Is Christianity the Most Beautiful Religion?

Christianity is soooo beautifully simple AND practical!

If one were to just read the book of Matthew or John to see what Jesus said and did, or read one of Paul’s letters to the early church, Colossians, or Philippians, you’d see how…different Christianity is from other religions which are huge on either mystical, elusive, and abstract concepts and thoughts, or food-chain, climb-the-ladder type exaltation of participants, or severe bodily rejection and repetitious, ritualistic behaviors.

But not Biblical Christianity. Not the Christianity you find when you read the New Testament. The admonition and commands on how we ought to love one another and what that looks like practically are just so easy to grasp and refreshing and totally sensical and observable.

Indeed, it’s not like, dare I say, reincarnation, a mystical, never before observed idea. Even Christianity’s claims of resurrection from the dead has been observed time and again throughout history with people praying in Jesus’ name for life to return to someone who died and then it does.

So all this to say, I love the whole of Christianity, of what its Founder, Jesus, teaches. If there is anything more beautiful, more good for mankind, please, show me. It is for such teachings as these that I am totally unashamed to say I follow Jesus and His ways as recorded in the Bible:

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” –‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Don’t worry about what people may think if you proclaim to be a Christian. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our God is so good and wonderful. Get to know Him better so your confidence in that fact can be assured and you can more boldly share His love unabashedly with others. At the end of the day, it isn’t about whether or not someone likes you, it’s whether or not you loved Jesus and that person despite.

blog_love_natasha

To Serve [In Church] Or Not To Serve…?

You go to church services on Sundays, maybe on a weekday as well–or more. You like the people there, you have some friends there, you like your pastor and the music so one day, you decide you should serve. So you do.

Question:

1.) When serving–or after the fact–do you find yourself wiped, frustrated, grumbling, or complaining about your experience?

OR:

2.) During and after the fact, you feel good, you enjoyed it, and can recall good experiences and can dare say you’re starting to–or already do–love it?

There’s usually two kinds of reactions to serving in your local church:

A) You feel used or frustrated, but you also feel obligated to serve because, well, it’s just what you should do, isn’t it?

B) You love the people in your church and find it a joy to help them out.

Check it:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.-Philippians 2:1-8

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.-Philippians 2:14-18

Ask yourself: Which kind of volunteer am I and why am I this way? I’d say this, if we aren’t the joyful one, doing it from love, we aren’t walking in love…And maybe that’s because we haven’t truly trusted in Christ and thus, we don’t really have His Holy Spirit living in our hearts, who makes us more loving and Christ-like. Or, we’ve allowed the devil’s lies, who is the author of division in the church, to creep in and embitter us, when once we really did love and enjoying serving, but overtime we started looking down on others or thinking they were taking advantage or not appreciative of what we do.

We as Christians aren’t perfect. It’s why Paul wrote that if anyone has an offense against another to forgive each other as God in Christ has forgiven us. Besides, we do it not because we deserve it, but because we love Jesus and He desires us to use the gifts He gave us to strengthen and serve and build up His church which ultimately is serving Him. If you really think someone is mistreating you, first pray about it. Ask God if this notion is true, or if it’s a lie from satan, or your own misunderstanding. Ask Him to make it known to you. And if afterwards, you still believe the person(s) are being mean or wrong, confront them about it–in a gentle manner. Share how you feel, don’t hold it in, or bring it up to a higher authority. Be honest in your confession of how you feel and what you see and experience. Sometimes it’s just perspective, or sometimes someone really is being out of line and needs correction.

Always remember the above passage, re-read it and really consider it. Jesus and a real love for Him and others should be what compels us to serve–nothing else. And if there is a different reason, we have to confess that our heart isn’t in the right place, and ask God, in Jesus’ name, to forgive us and help us get to that place, that we may shine as lights in this world.

blog_love_natasha

Fat Shaming Vs. Beauty Vs. Reality

Hey precious ladies. First, let me say being cruel or unkind or mocking someone because of their appearance is foolish and, well, mean. God via the Bible has lots to say about kindness and the words we speak.

I’ve seen plenty of what I believe to be beautiful plus-sized women who look great and healthy. Call them, “curvy” or “voluptuous,” they’re not “skinny” and that’s totally okay!

But just as there are some who are unhealthily skinny, there are some who are unhealthily overweight.

For example: I have a grandmother who is obese. She was always “big-boned” which was fine. I believe she lived a healthy life in her earlier years. But then she got remarried after divorcing my grandfather…

Her second husband, “Liked fat women,” so he encouraged her to eat up and eventually, she became 200+ lbs–and the number has climbed and climbed. Nine years ago, she almost died from a blood clot which had to do with her weight and immobility. Currently, my grandmother is basically bedridden. With swollen legs, very heavy and hard to move, getting out of bed is a serious workout and she’s fallen more often because of muscle weakness (again, laying in bed means no real exercise of her limbs and without strengthening by means of use, eventually, our bodies grow frail).

She’s been eating better, thanks to my sister who cares for her and has been trying to help her lose weight so she’s more healthy and mobile. But there are people in the family who say to let her be because she’s happy. In reality, she’s quite the opposite, and though eating junk-food and however much food she desires momentarily releases happy chemicals, doesn’t mean she is truly happy and if anything, it sure is a cheap happiness in comparison to the simple but greater happiness of being able to move around and do necessary things like walk to the restroom, bathe, and not be bed-bound. She’s terrified of falling and has grown all the more bound to her bed because of it.

Many Americans are what doctors call “obese” or unhealthily overweight. You don’t even have to be visibly that “fat” in order to have clogged arteries, diabetes, and the like, but the point is that, at a certain point, “fat” can be more easily defined as unhealthy or potentially unhealthy and when a person is medically obese, encouraging them to stay that way, applauding it, etc. isn’t helpful, but harmful…

How many young people suffer from asthma and diabetes, or die prematurely from a heart attack because of fat build up? Again, I’m not for mocking anyone, but I am for being lovingly honest and offering solutions to what sometimes is just ignorance of how unhealthy certain stuff really is, and the addictive chemicals and whatnot in those foods that keep you coming back for more, or often, over-eating stems from deep, unresolved issues so encouraging the person to continue being unhealthily overweight is also encouraging them to ignore the deeper reasons as to why they’re placing their comfort in food.

Now we can offer help and support without openly embarrassing someone. We should be able to voice any concerns if it’s done so with the genuine intent of helping another person. I appreciate those who are honest with me about my issues and sins and offer advice and help me get through. No one is perfect, but man, the honest words and assistance of others can be such a blessing.

So yes, let us be kind to one another, but let us also offer support and help those whose weight has gotten to the point of being problematic to their health, rather than encourage them to continue embracing an unhealthy lifestyle. Not everyone desires to be helped, but we still love them anyway. Our love shouldn’t be dependent upon a person taking our advice or not, love is unconditional, but it also gently speaks the truth.

blog_love_natasha

What are your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment. ❤

What Is the Emerging Church and are you unwittingly apart of one?

I had been attending a very popular multi-campus church in Georgia whose leader is Andy Stanley. When I told this to two older Christian women who I trust and love, the reaction was the same in a nutshell: “Be careful, Andy’s emergent.”

At the time, I didn’t know what that meant so I decided to do some research. I googled “Andy Stanley emergent” and got a better taste for what this whole Emerging Church thing is, but didn’t really grasp it in clear and simple terms until this morning.

Apparently, many Emerging Church leaders identify with “post-modernism,” another term I didn’t know much about until this morning:

“Modernism was a bad philosophy. Post-modernism is another bad philosophy. But in both cases, they assault the Scripture. Modernism made reason, human reason, the king. Reason was supreme in modernism. Thomas Payne, The Age of Reason, The Enlightenment…the Renaissance. Out of that came the worship of the human mind and the mind trumps God. Now, mystery trumps the Bible. The human mind trumps the Bible in modernism, mystery trumps the Bible in post-modernism. It is at the foundation an unwillingness to accept the clear teaching of Scripture…God holds us responsible for a right understanding of Scripture. We are liable before God for what we do with a true and right understanding of Scripture.

“These people, like the liberals, deny the clear teaching of Scripture. And I’m convinced that the reason they deny it is not because it can’t be understood, not because it’s unclear, but because they don’t like what it clearly says. And that takes you back to John 3, “Men love darkness rather than light.” The light is there, they hate the light, they run from the light. The issue is not that Scripture is not clear, it is crystal clear…

So I think the motive behind this whole Emerging Church thing, whether it’s a conscious or unconscious motive, is discomfort over what the Bible really says, whether it’s about the gospel or whether it’s about sin, virtue…they don’t like it and so the out is…Well, it’s not clear. This is just another way to set the Bible aside…”-John MacArthur

In a radio show, John goes even more in-depth on this topic, and I’ll just add one more snippet of the conversation because I think it’s powerful:

“What is so interesting about this movement is the Emerging Church sanctifies the culture. The Emerging church sanctifies the post-modern culture as if it is legitimate and says, ‘if we’re going to reach these people, we’ve got to become like these people.’ That’s never been the biblical way…never. The Bible does not change. It’s not a chameleon; it doesn’t shift and change and adapt to culture. It confronts culture. It confronts an aboriginal culture. It confronts an ancient culture. It confronts a modern culture. It confronts every trend with fixed unchanging truth in every situation. And the Emerging Church not only is unwilling to believe the clear statement of Scripture, but it’s unwilling to take the clear statement of Scripture and confront the culture. It wants to let the culture define what Christianity should be.”

To hear the whole talk visit Grace To You.

So the Emerging Church, often subtly, downplays the Bible and strips it of its superiority and authority. Using the excuse that it cannot possibly be understood, they make allowance for sins that the Bible clearly condemns, and makes God a more “accepting” God, which truly, the Emergents just want their churches to be more widely accepted because the bigger the building, the more seats it can fill, and the more seats it can fill, the more money they can make.

And also, simply put, they want to enjoy sinning without the guilt trip. They want to watch porn, or fornicate, or cheat on their spouses, or indulge in greed without being judged by a Holy God for it.

Sounds a lot like the folks the Apostle Paul warned about:

“And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned.”-Romans 3:8 NLT

“And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus —if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.”-1 Corinthians 15:32-34 NLT

So are you apart of an Emerging Church? I think one of the clearest indicators is their avoidance on agreeing with Scripture’s clear stances on topics such as sex before marriage or living together before marriage (i.e. fornication), homosexuality, transgenderism, and abortion. Since these are big hot-topics in our day, many Emerging Church leaders will cower away from stating what the Bible says about these things and make some excuse for, or evade the topics altogether. Why? Because they’re more concerned with keeping those large numbers/pew sitters than they are about teaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth at the cost of possibly becoming attacked, fined, imprisoned, or impoverished. They love their money and comfort more than they love Jesus and others.

Because at the end of the day, the old saying is often true, “The truth hurts,” or as the Bible puts it, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”-Proverbs 27:6 NLT

I’m gonna tell someone what I know and am 100% convinced of is unadulterated, divinely inspired truth. If I genuinely believe this incredibly prophetic, historically accurate, scientifically sound, ancient written record of how God revealed Himself to man and what He has to say to us, and I love Him more than I do my own reputation and relationships with others besides Him, then I’ll tell them what it says because I am genuinely concerned for the consequences they’ll face if they don’t know and believe these divine, eternal truths.

Many people have wrong desires: they’re married but they’re desiring to have sex with another person. Just because they have that desire,  albeit it can be deemed a natural one, doesn’t make that desire justifiable or good. The same is true for premarital sex and homosexuality. Just because someone has the desire to be with someone of the same sex doesn’t mean that behavior is justifiable.

A lot of people enjoy wrong desires; indulge in adulterous relationships, in drugs, in premarital sex and homosexual relationships, but it doesn’t mean that it’s right or good in the sight of God. And who on this earth has the authority or revelation to determine what God deems good and what He deems evil? God Himself! But how do we know which God is the true God and which teachings accurately reflect His opinions and commands???

I say, with 100% confidence, there is no other book in all the history of mankind, in all the millions of documents ever written, as prophetically accurate as the Bible, and as geographically, historically, and scientifically sound as the Bible. Even secular expert scribes agree: no ancient work holds more manuscript authority than the Bible, which simply means it is a completely reliable ancient record; what it says now is what it said thousands of years ago.

And again, no book or prophet comes an INKLING as close to as incredibly accurately prophetic as Jesus Christ and the Old and New Testament prophecies. If someone were to research the thousands of prophecies fulfilled in history that the Bible prophesied centuries and even millennia before the events occurred, they’d probably begin to doubt their doubts and start to hold the Bible in a much higher light than its religious peers. There’s no getting around it unless you avoid it.

So, are you apart of a church who downplays the Bible or reinterprets, or condemns its clear stances on sin? And if so, do you agree with your leaders that the Bible can’t be understood and that truth is thus subjective?

Who is right? The prophetically proven Bible, or these smart sounding, passionate men who’ve existed for fifty years or less on this earth and have never prophesied anything that came true to perfect detail?

I hope this makes you think and take stock as to the pastors you’re listening to and consider if they uphold the Bible as the ultimate truth, or downplay it as an ancient book that is only partially relevant now. Because, as the historically accurate ancient record holds, God has once said about mankind:

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.”-Hosea 4:6

 

With sincere love and concern,

Natasha

You Should NOT Have a Guy Best Friend

Sisters, if you plan on getting married someday and even if you don’t, you should NOT have a male best friend.

I just edited a wedding where one of the bride’s three speech-givers was a single man who apparently was her best friend since he was nineteen. They’re in their thirties now.

It was quite uncomfortable watching the groom feign comfort while bestie gave a speech that sounded like something out of a rom-com–a rom-com where the life-long best friend actually doesn’t end up with the girl. It was pretty awkward witnessing bestie tear up and say he knows what it means to wait for a love like she found because he waited for a love, err, a best friend–aka her–for nineteen years. And he wasn’t gay.

Sisters, the bible records God saying in the beginning: “it is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him.” And then God brings the woman to the man and they get married. 

They aren’t two heterosexuals who share a pleasant, platonic, intimate friendship for years and then go marry someone else and continue to maintain their intimate relationship with one another. That’s almost like three people becoming one. Take it back to the bride I mentioned earlier. When she and hubby get into fights, you don’t think the enemy can tempt her with her single, guy best friend? How many adulterous relationships begin with a friendship that then becomes more and more intimate over time?

When we are hurt and vulnerable, those emotions can easily be used against our marriage when we are sharing them with a man, and not just any man, but one we trust and feel comfortable and safe with, let alone one we deem a best friend. That is the perfect foundation for an affair.

Call me old school or archaic in mindset, but we human beings, especially we emotional women, are imperfect and suceptible to sin. We are not immune to temptation, and there is wisdom in the bible verses that tell us to flee youthful lusts and run from temptation. It also says God will give us an escape from tempting situations

But if you allow yourself to become best friends with a man, you aren’t escaping temptation, you’re entertaining it and giving the enemy one more weapon to use against you in your current or future marriage.

Your spouse should be the only opposite-sex best friend you have. He should be the only earthly man you run to for a listening ear and comfort (besides your dad). And if you don’t have a dad or dad figure, then come to Christ all the more with your pain and concerns. Don’t seek a male best friend. You already have one in Christ and you should save that intimate closeness for your husband.

You know how many guy best friends I had in high school who really liked me? Sure, I didn’t like them, but there were times I considered giving them a try and a few I even kissed. This is not to say you can’t have guy friends period. You can have guy friends, but this is about having a best friend and having a special set-apart intimacy with a man who isn’t your husband. I have good guy friends myself. This is more about guarding your heart and being mindful of others’ hearts as well, not walking in dread of relationships with the opposite sex, but practicing wisdom in those relationships.

So guard your heart. There is something engrained in our design that longs for intimacy with the opposite sex: it’s why even many women have homosexual men as best friends. We desire male companionship, to be close to a man because God intended to use that as one of the things that draw us to marriage.

We want life-long friendship with someone of the opposite sex, to be side-by-side and help one another, and that naturally develops into more and more until we enjoy all of each other via what the world calls “sex” and what God calls “knowing.”

This oneness is only designed to be enjoyed in the context of marriage because it is a profound picture of a most intimate spiritual truth: when we deny ourselves, turn from our sin, and trust Christ, He puts His Spirit within us and becomes one with us, as He is one with God the Father. Then we know Him in the most intimate way we can experience on this earth until heaven because He lives in us and remains with us forever and teaches us and guides us and reveals Himself to us as we grow in our relationship with Him.

Such close friendship between a man and woman is a beautiful thing, but don’t share it until you are engaged to the man God has confirmed He desires to be yours.