Thank You, Scripture, For Saving My Life

Thank You, Scripture, For Saving My Life

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John always got your back.
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“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26

This Bible passage has been in my Twitter bio for over a year. It struck home with me during a time when I didn’t even know who I was as a person. Jesus is saying that if at times you don’t [hate] your friends, family, and even yourself you can’t be his follower. Essentially, He knows you aren’t going to love your life 100% of the time, and that’s okay.

As cheesy as it sounds, Jesus became my best friend.

When it seemed I had no one else to turn to, His words brought me to life. The more I read scripture, the more Jesus’ messages made sense. It’s was comforting to read stories that related to the struggles, and also achievements, that were occurring in my life.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life …” Matthew 6:21

It’s so easy to analyze how everyone else lives their life and fret over what I don’t like about my own. The moment I stopped worrying about everything that was so “detrimental” and started focusing on how to improve my own life, the happier I became.

Whenever I was in a bad mood, felt alone, or simply just didn’t want to deal with life, finding scripture that matched my emotions was a healing mechanism. I searched and found passages that pinpointed my exact thoughts. In a sense, reading stories that connected to what I was going through, gave me a sense of comfort– like I wasn’t alone.

People always say when you’re anxious, stressed, or just need a break, to sit with a good book. Making my go to read the Bible changed my life. It doesn’t matter how you’re feeling, scripture can comfort.

Jealous? Proverbs 14:30

Overwhelmed? Psalm 143:3

Anxious? Proverbs 11:25

Think life can’t possibly get any worse? Romans 8:14

Madly in love? 1 Corinthians 13:13

No matter how I’m feeling, knowing that the Lord is by my side just makes me feel warm inside.

It’s knowing that there is ALWAYS one person who will be there for you, and one place you can find happiness.

Even if you aren’t a very religious person, you’d be surprised just how relatable such an old book can be. If all else fails and scripture isn’t for you, just remember:

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Matthew 28:20.

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Old vs. New: Which God Is For you?

Trick question, you can't choose a God.
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A popular misconception today's society has with Christianity, is that its god is an overzealous, overbearing, strict, unforgiving, and homophobic god. Perhaps he is. No one will know, but religion in general is a lifestyle. It connects people, gathers them in a common cause and in the common desire to do good and be good. Religion essentially is a lifestyle, a guideline on how people channel their restless energy/spirituality. In no way is this article meant to convert a reader or to elevate Christianity over another religion. This article is meant to enlighten others on Christianity, and to help its members struggling to come to terms with its God. However, in order to talk about God, one must first talk about love. Because God in Christianity and in practice is love.

Love in the Old Testament is portrayed as a relationship between God and his people. God, who is depicted as an ever-powerful and ever-loving being; quick to reprimand and punish, but still able to forgive. God’s love for his people goes beyond the bounds of agape love, charity, and normal hesed. His love is based on divine hesed which exceeds plain hesed as it focuses on prolonging the relationship and not just giving and loving the other on a current needs basis. Our hesed is determined on a circumstantial basis: how much a person needs, and if we are the only person able to provide the solution to their needs. However, as Christians, we are charged to go beyond that. Leviticus 19:34 highlights the idea that we must extend our realm of hesed and help strangers. For to be charitable and loving towards others, we must give hesed, which is consideration and love for our neighbor, as well as reverence for God.

On the other hand, love in the New Testament shifts its focus onto expanding the definition of neighbor, and thus, on to a kinder God. As stated, this was probably due to the audience both Synoptic writers and on were addressing: non-Jewish public. Love, in the New Testament, is put to the test - and God, in turn, is altered for the eyes of the Gentiles. His role from a reprimanding deity turns into a gentle parent, as He charges his new disciples of this time to spread his word. Through Jesus and his disciples, God beseeches the Jews, his chosen people, to spread the word, to show that the sun rises on both “the good and the bad alike…” (Matthew 5:45). Love is undiscriminating, and should be given out freely, and not to those just in need; it is an act of reconciliation because it is an act of giving yourself over to the other person in need. God loves all and will always remain unbiased in his charity, so therefore, we must strive to emulate the very same unprejudiced forgiveness and love he gave us.

Hesed is not just an action, but a reciprocation of our compact with God; to channel our charity into hesed love for others, we must act with the Decalogue in my mind. Only by heeding the Commandments are we able provide a pure kind of hesed that God implores us to offer to our neighbors - which is everyone. Combined, the Old and New Testament preaches to us to give our love without biases, and without hesitation. We are to treat others as a reflection of God, and as an extension of ourselves. By offering our help regardless of the situation or person, we can come a bit closer to emulating that kind of selfless love. By keeping the other individual’s needs in mind before ours, we can hope to reciprocate our compact with God. Matthew said that God made the sun rise for both the good and the bad alike, and so, we must learn to love without prejudice as love is our only was at redemption and reconciliation with others. Doing harm to others would just prove fruitless either way, as God, gives the final judgement - not us; we harm our reputation more so than others by refusing to love them. By reaching out to others even with the smallest acts of kindness and charity, we make a little bit of this love more present in the world.

So if you are Christian, you can't choose a God. You have to come to terms with the fact that God has been both strict, punishing, and kind and forgiving. Because that is what exactly love is. Punishing and forgiving. Kind and strict; ever-evolving.

God adapts. God forgives. God will accept. God learns.

Our people, the public, are different from the people of both the Old and New Testament. Today's people don't need to be appealed to, they don't need a strong figure with power to find haven under, they need an ear, a shoulder, a friend, and love.

They need someone who embodies the sanctuary and love that God had given His people in both Old and New Testament.

Cover Image Credit: m-louis

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Instead Of Giving Something Up For Lent, Give Your Time And Make A Difference

Take some time this season to serve others.
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The season of Lent this year started on Valentine's Day, the start of it is usually called Ash Wednesday. I know when we often had confirmation on Wednesday, it was put off for awhile so then we could attend lent services, I remember having to attend at least three services in order to get confirmed, because I know when I was in confirmation

I know a few of my friends were giving up things for Lent. Some of them were giving up Facebook (only to come back a few hours later), they have given up chocolate, and they have given up a certain TV show as well.

Well, I am doing something a little different this year. I found this post on Facebook and it gave me a good idea. For the 40 days of Lent, get rid of one thing in your closet that you no longer need or want, throw it in a garbage bag and at the end of those forty days give it to someone who needs it the most.

Sometimes we forget about what we have because we often think about what we don't have. People have become pretty greedy, and sometimes people don't see the bigger picture. Sometimes people don't realize how good they have it.

Even if you aren't religious you can still give back to those who need it the most, I don't go to church as much as I used to but I have other ways of serving God by serving those in need.

I volunteer at Feed My Starving Children, I have donated to numerous charities, I am planning to volunteer at Ronald McDonald House, I have done drives for the homeless and the people in Puerto Rico.

I want to encourage all of you, religious or not, to take some time this season to serve others. There are a lot of people that don't have it the best and it's up to us to help them out.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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