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Oh, my feels…

Feelings, whether physical or emotional, are just part of being human, right? Feelings are simply our immediate and instinctive reaction to the various circumstances and happenings in our life. I’m no psychologist, but much of human emotion isn’t extremely complicated. The average adult is usually able to express their emotions in a healthy and mature way.

Understanding that we are made in the image of God, we can safely assume that God has emotion. That seems odd to say but Scripture affirms it. God displays love, compassion, mercy, anger, and jealousy. Jesus was not an emotionless person. Despite being fully God, Jesus wept and He rejoiced.

A healthy display of emotion isn’t bad. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that both laughter and tears can be good for our health. If you’ve ever had a good laugh, you feel somewhat rejuvenated afterwards. And we’ve all had “good cries”. Sometimes, those emotional highs are exactly what our soul needs. They’re a bit of a recharge, if you will.

But what does all this have to do with the price of tea in China? Well…let’s get into that.

Our emotions are just that: our own. Our inborn personality, our experiences, current circumstances, or even our age and gender can have a role in our emotional responses to life’s events. For example, a few months ago, the SAINTS (Seniors Advancing in New Testament Service aka the 65 years old+ members) lead worship in church. They sang the song “There’s Power in the Blood”, and instantly, I started to cry. My grandfather had just passed away and he always sang that song to me. Hearing that song made me sad and it made me miss my Pap. No one else was sad because of that song…no one else was missing their Pap.

As believers, we should always be loving towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. This includes showing compassion and empathizing with them. Romans 12:15 tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.” We should never become jealous when our church family is rejoicing, nor should be scoff at those who are troubled.

Too often, I see Christians treating one another in a way that is very unloving and somewhat calloused. It’s very easy to shrug our shoulders or say, “suck it up, buttercup”. However, that isn’t Christ-like behavior. I can’t seem to find a single passage of Scripture that would suggest that being insensitive and cold is part of the Christian life.

While I do understand our emotions rarely have any basis in reality, people are entitled to feel whatever they’re feeling. We shouldn’t allow our emotions to dictate our decisions, but we shouldn’t completely dismiss them, either. Instead of rolling our eyes, perhaps, we could open our ears. Instead of shrugging our shoulders, perhaps we could open our hearts. Unity within the church is crucial. And I believe that begins by simply loving one another. Love is patient and kind, not annoyed and snarky.

Let me hear your thoughts. Do you find it difficult to be open and honest with the members of your church? Do you find it challenging to be completely raw with fellow believers?

God bless


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It’s not always about you

There was a song we used to sing in church, when I was a kid. The chorus of the song was:

It’s all about you, Jesus

And all this is for you

For your glory and your fame

It’s not about me

As if you should do things my way

You alone are God

And I surrender

To your ways

I always loved that song. There is a simple yet powerful message: it just isn’t always about me. The Christian life is about surrendering ourselves and aiming to glorify God, through everything we do. (Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 10:31)

How often do we sit through a church service and think, “I really didn’t like the songs the worship team did this week? I wish they’d sing more (fill in the blank).” Well, it’s a good thing that worship isn’t about you. It’s about God. God doesn’t care if we sing hymns, out-dating 80s worship, Toby Mac, or if we sing along while an 8-year-old plays “Jesus loves me” on the piano. He just wants us to worship Him. Some weeks, you may love the songs, some weeks, maybe you won’t. It doesn’t matter.

How often do we complain because we didn’t love the pastor’s sermon? Well, again, it’s not always about you. Maybe, just maybe, one of your brothers or sisters in Christ needed to hear that sermon. The church can’t always focus on YOU and YOUR specific wants and needs.

Do we aim to glorify God through our relationships? Our marriage? Our parenting? How about our art? The way we spend our money? The way we spend our time? Or…do we do everything to glorify ourselves?

Do we go to church to be entertained? Or do we go so we can grow in our walk with God? Do we worship so we can hear songs we like? Or do we worship to give God the glory He deserves?

My message to you is simple: quit focusing on yourself so much. (And for what it’s worth, I’m talking to myself as well.) If we stopped living so selfishly, maybe we, as the church, could actually make a difference in this world. When the church binds together to do what God has called us to do, we’re a forced to be reckoned with. But the problem is we don’t bind together. We complain and cry about all the things we don’t like and wish were different.

Take your eyes off yourself for a moment and focus on the divine. Focus on what God has called you to do. Jesus told us that the greatest command is love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. Every command we’ve been given hinges on those two things. Notice how the greatest command isn’t “Do whatever makes you happy”. No, the greatest command is to love God and love others.

To wrap this up, I don’t mean to imply that you aren’t important, that your voice should be heard, or that your thoughts don’t matter. I’m certainly not implying that you shouldn’t take care of yourself. But, there is a huge difference between taking care of yourself and living selfishly. The modern-day church has become a very selfish bunch of people. Perhaps that’s why so many young people are leaving. If we focused our attention on Christ, instead of ourselves, I truly believe we could accomplish great things.

God bless…


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Forgiveness Isn’t Fair

Depending, of course, on the circumstances, there are times where forgiveness may be effortless. For example:

 

1. When the offense is small. – Recently, my husband broke my favorite mug. It was a blue M&M mug and I loved it. Of course I didn’t stay mad. It is, after all, just a mug. While I was initially annoyed, it was a small offense that was easy to forgive.

2. When the person is sorry. – If a person has wronged us, in some way, and they are groveling and begging for forgiveness, it does make it a bit easier to forgive them. We’re often made uncomfortable by another’s pleading and we just want it to stop. So, we forgive them.

3. When we care about the person. – It’s easy to forgive someone we love and care about. As a matter of fact, it’s fairly easy for us to just overlook their faults. When we care about the person and we care about preserving the relationship, forgiveness comes, almost, naturally.

But, there are times where forgiveness isn’t quite so easy. For example:

 

1. When the offense is large. – If you were, say, abused as a child. Forgiving the parent, relative, teacher, whomever that abused you is going to be difficult. It is far more challenging than forgiving your husband for breaking your favorite mug. Forgiving someone who created a childhood you needed to recover from is extremely difficult.

2. When they’re not sorry. – Many moons ago, I was in an an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. When I finally mustered up the courage to confront him, he laughed in my face. His reaction opened that wound up all over again. I had to start the forgiveness process from the beginning.

3. When we don’t care about the person. – Forgiving someone is nearly impossible when we really don’t care that they exist. If the person who hurt us is no longer in our life, we’re not close to them, it’s easy to neglect the forgiveness process.

When often assume that when forgiveness is difficult, it must be because of our own emotion. We’re holding onto anger, sorrow, regret, bitterness, or resentment. While I do believe our emotions play a huge role in whether or not we forgive, I believe there’s more to it. I believe we also withhold forgiveness because forgiveness isn’t fair.

When someone has hurt us or wronged us, we often feel that they owe us something. Maybe the owe us our childhood back, years of our life back, or perhaps just our happiness back. They don’t deserve our forgiveness. They deserve punishment. They need to get what’s coming to ’em. Truthfully, you’re probably right. They don’t deserve your forgiveness. It’s NOT fair. Forgive anyway.

What we fail to realize, as Christians, is that the cross wasn’t fair. Jesus paid the price that we owed. He wiped away a debt that we created. The wrath of God was poured out on the cross. We deserved that wrath, but Jesus took it. He took our sin, He took our shame, He took our guilt, He took our chains and He gave Himself freely. While we were still sinners, God loved us enough to send His son to die for us.  The cross wasn’t fair. It was mercy.

We tell people all the time that forgiveness isn’t for the other person, it’s for the person doing the forgiving. In a sense, I would agree with that. Forgiveness sets you free from the person who hurt you. But, don’t just forgive for yourself, forgive because Christ poured out His blood for you. Forgive because God has forgiving the unforgivable, the unjustifiable, and the inexcusable in you.

Forgiveness wipes away a debt, it wipes away what is owed. It’s mercy. It’s love. It’s divine. Forgive, because you’ve been forgiven.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13

God bless


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Women’s Ministries: Why so fluffy?

As I’ve said before, I’ve been a Christian for a long time. Over the years, I’ve sat through countless women’s seminars, retreats, conventions, and conferences. I’ve read an assortment of highly recommended literature with Christian women being the target audience. I’ve even followed a few women’s ministries on social media. Through all this, I’ve started to notice a pattern: women’s ministries are fluffy. No, not fluffy like a kitten. Fluffy as in seriously lacking substance.

At the rate we’re going, we’re going to start seeing tutorials on how to wing your eyeliner to glorify God. It’s getting rough out there, girls. Admittedly, I’m being a bit hyperbolic, but my general sentiment remains: there isn’t much of substance for Christian women.

Women’s ministries, generally, tend to focus on two things: modesty and beauty. Either we’re being given tips on finding a fashionable and modest summer wardrobe, OR we’re being reminded that we’re a beautiful, sparkly, precious diamond. Now, before anyone takes offense, I’m not implying those are bad topics of conversation. I’m saying that should not be our only topic of conversation.

Despite my upbringing in church, there was so much I didn’t know. For example, I had absolutely no idea how to read and study my Bible. No one had ever taught me. I found myself just reading Psalms over and over and over. As much as it pains me to admit this, I didn’t read any of the prophetic books of the Bible until I was in my 20s. But, I did know how to find a cute bathing suit for summer that would glorify God! I knew that Christians girls should never wear black lipstick or sparkly eyeshadow (natural colors only, obviously.)

It would also seem that most Christian women only aim to chase an emotional experience instead of coming to a firm understanding of God’s Word. We want to cry at the altar and feel the presence of God, but we don’t want to increase our knowledge. Again, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying it’s bad to become emotional (I cry all the time), but we shouldn’t just be chasing an emotional experience. It seems that if we don’t cry in church, we think our faith is lacking or we aren’t truly experiencing God.

Why don’t we see 3-day women’s seminars that focuses on how to properly interpret and apply Scripture? Where is the women’s conference that addresses Christian history? Why don’t more women’s ministries sell books that teach women some Greek or Hebrew? Perhaps, it’s time for a change in women’s ministries within the Christian Church.

Biblical womanhood goes beyond modest clothing and makeup. Why not start learning about God’s calling for us women? Why don’t we start to study what it truly means to be a Christian woman? I hope, I pray, we start to see some material that’s more substantial for women. I truly believe that Christian church needs it. Women are a crucial part of the church and our spiritual growth should be important to us.

What are your thoughts? Are women’s ministries too fluffy? Do we need some more substantial information out there for women? Is it time for women’s ministries to have a bit of an overhaul? Let us know your thoughts! We love to hear from you all!

God Bless!


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Sexualize all the Things!

Perhaps, I’m over-reaching. Perhaps, I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, but, hear me out.

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It’s no secret to anyone that we use sex to sell everything from burgers to cars. Popular television shows like Orange is the New Black and Shameless contain so many sex scenes they are, honestly, soft-core porn. Our country is completely sex-obsessed. We know that. But honestly, I think it’s far worse than we realize.

We find it odd when a mother kisses her child on the lips. There was a huge controversy a few months ago when actress, Hillary Duff, kissed her 4-year-old son. I’ve heard plenty of people say that kissing your child on the lips is inappropriate. And why do we think that? Because in our culture, kissing is sexual. Of course we think kissing your child is inappropriate if kissing is sexual. The irony is, we don’t find it odd that people will kiss a perfect stranger, but kissing your children on the lips, that’s where we’ll draw the line. And side-note: if you can’t differentiate between the way mommies and daddies kiss from the way mommies and babies kiss, I don’t think I can help you.

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We’re offended by breastfeeding and childbirth. Yet we’re not offended by nudity and pornography. And why? Because we don’t mind seeing women’s bodies when they’re being sexualized. We do mind, however, when women’s bodies are doing what they’re meant to do. It would seem that seeing women in a way that isn’t sexual bothers us.

It’s reached a point where we’ve even begun to sexualize children. No, I’m not kidding. I’ve seen clothing for babies that says things like “sexy thang” on it. A baby is not sexy. They’re adorable, not sexy. If you think babies are sexy, again, I can’t help you. Perhaps a really good therapist can.

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I could go on and on, but I hope you see my point. Of course Christians look like prudes compared to our sex-obsessed culture. It’s completely counter-cultural to NOT be completely sex-obsessed. It’s counter-cultural to be bothered by half-naked women trying to make burgers sexy (lookin’ at you, Hardees). It’s counter-cultural to think it’s a bad idea to have sex with a perfect stranger. And it’s most definitely counter-cultural to believe sex should stay within the confines of marriage.

Saint Philaret of Moscow said, “A fish that is alive swims against the flow of water. One that is dead floats down the river. A true Christians goes against the current of the sinful age. A false one is swept away with the current.”

I’m certainly not implying that sex is sinful. It can be, it isn’t always. There are so many things God created that were meant to be good, but we abuse them. Sex and food are two wonderful examples. Of course food is good, it keeps us alive. I do believe it was meant to be enjoyed as the good Lord gave us taste buds. And I feel the same way about sex. I do believe sex was intended to be good and it was meant to be enjoyed. God wouldn’t have designed sex to be pleasurable if it wasn’t meant to be enjoyed.

However, we’ve taken things that God designed to be good and we’ve made them sinful. Our obsession with sex if neither good nor healthy. Our sex-crazed culture is evidence that we no longer view sex as something that is sacred. Rather, we view it the same as we would a clever jingle or a hand shake.

So, what do we do about it? Well, for starters, we refuse to participate in this nonsense. Perhaps, we think twice before buying our 6 month old a “sexy thang” onesie. Get them a onesie with a cute giraffe or a penguin on it instead. Perhaps we rethink the shows we watch. We rethink the music we listen to. We can, most definitely, vote with our dollar.

We can also use our voice. We can tell companies who use half-naked women to sell their products that we’re not okay with it. Hardee’s recently released a statement that they’re going to be changing their advertisement. If enough people speak up, these companies will change.

And, lastly, we adhere to God’s design. God didn’t want us to have sex with just anybody. He designed sex to bind us to one person: our spouse. Stick to that plan. If you’ve already broken this command, it isn’t too late to ask for forgiveness.

In conclusion: I want to hear your thoughts. Should we be concerned about our sex-obsessed culture? What should we do about it?

God bless


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KJV Only? We asked a pastor

There are a handful of Christians that, truly, believe the King James Version (KJV) is the only authorized version of the Bible. Slightly confused, we took it upon ourselves to just ask a pastor. Our good friend, Pastor Dave, had quite a bit to say on the issue. Here is our interview with Pastor Dave concerning the KJV only movement**

Kristin of Christians in Motion: Hey Pastor Dave, I was wondering if I could pick your brain about something. King James Onlyism. Where does this idea come from? Christians that believe the KJV is the only authorized translation of the Bible, why do they believe that? I’m legitimately confused

Pastor Dave: You and me both. Their reasoning is that it is called the “authorized” version, which they think implies God’s authorization, I suppose. They argue that it has withstood the test of time, and they argue that it was not written by the biblical liberals of today, so we know the translator were sincere in their faith. All of those reasons are demonstrably false.

In addition, the texts used by the KJV translator were inferior to those used in contemporary translations. I can go into more detail if you would like about why their assertions about KJV authority is wrong, if you would like…

Kristin: Fire away! Because I don’t understand. I have several translations of the Bible (NIV, NLT, KJV, ESV, NASB) and I don’t see much difference between them. To be fair, I am no theologian or Biblical scholar but the differences seem to be minor.

PD: First, the authorization for KJV came from King James. The KJV only crowd have this naive view that the translation was written by people sincere in their faith. However, nothing could be more politcally motivated and liberal in its intention than King James and his translator. King James was the only one making the final break from Catholicism, and the only way to establish himself, as opposed to the pope, as the head this new church was to authorize an English translation of the Bible. There could be no more cynical and self-serving reason to order a translation than that.

Second, they had inferior Greek texts from which to work. The oldest texts were copies dating back only to 1000 A.D. We now have access to texts dating to 120 A.D., MUCH closer to the original manuscripts. There are glaring differences between the inferior texts that KJV used to translate the Bible.

Third, they did not have the Greek scholarship and the archeological understand that we have today. This significantly hampered their translation.

Fourth, just because something stands the test of time, does not mean it is great. Under that reasoning, we would still be using the Latin Vulgate, which is significantly older and still used by more people than the KJV. That argument also means we should consider going back to the Roman Catholic church. they have withstood the test of time, haven’t they?

Fifth, we can know about the qualities and character of those who make contemporary translations, contrary to the argument of the KJV only crowd. We can actually know their names and interview them. There are liberal translators and conservative translators. We can’t really know the character of the scholars working on the KJV.

Lastly, there are significant differences between some translations, but that is more time consuming. I am a HUGE fan of the NLT, which I think takes into considerations many of my concerns.

Kristin: This helps to clarify. I was so confused by the KJV only movement.

PD: I rank them up there with the flat earth people.

**This interview is published with permission from Pastor Dave Jones. Intro is written by Kristin Geckle of Christians in Motion.