Love the Beauty within.

I’ve decided to do a no makeup challenge for an unknown number of days, which I encourage you to try and do with me. The main point of this challenge is to become comfortable in my own skin. Makeup is great, don’t get me wrong. But if you go out in public without it, how comfortable are you? Like many, your answer is probably “not very” because it seems every girl has makeup on, the right clothes, or the perfect hair. How many of you have gone to church without makeup, with jeans on, with your tattoo showing, with your piercings, and gotten judgy looks? I know I have. I have a tattoo, I have piercings, I have jeans. I’ve gotten those “Eww” glances before. Matthew 7 talks about judging and how we are not supposed to judge. A story of a young lady named Karlie went to a Bible Study. She had (appropriate) holes in her jeans (Very cute outfit). And an older lady said that “People should come to ‘church’ in their best clothes”.  What if their best clothes are dirty jeans with holes in them and a old tee-shirt with holes in it? What if they’re coming to church for the first time in their life? And Christians are judging them and making them not want to come back. I heard a story once of a former gang member that started to go to church. He accepted Jesus into his heart and as baptized. Which is great! However, everyone in church stopped welcoming him and even talking to him. He stopped coming. One day, he returned. The pastor asked “where have you been? We’ve missed you!”. The man said “I was expecting a brotherhood, to be welcomed. I felt more at home and loved in the gang than I did in the church”. That is not the way God intended the church to be.  The church was meant to be a place for the broken to come and receive healing and for people to be who they are freely. For the Holy Spirit to work among the people. In Acts, it speaks of gatherings at people’s houses to worship Jesus. You can imagine that people travelled, their feet dirty, and probably not in their nicest clothes. They weren’t there to showcase the latest fashion, they were there to worship. That is the example that Paul left for the way the church should be. We should go to church (or a church function), not caring how you or others look, and just worship freely. “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4). No matter what, know that you are a beautiful creation. And you are loved. Remember to Love who you are. Whether your hair is straight or wildly curly. Whether you wear makeup or don’t. It’s okay to be you. So be you. Everyone else is taken. 

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Jesus went to Hell… What?

One day I was in the car with my dad. We were having a theological conversation (I don’t remember about what) and he said “well, Jesus went to Hell when He died for our sins.”. I was blown away. I had never heard of that before. We hear that He cast our sins away or carried our sins, but we never hear about where He puts them. Personally, I figured some part of a black hole in the Supernatural world that even Captain Kirk from Star Trek wouldn’t dare to go. In a deep, philosophical way that black hole was Hell. Hell is a place full of fire and pain. (Matthew 13: 42).  It is also dark, because it is separated from God (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Jesus was beat, mocked, and scorned by the people of Earth, then made to carry His own cross (which one can imagine being heavy). He was then crucified and died.  But it was in the garden (of Gethsemane) that He decided that He would rather go to Hell for us than go to Heaven without us. (Max Lucado). But guess what? Three days later, He arose! Death could not hold Him down. And then He ascended into Heaven! Awesome, right?! (yes, yes it is). He went to Hell for you, for me, and for everyone. If you were the only person on Earth, He would still come back, die, and go to Hell for you. That’s true love. And oh how He loves you.

 

Happy Easter, y’all!

Lion and the Lamb

As I was sitting in one of my best friend’s cars listening to “Lion and the Lamb” by Ramp Worship, I realized something. I forget how big God is. Sometimes I think of God as this person who is Sovereign, yet tiny. Not tiny as He can’t do anything, but tiny as I forget that He can do anything. Often times, we go through our lives and have mountains are in our spiritual and worldly lives, we forget that God gives us the power to tell the mountain to move and it will (Matthew 17:20). We forget that if we ask God to help us and to move it, He will (if it is according to His will). We forget that if we just take God out of the box we like to put Him in, He will do great things in our lives and make us feel whole. We walk into work and say “Ugh, it’s going to take a miracle to get me through today”. God does give us miracles. However, we might miss them or not truly see how powerful God is. The same God that created the Heavens and the Earth, the same God that talked through the burning bush (Exodus 3), the same God that sent the fire to Elijah to prove He was God (1 Kings 18:21-39), the same God that raised the dry bones back to life (Ezekiel 37:1-10),  the same God that died on the cross, cast our sins into Hell, and rose again on the third day (Matthew 27-28) is the same God that lives in us today. The song states “Our God is the Lion of Judah, He’s roaring with power and fighting our battles…who can stop the Lord Almighty”. He fights our battles for us. He goes before us. Look at the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). David was tiny, a Shepard. But he had a heart for God. Goliath, a 9-10 Foot tall Philistine, who tormented the people of God. David trusted in God to help him fight this battle. Spoiler alert: David won. We often forget that no matter how big the giant is that we are facing, the God that lives within us is bigger. We forget that He is the Lion of Judah and is fighting for us. We forget that He was the Lamb that was slain for us and then rose again on the third day. Who or what can stop the Lord Almighty? Nothing. If our God is for us, who can ever stop us? No weapon formed against us shall remain (Isaiah 54:17).