christical

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

Shout for Joy! December 21, 2012

Filed under: Homemade Praise — christical @ 5:27 pm
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“Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! (Zephaniah 3:14 NASB)”

As we near the end of the third week in Advent, I remember the above Bible verse from Sunday. The theme for the third week in Advent is joy; that’s why the candle for this week is pink instead of purple. Purple is usually associated with repentance.

God sent His Son into the world to redeem us. Isn’t that amazing? He was brought low so we could be lifted from the grave! That is why I say to shout for joy. Even better: sing with gladness! Really. A song in your heart can bring a shot of gladness to your day!

•JFG

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The Shootings December 15, 2012

Filed under: Applied Faith — christical @ 7:28 pm
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Many of us have already heard about the shootings in Connecticut yesterday in the morning. 28 people are now dead—18 children at the scene, 2 children in the hospital, six adults at the scene, one other adult in Connecticut (the shooter’s mother), and the gunman.

My prayers and sympathies extend to those who were affected by the shootings. I hope that the families of the 28 people who died would feel God with them. There is so much that happened because of this, and it’s caused a lot of pain and even fear all across America.

To be very honest, I’ve spent the day thinking of what I could say about this. But words cannot describe the way I feel about this tragedy. All I have are words of prayer.

God, I pray that you would keep America in your arms, especially those who are most closely affected by the shootings yesterday. As your will permits, let us learn from this experience and become closer to you. Amen.

 

The Reason for the Season December 14, 2012

Filed under: Applied Faith — christical @ 10:05 am
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Happy Advent everyone! What a beautiful time of year to spiritually readjust ourselves.

To celebrate the Christmas season, I decided to go Christmas caroling with the church choir, the members of which decided to visit three rehabilitation centers.What I saw there has changed my focus a bit on giving.

Old Folks’ Home One was clean, well-lit, and comfortable. I couldn’t help but take a second glance at a woman with sunken-in eyes, bundled in blankets. In fact, most of the residents who gathered around to hear the choir were wheelchair-bound. From grandkids to afghans, the residents loved talking to the choir. We listened and replied with a certain tone–pity in some, interest in others–in the moments before and after the visit. Perhaps the most moving moment was seeing an old woman being wheeled in, her eyes wet with tears.

The second place was a lot more saddening than the first. The moment we stepped in, I started warming up and had to take off my jacket. I was surprised to notice that none of the residents were a bit nauseated by the smell. The reaction of the choir is a different story. Later, I heard that most of the residents had no family to visit them. Watching the faces, the smiles, even the tears (again) of our audience, their happiness was apparent to me. It was more than happiness. They had joy. Every pair of eyes had stories to tell. In some, I saw snow and trees. In others, a girl who seemed to be a child crowded around the radio and listened to the news about the war. The residents there decorated candy canes as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and asked a nurse to pass them out to the choir. A woman who seemed to be the healthiest resident was so excited to see our faces. I loved seeing the enthusiasm of the residents, and it was moving to see how they poured their happiness into the choir’s visit.

Sadly, I found the last house draining. The choir stepped into the kitchen because there was no other place for us to sing. Despite this, we did comfortably fit into the house. All of four people listened: two nurses, an old man reading a magazine, and another old man whom everyone thought was asleep.

Yes, I was excited in the first place to sing at the rehabilitation centers, and I do not regret visiting. However, it’s an interesting lesson in my youth to see the personalities of people who are completely on the other ends of their lives. I learned that kind actions are often taken for granted. People often underestimate the power of a face-to-face interaction these days. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling that I have absorbed from old people who do not get visited often. You feel a warm swelling deep inside of your chest, and your eyes suddenly open up and see a great, wondrous light.

That’s the feeling of giving during the season. Do you feel it, too?

 

Finding Forgiveness December 8, 2012

Filed under: God's Grace Is Enough — christical @ 10:10 am
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(Twin and I arguing)
Sis: You’re not sorry, cause if you were, you wouldn’t keep doing it!
Me: (lowers voice) Do people keep sinning?
Sis: What?
Me: Do people keep sinning?
Sis: Yeah . . .
Me: What if God gave us the same reply?

Sometimes, we don’t focus on a picture clearly until we see it in a different light. I believe that through the above argument, I came a little closer to God tonight.

News flash: We are always sinners. No matter what, we will always mess up in some way or another. Try as we might, we will keep trying to walk on legs that are too weak to carry the burdens and anxieties that we bear.

What if God gave us a certain number of tries? What if we lie yet again, and we come to God asking for forgiveness, only to find that He doesn’t believe that we have truly repented? I mean, if you have the grace to forgive someone, then they should see your mercy and totally change to the “right” side for good, right? Wrong.

Forgiveness has no conditions. If you forgive someone, you are not obligated to become their best buddy. You are not obligated to pardon them from what they rightfully deserve. You are not obligated to enable them to keep sinning. Rather, by forgiving a person, you are releasing yourself from the anger you feel and the guilt from being angry. You are giving up the earthly power struggle between you and the grudge.

God has the mercy to forgive us and hold us in His arms when we come, crying, broken, and nearly dead. Perhaps it would do us well if we tried the same?

Your Mission: Who bugged you today? Think about the little brat at whom you’re still angry. You want to get back at them for their sneaky little misdeeds, make them sorry for every bad thing they did to you, don’t you (Trust me, so do I)? Take all of that emotion, look at the imaginary person sitting in from of you, and say, “I forgive you,” as sincerely as you can. Consider this: Jesus hung on a cross so you would not have to spend eternity in anguish after you died. Your sin killed Him. If God can forgive you for that, do you think you would be able to find it in your heart to ask God to help you forgive another person for the wrong they have done you?

•JFG

 

 
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