With the boom of young millionaires and successful young business owners, young adults like myself can easily begin to feel like we aren't where we are supposed to be in our lives.
Some of us are starting to see our friends get married, having babies, getting promotions, traveling the world, and doing all sorts of fun and exciting this we haven't experienced yet. This fear of missing out can make us feel really low.
I experienced something like this last week. I had been wanting to make a change that I thought would help my little family and I, but it didn't work out the way I'd planned. I had been praying about it for weeks. I got part of my prayer answered the way I wanted it to be answered, but the other part simply didn't happen.
I tried to have a better night, and with a few laughs from some jokes my husband cracked, and admittedly a bit of ice cream, I was feeling OK.
This same Peter who had denied Christ three times, fell asleep on him in the garden, and nearly drowned while walking to Jesus on the sea due to his lack of faith was now speaking in the name of Jesus to the people who killed had him.
I realized then that God is trying to transform me into a Peter. A few years ago, I would have been cynical towards God for not answering my prayer. It would have shaken my faith. Why do these things keep happening to me? I would have been like David in some of his Psalms.
"How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?" - Psalm 13:1-2
My point to my fellow young adult Christians is this: You don't need power, relationships, or material things to make a difference. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He gave us two ears so we can listen to our friends and their struggles. He gave us a mouth to encourage others through our words. He gave us hands and feet so we can work and help others in their hardest times. He gave us our heart to love and empathize.
As hard as it is to live in a world where what you have and who you are means everything, remember how easy it is to rest in God's will and linger there. Remember that, at the end of the day, everyone will spend eternity with God or separate from him. God is the great equalizer. What you do for Him now will mean much more than what you try to do for yourself.
âI have an issue with consistency in almost every area of my life. Itâs one of the worst things about me, and Iâm sure Iâm not the only one who can attest to this nasty part of themselves.
But going into 2020, I really wanted to make this a year of clarity. As you know from some of my previous posts, 2019 wasnât a great year for me, but God brought me through it. I decided I wanted to make God a priority in my life this year. Boy, have I seen a change. Let me talk first about what Iâve been doing:
MY MORNING ROUTINE
âMy morning continues during my ride to work. During this time, I talk with God, trying to practice gratefulness by thanking him for the things I so often take for granted. In my prayers, I always pray for my family, friends, and husband as well as for things I hope to happen for the future. After that, I listen to a mix of gospel and contemporary Christian music.
When I say I listen to this music, I mean itâs pretty much the only music I have been listening to! Now, let me explain how this has helped me.
1: MY ANXIETY HAS BEEN MUCH LESS OF A PROBLEM
2: CHURCH IS MY HEAVEN ON EARTH
âIf we didnât come to one service, people would refuse to shake our hands or ignore us in any way that they could. We finally decided after a year of emotional abuse that it was time to leave. I often talked to one of my coworkers about the issues we were having, so she suggested her church. The church is much less traditional than I am used to, but this past year has helped me open up and truly worship God.
I love going to church. The message always speaks to me, and the worship music puts me in the right place to receive the message.
3: I YEARN TO DO MORE FOR MY COMMUNITY
4: I WANT TO EXPAND MY HISTORICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL UNDERSTANDING OF GOD
âThere is a growing hostility toward God. With that comes questions that, as a human, I believe are fair questions to ask. Some of these include âif God doesnât want me to go to hell, why doesnât he make me believe in him?â or âif Jesus was real, why donât other people write about him?â
The answers to these questions are fascinating, and I love learning more, especially if it helps me tell someone about God.
âThose are the four main ways that focusing on my relationship with God has really helped me lately. I hope you all take some time to focus on God this year. Make it a priority. You will feel better, live better, and want to do more for the people you love and the people who need you.
I've already sort of talked about some of my goals over on our YouTube channel but, since today is #WorshipWednesday on the blog, I wanted to talk about some of my spiritual goals in particular. So, here we go:
READ THE ENTIRE BIBLE
Luckily, audio books have made a surge in recent years, and my app that I use at church can read the Bible out to me with a year-long reading plan. This makes it so easy to listen to it and absorb in the car. I just need to make it a priority of each day and morning!
SERVE MY COMMUNITY THROUGH MY CHURCH
From free Easter egg drops, monthly meals for the homeless, a food bank, feeding our first responders around the holidays, and much more, my church is super involved in helping our local community. With that being said, I haven't been the best at getting involved myself. So, I'm hoping to really make that effort this year!
LEARN MORE ABOUT APOLOGETICS
I learned about apologetics a few years after I graduated from college. I think it is the best and newest way to communicate with this generation and generations to come.
LISTEN TO MORE WORSHIP MUSIC
First of all, Merry Christmas! I'm thankful that you've chosen to check out my blog today. It is a special day today because it's our Worship Wednesday, so I'm going to be covering some Christian topics.
Mainly I want to explain how God and Jesus are symbols of giving.
GOD GAVE HIS SON JESUS
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16, KJV
JESUS GAVE AND GIVES BLESSINGS
Jesus was killed for basically causing too much of a ruckus. The Pharisees didn't like that Jesus questioned some of the things they did. They didn't like that he healed people and made miracles.
Jesus prayed in the garden before he was taken. He was so stressed out that he cried blood, which is a medical condition called Haemolacria.
JESUS GAVE US THE GIFT OF SALVATION
"Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began..." - II Timothy 1:8-9
If you don't know what happens next in the story of Jesus, I'll tell you. Jesus died but three days later, he rose from the grave. He conquered Hell and the grave.
Jesus' sacrifice gave us eternal life and forgiveness from our sins. One thing that has always sort have bothered me are those old hymns.
The thought is that people are made up of two parts: the body and the soul. The one that you feed most will be the one that becomes stronger. So, if you live a worldly life of greed, you're feeding your body. If you live a life where you connect with God through prayer and worship, you're living a soulful life.
Any Christian will tell you that Jesus gave his life so that we could be forgiven of the wrong that we’ve done. However, Jesus gave much more than his life while he was on Earth. Let’s talk about it:
1: HIS TIME
Jesus gave his time to the people who needed it most. Those included the sick, the people living in sin, and others. He even gave time to those who abused God’s word or some of the laws of the time that were extremely critical and harmful to his people.
Time is an important gift you can give to someone this season.
2: HIS GIFTS
Because he is the son of God, Jesus was able to do many wonderful and amazing works through the power of his father. He never held this back from anyone who needed it or asked for it. He even re-attached the guard’s ear after one of his disciples cut it off in the garden when the Pharisees were coming to take Jesus.
3: HIS WISDOM
Take some time to share some wisdom with someone this season. Teach them to do something they cannot do by themselves.
4: HIS HEART
Jesus put his heart into everything that he did. The scriptures tell us a story of Jesus’ passion and love for all people. He loved people who society didn’t love: adulterers, lepers, and tax collectors, among others.
He never denied them anything and always did his best to help them in their situation. We should all aspire to put our hearts into all that we do, especially in the Christmas season.
5: HIS EAR
Jesus is a listener. When on Earth, he always took time to hear from people and learn about them. He listened to their stories and helped them in their time of need.
What most people lack in their relationships is, sadly, communication. It is one thing to hear someone say something, but it is another to listen and really comprehend what they’re saying. This is a blessing, and more people need it.
Today, if you are a Christian who doesn't feel comfortable letting their children participate in traditional Halloween celebrations, I'm going to share with you a few things you can do with them so they don't miss out on all of the fun:
1: FIND A CHURCH-BASED TRUNK OR TREAT
Many churches and even colleges put on trunk or treat events to help children celebrate Halloween. I specifically suggested a church trunk or treat because the themes are usually less gruesome than the way some people dress their house for spooky season. Check your local visitor's bureau or your town's events calendar to see what trunk or treat offerings are available.
2: HAVE A CHILDREN'S MOVIE MARATHON AT HOME
Break out the popcorn and buy some sugary sweets to celebrate Halloween at home with your kids. Instead of trick or treating, they can enjoy kid-friendly Halloween movies like Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Monster House, and more.
Netflix and Prime Video usually have a whole section dedicated to kid-friendly Halloween movies!
3: THROW A HALLOWEEN PARTY FOR THEIR FRIENDS
There are so many ways to take the fright out of Halloween. Instead of going trick or treating or participating in more gruesome activities like haunted houses, you can simply throw a more whimsical Halloween party at your house for your children and their friends. There are a ton of fun activities they can do like a pumpkin carving contest, decorating Halloween cookies, and other whimsical games that can help them have fun without all of the blood and gore.
I recommend checking Pinterest for fun and cute party games for occasions like these. You'll be surprised by all of the great ideas you'll find!
BUT, THIS IS WHAT I RECOMMEND
My mom took another approach. If she wasn't sure how something would impact us, she would go experience it herself before taking us. I recommend that you don't shield your children from the world because, as someone who attended a southern Baptist church with a lot of very sheltered children, you're just setting them up for a scarier adulthood.
Instead, I think it would be great to let your children participate in traditional celebrations under the understanding that it is just a holiday and shouldn't be celebrated as anything but a day for kids to get candy or for people of appropriate ages to watch scary movies!
It’s around this time that a lot of young Christians in college start turning away from Bible study, prayer, and going to church. It’s much easier to catch up on sleep or spend the evening hanging out with friends than doing something that can help cultivate your faith.
Cultivating your relationship with God is so important during this time in your life because you are likely starting to experience anxiety, depression, financial difficulty, and perhaps physical difficulty.
I sometimes find it hard to do these posts because I struggle to summarize the story for those who may not know what I’m talking about.
David defeats Goliath (a very well-known story) and actually becomes close to King Saul. However, Saul grows jealous of David and how the people adored him. Now, let’s talk about the differences between David and Saul:
DO YOU REMAIN FAITHFUL OR DO YOUR OWN THING?
If you know anything about David, you know that he indeed does make mistakes. But, as soon as he makes those mistakes (which is later on after the story of King Saul and David), he owns up to them and repents.
Throughout this story, David constantly remains faithful to God. He trusts God when he leaves his family as the smallest of several sons.
However, Saul goes against the will of God. Samuel the profit tells Saul to go and destroy the Amalekites and everything that they have. The reason for this is unknown (at least to me), but Samuel was instructed to do this by God.”
“And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.” – I Samuel 15:8-9
It is so easy to do the wrong thing and go against what you know God would want for you. Everyone is doing it and it seems like you’ll miss out if you don’t do it too. Trust me, I made a whole lot of mistakes when I was in college, some of which still effect my life today. It is worth it to remain faithful to God’s word. My life undoubtedly would have been much more victorious (thus far) had I maintained that relationship.
DO YOU REMAIN HUMBLE OR DO YOU BECOME ENVIOUS?
Without a doubt, David came from humble beginnings. He was the smallest of a group of brothers, but he was able to defeat Goliath and go on to make even more wartime accomplishments that had the people of Israel cheering his name. However, David still remained humble and did good when he was supposed to.
Even though David was put in charge of Saul’s army, he “behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him (I Samuel 18:14).”
I personally found that these things got to me more when my relationship with Christ was weak. That’s why it is important to keep your relationship strong.
DO YOU KEEP YOUR PROMISES OR DO YOU MAKE FALSE COVENANTS?
Saul seemingly promises several times that David would not be harmed. He swears to his son Jonathan, who is best friends with David, that he won’t harm him. In the next breath, he is conspiring with soldiers or servants to kill David.
David is given opportunities to kill Saul, but he doesn’t. Saul asks David to promise not to kill his seed, and David swears to it.
God is very clear about His opinions on promises. You are to keep your promises, according to the Bible. Promises in college may include doing a group assignment, being there for a friend in times of need, or committing to a community service project.
As I said earlier, it is easy to sleep in or turn your attention to more “pleasurable” things than to uphold your promise. Christianity is all about a relationship between an individual and God. God has several promises and He keeps every one of them. It is only fair that you uphold the charge you are given as a Christian in return.
ARE YOU FOR THE PEOPLE OR DO YOU BRING OTHERS DOWN WITH YOU?
David had a relationship with Jonathan, Saul’s son. He could have used that relationship against Saul to threaten him or otherwise cause harm. That’s what Saul would have done, after all. Instead, David remained a loyal warrior who fought to protect God’s people. He even stayed away from everyone else and traveled alone, undoubtedly because other people would have become targets had they been with David.
When you fall into doubt or decide to give in to “worldly” pleasures, you are effectively taking other Christians who know you and are in the same situation as you down, too.
If you see a Christian friend doing something not so Godly, and you too are losing grips on your faith, you might fall suite and do the same thing.
Today, I want to reflect on a passage of scripture that I don't think I really took a lot of time to absorb and understand. It was sort of a footnote in the last message I heard at church (at the time of writing this), but I was amazed when I heard our pastor mention it.
GOD IS FAITHFUL TO US
"But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left." Exodus 14:29
In the above passage, God delivers the children of Israel from the Egyptians following several lifetimes of slavery.
Moses parts the Red Sea with the power of God and the Israelites were able to escape. It is a common Biblical story, I'm sure you already know it! But there was something interesting in the passage that our pastor drew our attention to: the words "dry land."
We all know how water works. Water that soaks an area of the ground will often turn muddy, making it harder to walk through. It can cause someone to slip or get stuck. But the Bible indicates that the children of Israel were able to walk across the area on "dry land."
This passage really struck me because God helped the children of Israel escape captivity in a unique and somewhat unconventional way.
And there are so many other examples in the Old and New Testament of God's faithfulness to provide for us, usually in a way we wouldn't think of. For a few examples:
- God gives Abraham a son in his old age while his wife is barren
- A woman is healed by touching the hem of Jesus' garment
- Jesus divides seven loaves of bread and a few small fish to feed 4,000 men and even more women and children
Personally, I can attest to having my prayers answered in a unique and unconventional way. I remember praying for finances for my family and getting a call a few days later from my grandmother asking if I had put some money in their account.
I've had other things happen, such as my journalism job being replaced by a better opportunity at the job I currently work. Both of these were super unconventional in the way they came to me.
What I feel led to say is this: Everyone experiences times when they feel as though their prayers are going unanswered. With our human hearts and minds, we yearn for an immediate answer to what is bothering us. In actuality, we should wait upon God because he often puts things into our lives when it will make the best impact for us.
And, just like he did for those Old and New Testament people of God, he will make the way clear for us.
This unfortunately keeps a lot of people away from the faith. I've heard many people ask why they should believe in a God who lets people have cancer or allows tragedy to happen. In fact, atheism experienced a noticeable growth after Sept. 11, 2001. What people fail to remember is that not all things are from God. A lot of things come from the enemy. This goes into a whole other debate about God's all-powerful nature. If you have questions, pop them in the comments!
Personally, I try to remind myself that God has always answered my prayers in the way it best impacts me. I remember praying about all three of the men I dated, and all of those relationships, except the one that resulted in my marriage, ended.
All I ask to non-believers or those who aren't sure is to be open-minded and learn more about God and the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You would be hard-pressed to find a Christian who hasn't experienced a prayer being answered in an unconventional way.
As a Christian, this is why I like apologetics so much. It takes time to explore secondary knowledge found in the Bible that can aid in giving evidence for the existence of the Christian God. Today, I thought it would be fun to outline some of the scientific principles that are highlighted or hinted at in the Bible. Let's get started!
QUARANTINE AND PROTECTIVE MEASURES
"And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be." - Leviticus 13:45-46
According to the Encyclopedia of Medical History, "The idea of contagion was foreign to the classic medical tradition and found no place in the voluminous Hippocratic writings."
In the olden days, people believed that making someone bleed or driving a giant nail into their head would relieve pain and cure ailments. However, this Bible verse, from a book said to be written in 500 B.C., not only talks about quarantining someone who is infected with a disease, but also tearing their clothing, shaving their head, and making them to alert others to stay away from them, because they are sick!
THE WATER CYCLE
"Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly." - Job 36:26-28
The water cycle is detailed in the Book of Job! Job talks about how God "draws up the water" (evaporation), turns them into "small drops of water" (condensation), then he "pour down rain" (perception).
Hebrews and Romans are credited with the idea of the water cycle, but it obviously wasn't scientifically discovered until much later (the 20th century, according to "Historical Development of the Global Water Cycle as a Science Framework").
"Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:" Dueteronomy 23:12-13
Cleanliness is next to Godliness, as the old saying goes. This might be a little gross, but the Bible actually talks about human waste and how to bury it away from a living site.
Deuteronomy was believed to be written around the 7th century B.C. Being around human waste was found to not only be stinky, but also bad for your health. Throughout the following years, people would die from prolonged exposure to human waste, which can make you sick!
THE STARS ARE INNUMERABLE
"As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me." - Jeremiah 33:22
Doubt attacks us in different ways all throughout our lives. One of the most notable forms of doubt is spiritual doubt. Specifically, doubt about a religious concept you are usually very strongly tied to.
I began to wonder "if God is powerful, why doesn't he (fill in the blank)" or "if God loves us, why doesn't he (fill in the blank)." I had never felt more mentally tormented than I did at that point in my life.
So today, I want to share with you three particularly helpful sources outside of the Bible that helped me ground my spirituality in my intellect.
1: "COLD CASE CHRISTIANITY" BY J. WARNER WALLACE
Wallace's book, "Cold Case Christianity" starts off with a compelling example of exactly what I was battling.
Wallace explains that a cop friend of his had pulled over a man who had warrants out for his arrest. The man, not wanting to go to jail, pulled out a gun he had in his car and shot the cop in the chest. Luckily, the cop was wearing a bullet-proof vest that kept him alive.
The cop had never needed the vest. However, he quickly went from a belief that the vest could protect him to a belief in the vest for protection.
This book stands apart for its unique apologetic style. For those who don't know, apologetics are defined as "reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine."
In this case, the religious doctrine was the New Testament. Let me give you a more specific example.
He found that he would never expect witness testimony to line up exactly. If it did, it would point to some sort of conspiring that would mean the witnesses "got their story straight."
I love this book. You can get it online on Amazon for between $5.69 and $17.58.
2: GIVE ME AN ANSWER - YOUTUBE
I am a huge advocate for healthy, friendly, and cordial debate. I think it is important to never stop thinking. Cliffe and his son, who is a licensed psychologist, are great at what they do. There are tons of videos for you to binge-watch, but I linked one of the more recent ones below.
3: "THE CASE FOR CHRIST" BY LEE STROBEL
This one is a bit unique because it was recently turned into a movie! You can find it on Netflix for free, or you can rent it for about $4 on Amazon video.
Or, you can read the book and watch the movie after, like I did!
This book really resonated with me because I studied and practiced journalism for a while before moving to my new job. Strobel was an atheist who was married to a woman who put her trust in Jesus.
He complained to his coworkers about it, many of whom were Christians. Eventually, he decided to explore the life of Christ as it is in the Bible as he would a lead for a story. In the book, Strobel chronicles his interviews with medical, historical, and spiritual experts all while keeping the readers up-to-date on his own opinions and emotions that he experienced during his "hunt" for the truth.
I LOVE THIS BOOK!
You can purchase the book from $3.99 to $15 on Amazon!
4: CROSS-EXAMINED - YOUTUBE
Frank Turek is another person who travels around, answering questions about Christianity. He is popular for his book, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist." I have yet to read this, but I have seen videos like the one I've linked below. This explains kind of what this expression means.
I love hearing his arguments and listening (same as Cliffe) to those who have the questions.
- Admit to God that you are a sinner
(Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).
- Repent, turning away from your sin
(Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9).
- Believe that Jesus is God's Son and accept God's gift of forgiveness from sin
(Romans 5:8; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:11-13).
- Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do:
Ann Marie Ruby
Give Me An Answer
J. Warner Wallace
Turn The Other Cheek