like me; expressing their love for their Bible in a very artistic way, turning it into an art journal, while spending time in the Word. Kindred spirits, we are.

Turns out there is a name for this thing that I do. It’s called Bible Journaling. If you can’t resist journaling, or taking notes, right along scripture, you can purchase a Journal Bible. It has extra large side margins for journaling or art.

Bible journaling Bible journaling

My mom gave me this Bible. It doesn’t have a wide margin, but that hasn’t stopped me from journaling in it! There are many different ways to study the Word. Not everyone would choose this approach. Some would never write in their Bible, others get out their big-girl watercolors and go to town! I say, “Do what works for you.”

I haven’t experienced a lot of anxiety about writing in my Bible. I know others who do. Maybe that is because I have written in books for a long time. I am a rule breaker that way.

I am careful not to cover up the words. I still want to read my Bible, after all. Others are comfortable creating with wild abandonment. Creating art for Him.

Bottom line | Do whatever you do that brings you closer to Him. Do it with happiness. Do it with love. This is your time spent in the Word. It is your time with Him. Doing it for the glory of the Lord is not wrong.

So, there you have it: Bible Journaling. Who knew? It works for me.

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Check out these bloggers/artists who are sharing their love for the Word and their art too: Greta Sutherland and Shanna Noel. Need more inspiration? Click over to my Pinterest board entitled Bible Journaling.

myGFA

#SmallSeeds | Give Bibles to those who have never hear the Good News. Only $4 buys 8 New Testament Bibles, and $3 delivers a Bible to those most in need in South Asia. This is MyGFA.

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