Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are You Ashamed?

Church Camp 2007. It was after the worship service that evening. I remember it was on a Wednesday night exactly. Because during the invitation I was able to witness a girl being transformed by the power of Jesus before my eyes. I was so inspired by the situation that was happening before me that after the service was over I went to my cabin, pulled out a notebook, and began to write down my thoughts (which later turned into a song). But God had a lot more instore that night for me to see.
As I was writing, there were a lot of people walking passed my cabin who were chatting, eating snacks, or munching on the watermelon we were giving out to everybody. I was able to fade them into the background as I finished writing. But something caught my attention. Something spoke to me dearly. I looked up from my notebook and saw a really skinny girl who I would say was about eleven or twelve years of age. She yelled out for everybody to hear, "JESUS SAVED ME! JESUS SAVED ME!" Of course everybody heard her, but nobody really seemed to jump up and say, "I am so happy for you!" More likely they were walking around her. The more I watched her, the more I started to notice her appearence. I saw she had long brown hair, and it looked as if she hadn't brushed it in a while. I looked at her clothes. Her light blue plain shirt had a hole at the bottom of it, and it looked dirty. Her pants weren't at all fashionable. And her shoe's looked worned out. Yet this girl who from your first impression, seems to own nothing of great worth, was overjoyed about Jesus coming into her life! She was walking passed my cabin and locked her eyes with mine, "Hey, Jesus saved me!" She said to me running. I was so happy for this girl. We hugged each other, and I told her as she walked on, "Hey, I'll see you in Heaven." She said a happy OK and waved to me good-bye. I never saw her again the rest of that week.
That moment reminds me so much of when I was first saved. I was thirteen and at a Heaven and Hell House drama never thinking that I would leave that church with a new heart and a desire to please God. I was like that girl. I wanted to tell the world what Jesus had done to me. I may have known all along about Jesus, but for the first time, I experienced it for myself.
I think that event at church camp will always be a memory worth thinking about for the rest of my life. I don't know many people today who claim to be Christians who still show the joy they felt when they were first saved. Actually, most Christians today look like everybody else, a.k.a. the world.
When I go to church every Sunday, there are the usual people that I notice more than others. I don't know exactly why that is. I guess its because I want to watch them. There are a lot of teens who I know text during church, who don't pay attention to the service, who don't appear as if they want to be there, yet claim to have Jesus in their heart. When I see those people, it shows who they really are. They don't have the desire to know Jesus. They'd rather be with friends, or hang out with their boyfriend or girlfriend, or they are there just to say they went. I have a question for this group of people. Are you ashamed of the faith of which you believe?
There are some people who only show up on Sunday Mornings. No Sunday school, no commitment. I don't understand why they don't want to be commited. I mean if you can be commited to sport games why can't you be commited to going to church? I have a question for this group of people. Are you ashamed of the faith of which you believe?
I know people who see nothing wrong with abortion. Who see nothing wrong with homosexuality. I am not saying that free will among individuals shouldn't be, but why do we want to encourage and support sin? Does this mean that since they have the right to abort their baby, then I have the right to steal something and it be alright? You wouldn't support me of my choice, because you know stealing is wrong. Yet then why do you support the choice of gay marriage (Genesis 2:22-25, 1Corinthians 6:9-10) but you won't support my choice to steal? What makes stealing more wrong that allowing a gay man become a deacon? Many Christians see nothing wrong with it. I have a question for this group of people. Are you ashamed of the faith of which you believe?
It looks as if I have divided people into groups. Well duh, thats exactly what I have done. You might not like it, but thats how it is. Because really as Christians we are in groups. Not that we should be, its that we choose to be. We are pretty much divided among the church because we choose to be. A church is supose to be one, a whole, the body of Christ. Yet some people just don't want to be a whole part. And its all because of one thing...apparently....somebody is ashamed of the faith which is in them.
I have been to church with a lot of different people. We are all at different area's in our walk with Christ. Some are more mature than others, but thats not the problem. The problem is we have too many people who are babies and very few people who are adults. There are people who will wrap their brain around the Bible and make it say what they want it to give them the right to do as they please. People will take the Bible out of content and change the whole entire message of what it claims. And its not just unbelievers doing this. Its mostly Christians.
I remember at Winter Jam this year, I believe Tony Nolan stood up after the break and told us the story about the girl he had just met five minutes before. He said to the crowd, "This girl came to my table. She listened to the message of God's Word. She had claimed to be a lesbian. But she recieved Jesus into her life, and she is changed. She has given her life to Christ and no longer lives the lifestyle she was living, but took up her cross and is now following Jesus!" And the crowd roared all around. It was a moving story to hear. Another life was changed, transformed. Do all believers care? I know during some concerts that I go to, there are people who are happy to hear a story about somebody being changed by God. Yet then I see others who are sitting down flirting with the people around them, or texting somebody, or simply not paying attention. Do they not care? Are they ashamed of the faith which lives in them?
There is a story that deeply moved me that I read in one of the Jesus Freaks books. I don't remember the place or time, but I remember that a group of people were having a secert church service. And when the communist found out, they raided the house. They held all the church members at gun point and said to each one, "Spit on the Bible, or die with a bullet in your head." A man walked near the Bible, with tears in his eyes, he spit on the Bible. They let him go free. Next a woman. She also spit on the Bible. They also let her go free. Then came an eight year old girl. Nobody knows what her name was, but what she did proved she wasn't ashamed. She held the Bible in her hands and whiped away the spit. "Oh God, look what they have done to your Word." she cried outloud. A guard loaded his gun, and he shot her in the head. Can you answer this question; was this eight year old girl ashamed of the faith of which was in her heart?
I really want to know. No, I really really want to know. What do you believe? Does anybody know what they believe? Who you are on the inside is what will show on the outside. Who are you really? Will you know who you were when you enter the Judgement seat for God to play back to you?
Anybody can say, Jesus is the Son of God. Anybody can say Jesus died on the cross. Anybody can say that. But who is living it? Who is really living it? All the artist who entertained us at Winter Jam cannot be the only ones living for God can they? Why do we see the movement at a concert but not in our own church? Why is this generation silent! Are you ashamed? You must be to allow such a thing as gay marriage to be okay. You are ashamed to believe that its impossible for abortion to be murder, when you know very well what the Bible speaks on the matter of both these topics. You must be ashamed because you party all night and try to go to church the next morning to keep your reputation. You must be ashamed when you leave home and go to school and talk and curse God like everybody else. You are ashamed of the gospel of Christ when you conform to the ways of the world, SO YOU CAN HAVE FRIENDS! You are ashamed! Church is another social thing. You go because you know you are supose to. Not because you want to. Its a chore, nothing really happens at church. For all we know you are wasting two hours of your morning hearing the word of God being preached in the pulpit. Look inside yourself and see something is not right here! If you are the same way as you were before you became saved, then you are in deeper trouble than a child playing with a sex offender.
We need to be as that eight year old girl who would not spit on the Bible. We need to live it. Not just speak it when the time feels right where you won't be made fun of. You live it now or become like everybody else, completely wasted. Everybody is wasted. And thats why the gospel is here in the first place. How can we be silent, when the fire burns inside us?( Million Voices, written by Barlow Girl) God has callen this generation for a purpose, and you'd be a fool to not accept the calling He has given us. To be the witness to this dying world. If you won't step up to the call, God will get somebody else. You will miss out on the blessings He has instore. God has big dreams for everybody. You just have to let yours go before you can experience His eternal plan for your life. This world is not our home. We are not living for ourselves. We are to not support sin but to stand against it when its being thrust upon us. The world accepts it. Why do we have to be apart of it?! This isn't a matter of opinion, but its the truth. And for those who don't want to listen to it, are convicted by the truth because they know its the truth. How many times must we read it before we apply it..." For God SO loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son..." Even the muslims know the most popular verse in the Bible. Yet we know it and take advantage of its powerful message. To so many its just words, and not a reality.
I really want to know. Are you ashamed? Are you ashamed to open your Bible and find the answers for yourself, but instead go to the world and seek their opinions? The world vs. the Bible. Which came first!? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." 1 John 1:1 The Bible is the truth. The world is an opinion. Don't you want the answer right now?
So, can you answer my question? If you are not ashamed, that means you live the truth everyday, right?

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His father with the holy angels." Mark 8:38, NASB

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." Romans 1:16, NASB

" Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me (Paul) His prisoner, but join with me in suffereing for the gospel according to the power of God," 1 Timothy 1: 8, NASB

"But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 10:33, NASB

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Empty ( I need you to need Me )

As children, we depend on the parents God has placed in our lives to provide for us, to nuture, to love, and give us everything we need to survive in this world. There are things we cannot understand at this point in our lives that our parents try to keep away from us because we simply are not ready to face it. Like when people have "the talk" its something most general parents don't want their children hearing until they believe they are at the appropraite age to hear it. To eat our meals everyday we have to depend on our parents to put food on the table, to give us the clothes on our backs, and to go to church to learn about God. We are totally depended on our parents during this time, but when we are at the right age to get out in the world, for the most part, we are on our own. Our parents can guide us and give advice, but the decision to do things is totally up to us. So we think.
I believe there is something we all desire in this life, more than anything. Its called love. We all want to recieve love from something or somebody because we were made for it. God created us out of love. We are in His image, and God is the image of love.
Exspecially for teenagers, its even harder to understand love. Because we don't all have the Christian parents, or the good godly church to go to. We aren't all always protected from the things we should be protected from. And when it hurts the most is when we are the most vunerable to seek out love, in any size or form.
Our lives are put in our parents hands, for a short time. We depend on them. When we put our lives into God's hands, its forever. But a lot of us, don't depend on Him.
I had such a hard time depending on God through a circumstance that lasted about five and a half years. It wasn't until a month ago, that I saw how much I was leaving God out of my life, and out of my most difficult trials, which only made things harder for me. As a young girl I wanted love so badly. Sure my mom gave me love, and still does today. But to me, it didn't seem like it was good enough. Not even God's love seemed good enough. Because I couldn't see Him, and sometimes felt that God wasn't really there. At that age I felt that I had to see love for the most part.
I don't want to go into detail. It was quite a hard case for me. But I wanted what I wanted. I dreamed of it, I desired it. The void in my life was like any other void a young girl has. Only I wasn't about to put my heart up for sale like all the other girls did. But I can still relate to their pain. The pain of giving a part of yourself to a guy. Kisses, holding hands, saying "I love you." Even some who thought they should give more, hoping it would make him love them more, but only left them broken, confused, and doubting that God even cares about them. How much I can relate to the stories I have heard from girls, and I only wish there was some way that I could numb their pain, and show them what love was really supose to be like.
I never thought about when I was hurt, that God was sending me a message. I refused to believe such a thing. I could always do what Joel Osteen says at "his" church, "Be happy and it will all go away!" Ha, yeah that always works! Pssh.
I may have let God into my heart, but there was a part of my heart that I wouldn't let Him in. And its the same for so many people. There is always a little piece of ourselves we aren't willing to give over, to give up. And for the most part, its always in the area of relationships with the opposite sex. I was one of them.
Through such a difficult time, I was being brokened little by little, each time God was sending me the exact same message, but I didn't want to hear it. Instead I complained, and asked God why things weren't going the way I wanted them to.
For all of those who have been hurt from relationships, going from one to the other, hearing him say the same things the other guys said...the things we girls so desperetly want to hear..."I love you"... why do we hurt so much after its all over with? Is this how God wanted it to be? Do we even care what God thinks anymore? Or is it that we are suddenly not depended on the wisdom of our parents but dependable on what the world is telling us to act and become? Are we not listening to the media, Cosmopolitain, Seventeen, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake? Do we not listen to their answers to our problems? Are we depending on the world to give us the love we were born to have!?
I may have never been in a relationship before, but that doesn't mean I know nothing of what it means to experience a broken heart, to cry night after night to where I had deep migranes that lasted for days sometimes. I know what it feels to hate who you are, and what you have become because of a mistake you've made, and to want to kill yourself because you sense no purpose to your life...because you can't find love. You can take the pills and drink the drink all you want to make you forget about it all...but it only makes you want to crave love more. Love that we are depending on in this world, from our friends and magazines to give to us. We end up empty. The void is still not filled, and we are exhausted.
How many days can I count that I was hurting? Who knows. I'm sure God remembers. I simply didn't think the value of God's love was enough to fill in my empty. Why do so many girls ignore Him, and don't rely on THE LOVE to find love for us?....which is Himself, His blood, His sacrifce.
As I am typing this, I'm thinking in my mind about a girl who I grew up with. I wish I could reach out to her so badly, but from the past times that I tried to love her, she wouldn't listen. I know she has been hurt so badly. She has had guys who have toyed with her emotions. Its been this way for so long. She lives in parties, and I have yet to know where she sleeps at night. I don't care about any of that, neither does God. For we don't have to be perfect to run to God. When God found me, I was emotinally damaged at a young age, torn apart because I was hoping to recieve love from a certian somebody, who later almost killed me mentally. Words can't describe the depth of my heart-ache.
When we hurt, like so many of us in the world do, its still a message from God. Something that took me so long to learn, yet it was so easy, so simple. When we hurt, it reminds us of how much we cannot live on our own. Its like God calling out to us, "I need you to need Me. Because without Me you won't live." Sometimes when the pain comes so suddenly, sometimes it may not be so big, its God simply reminding us that we are totally dependable on Him. We leave our parents after a while, but even if we can live on our own, we cannot be independant on ourselves or anybody else. We have to let Jesus carry us. We have to fall in love with God our Father. We have to acknowledge what He was done for us, and the depth of it all. When we find our value in Christ, love overflows and doesn't even compare to the love a godly husband or wife could bring. We can't let people fill in our empty. Its pretty much forbidden, except for God. And when we kick God out of the picture, and continue to let things go as they go, we will always experience the empty. We will never recieve love if we don't let it in. I wanted to fall in love with a man so badly I would watch chick flicks to keep my hopes alive. But what do I gain, but discontentment and desperation...all which is not from God? Even if I get married one day in the future, he can't be my Savior. He can't complete me. I can only depend on him to a certian degree. But my total dependance has to be in God. "I need you to need Me," I felt God say. And it goes out to all of us. No matter where you are at in life, what you have done, and what you hope to acomplish in the future, you can't ignore the truth. You need Jesus. You need Him more than a boyfriend, more than a spouse, more than your friends. You need Jesus period. And you, nor anybody else can argue about what Jesus has done for so many lives today, and still does.