Sunday, July 4, 2010

A few thoughts this July 4th...

These are just some thoughts from what I wrote in my journal this morning:

The day of freedom seems a little ridiculous when there are so many slaves living in our country and around the world today...not the living is a good term because being bound in chains and doing labor every day isn't much of a life is it? .... Is it okay to not be very proud to be an American today of all days? I don't think I am very proud, I am a little ashamed...Around the world there are people starving and people living in captivity and today in America thousands upon thousands of dollars will be spent to celebrate our freedom and very little will be done to help those less fortunate than us. Think about what could be done if all (or even some) of the money spent on fireworks today was instead spend on food for the starving, clean water for the thirsty, efforts to free the 27 million slaves in our world today, shelter for the homeless, shoes and clothing for those that have none, and the list could go on...I'm not saying that we should not celebrate our freedom today because it is very much worth celebrating. I just think we take it for granted and don't think and act for those that don't have the freedom or good fortune that we have.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Did you put on your armor today?

I was just reading in Ephesians 6. Verses 10-20 are about the Armor of God. These verses are and forever will be used for illustrations and themes for camps and vacation Bible schools, which is good. We have heard it so many times throughout our lives though, but my thought for today is are we really doing it? Do we wake up each day and not only put on our physical clothing, but also prepare ourselves and clothe ourselves with the armor of God? Each morning as we are getting ready do we mentall and spiritually put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, fit our feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, pick our shield of faith and our sword of the Spirit (scripture), and finally place the helmet of salvation on our heads? I encourage you and myself to think about that everyday. Don't leave this great passage of scripture at camp or vacation Bible school. As Christ followers we need to daily put on our armor and be ready to stand up for our faith and battle the enemy. The end of this passage talks about prayer, our communication with the Most High King. Prayer is so important to daily life and to our battle against the enemy and our pursuit of God and not the things of this world. I was struck by the importance of this scripture and how as we grow older sometimes this scripture gets pushed aside because we hear it so many times as children, and I wanted to share that with you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Prodigal Son...Buddha style....weird I know but just read it

A young man left his father and ran away. For long he dwelt in other countries, for ten, or twenty, or fifty years. The older he grew, the more needy he became. Wandering in all directions to seek clothing and food, he unexpectedly approached his native country. The father had searched for his son all those years in vain and meanwhile had settled in a certain city. His home became very rich; his goods and treasures were fabulous.
At this time, the poor son, wandering through village after village and passing through countries and cities, at last reached the city where his father had settled. The father had always been thinking of his son, yet, although he had been parted from him over fifty years, he had never spoken of the matter to anyone. He only pondered over it within himself and cherished regret in his heart, saying, "Old and worn out I am. Although I own much wealth - gold, silver, and jewels, granaries and treasuries overflowing - I have no son. Some day my end will come and my wealth will be scattered and lost, for I have no heir. If I could only get back my son and commit my wealth to him, how contented and happy would I be, with no further anxiety!"
Meanwhile the poor son, hired for wages here and there, unexpectedly arrived at his father's house. Standing by the gate, he saw from a distance his father seated on a lion-couch, his feet on a jeweled footstool, and with expensive strings of pearls adorning his body, revered and surrounded by priests, warriors, and citizens, attendants and young slaves waiting upon him right and left. The poor son, seeing his father having such great power, was seized with fear, regretting that he had come to this place. He reflected, "This must be a king, or someone of royal rank, it is impossible for me to be hired here. I had better go to some poor village in search of a job, where food and clothing are easier to get. If I stay here long, I may suffer oppression." Reflecting thus, he rushed away.
Meanwhile the rich elder on his lion-seat had recognized his son at first glance, and with great joy in his heart reflected, "Now I have someone to whom I may pass on my wealth. I have always been thinking of my son, with no means of seeing him, but suddenly he himself has come and my longing is satisfied. Though worn with years, I yearn for him."
Instantly he sent off his attendants to pursue the son quickly and fetch him back. Immediately the messengers hasten forth to seize him. The poor son, surprised and scared, loudly cried his complaint, "I have committed no offense against you, why should I be arrested?" The messengers all the more hastened to lay hold of him and brought him back. Following that, the poor son, thought that although he was innocent he would be imprisoned, and that now he would surely die. He became all the more terrified, fainted away and fell on the ground. The father, seeing this from a distance, sent word to the messengers, "I have no need for this man. Do not bring him by force. Sprinkle cold water on his face to restore him to consciousness and do not speak to him any further." Why? The father, knowing that his son's disposition was inferior, knowing that his own lordly position had caused distress to his son, yet convinced that he was his son, tactfully did not say to others, "This is my son."
A messenger said to the son, "I set you free, go wherever you will." The poor son was delighted, thus obtaining the unexpected release. He arose from the ground and went to a poor village in search of food and clothing. Then the elder, desiring to attract his son, set up a device. Secretly he sent two men, sorrowful and poor in appearance, saying, "Go and visit that place and gently say to the poor man, 'There is a place for you to work here. We will hire you for scavenging, and we both also will work along with you.'" Then the two messengers went in search of the poor son and, having found him, presented him the above proposal. The poor son, having received his wages in advance, joined them in removing a refuse heap.
His father, beholding the son, was struck with compassion for him. One day he saw at a distance, through the window, his son's figure, haggard and drawn, lean and sorrowful, filthy with dirt and dust. He took off his strings of jewels, his soft attire, and put on a coarse, torn and dirty garment, smeared his body with dust, took a basket in his right hand, and with an appearance fear-inspiring said to the laborers, "Get on with your work, don't be lazy." By such means he got near to his son, to whom he afterwards said, "Ay, my man, you stay and work here, do not leave again. I will increase your wages, give whatever you need, bowls, rice, wheat-flour, salt, vinegar, and so on. Have no hesitation; besides there is an old servant whom you can get if you need him. Be at ease in your mind; I am, as it were, your father; do not be worried again. Why? I am old and advanced in years, but you are young and vigorous; all the time you have been working, you have never been deceitful, lazy, angry or grumbling. I have never seen you, like the other laborers, with such vices as these. From this time forth you will be as my own begotten son."
The elder gave him a new name and called him a son. But the poor son, although he rejoiced at this happening, still thought of himself as a humble hireling. For this reason, for twenty years he continued to be employed in scavenging. After this period, there grew mutual confidence between the father and the son. He went in and out and at his ease, though his abode was still in a small hut.
Then the father became ill and, knowing that he would die soon, said to the poor son, "Now I possess an abundance of gold, silver, and precious things, and my granaries and treasuries are full to overflowing. I want you to understand in detail the quantities of these things, and the amounts that should be received and given. This is my wish, and you must agree to it. Why? Because now we are of the same mind. Be increasingly careful so that there be no waste." The poor son accepted his instruction and commands, and became acquainted with all the goods. However, he still had no idea of expecting to inherit anything, his abode was still the original place and he was still unable to abandon his sense of inferiority.
After a short time had again passed, the father noticed that his son's ideas had gradually been enlarged, his aspirations developed, and that he despised his previous state of mind. Seeing that his own end was approaching, he commanded his son to come, and gathered all his relatives, the kings, priests, warriors, and citizens. When they were all assembled, he addressed them saying, "Now, gentlemen, this is my son, begotten by me. It is over fifty years since, from a certain city, he left me and ran away to endure loneliness and misery. His former name was so-and-so and my name was so-and-so. At that time in that city I sought him sorrowfully. Suddenly I met him in this place and regained him. This is really my son and I am really his father. Now all the wealth which I possess belongs entirely to my son, and all my previous disbursements and receipts are known by this son." When the poor son heard these words of his father, great was his joy at such unexpected news, and thus he thought, "Without any mind for, or effort on my part, these treasures now come to me."
World-honored One! The very rich elder is the Tathagata, and we are all as the Buddha's sons. The Buddha has always declared that we are his sons. But because of the three sufferings, in the midst of births-and-deaths we have borne all kinds of torments, being deluded and ignorant and enjoying our attachment to things of no value. Today the World-honored One has caused us to ponder over and remove the dirt of all diverting discussions of inferior things. In these we have hitherto been diligent to make progress and have got, as it were, a day's pay for our effort to reach nirvana. Obtaining this, we greatly rejoiced and were contented, saying to ourselves, "For our diligence and progress in the Buddha-law what we have received is ample". The Buddha, knowing that our minds delighted in inferior things, by his tactfulness taught according to our capacity, but still we did not perceive that we are really Buddha's sons. Therefore we say that though we had no mind to hope or expect it, yet now the Great Treasure of the King of the Law has of itself come to us, and such things that Buddha-sons should obtain, we have all obtained. (Saddharmapundarika Sutra 4)

And here is the context of the parable from

"The Buddhist parable is part of the famous Saddharmapundarika Sutra (also called the Lotus Sutra, composed at the end of the second century AD), which revealed the new teaching of Mahayana Buddhism regarding the bodhisattva beings. The discourse of the Buddha's disciples takes place in front of a very large public, consisting of arhats, nuns, bodhisattvas, gods and other beings. His teaching was addressed to those who have reached the arhat stage of becoming and are supposed to advance further to becoming a bodhisattva and ultimately a Buddha. As the son in the parable shouldn't have been satisfied with his low social status, the Buddhist disciples should also aspire to a higher position, that of becoming a Buddha themselves. It will eventually be attained after a long process of learning and acquiring merits."

I don't know about you but I am glad that our Father doesn't make us work to be welcomed back into His love. This boy was away from his father for 50 years and then even when he returned the father didn't greet him with open arms he continued to make him work and not even tell him who he was until he died. This man showed some compassion but it wasn't unconditional. Our Fathers love is unconditional! Isn't it great? If you need a little reminder check out the BETTER parable of the prodigal son about OUR GOD in Luke 15 :) He welcomes us with open arms no matter how many times we stray or how many times we fall down. His love is BIG! and man am I glad for it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Are you about His business?

Who am I? Who are you? Who are we? In the whole scheme of things. In this big world. In this big country. On your campus. At your job. In your home. Who are you? What is your role? What contribution do you make to your world? We are insignificant. We can do nothing. God can do great things though, and we are lucky enough to be His vessels and be used by Him. He is significant and so is His work. When is the last time you let Him use you? When did you actively find something that God was doing and join in? I can't remember the last time I did, and personally I am dissapointed in myself. Who are we to think we are above being a part of His work? Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us and now we just give Him lip service but don't live for Him. Some of us talk about what we will do in the future and talk about what we are "called" to and all of that is great but what are you doing now in your community to help His children in need and to further His kingdom. I don't know about you but I am going to start being about His business NOW not later...not when I graduate college...not when I am being a Social Worker...not when I go overseas...NOW I am going to start now HERE where I am. I encourage you to do the same.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Let's be unashamed!

My friend Jacob Goff posted this on his facebook today. I searched around and tried to find an author but every site i saw it on said author unknown. It's powerful though. Beast was the first word I thought of when I read it haha

"I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made.I'm a disciple of His and I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away,or be still.My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure.I'm done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smoothknees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, anddwarfed goals.I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, orpopularity.I don't have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, orrewarded.I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, andlabor by Holy Spirit power.My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven.My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide isreliable and my mission is clear.I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back,deluded or delayed.I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence ofthe adversary.I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool ofpopularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up,prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.I am a disciple of Jesus!I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.And when He does come for His own, He'll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Paul and Death Row Converts

Yesterday in church someone mentioned something about how we become outraged when people who have done awful things become Christians because we don't think they deserve Heaven. In this case we were speaking about Death Row Converts. Men( or sometimes women) that have done terrible thing such as killing multiple people, or even hundreds. Let's think back to biblical times though. Can anyone think of someone similar to these men? (Hint: i already told you in the title) very good it's Paul! Haha Before his conversion on the road to Damscus Paul was Saul. Saul killed many many Christians just because they were Christians, but then after his conversion he went on to bring many to Christ and write most of the new testament. Why do we love and study Paul and follow the things he teaches, but we become upset and angry when people today that do awful things get to go to Heaven? It's hypocritical of us I think. Everyone deserves grace and receives it from Christ. Even if you do become upset it doesn't matter because our God still has compassion on them. Being upset doesn't change the fact that they will go to Heaven. Maybe , though, just maybe we should try to be like Christ(Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live of a life of love, just as Christ loved us...-Ephesians 5:1) and have compassion on those on death row, on terrorists, on the person at work or school that isn't very nice, on everyone. We are called to be like Christ and see the world through His eyes. Let's see if we can really do it. When you have trouble just think about Paul and how he became someone worth watching in the world of Christianity.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Psalm 18:16-24

But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down,but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field;I stood there saved—surprised to be loved! God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I'm alert to God's ways; I don't take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I'm watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
-Psalm 18:16-24 (The Message)

I just want you to think about that. Today I won't give you all the wonderful things I feel about it. I just want you to meditate on it.

PS: This is also found when David said it before in 2 Samuel 22...if you were wondering.