Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Standing-Up God

One of my favorite worship songs is “How He Loves” by David Crowder.



Amazing song.

However, the opening line always left me perplexed.

The song begins with the words:

He is jealous from me

Wait...What?

Why on Earth would God be “jealous?” And what does that even mean?

Isn’t being “jealous” a bad thing?


Confused, I turned to someone with much more Biblical foundation than I, my pastor Bill Giovanetti.

Being the technological and social savvy guy he is, I posted my puzzlement on his facebook page.

He answered, appropriately, with a Bible quote:

"For you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14, NKJV). It refers to God's intense desire that you respond to Him, and His righteous anger when you'd rather turn your attention to other gods (money, comfort, power, sex, etc).

Huh.

For some reason I KNEW (like you KNOW the Pythagorean theorem, but you don’t really care) that God wanted me to know Him and wanted me to love Him first and above all Gods. I mean, it’s the first commandment. It’s like RIGHT THERE, BAM.

What I didn’t think about was that God would actually be JEALOUS of my time spent “idolizing” television, money, etc.

I thought he would be disappointed, sure.

But, He’s a God with LOTS of things to do.

I didn’t think He could possibly care THAT much about me watching a few TLC episodes instead of opening my Bible.

He has bigger fish to fry than that – surely!

However, that is what you get when you receive a relationship with the Creator of the Universe: a relationship!

God isn’t just there to turn to when you need someone to turn to.

He is ALWAYS there, and when you don’t show up for coffee, he gets bummed out! Jealous, even.

So, the next time that you stand-up God, realize that you have a relationship with someone that is NOT indifferent about that date.

When it comes to you He can't just "take you or leave you." He SEEKS you.

He deeply cares about the time He spends with you.

And jealous of the things that you do instead.

Do you have a date with God today? Show up!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

The F-Word According to Kaitlin

Maybe it’s because I am a writer-at-heart.

Or, maybe it’s because my mother was a journalism major.

Maybe it was collegiate and high school debate career.

Whatever it was, words mean something to me.

Like, really mean something to me.


It drives me (inwardly) insane when people don’t mean what they say (or say what they mean).

So, call me crazy, but there are words that actually drive me mad.


With some words, simply their mere existence infuriates me.


Above all words in the entire English language there is one word that literally makes my skin crawl: freethinker.


*shiver*

That word is the worst! It aggravates me on so many philosophical levels all at once.

I completely reject the idea that you are either religious/spiritual OR a freethinker; that the two characteristics are mutually exclusive.

This rhetoric completely reiterates and demonstrates society’s current heinous and criminal mental and theoretical understanding of spirituality.

Bluntly, people are categorized in terms of mental capability/capacity as either…

1) religious/spiritual OR
2) smart/worldly/open-minded/intelligent


I think this train of thought is completely destructive, especially to young minds.

It was the first day of my Philosophy of Religion class at my state university.

I was a junior.

The teacher stood up smugly and asked a simple question followed by a call to action: “Who of you is a Christian? Please stand.”

A few stood; some more proudly than others.

I remained seated; not sure of where this was going.

The teacher continued, “Those of you standing have obviously closed minds and are much more vulnerable and accepting to religious dogma. It will be very hard for any of you to earn much higher than a standard “C’ in my class as your thought processes have been trained to be merely average.”

Ouch.

I maintain that being a Christian and being a “free thinker” is NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

This is, unfortunately, a stance that our society takes as a whole, especially the academic world.

It is ONE STANCE amongst many others.

Allowing yourself to be open to the seemingly, by scientific standards, impossible world by believing in God, is another way to define yourself as a free thinker.

Also, no one TOLD me to or DEMANDED that I believe in God.

I was not coerced by any form of authority other than the authority placed by Jesus Christ upon my heart.

Through my own internal struggle and longing I came to know the incredible Creator of our beautiful world.

I am intelligent. I have come to know Jesus through “free thinking.”

I reject the idea that I am inferior intellectually, less worldly, less classy, close-minded, judgmental, egotistic, narcissistic, or any of the other horrible things that the word “freethinker” insinuates about Christians and Christianity.

Hi, I’m Kaitlin. I am both a Christian and super-duper smart. Deal with it.




Friday, August 26, 2011

This is the Day

Today you can read my blog post featured on this incredible site:



I am so excited to be featured as a guest writer today.

:)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Go to Bed Angry. Humph!




Go to Bed Angry.

I have sometimes found myself by evening sunk into my living room couch like a mussel clings to a rock.

Lounging there silent and stuck; overwhelmed and pinned by the crashing waves of the world rushing and washing over me.

My mind races at what seems a thousand miles an hour.

The pit of my stomach grows with a deep and painful heaviness.

The tears begin to well in my eyes.

The swirling uproar of rebellion rampages upon my constant inner battle for peace.

Far from my morning devotions and since trampled by never ending cleaning, bottles, career, traffic, diapers, dinner, worries, unmet needs, and not-any-closer goals.

It is in these moments that terrible thoughts come to surface.

Satan spies me in my vulnerable weakness and offers malicious, yet in the moment welcomed, whispers that swell my pride and satisfy my thirst for blame.

Given an inch, The Enemy momentarily takes his mile in my heart.

The Enemy uses this time to urge me towards action.

He hands me swords and weapons; loading up my heart, gearing me for battle.

A petty fight with my husband. A sip of drink I do not need nor want.

The Enemy beckons me, at the very least, to continue lingering in my current state feeling crushed by the weight and, for the moment, feeling paralyzed.

Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.

This is when I stand up. I turn the television off. I put my phone down.

And I go to bed.


Not out of depression; but to shut this inner battle down with a prayer and with intolerance.

I have become intolerant of the dwelling and the wasting of time on this temporary feeling.

This too shall pass.

As someone who has always had a “quick draw” in life, this has been my best defense.

In the morning, I feel nothing resembling the weight of the looming evening.

I am refreshed and ready to start the day again, with silent inner laughter about myself just a few hours ago.


In the morning there is an abundance of clarity and peace and Truth.

No matter how I feel, the Lord stays the same.

For me, going to bed angry, is about allowing God to tackle my emotions instead of me trying to make myself feel better or happier.

It’s about saying to God, “I feel low right now, but I trust that, as You promised, You are bigger than all this. I don’t need to DO anything. I am going to get some sleep. Lord, I give this to You.”

I always, ALWAYS, feel right as rain in the morning.

Not because I say so; because HE said so.

For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Ps 30.4-5)





Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net




Friday, August 19, 2011

Exciting News!

Exciting news for all my dedicated fans!!

One week from today, I will be featured as a guest poster on my absolute favorite site : www.incourage.me



Stay tuned for my featured post on Friday, August 28th 2011.

Feeling so incredibly blessed.

Marriage: War Path to One Path



One of the most important Bible verses to me is Matthew 19:6.

Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together. (NLT)

It is so important to both my husband and me that “M 19:6” is permanently etched on the inner band of my wedding ring, and on his watch (his wedding ring is unable to be etched).

This verse really has two parts.

The first being, “they are no longer two but one.”

Isn’t THAT the truth? Good God Almighty!

Everything I do affects my husband. Everything. From the mood that I start my day, to what I cook for dinner, to what kind of toothpaste I buy for the household.

Through marriage our lives are completely, 100%, woven together. Forever.

I tell you what; my husband and I had definitely hit a bump in the road about four months back.

We were about a year and a half into our marriage. The honeymoon phase had completely faded, especially after dealing with the blessings and struggles of our first child.

I have come to realize that a big part of our struggle was that between my career, my writing ambitions, our new son, understanding parenting, his job, and his nursing school we were trying to live as two different “ones” under the same roof.

This is simply not the structure that God has built for marriage.

We as husband and wife are to live as ONE. One goal. One path. One story.

We as husband and wife are not built merely to support each others path as if we were some sort of roommate.

We as husband and wife are called to have a higher relationship; to have but ONE path.

This gets really hard.

We were trying to pluck up the other person and place them on our own individual path.

But Chase didn’t fit on my path. And I didn’t fit on his.

That’s when, through prayer and, albeit painful, discussion, we started to mold OUR PATH.

Our path is without many of the comfortable surrounding of our childhood and past, as we have left our parents, our childhood, and our “BUT-I-WANT-ITS” in the dust.

Ever since we have stepped onto our path, things have been so much smoother.

We are much less thrashed and intimidated by the day-to-day stuff.

We know what works for us. Together. As one.

Not what works for Kaitlin. Not what works for Chase.

What works for CHASEKATILIN = our new identity in marriage.


And as hard as the compromises are, they are getting easier and easier.

And it sure beats the alternative.

The marriage of two separate paths is always clamoring a colliding din.

Two different melodies and structures and visions and goals all jumbled together in a daily battle of me vs. you.

The battle was never intended to be Kaitlin vs. Chase.

The battle is Kaitlin & Chase vs. The World.


Or, to be even more uplifting.

Kaitlin & Chase & Jesus > The World.

With Jesus on our side, the battle has been one and we are truly unstoppable.

Isn’t that Good News?


What can you do today to start merging your paths with the one for whom you are called to be indistinguishable from?


(I’ll be continuing this post to tackle the second part of Matthew 16:9…stay tuned!)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Movie Moments: Sister Act (1992)





Remember that early 1990’s movie Sister Act?

How could you not?
A casino lounge singer turned traditional Roman Catholic nun due to the Witness Protection Program whom ultimately brings passion to the church through her worldly and “hip” songs.

Instant awesome-ness.

The best part about Sister Act was the scene where Whoopie Goldberg’s character, Sister Mary Clarence, brings down the house with an awesome rendition of “Hail, Holy Queen.”

I get chills just reliving the moment in my dad’s old t-shirt and socks when I first witnessed it (I was, like, 7 when it came out). My dad and I used to watch that song on repeat (I think he just liked the excuse to turn up the volume really loud on his back-then cutting edge surround sound).

Sister Mary Clarence continues to teach the convent’s gospel singers twists on modern songs such as changing Mary Wells’ “My Guy” to “My God.”

It’s pure 90’s-tastic (a good thing).

Well, being a born music-lover, and a later Jesus-lover, over the years I have listened to songs I’ve listened to a million times, but in my head changed the lyrics to become songs of worship and prayer.

Although my husband argues that Kanye West’s “Amazing” would be better sung by Jesus, the following is my personal favorite that I have “Sister Act-erized.”

Martina McBride – My Baby Loves Me

turned …

Martina McBride – My God Loves Me

Don’t need no issue of Vogue magazine

Don’t need to dress like no beauty queen

High heels or sneakers; He don’t give a darn (‘cause God doesn’t cuss)

My God loves me just the way that I am

My God loves me just the way that I am

He never tells me I’m not good enough

Just gives me unconditional love

He loves me tender and He loves me mad

He loves me silly and He loves me sad

He thinks I’m pretty, He thinks I’m smart

He likes my nerve and He loves my heart

He’s always sayin’ He’s my biggest fan

My God loves me just the way that I am

What song can you “Sister Act-erize?”


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nerd Alert: Screwtape Letters




One book I think everyone should read is C.S. Lewis’ (yes, the Chronicals of Narnia guy) 1942 book, The Screwtape Letters.

This book is the collection of letters from an expert, “uncle” demon teaching his newly trained “nephew” demon the ins and outs of destroying humans on Earth.

It is incredibly and absolutely gripping and terrifying at the same time.

Here is a collection of quotes that I hope will inspire you to read the book. (It’s seriously probably 30-50 pages).

Just like in war, and we are in a daily spiritual war, knowing the enemies tactics is crucial to victory.

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.

In other words, if you don’t think that devils exist, you are making it really easy to mess with you.

If you obsess over the spiritual realm, you are making it really easy to mess with you.

There’s a reason God keeps the spiritual realm just out of our grasp.

The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.


Sudden turnings or milestones might tempt the human into redemption. This is something “the demons” do not want.

Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that ‘suits’ him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches… The search for a ‘suitable’ church makes the man a critic where the Enemy wants him to be a pupil.

The Bible is The Bible is The Bible. And most of your Bible reading should be done just you and God. You don’t need a church to bring you to God. YOU bring YOU to God.

Consider too what undesirable deaths occur in wartime. Men are killed in places where they knew they might be killed and to which they go, if they are at all of the Enemy's party, prepared. How much better for us if all humans died in costly nursing homes amid doctors who lie, nurses who lie, friends who lie, as we have trained them, promising life to the dying, encouraging the belief that sickness excuses every indulgence, and even, if our workers know their job, withholding all suggestion of a priest lest it should betray to the sick man his true condition! And how disastrous for us is the continual remembrance of death which war enforces. One of our best weapons, contented worldliness, is rendered useless. In wartime not even a human can believe that he is going to live forever.

This is a scary thought. This says that when death is in the forefront of our consciousness, we are more likely to prepare for this death in seeking Christ. The lie that life is more desirable at all costs keeps us focused on THIS life (even in poor quality) instead of the next.

That’s it for now. I doubt many people made it this far. This dense reading is only super exciting to very few people.

Anyways, again, knowing the tactics of the enemy will improve your success and victory.

The victory, of course, has been one when you have accepted Jesus Christ into your life.

Satan ain’t got NOTHIN’ on that.


However, he can sure make your life miserable on Earth.