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Why can't all followers of Jesus just come together around scripture?

There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.


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If I am so Thankful, Then Why do I Feel so Guilty?

There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.

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Someone I love went into the military right after high school.  He was strong, agile, and emotionally fit for basic training.  One night while he was on guard duty, a fellow soldier passed by him on the way to the restroom, but never came back out.  He hung himself.  So my loved one, the new recruit, barely wet behind the ears,  had to recover the body as part of his guard duty job.  What emotions might a person be thinking as he performed this grim task?  There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart.

Thankful for the pregnancy, guilt over the friend who can’t conceive.

Thankful for health, guilt over the one with cancer.

Thankful for wealth, guilt over those in poverty.

Thankful for a great marriage, guilt over the one suffering with divorce

Thankful for the awesome job, guilt over the one out of work.

Thankful for coming out of the military in one piece, guilt over the dead and injured.

Look y’all,  guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this. Real guilt comes from sin.  If you are a Christian, all guilt has been paid at the cross.   This misplaced guilt comes from pride.  PRIDE.  From somehow thinking that your blessings in the face of such suffering is wrong, a mistake, maybe even sinful.  Essentially it is a feeling of mistrust in your Creator.

This is trust…

 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.  For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.  Romans 8:18-19

So how can you be thankful for your blessings and not feel guilty?    Put God back on the throne and bow your knee to His will.  Trust that we are all on a different path with Jesus and that each is individualized, made perfect for that particular person, a path that may include suffering.   Stop comparing.  Change that guilt to compassion, mercy, and love for others.  Serve them, wash their feet.  And then throw your head back with great joy and be thankful for every gift He has given you.

There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.

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What you are really longing for is Heaven y’all.  The place where all tears are washed away.  Where there will no longer be any curse,  Where we will all have new perfect bodies.  Where we will see the face of God.   (see Revelation 21)

There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.

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i love 2

 

Pictures:  + Yellowstone National Park, ++a state park in Texas, +++sunset on the family ranch in Montana

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Look y'all, this post is not being written to wag fingers at Halloween enthusiasts. I just want to lead you into deep theological waters so get out your paddles.


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Halloween—Sinister or Benevolent?

Look y'all, this post is not being written to wag fingers at Halloween enthusiasts. I just want to lead you into deep theological waters so get out your paddles.

My sister and I think this picture of us is hilarious.  She in her cute little angel costume, with her arm around our brother the devil, and me in my witch costume.  After we finished chuckling over the irony of our sibling roles  played out in this snapshot, we then wondered what our sweet, innocent mother was thinking to dress my brother and I in such dark costumes.  It’s culture y’all, plain and simple.

Culture is pervasive and persistent.  It seeps into our children and into our parenting.  It overrides common sense at times and puts its arm around our shoulders as if it is our best friend.  Look y’all, this post is not being written to wag fingers at Halloween enthusiasts.  I just want to lead you into deep theological waters so get out your paddles.

Here’s what has me thinking…God communicates with His people symbolically and figuratively through scripture…like Jesus being the Way,  the Door,  the Beginning and the End…all figurative language. So isn’t a costume a symbol too?  A representation of  reality?  Culture tends to forget that there is a spiritual realm teeming around us.  Could evil Halloween symbols be representing  real invisible entities?  Even if we don’t really mean for them to? Even if it is all in fun?

Parenting through such cultural obstacles is a daunting task.  Nothing is cut-and-dried when it comes to making spiritual decisions about your children that’s for sure.  I just wanted to invade your thoughts for a blink, a moment,  and remind you of what you already know, evil is real.

Look y'all, this post is not being written to wag fingers at Halloween enthusiasts. I just want to lead you into deep theological waters so get out your paddles.

i love 2

 

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It's not weird to think outside of the box...no really! Making communion part of your family experience can become a beautiful tradition.


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Why Family Communion Could be a New Tradition

Eating the Lamb of God series, Part 2

Jesus represents the Passover Lamb in this series on the Lord's Supper. Communion is more than just a nibble of bread and a sip of wine. Go symbolically deep with me y’all.

The following passage is a tad negative, but stay with me because I want to look at these words with a positive spin.

28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 (NIV)

“That is why” is cause and effect wording…in essence saying, “You do this, and this will happen.”  It WILL happen.

It's not weird to think outside of the box...no really! Making communion part of your family experience can become a beautiful tradition.

To be more uplifting, let’s look at the opposite of this statement.  Eating the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner should also have a effect that we should rejoice in… strength not weakness, health not sickness, life not death.  Qualities we should emphasis personally and in our families.

My out of the box question is this…why couldn’t I celebrate the Lord’s Supper in my home on certain occasions?    The church is not just a denomination or a building as culture seems to think, people are the church…your family is the church.  Why couldn’t you create special moments with our Lord…times that your children would never forget?  Take Christmas for instance.  Why not celebrate His birth, then celebrate His death with a family communion time.   Birthdays, anniversaries, a new job, cancer diagnosis, cancer remission, retirement….any day, would be an awesome time to celebrate the Lord’s death until He returns.  My husband and I ate the Lord’s Supper together in our hotel room after our wedding.  It is a beautiful memory.  Wouldn’t it be a perfect family tradition…remembering the Lord together and promoting a strong spiritual life within your home?

i love 2

 

You might also be interested in Part 1 and Part 3 of the Eating the Lamb of God series.  Click below.

Jesus represents the Passover Lamb in this series on the Lord's Supper. Communion is more than just a nibble of bread and a sip of wine. Go symbolically deep with me y’all.Jesus represents the Passover Lamb in this series on the Lord's Supper. Communion is more than just a nibble of bread and a sip of wine. Go symbolically deep with me y’all.

 

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Jesus represents the Passover Lamb in this series on the Lord's Supper. Communion is more than just a nibble of bread and a sip of wine. Go symbolically deep with me y’all and see how I approached a curious Muslim visitor about communion.


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How I Explained Communion to a Muslim Visitor

Eating the Lamb of God series

Jesus represents the Passover Lamb in this series on the Lord's Supper. Communion is more than just a nibble of bread and a sip of wine. Go symbolically deep with me y’all and see how I approached a curious Muslim visitor about communion.

I had the opportunity to teach a Muslim visitor about communion recently,  after I had written this post,  and while it was fresh on my mind.  He had been visiting our congregation with a friend, and when the Lord’s Supper was passed I heard his friend frantically try to explain this Christian symbol to him.  So what would you say?  Would you use the standard explanation, “The bread is the body, the juice is the blood?”  But these words could not possibly make sense to someone who knows nothing of Moses and the Passover.  It seemed prudent to me to offer him an abbreviated history lesson so he could fully understand why we worship the Son of God.  But this is no ordinary history lesson y’all.  This one is rich with imagery from the Holy Spirit.  You will get an idea from my post of some of the things we talked about.

Jesus represents the Passover Lamb in this series on the Lord's Supper.   Communion is more than just a nibble of bread and a sip of wine.   Go symbolically deep with me y’all and see how I approached a curious Muslim visitor about communion.   

Each denomination has their own “communion culture” that can sometimes contribute to lulling those eating into repetitious ritual.  Most of us don’t even think about the beautiful back story that sets the stage for the meal with Jesus in the upper room.

I have to stop and tell you how exciting this part is to me. I’m getting goosebumps with the perfection of it all. GOD is so great and powerful that HE explains spiritual things to HIS earthly people by using figurative language. All those of you who loved that aspect of literature when you were in school, you came by it naturally. Similes, metaphors, personification…all of it, from HIM. Your FATHER started it all. So go symbolically deep with me y’all… The Lord’s supper was originally Passover.  The Passover meal was first initiated in Exodus 12 when the Israelites prepared to flee the Egyptians. They were to smear the blood of a spotless lamb over the doorpost of their homes, then cook the lamb and eat it as part of the meal along with bread with no yeast. The Angel of Death would pass over the homes with the blood, sparing the ones inside.

That night the blood of a spotless lamb saved them.

THAT NIGHT THE BLOOD OF A SPOTLESS LAMB SAVED THEM. (This is me shouting from the rooftops)

For further spiritual tingles:18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value.19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. 1 Peter 1:18-20 (NLT)

Jesus represents the Passover Lamb in this series on the Lord's Supper. Communion is more than just a nibble of bread and a sip of wine. Go symbolically deep with me y’all.

So let’s put it all together. The Lord’s Supper is patterned after the Passover meal where the Israelites ate the sacrificial lamb that saved them. Similarly we eat the figurative sacrificial Lamb that saves us, HIS body and blood. Metaphorically His blood was smeared on the doorpost to ransom us.  This is very meaningful symbolism and spiritually mind blowing. I am not suggesting that anything mystical happens to the bread and wine, but listen y’all, I am suggesting that while you eat this meal, your Spiritual experience could be off the charts.

Put your boots on y’all..we’re going deeper.  Symbolically we are placing the body and the blood in the Holy Temple of GOD (you) where it becomes part of the Temple (you), as you proclaim the Lord’s death until He returns. You are a vessel of JESUS symbolically and literally. Who out there still has a poor body image? Well stop it! You are the Temple of the HOLY SPIRIT. You are sanctified. . I love taking the LORD’s supper, don’t you? (read scripture here)

Jesus represents the Passover Lamb in this series on the Lord's Supper. Communion is more than just a nibble of bread and a sip of wine. Go symbolically deep with me y’all.i love 2

 

 

You also might be interested in Part 2 and Part 3 of the Eating the Lamb of God series.  Click below.

Jesus represents the Passover Lamb in this series on the Lord's Supper. Communion is more than just a nibble of bread and a sip of wine. Go symbolically deep with me y’all.Jesus represents the Passover Lamb in this series on the Lord's Supper. Communion is more than just a nibble of bread and a sip of wine. Go symbolically deep with me y’all.

 

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From the very start, in the garden, God gave man freedom of choice, freedom of religion if you will. Adam was given a choice. Obey or Not to obey. He was not forced. He was given options. That is true religious freedom y'all.


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Freedom to be an Infidel

In America, the ability to live out my belief is protected, but religious choice didn’t begin with us…

From the very start, in the garden, God gave man freedom of choice, freedom of religion if you will. Adam was given a choice. Obey or Not to obey. He was not forced. He was given options. That is true religious freedom y'all.

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From the very start, in the garden, God gave man freedom of choice, freedom of religion if you will.  Adam was given a choice.  Obey or Not to obey.  He was not forced.  He was given options.  Consequences were spelled out.   Scripture teaches that those consequences…those bad choices…the choices that say, “No” to God, might eventually even lead us back to Him.  Remember the prodigal son?

Go deep with me y’all…create a scenario in your mind of what it would be like in the garden if there was no choice to make?  No tree to tempt?  No decision between God over evil?   if we were forced to love God would love really be love?  Read the story of Adam and Eve here.

Our Father had a choice.

He gave His Son.

His Son had a choice.

He gave His life.

So I will ask it again.  Is love really love without choice?

 

From the very start, in the garden, God gave man freedom of choice, freedom of religion if you will. Adam was given a choice. Obey or Not to obey. He was not forced. He was given options. That is true religious freedom y'all.

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Blessings, Alice

Pictures:  +taken at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, ++original taken by Alison Willis in China

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