MEN, MAN UP! On Lust, Pornography and Sex

This is a blog from one of my good friends, Gabriel Kreider! I’m so proud of him! This was his first post and it’s AMAZING! He speaks on such a relevant topic in our society. Everyone check it out! ūüôā

gabrielkreider's Blog

In writing this I want to first make it clear that I write knowing full well that I am not innocent of these impure things I am speaking on. Also, I would never judge anyone for any of this either.  I believe that it is truly amazing how we can find new life in Jesus Christ, even when we are so unworthy. We are ALL guilty of sin, but we have a chance to refocus our selves on the one who created us. Proverbs 16:3, Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. I my self once laid in a grave that was beginning to fill up with dirt consuming me in darkness. I looked to God, and He rescued me. Even though my flesh is stained from the dirt I once laid in, I now enjoy the warmth of the light God.

MEN, MAN UP…

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Do Christians Serve a Morally “Evil” God? || Refuting Atheism

Let me state one thing before I proceed..

I truly like atheists..¬†the ones I’ve encountered at least.

Most of whom I’ve conversed with are respectful, while still posing intellectual questions for me to consider.
I always leave our conversations feeling challenged to take my faith more seriously.

So, that being said… This is NOT an attack on atheists.
This is simply a post to stimulate the brain and hopefully show some inconsistencies to think about.

Here goes nothing.

So an atheist FB friend shared the following picture he found on another Atheist website:

HcdCWdT

At first glance, this picture made me pretty angry.
Not only is this extremely inaccurate.. but it is also manipulative.

However, I realized that the guy who posted this was¬†only sharing his concern about¬†how the God of the Bible seems to be a more like an “evil God” than the ‚Äúloving God‚ÄĚ that Christians portray him to be.

He was only showing his frustration towards a valid concern many people have.
So I calmed down..¬†however, I couldn’t help but asking a couple questions.

I commented and said something like:
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt mean to be that person, but I just want to clarify a couple things.. are you trying to say that God is wrong for doing such a thing? Is he ‚Äúbad‚ÄĚ for killing that many people? Because, I was under the impression that Atheist‚Äôs don‚Äôt believe in absolute morality? Now, you are certainly free to believe that God doesn’t exist, but who are you to question whether God is morally right or wrong? Under your own worldview, aren‚Äôt you supposed to just leave everyone alone to make decisions for themselves without forcing your own morality on them? I’m just confused by this post.‚ÄĚ

He never replied, but one of his friend‚Äôs did. She said, ‚ÄúWell, then why are you commenting on his post? Aren‚Äôt you forcing your moralities on him right now?‚ÄĚ

I then said, ‚ÄúYes well you see, I do¬†believe in absolute morality, I believe that there is an real standard out there for right and wrong that none of us have created.. it does not contradict my worldview to point out that he is wrong for claiming God‚Äôs sense of morality is ‚Äúbad‚ÄĚ. However, for atheists, they are not allowed to force their own morality on other people.. or God. See, you are forcing your own moralities on me by telling me that it is wrong to force my moralities on him. This argument is cyclical and can go on forever.‚ÄĚ

Neither of them ever replied after that.

As C.S. Lewis states in his first chapter of Mere Christianity, ‚ÄúThe moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people‚Äôs ideas get nearer to that real Right than others.‚ÄĚ

So, is God “bad” for killing “2,476,633” people?
Depends. What do you consider bad?
Do you consider people “bad” for raping women?
Do you consider people “bad” for treating others inhumanly as slaves?
Do you consider people “bad” for having sexual relations with anything and everything that walks.. animals included?
Do you consider people “bad” for sacrificing¬†their own¬†children to their pagan Gods?

Oh, you do…? Well good, me too.

Well from my personal opinion, I think that makes God the HERO.
He’s the one who wiped out people who were doing these types of horrendous things.

Of course these are extreme examples and many may have been engaged in what we consider “less severe” sins.. stuff we see today on a daily basis:
Lying, stealing, cheating, coveting, sexual immorality, drunkenness, homosexuality, adultery.. etc. (I Corinthians 6:9-11)

But if GOD is the one who created right and wrong, and HE is the one who made the standard.. well then HE get’s to decide what is morally wrong and HE get’s to decide what the punishment for sin is… not us.

However, it’s not like he ENJOYS doing it. He doesn’t WANT to punish his beloved creation.
Though he IS loving, patient, & kind. He is also JUST. And because of this, sin can not go unpunished, whether it be in this life, or the next.

He stated this from the very beginning.
The wages of sin has ALWAYS been death.
But thankfully He sent his OWN son, Jesus, to take this punishment for us on the CROSS.
God now doesn’t operate like this because the ultimate payment for sins has been made!
Would a morally “bad” God do something like THAT?!

However, consider the alternative if there is no such thing as moral absolutism…
Would Hitler, for example, really be that bad of a person? I mean, he was only trying to live out “survival of the fittest”.. which of course is an integral part to atheism.

And don’t forget that Hitler believed that he was RIGHT in murdering the Jews.
So if there is no REAL moral standard out there, then he certainly is not WRONG for doing so.
Just because I don’t like his “personal taste” in morality‚Ķ doesn’t give me the right to claim he is a “bad” person?

Ha, obviously this completely goes against our own conscience.
We KNOW that there is a REAL right and wrong out there. Something that none of us have created. Morality is written on every human being’s heart. It is not something that society has come up with on it’s own.

The only difference is whether people choose to accept this standard, or reject it.
The choice is ours.

But remember, there IS hope.
The beauty of this truth is that the story doesn’t end here.
God has graciously provided a way for us to be forgiven for our sins.
Through Christ, we no longer have to pay the penalty for our disobedience…
Though the punishment for sin is DEATH, the gift of God is eternal LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord – Romans 6:23

American Christianity || A Sad, but Typical Example

American Christianity?

What exactly do I mean by this, you ask?

Well, over the years I have been blessed by many cross-cultural friendships, as well as having my own… foreign mother. Filipino to be exact ūüėČ haha

Though I was born and raised here in the U.S., my heart is equally Filipino as it is American. I am greatly torn between two cultures that I love. In a perfect world, surely I would be living in the Philippines for at least several months out of every year. 

Anyways, that being said. I feel like I have a good amount of experience (for my age) with different cultures and also how these cultures react to Christianity. What you are about to read is¬†a conversation that I had with one of my twitter followers a while back. (I have changed the user’s name for privacy reasons). It’s a conversation that, to me, seems very typical for a young adult American who claims to be a Christian.¬†

 

NOTE: I want to say beforehand that this is directed towards those who already consider themselves followers of Christ. I understand that not everyone who may read this is in fact a Christian, and I want you to understand that if you are not claiming the Lord’s name as your Savior.. then I certainly do not hold you to this standard. Either way, Christian or not, I care about you and your relationship with the Lord. I also am in no way trying to say that I am perfect and have it all figured out. The Lord has been SO patient with me throughout my own sins and struggles. My heart behind this conversation is not to condemn, but to make sure that if we are claiming the Lord’s name, that we are representing Him to the best of our abilities. I strongly believe that there is a huge difference between a struggling Christian (as we all are) and a “fake” Christian, one who claims to be a follower but has no interest in actually living a life that reflects Christ’s teachings. God will be the ultimate judge though… he alone will be the one who decides who is a true follower and who is fake, not me. My hope and prayer though is that this conversation will make you think and consider where YOU are in your walk with the Lord.¬†

 

So…¬†here is my conversation in full that started from a tweet:

My Tweet: “An inheritance that can‚Äôt perish, spoil, or fade is being kept in heaven for you – 1 Peter 1:4 [IF u follow Jesus.. there ARE requirements]”

 
Adam: And what are those?
 
Me: The Bible’s requirements of inheriting Gods kingdom are repenting & turning from past sin, believing in/living for Christ! ūüôā
 
 
Adam: We are talking about getting into heaven. All you do is believe and you’re saved.
 
Hannah: Yes, as long as the word “believe” still means “trusting in, adhering to, and relying upon” Jesus.. then yes. Some people think that simply believing that He existed without changing their lifestyle is enough though.

 
Adam: You can believe once and get eternity.
 

Me: Sadly, that is just not Biblical, I wish it were :/ This life would be so much easier wouldn’t it? If we could just simply believe as a child that Jesus died for our sins.. and then live the way we want for the rest of our lives here on earth. Jesus speaks against this a lot though.¬†Matthew 7:21 – Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

 
Also he uses an analogy for all those who choose to stop following Christ. Jesus says in¬†Matthew 7:16-20: ‚ÄúYou will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? ‚ÄúSo every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and¬†thrown into the fire. So¬†then, you will know them by their fruits.”
 
He is talking about even “lukewarm” Christians. American Christianity doesn’t preach this often, but the Bible is very clear that¬†“only those who do the will of the Father will enter heaven”. And what is the will of the Father?¬†To love Him.¬†Because if we love Him, we will keep His commands and we will share His love with others! ūüôā Jesus says in¬†John 14:1 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
 
We also see in the Bible that simply “believing” in our head about Christ, but doing nothing about it (not sharing the Gospel with others/not living for Christ) shows that our faith is¬†“dead”.¬†
 
James 2:18-24: “But someone may well say, ‚ÄúYou have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.‚ÄĚ You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons¬†also¬†believe,¬†and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‚Äúand Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to Him as righteousness,‚ÄĚ and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
 
God also talks about those who will not inherit the Kingdom.. 
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 РDo you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 
 
BUT Christ leaves us with HOPE and forgiveness to all who choose to repent and follow Him in the next verse! ūüôā¬†
 
1 Corinthians 6: 11- And that is what some of you WERE. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
 
God is so good and can forgive anyone. He has certainly forgiven me of my past sins and mistakes. I’ve been washed clean and am a new creation ūüôā¬†
 
Adam: Romans 10:9-11 KJV. Saved. Sealed. Sins eternally forgiven. It kind of sounds like you’re saying you are saved by works.¬†
 

Me: No, you’ve missed the point. We are certainly¬†not¬†saved by works. That is what the Jews still hold on to. Many religions believe that we can some how earn God’s grace and if we’re “good enough” we’ll make it into heaven.¬†

 
This is not what any of those verses I listed are saying. What they ARE saying though is that faith without works is DEAD. Because let’s face it, God knows our hearts and if we TRULY believe. If a Christian TRULY believed that if their family/friends don’t accept Christ, they will go to Hell‚Ķ¬†then how much would someone have to¬†HATE¬†someone not to do everything in their power to share Christ with them? To SHOW Christ to them.. ? If we¬†truly¬†believed the Bible.. we would do something about it, not just keep it to ourselves.¬†
 
No.¬†No amount of works will save us.¬†But we ARE required as Christians to repent of our past sins, turn from those sins and not do them again, and then tell the world about Christ. Yes, Christ can forgive any sin and will continue to love and pursue us for the rest of our lives. But many people abuse his Grace as a license to continue sinning. Christ says though that those who are disobedient will be “cut off”.¬†
 
I mean, you just quoted one of the best passages of teaching in the whole Bible. Did you read the whole chapter?? The verses right before it and right after it are ESSENTIAL to the Christian faith. 
 
Verse 5¬†“Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: ‚ÄúThe person who does these things will live by them.‚ÄĚ
 
He’s saying, if you TRULY believed, you would LIVE by them.. that is what it means to “believe”.¬†
 
Verse 8¬†“But what does it say? ‚ÄúThe word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,‚ÄĚ that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim”¬†
 
Again, if we truly believe… we would cherish God’s word, it would be written on our hearts and we would profess it with our mouths ^^¬†Psalms 119:11 – “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
 
Verse 10:¬†“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
 
So this verse.. it says that the belief is in our¬†heart.. not our mind. Head knowledge about Christ is NOT true belief. True belief is when someone accepts Christ in their¬†heart, repents of their past sins and chooses to live their life for Him thereafter. Living our life for Christ is NOT a works based faith. It is simply true belief. If someone really believes in Christ, they would WANT to obey His commands. That’s what Jesus says over and over again.¬†
 
Ever heard of a Fan verses a Follower of Christ? 
A fan of Jesus may know facts about Christ.. may cheer him on from the sidelines. But then continues to go about their own life, not caring really about what Christ says unless it’s a Sunday.. but a follower of Christ is different. A follower spends time with Christ personally.¬†A follower is intimate with Jesus, listens to His teachings, tries to live their life for Christ, trying to please only Him. He says this is a *requirement* if we want to be his disciples:¬†
 
Matthew 16:24 -Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
 
Sadly, we have very few Christians trying to deny their flesh these days. “Christians” don’t look any different than the world anymore.¬†
 
Romans 12:2 – Do NOT be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
 
1 Peter 1:14 – As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance..
 
 
Christians are called to be different. We are not saved through works. But if one is a TRUE believer, then works will naturally happen.. because a person who loves the Lord will WANT to share with others what He has done for them. A true believer would be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will transform a person to become more like Christ. That is how someone can tell if someone truly “believes”.. not someone who just claims to be a Christian. But someone who is trying to¬†live their life for Christ.¬†
 
Last passage:
 
Hebrews 10-26-31: “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there NO LONGER remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has INSULTED the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‚ÄúVENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.‚ÄĚ And again, ‚ÄúTHE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.‚ÄĚ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
 
Adam:¬†I’m saved by grace, no matter how I act.¬†I just don’t agree with you, it’s all good.
 
Me: You know, I know we’re not going to agree on everything. Everyone has their own opinions, yes. But I was really hoping that we would see eye to eye at least when it came to the Bible, because we are both Christians. We simply can’t change what the Word says. This isn’t “my opinion”.. I quoted Scripture… this is GOD’S word? Do you believe the Bible is the word of God? To deny what the Scripture says about turning from sin and living for Him would be to deny Christ. You said that “I’m saved by grace, no matter how I act”, but this simply is NOT Biblical.. I really am not trying to be that “holier than thou Christian”.. I really DO care about you, even though I don’t know you. Like I said, I’ve made many mistakes in my past.. but I have REPENTED from them and turned from my sin. However, if I were still doing the things that I did before I was saved then I would be disobeying Christ. I just don’t want you to go down a path that doesn’t lead to God.. :/ Because he says over and over again that it DOES matter how you act! I mean, if you can provide me a passage in the Bible that says you can continue living in sin, I will look into it. I just know the Bible doesn’t say this.¬†
 
2 Corinthians 5:10 
For we must ALL appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
 
Please take theses verses seriously, and pray about it. My dear brother in Christ, Adam, please please take this seriously.¬†I mean it when I say I truly care. I’m not just trying to smack you with the Bible… I will also pray for you tonight. And I mean that, I don’t take prayer lightly! ūüôā
 
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
 
So there you have it, our full conversation. 
Though this does not necessarily represent American Christianity as a whole, 
I do think it represents a good majority of people in the U.S. who claim to be Christian. 
Around the world, I’ve observed that people who are raised in other cultures take the Lord’s words more seriously.
Many people are willing to DIE for Christ in other countries.. but we in the U.S. are barely willing to LIVE for him.
 
Complacency is a real struggle. I know, trust me. It’s a daily fight!
But please, fellow believers in Christ… let’s stop making excuses.¬†
It’s time we take our Lord and Savior seriously.¬†
He gave His life for each of us out of love. 
If we truly understood the price He paid for our sins on the cross..
our lives as followers of Christ would look radically different. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Christmas without Christ? || The significance of the Cross

The older I get, the more and more thankful I am for Christmas.

Not because of the gifts or family get-togethers.
Not because of the holiday cheer and the beautiful lights.
Not because of the sugary treats and fun festivities.
Not even because of the tacky Christmas sweaters I get to wear…
Though all these things are surely a bonus to the season.

No, the older I get the more I realize that Christmas truly IS so much more.
Growing up I always heard people say, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
It’s CHRISTmas. They would say.
Yes yes, of course it is.
But it’s something most people will just smile at and intellectually agree with..
but never really take the time to ponder the significance of that statement.

Especially being raised in a Christian home, I tend to take for granted what Christ has done for me.¬†I become “religious”.. Everything becomes a ritual.. I’ve just done it for so long, it just losses meaning.
Aghh, what a tragedy.

See, I think if we truly, and fully understood the significance of Christ’s birth.. the original reason for celebrating Christmas,¬†our lives would look radically different. This country, who basically worships Christmas,¬†would be¬†drastically¬†transformed.

We forget that Christmas represents the greatest gift ever given to humanity.
God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ.

Amongst all the festivities, gifts, food, Santa, and other holiday activities..
Christ almost seems like a benchwarmer on the sidelines instead of the MVP.
It’s like we’ve thrown a surprise birthday party for someone we forgot to invite, but celebrate anyways.

I’m guilty of this, I must admit.

But there’s simply no gift that will¬†ever¬†come close to what God gave us. Period.
He gave us a second chance at obtaining eternal LIFE.
It’s a gift we can never repay.. even if we wanted to.

Yes. We may have heard it all before.
But do we understand what we’ve heard? Like fully and completely?
I thought I did. I was wrong.

Now, I know the Cross is normally associated with Easter instead of Christmas.
But let us never forget that the¬†sole purpose¬†of Christ’s birth, was to become a sacrifice for us 33 years later.¬†God’s gift to humanity was Him accepting the death of his¬†perfect¬†Son as a substitution for¬†our¬†sins.

This summer I read a description of what happened on the Cross that really opened my eyes.¬†In David Platt’s book, Radical, he explained this better than anyone I’ve ever heard before.

It certainly makes me appreciate Christmas even more.
Hopefully it does the same for you.

He starts off with some intriguing questions:

“Do we really think that the false judgement of men heaped upon Christ would pay the debt for all of humankind’s sin? Do we¬†really¬†think that a crown of thorns and whips and nails and a wooden cross and all the other facets of the crucifixion that we glamorize are powerful enough to save¬†us?

Picture Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. As he kneels before his Father, drops of sweat and blood fall together from his head. WHY is he in such agony and pain? The answer is not because he is afraid of crucifixion. He is not trembling because of what the Roman soldiers are about to do to him.

Since that day countless men and women in the history of Christianity have died for their faith. Some of them were not just hung on crosses; they were burned there. Many of them went to their crosses singing.

One Christian in India, while being¬†skinned alive, looked at his persecutors and said, “I thank you for this. Tear off my old garment, for I will soon put on Christ’s garment of righteousness”.

Did these men and women in Christian history have more courage than Christ himself? Why was he trembling in that garden, weeping and full of anguish? We can rest assured that he was NOT a coward about to face Roman soldiers. Instead he was a Savior about to endure… divine wrath.

Listen to his words: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” The “cup” is not a reference to a wooden cross; it is a reference to divine judgment.¬†It is the cup of God’s wrath.

This is what Jesus is recoiling from in the garden. All God’s holy wrath and hatred toward sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, is about to be poured out on him, and he is sweating blood at the thought of it.

What happened at the Cross was not primarily about nails being thrust into Jesus’ hands and feet but about the wrath due¬†your sin¬†and¬†my sin¬†being thrust upon¬†his soul. In that holy moment, all the righteous wrath and justice of God due us came rushing down like a torrent on Christ himself. Some say, “God looked down and could not bear to see the suffering that the soldiers were inflicting on Jesus, so he turned away.” But this is¬†not¬†true.¬†God turned away because he could not bear to see your sin and my sin on his Son.

One preacher described it as if you and I were standing a short hundred yards away from a dam of water ten thousand miles high and ten thousand miles wide. All of a sudden that dam was breached, and a torrential flood of water came crashing toward us. Right before it reached our feet, the ground in front of us opened up and swallowed it all. At the Cross, Christ drank the full cup of the wrath of God, and when he had downed the last drop, he turned the cup over and cried out, “It is finished.” (Platt, p. 34-36).

Wooow. I’ve never heard of a better description about the Cross.
Every time I read this I get cold chills and want to cry.
God.. did that. To his Son.. for ME? For YOU? For humankind?
Gosh, we are so undeserving.

But this my friends.. was the whole purpose of Christ’s birth. The true reason to celebrate Christmas. He was born, to die… to die so that we might live.
‚ÄúShe will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will¬†save his people from their sins‚ÄĚ (Matthew 1:21).

Anyways, I hope this blog encouraged you.
Christ really does love each and every one of us THAT much.
The greatest gift has already been given, and it demands a response.
Giving our lives over to Christ as a living sacrifice is the only acceptable gift we can offer Him.

I pray you all have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Peace and blessings. Peace and blessings ya’ll.

=]

christmas bulletin 1

Welcome to the 20s || Living a Meaningful Life

(Started writing this on September 9th, my birthday, but didn’t get around to finishing it until now lol)

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Welp, today’s that “special” day. The day I kiss my teen years goodbye and embrace my twenties. It’s a weird feeling, not gonna lie.

The song Britney Spears sang when I was a kid has a whole new meaning now. “I’m not a girl, but not yet a women”.. yeah, that basically sums up my life right now. It’s funny cause there are moments when I honestly feel like I’m about 23 years old; but then there are moments where I feel like I’m in high school all over again singing Fifteen by Taylor Swift.

20, such an awkward age…

But you know, I am so thankful to have made it this far. I know that sounds super cheese ball, but honestly… our days are not guaranteed. Often times I sit back and watch the way some of my friends live their lives while in college and they truly have embraced the whole “YOLO” motto. People my age live like they’re invincible, never fully thinking about some of the consequences that could stay with them for the rest of their lives. The majority of young adults have believed the quote, “To be old and wise, you must first be young and crazy”‚Ķ well maybe there is some truth in that, but what ever happened to learning from other people’s mistakes? I’d like to think that I’d go through life being wise without¬†the extra baggage of the consequences of my youthful mistakes. But of course, we all have freedom to do as we please and I’m certainly not saying that I’m perfect. Gosh, I’m so far from it. God certainly knows this. But what I am saying is that I don’t want to regret even a day of my life. I want so badly to hear those words from the Lord on that day saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Something that really struck me over the summer when I was reading in Ecclesiastes was in chapter 11, verses 9-12.

Be happy, young man, while you are young,

and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.

Follow the ways of your heart

    and whatever your eyes see,

but know that for all these things

    God will bring you into judgment.

So then, banish anxiety from your heart

    and cast off the troubles of your body,

    for youth and vigor are meaningless.

Ha, did you catch the humor? Do¬†whatever¬†you want in life.. after all, it’s¬†your¬†life and you only have one chance to live it. However, know that God will¬†judge you accordingly in the end. Wow. What a gut check. I think we often forget this side of God… that although he is loving,¬†he is also just. And perfect justice demands judgment.

So get this, the writer of this is King Solomon.. apparently the “wisest” man to ever live according to the Bible, literally had EVERYTHING the world could offer. He had fame, fortune, clothes, food (yes, TONS of food!!).. and not to mention women. LOTS of women. What else could he want in life by the world’s standards, right? Throughout his life he did whatever his heart desired, but in the end realized that it was all..¬†meaningless. He looked back on his life and was like, “Wow.. all the time I wasted chasing all these stupid, fleeting things that don’t even mater.. what have I done?”

I don’t want my life to amount to this in the end.¬†I literally dread it.

As one of my favorite Pastors, Francis Chan, said in his book, Crazy Love:

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.‚Ä̬†

I want to make my 20s count. Not just my 20s, but my¬†whole life. I want to fight the temptation of just being average and blending in with the rest of the world‚Ķ living for the moment of temporary pleasures that have no eternal significance. I want to do something extraordinary with my life, something that would be impossible if it were based on my own accomplishments. I want to live in such a way that doesn’t bring glory to myself, but to Christ’s name alone.

This truly is my life desire.

But I know that this is easier said than done. Often times I lose sight of the things I want to accomplish. My sinful flesh takes over. I get caught up in it all. It certainly isn’t an easy journey. But I will continue to hold on to the hope that I have found in Christ alone.. He will surely help me stay focused, pressing towards my goal.

Philippians 1:6 –¬†And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you¬†will¬†bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.¬†

Dating Vs. Courting || What’s The Big Difference?

So here’s an interesting question that I got asked the other week on Ask.fm:

What is the difference between dating and courting? And what does the Bible say about it?
 
Here was my reply:
 
“Hmm, this is a tricky one lol. But glad you asked, it’s a very relevant question to ask in our generation. Because honestly, it’s not the word that makes it different.. it’s the connotation behind the word.

 

In our generation, dating automatically triggers a thought in our mind that a guy and a girl are “boyfriend & girlfriend”.. especially in middle school/high school. However, in college this is much different. When people are “dating” it could just mean that they are getting to know each other, going on “dates” like coffee, lunch.. etc. People could be “dating” for a month and decide never to pursue a serious relationship.¬†However, when we think of American dating relationships.. everyone kind of just assumes that the couple are physically intimate.

 

Courting on the other hand is generally known as a serious type of dating, specifically with the motivation of marriage at the end. This is why most Christians prefer this, because it’s Biblical. That’s what “dating” was supposed to be meant for anyways.. trying to find someone to marry.. not to just have a bf/gf for fun with no intentions of getting married. Courting is generally understood by Christians to be a sexually pure relationship with God at the center. When someone says they are courting another person, basically they are saying that they are trying to get to know each other for the purpose of marriage.. and agree at the beginning that as soon as one of the individuals knows that it isn’t who they want to marry, they need to tell the other person so it doesn’t get too emotionally deep for either of them. It’s a way of “guarding your heart” like the Lord commands us to do.

 

However, like I said.. it’s just a word. I know people who are “dating” who put the Lord first in their relationship and are looking towards marriage in the near future. They wouldn’t be any more spiritual for calling it “courting” though haha. It’s just a word. As long as we are focusing on the Lord in all our relationships, it doesn’t matter what we call it. Buuuut, we should be aware of the connotations. Because I don’t know about you, but I kinda do assume things when someone says they are dating. I just naturally think people are physically intimate when they are in a serious relationship.. I wish I didn’t, but it’s the first thing that pops in my head. But when I hear someone say they are courting I don’t assume this at all.. I assume the opposite.

 

So yeah, it makes no difference to God what you call it. Sure, people may make assumptions… but we aren’t responsible to men, we’re responsible to God. All we have to do is honor God and he will bless our relationships, no matter what we call it!

 

Hope that helps ūüôā

 

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 – For this is the will of God, your *sanctification*: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;