Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburgers and Salvation

Did you know that bacon cheeseburgers and salvation are connected?

Leviticus Chapter 11 details God's instructions to not eat unclean animals.

"You may eat any animal that has divided hoofs and chews the cud. But you must not eat animals such as camels, rock badgers, and rabbits that chew the cud but don’t have divided hoofs. And you must not eat pigs—they have divided hoofs, but don’t chew the cud. All of these animals are unclean, and you are forbidden even to touch their dead bodies."

It goes on to say that fish with scales are okay, but no shrimp. No lobster. Oh and birds are okay, as long as they aren't birds of prey. Insects are a no no and so are moles, rats, and mice.
I know what some of you are probably thinking…who would want to eat an owl anyways? Centipede tacos, no thank you! Rat sandwich…umm I'll pass.

But these kosher regulations were altered with Jesus' death on the cross.
In Acts 10, Peter is on his way to meet Cornelius, a devout believer in God AND a Gentile. On his way there, he has a vision:

"He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven."

At first, Peter is befuddled. First, God says previously banned animals are oaky to eat now. Second, a Gentile man is visited by God and acknowledged as a believer. Before Peter could reflect on the crazy, confusing vision God had given him, he encounters the man who had sent for him, Cornelius. It comes to light that Cornelius had previously been visited by an angel of God.

And then it clicks.

What was once unclean, is now clean. What was once only for the ears and hearts of the Jews, is now available for the Gentiles.

The Holy Sprit descends on the Gentiles. God is giving the gift of His Son to all people.

This is a watershed event for Christianity. A major turning point. Salvation is available to the Jews AND the Gentiles!

This relates to YOU and ME.

If the message of Christ was previously only available to the Jewish people, how many of us would have heard of Jesus?

I'm not Jewish by heritage, so the Good News would not have been available to me. I would be a Gentile that is still 'unclean'.

Are you Jewish by heritage? For the majority of you reading this, I would guess you are not.

But this event is God declaring that salvation is now available to ALL.

And by ALL, He means ALL.

So if everyone was given the gracious gift of salvation, who should be allowed into your church? The homeless? Drug addicts? Homosexuals? Liars? Cheaters?

The nicely dressed male couple? The not-so-pleasent smelling man who you recognize from the street corner? The woman known for cheating on her husband?

That's right, salvation is available to all of them. It is their choice to accept it or not.

So just to clarify, salvation is available to all - not everybody IS saved. But the fact that it is available to all people is AMAZING.

Salvation. A gift. For you, for me, for anyone who accepts it and and transforms their heart.

God gave us bacon. God gave us salvation.

And in no way is this post meant to challenge or ridicule Jews or Jewish Christians who choose to follow kosher law. I do not wish to offend anyone.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ten Things I Learned From My Dad

1. You can do anything a boy can do.

2. Except pee standing up, do not try that.

3. If you give generously with a good heart, God will recognize it and reward you.

4. Never judge a person. We are all sinners. You are no better than anyone else.

5. It is okay to order a steak on the first date-be true to yourself! ;)

6. Always help a friend. Even if they rarely help you-you do not give to get back.

7. Do not talk like a typical woman. Say what you want. Be clear and concise. Why say it in five words when you can say it in one?

8. Do not be dependent on a man, but allow your man to provide for you. It is good to be independent, but do not be a difficult woman.

9. Always be gracious.

10. If your toddler asks for two Oreos, just split one apart and it will trick them into thinking they got two cookies. (personal experience on that one, thanks Dad ;D )

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Will Not Lose My Virginity On My Wedding Night

GASP! I bet that blog title caught your attention. :O

But do not fret! Read the following and it will all make sense. Pinky promise!

Note: This is not a judgmental, pointy finger at those who didn't wait for marriage. Virginity does not determine salvation. Rather, this is a post to share why I chose the path that I did. So please, do not read this in a condemning tone. I simply want to share how I came to my decision.
So, sex is everywhere. Music, TV shows, heck even some PG-13 movies have me blushing and averting my eyes.

But, sex is not a "bad" thing. From the perspective of my religious beliefs, sex before marriage is something that should be strongly avoided. Not because God made it a heaven or hell rule-but because God knows what is best for us. Immense heart-break? Unwanted pregnancy? STDs? God does not want us to endure the earthly consequences of premarital sex.

So again, sex in the context of marriage is NOT bad. It is good, because that is what God intended it to be. Holy, faithfully, and fruitfully good.

Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Historically, virginity has been a prized quality. It was the epitome of a woman's virtue-pure and untouched. But if you Google "virginity" you will not find any of those words in the links that fill your screen.

"How to Lose Your Virgnity Wihtout Pain"

"Virginity: A virtue or a curse?"

"13 Celebrities Reveal How They Lost Their Virginity"

"Virginity Lost, Experienced Gained"

….I know what you're thinking, HUH?

Virginity shifted from something you hold on to dearly, into something you should get rid of as soon as possible. According to those articles, loosing your virginity is a step in life that everyone takes. Or, being a virgin holds you back from experience and knowledge. Even, being a virgin is "ridiculous".

A few days ago, someone called me a "stone cold virgin". I was shocked and did not know how to rebuttal. I love kissing my boyfriend! I love hugging him and cuddling up during a movie. But according to this person, I was unable to show real affection because I wasn't having sex. In this person's eyes, I am a prude.

God says, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor." -1 Thessalonians 4:4

He calls us to be set apart. He is not saying it is going to be easy, but He wants us to try and be different. He wants us to avoid the possible earthly consequences. It is a one time gift, so why would we want to lose it?

Years ago, I made a promise to myself and to God that I would honor His instructions. I would heed His guidance and give my virginity to my husband. It has not been easy, but it has been worth it. I know that if I stick to this, I will be able to enter my marriage with a gift, rather than a regret. (I'm not saying all people who have premarital sex regret it. I am simply saying that in my life, I would regret it.)

So that is why, on my wedding night, I will not be losing anything. I will be giving my most precious gift to my husband. I will honor my husband's commitment of "till death do us part" by giving myself to him. I won't regret it. I won't wish I had "practiced" or gained "prior experience".

There will be no shame, no secrecy, and no heartbreak.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

8 Steps To Becoming A Gracious Girlfriend

When Jacob and I first began dating, it was easy for me to show him by "best side". Why, after all, he was perfect in my eyes-so I must stay perfect too! However, as the months went by, it was difficult to keep up the facade. I'm not saying I was tricking him, pretending to be someone I am not. But I was avoiding confrontation, which led us to encounter difficulties in communication. 

This led me to the question: How can I share my concerns with Jacob and be a gracious girlfriend at the same time?

After speaking with mentors, friends, reading online, and purposeful prayer, I have created a list of eight key points on how I can be a gracious girlfriend (and someday a gracious wife!). Adapted from 8 Habits of a Gracious Wife-I read this blog online and decided to put my own twist on it!

1. Be consistent in reading the word of God and remain abiding in Christ, the source of grace.
What's the best way to remind myself of God's grace? By reading His Holy Word! The Bible is His love letter. It is filled with pages of His pursuit of us, His blessings to us, and His ultimate gift of grace-His Son Jesus Christ! 

2. Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to move in my heart while I pursue grace.
I cannot transform my heart by myself! Allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me is the only way I can truly change.

3. Keep my eyes focused on my sins rather than on my boyfriend's sins.
John 8:7, "When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Who am I to judge? I am not perfect. I am a sinner too!

4. Go to God with my concerns and frustrations first. Ask for peace and clarity.
God is my Father! He is the Maker of all things. My problems are so small compared to His greater plan-and speaking with Him will help me realize this!

5. Don't stuff my feelings! After spending time with the Lord, then I can respectfully express my concerns with my boyfriend in a soft-spoken tone.
With a clear head-everything is easier! Rather than constantly complain to my boyfriend (which will only foster bitterness and create more problems), I can approach him when necessary and in a gracious manner.

6. When I feel like my boyfriend fails or disappoints me, I will let things go and let God move in his heart.
As the book of Corinthians would say about love: 
"It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."

7. Focus on my boyfriend's strengths rather than on his weaknesses. Remind myself of the gifts that God has given him.
His "pros" numerously outweigh his "cons". So why would I focus on the negative? That is something the devil would want me to do! If I love him for his strengths AND weaknesses our relationship can only flourish and mature. 

8. Surround myself with other women who desire to be gracious towards their boyfriend/husband.
By having Christian women in my life, I can learn how they love by their example. I need support from Godly women to guide me in the right direction. 

Love is an endless act of forgiveness. If I do my best to be a gracious girlfriend, my boyfriend will be stress free and our relationship will bring him happiness! What more could a girl ask for? :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How to Eat a Cupcake

Step One: Thank God for creating humans with the ability to bake and to produce said cupcake.

Step Two: Cut cupcake in half (decapitation style)

Step Three: Flip icing top over to create cupcake sandwich extravaganza.

Step Four: Squish together and bite into heaven.

Shoutout to Dots Cupcakes in Pasadena for this mouthwatering "dulce de leche" cupcake. MUY bien.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

All About That Bass?

Say whaaaaaat?

In my opinion, it is NEVER okay to call a woman fat. Ever. But when did it become okay to put down "skinny" girls? I'm thin, but I'm certainly not healthy. If you told me to go run a mile, I'd probably have a heart attack around lap number two. Yes, I may be "lucky" to appear thin. But I could go on and on about the things I don't like about my body just like any other girl.

What really matters is HEALTH! And confidence!

Back to the picture. Real men like curves? And dogs go for bones? This not only compares thin girls to a pile of bones, it also says that guys who like that body type are dogs. That's not kind either!

A real woman doesn't need to validate herself by putting another woman down. A real woman is confident enough to love herself and build others up!

So let's celebrate women with junk in all the right places. 

And let's also celebrate women who wish they had a little more junk in the trunk ;)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Jealousy Schmelousy

It's hard to refrain from jealousy on Facebook. Most of my college friends are skipping around the globe, enjoying Oktoberfest, taking photos at Platform 9 3/4, frolicking through African rain, or sun bathing on the coasts of Australia.

It's hard to see the amazing adventures of others and wonder, "When will it be my turn? They must be experiencing God in amazing ways."

Yet deep down, I know that in my little corner of Monrovia, God is still working in my life.

God is everywhere! He has an indescribable plan for each one of His children.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11