I've been struggling a lot lately. I know...a christian? Struggle? Yeah, seriously. Christians fail just like everyone else. Get over it. Anyway, lately, I've been put in these situations where I give advice. Which is hard for me to do because, frankly, late at night I'm really apathetic and honestly don't care about anyone else's problems. I'd rather sleep. I enjoy sleep. I can't get enough of sleep. And it kinda ticks me off when people call late at night. But I always answer. And always will because its not in me to ignore a late night call...because I know its always going to be someone wanting to talk. That's not to say its ok to call me at 3am wanting to talk about going to lunch tomorrow. That I will get you back for--just giving a fair warning. So, I've been answering these calls and doing the best I can to give advice. Thing is...I suck at giving advice. The words that come out of my mouth when the advice needs to be given sounds so lame and cliche. Never does it sound wise or smart. And then half of the time I dont' say anything at all because I can't think of anything to say besides " can I go to bed now??"This probably doens't sound like much of a struggle, but it kinda is. When someone comes to you and lays all their burdens in front of you...what are you supposed to do? What do they expect? I don't have the answers. It frustrates me. In a way, I'm kinda flattered that they come to me, that they trust me with their problems. This isn't a blog to say stop calling me or anything like that, its a cry out. Not only do I think I suck at giving advice, but after they leave their problems with me, I carry them. I feel them weighing on me like a 100 lbs. suit. Different I know. But for some reason, it seems, when I carry the problem for the person, they are always so much happier. And that's the main goal right? Have others happy. Let them go on with life and live it to the fullest? I guess I'd rather carry the burden than have them do it. I'm not complaining persay about it...its just that sometimes I wish I had someone there to talk to too. That I had someone to share the burden with and sometimes, I want to not give advice. Sometimes, I want to not carry everyone else's burdens and live my life burden free and go on all happy and frolicky like everyone else. That's my big struggle right now. One of them at least. My phone is ringing. I better pick it up...
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
So since I got so much input from people about what to read next (cough-slackers-cough) I decided to go with 1 Timothy. Mostly because its short and I knew I could get it done in a couple days, but also because I remembered my pastor saying how he was reading in it. So I was like, hm, maybe I should do a sort study on it to. So here it is. All six glorious chapters of 1 Timothy in the way that I understood them. Scary I know...
The law was put in place for those who go against it to protect those who abide by it. Also to show that man isn't perfect and is fallible. Don't listen to those people who want to debate endlessly on religion! It isn't worth it! Instead, love them patiently!
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" 15 b
God forgives everyone who comes to him. Even those who have terrible sins like Paul. He takes away their sins and then blesses them with purpose and grace.
Keep your conscience clear so that you won't go deliberately against God.
"Pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity." 1-2
Men should worship free from their anger and controversies. Giving their all to worship. Women should be dressed modestly and not attract attention to their selves. Women shouldn't teach men but should remain quiet.
"The woman will be saved through child bearing assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty." 15
Does this verse mean that woman was saved through bearing Christ?
How to be an elder/deacon 101
The church of God was built on faith. And the great mystery of it all is how Christ came down and died for us.
Marks vegetarians as heathens! Or at least in my mind it does. Everything foodwise was given to us by God to eat. It is made right with God's word and prayer.
"Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and other old wives' tales. Instead train yourselfs to be godly." 7
Be a good example to those that look at you.
" Throw yourselves into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress."15b
"Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you." 16
Widows- care of, who should be cared for by the church and who should have family to take care of them.
"In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will some day come to light."25
Even if you don't get a thank you now or if no one takes notice, don't get discouraged. One day you'll get the biggest thank you ever, and it will show how worth it it all was.
"For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows."10
"Fight the good fight for the true faith."12a
thought by Just Becca at 11:31 PM
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I finished reading Hebrews the other day, here are the notes I took while reading it. Feel free to comment on them. Remember that this was read in the NLT translation...and that my notes look more impressive on paper than typed...
Melchizedk was the highest high priest. Abraham tithed to him and he wasn't even apart of the Levi tribe. He had no record of a mother, father or ancestors. Levi could have achieved perfection like God wanted if they were allowed to, so why did God establish a different priest hood?
Jesus is like Melchizedk because he was the life that cannot be destroyed. Because of this the old law is set aside because it is weak and useless. "For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God." 19
God made an oath making Jesus priest forever. And since he lives forever, his priesthood will never end. His is the priest we need because he can interceed for all people. The old law gave us priests who were limited by their fallible nature. But God appointed Jesus as the high priest, and he is infallible which makes his preisthood perfect.
Jesus is the high priest of a tablernacle that is in heaven. The one on earth was built like the heavenly one. But it and the coventant it came with is faulty. Because it is faulty, God made a new covanant with all people. He wrote his law on every heart so everyone from the least to the greatest knows him. When God speaks about the new covenant it means the old one is null and void.
In the old days, the sacrifices the priests made for the people didn't clean the consciences of the people who needed the cleaning. Jesus' blood is te only sacrifice that covers and takes away all sins and the things that go with them.
"For without the sheding of blood there is no forgiveness" 22b
Jesus died once for all for every single person so they can be pure and saved.
God never wanted animal sacrifices but took those until he could bring the perfect sacrifice into the world. When Jesus gave himself, no more ritual sacrifices needed to be made because all te believer's sins were forgiven.
"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not negelect out meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that they day of his return is drawing near!" 24-25
Don't turn away from God! Endure through the bad stuff because one day all the suffering will go away and you'll be rewarded.
"Faith is te confidence that what we hope for will actually happen, it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." 1
"And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerly seek him." 6
Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Jacob, Joesph, Moses's parents, Moses, Isrealites, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, all the propehts--all had faith in God.
Every person in the Bible that lived with faith is great. They blindly followed God, no matter what the cost and because of that, they will be rewarded greatly.
If God doens't discipling you it means you are not really his child.
How does he discipline? No way is clearly stated.
Don't give up! Keep pushing thought because everything will turn out ok.
Work at being kind to others and living in peace because that's what God wants. Don't forget how Esau traded his birthright for a single meal. Remember you are a child of God and can go before him without fear. Listen to what he says and obey.
Remember to be hospitable, visit people in prison and those who are mistreated.
"Remeber your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives and follow the example of their faith." 7
Remember Jesus freed you from laws and regulations of spiritual life. Don't fall into the rules trap.
Don't over burden your spiritual leaders. Help make their work wasy so they can find joy in what they do.
thought by Just Becca at 11:25 PM
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I read a book today on the way to Greenbrier mall. Its called Venti Jesus or something close to that. It was about three kids at a Starbucks who stumbled onto religion and then debates ensued and it was just awesome. The way that the story was told was amazing. I could see myself sitting there at a table near those characters listening to what was being said and being moved by it all. If you don't know this book--I encourage you to check it out. Its pretty short. I read it in two hours, and that's with haveing to stop every so often to give directions or take part in a converstion. Its one of those "must reads".
Currently, when I'm not dabbling in other books, I'm reading "Blue like Jazz". I started reading it because of all the hype about it. Honestly, the first two chapters did nothing to impress me. Now that I'm further into it, its starting to get pretty interesting. I'm enjoying it a bit more than what I had first thought I would. Its neat. Don't know how it'll end yet though, so the final verdict on if its liked is still up in the air.
Since we're on the topic of books...I like "Bucknaked Faith" too. I think people who are grounded in their faith should give it a read at least once. Its a neat little book and gives a new twist on a few things. It made me really want to get a bonsai for a while.
"Epic" is also a good book. The title is really longer than that but I can't remember it all. It tells one about the epicness of the story behind us and gives us a push towards being more epic and the story. I liked it. I gave it to a clsoe friend of mine to read...which reminds me I need to ask if its been read yet...
Other than those few and Vince's book (I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy t-shirt(which you should get cause it rocks!)), I don't read many "Christian" books. I do have a list on my amazon of books that I want to get and read. If you would like that list...let me know hahaha.
Still working through Hebrews! I'll have the rest of the chapters up to. Any ideas on the next book?
thought by Just Becca at 11:57 PM
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The discussion tonight at Gel group got me thinking...as Christians we are called to love others and be humble and graceful. Which most of us are to nonbelievers. But what about when we get to other Christians? Aren't we just a little less forgiving and humble? Now, I have a little bit of experience with this, being at Jesus School/Bible College/whatever you want to call it. When a Christian "wrongs" another Christian, things get just a little ridiculous. Jealousy is held onto longer, judgments are made, gossip is passed...all the things we shouldn't do if we really loved each other as brothers and sisters (unless you come from my family...but that's a different story). It always bothered me how the Baptists make fun of the Pentecostals who talk about the Catholics who jeer at the Methodists who can't stand the Independents. If we're Christians, what does denomination matter? If you follow Jesus and love him, then as a Christian, why are you not following his command and loving your crazy Pentecostal neighbor? Christians poke and prod at their fellows, annihilating their own, causing rifts in the metaphoric Christian cloth that we are all cut from. We're supposed to be one church, one people. The Bible tells us that a couple times. So why do we have to judge our own and make fun of the person who wants to raise their hands and dance during the music or the one that wears a suit and tie to church? Why can't we get past all the little nuances and reach out to our brethren in love and meekness and become one?
ok. i'm off my soap-box. :)
thought by Just Becca at 11:58 PM
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
So I've been reading through Hebrews, writing down my thoughts and comments as I go. As you can imagine, its slow going. Reading, writing, re-reading. I'm also reading it in the New Living Translation, which is very different for me because I generally stick to New King James. I love the poetic lines of the NKJV, but NLT gives a more everyday, blunt view. Anyway, my notes are random, and in order to understand you might have to look up the passages ( biblegateway.com would be awesome for that, just make sure its in NLT version).
Reafferms that Jesus is God and is the one to redeem all people. Shows how Jesus is higher than the angles and is in a more prominate position at the right hand of God.
14- " Therefore, angels are only servants--spirits sent to care for people who will inheret salvation."
Does that mean angels are on earth now? Are they only watching those who will choose to be saved? How are they serving? Once you believe, do they stop serving?
Listen carefully to the word of God and heed what it says. Every disobediant action is punished in the same way, may it be big or small.
Jesus came lower than the angles because he was born a man but that does not make him spiritually lower. Because he was born flesh, he and all humans are God's children and Jesus isnt' afraid to call us his brothers and sisters.
Jesus did not come to help angels. Angels can help themselves and aren't in need of help. Jesus came to redeem all people, pay the wage of their sins in order to save them. He was tested in everyway,because of that we can be assured that he understand what we go through and relate to our struggles. Because he is God he can help us through our struggles.
Jesus is greater than Moses because Jesus is God's son.Moses was faithful, but even he didn't make it to the promised land because he disobeyed God.
God built a house (aka everything) and put Jesus in charge of it all. If we remain confident in him, we stay in the metophoric house of God.
We must check ourselves daily that we aren't becoming like the Isrealites and hardening our hearts toward God. Having someone there to ask us and check us is worthwhile.
God made a special place of rest for those who believe in him. We won't know this place if we dont believe or if we harden our hearts and turn away from him.
The word of God is a scapel. It cuts us into peices, exposing every bit of our being, so that all is visible. God can see everything. Every hidden desire, every thought, every little thing. We're accountable to him.
Jesus is like a high preist. He's been tested in every area so we can hold onto faith through him. Because he is the high preist, we can walk bodly up to God and ask for mercy and grace so that we can become right in God's eyes.
16b- "There we will recieve his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."
God called Jesus to be a high priest. Jesus offered prayer and sacrifice to God for himself and us. In order to be a high priest you had to know weakness and be chosen by God. Jesus did that and learned to be obediant through all the things that he went through on earth.
We need to grow as believers in Christ and teach others what we know. But first we must know who and what we talk about before teaching. By learning and studying about God we move from 'milk' to 'meat' and can then teach others.
At some point we need to stop repeating the basics of believing and move on to heavier issues. Its hard to win back those who have once believed and then turned away. God doesn't forget how hard we work from him. The more we serve, the closer to God we get.
God cannot lie. He took an oath to his own name because his name is the greatest. If we make an oath, we make it to his name because it is the greatest.But we still shouldn't take oaths because we lie and break our vows.
thought by Just Becca at 2:18 PM
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Therefore, angels are only servants--spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation. Hebrews 1:14
This leaves me with a lot of questions. Even if all the before stuff and all the after stuff was added in, it'd still leave questions. What I perceive it to mean is that angels are around us, serving us up until the point we accept Jesus and are saved. If that's true, how come I've never seen an angel? Why don't you see them around helping people? What about those people that will never get saved? Do they just never get help? Why would they serve till salvation? How do they serve? All these questions and I'm not sure there are many, if any, answers out there.
Beyond the questions-- movie night with the youth group was tonight. There were only two kids there, but it was still cool. We were going to see Madagascar 2, but that theater filled up fast.So we ended up seeing The curious case of Benjamin Button. It was a lot better than what I thought it was going to be. There were a couple sketchy scenes in it and some language, but nothing worse than a normal pg-13. God was referenced a bunch in the movie, which I thought was cool. There was an underlying theme of something greater and no matter what hand you're dealt, you've got to be thankful for what you have and make the best of it. As far as there being only two...yeah that's kinda disappointing, but I'm not going to play the number games anymore. I'm going for quality. So what if only two kids showed. What matters is that we got to hang out, have a good time and all. If there were 30 there would have been no way to connect with each and every kid. I'm thankful that I got to spend time with two really awesome kids. I hope more kids join the group and start coming to the activities we do, but I'm not going to just focus on numbers. I'm going to focus on whether the kids I do have are having their spiritual needs met. Ok-- I'm off my soap box...haha
thought by Just Becca at 1:10 AM
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Psalm 6 (New Living Translation)1 O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your rage.
2 Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 I am sick at heart.
How long, O Lord, until you restore me?
4 Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
Save me because of your unfailing love.
5 For the dead do not remember you.
Who can praise you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from sobbing.
All night I flood my bed with weeping,
drenching it with my tears.
7 My vision is blurred by grief;
my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.
8 Go away, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord will answer my prayer.
10 May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
May they suddenly turn back in shame.
This was my verse for the longest time and I didn't even know it. I'm sure there are others who can relate. I read it tonight and it just kinda struck me. And then I got a bunch of questions....why so mean to the 'enemies'? Why not ask that God just take all the hurt and pain and make it go away? Why not avoid the whole shame my enemies part? What is the reason that they need to be disgraced and terrified? Personally, the people that I have cried over, I'd never want to hurt. I'd rather break every bone in my body before I ever cause them one ounce of pain. It might just be me though.Even if its not relational like that, I'd still not want to make my enemies scared and disgraced, I'd rather just have the hurt healed and move on. Hmm... thoughts??
thought by Just Becca at 11:03 PM
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
So this may seem incredibly lame or whatnot, but right now, not really caring so much. If you think its lame, don't tell me...but if you think its awesome, hit me up haha
Anyway, I went to Gel group tonight (for those who don't know what gel is...think bible study but cooler). It was pretty flippin sweet. I haven't ever really been to a 'real' gel group before so it was a semi-new experience, but it wasn't really awkward. A few of the people already new me, so it made it less awkward. Beyond that, it was neat. I liked it. I plan on going back :)
The talk tonight was cool too. It was on Matthew 25:31-46. The basic overview of it is serving the least of the people around you. Going out of your comfort zone to help someone that is thirsty, naked, hungry, lonely, sick, etc. And by doing this, you are fulfilling the greatest commandment ever, love your neighbor as yourself. It just kinda hit me that it isn't done enough. Personally, I don't think I do it enough. Cause its hard. Its difficult to walk up to someone who looks lost and help them find their way (specially if your sense of direction sucks like mine). Its hard to go up to someone and ask how you can help them. I mean, really now, how many of us are honestly going to go up to a beggar on the street and say "Hey. Come home and have dinner with me. Take a shower in my bathroom, have some new clothes, get some real food. Come home with me." That would be scary to a lot of us. Especially in this day and age. But isn't that what Jesus wants us to do? Take someone and show them love at the hardest point in their loves? But is it physical hunger, nakedness, thirstiness, sickness, etc that he's talking about in this passage? I don't think so. Sometimes people hunger for things other than food. Sometimes people hunger for contact, for friendship. Maybe sometimes feeding someone is listening to them talk, walking with them, going to a movie or something. Maybe sometimes clothing someone doesn't have to be physical clothes. Sometimes it could be clothing them with love and grace. Showing them that they are loved and giving that metaphoric love blanket to wrap up in. Maybe sometimes giving someone who is thirsty a drink of water could mean sending them a passage or encouraging word. Maybe visiting the sick doesn't mean in a hospital or if they are ill with the flu, maybe their illness is something more of sin and all it takes to serve them is helping them find ways through it. Maybe serving that ill person is doing nothing more than praying for them. I don't think Jesus was only talking about serving the way we generally think of when we read this passage. I believe it goes a little deeper than that. I believe it means serving the unseen illnesses, nakedness, hunger pains, and dehydration. The least of society surrounds us all the time. And sometimes, they aren't always the beggar in the street, sometimes they are the well to do business man in the coffee shop.
thought by Just Becca at 11:51 PM
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Classes started today...along with the massive pile of papers from the classes. It really doesn't look bad so far, but its only three classes right now too. And that doesn't include the independent study class either. But, it'll be manageable. I hope!
Other than classes, this summer looks like its shaping up to be an adventure. But, nothing can be officially said until the ball starts really rolling. That should start late Feb. So all plans will be announced then.
Church is going well. Excited for the move that'll be happening soon!! Cardia was great last night...truly pretty awesome. The message was great, explained why bad things happen in this world. It was neat that it was on a topic that a lot of people just gloss over. Most Christian media out today would have you believe that once you are a Christian, bad things shouldn't happen to you and everything should be awesome all the time. But that isn't reality. Bad things happen cause the world is messed up cause of something that happened a long time ago that directly affected the rest of humanity and all of nature. Instead of saying that it all comes from Satan like most of the media out there, why don't we just own up to it and say that we, humans, are the cause of it and are experiencing the results of a mistake made long ago? Once we own up to it, it shouldn't be too hard to understand why people die, natural disasters happen, poverty exists and bad things happen. Bad things happen cause its messed up here, but at least we've got someone to help us through it all. And because of that, we shouldn't be focused on how bad everything is, we should be focusing on fixing the brokenness and helping others find the one they need to lean on to get through it too.
thought by Just Becca at 2:53 PM