Monday, January 30, 2017

Death of Me

I've been really sick for a while, so I haven't been on the computer much.  We're not sure what's wrong with me but next week we'll find out.  This entry might be shorter than normally because I'm still sick.

So there's a RED song I really like called "Death of Me."  I never realized until recently it's about addiction.  Later I'll post the lyrics to the song on here.  But I want to point out the chorus:

"You tear me down and then you pick me up
You take it all and still it's not enough
You try to tell me you can heal me
But I'm still bleeding you'll be the death of me"

The way addictions work is we have hole in our hearts that isn't being filled.  So we turn to things we hope will fill that void.  Only Jesus can fill that void, but even then, there still feels like something is missing.  Instead of turning to Jesus to help us, we turn to things like drugs, alcohol, sex, self-harm, or even food.  There's a number of things we tend to turn to.  At first, they feel like they fill that void, but then that feeling starts to fade away, so we turn to it more often.  We take a higher dose of those pills.  We drink more.  We cut deeper.  We eat more food, just so we can get that same feeling.  Eventually it catches up to us though and we realize it can't help us, but by that time it's too late.  We're stuck in a spiral.  We can't stop turning to the addictions.  Our addictions can kill us (even literally).  That's why we need to turn to Christ to help us.  He can heal our brokenness.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


My husband and I saw the movie "Silence" last night.  It's basically about the persecution Christians went through in Japan in the 1600s (I think).  I'm going to try to not give too many spoilers of the movie.  If you haven't seen it I recommend it.

While I was watching the movie, it got me thinking, "To what extent would I be willing to go to teach people about Jesus?"  I always thought that no matter what, even if it meant death, I would not stop teaching about Jesus.  After everything I've been through, I would not apostatize.  But what if people were suffering because I wouldn't leave Christianity?  What if people were being tortured and killed because I refuse to shut up about my faith?  As I thought about this, it really caused me to be upset because honestly, I don't know what I'd do.  Sure, go ahead and kill me, but other innocent people?  That would be really tough.

When I proposed this question to my husband, he was sure he would stick through it, but I'm not so sure about myself.  It reminded me of a story I heard (I believe it's a true story in fact) about a father and son.  Forgive me if I don't remember the story completely accurately because I do have memory problems.  Basically, ISIS went into this home where a father and son lived.  They told the father to apostatize from Christianity and if he didn't, they would cut a finger off his son's.  The father refused to and the son lost all of his fingers and in the end, both the father and the son were killed.  If someone was torturing my husband (or anyone in my family or friends) and told me to renounce my faith in Jesus or they would be tortured, would I keep my faith?  Or would I renounce it in hopes that they wouldn't have to suffer anymore?  As heartless as it may seem, I would hope I would keep my faith in Jesus.  I would hate to watch people suffer, and would cry out to God asking "Why?  Why is this happening to them?  Why can't they torture or kill me instead?"  But in the end, I would hope I would keep the faith.  If I renounced my faith, then all those people who were tortured and killed would have been so for nothing.  Would God forgive me?  I think he would if I asked him to.  After all, Jesus told us to ask and he will forgive!  At the same time though, he also said if we deny him, we deny the Father as well.  To reject Jesus is to reject God all-together.  So let me ask you, how far would you go to share the truth about Jesus?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jesus Wept

I read this book before at the Library and really liked it.  Recently my husband bought it for me online so I've been going through it again.  I've only read the first two chapters and I can tell you this, it's already helping me.  I'll be sure to give a full review on the book when I finish it.  But I thought I'd write a little about it now.

My husband and I have some disagreements about who God is.  Don't get me wrong, the really important parts we agree on.  My husband says God is purely logical with no emotions.  That the only emotion God really has is joy because He's in union with himself (himself as in the trinity - that's another topic though).  He believes Jesus has emotions, but God as a whole doesn't.  I disagree with this though.  If we are made in God's image, and he created us with emotions, wouldn't that mean he has emotions too?  If you talk to my husband, he can give you a better idea of what he believes on this (I'm probably not representing his side very well).  But for this entry, I'm giving you my opinion on the matter.

Jesus is fully God, but he's also fully man.  I know that may be confusing, it can be confusing for me at times too.  When you read about Jesus in the Scriptures, you can see he has human emotions.  Sometimes he gets angry.  Sometimes he is overwhelmed with sadness.  Isaiah 53:3 foretold of Jesus being a "man of sorrows."  We look in John and the shortest verse in the Bible is literally "Jesus wept."  His best friend Lazarus has been dead for three days.  When he goes to the site where Lazarus is buried, Lazarus' sisters Martha and Mary fall at Jesus' feet in tears.  "If you had come earlier my brother would've never died!"  Jesus is overcome with so much grief he actually weeps.  There are debates on why he cried.  Some say it's because people did not believe he could raise Lazarus from the dead.  Others say it's because he knew in a couple of weeks, he too would be experiencing death.  As for me, I think it's because he lost his best friend.  Jesus was just as human as any of us.  When we lose someone we love, we often cry over it.  Why couldn't this have been the same for Jesus?  Jesus' heart broke, and you see other times in Scripture that God's heart breaks.  Genesis 6:7 - "At that point, God's heart broke...."
Luke 19:41 - "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept."

God's heart breaks.

Jesus understands what we go through, because he's been through it too.  Jesus was tempted just like you and me.  Jesus experienced people hating him and even betraying him to death!  Jesus experienced loss, from his best friend's death, and even his cousin (John the Baptist) being killed (beheaded).  Jesus understands grief, because he's experienced grief too.  I think God has all the emotions we have.  He has joy, he has anger, and he has sadness.  We hear a lot about his anger in the Old Testament.  Deuteronomy 32:35 - "It is mine to avenge...."  We hear a lot about God's wrath from people with signs and bullhorns.  "God hates this!  God hates that!  If you don't get your act straight you're going to burn in hell!"  I'm not going to lie, there are things God hates.  There are things he attests.  There are things he despises.  But he doesn't hate people.  He loves EVERYONE - including you and me.  The love of God can be something we don't understand.  Nonetheless, he loves all people.  He created every person out of his love because the truth is, he doesn't NEED any of us.  He created us because he loves us - he wants us!

I think when we hurt, he hurts too.  When we are curled up in a fetus position crying our eyes out, he feels our pain.  When we feel so desperate like we've got to end things (whether it's self-harming or even suicidal), his heart breaks.  He never wanted us to feel this way.  He created a perfect place we know as the Garden of Eden.  We were supposed to be in a perfect relationship with God.  But when Adam and Eve ate from the tree they weren't supposed to, all of creation suffered from it.  We now live in a broken and fallen world because of that, which means we feel pain that we were never meant to feel.  There are fallen, imperfect people, which means people are going to hurt us.

Sometimes people think God is sadistic and just wants to watch us suffer and point the finger at us "This is YOUR fault!"  That's not who God really is though.  He's not out to watch us make mistakes and then judge us.  No.  He wants to help us through our lives.  He wants to guide us.  He wants a relationship with us.  He. loves. you.  No matter what you've done, said, or thought, he loves you.  No matter how much darkness is inside you, he loves you.  He says "Give me your pain, and I will give you healing."  Now, this doesn't mean he's going to heal you right away.  Sometimes we won't get that healing until the next life.  Other times, we'll give him our pain, and for some reason, we keep going back and taking that pain back.  People say "leave your pain at the foot of the cross."  That's definitely easier said than done.  I mean, how do we do that?  How do we say "here Jesus, you can have my pain, my hurts, my sorrows?"  I know sometimes (more like a lot of times), I'll give it to Jesus and say, "Here, take this, I don't want it anymore and can't keep going on like this!"  But after I do that, I go right back and say, "I can't get rid of this!"  We carry luggage in our lives and instead of giving it to God, we keep carrying it until it completely breaks us.  Jesus understands that.  After all, he carried the world on his shoulders.  All of our pain, our suffering, he carried on his shoulders on the cross!  That's a pain, no one could bare.  Jesus understands heartache, because he went through it too.

Jesus wept.

When you go through heartache, remember, Jesus understands and wants to be there for you.  Matthew 11:30 - "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Let him carry your burdens and he will give you rest.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mental Illness Part 2

I was reading a book my husband recommended me called "Unanswered: lasting truth for trending questions" by Jeremiah J. Johnston.  While I read it this quote popped up I HAD to highlight:

"Just because a person has received Jesus Christ as their Savior does not eradicate their choice in behaviors, their hereditary traits, nor their biological, mental, and emotional states."

I've made a similar post about this before.  There are people who believe just because you're a follower of Christ, you shouldn't struggle with mental illnesses.  It's a stigma in the church (and it needs to end soon).  People say things like "Oh you don't have enough faith!"  or "You need to trust God more!" or even "You're not a true believer!"  This is terrible!  Mental illness is the same thing as a person with a physical illness or disability.  The difference is one is a struggle externally, and the other is a struggle internally.  Mental illnesses are a very dark place to be, it can wreck someones soul.  When I say that I'm not saying literally wrecking their soul, but it can run so deep that it can wreck a person pretty badly.  

Say you're talking to someone at your church.  They tell you that they're struggling with a deep depression and they're considering suicide.  If you tell that person that their struggle is because they don't have enough faith, you aren't helping them, but the opposite.  You may be the breaking point that leads them to put a bullet in their brain if you say such a thing!  You wouldn't tell someone in a wheelchair that they don't have enough faith.  So why tell someone with mental illness that they don't have enough faith?

People in the church who struggle with mental illness can often feel like they can't talk to anyone about it because they are ashamed of their 
struggles and are afraid to be judged by anyone.  So what happens?  They try to fight a losing battle on their own and I can tell you from experience, they will NEVER win that battle on their own.  Instead of condemning them, try to support them.  It's a burden that one cannot carry on their own, and while you may not be able to get rid of the burden completely, you can help them carry that burden.

So please, if you know someone who is struggling with mental illnesses, talk to them without condemning them.  Have them talk with a minister who's experienced in this.  I know some ministers are not always the best people to talk to about this because they just don't have the experience to understand.  Especially when some of them aren't a "people person" (I know, it surprises me too!).  Also recommend some psychiatrists or therapists for them to talk to.  This may be difficult due to expenses and insurance. It also can be difficult because they're not a "one size fits all."  I've been to many psychiatrists and therapists over the years and some have been more helpful than others.  That's not their fault, we just didn't really connect I guess.  Anyway, if it's really bad (like suicidal or self-harm), they may need to be taken to the hospital.  Even if they say they don't need to go, they still may need to.  It's not fun going to the hospital I'll be the first to tell you that.  But they can get medications worked out there and constant eyes on them.  Sometimes I've checked myself in without being forced because I knew if I didn't go, I'd end up making another attempt on my life.  Keep them in constant prayer.  Prayer really does help whether you believe in it or not.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

I'm Going to the Gentiles!

Happy New Year everyone!  Today I've got a little bit a rant (I know, it could go bad).  If you read my previous blog, I've been dealing with some Christians who basically treat me like I'm some sort of heretic.  While most of it was going on this past week, it's also been going on throughout the year.  I'm tired of being insulted and treated like I'm the devil when I'm really trying to help them.  There's only so much I'm going to put up with until I say, "I'm done, no more."  Last night as I was pondering about this, a verse in Acts came to mind.

But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, "Your blood is upon your own heads--I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles."

Acts 18:6

So what does that have to do with anything?  Here's the context:

Paul used to be a Pharisee until he had an encounter with Jesus.  It changed him.  So what did he do?  He'd preach about the Good News to the people.  First he preached to the Jews, the "religious" people.  But they didn't care about his message.  They would insult him and even try to kill him!  So what did he do?  He said, "I'm done with you!  You don't want to listen?  Fine, but your blood is on your hands, not mine.  So I'm going to go to the Gentiles (the people who weren't believers and also weren't very religious) instead!

When I've been trying to help other Christians, they refuse to listen to what I have to say.  They get defensive and even insult me.  Yet, when I've talked with some people on Gaia Online who aren't believers, they actually listen to what I have to say!  One of them even asked me about my faith story!  I'm actually able to talk to people about what I believe and help them with situations, that believers refuse to let me do for them.  So I'm done trying to help believers unless they specifically ask for my help.  I'm not going to take it anymore.  I will go to the people instead who appreciate my help, who seem to not be the believers.