John 8:36 - So if the Son makes you free, you will be truly free.

Galatians 5:1 - We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law.

This is my journey.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Fear

"Don't you know Christmas is a pagan holiday, symbolized by "decorated tree" idols? (Jeremiah 10:1-4)"

"God didn't mandate Christmas, there is no mention of it in the Bible, so it is wrong to celebrate it!"

"It promotes selfishness. (Acts 20:35)"

"We are called to be 'in the world,' and celebrating Christmas makes one 'of the world.' (Romans 12:2)"

"It causes one to always perceive Jesus as "the baby" rather than the man/God."

I have one thing to say to this:

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. - 2 Timothy 1:7

All these thoughts seem to be stemming from one thing: fear. Fear that if they do something "wrong", God will reject them (or me, since I celebrate the pagan holiday. :-P) Fear that taking part in Christmas will equal "being of the world". Fear that if they dedicate an entire day to giving gifts, their children will grow up selfish with no healthy fear of the Lord.

I want to take a quick look at this verse so often touted as "evidence for why Christmas trees are pagan symbols and of the devil".

Hear what the LORD says to you, people of Israel. This is what the LORD says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
though the nations are terrified by them.
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
Jeremiah 10:1-4

So yes, the pagans were using trees, cutting them down, carving them, and decorating it with silver and gold and worshipping them. So by this narrative, should I take down the tree in my room and never put it up again, for fear of associating myself with pagan activities and perhaps satan himself?

Interestingly, the next verse is nearly always left out. Is this a significant fallacy?

Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good.”
Jeremiah 10:5

There that is again, "do not fear". These idols they created were MEANINGLESS. They could neither harm, nor do good. They represented a false religion, but to God meant nothing. How, then, can they have any sort of significant bearing on the tree I set up as part of celebrating Christmas? I don't worship it, or bow down to it or pray to it. Besides the fact that this happened in an entirely different culture and several thousand years ago. :-P

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. (Romans 14:5-6)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Reply To Bitterness

In regards to "Steadfast Daughters' newest post:

I just have a couple thoughts about this. First, I agree with basically everything Mr. Macdonald says here. Yes, bitterness can root in the soul and work to destroy us and our relationships with those around us. What I disagree with is how he tries to tie this to QD.

I see no bitterness in anything Hillary has said. She holds no malice against her parents. She feels they were wrong in a lot of the way they raised her, but I have never thought for one second she was bitter toward them. How is it bitterness to share your story (even being kind enough to leave everyone else involved anonymous!), and perhaps bring some hope to others who have felt (or are feeling) the pain you did?

If you previously were a drug abuser and were freed, and now know someone who also is a drug abuser... wouldn't it be wise to share your story in an effort to help them be freed also? Is it bitterness to recall past hurtful events and relate them to someone else? Or is pain of the heart and mind just not a "real issue"?

What I see from Hillary is a heart of healing and love toward the hurting. I see a spirit of forgiveness. She doesn't promote living in your past hurts, but rather she offers a way out of them, a way to renew your heart and mind through God. So far all of SD's posts have made Hillary out to be exactly the opposite of who she is. How is bringing down a fellow sister in Christ going to accomplish anything? This is a failure to acknowledge real pain (not just physical and sexual!) within the mind and heart, and a desire to sweep even what they believe to be real pain under the rug.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What A Little Princess Taught Me (3)

"It is so little and so high above everything," she said, "that it is almost like a nest in a tree. The slanting ceiling is so funny. See, you can scarcely stand up at this end of the room; and when the morning begins to come I can lie in bed and look right up into the sky through that flat window in the roof. It is like a square patch of light. If the sun is going to shine, little pink clouds float about, and I feel as if I could touch them. And if it rains, the drops patter and patter as if they were saying something nice. Then if there are stars, you can lie and try to count how many go in the patch. It takes such a lot. And just look at that tiny, rusty grate in the corner. If it was polished and there was a fire in it, just think how nice it would be. You see, it's really a beautiful little room."

She was walking round the small place, holding Lottie's hand and making gestures which described all the beauties she was making herself see. She quite made Lottie see them, too. Lottie could always believe in the things Sara made pictures of.

"You see," she said, "there could be a thick, soft blue Indian rug on the floor; and in that corner there could be a soft little sofa, with cushions to curl up on; and just over it could be a shelf full of books so that one could reach them easily; and there could be a fur rug before the fire, and hangings on the wall to cover up the whitewash, and pictures. They would have to be little ones, but they could be beautiful; and there could be a lamp with a deep rose-colored shade; and a table in the middle, with things to have tea with; and a little fat copper kettle singing on the hob; and the bed could be quite different. It could be made soft and covered with a lovely silk coverlet. It could be beautiful. And perhaps we could coax the sparrows until we made such friends with them that they would come and peck at the window and ask to be let in."

"Oh, Sara!" cried Lottie. "I should like to live here!"

Much of what happens to us in this life is not based on what actually happens, but rather, what our reaction to those happenings is. What our perception of those events are is greater, I think, than the events themselves. (this is not talking about abusive situations! I am meaning in general everyday life. Abuse - verbal, mental, emotional, physical, spiritual - is very serious and out of my range of thought here)

Sara was actually a penniless young girl living in a cramped, dingy attic, a veritable slave to anyone and everyone. Yet despite this, she saw the beauty in the small place; she painted it there. Not for herself, but in order to set little Lottie's mind at ease.

People have done me wrong. I have been criticized and had my feelings hurt. I run out of money and worry about paying for things. Every now and again, I feel like no one is there to listen. But despite whatever goes on around me, I can still find a reason to be thankful. Even more than Sara's little room turned lovely with imagination; I have God.

I have God. He wants to paint a tapestry on my wall. He wants to paint a polished grate with a cozy fire softly burning. He wants to paint a comfy bed with a silk coverlet atop. Not to gloss over bad situations, but rather to show that He is able to get me through them.

Scrooge: "What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough." Nephew: "What right have you to be so dismal? You're rich enough." -A Christmas Carol

Our happiness in life is not based on what wealth we do - or do not! - have. It is very much NOT based on that! Yes, people do allow their circumstances to overcome them... but it doesn't have to be that way! My circumstances are only a part of a dying world... God is far above and beyond this world, and He works outside of its parameters.

I don't have enough money... how can I praise God in this situation? Perhaps He wants me to lean more on Him, to trust Him, and spend time with Him in prayer. I don't know what to do with my time; no inspiration to be creative... how can I praise God in this situation? Perhaps He wants to show me what HE would have me do, He wants me to ask His opinion. I feel left out, like nobody cares... perhaps I can show some love and encouragement to someone else who feels the same way!

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. - Romans 8:28

My life is a painting. I just have to give Him the brush.

(Read further: Part 1 and Part 2)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What A Little Princess Taught Me (2)

"If I was a princess-a real princess," she murmured, "I could scatter largess to the populace. But even if I am only a pretend princess, I can invent little things to do for people. Things like this. She was just as happy as if it was largess. I'll pretend that to do things people like is scattering largess. I've scattered largess." - Sara, just after spending time with and giving a piece of cake to the scullery maid, Becky.

Only one other book has so affected me, and that is The Phantom Tollbooth. I see the world much as Sara Crewe; almost as if I am many different characters, depending on the day.

If I was a princess, would I scatter "largess"? More importantly, even though I am not a princess, and do not have great I still do the same? Gifts needn't be only monetary, or even physical. I can give a smile, I can give an encouragement, I can give a laugh on a rainy day.

It seems the little things are just as important - perhaps even more so - as the big things. Spending time with someone, listening to and talking to them, encouraging, working on things together...

"Sara opened the paper bag and took out one of the hot buns, which had already warmed her own cold hands a little.
'see,' she said, putting the bun in the ragged lap, 'this is nice and hot. Eat it, and you will not feel so hungry.'
The child started and stared up at her, as if such sudden, amazing good luck almost frightened her; then she snatched up the bun and began to cram it into her mouth with great wolfish bites.
'Oh, my! Oh, my!' Sara heard her say hoarsely, in wild delight.
'Oh, my!'
Sara took out three more buns and put them down.
The sound in the hoarse, ravenous voice was awful.
'She is hungrier than I am,' she said to herself. 'She's starving.' But her hand trembled when she put down the fourth bun. 'I'm not starving,' she said -and she put down the fifth." - Of Sara, now a beggar herself, giving away all but one bun she bought fresh and hot from the bakery.

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much." Luke 16:10

I want to be one of the faithful, in little or in much. :-)

(Read further: Part 1 and Part 3)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What A Little Princess Taught Me (1)

A Little Princess has always resounded with me. I felt something of a kindred spirit with Sara, even now, though she remains 12 and I have grown to nearly 20. Only one other book of fiction has so affected the way I see the world.

"Things happen to people by accident," she used to say. "A lot of nice accidents have happened to me. It just happened that I always liked lessons and books, and could remember things hen I learned them. It just happened that I was born with a father who was beautiful and nice and clever, and could give me everything I liked. Perhaps I have not really a good temper at all, but if you have everything you want and everyone is kind to you, how can you help but be good-tempered? I don't know" -looking quite serious- "how I shall ever find out whether I am really a nice child or a horrid one. Perhaps I'm a hideous child, and no one will ever know, just because I never have any trials." Sara to Ermengarde.

I don't really know what kind of a person I would be under different life circumstances. I like to imagine I would be the same under different circumstances...but would I really? Would I be horrid had I grown up with no parents? If I were destitute? If I had been mistreated as a child? How would I react if these things happened to me now?

A lot of nice accidents have happened to me. :-D They may be somewhat accidents, but God has a plan to use them for His glory...somehow. I wonder... what can *I* do with the life God has given me? What will I do for Him?

(Read further: Part 2 and Part 3)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Fantastic Truth

Hebrews 10:19-20 - So, brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place without fear because of the blood of Jesus' death. We can enter through a new and living way that Jesus opened for us. It leads through the curtain—Christ's body.

What a truth I myself often tend to overlook. The moment I dedicated my life to my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, His sacrifice on the cross gave me an open door to face to face communication with God! I don't need to go through priests or any sort of higher authority... God sees Jesus' perfect blood covering me, and there is no curtain covering the entrance to His presence!

What a truth! I, lowly nobody that I am, can go before God the magnificent creator of the universe and talk to Him. I can talk to Him! Do I need special incantations or word patterns? Do I have to always address Him a certain way? No... He leaves the mode of communication up to me. I can shout, I can sing, I can whisper, I can write.

I, random 1/6,000,000,000 am so important to God that He wants a steady communication with me every day. He wants my company, my love.

What a truth!

A Start

Well. I have never blogged before... but I thought this would be a good way to put my thoughts out somewhere that I thought perhaps someone might read them. They will be vast and varied, if perhaps infrequent. :-D Guess we will see how I enjoy the blogger's world.