About Me

My photo
This blog is simply meant to bring God the glory; no more and no less. I'd love to hear from you! Comments, questions, conversation. rebecca.labriola@gmail.com

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reflection on the Connecticut Shootings. Monday, December 17. 2012.

Oregon mall shooting.
Riverside robbery and shooting,
CSUF placed on lockdown.
Connecticut elementary school shooting.
Fashion Island, 50 shots fired in the air.
Bomb threats via telephone in the middle of noon Mass
at St. Rose of Liam in Newtown.
Man arrested for threatening LA elementary schools.

I just do not get it.
I do not understand why there are a bunch of evil crazies in the world,
why hundreds have to suffer at their expense,
why people have to fear holiday shopping,
and why some parents have to live the rest of their lives void of their precious children.

I do not think these incidents should result in arguments and discussions about
gun control,
or mental illnesses,
or school safety.

I think that these incidents should stir up in us an acknowledgement of the ugly evilness of sin but even greater than that,
the power of Christ’s healing.

It is going to be a long and hard road.
My guess is that many people will be asking why.
Why us?
Why right before Christmas?
Why my child?
Why did God not stop this all?
Why did God allow it?

Honestly, the only sufficient answer that comes to mind is this:
What God permits, He can redeem.
I still do not fully understand the concept which is confirmation of St. Augustine’s famous quote,
“If you can understand it, it is not God.”

God has permitted this string of heart-wrenching events this week.
But that does not mean that He does not care and
that does not mean that He was incapable of altering these events.
It means that He permitted them.
Which means He can redeem what has happened.

Maybe those children were most ready to receive God in that very moment,
maybe hundreds of people will come to Faith because of these incidents,
and maybe we will never know the form in which redemption will come.
But we can be confident in the promise that redemption will come
because He is in control
and what He has permitted,
He can redeem.
There is redemption in His name.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Truth, Lies, and Instagram. Thursday, December 6. 2012.

Late last night I was wasting time on Instagram.
There is definitely something beautiful and unique about viewing life through pictures.
I was just clicking hashtag after hashtag and picture after picture.
Creepy, I know.
But I love seeing life through others’ eyes, or rather pictures.
Last night I came across a picture that just broke my heart.

A picture came up of a girl’s wrist
all red,
all torn,
and all cut up.
She inflicted these wounds upon herself
and then posted the picture for the world to see.

Her comment was something along the lines of,
“But I’m okay, right? #sigh.”
Her friends proceeded to argue with her
in an attempt to convince her that she is worth more
than the negative attention she was trying to gain.

One of her friends was arguing however,
that, “If she busted some vein while cutting, maybe people would care.”

My heart broke even more, as if that were even possible.
I couldn’t believe the lies that were flying around like nothing at all.
It makes me so sad that this girl who has so much worth thinks so little of herself.

If only this girl could know her beauty and worth.
But the lies loom over her heart.
The lies steal her ability to see her incredible identity in the Lord.

Everyone believes certain lies that hinder their ability to see their identity in the Lord clearly.
“I will never amount to anything.”
“Nothing I do is ever good enough.”
“No one loves me.”
“I have to bust a vein for someone to care.”
The devil is at the root of those lies,
whispering them deep within our hearts.

And then there the Lord stands,
waiting with the truth to shatter those lies.
He is eager to take those lies,
reduce them to nothing,
and replace them with truth.
His truth.

He is telling you how much you are worth.
He is convincing you that He sees what you do; and He is pleased.
He is proving that He loves you.
And He cares for you more than you could ever know.
There is beauty in His truth.

Take the lies you believe and destroy them.
Fill the void with His truth,
for His truth shall set you free.

To the girl in the picture:
Know that you are worth more than you could ever imagine.
Know that you don’t need to harm yourself to gain love.
Know that someone cares, always.
Know that you do not deserve to live in lies.
Know that you deserve to live in truth.
Know that you are loved.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Switchfoot Concert. Tuesday, October 30. 2012.

This Sunday I had the privilege of seeing one of my favorite bands,
It was seriously awesome.
The lead singer, Jon Foreman, is just a man filled with such tremendous joy.
He is an incredibly talented musician
who also has a magnificent way with words.
I could literally start a whole new blog just simply gushing over Foreman’s stunning lyrics.
Their newest CD, Vice Verses, is a legitimate work of art.
I honestly do not know if I could pick a favorite song off of Vice Verses
but one of the best ones is Where I Belong.
Foreman closed the concert with this song,
leaving the attendees with something incredibly important to think about.

Where I Belong is just a whole bunch of awesome
but my favorite lyrics are close to the beginning of the song:

But I'm not sentimental
This skin and bones is a rental
And no one makes it out alive

The dude has got it.
He understands it all.
He understands this life.
He knows that this life is
our holding place and
he understands our aim and
our eternal goal.

We are not supposed to be bound to this world by material things.
It is all His.
He gives and He takes away.
We do not belong in this world
and the things of this world do not belong to us.

“I’m not sentimental.”
I would like to vouch for that
but I know that I cannot.
Far too many times I find myself
being sentimental towards material or worldly things.

My iPod has a deep scratch on the back.
My brand new Converse have a scuff mark on them.
In the moment that I find that scuff mark or that scratch,
it seems like my world is ending.
I need to remind myself though that
My materials things are damaged
but really, what does that amount to?
Jesus is not going to be in heaven asking me about my material things.
He is going to be asking,
“Were you a good Christian?”
“Did you live your life well?”
“Did you live your life for Me?”

“This skin and bones is a rental.”
Uh, blunt.
Our bodies our not our own,
they are His.
He has gifted us with these bodies
and with the life that he breathed into us.
What an honor,
what a gift these bodies are.
What a blessing for our bodies to be temples of the Holy Spirit.
How amazing that He has given us these bodies as a means to bring others closer to Him.

The other side of that is, praise God these bodies are rentals,
that they are not permanent.
Praise God that “No one makes it out alive” in this life.
Life is hard.
It is pain.
It is a struggle.
And He knows that.
He has given us a goal,
a reward,
and an end.

Praise God that He does give us this life
to learn how best prepare for the next,
for our true home.
And hopefully on that day we can sing to Him:

And on the final day I die
I want to hold my head up high
I want to tell You that I tried
To live it like a song

And when I reach the other side
I want to look You in the eye
And know that I've arrived
In a world where I belong

We do not belong here.
We belong with Him.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Subjectivity. Tuesday October 23, 2012

Through certain experiences and just life in general
one thing that I have learned is that
essentially everything in life is subjective.

And I guess subjectivity works equally to our advantage as well as to our disadvantage.
Say grades on a paper-
if the teacher favors you
or if the teacher is an easy grader
than in that sense,
subjectivity would work to your advantage.
But if the teacher is a tough grader,
your grades might not be looking so hot.

Subjectivity is a bizarre thing to me.
It honestly amazes me that everything is what it is because someone cool said so.
Get that? Yeah. It just sounds so unstable.
I dislike that it seems like society gets to decide what is and what isn’t whenever they choose to.

Though most of life is subject to society’s subjectivity,
I have found one thing that is not subjective in this world
and luckily for us,
it is the only thing in this world that truly matters:
God’s love for YOU.
His love for you is
completely, and
100% not subjective.
His love for you is real and true.
Society does not dictate His love for you.
Society does not get to decide how much He loves you.

God is Love.
That does not mean that God is super duper good at loving His people,
well He is but it means more than that.
It means He IS love.
That means He can do nothing other than love.
He is not capable of anything other than love.
God’s love for you is something that society cannot and will never dictate.
His love is not something that you must earn.

With all the subjectivity in the world,
all the changes, and
all the fluctuations,
in this mad, mad world,
know that one thing is not subjective,
one thing will never change,
God’s love for you.

Let His love for you be your strong hold,
your saving grace,
your constant,
your everything.

He loves you.
That is not subjective.
That will never change.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Hope That Disappoints Not. Wednesday, August 15. 2012.

St. Paul made a hefty promise in Romans 5:5.
He proclaimed that,"hope does not disappoint".
This passage stuck out to me.
It reads beautifully.
It is a passage filled with well, hope.
It makes me hopeful because
I know all too well that I am really good at being hopeful for things.

Two semesters ago I reeeeeally was hoping for 3 extra points to appear
so that I could get an A in Marine Biology.
Too many times to count I have hoped for plans to follow through
and they definitely did not.
Last night I was hoping I was going to wake up without a headache
but the heat got the best of me again.
Often times, what I hope for does not happen.
In my crazy, selfish, little brain I whine at God telling Him
that I was hopeful for that A,
for those plans to follow through,
and for a headache-free morning this week
He just laughs.
He laughs at my plans.
He chuckles at me trying to block out the rest of the passage
and at me being complete focused on one line of the Bible
and for my own benefit at that.

"...We rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Romans 5:2-5

Ah, very interesting.
So there are steps to obtain this hope that does not disappoint.
We must rejoice in our sufferings.
It is this rejoicing the will lead us to hope.
When we rejoice in our sufferings,
we are automatically brought so much closer to Christ.
When we are in such close union with Him,
our hopes and desires change.
Our hope will not be for an A in a class but rather,
for the salvation of souls,
or for the protection of loved ones.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting
good grades or even some material things,
it is far mor beneficial for our souls to desire things that God desires for us.
Next time, instead of my hope being for an A in the class,
my hope is going to be whatever God wills for my life.
If we hope for whatever He has in store for us
then we will truly never be disappointed
because we will trust that He has a hand in it.
Hope for His plans for your life,
it is a hope that will never disappoint.
Paul promised.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Aurora Shooting. Friday, July 20. 2012

Everything feels heavy this morning.
My phone, my drink, my body.
Seems like a struggle.
Nothing like the struggle the people in Aurora, Colorado are dealing with.
At least a dozen people dead and dozens more injured.
All because they wanted to go see a long awaited movie.
I cannot even imagine the shock.
The pain of loss.
The fear of hoping for life but only thinking about death.
My prayers go out to these people; to this town.

Through this all, the thing that is racing through my mind is HEALING.
Healing from the pain of loss.
Healing from physical pain.
Healing from the lack of trust.
Healing from heavy hearts.

This healing can only come from Christ.
My prayers go out for healing.
He is the Healer.
He can mend all that has been broken, bruised, and torn.

God, please help unite our nation.
Heal our hearts from this heavy load.
Comfort the broken.
This is where the healing begins.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Know Him. Know Peace. Thursday, July 19. 2012.

Jesus said:
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
Matthew 11:28-30

This passage confused me for the longest time.
I love this passage but I never seemed to quite get it.
This passage did not line up with life.
Life is hard and I think most people would agree.
Life never seems to be peaceful, restful, or light.
Sure, when in prayer, there is peace
or in quiet moments rest can be found
but for the majority of time, life is rough.
Life is fast-paced.
It is hard and it is harsh.
So, what was Jesus talking about?
It certainly sounds nice
and He definitely does not lie
but it just does not fit.

I guess while reading this passage
it is important to recall that we are to be in the world but not of the world.
When Jesus makes these lofty promises
He surely could not have been talking about this earthly world.
His time on earth was not peaceful, restful, and light.
His life on earth was painful, sorrowful, and hard.
Thankfully, in the end, all that He went through was incredibly redemptive.
The key to that passage seems to lie in the previous line; in the end.
I believe that that passage will ring fully true at the end of our lives; in Heaven.
While choosing Jesus on earth is surely better than denying Him,
it does not mean earthly life will be perfect.
Life will still be rough but we can rest assured that, similar to Jesus' suffering,
our suffering can be redemptive and can lead to peace and rest in Heaven.

Jesus was not lying when He proclaimed this well-known passage but rather,
He was assuring us that if we live our lives for Him,
in the end, in Heaven, we will know peace, rest, pure humility, and meekness.
Praise God.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Pleasure to Christ. A Fool to the World. Monday, June 11. 2012

I find that we are bending
and breaking
and molding
and conforming.
And not often enough to Christ.
Daily we are faced with battle of
Jesus vs. The World, Society, etc.
We are forced to make a choice.
Will we choose good?
Or will we slip?

So often I want to choose the good side; to side with Christ
but just as frequently, I fail.
I fail to choose the good because I wonder what others will think.
It worries me that I will stand out.
It is so much easier to go with the flow.
Just take the easy way out.

But then I have to think,
one day, I will have to stand before my God.
I want to be proud of the decisions that I made.
I do not want to stand before our Lord and explain to Him why I chose the world.
He gave His life so that I could follow Him.
How can I justify bypassing that selfless offer with worldly things?

This generation is so radically different than the previous ones.
In some ways, we are better off.
We have incredible technology and advancing medicine.
In other ways,
it seems like our morals and values are in a dangerously steep decline.
My great-grandparents would be absolutely appalled if they had to grow up in this generation.
As a whole, this generation is a "Me Generation" focused solely on their own benefit.

What will I wear?
Does this look good?
What on earth is she wearing?
How can I best benefit?
What will they think?
I'm better than them.
These phrases and many of the like swarm around in my head each day.
You know what should be going through my head??

How can I best glorify God?

If I lived my life to glorify Him,
there would be no negativity,
no selfishness,
no wondering if others approve.
I would humbly know that my God approves
and that to me is enough.

By the grace of God,
there are times when I do find myself making decisions that glorify Him.
When I do, I feel like the world looks upon me as a weirdo.
In my weak moments, I care what the world thinks.
In the moments when I realize that all that I do is for Him,
then it does not bother me one bit that I might be considered a freak.

People thought Jesus was insane.
John the Baptist enjoyed dipping crickets into honey, essentially.
That's bizarre.
Yet, I am fully aware of the fact that I would much rather be like these men than
be like the newest pop star.

I would rather be looked upon by the world with distain
than disappoint my God.
I would rather my God look upon me with great pleasure
than have the world's approval.

This is not only my struggle though.
This is your struggle.
This is your battle.
You are called by Him to choose Him.
Are you willing to take the risk?
Are you willing to look like a fool to the world?
Are you ready to give up the world's approval?
Is the approval of Christ enough for you?
Church, stand up!
Church, be courageous!

Casting Crowns-

We were made to be courageous
We were made to lead the way
We could be the generation
That finally breaks the chains
We were made to be courageous
We were made to be courageous

We were warriors on the front lines
Standing, unafraid
But now we're watchers on the sidelines
While our families slip away

Where are you, men of courage?
You were made for so much more
Let the pounding of our hearts cry
We will serve the Lord

We were made to be courageous
And we're taking back the fight
We were made to be courageous
And it starts with us tonight

The only way we'll ever stand
Is on our knees with lifted hands
Make us courageous
Lord, make us courageous

This is our resolution
Our answer to the call
We will love our wives and children
We refuse to let them fall

We will reignite the passion
That we buried deep inside
May the watchers become warriors
Let the men of God arise

We were made to be courageous
And we're taking back the fight
We were made to be courageous
And it starts with us tonight
The only way we'll ever stand
Is on our knees with lifted hands
Make us courageous
Lord, make us courageous

Seek justice
Love mercy
Walk humbly with your God

In the war of the mind
I will make my stand
In the battle of the heart
And the battle of the hand

In the war of the mind
I will make my stand
In the battle of the heart
And the battle of the hand

We were made to be courageous
And we're taking back the fight
We were made to be courageous
And it starts with us tonight

The only way we'll ever stand
Is on our knees with lifted hands
Make us courageous
Lord, make us courageous

We were made to be courageous
Lord, make us courageous

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Catholic Church and Homosexuality. Thursday, May 10. 2012.

Yesterday history was made.
I guess, technically, history is made every day
but it is a matter of what is remembered and what is forgotten.
On Sunday Pujols hit his first home run with the Angels.
Southern California was elated.
History was made but my guess is that,
unless you are a diehard Pujols or Angels fan,
the home run will be forgotten within a matter of a couple of weeks.

Yesterday however is something that will be remembered among most all people
and probably for a long time.
Our president, Barack Obama,
is the first American president to come out and publicly support gay marriage.

There is a lot to this.
It is a well known fact that the Catholic Church does not support homosexual marriage.
The Church is not trying to separate or exclude anyone,
the Church is holding fast to its religious roots, to Scripture, and to God's truth.

Starting off in Genesis,

God created mankind in his image;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
[Genesis 1:27]
God blessed them and God said to them:
Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.
[Genesis 1:28]

God created male and female.
He essentially told the male and female to have sex and have children.
He, as Creator, gave men and women their sexuality.
Sex and sexuality are not bad things.
They are good things granted that sex is performed within the bonds of marriage
and that sexuality is seen as God desired it.

In Leviticus it bluntly states,

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, they have committed an abomination.
[Leviticus 20:13]

And, simply the physical
God created Adam and Eve that they would be fruitful and multiply.
He created their bodies to fit together and become one.
A man and a man and likewise a women and a women cannot become one
in the same physical aspect that a man and a women can.
God created Adam and Eve so that the two of them could bring life into the world.
The Church supports marriage between a man and a woman so that they may bring life into the world; the same thing that Adam and Eve were created for.

However, the Church is based on Love Himself and for this reason, the Church as a whole and in parts is called to love. This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about homosexuals:

God created man as male and female and destined them for each other in a bodily way as well. The Church accepts without reservation those who experience homosexual feelings. They should not be discriminated against because of that. At the same time, the Church declares that all homosexual relations in any form are contrary to the order of creation. [CCC 2358-2359]

The Church as a whole and as parts has a duty.
Its duty is to first and foremost follow the laws of creation,
its next duty is to love.
Homosexuals should not be treated as some outcast by the Church
because of the way that they feel towards the same sex.

This is where lines get blurred sometimes.
Just because the Church should treat everyone with love, including homosexuals,
does not mean that the Church should accept and be okay with homosexuality.
Christ did treat everyone with love; sinner, saint, and leper alike.
However, He did not condone and support sin.
The idea is to love the sinner, not the sin.
Love the homosexual not the idea of homosexuality.
The traditional definition of love is challenged by both St. Thomas Aquinas and the philosopher, Aristotle who both agree that the definition of love is "to will the good of another".
Willing the good of another does not coincide with accepting and allowing others to sin.

Now the whole idea of separation between Church and state.
I understand, in some ways, why people bring that up as a concept
but I cannot help but think about our country's roots.
The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights
were put together and written by the fathers of our country.
Whether you want to call them religious or not, they undoubtedly had a strong set of morals.
People are not just born with morals and values, those things are instilled in us.
Morals and values ultimately come from the idea that there is a higher power,
otherwise they would not be necessary because there would be no one or nothing of seniority to answer to.

The Pledge of Allegiance firmly states that we are,
One nation under God

and our coins, they preach,
In God We Trust

The idea that there is a higher power seems to be in decline.
The practices of morals and values seems to be going down the toilet.
If you are not politically correct, you are wrong.

I personally think that, as a whole, we are making the wrong choices as a country.
I think that we need to learn to love
but we need to not lower our standards and morals and values.

I believe in a God who expects much, but who will, in turn, give us much.
I believe in a God who challenges us.
I believe in a God who expects us to love and to hold ourselves to a standard.

With all of this, there is no point in me pounding my views onto another person.
It is my duty to pray for our country and pray for our president.
It is my hope and prayer that you accept this duty as well.
The power of prayer is unimaginable.
God is in control.
He always was.
He always will be.

"If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under."
-Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

John 3:7-10. Tuesday, April 17. 2012.

Jesus is hilarious.
As I listened to the gospel be read during mass this morning,
I had to try hard to not laugh.
The gospels are so alive and it is so easy to picture exactly what might have happened.
Today's gospel came from John 3:7-15,
this post will talk about John 3:7-10.
This passage is a dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus.

Jesus says:

7 Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above.
8 The wind blows where it pleases; you can hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

Jesus was talking about how the Spirit moves within a person.
He likens the movement of the Spirit to the wind.
The wind can be heard and its effects can be seen
but the wind itself cannot be seen.

9 'How is that possible?' asked Nicodemus.

10 Jesus replied, 'You are the Teacher of Israel, and you do not know these things!

Here is where I had to contain my laughter.
Just picture it.
Jesus is talking to the Teacher of Israel, someone Jesus commissioned,
Someone who is to witness to the faith,
And even he cannot understand the movement of the Spirit.
I pictured Jesus hitting His forehead with His palm
and letting out a big Doh!
"Oy, Nicodemus! Learn your stuff bro!"

The Spirit is alive in each and every one of us.
We must spread the news!
The Spirit is alive and well.
We are called to the same job and Nicodemus;
to spread the good news of the lively Spirit.
But if we do not believe or do not understand,
then how are we supposed to spread the word?
Jesus calls us all to be His disciples and His messengers.
How are we to successfully spread the new of the Spirit
if we do not know the Spirit?
We must know the Spirit.
We must know the Lord.
We must become acquainted
if we are going to share the Spirit.

We are not of this world.
We are of the Lord's world.
Get to know the Spirit.
Love the Spirit.
Know the Spirit.
Share the Spirit.
Be the light of the world.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How Ready Am I For Heaven? Tuesday, April 10. 2012.

How ready am I for Heaven?
I was driving up the 405 pondering this question;
Almost as if it were a game show question.
The conclusion that I came to was that I am in no way ready to enter Heaven.
I am way too judgmental, I complain too much,
and I tend to be fairly prideful (can't you tell by all the I's?)
None of that will be allowed in Heaven so why should I put those things to practice on Earth?
Things like humility, love, charity, and most importantly, adoration of our Lord
will be welcomed in Heaven.
I should be practicing those things now.

Our God is a gracious God.
He knows that without His grace and mercy, we would have no hope of Heaven at all.
But still, that isn't enough for Him.
He loves us so much that He desires to do more for us.
Each and every day we wake up,
we have the chance to practice those virtues that will be found in Heaven.
And each day when we fail, that isn't the end of the line for us.
Our God is a merciful God; He gifts us, day after day, with time to better ourselves for Heaven.

The other day I read a sad story in the paper.
There was a teen girl who died in a pretty violent car accident.
It happened to be that she went to the college that I go to.
This morning when I was in class,
my criminal justice teacher told us that the girl who had died was actually in our class.
That was a real eye-opener.
It was so sad to hear my professor talk about what a beautiful and neat person this girl was.
Teen deaths are so hard to comprehend.
We want justification and answers and reasons.
Maybe, just maybe this beautiful girl was ready for Heaven.
Maybe she understood humility, love, charity, and adoration of the Lord.

Each day is a gift.
It is an opportunity.
Each day is a chance to better ourselves,
to lay down the pride,
and to glorify our great God.
Even when the days seem rough or monotonous,
all glory to Him.
Even the hardest day should be seen as a blessing and
as a gift to perfect ourselves.
He gave us life.
Let us give our lives to Him.
All glory to God.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"Lord, Grant That I May Love You." Sunday, March 18. 2012.

"Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will."
- St. Alphonsus Liguori

One of my favorite prayers.
My heart quickens its pace when I read this prayer.
Such a beautiful plea.
Such a raw plea.
Such a bold plea.
A plea that requires full confidence and unwavering trust.

Let me love You, Lord,
for this is my only hope, my only desire, and my only wish.
After I have learned to love You,
Do with me as You will; whatever You wish, whatever You desire.
Wherever You want me to go, send me.
Whoever You want me to be, form me into that person.
Whatever You want to me to take away from my life or add to my life, let it be done.

What profound trust.
I wish I could trust like that.
I hope that I can get to a point in my life where I will be fully satisfied with loving the Lord
and needing or wanting nothing else.
And not only that but completely letting go of my own life and letting Him do what He desires.

Lord, grant me the privilege to get to this humble place,
Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Invisible Children- Kony 2012 and Supporting Life. Thursday, March 8. 2012.

I did it.
I finally spent 30 minutes of my day watching Invisible Children's Kony 2012 video.
It was a great video.
It held my attention and the plea is beautiful.
I agree with the movement completely.

If you have not seen the video and would like to,
it is on the Kony 2012 website, here is the link.

For those of you who do not have time to watch the video or do not know what the movement is about, Invisible Children gives this summary on their Kony 2012 website-




Invisible Children's mission is to arrest Kony so that not another child will have to undergo the previously mentioned horrors.
Invisible Children has already made huge progress.
Their plan of attack is unity.
They are hoping to transcend all political, racial, and class barriers.
Their website lists names of politicians, celebrities, radio show hosts, and musicians who have agreed to support the mission and to stop Kony.
Really it is quite beautiful to see this list of people.
Males and females.
Democrats and Republicans.
Former presidents and current politicians.
African Americans, Caucasians, and Asians.
All speaking in one voice.

But, as I watched the video, I could't help but think that there are so many people who were not given the opportunity to participate in this mission.

Since January 22, 1973 somewhere around 50 million babies have been aborted.
50 million.
In less than 40 years.
50 million.
I cannot even comprehend that number.

Invisible Children says that Joseph Kony is the world's worst war criminal.

When you do the math, for the past 26 years, he has killed over 1,150 children a year.
Absolutely awful.
Something needs to be done.

However, when you do the math for abortions,
every year for the past 39 years, we have killed over 128,200 babies per year.
Yeah, I said we.
That is not to say that you personally have had any direct involvement with an abortion at all.
However, that is to say that maybe we are committing a worse crime than Kony;
through our silence.
Our silence can be deadly.
Our tolerance can be deadly.
Our indifference can be deadly.
Our complacency can be deadly.
When we are silent, tolerant, indifferent, and complacent millions of lives are lost.
So far, 50 million.
Maybe, we and our silences are the true criminals.

The babies in the womb should be given just as much of a voice as the children in Africa.
They all deserve a voice.
I have a voice.
You have a voice.

Invisible Children's idea is that,
"where you live should not dictate whether you live."
The children living in third world countries should have just as much of a chance as the child living in the multi-million dollar home.
The child living in the womb should have just as much of a chance as you and I.
"Where you live should not dictate whether you live."

So, why then is abortion such a touchy and political subject
but Invisible Children can get so many dynamic supporters and followers to essentially say that, "Yes! Children should have the right to live!"?

I believe the child in the womb has the right to life.
I believe the children in Africa should not suffer and should have the right to life.
I believe it is wrong to pick and choose which children I think have the right to live.
They all have the right to live.
Who am I to say otherwise?
Who am I to be so hypocritical that I support Invisible Children
but when it comes to babies in the womb, I become silent.
My silence is their grave.
Our voices can be their life.

If we are going to support the truth that each person should have life,
then we must support it fully.
Don't be a hypocrite.
Don't support life half-heartedly.

Jesus came so that all might have eternal life.
He is not selective.
And if He is the giver of life,
then who are we to be selective?

Children in Africa.
Babies in the womb.
They are one in the same.
They are people created by God.
We have no right to condemn them to death
but rather the duty to ensure that they have life.
We were given life.
We have a voice.
We serve the God of life.
He is counting on us.
He lives in each of us.
We each have the right to live;
whether that be living in the womb or in Africa.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Love that Erases Pain and Brings Joy. Tuesday. February 7, 2012.

Last night I was talking with one of my close friends.
We were just talking about life.
The good and the bad.
He was telling me how all the lows in his life made him a strong person.
He told me how he is still thankful for even the lowest of lows in his life.
He shared that he wouldn't change his past even if he could.
And then I asked him about his youngest siblings.
That changed the mood of the night instantly.
His face lit up.
Suddenly his eyes were filled with joy.
His past was a speck of dust compared to the love he has for his youngest siblings.

Instantly, his love for his siblings reminded me of the Father's love for us.
It amazed me.
It was a perfect example.
In that moment, nothing else mattered to my friend but the love he has for his siblings.
His love for his youngest brother and sister is so full and so pure and so unconditional,
and my friend is human.
To see how much he loves his siblings and to know that he is human makes me wonder how great the Father's love is for us.
It was so overwhelming to try and imagine how much the Father must love us since His love for us is truly unconditional, pure, complete, and perfect.

"You are my beloved, and with you I am well pleased."
He loves us.
We are His beloved.
His love for us cannot be contained.
His love for us cannot be limited.
It cannot be described.
We can only imagine.
It is so great.
He is outside of time, therefore His love for us is not in a time crunch; He has all eternity to love.

We are so blessed that He loves us so deeply and so dearly.
We are so blessed that He gives us earthly examples of His love.
We are so blessed to have this earthly life to attempt to make a dent in understanding the love that He has for us.

Praise God for the highs,
praise Him for the lows,
praise Him for our lives,
praise Him for the things that bring us joy,
praise Him for the ability to be able to begin to comprehend Him,
praise Him for the ability to love,
praise Him for the joy the love can bring, even through our pain,
praise Him for the strength of the Love
who washes away our sins.
Praise Him.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus"- A different perspective on the controversial video. Thursday, January 12, 2012.

Watch the video first (if you have not already) and then read the blog.
Please feel free to comment, I am more than happy to discuss any or all of this blog.


This video has been all over my Facebook today.
And I finally decided to watch it.
There really are so many points made in this video.
His main point is Jesus>Religion.
I agree with many of his ideas. I really do.
Obviously there are some things that are just flat out wrong, in my opinion.
Most of the other blogs I read pretty much just dissected the whole video
but I do not know that his ideas can be fairly dissected for one reason;
the reason is his idea of the definition of religion vs. the definition of religion.
Stick with me.

If my definition of religion is this:
Go to church on Sunday,
smoke pot on Monday,
deny Jesus on Tuesday,
lie to my parents on Wednesday,
stab a friend in the back on Thursday,
get drunk on Friday,
and as he suggested in the video-
view pornography on Saturday,
and then end/begin the week with church on Sunday
and put on repeat,
the YES! I am going to be confused about religion and its connection to a righteous Jesus.

If my definition of religion is based on the Latin origin it will look like this:
The word religion stems from the Latin and ultimately means to rely, to bind, to fasten.
Many people think of a religion as a set of rules that one is to live their life by.
Far enough. That is part of it.
Put the two together.
With religion, we are able to fasten ourselves to God.
To rely on God.
To bind ourself to God.
Without religion,
Without that reliance,
Without that bind,
Without that fastening,
We will likely make our own rules.

Two severely different definitions.
His definition of religion is more clearly the first one.
On a personal level, I can relate more to the second definition (or at least I try my hardest).
Because of the two radically different definitions of religion, I could not sit down and argue with him fairly. I would gladly share with him my beliefs and why I believe those things but we simply could not discuss the topic of religion fairly.

I am a swim coach.
You're going to get an example from swimming.
At pool A the highest level of lessons taught is level 6. They are almost ready for swim team.
Pool B is geared towards younger families. The highest level of lessons taught there is level 3. These kids are just barely learning to swim on their own. They can swim about 2 strokes and then they need some major help.
These levels are very different from each other. Each level has its own description or definition.
If a coach from pool A and a coach from pool B meet and discuss the highest levels taught at their pools, there is going to be a bit of confusion. Essentially, they are talking about the same thing- the highest level of swim taught at their pool. But their definitions of the highest levels are very different from each other.

Back to the video.
His understanding of religion in one word essentially- hypocrisy.

My understanding of religion- a bind to Christ and rules to help guide my life to reach eternal life.
We cannot have a fair argument of whether Jesus>Religion.
Our definitions are too different.
That is my first point.

Now onto my second point.
I do not agree that religion=hypocrisy.
That is what he believes.
Or that is what he understand religion to be.
The reason he understands religion to be purely hypocritical is because he is wounded.
In some way, he felt let down by religion.
I can guarantee you that he experienced some pain that in his mind religion was supposed to keep him free from.
Whether that pain was a divorce, or poverty, or feeling like an outcast....the list goes on.
He was hurt.
And to deal with that hurt he decides to hate religion.
He is not hating on religion but rather his understanding of religion.
He hates the fact that something went wrong;
something went against the religion that he understood as good and as a bind to Jesus.
As a result of that pain,
a wound is left in his heart and he sees religion as hypocritical.
In my eyes, it does no good to slam him with my beliefs and tell him he is wrong.
Remember, something happened to make him think this way.
A Christian lashing out at him is not setting the best example nor is it helping to heal his wound.
This goes for each person you come in contact with.
It is so important to interact with people remembering that they are who they are for a reason.
The grouchy man next door was not born that way; something made him that way.
This man was not born hating religion or thinking that religion is all hypocritical; something or someone made him think that way.

Onto to my last point.
He was wounded.
Thousands of people are left wounded each year because their idea of religion or of the church was let down.
It is each person's job as the body of Christ to step up and truly act like a Christian so that there is no room for hypocrisy.
Obviously we are human and we are going to make mistakes.
No one is perfect.
We are going to fail sometimes.
But only good can come from truly following Christ and His teachings.
As Christians we should watch this video with great sorrow.
He is so deeply wounded that he feels that religion is a hypocrisy.
As the body of Christ we should feel some sense of guilt for the fact that he was treated so poorly by a Christian or he witnessed Christians acting in such a poor manner that he completely disregards religion and believes it to be a hypocrisy.
What happened?
Something major in his life happened and we as Christians should reach out not only to him but to all who have been hurt by the church or by religion.
It is our duty, as Christians, to kill them with love.
Love them so deeply and heartfelt that the huge wound heals a little.
Be the Christian that overturns the pain.
Be the Christian that loves like Jesus.
Be the Christian that does not break people down.
Be the Christian that builds people up in the name of Jesus.