Light and Reignite

Light and Reignite

Recently, I purchased a small “BLISS” box from Bookishsugarscrubs, on Etsy (don’t worry, mother, I used a coupon code.). There were four 2oz sugar scrubs, a pin, a watercolor card (?) and a very small candle.

The little candle had a fairly pleasing aroma, so I lit it right away, setting it on my desk. The first light was easiest, and the flame glowed brightly and strongly. However, after each re-light, it kept getting harder and harder for the tiny candle to stay lit. Even now, as I type, it is just barely above smoldering.

Then I wondered, what if that’s a parable for my own faith?

(And here you thought you’d gotten rid of those posts…. Heheheeee…)

When we first become Saved, that Light inside of our souls burns strongest and most brilliantly. However, if we don’t keep going back to the very Source of our Salvation, both in Word and in prayer, we will not stay “lit” for long, and, in some instances, that light may even, unfortunately, be extinguished.

Similarly, to burn, a candle must continually remain dependent on its own flame source, a lighter, or a box of matches. Even then, things can go wrong: The wick can be too long or too short for it to light properly, the wax too low, the ceiling fan blowing around too much, etc.

Our faith is like that, too. After reigniting and replenishing our faith by praying, reading the Word, or going on a Bible retreat/going to Church camp, we come back ready at bat… But harsh circumstances can just as easily come our way, making it easy to doubt, easy for that flame to die down or even out again. Maybe your best friend decided to become a Buddhist. Maybe your grandparent passed away. Maybe you were in an area where violent riots struck, or a massive natural disaster occurred, causing you to ask, “Why?” Maybe you’re at school or your workplace, and politically correct people badger you so much about how “intolerant” your beliefs are, until YOU start to question them, yourself.

My own faith has been like that, as of late. I can all too easily grow “lazy” in doing everything else, putting off devos and spending quality one-on-one time with my Abba til bedtime, when I’m already nodding off. Is this truly the worshipful attitude and mindset we ought to show Him Who gave His own Life for ours? I think not. (What can I say…? God tends to feed me little sermons in life when I need them the most…)

But whatever you do, hang tight. Go to Church, pray, get deep in the Word, to grow and make the flame inside you all the bigger and brighter. Keep going back to the Source of your fire, rather than sitting around doing nothing, and slowly letting it go out.

“Give me oil in my lamp, keep it burning, burning, burning, give me oil in my lamp, I pray/ Give me oil in my lamp, keep it burning, burning, burning, keep it burning til the break of day./ Oh sing, Hosanna, sing, Hosanna, sing, Hosanna to the King of kings! /Sing, Hosanna, sing, Hosanna, sing, Hosanna to the King!”

____________________________

Image Credit:

https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-3121816-stock-footage-olive-oil-clay-ancient-lantern-lamp-low-flame.html

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Jesus Loves… Me?

Jesus Loves… Me?

Broken

Beyond repair

Shattered

Without a care–

E

m

o

t

i

o

n

a

l

l

y

Volatile

And selfish; who

Or what

Could ever love

A beast?

*****

Jesus loves me;

This I know,

For His Abba’s

Holy Word

Tells me so,

Through His Son’s

Sacrifice

I remain

Strong,

And to Him,

Him only–

I do belong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

 

__________________________

Image Credit:

https://art-soulworks.com/pages/jesus-pictures

God Heal America

God Heal America

God, heal America

Land that I love,

Stand beside her,

Guide her,

So that she may no

Longer sin,

Fight the temptation

Within

And then finally

Finish

The work our Founders

Hath started

To begin.

Be her light from above,

Cherish her with

Your everlasting, perfect

Love

But, do not

Bless her;

Instead, heal her

Light her ways and err

On the side

Of caution, and

Cleanse all

Unrighteousness

From her wounds; open

Her eyes

That she might yet

See Your Face

Staring lovingly into

Hers.

 

Christ awaits the American part

Of His Holy Bride

To have a change of heart

Deep,

Deep

Down inside.

 

Amen.

Amen.

 

___________________________________

Image Credit: http://religionnews.com/2015/07/07/flying-christian-flag-above-u-s-flag-isnt-a-federal-crime/

 

No Matter How Small… or Big

No Matter How Small… or Big

Ever watched or read, Horton Hears a Who!  ?

For those who might not necessarily have grown up with Dr.Seuss, or not seen the movie, it’s about an elephant named Horton (but of course), who, with his spectacular hearing, detects the faintest cry of someone very, very small on a tiny speck, which he rescues on a flower, and tries to get to a safe location before the small people and their world is destroyed.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the message of the story carried more than just your average pro-life meaning to it. No, this was much, much bigger:

This was about God, Himself.

Think about it. We go about our daily Christian lives, talking about God, and praying to Him, but we are surrounded by people who often doubt He’s even there. So when we pray, for instance, some may think we look like we’re only talking to ourselves, or worse, like Horton and his “speck,” that we’re crazy and basically just talking aloud to thin air.

But God doesn’t call us to doubt; he calls us to have faith in Him, to have faith in a plan that’s so much bigger than we are. As Horton says in the movie, what if WE’RE the small ones, and there’s Someone bigger out there? However, even the mayor of Whoville (the tiny people on the Speck) initially doubts Horton’s claims, until he sees proof for himself; even then, if he goes around telling others, he risks looking like a fool, because everyone’s already wrapped up in their pleasant, self-serving, complacent little lives, and it’s too much to ask them to believe the truth. Believing in the truth, the EXTRAORDINARY truth, removes their comfort, their security blanket, if you will. Beginning to sound familiar?

Things get even more intense when Horton is captured by an angry horde of animals, lead by the snooty kangaroo villain, who basically rules the jungle of Noo. The kangaroo gives Horton his options: He can either deny that there are such a thing as little people, and everything goes back to normal, or face the music– with both him and the speck with tiny people on it both getting demolished. Now, I know what some of you might be thinking, “Heck, easy choice; I’d deny it, but wouldn’t really admit that I still believe it, and that way they’ll leave me alone so I can get the speck and its inhabitants up to Mount Nool, so everyone’s happy.” And yet, Horton chooses not to. He chooses, instead, to stand his ground, and risk everything. But why?

If we look at this biblically, I would say it could be very well compared with being persecuted for our faith as believers. Often, though not always, the persecutors will demand of the persecutees that we deny our faith, openly, in front of them– deny Jesus, deny God’s real, deny everything that is truth at its core.

John, one of Jesus’s dearest disciples and friends, writes to us in 1 John 2: 21-24 (NIV): “I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist– denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. As for you, see what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.”

Ouch.

Suddenly, things get a little more serious. Still life and death, but in a more serious fashion. Even if we denied outwardly, but believed inwardly, we would leave the situation perhaps physically unharmed, but deeply spiritually maimed, mentally tainted, and emotionally scarred– with the knowledge that we outright denied not only the One Who very generously saved us from our ucky sins, but also our very Creator. This is seriously convicting stuff, and even if Horton wasn’t denying his Maker, he’d at least be denying a serious truth outright, which would probably haunt him for the rest of his life (I mean, he IS an elephant, and elephants DO have excellent memories, so it’s not like it’d be easy to forget or anything…).

Even though Horton Hears a Who! is obviously fiction, it proves a very valid point: Truth IS Truth, whether you can physically see it, or not. You can deny it. You can claim that there are many so-called “truths,” based on differing perspectives. But you cannot alter the One Truth, the Real Truth, the Truth that is the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Spirit. You cannot change the fact that Jesus died on the cross (a historically documented FACT), and that His tomb alone, when contrasted with all other religious leaders/founders, was EMPTY, and remains so. You cannot alter the Truth of what God is doing here on Earth, and the fact that we are all characters in a bigger story– FAR bigger than any of us could EVER ask or imagine.

Before I close out, I’ll leave you guys with a final thought (and no, in saying this, I am not referring to cults, terrorists, etc.):

Why, realistically, would anyone be WILLING to die for a LIE?

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 (NIV)

___________________________

Image Credit: https://drafthouse.com/show/kids-camp-dr.-seuss-horton-hears-a-who

 

 

To All The Politically Correct People Out There

To All The Politically Correct People Out There

Author’s Note: I know that this is an extremely sensitive topic, and that I’m a rather blunt and even slightly abrasive kind of person, but please, bear with me. I write this not out of spite, but out of love. Love for my fellow Image Bearers, and a desire to start reflecting Jesus more. So, here goes…

“To All The Politically Correct People Out There,

First, allow me to say that, for those who don’t know me, I’m one of those Christian conservative “nuts” who defend Biblical morality (without swearing, no less) in the comments section, on certain articles, at certain times (though NOT all the time) on Facebook. Yeah, I’m one of “those” people.

But, please… before you diss me out totally, I just want to talk. No arguing, not really. Just talk. Is that OK?

The reason for this being, of course, when you are online you don’t really know KNOW anyone, save for your “friend list” or sometimes “followers list”. You cut into, deeply, people you don’t even know behind a facade of a screen, and it’s so easy to do. So tempting to just forget that each name has a face. A personality. A past, with lots of hidden scars. Some more recent than others. It’s easy and cowardly to hide behind a screen, point fingers of blame and shout angry, irrational, assumptive and possibly highly hypocritical accusations at people who even mildly disagree with you. To pretend those dissenters are just that– troublemaking nobodies who don’t know jack diddly. Well.

I won’t pretend I haven’t been emotionally injured by what politically correct folks have told me, what they’ve called me. That would, indeed, make me a liar, if anything else. Bigot. Ignorant. Cussing. Intolerant. Brainwashed/indoctrinated. More cussing. People who think I’m simply “spiritual” and not “scientific,” and thus be considered childishly naive about things. I’ve heard just about all of it.

I won’t pretend I haven’t been hurt…

…. but, I won’t act like I value those particular opinions of me, either.

Don’t get me wrong, I do care about people who MAKE the opinions. Just not the actual opinions, themselves. To semi-quote an American Girl girl from one of their books, about bullying, “If I cared about your opinion, I would be offended by that.” I’m hurt, yes. Offended, not really. I won’t act like words never hurt, they cut deep. I’ve self-insulted countless times, and speak on a personal level, where that’s concerned (heck, I’ve probably insulted MYSELF more frequently than people have actually insulted me online. Which is really, really saying something…). But when it boils down to it, I need to ask myself…

Why?

Why, is what I also ask you. What I need to know. Is society’s opinion of you, the government’s opinion of you, so highly held in your own mind that you refuse to dissent against it– even a little– to speak out and say a word otherwise? Or even perhaps being afraid to? Is it worth tearing into people’s chests online and ripping out the veins and arteries that lead to their hearts online, one by one? People that could very well be in a similar situation to you, a next door neighbor, a widow, etc? Is it worth destroying possible friendships and relationships over? Is it really worth all that for society to give you the golden sticker of the day, in relating to the public opinions that aren’t even your own? Aren’t you tired of feeling like their robot, their recording device for their propaganda?

So, I’m not here to argue. I’m here to ask ALLLLL of that^, and to show I care. Despite the bickering. Despite the laying into me. Despite drudging up all those hidden insecurities you might not even be aware exist under the surface of my epidermis. I still care. I still pray for you. Even if you’re hurting and angry and want to take it all out on anyone who disagrees. Even if Society and the Gov’t are your “gods” and primary priorities in your life (As well as social media “likes” and followers. There are bigger things in life to worry about. Trust me on that.). I still care, and you cannot ever stop me, about you deeply. I still pray for you. I pray that God opens a light into your life and that He directs your steps away from these false idols, away from sin which corrupts and stains black every single thing it touches. I pray that the love of the Trinitarian God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit, will reach out and impact your life, for the better, forever.

Sincerely,

Your Prayer Warrior and “Intolerant Troublemaker”,

Olivia R. Moore.”

____________________

Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/491736853033161670/

Why I (Respectfully) Disagree with Infant Baptism

Why I (Respectfully) Disagree with Infant Baptism

Since I attend a Reformed Presbyterian founded college, it should come as a surprise to no one that I am surrounded by many RPs and Calvinists, even though I myself and others like me are not. Such an experience has been an enlightenment to me in some ways; I have been challenged and pushed, in a mostly positive theological way. However, I do have a big beef that I cannot dismiss, but it is a beef I will try to respectfully address. Some of you may disagree with me, but that’s perfectly alright. All that I ask is that you simply hear me out on this.

The beef is infant baptism.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand why people practice it. It’s not that the motives or intentions are wrong. And I’m all for child DEDICATION, which, while being SOMEWHAT similar to infant baptism, is really just asking God to bless the child, and asking the parents to dedicate themselves to raising the baby in a godly manner– which, if you really think about it, is all they CAN do, when it boils down to it. The baby, when he/she grows up, have to decide for themselves if they want to follow Jesus or not. And baptism in and of ITSELF is a GREAT thing, an open profession of faith. But infant baptism, I earnestly feel, just isn’t quite right– and I’m going to explain why that is.

My first point I’m going to make is, part of the reason some Christians probably practice it, is because they want to protect their children’s souls. This is entirely understandable, and relatable. I can easily imagine what it would be like to have the cure for a fatal disease in hand, that could cure your child of such a dreaded illness– only to have the child refuse to take it, much to your chagrin. It would be much easier, some parents must figure, to ensure their child’s safe salvation at the very beginning, when they cannot refuse.

But there’s a problem with that.

Actually, make that two problems.

The first is that being baptized does NOT automatically make you saved. It is a public PROFESSION of faith in Christ, that comes after you are ALREADY born again. I know plenty of believers who are unbaptized, but still saved. Mind, many DO decide to get baptized, but NO ONE can decide for you. Which brings me to the second problem:

Baptism is a PERSONAL choice, between you, the priest/pastor, and God ONLY. The fact that you are showing the world does NOT CHANGE THAT FACT. Having your baptism decided for you WITHOUT your consent is not right. It is a choice someone else CANNOT make for you. In infant baptism, who makes the real decision, the real public profession of faith? The parents and the priest/pastor. But why, then, isn’t it THEIR baptism? It just doesn’t make sense. They “baptize” the infant, believing that alone will help to secure salvation– but it won’t. That is almost as bad as– dare I use this provocative example– a young woman aborting a baby because she was led to believe that the baby wouldn’t want to live with “complications,” and it is for the best.

I know this because I came across such an incident a few years back, while helping as a summer Junior Missionary at Child Evangelism Fellowship, running a 5-Day Club. In one club we had, a young girl (probably no more than 4 or 5 at the time, I’d imagine) had been baptized as an infant, her mom being Catholic. (This is NOTHING against Catholics; one of my dearest friends is Catholic and holds more of my views than traditional ones when it comes to this issue, and I have Catholic relatives, as well. Not all Catholics are sold on infant baptism.) She saw it as leeway to actively misbehave at home, with the mindset of, “I’m already saved, since I was baptized as a baby, so I’m excused if I act up,” not only getting away with sinning and acting up, but her mother contributing this to her. The relative who dropped the girl off confided in us that every time the girl would act up, the mother would excuse the behavior openly, saying, “She’s really a good kid.” This absolutely broke my heart. Baptism should not be used an excuse for sin; it only confuses children later, if they have been baptized as infants.

I myself was baptized twice, once as an infant (when my parents used to be Lutheran), and once as a PERSONAL CHOICE, at age 14. Why twice? Actually, it was only once– I never counted the first as an actual baptism.

The second reason many, especially but not limited to RPs and Calvinists, practice infant baptism is a particular passage of Scripture, in Acts 16:31-34. It tells the after-story of what happens after Paul and Silas, who had been imprisoned for their beliefs (a very admirable thing, BTW), experienced a massive earthquake that essentially freed them. The jailer was so distraught, and knew that his superiors would kill him anyways if they found the jail empty, that he drew his sword to kill himself and spare them the trouble– only to be stopped by Paul, who assured him all the prisoners were still there. Then (this is the part that is tricky to interpret, but what RPs, Calvinists and some others use as evidence for so-called “infant baptism,”), when the jailer asks what must he do to be saved, Paul tells him to believe in Christ, THEN be baptized– him, along with his household.

There are a couple screwy things with some Christians assuming that that automatically means INFANT baptism. Number one being, we have NO conclusive evidence that said guard/jailer had a baby in his household. It simply says, “your household.” It does NOT say, “You, your wife, your children and baby/ies.” There is no implication of WHO was in his household, so how are WE to know? Paul likely knew, or God revealed it to him, but we do not. For all we know, the guard/jailer had a wife, and two middle-aged kids– no babies. We will perhaps never know, until Jesus comes and sets things right again.

The second thing I want to look at with said passage is that it says, “…. he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God– he and his whole household.” (Acts 16:34, NIV.) This passage clearly reveals to us that not only the jailer but the HOUSEHOLD believed in Paul’s message of Salvation in Christ. However, this is where I must make a pivotal but astonishing point.

Babies cannot believe. They are fully human, don’t get me wrong there, but they have not matured enough in their knowledge and understanding to have believed for THEMSELVES; this may be yet another reason why parents baptize their babies for them. Children can believe, this I have both seen and hear happen on numerous occasions– but babies cannot. It does NOT mean that they can’t be saved in the near future, and that if they die in infancy they are going to you-know-where. I believe that God makes exceptions for certain circumstances, such as the latter. But babies do not have the mental comprehension to understand the significance of why some things are wrong and others right, and WHY they need a Savior in their lives; not at a point in time when they are simply learning to walk, talk, and recognize people they love. This passage clearly states that the “[jailer’s] whole household” believed, and THEN were baptized, so it may be fairly safe to say that there were likely no babies present in said household– thus ripping apart that part of the opposing party’s argument.

Overall and in conclusion, I tend to be very wary of things like infant baptism, for reasons such as I have listed. I do believe, however, that baptism and the IDEA of baptism is a beautiful thing. It is, in essence, representing openly saying that you are unashamed of the Gospel, unashamed of Christ, believe in Him and gladly follow Him. But it should be your own choice, since God gave you free will to choose– just like He gave you free will to choose between Him and the world. And no one can decide that for you, no matter how hard they may try. Remember that, even if you are born into a Christian family, this does not automatically make you Christian. Just a couple years ago, I’ve heard of a young teenaged woman in my own congregation back home, who came from a well-respected Christian family, recently accepted Christ into her OWN life– and became baptized as a PERSONAL profession of HER faith, no one else’s.

So think about it. But don’t just take my word for it– God made you with a mind, and free will, of your very own.

___________________

Image Credit: https://jimsomerville.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/i-just-cant-accept-infant-baptism/

 

 

Empathy

Empathy

I know You

Have come.

 

What was it like?

 

How was it You

Sacrificed

Your Glory

and Dignity

To be like one

Of Your own?

 

What was it like

To see Your own

Up close, to

See things

Almost as they do?

To laugh, to cry,

To celebrate

And further sympathize?

 

Your own did not

Receive You as

You had come;

In fact, they tried

To kill You

The moment You were born.

 

What sick logic is this?

 

You made us, love us, adore

Us, hold us;

And yet,

We reciprocate only

With threats, taunts

Cruelty, and hate.

We shake our fists

At You

Even as You

Lovingly,

Patiently respond

And offer warm refuge

Within Your caring arms.

 

Is this how it ought to be?

 

Oh, yet You were willing

To demonstrate

The power of love

and have us

Contemplate

The true meaning

Of Your Priceless Gift.

Love.

Understanding.

Joy.

Peace.

 

You shook the earth at the end,

Rattled senseless;

Old, fallen sense

Dying away–

New sense in

Its place.

 

But in the beginning, in now

And forever more,

Your Kingdom Has Finally Come. 

 

______________________

Image Credit: http://jabrikloveschubby.blogspot.com/2013/12/in-potter-hands.html