Alright, so to be honest I actually had no intention of making two parts to this Book of Judges thing. But, once I started writing and thinking through all that I wanted to write out in words, I decided it might be better if I split the two up, so people weren't forced to read one long post (that's assuming people would even want to read it in the first place haha).
So, as you know if you read Part 1, I started reading the Book of Judges recently. In Part 1 I spoke much about the connection between the Old and New Testament and how the Old Testament is a great foreshadowing to the reality that is to come in the New Testament.
While reading the second chapter of Judges I found it strangely compelling. There were many things that stood out to me, but one of the most compelling things was found in verses 18-19. These verses say, "Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways.
I don't know if it is just me but as soon as I read these verses the first person I thought of was Christ. I read these verses and I thought of how we, as Christians, now are the chosen people and just like God sent judges to his chosen people the Israelites, he has sent us one final judge who is Jesus Christ. I read those verses and I see the Lord being moved to pity by his people who are seeking something more, who are seeking to be saved physically, emotionally, and spiritually! I see the Lord sending a judge who would save us from the hands of our enemies, "all the days of the judge." And, I see one final thing which is different...that in order to save us our judge in Christ had to die. But unlike the other judges who died and everyone returned back to their sins and stubborn ways, our judge came back to life in order that he could still be with us.
I know this was a short post, but it was short for a number of reasons. One reason is I'm a little tired and my brain isn't running as smoothly as it was during Part 1, but the other reason is because I don't believe there is too much else to say. Christ is the Ultimate Judge who has come to save his people from their sins just like the earthly judges in the Old Testament, except this time the judge is eternal and defeated death by rising again. I hope this encourages you! If you get anything out of this let it be to get into your word and hear from the Lord about who he is!
Today is one of those days where I have so much to say, that, to be perfectly honest, I don't know if I will even get the chance to be able to say it all -- let alone say things that I do get the chance to say properly. I first would like to insert one of the things that I was, at first, thinking about writing an entire blog post about, but now will just try to summarize it real quick within this one blog post.
Before I get into the main topic of "The Ultimate Judge" (Part 2) I want to encourage people to read their Bibles! I have to be honest with you all it has been a good week since I have had a really good quiet time with God. I haven't really enjoyed just hearing from God and taking in his beautiful word. Christians want to be Christians, but have no idea that in order to be a Christian you must live like Christ did. In order to know how Christ lived you must open up your Bible and dedicate your life to understanding what it means to imitate Christ.
This brings me to my next point, that Christians, including myself, tend to neglect the Old Testament, but the fact is if you wanna know what Christ used to fend off temptation from Satan himself in Matthew Chapter 4, it was not the New Testament (cause it had not been written yet) but it was the Old! The Old Testament brings so much understanding to the character of God that we see in the New Testament. The God between both Old and New Testaments is in no way different in character attributes.
I started reading the book of Judges today because I told myself that I would make today the day in which I would open my Bible back up and just hear from God. It was one of the most refreshing, convicting, and eye-opening times that I have had with God in awhile. I rarely ever read the Old Testament and I was pretty sick and tired of myself for that so I began reading a book in the Old Testament that I have never really thoroughly read by myself, which is Judges. I have heard Sunday School story, after Sunday School story from the book of Judges, but I haven't really dove into the book like I probably should have.
While reading the book of Judges I had to stop myself many times and just wonder...why? Why is there so much war and violence coming from a people who were to be chosen by God himself and why is it that this is the same God that I now look too and define as "Love" itself?
The words of my High-School theology teacher began to echo in my brain and those words were, "The Old Testament is just the foreshadowing of the reality to come in the New Testament." Once I realized that I began to start seeing the actions of God in the old testament as just pieces of his character rather than just taking the actions at face value.
An example of this would be in Judges 1:6-7 which says, "Adoni-Bezek fled, but they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and his big toes. And Adoni-Bezek said, 'Seventy Kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. As I have done, so God has repaid me.' And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there."
When first reading that passage I was caught off guard by the gory nature of the people of Israel and the God who led them to do such things. Taking a step back I realized that this action that took place was not just something in the flesh, but it meant more than that. The point of the whole action was so that God could follow through with his word in which he says, "Vengeance is Mine!" Yes, he had people carry out these actions for him, but in the end Adoni-Bezek did not see it as the Israelites punishing him, but he saw it as the God of Israel repaying him for his cruel actions. The point was God's glory in the midst of such of terrible things. God is righteous in his justice and who are we to say that he is not?
I also found myself caught off guard by the fact that Israelites all throughout the Old Testament are found going to war with some other nation, and each time are lead there by God. When I think about this I become immensely confused because if there is anything that we are taught in church, it is that we should not be violent with our brothers. There are even Christians who believe we should not go to war with other nations in general (another debate for another time). I then realized that if we look at the Israelites as God's people going to war in order to proclaim the Glory of their God above the other gods in world and seeking to create some sort of kingdom while still here on Earth, then we can begin to see the link between the Old and the New Testament. The God who is there for his people and causes them to go to war does the same thing today, but it is in the Spirit and it is against the flesh and those who speak false things about Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 we are taught that, "...though we walk in the flesh we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take very thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete."
I know this was a little long but it is what I believe scripture to be teaching. I know there can be a lot of confusion when it comes to scripture and what is being in taught in certain churches so I thought I might be able to come alongside and give you some advice to what I believe that word teaches. Hope you are blessed by this.
So here's the thing, right about now if you look around your neighborhoods and churches you will begin to start seeing signs up from things like salvation army, operation Christmas child, and so on and so forth. But, I want to encourage you to give. It is the Christmas season and I know that in today's economy there is not a lot of money to be spent on anyone else, let alone yourself. But, I hope that you can dig deep inside yourself and begin to see the joy that will spring from your heart and soul when you begin to care for those less fortunate than you.
At Southeastern a group of students have set up a Christmas tree inside of the lunchroom, and all around the tree are little paper ornaments with a child's name, their grade in school, and what toy they would like for Christmas.. This toy drive is not to the kids out in Africa or India, but it is for the kids who live less than five minutes down the street from our campus.. I don't know why, but for some reason whenever it has come to me giving to kids in other countries through things like Operation Christmas Child, I never seemed to really see the children as people...it is sad for me to even think about now, but I just have always heard that people in other countries needed help and therefore I would give them a little something to help them out. It has always been hard for me to grasp my mind around the pain and suffering that goes around all over the world, but what I find more saddening is the lack of desire that we have to give to those in pain who are only right down the street from us.
Many of us believe that in order to impact the world we must become missionaries, and we must go out into the world and reach others. But, we do not take that mindset and apply it to going out into our very own neighboring communities. This is where, if you are a Christian, that you are to believe that God has placed you.
Where you are - that is your missions field, that is the place in which you are too reach out and give to others also! It is important to give to those in other countries too, do not get me wrong! But, let us not forget that pain that is residing within our very own country this holiday season.
I have a little paper ornament for a third grader named Juan who wants a transformer...I have been praying for Juan everyday since I have gotten that little ornament...my heart aches for Juan because I want Juan to be loved this Christmas and I want him to see that love through a simple transformer toy. I only have about $10 to my name as of today. I sometimes feel like I am the one who needs someone to give him something for Christmas...But the words of Christ ring true in my heart, and that is that it is better to give than to receive.
So this holiday season do not be afraid to give! Give to others! Love others! Be excited to lay down your life for someone else in order that you may see their lives benefited in return. Be humbled this Christmas season and if you are having trouble with this, then do not fret because you are merely human and just like the rest of us you must pray for guidance and for the softening of your heart in order to do the will of God.
Hey everybody! I have been keeping up with this blog lately called HeartSupport and I just wanted to kind of promote them I guess? They have some really good stuff to say about relationships. From family members, to dating, to marriage, to divorce, just everything they have to say is just so well thought out and spoken, because it is spoken from probably one the best and most persuasive perspectives and that is experience itself.
I would like to encourage everyone who is dating, single, married, or thinking about being married to watch every single video that Ben and Emily Sledge have done. Those videos are really good and both of them are just honest and soft-spoken people and it really has been just a huge pleasure to watch every single one of their videos! So, click on the picture so you can be directed to their video page and copy and paste the link below to go to their blog page!. I hope you find everything they say encouraging and honest.
Maybe you can recall being in a classroom, noisy, lot of chattering and commotion, and the teacher is trying to get the student's attention and it's not working- not working and then finally - "QUIETT!!!"....and it is. Can you connect with that one? Alright..now imagine that worldwide and the speaker is God - that's what's going to happen. 'Be still and know that I am God'. -Mark Mullery
A quote from a Pastor who preached at covenant life church this past Sunday and his sermon was very encouraging to listen to. He helps remind the believer and non-believer alike about the sovereign and loving power of God who has his hand over his people and is faithful until the end no matter the circumstance.
I recently have found it tough to really just have that perseverant faith that I need in order to enjoy my relationship with God and bring him utmost glory and praise and this sermon in a very simple yet detailed way helped bring that back into focus for me. I love the quote that I mentioned above simply because I have never thought of God's return and his grabbing of all of the Earth's attention like that before. If there is anything I am the most familiar with it is the yelling of a school teacher at a classroom in order to get their attention. And one day I believe God will come back and silence the earth with his wonder and love. I believe he is softening my heart everyday in order that I may experience bits and pieces of this wonder and love until the day he returns, when I and all my brothers and sisters in Christ will experience it in full..
Just a little bit I wanted to share with you all. Make sure you take a listen to this or share it with friend! I do not go to this church so don't think I'm just trying to get you to become a member haha I just want you to be encouraged and excited about the power of God.
You're probably wondering to yourself right about now, "what is he back from" and/or "why does it sound 'like a roar'"? To put it simply I was on Thanksgiving break and went back home to Maryland to visit my friends and family. I will later this week, probably, divulge into some of the details of this trip, and some of the life altering experiences that I had. But first to explain why I am back with a roar.
I am back with a "roar", because I have been encouraged, confronted, tempted, convicted, strengthened, and loved over this past week and it has lead me to wish to live a life of grace, peace, and love. I have come back with a roar to college because my eyes are open to see what it means to live this life out properly. I now see that in order to show Christ to those in my immediate area of community I must become involved in my school. I must become a servant to those around me. I must dedicate my life to showing love in every situation and in every opportunity I am given.
I am excited to be back at Southeastern University. Walking around campus it is as if I am viewing the school with a whole new set of eyes. From the buildings to the people, I just have this over-joyous feeling of love and passion and commitment to the things and people all around me! It is important that I understand that I am here, and while I am here I might as well enjoy it in the best way that I can. I am a firm believer that the best way that I can enjoy my life, and the things that I do, is by giving glory to Christ, and I believe that is given through love. In the love that I show others I will not only be praising God with my actions but I will be fulfilling the deepest parts of my heart and soul with happiness.
I have so much I wish to say tonight, I really do.. I want to share with you all about my disappointments and my encouragements, my temptations and my convictions, my anger and my peace, and my beliefs and my knowledge. I want to let the whole world know about what is all going on in my heart and mind and I do not think I can properly be at peace until I begin sharing these things in a deeper level. I fear that I am not preaching the gospel enough through my music, through my actions, my integrity, my passions, my writings, and more. I fear that if I do not share all that I have to all those who read what I have written, I will have missed a chance to share love someone else.
I fear I am beginning to babble, so I will stop.
Be encouraged by the testimony of the young man who just weeks ago wrote about his confusion and distress with where he was at for college and now by the grace of God is excited to do exactly what God has called him to do, and that is to love.
I'm going to be honest I do not have much to say tonight. I am in a very quiet and reserved mood and on top of that I have a paper and homework assignment due tomorrow that I need to get done. I wasn't even planning on writing tonight actually, then I just finished praying and spending some time with God when I realized that there was something really short and to the point that I could share.
I wanna remind you if you're a Christian about a little test you can take to see if your heart is in the right place. And, by right place I mean if you are focused on loving God and following his commands and loving others. This test is something both Christians and non-christians have heard of, but most of the time go about it in the wrong way. This test is taken through a person's prayers. If you want to see if your heart is in the right place you must pray and see the kinds of things you are praying about. A person fixed on the things of Christ does not just pray for themselves but more importantly prays for others.
This has been extremely convicting for me. today. I had a friend ask me if I had any prayer requests and I told him my requests, but as soon as I told him I realized that my requests were all "me" focused. And then, the next thing you know he told me his prayer requests and they were not just for himself, but for the broken-hearted, sick, lost in this world. When he said these prayer requests to me I just cringed cause I realized my heart needed to be in check. I need to be deeper in God's word daily, yes, but I need to be out in the world serving and loving others and looking like Christ too! I need to be desiring to imitate Christ, and that is something I have been struggling with lately, and that is simply whether or not I really truly want to live like Christ. I have the head-knowledge of who God is, but will I step out and seek to be one with Christ in action. Will I see everything as a loss in order that I might gain Christ? Will I seek to put to death the misdeeds of the body every single day? Or will I wake up every morning thinking about myself?
Just a little convicting and encouraging word for all of you out there. Seek to love God and follow his commands, and his commands are to Love him and Love Others.
Alright so I had a pretty good laugh to myself before I decided to write this post, because last time I wrote a post that had to do with me and my girlfriend Carrie, I had a friend joke around with me and call me "pressed". I laugh for a few different reasons. The first reason is that, the actual fact that I thought about whether I should write this or something else reminds me of highschool -- which I am fresh out of and now am a Freshman in College -- and constantly caring about others opinions about my decisions. I also laugh because this is my girlfriend and if I choose to brag about her then I can brag about her! Who's to stop me?
So, I love writing about Carrie and I, because I remember how I felt all through Highschool when I was single and when me and Carrie were broken up. I loved to read things about others and their relationships because it gave me hope that one day I could have that. But, for some of you who are single and reading this, and are pessimists, you probably hate the fact that I am talking about me and this chick again. If that is you...well....to be honest maybe when you stop being so pessimistic you'll find yourself with someone who is worth more than a few times of hooking up (ouch).
But seriously, now to get to the point of why I am writing what I am writing! If you cannot tell by the tone of my writing so far -- I'm unimaginably happy! I get to go home in two days and see my girlfriend again and I'm not the one to try to be all giddy all over the world wide web, but I'm just excited for Friday.
As of today me and Carrie have been dating for 8 months and that may seem small to everyone else, but that is huge for us. To make it 8 months dating means more than actually just dating for 8 months it means we have made it 3 months with me gone away and in college, it means we have made it longer than the first time we decided to actually date (it lasted one month), and it means we have been dating for the same amount of time we were broken up for.
Carrie is an extreme blessing to me and I couldn't ask to be dating anyone else. I remember when we decided to date again and people actually bet that we would only last at most 2 months. People really didn't believe all that much in us and who could blame them? Out of all the most indecisive couples in the world we were probably ranked in the top 20. We have gone through countless arguments, we have thrown multiple jealousy-temper-tantrums, we have hurt one another, we have broken up with one another, and we have gotten back together with each other.
I don't have much else to say to be perfectly honest. I could pour out my entire heart to all of you reading this about how I feel towards her, but I will save that for a more appropriate time. She literally is my closest and best friend, and we have come a long way in the past three years of knowing each other. We have set our standards (read my blog post called standards), we have been honest with one another, we have enjoyed the journey together, and we have constantly tried to be the best that we can for the other. I spent months arguing and writing and praying and thinking about what it meant to date and whether I think I could handle it. And through it all God has provided us both with strength to keep pursuing each other and love to keep showing one another. It is only by Gods grace that we have made it to where have. I have seen us make mistakes together and by the grace of God I have seen us persevere together.
To those who are single I would encourage you to keep pursuing Christ and loving others with as much vigor and excitement that you would have if you were dating. For those who are dating I would say keep persevering and pursuing Christ and through your love for Christ may you love one another Biblically. If you are in Highschool or College and are dating someone do not let anyone put you down for your age, but rather stand up and seek, through your heart for God and the one you are dating, more respect for what Teenagers and Young Adults can do through the grace of God on their lives and relationships.
Right now even as I write I am doing something that I have not done yet once while writing any other blog post on my site, and that is listen to music while I write. I usually do not do this simply because I can usually focus better with the music turnt off, but tonight is a little different. Tonight I cannot turn off the new Bruno Mar's song "Locked Out of Heaven." I'''ll be perfectly honest with you -- I absolutely love this song and somewhere out there, there is a Christian who detests me because I as a Christian love this song that talks about sex and how it has made Mr. Mars over there feel, "locked out of heaven."
I cannot pretend that I am too fond of Bruno Mar's lyrics at all, but the groove to the song and his voice? This man is talented! I am not writing this blog post to talk about how absurd Bruno Mar's lyrics are in this song, because I am a Christian and to be honest that would be too predictable and obvious, instead I wanna talk about his music video.
Although his lyrics may be a little far-fetched his music video made me remember the days when I used to watch Bruno Mars and his band behind him, The Hooligans, do mini podcasts from their tour bus while they were on tour. These guys looked like they were having so much fun! They just laughed all the time, played awesome music, and put on one heck of a show! Watching these guys play not only made me envy their talent, but it made me envy their fun. It made me want to go out and dance around on stages and sing songs and hang out with my close friends and have the time of my life!
As a Christian I feel like too much we have been held back by our churches and by ourselves quite frankly to not enjoy life and have some fun. I believe the Christian life is a mission, yes, and I believe there is work to do for the kingdom, but there is also this immense amount of emphasis on fellowship, joy and pleasure to the Glory of God, and I feel like Christians don't know how to do that. The world puts a standard that fun is only able to be had through sex, drugs, alcohol, and other adrenaline pumping and unsober-minded things. I heard the argument once that, if the only way you can have fun is through drugs, sex, and alcohol, then you probably aren't a fun person, and I couldn't agree more.
I watched the movie "Beware of Christians" this summer, which is actually a documentary following four Christian college students around Europe, and It was such a eye-opener and peaceful reminder to me that as a Christian I can joke around and just have fun with people! Why can't we dance around and go insane and do it cleanly without lust and while be of a sober mind? Why can't we have more church events that involve Christians getting together to not just sit around and talk, but PARTY. Why does the word "partying" in the church have to have negative connotations?
In Bruno Mars music there was a lot of girls and lust and blah blah blah, but there were scenes of him and his boys just hanging out and performing and dancing all over the stage and I just sit here and envy that so much...I want to dance. I want to go insane with friends. I want to laugh until my stomach hurts and I know that this can be done to the glory of God. In purity. In right-mind. In grace. And in excitement.
I'm just venting a little here cause I really enjoy just having a good time, and I loved helping DJ dances in Highschool because to honest I love most of all helping others to have a good time! I love being able to perform in front of people, and I love being able to write for other people, if that means a little added enjoyment in their life! Because I believe joy is a strict attribute through the spirit of God that needs to be experienced in the Christian life or else the Christian begins to suffer to not look like Christ, but rather like the world that can only seek to have immediate pleasure. The great thing about being a Christian is that we can take the things of the world like dances and parties and we can enjoy them and yes receive some sort of immediate pleasure, but through Christ we receive the knowledge that this goes far beyond the dance but for all eternity cause it helps benefit your soul and souls in which you have fellowshipped with during your experience.
I hope all that made sense! I kinda am rushing to get to Chapel on time! I know there are a lot of grammatical errors probably too, but I'll take care of that after chapel! Thanks for reading!
I must admit that writing under the "Relationships" section of my blog-site about what I am about to write about is a little bit odd...But, nevertheless what I am about to write about is, in it's own way, a relationship of some kind.
I am writing about where I am going to college.
As of now I attend Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida...and to be honest I do not like being here. Now, it is believed that most Freshman who enter into College do tend to doubt whether or not they have made the right choice in University, but I cannot tell the difference anymore between a simple doubt and my downright dissatisfaction with this place.
Don't get me wrong, the University is not some sort of death-camp that literally spends most of it's time draining the most enjoyment out of my life that it can....But, the University has not done anything to benefit me either, or so it feels.
Part of me does not even know why I am writing this because I already know the answer that could solve my immediate dissatisfaction with this place.. And, that answer is to stop trying to run from where I already am, and to enjoy my opportunities to the best of my abilities.
I sincerely believe that there is no situation too great or too small that cannot be enjoyed if there is the will and desire to find some sort of enjoyment within it. It is not as if being at this that I do not see ways for me to enjoy being here cause there are about 4,000 other students who seem to be having the time of their lives on the same campus as me. If I really pressed in to the school, got involved more, reached out to some more friends and just spent more time enjoying my time in college rather than analyzing my dissatisfaction in college I probably would have more fun!
I keep trying to run away. And, since you're probably wondering right about now "what's he even 'dissatisfied' about", I'll tell you -- but they are just miniscule things in the grand scheme of what I truly need to enjoy life. The things that bug me about Southeastern are it's 35 mandatory chapel credits, which didn't seem like much at the beginning of the semester since there are 90 chapels, but to be honest sometimes I just don't feel like waking up early in the morning to go - sue me. I don't like (personally) that if I am going to go to a Christian University that I don't feel as if I am being fed enough - I feel a lot of college students getting emotional but sometimes I don't feel like I am being fed enough in the chapels and bible-based classes (It's probably due to my pride problem and/or my difference in theological beliefs I'm more reformed in a pentecostal school, but either way the pure love of Christ should drive me to be humble and ready to grow). I don't like how the school spirit here is like my butt. I don't like how we can't throw a dance party on campus without the school thinking there is sex and alcohol involved, and I don't like how every weekend most people on campus decide to go home and the campus is empty with nothing to do.
But, now that I have finished complaining like I little three-year-old, I must be honest even with all these things going on I don't think I should be completely annoyed. I think there should be ways for me to find ways to be fed! Find ways for me to enjoy some more school spirit! Find ways to dance and party on my own time! Because, in the end I just feel like all I am trying to do is run away from the place where I know I was called to be, simply because I am here.
So why not make the best of it? I am blessed beyond comparison to even be able to attend College! I'll need some prayer for this and I'll definitely need some humility, but I think I can enjoy my school year! I know I can, and so I will do my best to find ways to enjoy it! I'll keep you all updated! Sorry for the rant, it's 3 am and I took a nap at 10 pm til midnight so my brain kind of exploded on me just now. To be honest I'm not even sure if half of this post even followed a logical pattern of thought.....it is what it is though.
(I write this not to put down Southeastern University, but rather to put down stubborn and prideful self in order that I might be able to enjoy the place that God has put me for now. I hope that this message does not offend anyone, this is just my personal belief towards things!)