christical

Inspired by Jesus. From a Christian. For the Christian and anyone else who bothers to listen.

Peace and Nelson Mandela December 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — christical @ 8:27 pm
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St. Thomas Aquinas once said that man has a restless heart and a questioning mind. As humans, it’s natural to search for happiness, success, love, and peace. But the greatest of these is peace.

Nelson Mandela died yesterday at the age of ninety-five. All I can say is: what an amazing life. South African boy turned lawyer, imprisoned for twenty-seven years. He was subjected to conditions that would destroy most. But what happened? He was one of the most gracious and compassionate men the world has ever known.

Even rarer than the brilliant warrior is the brilliant diplomat. Of course, in any situation, tact is key. But I feel that it takes a certain kind of person to be able to look your enemies in the eye and shake their hands, especially if you do so the day after you get out of prison.

I truly pray that today’s leaders can remember Mandela for his love and the way he could begin to restore a broken nation. Who knows: maybe his example can translate to our friendships? Our families? Heck, the Christian church?

–JFG

 

Turning the Other Cheek October 2, 2013

Filed under: Applied Faith — christical @ 9:20 pm
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(Please note: a social media comment is shown and referenced in this blog post. The language used may offend sensitive readers.)

After a long break, I’m back.

While I was gone . . .

  • I fell in love with playing music again.
  • I adjusted to a new school schedule.
  • I deleted my blog’s instagram and started spending more time on my personal instagram.

Although I haven’t been blogging, I’ve been eagerly looking for opportunities to “let my light shine” and allow myself to share what I know about God when possible.

When I was scrolling down my feed, I found an argument between a One Direction fan and a Doctor Who fan. For the record, One Direction is a British band who recently announced that they would hold a “live stream” video event for their fans on November 23rd. Doctor Who is a British television show that started fifty years ago. A new, super-important episode will air worldwide on, you guessed it, November 23. The One Direction fans have dubbed the 23rd “1D Day” in honor of the event. Doctor Who fans are not at all happy because they believe that the day should be dedicated to the first doctor. The below comment came from a One Direction fan, and it was directed toward a fan of both One Direction and Doctor Who.

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The part I want to comment on is, “The reason we are nene [mean] to swifties [Taylor Swift fans] and the wanted [The Wanted is another band] cuz in case you haven’t noticed they have all been rude to us first.”

This mentality really grinds my gears. I take issue with the idea that one is justified in being rude to someone because that “someone” was rude first. There’s a difference between justice and vengeance; there’s a difference between forgiving and enabling.

See, if you do something unkind to someone because he or she has done the same to you, then how does that make you any better than the other person?

Jesus taught to turn the other cheek. This means releasing the anger and the grudge that you hold against the other person. Really, withholding that forgiveness doesn’t do much for you. Letting your mind be consumed by their actions, being reminded of the ugly things they did to you, is letting their misdeed defeat you. If disharmony is a basketball, you just caught the ball and will most likely pass it down the court.

If our goal is to think like God, then how can we think like God if we aren’t willing to forgive someone else for their rudeness to us?

If we simply pay back what we have been dealt by others, then don’t we just move in circles? Where would the circle stop?

Do yourself a favor. You don’t have to be your adversary’s best friend, but at the least you can vow not to let their actions take over your life.

 

Just Stay Calm. August 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — christical @ 4:02 pm

It’s August. Children are going back to school. Gone are the days spent in jaunty freedom.

For many, that means the return of stress. You worry. You worry about your schedule, the huge amount of work you have to do, the little amount of time in which you have to do it.

You think: this amount of stress cannot be remotely healthy. You’re right. Stress is blamed as the cause for a plethora of conditions: high blood pressure, heart problems, being overweight (if you count that as a condition), insomnia, and aging (if you count that as a condition in these fountain-of-youth times).

No doubt is there that worry is a noose.

But don’t hang yourself with worry’s noose.

Paul says in Philippians 6:4, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer let your requests be made known to God.”

Worry and fear crawl into your life. Chase them away. Get on your knees and acknowledge your worry. Tell God you don’t want to worry about whatever anymore. Then, get up, and find a way to help yourself abate your worry.

Get some exercise. Your mind and body will thank you.

Try to get more organized. It’s a lot easier to stay calm when you aren’t carrying around a gigantic load of papers, notebooks, books, and binders with loose documents flying everywhere.

Establish a routine and stick to it. If you’re sprinting around the house trying to prepare yourself for the morning, you might be wasting time and energy.

Most of all: understand that the world does not always expect perfection.

Do you have to do your job with no mistakes? So be it. Do you have to live your life without mistakes? Heck no! Nobody’s a perfect friend, perfect family member, perfect whatever. It’s only important that you understand your mistakes and move on.

On a final note . . . Have no fear looking into the future. To quote Dostoevsky, “Fear is nothing more than the consequence of believing a lie.”

Look through the lies. You are a follower of truth.

Truth is steady; truth is calm.

 

In Spite of This July 31, 2013

Filed under: Applied Faith,God's Grace Is Enough — christical @ 9:40 am

I wrote this in response to a blog post where a reader commented that they found the Christian’s practice of telling people “they’re great and special and loved” unproductive and ridiculous.

If we just go and tell someone how “special and great they are,” then we have a problem.

The reality is that we’re born with these “marks” that Jon (writer of the original blog post) referenced. We look in the Law’s mirror and it tells us we’re failures and ugly and worthless. That reality makes the one-sided message of, “You’re okay, in fact, you’re special and awesome,” a problematic one. Who do we believe? If you’re one type of person, your ego will automatically inflate; if you’re another type of person, you’ll feel like someone you thought cared about you is lying to you. If you’re the former, then you’re not looking at the Law’s mirror long enough. If you’re the latter, then you see how much you need mercy, but you feel like you don’t deserve it.

That’s where God comes in. To use figurative speech, Christ’s blood washes off the guilt (not the original sin, the actual sin). His forgiveness tells us that we are His, we can become whole and joyful again, we are alive.

As for the marks of original sin? Those are the moments when we look at our Christian brother and sister and think: “I am loved in spite of this. I’m not okay, you’re not okay . . . But that’s okay.”

 

The Center of Action July 15, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — christical @ 8:15 pm

Martha was a homemaker, clever and swift.

She always tended to be oddly busy.

Everyone said that she had a gift

For handling with ease what would make others dizzy.

 

Mary didn’t want to work so much,

She wanted to take a break

From work, home and such

To listen to Jesus for her soul’s sake.

 

Neither woman was wrong,

They both loved the Lord,

But one was a servant to make others strong,

The other was a student of the Word.

Earth is significantly less chaotic in certain places than in others.

If God has you in the bloodiest battle, then He has you in there for a reason. Likewise, if you’re in the medic tents or simply lending your support from afar, then he has his reasons for that as well.

Christians (and people in general) have a problem with stagnancy. If we’re not doing something that can truly impact other people, then we may begin to worry whether we’re doing anything worthwhile.

Out of all of the days you could live, God chose this day for you to live and grow. You never know what a simple smile and a short conversation can do for a person and for you. One smile leads to another. Countless times I’ve been thanked for smiling or for saying hello.

It made me realize that not all important decisions are heavy decisions.

It made me realize that the center of action may not be in the world with arguments; no, it may be that the center of action is whatever’s going on two inches behind the skull of the person sitting next to you.

Where’s your center of action? Are you a soldier on the field or a soldier of the soul?

 

James 2 July 4, 2013

Filed under: Let's Get Biblical! — christical @ 7:42 pm

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Today I’ll be going through the second chapter of James. The epistle of James was written as a guide for Jewish Christians regarding the duties of the Christian life. The letter discourages sins such as speaking falsely, discusses social issues like showing favoritism (as you’ll read today), and encourages demonstrating patience in every situation.

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. A-ha! See, I told you we’d discuss favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Judgements fill the human mind: we judge whether a situation is safe, we judge what clothing is appropriate for the day. It’s not a sin to simply make a judgement; however, it’s not Christlike to discriminate among people by only looking at their appearance or their wealth (or lack thereof).

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? Jesus was born to an unmarried woman and a carpenter in the backwaters of the area. But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? As a nation in general, we realize this, but we change nothing! Half of the people believe that our problems are caused by need and too much poverty; the other half believe that our problems are caused by greed and consumerism. In need versus greed, we reach a stalemate, and very few are willing to open their minds and try to do something about the problem!

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. The law is the law. In God’s eyes, a  lawbreaker is a lawbreaker. Someone who breaks a law against someone breaks a law against God, because by breaking a Law, we disobey God.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Look at the part in bold. This doesn’t mean that our salvation is defined by what we do. No way! It means that if we aren’t willing to forgive, then we’re not thinking like God. If we’re not with God, then we’re resisting God. If we’re resisting God, then we’re not “saved”.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. We’ll have the Jesus stickers on our cars and the cute little keychains, but does the Gospel do in us if we don’t act it out in our lives? The answer: nothing.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Of course someone will say this.We try to set ourselves apart. The world blows up our self-esteem and tells us everything will be fine and dandy if we’d just “Be ourselves.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. They will know we are Christians by our love. The demons know that God exists. It’s what you do with the knowledge that sets you apart as a Christian.

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. See, it’s not works that saves us, it’s faith. But the Gospel is good news that inspires action. If you want to selfishly keep it to yourself, take a look at your priorities and see if you’re hearing the Gospel clearly.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Happy fourth, American readers!

–JFG

 

Bible Dipping—Deuteronomy 8:5 June 28, 2013

Filed under: Let's Get Biblical! — christical @ 5:51 pm

Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.

God is a realist.

He has to be, if you want that infinite love to be real.

Most people hate seeing themselves as ugly and sinful.

We’re pupils who can see everything except ourselves.

Sometimes we look into a mirror called the Law. It shows us our ugliness and our sinfulness. We see our imperfection, and we hate it.

God doesn’t do this to be mean. No, He does it to knock down our walls so we let love in. He shows us our need and then He fills it.

The cost of sin is death. However, though our body dies, as Christian, we will live on in Heaven, much longer can any memory can preserve us. And though our ugliness is all too evident, we are made beautiful in Christ’s blood. His sacred heart is our fountain of youth; it restores us when we feel like we cannot go on.

We are broken, but God puts us back together with His comfort. He says that life will go on. He promises that He is always with us.

If He chastens us for our good, then I want Him to chasten me plenty, because I know that the correction He provides will make me more like Him.

—JFG

 

 
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