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Just feed the poor.

Eve ate the apple, did God love her any less?

Eve ate the apple, and gave it to Adam to eat. Did God love them any less? 

So let’s change this up. 

Eve took heroine, did God love her any less?

Eve took heroine, and gave Adam heroine too. Did God love them any less? 

Jesus said feed the poor. There wasn’t an addendum to that… Not “feed the poor, unless you feel it’s their fault they are poor, then fuck them. They’re on their own.”

Just feed the poor.

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New Balance 

This will be strange to some, but I have a habit of trying to plan out my life. Everywhere from finances to goals, to daily plans to social interactions. I know, I know… “How do you plan social interactions and stay genuine?”  Well, I haven’t quite figured that one out, but I believe it is all part of seeking out a new balance, and I don’t mean the shoes. 

Many times throughout the year, I list down goals. Career goals, hobby goals, “me” goals (spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental bettering of ones self). I also list down family and friend goals. 

I have always found it interesting that Jesus only had 12 disciples. I mean, He’s Jesus… Surely he could speak into the lives more intimately than that of just 12 followers? Yet, He chose only 12 (sinners I might add, tax collectors, fisherman, prostitutes… But that is not for this blog) that he kept close to him in His daily walk. 

Studies have shown that you become the 5 closest people to you. You lean toward their good and negative traits, habits, choices. 

Danny Silk (though not the pioneer of the thought, his writings have strongly influenced my life) talks about your inner circle, and how not everyone should have access to your core. 

With all of this being said, at the end of the day, you need to find balance. Balance for yourself, and your personal needs, while also balancing your social needs. 

I like to write down a list of my daily interactions with people, and ask myself the following questions:

How can I love these people more?

How am I contributing to their life?

What are they taking from my life?

How can I communicate with them better?

How can I encourage them?

With that being said, the last time I went through this activity, my notes to myself were “I am overextending myself” and “I need to be more intentional with my time.”

If you are to be the light in this world, can you pick out the 12 people you have surrounded yourself with and honestly answer yourself those questions above? Can you answer who the 5 people you have in your life that are influencing your actions and thoughts? Are they more good than bad?

How can you improve you today?

To Confess or Not to Confess

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I was watching a popular television talk show where they were discussing whether or not a person should confess an affair that happened prior to the marriage. Some of the hosts leaned toward hiding it. “What they don’t know won’t kill them.”

The thing is, confession isn’t necessarily about the other person. Confession is about healing. The sooner the man (or woman) confesses to their partner of any affair that’s taken place at any time before or during the marriage, the sooner the marriage can begin healing. Affairs (or any kind of guilt really) cause the guilty to become emotionally withdrawn looking for fights or sinking them into depression… Which will only hurt the marriage.

Without honesty, the marriage is already suffering.

It is not the confession that hurts people, it is the act. They were hurt the moment the affair began, and healing can only begin with truth and forgiveness.

Does that mean that the confession will make everything perfect? No, of course not. However, it’s not perfect now. Until couples are taught how to better communicate with love, honesty, and respect, they will continue to struggle. Marriage is already hard – holding back open communication just makes Divorce more plausible.

When making such a confession you have to be wise if you truly want the marriage to work. Making sure not to blame your partner for why it happened, not to get aggressive, and to make sure to give them whatever space they need to heal. Also, with the tables being opened and honesty flowing, be prepared to be attacked by your partners hurt feelings or to hear things that you didn’t expect.

Confession doesn’t mean you will be given forgiveness, and forgiveness doesn’t mean the other person has to stay with you.

Extend the same forgiveness you were hoping to receive.

That is the solid advice that should be handed out to the impressionable young men and women who watch that show wanting to maintain a stable marriage. Believe it or not, it’s 2000 year old practical advice that can be found in a very well known book.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. James 5:16

Keep Christ in CHRISTmas

Image taken on our 110 Day Road Trip - The Trail West Part 2 Blog

Image taken on our 110 Day Road Trip – The Trail West Part 2 Blog

Jingle Bells is playing on the speakers overhead as you stroll around the store shopping for some last minute Christmas gifts, when you hear it… those two words that are sure to raise the dead back to life, “Happy Holidays!” You look around to see the offender who uttered these two words, and the old lady who is most definitely about to ring his neck for saying them. “It’s Merry Christmas. People these days. We really need to put Christ back in Christmas.”

Hanukkah is supposed to overlap with Christmas so I can say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays and everyone will know exactly which holiday I’m not wishing they have a happy one of. – The Colbert Report

It doesn’t end at the department store, no no – It doesn’t end. The saying stuck. From the church services to the bumper stickers – “Put Christ back in Christmas” has become quite the fad to say. Now you cannot go one Christmas without hearing someone demand that we put Christ back in Christmas.  So what does it mean?

What if I told you there is nothing odd or difficult about having a Christmas without celebrating Christ or God? Well it’s not. Most of the holiday was adopted from Pagan rituals, the human desire to come together and celebrate, and amazing marketing on a business standpoint to get people to buy-buy-buy!

Being easily offended is not a fruit of the Spirit nor a spiritual gift. It is not a sign of spiritual maturity that leads us to separate ourselves from the unclean world around us. Offense is our first clue that we’ve turned our love off and we need God’s help turning it back on so we can represent Him in this world. – Danny Lee Silk

The question we should be asking ourselves should be “Why are we trying to celebrate everything Christ represents in one day anyways?” But more importantly – “what about Christmas screams Christ?” Is it the Black Friday sales that we trampled our neighbors over to get.. or the Christmas gifts our spoiled kids rip open just to throw down in boredom a couple hours later.. or stuffing our faces full of food in front of a nice warm fire on a cold winter day with 5-10 inches of snow while many others starve or struggle to make it through the holiday season with a roof over their head – which of these scream “Christ”-mas?

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I know, I know – right now you are asking, “What are you getting at here?” I am definitely not saying that you cannot or should not have your beautiful church services, your birthday cakes for Jesus, your gifts, your advent candles, and your “Merry Christmas” greeting cards. I know I personally enjoy these traditions! What I am asking is what does Christ have to do with saying a certain greeting, or insisting others say it as well?  Shouldn’t ‘putting Christ back in Christmas’ be more than decorating your door with a cross-shaped wreath or baking Jesus a cake?

Maybe, just maybe, to actually put Christ back to Christmas we must in fact bring Christ with our actions.

My challenge for you is if you are one of the one’s following the fad of saying “Put Christ back in Christmas” – is to find yourself, instead of demanding others and your country celebrate Christ with you, instead ask yourself genuinely “What am I doing to celebrate Christ? How can I put Christ first this Holiday?”  Matthew 23:35-40

Consider His Children that are starving – some freezing to death in this particular time of the year. Consider His children who are unable to be with family this holiday. Consider His children who have nothing or who are struggling to provide. Consider the unwed mother who was shamed from her family and church. Consider the couple signing their divorce paperwork this holiday.

Consider Others.

When we celebrate a birthday, we are careful to give what the person really wants or needs. Is there any doubt what Jesus wants from us? – A Holy Experience

It isn’t about saying Merry Christmas or writing down the full word instead of x-mas on your holiday greeting cards. The only words that really matter are the ones you live out. How are you going to put Christ back in Christmas this year? 

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Does anyone have God’s email?

God,
Please show me the light. We are on top of a mountain right now, but instead of gazing up into the stars, I feel like I am staring down into the valley. You obtain what you see, Father. I want to see the stars, yet I am fearful of the next valley. The last valley was so ugly, and for sometime I thought I had lost sight of you in the thickest part of the thicket. And still, Lord God, you carried me out of the thorns, nearly unscathed. I do not want my heart hardened to my Savior.

– Amen

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