Has The Church Become a Modern Israel?

Have you ever wondered what the heart of God really is?

Have you begun to question the status of your Christianity?

Have you begun to question your ability to live up to snuff?

Do you feel lazy, like your life is just going through the motions?

Have you ever felt as if you are not doing enough?

I used to feel that way all of the time. I was overwhelmed by guilt and restlessness. I was always concerned with what I was doing, how pure my heart was, how sinless I was remaining. My prayers typically consisted of apologies and begging God to show me what to do. It wasn’t out of love, but out of a desperation to be accepted, valuable, good.

I think every human being has these innate desires.

These desires are not wrong.

What can be wrong is how we seek their fulfillment.

Why did God send, “his only begotten son”? Why did Jesus die?

Think back to the Israelites.

They are described as the apple of God’s eye, as his precious jewel. They were HIS. He cherished them infinitely, he protected them relentlessly and forgave them countless times. We look back at that nation and laugh at their foolishness in Church services all the time. They had everything, but lived as if they had nothing, or like they had to earn what they’d been given.

Recently I was reading Isaiah 1, which is basically a synopsis of how much the Israelites had it wrong, how often they turned away from their loving God and how awful that distance they created was for them. It talks about how much it hurts the Father’s heart to see his people going astray. It talked about their dependence on works, on doing everything right and how very often they would fail, but never recognize those failures.

While I was reading I realized how very like the Israelites modern Christians and the modern church have become. Do we want our generation to be the new Israel, a generation of ineffective wanderers? We don’t have time to wander for forty years in the wilderness of confusion and self-preservation. Jesus is coming back soon. The signs Jesus warned of are there with more on the way in the near future.

This isn’t meant to be a condemnation or a guilt trip. I am only asking us to look deep inside, to question what our Christianity has become. I would ask you to read over Isaiah 1 and see if indeed you come to the same realization I did, then study the life and the death of our savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Think hard about this and its implications. If we continue on this path what, if anything, will happen? What does this mean for our generation and for us as a people under the blood of Jesus? Take the time to listen for God’s voice in this matter. I can’t judge your life. That is between you and God. Where do you stand?

I’ll be back soon with more on this topic, with what I think God is saying we ought to do from this place of dependence on self to get back to dependence on him. From Works to Grace.

Much love,

Deanna.

Abstract Poem.

What am I?

Clean or dirty,

Hot and good-smelly,

Near to your heart,

But resting in your belly,

I feel like a mother,

To children held dear,

And like perfume,

When your day has been drear,

Most of all I feel like your family,

When you all gather here,

I need steam and love,

And much good cheer,

Loneliness darkness and abandon,

Are my fears,

Friends laughter and full bellies,

Are my favorite things to see,

I am found in every home,

And I miss you when left alone.

I am a kitchen.

 

Poetry Spillage.

Hey everybody! I am so sorry I haven’t been posting to this blog recently. College, life, homework, my personal writing, my freelancing and my professional blog is taking up all my time! If you want to stay updated aside from the random post on this blog you should follow my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/deannaleahwrites where I post daily updates and link all my blog posts.

For today I will share with you a little poem that I wrote somewhere in the last couple weeks (and there will be another coming saturday when my english teacher returns it to me lol).

 

~ MUSIC ~

The whole world is music,

we are always stomping our feet,

our melodious voices,

form a rhythmic beat.

 

The whole world is music,

it’s not simply the buds we put in our ears,

we ought to take them out,

and truly listen to all the tears and cheers.

 

The whole world is music,

of this I must be clear,

the whole world is a song,

that we are losing should we choose not to hear.

 

Being a Fearless Writer and a Fearless You.

On August 22nd Rani Divine added my second post to her blog. Follow this link to read it and then I will use this post to show you how the fearless writing I talked about is also an allegory for fearless living.

http://ranidivine.blogspot.com/2014/08/fearless.html

“You were fearless in that 70 page, worn, tear stained notebook and now… you are being called to be fearless again. You are being called to dig up ghosts you never wanted to experience again. You are being forced to reveal a broken heart to the world.”

The fact is that we are all broken. We have broken hearts, lives, thoughts, beliefs and tendencies. When you look around a room full of people (strangers or friends) you are looking at a room of broken mirrors. When you look in the mirror of your heart you are seeing a broken reflection.

Why is that?

We were all created for the sole purpose of reflecting our father. Genesis 1:26 says that we were created in Gods image and in his likeness. Adam looked like God on the inside. He had attributes of God like perfect love, a perfect conscience and unlike us, he was a complete and unbroken person. When he ate the apple the characteristics of God were marred, but not destroyed. His mirror was cracked – and so was ours.

Why then as writers do we find ourselves with the desire to write if all we are doing is revealing our own brokenness? How can brokenness fix brokenness?

The fact is that it can’t, but by revealing what God is doing within us both in our writing and in our daily lives we reveal the only person who CAN fix our mirror.

JESUS.

Jesus came to heal the broken and when we write, speak, sing, walk around and look into his eyes that is exactly what he is doing.

Yes we may be broken, but we can be fearless in the fact that we are, moment by moment, healed by Jesus and that by the grace of our Father will be given everything we need to complete his purposes on earth.

“God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”

I know I say this all the time, but the fact is that “doing life right” isn’t up to us because we are so broken that we can’t. It is up to our Savior who is fully perfect and already lived that perfect life in our stead.

So when you are walking through your everyday life (riding the train, in class, doing homework, eating dinner or writing in the wee hours of the morning) recall your purpose – reflect Jesus – live your calling – share the gospel – and finally be fearless!

– Deanna ❤

Just as a note: very soon Rani Divine will have a new post up that she wrote using a bit of my expertise all about how you dudes out there can pick up a writerly chick so be on the look out! The post will be a blast and I will be sharing it on my facebook page if you want to check it out there! https://www.facebook.com/deannaleahwrites?ref=hl

 

Guest Blogger – Stephanie!

Hello Everyone! Today we have a guest blogger who is very dear to my heart. Right now she lives in Florida – which is way to far away from New Mexico – but she is doing great things there. She is deeply involved in Journey Church and just got back from a missions trip to Mexico where she absolutely fell in love with all the kids. I cannot wait to see where else she will go and what else God will lead her to do for His kingdom. It is beautiful for me to watch my friends grow up around me and she is one of them so without further ado Stephanie’s post!

steph

A Word Misunderstood:

“The number one question people are constantly pondering, studying, researching, asking, googling, reading about, and striving to find the answer to is: ” why are we here?” or, in other words, “what is the purpose of life?”. It is a question that has been attempted to be answered by millions of people in an infinite amount of ways. Each person may have a different answer. Some might say to be happy or to be successful or to have a family or to contribute something positive or to protect the environment or to make yourself and others happy. The list goes on and on.

As a Christian my first response to that question has always been “to reach the lost for Jesus.” – a noble cause. I always found that at the center. After all was that not Jesus’ last command to us? To go and make disciples of all nations. Therefore, as a good Christian, I could confidently say the purpose of my life was to tell people about Jesus, to point others to him. In my mind that was the purpose of every life. God gave people talents so they could use them to point others to Jesus.

The purpose of life is not to be successful because success will fade. The purpose of life is not to be happy because happiness is a fleeting emotion that can easily change. Not that these things aren’t a good part of life but rather that they are not at the center of life.

Recently I have found that the purpose of life is not to point people to Jesus. Here is where a righteous gasp would be allowed and an indignant “how dare you say we are not supposed to point people to Jesus!”

That is not what I am saying at all.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and all that is within them. He created man in his own likeness and from him he created woman. In the first couple chapters of the Bible we can see the purpose of life as God intended it. Before the fall of man and before sin came into the world, before people chose to forget God, before people needed to be saved and pointed to Jesus God had a purpose for our lives. Every day God met with Adam and Eve to walk and talk and laugh and have an intimate relationship with the people he loved.

The purpose of life is to be a lover; and not just a lover of anything but a lover of a Creator who loved us beyond any of our own capabilities before we could ever love him.

The word lover has been ruined by todays society – corrupted. The word itself would make me queasy and uncomfortable, feeling like I was intruding on something that was none of my concern. For a while all it meant to me was someone who had intimate relations with another – usually when they weren’t supposed to. It felt secretive and dirty to me and had little to no connotations of actual, real love.

Instead of explaining what a lover is not allow me to expound on what a lover is and how it fits into our purpose. A true lover is someone who stands in awe of another being. Nothing could compare to or satisfy like being in the presence of this being. Being a lover of our Creator is not something strange and uncomfortable: it is simply standing in awe of our Savior and losing our breath and losing our words. It is wanting to spend our life getting to know Him better, getting to spend time with the one who gave His life for us. It is us being satisfied that He is all we need. He is our everything. It is a love that realizes that He sacrificed himself for us and in return we willingly and lovingly do what he asks of us because we LOVE Him.

Life is, but a fleeting moment compared to eternity. It comes and goes and what we gained and accomplished in it will be forgotten and lost. So what is the purpose of life if at the end, when we are laying on our death beds, we cannot take anything with us and chances are in 100 years we will be no more than a name on a stone next to hundreds of stones that all look the same? Well to answer that you must look at the bigger picture: at eternity. For eternity we will spend our lives praising and worshipping a beautiful God. The one thing we can take with us when we die is our relationship with our Savior therefore our purpose in life is just to be a lover.

Naturally, when you are in love with God it affects the rest of your life. His love through you affects the people you meet, the way you act, they way you work, the things you do. Which in turn affects your happiness, your work, your success, your passions and desires, your family and friends, and everything else in life.

When God is at the center of not just your life but at the center of the entire essence of your being, when you focusing your love and adoration on him is at the center of every decision you make, of the words you say, of the relationships you have with others, of the work you do, and at the center of everything you are, THAT is when you know you have fulfilled life’s purpose. Because you are who God made you to be: His lover.

Sometimes I lay in awe and wonder of God and in these moments my heart swells till I feel like His love is going to make it burst. I cannot begin to fathom or wrap my head around a love so extravagant and so real. It shines through everything around me. All the things I take for granted and all the things I enjoy are strategically placed in my life as love letters from God. His handwriting is everywhere! Bleeding through my life as a pen bleeds through paper. His love seeps into my being and fills me with a joy that is incomparable.

Even in the hard times he leaves behind his beautiful handwriting. His hand is there guiding me. His arms are open to hug me and comfort me when my face is red and blotchy with tears. He knows. To have a lover that will never misunderstand you, will never let you down, will be there for you no matter what, and knows exactly how to make you smile: that is all anyone could ever ask for and it is already ours. It was ours before the world was made. What more could I ask for?

Words are frustrating because they can never convey the love of God fully. It is something you must experience for yourself to understand the full gravity of. My soul is bursting at the seams through these words trying to find a way to convey the complexity of a love that existed before words, of a love that invented languages. It is impossible. Sometimes it is best to just let yourself be wordless, speechless, and just let God be God.”

This spoke volumes to me.

In what ways do you and I need to just let God be God this school year?

Where must our worries cease and allow His hand?

Should I have more guest bloggers? Should I convince Steph to come back some time?

Please share in the comments!

God is faithful and you are utterly blessed.

Love,

Deanna and Stephanie ❤

Why You Should Believe in Fairy Tales.

Disney movies, fairy tales and romantic flicks have always been popular among young people. The idea of a knight in shining armor come to ride them off into the sunset has stuck in the mind of many little girls. Almost every little girl pretends to be a princess and almost every teen girl dreams of her wedding day. These stories and movies have enchanted whole families for decades.

These days, however, they have begun to get a bad rap and it seems to me that this is especially true in Christian circles.

Adults are seeking to convince everyone that fairy tales are nothing more than deluded lies. They are convincing their teens that the idea of a prince and a princess or any hope of a happily ever after is harmful. There are so many blog posts about how love is nothing like the movies.

They say that fairy tales trick us in three main ways:

1. They make us think that we are not whole unless we have found our prince or princess.

2. They make us think that love is all romance and no work.

3. They make us think the person who loves us will be perfect.

While these may be true I do not think it is fair to say that fairy tales are dangerous for us to believe in. I don’t think we should boycot prince charming or stop dreaming of finding true love.

I think fairy tales do much more good than harm. I think fairy tales help us to keep believing when as single adults we give up hope.

Yesterday I was watching Ella Enchanted again which was a favorite book of mine as a young teen girl. I hadn’t seen the movie in a very long time and so like many times when you rewatch a favorite movie you notice things you never noticed before. I noticed a few quips about Botox and the Grimm brothers, but more than that I noticed how much truth was in the story.

The love that Ella and Char had for each other is the kind of love one should hope to have not pass off as impossible or hopeless.

Ella Enchanted and some other romantic movies show that:

1. Throughout Ella Enchanted Ella helps Char become a better man. She aides him in going from weakness to strength. While she stops him from following the crowd and makes him a leader she does so with understanding and grace. In a loving relationship helping the other person become who they are meant to be is a key focus to have.

2. It shows that we don’t always fall in love with who we think we will fall in love with. Many of us have these expectations and prejudices and think we know what type of people we will fall for. When Ella met the prince she literally fell for someone that she never would have imagined loving.

This shows us that love comes when we least expect it and teaches us to keep our eyes open to Gods plan and not just our own.

3. Obviously Ella wasn’t the perfect candidate for queen, nevertheless she was prince Charmonts choice. This shows us that the person we love doesn’t have to be perfect – in fact that they can’t be. Rather it shows us that love covers our imperfections. Just as the perfect love of Jesus covered our sins and saved us so should his love flowing through us forgive the people in our lives.

4. Not everything works out as planned, but in the end it is all beautiful and all part of your love story.

“These last few days have been perfect – well except for the part where we almost got eaten by ogers, and you wrote me that letter that ripped my heart out, and I had to dance with Hattie.” – Prince Char.

5. It is okay to disagree and have an argument. You are two different people with two different sets of thoughts and feelings and will not completely agree all the time. This is super important to realize.

6. Fears are to be concurred not run from. This is obviously a key truth in every fairy tale whether it features love or not. There is always a great battle to be fought and in that battle a great fear to overcome. Sometimes love itself is scary. Ella and Char faced that together. When you love someone you should always be there to face their fears with them.

7. This one is one of my favorites. You never force the person you love to do something they do not want to do or become someone that they are not. Char pulled this off beautifully and because of the curse it meant so very much to Ella. He was always making sure that she was doing what she felt was right, that she was happy and that she felt respected. That is important for both parties to do, but just a quick tip for the guys – doing that makes a girl MELT.

8. Sacrifice. In every love story there is a common theme and that is sacrifice. Somebody gives something up or goes through great challenges for the sake of their lover. Sacrifice is the base of love and has been illustrated in so many different ways in different stories. Ella gives up her own desires to marry Prince Charmont to save his life and the kingdom, Maid Marian gave up her life of ease to live with Robin Hood in the woods, Ariel gave up her beloved Prince Eric to save her people, Bell and Prince Adam both stepped out of their comfort zone in order to bless the other, Hercules risked his life to save Meg from the pool of the dead, Flynn gave up the riches he so desperately wanted in order to love Rapunzel. Sacrifice is the greatest lesson one could learn and it is also the basis of what real life love should be.

In 1 Cor 13 it details what God says love should look like:

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

This might seem like a high standard to reach, but remember this: you can’t hit the target if you never aim for it.

Sure there are fairy tales that give us a warped view of what love is, but I don’t think we should give up on fairy tales all together or tell our children that it is hopeless to believe in them.

Prince Char wasn’t perfect, but he was still a prince.

Ellas life was hard, but she never stopped fighting.

When they came together it was beautiful.

And that should never be too much to hope for.

Fairy tales help us keep our heads up and they remind us that the sky is the limit.

Never stop believing in your own real life fairy tale.

 

 

Seven ways to Love Your Job – No Matter What it Is.

In these days many people are working in a company that they do not have a joy or a passion for. It may be that you are not making the money, getting the benefits or making the connections that you desire. You may feel like you are living a lifeless existence with all of your true dreams on hold.

This has always been a problem, but it is especially prominent during a time of financial crisis similar to the one currently in our country. This is because people are taking any job they can get their hands on.

Did you know that your minimum wage, twenty hours a week, no-need-for-brains job is not a waste of time? This job is much more than just the way you survive. It is a stepping stone to a much better job and can be very fulfilling.

Did you know that you could wake up every morning and look forward to going to work?

I worked at Subway for nearly a year and I can say that I came to thoroughly enjoying it. I found a passion for serving people quality sandwiches and blessing my coworkers. My coworkers became my crazy friends and I care deeply about each one of them. Even now that I have moved on I intend to keep in touch. I almost didn’t want to leave.

How did I come to that place?

There are seven ways that you can love your job – no matter what it is!

1. REALLY get to know your coworkers.

coworkers

This means that you can’t just have “we talk only about work” conversations. You will be much happier and look forward to work much more if you have conversations about life outside of work and strive to be friends with them.

This is the first one because it made the biggest difference for me. When I avoided talking to my coworkers and just tried to make it through the shift I was miserable and felt attacked should they correct me or tease me. When I became their friend I understood their mannerisms and truly enjoyed their company.

2. Let yourself fall in love with your customers.

When your job is all about paying the bills it becomes difficult to love your work.

What is there to love about making sandwiches or busing tables?

Look at the people around you. Make it about serving your customers. Make it about getting them to smile, putting them at ease and welcoming them to your home. When you go into work think to yourself, “Today I get to bless other people and be a bright spot in their day.” This will work wonders for your mindset and your boss will find it invaluable.

3. Don’t let criticism define you.

When your boss or your coworkers critic your work your natural response is to defend yourself and your way of doing things.  It isn’t natural for us to just concede to another persons opinion, especially if they have worked there for less time than you. If someone critics you and you don’t find their criticism valid, you don’t have to say so. Just nod, say okay and go on with your day. Criticism doesn’t define you. Don’t worry about it.

4. Don’t join in on workplace gossip.

It is never fun to have to be one way with one person and another way with another person. When the conversation turns to gossip don’t take sides. Your coworkers and your boss will respect you for that and it takes the tension off of you that would have been there had you said something that you wouldn’t want someone else to hear. Remember if they talk about what other people say they will talk about what you say.

5. Have self respect.

When you go into work go as your best self. Put on your make up, get enough sleep, be sober and prepared for the day. Not only will it help you enjoy your day more and increase your confidence, but it will also aid the face of your business and you will be an incredible asset to your company. It feels good to know that you are needed.

6. SMILE!

smile

Even on the worst of days, during the rushes, when you get lectured or when your personal life is difficult take the time to have a legitimate smile for everyone around you. People gravitate towards joyful people so find small things, words or moments to smile about.

7. Quit.

I am not telling you to take the easy way out, but rather to treat this job as a stepping stone to success. When you go to work with a passion and do your best every day you are sure to get a good referral from your boss and your coworkers. Furthermore when you treat every situation as a grounds to better yourself nothing you do will feel like wasted time.

Using these tips I found that Subway was an important part of my life. I came to know the faces and adore each one of them. Subway taught me a great deal about being a valuable employee, about serving and about loving people.

I will always remember my time at Subway and how I came out a more mature, mission oriented individual.

Love,

Deanna ❤

 photo credit:

People talking: https://plus.google.com/+Kosovalive360/posts

Baby Smiling: http://nghooilin.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html