Divided We Fall

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Hi there!

I’m going to try to keep this as neutral politically as I can, since, really, this article is more about division within self. But I would be remiss if I didn’t use as an example the political division happening within our country (United States) right now.

So enough disclaimer let’s jump right in. Our country is falling apart around our eyes. Every “side” knows it, though the reasons quoted are different. But I think it’s safe to say to you that it’s a conspiracy from all sides. The over-arching, supreme leader of this conspiracy is the Adversary himself. He is exploiting our weaknesses and egging us on in anger and hatred of those who believe differently than us. We have all fallen prey, at one moment or another, to thinking cruel things about those on the “other side” of the conflict; I know I have.

And we know where this is leading, for Christ taught us in Matthew 12:25: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand”

The thing is, this is not just happening on the global and national and local scales, but this is also happening in our own hearts. He is stirring us up to anger against our parents, siblings, spouses, and even ourselves.

Be honest now, how much do you beat yourself up?

I know I could beat myself up over how often I beat myself up! Heheh. But this is not Christ’s way. Did he lecture and destroy the confidence of the woman accused of adultery? No, of course not. He knew she was repentant, she didn’t need a lecture. He simply told her: “Neither do I condemn thee.” Then he followed with the best part, “Go, and sin no more.”

That’s all. As they say in Meet the Robinsons, “Keep Moving Forward.”

Christ wants us to Forgive as we have been Forgiven. That means ourselves, our spouses, our parents, our siblings, our Mayors, our Judges, our Police Officers, our Governors, and our President. Also we must forgive our church leaders, and all those who basically drive us nuts. But this isn’t an admonishment, this is to let you remind you that you are allowed to move forward.

You are allowed a second chance. You can restart, renew, refresh your growth and discipleship. You can be forgiven when you stumble, and you can learn to let go when someone else stumbles.

You are loved dearly by Our Father in Heaven, and, perhaps annoyingly, so are they. They are human, and so are you. Maybe they should know better, and maybe they’ve forgotten, and maybe they are just being swept up in the tide of discontent. Don’t follow.

Let the world go by, because you are blessed.

Blessings!
Sarah

 

What My Peers Want

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Hi there,

I was teaching my children a lesson on the difference between peer pressure and positive influence, and it got me thinking.

Do you remember the story of Rehoboam? He was the grandson of King David. He became King of Israel only to drive Israel away and lose 10 of the 12 tribes. Just in case it’s been awhile since you’ve studied 1 Kings chapters 11 & 12, I’ll give you a quick summary;

  1. King Solomon, started out good and wise, but was led astray by his later “wives” into worshiping false gods. As he did so, his ego grew bigger than his budget and he placed heavy taxes on the people.
  2. After Solomon’s death, his son, Rehoboam, became king. The people’s spokesman, Jeroboam, asked him to lighten his father’s tax burden.
  3. Rehoboam asked for advice on the matter from 2 different groups of advisors:
    1. The older wise men, or Elders, who told him that the people will serve him more faithfully if he listens to their request.
    2. His “college buddies” (younger peers), who told him to “show the people who’s the boss” with whips and heavier taxes.
  4. Rehoboam showed that he’s easily swayed by his peers, and ignored the sage advice of his Elders. He increased the taxes and added harsh penalties for non-payment. (Brilliant, right?)
  5. Not surprisingly, the Israelites thought this was a boneheaded move. They rebelled and created their own kingdom with Jeroboam as King.
  6. Rehoboam lost 5/6ths of his kingdom, and the blessing of God for his inability to follow the wisest counsel.

So, my question is, in what way or ways am I listening to my peers instead of my Elders? Unfortunately, my parents have strayed from the gospel path, so their advice doesn’t really qualify as wise counsel. So first, who are my Elders? Then, what are they trying to teach me.

In my case, I can safely say my Elders are the older and experienced leaders of my church. I can look at their life critically and see if they have set an example of Christ. Are they living modestly? Are they managing the church’s tithes responsibly? Are they caring for the poor and needy? Are they living like Christ? Since they are doing all these things, I can safely heed their advice.

So, what are they trying to teach me? Well, from the front page of the church’s website, I can find these articles:

  1. Weaving Christ Into Our Souls
  2. The 3 P’s that Changed My Perspective on Talking to God
  3. How to Be a Strong Link in Your Family Chain
  4. Saved After My Daughter’s Suicide
  5. People Can’t Live Without Hope

What I don’t see is anything on protests becoming riots, gossip, or famous peoples’ wardrobes. There’s nothing on who is more fascist, how to decorate my living room, or what one world leader thinks about another.

I am trying to focus my daily thoughts and worries on how to draw closer to my Savior by following the advice of my church leaders. I am also trying to ignore the opinions of my peers. Truly, no-one needs to be offended by everything, and faith in God IS more important than fear of the world.

Here’s hoping you are finding peace in the chaos!

Blessings,
Sarah

 

Photo by Bruce Dixon on Unsplash

Who Am I Without Him

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I remember as a young adult there was a lot of talk about “finding oneself,” and I was encouraged to go out into the world and discover who I was. The trouble was that the more I searched for myself, the less I found, and the less I understood about myself.

I didn’t know that my true identity was a Child of God, a Princess in His Kingdom. I didn’t know who I was until I started to learn who Christ was. Once I turned to Him and studied Him, my identity became clear. My purpose, talents, strengths and weaknesses, all that I had been seeking diligently for, suddenly became evident; once I stopped seeking for myself, and started seeking Him.

I searched through the world and found nothing. I searched through Heaven and found everything. The selfish focus of the world we live in gives us tunnel-vision. It blinds us to who we truly are. It prohibits us from finding peace, joy, and purpose.

It saddens me to see friends and family who are blinded to His Love, blinded to the object of their search. My repeated prayer is that Our Father in Heaven help us open our eyes to His Son, that we may become a better people, a better nation, and a better species.

Blessings,
Sarah

 

Depicting Christ in Fiction

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Hi there!

So I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I should create a depiction of Christ for my children’s book series. The characters are not human, so I’m not sure if I should create a non-human version of Him or not. I originally wanted to place artwork of Him on their walls, but was told it would be irreverent to use a non-human version, and it wouldn’t make sense to use a human since there are none in their world.

As I have been pondering this the past few weeks, my 7 year-old has discovered The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in which Christ is depicted as a Lion named Aslan.

I wonder if C. S. Lewis’s success in this depiction is that he used a different name, in addition to the different form. In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, he writes,

But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason you were brought into Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you might know me better there.

So he is the same, but changed for a different world. Perhaps it is a good way to teach about Christ to children.

Apparently Lewis did not originally intend to have Aslan appear in the books, but the lion came to him in a dream. What really made it work, I believe, was the deal of reverence Lewis used when writing about Him. He never took it lightly, and thus he created a powerful figure. His readers knew in their hearts who Aslan was to them, when they were transported into Narnia. I suppose that’s what I should strive towards.

I know that my writing is nowhere near C.S. Lewis, but I can learn from him and aspire to be an author like him. I guess it’s a good thing my first book is years from being published, it gives me time to grow.

Have you any thoughts on how Christ should be depicted in fiction? Any other non-human examples that I can learn from?

Thanks for reading, as always, and Blessings to you!
Sarah