Creativity

Milky Way

In It’s Science Fair Time, Julie Garro speaks about the many different plant and animal species that are in the earth. It is absolutely amazing to think about just how much is on our earth alone: 400,000 different plant species; about 50,000 different animal species; and approximately 107 billion different people have all lived on the earth at one time or another during our history.

Whenever you look up into the night sky, there are so many stars that we cannot even count them all. This does not even include the many stars all across our universe that we cannot even see with the best telescopes. The largest star that we know of thus far is called UY Scuti; we can fit about 1,708 of our sun inside that star. Considering how large our sun is, the size of UY Scuti is mind boggling.

Then to think that God made all of it with just a word? Just think of it: the whole universe can fit into the palm of His hand, and yet He can be found inside each and every one of His Christian people. How amazing is that?

When you truly grasp just how big our God is – and just how powerful He is – it really encourages you to trust Him. He is so big and powerful that He could wipe us out with a mere thought, and yet He loves us so much that instead God the Father sent His Son to die on a cross for our redemption. Jesus Christ – His Son – willingly came to this earth as a human being to die on a cross, which is the most shameful death in human history, for our redemption. The Holy Ghost dwells within us now, empowering us to lead a Christian lifestyle that is pleasing to God.

Since God was so willing to give us everything that He had – His Son, Himself, and His power – why would we even think that we could not trust Him with our hearts? He knows us so much better than we know ourselves. He knows our faults. He knows our weaknesses. He knows every sin we’ve ever committed. He sees us as we are, and yet He still loves us anyway. He still longs for us to turn to Him, believe in Him, and commit ourselves to Him.

Isn’t that amazing?

Is the Bible trustworthy?

The Bible

I had a question posed at work to me by a fellow coworker. Since we have Bible study there every two weeks, I posed it to our discussion group to see what answers we could come up with. The following are the notes that I have taken, and I wanted to share them in the hope that they answer the above question for you!

We noted before we delved too deeply into our discussion that there is an important distinction between “scripture” and the “Word of God”. Anywhere in the Bible that you look, Old Testament or New Testament, the Bible never describes itself as “word of God”. It refers to itself as “scripture”. So where did we get the title “Word of God” for it from?

The answer has to do with Jesus Christ Himself. Every time that the Bible mentions “Word of God,” it is always, always in reference to Jesus Christ. The Gospel of John shows this the most clearly:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. – John 1:1-5 (NKJV)

Speaking of things being made… did you notice that in Genesis 1, there is a very noticeable pattern? I will show you:

In verse 3, “Then God said…”
In verse 5, “God called…”
In verse 6, “Then God said…”
In verse 8, “God called…”
In verse 9, “Then God said…”
In verse 10, “And God called…”
In verse 11, “Then God said…”

Have you noticed the pattern yet? These verses are the creation of the world. How did God create the world? He spoke it into existence. Everything on this earth that we have now, all the resources, all the people, are here because God spoke it into being. If you can’t get past Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God…” then the rest of the Bible is pretty useless to you.

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:10-14 (NKJV)

Who is the only begotten of the Father? Jesus. John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus is the one who died on the cross for our sins, that whoever believes in Him can have everlasting life through faith in Him.

Jesus is the Word of God. The Scriptures were written and inspired by the Holy Ghost to reflect everything that God wants us to know about Him. God cannot lie. He does not have the ability to lie. If He lied to us, He wouldn’t be God! So how in the world could Jesus and the scriptures that God gave us possibly be wrong?

Ultimately, you have to take the Bible and everything in it by faith. As it was mentioned in the Bible study and as I mentioned earlier, unless you can get passed the first four words of the very beginning of the Bible and truly believe that it happened, the rest of the Bible will mean nothing to you.

1 Corinthians 2:10-14 says:

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is of God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

These things we also speak, not in word which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, notr can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (NKJV)

To our natural eyes, Jesus walking on water doesn’t make sense. A burning bush that speaks to Moses doesn’t make sense. An ark full of animals and a world-wide flood does’nt make sense The parting of the Red Sea, the plagues in Egypt, Jesus dying on the cross and living again after three days… These things aren’t meant to be possible under normal circumstances. They defy logic. How can these things be?

To us, if we are Christians, these things happened because, as Genesis says, “God.”

My Testimony

The Good ShepherdI am sure that by now, everyone has realized that this blog is meant to uplift and glorify God. What many people do not know is why I have started this project and why I intend to follow this through until the very end. It all comes down to the great commission, which is making disciples of other people, and what God has done for me personally. So I have decided to share with you my personal testimony.

Through absolutely nothing that I have done, Jesus came and all but introduced Himself to me. I was not raised in church like many people are. The only things that I knew about religion, denominations, God, and the Bible were what my own curious mind thought to ask my mother. She was not raised in church for long, so there was not much that she could help me with.

It all started when I heard that my uncle had been saved. I was fourteen years old, had never read the Bible in my life, and I had no idea what it meant to be saved. I asked Mom as soon as she was off the phone with my grandmother, “What does it mean to be ‘saved’?”

She struggled to find the words to explain. Finally, she answered, “It means that God saved his soul; it means that he’s not lost and looking for God anymore. It means that he’s going to heaven when he dies to live with Jesus for eternity.”

Then the questions began: how does one get “saved”? Am I going to go to hell because I was not saved, but I was a good girl? How does God “save” somebody? Mom did not have an answer for any of it; she did not know. She was not saved. The best answer that she could give me was, “You’ll have to read the Bible to find all of this out. It will help you more than I ever could. It has all the answers to every question that you can think of.”

It was not a week later when my cousin heard that I was very interested in God and wanted to read the Bible for myself. I received a student’s study Bible in the mail from her, one that I still have today and have passed down to my youngest brother. I read that Bible every single day, and when things were bad or I had a question I would look up a key word in the Concordance and see what the Bible would have to say, testing it against what my teenage mind knew to be true. It never failed me.

Still I did not call on Jesus.

It was not until later in the year when I heard that a woman had been found murdered that eternity became real for me. A body had been found in a house that was, quite literally, just down the road from where I lived. I had passed that house, spoken with the man who lived inside, almost every day that I walked with my mother to pick my youngest brother up from school. She had been dead for a few days before her parents had called the police to look for her. Her boyfriend had murdered her in a fit of rage.

I panicked. I thought for sure that now that this man had a taste for blood, he would turn into a psychopathic serial killer that would target us next. Nothing anybody said would calm me down or made any sense. I worked myself up so badly that I was shaking like a leaf. Finally, Mom asked, “Have you prayed about this?”

The thought that I should pray about this had never even crossed my mind. I paused, thinking back over the last however long it had been, and finally said, “No… Will it help?”

In response, Mom said, “Why don’t you go pray and find out?”

So I did.

I prayed for the woman’s family, because they were without a daughter, an aunt, a sister, a cousin… I prayed for the man and for God to have mercy on him; I had heard that it had been an accident, that he had not meant to kill her, and that he would be out on bail within a few weeks. I did not know whether it was true or not, but I knew that God knew what was true. So I prayed for God’s justice to be done, and not our form of justice. Then I prayed for my family’s safety from whatever harm might or might not come out of this.

While I was praying, I suddenly realized: what right do I have to ask the Almighty God for anything, when I’m not even one of His children? So I prayed for that, too, not realizing what I was really asking or what it really meant.

That was when God came into my heart and into my life to stay for good. Even though I was in inner turmoil, I could feel His peace and His love raining down on me at that moment. I felt it come down my head and spread throughout my whole body, even to the tips of my fingers and toes, until I could not hold it in anymore.

Then God spoke to me. He did not speak in an audible voice, but it was something inside that spoke to me. I will never forget what He said: “I will keep you safe. I will protect you and let no harm come to you. Just follow Me, and I will be with you and keep you.”

So I did.

I followed Jesus for years. I yearned to go to church, but I was afraid that if I went to a church that I was not familiar with I would be taught something that was wrong and not part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead, I thought that it would be fine for me to read my Bible every day and pray every day until I made it back home with my extended family. I would find a good church then, one that my family trusted.

I did not make it that far. When we started going through hard time financially as a family, I thought that God had abandoned us to our fate. I thought that God had not kept His promise to me. I was a Christian now. Everything was supposed to be sunshine and lollipops for the rest of my life, right?

In retaliation, I went my own way. I stopped talking with God. I stopped reading my Bible. I did what I wanted to do, whether God would have agreed with it or not, and felt no remorse for it.

When it all blew up in my face and I realized that I failed at life without God on my side, I was twenty-two. I had done things with people that I regretted. I had been used. Nothing was going right. Thank God I knew who could help me make it right.

That was when I started to pray again. I started to read my Bible every night if I could. I started trying to get right with God again. It was not until I nearly had my life taken away from me that I realized that I really needed Jesus.

It was January 31, 2013, my mother’s birthday. She had picked me up from the animal clinic I was working in at the time, and it was snowing so hard at times that you could not see in front of the car. It was cold and the road was slippery. The same cousin who had sent me my first Bible eight years before was with us, and we ran off the road twice before we even made it close to home. All three of us prayed fervently for God to keep us safe the whole ride.

When I saw the restaurant that is around the corner from the house, inwardly I rejoiced because I assumed that we made it home safely. You cannot count your chickens before they hatch. Turning into the neighborhood, the car went over a patch of black ice and the car veered out of control. It was headed toward a light pole, and there was no getting out of the spin that we were in. Mom had her foot pressed all the way down to the floor on the break, and the steering wheel was turned as far as it could possibly to go in the opposite direction of the spin. Still we kept toward the pole.

I can only speak for myself when I say that I saw my life flashing before my eyes. The car was inches from crashing into the light pole. Then it simply was not.

None of us can tell you exactly what happened that day, only that we should have crashed and maybe even died that night. One minute we were on a collision course with the light on the corner, and the next minute we were sitting in the middle of the road, pointing toward home. There is no logical explanation about what happened, or even why we were paused in the middle of the road pointing home. We should have been facing the opposite way. Neither Mom, my cousin, nor I can remember what happened those few seconds between when we were going to crash and when we were back on the right course. It is like those moments in time do not even exist.

The following morning, my cousin called the house to ask if Mom and I wanted to ride down that way with her. She wanted to see the tire tracks. She wanted to try and make sense of what happened. Both of us declined, knowing exactly what she and my grandmother would find.

When they came to visit a few hours later, they confirmed what Mom and I knew to be true. They saw our tire tracks heading to the pole. They told us that there was absolutely no way we should have avoided that crash; it was too close. They saw that the tire tracks simply disappeared.

Even today I cannot explain what happened. All I know is that we should have crashed that night, and possibly even died. The only thing I can tell you is that, that night, God saved our lives. He also saved my soul, because that was the very night that I dedicated myself back to Him.

I was determined to live my life the very best for Him that I possibly could. It took a couple months for me to conquer my fear of church people and being taught wrong, but in May of 2013 I found me a good church with a good pastor that I attend with my aunt.

I have been serving God since. There are times that I have fallen. I have sinned willfully, knowing that what I was doing was sin and yet doing it anyway because it felt good. I have struggled to understand God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness applies even to my life, and He still loves me and wants me regardless. He simply waits for me to turn from my sin and turn to Him to be healed of it, allowing me to face the consequences of my actions. I still have difficult times in my life, and I still struggle with my personality flaws and weaknesses.

But through it all, God has been there for me. He has helped me to get back up and keep walking. He has forgiven me for my sin though I do not deserve His mercy and His grace, especially after sinning against Him. He lets the storms of life rage, but He is my emotional and mental support, the one who walks me through each day and helps me to overcome the daily struggles of life. He is the one who is refining me and helping me overcome my flaws and weaknesses.

I have no idea who I would be or what I would do without God in my life. He is so good to me, so much better to me than I deserve. Why He still chooses to love me and to accept me I cannot even begin to imagine, but I am so thankful for His presence in my life.

Reader, just as God has been there for me, He will be there for you, too. All you have to do is get on your knees, confess that you have sinned, ask for God’s forgiveness, and believe that the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross applies even to you. He is there, waiting and listening and willing to forgive you, no matter what you have done in your life. Just turn to Him.

Marriage: Our Relationship with God Part 2

In my last post, I tackled the betrothal and how our relationship with God is just like the ancient Jewish betrothal ceremonies. Now we will talk about the actual marriage itself.

God set up marriage as a covenant between man, woman, and Himself during His creation of the woman. In Genesis 2:21-23 we read, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Thus, with the presentation of Eve to Adam, we have the first marriage ceremony. Notice how marriage is defined in the Bible: a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be “one flesh”.

Here is the amazing thing about God and the metaphor for marriage. Jesus left His Father in heaven when He became fully human and died for our sins; He left His mother on earth when He was crucified and died on this earth. He did this all to “cleave” to His “wife” the Church, which is all those who believe in Him as Messiah and Lord.

In John 14:19-23, Jesus states: “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

Later, Jesus promises to send them the Comforter who will bring all things to their remembrance; He is talking of the Holy Ghost. When we accept Christ into our lives, we become “one flesh” with Him and the Father. He lives inside us through the Holy Ghost. Thus we are in a marriage covenant with God, and He will return to receive us back to himself that where He is, we may be there as well. A bridegroom doesn’t leave his bride at the altar, after all, and even if one may, God would never leave His bride there. He paid a high price to win her back to Himself at the cross, after all: His own death.

Marriage: Our Relationship with God Part 1

Have you ever had a eureka moment, a moment where the light bulb suddenly illuminates, everything seems so clear and simple, and you could not wait to tell everybody what you had discovered? I will be honest: I will have this happen to me every once in a great while, but it is not too often that it occurs. In fact, when it comes to my God and my religion, there is not much that I understand and these moments can come months or even years in between when I do have them. That being said, I had this happen to me the other day! My first thought was to share it with my family, then my friends, and then on my blog.

I always knew that marriage was a metaphor for our relationship with God. In fact, the Bible uses marriage often as a way to depict the intimacy and closeness with our Creator that He wants to have with us. I always assumed that this was as far as the “metaphor” went, but little did I know that it is so much deeper than that.

Back when Jesus walked the earth, the betrothal went thus: the bridegroom and bride would become engaged, which was as legally binding as a wedding and marriage. It could not be undone except by divorce. During the engagement period, the bridegroom would leave his bride to prepare his household to receive their new family member; the bride would prepare herself and her household for the wedding; and then the bridegroom would return to “steal away” his bride, often at an unannounced time.

Jesus has said, “Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And wither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4)

After Jesus ascended into heaven to be at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us, He also left to go and prepare a place for us in His mansions. He is preparing for the time when we are to join Him in His heavenly home, and He also left us with the promise that He is coming again to receive us to Him so we can be with Him. He is the way: belief in Jesus and what He has done for us on this earth and in heaven is the way to salvation. So, just as the bridegroom has gone away to prepare a place for his betrothed, so Jesus has “gone away” to prepare a place for us.

Jesus also says, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. … Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” (Matthew 24:13, 44-46) And, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23).

Obviously, Jesus expects some things from us in return while we wait for Him to come back for us. He expects us to do and to live the way that He has taught us in His parables and His teachings. Even when we do not feel like it. It is a way of life. It is non-negotiable. If we do not do what He says to do, we do not love Him. That is what He has said. So just as a bride was to prepare her household for the coming of her bridegroom and wedding, so we are to prepare ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto the Lord, by living the way Jesus tells us to live. (Romans 12:1)

And, just like the bridegroom back when Jesus walked the earth would return to take his bride at an unannounced time, He is returning in the same way. For of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:1, 2) But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. … Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. (Matthew 24:36, 42)

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Most of us have heard the saying that’s the best thing since sliced bread at one time or another in our lives. You have to admit: sliced bread is pretty awesome. Simply open the bag, pull out your slices, and viola! You’re ready to make your sandwich. It is accessible, cheap, and can be filling.

I am convinced that there is something that is much better than sliced bread. There is something that is much more accessible, it is free, and it is more fulfilling than anything you could imagine. That “thing” I am talking about is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord and God of the world.

Back in the Old Testament days, the Holy of Holies was where the presence of God dwelt among His people. It was separated from the rest of the tabernacle by a veil. Nobody could enter into this special place unless you were the high priest, and he could only enter on Yom Kippur after washing, putting on special clothing, and having incense and blood from sacrifices to atone for the peoples’ sins. God was very difficult to gain access to.

Then Jesus came along. He lived a sinless life and offered Himself as our sacrifice. The Bible says, “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent” (Matthew 27:50, 51). This tearing of the veil – the one thing physically keeping people out of the presence of God – symbolizes that the Holy of Holies is now open to anybody who wishes to come in. We no longer need a high priest to go to God for us. We can go to God ourselves, no matter where we are or what we happen to be doing. God is always waiting for us and willing to listen to us.

This access to God that we now have is free for every single person: no matter whether we have lived the most despicable life or not. Jesus Christ already paid the price of our sins. He died so that we may go to God freely and without fear of being punished for our past sins by a vengeful God, but only as long as we ask Him to forgive us.

Above all, the access that we have is the most satisfying thing that you could ever hope to have. Each and every one of us is searching for things that make us happy. It could be anything from an escape from reality for a while, or something that fills a void inside of us. It seems that the harder we try to fill this hole in our life, the faster that it empties out. There is only one thing that will continually fill this void that we have, and that is the presence of God Himself.

If you are tired of living an empty life, of searching for the one thing that will give you the fulfillment that you have been seeking for, why not give God a try? Simply go to Him, right where you are, and tell Him whatever it is that you need to. Ask him to fill that void in your life and to forgive you for the mistakes that you have made in your life. He is willing, He is waiting, and above all, it is free for each and every one of us.

Who I Am and Why I Am Here

I am Brittany, and obviously I am new to WordPress. I am twenty-four years old and a born-again Christian. As corny as it may sound, Jesus Christ really is why I am here and the reason I live my life.

I have decided to pick up blogging because I want to reach out to the world around me, to make friends with people who share a similar world view. What better way to meet people? What better way to express my views and opinions to those who care to hear my side of this story of life?

Mostly I will be blogging about my God and the things He has done for me in my life. Maybe I will be able to persuade somebody to Christ. It is the Great Commission, after all!