Hatred and Love

So about 2 months ago, I was on the train from Miami to West Palm Beach. I was coming back home to my husband in Lakeland and my train started in WPB. Anyway, while I was on the tri rail an old couple sat next to me. Lets just say the woman was the leader in the relationship and the husband was just a spectator. She asked me what school I attended and I told her PBA. She was like, "oh the Christian school" and I said yes. For some reason we got into the conversation of homosexuality and she said that Christians aren't very loving of that community. I told her she was right, but how our school actually tell us to love them. She didn't seem to want to listen to me on that and started mumbling under her breath, so I went ahead and told her my best friend is bisexual and I love her very dearly. Got her to shut up. What really got to me was the sound of her voice, she had hatred against me for something she thought all Christians did, hate. She said I hated certain people since I was a Christian and for that she was hating me (see the irony...) Not sure where I was going with all of this, but Christianity should be about loving people. Jesus loved the tax collectors (who doesn't like them haha), the prostitutes, the hungry and needy, the democrats (and republicans), and so on. There wasn't one person he hated and we are supposed to be imitators of Christ, but instead there is hatred, envy, legalism. There is no grace. Seems you have to be perfect to be a Christian, so I guess I'm not because I am far from it. Where is grace and love? I guess I'm writing this to remind my fellow brothers and sisters to wake up.
Currently reading:
"Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller
also a good book to read is "Unchristian" by David Kinnaman


Married life

So for the first four months of my marriage, it hasn't truly felt like I was married. Now I'm getting that feeling and its kind of weird, but I love every moment of it.
This might sound very corny, but a few months before we got married we gave each other names, new names. He named me Jasmine and I named him Zachary. You might ask why. Well my name means flower and it has a nice fragrance. My name is to remind me to be a good fragrance. As an example, meaning not making every little thing drama. Zachary means remembrance of the Lord. That means Brandon needs to do things that will remind me of my God.
Though we're still getting used to the married life, and we have had plenty of bumps in the last few weeks, I have never met a man that was so willing to do everything to remind me of the Lord. In every bickering, though I have not been a Jasmine at all, he'll take my hand and pull me in his arms and say I love you. I could have hurt him so badly with my words, but he'll always brush that aside and just love me with God's love because I know how much he doesn't want to at that second. I'm very blessed to have him. I don't want this to sound like I'm just praising him because he's my hubby, he definitely has his flaws like video games, but I know that every man has that as a flaw :p. However, I do hope this will be a good reminder to me in future years and for those who are married too. I know I haven't been married for very long, but I guess its more of wanting to remind my fellow brothers and sisters who are married or who are going to be married to find the reason why they married their spouse, aside of being loved. I needed Brandon to remind me of God's love because sometimes its really hard for me to see it. I have a difficult time understanding the love of Christ, but Brandon always helps remind me that I'm good enough to have the God of the universe come down and die for His people.
I'm outs


What Jesus really means is...

So I started reading this book called Radical by David Platt that really made me think about my faith in light of my culture or what my culture has formed it in to. I've only read the first chapter and already it takes me back to my first true thoughts of Christianity. I get so angry with myself because I've allowed culture to take over me. When I first became a Christian I knew what it meant to allow God to take over, I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew that I would have to give up my desires, my family, and friends. I knew that I would have to give myself up entirely. It's funny because I also read the Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis that year and he addressed the very same issues that this book is addressing.
It's funny because I knew these things, the things that the book is addressing, but I was pushed to think the opposite. Like in the Scriptures it says that I must hate my family (not so literally, but compared to how I should love Jesus, it should be like hate). I didn't of course literally hate them, the Scriptures is all about love, but I shouldn't let them get in the way of what God wants me to do.
How that looked when i first became a Christian was helping out in church. That's something so simple and yet my family would always say that i would place church above family. I never mean to put church over family, but I was compelled to help where help was needed rather than attend another birthday party, in whom I see or talk to this person everyday anyway. (I do love my family by the way). I'm sure this sounds terrible, maybe it does.
I made a commitment to follow Jesus and that meant giving up everything. It means picking up my cross (or in the writers words, my "electric chair") and follow him.
I don't know what that means right now though. I literally almost have nothing. I have no career waiting for me right now after college. I have no money to give. I have a loan I need to pay off when I get out of college. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. One thing that has come to mind right now though is that I have never spent enough time on people. I stay in my circle or on my high horse. My time is the only thing I can give. And I know what you're going to say, "you don't need to give up everything, God doesn't want you to go hungry or live on the streets." Yeah I know he doesn't, but when I see things like one church costing $23 million dollars to be built, and only $5000 going to the poor and hungry in another country, it makes me wonder what is more important, me having the minimum to survive, worshipping outside rather than a comfortable air conditioned church, or having people in starving countries go hungry for my selfish desires.
And this is what Jesus asked from the beginning. I have never seen a man more prone to pushing people away than Jesus. He told people to sell everything and give it to the poor. He said don't bury your father, let others do it. He said pick up your cross and follow him.
I have never seen a religion ask for anything like this. And ignorant people love to say that all religions are the same or lead to the same place.
I really encourage you to read Radical by David Platt. Hopefully it'll change your mind about being a Christian. Either it will let you know that you will be mediocre all your life or push you to be what Jesus actually meant by following him.



So I was finishing up a book caled Tactics for my Evangelism and Apologetics class and was stopped by the use of the word rebellion. When I usually hear the word, it's more of kids rebelling against their parents or the Devil rebelling against God. The reason I was stopped by the word is because I had just read Paradise Lost as well for my British Literature class. adam and Eve rebelled against God. However, in the book Tactics, the writer says that we could try whatever tactic to pursued someone to see the problem with their world view, but sometimes there can be such a stubbornness in the heart that they choose not to listen to practical reason. The writer says that it is because they choose to rebel against God. Of course, I'm sure no one truly means to rebel against God, but if the facts are right in front of you, even if you see God Himself, there is still the likelyhood that someone will still want to rebel. Look at Adam and Eve, they walked with Him in the Garden, actually talked to Him face to face, and still rebelled.
Last night in church, Brandon and I went to church at the Ascent: Christ Fellowship in West Palm Beach, and usually I'm not one to like the Ascent very much, (no offense just not my taste, good solid church though) but sitting there and listening to the Pastor speak made me realize how far from God I am. Like I'm doing pretty well, I'm not doing any major sins, I've been doing good, but my relationship with God is just not there. I'll go through the motions of praying before my meal and stuff like that, but I have no relationship with God. I hate these periods in my life where I refuse to push myself to talk to God, listen to Him. Of course, this is kind of weird to say that I'm rebelling, like I said, I'm not doing anything wrong, but my heart refuses to worship God. Not because I hate God, but because I want to do my own thing. My excuse is, "I don't have time to read my bible this morning, I need to finish studying for my exam; God wouldn't like if I failed my exam."
This little rebellion that I'm going through now isn't the first time its happened, and I'm definitely not the only Christian that has felt this way. Our hearts want to rebel, our hearts want to satisfy their own desires. I'm not saying I figured out how to get out of these funks, I wish I had the answer and if any of you know it please share it, but the only thing I can tell you is that sometimes we just have to go through those motions, not to be religious of course and show everyone how good of a Christian we are or wutevs, but to keep glorifying God. My heart doesn't want to praise the one who created me, but I will push through. I love this poem that I read by George Herbert called the Alter.

"A broken ALTER, Lord, thy servant rears,
Made of a heart, and cemented with tears:
Whose parts are as thy hand did frame;
No workman's tool hath touched the same.
A HEART alone
Is such a stone,
As nothing but
Thy power doth cut.
Wherefore each part
Of my hard heart
Meets in this frame,
To praise thy Name:
That, if I chance to hold my peace,
These stones to praise thee may not cease
Oh let thy blessed SACRIFICE be mine,
And sanctify this ALTAR to be thine."

Poem is supposed to look like and alter by the way. The heart is a stone, we can refuse to praise God, but its funny how Herbert uses the word stone because Jesus said in the Scriptures that if the people do not praise Him, the stones will cry out (Luke 19:40). So even if Herbert does want to keep his mouth shut because if His rebellion, how his heart does not want to praise him, trying to be as hard as stone, either way, the stones will still cry out. Stones do not have mouths by the way, meaning that even through the rebellion we will still praise Him. The stone (heart), though it does not want to cry out, even by being a stone, what God created it to be, will still praise Him. I will praise my God, even though my heart is a stone; hopefully my heart will melt and I can praise Him out of Love, but right now I am going through the motions, taking it one step at a time.



Habakkuk 2:18-20 "Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!' Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it. But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him."

About almost every single prophet discusses idolizing. In the book of Habakkuk, the people of Babylon have idols that are seen by everyone, but these idols are made by man. They do not exist for the good of the people, but of selfishness. It reminds me that sometimes I can create idols and I expect for it to speak to me, but then it disappoints me because I wanted it to satisfy my desires, but only God can do that. Nothing can satisfy my deepest desires but God.
Then in Hosea 13:2, he writes, "Now they sin more and more; they make idols for themselves from their silver, cleverly fashioned images, all of them the work of craftsmen." It is hidden, it is fashioned in a way that other people cannot see it, and maybe even themselves. And Hosea is writing about the people of Israel, the chosen people of Israel. How could they do such a thing, but when I read this I had my own secret idol. I'm supposed to be a part of a model society that is discussed in Micah and yet I fail over and over again. The work that God has started in me must finish and I need to be made anew and not for the sake of being able to be with the person I want to be with and not to receive any reward, but because God calls me to a righteous life, a life that gives my God delight. I got rid of my idol and now I am focusing on my LORD. God will make me new so that I can do the work that He has set for me to do and hopefully I won't have to do it alone.
Sorry if this doesn't make any sense. I have such a problem with idolizing people that God cannot bless me in my relationships. I am satisfied in God because He is good and perfect, but I am not satisfied in myself in Him and I need to reconcile that. I need to bring back purpose and not see myself as worthless. Please pray for me so that I will be reconciled. I need to go back to when I was 14 and no one could stand me because every word I spoke was of/for God. Every little detail of my life, I asked God to guide me. I need to go back to that. I'm outs.



I talk too much sometimes. I usually vent or talk about me and my past. I know I talk too much. I sometimes forget that I need to listen and observe. Be there for people and allow them to cry. Like losing a daughter.. That's pretty rough. Or having a father who doesn't care, or seems not to care. Wanting to fulfill a dream, but having something pulling you back. Love, family, dreams.
My generation and those after me have become a people that have been forgotten. It seems crazy to think of that. Businesses keep making new things. Its for us isn't? Churches say that they are working for the next generation (or something like that). We have stopped thinking though. We have stopped caring. We have stopped trying. We've become a lazy people. My generation and those after me are stuck in the virtual world, unrealistic and relative.
We are also a people of loneliness. We don't choose to be though. We allow ourselves to be distracted. We want to forget reality. I see things I don't want to see, so what do I do? I detach myself from the situation. We're really good at that. I busy myself so much, so I won't allow myself to think. Then when I have free time I try to fill it up, so I don't have to think. When I think I remember what I have seen. I remember the late night cries from my mum. I remember the arguments between friends. I remember the little boy that is left alone, though his parents are there. I remember me.
I decided to start listening. Listening to my clock tick tock. Listening to the birds outside. Waiting.


Psalm 51

Sometimes there are times when I just flat out mess up. At the time, everything seems alright, but once its happened, you can't take it back. You have to keep moving forward though. The Devil wants everyone to mess up, he wants to take away our testimony, but I love the fact that even through out faults and our sins, God will use it. David, in this Psalm, messes up big time (committing adultery with Bathsheba), yet he asks God to forgive him and he will use his weaknesses to strengthen others. What a God I serve. At least i know that David's weakness, gives me hope because he was still known as a man after God's own heart. We need redemption. 1 Timothy 1:5 says, "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith." To love is to have these three things, and to love God is to attain these three things. Obey God.

"Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Cleanse with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your alter."