Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Time to Surrender!

As I was doing my devotional recently, there was a sentence that hit me so hard that I have thought about it ever since. In the devotional, it's God talking to me, and the sentence simply said this: "You will find that you can accomplish more in less time after you have given yourself to Me in rich communion." I started thinking about how I always say there is not enough time in the day to do all the things I need (and want) to do. I make excuses for not spending time with God and say that I'm "just too busy". God revealed to me how much this excuse doesn't make sense. He created time. He set the sun and stars in a cycle and set up days and nights. It's not a surprise to Him that I have a limited number of hours each day. He has given me an exact amount of time that He has perfectly planned out and the time He has given is sufficient for what He wants me to do every day. He knows that I have limited hours and He knows what He wants me to do for each and every one of them. The next key thing to this is that I have to give Him complete control of my day. I know He has a plan, but if I direct my focus onto things other than Him, I will lose the opportunities He wants to give me. His plan is so much more perfect than anything I could ever imagine, yet I still hesitate to give up control. I worry that if I give it up, He will ask me to do things that will mess up my routine or my schedule. But then I just have to remember that not only does He have a plan, but He is all-knowing and is aware of everything going on in my life. He sees the big picture and can determine way better than me what is the best way to spend my time. Maybe He will mess with my schedule. So what? If that is what is required in order for His kingdom to grow and if it is His will, then it doesn't matter what it messes up. When I surrender my day to Him, I better be ready for a ride because there's no telling what He will have in store. I don't want to miss the opportunities He gives me each day. I want to totally trust Him and give him complete control. Even if I only see one step at a time, I can know that He sees every future step and He won't lead me astray.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What Biblical Principles does Divergent Illustrate?

      Divergent is a book that focuses on subject of fear.  Tris chooses to go to the Dauntless faction and is faced with things over and over again that trigger fear in her.  Going through initiation teaches her that she can control and overcome her fears.  At the end of initiation, Tris hads to go through her own fear landscape and face all of her fears. Going in, she doesn't know for sure what all her fears are.  I think part of conquering fear is to identify what is at the root of that fear.  Tris discovers the true identity of all her fears and defeats them.
      This doesn't mean she's suddenly not afraid of them anymore.  Every time she encounters her fears, she must conquer them again. The Bible talks so much about being courageous and not having any fear. Deuteronomy 31:16 says: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you."  The Hebrew word for "courageous in this verse is "amets" and it means: "To be stout, strong, bold, alert".  That definition perfectly describes Dauntless.  In 1 Corinthians 16:13, Paul tells the people to "be men of courage; be strong." Over and over again, the Bible says to be courageous.
      The Dauntless are also known for standing firm for what they believe is right.  What ideas are deemed right by the Dauntless? They believe in justice.  They believe in ordinary acts of bravery.  They believe in standing up for those who can't defend themselves.  They believe fear should not have the power to influence decisions. 
      Many times in the Bible, God tells us as Christians to stand firm in what we believe.  In Mark 13:13, Jesus says: "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."  2 Thessalonians 2:15 says: "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth, or by letter."  James 5:8 says: "You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."  1 Corinthians 15:58 says: Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."  We are to stand firm, just like the Dauntless.

      The definition of Abnegation is: "To refuse or deny oneself (some rights, conveniences, etc.)".  This is exactly what Jesus is saying to do in Luke 9:23. He says we must deny ourselves. Jesus was extremely selfless and humble.  Philippians 2:3-4 perfectly sums up the life of the Abnegation: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

*Spoiler warning. Don't continue reading if you haven't read the last book.*

At the very end of the last book, Tris gives up her life in place of her brother, Caleb.  This act of love and selflessness is considerably Christ-like, especially since Caleb betrays her and she still dies for him.  Everyone involved believes Caleb should be the one to give up his life, but Tris still loved him and took his place.  In the same way, Jesus gave up his life to save us from what we rightfully deserved.  Romans 5:8 says: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  We deserved to die, just like Caleb, but Jesus stepped in and took it for us, just like Tris. We betrayed him by sinning and yet he loves us so much that he bravely and selflessly died for us.
      At one point in the series, it's stated that those who transfer into Dauntless from other factions end up different from each other based on which faction they came from. Those who transfer from Abnegation tend to become revolutionary. Combining bravery with selflessness can be a radical thing.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I Want to be Unique!

The contest:
Five minutes.
Most unique rock.
Within the five minutes I spotted several that I thought looked interesting, and I even picked up three or four others. But at the end of the five minutes I decided this one was the most unique. What made me pick this one up? What about it drew my eyes? As the waves of Lake Michigan kept rolling over all the rocks, my eyes were constantly scanning for something different. Color was the thing that caught my eye most of the time. This one had a yellow tone to it. Looking at it even from a distance, I noticed the beautiful black stripe on it. None of the other rocks I saw had that definite of a stripe or that boldness of contrasting colors. So I chose this one.
My desire is to be like this rock. I want to be unique. I want to stand out. I want my love for Jesus and people to be as bold as that black stripe.
 I noticed that this rock was that it was more colorful when it was wet than when it was dry. If it had been dry when I first saw it, I don't think I would've even given it a second thought. The water made it shiny and beautifully bold.
If I'm dry, I'll just blend in with the world. In order to be unique and stand out, I must be constantly submerging myself in the Living Water, who is Jesus. The more time I spend with Him and the more I get to know Him, the more I will shine and uniquely stand out!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Texing While Driving

      Mark Hanna is an insurance expert who has voiced his support for a ban on texting when driving in Texas. He believes that drivers who are texting are more dangerous than drivers who are drunk. I think it is true that it can be dangerous to text and drive. When someone is texting while driving, they have to take their eyes off the road for at least a little bit, and that can always end in an accident. Also, when texting, a driver can be very distracted and unable to focus on driving.
       On the other hand, people are constantly taking their eyes off the road or not focusing on driving. Parents look back at their kids, people listen to music, talk to the person in the passenger seat, do makeup, eat, and many other things that are potential distractions.
       Much of it depends on the person driving. For instance, a young teenage girl who just got her lisence and is texting her boyfriend would most likely be more dangerous than a middle aged woman who is texing one of her friends.
       But experience isn't the only factor. When someone is driving, they aren't the only car on the road. Someone could be the safest driver there ever was and still end up in an accident because of another person's mistake. That is one of the reasons that it's so important to be alert and aware of what's going on. If someone is texting, it is more difficult to anticipate and avoid other's mistakes
       When someone is drunk, they are totally unable to think straight and they are often unable to control their actions. Putting that and driving together can result in an unfortunate event. Although when someone is texting their brain isn't focusing on driving, the brain is still in correct working order and they are able to make decisions. The brain's reaction time may be a bit slower when someone is texing, but not as slow as when they're drunk. So even though texing while driving is dangerous, It's not as dangerous as drinking and driving.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stand up! Stand up!

       Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood up for what they believed in, despite severe consequenses. They were threatened with being thrown in a blazing furnace if they didn't bow down to a golden statue and they simply said, "Oh Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."  (Daniel 3:16-18)  This made the king furious and he ordered the furnace to to be made 7 times more hot than usual and ordered them thrown in.  It was so hot that the men who threw them in died, but Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego were protected by God and they were not at all hurt by the fire. They are a wonderful example to us to always stand up for our beliefs, even if it means possible death.  Trusting in God, they refused to worship the gold statue.  They knew it was a possibility that they wouldn't survive the furnace, but they were willing to die for what they believed in.
       Christian business owners are facing a challenge that goes against what they believe in and many of them are standing up, even if it means consequences. The Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate last year as a part of the heatlth care bill that President Obama signed in 2010 that employers with more than 50 full-time workers have to provide "preventative services" in their insurance plans.  The "preventative services" include birth control pills, sterilization, and "emergency contraception" that may be considered abortions.  Any company that doesn't offer the drugs faces fines of $100 a day per employee.  For the craft store, Hobby Lobby, that has 13,000 employees, the fines would be up to $1.3 million. On their website they say that the company is comitted to "honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles." The owner and CEO, David Green,  says that it would go against his religious beliefs to pay for "emergency contraception."  Hobby Lobby is just one of 14 for-profit oraganizations that have filed suits against HHS. They all say the mandate violates their Christian beliefs.  But the government says that Christian business owners don't have religious freedom when it comes to managing their companies.  The fourteen companies may only be a small number in the business world, but they are standing up for what they believe in, just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
       We should follow the example from the men of long ago, and the men of today, and always stand up for what we know is right, even if there is a consequence.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

True Identity

"Put aside the ranger.  Become who you were born to be."  These are the words Lord Elrond says to Aragorn when he gives him Anduril, the sword forged from the broken sword Narsil.  Aragorn is the heir of King Isildur of Gondor, the man who cut the Ring of Power from Sauron's hand but was not strong enough to destroy it.  Fearing that he will fall to the same weakness, Aragorn has many doubts about claiming his throne in Gondor.  For a long time his true identity was hidden and he was simply Strider, a mysterious ranger from the North.  But Elrond knows he has the strength to unite the people of Middle Earth and he believes in him.  Aragorn listens to Elrond and takes the sword and eventually becomes the King of Gondor.  He overcomes his fears and his past and he truly does become who he was born to be.  

      This is such a beautiful picture of me and God. He can see my full potential and he knows who I am born to be.  He has given me his word as my sword and he's saying to me, "Put aside all the sin and fear!  Your identity is not in the past, it is in Jesus.  Take my word and go fight for me.  Become who I created you to be!"  It doesn't matter what I have done because Jesus died for me and God loves me and He wants to see me become who He knows I can be.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."
2 Corinthians 5:17

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Second Law of Thermodynamics vs. Evolution

      The second law of thermodynamics is that everything is wearing out.  For example, candles burn out, rooms get easily messy but not easily clean, and living things grow older and eventually die.  The only way for life to still happen is that there has to be an outside energy source and something inside to absorb the energy.  The outside source is the sun and the absorbers are green plants.  Without both of these the earth wouldn't be able to go on for long. 
      Evolutionists believe that everything is evolving into something better and that the world is progressing.  Being able to believe in Evolution and accept the second law of thermodynamics doesn't seem possible.  For evolution to be true, the world had and has to be constantly in progress and getting better.  This theory simply cannot go hand-in-hand with the second law of thermodynamics.  So if someone says they believe in both, they are either not thinking correctly, they don't fully understand one or the other, or they are being deceived.