Posts Tagged ‘religion’

I Don’t Care About the National Day of Prayer

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

There. I said it.

I don’t care how much we pray, if we don’t get up off of our knees and do the work of Jesus. What good are our prayers if we aren’t getting dirty everyday in helping our blood family? Whether we’re related by earthly blood, or the blood of Jesus. Whether it’s those living under our roof, or under another roof, or under no roof at all. If we aren’t awash in the grit and grime and mess of the everyday among both the lost and the saved, what is the point of prayer?

“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” -James 2:15-16 (NIV)

Or, for the 21st century version: “I’ll pray for you!”

It’s great that there is a national day when we can come together as believers and pray, but I think I would rather see a National Day of Serving Orphans & Widows.

Pray. Pray hard. Pray often. Pray long, angry, joyful, repentant, humble, short, sobbing, wordless prayers. Pray until your knees wear out. We are called to pray, even when we don’t know what words to use. We must call on God. We must. Alone and together, we need to pray.

But when you come out of your War Room, work.

Wait on the Lord. Literally — wait on Him, hand and foot, by waiting on every person you ever come in contact with.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)

I don’t see anywhere in that list where it says “You participated in the National Day of Prayer every year.”

Feed and clothe people who need it. Even if you don’t know them.

Be hospitable, even if your house is a mess or too small. People don’t mind being crowded if they’re loved.

Share something with someone–your time, your work, your ear, your shoulder, your food, your skills. (Mind you, these are just ideas, based on my personal convictions — follow the convictions God lays on YOUR heart.)

Again. Prayer is vital. I am not saying that it isn’t. We need prayer in order to know God, and to be equipped to work our butts off loving people.

What I am saying is that our prayer time should never take priority over the “least of these” right in front of us. Beginning with our children, expanding out into our nearby family, and growing to encompass our fellow believers, and ultimately, the world.

I know I am not doing enough. I know I have never done enough.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” -Maya Angelou

And I pray to God I do better everyday (see? prayer is important!). And then I do it.

Book Review: “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Monday, December 21st, 2015

This book did not even have enough substance to allow me to hate it. It was just…nothing. Nothing at all.

Eat, Pray, LoveEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book is way overrated. I couldn’t even finish it, which is saying something. I hate not finishing a book.

She gets one star purely for writing style, which I really like. She’s funny, accessible, and honest.

Other than that, I found it shallow, privileged, and self-centered. There are a lot of neat anecdotes (Luca Spaghetti, anyone?), and some nice insights, but not much else.

I get that this was all about her, but it was ALL ABOUT HER. And that just gets boring after awhile.

I finally gave up when she “learns” that Heaven and Hell are the exact same place. That you get to it via happiness or trouble. Ummm…that is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard. Utter poppycock.

I didn’t expect to read anything that was in agreement with my own theology and worldview, but I expected a window into the soul of someone different from myself, and perhaps gain insight into why people seek fulfillment in eastern religions. I still don’t get it. Maybe I never will. And maybe I just don’t need to have that insight. Or perhaps I should read a biography of the Dalai Llama instead of the ramblings a self-centered, privileged person like the author.

And that’s pretty much it. Well-written, sincere, accessible, honest, selfish nonsense.

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30 Days of Thanksgiving, day 19: YouVersion Bible App

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Click to visit the site.

Click to visit the site.

I am genuinely thankful for the YouVersion Bible App. It took me quite awhile, but I finally downloaded this thing a couple of years ago, not long after Dad died. It’s free, and it’s been my most-used app. Right up there with Facebook and Twitter, which is saying something.

My favorite feature of this app is the plethora of Bible reading plans it offers. Everything from classic devotionals, to Bible-in-a-year variations, to short and sweet 1-2 week series are available. Not only that, but it offers (I’m pretty sure) every English translation of the Bible there is. The Word of God, complete and unabridged. And commentaries! So many classic commentaries. It’s kind of ridiculous how much is in this app.

And it’s all free.

Free, people.

As in no cost. None monies. Zero dollars. Pro bono.

The way the Word of God should be, in an ideal world.

When it’s impractical or impossible to pack my actual, physical, leather-bound Thompson Chain Reference Bible, it doesn’t matter, because I have 8 bajillion versions of the entire Bible that fit in my pocket. In. My. Pocket. This means that I don’t have to skip out on my quiet time in God’s Word, ever.

What about WiFi, you ask? What if I don’t have a connection? Well. Get this. You can download offline versions of the Bible, too, so that you can still access it and search the Bible without a data connection.

Fabulous!

Ain’t technology grand?

What are you thankful for today?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

Book Review: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Chocolat (Chocolat, #1)Chocolat by Joanne Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the very first word of the very first line, I was captivated. This book is art. It is poetry disguised as prose. It is beautiful.

And I loved it.

Its cadence was rhythmic and flowing–whatever that means. I have a hard time writing about it, because I can only think of it in adjectives. Lilting. Moody. Exotic. Flavorful. Rich. Decadent. Red. Alive. Romantic. Complex. Melancholy. Joyful. Gritty. Sweet.

That said, I can’t say I agree that the only thing worth living for is one’s happiness, but the disparity between stiff, legalistic, possessive religion and living, connected, messy and worthwhile relationship is clear and correct. No, not correct. Right.

It’s all about love. Without love, we are nothing. We are despairing, jealous, selfish, and we are single-minded in our quest to demand that all others be as we are.

When we know and understand Love, to its core, we come alive. We are patient, kind, rejoicing in the truth and in the delighting in the pleasure of others. We see, we hear, we feel, and we connect.

Chocolat illustrates it vividly.

I could read this over and over again.

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Book Review: “In His Steps” by Charles M. Sheldon

Monday, August 10th, 2015

In His StepsIn His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What can I say? It’s a Christian classic, a well-written piece of literature, and I enjoyed it. Though it is idealistic in many ways, it asks a legitimate question: What would Jesus do, if he were me, in my circumstances, in my time?

I found myself gently challenged and exhorted to be a little more Christ-like.

I liked it.

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My Boy and the Bible.

Monday, June 15th, 2015

We chose a Teen Study Bible for him. He loves it...

We chose a Teen Study Bible for him. He loves it…

The kids have been sitting in Wednesday night service with us because they love Pastor Jim’s teaching. We’re going through the book of Revelation right now, verse by verse. On the drive home last week, Durin made the following comment: “Mom! I’m starting to realize that the Bible is like, an AMAZING fantasy story! Except it’s all REAL, and it makes me want to read EVERYTHING in it!”

Oh, how my mommy heart nearly exploded in gratitude to God for creating such a hunger in him! May it never die…

He has long outgrown his NIrV Children’s Bible, which is written at a 3rd-grade level. He has really been growing in faith, and a desire to have some tough questions answered. He has also desired to begin reading God’s Word on his own and has asked for guidance. So, for his birthday, we got him a “real” Teen Study Bible that will hopefully help him work his way through. We encouraged him to start with Jesus by reading the book of John, and to come to us whenever he has questions.

I love to see him discovering God on his own. I love the questions, the doubts, the struggles that come to the surface. I recognize in him the desire to really know the truth, and “Look it up” is becoming my refrain. So, he does, and comes to me with his discoveries. I correct where he needs it, but mostly I just marvel at his intelligence and growing logic and insight.

It’s good to be a mom after all.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany