Trump, Hillary, and Jesus

10.09.2016 |

Not to anyone's surprise, it is election year. And with it being election year, the drama surrounding this year's political scene is unprecedented.  Without a doubt, it will be one of the most infamous years in America's political history.  There are so many emotions buzzing about this topic, it really is hard to iron out the details at times.  It is not to anyone's surprise that I say both candidates are magnificently flawed, unless you have been either hiding under a rock for the past year or are in complete denial.  From severely mishandling classified government documents and half-truths to demoralizing entire populations, each candidate has massive blunders.

One of the most frustrating things to see during this election year, specifically, is the "evangelical" population more concerned with preserving their said political party or their chosen candidate rather than to stand on the truths of the cross of Jesus Christ.  It has happened on both sides of the scale.

After Trump's comments came out about sexually assaulting married women against their will while he himself was 60 years old and married, I wrote a little blurb on my Facebook.  After some feedback, I decided to put it on my blog.  I want you to know that I in no way support either candidate in this years election, and would like to remind you, reader, that as an American, no political party therefore owns my vote.  As November approaches, I am more and more at a loss as to what to do.  As a Christ-follower focused on preserving my witness and walking in a manner worthy of the life Christ has called me to, I personally can not back either presidential candidate.

I also know that not everyone will agree with me, believer and unbeliever alike.  And that's okay.  I'll answer to Christ one day, and I'm content giving account for these words.

Below is what was originally posted, verses with their reference now included.

"the greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." –brennan manning 
Colossians 1:10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God  
Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  
what an unbelieving world finds so hard to believe about people who profess to be christians during this election year is their willingness to wholeheartedly compromise the teachings of jesus who spoke truth in grace with the sole purpose of redeeming people. what the unbelieving world finds so hypocritical is saying one heinous act is worse than another, when grace abounds for the one who repents. why an unbelieving world wants absolutely nothing to do with people who profess to be christ-followers is because not even their moral compasses know how to point due north anymore. people have lost all respect for each other, even those in the church, and have clung to one or the other candidate so strongly they no longer can see without clouded judgement, moral sense, and even more important the lenses of christ. loyalty to a party or a person over the supreme authority of christ (as a christian) in itself is creating a god before the one true God. in other words-idolatry. if you try hard enough, you can justify any terrible thing either candidate has done or rather said to make it fit your own ideal political agenda, but why not call it what it is (sin). because that's what jesus did. he didn't justify sin, he didn't support sin. he called it out, gave us an opportunity to repent (which is different than saying a remorseful i'm sorry, afterall judas said he was sorry). we are all no better than hillary. we are no better than trump. we're horribly messed up people and have fallen short of a mighty, perfect, and holy God. praise God there IS a way to be reconciled back to him through christ. saying you believe something means nothing if you're unwilling to follow its act. if you say you have surrendered your life to christ as a christian, then walk in a manner worthy of your calling. after all, the unbelieving world is looking at christians more than ever to see if they truly live out what they say they believe.

Below are some tweets from some people I respect to the utmost degree in my Christian walk:

I want you, reader, to know that I am flawed.  I don't have all the answers.  I don't have my life and family's lives in order and planned to the wire.  I don't.  But what I do know, is that Christ has called me out of darkness, into his marvelous light.  He has transformed my life and because of his death and resurrection, my life will never be the same.  As a Christ-follower, it pains me deeply to see those who profess to be Christ-followers to romanticize their candidate (both Hillary and Trump), make excuses for their candidate, speak hateful things to people with differing opinions and then gloss it over as something "God told me to do it."  I won't be ashamed of speaking truth, in love.  For that is what I am called to do.

Weekly Bible Reading Plan based on Jen Wilkin's "Women of the Word"

5.25.2016 |

Below is a weekly bible reading plan that I have come up with after reading Jen Wilkin's book, "Women of the Word."  Please feel free to utilize the plan and make changes.  

I recommend reading this book if you are: 
  • wanting to cultivate a passion for reading God's word, 
  • desiring to grow in your knowledge of who God is and who you were designed to be, 
  • looking for a methodical way to study the Word without becoming a checklist, 
  • seeking to understand the bible as it was meant to be written.  
Jen addresses so many areas of our lives where we fail to come to the bible with the correct lenses.  We come to the bible to know God, or at least that is the way we should approach the word.  However, if you are like me, I can become lackadaisical in reading the bible and approaching the bible as a self-help book rather than a lifeline to Jesus.

I do not recommend trying to read more than 5-10 chapters at one time.  I am currently going through James (which is 5 chapters, and Jen outlines in her book), and it is still a lot to bite off.  Start small, get the hang of studying with passion and vigor, and then move to more.  It's about reading the bible for who God is, not for how it can immediately satisfy our need to feel better or what decision to make.  

I hope you find this helpful.  Feel free to print it out.  If you use it, let me know.  If you have your own personal suggestions, I'd love to hear them

Please leave a comment below so we can grow together. 

Definitely a Martha, Desiring to be like Mary

3.27.2016 |

Leftover coffee from this morning has never tasted so good.  It's the blonde roast, of which I am normally not a fan.   I just popped it into the microwave and voila! somehow it tastes amazing.  (or it could just be that I am so exhausted that I don't care about taste anymore)

Regardless, happy resurrection Sunday!  I am glad you stopped by and I hope you can somehow relate to this post and give me grace upon grace with this topic.  Go grab a cup of (perhaps leftover) coffee, I'll still be here.

I have been reading through Luke the past two weeks.  Yesterday I was hit square in the face with a truth so convicting it was all I read.  I dwelt on this one passage and sought other passages similar.  It's the story of Mary and Martha, two sisters who love Jesus and are loved by Jesus.  As I was reading, I realized how similar my attitude is to Martha.  I have posted scripture below, and it is read through critical lenses focusing on Martha's outlook.  To fully understand my points near the end of this post, you need to read the scriptures.

Luke 10:38-42 (NLT)
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I am a hard-headed Martha, but I want to be more like the soft-hearted Mary.

As if this passage of scripture isn't convicting enough, I flipped on over to John 11 where Jesus again meets Mary and Martha upon the death of their brother, Lazarus.  I wanted to know more about these women, but I in turn learned striking truths about myself.

John 11:1-6 (ESV)
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus[a] was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

John 11:20-27 (ESV)
20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[d] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

John 11:28-35 (ESV)
28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved[e] in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.

John 11:39-40 (ESV)
39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 

I am a know-it-all Martha, but I want to be more like the humble-spirited Mary.  

Martha is a busy-body wanting to make sure her guests are well entertained with good food and a clean house.  She is concerned with fairness and making sure everyone does their fair share of helping.  She is distracted from the mission at hand, which is Jesus, and more concerned with external affairs.  Martha can't sit still and she can't stand waiting.  Martha is a servant (John 12:2).  Martha thinks she knows all the answers, but she is quickly corrected.  Martha is very matter-of-factly.  Martha believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  Martha is loved by Jesus.

Mary is concerned with savoring Jesus himself.  She sits at Jesus' feet.  She listens to his teachings.  She cares for Jesus.  Mary serves Jesus with all that she has, using her own hair as a rag (John 12:3).  Mary falls at the feet of Jesus in humility.  She is not afraid of showing emotion and cries in front of Jesus, she cries with Jesus.  She recognizes Jesus' authority.  Mary is loved by Jesus.

I am Martha.

Being Martha is not all bad.  Martha is a servant, through and through, but there are several times that she forgets the mission.  Likewise, I love to serve and might bend over backwards to do it, but there have been several times where I am completely missing the point of the mission, or have the wrong attitude and outlook on the serving.  The mission is Jesus.  The mission is sharing Jesus.  The mission is people, it's loving on people.  And I miss it.  Completely.

As a teacher, I have students come to me to share some of their deepest struggles or desiring advice on specific things.  I only have 90 minutes at most of free time during the hustle and bustle of the school day.  This is when the students come and unleash their thoughts.  And through studying Mary and Martha, I realized how I have not been giving my all to these students.  I am "talking" to the students while I am grading papers, typing notes, entering grades, cleaning the lab, etc; or I tell them I am too busy and to come back later.  I am distracted with getting things done, as Martha was.  I have missed the mission completely.

Like Martha in John 11:24 thinking she knows what Jesus is about to say, I think I know the answers.  I continuously finish Mark's sentences like I know what he is going to say; however, ten out of ten times I stand corrected.

I think logically, I see black and white, I analyze situations just like Martha.  She tells Jesus that Lazarus has been dead for four days so there is bound to be a foul stentch.  Jesus reminds her of the mission.  His glory is the mission.

Mark and I had a newly engaged couple over to our house for dinner.  The point of this dinner was to listen to them, get to know them better, and share the love of Christ.  After we had finished eating but were still chit-chatting, I got up to start cleaning the dishes.  Mark was quick to ask me to sit down and continue talking.  It was in that moment I knew that cleaning the dishes and making the house look better was more of a priority to me than engaging these people in a godly conversation.  This is a total Martha move.

I honestly could continue to go on and on with my Martha-moments, but that is enough for one blog post.
I want to be more like Mary.

How do I be more like Mary?  God's word tells us.  You savor Christ above all else, like Mary.  We sit and listen to Christ's teachings.  We fall at his feet in utter humility.  We acknowledge that he has the authority to do whatever he pleases.  We seek to serve him with everything we have, offering all of ourselves (even if it means our hair, eww, but seriously).

God made each of us unique, with unique personalities and unique passions and abilities.  Me, he made me with a Martha personality. (It is thought that Martha was the older of the sisters, which would fall right in line with me being the eldest sister). This is not a bad thing at all.  Martha has some solid qualities.  However, if we miss the point of these personalities and abilities and throw ourselves an "it's not fair" pity party (which in my negative Martha-moments I am ever so likely to do), we are bound to miss the mission completely.  We will have thrown our unique abilities away in our saturated self-centeredness.

The most comforting and most wonderful thing is that God knows who we are better than we know ourselves.  He speaks to us in the way that we need to be spoken too.  For Mary, he cries with her and comforts her.  For Martha, he speaks directly to her-bluntly-in wisdom, but is gracious and affectionate to her.  He knows what we need.  We need more of Him, and He is faithful to give us that-whether we identify more with Martha or align with Mary.  He is the mission.

I am Martha, but I will seek to be more like Mary making the mission supreme above all else.

Which sister are you most like?  What tendencies of Martha do you see in yourself?  What Mary-like characteristics do you see in yourself?  

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