I usually love movies, but lately not as much. I find that my reality is so much better than what I see on screen.
By Candice Burt
A post about the unapologetic trail runner, who goes to the store (or on dates) muddy, isn’t afraid of blowing snot rockets, regularly endures the “penguin walk”, enjoys post-run beer, and loves every bit of the trail runner life.
For my dear running partners, who have been brothers and sisters to me. We have seen each other in our best moments, and our worst. Finishing races, puking, being ready to pass out, and sharing hard-earned recovery beers make the best friendships this world has to offer.
“I’m not trying to change your mind.”
This is a text I just sent to a friend who questions me continuously about God.
He is probably one of the most anti-Thiestic people I have ever met.
And for some reason he still likes to talk to me about it.
He has a lot of questions, and I don’t even have a few answers. He knows that, but I’m glad he still asks.
I feel some responsibility for him. It is hard not to. Here is this person who isn’t satisfied with just ignoring things he disagrees with, and I am the one he comes to about God.
Its a big burden, to be the only representation of God someone may have.
So when I sent him the aforementioned text, it seemed a little counterintuitive.
I’m a Christian, and he is not. Shouldn’t I be trying to change his mind? Don’t I have to guide his heart and thoughts towards Christ? Don’t I have to “convert” him?
I cannot change people, and that isn’t up to me anyway. A heart changes, a mind changes, because of the movement of the Holy Spirit. Then, and only then, can one belong to Christ.
My responsibility is to love him, and to be open to his questions, his anger, his frustration, and sometimes his insults. My responsibility is to forgive him when I feel hurt by his words. My responsibility is to live as Christ so that when he looks to me, he sees Jesus. My responsibility is to trust the Lord with his heart and with my words. And if I should ever say something that changes his heart, my responsibility is to recognize that the change occurred because of God, not me.
I implore you, my brothers and sisters, do not confuse God’s responsibilities with yours.
I will be his friend for the rest of our lives, even when he questions me, even while we never agree, and even when it hurts. And for the rest of our lives, I will do my best to reflect Christ, and let the Lord do the rest.
So, my dear friend, you will never lose my friendship, and, while you talk to me, you will never stop hearing about my God.
I appreciate your comment. I probably could have done better at pointing out the verse references.
I actually pulled a lot from the Bible, from the book of Romans specifically. Romans 3:23 states “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
The context of this verse is in Rome, where Paul is talking about living by the Old Testament law. With this verse, he points out that no one can live up to the law established in the OT, not even the priests.
I haven’t done anything horrible, and you probably haven’t either, but we have all been selfish at some point. We have all lied or been unloving to someone. None of us can live up to that law.
It is a depressing thought. It isn’t good at all, and I personally don’t like to dwell on it. But Paul follows this up with a promise of hope: while cannot live up to the law, we still have a way to spend eternity in heaven. That Way is Jesus. Jesus Christ died to pay for what we, as sinners, deserved, so that we don’t have to. Instead of breaking our backs, trying to follow all these rules, we simply have to accept the gift Christ already offered us 2000 years ago. All we have to do is tell the Lord we want to accept His ransom for us, and ask Him to come into our lives and change our hearts to love more like Him, to be adopted into the Kingdom by Him, to be His children, sons and daughters of the King.
So, you see, the fact that we are all sinners IS in the Bible. Roman’s isn’t the only place, but it is a GREAT book, and whether or not you believe in God, is worth a read.
And we can’t look at the sin issue without recognizing the beautiful sacrifice Christ made in unconditional love, because no matter what we have done or will do, the price has been paid for us.
No one taught me that till I was in high school. I went to church my entire childhood and was never told that I couldn’t earn my way into heaven.
There are some harsh realities in the Bible, but the conclusions are beautiful, because love wins.
I hope this helps clear things up for you!
today, while we were talking about my desire to go on trips with my dad when he was an active duty Marine, my friend, Ginger, pointed out that i regularly desired dangerous places. she was totally right.
when i saw an article today about the 15 most dangerous countries to be a Christian, i found myself wanting to go to one of them. i thought back to my conversation with Ginger, and began to wonder why.
so i have been thinking about that today. why do i feel the need to find out more when someone says “closed country”? why do i immediately want to join my brothers and sisters in Christ who are being jailed for their faith? is there something wrong with me?
after some contemplation, i began to understand. this desire isn’t because i want to be in danger.
i desire this because i know there are people in those places who are more innocent and defenseless than i am who continue to represent Christ.
i desire this because i know God is there and the risk factor doesn’t do anything to take Him away.
i desire this because Paul told us in Romans 8 that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Christ told us to feed the hungry, help the poor, the widowed, the orphaned. He never told us to make sure we were safe doing it. in Luke 9, He told the disciples to go into towns spreading the Gospel without taking food, money, or even second shirt.
i am able. so why not?
the fields are white with the harvest, and that doesn’t change if there are hungry wolves there as well.
Death, where is your sting?
Your power is as dead as my sin
The cross has taught me to live
In mercy, my heart now to sing
While putting my next Bible study lesson together I have been thinking a lot about death, specifically Jesus’ call for us to die, and Paul’s observation that to die is gain.
Jesus makes it pretty clear to His disciples that the price for following Him will be great. Matthew 10 is sort of a morbid pep-talk where Christ explains that people will hate the disciples, that they will be imprisoned and threatened with death. In this chapter He readies them for pain, calling them “sheep among wolves,” and reminding them that those who hate them do so because of Him.
Deitrich Bonhoffer understood this when he said
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
He knew what it means to be called by God to stand up despite the hate. He was eventually killed because He stood up for Christ and the counter-cultural phenomenon we call love.
All of this thinking has made me once again come to terms with my own call. Am I brave enough to pursue God? Will I allow Him to lead me to the impossible, and perhaps lead me to an earthly death? Can I stand strong through Him as everyone around me wishes to tear me down?
The answer is, I hope so. I know I can’t do it, but Christ can make it possible in me.
I know the path I have chosen is a dangerous one.
I would consider it the greatest honor to scare Satan so much that he must inspire someone to harm me or kill me.
I would be humbled by the opportunity to sing out the name of Jesus when commanded not to, and to show all those around me that HIS love will ALWAYS be more powerful than death.
In Matthew 10:28, Jesus says
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
He reminds us that we are of infinite, eternal importance to him, of such importance that He knows the hairs on our head and came to earth to die for us.
So as I think through death, loss and sacrifice, my mind concludes with this:
to live is Christ
to die is gain.
Death, where is your sting?
My Landlady Lip-syncs Her Favorite Song
This is my 89-year-old landlady, Carol Lyn Black lip-syncing her favorite song “Happy Days Are Here Again”.
I used this class as an excuse to experiment with a motion portrait. It was a blast, the class was great and Carol is a delight. Let’s get her on a TV show folks!