Monthly Archives: September 2011

History, Geology, and things we care about

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In past semesters, I usually learned what I had to in my classes to get through them.This semester seems different though. I feel like my eyes are being opened to really learn things about life rather than just terms from a textbook.

It started in history class, where we are currently learning about how indentured servants were initially used as a cheap source of labor for the early American colonists. My professor was talking about how Europe sent orphans over to America because no one really cares about the orphans, therefore, they were good for labor in the tobacco fields. A girl in class spoke up and was arguing that people really do care about orphans. He (professor) pointed out that we as Americans send money over to third world countries to pay for the kids over there to have food to eat, but we don’t really care about them. After all, no one goes out to the streets just to spend time playing with orphans, or taking them into our homes because we really care.

It wasn’t what he said about the orphans that hit me, it was the thought, “What do I really care about that I invest my time into?”

A lot of times in life we claim to really care about something or someone, but when it comes right down to it, are we saying that because we really care, or because we want to make ourselves feel better??

For example, do I really care enough about my friends enough to actually invest my time to pray for them? Or is it just lip service, so that I can say I care about them? Do I make it a point to greet new people at church because I want them to feel welcome? Or do I pass them by, thinking that someone else will?

The second lesson came from geology class, where I worked with my lab partner and another girl to identify igneous rocks. We were stuck on one rock in particular that they were claiming was one type, and I was sure was another. I tried to explain my position, and why it was what I thought it was and not what they came up with. They were both convinced that they were right, and dismissed my conclusions…until the teacher came around. When they asked her to confirm their answer, she said it was incorrect and asked me what I thought it was. I then told her my reason for why I came up with my answer. After she walked away, both of my lab partners said, “Smarty pants.”

The point of this story is not to point out that I was right, but rather to illustrate our attitudes when learning. So many times, I have been guilty of what my lab partners did to me. Instead of just admitting that I was wrong and asking for help, I make excuses for myself, and end up not learning what I could have.

Our attitudes have everything to do with how we learn. Do you only want to think you’re the best, or do you truly want to learn? Are you willing to give up your pride and learn from others?

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

1 Peter 5:6 NLT

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Beauty: Inward or Outward?

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Beauty.

Most people would probably think of physical beauty first. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, quite the contrary. But the physical aspect of beauty is not all there is. A person can be beautiful on the inside as well. That’s what should matter most. Just because a girl may be stunningly gorgeous on the outside doesn’t mean her character or personality is the same. The same goes the other way around. She might be a wonderful person, but you might not be able to tell from her appearance just because she doesn’t measure up to those “supermodel” standards.

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

What about you? Do you care more about cultivating your looks rather than your character?

I would much rather be beautiful in God’s eyes than by the world’s standards of beauty.

 

Love like Jesus loved

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Scene: Little brother (or sister) singing the most annoying song in the world at the top of their lungs. IN YOUR EAR. How do you choose to respond?
Question: What sets you apart from the world?? What makes you different from non-believers? (or in some cases those who call themselves ‘christians?’)
Is it because you believe in God? Perhaps because you go to church on Sunday? Or that you don’t curse (out loud)? Is it because you listen to K-Love? Or because you wear a WWJD? bracelet? Oh, or maybe it’s because you don’t laugh at the inappropriate jokes people say at work?
Maybe it’s because you fast-forward those certain parts on movies? Or because you let someone go in front of you in line at the grocery store?
But what does it really mean, what does it LOOK like to live a life that’s modeled after Christ, to truly be set apart from the world??
It doesn’t JUST start by NOT doing certain things such as drugs, smoking, cursing, flirting with every guy you meet, or stomping around the house. Nor does it JUST mean doing specific “good” things, like taking out the trash, complimenting someone, being kind and considerate, or being genuine.
It starts in your heart. Making the conscious decision that in everything you do, big or small, to do it all to the glory of God. Not so that people will look at what you do and say, “oh, he/she’s such an example of a good Christian guy/girl,” but so that your life will be characterized by that of someone who loved Jesus. (and not just the “iloveunicornsbecausetheyresofluffy” kind of love)
A lesson I learned last week was about living a life that people can look at and tell that you love God. A lot of times we think in terms of the ‘big’ things that happen in our lives, like church camp, Christian concerts, or a missions conference. When you’re gone, no one’s going to say, “I know that [insert name] loved God because he/she went to church camp every summer and played the banjo in the worship service.”
No, you will be remembered for the way you lived your life, in each encounter you had with another precious human being. How you gave up your time to teach kids in Awana or the nursery, how you prayed with someone who was hurting, how you remembered someone’s birthday; how you encouraged others, even if it was just with a smile. How you opened your home and welcomed people; how you treated others as better than yourself, how they were blessed by something you said or did – not because you were trying to impress anyone, but because you did it out of love for Someone who did so much more for you. (J.R.)
Sometimes being set apart simply means that you have to change things in your life that no one else sees or knows about.
Sometimes it means standing up for what you believe in and what you know is right, even when other Christians claim that it’s ok or when your friends don’t back you up.
Whatever it means for you, my prayer is that you will ask God to show you what needs to be changed in your life so that you can be more like Him. Not so that everyone else will see, because in the end it’s only between you and God.
We can either choose to respond like the world and yell, “Will you cut that out???!!!!!!!!” 😡
Or, we can realize that loving Jesus more than myself (for me) means to appreciate what/who He gave me and chose to respond in a loving way. After all, we are not even promised a tomorrow with the ones we love.

I hope you all enjoy your week and choose to love like Jesus loved you. (“He…humbled himself” Phil. 2:5-8)