The Love You Grow

The Love You Grow

It's about love. It's about compassion.

Buddha states in one of his sermons that the “heart is like a garden –it can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love”.

What seeds will you plant there?

When I was in high school a good friend of mine had gone to the mall with me and she had picked up a lot of things that she thought she had wanted but by the end of the shopping trip decided to just put them on random shelves.

I asked her why not put them back where she found them rather than make it hard on the retail workers of the store since we weren’t in a rush anyway. She told me simply told me she didn’t want to. I wish I could say that I said the perfect words, that after that she never did that again. I wish I could tell you that I had never acted in the same way in previous times.

I wish I could say that I made this dramatic speech about how we should treat others the way that we would want to be treated. To show love. To show compassion. It’s easy to make mistakes like these, to act without thought. I don’t mean that you are a terrible person, that you don’t care for others.

But now that I look back at the moment and have grown so much since that time, I wish I had said something. The Bible even states for us to look on our neighbors meaning our peers with love and kindness, but do we do this? No.

A memory that I hold dear to my heart dates to my first-grade teacher. She made it her life’s work to always show love and compassion.

I remember one day I had climbed to the top of the jungle gym, even though I had an immense fear of heights. It was the end of recess and I was scared to climb down. My teacher, at the age of about 70 years old, decided to look on me with love and compassion and climb to the top of the jungle gym to carry me down.

And when my grandmother had passed away and I was home sick with the flu at the same time she called my parents and stopped by to give her condolences to my family and dropped off the work I had missed and pass on a hug and kiss.

New York Times Bestselling Author, Sharon Salzburg, goes on to say that “Any ordinary favor we do for someone…may seem to be going nowhere at first, but maybe planting a seed we can’t see right now."

A simple act of kindness. A job. No not a job a purpose to show love to show compassion.

It's something that is so easy, yet we make so difficult we are so caught in the materialism of this world that we forget the most important things that can’t be brought: love and compassion.

I’m not perfect and neither are you. I don’t always treat others with love, kindness or compassion. I’m making a call for us to do what our kindergarten and first-grade teachers told us early on to treat others how we would want to be treated.

And to remember that a simple act of kindness like maybe putting back clothes in the right spot at a simple retail store can show more of your genuine heart than you’ll ever know.

Like the Dalai Lama said, “love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries without them humanity cannot survive”.

Cover Image Credit: Noni Humphrey

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13 Bible Verses That Speak To The Soul

"Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face." - Ronald Reagan

Sometimes on a bad day, all you need is the right bible verse to help you keep going. However, it's not always practical to go through a study on your busy days searching for the one thing you need to hear from the word. These verses are ones that should speak to your soul, give you the motivation to keep going, and to remember you have the power to do everything with good intentions.

1. Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

2. Matthew 17:20

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

3. 1 Peter 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

4. Esther 4:14

"...And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

5. Psalm 16:8

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

6. Proverbs 3:3

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

7. Psalm 139:14

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

8. Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

9. Proverbs 16:24

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

10. Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

11. Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

12. Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters...

13. Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Cover Image Credit: Pixaby

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Why It's So Easy For Millennials To Back Away From God

What we need to understand about the millennial mindset.

As a student in my second year on a college campus, I've grown to notice something that, at first, was very peculiar to me. I attend a private, Christian university, so you can imagine my confusion when even in theology courses or classes that heavily emphasized the existence and involvement of God in our society, I would find that half of the students in the class were skeptics of this concept of God: agnostics, atheists, naturalists, deists (dare I say it).

Even if I discovered they had grown up in church their whole lives, once they graduated high school and entered college-age, they started to abandon these beliefs they'd been raised knowing and try to find life's meaning in other things... well really, in anything but God.

While many of them did believe in a supernatural being or source of life through which the universe functions, they fought the established concept of "Creator God" with every possible argument they had.

So, I asked myself, "Why?"

Why is it that in the world of academia today (or even just in general society), it's so difficult for millennials to believe in God? Or, perhaps more accurately, why is it so easy for us to back away?

1. We’ve grown up in Christian homes but never sought God ourselves.

The Pew Forum says that 3 out of 4 kids who grew up with a Christian background will call their faith into question after graduating high school. Millennials who were never encouraged to make their faith their own or actually study why they believe what they do are in danger of falling away from God as soon as they step out of the house.

Many of us identify with the beliefs of our family, but when we leave to go to college or start our own lives apart from Mom and Dad, we don’t know why we should continue this (especially if we were never encouraged to have a personal relationship with God anyway).

2. God is replaced with other things.

In the spot where God should be, we often have a tendency to place the other things we idolize. Rather than allowing God to be the focus of our lives and finding our identity in Him, we make the things we most love of the world our focus.

This could be a significant other, the desire for wealth or status, our careers, or even ourselves. When God is so easily replaced with other things, it becomes difficult for us to see our need for Him.

3. In a world so obsessed with sense experience, God seems like a fairytale concept.

In our culture, you are considered dumb or illogical if you choose to value faith over what you can see, touch, experience, etc. Because Christians cannot prove that God exists through scientific method or physical experience, the world refuses to accept Christianity as a valid worldview.

When this happens, millennials begin to accept that perhaps they are wrong in believing in God and that their beliefs are based on lies and wishful thinking. And good luck convincing a naturalist that anything other than sense experience or atoms exist.

4. Following God becomes a task, rather than an identity.

There have been too many times to count when I’ve talked to a Christian who just seemed genuinely exhausted with life. This is because many of us, perhaps without even realizing it, begin to see our life with Christ as a job. We picture God as our boss who is constantly telling us what to do and cracking the whip behind us, so we view ourselves as subordinates who are obligated to do what He tells us.

Many of us forget that God is not referred to as our task-master or boss, but as our Father who loves us and sees us as sons and daughters. Without this view of ourselves and of God, millennials will see the life of a Christian as difficult or as a simple list of tasks to do to get to heaven.

5. It’s difficult to be labeled as a Christ-follower, because of the bad rap many Christians get.

So many millennials are nervous to tell people they are Christians because they don’t want to face the inevitable looks of disgust, confusion, or awkwardness. Christianity has become a religion that many people believe belongs in the past or is associated with judgment and hypocrisy. If you say you’re a Christian, I almost expect instantly that you’re going to judge me for my lifestyle or try to shove the gospel in my face. Even worse, I might expect to see you doing or saying something later that completely contradicts your beliefs and your worldview. It’s become easier for millennials to just say that they’re agnostic or impartial to religion.

6. Our education system tells us there is no need for God.

While I’ve never encountered a biology textbook that specifically states “there is no God”, the ideals and hypotheses included in them all point towards a world that has never had a need for a Creator or a God. This is another thing vastly due to our culture’s obsession with sense experience, and it’s convinced many millennials that the only logical formation of the world is due to a big bang, followed by millions of years of evolution. In this story, God never existed, was never necessary, and has never been involved in life whatsoever. It’s no wonder we turn away from God.

7. The ingrained philosophy that we must think for ourselves and only we can choose our path in life paints God as useless.

Millennials have been trained by their society and by the people around them that the only way they will ever accomplish anything of worth is through their own efforts and independence. Because we strive so hard to “make it” and we are told our whole lives that we have to work for everything we get, God (again) becomes unnecessary to the picture. If we can figure everything out on our own and do everything ourselves, what use do we have for God? Why do we need God to carry our burdens? Why should we allow God to have ultimate control in our lives if our lack of control is viewed as weakness?

8. The church remains particularly cliquey, exclusive, and corrupt.

Ah, the church. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why millennials don’t want to claim God any longer. Going to church has become an almost scary experience if you don’t know anyone or haven’t been invited. Churches tend to the cliquey side, accepting those who are “hipster enough” or “holy enough” and casting disgusted eyes on those who are “sinful” or “strange”.

Also, while there do exist many churches out there who truly care about people and ask God for direction in everything they do, there are also many churches, preachers, and “motivational speakers” who utilize the Christian faith as a paycheck. Ulterior motives are thrown in, and the whole thing becomes a huge mess that repulses millennials and prevents them from ever setting foot in a church door.

9. We see a lack of authenticity in the church and among those older than us who claim to be Christian.

Again, corruption is put into play. Millennials have such a difficult time going to church and being active followers of God because we see so many people who claim the Christian faith, yet act in a manner that completely opposes it. We go to church and think everything is great, then discover the head pastor is cheating on his wife. We participate in a Bible study and it’s revealed that the leaders of the church are lifting money from the offering baskets. Things like this happen all the time, and while it should be a reflection on the imperfection and sinful nature of PEOPLE, we tend to think instead that it’s a reflection on God Himself.

10. We simply don’t want to accept that there’s a moral truth, so we can keep doing what we know is wrong.

Last, but absolutely not least, millennials fall away from God, because we know the life of a Christian requires obeying His commandments and we don’t want to give up our lifestyles. Every time we go to church or open up our Bibles, we feel convicted of our immorality. We don’t want to give up the things we know God doesn’t approve of, so we just give up God altogether. Rather than admitting that there’s a moral truth and that we’re constantly in violation of it, we suggest that there is no such thing and God is simply a figment of our imaginations to prevent us from really enjoying the world.

I no longer wonder why on my college campus, I meet so many people who no longer or never have identified with Christianity. Now, I only wonder, when we will start actually doing something about it and encouraging people to see the truth of the matter.

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