God & Chocolate

I love chocolate.

This is no mystery if you know me. I have a major sweet tooth, and it is always set to Dark Chocolate. Hersey’s, Dove, that one Aldi’s brand that is way to good to be sold at Aldi for that price; what ever it is, if its chocolate, I want it.

I must admit, when I pack my lunch I sometimes find myself wondering how I can score some chocolate for a after lunch desert. We usually don’t buy any for the apartment, mostly because I’ll tear through it; so I’m lucky that there are many candy dishes at my coworkers cubes.

But sometimes, random coworker will just drop off chocolate at my desk. To be kind, to say thank you, to bribe me into looking into a issue they have. What ever the reason, sometimes chocolate just finds its way to me.

The other morning was another example of chocolate just coming to me. A coworker of mine gave me some chocolate for helping her with a problem. As she left me this little prize, it dawned on me, that even though this is a small gift, God was blessing me with it. He knows my heart and he knows that I love and look forward to chocolate, and here he is taking care of that. It wasn’t a need, it wasn’t something super spiritual,  just a desire to have some chocolate. And here he is, a good good father, giving me some.

This isn’t one of those huge testimony type blessings, but for me, this is something that makes me happy. It was something that made my Monday more enjoyable, and if we think about, we all need something to make Mondays as enjoyable as possible.

God doesn’t just go after the big stuff, but the little things in life as well. Those small gestures, that probably don’t mean a lot to others, but puts a big smile on your face, like a piece of chocolate for lunch. God cares about our whole life, a 360 view of it. There is no area off limit to God, there is no area in our life that he doesn’t want to transform and bless.

I am so thankful for a God that cares of all me needs, even if it is as small as wanting a piece of chocolate.

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Syrian Refugees, Selfless Compassion and Pro Life

My heart breaks, for a lot of reasons.

For teens on drugs, for babies that are killed in the womb. Recently my heart breaks for Paris and Beirut. For all the families that have to move forward without loved ones. My heart breaks for all those who are being displaced by war and senseless acts of violence. My heart breaks for ISIS members, and I struggle between wanting them all dead so their hate can not harm anyone else and wanting them all to come to know Jesus and renounce their acts of hate.

There are a lot of feelings involved in wars and terrorist acts. Fear, hate, sadness, compassion, longing for hope, seeking peace.

These feelings can drive our decisions, like the decisions to set up camps for Japanese citizens during WWII.

There is a group of people in need, and are we just going to shut our doors to them from fear? We are just going to leave them stranded and in need outside, while we are inside where it is safe and warm?

I completely understand the risks involved. I understand that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but there are a lot of genuine sheep and very very little wolves. When did compassion become a pick and choose event? When did compassion equate to having to stay safe?

I believe as Christians we are called to selfless compassion, selfless service; not safety. The Savior of the World (Jesus) did not save the world by putting his safety first, but the other way around. So shall our compassion reflect the selfless acts of our savior. Our compassion should not be a reflection of our political party lines, nor should it be used to garner political support.

Our compassion should be rooted in God’s love and given freely out to those in genuine need. And there is genuine need.

And one last thing:

If we are pro-life in the womb, we should be pro-life out of the womb. If we only support fetuses living, but do not support people, what is the point. We will only grow the baby to hate them later. Lets value all life, at all stages of life.

 

 

Guns, Individual Rights, and the Questions We Should Really Be Asking

The shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon brought the 2015 mass shooting total to 294, and at the time that I’m writing this post Shooting Tracker has the total mass shootings at 296. 296 mass shooting this year alone! This includes colleges, schools, theaters, pretty much anywhere. Looking at the raw data, there have been 379 deaths from these shootings, 1094 injuries. An interesting metric of these shootings is that out of 296 total incidents, 192 shootings have resulted in deaths.

These statistics will only grow in the last three months of the year, and more families will be torn with grief and mourning.

Faced with the data, I began to wonder why my position on the Second Amendment is what it is. Why should we have guns? Is there ever a good reason to own a gun? And as I began to ponder these questions (and more) I reassured my stance, that yes Americans should still own guns.

In the rush of emotions that follow these shootings, its easy to blame guns and say they are evil, and no one should use them. But we forget why the Second Amendment is important and why our forefathers added it.

Early Colonials saw the right to bear arms as important for a number of reasons (source found here):

  • enabling the people to organize a militia system.
  • participating in law enforcement;
  • deterring tyrannical government;
  • repelling invasion;
  • suppressing insurrection,
  • facilitating a natural right of self-defense.

This list of six can still be applied today in some form or another, though I think the last entry in the list is the most important today.

There has always been murder in the world; it dates back to the second generation of the human race (Cain & Able). With or without guns, people will kill others; that is a sad sad fact. I think the question we should be asking, instead of debating gun rights, is why are Americans killing each other so much? Why in 2015, are individual people wanting to unleash so much hate on others? Why are people wanting to kill and hate so much? Pondering these questions doesn’t lead me to gun control (we have had guns since the beginning of the country, so that hasn’t really changed), but it does lead me to ponder more on culture; and how we, as Americans and humans, are handling internal and external pressure and feelings. Are the killings a reflection of the hate that is so prevalent in our culture? And is our hate-filled culture a reflection of the individual or some crowd mentality?

I don’t think we as a society want to answer those questions, its just easier to slap some gun control on and feel like we are making a difference. We don’t like thinking about these questions because once we start talking about why we killing each other, we will be forced to look at the ugliness that hides behind the glittery surface of America. We will be forced to face our struggles, our addictions, our sin. We would rather be entertained, and looking out our phones for hours on end.

In a song that I’ve been listening to lately, the rapper says “How could I miss it?” In response to racism in this country. I believe many people are asking these hard questions, but also many others are not.

This country is great, and I love being an American; but this country is also sick. It is in need of a doctor, a healer of both mind, body and soul. We are in desperate need of an awakening. We need Jesus. Only he can give us hope, refresh our minds, give us an anchor to hold on too. Only he can comfort the hurt in our hearts. Only he can restore us. Only he can forgive us and truly shape a future that isn’t plagued by the past.

We don’t need politicians and debates and discussions. We don’t need more gun restrictions, or medications. We don’t need more social media awareness. We don’t need “love” for love’s sake. We don’t need individual truths, we need one universal, powerful truth.

We need Jesus.

We. Need. Jesus

Life to Scale

I was reading Star Wars: Aftermath when my mind began to wonder off the page and started to think about what is going on in the universe at that very moment. Not like a fantasy imagination, but I thought about scenes that no one is seeing. Asteroids flowing through space, colliding with one another. A sun rise on a plant unknown. A sun going cold, or exploding. Solar Systems that we do not know of. Vast gaps where there is nothing but space.

It was cool to see the Super-moon lunar eclipse, and even then I was thinking about space and how massive its is. And even though it is massive, here is this cool little event happening, which is cool to us but not important to the universe.

Thinking about what could be going on in this huge universe made me ponder (once again) on how statistically insignificant we are. The unknown universe is about 13.8 billion light years; that is roughly 81,124,680,000,000,000,000,000 miles!!!! We fill a planet that is 7,195 miles in diameter. That means our existence takes up 0.0000000000000000008869% of the universe. We aren’t even a thousandth of a percent!

We do not matter to the universe. If we exploded the universe wouldn’t bat an eye.

But the ironic this is we do matter. We are massively important. We are important because God values us. He created us, and he loves us. Even if we seek war instead of love, even if we hate our brothers and sisters. God loves us and as revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ so we can know him.

This will never stop amazing me, the fact how we are so small but yet hold so much value.

But in reflection that is God’s MO, to take some one or something that seems small and insignificant and use it for his glory, to show who powerful and how loving he is.

What a great God we have!

Soulmate vs Chosen

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Yin to My Yang.”

I think the idea of a soulmate is very romantic but also very idealistic. Soulmate is a plot point for dramas and teenage TV shows. It makes me think of Dawson’s Creek when Joey tells Dawson “You’ll always be my Soulmate…” but I’m totally not going to date you right now, more like save you for later in case this other thing works out. I always thought Joey was leading both of them on and never really being true with either of them.

End of Dawson’s Creek Series End Rant. Side note: this is the only part of Dawson’s Creek I remember, everything else from that show is a totally blur.

Back to regular scheduled blog….

When I think of a soulmate, I think it is the end all be all person. The person that is just right for you; the person that your heart has been longing to be with, and you are not complete without. The person to whom your soul needs to be complete.

Taking that definition, I think the idea of a soulmate being applied to an earthly person misses the mark. It is a very romantic notion, but the idea of one person completing YOUR VERY SOUL is a very high mark. Its a lofty task with a lot of expectations and assumptions. So much so that no one can truly fit that mold; mostly because everyone fails at some point. No one is perfect, and we as human beings have a hard enough time managing our own lives let-alone being a significant other to some one else. The only being our soul really longs for, and the only being who can successfully take that mantle is Jesus.

Only he can completely satisfy and complete our very soul. When we die and go to heaven we won’t be trying to find a date or figure out a relationship, we will be the bride of Christ. We will be his! We will only be focusing on him. In Jesus our soul will find rest and completeness. Jesus is the end all be all.

That isn’t to say an earthy relationship is important or impactful to the heart. I love my wife. I LOVE my wife. I am so happy with her, and I can’t picture my life without her or with anyone else. She is amazing and I love her very much, and with her my life is better. She is my bride, for whom I will love for the rest of my life, and for whom I have chosen to be my only romantic love the rest of my life.

She is my Chosen, only her and no one else. So while no one on this earth can fulfill the mantle of a Soulmate, one person can take the mantle of being our life long chosen companion. And in that area I know I’ve found the best one, but I’m completely biased 🙂 🙂 🙂

What Makes Us Human

“It absolutely questions what makes us human. And I don’t think we know anymore what does.”

This is a quote from Lee Berger, a professor from the University of the Witwatersrand, that led a team to discover “Homo naledi”, the newly found species in the Homo genus; which apparently makes them our ancient ancestors (Read the CNN report here).

Image of Homo Naledi

The find did not disturb me at all, I believe in what I believe and nothing can shake that. But what was disturbing was the claim that we don’t know why we are human because of this find.

In that, I believe Berger to be false. In the presence of something we don’t fully understand, we can often question what we believe, which could falsely lead us to completely abandon the truth for the sake of “progress”. This scenario can be found in all areas of life. But when you anchor yourself to God, even the many mysteries of life can not shake you. Even when you question, your foundation of faith will not crack, but only harden as you mature. Anchoring yourself to God will allow you to grow, not get tossed around.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

Fact

It is in that verse, we can find our human identity and value. We were created by God in his likeness. There are many interpretations that can be implied here, which could be a completely other post, but every implication is that what makes us human is God.

We are human because of God, and thus we are special because we are made uniquely in his likeness. No other species can boast of that, thus no other species is like us and holds our value. Note: does that mean we should be jerks to animals, no; but animals should not be valued equal to human life.

Nothing can destroy what makes us human, unless we forget the God who created us. That is why we must always get our identity from God, and not from the opinion of man or the forces of this world.

We were made in the image of God, by God and for God.

That is our identity.

God. Is.

Holy,

Strong,

Mighty,

Love,

Pure,

Kind.

God Is:

like a strong tower against a raging storm,

like gentle reassuring touch on your shoulder,

like a roaring lion protecting his cubs,

like a monsoon in the desert,

like a taste of sweet honey on the lips.

God is

the ancient of days,

the one who was,

the one who is,

the one who is yet to come.

God. Is.

What Christians Should Learn from the LGBT Win

With the ruling from the Supreme Court many LGBT people and friends began to celebrate through the weekend due to the historic ruling and win for their community. They took to the street in parades, music, dancing, it was a celebration. For them they were celebrating not only a victory but a liberation. A liberation from a heavy noose.

So I’m going to get right to the point, why is it that in church when we worship, when we celebrate Christ, it looks more like a concert for a band that we aren’t to end to, but we are just making the most of the opportunity.

Why don’t we celebrate more? Why don’t we celebrate like the LGBT community?

We have the Holy Spirit inside of us! We are born again! We follow the risen Savior and King!!! We were DEAD IN OUR SIN but now we are alive!! We should be doing back flips during worship we are so excited!!

God as been convicting me lately in the way I worship. Do I worship in celebration, in joy? And if I am joyous do I really worship in a way that shows it? Is my worship vibrant or do I only stay in the realm of reflection and being mellow?

So what should we learn from the outcome of the decision on Friday? We should learn how to celebrate. These are people who feel liberated and set free, shouldn’t Christians feel that every day? Shouldn’t we praise God daily for our sins being taken away and him restoring us? We were once GOING TO HELL, but now because of Jesus we will be going to heaven! Shouldn’t this give us cause to celebrate more than anyone else?

Stop worshiping as a dead man staying dead, but a man that was dead and now alive.

This is my own personal goal: vibrant worship, worship that embraces all emotion and one that fully gives and glorifies Christ.

Why in America?

“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. “

-President Obama

So why America? In a land of abundant freedom, why do we find abundant chaos? Is it the lack of laws? Is it the rednecks with all their guns? (Okay that might have some legitimacy to it, but that’s for another time)

If it stemmed from the lack of laws then did our forefathers encounter this much violence, this much senseless killings?

Or is there another problem plaguing America?  A deeper yearning that aches in violent ways?

A law can only make a man’s actions illegal, but it will never change the heart.

“Desperate men do desperate things”

-For Today Call to Arms

What happened in Charleston was tragic, and can be hard to grapple in terms of why would something like this happen. Its even harder to swallow when we hold it up to the other senseless violence that have occurred in this country in the past year alone, much less five or ten years.

It is clear America has a sickness, and it is not from a lack of laws. We need unity, we need a leader, we need love. And the only person who can offer all this is Jesus Christ. Only in him could you find a rigid religious man, a patriotic zealot, a thieving tax collector and a bunch of blue collar workers together in united community.