Just Something to Brighten up Your Day…

Because who in their right mind doesn’t love odd animals?

Nobody.

pygmyloris

This is a pygmy loris. He is adorable and needs all the love and attention.

Of course, no adorable animals blog post would be complete with the presence of a baby panda.

This is a Southern Pudu and it looks like it has a bow on its head. Also, I’ve never seen an animal look quite so angry and cute at the same time.

These baby stingrays look like they could mess you up…

These are the coolest marking I have ever seen on an animal. This is a tapir.

And to wrap things up we have this beauty:

A baby aardvark!!!!!

He just needs love….

And hair…

Well folks I hope your day is a little bit better now!

I Can Speak Gibberish. Can You?

You know what bugs me about some churches? When they teach that speaking in tongues is a necessary part of salvation. Or that it comes to everyone when you’re saved.

Which isn’t true.

Seriously, have they read the Bible…?

First off is 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11. There it clearly states that different people are given different spiritual gifts. There is no one gift that is automatic if you get saved.

And then 1 Corinthians 14, where Paul is saying that he would LIKE for everyone to speak in tongues, but that won’t happen. Also, that someone must interpret what is being said, so that it means something.

Speaking in tongues is inspired by God and always serves a purpose. There has to be an interpreter, so that everyone may know what is being said. If there isn’t an interpreter, whatever mumbo-jumbo is spewing from your mouth probably ain’t from God.

Paul also says it is the least desirable of the gifts.

What gets me is that, with those kinds of churches, people only speak in tongues on Sunday. In church. With other people around them speaking tongues. And no one translating. I think it’s an emotional thing or something. Church hype. I don’t know. I just know that it has never ever happened in my conservative church and lots of those people are definitely Christian, and are definitely saved.

I realize that there are some people who really do speak in tongues, or who really do prophesy or whatever, but it’s just not as common, or necessary, as some churches would have you believe.

I’m saved. I can’t speak in tongues. Does that mean I’m not a Christian? Of course not.

If you can actually speak in tongues, good on ya. But I’m just wary because there seems to be a lot of people faking it.

Read your Bibles, guys. Have a great one!

Get up and Walk

There is more than one way to lead someone to Jesus. My way is not the only one, it is the way I am best at. Your way is not the only way, it is the way you are best at.

Yes, Jesus is the only way to Heaven, but there’s lots of paths to get to Jesus.

Matthew 9:2-8 and Mark 2:1-12 talk about the paralytic that was healed because his friends cared for him so much they lowered a couch through a tiled roof (not straw like most pictures depict). They must’ve been really determined friends and their faith led to the man being forgiven and healed.

The first thing to notice is that Jesus’ first concern was the man’s sins. He forgave them first. God is concerned with the state of our heart above all else. He wants us to be in Heaven with Him one day, but that won’t happen if our heart is corrupted by unrepentented sin. So Jesus forgave the man’s sin before healing Him to put the emphasis on the importance of how sin affects us.

Jesus did NOT say “I love you. It’s all ok. You are beautiful in God’s sight. Go be happy and joyous.” He said “You’re sins are forgiven. Now get up and walk.” And do you think that man repented from his sins? I’m willing to put money on it. If I was paralyzed (and many people believe it was because of his sins that he was paralyzed) and God incarnate walked by and said “You are forgiven, Go walk home.” you can be sure I wouldn’t ever go back to the sins that had paralyzed me. Repentance is one of the most important parts of a true faith. Without it, you are not following God. It’s like people have stopped realizing that it is something that is required if you actually want to follow Christ. Your sin is NOT ok. My sin is NOT ok. We must repent.

Then Jesus heard and felt people questioning His authority, so Jesus healed the paralyzed man and told him to walk away. But the sin had to be dealt with first.

The scribes and the Pharisees (you know, all the hypocrites and people who would later crucify God in the flesh.) talked amongst themselves saying “Who is this? Only God has the power to heal and forgive sins.” We look back at them and say they were dumb to not see who Jesus was, which they were, but it’s because they were so stuck in what they believed and what they were taught and what they FELT was right, that they didn’t let the Bible change their mind. Jesus was constantly quoting the Old Testament, He even pointed out which prophecies He fulfilled. The Pharisees refused to be open to the answers in the Bible that they maybe hadn’t found yet.

Now, I’m not saying I have the power of Jesus (No way) but I do have the power to voice my thoughts and beliefs and speak up for what God has shown me is right and wrong. God doesn’t talk directly to people anymore, He talks through them. I pray that He talks through me and my blog and believe He is doing just that. He gives me the verses to use, the passages to focus on and I am so thankful. I have learned so much from blogging for Him.

Let’s Toss Him off a Cliff

Have you ever wanted to throw someone off a cliff?

Luke 4:16-27 talks about Jesus making people so incredibly mad that they wanted to toss Him over a cliff.

You now what He did? He went to the synagogue on Sabbath and read from the Old Testament. I encourage you to read the passage to get the whole story.

Jesus read a prophecy from Isaiah about Himself, actually, pointing out who He was and what His mission was.

He recognized the authority of the Old Testament.

Jesus was in His hometown and He knew that His people were going to ask Him to perform the kind of miracle he had other places. But he said that His hometown wasn’t the place to do it and he quoted Old Testament stories about Elijah and Elisha.

His people got so mad that they literally drove Jesus out of town, to the edge of a cliff, and were about to throw Him off. Jesus eluded them and walked away.

He didn’t apologize for making them angry. He didn’t try and appease them. He knew He was in the right, so He just walked away.

Jesus made people angry and it wasn’t a sin. He did not do it on purpose, they got angry because they were convicted or because they were so set in their ways that they didn’t want to budge, not even for God.

My goal for this blog is not to upset people, contrary to what I’ve been accused of. It is not to judge people, contrary to popular belief as well. My goal is to spread the Word of God. And I’m sorry, but if you are a Christian, shouldn’t that make you happy?! I use Bible verses in context for it, it is not simply my feelings, like many Christians are entirely too reliant upon.

I am trying. I am trying so hard to do what God has called us all to do. Why do you attack me for it? What is more loving than sharing God’s Word? What is more loving than leading people to Him? Answer me that before you accuse me of being hateful.

Spreading the Word (Not What you Think)

(Psst. It’s not by sharing verses on Facebook.)

Seriously, it’s a pet peeve of mine, when all people do is share verses on Facebook instead of actually talking about what the Bible is saying. Like, yeah, verses are great, but you have to understand them and their application.

And you can’t share God’s Word with other people by just repeating it like a parrot.  It will mean absolutely nothing to non-believers. They don’t read verses and think “Wow! That’s so amazing. God is great. My life is changed.” No, they challenge them. And if all you can do is give them more verses instead answering the question in a practical way, you will never reach anyone.

It’s different if you’re dealing with a Christian. If THEY won’t accept verses in context then something is wrong with their faith or their perspective on things. It’s God’s answer book to us. As a Christian, you either believe all of the Bible or you don’t. You can’t pick and choose.

With that being said, my mom and I read John 4: 27-42 today. It was Jesus finishing up with the Samaritan woman at the well and how he changed the lives of all these Samaritans. Pretty awesome stuff.

Jesus said that His first priority was to do the Will of God, always. He denied himself food and rest in order to talk to people about God.

He foretold the revival/conversion in Samaria, which was pretty epic since it was the Samaritans He was talking about.

A cool thing that people don’t seem to realize is that Jesus knew everything about this adulterous, sinful woman and still loved her. He’s like that with us. No matter what you’ve done in your past, God loves you and is ready to forgive you, You just have to ask and repent.

Jesus delighted in His work more than anything in the world. He loved it more than taking care of himself. Jesus got so excited about telling people about God that His disciples couldn’t help but get excited with Him.

Near the end of this passage He used a metaphor of harvest time for spreading the Word of God, which is why I started out my blog post the way I did. By using this little metaphor, He told the disciples that they shouldn’t be waiting for a harvest time to come. It was harvest time now. He was telling them not to wait to tell people about God, that you can do it anytime and the best time is now.

Also, when reaping the harvest, everyone must do His share. If you don’t do the work, you don’t get the benefits. No free stuff. Work.

Now, I don’t believe that works get you to Heaven, but Jesus said there was a reward in heaven for people who spread His word, so obviously it’s important. You can’t rely on others to do your part though. You have to get out for yourself and share the Word. You have to do more than parroting Scripture, however. Jesus didn’t do that. It made it relevant, applicable. We have to do the same.

As always, I pray that I am in the right to say this, but I believe God has put these issues on my heart for a reason. I have felt led to blog about sharing the Word, and my Bible study this morning was conveniently on that exact topic, so it seems like this is what God wants me to talk about.

Please consider the words I have said and let God change your heart if it needs to be.

Adultery and Living Water

The Samaritan Woman at the Well. John 4: 4-26

First of all, to all the people who have tried to use this against me, Jesus pointed out the woman’s sin almost right off the bat.

He told her how she was sinning.

Ok, let me start at the beginning. A Samaritan and a Jew walk up to a well. No, this isn’t the start of a bad joke I promise. The Jew talks to the Samaritan, which is crazy, because Jews just don’t do that. It’s “below them.”

She can tell He is a Jew and is super confused. She talks to Him anyway.

Jesus asks for a drink of water and she asks how a Jew could ask for anything from a Samaritan.

Jesus replied by saying that if she knew who she was talking to, she would’ve asked for water back, the kind that completely satisfies your thirst.

I like how Jesus really drew people in with the way he spoke. He was all mysterious and wise and weird, and it made people ask more questions, get involved in the discussion. He was a very talented speaker.

So, then He explains how this water quenches all thirst and the woman’s like, ‘well give me some so I don’t have to haul water all the time. It’s messing up my back.’

Jesus replies with ‘go get your husband and come back.’

I imagine this made the woman a little fidgety, if she had any clue at all who she was talking to. She admits that she has no husband.

Jesus tells her she was right the say that because she has had, in fact, FIVE husbands (no way all those men died) and pointed out that she was living in adultery.

If you don’t believe divorce and remarriage is adultery then read Romans 7:2 and Matthew 5:32. I can give a couple more references if you still don’t believe the Bible.

This. Is. Important. He tells her straight up that she is an adulterous woman. There was no sugarcoating, no super-sweet “I love you but you really shouldn’t be doing this…”

NO

Jesus was like, “You’re living in sin. Cut it out.”

She realized He must be a prophet and He starts telling her that the Samaritans are wrong in worshipping what they do not know and that soon people will worship in spirit and in truth.

A couple things to point out here. First, historically Samaritans worshipped idols AND had a fear of the Lord. They tried to mesh their culture with the Jews’ and cover all the bases. But it doesn’t work that way.

Believe it or not, that’s happening in today’s world, the modern day Church. People pick and choose what they want to keep from the Bible (mostly verses out of context and a supposed “faith”) but at the same time they worship the world and it’s idols, such as science and the word of people instead of God’s Word.

Jesus said people must worship in spirit and truth. Several times the Bible refers to the Word of God as truth. Seriously, take the Bible seriously. It is super important!

I realize that I need to work on the part where I show people how God can fix things, but the first step is pointing out the wrong, the sin. Warning against it. Trying to steer other Christians clear of it.

I do NOT see many Christians doing that at all. I know this theme pops up a lot in my blog, but I’m very passionate about it. Really, what’s more important than trying to lead people closer to Christ?

I pray that people don’t only challenge my words, but that they make people think. It seems like too many people just want to argue with me and don’t actually take the time to consider that what I say might actually be right. Don’t count me out just because I’m young. Maybe I’m still clinging to a scrap of child-like faith that others have already discarded as juvenile.

I try my hardest to take the Word of God seriously, literally, and I look to it for answers. I don’t know a better source for answers. Please, fellow Christians, instead of arguing with me right off the bat, pray about it, read the Bible on the subject, and then see if there is really something that I’m doing incorrectly.

Thank you so much for reading!

Back to the Rosin

Dance starts back up today!

After an insanely long break it’s back to the hardwood, metal bars, and oh-so-glorious rosin.

Tonight I get to teach the first class of the semester and I’m looking forward to it.

I bought 95 new songs, I have some new experience under my belt and I am feeling prepared. New leotards don’t hurt either 😉

I honestly don’t know if I’m looking forward to teaching or actually dancing more. I love both so much. I love working and seeing improvement in myself, but seeing improvement in the girls I teach is very rewarding too.

I have mixed feelings about the upcoming show, but hopefully it’ll be great. It’ll at least be cute.

I thank God so much for my dance family and the opportunities I get with it. I am so blessed by ballet.

For my lovely dancers reading this, can’t wait to see you this week! Love you all!