Friday, December 25, 2015

Oh Praise His Name

Merry Christmas, y'all!

It's a widely known fact that today is the day that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, who came to earth to live of perfect submission to God and His will so that He could take our place and die. Even if you're not a Christian, you've probably heard the story: no room in the inn, shepherds watching their flocks by night, three wise men bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The story of Jesus' birth has been Americanized throughout all its years. To some, it's no more than a cool story that children can act out every year. Some really do celebrate His birth, but only during Christmastime. All the rest of the year, we live our lives like we want to, except maybe when we go to summer camp; then we really appear on fire for Jesus.

American "Christianity" has been so de-radicalized. We've become lukewarm and indifferent. We throw around God's name like it's something so everyday, so lacking of awe. Jesus Christ's name is so often used as an expression of annoyance. When did we start tolerating this? When did we let our God's name become so dumbed-down?

To completely understand the awe we should feel at the mention of God's name isn't possible because that would require completely understanding just how great our God is. But if we can begin to grasp the wonder in the story of the Incarnation, our appreciation and love of God increases so much.

We must try to grasp the holiness, the omnipotence, the true greatness and awesomeness of God. When we use the word awesome, we're using a slang term that can be replaced by impressive or cool. Awesome is defined as "causing or inducing awe" or "inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear."

God truly is awesome. Just think about the wonder-filled mystery of the Incarnation, that God would take on a body of the fallen human race, but never sin; that He chose to be born in a stable filled with filthy, stinking animals; that He chose to live a life of obscurity and finally be spit at, mocked, and nailed to piece of wood.Our perfect God, without one blemish, someone too great to fathom, chose to humble Himself to the likeness of the creation He made so that He could save us from death. And we rejected Him still.

I love this part of a song by Sidewalk Prophets called You Love Me Anyway:

See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then I turned away with the smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life...

But You love me anyway

Not only this Christmas season, but every season, every day, would you all join me in celebrating the true awesomeness of our God? Meditate on this today, and I pray that it will increase your love for the Father and inspire you to share His Good News with everyone you meet. All glory to Him.

Merry Christmas, y'all. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

best dressed

It was Christmas Eve, and rain poured.

It wasn't snow, not anywhere close. The car thermometer read seventy-three degrees Fahrenheit. She sat on the left side of the car, as she always did, but her legs were crossed in an unusual fashion due to minimal leg room and the dress she wore. 

Her camera sat in her lap, and she held it with both hands, guarding it almost. The way the streetlight made the raindrops glisten fascinated her, and she tried to capture it through the lens. Her friends often laughed at her. You take that thing everywhere. 

They laughed now; she heard them distantly, detached. She clung to her camera, holding it, remembering.

Best dressed.

She had walked into the party with three inch heels. They gave her extra height, extra confidence. A fifty dollar necklace hung around her neck. She hadn't bought it herself; it was a gift, but she didn't tell them that. Her dress came one about an inch from the top of her knee, school dress code, but somehow people still stared. Perhaps it was a good kind of staring -- she hadn't yet learned the difference.

She didn't dance, only hiding behind her lens. It was her solitude, her break from the stares. Were they good stares? Was a stare ever good? She would never know. By the end of the night, she was named best dressed. 

Funny. Best dressed, and she couldn't even manage a smile. She hid behind gray eyeliner and cherry blossom blush. Falsely whitened teeth tried to smile at the people she never had enough guts to talk to. And that was that. 

Best dressed.

Now she sat in her car, her father and mother in the front seat. They talked about her grandparents visiting the next day, Christmas day. A rain-filled, seventy-five degree Christmas day.

Her house wasn't far. She took off her heels before climbing out of the car and into her room. There lie two weeks of dirty laundry, and unfinished thank-you note, and now, her paper plate award: best dressed. She still clung to her camera, flipping through the pictures. Best dressed.

She found a picture someone had taken of her. She was smiling. She didn't remember ever feeling happy. She would post it, she thought, and perhaps the gullible public would fall under the spell they so often did. That her life was perfect, that she never cried, never had a free Friday night, always had seats to the football game.

She looked at her paper plate award once more, holding it up in the mirror and flashing her winner smile. 

Best dressed.

It seemed that, in reality, that was all she ever amounted to. 


Hi, all! So, I know this is a little heavy for a season that is supposed to be so joyful, but it's fictional, I promise :)

 I got to thinking about this the other day. Sometimes, I think we look at people on social media or even in person and we think that their lives look so put together. They always look nice, always have perfectly whitened teeth, always seem to top every other girl. I think we forget that no one's life is perfect, and the pictures posted on social media are just the good side. 

It's important for us as high school students to remember that everyone has struggles. No one is perfect, so to compare ourselves to others is ridiculous. The lesson is this: girls, stop comparing yourselves to other girls and be content in the way God made you. We're all unique, all made for a different purpose. 

Psalm 139:13-16 says this: 
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

You know what this communicates to me? That God spent a whole lot of time making you you. To be discontent in the way God made you is to be discontent with His works. Take care of the body God gabe you, and be content with it. I promise that God is using you and your story for His glory right now.

Merry Christmas, y'all!