Pills and how to swallow them – By David Landrus

Song: Forget Me Not – The Civil Wars

Post:

When making a tough decision you really only have two options. Shakespeare put it this way, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” When your asked to do something by a person who has authority in the situation you also have two decisions, to obey or disobey. However clearcut this may seem, when in the “moment” these truths are hard ones to swallow. Maybe you have self interests involved, maybe your heart is on the line, and maybe your just feeling rebellious. Either way, one thing can be concluded; the decision not to make a decision does not solve the situation or clear you of responsibility.

The past months of my life, the last week in particular, has been a season of much tribulation in my life. Situations have presented themselves to me and decisions have been made. But, as a Christian, each situation is governed by obedience or disobedience. I don’t think I have obeyed in every situation, which has caused confusion, but I know that I have on the ones that have counted. Some of the hardest decisions have been made through sadness, anguish and healthy sized tears, but I believe that these have been the ones that I have shown the most obedience in. When we truely let our heart and gut get involved in the tough situations it often is a sobering and uncomfortable thing. The sadness we have and the tears we shed are ones that are worth remembering.

Often times I console myself saying that “God has a plan for my life.” But what I really mean is, “God loves me, so he must have a plan full of serendipity and things that are easy to swallow.” The truth though is that Jesus died on the cross and bore my sin and shame for my fullness of joy, not my happiness. This is a truth that was made for me to cling to, especially in the rough times.

So I leave you with these words,

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Had any other condition been BETTER for you than the one in which you find yourself, divine Love WOULD have placed you there.

-Charles Spurgeon

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a few words on Faith By: David Landrus

Song: Explosions in the Sky – Last Known Surroundings
Post:

everything is derivative, everything except one

Cause and effect, one situation to another, and that my friends is how babies are born. When thinking of existence in all of its wondrous expanse, the details of why and how get very jumbled up. This is why many prefer to not think about the “deeper things”, or sum everything up and happily call it random chance or dumb luck. This, I know, is a simple solution that at the surface seems harmless, but when you don’t care to count the details many things you wish not to happen arise out of ignorance.
I believe there to be a solution though. Faith.
As stated in Hebrews 11:1-3 NLT
1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
The first thing I find interesting in this translation is that Faith is the combination of hope and confidence.
Today hope has become a very weak word, lacking much of the desire that it originally commanded.
For instance, if you were to tell a friend heading home for spring break, “I hope you make it back safely”.
Now, it is understood that you will not see them again until after they have traveled may hundreds of miles. And through their traveling of these numerous miles you will not be able to see to their safety first hand. So this leaves the question, are we really certain of their safe return (do we have confidence) or do we just hope that dumb luck will land them back into your company one day.
Enter Faith.
It gives us sureness. But where does sureness come from? Perhaps a promise, and from whom does this promise come? And if so, why does this promise give us assurance. There are many times that I promise my friend that I will meet up with him for coffee, but when push comes to shove, sometimes it doesn’t always work out. But the truth of Faith shatters all of these doubts, as verse three comes roaring in.
By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command.
One command, one Word, one God.

everything is derivative, everything except One

Why Do Bad Things Happen? An Attempted Explanation – By: mOUNTbRENDON

The one really rousing thing about human history is that, whether or no the proceedings go right, at any rate, the prophecies always go wrong. The promises are never fulfilled and the threats are never fulfilled. Even when good things do happen, they are never the good things that were guaranteed. And even when bad things happen, they are never the bad things that were inevitable. You may be quite certain that, if an old pessimist says the country is going to the dogs, it will go to any other animals except the dogs; if it be to the dromedaries or even the dragons. … It was as if one weather prophet confidently predicted blazing sunshine and the other was equally certain of blinding fog; and they were both buried in a beautiful snow-storm and lay, fortunately dead, under a clear and starry sky.

– G.K. Chesterton

 

Bill does not believe in God. He believes that all life began randomly from a single-cell organism. Bill believes that the human race is the height of all existence and that there is nothing greater than the human will. He has always been a very moral person, striving to make the lives of those around him more pleasant. It is important, according to Bill, to take care of your fellow human in order to make this world as pleasant as possible for everyone in it.

Larry believes in God. He believes that God created all existence and that everything, both good and bad happens according to God’s plan. God, to Larry, is the ultimate puppet master, only stepping in for good if asked to while allowing bad for punishment for not asking. Larry raises a good family, strives to show kindness to those around him, and knows that, if he continues to pray, everything will work out for him and his loved ones.

 

Once, while driving in traffic, Bill got a terrible case of road rage after another driver cut right in front of him, causing him to slam on his breaks only barely avoiding a crash. Bill flipped the other driver off.

Larry caught his son, Sam, with a stack of Playboy Magazines underneath his bed. Larry took the magazines away, had a stern talk to Sam about the consequences of porn addiction and he grounded Sam from friends for three weeks.

 

Bill’s wife just died in a plane crash because of a miscalculation by the pilot. He finds himself asking the question, “If God was real, why would he allow such bad things to happen? If God really loved us and really cared for us, he would not allow such terrible circumstances to emerge.” Therefore, he thinks that God, particularly a loving God, cannot logically exist. This causes Bill to blame the pilot for not doing his job properly and resentment builds. Other people’s imperfections become more and more glaring to him causing him to act frequently in bitterness. He does not know what else to live for. He’s not sure he can put his trust in other humans, even if they are the height of existence, which only adds to his bitterness.

Larry’s son just died in a freak hunting accident. He finds himself asking, “Why me? Why Sam? Why did God choose Sam to die this way?” He tries to stay faithful to God though, trusting that God wanted Sam to die for a larger reason, but then becomes bitter toward God for placing this burden on him. “I don’t deserve this,” he says. “I am faithful to you and this is what you have done in return?” Larry no longer has anyone or anything to have faith in and therefore no motivation to overcome hardship and temptation.

 

Bill and Larry are not unlike each other. Bill and Larry, along with all other creation, are flawed.

Neither of them, because of their views toward God, understand that bad things are simply a part of life. There is more meaning than what Bill believes, but less meaning than what Larry believes.

God did not choose Sam’s death. The dropped shotgun did that.

The pilot made a mistake which resulted in the death of Bill’s wife. But he made a mistake that probably any pilot could have and has made. It just so happened that it amounted to a crash and Bill’s wife was unfortunate enough to have been on that plane.

God made the world in a specific way. A way that is inherently broken. And all life is broken.

But this is where will comes in and this, to me is the motivation behind life. To overcome brokenness.

Plants such as cacti have evolved to live through long droughts of water, bears have evolved to survive long winters when food is scarce, and humans have evolved and continue to evolve to overcome temptation.

Sure, some people experience far more difficulties and temptations than other people.

A lot of really bad things happen to a lot of undeserving people.

A lot of really good things happen to a lot of underserving people.

But the ability to overcome what ever situation a person is placed in, results in greatness and inspiration.

A rich person with the ability to give and remain humble.

A poor person with the ability to feel grateful when he or she receives fortune as opposed to bitterness when he or she does not.

These are the most inspiring people in existence and they are found on any class level.

God gave us all free will and included in that free will is the will to overcome.

Why does an alcoholic turn to alcohol? Because he or she does not know how to cope with whatever bad things have happened.

Why does a rich business owner exploit his workers for his own personal gain? Because he feels entitled to it and does not want bad things to happen to him. He wants his money and his possessions to secure his happiness.

Instead, the alcoholic should overcome the temptation to try and escape reality by facing reality head on, no matter how painful it may be.

Instead, the rich man should get rid of his excess and learn to appreciate the necessities in life.

Perhaps the two most dangerous questions in the world are, “Why not?” and “Why me?”

 

Bill fails to see living and nonliving things as part of something. Instead, he sees all living and nonliving things as the something.

Larry sees humans as nothing in this world, and God as everything.

 

“I was chosen by God to have been born into wealth,” the rich man says. “So why not spend it on an unnecessarily large yacht?”

“I was chosen by God to have been born into extreme poverty,” the poor man says. “So why not turn to drugs? I was doomed to begin with, so I might as well find happiness where I can.”

“I earned this wealth on my own accord,” another rich man says. “So why not spend it on a new jet? I deserve it. It’s my money.”

“I wasn’t blessed with wealth to begin with,” another poor man says. “Why don’t I have the things I want? I will steal it from others because I deserve just as much as anyone else.”

 

Think of the most inspiring stories you have ever heard.

Every single one of them center around either a poor man refusing to say, “Why me?” or a rich man saying, “Why not?”

Both are tempted equally and both have the ability to overcome the temptations no matter how difficult and painful it may be. We do not give ourselves enough credit. Each one of us is built to fail and to overcome. It just depends on how we handle it. Overcoming is just the more difficult option, which is why, unfortunately, it seems to almost be a rarity.

 

I do not believe that God micromanages. He does not trigger earthquakes as punishment for our disbelief in Him.

He created the food we grow, catch, hunt, and herd, so that we have to work for it. He created childbirth to be painful so that we can appreciate what we went through to give life. He created temptation so we can overcome it.

 

The Adam and Eve poem was created to show us that God made the world to offer temptation. Adam and Eve had temptation right off the bat: to eat from the tree of knowledge, something that they failed to overcome. And God punished them to show them that giving into temptation is wrong and overcoming temptation is right, just like Bill flipped the other driver off to show him/her to drive more carefully, and just like Larry grounded his son to teach him that porn is not something to be taken lightly.

Without temptation and experiencing the bad that comes with falling to temptation, there is no good.

There is no ability to overcome. Because there is nothing to overcome.

God punished us initially, by sending us to an imperfect world. To show us what is good.

Now, we punish ourselves by failing to overcome temptation.

 

An earthquake will occur, killing numerous people in its wake, not because God commanded it to do so, but because God placed us in a world where earthquakes occur and death and suffering is a part of life.

God did not choose the situation that you were born into or what parents you were born from. Your parents chose that when they had sex. But He did choose you.

God created beginnings. He created the world to be imperfect and to a certain extent stepped back from that world. And then He created people to live on that world with the capabilities to do both right and wrong. And then He stepped back and said, “I gave you the ability to overcome and I love you and trust you enough to do just that.”

 

What bothers me about Larry is that Larry does not have faith in himself or the people around him. He only has faith in God.

But God has faith in us. God gave us free will and left it up to us to do what is difficult. To overcome the temptation of what is bad. To not ask, “Why not?” and “Why me?” So like God, we need to have faith in us.

 

What bothers me about Bill is that he does not have faith in God.

He only has faith in himself and in others like him. And because we are broken people living in a broken world, our faith in ourselves and in each other quickly becomes disrupted.

 

So, to answer the question, “Why me?” I say, that’s beside the point.

All you can do is try to overcome. To find a passion that contributes to the world and follow that passion with all your being, with all your will, and with all your ability, no matter how seemingly big or small.

 

To answer the question, “Why not?” I say, that’s beside the point.

You are not entitled to anything. You lucked out with ease and excess. But at the same time, you did not luck out at all, because the easier life becomes, the less meaning life has. What should you be grateful for when you do not have to work for anything? You have to work for gratefulness and humility.

You have to overcome the temptation of saying “Why me?” and “Why not” because every time you overcome these questions, you pump good into this world. You live up to God’s trust in you. It is your responsibility to God and to everyone around you on this Earth and all of its living things, to overcome and to make the most of the situation you were thrown into, whatever that may be.

Jesus, in a sense, had it the worst of anyone. He lived in poverty, He was homeless and he had to struggle and overcome just for a good meal. But He never said, “Why me?”

And Jesus was also God. He had to overcome entitlement and to struggle for humility. He never said, “Why not? After all, I am the Son of God.”

And that is why He did not write down His message for us to read word for word. That is why He left it up to human mouth.

Because He trusted us. He trusted our ability to see right from wrong. To see what is unhealthy about the lifestyles we were pushed into and to overcome as many temptations as we can and bring a glimpse of heaven to earth, rather than submit to them and bring a glimpse of hell to earth.

It is our choice and our life because God trusts us.

It is our choice and our life because God loves us.

 

It’s silly to say good people don’t know what temptation means. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is.

-C.S. Lewis

A Reflection On My Previous Life Chapter, Part Two: The art of becoming genuine

By: mOUNTbRENDON

I was talking to one of my best friends the other day on cold walk back from a UW basketball game. One of the things I love about this friend is how similar our minds work. We frequently have philosophical discussions where we spend the entire time genuinely agreeing with each other. One would think that this would this sort of conversation would only be used to reaffirm each one another’s believes. Instead, this allows us to bounce off each other’s ideas and expand on our own. In a weird way, it allows us to challenge each other.

During this walk, we were both talking about faith, and what we believe. Each of us has found it difficult to believe what we believe. To struggle with where the church is today and to have such a hard time loving Christians (as silly as it is), while still believing in Jesus and considering ourselves, in fact, Christian.

We seem to be caught in this middle ground, where we have a hard time admitting our faith for fear of being judged as an irrational, cheesy, member of the modern day church. It has become extremely difficult for us to be open about our faith because we feel that, for the most part, modern Christianity has tainted the life of Jesus, rather than glorify it. We struggle with the fact that something so good, so sacred, and so holy, has been turned into a product. But that is another discussion entirely.

As I look back over the fall semester, I really realize that I learned the importance of honesty and what it takes to be truly genuine.

I think that the common denominator for all genuine people is that they never have anything to hide. They acknowledge their mistakes, but they are not ashamed of them. Most importantly, they don’t have secrets they feel the need to keep hidden from everyone else, which allows them the freedom to be open.

And open people inherently encourage other people to open up in some way themselves. They are willing to admit when they mess up and when they are struggling with a certain temptation and want to take all the steps necessary to move past it.

The other day, I was having trouble deciding over the morality of a certain action to take. I could not seem to be able to convince myself one way or the other, which, for better or worse, is often an invitation for me to take the riskier option. Once I started doing something else and turning my attention away from that decision though, as it often does, the answer came to me.

It made me realize that if an action would be something that you would be tempted to lie about to the people/person you love the most in 5-10 years, then you should most likely do the opposite.

For example, when forced to decide whether or not you should have sex with someone, think about if it is something you would want to lie about to your future spouse. It does not mean that you would actually lie about it, or keep it hidden from him/her, but it does mean that it is something that would cause you to want to do so.

I find that, for me, it is easy to convince yourself to do something that is questionable if you are only accountable to yourself. “If it ends up being a mistake,” I would tell myself, “than years from now I can face myself for having made it.” If you think about the other people in your life years from now, however, you are not just accountable to yourself. If it is something that I would want to keep hidden from the people I care most about, than it is not a mistake worth making because I could either hurt those people in some way, or I could keep it from them and allow myself to slip from a life of honesty.

Therefore, I want to be honest about my faith, especially since it is such a large aspect of my life.

During the fall semester, I took a Bible and Archeology class. This forced me question a great deal of things concerning the legitimacy of the Bible. I nearly gave up. I nearly surrendered my beliefs. But somehow, I was able to find peace in my beliefs and therefore expand and refine them.

(Say what you want about Rob Bell, but he was a large influence on me during this time thanks to his book “Love Wins.” It is not a book about universalism. It is a book that played a large part in, for lack of a better term, saving my faith. And I know that I am not alone in this.)

And so, I decide to “come out,” if you will. I realized that I have not been honest about my beliefs to a lot of people. I have kept them hidden out of fear of judgment, and of being misunderstood. I want people to take me as I am, not as a part of something I am not.

Below is a condensed look into my religious beliefs and conclusions and some of my philosophy on life. Because I want to be honest about them and I want to be as genuine of a person as I possibly can be. I do not want to have secrets.

I believe in God. I do not know what he looks like, how he sounds, or even how he works. Not at all. But I believe in him.

I believe that the Bible is a representation of God. It is not a perfect representation. In fact, it is filled with anachronisms, mistakes, misinterpretations, etc. But it is also filled with Truth. That is my belief. I don’t think we should hang on every word of it, but we should read it and let the stories impact us how they will.

And I believe that Jesus Christ, the Jesus represented in the Bible, is God’s son. I acknowledge that he is not the only person to have claimed to be the Son of God in history. There was Dionysus, Hercules, and even Alexander the Great. However, Jesus is the only of these who sacrificed himself for the sins of mankind and the only one to have conquered death. He is the only one who brought grace into this world and I believe that, even if it has been altered through human pen, his message, at its core is the best possible way of life if done right.

In the words of C.S. Lewis, “either the man was and is the Son of God [who he claimed to be]: or else he was a madman, or something worse.”

I do not believe any of this because I was raised in a church.

I believe this because I have struggled with it like a pedal bike struggles up a steep slope, but with obstacles like road blocking logs and crazy people yelling strange insults…or something.

The point is, I have spent most of my college career wrestling with religion and pin pointing its faults as well as its advantages. Call me cynical if you will, but I haven’t accepted everything I heard from someone just because he/she attended seminary.

I took classes where professors argued against Christianity and I took classes where professors didn’t care either way. I attended churches and Christian organizations that fueled my cynicism and that caused me to further question the state of modern day, Americanized Christianity. But I never questioned that there is something infinitely bigger out there than humankind. I have never questioned the unexplainable.

Though I understand why it is like this, this is one thing that scholars, particularly secular Biblical scholars do not account for in their studies.

The unexplainable. The fantastic. The miraculous. The divine.

In a classroom setting, I think that is fine to a certain extent. But this has to be acknowledged. Despite the strides science, philosophy, math, etc. has made in the past one hundred years, there is still plenty in this world that cannot and probably never will be explained.

For example, what makes music good? Why do certain note and rhythm combinations sound good to some people and bad to others? Where does creativity come from? How can people create things that, while making some abstract sort of sense to them, they still cannot coherently explain?

I believe that God is found in situations like these. And that is why I believe in God.

Because of this, statistics cannot explain his existence. And I am fine with that. He is beyond that kind of thinking.

I could probably write a book about my philosophies on this stuff, so I am going to cut it short there. This, in a nutshell, is what I believe, or at least part of it and this is because I have challenged myself to question them. I am perfectly fine if other people believe differently. I do not think it is worth the argument.

But I came to these conclusions because I did not refrain myself from taking a particular class because I knew the professor would say bad things about my beliefs. I understood that, if my beliefs were worth holding on to, then a little questioning and a little controversy would not take them away and vice versa.

Instead, the questioning, the controversy, and the overanalyzing have only made them stronger.

I think that there comes a point in mot people’s lives when they have discovered what it takes to live a good story, whether it is too late or not.

And I think that the more you put yourself out in the world and the more you face situations that require tough decision making, the quicker you will make that realization, and therefore, the better chance you have at living a great life as opposed to just a good life.

And I think that I have discovered what it takes for me because I have put myself out there and challenged every fiber of my being. I have faced situations where I had temptations to fall and didn’t fall. And I have faced situations where I fell. But I learned that the more I was in those situations and the more I made the correct decisions in those situations – the more I was able to look back with pride on my reactions to tough situations – the better person I became and the more I learned about life.

This semester, even though I had to learn the hard way, I learned the privilege I have to live life. It is something that is sacred, and I do not want to screw it up because this is my only opportunity to live a great story and the only opportunity I have to improve the overall story of human existence in some way, no matter how small.

And so I am challenging myself from here on out to follow through.

To not waste this life that I have been so graciously given.

To make the most of every opportunity.

And to not settle for just good, but to push myself to be great.

And I hope and pray that you do the same.

A Reflection On My Previous Life Chapter, Part One: Not settling for good and working for great.

By: mOUNTbRENDON

One thing that I love about college, and one thing that I will most certainly miss about it, is how it presents itself in stages. A college student has the luxury of living life one semester at a time. In other words, life comes in stages, which makes it easier for you to look at yourself at the beginning of the semester and compare that with the you at the end of the semester. There is a beginning stage and an ending stage three times a year (Fall semester, Spring semester, and summer).

This last semester was a particular challenging one for me. And it was challenging in a way that I have never faced before.

I began the semester, only a few short weeks removed from summer classes. I thought I was ready to be done with college and was convinced that I was ready to move one, that I got all I needed out of college. That should have alone told me just the opposite. And I let it get the best of me.

Last spring semester, I had worked so hard at becoming disciplined, figuring out how to best manage my time, and following my passions. Unfortunately, I did not carry that into the fall semester until I was forced to toward the end.

I didn’t care about being in school. I didn’t care very much about my classes and, more importantly, I didn’t care about doing the right things and about bettering myself.

I am a very analytical person. I analyze everything from the movie I’m watching, the book I’m reading, the person interact with, to the items in a food menu. Therefore, I am extremely indecisive with just about everything, at least until I’ve had a lot of time to think about it. And so, I seem to have to live life at a slower pace than most people. When someone asks me a question, or when I am faced with a decision, big or small, sometimes it will take me a week if not longer to find a proper answer or decision. Because I have to think about it – and analyze it.

I came to a point in my life where I wanted outside of my head. I hated this part of myself and I simply could not handle it any more.

Most people in college make a ton of mistakes. Big ones, small ones, stupid ones, etc. Not that I haven’t made mistakes in college, that couldn’t be further from the truth, but not your typical college student mistakes. I never got drunk and stayed out till three in the morning the night before classes. I never dated the wrong girl, got in with the wrong crowd, took shrooms before going to a concert, or even experimented with sex. College is a time when most people experiment, and often times, it is through that experimentation that they find themselves. Not this guy. I found myself by always being one of the first people to leave the party, sober enough to safely drive myself home. I found myself by analyzing every situation I was in for in particular day, how I reacted to each situation, and how I could react better in each situation. I found myself by analyzing my life day to day and the people around me like an entomologist would analyze the inner and outer workings of a new species of bug.

I cannot recall how it happened or why it happened, but near the end of last summer, I basically decided not to  like this part of myself. I wanted a way out of my head. I could analyze something to death only to find that someone else has a perfectly reasonable and justifiable opinion that is opposite of mine. I realized that 99% of the stuff I analyze just doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things and I began to believe in only a small number of objective truths about life. The rest didn’t seem matter. I wanted to get away from the me I had previously worked so hard to build up.

And so, I reached a point in my life where I (please excuse my language) just decided to say fuck it.

I didn’t worry about analyzing everything. I just reacted. I didn’t take care to slow down and live at the pace I needed to in order to stay true to myself, because that would entail lots and lots of unwarranted analyzing.

I just took things as they came and I tried to simply enjoy life as it was handed to me and, for good or bad, it started out better than I could have hoped for. I was having a ton of fun just living life.

As a result, I put having a good time ahead of living a good life.

And it wasn’t until I got a 33% on one of my midterms that it hit me like a punch in the gut. I needed a change. It wasn’t until I put myself in a situation where I thought I was most likely going to fail a class – an English class at that – when I stopped and thought.

And it took until now to get myself back to  a place where I want to be at.

I realized that I was living an unhealthy lifestyle for myself, that I was in an unhealthy relationship, and that my priorities were not where I wanted them. I was not making the proper decisions to make myself the best character I possibly could.

But even though I finally woke up and took back control of my life, it took a long time to get back to a place where I could look at myself and genuinely be proud of where I was and who I was.

Maybe I needed to go through that stage to get to where I am now and to learn the life lessons that I learned throughout the semester. For that reason, I am not proud of myself for having done some of the things I did, made some of the decisions I have made, but I do not regret any of it. I think I needed to go through that stage in order to really understand myself and really understand that the me I have been wanting to be, that the me I discovered last year, was without a doubt, is the best me I could possibly be working toward. It was and now is the best path I could be on in order to get the most out of my life.

I think that I could have still been a good person on the path I was on most of the semester. I do not, however, think that that me could have been a great person.

Last night, while lying in bed allowing my mind to do its thing; to analyze, I came to a strikingly powerful conclusion. I think I know what it takes to be a great person and how to do what it takes to do so.

I decided to divide this post into two parts in order to make it less overwhelming to read, but I am going to end it with one of the many things I have learned because of this semester, a preview for the next part. It is the thing that I realized last night.

Jesus said that you must “love your neighbor as yourself.” Like much of what Jesus said according to accounts given of him, this seems to be a fairly simple statement, but really, there is plenty for people like me to analyze. In order to know what it takes to love your neighbor, you must know what it means to love yourself.

To find that balance of self-worth and humility.

To be the best person you can possibly be in the grand scheme of things.

Here is the definition I wrote down last night while thinking about it.

“What it means ‘to love yourself’: to realize the privilege of life and take care that you are valuable to the overall story and possess a longing to do anything in your power to make yourself better.”

There are certain people you encounter who almost instantly give out the vibe that they are living a great story. You just know that they are a part of something bigger than themselves, whether they acknowledge it or not.

I think that, in every case, it stems from their ability to love themselves. They understand the sacrality and the privilege of life. They realize that each person only gets one story to live and are doing everything in their power not to waste that story in any way.

That is what it means to love yourself.

That is what it takes to be a great person, not just a good person.

Personal Time vs Community

A big question I have been challenged with lately is, “What does it mean to have a good balance of personal time with Christ, but to also keep a solid community with other believers?” I’ve been through different phases in my walk with Christ–sometimes I would try so hard to get to every “Christian event” and wasn’t even paying attention to God while I was there, on the other hand I could get so caught up in getting in my “quiet time” for the day, that I wasn’t even looking around to see who needed help. Having a personal relationship with Christ is more important than keeping up with the latest Christian book club, but at the same time having that community is what helps Christians keep going and be encouraged.  The Bible brings up churches a lot, and things they were doing wrong and right, but having that community is valid as well. Here are some quotes that helped me gain a better perspective on what it means to live a life with Christ:

-“Many of us have a mental conception of what a Christian should be, and the lives of the saints become a hindrance to our concentration on God.” -Oswald Chambers

-Through difficulties and trials –and thinking about what we will do today, or tomorrow. While all the while God is says, “Look up and be saved.” –all worries should vanish when we look to God.

-“Our Lord said, in effect, to Paul–Your whole life is to be overmastered by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine.” -Oswald Chambers

-“There is nothing there apart from the personal relationship. Paul was devoted to a Person not a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ’s, he saw nothing else, he lived for nothing else.” -Oswald Chambers

-“The great difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and it is His blessings that make it difficult.” -Oswald Chambers

-Never ask the advice of another, about anything, before you ask God.

“When a man says he must develop a holy life alone with God, he is of no more use to his fellow men: he puts himslef on a pedestal, away from the common run of men.” -Oswald Chambers

-Christians are called to be broken bread and the door mat to other men; servants. If we serve to be liked by people we will be crushed, but if we serve out of love for Christ then nothing can hinder us from serving.

-“Tell God you are ready to be offered; then let the consequences be what they may, there is no strand of complaint now, no matter what God chooses. God puts you through the crisis in private, no one person can help another.”  -Oswald Chambers

-“…if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.” -Oswald Chambers

-“Paul had not a hypersensitive interest in his own character. As long as our eyes are are upon our own personal whiteness we shall never get near the reality of Redemption.” -Oswald Chambers

It’s not wrong to reject an invitation to a Christian conference if you’re feeling drained and need some alone time with God. At the same time don’t use that as an excuse to be lazy with your walk with God and not be challenged by other believers.  I should remind myself of this daily….

Patience.

By: mOUNTbRENDON

I wrote the following for my own blog a few months ago. I needed to read it again today in order to remind myself of the importance of patience, which is definitely something that I have not been very good at this semester.

I have been looking ahead (months and months ahead) and not focusing on what is happening now in my life. The following was a much needed reminder and hopefully helps me to snap out of it. And maybe it can help you to do the same…

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

–          Matthew 6:34

I’m sitting in an airplane almost 40,000 feet about the earth as I write this and listening to an awesome playlist that I just found in my iTunes library from a long time ago.

I just realized that I need to listen to more Phil Collins. Because he is awesome and so is the movieTarzan, but almost solely because of him. But that is not at all applicable to this blog. I just thought I throw it out there.

The last week or so I’ve spent on vacation with my family in Southern California. It’s been a great experience and I’m rather bummed that I’m on my return home already.

Now, upon my return home, I have to think about the worries of a life in “the real world”. And I’m not referring to worries such as who is sleeping with whom, what club I’m going to tonight, or how I’m going to start a fight with the guy in the house who took a sip of my beer, because I haven’t been cast into a reality TV show. Not yet anyway.

But I have been cast into the role of a 21-year-old unemployed college student. And my objective: find a way to earn enough money to pay rent for the summer.

Finding a job has been looming over my head for this entire week of vacation despite my attempts to push it to the back of my mind behind my thoughts how being around my niece makes me want to be two again and how online classes are great for allowing you to take vacation without missing class…except for the fact that you still have to actually keep up with the class and how much of a buzz kill that can be.

Thinking about this made me think of patience. And how patience is a difficult virtue to have in today’s society. And how I think God requires patience.

A few months ago I had a conversation with someone about hearing God’s voice. I don’t remember what my stance was at the time, but I do remember agreeing upon the fact that it is very difficult to decipher his voice from one’s own perceptions.

I think that the best way to hear God’s voice is to wait.

And be patient.

Because a decision will come through time.

Only about two weeks ago, I was convinced that I was going to perform a certain action of which I’m not going to reveal because it is not the action that is important, but rather the lesson learned from the action.

I decided that it was not something to act on immediately and to wait until the end of the summer so that I knew that it was the right thing to do.

Two weeks later, I know that it is absolutely not the right thing to do and would most definitely be a mistake.

And I think that God told me that through time. It’s a very difficult thing to grasp and I’ve been trying to comprehend it for years. But I think that I finally do. I think that it’s a rather abstract understanding and one that needs to be figured out for one’s self, but I do have some personal insights to share.

The Hindus believe in taking one’s self out of one’s actions; that one needs to not be concerned at all about the results of the actions, but still perform the actions to the best of one’s ability.

I think that this is what Jesus means when he says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

We shouldn’t be worried about what is going to happen tomorrow for the following reasons:

–          It takes us away from the here and now. If we’re worried about what the future might hold, it means that our attention is away from what is currently happening.

–          In worrying about the future, we are not trusting God. And trust is a form of faith. And faith is essential to being a follower of Christ.

By taking in and focusing on what is happening now, we are not worrying about what the future might hold. We are able to trust God and have faith that He will speak to us through time.

And I have a theory; that God speaks to different people in different ways. And that part of our duty in seeking Him and following Him is figuring that out; how He speaks to each of us individually.

But I do think that any way you cut; however it is that God speaks to you requires patience. And in a society where just about everything comes almost instantly from the push of a button, patience is a difficult thing to develop.

It’s funny how things work. I started this blog on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday, I was super stressed about things and was, for lack of a better term, being a bit of a drama queen about, letting it stress me out and bring me down. Today, Wednesday, I woke up and decided to figure it out. I spent the first half hour of my day with God by finishing 1st Samuel and praying. From that, I decided to take my own advice mentioned above and not worry about how things were going to end up. By noon today, I had a job. I don’t know if that really means much at all, but I do know that life is better served in the moment.

And that takes a great amount of patience.