Christian

Heart Problems…

I’ve struggled with writing my blog lately.  Recently, I even thought maybe, I would just stop writing.  I feel God has made it very clear to me that isn’t an option.  So, as I was pondering the last few weeks, I thought about the world and all the turmoil going on right now.  I thought about a friend who is going through a really rough time, I thought about the church shooting that just happened and that mass shootings seem to be an almost regular event anymore.  I thought about my job and the hurt and pain that people struggle with on a daily basis to the point they want to take their own lives.  I remembered, my purpose in writing this blog is because people need Jesus!!

life hurts

There is so much hurt and heartache in the world today.  I sit and think about all of the yuck in this world and I remember when I was there.  Hurt, broken, feeling worthless and hopeless.  When I opened myself up to the love of Christ, when I heard that it didn’t matter to Him all of the horrible things I felt I had done, He still loved me, it changed my entire world.   In the past I would have told you I knew who Jesus was, and I believed in Him, and I tried to live a good life.  But having a relationship and opening yourself up to God’s love is different, it changes you, it changes your world.

I try not to be political in my blog.  I try to just focus on my religious experiences.  But as I think about the state of the world today, I can’t help but take more of a political stance.  I’ve seen a quote many times that says you don’t need religion to have morals, and while I don’t disagree with that, I feel as a society as we work to remove God from our culture, our morals are going by the way side.  I have worked in a school and worked in a prison and it blows my mind that we discourage kids from freely pursuing and practicing their faith in school.  We put many barriers in their way and yet if you are in prison, religion is encouraged.  I remember sitting in parole hearings and listening to inmates talk about going to church and Bible studies and how God was changing their lives.  One of my many hats at the prison was the religious coordinator, I oversaw all religious activities and made sure all religious volunteers were in compliance with facility policies.  Just imagine if we put that much energy into assisting the development of spirituality and religion for our children.  Maybe we wouldn’t have the struggles we have now.

universe

I’ll be honest, there were many different religions in prison, and several weren’t Christian based, and I could tell those who were genuine in their pursuit of a relationship with Christ and those who weren’t.  The difference was, their lives, even in prison, just seemed to go better.  They didn’t get in trouble with the jail staff, they followed the rules, and they didn’t argue.  They were accepting of their situation and if something didn’t go their way or if they felt they had been wronged, they had a conversation with the staff and tried to work it out.  They were different.  Their hearts were different.

There is truly something amazing that happens when you give your life over to God.  When you are willing to accept that He has a plan and a purpose for you it changes your perspective and changes your heart.  I know when I came to that realization, I wanted to know God more, I wanted to know everything I could, I read devotionals, Bible studies, I listened to sermons on the Radio. I began to develop a relationship with this God, who before seemed so scary and condemning, but as I learned more about Him, was loving and kind.  It blew my mind as I read the Bible and learned about the people he chose to spread his message.  The people he chose to be the ones that would represent Him.  They were not perfect people who always did right.  They were very much sinners.  But…They all had one thing in common.  They all loved God.  They had a relationship with God and they pursued Him.  They wanted to please their God.  And although they made mistakes and struggled with their sin, they still pursued Him. It wasn’t just because they believed in Him, it’s because they had a relationship with Him.

jesus heals broken hearts

In today’s world, God is a foreign concept.  Society teaches trusting in God is a weakness.  In today’s world, we want to be our own gods.  It’s heart breaking to me.  As I watch people struggle, I think, “You need Jesus!!”  And I struggle to say anything for fear that they will condemn me or make fun of me.  I can say, “You need Jesus!!” on my blog because it’s not face to face.  That’s easy.  And yet, I know that’s what I need to do.

The thing that needs to change most in this world is we need to get back to the basics.  The 10 Commandments, the Beatitudes, and having a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.  The problems in this world are not about race, religion, sexual orientation, politics, gun control, or any other social issue the media wants to glorify or criticize at the moment.  It’s about the heart.  It is what is important to us as a society and where our priorities lie.  Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.  In today’s world our hearts are anywhere but with Jesus.

giraffe

I’m just a Small Town Girl… living in a world in need of Jesus!

 

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Christian, mormonism

Devotion, Community, Responsibility.

In Chi Alpha we have three pillars that we are challenged to live by.  To be devoted, to live in community, and to take responsibility.  Today I want to offer that challenge up to you, because these should be things prominent in every believer’s life.

The first pillar is to be devoted.  Now, what does that mean?  We need to be devoted to Christ, not just on Sundays when we go to church, but in every aspect of our lives.  We need to show our devotion to God in the way we live.  Devoting our time by reading our Bible and spending time in prayer.  Devoting our finances by giving tithing.  Devoting our lives by striving to live like Jesus every day.  This shows that we are trusting God.  Everyone is busy.  You may be reading this thinking you don’t have time in your day to dedicate to reading your Bible or spending meaningful time in prayer.  By taking that time and setting it aside to specifically devote it to God shows that you trust Him with your time and you know He will provide enough time in your day to get everything you need done.

devotion

When I get up in the morning the first thing I do is read my Bible.  If I end up sleeping in, I make sure to do it that night.  I try to read 4 chapters every day, two from the Old Testament and two from the New.  I also take 15 minutes to just talk to God, no matter what it’s about.  Whether it’s sitting docile for Him to speak to me or going through a prayer list, I talk to God for 15 minutes.  I also set aside time to write this blog because I know this is something that God wants me to do.  I try to show my devotion through the way I live, the way I talk to others and interact with people.  Jesus said to, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and trying to do that in your everyday life is a great way to show your devotion to God.

The second pillar is, to live in community.  This means spending time with other believers.  God wants us to go out and spread the gospel, but it’s also important to grow in your own relationship with Christ and spending time in fellowship with other believers is one of the best ways to do that.  Join a Bible study.  Take some time and have lunch with a friend from church.  Even just taking the time to chat with some people after church instead of rushing home can do amazing things for your relationship with God.  I’ve experienced this first hand.

communitiy

Growing up, I didn’t really have any Christian friends.  We didn’t start going to our home church until I was in 6th grade.  The majority of my friends were Mormon and I only had a couple of friends from church.  When I started college things changed a lot.  I started going to Chi Alpha and met some of my very best friends there.  Being surrounded by Christians grew my relationship with God enormously! I finally had people I could talk to about what God was doing in my life that were my age!  The impact that living in community and fellowship with those Christians had on my life has been amazing.  I have grown, in God, so much in the last year.  I don’t even think I would recognize the person I was a year ago! Spending time living in community with other believers is life changing and gives you someone to live life with.

The last pillar is, to take responsibility.  This one is a bit harder for all you introverts out there like me.  Taking responsibility means to pour the love of God into others.  God told us to, “go out and make disciples of all nations.”  So go out and do it!  Pick someone (or more than one person) in your life that you’re going to pour into this next week or even the next month or year.  Talk to people about God and pour the love of Jesus into their lives.  Take responsibility for helping God’s kingdom grow!

responsibility

At the end of Chi Alpha this year they gave us a little card for the summer.  On it we were supposed to write three things; a believer, a non-believer, and a residence hall floor at ISU.  Those two people and the residence hall floor were what we were supposed to take responsibility for this summer.  I prayed and God gave me more than just those three and I’ve been praying and doing my best to pour love into those people that God put on my heart.  Sometimes it’s hard because a couple of them I don’t know very well.  Luckily, all I have to do is trust God and He will give me the courage to start up a conversation and give me the words that will speak to their hearts!

The Chi Alpha pillars are what a believer’s life should look like.  We need to be devoted to God, to live in community with other believers, and take responsibility for the job God gave us.  My challenge to you this week is to think about how you are living out the pillars in your life and take time to live them out.  Take time to read your Bible every day and pray.  Spend some time with a fellow believer.  Pray and ask God to point someone out in your life that you can take responsibility for.  I would love to hear about how doing this impacts your life. Let me know in the comments.

diciples

I’m just the daughter of a small town girl… standing on the pillars God gave me.

Images taken from Google.