Thursday, December 23, 2010

Role Models

You know, I've been thinking... A dangerous past time I know... :P
We truly never know the impact we have on other people's lives sometimes.
Off-hand I can think of lots of people who I have looked up to or still do; including teachers, pastors, friends, family, etc...
Everyone is looked up to in some matter, whether it's a younger person or anyone really, people notice things about you.
As a college student I see it happen even more. I see high-schoolers and children look at me like I'm some sort of "god" something so far in the distance but longed for. (Not to be vain...haha) I have talked with older folks and they envy me for getting to be young.
I did the same when I was young. I would look at those older to me and try to be just like them. I wanted to pattern my life after theirs (in a non-creepy way).
What I'm trying to say is, whether we like it or not people are watching us and looking to us as a model. As Christians this is even more so.
Our lives are to be a witness of what Jesus Christ has done. Jesus was truly the greatest role model and we are to pattern ourselves to become more and more like Him.
1 John 2:6 
Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did
What we see in others can make or break things. The reason why Christians get such a bad rap is because of the hypocrites. They say one thing and do the next. I will be the first to admit I do that way more that I like (which is not at all). I hate when I find myself in sin and walking away from what I believe. It's not how I want to live but it happens all the time and I know it will continue to happen while I'm on this earth. However, just because you're going to fail does not mean you shouldn't try. God is there to pick you up and help you when you fall. He can keep you from falling as well.

Siblings, friends, onlookers, everyone is watching to see how we live. We should live like Jesus and set a good example for others. Be a good example! Think about how you're living and how that affects others!
1 Corinthians 10:31 - Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

He sees you when you're sleeping...He knows when you're awake...

I've been thinking a lot this week. What I say in this post may make you angry I don't know. I'll say it anyway though. I really hate Santa.
There are quite a number of reasons why I do not like the figure of Santa Claus. I understand that the original Santa or "Saint Nick" was a good person trying to do good. However, I have several problems with the Santa that is now portrayed basically in every holiday decoration, wrapping paper, toys etc..

1. First and foremost...Santa is a replacement for Jesus Christ.  Don't tell me no. He is, Santa has caused children and parents to forget the real meaning of Christmas.
I'd have to say this is disturbing to me ^ It shows what I feel though. Did Santa Claus ever give his life for mankind? Was Santa perfect?
Santa has taken the place of the Christ child in Christmas. Nowadays with everyone being politcally correct and no religion allowed to be spoken of, we have forgotten the reason why we celebrate!
What a sad state our country is in, where instead of calling it Christmas break it is Winter break.

2. Telling your kids that Santa is real is lying. Sugar coat it if you want, it's lying, plain and simple. It is not a great trust builder lying to your kids. You may think it's just innocent but I know if I were lied to from birth to about 9 or 10, I would wonder if my parents had lied or were lying about other things as well.

3. Santa Claus is all about greed and wanting more. This mentality of always wanting the best and more is not good. It is raising a generation that always wants more stuff and feels like it should be handed to them on a silver platter. Seriously, all you have to do to get whatever you want is just write a list and send to some guy in the middle of no where? Too easy!

Well, I could write more but I won't. I feel that Santa is not a good model of Christmas and that as Christians we should not allow him to take the place of Jesus Christ.
Truly only Jesus could live a sinless life, die on a cross and yet raise again 3 days later, take away the sins of the world, and yet want to have a relationship with us.
I thought of that one song about Santa Claus where it says "He sees you when you're sleeping...He knows when you're awake..He knows if you've been bad or be good for goodness sake!"
Only God knows that, not some fictional man with a list.
As Psalm 139:1-3 says: "1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways."
Remember the true meaning of Christmas. Not the gifts, Santa, or shopping. Jesus Christ.

Luke 2:6-20:
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Keep my eyes turned upward- dealing with cancer

This past weekend I have had a lot on my mind. In earlier posts I mentioned that my grandfather has stage four cancer. My family and I went through exactly the same situation last year with him. However miraculously last year he went into remission for a couple months. I truly believe God performed a miracle when he blessed my grandfather with another year.
This time it seems to be different though. I don't really know all the details but my mom said he's fading.

If you would have asked me about my grandfather before he went through cancer, I would have said something like: "Well, I don't really see him that much. I don't think he really cares about me..I mean I can't even remember the last time I got a birthday card from him..."
I would have been selfish and not really cared. In my mind he didn't want to know us so I didn't want to know him.
When someone in your immediate family gets cancer it is probably one of the worst feelings. Even if they caught the cancer early no one ever wants to hear they have cancer.
When my mom first told me my grandfather's cancer was back, I cried. I literally sobbed at my desk. There were a multitude of feelings within me. I thought: "Why God? Why have you taken back our answer to prayer? How could You do this to us again and so soon?!"
I was angry, hurt, confused, among many other things...I just wanted to lie on my bed and have a pity party because my life wasn't the fairy tale everyone else got to have.
Through these past few months I really have to deal with not letting myself focus on the situations I've been through. I have had to realize that God is control. As John 10:28 says "No one shall snatch them out of My hand." It is so encouraging to know that but hard to live that way. As humans we always want to be independent. Even more so as Americans, we are told to handle things ourselves and we don't need  anyone. (A very prideful attitude indeed.)
I have had to every day remind myself to give up my troubles to God, remember that all things are in His plan.
The other day I was just reminded of the thought that maybe this is my grandfather's last Christmas with us. I was so upset and worried. I was just filled with this feeling of helplessness. I have no way of curing cancer. I decided to just go down to the pond and pray. I wrote down a prayer to God and just sat there in the cold on a bench, weeping my heart out for my grandfather and the sad situation. I read Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Then I realized, the reason why I was so tired and felt helpless was because I was not relying on God! DUH! I mean so many times I do that. I think "I can't do this anymore, it's too hard." But I have never gone to the One who is limitless in strength and power.
Let my story remind you that you need to go to God daily for strength. You can't do this on your own.
2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10 say:  But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."