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Articles on this Page
- 07/05/17--06:53: _I want to be cool.
- 07/05/17--06:53: _Ideals are Peaceful...
- 07/05/17--06:53: _A Response to: Shou...
- 07/05/17--06:53: _Jesus, the Troublem...
- 07/05/17--06:53: _The Tunnel of Life
- 07/05/17--06:53: _Through thick and t...
- 07/05/17--07:17: _Three Examples of t...
- 07/07/17--09:05: _TEST
- 07/10/17--05:56: _no image
- 08/11/17--07:24: _Sometimes it's Hard...
- 01/03/18--04:31: _The Introduction to...
- 01/03/18--09:03: _The Introduction to...
- 02/22/18--03:30: _my dad left too soon
- 06/29/18--07:12: _video
- 07/05/17--06:53: I want to be cool.
- 07/05/17--06:53: Ideals are Peaceful, History is Violent
- 07/05/17--06:53: A Response to: Should Adult Sibling Incest Be a Crime?
- 07/05/17--06:53: Jesus, the Troublemaker
- 07/05/17--06:53: The Tunnel of Life
- 07/05/17--06:53: Through thick and thin.
- 07/05/17--07:17: Three Examples of the Way We Be (1 Samuel 1-3)
- 07/07/17--09:05: TEST
- 07/10/17--05:56: no image
- 08/11/17--07:24: Sometimes it's Hard to Feel Forgiven
- 01/03/18--04:31: The Introduction to Titus is a Big Deal
- 01/03/18--09:03: The Introduction to Titus is a Big Deal pic
- 02/22/18--03:30: my dad left too soon
- 06/29/18--07:12: video
I want to be cool. Anonymous (not verified)Wed, 07/05/2017 - 09:53
To be in, with the in-crowd is to be out of touch with reality. That’s a struggle of mine. Its easier to be cool with people that are seemingly cool. It is so much harder to be cool with the outcasts. People that I look at and judge as lower than me, why should they get any attention out of me?
I’m no outcast. At least that is what I like to believe.
I fought so hard as a young teenager to be relevant. I was a rebel. I wouldn’t consider myself or things I did to be that wild, but I tried to stand out. When it was cool to be a part of hip hop culture, I dived in. I wanted clothes that were five sizes too big, I wanted to listen to rap music, and I wanted people to know that I did. I would turn up my headphones as loud as they went, in hopes that someone would hear them and like that we liked the same music. None of the extra stuff I would do (music, clothes, slang) ever helped the cause. The only thing that helped me make friends was my silly personality and quick snide comments.
Later when I decided I wanted to be a skateboarder and to start wearing a belt, life got a little rough. Not because of my attempt to change myself, but because at home I started to go through some trying times. During this phase my clothes stayed large and they got a bit darker. I quickly joined other friend groups, the skaters and the emos. I would put myself at that time somewhere along the lines of skater-punk-asshole. Even then, I wanted to stand out. I painted my shoes, I painted my hoodies. I wore dark clothes and paraded around like I was hot shit.
The striving to be cool caused my grades to tank. With the home-life going down the drain, and my need to be recognized as awesome not going too well, I got super depressed.
I met the Lord sometime around then, and it was a wonderful thing. I had hope for life and people that cared about me in ways I never knew possible. As the dark thoughts and depression slowly faded, my ability to be real with people started to peek out, ever so slightly.
But high school happened. I tried to stay in touch with what the Lord wanted for me, but not without a fight. The want to be cool was still present. First couple of years of high school passed and I was pretty successful at making friends. By that point everyone knew me. They knew I was a christian dude, and that I would probably invite them to bible study, and they also knew that I was funny.
That’s about all I had going for me. My musical tastes shifted a bit, and so did my clothes. I had a job so I could finally buy things that would make me cooler. I had a car, so I could play music with the windows down (I still do this, a part of it is I really like loud music, but I still want to be cool). I got into weird trends because of pop-culture.
The only thing that ended up mattering at all from high school was the people that I built into and cared for that are still my close friends today. Everything else was useless and has flown away with the wind.
When college started it was like a whole new realm of possibilities of cool. Nobody knew me. Nobody knew my past. And none of my friends would ever see what I was up to at school. This meant total freedom. Freedom to finally live out all my stupid desires. Things that, if I was to tell anyone about, I would quickly be hit with words of advice I did not want to hear.
I wanted to be cool. This is where it hit an all time high. School was free for awhile, so that meant any money I made I could spend! I could spend money on clothes, and shoes and really whatever I wanted. I bought everything that was cool until I was almost in the red almost every paycheck.
I grew a dream of maybe being a performer. Maybe a rap artist or a DJ. I pursued both, not very seriously, but I tried.
Here and there I would feel cool. These feelings were quick to leave and I was regularly hit in the face with reality. I’m not cool.
The only thing that ever mattered was the people the Lord put in my life and opportunities to help change others lives. Why is it so damn surprising that the only thing that brought me true joy and feelings of significance in the past is the only thing that continues to do so? I’m still in school, and the temptation to want to be cool is still present.
I’ve hurt a lot of people because I want to be cool. Mocking and putting people down is something I’m skilled at. I wish I could trade it all in for the ability to love others better.
I am an outcast. In fact, if I was to embrace the fact that I’m a christian dude, and live out what the Lord wants for me, of course I would be an outcast. Christians of all time have always been outcasts. When they wanted to be more, they made huge mistakes. To not be an outcast and try to be a christian is to basically not be a christian at all. You may be a hearer, but are you a doer? You may say you are doing things in Christ’s name, but is it really something he’d approve of? You may go to church and sing the great songs, but are you really doing anything significant with what you learn?
This is all still a challenge for me, no doubt. I hope to overcome it at some point.
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
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Ideals are Peaceful, History is ViolentAnonymous (not verified)Wed, 07/05/2017 - 09:53
If you haven’t seen the movie FURY yet, chances are this article will spoil a couple of things. I am posting this the same day it comes out, so I imagine that if you read it today, you’ll have something spoiled. I’ll do my best to not ruin anything, but there’s a chance. And with this movie being so good, I urge you to stop reading and start looking up showtimes.
Brad Pitt is the lead role, nicknamed “Wardaddy”. He leads a rag tag group of soldiers around Germany killing, you guessed it, Germans. It is a WW2 movie after all. He does a pretty damn good job at it too.
The plot revolves around the character later nicknamed sarcastically “Machine”, and his unwillingness to fight. He was sent to the army as Wardaddy’s back up driver after the guy he is replacing was, exploded in the tank. He mentions all the training he has had has been on the typewriter and he has never even seen the inside of a tank. He was only in the army for a short time, eight weeks I believe, and has never even seen a dead body.
As the movie progresses throughout a period of 24 hours we watch this innocent young man transform mentally into a read-for-war brute. Maybe that is an extreme word, but he sure does make a change. After witnessing many murders and seeing his own life come close to ending, he is forced to be ruthless. Wardaddy leads and teaches young Machine to be strong and get through it, noting a few times that it will all be over eventually.
The other tank-mates serve as emergency bully-big-brothers as they mock and torment the young Machine up until he finally breaks. Quickly after that, the biggest brother (they aren’t actually brothers, it’s a metaphor) apologizes and they make up. It was beautiful actually.
Wardaddy takes machine into a room of old Germans that have killed themselves, knowing the American’s were approaching. Machine asks why Wardaddy would bring him there, and all he says is, “Ideals are Peaceful, History is Violent”. I could not stop repeating this to myself so that I would memorize it. It is indeed a very interesting thought.
At one point the FURY tank squad is commanded to take a brief rest by the commanding officer, known solely as “The Old Man”. So they unstrap a bit and do just that. While in a small German town, Machine has relations with a young lady named Emma and they fall in love almost instantly. Isn’t it amazing how that works? Anyways immediately following that, with their guard still down the city is hit with an artillery strike. One of the rockets hits the house of Emma and Machine is forced to see her dead body without a chance to say goodbye. This was a major turning point that allowed Machine to snap into all-out-war mode.
I’ll leave the rest of the movie for you to watch. But I have some thoughts.
First of all if I may, I gotta say, this movie is amazing. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I watched the movie with a couple of my roommates who were equally as impressed.
Even with the Christian character, played by Shia Lebouf, nicknamed “Bible”, regularly doing Christian things and saying cool bible verses, we can make a few Christian applications of our own (also Wardaddy seemingly knows what he is talking about as well towards the end, very interesting).
Without digging deep or trying to make up a ton of application, I’ll just talk about one thing. You may have heard it talked about before but it is known as wartime versus peacetime mentality. As Christians, we are fighting in a spiritual war. But so many times we just rest. Like the characters above, as if we are in peacetime. We are not, and we should not act that way. Too often we are caught being early-movie-Machine, unwilling to fight, unwilling to listen, etc..
We must not drop our guard. We must be willing to fight.
Seriously, I love the verse that Bible (Shia Lebouf) quoted mid-movie,
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
This was a cool attitude that was demonstrated by the soldiers portrayed in this movie. How can we take on that same attitude?
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A Response to: Should Adult Sibling Incest Be a Crime?
Originally titled, “Sex Your Sister”, but then I realized that nobody wants to click that.
I’m left speechless mainly after reading the results of the poll at the end of the the above article.
Here are the results with 2.6k people voting, only 12% say that such a thing is unnatural, with only a combined 25% not being all about it. The remaining 75% of voters find no problem with the idea.
After reading that Ebola possibly made its way to Kent State, I didn’t think I could read anything more scary. Even with the small sample size of voters, there are still approximately 1900 people who are okay with incest. Is this not ridiculous? Am I overreacting?
I guess you can decide for yourself if it is okay or not. Like most things, everyone has their opinions. Today its popular to choose against what has been considered “normal” for generations.
It was only a year ago that this crazy story of a huge “cult” inbred family broke. The repercussions of such actions are insane! To even think contraceptives make it okay is wild! AIDS is still spreading and we have the best contraceptives we’ve had and obviously they continue to get better. You can blame “dumb people” for spreading STDs and not having smart sex, or even blame the dumb nurse for visiting Cleveland and spreading Ebola like wildfire. You could. But there are intelligent people who spread viruses/diseases as well. So the genius incest-participants will still be at risk of breaking a condom or forgetting birth control as the rest of us are.
Have your own opinion, that’s fine. But don’t be crazy because society says so.
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Jesus, the TroublemakerAnonymous (not verified)Wed, 07/05/2017 - 09:53
There are so many portrayals of Jesus. You got peace-loving sheep-hugging Jesus, Jesus wearing pretty robes and making a cute face, computer nerd Jesus, and even black Jesus. In the movies he is either super weird (The Last Temptation of Christ), or he is a super wimp.
The thing is, Jesus was not like this at all. Sure he was into peace, but he didn’t sit around petting sheep all day just to be brutally murdered. No, Jesus was a troublemaker. He didn’t listen to authority, he worked on the sabbath, and he wasn’t afraid to tell people when they were wrong.
Jesus Christ was a real man, full of “grace and truth” (John 1:14). The life he lived on this earth gives us a good idea of what God is like. Because Jesus is God, but also the Son of God, there is no doubt that the father is much like him. Not many of my friends had the opportunity to meet my father, but if you had the chance to meet him you would see how very similar we were. Think about anyone and their father. You usually can get a good idea of what the dad is like from the way the son is. Usually it’s not perfect, but it’ll give you some clues. If you know me, you know I’m a silly guy. If you were to ask anyone that knew my dad, they would say the same. Funny, full of life, always fun to be around. I don’t mean to say that I have these traits perfectly, but the aspects of those that are within me, came from my father. So knowing me, you still have an opportunity to know a bit of my father. I think that is actually pretty cool.
What is even cooler is we can know what God is like from what we know of Jesus. In the book of John we get an awesome picture of the real Jesus. He wasn’t running around saving sheep, he was healing people, making ridiculous amounts of wine, and showing real love to people. All the while being a carpenter, living a poor-man’s life, and for three years leading a group of goofballs around the country to teach them about God and raise them up to do the same thing.
Jesus was so respectable that these men he lead didn’t stop spreading the words of Jesus around until well after he died. In fact, most of them were murdered because of it.
The Savior of the world lived an intense life. Speaking of tents, it is written in John 1:14, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. The word dwelt used here literally in the greek means to dwell as in a tent. This is what John saw when Jesus was around, a tent.
We live within our tents, which are similar to the suits men and women wear to space. They are built to allow people to function well in space. But what we have here are the specialized flesh-tents God designed to allow us to live on earth. The bodies in which our spirits are located inside of. If you were to look at me now, you would see my fingers moving and my eyes blinking. I look out the window currently and see a group of guys walking past. They are more in shape then me, that is for sure, but that is not important right now. What is important, is what is inside their bodies.
Sure, Jesus was probably a hot dude, but what was most attractive was what was inside of his tent, his spirit. At night at a campground, you will see lights glowing through the many tents as people get ready for bed. But this is how Jesus looked. He shined with a glory that people could recognize. The glory that was so bright, was the grace and truth I mentioned above.
But what is grace? It has been said many ways, but I like the idea of “love giving itself”. We read in 1 John 4:8 that, “God is love”. And in John 3:16 it is written, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”. So the God of the universe, eternal and perfect, is love. Not only that, but he sent the thing he loved the most to earth so that we can live with him, and live eternally, if we want to. That is grace. We were given a huge amount of love that we do not deserve at all, and we have the choice to accept it, or not.
The second part of this glory is truth. God had a good amount of truth to tell us what we don’t always like to hear. Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of god”. It is our sin that stops us from receiving this grace that God has for us. We all have sinned, so it doesn’t matter how good we are. In fact, a quite relieving verse, also very true, says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”, a passage that is in Ephesians 2.
How cool is that?
To sum it all up, the disciple John puts its quite simply in John1:16-18;
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
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The Tunnel of Life
When dealing with something difficult, all too often we are told to look towards the light at the end of the tunnel. But how did we get in the tunnel in the first place? If you ever got trapped in a really long, scary tunnel, why would you choose to go in another one when you know that it’s going to be just as scary?
Here’s the thing, I don’t think it works like that at all. Instead of thinking of the tunnel as the current hardship and the end-goal being the light at the end where everything is easier, I have an alternative viewpoint.
I like to think of all of life being the tunnel. Sure there may be the very end of life. When you finally find that end of struggle, pain, and sadness. When you can go “ahhhhhh” and exhale out all the bad. But that’s not what you want to be looking forward to during exam week, or a fight with a friend, etc.. I think that all along the tunnel are many light holes. As if there were different size holes all along the tunnel of life. Some let in more light, for longer periods of your walk through the tunnel. Other times its just a short blip of light. Peaking in ever so slightly.
Lets just be honest. We can enjoy life at times, but it always will be a struggle. If everything is great and you never have any issues, you are a liar. Or you look like this guy…
The tunnel doesn’t have to be so dark all of the time. The Lord can provide some light during the darkest parts of the tunnel. He is like our flashlight as we journey through the tunnel of life. Sometimes we forget we have a flashlight. How could you forget? That is a pretty good question. Hard to answer really because the truth is we do forget all the time, in real life (or you don’t know the Lord [or don’t have a flashlight], in that case the story is a little different, see below).
Those moments where we get long periods of light, from a huge light hole, are a serious blessing. For some reason we act like we deserve the light. When things are dark for awhile, we imagine there is more light eventually, we hope for it too. The more we are able to rely on the light sources we do have to get through the tunnel, the stronger we become. The more we grow and mature.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.…
But what if you never reached the light? What if the life you live is headed toward a part of the tunnel that is a dead end? From here it looks like the end of the tunnel has a bright light. You get so excited knowing the time has finally come. But what you find when you get there is one last, awesome light hole, and then the tunnel curves sharply to the right and just ends. Darkness.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life .”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [aka heaven, aka the end of the tunnel] except through me.
It’s very easy to obtain a flashlight. You see, if we really want to make the tunnel of life realistic, its as if there are flashlights throughout the entire tunnel. Almost so readily available that its hard not to trip over them. Why live life without it? Why travel through the tunnel relying solely on the chance that you may come across another light hole?
You don’t have to.
If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
It couldn't be any easier.
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Through thick and thin.
The Lord is good. Is he not?
So often we forget who we are. A child of God (if we made the choice to accept the Holy Spirit into our hearts, of course - John 1:12).
So as children of God, we basically forget who our dad is regularly. How on earth is that possible!? Well, the cop-out answer, in my opinion, is “Because the fall”. Sure, we are fallen people, but we remember who our earthly father is. Less than that we remember simple things, like our cats favorite spot to be scratched, or that we need our keys to get into our cars.
But when times get tough, instead of remembering how awesome the creator of the universe is and all the times he has helped us in the past, we rely on ourselves for short-term quick fixes to solve our problems.
I have an opinion about this. If you couldn’t already tell. But if you are anything like me, and/or react in the above manner, then I think I understand why. Maybe not totally, but enough.
The things or people we show appreciation to the most, are the people or things we are quick to return to again. Weird. But that’s how it works. When we tell someone how thankful we are for them, not only is it encouraging to them, but something happens deep down inside of us. Its as if spreading thankfulness gives us a sense of trust.
When it comes to simple things, like books or video games, you can only appreciate them for so long. They will never react with a sense of peace from the thankfulness or dedication you show them. People do however return that peace. Or maybe they return some amount of thankfulness.
I believe the more thankful we are for what God has done, the quicker we will be to turn to him in our times of need. He has come through so far, and he will continue to. Even if we are jackasses. (this approach works with people too)
Humans are weird, but God is even weirder. He knows exactly what we will do wrong, and how many times we will stab him in the back or forget about him. Does he hold it against us? Not at all. Now that is weird. The best friend we can ever have, and we cant help but forget about him.
Anything that went wrong in the bible, especially when someone was being called on by God to act, went wrong because that person stopped trusting God and started trusting self. Every single time the Lord turned right around and said, “its okay, just do what I said now instead of continuing to mess around."
What a love that is. A love we will never be able to fully show each other - that is because the fall. But it is a love we can try and mimic. The thankfulness we can potentially have is amazing and a joy to share.
Are you thankful?
Do you serve God? Do you serve your friends?
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Three Examples of the Way We Be (1 Samuel 1-3)
There are many lessons to learn from 1 Samuel, some of which are found in the first few chapters. While studying it to teach the first chapter, and from continuing on past where we left off in home church, I’ve found some interesting things I can’t help but write about.
What’s very cool is how much there is to learn from some of the minor characters in this book. We talked about these characters a bit in home church but in case anyone wasn’t there I’ll repeat some aspects that were already discussed.
What I’d like to talk about is three examples of relationships with God, told through the lives of Eli, Samuel, and Hannah from the scope of 1 Samuel chapters 1-3.
We are introduced to Eli as a priest. Already pretty old & overweight by the time we meet him. Supposedly a godly man, his life doesn’t match his title, at least what we know of it. He never disciplined his kids, who at this time have been sleeping around with temple prostitutes, cheating and manipulating people (using there title, also priests), as well as never listening to their dad. When it comes down to it, Eli brought this disrespect upon himself by never disciplining his kids. It’s no wonder they are so wild when the only thing Eli does at the reports of their behavior his tell them its bad and that they should stop.
So maybe we can attribute such lack of fatherly duties to his old age. That’s all good and well but what about his lack of insight and sheer ignorance when he spotted Hannah praying in the Tabernacle?
1:12 As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. 13 Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. 14 “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!”
For a priest, this is an embarrassing judgement call. A woman is praying in a place that should have been one of the most common places to find someone praying. Instead of assuming the most obvious of possibilities, Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk.
Either it’s a rare sight to see someone praying in the tabernacle, or Eli was truly losing it by this point. Crazy or stupid, I’m not sure. However I do think its pretty clear that for a priest on duty at the tabernacle, Eli demonstrated a serious lack of godliness.
Old and set in his ways, not much got through to him. He received a letter through a prophet, from God himself. The letter detailed how Eli would soon be losing his entire family from war and natural causes. Instead of taking this letter to heart, repenting (or turning to God knowing what he’d been up to was wrong and expressing his desire to change), or even expressing any sort of emotion on the matter, Eli continues on in his ways. Granted the focus switches right after the letter is over and we don’t know exactly how Eli reacted, we do know if he was repentant, that detail would have been included.
Some time passes and Eli is aware that Samuel recently heard the Lord speak. He is extremely adamant that Samuel leaves no detail out of the message. You must wonder if Eli regrets this later because the message he receives from Samuel is clear - Eli & his family are doomed. Still not much of a reaction from Eli:
3:18 So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back. “It is the Lord’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he thinks best.”
Basically he says “he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do”. This is not a heart that wants to change, It’s a heart that says, “if God doesn’t like what I’m doing with my life, he can kill my whole family, I don’t care”. Well, if you read on, the Lord’s prophecy all comes true as just as he said it would. Eli eventually dies in a cartoonish way that might make you laugh out loud.
4:18b …Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and overweight…
The story starts before Samuel is born. After Hannah puts her faith fully in God, after years without being able to have a child, Samuel is born. Hannah names him Samuel which literally means that she asked God for him. That’s a pretty cool name if you ask me. Hannah promised God that she would dedicate Samuel to the Lord. Once he’s old enough she follows through and gives Samuel to Eli to aid him in his work, and overall serve the Lord.
Eli was the guy earlier that called Hannah out for being drunk and now she’s trusting him with her only son. This supposedly godly priest is now over Samuel to teach him in his ways. Luckily, this is what’s so amazing about Samuel, even with how terrible a father Eli was, or how wild his sons were, Samuel remained a godly boy. With all t his corruption surrounding him, it’s clear that God is actually at work. You have to imagine that there would be heavy amounts of temptation and peer pressure to join Eli’s sons in their tomfoolery.
2:18a But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord…
Samuel is young and eager to serve the Lord, yet severely naïve. There’s no doubt that Samuel loves God, but his training must not be that in depth. You get this idea when it takes way too many tries for God to get in touch with Samuel. He calls his name a few times, and each time Samuel thinks that its Eli calling him. Eventually Eli tells him to talk back to the voice - even then he doesn’t tell him what’s going on or that it’s God speaking, instead he gives him a script to say to God - what a terrible discipler!
Hannah is a biblical superhero. Prior to studying this, I had never heard her story. Here circumstances were less than desirable; her husband barely cared about himself more than her, she shared her husband with another woman, and she was unable to have kids. In those days, if you were unable to have kids you were a loser. Barren women were useless - that was a known fact in their ancient society. All of these things caused Hannah deep sorrow. She was so sad to the point of not eating. What made things worse is her husbands other wife wouldn’t stop making fun of her inability to have kids, and her husband never told her to shut up.
It was a rough life for Hannah in those days. She did what any believer should do in troubled times - she turned to God in prayer and asked for help in this area. She poured her heart out.
When it comes to the interaction between her and Eli, when he thought she was drunk - you must admit, her response was rather impressive. Eli didn’t care about whatever she was going through, basically said “be on your way lady”, and after all that - she just hoped he wouldn’t think that she was a bad lady. She asked for respect. How gracious! Hannah showed no sign of offense at all. That was impressive.
As Hannah walks away, her sadness is gone and God’s peace washes over her face. Then she becomes the living embodiment of Philippians 4:6,7 :
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Hannah gave everything over to God, stopped worrying about it, and God’s peace clearly was being experienced. This is to me, a beautiful picture of that Philippians passage actually taking place in a person’s life. Absolutely beautiful.
Later after Samuel is old enough, she hands him off to Eli to serve the Lord. The beginning of chapter 2 is her prayer after giving away her firstborn son. Not only does this reveal her beautiful relationship with the Lord, but that she was also very wise in the ways of God.
Specifically Hannah is aware of God’s loving grace:
He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
placing them in seats of honor.
Calling her Godly Hannah is no overstatement. I stole that nickname from some commentary that probably stole it from someone else. It’s a very fitting title.
In Hannah we have the mature Christian lifestyle. In Eli we see the old, boring, compromised believer. In Samuel (during the time of chapters 1-3) we see the young eager baby Christian mindset. All three can be learned from. Whether you want to be more like Hannah or less like Eli, there’s something about Samuel’s eager-to-serve-heart we can all benefit from. Personally I think Hannah’s life is one to remember no matter who you are. In terms of godliness, it seems as if Hannah is one of the most godly people in the bible, yet the least talked about. Her trust in God is something I only hope I can one day have myself.
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TESTadminFri, 07/07/2017 - 12:05
no imageadminMon, 07/10/2017 - 08:56
Sometimes it's Hard to Feel Forgiven
If you have accepted Christ, you are forgiven of all of your sins. If you told God that you know you are a sinner and you need his Son's death on the cross to count for you, your sins are forgiven. If the Holy Spirit is indeed within your heart - your sins are forgiven. This forgiveness is eternal. This forgiveness is permanent.
Past, present, and future sins - forgiven.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
The New International Version. (2011). (Eph 2:8–9). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
The New International Version. (2011). (Ro 10:9). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.
The New International Version. (2011). (Heb 8:12). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
So why then when we feel like we've done something sinful when we feel guilty of something, do we have such a time feeling that forgiveness? We pray, we read some of the bible, and the guilt remains. We can even have a repentant attitude. An inner realization that what we did was wrong and we want to change as to not repeat that same behavior. A heart decision to pivot our direction and live differently. Even then, something still feels wrong.
It's not true in those moments that we aren't forgiven, yet it still feels like that. So what then is missing? Why is it that when we decide in our hearts to change, we don't immediately feel relieved of our guilt? What are we doing wrong?
Have you ever felt like this? Do you feel this way right now? If you do, I may know why. I must say, I'm not an expert, but hear me out.
If you are a Christian, you've probably heard it said before, that God, the Creator of the Universe, now works through his people. He isn't walking around today on the earth, he's not intervening and making appearances, he's not physically here performing miracles and telling us face-to-face that we are forgiven. But, his Holy Spirit is amongst us within our brothers and sisters.
Since we do have our people, who share with us the Holy Spirit, we must be talking about our sin together. Not until you open up will you fully experience God's grace. Trust me; He wants you to feel his forgiveness. He wants you to know you are forgiven. He wants you to believe that what he has done was good enough for you to feel truly free of your sin.
But how else can we experience that, learn that, feel that, if we don't let our sin out in the open? Our brothers and sisters in Christ are here for a reason. That being so we are to portray God's love to each other. A large part of that is demonstrating God's grace and forgiveness to each other.
I've never once opened up to a brother and been scorned or torn apart. I've never opened my heart to a brother and felt stepped on. Not once! In fact, any time that I've ever opened up I've received a living, breathing example of God's grace. A good example of the way I've received forgiveness like this, albeit sans everyone having the holy spirit, is the following exchange between Joseph and his brothers.
3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.
The New International Version. (2011). (Ge 45:3–5). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Again, God works through his people. So, if you don't let his people work, you don’t experience God's hand in your life. If you don't show your heart to your brothers and sisters, you can't taste authentic forgiveness. You can't experience real fellowship, and you surely cannot feel God's love.
Likewise, you can get convicted about something cool; God can show you something amazing in his Word. His own words can illuminate your life through your independent studies - but if you don't share what it is that is in your heart - what good is it? How do you check if your conviction is Godly, or evil; wise, or silly?
To top that off, at a certain point I think God most likely will cease to convict your heart if you only ever keep your convictions to yourself. If you decide to be selfish with what God gives you - he'll cut you off. In that same way, if one of your friends opens up to you and you choose to not show them grace - he'll likely come after you. Now, of course, he won't "smite you" or strike you with lightning, but surely he will find a way to show you the error of your ways.
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. l
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 18:21–35). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
I know these things to be true in my own life because I've experienced both sides of the coin. Typically this happens because I judge my sin, thinking that I am such a bad person. I become ashamed that my sin is so bad that it will make me look worse than I want to appear. I become overburdened with guilt, and instead of letting all this out I hide or sweep it all under the rug. Sadly sweeping it under the rug doesn't ever actually get rid of the feelings. Even if I can be successful at getting them so deep down that I don't think about them regularly - they still pop their heads out from time to time only leaving me (or you) to feel the same pain again, sometimes worse.
Just to be clear, I'm not saying praying and turning to your word in troubled times is bad - in facts it's an excellent thing to do. But what I am saying is that we have to be open and honest about our sin (or our pain, guilt, and especially convictions). Otherwise our efforts to get better, or be restored to a mentally healthy, spiritually healthy state - will be useless.
[just reiterating that this is an opinion piece on the topic, I know it makes sense to me from experience, but please if you think I've made a mistake or missed something, leave a comment below and we can dialogue]
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The Introduction to Titus is a Big Deal
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—
2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,
3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,
4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
I knew this morning that I would be reading the intro to Titus and seeing if there was anything interesting about it. I didn't expect to get emotional about an introduction.
The following is stated in just these four verses:
-serves God as a Christian
-wants to help other Christians
-increase in Faith in God
-increase in knowledge of the truth
-is writing to Titus
-who he refers to as "my true son in our common faith"
-does not lie
-promised (the hope of) eternal life before the beginning of time
-has entrusted (and commanded) Paul with preaching regarding these things
It's just the introduction yet basically can be made into an entire teaching. Paul makes it clear that God speaks through his people. Furthermore, Christians need other wiser Christians to grow both in knowledge and in faith.
We also see that the Body of Christ is like a family. Paul cares so much for Titus that he makes it very clear in just three words, "My true son".
"My" - holding the younger man dear to his own heart. "True" - removing any restriction based on blood lineage. And "son", not friend, or cousin, but son.
To take someone in and love them as your own is a full time job, time spent that is worth honoring. Now of course I've never had the opportunity to do this myself, but it sure is how I've been treated. Whatever is the case for Titus' own "blood-parents", I can relate in having one much wiser (truly, more than one) come watch over me and take care of me. To have such an honor is a blessing I can't help but be thankful for.
This also is an established relationship, seeing earlier mentions of Titus, Paul refers to him with words that aren't as endearing. In 2 Corinthians we see him use brother, fellow worker, and partner. Some time has passed (maybe only a year) and he is now loved as a son. Most likely converted by Paul, he was not a Jew and yet that didn't stop Paul from deeply loving him.
Just thought I'd share my thoughts on this beautiful opening to such a short concise book.
The Introduction to Titus is a Big Deal picadminWed, 01/03/2018 - 12:03
my dad left too soon
My dad was a liar. My dad was a cheater. My dad was a thief! He thought he was so funny... You know what's funny? When you leave behind your wife, kids, and the rest of your family - all because you can't stop drinking. What a joke! My dad was a quitter. My dad was a scum bag, no-good-rebel. The amount of people he hurt because of his selfishness is enough to be locked out of heaven forever. My mom has had a hard time since he died - thanks, dad...
My dad was supposed to be the leader of the family. The only direction he lead it was downward. He lead us into bankruptcy. He lead us into sadness, depression. He lead us to "shut-off notices" and eviction. He lead us to heartbreak and suffering.
When I look at pictures of much-younger-me, my heart breaks again. HOW? How could you? How could you ignore such a face? I was a cute kid man, but my dad went through life ignoring me. I had to figure most things out myself from a young age. It wasn't until I was thirteen or so that I began to understand the rules of baseball or any sport for that matter - and my dad was a huge sports fan. The one time my dad cried in front of me (before he was dying) was at some point when one of Cleveland's sports teams were looking better than ever. I can't quite remember which that was or when it was - but I remember him being in tears (of joy) about this. It was the most emotion I had ever seen in him - it's burned into my head.
With all that zeal, my dad hadn't ever taken the time to teach me anything about his interests. My dad loved to golf, and my dad loved to bowl. Neither are things he taught me or expressed to me. I only knew of his love for golf from the golf clubs I'd later find in the garage and from stories his dad would tell me. I knew he was always on bowling leagues, but at any age that I can remember - I had never seen him bowl.
My dad died seven years ago today. Leaving behind my brother Mark, my mother, and me. I should say good riddance, and my dad should go to hell.
But he went to heaven, and I miss him. On top of this, I forgive him. I don't know if I could forgive him if I didn't have the Holy Spirit in my heart, but thanks to the power of God I'm actually thankful for him - but more on that later. As I get older I see more and more how much I am like my dad. I too am a liar, a cheater, and a thief. I too have hurt a host of friends and family. I too am a quitter and a scum bag, a rebel. I'm selfish and I can be a poor leader. I also have a hard time including people in my life and interests, etc.. I too should go to hell.
To be honest, my parents were not ready to be parents. When my mom became pregnant with my brother, both families pushed them to get married (thanks, family). They went from super rebels to parents overnight and tried to make it work. Mark and I survived. So they succeeded. It would be crazy to hold all these things against two crazy kids that got married - I mean they tried! They could have dumped us off, or never got married at all.
I'm thankful for the example my dad gave me. I'm half him after all. So now I have a good picture of what I could become if I don't let God change me to be more like His Son. The example that Jesus set is a man who was bold, strong, forgiving, compassionate, and empathetic. Jesus was reliant-on-God and a lover-of-men, I want to be like that! I know so much of what-not-to-do as a husband and father. I'm lucky to have become a Christian at a young age (12) and gain "spiritual parents". From them, I've learned what-to-do as a husband and father. No doubt I have much to learn still - but I have received two examples of how my life can play out, and I know the direction I'd like to go.
Also, I don't know my dad's heart. I cant know his intentions or what he cared about. I can't know why he never stopped drinking. I can't know what drove him to leave the house for the bars when I'd beg him, crying, not to leave (as a cute, innocent version of me). He should have gone to hell, and so should I, but we're not going to. I can't wait to see him again in heaven so we can catch up!
We're all messed up people. Every single one of us has our individual flaws, shortcomings, sins, and sufferings. Luckily this life isn't all there is. This is a short time here on earth. Our time here is like a spark, a minor flash, here today - gone tomorrow. What are you living for? What's the point of life? Thanks, God, for giving us a reason to live! We can all get fit, get rich, or get famous - if we try hard enough. But what use is anything if we are going to die eventually? God is real! He is personal - and loves us all, He has that purpose for us, that reason to live. He sent his one and only Son to die on the cross and rise again so that we don't have to die and we too will go on to live forever. Look - God has already forgiven us. The job is complete, he is done - mission complete! Thankfully, He left it up to us to accept that forgiveness. It's a gift. A wrapped present that's been sitting under your Christmas tree since the day you were born - screaming to be opened. Inside is freedom, peace, and joy. Inside is eternal life and a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Inside is a significant life.
No matter who you are or what you've done, God accepts you. The question is - will you accept Him?
videoadminFri, 06/29/2018 - 10:12