Faith, Sports

Reflections and Resolutions

With another year drawing to a close, we stop and reflect on everything that has taken place. All of the blessings, losses, gains. We also look ahead to the new year, which many people view as a clean slate.

2013 was a year of firsts for me. My husband and I bought our first house, and our first appliances. The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup championship and I went to my first victory parade and rally. We had our first get-together in our new house. In September 2013 we gained a new blessing, but lost it shortly after. In December we adopted our German Shepherd puppy and celebrated our first Christmas in our house. We also went on our first long car trip that included all three of my sisters and Kaner.

I hardly ever make New Year resolutions. When I am out on the spot I have a hard time looking deep within myself. How can I improve myself next year? I know that no matter what my resolutions are, I can not accomplish them without God. My prayer is that He will guide me and strengthen me in 2014.

I have thought a lot about these, and without further ado, these are my resolutions for 2014:

PATIENCE- This is something I have struggled with my whole life. It doesn’t take much to frustrate me. But the Bible says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by supplication with prayer and thanksgiving let your requests be made known into God”
Philippians 4:6

MEAL PLANNING- I am so terrible with this. I always tell myself I need to be better at planning meals and shopping accordingly, but this year I have actually set it as a goal.

BUDGETING AND SAVING- There is much room for improvement here.

BIBLE- Read more, study more. Be vigilant and always ready to give an account for everything, using the Word as my sword ūüôā

My Bible verse for 2014 is actually a chapter- Proverbs 31.

What are your resolutions for 2014?

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Faith

Why Are Christians So Boring?

You won’t find us hanging out in clubs or bars.

Our vocabularies aren’t littered with curse words.

All of the music a lot of us sing and listen to sounds the same.

We go to church EVERY Sunday…and some of us even attend church on Wednesdays as well.

Some of us are homeschooled, so you won’t see us at the latest school dance.

Most of us aren’t the first ones in line to buy the newest gaming system or piece of technology.

We don’t sit in front of the TV all day and we might not be caught up on all the popular shows.

*NOTE: I’m not suggesting you will never find a Christian in these places or doing these things. But they aren’t our things of choice.*

So, why? Why are Christians so boring?

Let me start by saying this- I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but “boring” is relative. According to dictionary.com, synonyms for “boring” include,

dull, tiresome, tedious. 

You may have a hobby that your best friend finds dull and tiresome. That doesn’t mean you’re boring.

So what do we do, besides go to church?

We have good, wholesome fun.

Some of us exercise. Some of us volunteer in our communities. Some of us go shopping. Most Christians you meet (especially Baptists ;)) love to eat. We love getting together for good fellowship. Many of us love to make music, whether it be by singing or playing an instrument. We have pets, families, and hobbies, just like the rest of the world. We watch family TV shows and movies, as hard as those are to come by these days. We talk- A LOT. We share stories and desires.

Just because you won’t find us “twerking” at random clubs, doesn’t mean we don’t have fun.

We just try to be aware of how the things we do today will affect our happiness and well being in the long run.

I have been asked a few times, “what happens if you miss church? Do you get in trouble or something?”

In response to this I explain the reason I go to church in the first place- I WANT to. I’m not being forced by my husband or pastor to attend services. I attend church because I have a longing to worship God and grow in Him. If I miss a service, I won’t be “punished” by worldly standards, but I will feel deprived and possibly a bit guilty (depending on the reason I miss the service.)

The Lord corrects those He loves- that’s where guilt comes in. Hebrews 12:5-8 speaks of this:

5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

I enjoy the things the Lord provides for me.

So if you know a Christian that seems to live in a box of rules and limitations, get to know them. They may be able to show you something new. We are only limited by what pleases God. With prayer, we can know exactly what that means.

You might be surprised how freeing that is!

Faith

What’s In a Name? A Call to Christians-Be Careful What You Stand Against

Warning: The following post may be controversial and kind of lengthy. Please keep any comments kind ūüôā

Today is Friday. That name comes from the pagan (Roman) goddess of love and beauty. Like everyone I have ever met, I refer to the days of the week by their pagan names:

Sunday (Roman sun god)

Monday (Roman moon god)

Tuesday (Roman god of war)

Wednesday (Roman god of trade and profit)

Thursday (Roman god of thunder)

and Saturday (Roman god of agriculture).

By referring to the work week as “Monday thru Friday,” am I worshipping pagan gods? By waking up Monday morning and going out into the world am I dishonoring my holy God? He does say “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Most people would answer those questions with a huge, “no!”

So, why do some Christians believe that by celebrating Christmas, a Christian holiday that falls on a day of pagan origin, I am worshipping idols and pagan gods? I’ll come back to this point.

Recently I was convicted and am no longer a fan of Halloween. That will be a post for another time.

Wait. You might be wondering, “So you don’t celebrate Halloween because of its pagan origins, but you celebrate Christmas? Hypocrite!” Read on.

I don’t think you or your child(ren) will spend eternity in Hell if you dress them up as a cute little teddy bear and take them trick-or-treating.¬†Nor do I think you are a bad person if you give your child a piece of candy (or two…or ten.)

To me, there is just nothing redemptive in Halloween. 

I don’t dislike Halloween simply because of its pagan roots. I dislike it because¬†I see no good in it.¬†

Christmas is different.¬†I know Christ wasn’t born on December 25, or even in the winter season. However, it is always good to talk about and teach children about his birth and Christmas is a dedicated time for that. At Christmastime, people actually¬†listen.¬†Yes, Christmas becomes more commercialized every year, but I still believe it is a season of giving (for most people.)

Many Christians that take the anti-stance on Christmas use the following Bible verses to attempt to show that celebrating Christmas is wrong:

Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Jeremiah 10:1-4

The Bible often and consistently condemns idol worship. Anti-Christmas Christians use this verse in Jeremiah to attempt to show that it also condemns Christmas. The Israelites cut down trees and adorned them as shrines. This is a form of idol worship. The Bible clearly shows that this is wrong. Christians today decorate Christmas trees as home decor. If hanging ornaments on a green tree is idol worship, we also need to classify hanging pictures on our walls and placing decorative lamps in our homes as idol worship.

 As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.

Ezekiel 20:39

At Christmastime we place presents under our tree. I have been told that in doing this, we are bowing to the tree in idol worship. I don’t really understand that one, so I’ll just ask this rhetorical question: When a man proposes on one knee to a woman, is he worshipping her? I just find this argument silly.

Most, if not all of the verses I have been given to explain why celebrating Christmas is wrong, simply condemn idol worship. Sure, you can turn Christmas into an idol, just as you can make TV and sports idols. But it is so easy to find so much good in Christmas!

So, where did all this come from? Why did I write all of this, aside from the fact that Christmas is drawing near?

It started with a devotional I studied yesterday, from ICR’s¬†Days of Praise.¬†It was titled, “What’s in a Name?” It referenced Daniel 1:7

Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

The Babylonians renamed Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, giving them pagan names.

If you didn’t read the substance of this post, and just scrolled to this point, please read this:

I’ll leave you with this final thought:

My favorite part of this devotion is when HMM says,

These godly young men no doubt bitterly resented these new names. Nevertheless, they did not make an overt issue of this matter, knowing they would forfeit their opportunity for a substantive spiritual witness if they took a belligerent stand on superficialities. 

Convictions are good. You have them, I have them. If you feel that by celebrating Christmas you are dishonoring God, don’t do it, and I will just leave you off my Christmas card list this year. That’s fine. I don’t hate you. I know you won’t spend eternity in hell because you don’t celebrate Christmas, and I won’t spend eternity in hell because I do.

But let’s be careful, brothers and sisters.

The world is watching.