Tag Archives: healing

How Should Christians Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Standard

vday1Valentine’s Day… dare I say it’s probably a more loathed holiday versus a loved holiday, contrary to its theme and modern intent?  Christians have been very bold in their disgrace towards the commercialization of Easter and Christmas; why are we not as vocal about Valentine’s Day?  And should we?  Although it is a holiday aimed at sharing love with those closest to us, is it a secular celebration?  What are the origins of Valentine’s Day and are there really Christian foundations in this holiday? Is there any harm in cupid, red hearts, candy, flowers, and romantic dinners?

At one time, a pre-Roman pastoral festival known as Lupercalia was observed from February 13th through the 15th.  This three-day festival time of celebration was acclaimed to refine the city, deter evil spirits, and increase health and fertility.  As Christianity continued to grow, the festival was adapted over time by different cultures and people began to add their own customs.

The patron St. was a priest and physician in ancient Rome and was well-known for his kindness and generosity towards others.  He spent much of his time caring for the poor, performing good deeds, and healing the sick and afflicting.  He was arrested by the Roman emperor Claudius Gothicus (268-270 AD) during the time of Christian persecution.  During his time under arrest he healed his attending officer’s blind, adopted daughter which led to the officers’ family’s conversion to Christianity.  Gothicus heard of these “deeds” and ordered St. Valentine to be beheaded on February 14th.

While the Lupercalia festival was still highly respected, it was Pope Gelasius who officially added February 14th as a holiday on the church list in 496 AD, known as St. Valentine’s Day.  From that point forward, this day was honored and celebrated in memory of St. Valentine for his life of service.  The new name of the Lupercalia festival was easily adapted and new elements to the holiday were quickly added into the fold.  The emphasis on the holiday was never meant to reflect romantic love but to honor St. Valentine and mirror agape love and goodwill towards all people.  It was never about cards, flowers, and chocolate candy.  But somehow the commercialization has managed to taint the holiday and steer our focus away from loving others in need.

God is not opposed to us loving others; it’s quite the opposite.  He commands us to love others unconditionally.  God wants us to show love to others through words and actions, Let us not love in word or talk bur in deed and in truth,” 1 John 3:18.  While God wants romantic love shared between a husband and wife, He wants us to show love to others as well.  We should be doing both year-round, not just on a single day when an overly-commercialized holiday says we should be showing love to our significant other.  It should be our mission to love others at all times and make sure our actions show God’s love.

Romans 15:13 says this, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  This is the highest and most respected form of love.  As Christians, we certainly need to love and honor the spouse God blessed us with, but we need to do away with our love for “things”.  Let’s celebrate the holiday in memory of Saint Valentine – by doing something special and anonymously for someone in need.  Spend the day and your money modestly on others.

Click HERE for some Valentine family games that celebrate God’s love and HERE for Valentine devotionals.

———-

You might also like:
1. A Jesus Lover’s New Year’s Resolution
2. Christians and Biblical Marriage
3. Does Santa Belong in Our Christmas Celebrations?
4. Christian Focus on Thanksgiving
5. Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Testimony – I am Redeemed. I am Loved.

Standard

testimonyOn this very day last year I publicly shared my testimony and wanted to share it on this blog as well.  I woke up that morning and immediately my mind wandered, just like it does most of the time.  I knew that day was coming; I had thought about that day for years.  I hadn’t planned to blog about the significance of that date but there I found myself writing.  I started writing just to let go of the baggage I carried but also so that one day my boys could read about their momma’s testimony and know how much I wanted to be their mommy.  On that day, I decided to share with whoever was reading whether it was just one person or 3,000 people what that day means to me.

I prayed and pleaded with God about what He wanted for my life.  I finally let go and let God speak to me.  This is what I heard, “My love, you think you’re finished with your story, but you have no clue.  There is one thing that you and I both know you think about secretly in the dark that I want you to bring to light.  HELP my children.”  He told me to deal with this, speak the word, and finish my story.

Today, I’m wishing a Happy 16th Birthday to my UNBORN BABY… due date January 5, 1998.

Why am I telling something so personal?  Believe me, I NEVER wanted to.  God convicted my heart one day and it hasn’t stopped yearning for these unborn babies.  I want to help the people who have made this decision to forgive themselves and I want to hopefully convince someone who is contemplating abortion that you don’t just “do it” and it’s over.  You have to deal with this for the rest of your life.  I have eleven years of school pictures I’ve missed out on and I want them to understand that this decision will affect them for the rest of their lives.  Here’s my story:

Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children
come to me, and do not hinder them, for the
kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I found out a few days before I graduated from high school that I was pregnant.  I didn’t believe in killing a baby and I didn’t want to kill this baby.  A baby made out of sin, yes, but it was my baby. My boyfriend didn’t want me to keep the baby and even told me I didn’t have a choice, that I was having an abortion.  I begged him to let me keep the baby and even told him child support wasn’t needed.  I was already showing and attached to my baby.  I was almost at the limit to have an abortion which made it that much more difficult.  I was over three months.  I had been reading up on pregnancy and trying to eat healthier so my baby could grow big and strong in my womb.  I was willing to do this as a single mother and never ask one thing of him, but he didn’t care.

I had always believed that a baby is a human from conception and you could never convince me otherwise.  Others told me it was just an embryo and to think of it like it was a fish.  But I knew its heart was beating and God knew that baby before it was in my womb.  Regardless, I allowed myself to be taken to the abortion clinic.  I cried as we were walking up.  As I lay on that cold table with my feet in stirrups, looking at the doctor that was going to take this life out of me, I wondered if he had kids.  I wondered what he thought about what I was doing.  I wondered if he knew I didn’t want to do it, that I had been threatened and convinced otherwise.  When he stuck that ultrasound tool on me to see where the baby was and how far along I was he didn’t move the monitor where I couldn’t see.  I looked at that perfect baby floating around and moving in my womb.  I saw life.  In less than one minute, that life would no longer be in my womb, it would stop growing instantly and there would be no more creation inside of me.  It was already a human being growing, forming, so it could look like me and every other human being that God had created.  Two years from that moment, it would have been giggling and jabbering and writing all over the walls.  I saw creation and life, even through my sin.

I had an abortion that day, with a baby that was due in January of the following year, a baby that I think of everyday of my life and always will.  That baby was made out of sin, and so have a million more babies that have grown up to serve God in powerful ways.  I left that clinic that day, and I was no longer pregnant.  God cried that day and I cried with Him.  I was sick with myself.  We had just eliminated a problem that would have only been in the way of our future. This baby needed my womb to survive in a little while longer and it had been destroyed, without even knowing how to fight or cling to me for dear life.

That day I did something I would take back right now, only to see that child’s smile, only so I could have been a better person a lot sooner.  I look around my house, and sometimes my imagination runs wild enough to imagine that my now 16 yr old child would have been a Christian by now.  Maybe if it was a girl, we’d be getting pedicures together today or maybe if it was a boy, he’d be pitching the baseball to my husband.  Maybe this child of mine would have braces and be coming up to me right now to ask if their friend could spend the night.  Just maybe….  I wish this part of my life could be turned the other way around.  Maybe I would have considered abortion but in the end decided against it and had the baby.  Then I wouldn’t have to wonder who it was.  A boy or a girl?  My child would have a name and a personality and a LIFE.

There’s always reasons, they say, that life turns out the way it is.  What reason was there for this?   I had just killed my own child.  How could God ever love and forgive such a shameful act when I couldn’t even forgive myself?  My baby never had the chance to breathe one breath outside of my womb.  Babies fight for their lives every single day and parents grieve because their baby didn’t make it.  How could people be so selfish and how could I now be one of those people?  I never got to see what God could have made out of such a tragedy.

I was now going through the worst depression of my life.  The pain of holding my stomach and no longer eating for two and preparing for our future hit me hard every single day that my belly wasn’t growing.  I never felt those first kicks.  I never got that chance.  Being a mommy was all I wanted since I was 13.  I was 18 now and didn’t have a clue where my life was going.  I was so depressed that I just did not care about anything.  I tried so hard to move on.  I wasn’t happy and really never moved forward or tried to get my life back on the right path.  The depression kept me in the same cycle and I found myself pregnant again just 4 months after my first abortion.

Yes, I had gotten pregnant again.  I became angry all over again, total opposite of what I thought I would feel to have the chance to be a mommy again.  What I had imagined wasn’t what I was feeling at all.  This time I was mad that a new baby was in there when the other baby should have been in there.  I resented this pregnancy because I shouldn’t have been five weeks pregnant; I should have been seven or eight months pregnant.  I was so blurred and clouded with confusion, that I didn’t beg this time, I didn’t plead to keep this baby.  We’re supposed to learn from our mistakes.  I hadn’t learned from mine.  I lay on that same table with my legs up in stirrups, and I don’t mean to make light of this situation.  To me, I saw it for what it was.  There is no way I would have been pregnant if I had not had the first abortion.  I should be wobbling around with a huge belly and feeling the baby move and curl up inside me, feeling life.  Instead I felt nothing.  I didn’t deserve to be a mother.

By this time I truly felt that I didn’t deserve happiness or anyone to love.  Not after what I had done.  I deserved to be condemned to Hell, the place I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to be.

Through my abortions, I’ve learned that life can be redeemed, that I have been redeemed.  I’ve learned that God does forgive me and that He does still love me.  I’ve learned that I do deserve to be loved and I’ve learned that my friends still love me, despite my previous choices.  I’ve learned that abortion is not an easy answer and the problem isn’t gone within minutes.  I’ve learned that the effects of abortion are life-long.  I hurt every day and every year for the children I do not have in my arms.

I had always worried about judgment from others.  I no longer worry about that.  I’ve figured out that even the “perfect” people have baggage and they too have made mistakes.  But know this, I only share my testimony because I want people to know who I am, why I believe in a God I’ve never seen, and how I long to fulfill His purpose through me.  I know what abortion is and I know the effects they cause a woman.  Choose life for your child and don’t make the same mistakes I did.

-Shayna

Furious Love Review and Giveaway

Standard

Furious-Love-Home-Page-Design

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked
with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. -Mark 16:20

While God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts
of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. -Hebrews 2:4

So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness
to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. -Acts 14:3

The amazingly raw and incredible films, Finger of God and Furious Love, both created by Wanderlust Productions, set out to reveal modern day miracles through God’s mighty power.  But more than just miraculous events happen; God’s heart for His people is exposed as well as the war between good and evil.  The films prove the hand of God in everyday action and the amazing love He has for each of His children.

The Furious Love Event Collection is a documentary response to these two films with the sole purpose to inspire churches worldwide to spread the Gospel through the amazing wonders and love of God.  The speakers from the hit films came together in April 2011 with the intent to inspire and charge the church to “love radically, love excessively, and, above all, go and be the hands of God.”

The inspirational speakers include:
Heidi Baker
Rolland Baker
Shampa (Shanti) Rice
Robby Dawkins
Philip Mantofa
Angela Greenig
Mattheus van der Steen
Greg Boyd
Will Hart

Who doesn’t want to be inspired by God?  And who doesn’t want to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ?  Within just minutes of hearing their testimonies, you too will be completely inspired to set out within your own community and travel throughout the world to preach the good news of Jesus Christ.  Your heart will be forever changed and empowered to prove God’s love for all of humanity time and time again.  Your mind will be transformed as you take a deeper look into the realms of good and evil.  Your mission for Christ will become so stimulated that you will ache to spread the word of God immediately!

You can order each individual event separately or you can order the complete 11 box set online for just $114.89.  Other products from Wanderlust Productions include the original films Finger of God, Furious Love, and the most recent Father of Lights.  Additional products include books, music, and video downloads.

The good news….

The Judgmental Christian has been blessed with the opportunity to offer this COMPLETE 11 box Furious Love Event Collection to one of our readers for FREE.  What a blessing to be able to share these inspirational and spiritual films to one of our readers!  Thank you Wanderlust Productions for this unique occasion.

To enter the giveaway, click HERE to learn how you can enter for a chance to have this box set.

How to Write a Testimony

Standard

testimonyNo one can deny your personal experiences in life and how the hand of God helped you through trials and troubling times.  These hardships and sufferings are a part of your testimony and shape your walk with Christ.  The Bible is filled with testimonies and examples of how God saved people from difficult times and used them for His glory.  Your LIVING testimony has the power to point people to the love and redemption of Jesus Christ as well.  Your story can prove to others that God is love and that we are all broken and in need of a Savior.

How do you write a testimony?

1. Recognize the power of a written testimony.  There are recorded events and testimonies written throughout the Bible that we use today as examples and encouragement.  Your testimony can be the same for someone else.  Testimonies are messy but that’s the beauty in everyone’s story.  The power of overcoming the devil is something to be joyful about!

2. Devote time in prayer.  Can your testimony bring others to Christ?  Will your testimony provide a truth of redemption, God’s grace, and His everlasting love?  Reflect on your life before being rescued, your journey to finding Christ, and where God is leading you today.

3. Explain your sin.  What was life like before you surrendered your life to Christ?  What were you dealing with?  What emotions did you feel?

4. Share how you realized you needed a Savior, a solution to your problems.  Tell the readers how you came to know God and our Savior.  What brought you to the point of needing to be rescued?

5. Reveal how God is working in your life today.  How is life different with Christ as your focus?  What lessons in life has God taught you?  How have your thoughts and attitude changed overtime?  Tell the readers how your faith brings you through current sufferings.  How your life has been impacted today is just as important!

Helpful tips:

1. Stay focused on your story.  Remember the most important times and critical moments in your story.  Not every detail needs to be shared or readers may get lost in your novel versus your testimony.

2. Give specific examples of how God worked in your life.  Exercise wisdom and write as God leads you.  Do not give specific examples about your sins; your sin is not the focus of the testimony.  Make your testimony tangible with raw emotions and real events so that others can relate.

3. Be honest and real about the events in your life.  There is no reason to lie or exaggerate the truth.  Testimonies are painful and sometimes chaotic; remember the redemption at the end of your story.

4.  Do not use names or describe the sins of other people.  This is YOUR testimony, not theirs.

If you’re interested in sharing your testimony, message us on Facebook.

Testimony – A String Around My Heart

Standard

testimonyI was a very obedient child.  I did as I was told without argument or complaint.  I had a momma and a daddy who loved me and a pesky little sister who showed her own kind of love through her constant irritation.  We ate meals together at the dinner table, took walks around the neighborhood, and spent genuine, quality time with each other.

At 15 years old, our family dynamics seemed to crash from normal to utterly heartbreaking.  Choices were made in our household that paved a crooked path to disobedience and blatant defiance.  Teenage years are hard enough but to add stress within the family home gave me all the excuse I needed to do as I pleased without regard to my parents’ rules and their personal feelings.

I had created walls around my heart and guarded my feelings against everyone and every situation.  I had no desire to be inside our broken home and I certainly didn’t want to be around the parents I blamed for my own personal choices.  Rather than going home, I hung out with friends.  I chose the attention of boys in place of the arms of my parents who I knew loved me, despite the choices made that split our family apart.  I chose to stay out all night and find random places to sleep just to avoid the tension always on the rise.  The fleeting desires of a sinful world quickly pulled me into the fast lane of sex, drugs, and alcohol.

I believed in God, I knew He existed.  I prayed to Him nightly when I was afraid I might overdose, get pregnant, or pass out wherever we happened to be that night.  I prayed before my nights of hell even began but that pull satan had on my heart and home were incredibly strong.  I caved.  I caved night after night, searching for something or someone that wouldn’t hurt me.  Year after year, I said these prayers.  I didn’t enjoy the sex, the hangover, or the sleepless nights.  I didn’t enjoy my newfound freedom and longed for the comfort of both parents at home waiting for me with open arms.

At 17 yrs old I was sitting in church one Sunday.  I have no idea what the message was about but I remember the alter call that morning.  I remember sitting in that balcony chair and literally feeling like a string was tied around my heart and I was being pulled down.  I can still feel the pull as I was walking as though someone was literally TUGGING me down that church aisle.  I made a decision that day that I’ve never regretted and accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and life.

I attempted my own walk down that same hellish path but this time I wasn’t just saying prayers with empty promises.  I was hearing the Holy Spirit speak to me and felt the convictions He placed on my heart.  Satan was pulling on one side while God held on stronger, telling me He wasn’t letting go!  A short time later, I found out I was pregnant.  What seemed like a new stumbling block was really God’s hand at saving me from a world I couldn’t seem to climb my way out of.  That baby boy growing inside me was my saving grace.  God used the life of this new heavenly child to pull me from the pits of hell.  I chose life for this child and therefore chose life for myself.

I look back now and there were troubles within our home, difficulties that no family should ever endure, and unfortunate choices that others made in our family.  But I used them as excuses to create my own world of hell.  I justified my actions based on the actions of others.

Today, I cry when I think of all that God has done for me.  He chose me when I was the least likely to be an example for Him.  He has taught me forgiveness, the kind of forgiveness that when I think of the pain others inflicted on me or the pain I caused myself that I can simply tell God “thank you”.  I am able today to pray for those who hurt me, for those who abused me.  I pray that God has blessed their lives and that the Holy Spirit convicts them of Truth.  I’m also able to forgive myself, which is HUGE!  God worked hard for me; He worked overtime.  I wasn’t an easy task and my path was messy but He never let go.

As the years have gone by I’ve learned that satan isn’t original.  He isn’t creative and continually reminds me of my past and of the many wrong choices I’ve made.  He does this time and time again and each time I remind who my God is and who my life belongs to.

This is my testimony… messy, honest, and redemptive.

-Brandie

Biblical View on Abortion

Standard

For those that want a Biblical perspective on abortion, here is what I believe to be true and right.

“You shall not murder.” -Exodus 20:13

“You shall not murder.” -Deuteronomy 5:17

“’You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’” -Matthew 5:21

“The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  Love does no harm to its neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” -Romans 13:9-10

“For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’  If you do commit murder, you have become a law breaker.” –James 2:11

Murder is a sin.  The killing of innocent life is a sin regardless of the age of the “human”.  The Bible does not tell us murder is a sin and then afterwards list several occasions where we can take an innocent life and it not be a sin.  As a matter of fact, it clearly warns us that adultery (which by definition is sexual relations outside of marriage) can lead to murder, the actual killing of one person (another adult, newborn child, or unborn child) to cover up the crime of adultery.

He knew.  God knew how perverted and corrupt humans would become and this verse holds true even today.  In Biblical times they killed the innocent to cover up their crimes and yet we are still doing the same today.  [Read the story of David and Bathsheba]

There is not one instance, where abortion is okay by biblical standards.  Not adultery with another married person, not premarital sex, not rape, and not any medical condition justifies the killing of the unborn child.

What the Bible does tell us is to “live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Maybe you did commit the sin of adultery and are now pregnant.  Or maybe you were an innocent bystander who was raped.  And maybe you have been that faithful, devoted follower all your life and you are now in a medical position where ending the life of your child will ultimately save yours.  Whatever the case may be, the Bible does not justify abortion.  It says to live by faith.  Put your faith in God to do what is right and best for your life and family.  Have faith that He will heal you.  Have faith that He will use your situation, whatever it may be, to bring others to Christ.

Why do I speak so openly about this topic?  Because abortion only serves to fill lives with guilt.  I have never personally had an abortion but know many who have.  I have done my fair share of sins that still leave with an insurmountable level of guilt and that haunt me and affect my daily life.  Sin is a sin and guilt is exactly what Satan wants us to live with.  Our goal as Christians should be to keep His word, spread His good news, and to keep all people from committing sin.  Yes, we are not perfect and cannot ever achieve perfection.  But we can certainly try!

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” –Isaiah 7:9

“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.” –Romans 4:20

If you are in an unwanted situation, have faith that God will provide for you.  He can provide money to support your new addition.  He can lead you to a family that has been praying and longing for a child.  God can also heal you and give you and your child life.  But have faith that God will do what is best for you and your unborn child.  What blessings these times will be!

If you have had an abortion, let God redeem you.  Let Him heal you and restore your life.  The Bible talks so much of the power of redemption and the power of changing lives.  Your story can save lives too!  Your story can keep others from the guilt they may feel.  Your story can reach others and bring people to Christ.  Ask God to forgive you and allow Him to start working in your life today.

———-

You might also like:
1. Abortion Q&A
2. Value Life
3. Dating and Sexual Purity
4. Say NO to Girl Scouts
5. Thirty-One and Planned Parenthood
6. Say NO to Susan G. Komen