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A time to give

christrocks:

This beautiful post really reflects the things that have been on my mind this Christmas season. God bless!

Originally posted on daughter by design:

CHRISTMAS GIFTSI don’t know if anyone has ever told you that Christmas is not about the gifts, but if they did then they were lying.

Christmas always was, Christmas always is, and Christmas will ALWAYS be about the gifts.

It’s about a gift so grand that you would never be able to find it at the shopping mall.

It’s about a gift so priceless that no amount of dollar bills could purchase it.

It’s about a gift so big that no Christmas tree would be large enough to place it under.

It’s about a gift that was sent long ago from the arms of heaven into the heart of men.

See, Christmas is all about the gifts.

Because it began with the greatest gift of all.

The gift of a beautiful baby boy names Jesus who came to bring freedom, peace, hope, and a future for you and I.

When I…

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A Christmas Poem

snow on a branch

How does one write a Christmas poem?

Oh, where shall I start?

‘Tis not the day but ’tis the season

For some Christmas thoughts.

Should I wish to remind of you

Of presents you’ve yet to buy,

I could write of gifts and Santa Claus

Of stockings and trees I would sigh.

Or perhaps you would rather I write of the songs

We sing this time of year.

“Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night”

And others we hold so dear.

Maybe you wish I’d write nothing at all

And ignore Christmas day altogether.

“Happy Holidays!” I would cheerfully say

And then we could talk of the weather.

But if I wish to remind you of a more beautiful thing

Than gifts and trees and toys,

I would speak of a night, cold and clear,

A night that we think of with joy.

For on that night a life began,

That life could be ours in abundance.

A gift held close and ever so dear

By those with arms open to receive it.

I write to remind you not to wait till Christmas day

To bring praise to our God and King,

But to begin on this day to give thanks and to pray

And to bring Him an offering of love.

If we wait for one day to profess all our thanks,

We’re really missing the point.

God longs to hear us on the tenth and the fourth

As well as the twenty-fifth.

So take a moment to stop and pray

And thank Him for what He’s done.

The life He’s given, the debt He’s paid

Should be sung of more than one day alone.

-christrocks

Through Tears

tears

This weekend was beautiful. The weather was perfect (which is subjective, of course, but I’ll stand by my claim). Sunday was the type of day that makes me want to sit outside in the sun, breathe in the fresh air, and just enjoy life.

Today was less perfect. It was a little too cool for my taste, the kind of weather that makes me unsure whether I should go outside in a t-shirt and shorts or just hide inside all day wearing warm pajamas and a robe.

According to the weather people, come Thursday (happy Thanksgiving!), we’ll be “enjoying” a low in the thirties. Ugh. And that’s pretty much the fall/winter weather where I live. Just as I start to get used to a certain range of temperature, it will drop or go up thirty degrees from one day to the next.

I feel like my life’s been like that lately. I’ll enjoy a short period during which everything seems to be going well. Life is good, until the cold front blows in, and to be honest, I haven’t been handling the cold very well.

Monday night, for instance, I was feeling rather depressed. It wasn’t anything important. In fact, I imagine that if I were to share the details of what I was struggling through with a friend, they would have gladly, if possible, traded their problems for my “problem”. Putting all that aside, I was depressed and, I’m ashamed to say, crying a good deal.

water dropI was sitting in my bathroom, feeling miserable and crying intermittently. When I was crying, all I wanted to do was stop. When I wasn’t crying, I had no idea what to do.

As I sat there, I thought of God, watching me and perhaps rather amused by how easily I cried over such little things. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that God doesn’t find my pain funny, no matter how insignificant the cause of it may have been. When we see someone we love in pain, is there any good reason for us to mock them for it? So how could God, whose love is infinitely greater and ultimately beyond our understand, not care about us when we are in pain? How could He not care, even about the silly things, the small things? And how could He not feel pain, just as we feel the pain of our loved ones?

These thoughts slowly traveled through my mind. As I processed them, I felt a small degree of comfort, but I continued to cry. In fact, I think I started to cry harder.

I began to pray through my tears. I can’t really remember what I said. What I remember is that, at one point, I was no longer able to pull my thoughts together and put them into words. Rocking back and forth where I sat, I simply said, “I love you.” Then I said it again. And again. And again.

This wasn’t me saying, “God, I love you, so help me.” I think that the moment that I began to say those words, I realized something. God loves me. Nothing else matters. In that moment, it didn’t matter what was going on or why I was crying. What mattered was that I felt God’s love, and I wanted Him to know that I loved Him too.

God loves me. Nothing else matters.

It was such a simple thing, that realization. “God loves me”. But the truth is, it was not simple. It was great, profound, powerful. It was everything. It’s an idea that many, many people know, but not one that many people understand or take seriously. But maybe “understand” isn’t the right word, for who can completely understand God’s love? I know I don’t, but last night was a step toward something amazing. God loves me. Nothing else matters. That realization was something worth crying over nothing for.

I don’t know how long I sat there saying, “I love you”, but eventually I felt a peace sweep over me. I mean that quite literally. Before, there had been something raging inside, causing tears and pain and misery. Now, slowly, it began to calm down. And I felt at rest.

When I started this post, I hadn’t meant to write about all of this. To be honest, I began by talking about the weather because I had no idea what I wanted to talk about. I suppose God wanted me to share what He did for me, and I’ve written this gladly. It was a difficult night, that’s for certain, but ultimately, I’ve been blessed because of it.

On a lighter (maybe?) note, after all that transpired, I went back to reading a novel and within minutes it was making me cry. But that’s okay. A good book is worth crying over. :)

God bless!

-christrocks

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
-Superchick

Left Behind: More than a Movie

air

One week ago, the re-make of Left Behind hit theaters. Please be aware, this is not a movie review. I have not seen the movie, and probably won’t see it until it I can borrow it from the library. (Just so you know, this applies to almost all movies my family watches, unless it somehow makes it to Netflix first.)

Anyway, I digress.

The reason I bring this up is because of the plethora of anti-Rapture articles that I’m noticing all over the internet. The one that caught my attention the most was titled, “Nobody Is Getting Left Behind (Because The Rapture Is Never, Ever Going To Happen)” (originally from The American Jesus and written by Zack Hunt).

Now, am I absolutely sure that this guy’s theology is wrong? No. Of course not. To claim that I know for a fact that he is wrong would be to say that I know everything, which clearly is not the case. But I do believe that, Biblically, he’s made some errors, and I would like to share my thoughts. Whether you agree with me or him or neither, that’s fine. I just ask that you go to the Word first, because while our opinions (and, yes, theologies) are not infallible, God’s Word is forever and completely true.

The first thing I want to go over is what he mentioned of his struggle, in earlier years, to pinpoint a date for the rapture. Of course, this is now something he no longer struggles with since he doesn’t believe in the rapture, but I would like to point something out. Matthew 25:13 says this:

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

This statement comes at the end of a parable Jesus taught. This parable is basically a warning to always be prepared, because we “do not know the day or the hour” that Christ will return. Period. There’s no predicting it. And unfortunately, many people have overlooked this key verse and made attempts to predict the date of the rapture–and we all know how that turned out. These failed predictions have only served to weaken people’s faith regarding end-time events.

Now we come to one of the major points. The author states that no one in the church believed in the rapture until the last 200 years or so. He mentions some major figures in the history of Christianity whom he says never mentioned the rapture.

Why is this? Consider this: It wasn’t until five centuries ago, through Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, that the Gospel–salvation by grace through faith–re-emerged. Prior to that, Roman Catholic doctrine had corrupted much of the early church’s original teachings–which, I would add, included a belief in the rapture. Ultimately, we shouldn’t be looking back to a period of time in church history that, doctrinally, Christians no longer agree with to prove or disprove rapture.

Next: the idea that the Rapture isn’t mentioned in the Bible, and that it wasn’t “invented” until somewhere in the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries. I can understand where this is coming from. After all, you won’t find the English word rapture in the Bible. The closest you’ll come to it is a passage in 1 Thessalonians that mentions the believers being “caught up” in the air. However, in the original Greek, this phrase is harpazo, meaning to snatch or take away. In Latin, the word is rapturo.

So, yes, the word rapture is in the Bible–but does that really matter? What I mean by that is, should the fact that this word is in the Bible affect whether or not we believe in the rapture? No. A word is a word. The evidence for the rapture that we find in the Bible, that is what matters. Not what we call it.

And now, love, which is what the last point revolves around. The idea is that Jesus’ love, shown for us on the cross, doesn’t fit with the image of Jesus we see presented in both the rapture and the Tribulation. How does the enormous love Jesus has shown for us translate into the utter awfulness of the Tribulation? And beyond that, why would Jesus in His love take His church just when the world needs us most?

First of all, the Tribulation is God’s judgment of the world. God is love, yes; but He is also just. We are currently in a grace period, which is a demonstration of God’s love for us; but the grace period will end, and God will judge the world during the Tribulation.

As difficult as this may be to grasp, bear with me. Just because the church will be raptured, that does not mean there will be no more Christians in the world. For example, Revelation mentions the martyrs who were slain during the Tribulation and then went to heaven. It also mentions the 144,000 from Israel, “servants” who were sealed by God (Revelation 7). Thus, we can see that people will continue to be saved during the Tribulation.

Here we come to a very important point. The Tribulation is an example of God’s mercy. As crazy as it sounds, it’s true. He has every right to simply say, “It’s over”, and let that be it–but that’s not what He’s going to do. He gives us numerous chances to come to Him during our lives; the Tribulation is His final attempt to draw us to salvation. And the Bible shows us that people will indeed respond to this last, loving call from our Father.

Is the rapture going to happen? I believe so. I invite you to share your thoughts, but I would like to say this: I’m not trying to start a debate. I’ve shared my thoughts in response to Zack’s article, and I’d be very happy to hear your response to mine.

God bless!

-christrocks

A Matter of the Heart

heart

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to come up with excuses for why I haven’t been blogging lately. Excuses for myself, mostly, although you’ve heard one or two of them.

Busyness has been my favorite excuse. And, for the most part, it’s legitimate. I feel like I’m doing school work from morning till night–well, actually, I don’t feel that way, that’s just how it is. It’s mostly if not entirely due to my tendency to be easily distracted lately, something I’m working on. At any rate, the point is that I just haven’t had much time for anything, blogging included.

Another excuse that I like is overall brain-deadness. (That’s a thing, right?) It seems like every time I do have time to sit down and blog, my brain just goes blank. I sit in front of the computer for half an hour, writing the beginnings of three or four different posts that all end up in the trash.

And as good (or bad) these excuses may be, I’ve begun to realize that they are not the reason that I haven’t been blogging. I believe that my blogging has suffered because I’ve begun to lose my focus on God.

Outwardly, everything’s good. I read my Bible (almost) every day. I pray frequently. I attend church twice a week, and I serve on the worship team. Everything seems right; nothing seems different.

But on the inside, everything feels wrong. My Bible-reading usually feels like a chore, my prayers feel empty, and going to church twice a week in and of itself does not make for a healthy Christian.

I’ve come to realize that I’m in a place where my first priority is my life, and my second priority is God and my relationship with Him. It twists me up inside to write that down, but it’s the truth.

Clearly, this has affected me in every part of my life, but I believe it has struck a heavy blow to my blogging. Every time I started to write a post, it just felt so…wrong. I felt guilty. Hypocritical. Since my relationship with God had weakened, I didn’t feel right telling other people how they could improve their relationship–at least not until I spent some time focusing on my own.

I know that all Christians go through times like this. But I also think that some people don’t pull out of it. I’m not going to let that be me.

My game plan starts with turning my focus from the things of this world to Him. Spending more time in prayer, and taking the time to realize that I’m not just saying meaningless words–I am having a conversation with the One who created me. Reading my Bible more, knowing that I’m not just reading another book, but that I’m reading the holy Word of God, the One who gave His life for me.

I’m also going to start blogging more. I believe that blogging helps me stop in the middle of my schedule and turn my attention to God. To take a moment and think about the things He’s been speaking to my heart.

I also ask for your prayers. Beyond that, I’m not really sure what else I can do. I do know that I don’t need to do anything else, though. If I make the effort to turn my life around and start running towards Him, I know that He’ll be there. This isn’t about what I can do to fix this. It’s about my allowing Him to do a work in my life.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

-christrocks

 

 

Prayer Request

Hi everyone,
I’ve been sick all this week. I no longer have a fever, but I’ve developed a nasty cough. Please be in prayer that this will pass quickly. I have the ACT tomorrow and I can’t afford to be sick right now.
Thank you all!
christrocks

God’s Promises; Our Hope

I’ve just come to what I hope is the end of a very busy period in my life. It’s been about half a month since my last post, and I have missed blogging. I mean, truly missed it. What I’m trying to say is, yes–I’m glad to be back.

I was going to write a full post tonight, but I’ve decided instead to share with you a verse I came across recently. I will be back soon with more posts. :)

Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. (Psalm 119:49-50)

We have hope and comfort in God’s promises to us. Amen.

-christrocks