Limiting the Media Intake.

I’ve finally admitted to myself that I spend far too much time on the Internet. I’m not like my dad, so I won’t be writing it off as almost-Satanic or anything, but I think it’s time I had a major cut down. Ask anyone that knows me; I pride myself in not watching television. Television isn’t awful either, and I still watch some documentaries and dramas on iPlayer or whatever, but I’m so glad to be rid of it–especially during the X-Factor seasons. However, there’s no point in being proud of myself if I spend several hours a day in front of another screen. The Internet is great, but it can make you just as much of a drone as television can.

Have you ever wanted to research something on Wikipedia, say, Origins of Christmas, and found yourself on a page of Cats two hours later? It’s so easy to get carried away on the web, it really is. The internet is a great source of information–and a great way to witness to others, like this blog. You can reach people and contact people who are far away in other countries, but it has a devastating downside: it takes us away from Bible study.

I know a woman who always has a Bible text on the tip of her tongue. No matter the topic, she always knows exactly where to find what response in the Bible. It’s incredible. Also, look at Jesus. When he was being tempted by Satan, he casually quoted Scripture. These things don’t happen overnight; it comes from constant study and devotion, spending time with God. If I spent even a fraction of the time I spend on Facebook in the Word then I’d probably know the whole Book off by heart. And especially now, as more and more people misquote the Bible, bend the truths, demand answers from me as a Christian, it’s important that I know what’s what.

And maybe then I won’t feel so lost when I have to come off the computer during Sabbath…

xXx

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Elijah

You cut yourself again
and I saw lines of scarlet
digging trenches along your arms
so that they spilled over.
The ground was decorated in your
essence. It rained into the dust
and formed pools at your feet
but you didn’t care
because your eyes were cast upwards
upwards
at a God that wasn’t there.
How did the clouds look to you that day?
And I,
I sat and watched
as the choir chanted to him
but he didn’t come for you
and your altar remained dry.

I sat and watched.
Because Mine was coming.
And I wanted you all to see.

So Much Happens in Seven Days…

Happy Sabbath.

I spoke about the problems that arose for me at the start of last week in an earlier post. It seems so strange that less than seven days ago I was writing about the importance of mental rest and then, the very next day, I was faced with something that had me ticking over almost constantly. So at the moment I’m estranged from a family member due to religious differences–as in, one of us follows the Bible and the other follows nothing. It was only a matter of time before something like this happened. I just didn’t expect such a drastic outcome.

On the other side of the coin are my achievements for the week. Last Friday evening I was worried about my university problems and now, thankfully, I’m all caught up. I handed in my French portfolio today–all completed–and I caught up on my missed readings for Sociology. I’m ready for the assignments I’ve got next month; bought my textbooks and have focused more in my classes. The Devil was on my case on Sunday, but God’s answered some prayers anyway.

I had a nice day with a great friend, Dami. One of the few people in this world that I can trust. She’s strong, intelligent and creative–a great poet. Her testimony is amazing, as well. It was nice to have lunch with her, chat and stuff and then go to praise team practice, which I’ve just come back from. The Youth Praise Team is singing tomorrow. We haven’t sung for a while, so it’ll be nice to introduce some songs to the church that we’ve been practising during the interim.

Mmm. Next post will be a poem I think…

Have a good Sabbath.

xXx

Text for the Day: Intercession

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

 

Romans 8:26, 27

Even when we can’t find the words to say, the Spirit works on our behalf. Some people believe in a rigid prayer system: first you have to give thanks, second you must make requests, after that you have to ask for forgiveness and then make a conclusion to your prayer, as if it were a thesis. But there are times when all we can say is ‘GOD!’ Sometimes we get on our knees and cry, whisper, groan, or just sit there. Mute. All the pain, fear and anger forming a well of nothingness in our mouths.

Praise God for the Holy Spirit. Where would we be without it?

xXx

I’ve Never Sinned in My Life

I just wanted you to know
that she was a harlot
was, is and will forever be
because I wasn’t her only one.

Yep, I ‘ve heard a lot about her antics,
how she wears tight skirts in church
and blush on her cheeks
and eyeliner, perfect
like an Egyptian
so that she stands out
like a star amongst the pews

So it wasn’t my fault that I took her
because she had forced my hands
to touch her in that way
with her base, blatant seduction
a modern day Delilah
transforming Church into Sodom and Gomorrah

Just remember this:
It was her sin. Not mine.
Pray that she begs God for forgiveness
and understand her place as a woman:
silent, subjective, humble
and pure. Let her stay in the back
whilst the men discuss her habits
in business meeting.

So next time you see me on the pulpit
giving my sermon,
feel sorry for me
because I was tricked into playing her game.
Remember that I am an upstanding man
and that I give double my tithes
and I help clean the church
and I wear the best suit in the house.

When you see me take my seat
next to my wife and my children,
remember
that I’ve never sinned in my life.

I Wore This Dress

I wore this dress for you
because it fell below the knees.
Brown. For humility
with white stitching.
Because I’m pure.

I wore this hat for you
because I’m supposed to cover my head
and I combed my hair underneath–
just barely–
I’m not vain, unlike other women.

I wore these shoes for you
because heels are normally sinful.
An aphrodisiac, they say.
I didn’t want to cause my brother to sin
so I thought it best that I would be
inconspicuous with my choice.

I didn’t expect to see you on Friday night, though.
Under the street lights,
shielded by a curtain of smoke
from the customary fags of revelers,
watching me as I cavorted
across the pebbles.
Hooker heels
rouge lips
plaited hair
coquettish stare.
Unaware of the watchful eye
of my dear
Church Brother.

 

Text for the Day

From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.

That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day.

Don’t even run little errands that reconnect with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time–remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!–into God’s way of doing things.

Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God. What Is True Freedom?

Romans 6:11-14, The Message.

“The Devil is a Liar”

I’ve heard people say this a lot and even though I know how much grief and trouble he has put people through, I’ve never taken time to really acknowledge what the phrase meant until now. This past year I’ve been through two major trials and they both came during and immediately after my conversion. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but now I realise how much the Devil tries to get us to renounce God, to compromise our faith and turn a blind eye to our beliefs.

What’s worse; he knows our weaknesses. I’ll refer you to my first trial, which involves someone at my previous university. I’m a feminist by nature and throughout my teenage years I was put off by the idea of marriage and relationships in general. I didn’t get into any; thought they weren’t worth all the fuss that I’d seen my friends and family go through. But then a guy stepped into my life and I completely re-evaluated my standpoint. He was artistic, he wrote poems about me, he was sweet and kind and he called me something that no one’s called me before.

He called me a woman.

This may seem like a really small thing, but for me, who’s been treated like a child more as I get older (how does that work?) it meant the world to me. I felt respected, like a real independent, free-thinking woman. I had never thought of myself as one before (I know it sounds weird). He saw me in a light that few people have seen me in.

But this guy was an atheist. And a lot of the time, I found myself preaching to him. It proved frustrating for both of us, I think. I’m sure he got bored of me harping on about God all the time; I felt hurt that he found “nothing of merit” in religion. We’re still friends, thankfully, and we write each other letters. I keep him in my prayers because he’s really a good guy, but I knew that going out with him wouldn’t work if I was one thing and he was another. It was a hard decision because I very nearly compromised my faith, but when I looked back in hindsight, I was able to see things for what they were. I was very, very tempted.

The second trial really, really pains me to think about. It’s still ongoing and has more or less split my family in two. The only practising Christians in the family are my dad and me, and we’re Sabbath keepers to boot. We’ve both been called to choose between a family member and the Sabbath–Gods Sabbath. We both decided we’d choose God. There’s also a Catholic involved in this, which makes it worse because the changing of the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first day (Sunday) was a Catholic practice, so this family member of mine is being influenced by a lot of … unfortunate viewpoints. This has been the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make for God. I questioned myself a lot. Surely God doesn’t want me to upset my family? Should I just pretend I’m not a Seventh Day Adventist for a day and pray for forgiveness afterwards? This text kept coming back to me:

 37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

 38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

 39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

That’s from Matthew 10. The other text that has kept me going these past few months has been 1 Corinthians 10:13 :

 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I have people praying for this situation. I know God can make a way, whatever happens. I have to remember to be faithful to Him, even if I have to go against family. In the end, my family can’t save me: that’s Jesus’ job.

The Devil is a Liar, but God is faithful.

Dear God…

Dear God,

I tried talking to you again today
but
I remembered what I had done the day before.

I needed attention
and he was there.
Do you remember when you left me with ____
In that hell of a house
and I had nothing, or no one to look out for me?

Years of thinking I was nothing,
nothing
but an object of desire.
Something to be used just to pass the time
until a real woman would come along.
A blank piece of canvas
upon which my users would spill their
red and black anger,
to remind me that I was nothing,
nothing
but a vessel for hatred.

So when he came along,
it was different.
I was offered
love.
Getting undressed was easy
because I had done it many times.
But this time
hurt
more than any other.

He was gone the next day.
No note.
No phone call.
Not even a message, a text or an e-mail.
I was left once again
and for the first time it felt as though
he had taken a part of my soul.

I never want to be seen in such a vulnerable way again.

But now my virtue has gone
and I was left crawling on my knees
to your altar.
My mouth opened
and closed;
opened.

There is nothing I can say to you.

So I write this letter
with trembling hands
and eyes that are
red
and sore
with shame.

Mental Rest

Happy Sabbath.

Every now and again, I come to a point where I’m begging Sabbath to come around. This has been a very trying week: I’m not entirely happy with the degree I’ve ended up with at university (yes, take note: ended up with), so this has meant that I’m very behind with my work. Very behind. I’m due to hand in a portfolio of French work next week and I wasn’t even aware of such a task existing, so this means that this coming week will be a rush and scramble to get the work done. I have two assignments to do for November that I haven’t started and I’ve not been able to buy a single textbook for my degree. This has led to a feeling of helplessness that has slowly accumulated over the week. My resolve has become unsteady, swaying back and forth like a Jenga tower until it finally collapses in a pathetic heap.

Sabbath has been a Godsend. I don’t have to do my assignments, I don’t have to check on the university intranet and I don’t have to e-mail any teachers. This is the easy part of Sabbath–the not doing. It’s great not having to do any work or chores or homework or whatnot, but it’s not so easy forgetting that work needs to be done on Sunday. Do we ever give God our entire attention during any day, let alone Sabbath? If I was able to forget about my university worries than I wouldn’t be writing this blog post, surely.

The important thing to remember about Sabbath is that it’s supposed to be the culmination of a spirit-filled week. Think of it as the little marzipan couple on top of the wedding cake. The reason why so many people have a hard time getting into the swing of church is because they haven’t spent time with God during the previous six days. If people got up early every morning to have devotion, they wouldn’t have such a hard time making it in for Sabbath school.

I’m probably the worst offender. Two weeks ago I was set a challenge from a friend at church to get up at six a.m./five forty-five every morning for prayer and a Bible reading. I actually prayed the night before that I wouldn’t be tired, but still, on the first morning of my task, I yawned, rolled over and went back to sleep. The following days resulted in an internal battle of ‘should I get up or shouldn’t I?’ and it all became so intense that I’d stop feeling tired anyway. It’s all a process, but I’m fully aware that the less time I spend with God during the week, the less likely I’m going to make it to Sabbath school–what’s more, the less likely I am to completely devote my Sabbath to God–physically and mentally. I’m sitting here typing and all the while my other problems are getting in the way. Should I not trust that God has it all in control?

So, I’m re-setting the challenge. Early bed; early rise, early rise; good devotion. Why not give it a go?