Fifty Shades

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and that means Singles-Awareness jokes, lots of pepto-bismol pink, fluffy things, chocolate and, as TV adds, media, and probably your coworkers won’t let you forget, Fifty Shades Darker.

This post is to all my Christian followers, and those who are curious about Christian’s standards on entertainment. I will be the first to admit, I am preachy when it comes to this subject, but for today, I just want to offer some biblical advice to my Christian brothers and sisters who are curious about this series of movies/books and are trying to rationalize their way into going to see it.

I will be careful to live a blameless life—
when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
in my own home.
I will refuse to look at
anything vile and vulgar.
I hate all who deal crookedly;
I will have nothing to do with them.
I will reject perverse ideas
and stay away from every evil.

~Psalm 101 2-4 (NLT)

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

~Ephesians 5:3&4 (NIV)

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

~Psalm 119:9 (ESV)

Don’t tell yourself those rational-lies. Keep your way pure. Keep your heart and mind free of the sin of this world and pursue true, honest, gentle, and guiltless love. What you put in your mind effects you, fellow believers. Don’t give Satan a foothold.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

~Philippians 4:8

Need an alternative movie night idea? Here are two great titles! Both available on DVD.

“Old-fashioned”

“Priceless” (Available Feb. 14th on DVD)

Happy Valentine’s Day! Let true love win the day!

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I am set free

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

~Galatians 5:1

God has set me free from sin, temptations, and fear. I am no longer a slave.

He has set me free from secrets, self-doubt, self-loathing and condemnation.

Stepping into the light, letting His glory shine down on even my darkest parts, He has made me new. Clean. Forgiven. A spotless bride before His throne.

I cannot express how extremely grateful I am that He loved me enough to not only die for me, but pursue me and woo me, take time and effort and endless resources to make sure that I know how loved and cherished I am to Him.

Where once I was bound by the flesh, He has severed my chains and given me life, eternal! Hallelujah!

I am currently waiting for for my favorite dude to get off work, as he has my car at the moment, and I told him I would help him cook this evening. (Mostly just keep him company while he cooks, he’s a better cook than I am by far.) And was just struck with the desire to express how awesome God has been to me. And that He longs to do the same for you. If you don’t know Christ as your Savior and Father, you are missing out on something spectacular. Not fire insurance, but on a relationship that far surpasses any earthly relationship you could ever make. God is seeking after you, to save you from yourself. And His love for you is greater than anything you could possibly imagine.

If you’re interested in finding out more, or have questions, please feel free to comment on this post and leave me a way to contact you, and I will be happy to reply. 🙂

Anyway, that’s all I really have to say at the moment. Hopefully my dude will show up soon. I have a hug for him that I’ve been saving all day! 😀

TTFN!!

 

~TQG

Can I be honest?

This post may or may not be very long, include multiple, seemingly unrelated topics, and appear somewhat disjointed. You have been forewarned.

I heard a song the other day one Air1. It was incredible, it set a fire in my mind, a chain reaction that lead to the most electrifying, thrilling thoughts about Heaven. Allow me to share with you the gist of the thoughts it inspired within my lil’ head.

We often think of Heaven for what will be there when we arrive. The untouched, pure nature, the animals, the people we miss, and of course, more than any of that, finally being with our Creator. And that is AWESOME. But there’s a part of Heaven I never even considered in depth until hearing this song.

We’ll be there. The real us. Not the sin hampered, war torn version of us that is present currently, but the part of us that is true and perfect. Everything truly good about us, the things that were knit into our being by God, those little glimmers of what we are truly meant to be when fully realized in Jesus will finally be set completely free of temptation, sin, and the weight of the burdens of this world.

Yes, Jesus has already freed us from sin, but how many of us have had those many, many times when we tried to rely on our own strength to fight temptation and failed miserably? *raises hand*  We are free from sin, but sin still has and influence on our lives, whether through our own actions or indirectly through the actions of others. Take a few moments to just sit and imagine being totally yourself, minus every sinful thought you’ve ever had, minus every memory of every failure, every unkind thought that ever crossed your mind. The freedom of no longer having to guard your heart, your eyes, your ears, and your mind from the evils of this world. Total freedom. Totality of redemption. The fullness of perfection. The weightlessness of your soul, no longer oppressed by a hostile world, or poisoned by the unavoidable inundation of crude humor, language and images.

I don’t know about you, but that is extremely exciting to me.

With that in mind, please enjoy the song. 🙂

If, at this point you’ve wondered about the title and warning at the beginning of this post, “Be honest about what?”, here it is.

I haven’t actually sat down and spent time in my Bible in …. I’m not even sure. A while.

I haven’t spent true, quality time praying and talking/listening to God in almost as long. Not counting the three or four times I’ve cried myself to sleep while talking to God recently, or the times I’ve spent maybe 20 minutes in prayer in my car before work.

Related to the above, I’ve cried myself to sleep a lot lately. Actually, I’ve just plan cried a lot.

I have been struggling so hard to be positive, to put effort into my friendships, to even reply to text messages.

Now, I consider myself to be somewhat of a smart cookie. (Is that a phrase? Or is it tough cookie? Because cookies should be soft, tough cookies are gross…) I know that if I solved the first problem (spending time in God’s Word), the other ones would pretty much take care of themselves. I know this. Truly. How can I experience the peace of God when I don’t spend time seeking His face? Answer, I can’t. I must seek His presence if I want to be lifted from this depressive state I’m currently in. But will you, whomever you may be, please pray for me? Even if it’s just a quick little prayer while you’re reading this post, it would be appreciated.

I miss my mom. I miss home cooked food. I miss having time to make my own home cooked food. I miss having someone to talk about “girl stuff” with. That’s what I’m crying over. I miss the life I used to have. Before the loss. I feel crushed under the weight of that loss sometimes.

We finally had her stone engraved and placed. It’s beautiful, but, they only put one “T” in Matthew. Not that big of a deal, you say? No one will notice? That’s true. But I cried about it for almost 30 minutes when I noticed it.

wpid-20150919_120512.jpg

I wanted it to be perfect. Does she care if there’s a T missing from Matthew? Nooo. But still, it bothered me that much. Less so now, but still… It’s there.

I feel like a total train wreck on the inside lately, and I miss being a child. Being able to just break down and cry whenever and wherever you are when you feel overwhelmed, and it be socially acceptable. Adults aren’t allowed to break down. Adults have to be… “adult” about it. Take it in stride. Keep on keeping on. But I feel like I just need a week to break down, fall apart completely, and start from scratch, much like I did when I was off work for two weeks after my mom died.

But I can’t do that. I have to keep going. Keep smiling. It may be a dark night, but there is a dawn approaching. I can’t see it yet, but through the promises of Christ, I know it’s coming. I have hope.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

~Isaiah 42:3 (Matthew 12:20 as well.)

I may be a bruised weed, but He will mend me and set me straight and tall again.

Home Sick

No, not sick for home, or sick of home, but literally sent home from work because I’m sick. Can’t be sneezing and sniffling when you’re supposed to be examining peoples eyes.

Not happy about missing 7 of my 8 hours, but it’s a welcome break all the same. Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be feeling well, and not miss a second day.

It’s been a good thing though… I spent some time reading James, journaling, and dealing with some things I’ve had on my heart. I had a sudden paradigm shift this afternoon as I wrote in my prayer journal. For years, whenever I’ve struggled with something, I’ve prayed for God to removed the obstacle, or to give me the strength to overcome it. I’ll be very honest, when praying this way, I’ve never really had much success. Today as I sat there trying to understand why, I realized I’ve had the wrong motives. I could have just as easily said “God, make my life easy so I don’t have to struggle”, or “God, make me strong so I can figure things out on my own”. That may not have been what I said, but if I’m honest, it is most definitely what I was asking for. And when I asked with those motives, it was like talking to brick wall.

Today as I began to pray, I changed the emphasis: “Jesus, show me how to rely on Your strength, to rest in Your righteousness. Make my heart sensitive to Your heart, and Your desires, align it with Your plan. Embolden it with Your courage and confidence that only Your Spirit can supply. Be my strength when I am weak.” The power I felt as I wrote these words down in a letter to God was amazing. There is power in prayer! Amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring power! Like feeling the Holy Spirit smile as if to say, “Ahh, there you go. Now you’re getting it.” 

Really refreshing and encouraging feeling.

In other news, I’ve redesigned this blog! It was in need of a serious upgrade. If you’re an email subscriber and don’t visit the actual blog, please do come check it out! I intend to continue to personalize it as I have the time. Hoping to find a header image that better reflects the theme of my posts. Feel free to send me ideas if you come across something.

I’ve now been at the clinic for 9 weeks! I’m enjoying my work there, and eager to continue learning more. Also, my Dad and I have been attending a new church and we’re really loving it. (If I’ve mentioned this before here, just ignore me, I’m sick and on lots of cold meds.) So I’m very excited about that. 🙂

Beyond that, I’ve got nothing new to report!

I’m gunna try and get over this nasty cold now! 😛 Go do something fun outside in my place! 🙂

~TQG

Note To Self

Dear Self,

I know you struggle sometimes, but in case I don’t tell you enough, you’re beautiful. Thank you for being so strong and transparent, the world sees you even when you feel invisible. I appreciate your heart and your stubbornness. Your willingness to love even after being discarded and forgotten is admirable. I’m so proud to know that you’re growing to acknowledge your worth in God’s eyes. And if I could tell you one thing it would be this:

You are never as broken as you feel. Sure, you have a couple of scars, and a couple of bad memories, but then again, all great heroes do. Jesus sure does.

God’s got this. All of it. He has a plan for you. I know you’re scared, scared of loss, of rejection, of loneliness, of seeing your dreams fade in the desert of this world, never getting the chance to sprout and grow. But God knit you together, dreams and all. He will bring them to life for you, just you wait and see.

 

Food Network Christianity

Today a Facebook friend who I oddly enough have never met in person and rarely talk to had a really cool post that I want to share with you. (I asked his permission first! :D)

His name is Liam, I creepily stalk follow he and his girlfriend on twitter & Instagram because I think they are a cute, Godly couple. You can find them here: His, Hers. (Also both their names start with “L” which is also cute!)

Periodically, I feel the need to write a long post of thoughts I had throughout the day. This is one of those, so brace yourself haha. Also, not all my thoughts are complete and it’s kind of a quickly-typed up mess, so please bear with me. I hope the point gets across.
I came across a verse today that I glance over reasonably often. It’s the kind of verse that people frame and hang on the walls of their home, or a verse that gets slapped onto the bumpers of cars, or one that you see put on mugs.
This basically means that it’s the kind of verse that I look over and ignore. It’s heard so often that it means nothing to me. But when I heard it today, I felt particularly drawn to it. It’s Psalm 34:8:
“Taste and see that the LORD is good”.
Here’s why it stuck out to me today. I think that too many Christians are similar to people who like to watch the Food Network channel. In other words, we watch people make/eat delicious food, but if you’re like me, you’ll never actually make it for yourself haha. You know that the food is probably awesome, but you never actually taste it. You just assume that it’s good.
This transposes to what I’m talking about, because I find myself talking about the goodness of God, knowing that he is good, and having faith that he is good in spite of the bad things I go through, but never truly tasting the goodness of God and feeling it’s benefits. When that’s all we do, we become like the person watching the Food Network. We know that the stuff they’re making must be good, but we never actually taste it. If anything, this verse makes one thing abundantly clear:
God wants us to taste his goodness.
Knowing that God is good is great, and I would never discourage having faith in the goodness of God. But unless you taste and see his goodness, then how can it actually help you? I’m sorry, but watching somebody eat food on TV never once satisfied my hunger haha. And I think that most people are hungry for the goodness of God in their lives.
This then begs the question: how can we taste and see the goodness of God? Well, I think that the answer to this question is actually found in the same chapter, in verses 18-19:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;”
If you’re looking to taste of God’s goodness by experiencing a pain and trouble-free life, then I’m sorry, but you’re looking in the wrong place. In this verse alone, David uses words like “brokenhearted”, “crushed in spirit”, and “many troubles” to describe the righteous person. Christianity doesn’t promise that you will never experience hardship, but here’s what it does promise: We can taste the goodness of God and find comfort in him *through* our hardships. God will be close to us when we are broken hearted. He will save us when we feel crushed. He will deliver us when we have many troubles.
Taste the goodness of God when you are brokenhearted by knowing and feeling that he is close to you. Build your relationship with him. Encounter Him in your prayers, because he is close to you.
Taste the goodness of God when you are crushed in spirit by knowing and believing that God crushed His own Son so you could experience healing: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). This is more than just head knowledge — this is something that can radically change us. God offers you spiritual healing through the sacrifice that Jesus gave, and this is something he makes readily available. I don’t think there is any better way to taste the goodness of God than when we grab onto the truths of the cross.
Taste the goodness of God when you have many troubles by stepping out in faith and believing that God will deliver you from those things and sustain you. Christ did more than just die. He rose and he is living to act on our behalf by interceding for us. He has also given us His Spirit, which will strengthen us in times of conflict. Again, this can be so much more than head knowledge. These are truths we can experience.
I would encourage you to stop trying to see the goodness of God in *spite* of your bad circumstances. Ignoring the bad things and looking at the happy things won’t always fix the problem. This isn’t to say that we can’t taste the goodness of God in the happy things of life, because I think we most definitely can and should. But this passage takes us so much deeper than that. According to these verses, we can taste and see the goodness of God *through* our *bad* circumstances. Even the bad things of life are conduits through which the goodness of God can be conducted — that’s the God that we serve.
Taste of His goodness. Don’t be a Food Network watcher.

– @leeman729 (Twitter)

 

A Taste Of Adventure

So I’ve been back from Oklahoma for a few days now, been back to work, back in my own bed, back to the daily grind. (Does no one else think of coffee when you hear that phrase? It makes me want coffee…)

My second day back was kinda crazy, my mom came into my room and woke me up with the words “Moriah, I need your help, there’s blood all over the kitchen floor.” As it turned out, my rambunctious and prey driven dog Camo, an Akita/Labrador cross, took off so hard that he ripped open his claw horizontally, all the way into the toe. Looked like a crime scene. I took him to the vet who sedated him, cut off the dangling portion of claw, cleaned it with a saline wash and squirted superglue into the open part of the claw to prevent bleeding. After a day of being high on drugs, he was still whimpering from pain and his toe very swollen, so the vet gave him three pills to take daily, a pain reliever, an anti-inflammatory and an antibiotic. Now he seems much more comfortable and much happier, though still limping some. Silly pup.

My trip was great! Getting to travel alone was very confidence boosting. Nice to know that I can as a matter of fact, make it on my own. Be independent. The wedding was great, I met lots of interesting, fun people, and I had a lot of spontaneous fun, both solo and with my cousins friends. I swam in a saltwater pool every day at the hotel, went to a free concert downtown with a group of people, walked to little cafe’s and diners alone downtown several times, and experienced the fear/rush of having to find my departure gate in the Atlanta airport. Which ended up being a long walk, train ride, and two escalators away from my arrival gate. It was such a liberating time. I actually felt like an adult, not in the “back to work to earn money because I’m an adult” way that I normally do, but in the “I can make decisions for myself and find my own way without help because I’m an adult” way. Normally, because I live with my parents, if I get invited to something or want to go somewhere, I have to ask them first and can’t really be “spontaneous”. But while I was there, no one was really “responsible” for me, my grandparents sort of were, but not to the same degree as my parents would be. So when I was invited somewhere or decided I wanted to walk to a cafe and get lunch, I just went. Maybe told them I was leaving before I went, but didn’t “ask permission” to go. It was awesome. It made me wish I could afford a small apartment of my own nearby, so I could have that sort of freedom at home. But, sadly, a part time Pet Care Associate at Petsmart does not make enough to pay rent or water or electric bills. Unless you want to go without food. Then it might be possible!

The month after next I’ll be turning 21. If you follow my blog and read it much I’m sure you’ll correctly assume that they’ll be no “partying” or getting drunk for my 21st, but there WILL be alcohol. Not much, just some. There’s an apple ale that I’ve wanted to try for a long time, so I’m thinking of buying just one bottle (beer bottle sized bottle) of it to try. It’ll probably be nasty, but that’s okay. If I’ve never made it clear before, I don’t have an issue with drinking, I have an issue with getting drunk. So, if you can’t have just one glass of wine or just one beer, don’t drink. If that’s not a temptation for you, by all means, enjoy your one glass. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and probably should not drink, so if that’s you, don’t. Some people have alcoholism in their family history and thus wish to avoid it altogether, and I highly respect and honor that decision, and if it bothers them to have others drink around them, I would definitely never drink while with them. If I married a man who felt that way, it would be my pleasure to honor him by never drinking again. But, as that is not the case for my birthday, I’m going to have my one small drink. Funny enough, I love margaritas, but only when there isn’t any tequila in them. I like just the crushed ice and the fruit flavored mix, so it’s like a slushy. Tequila is so sharp, it ruins it completely. Which amused my father when he made me an alcohol-free margarita a while back. ^_^ I think they call that a “virgin” margarita, but I have an issue with using the word virgin to describe anything other than what the bible uses it for. Just a personal preference, I like to keep certain important words holy.

I think that’s one of the ways our culture has degraded itself, using meaningful words flippantly so many times that they no longer have weight when used. Much like the word “awesome”, which should mean “inspires awe”, but we use it to describe everything. I’m guilty of this too, but after trying for like a month to stop using it, I never managed to prevent it from slipping out. So I gave up. 😛 I don’t think God minds, or at least he hasn’t seen fit to press upon me the need to change that verbal habit. And he does with other things regularly. Such as “suck”, as in “that sucks” which I feel very convicted about not using, “screwed up”, “pissed off” or using “god” as an expression of anything other than speaking about God himself. Though the first three of those are not “bad words” per se, I feel that the use of them is tacky, degrading, and does not conform to any of the biblical standards of what our speech should be as holy children of God. And the bible makes it extremely clear that God’s name is holy and not to be misused, so it’s important to me to honor that.

For those of my non-Christian followers who look at Christianity as a list of do’s and don’ts, I hope you realize that I don’t put these parameters on myself because I think God won’t love me if I don’t or because I think it’s what I have to do, I do it because God died for me so I can have eternal life, and I want to honor him in anyway I possibly can. I do it because I want to. Because by doing it, I set a better example of the purity of Christ, so others will be less distracted by me and more attracted to Him. My personality, my appearance, are works of art that he created, drawing some attention to myself in the right way is fine, but distracting people with crass speech or unkind words is not. Or immodest clothing, actually. Immodest clothes distract the minds of both men and women and takes their thoughts off of what is pure and right and tempts them into either lustful thoughts or criticizing thoughts, whereas attractive, modest clothing causes appreciation of the excellent design and beauty God created. Which I think it pretty awesome.

Anyway, I’m kind of wasting my day off by sitting on the couch in gym cloths. I will actually go to the gym…. Eventually…