Category Archives: Christian Concepts from My Perspective

In this category, I go into depth on my opinions and interpretations of different Bible verses and concepts and how they apply to our lives today.

The Bible Journaling Movement: What is Your Opinion?

So as an artistic individual, I have seen many of my Facebook friends or bloggers I follow join the “Bible Journaling Movement” and have been intrigued by the phenomenon. I have heard a lot of controversy on the issue in my personal life; mostly by the baby boomer generation. They feel like “doodling” in your Bible, the most sacred book in the world, is disrespectful. But is it disrespectful? Is it wrong to join “the movement?”

To see what it was about for myself, I bought a journaling Bible. I had been watching my friends post their creations for weeks and was falling in love with the idea. I like to get creative with things and so one night, after gathering up my colored pencils and a little courage, I decided to take the leap and drew my first creation in my Bible.

stars

I found the whole experience to be awesome. Do you want to know why? Because not only was I “doodling” in my Bible, but I was reading a passage, meditating on it, thinking about how it applies to my life, and then creating an image that depicted what that passage means to me.

I feel like this new “movement” is an EXCELLENT way to get young people interested in the word. It allows them to express themselves, and yet, learn their Bible. If you’re a visual person like me, it also allows you to visually view what you just read and will more readily be able to regurgitate that information because I will see the picture in my head and know “Psalms 147:4 talks about how amazing God is and that he knows impossible-to-know things like how many stars are in the night sky.”

What is your opinion on Bible Journaling? Are you for or against “the movement?” Why?

Check out these other amazing journals I have come across:

time  cup

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The Terror Attack on Orlando, FL from my perspective, as a Christian

I’m sure you’ve probably heard about the mass shooting that took place last weekend in Orlando, Florida. If not, read more about it here: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting/

On Social Media, the world was booming with people’s thoughts and opinions on the attacks. I read many horrible slurs, many close-minded individuals spilling forth their poison, and witnessed MANY people, within the church, saying things referencing that God destroys sin and that the victims of the attacks deserve what happened because they lived a sinful life. “Let he without sin cast the first stone!” NEWSFLASH: We all live a sinful life. If you think God had any part in those attacks last Sunday, then you apparently don’t know the loving, compassionate, merciful God that I serve.

I saw someone post this article on Facebook several hours after the horrific attack on Sunday and honestly, it really got under my skin and I could not keep quiet on the issue any longer.

Here is a link to the article they posted:  https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2015/07/01/40-questions-for-christians-now-waving-rainbow-flags/

If you don’t want to read it, here is the gist of it:
-it was written by Pastor Kevin DeYoung
-it states that Christians are becoming too politically correct and are too afraid to step on people’s toes (I agree).
-it lists a bunch of questions that “true” Christians should be asking themselves to make sure they are staying true to Christ.

I felt that most of the questions were completely bogus though and that in posting this article mere hours after an entire group of people, mostly within the LGBT community were targeted and killed, the person who posted the article was justifying the act of terrorism.

This was my response to her Facebook post:

“In posting this mere hours after a tragic massacre occurred, despite what your true intentions were, it looks as though you are saying these victims deserved what they received simply because they live a lifestyle you disagree with. As a Christian, I do not support gay marriage and never have. I do, however, support loving one another and showing Christ in everything we do. So to answer some of the questions in the article you posted (because answering them all would be tedious):

1. I don’t believe gay marriage is something to be celebrated, but I believe we should love one another despite differences and ostracizing an entire group of people is only going to push them further from the light of Christ.

5. I do not think Jesus would have been “okay” with “homosexual behavior”, but, and that’s a very big but, Jesus hung out with prostitutes and the morally corrupt in order to show God’s love and mercy and kindness. Think back to the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Samaritans and Jews were not to associate with one another; yet Jesus asked her for water. This woman had 5 husbands and was now living with a 6th man who was not her husband, yet Jesus did not shun her. He spoke with her and listened to her speak and showed her God’s plan for her life. God uses flawed people to show hope to a flawed world.

14. Children probably do best with a mother and a father, statistically speaking, but all children really need is food, shelter, encouragement, and love. They need a loving environment. There are plenty of single parents out there raising children who turn out just fine. There are plenty of sisters or brothers or aunts/uncles/cousins/etc. raising children in homes without both male/female influence and those kids are not “turning gay” or becoming menaces to society.

19. This question is absurd and has nothing to do with the topic at hand. “Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?” If people with the same DNA are getting married, their children are going to have physical and mental problems due to incest. Gay people getting married (who cannot procreate without intervention, mind you) would not be bringing physically and mentally challenged people into the world willingly and knowingly.

25. Absolutely. We live in America and have freedom of speech for a reason so if someone disagrees with homosexual practices, they should be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution or coercion. Exercising your religious beliefs should not include hating, slandering, bullying, or other malicious acts/forms of speech that can be seen going on in the church currently by people claiming to be Christians.

35. It is absolutely possible to love someone and disagree with decisions they make. That being said, have you ever heard the phrase “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?” You can tell an LGBT person you disagree with their lifestyle all day long. There is nothing wrong with expressing your opinion. It becomes wrong when you ostracize them, hate them, have malice in your heart and mind towards them, etc.

I’ll end my statement the same way Mr. Kevin DeYoung decided to close his article because it works both ways. “Food for thought, I hope. At the very least, something to chew on before swallowing everything the world and Facebook put on our plate.”

Let me know what you think about how Christians should “handle” the LGBT community. How should we react to acts of terror such as this? How should we behave when it comes to politically correctness in society?

As of yet (nearly a week later), she has yet to respond to my comment and it has received dozens of likes. It is very justifying to know that there are still “good” people in the world who stand for good values and try to truly show Christ in all that they do.

Just remember: “God uses flawed people to show hope to a flawed world.”

Valentines Day: A Conspiracy?

No one knows the complete history on Valentines Day because the details are somewhat murky as to how Valentine’s Day has come to be and what we now know and celebrate. The story says that Saint Valentine served in third-century Rome. Emperor Claudius decided that single men made better soldiers. Therefore, Claudius banned soldiers from being married. One version of the story is that Valentine continued to perform the weddings of young soldiers who were in love, and Claudius had Valentine imprisoned. While imprisoned, Valentine reportedly fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Valentine sent her a card and signed it, “Love, your Valentine” just before his execution. Because of this romantic gesture, now we are expected to show love and appreciation for the one(s) we love every February 14th.

Here are my problems with Valentine’s Day:

1. We should be showing those we love how special they are to us EVERY day. Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to do something meaningful. Bring your girl some flowers “just because.” Cook your man a meal because you love him on a random Tuesday; not only on Valentine’s Day.

2. We should be showing love to EVERYONE.

John 13:34-35 says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

3. You don’t have to spend money to show someone you care about them.

According to the National Retail Survey, men routinely spend double the amount on Valentine’s Day than women do. “The average man plans to shell out $135.35 to impress the people in his life while women only expect to spend $72.28.”

To me, as long as something is heart-felt and sincere, the cost doesn’t matter. If a man cooked me dinner, rented a movie, and spent the night snuggling on the couch, it would be just as nice, if not better, than going out to a fancy dinner and spending a bunch of money. We have made the “holiday” about what jewelry we’ll be receiving, what restaurant we’ll be dining at, and/or the dreaded “if he buys me a cheap box of chocolates from the drug store, he doesn’t care.” As long as he’s thinking about you, he cares.  Let’s just hope for the kind of person in our lives who shows us how much we mean to them more than one day per year.

4. Valentine’s Day is not about REAL LOVE. People feel mandated to have a “special someone” in their lives and will get into relationships they know will not last or stay in relationships that make them miserable just so they won’t be “that loser” on Valentine’s Day.

This gives many in our society a warped sense of what LOVE really is. It is not sticking it out so you get some jewelry or hooking up with a random guy so you have a story to tell your girlfriends. LOVE is such a special, unique, unexplainable emotion that we all can only hope to experience at some time in our lives.

The Bible Describes Love as the following:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

We are only able to fully love through God’s example because “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

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Why We Should Control Our Temper

I am very prone to anger. I have a quick temper. My children probably cause this side of me to come out the most. They really know how to push my buttons. When they do this, I’m not going to lie, many times I overreact. In the past I have said things I shouldn’t have said…I think most of us can agree we’ve done that in a fit of anger. If I were to name my #1 fault that I needed to work on-it would be controlling my temper.

God doesn’t want us to be angry. In fact, if we give in to our nature and allow anger to take over, it can cause us to distance ourselves from God and cause eternal damnation.

When you get angry, what’s the first thing that happens? If you’re anything like me, you say, do, or think something mean and hurtful that is completely unnecessary.

The Bible says that “the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21). So by being mean and saying hurtful things, even if just in a moment of anger, we can speak words of life and death. We can hurt someone physically, mentally, and spiritually. So why not control our tempers, our attitudes, and therefore, our words so that every word that is spoken from our lips is edifying to others and not harmful. Everything we say and do should glorify God.

Lord, I pray that you help me get rid of all of the anger in my life. Help me to learn to look to you in moments when I feel angered and give me a peaceful spirit that allows me to remain calm and go about the situation in a way that glorifies You.

Things to Remember:
“Be kind to unkind people-they need it the most.” -Anonymous
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” -Unknown
“The one that angers you controls you. Don’t give anyone that power-especially the one who does it intentionally.” -Anonymous
“Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else-you are the one who gets burned.”-Buddhist Principle

James 1:19-20

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

Proverbs 29:11

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

Psalm 37:8-9

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.  For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.”

Colossians 3:8

“But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”

MY BIRTHDAY IS TODAY AND THIS YEAR IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!

I am turning 26 today! It’s hard to believe. This year is going to be the best year yet!

I have a daughter who is in remission and is the healthiest I have seen her in a long time.

I have a son who is healthy and always keeping me smiling.

We are going on an all-expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney World with other families with chronically and terminally ill children [Bert’s Big Adventure-www.bertsbigadventure.org or search #bba2015 on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter] so we will be able to build awesome friendships and connections and have an awesome time doing something I would have never been able to afford for my kiddos.

God has truly blessed me.

I am so thankful for all that I have and everything I have gone through because it is made me the person I am today.

I am looking forward to what God has in store for me and my family this coming year! I can’t wait to see Him moving in us and through us!

blessed

My 26th Birthday is Tomorrow!

Everyone has a defining moment (at least one) that happens each year so when you look back on that year/age, you can define it by that one HUGE moment.

Here are mine:

*I started dating my ex-husband when I was 15.
*We got engaged when I was 16.
*We got married at 17.
*We had our first child, Bella, when I was 18.
*We hit a rough patch in our marriage and separated for several months when I was 19.
*When I was 20, we had worked things out and finally were able to move out of our parents’ house and got an apartment.
*We had out second child, Nolyn, when I was 21.
*At 22, my ex-husband left our family and moved in with a co-worker with whom he had been dating during our marriage (unbeknownst to me). [Side note: 2 weeks after our divorce was final, he married the woman]. She doesn’t “allow” him to see his children so since then, my children have had very little interaction with him.
*At 23, it was my first time in my adult life that I was “free.” I “made up for lost time,” as they say, and did a lot of stupid things that looking back, I really shouldn’t have done.
*At 24, my precious, baby girl was diagnosed with Leukemia. I was crushed. I was angry. I was hurt. I was scared. I felt alone. I straightened up my life and put all of my energy into my daughter, her treatments, learning about cancer, learning about alternative medicines, etc.
*At 25, I almost lost my princess. She got the flu and because of the chemotherapy and weakened immune system, her condition escalated quickly. She was hospitalized for a total of 71 days and was on an oscillating ventilator (machine that was breathing for her) for 5 weeks. There were many times where I didn’t know if she would make it through the night, but God spared her because she has such a calling on her life and now has a WONDERFUL testimony for Him. One of her oncologists, Dr. Lew, even calls her “miracle girl.” 😀

Now I’m sitting on the eve of my 26th birthday (February 2nd). I’m thinking about how crazy my past few years have been. I’m looking forward to the coming year and seeing all that God has in store for me. I am praying for a defining moment this year that is positive and can bless others. 🙂 I’m praying for peace. I’m praying for understanding. I’m praying for God’s will to be carried out in my life. I’m praying that God uses me as a vessel to carry out His plan and bless others.

Quit Talking About It & Start Praying About It

I’ve heard this saying my whole life. It’s something my youth minister used to say to us when we (the youth) would stand around talking about so-and-so and asking for prayer requests.

The Bible says “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

I know this can be a touchy topic because I think all of us have probably prayed for something that didn’t happen. When this situation happens, people tend to say that it just wasn’t God’s will, and apparently they’re right, but why?

I found this article called “Why Aren’t My Prayers Answered?”  (http://www.christiananswers.net/q-dml/dml-y002.html) and it brought up the following points:

  1.  We don’t really believe God can answer them. 

    Jesus said: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22)

 

James wrote:

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:6-8).

Believing is perhaps the best known condition for prayer. But there are other reasons prayer is not answered.

2. We ask with wrong motives.

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

3. Unconfessed sin separates us from God, so that He will not hear.

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities (sins) have separated you from God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

4. We set up idols in our hearts that come between us and God.

“Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?” (Ezekiel 14:3)

5. We don’t answer those who cry to us for help.

“If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered” (Proverbs 21:13).

6. We don’t remain in God/God’s Word doesn’t remain in us.

“If you remain in me and my word remains in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you” (John 15:7).

Even still, some of us may feel like we follow God’s law and do our best to follow it and still feel like our prayers aren’t always answered. Maybe it’s a timing issue. Everything happens on God’s watch and not ours so maybe it will happen; we just have to give it some time. And, as the Bible tells us, sometimes He allows us to go through things so we can learn and so we will allow God to be glorified through the situation.

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What Does It Mean to Change?

The Webster’s Dictionary defines “change” as “to become different; to become something else; to make radically different. Synonyms: to alter; to transform”

When times get hard, we have a tendency to ask God to deliver us from the situation. Many people even get angry when God allows something negative to happen in their lives. What they don’t think about is the fact that God has a plan for EVERYTHING.

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. “

When we TRULY accept Christ as our savior, we take on a new life. Life as we once knew it has to pass away so we can be a new creation in Him and be able to be used as vessel for Him.  We want God to be able to use us to minister to others. Sometimes, He even allows our past and the sins we committed before we turned to Him, to be the way we minister to someone else.

For me, personally, I made a lot of mistakes (and of course, I still make plenty daily) but God uses my past to teach others. I speak to other young people regularly and “scare them straight” so to speak, My life wasn’t “Lifetime Movie Network-worthy” or anywhere near it, by any means. But I’m a firm believer in being able to learn from one’s mistakes and I’ve made enough for several people!

Cast away your old self and allow God to move in you and through you to minister to others!

true change

God is Walking Beside You in Times of Trouble

How do we know God is with us?

Because we, as Christians, believe the Bible is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16)

The Bible makes mention of how God stays beside us through it all in many verses

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.” Psalm 138:7

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God and God in them.” 1 John 4:16

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

“The Lord, himself, goes before you and will be there with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

All of these verses have something in common. God is there. He is protecting you in times of trouble. He is showing you His unfailing love. He never leaves your side. He goes before you to make a way. He is living inside of you.

For an outsider looking in who doesn’t yet believe the Bible, if you ask the question “How do people know God is with them?”, I would have to say we have faith. I know that’s a “corny” answer, but it’s the truth. Christianity is all about Faith. We can’t see God, but we can feel Him. We can sense His presence. We can see His works in us and through us. Seeing isn’t believing, but believing is seeing. Through our faith and trust in God, and our belief that His Word is our guidebook, we are able to sense Him and see when He has stepped into our lives and made a way. Sometimes we feel alone just like you, but sometimes after getting through the thick of the storm, we can look back and see what He has done.

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The Importance of Giving to Others

We, as Christians, have a tendency to pick and choose what parts of the Bible we want to follow as instructions for our lives, but we can’t do that. We have to use ALL of God’s word to shed light on our path.

Even if you don’t have a lot of money to give away, you can give your time and/or your talents. You can volunteer for a soup kitchen. If you can play an instrument, you can take the time to teach a child (or adult for that matter) to play without charging. Sometimes, it’s the simple things like this that make a bigger impact than money ever could anyway…

It’s important to help others for the following reasons:

1. By helping others, we allow God to use us as His vessel and are able to minister and bless someone else; showing God’s glory.

Matthew 5:16 – “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

2. Helping others is a commandment that was physically uttered from Jesus’ very lips. As Christians, we strive to be Christ-like and what better way is there to do that than to do exactly as He spoke of doing?

Luke 3:10-11 – “And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

John 15:12 – “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…”

3. If we were having a hard time in life, we would appreciate the help. Have you ever heard the phrase: “Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?” Well, it applies here.

Matthew 5:42 – “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”

4. Another phrase comes to mind: “You can’t take it with you.” Since we can’t take our earthly possessions into Heaven with us, why not use them to bless others here on earth that could really use them?

Luke 12:33-34 – “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

5. It makes you feel good.

I don’t know about you, but speaking for myself, when I donate clothes or food or my time, I feel better about myself. There is something so humbling about volunteering at a women’s shelter or serving food at a soup kitchen or even just donating clothes you don’t want anymore or rarely wear. It opens your eyes and you realize how good you really have it. I’m guilty of saying “I have nothing to wear” when my closet looks like this:

closet

or “I have nothing to eat” when my refrigerator looks like this:

fridge

The truth is, most of us can’t even imagine how it would be to truly live without clothing or food.

According to the Food and Agriculture Administration, undernourishment currently affects 842 million people (about 1 in 8 or 12.5% of the world’s population). That’s outrageous!

The exact numbers are hard to validate, but most sources say there are an estimated 3.5 million homeless people in America; 1.35 million of whom are children. The National Center for Children in Poverty states that in addition to the staggering homeless numbers, there are approximately 32.4 million children living in low income families and 16.1 million living in poor families. (They don’t specify what they consider to be “low income” and “poor” though). All of these people need food, clothing, shelter, and yes, they still could use your talents. I know people don’t consider this a necessity, but children who are in extracurricular activities (sports, band, chorus, etc.) tend to thrive and do better in academics, as well as in life overall. They are able to set goals. They are able to multitask. They are able to live a life where their socioeconomic status is irrelevant.

Consider donating and helping others today. You don’t know just how much your blessing could truly help someone.

Below are some well-known organizations here in the United States to consider donating your time, talents, and funds to:

-American Cancer Society: Donate Blood, Bone Marrow, and/or Funds  for Cancer Research http://www.cancer.org/donate

-American Childhood Cancer Organization: This one is close to my heart because my daughter is fighting Leukemia (A.L.L.). https://acco.org/SupportUs/MakeaDonation.aspx

-Boys & Girls Club: helping youth grow through mentorship and activities http://bgca.org/donate/Pages/DonateByPhoneMail.aspx

-Doctors Without Borders: sending doctors to other countries to treat the sick https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/onetime.cfm

-Do you have a car that you no longer need/use? There are many organizations that could use your vehicle and you can choose which one to help out. Check out http://www.donatingiseasy.org/donate-car-to-charity.htm

-The Humane Society of the United States: help homeless animals http://www.humanesociety.org/donate [You can also look up your state, county, or city humane societies or animal rescue groups and donate]

-The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: This one is close to my heart because my daughter is fighting Leukemia (A.L.L.). http://www.lls.org/waystohelp/donate/donateonline/

-The Libri Foundation: donate used hardcover children’s books to be distributed throughout rural public libraries http://www.librifoundation.org

-U.S. Hunger Relief Charity: Stocking food banks nationwide http://www.feedingamerica.org

There are many more out there! Do you have a topic of interest that is close to your heart (i.e. children, animals, the elderly, the homeless, etc.)? Then search it online, make sure it is a reputable organization, and do what you can to HELP OTHERS!

 

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