Who never experienced “busy”? Does this sound like you: Agenda is full, head is full, the to-do lists had babies (or, the list is so massive it never makes it out of the mind), and when someone asks “How’s it going?” your go-to is, “Ok, fine, busy. You know.”
Crap, another friend shared about getting kicked out of church. Arrgh. It’s painful, but sadly not rare– I have my own stories…
People can have different ideas, or giftings that don’t fit traditional parameters (e.g. gender/marital/parental status, etc.), and misunderstandings can be easy. But should talents or abilities cease the moment someone enters a church? Can we, especially those in church leadership, listen to someone if they aren’t preaching from the pulpit?
God has used a whale, worm, donkey and various plants to communicate throughout the Bible. How much more a fellow human? Click to Tweet
Christmas is a time to enjoy cozy lights, sweet treats, and Dutch gezelligheid – a wonderful word without pure translation, but roughly: nice/comfy/friendly/cozy- ness.
Some think of “baby Jesus,” or making everything just right, and still others wish to fast forward through the season. Holidays can be painful for some so I want to share a verse I’ve never heard at Christmastime which may give hope, especially to any who’ve ever been oppressed. Or maybe it gives more perspective beyond the baby in a manger.
Disney’s Brave touched my heart like Frozen, but deeper. In Frozen we glimpse sacrificial love and our divine identity, but Brave touches something deeper: the reality of our love-hate relationship with God.
Merida, a fiery and fun-loving princess who wants to live on her own terms (who doens’t?) runs up against traditions that oppress her spirit. Her mother tries to prepare her for all the ways and responsibilities of a princess, including arranged marriage, but the pair are losing their minds and each other.
Why doesn’t Lightning come down straight? It’s ferocious and 5x hotter than the surface of the sun, so shouldn’t it just, literally, charge down?
I never gave lightning much thought until I heard a Capital Kings track, Forever. One lyric line, “I feel Your Lightning in my veins,” touched something in my heart and I was inspired to find lightning wallpaper for my phone. As I admired it, I realized how much lightening looks like our veins…
How can music banish a bad mood and transport us to a place where problems, cares, fear, sometimes even pain (and certainly time) don’t exist? For a moment there’s just that beat, or lyric line, or bass, or …plug in your own thing– it’s magic. I’ll be feeling down but if a song comes on that rocks, something changes–and even babies know the feeling:
Melodies can spark our spirits, balm our hearts, mirror something of our soul, and sometimes floor us. Who needs Ecstasy when some tracks are flat-out orgasmic?
And Music also heals Socially…
Just think: when we rock to the same jam, things like Race, Gender, ‘Status,’ etc., disappear. Love takes shape in a sea of people grooving. Unity, peace, joy, no fear, no shame, No Problem.
Remember Claude Frollo? That gypsy (foreigner)-hating, child-manipulating and emotionally-abusing, lust-possessed, uber-religious Judge from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame? That man prayed. A Lot. Remember him pouring out his heart in the dark song “hell fire–desire”? (Yes, not all kids movies are for kids).
How many Frollo’s, to varying degrees, do you know? How many have we caught glimpse of since the US election?
If this election has done anything for us, it’s certainly put a magnifying glass on the blinding hate that can reside in hearts of those who wear crosses or call themselves Christian.
Maybe that’s why Jesus Himself is getting a new name (Revelation 3:12), and why he was the angriest in a Church, NOT some city square (Matthew 21:12).
Before the US election, I heard many Christian-identifying Americans say: “this is a difficult decision…”
How do we have the bible in every language and version (e.g. NIV, NKJV, ESV, NASB, …), study guides, teen/mom/soldier/woman/early reader styles, Comic Bibles…. and still miss the main message?
I didn’t know I owned so many bibles–granted, I’m a self-proclaimed recovering pharisee so I shouldn’t be surprised, but it wasn’t until a friend visited from a country where being Christian is a crime and her daughter longed for a bible, that I really got thinking.
You’re probably not expecting any love letters from Democrats, but this will come darn close. Sir, you didn’t have my vote but you do have my heart, and I kindly ask to share 3 things with you.
Firstly, you’re a Winner–not because of any item you own or title you possess, but because you Exist. That’s a 10 to the 2,685,000th power odd, and for reference the number of atoms in the visible universe is just ~10 to the 80th power.
Secondly, I’ve seen you say and do things that shame and hurt others, and from my heart I wonder: Who hurt you? What bullies did you face, or who dared lay hands on you? Only you know your story of survival and truly none of us is a stranger to pain, rejection, or simply being misunderstood. But resilience is in our DNA and we find ways to cope–anything from food or drugs, to money or sex, shopping, TV-watching, any thing. And every thing, from our own self-doubts to our possessions or fixes, seeks to enslave us.
The garden of Eden taught some hard and sad lessons, including that we wouldn’t trust God without testing Him first. Parents warn their kids not to touch a hot pan, but don’t they/we ultimately want to know for ourselves?
Bieber had it right:
“I got to learn things, learn them the hard way.
Gotta see what it feels like, no matter what they say..”
(“Ill show you” Justin Bieber, Purpose album)
This post is part of the #GodsOneLines series–breaking hate and/or shame caused by people wielding bible verses. Instead I want to use single bible verses or events to encourage and reveal God’s Heart if possible.
This story starts with Tears– mine as I write, and Heaven’s one fateful day.
It starts with the return of Jews from Babylonian exile. Their repeated offenses, including refusing to set servants free, caught up with them despite divine warnings. Sure, they listened for a time, but soon after changed their minds, re-taking men, women and children into captivity (sounds like the Moses story with Pharaoh, right?)
Imagine with me. You have all the power in the world and want to showcase it. What would you do first? I asked this to a group of kids and their answers ranged from world peace and feeding everyone, to jumping out of a plane with no parachute, or bringing a loved one back from the dead.
How about you? Would you rescue someone? Is there a moment in time you would change?
Jesus, the reported “son of God” faced the same question. He also faced the hatred of God-fearing/revering religious leaders (Pharisees) who considered the “son of God” stuff blasphemy. After all, if you’re the son of God, you yourself must be “God” and thus all powerful (amongst other things). (And now we can all call ourselves sons and daughters of God..).
Whether you’re a Christian or a Christian from the “synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 3:9), don’t worry: there’s love here. Sorry to be blunt but with so many “Christians” holding bibles and speaking/doing hate, people need clarity. Luckily Love is the litmus test (1 Cor 13) and “a tree is known by its fruit” (Luke 6:44).
If your fruits are primarily outward like church attendance, wearing crosses, even big Bible knowledge, look out! It’s possible to be crazy about God, the Bible, and still miss His Heart–I’ve been there. Christians can even make God an idol (been there, Ouch).
A picture with caption “true friendship” and heart dog emojis came on my twitter feed. Many replies read “awwww,” but my heart broke when I saw it…
Did people chose to overlook the life status of this pair? Maybe it wasn’t popular to burst the love bubble with, “But they’re homeless!” Whatever it was, only one of the many replies said: ‘I wish I knew where he was so I could help.’