Category Archives: Religion

Easter

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”-and that he had said these things to her.
John 20:1-18

Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.

For Jesus’ mother, his disciples and his followers, Jesus’ death was a tragedy. You can imagine that all hope was naturally gone. We today can face the same feeling. Many times in life, with homophobic politicians, the increasing rise of anti-gay homophobic groups, and everything that is going on in the world — war, famine, disease, natural disasters, discrimination, and hate — there can be a loss of hope and faith. Yet the resurrection gives us hope that no matter what has happened in our lives, no matter how much faith and hope we have lost, we can experience hope, we can overcome and regain whatever we have lost in our lives.

Our hope includes the knowledge that evil does not win. Sometimes today, it seems that the bad guy often wins. Sometimes it seems that the one who cheats, the one who lies, the one who steps on others to get ahead, is the one who prospers. Far too often, I read of this person cheating or that one (or catching a student cheating) or another kid, gay or otherwise, who has been bullied, lost hope, and committed suicide. How often do we read of politicians cheating, or working to make sure their businesses get the good contract? It seems that there is no hope for the little guy, the one who lives right, to ever get ahead.

With a positive attitude that through God we can accomplish anything, we truly can make the world a better place. With hope that springs eternal, just as the flowers in spring show the rebirth of the earth, we can be assured that God’s promises will deliver a better day, a rebirth our faith. The promise that Jesus would rise from the grave on the third day is remembered every Easter Sunday, it is the greatest sacrifice God could give for our sins. When we are baptized, it is done in symbolic reverence as our old body dies in its watery grave to be reborn and rise from the dead as Christ did for our sins.


Eternal Life

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth in me hath everlasting life.  I am that bread of life. (KJV) ( John 6:47-48 ) 

We all want to go to heaven and experience eternal life.  Jesus teaches us that our belief in Him, as the Son of God, leads to heaven.  If you have doubts about this truth, you’re not alone.  Christians continue to have this struggle but ultimately believe.  On the days you have this struggle, just remember that you are not perfect.  That’s what faith is…not knowing for certain, but trusting. 


Tolerant

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (KJV) ( Romans 2:4 ) 

No one ever wants to be told they are living in sin.  Nor do people want to feel condemned.  It’s a fine line on how to handle sin in others’ lives.  We can choose to follow God’s leading in the same way He has treated us, that is, with patience and kindness.  The greatest influence we can have on other peoples’ sin is through leading by a humble example. 


Weakness

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (KJV) ( 2 Corinthians 12:9 ) 

“I’m the best cook.” “No one can beat my golfing record.” “My child is an honor student.” Each of these are strengths we proudly boast to one another. It is absurd to think about taking pride in our weaknesses. We are uncomfortable with weaknesses because recognizing them means we are not enough. Yet this attitude welcomes Christ into our lives so He can perfect our weakness and He can receive glory. What is one of your weaknesses? Invite Christ to have the power to work in you. Share your weakness with others and watch to see the power of Christ. 


Unfading Beauty

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (KJV) ( 1 Peter 3:4 ) 

We spend a lot of time focusing on our outward appearance such as perfecting our hairstyle, improving our physique, selecting the right clothes. In all, a lot of thought goes into creating just the right look. Do we spend the same amount of time cultivating our inner beauty? We know what inner beauty looks like…patience, generosity, peace-loving, fearless, and filled with a silent strength. Are we spending more time worrying about the color of our teeth instead of the kind of words that come out of our mouth? Ultimately our words are a reflection of our heart. 


What Becomes of the Broken-hearted

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. – Psalm 34:18-19

All of us at one time or another have been broken-hearted. It’s a time that seems to crush your soul. However, we know that God is with us. He saves the crushed in spirit. The righteous do have many afflictions, but God will deliver us from those afflictions. Faith is the driving force. Faith in the Lord is with us; it’s what we need to bring us out of those times when our hearts are broken. In the song “What Becomes of the Broken-hearted,” a man searches for his broken dreams. Had he looked toward God, he’d have seen the love and compassion that gets us through our times of heart break. I’m going to leave you with the lyrics to “What Becomes of the Broken-hearted:”

As I walk this land with broken dreams
I have visions of many things
But happiness is just an illusion
Filled with sadness and confusion
What becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
Maybe

The roots of love grow all around
But for me they come a-tumblin’ down
Every day heartaches grow a little stronger
I can’t stand this pain much longer
I walk in shadowsm searching for light
Cold and alone, no comfort in sight
Hoping and praying for someone to care
Always moving and goin’ nowhere
What becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
Help me

I’m searching, though I don’t succeed
But someone look, there’s a growing need
Oh, he is lost, there’s no place for beginning
All that’s left is an unhappy ending
Now, becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
I’ll be searching everywhere
Just to find someone to care
I’ll be looking everyday, I know I’m gonna find a way
Nothing’s gonna stop me now
I’ll find a way somehow
And I’ll be searching everywhere
I know I gotta find a way
I’ll be looking


Before Daybreak

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (KJV) ( Mark 1:35 ) 

Are you feeling disconnected from God? Do you feel a void in your life? Maybe it’s time you take some time out intentionally to spend time with God. Eliminate yourself from any interruptions and seek God in prayer. We should have private time with God even if we aren’t feeling separated from Him in order to focus on God. 


Hope Is Not a Method


“May the GOD of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”-
 Romans 15:13

General Gordon Sullivan, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1991 to 1995, wrote a book called Hope Is Not a Method. As Chief of Staff, Sullivan was tasked with leading the US Army out of the Cold War mentality and creating a modern army to deal with a multi-polar world. With this task he also had to downsize the army by 40 percent. None of this was an easy task. He developed in Hope Is Not a Method eleven rules to governing change. We all have change in our lives and it is not always the easiest thing to deal with when it happens. So here are his eleven rules.

Rule 1: Change Is Hard Work
When your organization needs to change, you, as the person in charge, must get involved personally.
Rule 2: Leadership Begins with Values
How do your real values compare with the ones you pay lip service to? Real leadership starts with a commitment to shared values which guide everything you do.
Rule 3: Intellectual Leads Physical
You must have a clear idea of where you hope to be one year, two years, five years down the road before you can improve the organization to achieve those goals.
Rule 4: Real Change Takes Real Change  
Examine each of the critical processes your  firm performs,  looking for fundamental ways to improve them. Marginal tinkering will lead only to marginal growth.
Rule 5: Leadership Is a Team Sport
Effective leaders empower employees by sharing information and responsibility and breaking down organizational walls.
Rule 6: Expect to Be Surprised
Be prepared to respond, adjust, and make changes as needed to seize new opportunities as they arise and overcome difficulties when they emerge.

Rule 7: Today Competes with Tomorrow
Balance your energies between the demands of today and the needs of tomorrow.

Rule 8: Better Is Better
Better is not just about improving quality, cutting costs, or doing things faster. It’s about creating an organization that will lead and win in the new environment.
Rule 9: Focus on the Future
Stretch yourself to think not just about what your organization will look like next, but go beyond that, to the organization after next.

Rule 10: Learn from Doing
After any major project or event, gather to review what went right and what went wrong, and to share insights and lessons that grow out of the experience.
Rule 11: Grow People
Take time to nurture the talents of your employees you and they will benefit.

Each of these rules are geared toward organizational change, but I believe we can see them in terms of personal change as well. Romans 15:13 says “May the GOD of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” God give us hope and fills us with hope through the Holy Spirit, but as we can’t live by faith alone, we can’t live by hope alone. We cannot make hope a method, but allow hope to be just what it is: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Hope is a “feeling or expectation” and that is what God gives up, but we ourselves must make it happen. Through the eleven rules above, we can make hope happen.

Genuine Affection

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (KJV) (Romans 12:10

How sad it is to see Christians persecuting others for their religion. Of course, it’s important to share our faith, but we need to do it as a light to others through love. Desecrating other religions only ostracizes and angers its followers further from wanting to learn more about the love of Christ. Use your faith for good. Respect others and keep the golden rule in mind – love one another. 

Every so often, I get comments on my blog saying either that I should not post my religious content because I show nudity on my blog or that because I am gay, I cannot be a Christian. I think: “What Would Jesus Do?” First, I delete the comments because I don’t want the negative energy or hatefulness on my blog. Second, I think that Jesus would embrace gay people just as he did the Centurion and his lover. Faith and how we live our lives is what matters. Others opinions do not. There is only one Judge and that is the Lord, My God.

Who Argue

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? (KJV) ( Isaiah 45:9 ) 

How do you treat God when things in your life don’t go according to your plan? Do you argue with Him using logic, blame, or coercion? Maybe you thought you would have had kids at your age, or perhaps a loved one was supposed to be on the earth longer. Your Creator is all powerful and all knowing. Is your faith strong enough to trust in His power and His divinity? 

Quite honestly, I don’t know if mine always is. What about you?


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