Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some people need to find something better to do

So today I was looking on Youtube for the song "Oh Praise Him" by David Crowder Band, and I clicked one of the first links I came across. Lo and behold, what do I see in the comments but a bunch of people arguing about God and the song itself. People who aren't Christians were invading the comment board and posting comments like (I swear this is a real comment, go look for yourself if Youtube hasn't already removed it): "God does not exist you dumb fucks. Religion is made by authorities for short brain faggots to have control of them. Oh Satan, give me thumbs up!!! Shit song btw, sounds like an elephant is taking crap in the woods..." This comment earned 6 thumbs up by other jerks (5 after I clicked on the little thumbs down). These same jerks went around and gave thumbs down to anyone who posted comments praising God or giving evidence of His existence.

Come on. It's a Christian song. What are you even doing listening to the song anyways if you don't believe in God? Stop badmouthing people who do realize that God exists and maybe you'll look a little less like an ignorant idiot. As Proverbs 17:28 says, "Even a fool seems wise when he keeps his mouth shut."

It's so sad how many people are ignorant of God's wonderful grace and mercy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bits of laughter

So I was reading a magazine I got in the mail today and I ended up reading a few things that were particularly humorous that I figured I might as well share with whoever reads this. After all, everyone could always use a laugh. Laughing is good for you!

"'We are here on Earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know.'" -W.H. Auden

"'I can't understand why people don't think God has a sense of humor, given 1 Samuel 5:9, where the Lord strikes all the Philistines with hemorrhoids.'" -Susan Sparks

"'Read the Bible. It will scare the Hell out of you.'" -Random sign in front of a church

"[Azhar] Usman tells the story of a friend who said he wasn't interested in organized religion: 'So I said, great, become a Muslim; we're the most disorganized people on Earth.'"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oh praise Him!!!

I recently came back from Sandblast 2009, which (if you're reading this and don't know) is pretty much a Christian camp that my church holds every year. There were so many things that happened there that I can only possibly sum up the whole experience in one short sentence: God was there. I could feel Him so clearly and so convincingly, especially during worship. I decided to discipline myself, obey only Him, and sacrifice my self so that I can serve Him with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength. There were so many emotional moments over at that camp, some of which I shared with some of the other girls who were there with me. I know it's going to be difficult for me to let go of some things, but I am slowly giving up my control and letting God take over my life. It's liberating and scary at the same time. I can feel myself becoming more Christ-centered than ever before, and I am so glad that so many of my friends are going through the same thing I am so that I can look to them for support and support them at the same time.

During one of the sessions, we learned that everyone has defining moments in their lives. I can definitely say that I had quite a few at Sandblast. In fact, here is a list of my defining moments. Notice how these all began with my acceptance of Christ:
  1. Feeling the Holy Spirit stir inside me when I accepted Christ late at night while I was doing part of a Bible Study book in my bedroom.
  2. Feeling an overwhelming sense of joy when I was baptized.
  3. Embracing my newfound freedom with a couple of the other girls after the Friday session by crying and laughing at the same time before we ran across the field outside of the auditorium and dancing and spinning and falling beneath the stars.
  4. Crying my heart out when I finally realized the severity of Christ's sacrifice for the first time during the Saturday session and decided to sacrifice my life to God.

I find myself talking to Him and praising Him constantly, even while I am on the ice trying to practice! I was never able to do that before without becoming distracted, but now I find myself embracing Him completely and knowing that with God, anything is possible and nothing is impossible.

At Sandblast, we also learned how to read the Bible using the SOAP method (Scripture, Observations, Application, Prayer). It has definitely improved my concentration while reading the Bible, and God has spoken to me so much while I have used my SOAP journal. I just want to get up and praise Him right now with everything I have!!! He is God of the universe!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Overcoming adversity

I was reading a magazing when I came across an article on a woman named Aimee Mullins. She was born without fibula bones in her legs, so she had her legs amputated below her knees when she was an infant. Some people look on Mullins's condition as a disadvantage; I even saw it as a disadvantage when I first read the article. But by obtaining a few sets of prosthetic legs, Mullins's went on to become a world-record-breaking athlete (she is a runner), an actress, a fashion model, an intelligence analyst at the Pentagon, and a motivational speaker!

Intrigued by her success, I searched a video of one of her speeches online. She was talking about how the doctor who delivered her had told her parents that she would never be able to walk, let alone run like she does. That man found her in a supermarket a couple of decades later and told Mullins how she had proved him a liar over and over for accomplishing so much after he gave that awful prognosis to her parents.

I just found it amazing and inspirational how Mullins was able to overcome so much adversity in her life in order to accomplish the things she wanted to accomplish. This just shows how between your willpower and God's willpower, anything can be done! Everyone's life is full of setbacks, but we can overcome them!

~Mark 10:27--For all things are possible with God~

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Small epiphanies

A while ago, I finished reading a book I got from the library called Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch with mixed feelings. I agreed with some of the answers to certain questions that the book brought up, but I felt extremely uncomfortable and unsure about the answers to other questions. I felt like they did not match up with my beliefs and how I see God. That feeling would not go away for the next couple of weeks or so after I had finished reading all 300 or so pages of the book. That feeling was accompanied by the feeling that I needed to go back through the book again, because I really liked some parts of it and I want to respond to them. So I renewed the book the day before it was due and I spent all of yesterday skimming back over the book and marking certain pages with post-its, all so that I can write about them here, even though there's a good chance that nobody reads this blog and/or nobody will have anything to say about what I have to say. I just feel compelled to write about it now, so here we go. Be prepared for a very long blog post.
  • "These are The Changers. It's just the way they are. It's just who they are. Everything changes the moment they walk into a room. Everything gets lighter, feels different. Suddenly, it's all good. And the world, if only for that moment, becomes a nicer place" (23).
Before this quote, the book was talking about certain people who make real differences on this planet, not necessarily by doing huge things that eventually make their names known, but by moving quietly, largely unseen but affecting the lives of everyone they touch. These Changers change the world not by acting different simply to be different, but by acting different to make a difference. When other people say that it doesn't matter if a small change is made because the rest of the world is still an awful place, Changers say that it truly does matter because individual consciousnesses can change. Making a difference in one person's life can help change the world.

Whoever is reading this right now, I believe that you can be a Changer, if you are not one already. If you are already a Changer, you probably feel a strong compulsion and desire to help as many people as you can, to change the lives of people in your community and across the globe, to leave this world a little better than you found it. If you are already a Changer, know that some people might look at you differenly because you are different. It's a good kind of different, one that changes lives for the better. And I can't express my gratitude and appreciation enough for you and people like you. Never give up your hope and your ideals. If you are not a Changer, I believe that you can easily become one. It's simple: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world" (if I may quote Gandhi). Do you want to see the world become a better place, a nicer place? Be a better and a nicer person. Help out anyone who needs help. Be kind and generous. Even being there for a friend who is down in the dumps makes a huge impact. Anyone can be a Changer if they choose to make an impact.
  • "People believe that there is not enough money, not enough food, not enough clothing or shelter to go around. They believe, in fact, that there is not enough of any of the 'stuff of life' to allow everyone to survive and be happy... All of this is insane, given that there is enough of everything for everyone. But most members of the human race don't know this, and so they compete ruthlessly" (44-45).
All I have to say about this is that it is unbelievably true, and this book puts it quite bluntly. We humans have so much more than we need, yet we think it's not enough. We have so much to give! The book goes on to say that if we all try to give something away to someone who has less than us, we will realize that we have more than we thought and that there's always "more where that came from." If only entire countries realized that we need to share, this world would be able to provide for the homeless and starving.
  • "There is no such thing as 'bland normalcy.' There are only people who settle for that. Everyone is special, everyone is extraordinary, everyone is talented and skilled and has abilities unique to their purpose for coming here" (65).
This pretty much goes along with my last blog post, the one that I also posted on Facebook. If you want some explanation on this quote, then just read my last blog post from two days ago, because I don't want to go too in depth on something that I already pretty much covered.
  • "Love is not measured by how many times you touch each other, but by how many times you reach each other" (114).

  • "Most people think that love is a response... I do not love you for what you do for me. I love you because you are. Simply because you ARE... Does ice cream need to 'earn' your love? Ice cream does nothing to earn your love. It just is. Ice cream is what it is, and you love it. Think of things this way: You are God's dessert" (188).

  • "When you love people because of who you are, you demonstrate that you need nothing from them, that your love is not based on what you can get from them" (189).

How true these quotes are! We don't have to be in a boyfriend-girlfriend sort of relationship with another person in order to love them. We don't have to be family members in order to love each other. We can love each other upon first seeing each other because we just do! We can love each other because we are the kind of person who loves people. We don't need anything in return.

How sad would it be if we just loved people if we expected to be loved in return? That's like me saying that the only reason I love my friends are because they love me. That sounds an awful lot like a bargain: "I'll give you some love if you give me some love!" But I love my friends because they just are! I love them because I do and because they are.

  • "At a papal audience in Rome on July 28, 1999, the Pope declared: 'Eternal damnation is never the initiative of God, it is the self-imposed punishment of those who choose to refuse God's love'" (128).

I just thought that this quote was interesting, especially since the Pope was the one who said it. If you have accepted God's love, you're pretty much set! It's extremely comforting.

  • "The dictionary defines 'prophet' as 'one who utters divinely inspired revelations,' and 'one gifted with more than ordinary spiritual and moral insight.' There are thousands of such people all over the world. You do not have to wait for one to come; you merely have to recognize them when they do. You also have the option...of simply being that yourself" (145).

Me, a prophet? How cool is that! And you can be a prophet too if you so choose! All it takes is the decision to speak the Truth and the choice to see yourself as a prophet. It's kind of strange to think that I could be a prophet, but really cool at the same time.

  • "...there are other measures of success. Such as? Such as doing something that makes your heart sing! Something that you can get 'lost' in for hours. Something that you would do for nothing, without every worrying about how much you're getting paid. It's like, 'Just give me a chance to do that.' My father would say, 'You can't make a living doing that.' Well, you're invited to be one of the courageous ones. Someone who has chosen to make a life, rather than a living...Profit comes in many forms" (161).

  • "Living happily is about being something, doing something, and having something that makes your soul dance and your heart sing and your mind blow" (205).

If you are reading this and you have often wanted to do something just to have someone else criticize you about it, here are my words to you: Do not give up your dreams. Profit truly does come in many forms. I believe I wrote something similar to this in my first entry in December. Being prosperous doesn't always mean having lots of money. Being prosperous can mean being satisfied in the work you do and in your happiness. If you want to be a photographer, don't let anyone hold you back! If you want to serve other people without demanding payment of any sort, then do it! And if you do want to be a lawyer and make money, do it! Do what makes your heart cry out in joy, no matter if your relatives feel like you won't be able to survive on whatever income you would get. You WILL be able to survive. You will find a way, because you will be doing what it is you truly love.

  • "You do not demonstrate your faith by wearing a crucifix, any more than you do so by going to church...every week. You demonstrate your faith by every word that you utter. By every thought that you hold. By everything that you do" (302).

This quote speaks for itself. It doesn't matter what we wear or how many times we go to church. Those are things that we decide for ourselves because they are beneficial for us. They are not measurements of our devotion to God, but things that we decide to do for ourselves because we feel that we would benefit from them. Maybe you wear a crucifix because it brings comfort to you. And that's okay! And maybe you do, in fact, go to church every Sunday because you learn something every week and want to learn more. That's okay too! But that's not how we demonstrate our faith to others.

We demonstrate our faith by speaking it, thinking it, and doing it. It's as simple as that. I am not saying that it's an easy thing to do, merely that it is simple.

If you have actually read the whole thing, I thank you so much for taking your time to read my thoughts. I know that the odds are that nobody has actually read this, which is okay because writing is a sort of therapy for me. But if you have read this (which I'm assuming you have since you're reading this part right here right now...this could lead to an interesting paradox), I would like to know what you think. Post a comment if you have something to add to what I have said or if you have questions or opinions or anything else.

~Acts 17:28--For in Him we live and move and have our being...We are His offspring~