Sunday, 30 October 2011

Let yourself free!

The self help genre has increased tremendously in the past few years. "Live better", "Take control of your life" "Become the person you want to!" All these slogans I always pass off as a money making venture. I've got God thanks. I am already joyful to the max, because of what is to come in heaven.

A lot of people are turned off Christianity because they think it ruins all their prospects of having fun in this world. No getting drunk? Come on! Not allowed to crack crude jokes? But then I miss out! All the things 'normal' people would do seemed out of bounds to Christians. This is true for some things, such as getting drunk and being disrespectful, but I started putting many more activities in the "Not allowed to do as a Christian" basket, when really it should be enjoyed. This fault of mine came to my attention one afternoon with my sister.

In our front garden, visible to about 4 houses, my sister forced me to dance. Putting some music on, I just wanted to listen, but she took me out of my shell. At first it was just flinging my arms around with the music, but as I gradually began to leave my embarrassment aside, I took risks. Someone maybe could have said, "You look stupid!" but no one did. My sister encouraged me all the way, and after 5 minutes the song stopped but I felt great!

Image from Costi

I put "making a fool of myself", such as through letting myself go in music, in the "not allowed" basket. Other things I made myself think were not allowed as a Christian were enjoying non-christian hang outs, like youth centres; going to concerts where stupid things could happen, and having good friendships with people from the opposite gender.

My mind had automatically assumed the worst of these situations, such as me taking drugs, or me becoming impure in my actions, and so I rejected them completely. When essentially they are God given gifts we are meant to enjoy.

God set me free not so that I could wrap myself in my own little rules for life, but so I could enjoy life to the full. Love God and love one another, are the two rules I need to live by, without adding anything else.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

My Favourite Quotes

Since my mind feels a little shallow this week, I thought I could get inspiration from other people's writing. Specifically quotes. So here are some of my favourite quotes that made me see life and God in a brand new way. Which one is your favourite?

"A brook would lose its song, if God removed the rocks." - Unknown.
This quote really affected me as it reminded me again that everything God does has a purpose, and that even though they just look like stumbling blocks in the way, the obstacles he has placed in my life have shaped me to just the person he wants me to become.

"Footprints in the sands of time aren't made by sitting down." - Unknown
I always loved the footprints in the sand poem, but this quote also brought to my attention that God wasn't helping me do nothing. He wanted me to glorify him.

"Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future" - Oscar Wilde
My personal favourite for now, as it really shows God's changing love can be at work in everyone. Just like in Les Miserables, one of my favourite books, the man's life is turned around with God's love. My life was turned around also. And is always getting lifted back on track frequently by God's soft but powerful hands.

Do you have any other quotes you really think shows God in a different perspective or that you just love? Please comment because I am a bit of a quote buff, and love hearing new ones!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

What God Gives

I experience many birthdays during the year. I like to consider myself as a little bit of a gift specialist as my friends say my presents are what they didn't know they wanted, but actually did. I usually never get what they ask, because that's boring. I like a little bit of surprise...

However sometimes I just need to get a quick something for someone. If I can't find anything suitable at home already a short trip to a dollar store usually fixes the problem. I hate myself for getting something like a scented candle or a weird deck of cards, because I put no effort into it. It sacrificed me nothing, money wise and time wise.

Imagine God choosing his gift for us. It wasn't like "my son, yes I can spare him. He's going to come alive anyway. Make the humans happy and I can live in peace." And then sends Jesus down. NO! Jesus was a sacrifice. A gift that we cannot pay back. Today's world has changed the meaning of "gift". I
f we give something, we expect something back. In Japan it is more extreme. Some people won't accept a gift because it would be too much of a hassle to "pay" the gift back. That is not a gift at all. It is an exchange!

One more thing, I'm so glad God gave us something unexpected. Imagine God giving us something we asked for? Money, power, such small things compared to his sacrifice! We often complain that God doesn't give us what we want, but he has given us what we most need, a chance to be saved. Nothing can be better than that!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The "Nothing" Holidays

Have you seen them lately? Or maybe you are one of them? Those who lounge around at home. Maybe in front of some screen entertaining them, a TV for example, and waste away their holidays. The meaning of holidays is to do no work. To do nothing. That is their dream holiday. Nothing...

That "Nothing" is always so inviting. When you have the freedom to stay in bed and you have the freedom to not give any thought to anything why would you bother about anything until you are forced too? Why not just slumber on, doing nothing?

I sometimes commit this crime of giving in to doing nothing in the holidays. Days waste away and before I know it I have to get up early again. Have to work again. Have to actually "do" something again. The happiness I experienced blew away with the wind, not leaving any trace that it was ever there. The problem with the "nothing" holiday is that it is just that. "Nothing". As I experienced, at the end of the holiday you have nothing to show for it.

Imagine a different example. Holidays where you start on a project. Maybe to build something, or to write a book, something which will need time and energy but becomes something special in the end. You strive to finish the project and you spend all your holidays concentrating on getting it done. You struggle sometimes, but in the end you have created something. You have not wasted your holidays doing nothing, but have done something. Made a difference.

Life is like that too. To some it is just doing "nothing". The necessities, the easy way out. The pointless things that will fade away. The warmth and comfort of the bed. But at the end, what have you got to show for it? Nothing. Why not "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." as Jesus says in Matthew 6:19. Do something productive and not pointless. Don't spend your time on things that will just fade away. Give it all to God, where he can use it to really make it worth something.

A life is a big thing to lose to nothing. Why not appreciate the gift and use it?