Showing posts with label sin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sin. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2016

Why are God's People Afraid to be Real?

In the past I thought being a good Christian meant wearing a mask. Projecting an image of happiness and wholeness to all those around me. I thought the mask would help others to see Jesus through me. It would keep my brokenness from becoming a distraction to others. I would wear this mask that I created and when the mask would slip, I would become overcome with guilt for failing as a Christian.

Through the last several years, I have found that sometimes people can see God most shining through the cracks of my brokenness. I was doing God no favors by being artificial. God wanted to use my brokenness. He wanted to heal my brokenness. He wanted to love me in my brokenness.

As a society we have things that are stigmatized. Things that go unspoken for fear of rejection and judgement. Sadly, this is not much more different in our Christian walk.There are some subjects that are uncomfortable and can make us feel vulnerable.

Top Three Things Christians Hide: (Some of these overlap)

1. Mental Illness- Depression, Anxiety, Postpartum, Bipolar, PTSD, Schizophrenia, ect.

As I struggle with depression I find times when I feel the need to fake a smile, even when I am feeling shattered. Sometimes it is to hide my struggle. Sometimes it is to not make someone else uncomfortable. Also, sometimes it is because it makes me feel like I can just make it through. I am one of those personalities where if I am on the verge of crying and a friend tries to comfort me through kind words or through even just a touch, I fall apart and have a hard time gaining composure again.

In our society, mental illnesses are seen as weakness. They are often misunderstood. As Christians we are one body. So why can't we be vulnerable with our brothers and sisters in Christ? How is our pride getting in the way of allowing us to seek support and prayer? Are our expectations of others and attitudes keeping others from reaching out to us?

2. Addictions- Drugs, Alcohol, Food, Pornography, ect.

As I struggle with overeating I feel a deep sense of shame and guilt. I will have a nagging thought that seems to get louder and louder as I entertain it. I seek it for comfort. It makes me feel better, but the feeling is so short lived and I end up feeling defeated and worse than before. It is an idol that I have given myself to and that I felt could take away the pain. Food is not the only addiction I have had in my life, but at this time it is the one that I struggle with day by day, hour by hour, sometimes moment by moment.

If so many with addictions find help with support groups, how many more Christians could if we could be open about our struggles? If we could listen, support, and pray for them? Unfortunately, judgmental attitudes get in the way of showing love to each other. Imagine a brother or sister in Christ came to you and said, "Please pray for me. I am addicted to pain pills." How easy would it be to judge that person? It can be so easy to compare ourselves to others, when really we should be comparing ourselves to Jesus.

3. Sexual Immorality- Lust, Adultery, Pornography, ect.

A little over ten years ago, I had an emotional affair that turned into physical affair. It had started as a friendship. Someone who I felt understood me and who made me feel better about myself, when at the time I felt I was in a loveless marriage. I quickly became emotionally attached to the person. My heart would start racing when I saw their number on the caller id. I would find reasons to go and talk. After having a fight with my husband, I went to my friend for comfort. The emotional affair became physical and I had committed adultery. I was so attached to this person that I was willing to break apart my family. My life quickly fell apart. It was soon after that I allowed Jesus to be the Lord of my life.Thankfully, God has worked so many miracles in my life and has brought healing and restoration into my marriage.

In the church sex and sexual immorality is often a topic that is brushed aside. We feel uncomfortable talking about it and it has become faux pas. So many families are or have been impacted by sexual sins. It seems almost like we believe if we ignore it, it will go away. Sexual sins are embarrassing, but they wont just go away. Jesus was a great example with the Samaritan woman at the well. 


John 4:15-19 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
John 4:39-41 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.  And because of his words many more became believers.

Why should we get real?

*Not only are mental illnesses, addictions, and sexual immorality similar in the way they are stigmatized, they are all very isolating struggles. They lead to others withdrawing and trying to handle it on their own. If we as a body can start communicating about them, it will remove some of the power of them. We can then lift each other up and encourage each other. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.


*We are a light, even in our brokenness. The world is filled with fallen broken people. If we can be real with others, they can see that God loves us in our brokenness. We are unable to do good on our own, but God still uses us to bring Him glory. How cool to have a God that can use the very things that we struggle with, to help others. 

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Brothers and Sisters, 
If you are struggling and you feel all alone, you are not! It may feel like the world is caving in on you and like you are just trying to survive. Even then, God is still there. He loves you so much and you are precious to Him. Please reach out to a friend, family member, a doctor, or a pastor. We are stronger with others at our side. Please let me know if there is any way I can pray for you! 
God Bless, 
Faith

Monday, December 10, 2012

What is Christmas Really About?

Finding the meaning of Christmas can be difficult when society views the meaning of Christmas as a very materialistic day. Christmas has become about fairy tales, music, baking, family, and presents. I am not saying that any of those things are terrible but when the purpose for celebrating is forgotten what is the rest really worth? So many people have become like those acquaintances who send you birthday wishes on Facebook not because they remembered your birthday but because they saw it posted and saw that everyone else was writing on your wall. They were being kind and were jumping on the band wagon out of convenience not out of true care. I don't want to be an acquaintance of God, I want to be a friend of God or even better yet a child of God. I want to celebrate the birth of Jesus because I have a relationship with Him and am thankful for Him. 



As I have been reading through the scriptures that tell of the birth of Jesus I have been a little convicted, sad, and thankful. I wonder if I would have responded the same way as those who are spoken of. 

If I were Mary... I would have felt so overwhelmed. I would have felt completely anxious. Having just recently found out that I am pregnant again I am already anxious on how prepared I am. I worry for the child's safety. I would have been embarrassed. I remember the deep shame I felt when pregnant with Abbie my senior year. I remember the cruel glares from judgmental people. Even if I were a virgin when being impregnated by the Holy Spirit, I would have been concerned about what others thought and said. To be honest, I would have complained a lot during the long journey to Bethlehem. I complain often now even in my much less difficult circumstances.  

If I were Joseph... When I think that someone has wronged and embarrassed me how do I handle it? Part of me wants to declare my self as a victim. At heart I would want the person to suffer, even before trying to hear them out. 

If I were Zechariah... I would have totally put my foot in my mouth and would have probably would have doubted what the angel would have told me. Even in knowing God's goodness and His power, I often lead with fear and doubt. God has provided for us faithfully through the years, and yet when I get an unexpected bill my heart stops and I become filled with anxiety. I immediately wonder how we will make it by, as if I had already forgotten all that God has and is doing. 

Even though reflecting on how fallen and imperfect I am, I see how wonderful and amazing God is. I feel this way because Jesus came to the earth to die for the sins of the fallen and imperfect, and that is the true meaning of Christmas. It is the story of God sending His son in the form of a frail baby to show His love and grace to us through His son growing, teaching us, pointing the way back to God, and dying on the cross for our sins. Then showing God's majesty and power by rising from the dead. So while fairytales, music, baking, family, and presents might be nice there would be no Christmas without Christ. 

One of my friends had posted The True Christmas Story on her facebook page. It goes through the list of scriptures for the story of the birth of Christ. I wanted to share with you all the verses, so below are the verses in order so that you can read it and share with those who you love. 


A Savior King Is Promised 

Isaiah 7:14
 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.He will reign on David’s throne  and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Jeremiah 23:5 
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,“when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.

Micah 5:2-5
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”
Therefore Israel will be abandoned

    until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
    to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock

    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
    will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be our peace

    when the Assyrians invade our land
    and march through our fortresses.
We will raise against them seven shepherds,
    even eight commanders,


The Angel Visits Mary

Luke 1:26-28 
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,  to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.  For no word from God will ever fail.”
 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.


The Angel Visits Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.


The Trip to Bethlehem and Stable Lodging

Luke 2:1-7 

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.


The Christ Child is Born

Luke 2:6-7 
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Angels Visit the Shepherds

Luke 2:8-14 

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


The Shepherd Visit the Manger

Luke 2:15-18


When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.


The Wise Men Travel to Jerusalem

Matthew 2:1-8

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”


The Wise Men Worship the Christ Child

Matthew 2:9-12
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Trip to Egypt

Matthew 2:13-15 

The Escape to Egypt

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,  where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”



God Bless,
Faith

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Political Correctness

Oh how often I find myself in conversation with my daughter and she tries to soften the blow by lying. I am not sure if she is trying to deceive me or trying to deceive herself. The way she does this is not by completely disregarding the claims made against her. No, she instead will change her wording to make it sound less terrible. 


I have so many examples but a few are as follows.

  1. Stating she "borrowed" something, instead of stole it. 
  2. Stating that she was "joking" about something, instead of lying about it. 
  3. Stating that she didn't push the person "too hard" or claim things as accidents.
Why does she do this? 

I think there are two main reason that she does this. Firstly, she does it because she is afraid of the reaction and the punishment she will receive. Secondly, I think she does it because of her pride. She doesn't want to classify herself with her friends negative actions. 

What do I do in response?

I state things as they are. If she says she borrowed something, I point out the fact that she didn't have permission. Then I make her call it what it is. I ask her, "What do you call it, when someone takes something that doesn't belong to them without permission?" She tells me that it is called stealing. We proceed from there to discuss or discipline her for her actions. 

You may be asking yourself, "What's the point?" Well my friends, I have found that so often the things I struggle with are very similar to my daughter. 

In our society today, we try way to hard to be politically correct instead of God correct. Part of being politically correct is the way we change our wording to make things sound less terrible. I think that this is a tool that Satan uses to pour lies and make things seem more acceptable. 

What I am about to say is not to offend anyone. I do not believe that it is my job to judge you or others. I do not bash or hate anyone for what choice they have or choose to make. I also will not act like I think that the choices are not sins and are not wrong in God's sight. I can not expect non-believers to follow, listen to, or do what I say. To assist in what I am going to say I am going to place no opinion or personal experience. I am just going to state what the Bible says and the verses, you can take as you wish from it. 

These are words that our society changes to make seem less harsh. 

Affair:Adultery... Lust is adultery. Matthew 5:28 "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Fetus:Baby... I know that the scientific term is Fetus but that does not mean it is not a baby. 
An abortion is murder- Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart; 
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. 



Hating a person is equal to murder. 1 John 3:15 "Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him."

Little White Lie: Lie... A lie is a lie. If a person is a Christ one and to be like Christ they need to be truthful. John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Exodus 20:16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."

There are so so many more examples of this. We choose certain words to not only hide from punishment but also to compare ourselves to others. Though it may seem difficult and scary, the best way to take the control away from the devil and from the sinful nature of our flesh, would be to be honest and call things as they are. I noticed that it does make a difference at the same time it can be very convicting. James 2:10 states, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." Therefore, I was an adulterer, a murderer, a  liar, a rebellious child, a thief, I have made idols. Who am I to judge another? Romans 3:23 " for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." I know that I deserve death, but thankfully I have been given eternal grace through Jesus Christ. I am a new creation. 


How different would our society be if we stated things as they actually were?





Friday, June 29, 2012

Why God, Why?


So many people ask, "If prayer is supposed to be so good then why are there people who have been raped, why are there kids who have been molested, why do people die, why does "God" allow children to get terminally ill and die, etc? " 

I remember wondering the same thing many years ago. It is a very tough thing to watch a child in pain from an illness or from another persons actions. 

I wanted to respond from my personal beliefs as a Christian. I am not expecting anyone else to agree with what I say but I am just giving my stand point and my beliefs. 

To the first part of the question, the part about rape and molestation, God gives us free will. The same free will that allows one person to choose whether or not to even believe in God is the same free will that allows a person to choose whether or not to sin. We can't expect God to give free will for things we want and not for others. There are still laws in place to correct things and God will lash out His wrath on those who did terrible thing, who seemed to get away with no concequences.

To the second part of the question, the part about death and illness. I believe that since the "fall of man", for nonbelievers this is when Adam and Eve first sinned and were seperated from God, our bodies and spirits are dying from the first breath we take.. sadly sometimes even before. This was a recourse for an action to choose to sin. Jesus came to the earth to bring eternal life. Our bodies will still continue to die until His return but our spirits will not continue to be seperated from God. The Bible refers this to the decaying.

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

2 Corinthians 4:16 "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day."

Romans 8:20-27 "For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."