What do you stand for?

 

Daniel 3 introduces the reader to the story of Daniel and his three friends.  Just in case you don’t know this story or don’t want to read the passage, let me give a brief summary of what it’s about.  Daniel and his three friends entered a new land in which they were asked to eat and do things they knew they could not do because of their beliefs.  Instead of abandoning their beliefs in the face of obstacles, they choose to hold fast unto their God.

This even came to the point where they were subjected to death in a fiery furnace.  But God delivered them.

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18

Their dedication was so strong that they were willing to hold unto their faith even when faced with the prospect of death.  How many of us hold faith like that?  How many of us are able to love God like that?

Do we all even know what exactly we stand for at the end of the day?

Someone once attacked my religion and I sat there in a sea of doubt.  But when they attacked my major I spoke up because I knew I was proud of what I was studying in college.  I was willing to defend my major, but not my God.  I was willing to defend something so small but when my faith was attacked, I collapsed.

Hold strong unto your faith.  There is nothing more powerful than God’s love in our lives.

I know that despite every heartache or pain that I go through, that God is always there.  He will always be there.  His love wraps around me and this assures me that despite trials and tribulation, I am secured.  It has already been promised to me.

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The awkward moment when you realize you had it all wrong

I grew up in a Christian family, in a Christian household being taught how to be a good Christian.  The thing is the majority of my life was spent looking through this pin hole thinking I was seeing everything, but in reality I only saw this tiny distorted section of the whole picture.  I saw my family and their devotion to God.  I saw my church friends give everything and dedicating their lives to God.  I was baptized with people I’ve known my entire life.  And when I accepted God for the first time my closest friends and family were with me the entire time.

I outreached on campus because I was told to do it.  I spoke about God when someone asked me about God.  I was too busy living my life looking through this tiny hole where everyone I loved would be fine.  And those who didn’t accept God were put to the back of my mind.  I stuffed them there not wanting to imagine eternity without them.

Today I visited a Hindu temple for an anthropology project, I wanted to learn about an aspect of my culture I never experienced.  Growing up as  christian as well as Indian the majority of people I met in passing assumed I was Hindu, unaware that I knew little to nothing about Hinduism.  What happened instead was this tiny hole through which I saw everything was broken open and my heart literally ached.  I left the temple and I sobbed.  Because if everything I was ever taught and believed was true then I would not meet everyone from that temple again one day in heaven.  I just wouldn’t.

I wasn’t used to thinking like that.

My entire life my purpose was to be a good student, to be a supportive friend, to be a decent person.  But as I continued to live my life looking through this tiny hole I was blinded to everything outside of my view.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to learn about an organization called, “The Price of Life” through”One cry”, it was there that I learned the first way I was blind.  Today I learned the second way.  First I was blind to the suffering of people who were sold into prostitution.  I was blind to the suffering of people around me in my life imaging pain was entity of my own.  That only I went through hardships.  I was blinded by my selfishness.  Conceding to myself that everyone else had it figured out and that everyone looked at all times as they appeared on the surface.

No one has it figured it.  But everyone is so keen and so used to hiding that a mirage of perfection is easy to portray.

I realized today that I had it all wrong because yesterday I prayed that God would break my heart for those who didn’t know him.  But as he did this very thing I wanted to beg him to stop.  My idea of Christianity was asking things from God hoping he would not hear me.  That was how things worked looking through this tiny hole.  The hole was narrow and binding and… even inaccurate but this hole was comfortable.  Everything I saw through it fit into what I wanted Christianity to really be, not what it actually is.

I’m writing this post right now because I feel like there most be other people out there like me.  People who have been living their entire lives looking through this tiny hole thinking they have it all figured it.  The thing is we don’t have it figured out, not even a little bit.  God doesn’t call us to live our lives blindly.  He is the light that shines in our darkness, he calls us to be free from all bondage.

We are called to love, to serve and to be uncomfortable.  Today was the day I realized what this actually meant for the very first time.

What does it mean to have the mind of Christ?

Hello everyone!  I can’t believe its already September 26th, I swear I try to keep these blog posts weekly but time flies!    I can’t believe one week has already passed since the last time I made a post.  But, lets stay on topic:  The Mind of Christ.  This was my topic for High Teens Speech, I do these yearly competitions in which I am required to prepare a speech in 10 minutes and then deliver it within a 5-minute period.  Needless to say, it can be VERY stressful.  My age group is High Teens so I compete against everyone in my age group.

This year our topic was the mind of Christ and I was so happy because earlier in the day I messed up my essay on Stewardship, a topic I thought meant being a servant of God but actually meant using your resources fully.  Obviously I was kind of off.

Being honest if I had not wrote an entire essay about the nature of God being that of a servant, I would not have spoken about this during my speech.  When I first thought about the very nature of God I thought of purity.  I would think about the God was sees our sins and is disgusted.  I would have never once thought about Jesus who went and washed his disciples feet as we can see in John 13: 8:

“ ‘No’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you will have no part with me.’”

This is the God we serve, who took on the very nature of man and came to earth to serve others.  How humbling is this?

We had a bible study with a few people from my InterVarsity chapter (Christian fellowship on campus) and we looked into the story of Stephen which is told from Acts 6:8-8:2, or at least that was the portion we looked at together.  I couldn’t help but think of how humble Stephen was through everything- it was never about him.

I couldn’t get a bible verse out of mind so we spent some time trying to find it and it was actually John 3:30 which reads:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

THIS is the relationship that we have with God.  One in which we are made smaller and smaller because we want God to be glorified rather than ourselves.

When I look at my life and everything I do, it is because I want recognition, I want to be acknowledged.  But this wasn’t the way we were meant to be.  We are created to be servants before God, laying everything we have down before his feet.  Laying our needs, our desires, our wants, everything.

And it’s so scary to think that maybe what we want from our lives does not align with what God wants from us.  But this is something we must accept whole heartily.  I don’t want to be Stephen who was stoned to death; I don’t want that for myself or for my life.  But if God wants this from me I must accept this.  Accepting this is scary and hard, but we must also know how important it is to place everything into God’s hands.  He knows us, he knows us so well and he knows what we need and what is best for us.

God centered life

 

I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  My school work, friends, future, family, and everything in between.  And when I was so busy thinking about everything going on in my life, I failed to remember God.

It’s funny isn’t it?  No, it’s not.  It’s a little bit sad.

For the entirety of my life I have been a “christian” but I fear I’ve been a Christian in name alone.  I go to church, I follow my commandments but I fail to give God all the glory and honor he deserves.  And what amazes me is that God see this girl who puts him last many times, who forgets him..  Somehow he still deems me worthy of his forgiveness, his love, his mercy.  There is no one in the entire world who would be so gracious, but my God.

Today I want to change the way I live my life.  I want to say I am a Christian and be so grateful to know the truth.   Because I am blessed by the fact that my grandfather was a believer and his before him.  Their prayers still watch over me and cover me.

But their salvation is not enough to reach me, I need to make a decision to really and actually put God first.

So what does it look like when someone leads a God centered life?

Well everything else that goes on daily simply pales in comparison.  You don’t read your bible because you have a daily quota, you read your bible because you just want to.  You get lost in praying to God and wonder how time could slip so quickly away.  And you change, 100% you change everything about yourself.  Not because you make this conscious effort to change.  But because you are so in love with God and so surrounded by him in every aspect that he influences every action you make.

When we choose to follow God and put him first everything else just falls into place.  Philippians 4:13 reads “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”, and we can.  That’s the amazing thing about God.  There are literally no limits to what you are capable above, and God will direct in the path meant for you.

I want to live like that.

So in love with God that my life can be a testimony to him and that I can shine because of the light and joy he places into my life.

Mark 12:30 reads, “Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  That’s no joke.  That means something.  Today for the first time I will try to understand what exactly that means.

Love is no joke

I’ve heard the word love thrown around so carelessly far too often.  But I doubt that this would be the case if we started to realize what it actually meant to love, and what the definition of love actually means.  I just finished watching a video on YouTube from the “Desiring God” Conference featuring Francis Chan.

He spoke about the love that Christ has for us, this kind of love that is sacrificial.  I couldn’t help but think that most of the time when I see this so called thing called “love”, it’s so selfish.  We think we’re in love with someone and suddenly our need and desire to be with them outweighs their wants.  We are selfish.

But the love of God isn’t supposed to be like that, not at all.  The love of God places a burden on our hearts where we genuinely care about the people around us.  Not for social networking or for the ways in which they can benefit us, but just because we love.
1 Corinthians 13 teaches of the importance of love.  Can we really understand that without love we are nothing?  That or acts and our works amount to nothing.

So when I see the word love thrown around, or when a friend causally says that they love me.  I think, do they know what it really means to love?  Do they know how great it is to truly love like Christ loves?  And how much you sacrifice in loving in this capacity?  It is nothing to laugh about and I pray they take it seriously.  Because I didn’t.  I thought love was just feeling or a liking towards someone.

No, love is sacrifice and when you look at the father it is perfectly exemplified through his blood.  That’s what it means to love.

Yet another thing we need to be aware of is the meaning of the opposite of love.  I realized it first from a video from BlimeyCow on Youtube.  The opposite of love is not hate.  Nor is it indifference.  The opposite of love is fear.  Fear is crippling, fear is limiting and fear is… well kinda scary.  But perfect love casts out ALL fear.

I want to learn what it actually means to love in my life.  I want to learn what it means to have a burden for the people around me.  To weep for their salvation and love in a way so selflessly.

To this day I think of something my friend told me when we were about to lead a GIG together (Groups Investigating God, small group for nonbelievers or different faiths to come together and learn about God).  She told me that I had to love the people in our GIG,and I replied by saying “oh yeah, I’ll care about them”, and I was so shocked by the way she responded, “No you have to love them, really love them.”  I felt so touched by this kind of love that loves without requirements or quotas.  The kind of love of Christ.

Please, love.  love knowing the severity of this action, love sincerely and fully, as I pray to learn how to love.

My motto

When I started this blog, I wanted this to be my motto:

I wrote this infuriated one evening as a Facebook status.  I was trying to find what being beautiful meant and trying to see what a really beautiful face looked like.  Was its perfectly symmetrical?  Tanned but not dark?  I was so wrong.  I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and I want to value things more important than external beauty.  Will you please join me?

Re: Roomtogrow

1) What is your motivation behind certain things you undertake? What drives you?

I like this question a lot, I guess because it asks me to tap into this part of myself that I’ve almost always had.  When I was really young I was really unmotivated but my mother motivated me.  I remember thinking that getting a B in a class as big deal,  fast forward to high school and I cringe when I get anything less than an A.  My mom encouraged me to try as hard as I can because I could be the best I could.  I’m motivated by my desire to actually do something of worth in my life, and to know that I did the very best I could at the end of the day.

2) What is your favorite holiday?

I like Thanksgiving the best, I guess because its the one holiday when I can actually do something with my church and we do it every year without fail.  I don’t have a lot of things that certain in my life, but I know that every thanksgiving will start with my church and there’s something really nice and reassuring about certainty.  Plus the food is always good.  🙂

3) Do you get irritated/upset easily? If so, by what?

Oh yes I get angry very easily!  Sometimes I’ll just be in a bad mood or something will offset it.  But I’ve learned not the let my emotions get the best of me, its not fair to anyone.  So if and when I do get upset I try to pull myself out of that mood.  If I can’t I wallow in sadness or anger by myself for a little bit!  But sometimes its just the best way to deal with it.  Because allowing myself to be angry is like a drug.  Indulging feels great, but there’s always the aftermath.  I’ve broken MANY phones because something caused me to become angry,and in the end it’s not worth it.  Being angry is only satisfying in the moment.

4) What is your favorite thing to do on a hot summer day?

I LOVE finding a book I’m dying to read, siting down in the place where its sunny but not to hot and just reading.  Maybe have iced tea on the side and just read all day.  My mom may scream in terror when she sees I’ve become ten shades darker, but nothing feels better than finding a good book and reading it.

5) What is your definition of faith? Love?

My definition of faith is

Hebrews 11:11

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see

I believe love is selflessness, loving someone so much that their happiness and joy is more important than your own could ever be.  Is that not the best thing you can do?  Put other people’s needs and desires before your own?  If someone can do that for you, then you know you’ve found a keeper!  Because it’s easy to say, but so hard to do in practice.

6) What is unconditional love to you?

It’ll sound corny fo’ sure to you.  But unconditional love to me is what Jesus did on the cross.  He didn’t have to do it, we didn’t deserve it, but he did it for us.  That’s love.  Something so deep and vast you find yourself lost in it.  That’s the love that Christ has for us each and everyday.

7) What kind of hopes do you have about this life? Or maybe about the life afterward?

I want to break the mold.  I want to be happy and stop caring about all of these things that are so unimportant.  I want to live breaking the conventions and teach my children to never be ashamed of themselves or their faith.  I want to live for Christ and be someone who is so in love with God that nothing else can really matter at the end of the day.