Friday, August 30, 2013

IN THE MEANTIME - A life on hold.

We've all had terrible birthdays. We've all felt a stall in our lives. We've all faced unemployment, especially in this economy. This is how we find ourselves stuck in life. We become so focused on making end meet that we lose sight of our purpose. We lose sight of God.

Workaholic Jazz learns this the hard way when both her boss and her boyfriend let her go on her birthday. As a last resort her sister hooks her up with a part-time job teaching English at a community center where most of her students are older than her and refuse to cooperate. What really upsets her is that she’s partnered with a smug real estate attorney.

Achieving an English degree had certainly set her on the right path. Somehow, she lost sight of her purpose during her battle to keep a job. All she needed for her sister to give her a little push. After fighting God most of the way, she finally realizes her true potential for teaching. She also discovers how rewarding teaching is both for her students and for herself.

By removing her self-centered fiance and her degrading job, the Lord took away the things that distracted her from her full potential, from her path, and from happiness itself. Then, He placed her with a job that helped her to find her purpose and a man loved her more than himself.

I could not agree more with the message of this film. In fact, I've been living it. I let myself get so caught up in my job that I lost sight of this website. That’s a true shame, because this website is my pride and joy. Writing is the gift God gave me, and I don’t feel accomplished as a missionary until I've finished a blog or review.

1 Peter 4:10 says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” (NLT)

What’s your gift? What’s your passion? How can you use it to glorify God?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

God comes before family.

In today's lesson, I would like to draw from my experience in college. It was four of the best years of my life. I learned a great deal about Scripture, grew closer to the Lord, and made lifelong friends. It is where I met my wonderful husband. However, the one thing that made me uncomfortable was the amount of pressure I felt about finding Mr. Right within my Freshman year. 

I still wonder about some of my fellow students. They made me feel flawed for devoting my time to my studies instead of finding a husband. My studies barely left me time for socializing, let alone dating. The last thing on my mind was marriage. I had a degree to achieve and a ministry to begin. 

From where, may I ask, did this Christian obsession with family come? It didn't come from Scripture. It didn't come from Christ who remained single. It didn't come from Saint Paul who remained single. I don't condemn marriage, having children, or my brothers and sisters in Christ who've been married. I am merely questioning how far we go to encourage it.

Yet, Paul says in 1 Corinthians, "But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet, each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another. So I say to those who aren't married and to widows - it's better to stay unmarried, just as I am."

Though there is not much in Scripture that requires us to marry and have children, the Bible has plenty of strict instructions how to behave once the family has begun. Let us not confuse family protocol with family requirement. 

The most important point with which I wish to leave you is to follow your calling. If the good Lord leads you to stay single and move to the jungles of South America, then great! Go and be fruitful in ministry. If the good Lord leads you to raise a family closer to home, then that's just as wonderful. The miracle of new life is God's greatest gift to women. We should strive to be the greatest role models we can be for our younger generations.

What you should not do, what you should NEVER do, is allow your peers to distract you from your intended path. Only you have the power and the insight to determine your purpose. Just as long as you are fruitful in ministry. 

In John 15 Christ teaches us, "I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more."

Go and be fruitful! 

In whatever way best suits your talents.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The One Year Bible Challenge

It is astonishing how many Christians today do not read their scripture everyday. If an unbeliever asked you a question about a verse, could you answer it? Would you understand the context? I remember a time when a friend of mine challenged my decision not to have children. He thought all Christians were required by the Bible to have many children.

"Be fruitful and multiply," he quoted smugly.

Fortunately, I knew to which verse he was referring. Genesis 1:28. God was speaking to Noah directly after the Ark landed on dry land. God had charged him to repopulate the planet after wiping out the world's population. From the looks of things, I say Noah has done a great job already. I wish I could say that argument was a victory for me. However, there will be no victory until I convince him that God is real and Scripture is true. In order for that to happen I must stay knowledgeable about scripture.

In today's technically savvy world Google makes it easier than ever to study the Word of God. Any verse you want is at your fingertips. One of my favorite websites is BibleGateway.com. It provides the entire Bible in 35 English translations. There is no excuse for us not to read our Bibles every day. It's easy if you put your mind to it. As easy as taking a few minutes from Facebook browsing and opening a new tab to BibleGateway or any of the vast online resources.

BibleGateway has a page devoted to helping you read the entire Bible in one year. All you have to do is read this page daily: http://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/today/. Of course, you don't have to read the Bible online. You can always take your Bible off the shelf and read in the comfort of your living room next to a roaring fire. It only takes the average reading 15-20 minutes to read three to four chapters or eighty verses.

I understand it is difficult to break into a new habit. It takes dedication and discipline. However, the rewards are great. It will provide you with the knowledge you need to answer difficult questions and live your life according to the Gospels.

Today is as good as any to start.

Sources:
http://www.biblegateway.com/
http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html
http://www.mixed-up.com/faith/plan.html?facts

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Welcome to Christ In Culture

With a fresh approach comes a fresh webpage.

Welcome to the new bogger page for Christ In Culture. Over time I will make new changes to the website and to the blog page in order to make it more relevant and educational than before. As part of our reconstruction I will devote myself to write blogs almost daily. If you enjoyed my blogs before, then I hope you find my improvements to be even better. Thank you for your patience. Please, check in later for updates. 

For reference to the older blogs you may find them at this link: 
http://cara-cic.blogspot.com/