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Bridget's Relgious Posts
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Bridget's Religious Posts' LiveJournal:

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Friday, December 11th, 2015
1:34 am
[kagomeshuko]
It Is More than I Can Handle
I hear a lot of people say and hear a lot of people post the phrase, "God won't give you more than you can handle" and I have to completely disagree. I am hardly the first person to write about this, but for some reason, it is on my heart tonight. I didn't sit here and think about something I might write. It was just placed on my heart.



God will give you, and me, and everybody more than we can handle. I know that this doesn't sound fair, but it is true. I am going through a lot more than I let many know. There's more than Briana, grad school, and missing my parents. Even adding having to deal with some businesses that don't service dog laws and a situation some know about, there's a lot more.



It is definitely more than I can handle. I'm sure each and every person has more than he or she can handle going on in life in some way.



However, somehow, these things are being handled in some way. This doesn't make sense. If I can't handle them all, how are they being handled? It is true that some things aren't a priority, but that doesn't mean they aren't on my mind.



The truth is that I have given this up to God. God gave me more than I can handle because He wants me to depend on Him. The same goes for you.



Philippians 4:6 tells us, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."



Luke 12:22-28 tell us, "And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. "For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!"



Multiple times in the Bible we are told to wait for the Lord.



I use a transport wheelchair so I can get places just as quickly as others and not have to stop to rest my back. Plus, I use a service dog to help me move because it can be difficult for me to move on some surfaces, but she'll help pull me along. She is also small which is good so my muscles do not atrophy and I still do a little bit of the work at times (although, I'm positive she does the majority of the work). I could be ashamed of these thing, but why be ashamed? God made me who I am.



Whoever you are and whatever you use or don't use, do or don't do, God says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."



It is all about depending on Jesus and depending on God.



I miss my parents every day. It may not seem like to some, but I do. I miss all my dogs that have passed away, too. I have times I break down into tears about one or all. I go to bed in tears and just pray. I cry and I just talk to God. I let Him know how I feel.



I may seem strong, but it is only Jesus and God who keep me strong.



The song, The Warrior Is a Child is very true. I come running to Jesus and to God. I am not as strong as some see me. I need my Savior.



I am glad that God knows I am a broken person who knows she sins and is hardly perfect.



I love We As Human's "We Fall Apart" because it is true.
and then there's also Amy Grant's "Better Than a Hallelujah" and while she's not God and she can't say she knows what God thinks about that, I can see how the song came about - because people who do that are letting God know everything. It is about being perfect. It isn't about seeing the world through rose colored glasses. It is about telling God everything. It is about seeing the world for what it is.



At times, I think people thing I sympathize with Islam, and I don't. I don't think it is good. What I hear about it is quite disturbing. However, I don't believe we can judge all Muslims by the actions of some of them. I don't know what God will look at for Muslims who do not wish to harm anybody. That's only between them and God because I know the Bible tells me, "Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye."



How am I supposed to know what to take out of my own eye when it is God who knows my sins better than I do? After all, I have sins "known and unknown" to myself.



The Bible also tells me, "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."



Do I wish to be kept out of any place because of my religious beliefs? I do not. Do I wish for people to negatively judge me because of what I believe or the way that I dress? I do not.



There is much to be said, but it is time for me to get some sleep.



Love from me and from Christ.



Oh, and if you were blessed by this, thank the Lord for it. Of course, feel free to share it or not share it. That is completely up to you.
Sunday, August 4th, 2013
1:07 am
[kagomeshuko]
Religious Reflection for the Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost
Hosea 11:1–11 – a rebel son
Psalm 107:1–9, 43 – the Lord is good and faithful and He delivers
Colossians 3:1–11 – put aside worldly things and seek Christ. Christ is all in all.
Luke 12:13–21 – Do not put faith in money, but in the Lord Jesus.

Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

There is a constant and obvious theme throughout these passages. Humans wander, but faith should be put in Christ. The passages really are that simple. Humans wander. Humans are broken. Humans try to find their own ways. This is why humans need Christ. I could stop there. This could be the shortest religious reflection that I've ever written.

Yet, you probably ask, how in the world do those things go together if reading the passages.

In Hosea, the example is a rebel son. According to the Jewish laws, a son that was a rebel could be stoned to death. However, in this example, God can't bring Himself to that punishment. Instead, God gives the son another chance. That is the illustration in Hosea.

In Colossians, we are told to put aside all worldly things. We are told to seek Christ. The thing is, we always turn to worldly things. It's not that we mean to turn to worldly things, but our flesh is in this world. We are human. We are bonded to sin because of original sin. There is no escape outside of Christ.

In Luke, the worldly thing is money. Jesus doesn't say that money itself is bad. Money has its place. It helps us to live. It helps us survive each day because other places want money. However, if we put our faith in money, nothing good is going to happen. Putting our faith in Jesus is going to make the good things happen.

So, what about the Psalm? It should be obvious that the Psalm ties together the fact that it is God who provides. It is not faith in anything other than God and Jesus that provide.

We can have faith in other people, as long as that faith doesn't take over the faith in God and Jesus. That faith has to come underneath our true faith. That faith should be more of trusting that a person will keep his or her promises. It is not the faith that we need to put in God and Jesus.

Yet, we as humans lose faith. We get lost. We try to put our faith in others. We try to put our faith in money. We try to put our faith in education. While those things can be great blessings and gifts from God, our faith should never be put in those things. Those things can fail us at any time.

I know that those things have failed me. I won't tell any stories about those times. Those are too personal, too close to my heart, or too private between friends and myself. However, just to know those things do fail and to know that faith should always be in Father God and in Lord Jesus Christ matter. That's where faith belongs.

Faith definitely isn't always easy. I know that from many situations, too. I'm sure plenty of people know that. God even led me to write about that earlier, but about how He still cares. He led me to write how He cares about us. He's God. He can handle us yelling and crying and screaming. He can handle us being angry and upset and confused. God created us, therefore He can handle any and all of our emotions. Nothing is too big for God.
However, there's always something too big for other things. Money can only do so much. Education can only bring somebody so far. People can only do so much or feel so much without something going wrong or being misunderstood.

However, God can handle it all. God is amazing and these passages tell us that we need to remember to turn to God and not these other things.

My honest prayer for us all: Times can be difficult. When we find ourselves in times of darkness and difficultly, remind us that You are there, Lord, ever present in our times of trouble. Remind us that no matter how far we fall from You, that You are faithful to us. Amen.

Recommended Hymn: I Was There to Here Your Borning Cry
Recommended Listening: To Know You by Nichole Nordeman
Saturday, July 27th, 2013
10:39 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Religious Reflection for the Tenth Sunday After Pentecost
Hosea 1:2–10 – instructions to Hosea and how destruction will happen
Psalm 85 – favor of the Lord after destruction
Colossians 2:6–19 – Christ has redeemed us; do not judge on celebrations and observances
Luke 11:1–13 – Lord's Prayer, ask seek knock

Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

It has been a long time since I have written one of these religious reflections. The Lord has been laying it on my heart that I need to continue writing them. However, I was never compelled so strongly to start writing again until tonight.

I readily admit that the Hosea passage and part of the passage in Luke are ones that are troubling to me. How does a good God say that he will destroy things? Why are prayers seemingly not answered? Why don't we have the answers to those things?

I won't answer them and this religious reflection won't answer them other than what we already say. However, I will still write what the Lord guides me to write.

In Hosea, the Lord doesn't tell Hosea to sin. However, he does tell Hosea to take a wife of whoredom. It seems like a strange request. However, Hosea follows God's command. He marries Gomer, a prostitute. Then, in the passage, God goes on to say how he will destroy people. Only at the very end of the passage does it say anything about how people will be “children of the living God.”

It is difficult to process this. Yet, it seems that Hosea may have been living out an allegory. Perhaps this was about Israel, and even more so, “Israel” as in the collective body of believers in Christ Jesus.

After all, Psalm 85 praises the Lord for redeeming land. It asks the Lord for restoration again.

Then, in Colossians, it is mentioned how Jesus Christ has redeemed us. The last part of the passage talks about how we should not judge others on how or what they observe. This has to do with all of the laws that were established about observing the Sabbath and other festivals. There were obvious Jewish festivals, but there were also pagan festivals that existed. The thing that mattered and that still matters isn't if the festivals themselves are observed, but who or what is worshiped. If Christ is worshiped, it is good. I could write much about this passage because of many of my experiences, but at this time, I won't. God is pulling me towards the passage that I have the hardest time with and I will go and see where God leads me with this writing.

In Luke 11, it isn't difficult to read about the Lord's prayer and understand different things that people say about it. There are some people who insist on calling it “the example prayer.” There are others who call it “the disciple's prayer.” It's not a matter of great concern. It was the prayer that Jesus taught to the disciples as an example of how to pray. Saying is a good thing because it reminds us how to pray.

The part about the neighbor is a little more difficult. I can related to not wanting to be disturbed and wanting to sleep. However, I can also relate to hospitality. In Biblical times, hospitality was extremely important (remember Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre?). If proper hospitality was not shown, it brought shame to the host. A good friend would not want shame brought to the host, so the friend, no matter how tired, would help.

The most difficult part of the passage is the one where it tells us to ask, seek, and knock. I'm sure we've all prayed for things that haven't happened. How can we reconcile this with the fact that God tells us that if we ask, we will receive?

When I was with my college boyfriend, I prayed that we would stay together. That didn't happen. I prayed to get 'my real mom” back and it seemed like I might have gotten her back for about a day or two, but she went back to abusing her antidepressants and getting herself into terrible health. I could ask for a million dollars, but that most likely isn't going to appear in my bank account. So, how is it that a good God doesn't give us what we ask when this passage clearly states that God does give us what we ask?

The thing is, there are many other parts of the Bible. How many things are in these prayers are worldly and not focused on Christ? The one true prayer in there that isn't completely about me is wanting my mom to get better, but I still wanted my mom.

My two real prayer requests had to do with other people. I don't know what those people wanted. They could've been praying something completely different. Perhaps they were not ready to ask for God's help or will at all.

The third prayers is only one that I could pray. I'm not praying for that. However, even if I did, it would be useless as God is not concerned with such worldly things. Money is a tool, but to ask God for a million dollars when there isn't even a need for it is ridiculous.

Why did the real prayer requests not result in what I felt would be a positive answer?

I wanted to stay with my college boyfriend and be with him. Would it have been a healthy relationship? From looking back on it now, it probably wouldn't have been. Yes, I loved him, but there were so many things that I found irritating that things wouldn't have worked out for us. He seemed to act like just because he was older, he knew more than me. He couldn't respect that I knew more than him in certain areas. It wasn't something as simple as how my friends respect me and many of them say, “English – that's her area” or when they don't know how to spell a word, quickly turn to me and ask how to spell it.

If I had gotten my “real Mama” back, would it have been healthy? I hated being depressed with my Mama passing away. It wasn't fun. I tried to prepare myself for the situation, but it didn't matter how much I prepared myself. I was still in major grief.

That doesn't answer if it would have been healthy. The answer is that it probably wouldn't have been healthy. She was a great mother when I was little. She helped me do all kinds of things. She did great things for me as I got older, too. However, there were problems. She would always try to get too involved in my life. Her involvement went beyond copying my hobbies, which was already irritating. She would always try to get involved if I even mentioned or hinted slightly that I liked a guy. This was never good because I couldn't let things go slowly and let God take control. She was always telling a guy something and trying to get us together or to stay together.

So, while I ask for things, God still knows what is best for me. It is difficult to process and to reconcile why we don't always get what we want.

However, God as a reason and when God says to ask, seek, and knock, He still wants us to pray. He still wants us asking, seeking, and knocking. However, God is going to provide what is best for us. There is provision, but it just may not be what we expect. Ultimately, God wants us to focus on Jesus Christ. When our focus is on Christ, our asking, seeking, and knocking take a different path and we pray differently.

Suggested Hymn: Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying by Ken Medema
Suggested Song: Seek by Lost And Found
Sunday, January 15th, 2012
4:43 pm
[kagomeshuko]
The Milk and the Meat
1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy spirit.

It has been a long time since I have written any of these religious reflections. Sometimes I wish life didn't get in the way of things. However, this does relate to this short lesson in this religious reflection.

I've started attending a service called The R.O.C.K. If you're wondering, R.O.C.K. stands for "Representatives of Christ the King" and yes, there is loud Christian music there.

Anyway, one of the people who has been attending is speaking today. He is speaking on 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.

Paul comes to the Corinthians and says that he has not given them meat, but milk. He says this because he had to address the Christians at Corinth as worldy people. He could not not address them as spiritual people.

If one thing is true about every person, it is that every person is worldly.

Thus, Paul says they are infants. He has given them spiritual milk.

Obviously, infants, when they are first born, do not eat solid food. They are not ready for it. The obvious part is that they don't have teeth. However, their bodies are not prepared for this solid food, either.

Many people want to go straight from beginning to learn about God and his grace into being closely spiritual. However, that is not the way God works.

God wants us to learn. God comes to us, as if we were his own infants, and feeds us his formula, his word, the reason he sent Jesus, so we can learn.

We have to start with small bits so we can learn. We can move on to more complex or "meatier" subjects as we learn.

Then, it doesn't matter what other people think about where we are in our spiritual journeys. What matters is that we know our spiritual journeys never end. God always has us as infants, giving us spiritula milk. He may give us what we consider meat, but it is always milk when it comes to what God cold give us.. God knows what we can handle physically, mentally, and spiritually.

God created each of us differently and beautifully in His image.

So, does it matter if a person seems to need milk when you seem to need meat?

Not at all.

After all, no matter what is given to people, it is spiriual milk to God. Instead, we should rejoice in the fact that people are learning no matter what. Just like growing children, we all develop at spiritual levels at different times.
Sunday, January 17th, 2010
12:16 am
[kagomeshuko]
Help Haiti
If you read this, I'm sure you agree that Haiti needs help:

Please, come view my article about ways to Help Haiti. Just by viewing my article, you are helping! http://2tu.us/1f74

Associated Content will match all the performance payments that I make on the article (I get $2 for every $1,000, so spread the word so AC donates A LOT of money!)

Then, even search the site for "Haiti" to find other articles to give them views and help Haiti as well!

Please help!

Thanks so much,
Bridget
Saturday, April 11th, 2009
10:30 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Religious Reflection on The Stations of the Cross
Most of you know what the members of the local ELCA congregation did to my sister and then to me and thus my family. So, most of you know that we've been attending an Episcopal church where we feel welcome and they actually do focus on ministry. I won't say more about that. The point was to mention that I've been attending an Episcopal Church.


I went to all three Good Friday services (as you know, I'm a church nerd and love going to church.)

On Good Friday, there was a stations of the cross service and it was the first stations of the cross that I've ever attended. It was informal as it was really the first they had at least with the new artwork.

Pastor Cook said that there are usually 14 stations of the cross, but that we had 16 because there were eight spaces on each side of the church for artwork.

I know that I've been amiss with posting any religious reflections lately. It's called life and I do hope to get back on schedule.

Anyway, this is going to be different from most of my religious reflections because it'll focus on the stations of the cross and some of it is also going to be about things that I remember from the artwork (each is an angel with symbols representing that stage in Christ's life as the church is "St. Michael and All Angels.")

Of course, I'll still pray and ask God to show me any ideas as I write and all glory goes to God, but it'll probably be more like my thoughts on the stations of the cross.

Hail Mary full of grace: the Lord is with thee.

God sends the angel Gabriel to tell Mary that she is going to give birth to His Son. That, in the first place, is quite amazing. Two things come to my mind immediately and one is when we did our Christmas program when I was just a teenager. My Daddy took us out to places and we took pictures dressed as the characters from the Christmas story and then we each had a part to read as there was a slide show. When we first started with this part, the thing mentioned was that Mary was probably only 14 or 15 years old when she was told this news. I could tell that I wasn't the only one who thought of how scary it would be to be a pregnant teenager, even if the lifespan were shorter in that time.

The next thing that comes to mind is when I pieced together two plays about Jesus coming down to earth and Jesus's life on earth. The part that really does come to mind is from the play about Jesus coming down to earth. It starts with Him in heaven and talking to an angel. When Jesus tells the angel that he is going to have flesh, the angel shudders and basically says, "ew, gross!"

The one part of the art that made an impact to me was that there was a Star of David, and in that Star of David, there was a descending dove. It was as if God is saying, "I've always been with you!" It makes me think of how people point to the verse in Genesis where it says "let us" saying how it says that God was never one single entity. Also, of course, the beginning of the Gospel of John, "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God."

And an angel of the Lord appeared saying: Glory to God in the highest

God has sent His Son into the world, and that's amazing enough as it is. Then, God doesn't give the word to the kings and rulers. He isn't there to be what most of the Jews thought would be the messiah - this great ruler that would conquer the kingdoms. God sends his angels to appear to shepherds in the fields. Then, the wise men also heard and traveled (and didn't return when warned). Yet, Jesus was a great king already. It was enough that these shepherds and these wise men (who were not kings, though we wrongly call them kings and nowhere in the Bible does it say that there were three, but that there were gifts.)

The art with the angel has a star in the back. One of the other people commented on the same thing that I was going to say - that the star looked like spears through the angel's wings. This brought to mind the artwork on the front of the Lost And Found Christmas DVD.

See it here:



Many of the stars can also reflect the cross pointing to Jesus's destiny and future of being on the cross.

The artwork on the Lost And Found album is a bit different as it also looks like shining from a star or the cross which also looks like the crown of thorns. Others may even find other imagery in the artwork.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

So little is really known about this time in Jesus's life. It was interesting to me that another person pointed out how people who work with youth concentrate on these formative years and yet we know little about Jesus's formative years, and yet they are so important.

What we do know is that he was a carpenter because of Joseph's trade. Then, the story we have is of Jesus in the temple. Jesus was the only sinless person, so do we find him disobedient in this story? Some would probably think that is the case. However, from what I've read, it was common to walk in family groups, so Mary probably thought that Jesus was with another part of her family and only after everybody was further away did they most likely realize He was in the temple. Yet, He was teaching, so how could teaching God's Word be disobedient? After all, Mary knew he was God's son.

The part that intrigues me is that there is no mention of Jesus doing carpentry in the Bible. People who don't believe in Jesus have asked me how can a nice man just walk around the streets and not make a living.

While I know that Jesus focused on his ministry, I'd imagine that He wanted to be human like us as well and make an honest living. When he really needed it, I imagine that he found some small carpentry job that he could do to make money. Yet, I can't say that this is definitely true because there isn't any record of it.

Jesus came and was baptized of John in the river Jordan, and the spirit descended on him like a dove.

Here, Jesus comes to John and asks to be baptized. John says that he is not even worthy to undo Jesus's sandals. Yet, Jesus insists on being baptized. It is a little bit confusing. However, this is when God first says that Jesus is His Son, at least, it one of the Gospels it says that everybody could hear the words. In another, it says that only Jesus heard the words. However, we know it is when Jesus started his adult ministry. It is from this point that he goes and his public ministry begins.

The evil one said: If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread. Jesus answered: Man does not live by bread alone.

After Jesus goes out to do his ministry, the first thing He does is go out into the wilderness where He is tempted by the devil. A common phrase that was taught to say in hard times was "God doesn't not tempt, but He does test." So, here Jesus was tempted by Satan, but was it possible that He was also being tested by His own Father, even though He was the Son of God and was God?

I remember that when I was young, I would always envision some spirit or devil type being actually being in front of Jesus as He was tempted. Yet, now, I wonder, did Satan ever actually appear? In the artwork, he is depicted as the serpent, a common symbol of "the evil one."

We've all had those times where we feel tempted to do something (we're lying to ourselves if we say that we don't have those times), and did Jesus simply hear these things in his head as in influence of the devil?

Sure, people say "the devil made me do it," to some very strange things, but at times, it obviously is the devil tempting, especially when we can tell him to go away in the name of Christ and those temptations flee.

The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, gathering fish of every kind.

I have always liked this verse. I grew up Lutheran and I consider myself Lutheran (ELCA)/Episcopalian after first being a Christian. Yet, I consider myself a Christian. Yes, a fairly social liberally leaning Christian. I don't think any of the denominations get it completely right, but God is happy to have us all believing in Him and in His son, Jesus. So, not only is God gathering up all sizes, shapes, and colors of skin for heaven, but also, all the types of denominations and even those who just simply believe and are not a part of a denomination.

The art is neat here as there is the obvious net like fishermen use. That net also makes me think of how Jesus said to cast the net on the other side of the boat and then said that He will make the disciples fishers of men. This makes me think of what I ever only knew as "the yellow tape" when I was very young and in Sunday school, but the song that always stayed with me from that tape was the that went "I will make you fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of men; I will make you fishers of men, if you follow Me."

The keys in the art are also quite neat as the ridges are made to look like crosses to be like the keys to heaven. However, this also made me think of the very odd teaching of the Seventh Day Adventists that their Prophetess Ellen G. White wrote of - the angels carrying golden keys, though I know the artwork is only meant to be symbolic and not like the SDA teaching.

And they filled the jars with water and the steward of the feast tasted the water became wine.

If you remember the miracle, it almost seems as if Jesus would not have chosen this to be His first miracle. His mother tells him that they've run out of wine and He asks "What concern is this?" He does not seem to think this is that important. He even tells His mother, "My hour has not yet come," sounded as if He is not going to perform a miracle.

Jesus is not the one that says to come to him, yet, His mother tell the stewards, "Do what He says."

It is interesting that in this, Jesus is performing a miracle and also being obedient to His mother.

Of course, most of us know how they are confused that the good wine was served after the bad here because most people serve the good wine until the people are drunk and then serve the bad wine because they won't care once they are drunk that they are drinking inferior wine.

Jesus was not going to reach out Himself to do this miracle, and yet, when the disciples saw this happen, they believed.

It seems that it shows that even though God sent Jesus, He was also always using others.

They brought to Him all who were sick and possessed. And He healed the sick and cast out demons.

There are many stories of healing in the Bible and it is always nice to read them and know that God can and does heal even in this day.

The importance of the number seven is sometimes emphasized when the boy sneezed seven times among other times the number seven is mentioned.

Yet, the story that always sticks with me is the woman who simply reached out and touched the hem of Jesus's robe. He knew that somebody had touched his robe. The Bible does not say the tone of voice that He used when He asked who touched His robe. It could've been angry, but I imagine that it is more of a tired voice, just wondering. Jesus probably wanted to go rest, yet, He sees and hears the woman and simply says, "Your faith has made you well," and from that, she was healed.

Some people do not seem to believe that God still performs miracles today, rather, being stagnant and simply going through the worship service and thinking "all that was for when Jesus was on earth." I know this because I had people try to teach me that exact thing, even pastors, but I did not believe that and still I do not. I believe that God still performs miracles and heals today.

I think the woman who touched Jesus's robe should be an example for us to have faith in the same way.

This is my beloved Son. Hear Him.

I find it both interesting and comforting that God says the same thing at Jesus's baptism and His transfiguration. It seems to me like God is telling the people, again, that He is definitely pleased with His son, like a good father would confirm his child's successes or plan with the same assuring words they are used to hearing from when they were a small child.

I cannot imagine how bright that light was, either. I know what it is like to suddenly walk into an area where this really bright light is shining. In fact, I hate the halogen headlights on cars as they are quite blinding, so this light has to be even brighter! That obviously had to be blinding and scary, and yet, Jesus stands there and tells Peter, James, and John to stand!

I wonder, would I have been able to stand, even though it was Jesus telling me to stand? I would like to think the answer is "yes." Yet, my human nature, my weaknesses, tell me that it probably would've been otherwise.

I am the light of the world. I am the true vine.

The verses that mention light always tend to stay with me and mean a lot to me. After all, Bridget means "resolute strength" and Ilene means "light," so it has always seemed to me that my name names "a light of resolute strength." Then, the screen name that I often use, "kagomeshuko" means "an idea of everlasting light." I came about kagomeshuko in a roundabout way, but the meaning is why I really liked it and stayed with using it.

The light verse also make me think of Lost And Found's Christmas song, "Arise, Shine," where they sing, "The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light."

The one where Jesus is the vine makes me think of how much wine and gathering to eat and drink in the Bible is important and how gathering together for communion and for a meal really does make a difference and how it makes one welcome. It also makes me think of the song "His Banner" how some people will sing a combination of "the vine" and "devine," when that verse comes and how God seems to be able to use all kinds of tricks in all the different languages to make these little things happen. It is certainly different in each language, but there always seems to be something.

Hosanna. Hosanna to the son of David.

This station is reflecting Christ's entry into Jerusalem. I don't have it now, but I remember going through the lineage in the Bible with people and trying to follow it all and then wondering about Mary's lineage as it was mentioned that it was possible that hers went back to David and doing some searching, but never completing that. Not that it would concern me if Jesus were in the line of David or not, but I know that Joseph was in that line and that Joseph was Jesus's earthly father.

While I like the palm crosses, at times I also miss waving the palm branches. I miss starting outside and playing handbells and having a big processional (though, even in the Lutheran church, the handbells wouldn't happen now since they no longer have any music director and they haven't for a long time.) However, I always loved the big joyous and triumphant celebration. It seemed just the right thing to get into the odd mood that set the tone back in Jesus's day knowing what is going to happen at the end of the week. Here, finally, Jesus's kingship is recognized and it is happy - and yet, soon, it will be mocked.

It also brings to mind a Palm Sunday when I was quite young and our friend Robin came to church with us. She, Briana, and I devised some little skit where Robin was the donkey and I rode her while I think Briana was somebody that waved a palm branch. It was odd, but it seemed to give us all a different perspective on the day.

He took bread, blessed it and gave it to them. And said, Take, eat, this is my body.

Here it is, the passover, and Jesus gathers His disciples in the upper room. Perhaps they are expecting a typical passover dinner, yet, Jesus is there with bread and wine. Pastor Cook made an interesting point that this would've been leavened and not unleavened bread. So, Christ is there and is present - there among the world, like the leaven is among the bread.

Here is when he says that one will betray Him, and they all start to question who it is. Yet, Judas knows that it is Him. A point though, is that without Judas doing what he did, then Christ's capture, crucifixtion, death, and resurrection may not have happened. So, it seems that while not a popular guy, Judas was required in the whole scheme of things.

A part that I do not understand among some denominations is that they only have communion so many times a year (the Seven Day Adventists only have communion four times a year and what is written is that they are supposed to have a foot washing beforehand, but they never did that at Sharon Chapel SDA).

The disciples always broke bread when together, either formally as a sacrament or informally as a meal. I agree with people that say communion can be had as many times as there is a gathering of Christians. I could go on and on about how I don't agree with those that don't let others commune with their odd interpretations of verses, but I don't get into any of that. I am glad that the Episcopals, just like the ELCA, has a policy of open communion where those who are baptized judge their own hearts and the pastor doesn't decide.

And they put a scarlet robe on Him, and a crown of thorns upon his head.

I know first hand how much it hurts to be teased and mocked from all of my time in school. It started in Kindergarten and there were still those people who never matured in 12th grade. In fact, there still are those people who haven't matured to this day, but ignoring them now works much better than ignoring them then.

Jesus couldn't ignore these people. He had to go through this horrible time.

I can remember how my Daddy used to take Sunday School during the summer and we'd do a lesson on a book of the Bible over the summer. We did about a chapter during a class and then we'd work on our stained glass picture with these little things that he was able to created from stuff they sold at a craft store that allowed him to trace the pattern through glass using whatever separated the colors. We were then allowed to apply the colors as he'd have that part done when he brought it to Sunday School.

He was trying to teach how purple was expensive in Biblical days. Briana mistook this as that the purple color of the stained glass paint was more expensive than the others and asked how much it cost.

I think of the fact that the purple was expensive as odd because it was so important to mock Jesus that they still put a scarlet robe on him. I can understand the crown of thorns. Thorns aren't expensive. They can be found.

However, it seems to me like the purple robe would be akin to somebody buying a brand new car just to mock a person by having them drive it and then get into some accident where the car is ruined or almost ruined, so more money is needed.

Why is it so important to mock Jesus that nice things are used?

Yet, in this mocking, part of the truth is also shown - Jesus is king - while mocking, they are unknowingly acknowledging a truth.

And they lead him to a place called Golgotha

I don't really have much to say here. Pastor Cook had an interesting story that at Jerusalem, there was a bus station, and he and whoever else, climbed up on the roof, and they were able to see a mountain or rocks where the rocks seems to form a shape of a skull.

The part of the crucifixion that so many people seem to be confused about when I talk to them is Jesus carrying His own cross or did Simon of Cyrene carry the cross or at least part of the cross.

I think of it as the two disciples being in two different places. The first saw only Jesus carrying the cross. Of course, the cross was heavy and Jesus was getting tired, so Simon of Cyrene was pulled out to help carry the cross and then the second disciple saw that.

I know how violent crucifixion was from reading about it and being taught about it in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Students at LaGrange.

Yet, I do wonder if being tired from carrying a cross made it at least that teeny tiny more bit . . . "bearable?" Which, it really wasn't . . . but that if one was fully awake and had to go through it, what that would do and how it would feel. I know how I am when extremely exhausted and I think that it'd be much less painful to endure things like shots (which I hate) at a time like that.

The, I also think of Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the cross, and how that had to hurt. Recently, my little puppy was hit by a car and I was so worried about him! He did live and it ended up he needed some serious surgery. He'll be fine as long as he is allowed to heal, but I was so worried and hurting for him, that I can only imagine the pain that Mary felt to watch her son have to die, even knowing He's the Son of God.

I don't have my own children yet, though I do want them. Yet, my dog is my child and I do know how much I hurt when my big puppy even passed away naturally and how much I still miss him.

I cannot imagine how the disciples just turned away in this time of Jesus's need. I know how it hurts to lose a pet and a parent, and yet, not to be the person who needs support at the time (except maybe when I had bacterial pneumonia as there was a point I was so sick that I almost just didn't care what happened, but I had people caring for me, so I had the love and support that I needed.)

Jesus was completely alone, though, and His mother was hurting. This is what I always try to think about when I feel so alone and unsupported. I know that Jesus knows that that is like.

An angel rolled back the stone. He is not here. He is risen.

I know the whole story of how the women had to go early after the Sabbath as to not break the law. I know there are differences in the Gospels, and yet, I really do not think the impact really changes. I try to think of the surprise. After all, these women were probably not strong enough to roll away the stone, even together, asking who would roll away the stone.

Yet, when they got to the tomb, the stone was rolled away.

I don't have much to reflect on with this, either. However, I do think of a conversation that my friend and I once had about how if we went and took every symbolism literally, that Christians should be wearing a symbol of an empty tomb - the cave with the stone rolled away.

While the ascension is very important, it is very important that Jesus rose from the dead, because that is what even allowed him to be ascended.

Yet, the symbol of Christianity is the cross. Of course, there is a lot of importance of the cross - how Jesus was crucified and then buried. some Christians like the crucifix, but many seem to love the triumphant cross, which doesn't tell the whole story, but it is saying that Jesus did not stay dead, he rose. The cross was bear and the body gone from the grave.

As they looked on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.

I think it must have been strange to just have Jesus raise out of sight and have him gone. I am also reminded of Enoch. The Bible does not say that he died. It simply states that he walked with God. Then, I'm also reminded of Elijah who was simply taken to heaven in a chariot of fire and whirlwind rather than saying that he died.

To me, I'd imagine that these events were foreshadowing the ascension of Christ.

And now, may the peace of Christ be with you all.
Saturday, January 24th, 2009
11:30 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Religious Reflection for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

J - Jonah proclaims the word of God to Ninevah, and God forgives the popele of the city.
P - love and trust God for in Him is our home and refuge
1C - the present form of this world is passing away
M - fishers of men

Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A recent theme in my life lately has been how heaven is not the very last thing for us. Heaven is not the end. Certainly, heaven is real, but it is not the end of things. We don't just die and then go to heaven. There's more than that.

This is true. The Bible says that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. I can even remember being scared at a point because how would it work if we were to have eternal life, but both heaven and earth were going to pass away?

The simple answer given by some was that the heaven and earth that were going to pass away was the earth and the sky, but heaven was going to stay.

I did not like much of what the Seventh Day Adventist church taught me, but it did get me to study the book of Revelation some more. Obviously, it is still mysterious and not clear like they try to make it.

However, it also got me to look at the other things that are in the Bible.

Just what is this good news that is important? It could simply be that we go to heaven, end of story. However, that's not it.

The good news is that while we don't know it, God has a plan. Just like those fishers of men in the gospel, we have to follow God and Jesus and tell of the good news.

Just like Jonah finally did (with a huge push, or even being forced by God), he proclaimed what would be bad news to Ninevah, but they repented, so it turned into good news for them.

Paul tells us that the world is already changing from its current state. While things may seem to be getting worse and worse, we must remember that ultimately God is in control of everything. Certainly, humans miss the point and do some awful things, but it is always wisest to trust God. There, we will be safe.

So, no matter what happens, life on this earth, or waiting in heaven, for that new heaven and new earth where we will all live, we have a refuge and a home in God and in Jesus and in the Holy Spirit.

Because of this, we can proclaim "Alleluia. The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news. Alleluia. (Mark 1:15)"

Prayer of the Day (from http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Worship/Lectionary/Year-B/Time-after-Epiphany.aspx)

Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service. Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Sunday, December 21st, 2008
2:09 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Religious Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Luke 1:46b-55 (52) or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 (1)
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

2S - A house is built for the Lord (the Ark of Covenant). It's not really "God," obviously, but was important and God then promises that David's kingdom will be safe
L - The Magnificat or P - singing praises of God's faithfulness
R - The mystery is Jesus Christ and faith is from God and Christ, learned through the writings (or hearing) of the Gospel
L - Mary is told she is going to give birth to Jesus


Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The fourth Sunday in Advent means that Christmas will arrive in less than a week. So, as Christians, we are getting ready to celebrate the arrival of the baby Jesus into the world. Yet, we need to stop and look at what this actually means.

Certainly, when we are small, knowing this story and the Easter story is what matters. However, there is much more to this story.

As we know from the Old Testament, God has always been with his people. Yet, we also know that we are only now truly saved because of Jesus's death and resurrection. So, where does Jesus's birth fall into play other than getting Him into the world in order to be able to die for us?

The thing is that while God has always been in the world, even those who claimed to be faithful Jews often were not faithful. God was there, but they would easily forget. Sometimes they would get too concerned with laws and make them to be more than they said. Other times, they would completely forget about the laws God gave to show that they were faithful.

The story in 2 Samuel shows that the Jews did not treat the Ark of the Covenant very well. Instead of being in a place where it would be kept nice, it was stored in a tent. God gave Nathan word that a house should be built for the Ark. As long as that was done, God promised David that his kingdom would be safe from enemies and that his decendants would continue to rule.

We do not know about every child of King David, but we do know that all the rulers were certainly not considered his decendants. However, God did not break His promise. This story goes much deeper.

Just as the Ark of the Covenant needed a house, Jesus needed a home while on earth. Thus, the angel Gabriel came to a confused young virgin. This would be akin to a teenager today having an angel visit her and tell her that she was going to give birth to a son. It must have been a very confusing time.

The amazing part is that even though Mary was confused, she eventually praised the Lord that this was going to happen. Of course, it was difficult and Joseph had the idea not to marry her becaues this was obviously not his child.

Yet, here, God used Mary and Joseph, to raise Jesus and to give Jesus a home. This Jesus was also known as the Son of David, allowing God to keep his promise that David's decendants would rule forver, being that Christ does rule forever.

Still, what does it mean for us now that Christ has come into the world and died?

Christ still needs a home. There certainly is a heaven, but heaven is not the only place where God and Christ are to be found. EVerything is God's, and that includes the whole earth and heaven. We need to give Christ a home by doing good and praising Him and eagerly awaiting his second coming, knowing that the day and the hour is unknown.

So, as we celebrate Christ coming to earth as a baby, let us also celebrate the fact that Christ is going to come again and that He is here among us and has a place among us when we express our faith through good works.

Amen.

Recommended Listening: Holy is the Lord by John Michael Talbot
Recommended Hymn: Hark, the Glad Sound! (Tune: RICHMOND [HAWEIS])

Prayer of the Day Taken from http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Worship/Lectionary/Year-B/Advent.aspx
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that would obstruct your mercy, that willingly we may bear your redeeming love to all the world, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Saturday, December 6th, 2008
11:34 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Religious Reflection for the Second Sunday in Advent
Second Sunday of Advent
December 7, 2008
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

I - Comfort comes in the Lord Jesus. Jesus is the one that paid the penalty. Grass/flower fading. Shepherd/sheep analogy.

P - restoring land, forgiving iniquity, pardoning sin, glory . . .

2P - coming like a theif, 1000 years like a day, try to be without blemish

M - John the Baptist

Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I know that it has been a very long time since I have written a religious reflection and many things have happened since I last wrote one of them.

My family and I have had to leave St. Paul because the congregation and the pastor do not truly care about the members or about ministry. There's a long story, but I am not going to post it. To make a long story short, we now attend an Episcopal church and we love it. The only things I miss are the music (though that was pretty much gone at St. Paul) and being able to work with youth in any way.

Then, in May, my Daddy passed away. Obviously, I was quite depressed for awhile and I still miss him (at least the times he was happy) lots.

Those are the reasons for not writing until now, but by now, I feel that this part of my faith journey is definitely missing!

So, once again, grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

All the lessons for this second Sunday in Advent seem to focus on the forgiveness of sins. At times it is put another way, but ultimately, it is talking about the forgiveness of sins. Most of the time, however, the lessons talk about preparing for the forgiveness of sins by referring to something that God has already done in order to prepare for more forgiveness.

However, preparing for forgiveness is not the only thing that is mentioned. It is also mentioned that we should try to be without blemish. The actual words are "strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish."

That's the problem that we all have. We can all try to be without blemish, but not a single one of us are without sin. We all sin. To take an often used line, "We all sin and fall short of the glory of God."

Yet, here we are, preparing ourselves to still receive the glory of God even though we do not deserve that glory. Of course God still wants us to try our best to follow all of His commandments and to be good people. However, it is human nature that we sin. Just as my favorite prayer of confession states, "We are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves."

Now, the season of Advent is my second favorite time of the church year. (The first is Palm/Passion Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday - all of Holy Week and Easter Sunday). There's a good reason for it being my second favority part of the church year - because even though there is a church year that is divided in ways to celebrate Jesus's life, we should always be in a state of Advent which is waiting and being hopeful.

This is another theme mentioned in these lessons. We're told that 1000 years is like a day to God. Then we're told that Jesus is going to come like a theif in the night. Not a single person, not a single angel, nobody but God knows when Jesus is going to return to earth. However, we should wait patiently and go about our lives serving God by using the talents that He gave us.

I read somebody's entry about Obama and how he obviously isn't the anti-Christ because she is still on this earth and how the Bible says that leaders are appointed by God, so Obama was obviously appointed by God. I'm not getting into politics.

However, I've not ever been oen to truly care about the end times philosophies, and honestly, it doesn't matter in which way it is going to happen. God has everything under control. It doesn't matter if I'm going to be raptured up in the sky and others will be "left behind," or if everybody will be raptured and judged. It doesn't matter if both of these are wrong.

The important part is that we believe in this and that we believe that there will, indeed, be a new heavens and new earth where righteousness and peace have a place unlike this earth, where things are bad and makes every single human in bondage to sin.

This state of being in bondage to sin, but also have God give us His glory, grace, and mercy easily leads to the phrase of being "simultaneously saint and sinner" or for those of you who are really into theology, "Simul Justus et Peccator." Also, just as a mention, the pastor at the Episcopal church talked about this in his sermon last Sunday and I felt very much at home when I heard this.

So, there we are, sinners and saints, in an eternal Advent. As we celebrate Advent and the coming of the Christ child, we should remember even more that we are in a continual Advent for Christ's return.

Amen.

Recommended Listening: By Grace by Jonathan Rundman
Recommended Hymn: Prepare the Royal Highway (TUNE: Bereden bag for herran)

Prayer of the Day Taken from http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Worship/Lectionary/Year-B/Advent.aspx
Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming strengthen us to serve you with purified lives; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
12:22 am
[kagomeshuko]
On Praying the Lord's Prayer
Awhile ago, online, I found that I could get a free "subscription" to "Good News Magazine," which is a magazine sent by the United Church of God. "Okay," thought I, "I might as well to see what is in it."

It arrived in the mail today. One of the articles asks what happens after we die. All information in that article points to them believing in soul sleep which is something in which I do not agree. However, I am not going to post about that.

There was another article on prayer that I did not end up reading. I thought it might be a good article, but I took a glance and I was less than impressed with it.

Why was I less than impressed? Well, you see, the article was simply a little bit of an introduction and then it "dissected" the Lord's prayer and had what each section supposedly means.

Does that sound familiar to anybody? Okay, if you are Lutheran or was raised in a Lutheran tradition, you really ought to know why it sounds familiar.

Can you say, "Luther's Catechism?"

By the way, Luther's Catehism does a much better job than what this magazine did. From glancing over the article, it reminded me of a really bad skit that a parent found and had one of her girls do for a youth service on time when I was just a youth. People applauded it and complimented it, but it was nowhere near as meaningful as what Luther's Catechism tells us, and honestly, I think the bad skit may have been better than the article.

If you need reminding (taken from The Book of Concord Online)

The Lord's Prayer

As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.

Our Father who art in heaven

What does this mean?

God would thereby [with this little introduction] tenderly urge us to believe that He is our true Father, and that we are His true children, so that we may ask Him confidently with all assurance, as dear children ask their dear father.

The First Petition

Hallowed be Thy name

What does this mean?

God's name is indeed holy in itself; but we pray in this petition that it may become holy among us also.

How is this done?

When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we as the children of God also lead holy lives in accordance with it. To this end help us, dear Father in heaven. But he that teaches and lives otherwise than God's Word teaches profanes the name of God among us. From this preserve us, Heavenly Father.

The Second Petition.

Thy kingdom come

What does this mean?

The kingdom of God comes indeed without our prayer, of itself; but we pray in this petition that it may come unto us also.

How is this done?

When our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead a godly life here in time and yonder in eternity.

The Third Petition

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also.

How is this done?

When God breaks and hinders every evil counsel and will which would not let us hallow the name of God nor let His kingdom come, such as the will of the devil, the world, and our flesh; but strengthens and keeps us steadfast in His Word and in faith unto our end. This is His gracious and good will.

The Fourth Petition

Give us this day our daily bread

What does this mean?

God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all wicked men; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to know it, and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread?

Everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful magistrates good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

The Fifth Petition

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor deny such petitions on account of them; for we are worthy of none of the things for which we pray, neither have we deserved them; but that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we daily sin much, and indeed deserve nothing but punishment. So will we verily, on our part, also heartily forgive and also readily do good to those who sin against us.

The Sixth Petition

And lead us not into temptation

What does this mean?

God, indeed, tempts no one; but we pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us, so that the devil, the world, and our flesh may not deceive us, nor seduce us into misbelief, despair, and other great shame and vice; and though we be assailed by them, that still we may finally overcome and gain the victory.

The Seventh Petition

But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our Father in heaven would deliver us from all manner of evil, of body and soul, property and honor, and at last, when our last hour shall come, grant us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself into heaven.

Amen.

What does this mean?

That I should be certain that these petitions are acceptable to our Father in heaven and heard; for He Himself has commanded us so to pray, and has promised that He will hear us. Amen, Amen; that is, Yea, yea, it shall be so.




For those of you who are wondering, "Where's 'For Thine are the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever,'"? That is not truly "part" of the Lord's prayer. That is a nice little ending that was added by somebody that didn't think the Lord's prayer sounded complete where it ended. So, it is a part in which we believe, but is not really part of the prayer. Read it in the Bible and you'll see that it's not part of the prayer at all.
Monday, November 17th, 2008
4:45 pm
[kagomeshuko]
witnessing
I guess it is much better for me to write this than work on my NaNoWriMo at the moment (which I'll still write, there's no worries there). It's just that if I don't get this off my mind, I think it'll start eating away at me like crazy.

It's not that it would be bad if it ended up in my NaNoWriMo story, but at the moment, it doesn't have any place in it. My NaNovel is already going to have some religious themes in it. It seems that it is rare that when I write that there isn't something religious in them. It's just who God made me.

However, the thing that has been on my mind lately is witnessing.

Why is this?

Well, I see people say right online or wherever, "Do you want to be a Christian?"

Sure, that's an extremely direct way of witnessing, but it is the most uneffective way of witnessing.

I know, it seems strange, but it really is.

The first step in witnessing is to respect a person for who that person truly is. If they follow a different religion, respect that first. When you feel close enough to that person or when they know that they want to know about your religion and your faith, that is the time to open up and talk about your faith and why you believe in Jesus and in God and in the Holy Spirit.

I know my sister tends to post all kinds of negative things about Islam and other religions. I do not agree with them either, but the way to witness is not posting negative things. That just furthers the idea that Christians are these horrible people who just want to hurt them in some way.

However, Christianity is about wanting people to "be saved" (I don't like that term, really) and letting Jesus come into people's lives.

The thing is that Jesus is already there. Jesus is always there. He's standing there and knocking and just wants to come into everybody's lives. That means we need to keep going and being nice and respect people at first.

While we don't agree with other religions, it is important to just be nice and to explain things nicely (even if others are jerks).

The Bible says that the way to anger enemies is to be nice to them. So, why would we not anger people of other religions if we are nice to them? That makes them confused and that may want to make them learn more about Christianity - just why were we nice? We didn't compalin, argue, fight, etc.

Sure, I'll debate Biblical things when that's what a person wants to do. I do enjoy doing that. I've had people play "Devil's Advocate" to debate. I used to debate with an athiest when I was in high school because we were online friends. He wanted to debate and even complimented me on my debating skills.

I didn't confront him. However, I'd always pray for him. I didn't tell him directly, "I'm praying for you," though I'm pretty sure he probably knew I was.

Witnessing is a very delicate process. I don't advocate sheep steeling, either. I've been in congregations at times that wanted me to join them just because I wasn't a part of that congregation and instead was Lutheran. There was a church I attended once with a friend because she invited me and I found that they just wanted more members. There was a Catholic girl there, and I hated what they did to her.

(That's besides the one I saw that just "went to church" and "didn't really know about Jesus.")

So, that's what's been on my mind. Witnessing. At least I wrote up this post now. I'm sure there's much more to come, but that's what's on my mind at the moment.

More later that actually uses things like, oh, Bible verses.
Saturday, January 12th, 2008
10:14 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Religious Reflection: The Baptism of Our Lord
Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 29
Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 3:13-17

I - God describes His servant; His servant is Jesus Christ. The way Jesus ministered was not with tons of judgement or anger, but usually stories and love, even love in his anger.
P - The Lord is strong, stronger than any being, and He can also give peace.
A - Jesus is Lord. He died and rose to save us. It is through his name that we receive forgiveness.
M - The Baptism of Jesus when the Holy Spirit came down as a dove

Grace, peace, and mercy from God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

These lessons are for celebrating the baptism of Christ. Every single scripture passage refers to the Lord (or at least to God).

Isaiah is the prophecy of Jesus doing ministry. The psalm is about praising the Lord which can refer to both God and to Jesus. Acts refers to Jesus dying and His resurrection. The Gospel is about the baptism of Jesus.

I could stop there, but that wouldn't be much of a religious reflection.

Many ministers say that we should be baptized because we are "good Christians." They say that Jesus was baptized to "set an example for our behavior." They tell us that we need to be completely "Christ-like."

Of course Christians need to be Christ-like, insofar as following His teachings, keeping strong to their faith, and loving others rather than judging. However, some preachers go so far with how disciples should be Christ-like that it is scary.

Read Matthe 3:13-17 quickly. Think about it. Then read it again slowly. Trace through each even carefully in the passage.

Does Jesus ever say that He needed to be baptized to "set an example" for his followers? It doesn't say that anywhere.

In fact, Jesus did not start His official ministry until after He was baptized. He did not already have followers. The witnesses were God, John the Baptist, and John's disciples. They were not the followers of Jesus.

How could Jesus set an example for His followers when they were not yet truly in existence?

Jesus said that he needed to be baptized in order to fulfill the prophecies.

Of course others may have tried this same trick, but Jesus made John say that he needed to be baptized. For an unexplained reason (other than being Jesus's relative - remember that Mary, Jesus's mother, was a cousin to Elizabeth, John's mother) John knew that this was the Lord.

When John baptized Jesus, the Holy spirit came down upon Jesus.

It seems that Jesus would not need to be baptized, but He was 100% man and 100% God. He was totally man in His flesh. His flesh experienced desire and pain. He had a human brain that though human thoughts. The spritual side of God knew what was going to happen. This is how it worked that Jesus could go through things, know that they had to happen, yet not want them to happen.

Just like we tend to be in conflict with what God wants, Jesus's flesh was in conflict with his Godhead side. So, of course, as a man, Jesus worship God the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Baptism was not to be obedient. Baptism was a means of grace. God's grace came upon Jesus when He was baptized. God grace comes upon any humans when they are baptized. So, why should any human deny a person of any age God's grace?

It is just that if a human is not baptized, a belief in God is most likely going to lead that person to wanting to receive God's grace. However, it is only God and Jesus that knows the heart of that human. There are certainly unnbaptized humans that purely believe in God and Jesus.

Let us remember not to judge upon if a person is baptized or not. After all, it is not said those who are unbaptized will perish. It says those that do not believe will parish.

Amen.

Yes, I know that the listening recommendation I chose is about baptism by immersion. Baptism requires water, it does not say how much - immersion, sprinkling, and pouring are all valid forms of baptism. After all, it is God's word that truly makes it valid.

Recommended Listening: Baptism by Kenny Chesney and Randy Travis (which can be listened to here.
Recommended Hymn: Baptized Into the Death of Christ by Jay Beech (lyrics can be found here.

Prayer of the Day (from the ELCA website)

O God our Father,
at the baptism of Jesus you proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit.
Make all who are baptized into Christ faithful to their calling to be your daughters and sons, and empower us all with your Spirit, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen
Saturday, January 5th, 2008
11:41 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Religious Reflection: The Epiphany of Our Lord
Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

I - Jesus is revealed to the world, the prophecy of the magi
P Jesus saves, all shall worship him
E - Jesus came for everybody, not just certain people
M - the magi find the child Jesus

Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It seems that we often find ourselves in exclusive groups. Sometimes we are guilty of making these groups exclusive just because of our attitudes towards others.

It is understandable that some groups have membership fees and interests that bond them together. There's nothing wrong with that when it is in a proper place.

However, most groups need to be open to those who at least agree with what they believe. The thing is that a Christian group needs to be loving and accepting of other Christians.

Not too long ago, I found myself in a group that was not at all a Christian group from the attitude or behavior that was displayed.

I could say that they are not Christians, but I would not do that. If they believe in Jesus's birth, life, death, and resurrection, they are Christians. I will not say that they are not.

However, it does not mean that I will stay with the group in order to be judged and persecuted more than they have already done.

The thing I remember is that Jesus came for all of us. He came to save all of us. If these people actually repent of this behavior, then they are forgiven. I do not know what they did or did not do. That is up to God and it was always up to God to judge as it is.

That's what Paul is saying. Jesus came to save all the people. Jesus did not come to save just the Jews. He did not come to save just people of a certain skin color. He did not come to save just the males. He did not come to save those people who could score above average on tests. Jesus came to save every single person.

Anyway, January 6 is Epiphany or "12th night," as in the 12th day of Christmas. While there probably will not be 12 drummers drumming, there are many celebrations starting.

In the south, it'll be the Mardi Gras season.

So, just to address some of the myths we seem to believe, the magi were not kings, even though we refer to them as "We Three Kings," in the carol. They were wise men, perhaps astrologers. They probably served a king.

Then, they did not find Jesus in the stable. They found the child Jesus in a house with Mary. Jesus was definitely older than a newborn. He may have been as old as two years. If he would not have been, why would Herod have needed to call for all male children two years or younger to be killed?

It seems like such a tragedy. Yet, God knew what had to happen. So, it is likely that God took these sweet children into His arms. Jesus had come, but none of the miracles or teachings had taken place. These children were still innocent. They were not even old enough to truly violate any of the Jewish laws.

In this time of "enlightment," let us all remember that Jesus came for everybody, and not just certain people.

Recommended Listening: Let Me Be Yours by Jonathan Rundman

Recommended Hymn: Thou Light of Gentile Nations (Words by Johann Franck translated by Catherine Winkworth; Tune: VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBEN by Melchior Teschner)

Prayer of the Day (from the ELCA website)
Almighty and ever-living God,

you revealed the incarnation of your Son by the brilliant shining of a star. Shine the light of your justice always in our hearts and over all lands, and accept our lives as the treasure we offer in your praise and for your service, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Sunday, December 30th, 2007
10:03 am
[kagomeshuko]
Religious Reflection: First Sunday in Christmas
Isaiah 63:7-9
Psalm 148
Hebrews 2:10-18
Matthew 2:13-23

I - tell the good deeds of the Lord
P - Praise the Lord
H - Jesus came to save people, not angels (the devil is a fallen angel)
M - Joseph's actions fulfill the prophecies about Jesus

Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Most likely, you've just celebrated the birth of Jesus. In this time of the church year, it is still a time to celebrate. Jesus is still an infant or a child.

Advent is over, though our personal advents for Jesus's return our never over. However, it is an appropriate time in any church or congregation to celebrate the fact that Jesus was born.

In the first lesson and the psalm, there is not much other than praising the Lord.

Hebrews talks about how Jesus came to save humans and not angels. What we need to remember is that the devil is a fallen angel. There are also 1/3 of the angels that went with the devil. So, when people say, "the devil made me do it," there are also other servants of the devil.

It is sad to see things like the following paragraph. I went to the site where I usually go to look up bible verses and found that the front page of the Bible software had been hacked. It contained this message:

"ATTENTION CHRISTIAN SHEEP

i'm atheis whitch means i don't belive in god so that
about my religion t was liek apology to remove sin and
after jesus u have to exept him in ur heart that means
god is't all powerfull if he can't forgive sin's just like that
RELIGION IS FALSE AND ITS PROVEN

AND LISTEN I'M NOT AMERICAN SO MY MORTHERS
LANGUAGE ISN'T ENGLISH SO DON'T FUCK ABOUT
MY NON GOOD ENGLISH OK XP

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmV-eZPOYNB
WATH AN LEARN

WEN WILL AMERIKA BE SMART LKE MOTHER FIN-
LAND? ONLY TIME WIL TELI"

Of course, if this person may actually read some of the Bible (in his Native language), he may see more than what he is currently saying. Of course, this is not all that much of a threat. He says how false a blasphemy challenge is to Christians (which was told to him by his very religious friend) and then goes on to say how he is an athiest.

People like this, however, would probably say how Joseph easily knew the Jewish scriptures and could take Jesus to the different places in order to fulfill the prophecies.

However, they would forget that Joseph wasn't sitting and writing these scriptures. It was only when people needed to know the story - why Jesus rose, why Jesus died, why Jesus preached, and so on and so on back to Jesus's birth that the scriptures were written.

So, it is now time for us to pray for these people and rejoice that God sent Jesus to save us.

Recommended Listening: Peace on Earth by Chris Rice
Recommended Hymn: Love Came Down at Christmas (Text: Christina Rossetti; Tune: GARISON, a traditional Irish melody)


Prayer of the Day (from the ELCA website)

O Lord God,
you know that we cannot place our trust in our own powers.
As you protected the infant Jesus,
so defend us and all the needy from harm and adversity,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Sunday, December 23rd, 2007
12:37 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Fourth Sunday in Advent
Isaiah 7:10-16
Psalm 80:1-7, 16-19
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25

I - the prophecy of Christ's birth is told to Ahaz
P - if we call upon the name of Christ, he will give us salvation
R - As Christians call to Christ, we are called to bring faith to others
M - Joseph is told to marry Mary, not to dismiss her.

Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It is almost Christmas. As Christians, we most likely celebrate Christ's birth. Yet, sometimes, it seems we forget to focus on the full story.

Mary was pregnant with Jesus and knew. However, Joseph did not know at first. He then found out.

There is a story that in a children's Christmas play, the children were doing this scene. The child playing Joseph did not stick to the script. Instead, when Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he screamed, "You're pregnant?!"

However, it may be that it happened like that. When just the two of them were together, imagine Joseph's surprise. This obviously meant that Mary had been doing something else in his mind.

It was only after an angel came to Joseph that he knew what had truly happened. This kept Joseph and Mary together.

Those little details in the stories of Jesus's birth, life, death, and resurrection are important. They tell us a lot about God and Jesus. They show how God used such ordinary people and how situations back then are like many situations now. Just think how many women have had men leave them when they find out that the woman is pregnant. That's what was going to happen with Mary and Joseph as well. However, it was because of God interacting in their lives that it didn't happen.

So, with this, we, as Christians, are called to spread faith. Yet, we are not called to spread damnation and hate. However, it seems that some Christians forget that they are to spread love and share their faith with others. Good witnesses do not try to shove beliefs down the throats of others. Good witnesses do not exclaim how God hates other people. They share faith and the stories that inspire them while respecting the beliefs of others.

Amen.

Recommended Listening: sorry, didn't get around to looking
Recommended Hymn: sorry, didn't get around to looking

Prayer for the Day (from the ELCA website):

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.

With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that hinders our faith, that eagerly we may receive your promises, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Saturday, December 15th, 2007
11:17 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Religious Reflection: Third Sunday in Advent
Isaiah 35:1-10
Psalm 146:5-10
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11

I - the redeemed will be safe with the Lord
P - the Lord loves His people, and those who do good
J - have patience, the Lord will come (again)
M - John asks Jesus about who He is; John was sent to prepare the way

Grace, peace, and mercy from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

It's been awhile since I've written. There have been a lot of things happening and most are not good news. However, the way to get away from these things is not to dwell on them. It is to move on to different paths.

Speaking of paths, it seems we are on a path towards the celebration of Christ's birth. It can be such a wonderful path. Of course, there's always the secular stress of sending cards, buying gifts, and children who are impatient to recieve presents.

However, that does not mean the true meaning of the holiday times should be lost among the chaos. In fact, the chaos should be lost among the true meaning of these times.

Advent is the time to prepare for Jesus' coming. It is a time of waiting.

So, doesn't it seem odd that the Gospel lesson mentions Jesus when this is a time of waiting? It can seem like it. However, we as Christians know that Jesus came already. Advent is a time to prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth and also a time to stop and reflect on the fact that we are in a perpetual advent, waiting for Jesus to come again.

This has been running through my mind for the past week. It is time that we are making Christmas wishlists. Many Christians will put "Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Men" at the very top of the list.

However, this never truly comes. It seems wrong when the Bible tells us, "Ask and you shall recieve, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened unto you."

However, while there are some Christians who truly want this, there are others who are not truly wanting this. Those people are the ones that believe in Christ, but they do not seem to know how to show love to others.

There is not a consensus on wanting peace on earth and good will towards men. It is an unfortunate thing, but it is true. There are too many groups who proclaim the name of Christ, but then also want to exclude at least one certain group of people.

This is obviously not what God intended, but they still have not figured out that the Bible has many more verses about loving neighbors than the strict rules they are trying to apply to life. Of course, some even go so far as claiming that God hates others when this is simply not true.

God loves all of his children. It says so in the Bible! "For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not die, but have eternal life."

God loves the world. The whole world includes every single person on earth. It is wrong for others to say that certain groups that have nothing to do with other religions do not believe in God and especially are hated by God.

God loves his people. We are to wait for Jesus to come again and just like John spread the good news before Jesus started his ministry, during our lives spread the love and hope to others.

Recommended Hymn: On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry by Charles Coffin, Translated by John Chandler (Tune: PUER NOBIS NASCITUR)
Recommended Listening: Emmanuel by Alathea
Saturday, September 15th, 2007
12:36 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Exodus 32:7-14
Psalm 51:1-10
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-10

E- Golden Calf, people are prone to wander from the Lord, God is forgiving
P- Asking God to take away sins, "Create in me a clean heart."
T- Jesus Christ came to save man, Paul is thankful
L- Pharisees complained about Jesus' company, parable of the lost sheep

Grace, Peace, and Mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today, we rejoice, because God saves us from our sins through His son Jesus Christ. We should rejoice in this statement every single day.

The lesson in Exodus is about how the Israelites made a golden calf to worship. We may think that we may never make a golden calf and worship it, but is that really true?

While we may not make things, what do we worship? Do we worship money? Do we worship buildings? Do we worship other people? What have we put before God in our lives?

We are all prone to putting something before God in our lives. We're all guilty of this sin at one time or another. We may not even realize it, but it's true.

Thankfully, God forgives us just like he forgave the Israelites. He did not destroy or punish them.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the Pharasees that it is a greater treasure to have sinners turn to God than to have righteous people. Surely, many people look at the church today and see "righteous" people, but we are all sinners. We when admit this, we turn to God to make us pure. This is when heaven rejoices.

Paul writes to Timothy to tell him how thankful he is for this gift of forgiveness, for Jesus Christ, the savior.

The psalmist pours out his heart to God asking, pleading, and even begging for forgiveness.

All of these people know that they are sinners and that only God can make them clean.

Just like the psalmist, some Christians often sing, "Create in me a clean heart, oh God," and they often continue, "and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with Your free Spirit."

We should sing such a song every day.

In remembering that we are all sinners, always turning to God, we are more treasures than any righteous person may ever be.

Amen.

Recommended Listening: How Can You by Lost And Found
Recommended Hymn: My Faith Looks Up to Thee (LBW #479; Text: Ray Palmer, Tune: OLIVET by Lowell Mason)
Saturday, July 28th, 2007
11:58 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Ninth Sunday After Pentecost
Genesis 18:20-32
Psalm 138
Colossians 2:6-19
Luke 11:1-13

G - Abraham "bargains" with God about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
P - Praise the Lord; The Lord protects His people
C - believe in Christ, not others
L - Lord's prayer; know how to give gifts to children

Grace, peace, and mercy from God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I can honestly say that my mind is quite a mess right now, and that's more than usual when I write these. It's not that it's blank this time, it's that I've got at least three different things going through my mind about these lessons - all things that related to things I've heard or that I've been reading.

I can't promise that this writing is going to make much sense, but I'm going to trust God that He will use me and guide my fingers and thoughts to write something here.

As I read the passage in Luke, I thought about how I've been told that some Lutherans seem to think that the Catholics leave off the end of the Lord's Prayer - "for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen."

However, it's not really in the Bible. That's something added by people because they just thought that it didn't sound good enough. They felt that it needed an ending. Yet, some people are surprised when they first realize this is the truth.

All of these lessons have been making me think about what we preach and practice, too. I've been reading a book called "The Power of Myth" by Joseph Cambell with Bill Moyers. I don't agree with a lot of the myths mentioned, though I do agree with knowing about the different religions, different religious practices, and different myths. I think it is extremely importat to try to familiarize ourselves with the similarities, especially.

The lessons definitely deal with God's mercy, though. Abraham actually talks to God reducing the number of those found pleasing to God in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Certainly, there were many bad people, but Abraham reduced the number of people in two cities down to twenty good people among all the others. God still said that He would not destroy the cities.

The Gospel talks about how much God is merciful and yet we'll never know it, no matter what. We can give our own children, or in my case and probably a lot of others who are reading this, friends and those who we love in ways as "our children" what they want when they ask for it. We know what is good for them and if it is good enough, we will certainly give it to them. We will not give them something harmful. God will always give us what is good for us. God knows what we all need.

The lesson that is hard to fit in with these is the one from Collosians. It talks about trusting in Christ and not in others. I do think it is important to trust in God and in Christ above all else and not these other deities that people have and not praying to the angels. However, I think that God is also very wild and amazing and provides a lot. I know that some people would call me extremely crazy when I talk about auras and chi and life energy.

However, I honestly don't know how one can deny that we do have life energy. Is this not the breath of the spirit that flows through us? Is God not going to give us such spiritual gifts among ourselves to recognize these things? I believe that He is.

This is where a lot of denial comes in and why I keep thinking back to the book that I am reading. Campbell mentions a lot of ideas that were abandoned with a lot of the councils and meetings and leaders that wanted things certain ways.

So, if God is so compassionate and merciful, if we ask to know about these things, He'll provide. God always provides if it is good. It is only if it is not good for us that God will never provide.

Amen.

Recommended Listening: Lord Move, or Move Me by FFH
Recommended Hymn: God of Grace and God of Glory (LBW #415; Tune: Cwm Rhondda)
Saturday, July 21st, 2007
11:07 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
Genesis 18:1-10a
Psalm 15
Colossians 1:15-28
Luke 10:38-42

G - Abraham, entertaining angels unaware; before Sarah laughs
P - Faithful may dwell with the Lord
C - Christ was fully God, and we are to be disciples
L - It is important to learn from Jesus, be His disciple

Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

This week has been extremely stressful for me. It's not that it's really been any different from any other week in my life, but it has just been stressful. Reading these lessons are actually extremely relaxing. I am glad to be sitting here, freshly out of the shower, listening to my mom and sister talk about Romper Room, and writing this.

Of course, this really has nothing to do with the lessons, but there's one thing that the three of us have in common. We're all Christians. Nothing is happening other than normal life, and that is relaxing.

The one thing that I know is that, we are all faithful as best as we can be. That's what these lessons are all about, really, being faithful.

To me, of course, they were all common. I started reading about Abraham and the Oaks of Mamre and knew that three angels showing as men would visit him and that Sarah would be in the tent. I knew that the lesson was about Saul becoming Paul. I knew that it was about Mary and Martha and Jesus telling Martha that Mary, at that time, chose the correct thing to do.

The thing about all of these lessons is that they always remind me of other scriptures in the Bible. Of course, this should be for anybody who reads the Bible on any type of a regular basis.

However, that just goes back to "being faithful." Jesus told Martha that it was important that Mary listen to Him. Today, we "listen" to Jesus by reading the Bible and by listening to the scriptures. That's how we are faithful.

We are faithful by acting like Christians. We have certain beliefs and certain things we do because of what the scriptures say. Abraham did not have any scriptures, but he was still faithful to God. He made sure that his visitors had something to eat. God granted him a son.

We may never know what is in store, but God will always grant us a good future - eventually - when we are faithful.

Let us all be faithful and help each other to be faithful as well.

Amen.

Recommended Listening: Entertaining Angels by The Newsboys
Recommended Hymn: How Firm A Foundation (LBW #507; Text: John Keene; Tune: PROTECTION (from Genuine Church Music) by Joseph Funk
Saturday, July 14th, 2007
10:46 pm
[kagomeshuko]
Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
Deuteronomy 30:9-14
Psalm 25:1-10
Colossians 1:1-14
Luke 10:25-37

D - obey God's laws; so different in Jewish and in Christian religions, and yet in ways the same
P - The Lord guides believers
C - God uses others to spread His word and his grace
L - story of The Good Semaritan; showing mercy

Grace, peace, and mercy be to you from God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God's pretty amazing. I have been thinking about writing on these lessons since Tuesday, but honestly I didn't read them until tonight. I often do not read the lessons until just a bit before I write.

Anyway, on with the writing.

I read a book by James W. Kemp called "The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss." Kemp does have a way of looking at the story of "Green Eggs and Ham." However, I can say that it is definitely not what I am thinking with these lessons. There is one obvious difference - there are no lessons from Ezekiel.

I've said it before that I prefer to not title these writings because I would rather let others think of them however they like and give them their own titles if they so wish. However, just like I have a writing that I would call "God Has a Purple Hat," I also have this writing that I would call, "Jesus is Like Green Eggs and Ham."

Now, before anybody thinks I'm being blasphemous and not serious with this, just please continue reading this before making any judgments.

The Gospel is from Luke and talks about the good semaritan, which, obviously, really is not found in "Green Eggs and Ham." I often times feel that there is only so much one can write about the story of The Good Semaritan, even if done differently, so this time, I am going to focus on the other three lessons.

Mainly, there's the lessons from Collosians. This lesson talks about how people have heard that others are now following "The Way," what Christianity was first called. Basically, it talks about how God uses others to spread His Word.

Now, if you look at the book of "Green Eggs and Ham," Sam-I-Am is the one who is constantly delivering "the message." I know that the other character does not have a name. I have always wondered about this other character's name, too. So, I will just call him Other.

Dr. Seuss does not worry about height or reputation of Sam-I-Am. Sam keeps trying to spread the message.

Of course, in today's society, when talking about a religious message, that is a bit on the pushy side. Still, Sam is the one carrying the message just like Christians are the ones carrying the saving message of Christ.

Other does not know of the wonderful taste of green eggs and ham (The Message). Unbelievers do not know the wonderful message of God's saving Grace through His son, a message of love, Jesus Christ.

So, while Sam knows, Other does not.

Christians are Sams. Unbelievers are Others. Jesus is like Green Eggs and Ham.

Even in the Jewish society, one could say that Green Eggs and Ham was like the law, since that we how they were "saved," even though God still showed plenty of mercy.

Jesus stands at the door and knocks. . .He knocks at our hearts and at our minds just wanting to be in them. . .and when we just submit and not resist, it happens.

While Other may have made a concious decision, I think it is often times more like this for some unbelievers - they say, "okay, okay, I'm done with it all. . .I'll give it a try." Then, little do they know what is going to happen until it does.

Obvious Other thought that he was never going to like green eggs and ham. Unbelievers think they will never like faith or religion or the message of a loving and graceful God, but it ends up not being true.

So, God uses all of us as messengers just like Sam-I-Am was a messenger.

Why is God so amazing?

I had been contemplating if I would be able to use "Jesus is like Green Eggs and Ham" since Tuesday afternoon and I did not read the lessons until today.

If you have me as a friend on facebook, you probably saw that I had already contemplated this and I had not yet read the lessons as of then.

God is amazing. Go, and be a messenger! Thanks be go God!

Amen.

Recommended Listening: As You Go by Lost And Found
Recommended Hymn: Jesus Call Us O'er the Tumult (LBW #494; Text: Cecil F. Alexander; TUNE: Galilee by William H. Jude)
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