Tag Archives: Christianity

Tattoos and Christianity-What Do You Think?

Tattoos are such a controversial topic with many, not just within the Christian community. Many people feel that it is dumb to mark your bodies with a permanent branding, of sorts. Others feel that if they feel strongly enough about something, putting that object/idea/etc. on their skin forever shows the ultimate commitment. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

**Please note that the below is my opinion on the topic and is not stating that if you do or do not have tattoos that it makes you more or less of a Christian or anything of the sort.**

I, personally, know MANY faithful Christians who have tattoos. I do not feel that the mere fact that they have ink on their skin is going to keep them from heaven. In fact, I have seen Christians use their tattoos to bond with others who are inked and not Christian and it was a foot in the door to get these people into the church. Remember, God does work in mysterious ways.

Some say that getting a tattoo is a sin and reference Leviticus 19:28: “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.”

If simply reading the verse, the topic seems pretty cut-and-dry, but there is more to it than what meets the eye. This ceremonial law was given to the Nation of Israel, not the entire body of Christ, and this law was listed under Levitical law which was overturned when Jesus came and gave us new laws as a body of Christ. Not all of the laws given to Israel apply to the rest of us. For instance, here are some more Levitical laws we no longer follow (and these don’t cause as much of a stir as this one for some reason):

-Eating Fat (Leviticus 3:17)
-Letting your hair become unkempt (Leviticus 10:6)
-Wearing clothes with rips and/or holes (Leviticus 10:6)
-Drinking alcohol in Holy Places (Leviticus 10:9) [This one is a bit of a problem for all of the Catholics out there, huh?]
-Eating an animal with a divided hoof, i.e. pig or rabbit (Leviticus 11:4-7)
-Eating or touching the carcass of any seafood without fins or scales, i.e. anything besides fish like crawfish, crabs, lobster, shrimp, etc. (Leviticus 11:10-12)
-Going to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy (Leviticus 12:4)
-Going to church within 66 days after giving birth to a girl (Leviticus 12:5)

That being said, in my opinion and through my reading of the Word, and my beliefs on the topic, I believe it can be a sin to get a tattoo, but it depends on your motivation, the image you are getting, and what your tattoo may say about you to others. I believe it is a personal decision and it is up to that person’s discretion. Think of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:23: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” If the tattoo you are getting helps, edifies, and shows Christ, then why not? If it may take some explaining and may distract people from Christ, then it may be something you may want to reconsider. My dad (who is completely anti-tattoo by the way) says “if you feel that strongly about something, buy the t-shirt.”

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What It Means to be a Godly Father

So I missed the boat on posting this by Father’s Day, and you’ve probably already read a ton of blog posts on this topic because last Sunday was Father’s Day, but guess what? It’s important to remember these guidelines year-round; not just on Father’s Day. Wouldn’t you agree?!

Anyway, bare with me and read along on a redundant topic, but one that is well-worth the attention.

What does it mean to be a Godly Father?

I’m sure when asked we would all say things like “going to church” and “praying for our families.” But it is so much more than that.

In a society full of darkness and a culture where it is deemed “the norm” to have single mother households, we need the men of this world to step up, take responsibility, and be the anchor their family so desperately needs.

Just to State Some Facts:

According to the 2014 U.S. Census, 23.6% of U.S. children (17.4 million) lived in father-absent homes. Of those children, the ones living in female-headed homes with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6%. This is over four times the rate for children living in the homes of married couple families. Families need fathers. Mothers need additional moral, financial, and physical support. Children need their fathers too. Did you know adolescents from father-absent homes were 3.5 times more likely to experience pregnancy by the age of nineteen than were adolescents from father-present homes. Moreover, the rate of pregnancy among adolescents from father-absent homes was 17.4% compared to only a 4% percent rate in the general adolescent population. There are plenty of additional statistics out there that are available to research further and the numbers do not lie. Fathers are SO important to a family.

What Does the Bible Say about being a Godly Father?

God has designed fathers to be the leader in their marriage and in their household. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ; the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” This establishes the order of authority within the home and sets boundaries for your children to follow as well.

As a child growing up in the South, my house was riddled with old country sayings like “Waste not, want not” and “Do as I say; not as I do.” But children have to see a Godly example in their fathers (Matthew 23:3). Children learn by example so the only way to teach them is to show them through your words and actions.

Children view their fathers are leaders and follow their example. They need somewhere to root their identity (Deuteronomy 6:6-8). In this passage, the Lord tells fathers to pass down the word of God through the next generations so their family’s identity will be centered in the Lord.

Paul teaches in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 that men who are lazy and refuse to work should not be allowed to eat. You have to be able to provide for yourself and your family.

Most fathers want what is best for their children, but in many cases, your children will take a different path than the one you would have chosen for them. They may not have the profession you would like for them to have, they may not think college is their next step post-high school, they may not ever have children, or whatever else you think they may need to do, but they are living their life and you must love your child unconditionally as Christ has loved you. Do you think you have always stayed on the path your Heavenly Father wanted you to be on (or your earthly father for that matter)? We all stray and we all have different ways of doing things, but a father’s love is SO very important. Think back to the story of the prodigal son. When the son returned, the father did not judge the son or force him to earn back his favor, love, and approval. He simply embraced him and threw a celebratory party for him (Luke 15:20-24). Why? Because he was his son and he loved him despite all that had happened.

You must love the mother of your children as much as you love yourself (Ephesians 5:25-29). Showing your children you love their mother, whether it be through grand gestures, or simple nuances, you are teaching your sons how they should treat their wives and teaching your daughters how their future husbands should treat them. You are setting the bar for the kind of person your child will end up with later in life. Do not take this responsibility lightly.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Ephesians 6:4 echoes the Proverbs passage, saying, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” It is not good enough just to make children go to church, say their prayers, and learn Bible verses. Those things ought to be part of the training process; however, we don’t come to know Jesus or grow in Him simply by going through the motions of “church” or “religion” or whatever you want to call it. The issue as a father is teaching a child to love the Lord as they model their own love for Him.

In order to show your children Christ through your words and actions, you first have to spend time with them. Be involved in their lives. Take time out of your day to read with them, play with them, ask them questions, etc. Giving your child your time demonstrates your love for them. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Another important one that is very controversial among parents everywhere is disciplining your children. Even our heavenly father disciplines those sons whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6), and the fact that a father is willing to discipline his children demonstrates love. Young children need to know their boundaries as it makes them feel secure. As kids grow older, they must see that they don’t run the home and that Biblical principles will be followed in the home. Discipline reinforces these realities through imposing consequences. But it must be evident to the children when they are being disciplined that the father’s love for them has not changed. Discipline is never aligned with wrath because it is kindness that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). Discipline is simply another expression of love (Deuteronomy 8:1-6, Hebrews 12:6).

So to sum it up, a Godly Father should love God, love others, teach their children the right ways in Christ, work hard in everything he does, discipline his children when they do wrong, and love them always-despite their wrongdoings. In doing so, you will be a great example of a Godly Father to your kids. Know that no one is perfect. You will stumble. You will lose your temper. You will say a cuss word when you drop something on your toe. You will do wrong, but through the wrong, know how to show your kids how to correct the wrong (i.e. ask them for forgiveness when you lose your temper or ask them to pray with you when you are having a rough day, etc.). Use everything as a teaching moment to bring your kids closer in their walk with Christ.

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

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

 

vday1

 

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

Starting to Date in God’s Time

I had an epiphany the other night and I thought I would share it with you because it may help others out there as well.

I have been struggling with being a “newly” single woman (after divorce). I really miss having a man in my life. For all of the feminists out there, yes, I understand that a man is not necessary for happiness. I am perfectly happy. But I miss the passion, the love, the snuggling, etc. I miss having someone with whom to share my life. I’ve been single now for 3 years with not even so much as a prospect. I took this as a sign that I needed to change more about myself. I needed to get to know myself, independent of man since I had never been without one as an adult, and I feel I have done that.

I’ve been praying about it a lot lately-praying that God would send the right man into my life.

One problem I’m discovering is that I never go out. I am a full-time mom and I work a full-time job so never go out and meet new people. I don’t think that is a problem for God though…He would bring the man to my door if necessary. People have recommended internet dating to me, but the concept just seems so foreign. From what I’ve gathered from those sites, everyone lies, most of the men on there are already married or in a relationship, and there are several instances of people being murdered after meeting up from one of those sites. No thank you…it’s just not for me.

The other night, I was thinking about what it is that I truly miss about being with a man and here is what I decided…of course I miss intimacy with a man, but more than that I miss things like:

-having someone to share in the responsibilities (i.e. helping me take the kids to school, drive to doctor appointments, cook dinner, pack lunches, clean the house, do the dishes, do the laundry, walk the dog, etc.)

So in other words, I just need a maid or housekeeper or nanny. The things I miss here are not specific to a “male” role. I just miss having someone help me out because now, on top of working full-time, I have to do all of the chores as well. That’s no reason to marry someone.

-having an extra income [because let’s face it-3 people and a large dog (we have a standard poodle) on one income is tough]

Yes, it’s hard to have myself, two children, and a large dog (we have a standard poodle named Millie) on one income; especially since I miss a lot of work due to my daughter’s regular doctor appointments. But that’s no reason to marry someone. In fact it wouldn’t even be a factor when dating someone (how much they made).

I think I need to find some better reasons before God will bring the right person into my life. I need to stay focused on God because I know He knows what is best and will do what needs to be done in my life that will best glorify Him. I need to focus on making myself as close to perfect as I can be so when the right guy comes along, I’m 100% ready.

Christian author, Sheila Wray Gregoire, wrote an article called:

“Top 10 Ways to Get Ready for Your Future Husband”
You can read the whole article here: http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2014/04/get-ready-for-future-husband/

And she says to do the following:

1. Pray–for you and your future husband.

Ask others to pray with you and for you. Are you asking God to bring you a man or a better man but not truly believing (by your actions and self talk) that you are worthy of the best, most gentle, loving and caring man? Are you praying for your future husband but not asking God to open your heart, mind and eyes to the lies you are currently believing and accepting? Are you not asking God to change you, mold you and prepare you for your future husband? If not, it is time to start.

2. Stop having premarital sex.

It does not matter if you are currently in a relationship. Stop and wait until your married. If he leaves you because of this, then you will know without a doubt that this person is not “the one”. It doesn’t matter if you have a child with this man, you have been dating him for 10 years or your relationship is new. This type of sin slowly chips away at your soul, self-worth and separates you from the relationship you were meant to have with God. You should be insulted as a beautiful and worthy woman of God, if he feels it is important to sample you before marrying you. By not waiting, you are the one in control of your life and you are choosing your own path. When you choose your own path over the one God has for you, you are missing out on the opportunities God wants for you–including the opportunity to meet someone who is really right for you.

3. Don’t Define Yourself by Your Boyfriend

If you feel your worth is defined by having a man in your life and having that man stay in your life depends on you giving him your precious body then you need to spend much more alone time with God and His word. Understand these are Satan’s lies you are believing to be true about yourself. These are lies.

4. Learn what real intimacy is.

Understand that sex is really NOT the intimacy and connection you desire and crave. Satan tells us it is readily available to us through sex. This is a huge lie designed to separate us from our Creator, think less of our selves and destroy our self-worth. See the lie for what it’s worth and turn yourself towards Gods truth.

5. Know that sex does not equal love.

Love is not full of lies, cheating eyes, nor cheating bodies. Love is not belittling and degrading comments or gestures. Love is not a strong abusive hand or voice. If you have believed this lie to be true know that you are worth so much more. Read what the bible says love is (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

6. Get involved in helping others.

Get involved at church, start a singles small group. Take up a hobby. Get yourself healthy – emotionally, spiritually and physically. And do this with your boyfriend, if you have one. His character will be revealed as you help others together. And if he doesn’t want to help? That’s a huge sign, too.

7. Love yourself through God’s eyes.

Believe His truths, speak His truths over and over in your head. Speak them out loud. Wrap yourself in the full armor of God and take captive every negative and sinful thought. Believe that you are worth waiting for and your future husband is worth waiting for. Prepare now for future temptation.

8. Realize that you can not pick and choose which parts of God’s word you choose to believe.

There are many sins which are the result of following with your flesh and not with your faith. Sex before marriage is one of those. Control your thoughts and your flesh will follow.

9. Own the truth that you are not alone.

You may feel alone but if you really dig deep into God’s word you will see that you are not alone. You are beautiful, precious and very much-loved. You are worthy and valuable. So much so that saving yourself for marriage…for your future…would be the ultimate gift to give to him. By not waiting you are in control of your life and choosing your own path. When you choose your path over the one God has for you, you are missing out on opportunities to meet someone who you will be able to serve God with fully.

10. Be patient as you get ready for your future husband.

While it may feel that God is making you wait forever, He is still preparing you. Remember He could still be at work in your future husband too. Even though you may be ready in God’s eyes, your soul mate is not ready yet. Be still while He readies him for you. Maybe your future husband is just as stubborn as you once were! Be patient and have faith.

Be a Beacon

Be a Tower of Light. A beacon of hope. Someone people can come to in times of need.

As Christians, we have several “symbols” that are universally known to us and others that are to represent Christianity.

One example is the fish (you know the one-it’s usually seen on the bumper of someone’s car) like this:

fish

Of course, the cross is an important symbol in Christianity:

cross

And one a little lesser-known, but still important is the lighthouse like this:

lighthouse

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

The Bible uses a lot of imagery throughout to paint a better picture of God, His Word, His people, His commandments, etc. The lighthouse is an excellent piece of imagery we can apply to our lives and here is why…

1. Most ships nowadays have high-tech equipment to let them know how far they are from land and allow them to better navigate their way, but before this technology, lighthouses were used for safety.

We, as Christians, should be a place of safety and refuge for people. People should feel free to come to us, without judgment, for prayer, advice, or just a hand to hold through a tough time in their life. We need to point them to our only true refuge, God.

Psalms 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”

2. Lighthouses alerted sailors that their ship was approaching a sometimes rock-covered and dangerous shore.

We, as Christians, should help others avoid temptations. We shouldn’t sneer or condemn, but we should help motivate one another and keep each other on the right path.

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

3. Lighthouses were also a beam of comfort to travelers who had endured many difficult weeks or months at sea and let them know that they were almost to land.

We, as Christians, should lead people home. Of course, the home I’m speaking of is a spiritual home. We need to lead people to Christ so we can enjoy Heaven together.

Titus 2:7-8 “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

4. Lighthouses are very sturdy structures that weathered many storms. They represent stability. Even when the waves are crashing against them, they stand firm.

We, as Christians, should stand firm on the solid Rock (God) that holds our foundation firm even when the enemy is attacking us from all around.

Psalm 40:2 “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

Psalm 78:35 “And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer.”

5. The men and women that kept the lights burning for sailors also provoke deep feelings of determination, because they would work tirelessly to ensure that the light shone for those at sea.  They had to keep the glass clean, the light burning at all times after sunset, and had to climb up and down many (some have more than 300) stairs multiple times per day. Their continued diligence and attention to detail saved lives and guided many sailors safely home.

We, as Christians, need to be diligent about seeking God and telling others about Christ. We need to do all that we can to make sure our light shines as bright as possible to guide others to Him.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me. “

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

 

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Letting Go and Trusting God

“Faith is not knowing what the future holds, but knowing who holds the future.”

It’s easy to trust God when everything is going well, but what about when everything seems to be falling apart?

We have to fully submit to God and trust everything He allows to happen which I know isn’t always the easiest task, but God is in control and knows everything.

Trying to be in control and give control to someone else just doesn’t work. That can’t co-exist in the same heart. You have to give your WHOLE heart to God. If you can give your heart to your high school sweetheart, your college boyfriend, and whomever else along your journey of life, don’t you think you can put it in the hands of God? They are the safest hands your heart will ever be placed in.

When God is holding your heart and you trust Him completely, you will have an overwhelming sense of peace about everything life throws at you.

My 7 year old daughter has Leukemia. In March of 2014, she was hospitalized with the flu and it quickly escalated because of her lack of immune system. She was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and placed on an oscillating ventilator because she couldn’t breathe on her own for 5 weeks-the longest 5 weeks of my life! I remember having a spiritual battle within myself for the first few weeks. We had some very touch-and-go moments. The hospital staff had sent in chaplains and grief counselors to speak with me on several occasions because there were several times when they didn’t know if Bella was going to make it through the night.

I was angry with God. I asked for Him to take me in her place. I cried. I yelled. I prayed. I sang praise and worship songs over her bed. I did everything I knew to do. I was completely broken. I had gotten to the place where I had prepared myself for losing her (you can never truly prepare yourself for losing a child, but I was trying to prepare myself to the best of my ability). I remember one especially rough night where she kept having fevers that wouldn’t come down with medication, her blood pressure was through the roof, and she started having heart arrhythmias (PVCs) and all of the nurses on her case seemed especially antsy. I thought it may be the end. I remember thinking about how I was going to tell her little brother the news. I remember choking back tears as I whispered to God “it’s okay if you take my baby. I trust you.” I know this is going to sound corny, but that night was a turning point. Something just clicked and her fevers went away, her blood pressure stabilized, and they did an EKG the following morning and found nothing wrong with her heart. It was such a God thing!

Once I completely trusted Him and put aside all of my selfishness and anger towards seeing my baby in such a horrible way, God took care of the situation. My daughter is a walking miracle because of God. Because we had thousands of people praying for her and believing. But most of all, because it was God’s will to see her come out of it with an amazing testimony that brings glory to Him.

I don’t want you to misinterpret my message here though. Just because someone prays hard and trusts God, they may still not get the outcome they desire from their prayers. Not everyone’s child will survive unimaginable circumstances. Not everyone will get a pay raise or find a spouse or get a car, or whatever else they’re praying for in their life. We just have to remember that God’s plan is far bigger than we could ever imagine and by trusting Him, His plan will be fulfilled for our lives.

Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Acts 3:16: By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

 

Why We Should Strive to Be Christ-Like

What the bible says about being like Jesus:

1 John 2:6 “whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

1 Peter 2:21 “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow His steps.”

John 13:13-17 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

How Can I Become More Christ-like?

  • Read your Bible and “feed” your Spirit

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17

  • Strive to do as Christ did when He was a man (Some examples of Jesus’ Character: Matthew 26:36-45, 50-52; Luke 23:33-34; John 19:25-27)
  • Surrender all of yourself to God and trust Him fully

Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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.”

John 3:30 says “He must become greater; I must become less”

  • Ask God to forgive you for your sins (because only He can) and live a life of purity. Sin is no longer your master once you have accepted Christ.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, He lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:1-14

  • Live Your Life as Christ lived His

Jesus did not spend His entire life in the church at the altar. He was out spreading the word of God through His actions and His words daily. He did not only hang out with those who were deemed “worthy” and “good” by most standards. Jesus hung out with sinners. He hung out with prostitutes and thieves. He did not do so because he preferred them to the righteous. He did not enjoy their behaviors or want to be exposed to their wickedness; He did so He could preach directly to them. Most people don’t respond well to someone from the outside telling them they aren’t living “correctly.” But if someone who is willing to sit with them and talk with them tells them, it is coming more from a place of love and doesn’t sound as condescending. Jesus was not someone who would condescend to others and never thought He was any better than anyone else.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

It is important to remember: “We aren’t called to be like other Christians. We’re called to be like Christ.”

No person on this earth is blameless. None of us are without sin. We should strive to be like Christ in all things; not like someone who we perceive as a good person. They can be a great asset to our lives and can help encourage us and be an accountability partner that helps us strive to be Christ-like, but our eyes should be focused on Him in all things. If we are focused on Christ, everything else will fall away and we will be with Him.