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Love.

9 Sep

As Christians, aren’t we supposed to be a city on a hill? A light in the darkness?

Then why do people view the church as Hateful? Judgmental? Unaccepting?

Shouldn’t church be the place that anyone should feel welcome? The place where anyone can go without being judged? So WHY do so many people hate going to church?

The truth remains: Christians aren’t perfect. No one is but our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We do judge.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I, for the most part, agree with this. But what does the Bible have to say on this?

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? ~Matthew 7:3

Who are we to judge others’ sins, when truth is, we all have struggles, temptations, sins that we have to deal with. It’s between us and God.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. ~1 Peter 4:8

That verse is pretty self-explanatory. No matter what someone else’s personal struggle is, we are supposed to love them despite it.

In order to deal with any struggle, you first have to acknowledge that it exists. And you have to acknowledge that the struggle does not define the person in question.

We’re not perfect. It can be hard to accept people who, in our eyes, are doing something horribly wrong. But you’ve got to remember that God does not see any one sin as worse than another.  Why are we, as humans, so inclined to rank everything?

“I may have lied to my mom, but at least I didn’t commit adultery like so-and-so.”

“Sure, I’ve cheated on tests, but I haven’t shoplifted like some other people that I know.”

The truth is, God doesn’t care. A sin is a sin, no matter how “big” or “small” in our imperfect human eyes. And you know what?

Everyone sins.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. ~1 John 4:10

The entire reason God sent His Son to earth was because He loves us. Sins, flaws, imperfections, and all. In fact, He loves us so much that he was willing to sacrifice His only Son so that we can live forever. God has already dealt with those sins. It is between each individual and God.

Back to John 3:16 🙂

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Think about that for a while. I know, I know. It’s that simple verse that every little Christian kid knows. But it is one of the most profound verses in the Bible.

If God loves us that much, and he died for each and every one of us, then who are we to hate one another? To judge or criticize?

Take the example of Rahab.

Joshua son of Nun secretly sent out from Shittim two men as spies: “Go. Look over the land. Check out Jericho.” They left and arrived at the house of a harlot named Rahab and stayed there.

 The king of Jericho was told, “We’ve just learned that men arrived tonight to spy out the land. They’re from the People of Israel.”

The king of Jericho sent word to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you to stay the night in your house. They’re spies; they’ve come to spy out the whole country.”

The woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, two men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they’d come from. At dark, when the gate was about to be shut, the men left. But I have no idea where they went. Hurry up! Chase them—you can still catch them!” (She had actually taken them up on the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax that were spread out for her on the roof.) So the men set chase down the Jordan road toward the fords. As soon as they were gone, the gate was shut.

 Before the spies were down for the night, the woman came up to them on the roof and said, “I know that God has given you the land. We’re all afraid. Everyone in the country feels hopeless. We heard how God dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt, and what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you put under a holy curse and destroyed. We heard it and our hearts sank. We all had the wind knocked out of us. And all because of you, you and God, your God, God of the heavens above and God of the earth below.

“Now promise me by God. I showed you mercy; now show my family mercy. And give me some tangible proof, a guarantee of life for my father and mother, my brothers and sisters—everyone connected with my family. Save our souls from death!”

“Our lives for yours!” said the men. “But don’t tell anyone our business. When God turns this land over to us, we’ll do right by you in loyal mercy.”

She lowered them down out a window with a rope because her house was on the city wall to the outside. She told them, “Run for the hills so your pursuers won’t find you. Hide out for three days and give your pursuers time to return. Then get on your way.”

The men told her, “In order to keep this oath you made us swear, here is what you must do: Hang this red rope out the window through which you let us down and gather your entire family with you in your house—father, mother, brothers, and sisters. Anyone who goes out the doors of your house into the street and is killed, it’s his own fault—we aren’t responsible. But for everyone within the house we take full responsibility. If anyone lays a hand on one of them, it’s our fault. But if you tell anyone of our business here, the oath you made us swear is canceled—we’re no longer responsible.”

She said, “If that’s what you say, that’s the way it is,” and sent them off. They left and she hung the red rope out the window.

~Joshua 2:1-21 (The Message)

Rahab, a prostitute, the lowest of the low, was spared because of her faith in God. Jesus died for everyone. Thieves. Adulterers. Prostitutes. Homosexuals. Murderers. The porn addicts. Meth addicts. Alcoholics. Rapists. Those who are self-destructive. Suicidal. Broken. Afraid. Alone. Anyone who has ever, ever sinned. And he died for YOU.

Why? Why would He lay down His Son’s life for US? Because he knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. Everyone is unique. Created in God’s own image. He looks past the sin. Sees the wonderful creation that we are.

Who are we not to love those on Earth?

One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?”

Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

~Mark 12:28-31 (The Message)

The most important commandments: Love the Lord your God. And love others.

Does that say anything about love at all? I think yes.

1 John 4:19 says,

We love because he first loved us.

Are you getting this? Love is pretty important. We’ve got to love each other. Just as God loves all of us. Each and every one.

I don’t care who you are, or what you’ve been through. The point is, God loves you. And so I.

Just a thought, Church. Let’s show the Love of God.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is Love. ~1 Corinthians 13:13

 Peace,

Two of Dory’s Best Ever Moments

7 May

Last night, I watched Finding Nemo. In Spanish, actually. Nonetheless, certain bits of it really stuck out to me more than usual. I can pretty much quote the entire movie, but it’s so interesting how you get something new out of a movie or book every time you watch/read it.

If you haven’t seen the movie, then go watch it as soon as you possibly can, but in the meantime watch this awesome clip. If you have, watch the following clip anyway. This is Dory’s life philosophy.

Awesome, no? But really. When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming! Just keep on pushing through it, even when things get really tough. It is so worth it. You WILL get through even the toughest times.

Now watch this clip. The very end could be a little longer there, but that’s okay. It was the best video of it I could find.

Sometimes, escape is right in front of us. But we fail to recognize it as such.

Eh-scap-ay. That’s funny…it’s spelled just like the word ‘escape’…

Know what that escape is?

God.

All you’ve got to do is give everything up to Him.

How often do we think we’re too insignificant to trouble God with our problems?

That because obviously God doesn’t care since He let it happen to us, there is no escape?

We even can recognize that talking to God could help us.

But sometimes, we just aren’t willing to let go.

My youth group went recently to an event called Acquire the Fire (ATF), a really neat youth conference that travels all over the U.S. The whole theme was “Normal’s Not Enough.” To be more than the “average Christian,” you have to give up everything to God. The sins, the temptations. The situations beyond our own control. And God doesn’t just want the negative, either. He wants all of us.

It got me thinking. Man, there are some aspects of my life that I just am not willing to let go of. Why?

Because as humans, we get the false idea that we can do it on our own. That we don’t want God’s help if it means sacrificing something.

We are so blind to the escape right in front of us. Even if it does look suspiciously like escape. Not to say God will just take our problems away, but He can and will help us to get through them.

It is an escape from ourselves. But more so, an escape from Satan and the lies that he manages to make us believe.

I very recently went to a girls’ retreat at my church called “Something Beautiful.” So many girls, and guys too, are falling for the lies that you have to be physically attractive to get anywhere in life. And that they aren’t attractive. We don’t realize that what is inside is so much more important.

Eating disorders. Depression. Anxiety. Self harm. Suicide and suicide attempts. All of these things have been on the rise.

Our society is so messed up. We can’t continue believing the lies of this world. My generation is so appearance-oriented. God is the only one who can help us stop believing Satan’s lies.

Escape is there.

We just have to take it.

Will you?

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:34-35

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. -1 Peter 5:7

Faith and Facebook Messages…

19 Mar

Hey everyone, sorry it’s felt like I’ve abandoned you lately… I haven’t! I promise!

Life’s just been busy, and stressful–more so than usual–and I haven’t had the time nor motivation to blog. But, here I am!

Yesterday, one of my friends Facebook messaged me. Three simple words: Hold to eternity. I’ve been really stressed, and generally just kind of “eh” lately…not going into details. But let me tell you, those three simple words brought a smile to my face. Hold to eternity. Even when it feels like I’m completely alone, or the world is, as another put it, just “grey,” I know in my heart that God will never leave me, or stop caring about me. When I feel out of place in this world, I think it is a longing for a better one–heaven, and the life that is yet to come. Take your best memory. Now times it by infinity, and then infinity again, and again, and again… that’s heaven. We can’t even comprehend how amazing it’s going to be.

Three words. Three words that gave me hope. You know who you are, and I want to say thank you for letting God use you to help me through this.

Readers, even when life is at its bleakest, remember your savior, Jesus Christ, and what he did for you. Think of the happiness that awaits us in heaven.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. ~Revelation 21:4

Think about that for a minute. A time with no more pain, no more death, no more mourning. We can hold out until then.

Hold to eternity.

<3 Paperclip101

Good Morning, George, How Are You?

19 Feb

Hey all! I’ve been crazily busy of late, and thus I now find myself with the nasty cold that’s been going around…

Don’t you just hate getting sick? I know I do. Especially when I get sick five days before the opening night of our musical. In which I am understudy for the lead female. Uh huh.

If you were wondering, the musical is called “The Warrior” and it was written by a woman in Newberg, OR, named Marilyn Olson. (She’s genius!) Basically, it’s the story of David, Uriah, and Bathsheba from the Bible. So yes, I am playing Bathsheba in a few performances 😛

Anyway, if you live in the Portland or Salem area, you should definitely come see it!!! It runs this upcoming weekend, and next. Saturdays and Fridays are at 7:30, and Sundays are at 3. And it’s at the Alpenrose Opera House in Portland. Or, you could come to out one Salem performance on March 9th at 7 pm at the Elsinore in Salem. (The Elsinore showing is at 7 pm, not 7:30. Just to clarify.)

If you want more info, just check out mcoproductions.net 🙂

As for the title of this post? Veggie Tales, aka the best show on the planet 🙂 (also, did you realise that King George and the Ducky is the story of David and Bathsheba? weird, huh?)

Well, that’s really all I’ve got today. And don’t mind any typos–I’m on the iPod Touch right now…

Over and out,
Paperclip101

Sisters In Christ, Check This Out!

6 Jan

Hey there!

I’m blogging to tell you all about something I’m super duper excited about:

The Dear Sister In Christ Project (DSICP)!

This is a project that a friend of mine thought up, and I volunteered to help with. So our project fell into place 🙂

Here’s a little bit about the project, taken from its website:

To put it simply, the main goal of the Dear Sister In Christ Project (DSICP) is to provide an opportunity for Christian women of all ages to encourage and support today’s tween and teen girls by sharing their faith through letters. … We wish to encourage our readers to look to God for help during hardships as well as the trying teenage years. DSICP letters are not advice letters, but rather testimonial letters. We do not wish to offer the solutions to specific issues, but point the way towards the one and only, ultimate solution—Jesus.

This reminds me a little bit of Project Inspired, an awesome Christian website for teen and tween girls (that you should check out!) started by a model, only instead of articles written by the staff, The DSIC Project uses letters written by the readers.

The DSICP also has a blog on which there will be monthly Faith Challenges, portions of scripture, and who knows what else we’ll wind up posting! The letters on the site are written by readers for the purpose of encouraging today’s teens and tweens and will cover anything from self-image to relationships to peer pressure to anything in between.

All you female readers, you should take some time to check it out! I am super excited about this project and have been since my friend and I started plotting 🙂

In case that hyperlink didn’t work, our (possibly temporary, meaning that we may get a URL that people can actually remember eventually) site is http://home.comcast.net/~webso/site/?/home/

God bless,

The Last Post…

31 Dec

…of this year. Did I freak you out? (Probably not, since I’m a weird teenager and you all are used to me saying things like that. But… anyway…)

My family and I decided to end 2011 by sending my little sister away to a friend’s house since we’re all sick and not doing anything, and then watch Pirates of the Caribbean. Man, I forgot how good that movie is. It’s like… epic and ridiculous at the same time.

Random Fact: Did you know that Orlando Bloom, who plays Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean also plays Legolas in Lord of the Rings? How awesome is that? I mean, elf, pirate… cool! (I had never noticed this until one of my LOTR-crazed friends pointed it out to me.)

Anyway, thinking back on 2011, I have to say it was a pretty good year, but it had its rough spots. Quite a few.  There were some times that I thought I would never get through.

However, I also found my church home and a group of friends that I love. So now, I have two awesome friends groups 🙂

In addition, 2011 was my first ever mission trip. Whoa. That was the most incredible experience I have ever had. Seriously. I can’t even find the words to explain it. (If you want to know more on that, click here to see my mission trip reflections)

In 2011, August or September, I started up this blog. This will be my 21st post, and I have already gained 21 amazing followers. (NOT 300-something, like the widget says. For some reason, it decided to add all of my Facebook friends to that number.) 21 and 21, that’s funny. Hadn’t noticed that until now.

Anyway, this past year has been new and different in a lot of ways. I’ve learned so much… but most of all, that no matter what, God is in control. Through good times and bad.

And we know that in all things God works together for good to those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28

That’s Paperclip-Paraphrase version, by the way, meaning that I probably messed some of that up by combining different versions of the verse. But it means the same thing.

If I want to post this before 2012, I’d better post it now!

Well, over and out,

Life

18 Nov

Well guys, life happens.

Just because we believe in God, and because we have been saved by Christ, doesn’t mean that life is going to be easy. In fact, it pretty much guarantees that we are going to go through trials. Whether it’s that math test, your grades, dating troubles, a death, or something else, we are going to have things pop up in life that are difficult for us.

At times, it may feel like life is weighing us down. Those trials and tribulations are too much to handle.

But that’s not true! Some verses I’ve taken comfort in recently are, as usual, Philippians 4:13:

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength”

and Hebrews 13:5:

“…I will never leave you nor forsake you”

God is there for us, even in the toughest of times. Something that definitely relates to this is a poem called “Footprints in the Sand.” If you have never read it, do. Seriously. This poem is such an encouragement. And if you have read it, read it again!

Think about that for a little while. Even if it seems like no matter how much we pray, how much we ask God to help us through and He isn’t doing anything about it, He is! You may not be able to see God working in your life sometimes, but know that He is always there and in control.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see” ~Hebrews 11:1

Even when it seems like God isn’t there, we have to have faith that He is. Looking back on rocky times in life, I realize now just how many little blessings God put into my life, even when I had sort of turned away from Him for a while. He was still there. He still cared. He carried me through.

When life gets you down, keep praying. Have faith. Our God is always in control. He will help you through whatever you are going through. Life happens. But God is always there for us.

Over and out,

<3 Paperclip101