Tag Archives: Jesus

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,

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,

Merry Christmas!

24 Dec

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

Isn’t it weird how Christmas has such a different feeling the older you get? When you’re younger, say up until middle school or so, Christmas pretty much runs your life during the Christmas season. (Whoa, I’m using the word Christmas a lot…) Last night, my little cousin was talking in her sleep (I kid you not!) about “a.. a box” and how she “didn’t want a Barbie.” I  can only assume she was dreaming about Christmas. Anyway. Point being, younger kids get so hyped up about holidays, where (at least from what I’ve experienced) for those of us that are pretty much middle school and up, the holiday is still fun, but more relaxed.

…Well, sometimes.

There’s also the side of it that is so much more stressful. We have soooo many people over. We try to do soooo many things. We have to cook soooo much food. We have to find presents for everyone on our lists–meaning that we probably will have to battle a huge crowd of other Christmas shoppers. Sometimes I start to think, with all the stress, we almost forget what this season is really about.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

So says Luke 2:11. That’s the point of Christmas. I have to refer now to John 3:16 (Don’t groan. This verse may be the verse that every little Christian kid knows by heart, but it holds so much truth.)

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

Christmas was the very beginning of our salvation. It is the day of Jesus’ birth. You know, when you think about Christmas, it is incredible. God loves us all so much that he sent his only son to Earth as a human baby. Later, He would give up His own life to give us salvation. Life eternal.

(thanks to reverendfun.com)

When the season’s getting you stressed out and frustrated, take a few moments to ponder God’s amazing love for us, and what He did for us. The miracle He sent to bring us to Him. And guys, spread the love. Show the “Reason for the Season” by the things that you do, the things that you say. Let people see God’s light through you.

It’s Christmas. Spread the Love.

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

Writer’s Block, Nostalgia, and Distractions

8 Nov

Why is it that I’m having so much trouble with this novel? It may be simply because I want to get to the good part. But I don’t know. In any case, I am behind in my word-count goal. How’s that for a way to start the month off? I suppose it’s better now than later…but still…

I’m feeling strangely nostalgic right now. (I hate the word nostalgic, but right now it seems to fit.) My mind keeps wandering back to Idaho, to last school year, last summer, Othello, et cetera, et cetera. (Latin for ‘et cetera’ is ‘et ceterae’ [pronounced et ket*air*eye], did you know that? Sorry, random bit of Latin knowledge…) Anyway. It’s a little bit depressing, for whatever reason. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that life has been going by so fast. I know it has some to do with hurts that have occurred, but even the happy memories are strangely depressing right now. Maybe this will help me write from Jade’s point of view. But I kind of doubt it, since I have been attempting to write for sooooooo looooong now. I suppose I an just missing the simplicity of life as it was a long time ago, before I knew so much about this world. I’m not saying I know a lot, I’m just saying that my view on life has changed so much in the past 4-7 years.

Sometimes this world feels like a heavy burden to bear–when we don’t fit in, when someone we trusted has hurt us, when things just pile up. I’ve finally found myself again, but I don’t see the world the same way I used to. It is a big place. It’s a hurtful place. But it’s also a wonderful place.

1 John 2:15 says:

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Does this literally mean “do not love anything in the world”? No. What this verse is saying is that we should not love the evil and the “bad ways” of the world. We should be focusing on God and not letting our world’s negativity find favor with us. We can still enjoy this world, because God has provided it for us. But we should not love the world so much that God becomes unimportant in our lives. He is the one we should focus on, not things of this world.

Hebrews 3:1 says:

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.

Another verse relating to this is Matthew 6:21:

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Okay. I don’t know about all of you, but it’s hard for me to always live life completely for God. Other things can distract us. Activities that we do. That really cute guy/girl. Our looks. Music. Anything, good or bad, can become a distraction from God. Trust me here, I struggle with this as much as anyone. I’m not condemning anyone. This is something everyone has a problem with. Just like even the best foods for you can be poison if you have too much of it, even good things can be poison to us if we live for them instead of God.

I’m going to take this a step further. Philippians 4:8 says:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

The “young generation” right now has a lot of things to think that are not these things. Take the latest trends in music. It seems like almost every song you here at least mentions sex, drugs, or alcohol. I’m not saying that every song does. But so many popular songs of today seem to focus on the worldly aspects of this world. By listening to this stuff, aren’t we really just poisoning our minds? Many young adult books are the same way. And many of the most popular movies. As Christians, we need to be focusing on those things mentioned in the above verse.

So I challenge you, reader, evaluate your music/book/movie choices. Are these true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable? If not, does it still have a good message? Is it using this sort of thing to get a positive/Godly message across?

I’m leaving this up to you guys. I know I’m not the best example–I will admit that I listen to some Lady Gaga, and other music that I was just saying is negative. I’m not perfect. And it’s something that I am working on. But think about what you choose to expose yourself to in this world.

I came up with this after one of my friends said to me, “God has been convicting me of my music choices of late.” It really made me think. I struggle with this. A lot of people do!

I guess that’s all, it’s just something that’s been on my mind for a while now.

Over and out,

❤ Paperclip101

P.S. I wrote this a while ago but didn’t post it till today 🙂

Mission Trip–Last Day!

18 Sep

Hey all–

Sorry it took me a while to get back to this. I’ve been pretty busy with school, Bible Quizzing, youth group, Narnia auditions, choir, voice lessons, etc, etc, etc. Anywho. Finally, I present to you: Day Five of my Othello Mission Trip.

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’

~Matthew 19:14

Once again, we started the morning with a swim (although this time, we didn’t swim ’til 7:00, as opposed to our normal 6:00). We then hung around camp for a while, then headed one last time to “Discovery City”.

We didn’t have a VBS that day, but the kids all came out regardless. For that one short week, we were a big part of their lives–something they could look forward to, someone they could turn to and be sure of being loved.

We played for a long time. I could feel my eyes tearing up occasionally, knowing that all too soon we would have to leave–for good. I tried not to let the kids see the tears in my eyes; I wanted us all to enjoy the time together that we had left.

All too soon, our youth pastor told us that we had to say goodbye. I didn’t start really crying until I said goodbye to one of the girls I had clicked with the most–the most adorable 4-year-old who didn’t know English. Throughout the week, we learned to understand each other pretty well, through Spanglish and lots and lots of gestures. My Spanish-speaking abilities are almost non-existent, although I confess that I learned more Spanish in that one week in Othello than I have in my three weeks in Spanish class so far this year. Anyway, I hugged her and said goodbye, and the tears started falling down my cheeks. She looked at me, an expression of slight puzzlement on her face, and smiled up at me. She seemed to be asking, why are you crying? Kids there are tough–I didn’t see any of them cry except for the little tiny ones. I only wished that I could explain to her, in perfect Spanish, that I had to leave for good, but that I loved her and would miss her sooooo much. But I couldn’t.

I said goodbye to the rest of the kids, and let me tell you, they are so sweet, despite their tough exteriors. Kids I had hardly talked to that week would give me great big hugs goodbye. One of the kids asked our youth pastor if we would come back “every season”, and when he responded that we would think about it, one of the toughest (and biggest) girls there responded threateningly, “You’d better think hard about it.” Just knowing that we impacted their lives so much in that one week made me wonder, if we could have had more time with them, would we have impacted them even more?

Once we got on the bus, one of my friends was crying really hard, and the kids that had gotten close to her that week noticed and actually came into the bus to hug her and comfort her, which of course only made her cry harder. But they cared so much for us, and they knew that we cared about them and loved them for who they were.

But what was more important, that week we taught those kids that Jesus loves them, no matter who they are, what they look like, what they do, and that he loves them enough to die for them. It was so cool to see the positive impact we made on the entire community just by ministering to the children.

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'” (Matthew 19:14). If we only had the faith and trust that the kids in Othello did in us, our lives would be totally different. We need to believe and trust in God with the faith of a child–a kid sees only the good in someone, and trusts someone they hardly know just based off of how they act around them. We know how wonderful our God is, and yet so many of us, me included, have trouble trusting in God 100%.

Anyway, the half-hour bus ride back to the campsite was…interesting. Most of the girls were crying their eyes out miserably, and the guys were just kind of sitting awkwardly. Once we reached the lake, we sat in a big circle and had a prayer time and devotion time, in which some of us cried even more.

My youth pastor made the point that our separation from these kids may not be forever, that because we taught them about Jesus, we may see them in Heaven someday. And for that, I have been praying ever since. Those kids impacted my life as much as we impacted theirs. Anyway, my youth pastor also said that the separation we were feeling now, only much, much greater, was the sort of separation that God feels when we turn away from Him. The separation he feels with those who are now in Hell, or bound for it.

After devotions; which I only barely skimmed the surface of in this blog, believe me, they were deep and really made you think; we swam for a while, then loaded into the bus for the ride home.

One week. One little week. Five days. In just five days, my life was impacted more than it had been in my fifteen years of life. I will never forget my Othello trip, or the kids, or the culture, or the way that my eyes were opened.