I love soundtracks. And in that vein today’s Musical Monday song is on the Soundtrack for Breaking Dawn Part One, where Bella and Edward get married, it’s A Thousand Years by Christina Perri.
I love this song. It makes my hopeful romantic tell my inner 7 year old to put on her princess gown and be ready. Because someday her prince will come. It’s that kind of a Monday people. Brace yourself.
Inner 7 year old’s Musical Monday Pick is Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty
As a teen and young adult I got really tired of the church telling me to do something with the “because I said so” and the “be good” reasoning. I still battle that desire to live inside the rule box.
I’m going to rant now- How about telling me the whole truth? The truth is that God actually set up marriage as a covering and a protection for women. Instead of trying to scare me with STDs and pregnancy! How about teaching me who I am in God? How about making me confident to know that I am worth marrying? How about telling me that any guy who would sleep with me outside of that covenant doesn’t actually respect me at all, no matter what he says? How about teaching guys HOW to respect women? How about teaching them how to be real men instead of guys, punks and dudes? How about teaching them who they are in God too?
Rant over. Rational blog to follow in 3, 2, 1….
There is a rampant identity crisis in this world. I’m not the only one who struggled with identity. And honestly, I don’t blame my parents or the churches I went to for my lack of identity. It’s not their fault, because they did not know what they were doing. They did their best with what they had and they loved me the best way they knew how. I had some very wonderful people in my world, truly. And I’m grateful.
But the fact remains that the world at large lies to kids. They do one of three things: The world scares the crap out of them and scars them for life, traps them in a ruled filled box, or tells them to do whatever they want. Not one of those things are actually Biblical, my friends!
Moses spent a lot of time telling the Children of Israel the importance of passing on what they learned about God and from God to their children. But they didn’t do it. So after Joshua died, the children of Israel went through a crazy cycle (Read Judges) of doing whatever they wanted, then crying out to God. God would send a deliverer, and then they’d stick with God for a generation. Then they’d start the cycle all over again.
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Training up doesn’t must mean to tell them do this and don’t do that! It means we need to show them how to make good decisions and why it matters. Most importantly though, we NEED to know who we are in God and we NEED to teach the next generation who they are in God. It is ESSENTIAL that they know because how you see yourself colors every decision you make (and the ones we don’t). Your identity feeds your perspective.
Before I really understood how much God adored me, I was willing to take what I could get. I coasted along living on crumbs. I don’t do that anymore, because I am the daughter of the Most High God. He has a good plan for me and I expect Him to do good things for me. I expect that when I screw up that He will it around for my good. Because that’s who He is and what He does! He’s a good God who restores and reconciles and regenerates and resurrects! And He is absolutely in love with us! With me! With you!
Here’s an intro to your identity in Christ:
Ladies, you are the representation of the beauty of God. You are the daughter of the most high. Zephaniah 3 says that God sings over you with joy. On the cross, you were the joy set before Jesus that made all that suffering WORTH IT! You are adored! So don’t settle for anything less than full respect and love.
Gentlemen, you are the representation of the warrior side of God. Sorry to tell you but having sex does not make you a man. Sorry. But it doesn’t. What makes you a man is you being responsible and respectful. Genesis 1 tells you that you are made in the image and likeness of God. You were created first to be a leader, a guardian and protector. It also means you have the power to create and sow good things! That’s who you were made to be. Don’t settle for being an immature boy or a guy who plays around, be a man.
Deep Thought Thursday: God’s not looking for a show.
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.” -Jesus (as quoted in Matthew 6:1, Message Version)
So if God doesn’t want us to “play righteous” or to “be good”? What does He want from us?
He doesn’t want anything FROM us, He wants US. He wants the real us. The REAL YOU. The REAL ME. No one can have an authentic relationship with someone who is fake and pretending, including the Almighty God.
I remember the first time I really got real with God. I was in a class called Healing for Women.* We were supposed to come to class and journal every week. And I’d been faking it the whole time. Meaning I was showing up, participating in class, and doing the journaling BUT…I wasn’t really being real. I was telling people what I thought I was supposed to say. Speaking Christian-ese. Then one Saturday night I got real. I filled pages and pages in the notebook I was journaling in. It was ugly and it hurt like all get out, but I was real for the first time. Then I read it and sobbed. One of the things I realized was that I was livid at God. And I just “knew” that being angry with God was a sin and I was going straight to hell. That being said I still went to church the next morning (maybe my church attendance would help me with the hell problem). During our hug and handshake time, I had a full-fledged breakdown. I went to the bathroom to finish my breakdown out of the presence of my pastors, friends, and church family. No one needs to see that.
On my way to hide out, I literally ran right into my friend Michelle because I couldn’t see through the tears. Here’s the gist of our conversation:
“Jilly, are you alright?”
“No. I’m going to hell.”
Looking confused. “Um, why do you think you’re going to hell?”
“Because I’m angry with God.”
“You don’t think God knows you are angry with Him?”
Me looking confused. “Um?”
“Jilly, He knows. But now that YOU know, He can deal with it. Just admit it and apologize to Him and move on.”
“I can do that?”
Nodding head. “Definitely.”
Now I “knew” that God knew everything. Hello, He’s God. Duh. But it never crossed my mind that despite the fact that He knew I was angry with Him and falsely accusing Him of causing every bad thing in my life- He loved me unconditionally anyway. Who is this God who loves whacked out broken people who blame Him for all the bad stuff, take credit for the good He does, and generally disregard His Word? He must be crazy, that God.
But something happened right then. Something changed in me. I got hungry. For the first time I wanted to get to know this “crazy” God. I knew of Him, but I didn’t know Him. It’s like Job at the end of the story having his eyes opened, and seeing God clearly for the first time. The God I thought He was would have smited me outright. But this God knew my mess and still loved me. Wow. I was wrong. I misjudged Him completely.
My being real with myself led me to be real with God. Being real with Him, led me to seeking Him, to really know and have a relationship with Him. I began to seek Him. And when I sought Him, I found Him.
I found Him to be trustworthy, faithful, loving, kind, and welcoming. He’d always been that way. He’d always been right there, as close as the air I breathe. Even though I turned my back on Him, He never left me. He never gave up on me. His arms were always open to me, I just didn’t know. That’s who God really is. The real Yahweh. He cannot lie. He cannot be anything other than who He is. And that is what He wants from you. To be straight up real with Him.
He wanted a real relationship with Adam and Eve too, but they chose knowledge over Him. He wanted it from the Children of Israel too, but they chose religion and the law over Him. This is what God had to say about their choice of the law over being real with Him:
“I hate all your show and pretense—
the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.
I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings.
Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
an endless river of righteous living.” Amos 5:21-24
God does not want another performance or a faux show from you. He wants you to be raw and real with Him. He doesn’t want you to pretend to be good or act happy. He wants to give you real joy and real peace. He wants you to come to Him broken and honest, so He can heal and help you. He can heal any broken place that you open up and give Him. He can restore anyone and anything that comes to Him. Nothing is too difficult for Him.
But He can only work within the confines of our choices. So if you choose to wall yourself in and pretend that you are fine, He’ll honor that choice. It’s not what He wants, but He’ll respect your choice.
While I chose to keep myself shut up and not let Him in, He respected that. He never left me, but He didn’t interfere either. He never forced His way in. But when I opened up a smidge, and let Him in a little. He healed the area that I let Him in. Then I let Him in a little more and a little more. Each time I invited Him in, He brought healing and peace with Him. He’ll do the same for you.
Choose to be real with Him. David was real with God. And God called David a man after his own heart. Did you hear me? God called the man who got another man’s wife pregnant (AND was responsible for that same man’s death) a man after His own heart. Why? Because of their relationship. He saw through David’s behavior to his heart. He knew David, the real David, because David never held anything back from God. Good, bad, ugly. He gave it all to the Lord. Don’t believe me, read Psalm 51 where He lays the Bathsheba debacle before the Lord. That Psalm shows a real relationship with God.
To be real or not to be real. Choice is yours.
*If you are a woman living in SE Michigan and want to take Healing for Women, go to this link for information. This session is closed but the next one starts 11/25/13. It will change your life.
My coworker and I were talking about Halley’s Comet. It was last visible in March of 1986, when I was 10 & 11/12ths. He glared at me, because he’s like a decade older, then said something about Mark Twain being born and dying the same years as Halley’s Comet. I thought that was odd so I looked it up. Turns out it is true!
Here’s what Wikipedia had to say: Mark Twain was born on 30 November 1835, exactly two weeks after the Halley’s Comet. In his autobiography, published in 1909, he said, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.’” Twain died on 21 April 1910, the day following Halley’s Comet.
Feel free to tuck this little random nugget away for conversation lulls.
PS: If you are wondering, Halley’s Comet will visible again on 28 July 2061. Mark your calendars!
Today’s Deep Thought: When your hope is based on God’s promises, you can be assured that you will not be disappointed because not a single one of God’s promises will fail!
The last thing Joshua said to the Israelites was, “Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the LORD your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!” Joshua 23:14 NLT
Hebrews tells us: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 NLT
Paul said: “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5
Hope=A joyful and confident expectation of good.
Faith=Being convinced (absolutely persuaded) that God is who He says He is and, therefore, will do what He says He will do. Also known as trust, belief.
Even if you don’t see how God is going to do it, God sees the beginning and the end.
Even if you can’t wrap your mind around it or begin to understand it, God knows all things.
Even if you have no money, God is your provision.
Even if you’ve been waiting sooooo long, don’t give up. Those who persevere receive what they were promised.
Even if it looks impossible, God still does miracles every day. He has limitless resources. LIMITLESS! And He’s got more planned for you than you can possibly imagine. Imagine that!
Even if you are the least likely, ESPECIALLY if you are the least likely candidate, God loves using those people! (David for instance. Or Mary. Or Galilean fishermen and tax collectors working for the Romans. The list goes on and on).
When God promises something, He delivers. So, stand on His word! Speak the scripture out loud! Remind God of His promises.
Faith praises God NOW for things that have been promised but have not yet arrived. We praise NOW because we know that God ALWAYS keeps His Word. Always.