christical

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

Ecclesiastes: Chapter Five July 27, 2012

Filed under: Let's Get Biblical! — christical @ 2:04 pm

Hahaha, and here we have chapter five of Ecclesiastes! This is getting to be quite fun, I’ll admit. Honestly, I never thought that I’d be the blogging type. But here I am, all of me, in God.

Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words. If you’re going to go to church, then do it because you want to, not because you have to. Truly, God welcomes you to worship when your heart is ready for it. I attend my church’s morning services if I want to. But if I don’t feel like morning church one day, then I don’t go. I don’t like the commonly-held belief that everyone grows spiritually at the same time, same place, Every. Single. Sunday. You know why? Because it’s not true. And going to God just to complain about everything isn’t the wisest idea. We’re blind to the stuff that happens behind the scenes. God is in control, and we can’t even begin to understand the intricacies of what we can see. Working too much makes you lose sleep, and talking too much makes you look foolish. Relax, dude: God is in control.

When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God. If you tell God you’re going to do something, then do it! It’s better to not promise to do something than it is to promise to do something and not go through with it.

If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them. After all, a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land. Don’t let the injustices of the world upset you too much. You may want to become a revolutionary, but the fact is that there will always be inequality. But the earth gives everyone what is coming to them. It’s the natural order for nature to be brutally honest.

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.  When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep. Greediness never turns out well. The more money you get, the more people try to get your money. The rewards of hard work are good, but the rich man consumes while being consumed by stress. Overall, I don’t think I’d want to be that successful. Wealth comes at much too high a cost.

There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him.  As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand. This also is a grievous evil—exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind? Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger. Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust. Someone who is and materialistic all their life won’t find happiness. It will be all about working for profit. Then he will discover that his castles are nothing more than pillars of salt. Only time will tell how long he stands.

Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart. What is wise to do is to be content with what God has given you. Enjoy the fruits of your labor while you still can. 😉

 

Are You an Olive Branch? July 26, 2012

Filed under: Christian Culture — christical @ 12:39 pm

The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth (Genesis 8:11 NASB).

But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever (Psalm 52:8 NASB).

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth (Revelation 11:4 NASB).

Olive Branches have long been a symbol of peace. Same with doves.

The question here is: are you an olive branch?

Consider all that you have done. And I will help you find out whether you are a peacemaker.

1. What do you do when you disagree with someone?

  • A. Agree to disagree.
  • B. Say nothing.
  • C. Speak your mind, maybe a little bit rudely.

2. When two friends get into arguments, where are you on the issue?

  • A. Trying to calm down both sides (which normally works).
  • B. Ignoring them both for a week.
  • C. Defending one side.

3. You’re the valedictorian, Congrats! But your sworn enemy’s lifelong dream was valedictorian and you just barely got better grades than she did. What thoughts are running through your mind?

  • A. “Avoid all attempts to rub it in.”
  • B. “Whatever. If she wants to be a sore loser, than that’s her problem and none of my business.”
  • C. “Dude! I’m so awesome! I’ll make her feel better by inviting her to my graduation party.”

4. You have to work on a group project. You have your choice of three people who want to work with you. Your choice?

  • A. One of your friends. You know that she’ll do her share of work without being a control freak about your share.
  • B. The shy kid. They’ll do anything you ask them to. And you can just do whatever you feel like.
  • C. The basketball star.

 

If you answered . . .

  • Mostly A’s, then you’re definitely a peacemaker! You don’t like to argue, but you’re not weak. You are the olive branch!
  • Mostly B’s, then you’re quite distant! You tend to be controlling and don’t exactly respond to disagreement in the best way.
  • Mostly C’s, then you should probably pay better attention to people’s emotions. Try taking a walk in their shoes. And remember what is best for the group as a whole.
 

Hearing from God July 24, 2012

Filed under: Applied Faith — christical @ 5:05 pm

Mood: The world is an awesome place.

Last night, I heard from a friend who had moved a ways away last week. I was really glad to know that they were doing well moving into their new house.

I also heard from a friend with whom I normally speak a couple of times a week, and realized that we’re probably not going to see each other in a while (3-4 weeks, which if you’re my age is a pretty long time).

Either way, I get to still talk with them fairly often through the electronic methods (being me, I am normally not one for phone calls :-p).

In today’s world, it’s great, being able to communicate in ways other than face-to-face. Texting, e-mail, video chatting, voice chatting, telephone even!

But those all have their limitations. Telephones aren’t always answered. Voice chatting is rarely as clear as the real thing. People can’t always video chat. Others don’t always respond promptly to e-mail. And with texting, you’re relying completely on text – no visual cues.

God is always available though. He is always there to unload your troubles. Would you like to hear what He has to say? There’s an app for that. Bibles are now readily available as apps and downloadable books. Don’t have a smartphone? Go steam punk with a book! ;-p

Communicating with God is an amazing experience. And he’s only a thought away.

A few tips:

      •Speak your thoughts to God. Keep no secrets, because God already knows them all and loves you still.
      •Use a book or a system if it helps. A friend of mine uses the ACTS method: Adoration (praise God), confession (I sin), thanksgiving (thank you), and supplication (prayer requests).
      •There is no right way or wrong way to pray. Do what you feel.
      •Anywhere, anytime: talk to God!
    •If God responds to you with his voice, then dude, you rock! Tell me what he sounds like. 🙂

Peace.

—The Jesus Freak Girl
“Jesus loved you before people knew you existed.”

 

God, the Plumaria, and You. July 22, 2012

Filed under: Applied Faith — christical @ 4:17 pm

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God didn’t have to make the plumaria with regeneration. He could have given it seeds. He didn’t have to make the world with color. He didn’t have to give humans a mind to make up for what we lack. No, he didn’t have to make us able to grow with our spirit in pieces like the plumaria. But He did. Praise God!

 

Ecclesiastes: Chapter Four July 21, 2012

Filed under: Let's Get Biblical! — christical @ 1:01 pm

 

Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun. Seeing the evils of the world is definitely not easy. When some see what cannot be changed, they wish they could “un-see” it. The writer sees the world in all of its truth, full of victims without comfort, and tyrants who have no rescuers to their victims. He thinks that the lucky are dead, but that those who never saw daylight are ever luckier because their eyes haven’t seen the world’s corruption.

I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind. The work done that is motivated by envy is useless. Nothing good ever comes from that sort of dog-eat-dog competition. People try to outdo each other until everyone ends up in ruin.

The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh. Life is the game. It’s games all the days of your life. Trying to do everything will ruin you. Trying to do nothing will ruin you. Moderation is key, I guess.

One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind. This is true. I would love to work all my life to be able to relax and enjoy the profit of my work, even if the profit isn’t financial.

Then I looked again at vanity under the sun. There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a grievous task. Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Everything is better when you have a friend to ride it out with you. A support system is one of the best systems ever. And if, in your moment of need, you look for a support system that isn’t there, then God bless your soul.

Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? Company keeps you warm. How can you rely on your own body heat when you have none?

And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. Friends are more than a shoulder to cry on. Best friends have each other’s back through everything.

A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction. For he has come out of prison to become king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom. I have seen all the living under the sun throng to the side of the second lad who replaces him. There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity and striving after wind. Here’s a story about a young one with fifteen minutes of fame. A boy was born, went from rags to riches, and people were excited for a while. But then people got bored and cast him aside. It just goes to show that even memory doesn’t last forever. God is the only truly lasting thing.

There’s chapter four!

–The Jesus Freak Girl

 

Ecclesiastes: Chapter Three July 20, 2012

Filed under: Let's Get Biblical! — christical @ 1:25 pm

This chapter’s going to be great! I really do enjoy the Bible and learning so much about everything, so it’s a great experience, like reading a fantastic book.

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven — a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. I’m guessing that here, the writer had a lot on his mind about time, and the human experience. This part is about how there is a time for everything, and that it is best for one to experience what they can in life. I’ve heard it said that ignorance is bliss, but honestly, I’d rather have wisdom than bliss, wouldn’t you? Note the second-to-last sentence, which is about love and hate. When you read that, you might be wondering, “But isn’t hate a sin?” Hate is a very strong feeling; it’s super energy-consuming. But the sin is in the malicious intentions that hate brings about. Sin is by thought, word, and deed, not by feeling.

What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God. The writer saw what work God is having us do on earth: as it is our earth, yet a temporary home, one could easily see that it is mostly busy work. I’m not that the world isn’t beautiful, of course. But we are on earth for a short amount of time, and God has taken on all of the behind-the-scenes work. We don’t really see an obvious form of Him too often. But what we are given is from Him. Do not be afraid to enjoy life as it comes, for you are fortunate for the good in your life that you have.

I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by. This is God. He was. He is. He is to come. God is beyond what we can fathom, but He is universal and constant. He’s all about reality. Forget about what should, what was, what would, what must: think about what is! How can one expect a reality in him if one dwells everywhere but the present? Look closely now – it may be the only glimpse you get.

Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. I said to myself, “ God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a time for every matter and for every deed is there. I said to myself concerning the sons of men, “God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.” People think they’re wise, or smart, or have the answers. Well, them something comes along to make them realize they’re not and they don’t. Every human system is corrupt and will fall eventually. Nowhere on earth is there pure good or pure evil. The world is purely impure.

For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth? I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him? We see here that there’s no advantage to being human. Humans die. Animals die. We are all going to end up as dust. Who knows what more there is to life than living with the things which God has blessed us? We are all just souls in bodies. Don’t act superior to everyone else. So you have money – are you able to buy yourself time on earth or joy? So you have good looks – what use is good looks when you’re not going to look like that in thirty years? Oh, you say that you are smart – news flash, intelligence is not an indicator of God living in you! Enjoy what you have, however, while you have it, because it is given to you in His grace.

 

Jesus Is Power July 18, 2012

Filed under: Applied Faith — christical @ 2:53 pm
Tags: ,

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Have I ever told you readers how hard object lessons can be sometimes? There are just some moments when your creativity runs out of juice, and your right brain feels dead. Luckily this isn’t one of those moments.

I guess the human soul is like a cell phone battery with a fickle charge level. We can’t survive on our own and plunge at the most unexpected times. We need Jesus (the outlets) to fill us up again.

But sometimes, when things are going good, we get lazy with keeping Jesus in our sight, and soon we forget about Him. We “lose the charger” in our lives, and when we need it, it’s harder to find ourselves again.

So, try to keep your charger in sight, mmkay?

—The Jesus Freak Girl

 

 
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