== Love God == Delight in Light ==

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Two Things For Christians To Be Sure Of

It seems to me that Christianity is becoming more and more marginalised in Western culture. This means that we are more and more likely to be the target of opposition and/or persecution.

One result of this is that people who see themselves as Christians, but are "nominal" or "half-hearted" about it, are more likely to be forced to make a decision one way or the other - will I stand up for Jesus in spite of opposition, or will I just follow whatever happens to be popular at the moment?

One possible way to "test" whether I am "nominal" or not is to consider two key things:
  1. Do I really believe in God?
  2. Do I have a genuine love for God?
To answer the first of these, think about this: when someone challenges your belief, or presents something that could be considered to be contrary evidence, how do you react? If you react defensively or emotionally, then you should check whether your belief is really founded on a "wish" rather than on solid evidence. Are you genuinely interested in seeking truth, or are you just wanting to protect your belief?

I recommend that you embrace your doubts, investigate other points of view and face the possibility that your cherished beliefs may be wrong. Then you can come out the other side with a much stronger belief that is based on fact rather than on wishing.

To answer the second, consider your attitude towards chocolate (or, if you are one or the few people who doesn't like chocolate, something else that you do like/love). How often do you make excuses to avoid "having to" eat a piece of chocolate? Or do you rather (since chocolate is not really that good for you) make excuses or rationalisations that allow you to eat more of it? Similarly, if there is someone that you really like and love, do you make excuses so you can avoid spending time with them? Or do you look forward to, and seek out, opportunities to be with them?

What about your relationship with God - do you make excuses to avoid interacting with Him? Are you thankful if something comes up that prevents you from attending church meetings?

If so, maybe you don't really love God. If that is the case, then I recommend that you prayerfully focus on learning how to develop a love relationship with Him (rather than one that is based on a sense of duty or guilt). This book that I wrote a while back has some ideas for how to develop a relationship with God that is based on love: Would You Like To Sin More And Still Get To Heaven - but there are also many other resources and people around who will be able to help you develop that kind of relationship with Him.

So in summary, look at yourself and consider the strength of your belief in, and love for, God. If both are strong, you will have a strong foundation on, and connection to, the One who can carry you through any opposition that may come your way. If they are weak, then maybe you should ask God to help you do something about them - after all, failure to do so could have eternal consequences.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

@delightinlight - Getting Into Twitter

According to http://www.whendidyoujointwitter.com I joined Twitter on 1 April 2011 (hmm - April fool's day - maybe I should have waited a day!). However, until recently, it's not been something that I've really used very much - there were just a couple of users that I followed, and occasionally I would post a "tweet" that would be read by, I suspect, exactly nobody. I had, I think, 2 "followers".

However, about a week ago, I decided to really start actually, you know, using Twitter (and I already can't remember what prompted that!). So I started looking for interesting people to follow and started posting more tweets.

Here's some things that I personally have found in that week (i.e. the experience of someone who is, in effect, a newbie):

  1. I've really enjoyed it. Actually, I think may be getting hooked! It's great to have a constant stream of encouraging and challenging thoughts to keep me focused on God and His purpose for my life.
  2. #1 above, of course, depends on following the right people. However, it has been really easy to find great people to follow. If you do happen to follow someone who turns out to be inappropriate, then it's very easy to "unfollow" them.
  3. There's a great, overriding temptation on Twitter (to add to all life's other temptations) -- joining the "number of followers" race. Seriously, it's not about how many followers you have. Really. I have to keep reminding myself of that, because it really does seem to lure one in! Actually, I think I should write a blog post with more thoughts on that subject at some point... I may need to continue to be reminded ;-)
  4. Many of the people that I follow have points of view on various theological points that I don't necessarily 100% agree with. That feels really quite irrelevant. Because what I notice more is that they seem to, first and foremost, reflect God's love. So I can listen to the occasional bits that I disagree with and feel encouraged to challenge my own position without jumping to the defensive. That feels to me like the kind of unity that Jesus would like to see in His family.

Now, I'm sure that, as time progresses, unpleasantness will pop up from one corner or another (this is the web, after all). But it looks like it will be a place where I will be able to continue to get that encouragement and challenge.

If you are not a Twitter user, then I suggest you give it a try. Find some great Christians to "follow" and enjoy the spiritual feeding that they willingly and continuously send your way :)

As a suggestion of where to start, here's a list of some people who not only have had great things to say over the past week, but have also taken the time to interact with me on Twitter in some Twitterish kind of way - in spite of me being a "nobody" in Twitter terms (i.e. "a person with few followers"). That means that we can be reasonably sure that they are genuinely interested in encouraging and helping rather than just being in it to promote themselves. Here's their usernames and current profile comment:

  • Michelle Castillo - @mishiroo - "In the comfort of His love"
  • Kelli Trujillo - @kbtrujillo - "Author, editor. Into Christian spirituality, environment, justice. Busy mom of 3. Foodie, book-lover, indie music fan, film watcher, poet, gardener, journaler."
  • Greg Holt - @writinggomer - "Love God, inspirational writer and tweeter. Need encouragement and positive change? Follow me!"
  • Tiffany Barkley - @TiffanyBarkley - "I love family, diversity, missions, orphans, scenery, music, art, tattoos, holidays, Jesus & I live to make Him known--Check out my Non-Profit! @GivingOthrsHope"
  • Jarrid Wilson - @JarridWilson - "Pastor, Author, Blogger. A Gospel Sharing Misfit. I yearn to share Jesus to the world. New book, 30 WORDS is NOW AVAILABLE. http://30WordsBook.com"
  • Rebekah - @rebekahlynn - "If you're a southpaw and you can quote Big Daddy then I'll probably love you. COWBOYS.CUBS.MARCHMADNESS. Matthew 6:33 | thubby: @_jacobself"
  • Kari Maidment - @Karimaidreal - "i love Jesus."
  • Kim Montepara - @kimontepara - "A Beloved daughter of God. Have a heart for my family & friends, people, stories, children, youth & animals"

...why not stop by each of them, say "hi" and see if you would also like to follow them...?

Monday, January 23, 2012

The End of the Film

Conversation with Lucia (aged 5) after she had finished watching a film (Dad had watched most of it with her, but had had to go and do something else before it finished):
Dad: "So, Lucia - what happened at the end of the film?"
Lucia: "Well, um, it finished."