What We Learn About (God’s) Love

What We Learn About (God’s) Love

Before my last semester of classes here at college, I had two open slots to take whatever I wanted, since I only needed three required classes but needed a total of 15 credits to graduate in a timely manner. I was tempted to take another art class, I’ll admit, but I chose to take Women’s Literature with one of my favorite professors (because it will be my last class with her… Getting sentimental here…) and a class I’ve wanted to take for a while, that’s only offered in Spring semester here: A class entirely on the works of C.S.Lewis.

Sounds like fun, huh? Well, it’s not exactly Chronicles of Narnia.

No, this class challenges you to think more deeply about your faith, and about what it means to truly love and be human. If you’ve seen part of my IG story on V Day, you’ll know how it’s impacted me JUST with The Four Loves. God’s been convicting and challenging me so much in this class, and I love it. He’s challenging me to give up some idolatrous things, or at least not make them idols/obsessions any more (as stated in an earlier post– this is one way I KNOW God’s trying to get my attention about SOMETHING, because He will VERY consistently put things in my life that all somehow have the same, very consistent message). He knows those things aren’t healthy for me, especially emotionally, and spiritually; He’s challenging me to beware of making pleasures gods, because, according to Lewis, they can very easily become demonic. O.O God’s also teaching me the different kinds of loves, not just romantic (eros, which, contrary to popular belief, does NOT have a specialty in the physical; it focuses on the loving the BELOVED, not their BODY– HUGE difference) and Agape, but philia (friendship), storge (affection), and charity, along with the differences between Gift-Love, Need-Love, Appreciative-Love (the last is the most selfless; you love someone or something just because, which is the attitude, along with charity, that we SHOULD have towards God and others), along with Need-Pleasures. Some friendships and even relationships, sadly, can be based off of Need-Pleasure; as soon as you no longer get pleasure from it, you toss that person aside– sad, but it can happen. It does happen. Lewis also talks about the power of love in true friendships; authority can actually be TERRIFIED of this love, because, if you think about it, some of the most powerful and influential groups in the world started off as just that– people who cared for each other, who shared common ideals and interests, whether good or bad, bonded together, and often changed the world. I think that it’s fascinating, in that sense. (And, also, yes– in a dangerous one, too. Depending on the group.)

(All this makes me wonder what Lewis would’ve had to say on Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, LOL.)

Lately, I’ve been thinking loving God properly. The book talks about how the Natural Loves can eventually be refined into Divine Gift-Love  and charity by grace; about how God is literally a Heavenly HOST Who creates His OWN parasites (us), because we literally feed off His Love. We need His love, we can’t live without it, but God can’t make us WANT to love Him in return. There’s a reason He didn’t make us robots, with no free will. Even though we can’t use the regular kind of Gift-Love to return His Love, and even the tiniest fraction of the Love He shows us, we CAN give Him the Love of our free will, and freely love Him in return.

This reminds me of… Actually, can I make a confession, first?

Some of you already know this, but I have Asperger’s. Most can’t tell, because I’ve been through therapy after therapy, gone through literally countless sessions and therapists, to try to reprogram my whole danged thought process and seem “normal.” I got fed up with it pretty quickly, namely because A., I didn’t like being treated like an experimental social monkey in a lab while they poked and prodded me to get me to do whatever they wanted (yes, I resisted; I was one of the few brave rebels of my Aspie generation– I have lived to tell the tale), and B., many, though not all, of my therapists simply treated me as part of their job, albeit with sugary sweetness, not as an actual human being who deserves dignity and respect (which I had and still have a major problem with).

Enter my one, and last, TSS, whom for privacy’s sake, I shall call “J.”

“J” was different from most of my therapists. Not having many friends due to public high school, and generally just being an overall social outcast, she and I soon bonded over fandoms, over silliness, over her just, well, treating me as a person. I mean, yeah, we talked about therapy stuff, but we also celebrated her birthday together (with a brownie cake). Invited her just to hang and chill. We could snark together like nobody’s business; she helped bring the sass out in me, the mentor out in me (which would reflect on several friendships with young ladies that I would have in the future). If I was happy about something, she was the first one I would want to tell about it. The FIRST. We did crafts together, went to Harry Potter movies together (after I got her hooked on the series), and I would tease her relentlessly about her stuffed bear that she’d had since her childhood, “Mr. Cuddles.” (The name alone would make me fall into fits of hysterics, given the right time and my mood.) She was more than a bestie or a TSS; she was like my older sister.

Then, tragedy struck.

“J” was faced with a proposition: She could let go, be free, go do whatever job she wanted, aside from being my TSS. In my moody early teens, I was shell-shocked. I thought she’d always want to be friends in, well, our way. But I decided I did not want to tie her down, I did not wish to hinder her. Forcing her to stay, though it was an option, was not friendship, if she did not want the actual job. And so I did the bravest, most selfless thing I could do, even though my inner Aspie was screaming at me to cling tighter than a tree-hugger: I let her go.

What hurt was that it seemed “J” would make no attempt to connect, to contact me, after I did it. It felt all for naught, and I questioned if our friendship had ever been real. Combined with having no friends, losing my beloved dog, Sonny, and transitioning from public school (social outcast) to homeschool (no friends, at the time) caused me to become seriously depressed. Fortunately, that wasn’t the end of my story (although it almost was…); I met several wonderful friends through homeschooling and even Taekwondo who loved me for me, and helped support me. I realized I had been far too dependent on “J,” and that I needed to reach out to other friends, to God, for more support. What was wrong, though, was that at the time I blamed “J” for it all, because I was deeply hurt and struggled to let go; I now understand her doing what she did, to a certain degree. I am now the age she was when we first met (she was 22, I was 12 at the time), and with college I am usually far too busy to contact people, although I wouldn’t put off contacting most people for months at a stretch, usually (I mean, I AM only ONE person…). These past two weeks alone have been just INSANELY busy (as in, I literally cannot get on social media AT ALL, or my academics will severely suffer for it), so I just have to hope and pray that most don’t take it personally, if I don’t contact them for a while. But it does hurt, to be on either side of the fence. Because I know; I know what it’s like to feel ignored like that. Believe me when I say that.

I also think God put that situation in my life because He wanted me to taste a pinch of how HE feels; when we first start off growing close together with Him, and doing our best to get to know Him, things are usually going great. But the farther we drift apart, the more we hurt Him, the more He longs for contact with us, but no, He doesn’t want to force it on us. We have to come back to Him, and love Him freely, lovingly. Just as I gave “J” the freedom of choice to stay or go (or even to stay in contact or not), God gives us the choice whether or not to stay. Whether or not to return His Love, and learn to Love Him properly, as well as learning all about Him in general, and everything He’s done for us.

So, allow me to ask you…

Will you stay? Or will you go?

(No, that was not a song reference.)

_______________________________

Image Cred:

https://goodstock.photos/open-bible-to-psalm-23/

 

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Mimi

When we first got you

You were a ball of

Fluff;

A giant stuffed animal

I could plop on my

Lap;

You loved your polar bear

Toy, tugging and chewing

With great joy…

Gone.

 

You grew and got bigger, and

Some swore

That they’d never, ever seen

A real polar bear

Before

You arrived at our door;

Rebelliously crossing the road, it’s

A miracle you weren’t flattened

Like a toad.

Gone.

Mimi4

Up on Moore Hill, surveying her kingdom

You ran away that one winter,

After a deer,

Or perhaps you stole someone’s fancy,

And they took you from here.

I was but 12,

I cried and cried;

I told Boopy I thought you had died.

Then you came back from the

Amish, praise the Lord;

And immediately began to play

With Boopy;

I guess you were bored.

Gone.

 

Remember when

You’d hunt groundhogs?

They were your prizes and

Delight;

Sometimes, I wonder,

If you stayed into the night

Hunting,

Bringing us your now-inanimate

Toys

Which were burned, lest you

Also use them

For perfume that

You think you earned.

Gone.

Mimi3

Investigating our fire pit up on Moore Hill. She would make a similar motion with groundhog holes, sticking her face inside, and shuffling it around until she found it.

 

You’d prance down to aunt Luella’s to

Kick up a fuss;

Treating their dogs’ turf as yours, making

A big ol’ ruckus.

You upheld the honorary rivalry

That came between the

Predecessors,

Dolly and Sparky.

Gone.

 

If I was sad,

You’d want to know why;

You didn’t understand,

But you could not

Stand

To see me cry.

You’d nuzzle

Me until I caved;

I stroked you until

Every drop of

Affection

I gave

Was yours.

Mimi5

In her usual position, in our front living room. 

 

You’d follow us hither and thither, through

Mountain and valley;

Herding your little “flock,”

Was right up your alley.

You’d always look back, always

Wait,

To ensure we were keeping up with

Your quick-trotting gait.

Through the years your pace slowed,

And you had to keep up

With the ones you once show’d

The right way to go.

And then, suddenly

You could no

Longer go

Through the neighborhood,

To Grandma’s,

Even out in your snow.

Your hips hind’ring,

You struggled to

Rise;

You avoided even

The herd inside.

You wond’red

Where the

Little Herdlings went

If only I could show you

We were

Temporarily sent

To school, not

Forever

Gone.

Mimi1

Last day with Mimi– the Saturday the week before she was euthanized

 

They say there’s a

Place up there

For special animals, who

Were deeply cherish’d

With love and care.

A place where she can trot, and

Not worry about

If her bones rot;

A place where

She and Boopy can bark and play,

Angels joining in, forever and always.

She’ll follow a new Shepherd,

The One Who made her;

The One Who comforts her

Herd that was

Left behind.

 

Loved, yet never truly left.

Gone, but never forgotten.

 

In Loving Memory of Daisy “Mimi” Moore:

Great Prynees, pureblood, received from family friend Dr. Valez, the same doctor we received Boopy from. 

Euthanized Friday, 2nd February 2018 due to lymphoma, starvation (would not eat due to depression and tumors in throat), dehydration, dislocated hip and extreme suffering at approximately 4pm EST. 

Your Herd will always remember and love you deeply. May you find forever happiness with Dolly, Boopy, and Jesus. Rest in peace, and suffer pain no more. Sissy has always loved you, and always will. 

Mimi2

 

Out With The Old

Out With The Old

Hi, guys!! Me-sa back from Yisrael!!! 😊 So much happened; it seemed so surreal, and dreamlike… I seriously did not want to leave (seriously—on impulse, during our second—and very long—flight, I had to fight the impulse to tell the pilot to turn the plane around, and head back toward Tel Aviv!!). I learned a lot, and am now able to connect a lot of the land (i.e., En Gedi, Scythopolis, the “Sea” of Galilee, which is really just a massive lake…) to Biblical stories in my brain-head. Our guide, David, was wonderful—not only super informative and helpful, but considerate, friendly, and unafraid to say it like it was; he is a true Israeli, through and through.

Annnyyyywwwwhhhhoooo….

So, while we were there at our first hotel, an old friend of David’s came to visit us; like David, he too was a Messianic Jew. But he was also a pastor, and gave a powerfully inspiring message to us that night, one that I’ve been wrestling with, TONS, and reflecting on ever since.

You see, like most of us, even believers, he had his passions, his hobbies. Even before he got Saved, for instance, he loved going to the movies. Later on in life, he even became involved in martial arts (which REALLY got my attention!). But, he felt convicted about partaking in these things. Why?

My first thought and objection was going to be that we should be allowed to have harmless but gratifying passions or hobbies that we can enjoy doing from time, so as long as there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. But he brought up one very valid point: God asked him to compare how much time he spent doing his respective hobbies, and how much time the pastor spent with Him. For movies, the guy spent an unhealthy amount of time, like at least a few HOURS a DAY, on a DAILY basis, versus the fifteen minutes he gave God before bed each night.

Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? Buuuutttt… It DOES seem STRIKINGLY familiar…  (*cough* Netflix… *cough*)

Now, as a fangirl, my primary guilty pleasure is my fandoms–my little, well, obsessions. It’s very easy for someone like me to get sucked up into a GOOD fandom, and start fangirling pretty hardcore (depending on what it is, after all). But, I think God’s been nudging me ever since that night, and has given me something of an ultimatum: Either I give them up completely, or like and enjoy BUT don’t idolize them.

Yes. I used the “I” word.

Because, if you really think about it, that’s what an obsession is, isn’t it? An idol. The light of your life, what you think and talk about the most, what you give the most time in your life to, willingly. Now, I am NOT saying school is necessarily an idol (for you fellow students, that should not be an excuse to NOT do your homework!), but I could see how it could become one, with competition for good grades, and constant pressure to do well. But with fandoms, it’s generally a LOT more obvious: Cosplayers, line-quoters (seriously, we should be quoting SCRIPTURE, not MOVIE/BOOK LINES, guys!!!), fantasizing about making out with a fictional boyfriend or girlfriend, you name it. They all sound idolatrous, and in fact I can think of at least TWO Scriptures that go against that last one (which I am equally guilty of committing, mind… And I’m sure you can guess who with…). It’s convicting, to say the least.

 

So what should we do about it?

If you’re anything like me, you likely have multiple fandoms. This doesn’t make it a super bad thing! You can still like stuff, and even fangirl/fanboy over it, to a degree. But it should not be your primary reason for living, nor should it consume your thoughts almost every waking 24 hrs. Jesus deserves that spot, guys, not a fandom. Not an earthly obsession. I’ve seen/heard about plenty of those obsessions taking a turn for the worse, and the end results aren’t pretty. It’s like how I’ve been with Harry Potter; I was too obsessed when I was younger, but now I just like and enjoy it, but am not “into” it. Sometimes, people are– literally or spiritually– scarred or damaged for life.

I would say that God is offering you the same ultimatum He has been offering me: Him, or the fandoms. We can’t worship both, as stated in Scripture. No human can serve two Masters, and sadly, I know a good many people who would not choose God (which breaks my heart, btw) over their fandoms. But! I think I know some who, when it boiled down to it, would. And I would encourage you to do the same.

 

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

            Romans 1:25, NIV

 

            “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

            Luke 16:13, NIV

Love you guys, and I promise there will be more, soon.

~~O.R. Moore

ISRAELSELFIE

Me near the Western “Wailing” Wall in Jersusalem. More pics to come!

Cover picture of Yisraeli flag that I took at Masada. 

 

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

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