Moment By Moment

I heard, or rather read, something recently that hit me. You know sometimes you can hear something a thousand times and it doesn’t sink in, but one day you hear it and it does — whether it’s a different phrasing or you’re ready to hear it. That’s what happened to me.

Being a Christian, I think of all the things I have to do to be a “good” Christian. But what I heard struck me. I can’t remember the exact phrasing, so I’ll paraphrase it. Every day is a decision to follow Jesus. That hit me. Instead of thinking of the whole big picture which overwhelms me and makes me feel like giving up and why even bother when I know I’m going to fail already? But looking at it as a choice every day made all the difference in the world.

Each day in the morning I wake up and open the Bible app. I read a devotional and listen to the audio version of the Bible verses being discussed. Then I tell myself, “Today I’m going to follow Jesus and do what He would do.” Of course, I still fail in small ways if that makes sense.

My mother always says, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” to me whenever I get stressed out about something I have to do. That’s what it is. Take each day as it comes. Don’t worry about tomorrow or the day after.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.

Matthew 6:34 NIV

For those in need of comfort

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley.

I will fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23

Praying for Prisoners

This may not be a popular post, but I think it needs to be said. And so does my church, apparently. It’s been something that’s been on my mind for a while.

I watched the show 60 Days In, and if you’ve ever seen that show you get an inside look at what it’s like for prisoners of all types — capital murders to misdemeanors. You hear their stories. It gives prisoners a face and story instead of just thinking of them as a lawbreaker and getting what they deserve. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

I’m not saying what they’re doing is right or wrong or saying it’s what they deserve or don’t deserve, but what I am saying is that we can’t decide that. As far as we’re concerned, they’re fellow children of God. They are people that we need to pray for.

My pastor said something that stuck with me enough that it’s been weeks later and it still is rattling around in my head. To paraphrase it, he said something like how we treat prisoners reflects our love for Jesus Christ. Now, if you’ve seen 60 Days In, you’ve seen some of the horrible conditions of the prisons and the inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Hebrews 13:1-3

May the groans of the prisoners come before you;

with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.

Psalm 79:11

So pray for prisoners. I always hear people saying to pray for the world leaders, the leaders of our country, the leaders of our churches, etc., but I can’t recall a time when I’ve heard pray for the prisoners. Pray for them. Pray for everyone, but the Bible seems to especially say the widows, orphans, and those in prison.

A Netflix Original

Messiah

I binge-watched this Netflix original. I think that’s what you’re supposed to do with Netflix originals because of the way they tell the story. Slowly. So if you watch this, be prepared to binge because otherwise you’ll watch an episode and easily sum it up in one sentence. “X happened and then Y happened.” (I don’t want to give away any spoilers.)

But if you don’t mind the slow pace, the story itself is intriguing. There’s always this air of “what is happening” while at the same time you think you know exactly what is going on. Also, there are subtitles a lot. So if you don’t like to read subtitles in your shows/movies, this isn’t for you. There was some language and nudity so I’m not sure I’d watch it with younger kids or like your parents (if you’re like me).

The way the last episode ended was like there could be more or that could be it. I have a feeling there will be more episodes later, but am I desperate for them to come out, dying to see what happens next? No. I might not even watch the second season unless I’m really bored.

If you’re willing to give it a shot, and are interested in faith and religion, this show might be something you enjoy (I did while watching it). Would I recommend it as a ‘must watch’ TV show? I don’t think so.

Meditation

Meditate (v): 1. to engage in contemplation or reflection

2. to engage in mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness

3. to focus one’s thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over

Meditation, yoga, all these “new age” things seem to be very popular lately. I know there are some people who believe that yoga is un-Christian because of its roots. I, however, don’t believe that. It may have roots in another religion, but it’s still a great way to exercise, stretch, and relax, and I really don’t think God is going to punish me for working out.

That’s beside the point. People tend to associate meditation with the new age bit and all that. But here’s the thing, meditation isn’t just new age or for Buddhism or Hinduism or anything else. There’s meditation in the Bible.

It’s all throughout the Psalms. In so many verses, they talk about the Lord delighting in our meditating on His word.

“Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” -Psalm 1:1,2

“We meditate on your unfailing love.” -Psalm 48:9

“May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.” -Psalm 104:34

“My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” -Psalm 119:148

And so many more…

So we’re supposed to read the Bible and meditate on it, think on what we read, let it marinate and seep into our bones, let it be written on our hearts. That’s how God wants us to read the Bible, I think. If we soak ourselves in His word, surround ourselves with His truths they become our truths. That’s how I imagine we should spend our time with Him, how He wants us to, and that’s how we hear His voice.

Get rid of all our distractions and focus on Him.

Got 5 minutes?

If you have a spare 5-7 minutes in your day somewhere, maybe your drive to work, drive home, between running errands, drive to school, whatever it is I have a suggestion.

Try out Pray the Word with David Platt podcast. They’re short little, mini-sermons I guess you could call them. They end in prayer.

It’s a good way to start/end your day or if it’s in the middle while you’re at lunch before you start reading that really good book or watching an episode of that hilarious show, check out this podcast. I really think you’ll be moved. It can’t hurt anyway. Spending time in God’s Word is never a bad thing.

I’m an aunt!

So yes, a while ago I posted about my sister having a baby boy, almost a year ago. Well, in November I became an aunt again! My brother’s wife had a baby boy as well.

It’s strange to think about how these two little boys came from nothing, to existing, and they’re going to have their own lives. Lives with funny stories, sad stories, stories they’ll never tell their families. It’s just a very strange feeling to realize that there’s a new generation in your family coming up. I’ve always been the baby and things always stopped with me, but now there’s a new generation of little baby boys who are going to become rambunctious and wild and so loved. They’ll be so loved, by their parents, by their aunts and uncles, by their grandparents.

How lucky are they?! To grow up in a family knowing that they’ll be loved no matter what happens, to know that no matter what happens they’ll have family to turn to when they’re hurt or scared?

I have that in my immediate family, but not my extended family. Now that I’m these babies extended family I’m going to make sure they know that they can always come to me with anything and that they’re loved so, so much.

Birth… It really is kind of an amazing thing. A miracle. And I got to witness! I got to see them grow in their mom’s bellies; I saw them the day of their birth. I’ll see them the day they graduate high school. Hopefully I’ll be there to see their first date, but I doubt it. But I’ll definitely get to meet the girlfriends or boyfriends they have. Because no matter their gender identity or they sexual orientation or however is the right way to put it (if I’m wrong, tell me in the comments because I’ve never heard differently and I live in a place where being PC isn’t a big thing), no matter any of that, they’ll be loved and cared for. I want to make sure that they always know that. It doesn’t matter any of that stuff. They’re going to grow up to be good people with a family behind them that would do anything for them.

Because that’s what everyone needs and what everyone deserves from their birth. They’re innocent and pure and it’s the world and the people around them that shape them into good people, or people others dislike. But Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. There are no qualifiers on ‘neighbors’ at all. It’s just our neighbors, our fellow people. Humans. We all deserve to be loved, unconditionally.

This started out as a celebration post and turned into a rant. If you’ve read this far, you’re awesome.

tl;dr I now have two nephews to spoil!!