Dear God, If You're Reading This

Dear God, If You're Reading This

Please be with our world. We need You more than ever.
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Two weeks ago I had written a controversial article that received much backlash and comments that read "out of all the problems in the world, you chose to write about bikini bottoms." After writing that article, I struggled with the direction I wanted to go down next. How could I come back from an article that received so much hate and ridicule? After thinking long and hard about this next article, I decided I wanted to write about something that truly mattered in today's hateful world.

So God, I hope you're reading this.

Please be with the victims of the Syrian chemical attack carried out by the Assad regime and the Russian Government who played a hand in killing hundreds of innocent people.

God, please guide the United States' government officials to carry out the appropriate responses to these attacks according to Your will and send relief to the friends and family of those who were killed. Please be with the people suffering in the hospital and wondering whether or not they have a family to go back home to. Please give them hope.

Please be with our military personnel who are leaving their family and friends and laying down their lives to protect our country.

God, please be with our soldiers all over the world and keep them safe from harm. Please especially be with our soldiers experiencing uncertainty on the South Korean borders as more and more nuclear air strikes are shot into the air and landing in the Sea of Japan. Please keep them safe and if necessary, guide their thoughts to carry out what is best for our country and our world according to Your will.

Please be with those suffering from diseases including the Nigerians who recently experienced a Meningitis outbreak which killed over 300 people.

God, please be with everyone in our world today who is suffering from sickness and disease. Please grant these individuals will power and strength to fight these deadly diseases. Please guide the medical teams to complete their best work in hopes of treating or curing these individuals. Please be with science and research labs as they work diligently to find the "latest" medications to treat incurable diseases.

Please be with the American farmer, many of which who are struggling to get by due to the drastic fires and detrimental amounts of rains that destroyed family farms and took many farmers' lives.

God, please give these farmers a sense of direction after their livelihoods have been destroyed. Allow them to keep the faith and trust in You, that You will provide for them always. Please keep safe those farmers who are hauling loads of hay down in aid to the remaining livestock as well as the individuals who are traveling down to repair miles of charred fences.

Finally God, please be with our world.

With all of the violence, hate, and sin in our world today, God we need you more than ever. This list presents only a few of the issues in comparison to the pressing topics within our society from famine, poverty, disease, equality, environmental concerns, racism, and the list goes on and on. God, please give your fellow children hope that they too may one day live with You in paradise and that all of these horrific acts will soon pass away. Please guide our thoughts and actions to be positive, loving, and full of kindness, so that we too can make this world a better place to live in. Finally God, please give strength and guidance to your followers so that we are able to spread the good news and great joy that You bring.

Although I still stand by my article 100%, I felt motivated to write my next article about the "bigger picture" in life. No, our society may not agree on the latest fashion choice; however, our time and energy should not be spent arguing about a simple piece of clothing, but instead, should be on the large problems happening in our world today.

Therefore, I urge each and every one of you to do something to make a difference. Whether it's big or small, do something to make an impact on our world. Go on a mission trip, volunteer at your local homeless shelter, hold open the door for a fellow citizen, or even just pray. Talk to God and ask Him to guide you, but most importantly, trust in Him and He will provide.

"You were born with the ability to change someone's life, don't ever waste it."
Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'm Tired Of Trendy Christianity

Life with Jesus is so much more than one big coffee break.
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Okay, you're a Christian. After all, you have all of the tools you need.

You have your densely highlighted and underlined Bible, your Eno, your Chacos, your Patagonia backpack and of course, your beloved Camelbak or Nalgene water bottle that is covered in name-brand stickers.

Your days consist of going outside, chilling in your Eno and blasting "Oceans" by Hillsong and "Good, Good Father" by Chris Tomlin. Your room is decorated with lots of inspirational quotes, maps with variations of "send me" close by and probably some pictures of your last mission trip. Your Instagram page is full of pictures of your friends that are "gems," captions of how thankful you are for certain things and pictures of the last country you visited that say "take me back."

Oh, and you might have a tattoo in Greek.

Okay, if you know me, you know that I literally just described myself. So, when I say what I'm about to, I'm not bashing anyone at all. I am guilty of all of these things and God has really laid these things on my heart that I've found myself doing time after time.

It seems that in the time we live in, if you're going to be a Christian, you have to have all of the right things, and I'm tired of it. Christianity is not about having a certain look or personality, but about having a deep, meaningful relationship with Christ. I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about what being in a relationship with Christ actually looks like. I'm here to tell you that it's not anything like what I described.

Being in a relationship with Christ is not easy, and it's certainly not the most trendy thing out there (maybe on your college campus, but not in the real world.) It's about surrendering everything you have to a God who sent his son to be crucified for things you've done wrong.

It's more than just drinking designer coffee and Bible journaling and "being intentional."

It's about finding peace and joy in spending time with our creator. I know a lot of people just like me who fit the stereotype perfectly who have some of the deepest, most meaningful relationships with Christ, but I also know a lot of people who fit the stereotype who are just faking it.

I'm so tired of people who do not know Christ thinking that they have to have a certain look or personality about them and it hinders them from running into the loving arms of Jesus. We've made Christianity a club, and that's not okay. We have taken God's beauty and grace and made a fad out of it.

So, friends, I'm not saying that we can't have these things and still be Christians (because honestly, I like the way I live life with these things I've been given, and this is just who I am,) but I am saying that having these things are not what makes us Christians. So, be careful how you live out your walk.

Are you just doing it to be trendy, or do you have a deep and meaningful relationship with Christ?

Walking with Jesus is more than just a big coffee break.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr/Psalm Thirty Seven Four

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I'm A Christian Who Practices Yoga And That's Okay

Yoga and Jesus: Is it possible?

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I have a confession: I am a Christian who practices yoga daily. I even teach it twice a week. It may not seem like a big deal, but to some, my yoga practice is considered demonic or blasphemous to my faith. I understand why other Christians hold this belief. Yoga is rooted in the Hindu and Buddhist tradition. Christians do not believe in actively practicing any other religion but Christianity, and monotheistic doctrine is 100% scriptural.

But, it is important to remember that in today's Western culture, many of the specifically religious parts of yoga have been stripped to offer a more inclusive approach to the exercises. To be honest, I have never attended a yoga class in which I felt pressured to conform to the ways of another religion. Yoga teachers see the melting pot of races and religions that walk into the studio every day and know that they have to make class inclusive or they won't have any students! I like to compare yoga to the Christmas tree. Christmas trees definitely have pagan origins, but Christians across America put up a Christmas tree to celebrate Jesus' birth. Although we are aware of the original purpose of the tree, we are also aware that such old traditions mean very little to society today. Yoga is a similar situation.

Most Christians who practice yoga know of its origins but also understand that hundreds of years have separated the practice from its original intent.

When I take a yoga class, I have a very specific mindset that I try to enter each time I approach the mat. This has very little to do with "altering my spiritual state." It's more about making sure that I'm getting the most out of each stretch and breath physically so that I am maintaining emotional regulation. All of these benefits, of course, extend to my spiritual life as well. Because my Christian walk is a part of everything I do, Christ has really, truly blessed me in my yoga practice. When I'm going through a flow, I pray, I seek answers, I ask questions. I get to focus on how God holds together all of my operating systems: physical, mental and spiritual.

Yoga is literally medicine. Doctors are starting to prescribe it like a pill. Here are just a few of the countless benefits of having a regular yoga practice:

- increased flexibility

- more effective circulation

- weight loss

- boosts immunity

- better focus

- increased oxygen intake

- sinus relief

- depression/anxiety relief (lots of serotonin!)

- better posture

- natural pain relief (even for menstrual aches and pains!)

- improved metabolism

- lowers blood sugar

- supports connective tissue

-maintains the nervous system

- releases physical and emotional tension

- relieves drug withdrawal symptoms

- prevents loss of bone and cartilage

- increased strength

- relieves insomnia and other sleep problems

For me and millions of others, the amazing benefits of yoga happen not because of calling on any other deity, but because of the strengthening and relaxation that happens when you go through the physical act of yoga. Of course, this physical positivity changes my emotions and spiritual posture with God, but for the better! I walk away physically invigorated, emotionally purged and spiritually more in tune with my Father's voice.

I think that's a really cool thing to experience, but it's not for everyone, and that's okay! If you're a Christian and do not feel inclined to start a yoga practice, that is valid! No true yogi would ever try and force a practice on anyone! But, it's hard to see a lot of my Christian friends bash yoga as "a practice from Hell" or "a way to open up portals" when it's been a Godsend for so many people ailing from things they never thought they would find relief from.

God, through the redemptive grace of Christ, is in the business of making all things new (Revelation 21:5). He can turn ashes into something of magnificent beauty, and I believe He can do it with yoga. Looking back, I can see how God has given me discernment with my practice to know how to worship and serve my God in yoga without compromising my heart in the process. Because of God's clear direction in my life, maintaining my spiritual integrity in yoga has not been hard.

I totally understand that an 800-word article may not change anyone's mind, and that's okay! I just ask everyone who might disagree with me to take into account not only all that I have said, but all that God says in Scripture, and use discernment to make a decision for yourself. I think that's really the heart of yoga today: asking others to consider a different way of observing life while staying completely true to themselves and what they believe.

Blessings.

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