Join us as we see where God is present in our lives. We most definitely aren't walking with Him in the Garden of Eden despite the fact that so many are shedding clothes instead of covering themselves up. However I am willing to bet that God is closer to us than we think and that He has genuinely planted truth in the flesh of our hearts.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
“What I feel for Ben is a mature love, not like what I had with Ricky. Me and Ricky, we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. We wanted to jump into bed with each other whenever we got the chance. It wasn’t real love, it was infatuation…But I really love Ben and I know he really loves me. He’s the kind of guy I always wanted, he’s there…being there is everything.”
The new, mature Adrian acknowledges that the physical love she and Ricky shared could never fulfill her like the true love that she and Ben share. Adrian says very clearly “he’s there…being there is everything” showing that she doesn’t want a man who is drop dead gorgeous and will please her sexually, she wants someone who she can rely on, someone who will be there for her and support her when she is in trouble…someone who is willing to show her the sacrificial love that Christ showed us on the cross, and someone with whom she can share that same sacrificial love.
This is a lesson that many people struggle to understand today. Our hearts yearn for love, the true sacrificial love that Ben and Adrian have found in each other. However, oftentimes we decide to settle for physical attraction and activity (like Adrian and Ricky) because it seems more appealing and more fun. The problem is our heart yearns for love, not infatuation. God did not create us because he was infatuated with us, but rather because he truly loves each and every one of us. Because of that, nothing short of such true love could ever possibly satisfy our hearts.
I think this is a great time to step back and examine the relationships in our lives. Are they based on infatuation or true love? Do my relationships resemble the connection between Adrian and Ricky, or Adrian and Ben?
“Heavenly Father, I know and believe that you created me out of love. I know that because of this, because of the infinite love you have for me, my heart will never be truly satisfied by anything short of true, divine, sacrificial love. Help me to never forget this, to never fall into any of the artificial forms of love created by the world, such as infatuation, but to always seek true love as shown to us by your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Thursday, April 14, 2011
“I’d catch a grenade for ya, throw my hand on a blade for ya, I’d jump in front of a train for ya… Yes, I would die for you, baby; but you won’t do the same!”
I’ve never known anyone personally whose life has been saved because someone died for them, and it’s hard for me to imagine what that must be like. I wonder, is there a feeling of guilt and unworthiness, or a sense of debt? Or maybe there is a deep gratitude for the gift of being alive. Well, whatever the feeling is, I’m sure that anyone who has experienced this could not deny that they have been loved! I think that all of us, deep down, desire to be loved and cherished this much too.
This desire to be loved is pretty fundamental for us, and I think Mr. Bruno Mars really hits on this desire pretty well in his recent song ‘Grenade’. He even gets close to our understanding of Divine Love. I mean, when I was listening to this song I could not help but think of Jesus’ last words to his closest friends on the night before He died: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) Even watching the video, Bruno Mars seems to recognize that his song is touching on this type of love (as he portrays himself in a similar way to Jesus as He carried His Cross). In a way, he really gives a wonderful display of one of the most fundamental themes of our Christian Faith: sacrificial love. Kudos!:)
Still, whenever I heard this song, I kept getting that funny feeling like something wasn’t right. It was the last line of the chorus, “but you won’t do the same”, a line that colors the whole attitude of the song, that just didn’t sit right with me. I kept thinking to myself, ‘yeah this is true love, to sacrifice for the beloved, but true love doesn’t demand payment of love in return, it simply gives the gift.’ Sure, the lover hopes to be loved in return, but he or she would never try to guilt the other person into loving them. No, love, to be true love, must be free! Freely given, and freely received (and responded to).
That is the example of love that God shows us. He really did die for us in the person of Jesus, and invites us to love Him in return; but no matter how much it hurts Him to see us reject His love, He always respects our freedom! He keeps loving and offering His gift, then waits patiently, as true love does, for us to accept His love and be happy. This is our model! We are called to love in this way too! So thank you Bruno Mars for reminding us of the importance of sacrificial love, but let us look to our true model of love, God, and follow His way of love and freedom.
What do you think love is? Is it a feeling or a choice? Are you willing to love sacrificially, for your family? Friends? Boyfriend/Girlfriend? God? Would you still be willing to love if you were not loved in return?
Today's Nugget of Truth was written by special guest author Kyle. Thanks Kyle!!
Saturday, April 9, 2011
When I heard that New Directions was going to be singing original songs at Regionals, I knew it would be amazing and they definitely didn’t disappoint. This song, “Loser Like Me”, is like one of the most amazing songs I’ve ever heard! It’s also a song that has spoken to my heart and has helped guide me through many of my struggles I’ve dealt with this year. Like I said in an older post, I really can see myself in a lot of the characters on Glee.
The kids on Glee have felt like the losers of the school since the very first episode. They’re the outcasts, the kids that just don’t fit in with the normal cliques of high school. Because of this they are put through a lot of crap from kids who are more “normal, more cool.” On good days they get weird looks whenever they turn the corner or talk about their love for the Glee club, but on the worst of days they get explicitly ridiculed, bullied, and get slushies thrown in their faces. If you’ve ever felt like the outcast, you know it’s not fun to feel like you can’t be yourself.
The words to this song show the beautiful, courageous approach that the Glee kids decide to take to their frustrating position at school. The song says let the haters be haters! It says “Hit me with the words you got and knock me down, BABY I DON’T CARE…you push me up against the locker, AND HEY ALL I DO IS SHAKE IT OFF.” It says I’m through with caring about what you think about me, I’m gonna be myself whether you like who that is or not! It’s a song filled with incredible self-confidence! Besides that, look at how excited and energetic they are as they sing this song. This is a group of kids ready go get out there and show the world what they got, to stop hiding and start shining!
To live life to the fullest, you have to be yourself…the person YOU truly are, not the person others want you to be! We can’t live our lives worrying about what people think about us. Whether those around us approve or not, God has blessed each of us with unique, beautiful gifts and talents. Don’t let other people pressure you to hide those talents! Don’t ever be afraid to let them shine brightly so everyone can see what a great person you are! Just remember the song “L-O-S-E-R I CAN ONLY BE WHO I ARE!” (part of the longer version of the song) If you feel like people want you to be someone you’re not, remember it’s your life, not theirs! Be YOU, not the person other people want you to be!
“Heavenly Father, I thank you for making me beautiful and unique. I know you didn’t make a mistake when you made me, but rather you created me in your own image and likeness. Help me to never be afraid to be the person you made me. Don’t let other people’s impressions of me affect my self confidence, my self image, and most importantly my relationship with you. Give me the strength and courage I need to be the person you made me, since I know without a doubt, no matter what anyone says, you did an amazing job when you made me.”
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Secret life is like the king of all teenage dramas. It is a show completely centered on teenage relationships, dating, pregnancy, etc. Sometimes the characters make some really stupid, life destroying choices (like when Adrian and Ben decided to have sex last season), but sometimes they make some good, solid ones. I want to focus on one decision that Adrian made on last night’s episode that showed tremendous maturity. As Ben is pressuring Adrian to agree that living together would be the best thing for their relationship and for their daughter, Adrian quickly shuts Ben down, saying very clearly that they won’t be living together unless they’re married. Here’s the quote from last night’s episode…
“I really appreciate that you’ve so stepped up to the plate here, Ben, you’ve just been so responsible and kind and considerate, and everything else, but…look I’m not living with you, I’m definitely not living with you unless we’re married.”
In making this decision, Adrian decides that there is something special about living with someone that should be saved for marriage. I think that a lot of people today would probably think that Adrian is crazy. Adrian and Ben have already had sex, they are having a daughter, they love each other and will probably end up getting married…why shouldn’t they live together? If really love each other, wouldn’t living together only strengthen their love? At the very least, wouldn’t it be good for Adrian and Ben to try living together so they can see whether or not they’d enjoy a lifelong marriage together?
People today, like Ben, who justify couples living together before marriage usually cite one of the above reasons. However, for me the major problem with living together before marriage is that it spits on the integrity of marriage. In marriage two people publicly declare their love to one another, giving their entire lives to each other. This culminates in the physical unity of sex. The complete gift of self in the sexual act is meant to seal the marital vows, as well as produce new life which further unites the couple as they have to come together to raise the child. Many couples who decide to “shack up” do so in order that they may more readily show their love for each other physically, not seeing the true purpose for sex within the context of the marriage vows.
However, this isn’t really the case for Ben and Adrian. If they were to move in together, they probably wouldn’t be having sex, as Adrian is already pregnant. Actually the main reason why Ben wants to live with Adrian is so that the two could raise their child together. Despite these seemingly favorable circumstances, Adrian still thinks it would be wrong for them to live together before marriage. When a man and woman decide to shack up before marriage they are unable to see the beauty of the sacrificial nature of marriage. Through marriage a man and a woman vow to sacrifice everything for each other. Sharing of everything, including a home, food, etc. naturally follow from the self sacrifice found within marriage. The fact that shared living is found within marriage is also significant because the sacrifice forms a perpetual bond. When two people shack up before marriage this sacrificial commitment is not present in the same way. For example, if Ben and Adrian did start living together either one would be free to move out at any time since they have not vowed their lives to one another. On the other hand, two married people living together have vowed to work out their differences “in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer till death do us part.” The self sacrifice within the marital commitment is so strong that it can only be broken by death.
There is also one very strong practical reason, besides all this theology, for not shacking up…it doesn’t work. Statistics show that “Most couples who live together never end up getting married, but those who do tie the knot have a divorce rate nearly 80 percent higher than those who waited until after the wedding to move in together. Couples who cohabited prior to marriage also have greater marital conflict and poorer communication, and they made more frequent visits to marriage counselors. Women who cohabited before marriage are more than three times as likely to cheat on their husbands within marriage. The U.S. Justice Department found that women who cohabit are sixty-two times more likely to be assaulted by a live-in boyfriend than by a husband. They were also more than three times as likely to be depressed as married women, and the couples were less sexually satisfied than those who waited for marriage.” It seems the surest way to a healthy, long lasting marriage is to leave sex, as well as living together, for the context of marriage where they belong.
“There is no place for selfishness-and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice"
- Pope John Paul II
Statistics taken from: http://chastity.com/chastity-qa/dating/shacking-up/should-i-move-with-my-boyfrie