Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

The Problem I Had With Jesus

crucifixtion

This year, I have had major issues with Jesus.

This is usually the part where I start spewing some wild and outrageous tale of heartbreak, a job loss or an incurable disease. If you read the blog regularly, you will have noticed that (as with most people) when ish hits the fan, my faith is also impacted (until I put my big girl knickers on and fight the good fight). Sorry to disappoint you, there is no headline here, no major event, just a host of concerns and questions that I didn’t have the answer to. I woke up one morning and felt 2,000 years was far too recent for the Messiah to have come (via immaculate conception), died (by crucifixion) and risen again.

*cue laughter*

Yeah, I know those of you with unshakeable faith have no idea what I’m on about, but those who have wondered a similar thing, walk with me for a minute.

I wanted to believe, I did believe (kind of) but it was all too much for my small mind to comprehend. God had come in human form, died and risen in order to save my sins. It sounded like a fairy tale, a Disney classic, where the hero had saved the day and rescued us all. Except, the day hadn’t really been saved. A few weeks ago, a White terrorist thought it was acceptable to enter a Church and shoot its members. Last week, a handful of extremist Muslims went on a beach and shot 21 people to death.  People continue to die of Cancer, thousands of people are trafficked every year and Black lives still don’t matter. I wondered why the coming of the Messiah hadn’t brought about the happy ending that we needed.

As we get older, our childlike innocence fades and in its place remains questions, logic and cynicism to all the things we once accepted as true. Our belief in the tooth fairy and Santa disappear and for some of us, so does our belief in Jesus. They say that without faith it is impossible to please God (well, they don’t say, Hebrews 11:16 says) and it’s true. If you can’t even believe that God can truly do anything in and of Himself, how can you expect Him to do the seemingly impossible for you? Why would you give your all or try and stay on the straight and narrow when His mere existence is met with cynicism and rejection? How can we seek the One when we struggle to accept that there is One at all?

I often wonder how I’m still a Christian with my liberal views and my growing heap of questions. Want to know how I’m still here, in faith, striving towards Jesus? Ok, here are my secrets:

I never stop reading my Bible. I don’t close my Bible or turn away from God when I have questions, I delve deeper and I take my questions to Him (and Google). Neither has failed me yet. The scripture that reignited my faith this time around was:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

John 1:1-3

In other words, Jesus was always there.

I don’t expect for things to make sense any more. I think the moment you accept that a virgin had a baby without having sex, whose life you know very little about from the age of 0-30, who died and rose again, and dwells in you today through the presence of the Holy Spirit, you kinda have to stop using logic to navigate your Christianity; you have to use faith. And that’s not to say that faith is illogical or that you should cease to question elements of your Christianity that would be stupid. What I am saying is that every detail making sense to your human, limited mind shouldn’t be the highest thing on your agenda because you will never have all the answers. You weren’t there; you missed it, you will never have an eye-witness account concerning the life of Jesus. What you do have is that conviction in your heart and all those times where you were down to nothing and he came through for you.

I try to have childlike faith. I worked in a Primary school two weeks ago. While my Jesus crisis was at an all-time high, a 10-year old turned around, looked at me and exclaimed “Jesus ain’t real.” I responded, “Get behind me, Satan!” I joke, I joke. I put on my politically correct hat and asked him why he felt that way.  As he was about to tell me, his friend quipped “Jesus is real, ‘e was ‘ung up on a tree!” I highly doubt that this boy was actually a Christian; it’s more likely that he had heard the story and simply accepted it as truth. His belief made me smile, it challenged me and I felt something shift within me once again.

Of course Jesus was real. Of course Jesus is real. ‘E was ‘ung up on a tree, after all.

Lots of love,

Joy xx

How I Lost All My Loved Ones

Loneliness (2)

When  I was “in-between jobs” I was able to spend more time observing the lives people created on social networking sites (that’s fancy speak for stalking people). I loved seeing the way people self-edited, showing the version of themselves that appeased most audiences and that they believed was most acceptable. It must be the psychologist in me; I found it fascinating. Over the months I started to see an increase in the number of young people quoting Drake’s “No New Friends”. People wrote candidly of how replaceable people were and how those who do not adhere to the arbitrary friendship rules they had created would be cast away, cut off and never spoken to again.

Cutting people off when they hurt us has become the norm. The problem I have with this treatment of people is that I feel that when we cut people off, we dehumanise them; humans become like commodities that can be dismissed instantly and we fail to see them for beautiful yet imperfect beings that they are. I do not believe good friendships come around every day or by mistake and for this reason I feel they should be protected and fought for. I didn’t always feel this way. I am prone to outbursts of impulsivity – which means that I often react emotionally to situations instead of rationally. In the past I have stopped speaking to friends without a second thought, only allowing myself to look back on the friendship to relive the moment they broke my precious (and weird) friendship rules. As I got older, I noticed that a pattern was emerging. A few months after we’d parted ways, there would always be a moment of clarity; the anger I had felt for so long would ebb away and I would be left with the pain. In the prior months the anger had often eclipsed the pain, so when the pain finally revealed itself, it was always intent on making its presence known. It was always a blinding pain that cut to my core and erupted throughout my body causing the tears I had kept inside to flow freely. In that moment I would realise that what these people had meant to me completely overweighed their indiscretion and how much time I had wasted being angry. I would look around and the people I had loved dearly were no longer around. I would do best at this point, I would call, text, whatever in order to try and save what I had lost. Some of these friendships could be salvaged. Others were not as fortunate; sometimes the bridges we burn are left in ruins and there is nothing that can be done to rebuild them, no matter the efforts being put it on both sides of the water.

So now I am careful. I don’t dismiss people and I do not dismiss friendships. If you mean something to me, I won’t walk away from the friendship that we built together. No, I will try and sort through our issues so at least I know that if we do not make it, it is because the foundation we built together wasn’t strong enough to survive the storm. I have come to understand that my life exists on the basis of second chances. I live because God chooses to forgive me irrespective of the many mistakes I make.

Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32

I feel as though it is my responsibility to give other people second chances too. There is a time to walk away, don’t get me wrong but before you do so be sure that it is a timely goodbye and not an impulsive decision that will be reviewed with regret in the years that lie ahead.

Joy xxx

What Real Love Feels Like

handinhand

Every time I am reminded of what Jesus put himself through just for me, I am moved. I am moved I know there are few people, if any, who would ever fight for me in the way that he did. Yeah, there are people that claim to love me and a few show it through their actions, but I have never experienced a love that does not hinge on what I can do for the giver; there have always been conditions and consequences when I fall short of the expectations set for me. Some have taken back the love they initially bestowed upon me while others have simply loved me less as a result. God’s love is completely different; it is unconditional. When Jesus went to the cross for me, he was fighting for my life, for my love and so that I could be more. Every day he fights for me and reminds me that I am destined to be greater than the situations I put myself in, he beckons me to his side and reminds me that I no longer need to prove my worth to others.

Titus 3:4-7 But God, the One Who saves, showed how kind He was and how He loved us by saving us from the punishment of sin. It was not because we worked to be right with God. It was because of His loving-kindness that He washed our sins away. At the same time He gave us new life when the Holy Spirit came into our lives. God gave the Holy Spirit to fill our lives through Jesus Christ, the One Who saves. Because of this, we are made right with God by His loving-favour. Now we can have life that lasts forever as He has promised.

Our works – what we have achieved, what we can do and what we have done – are not why God chose to save us. When we sin, we feel unworthy, unable to approach and speak to God; we allow our sins to create a gulf between ourselves and the Father. I think during those times it is crucial that we remember that it was not because our works that caused him to save us from the ultimate punishment; it is because of who he is. It is the love that he is that covers every wretched thing we have ever done and every questionable thing we will ever do. God offers us all a new life: one without chains, free from bitterness, lust, jealousy, insecurity, hatred and anger; he literally transforms our lives. He has made it possible to love others freely, to love ourselves, to forgive, to let go, freeing us from the bitterness that might have otherwise consumed us.

I hope you grab hold of that love today.

Joy xxxx

What I Discovered About The Mystery of Communion

I am going to be honest with you. I don’t particularly like trying new things I’m quite set in my ways, I usually think I’m right and once I’ve come to a conclusion on a matter, I stand by that conclusion wholeheartedly until I change my mind. Due to these predispositions, I read this book with mixed emotions. Faith says a LOT of new things about communion that I haven’t really considered. I’ll admit I’m still on the fence about some of her claims, however what I am grateful for is the challenge she’s set for me to go and find out all there is to know about Communion. If it really is all it’s painted to be in the book, then I definitely need to look at it with fresh eyes. Whilst we’re still on life lessons, reading this did remind me of the importance of having a good understanding of every aspect of your faith. If we stop questioning and finding answers for the reasons behind our actions, everything becomes meaningless, and what starts out as a passionate relationship with Christ dwindles into dull religion. All in all, I read this book and was challenged, and for everyone who can’t give a straightforward answer as to why they personally take communion this book is definitely a good starting point on the road to discovery.

Why do you take communion?

Before reading, communion was a monthly Sunday activity in which we remember the gift Christ gave us as he laid down his life on the cross. ‘As often as you do this, do it in remembrance of me,’ comes to mind, and I guess that’s where I Ieft it. I’ve never been particularly intrigued about communion, but have always enjoyed the asking for forgiveness of sins and reflection of the state of my life before taking it. The importance of communion and the benefits it could give had never crossed my mind, and so Faith dunked me in a pool of new knowledge regarding communion. Here’s what I learnt…

1)      Communion enhances your understanding

Faith caught my attention hook, line, and sinker as she highlighted that Communion is one of the many mysteries of the kingdom of God and that taking it (in the right way) increases our understanding of the things of God . Once communion stopped being a run of the mill part of a Sunday Service in my mind, the excitement to start exploring the nature of communion was unleashed within me.

 When he was at the table with them, he took bread gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them. Then there eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight. Luke 24:30-31

Faith highlights that the scripture refers to their spiritual eyes, as of course their natural eyes were already open as they had been walking around with Jesus not knowing that the stranger they were speaking to was in actual fact their risen king. When you think seriously about this passage, it really does start to sink in just how powerful communion could be. The disciples were walking around with a man they didn’t recognise to be Jesus, despite having fellowshipped with him daily for the past three years, but as soon as they took Communion, everything was revealed. The only think I can liken it to is the revelation you get after receiving Christ. After accepting him as your saviour, although you might not have all the answers for life, suddenly you raison d’etre is revealed as you begin your new walk with The King of Kings.

You don’t need me to tell you that there is so much left for us to understand about the faith. No matter how many revelations you get each day, you are aware that there’s so much left to discover about our saviour, and each thing we understand leaves us just as wanting for more as what went before. If Communion has some intrinsic link to our understanding of the things of Christ then I want to jump on-board. Learning more about Christ may not excite you, but if it is somewhere on your agenda, developing an understanding of the role taking communion has in the process, seems like a step in the right direction.

 

This passage is referred to several times and is jam-packed with communion revelations

 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.  Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me

John 6:53-57

2)      Communion feeds your spirit

This really was an eye-opener for me. Faith boldly declares that ‘What ordinary flesh is to your body, is what the flesh of Jesus in communion is to you spiritually.’ This hinges on the belief that during communion, the wine and bread, actually become the blood and body of Jesus, and in this way communion becomes food for our spirit. To me communion has always been a representation of the body and blood of Christ and so I read this half in awe and half with a sceptic’s raised eyebrow. The jury is still out for me on what goes on during communion but I am completely motivated to undergo further study to conclude either way.

Highlighting that communion is not a symbol ( as I’ve always taken it to be) and is a medium, I read on to learn about another of the many benefits of Communion. Faith highlights that you are what you eat, and by this logic ‘Whatever can’t be found in the body and flesh of Christ isn’t meant to be found in your body, when you partake of the Communion as prescribed.’ This is literally life-changing. Immediately we are freed from worry, sickness, confusion etc, ALL the negative things that plague our physical bodies on a daily basis. Taken as a medium, communion has so much power than we give it for credit for. I don’t believe that looking at it as a symbol is a sin, but it does seem a huge limitation on the ability that taking communion has to change our lives. I for one want to experience God in the fullness of his glory, and by Faith’s account, I have a full re-evaluation of communion on the menu in order to be able to do so.

3)      Communion is connected to eternal life

In the passage above , communion appears vital for remaining in God (verse 56) and eternal life results from it (verse 54. Put so candidly, it is hard to ignore the fact that taking communion is of utmost importance and has more power than simply remembering the crucifixion.

I sit here, implored to find out more about the wonder that communion appears to be. Faith highlights that ‘What you expect determines what you experience,’ and that, similarly to all things of God, ‘Communion delivers results according to our faith.’ The book gives an abundance of testimonies of people that have taken seriously the immense power that communion is said to hold and have seen miracles to show for it. It seems a mighty loss to have access to all this power and to not exercise it.

As I said earlier, I remain a sceptic until I’m a fully-fledged believer, and so I’m yet to run with everything the book has to offer, but I am 100% convinced that further study is necessary. Nothing should be taken lightly when it comes to our faith, and in failing to consider the power that communion has, I am doing myself a disservice. This book reminds us all to rediscover the reason behind the ritual, and actively pursue everything Jesus has to offer for us.

Peace and love

Dani xxxx