Just Got 2 Tell

Anything & Everything I Feel Compelled to Share with the World!

Hope, Faith, and Assurance July 22, 2012

Filed under: Christianity,Comfort,God,Jesus Christ,Love & Life,Saving Grace — Anna @ 12:51 PM

Death seems to be running rampant around me lately. There has just been so many to lose loved ones in my community. I haven’t felt a terribly great loss, most of them I have not known. But my heart goes out and my prayers go up for their families. Unfortunately there have also been two much closer. My grandma, coming from a large family, has lost a brother and a sister barely a month apart. Both were sooner than expected, but it wasn’t shock and surprise when it happened. I was not able to make it to my aunt’s funeral, but there was no keeping me away yesterday from Uncle Sonny’s. We may not have always seen eye to eye, and I may have gotten frustrated a time or two with his constant question "Got a boyfriend yet?" But I always got a smile and a hug from him and an encouraging compliment.

He and I attend(ed) the same church, thus I probably saw him a lot more than any of Granny’s other siblings. But the funeral was in the same sanctuary that I have seen so many other things happen; it’s a place that feels just as much like home as my parents’ house. The service was uplifting, encouraging, and comforting. It was also a time for those who may not regularly attend church to hear the gospel of Christ. I LOVE it when that happens. Never give up a chance to share Jesus with others.

But so there is no reason to mourn the loss because I KNOW where Uncle Sonny is. And that is something you cannot get anywhere else. The thoughts running through my head during the ceremony were praises to God that Sonny was with Him. I honestly do not understand why people follow other religions. There is only hope there, no assurance. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with an Islamic leader, I’ve studied other religions and even in their religion they do not know where they will go. They go through life hoping they will make it to heaven. They hope their good outweighs their bad. In some they must depend on friends and family to pray them into heaven after their death. There are still others that must have all wrongs forgiven by those on earth before they are allowed into heaven. Now while I know that the only true way into heaven is from Jesus Christ, how sad it must be going through life never sure of your eternal destination, only having hopes.

PRAISE GOD!! that we as Christians have ASSURANCE of where our eternity will be spent! With that assurance comes peace and comfort. We can live our lives without worry of the afterlife. Instead we can spend our days focused on the work which the Lord has called us to: serving Him by loving others.

 

My Testimony May 11, 2012

Filed under: Comfort,God,Jesus Christ,Saving Grace — Anna @ 10:25 PM

By definition a testimony is “evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something.” Oftentimes we think of testimony as the spoken or written statements given in court as proof or evidence of a crime or something similar.

In Christian terminology, a person’s testimony is his/her story of how Christ saved him/her. So many wonderful speakers, evangelists, pastors, writers have a dramatic testimony. They may have been raised in church or by unbelievers, but they pursued a life away from God, fell down the wrong paths, did the wrong things, were bad people. And then one day, God got a hold of ‘em and they made a complete 180, they were headed one way and made a complete u-turn to head God’s way. These are beautiful testimonies and portray the strength and power of Christ Jesus, His ability to save anybody from anything. These are the testimonies that relate to others who are currently going down the wrong path and give them hope that Jesus can save them, too. I love listening to these people tell their stories. I am always awed by how God speaks to people who are not looking for Him, to those who want nothing to do with Him. These testimonies are powerful tools used by God to reach the lost.

But there are also those of us who were saved at a young age. I myself became a daughter of God at the age of 11. There aren’t too many terrible choices an eleven year old could have made (yes there are many 11 yr olds nowadays in some serious stuff, but that was most definitely not me). But I knew I was a sinner, I had done wrong and that Jesus died for my sins. There was no dramatic change in my life. I had spent the first 11yrs of my life in church and I have since spent the next 13 years in church, bible study, prayer, missions, etc.

I’m not exactly sure why. I’m not sure if it’s our American mentality to compare/rank others or what exactly, but for those who do not have a dramatic testimony, they often do not feel adequate to ‘share their testimony’ as a form of evangelism. When compared to the dramatic “I was heading to hell in the fast lane, then Jesus saved me, and now I’m on fire for Christ’”, the “I grew up in church and asking Jesus into my heart was just as natural as any other thing in life” just doesn’t seem enough.

I know I have felt this way in the past, and I’ve gotten comments from others about it as well. At camp one year, one of the speakers talked about this fact, comparing two aspects of God’s grace: saving grace and sustaining grace. I’d like to explain it comparing to different aspects of God, his role as a Savior and also a Protector. Now of course each Christian experiences salvation and protection from our Lord and Savior, but just as each person’s life is different, each person receives from God differently.

It’s easy to see the saving power of Christ in those who have that ‘dramatic testimony.’ Yet there is an equal amount of protective power of Christ in those who are saved at a younger age. It took my a while to see this in my own life, but there are so many things that God protected me from and I have no doubt that it was because I chose to follow Him at a young age.

By nature I am a people pleaser. I have that desire to be accepted by others, to be appreciated by my friends, to liked, to make others happy. And I am certain that were I not a Christian long before I started high school, I would have done a lot more to try to fit in. Having been raised in the church and deciding before middle school to give my heart to Christ and follow Him, I put what He said ahead of what others said. There were times when I messed up, for instance a summer or two when my clothing was not as modest as it should have been. But for the most part God put a protective shell around me. I never had the opportunity to say no to drugs; it was never offered to me. I never had the opportunity  to not put myself in a compromising situation with a guy; a guy never asked me out.

For the longest time I thought there was something wrong with me, that I was not pretty or pleasing or acceptable to the opposite gender. But God showed me how His hand was over me during this time, protecting me from the bad apples, not allowing me to be led astray, keeping me pure and whole.

For us, we have a different strength of testimony. We can stand strong before our children and tell them it is possible to save yourself for marriage, it is possible to have a full and exuberant life without experiencing drugs, sex, alcohol, peer pressure, etc..

 

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades February 18, 2012

Filed under: Comfort,God,Jesus Christ,Love & Life,Saving Grace — Anna @ 9:44 PM

The two things that comprise the title of this article have one thing in common. It’s the only time ‘being close’ ever counts. In just about any other thing one attempts, close is still failure. Plain and simple as that. A basketball that just barely misses the goal still renders 0 points on the scoreboard. This will tie end by the end, but first some explanation.

Last week in the homework of the Bible study I’m participating in, I read this “Jealousy takes root in the soil of insecurity.” Valentine’s Day, also known among some circles as Singles Awareness Day, I realized I was still battling with such insecurity when I thought I was doing pretty good for February 14th. Then on Wednesday, I began meeting with a group of fellow young women with a common goal to say “So Long (to) Insecurity.” So when I began looking at my psychology homework and saw this as a discussion topic:

You have successfully completed this course, received your degree, and are now faced with the task of using your knowledge of child development to change the world! Choose a problem behavior facing our youths today, such as drug and alcohol use, teenage pregnancy, obesity, or eating disorders, and explain why you think this issue is such a serious concern. What factors do you see contributing to the issue and what types of programs would you implement in order to address the problem?

I had to take a step back. If I were a betting woman I would take the gamble to say that just about every young woman that struggles with eating disorders, drug/alcohol use, or is faced with teen pregnancy, has insecurity issues. If we were to focus on that common root problem, I’m positive we would see a drastic change in our nation’s teenagers.

Now what does this have to do with horseshoes and hand grenades? I started typing my discussion forum post and wanted to ‘Google’ some other information about self-esteem, value, insecurity. I ended up checking out this link: http://community.feministing.com/2010/11/14/self-value/

I started reading, taking it all with a grain of salt, noticing Feminist in the URL. But I was truly surprised by what the author had to say. She hit the nail on the head with the first paragraph.

Here are some questions I believe we can all answer…Have you ever felt like a “loser” because you don’t have that “special” someone? Have you found yourself eating Ben and Jerry’s on your couch, watching the romantic movies to remind you what you don’t have? Have you watched your phone countless times to see if he called?  It happens and I know first hand how that feeling constructs your mood, your self-esteem, your value as an overall human being.

Sounds about right to me. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt. And she rubs noses with the truth in the second paragraph.

…We want to find the moment when we become the exceptions instead of the rules. We want to find that sparkling Edward Cullen to protect us from the world. Princes, heroes, the “bad” boys, the loves at first sight…the “sexy” and most wanted men that we cannot live without…

There is an innate longing in each woman—no matter their color, race, or creed, no matter their social status, language, upbringing, etc.—to find a love that will last forever, to find a love that beats all odds, that protects and stands up for her, a love that loves not because of what she looks like or what she does, but just because she is. Up until now the author of this article has written something very similar to things that I have said or thought in the past. But here’s where she bounces off the rim and flies across the court, straight into Satan’s basket.

Gag.
Instead of reading those self-help books on how to find love, why are we not told that the first love we should have is with ourselves? Why should our happiness be placed on this other person to the point that it manages our value? If he doesn’t call, then he’s the one that will miss out. If a guy doesn’t find you attractive or hit on you, who cares? This doesn’t mean that love should be totally forgotten, but the point is that we need to value ourselves and not base it on someone else. Not all women may feel this way, but if anyone who has found themselves in this situation, remember this quote: “If any female feels she needs anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.” -bell hooks.

Gag? Seriously!? No, a forever romance is a beautiful thing, but it can never come in the form of a sparkling, vegetarian vampire, Prince Charming, or Superman. They are all fictional characters, yet there is Someone so much better than all of the good qualities of those men combined (and then some), Someone who is Real and Alive, Someone who has beaten the worst odds of all time and not only died for us, but came back from the dead!!!

So in closing, yes insecurity is a huge problem in our society. But the problem isn’t in guys being jerks, or girls being mean to each other. The problem comes from trying to squelch the longing that God put in us to point us to Him, from trying to find our worth in ourselves, when we should be finding it in Him. He’s the one who believed and still believes that we are worth dying for.

Be Blessed,

<>< Anna