I Don’t Believe You

There is a beauty in simple, yet mind-blowing poetry. When most people think of poetry they look to Emily Dickenson or William Shakespeare. They think of that as what poetry is and if they write anything it’s terrible. Nothing anyone writes can meet the standards of those poets.

However, no one should think that way. While their writing is amazing, so is the poetry that gets written today. Poetry is the thoughts and feelings written about experiences you go through. I used to look at my poetry and think it was garbage. I tried to write like other people whom I thought were the best. Then I cut that out of my life. For a world that strives on being different from everyone else, we sure do like to compare ourselves and try to be like others.

When I started writing my poetry again I began to remind myself not to compare it to other writers. These were my thoughts and feelings. This was my way of expressing myself, coping with my reality, and potentially helping others do the same. Sometimes my poems would be long and other times they’ be shorter. Then there were moments where I only wrote one sentence down and that was enough to change my entire outlook on life.

It’s in those times that we read something or hear it in a song that we go, “Wow that so fits right now.” Then it’s almost like our world opened up to something completely new. I decided to share one of those poems this week. One that is extremely short, but says a lot in just a few words.

I’ve gone through many experiences. Dealing with people is usually the cause. I talk a lot about forgiveness and forgetting. I’ve grown up hearing the term, “Forgive and forget.” I hate it. This phrase teaches people who when you forgive someone, you’re supposed to forget it ever happened. That isn’t real. You can’t just forget what they did, how they did it, or who they did it with.

Sometimes it’s the small stuff that is possible to forget. Like a little white lie that they told for no reason. But there are times when those little white lies turn into bigger lies and so on. That is the same for every thing else these people do. It starts small and then grows until it is mentally draining and painful.

It’s at this point when you’ve decided enough is enough, and then they decided to “see” you. They want you to forgive them, but they also want it to be forgotten. So that’s what this week’s poem is about. The realization that no matter how hard I try, I will never forget what’s happened and that’s okay.

A lot of people argue that this way of thinking isn’t healthy. It’s “Holding grudges” or something stupid like that. In reality, it isn’t. What’s unhealthy is pretending like it’s possible to forget something that’s made such an impact on your life. It’s weirdly satisfying and freeing to know it’ll never go away. The pain will, the tears will, and a time will come when you don’t think about it as often. However, the memory will stay. The key to moving on isn’t trying to forget it. It’s knowing that you never will.

I don’t believe you

You may have changed,
But my memories haven’t.

Beatitudes: Mourning

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

We always assume that when someone is in mourning it’s because they’ve lost a loved one. Or maybe they’ve suffered a heartbreak. We never think of mourning as being genuinely sorry for something that we’ve done wrong. Most of the time, we aren’t sorry. For the most part, people don’t care about others’ feelings. We hide behind “Good intentions” or my personal favorite, “No one’s perfect.” Sometimes we go as far as to say, “God will fix this for me.”

“I cheated on you.”
“I lied to you.”
“He took the money from your purse.”

It’s easy to confess our sins with statements made with no emotional connection behind them. However, it’s not easy to feel bad about doing it. Guilt is one of the worst feelings in this world. In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus isn’t talking about those who suffer a broken heart at the loss of a loved one, but those who suffer from guilt.

He says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” This says a lot about Jesus and His heart. Sin is terrible and leads us down a dark road. However, when we feel remorse for what we’ve done, Jesus considers us to be “Blessed.” In the last Beatitude, I talked about the word, Blessed, and how it’s used in a different way than what we’re used to.

To recap, we use that word to refer to something good, usually materialistic things. We’re “Blessed” with a new car or “Blessed” with money. I’m “Blessed” because I got a new job that’ll pay all of my bills. We’re also “Blessed” with children. These are just examples. However, God doesn’t just bless us with abundance, He blesses us with the trials in our lives. He finds us to be blessed when we humble ourselves before Him.

In this circumstance, He finds us our guilt as a blessing because it’s the first step to use becoming a better person. If we feel bad for the things we are doing, we won’t want to do them anymore. This means that we’ll be less likely to do them in the future and sin won’t control our lives anymore. God wants what’s best for us and that is a life without sin. Making the decision not to sin anymore starts us on our road to becoming a better person.

And He is there to comfort us. God wants us to heal from the bad things we’ve done. When we ask for forgiveness we’re wiped clean and what’s happened is in the past. It’s a comforting thought to know that God will always be there to catch us when we fall.

“(21) So I myself find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. (22) For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; (23) but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. (24) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? (25) Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[a] a slave to the law of sin.” – Romans 7:21-25

People need to go from “It’s too hard” to “It’s hard, but I can’t do this anymore.” Paul makes a great statement about the spiritual war that goes on in a Christian’s mind when it comes to sin. We live in the world, but we aren’t supposed to be of it. The world is a bad place full of sin and deception. In the world, everything is permissible. Sex before marriage, lies, cheating, jealousy, gluttony, and pride. It’s all about “Me.” In Jesus’ parable, Lamp on a Stand, He describes a Christian as the light of the world. The world is full of darkness and Christians are to be the light that shines through the darkness.

However, it’s hard to be a Christian. Sure it’s easy to believe in God, go to church, sing the songs, and read your bible. But actually fully relying on Him for everything you need and putting your life in His hands isn’t easy. We’re such prideful creatures, often not wanting to admit that we need help. Not wanting to follow His commandments because it’s more fun to sin than not to. From this, we think of ourselves as a slave of God. We begin to think of Him as a dictator and not a father. This way of thinking leaves us not wanting to follow the commandments which make us start to sin. Over and over we fall back into the same loop of Temptation, sin, guilt, and repentance.

Throughout this study, I realized how much I related to this Beatitude at this point in my life. When I was saved I’d feel remorse for everything I’d done, and over the course of time, I’d feel bad immediately after I’d done them. However, there came a point when I would feel bad and not do anything about it. I wouldn’t ask for forgiveness or try to do better. Then I stopped feeling bad completely.

When I finally decided to come back to God (Yes, it is a choice), I didn’t feel bad for my sins. I didn’t feel bad for not listening to Him or even denying He was there. I didn’t feel bad for praying for the wrong things and insulting His intelligence. It scared me to death! I wondered how I let my heart harden so much that I couldn’t feel remorse and be forgiven.

I don’t know how many other Christians have felt this way. In fact, I thought there was something wrong with me prior to this study. If you are going through something like this as well, or maybe you’re not, this is my piece of advice that God has shown me. Pray about it. Ask God to help you come back to His arms. He’ll open your heart to feel the remorse you need to feel to fully repent of your sins.

Our God is good and sometimes He asks us to do things that don’t match what society expects us to do. That’s the Beatitudes in a nutshell. The eight characteristics of a Christian are the opposite of how the world expects you to be. In the world, if you feel sorry for something bad you’ve done, that’s not right. It isn’t normal and you’re strange. But feeling sorry for something you’ve done makes you blessed in the eyes of God.

Picture via crosswalk.com

Wise and Foolish Builders

(24) “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (25) The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (26) But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (27) The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27

The lives Jesus is describing in this parable sound a lot like people in today’s world. On one side, you have the Christian that hears the teachings of Jesus and applies them to his/her life. On the other side, you have a Christian that hears Jesus’s teachings and doesn’t apply them to his/her life. These two people can look the same. They’ll have a job, families, and even go to the same church.

The Storm

The real differences will come to light when life happens. For example, we know that life isn’t easy and doesn’t always go very good for us. The storm that Jesus is referring to isn’t necessarily weather. He is talking about the storm of life which we refer to as “The hard times.” Your house gets tested when a storm comes through your town. Does it stay standing or is it blown away? How badly does it flood? What is the damage caused by the storm?

The Builders

In order to get through the storm of life, we need a good and solid foundation. In this parable, we are the builders. That makes us in charge of whether we have that solid foundation. A good builder isn’t going to build in an area that will flood out, nor will he build with materials that’ll be blown away. The builder builds with the plan to keep these situations from happening.

The Foundation

The best place to build our house is on a rock. Rocks have a good, solid foundation. House stay steady when built on cement. What would happen to your house if you built it on sand or dirt instead of laying out the cement first? Your house would flood at the slightest rain and little critters would find their way inside. No one wants that. Jesus is saying that He is the only firm foundation to get you through life. Jesus is your rock.

Many people don’t build their faith. They think that “Once saved always saved” is real or they just don’t think anything bad will happen to them. These people would rather go with the flow of their friends or rely more on their social status. Whatever the case, they’re the ones that’ll be shortsighted. They’re the ones that can’t make it through the hard times. The question that you’ll hear from them the most is, “Why is this happening to me?”

When everything is okay our foundations don’t matter. We don’t pray or rely on God for anything. Why should we when we are happy, fruitful, and living abundantly? We don’t “Need” Him for anything when we have what we want. However, we’re tested when a crisis happens in our lives. We should always make sure that our foundations are strong and able to withstand anything life throws our way. Your foundation is only as strong as your faith.

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Lamp on a Stand

(14)“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16

Small acts of kindness, big acts of kindness, smiles here, compliments there, etc. Everything we do throughout our lives represents who we are (whether we’re believers or not). We all want to come off as our image of a good person. However, most people are selfish, self-centered, hypocrites. They want other people to view them how they want to be viewed even if they’re terrible people on the inside.

“(21) He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? (22) For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.” – Mark 4:21-22

In this parable, Jesus tells how people view those who act Christlike. When you are in Christ and do as He does, there’s a light that shines through you. Others will always wonder what it is about you that is different from them. What is your reason for why you are the way you are. When we live in Christ, we’re supposed to act like Him and tell others that He’s in us.

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” – Luke 8:16

A lot of the time, we hide our light. We stay quiet when we should have spoken up, going along with the crowd, denying the idea that there is anything special about us, letting sin overwhelm our light, not telling others the reason we are who we are, and ignoring the needs of others. In my job, it’s hard not to let my light dim. I deal with the public very personally and it isn’t always easy to be patient and understanding.

I have to consistently remind myself to not let the situation get the best of me. I’d rather others view me as Christlike than the alternative (Even though I’m terrible at it sometimes). Look at it this way. If you’re on your first date with someone, do you hide all of your great qualities from them? No. You show off your humor by making them laugh, you show your intelligence, communication skills, smile, etc. The point is for them to get to know why they should continue to see you and potentially pick you as a partner.

The date may never go to a second one, but they’ll always remember the girl/guy that made them go, “Wow.” That’s how I view being Christlike. That person may never see you again, but they’ll remember the person that made their day better, stopped them from making a terrible decision, helped them in a time of need, or some other situation.

Jesus wanted us to know that when we choose God, we now represent Him as our Father just as we represent the overcome of what our parents made us when we go out into public. We’re the voice of Christ through our actions and what He’s done for us. We’re the light of the world.

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” – Luke 11:33

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Today, Tomorrow, and Forever

I think everything we can agree on is the feeling of heartbreak. It’s a universal pain that no one ever wants to bear, especially when we think about the person we love. However, when you are standing there in front of that person, or on the phone, or where ever you are and they say those words it’s like magic. A switch flips inside of you and your once happy life turns upside down.

You know it’s over. It’s like you took every kiss, every touch, every minute spent together for granted. You never thought about it being over because you never saw it being over (even when you did). There were plenty of times during my relationships where I “Saw” the relationship ending before it was over, but never believed it would happen.

Then you start to think that you took it all for granted. The last time you kissed is now the last time you’ll ever kiss them again. How was it? Was it a quick peck on the lips or something more? The last time you hugged did you really hold them or instantly let go? These are all thoughts that rush through someone’s head when they’re the ones with a broken heart.

I decided I wouldn’t do the same thing I always do. I’m not saying that I didn’t think about the relationship, the good times, the bad times, or that I missed it or that person. But I also didn’t allow myself to die on the inside. Even though he made me happy, my relationship wasn’t satisfying. It wasn’t what I expected my relationship to be, and when it was over, I realized that was one of the best decisions that we could have ever made.

The relationship made me disappointed, confused, full of questions that would never be satisfied with the answers I’d receive. I gave everything to be there and in the end it was me with the broken heart. But just like you can choose to love, you can choose whether the pain hurts you are not. I’m not talking about going numb and blocking it from your mind. That only creates a wall that’ll smash first chance it gets. It’ll keep others from being able to love you and from you being able to love others.

What I’m talking about is letting it hurt. Giving yourself a moment to be alone and do whatever it is that needs to be done. The world continues to turn no matter how much you don’t want it to. So if you need to write, cry, listen to music about how much life sucks, or something else. Do it. Block their number if you need to and don’t ever speak to them again. And then when your time is up, move on. Get up, go to work, go out with friends, and learn how to be yourself again.

You never realize how much you change yourself when you are with someone, especially if the relationship lasts a long time. A lot of people don’t take the time to learn who they’ve become before they jump into the next one. I once heard one of my coworkers say, “Each relationship is like a book. If you go back and read it, you already know what’s going to happen.”

Well I agree with that except I view them as chapters. When you read a book and you get to the next chapter your brain probably just exploded with that crazy plot twist. Most people have to get to the next chapter to find out what happens when they really should take a break and contemplate how everything has changed at that point. When you keep continuing reading your chapters, you get to the end and suffer the worst book hangover ever!

So this is what this week’s poem is about. I apologize for being a day late. This was a very long and crazy weekend without much time to slow down and focus on my writing. I also wasn’t sure what to post about. Sometimes we just need to slow down in a world that constantly tells us to go, go, go!

Whether your heart’s broken now or it will be in the future (Potentially), remember to give yourself a certain amount of time to feel it. And honestly, enjoy it. I know that sounds weird but it’s the truth. This is a part of life and a part of becoming who you’re supposed to be. No matter how much it hurts, find the good parts and revel in them. Don’t be upset because it’s over, be happy because it happened. Even when it’s a terrible relationship. It happened and it happened to you. It’s going to make you a fantastic person.

Then, when your time is up, wake up from your dream. One day you’ll realize it doesn’t hurt anymore. In season two of The Walking Dead, Andrea tells Beth, “The pain doesn’t go away. You just make room for it.”

Today, Tomorrow, and Forever

I’ll give myself today.
Today is my day to cry, to anger, to stew.
Today is my day to write about the heartbreak
I suffered, throw anything I can, and plot my
Revenge.

But tomorrow is new, a fresh start.
Tomorrow I’ll wake up and no more tears
Will fall from these eyes.
No anger will radiate from me
And that revenge I plotted will be forgotten.
I will not destroy everything I touch.
I will not self-destruct like everyone expects.

Yesterday, you were my everything.
Today, you’re not my happily ever after.
Tomorrow, you’ll be another name to add to my
List of once upon a times.

Picture via Google Play.

Starting Over

One of my favorite topics to discuss is relationships. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a lot of experience in that department. There are stories that I can tell you that would blow your mind, make you laugh, and make you question the hope of all humanity. In the end, however, relationships aren’t forever. They come and go just as the world turns day and night.

We all have our own special rituals that we do during a breakup. One poet that really helped me during my most recent one was Rupi Kaur. She has such a raw way of expressing herself and her thoughts. In one of her pieces, she writes down a checklist of everything you should do when you have a breakup. You can view it by CLICKING HERE.

This week’s poem was written during the hard part of my most recent breakup. After I finished reading Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, I followed a bit of her checklist. It actually made me feel better than I thought it would. I don’t know what your checklist is or if you even have one. However, I’ve learned that it’s the little things we do that help the healing process begin.

Starting Over

I threw everything away,
Washed my bed sheets,
And cleaned my room.
As water ran down my body I thought about you.

All of the memories rushed back in red.
All across my mind was you.
For that moment I allowed myself to miss you.
To picture us running into each others arms
And then I stopped.

Those thoughts turned into the water.
I let them caress me one last time like you used to.
I felt you there and then they went down the drain
Where they belong.

Picture via clker.com

Beatitudes: Poor In Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3

When we think of being “poor,” good things don’t come to our minds. I always think about not having a lot and always struggling to be able to survive in this world. The hard times, having to pinch every penny, and the buyer’s remorse every time you spend anything. Even when it’s something you absolutely need like food or personal hygiene products. Being “Poor” sucks.

However, there are good things that come out of being poor. I always think back to “The Pursuit of Happiness” with Will Smith and how the man in the movie struggled. Following a business adventure that would make his family a lot of money, but ended up being one of the worst investments of his life. His wife left him and his son. He had to live in homeless shelters and even turned against a good friend of his for sixteen dollars! Then a job opportunity came that he couldn’t refuse. He worked hard and did his best to charm the bosses until they offered him the job, and it changed his life. Now the man who the movie is about now lives a really good.

I think the best life lessons come from when you start at the bottom. It keeps you grounded as your success grows and reminds you of where you came from. Many people who struggled at one point in their life end up helping a lot of people through their own charities and fundraiser events. Most of the time it’s aimed towards people who find themselves in the exact situation they were in before.

Let’s look at some more good things that come out of being poor.

1. You are thankful for what you have – You may not have a lot or be able to give everything your family wants, but you have enough. There’s a level of happiness that is found in this situation because, honestly, you don’t need a lot of stuff. Stuff is stuff. At the end of the day, what does it really do for you?

2. Relying on God – Let’s face it. There are some people who have to decide which bills they’re going to pay that month. How terrible to think about! This gives us reasons to rely on God. He promises that He’ll give for us the things we need. I’ve come to notice that even when I feel that I’m not being provided for, I am. (Matthew 6:31-32)

3. You’re Humbled – Admitting you need help isn’t a weakness. In fact, it takes a seriously large amount of strength to turn away from your pride like that. When we come before God and ask for His help, or for ANYONE’S help, there’s something that happens within us. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather admit that I need help and get it than not to and struggle. When we humble ourselves, we understand that we have no control.

So what does that have to do with our spirits? Jesus wants us to take all the good lessons that we learn through being “Poor” and apply them to our spirits. While we’re probably not poor on the outside, He wants us to act poor on the inside. Be thankful for everything that we have whether it’s a lot or a little. Trust in Him no matter if we are in a good place or a bad place. Realize that we aren’t in control of our own lives and give the control to Him.

Since the beatitudes are the opposite of what the world expects us to be, what is the opposite of being poor in spirit? If we aren’t poor in spirit then we are proud. We aren’t thankful for what God provides, we don’t rely on God for what we need, and we never accept help or admit that we need it.

“(17) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (18) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. (19) Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” – Revelation 3:17-19

The church of Laodicea was a lot like this. In Revelation 3:17-19, John sends a letter to tell them what Jesus wants them to know. They think they are rich and don’t need anything. You can think of their city as being like the United States. We don’t really need anything. Sure jobs, a less amount of homeless people and food stamps, etc. All those would be nice, but we have a lot more than a lot of other countries. In fact, I make more in a week than a lot of people live off in a year. Crazy, right?

These people were wealthy and comfortable. Let me put it into perspective. If you are happy at your job, with your home, your spouse, your children, and your material wealth, what do you need? Nothing, right? Wrong. No matter what situation you’re in, you always need God. All of these things that make you happy are temporary. What happens if you lose it all? Do you suddenly need God now? God doesn’t want you to only need Him when it’s convient to you. He wants you to need Him ALL THE TIME.

There are other forms of wealth than just material things. A lot of people in the church are under the impression that they are “spiritually wealthy.” Meaning that they have their salvation, wisdom and understanding, and the Holy Spirit. However, that is usually not the case. A lot of the time people lose sight of this beatitude in their hearts. We become what people call, “High and mighty.”

This is why Jesus calls us to be Poor in Spirit. If we’re supposed to live our lives for Him, that means serving Him and His people. You can’t serve and help others if you are too high and mighty. If you are so prideful in yourself and what you think your salvation is.

In 5:3, Jesus says that to be “Poor in Spirit,” is to be blessed. This goes the opposite direction of what we consider being “Blessed” is. When you hear some say they’re blessed, what comes to your mind? Usually that something grand happened to them or that they don’t have a single worry. They’re blessed because they came across a lot of money, got a new car, found a house, etc. But here Jesus says that if you are poor in your own state of mind, then you’re blessed.

What He’s really saying is that it’s better to humble yourself and be a light to others than to be prideful and be “Above” others. When you don’t humble yourself, you don’t care about others and their situations. You start to think that you can control your own life. Eventually, you leave the arms of Jesus.

So what does being Poor in spirit mean to you? Are you more prideful or humble? What in your life have caused you to humble yourself? When do you consider yourself blessed? Remember, there’s no right or wrong answers. We are all at different stages of our lives and our faith. Sometimes we continuously fall back into these stages. However, this is how God wants us to be. This is how His son was and still is to this day. The whole point of being a Christian isn’t just to love God and find salvation in His son. It’s also to follow His teachings and be like Him. Even though we could never live up to His standards.

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Beatitudes: Sermon on the Mount

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.” – Matthew 5:1-2

Considered one of the most famous sermons of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount are found in Matthew 5. Even though Jesus performed miracles and taught everyone, He had special teachings that He gave His disciples. Jesus considered them His friends. They walked with Him, talked with Him, and became very personal with Him. His sermon in this chapter tells of what Jesus wants all of us to be. It’s what being “Christlike” is.

The “Beatitudes” is what we call these eight characteristics. Each one is the complete opposite of what the world expects us to be. In this section, I’ll be talking about each one in-depth. This is the list of them below.

1. Matthew 5:3 – Poor in Spirit
2. Matthew 5:4 – Mourning
3. Matthew 5:5 – Meekness
4. Matthew 5:6 – Righteousness
5. Matthew 5:7 – Mercy
6. Matthew 5:8 – Pure in Heart
7. Matthew 5:9 – Peacemaker
8. Matthew 5:10 – Persecuted

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New Cloth on an Old Coat/Wineskins

“(14) Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” (15) Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. (16) “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. – Matthew 9:14-16

This parable of Jesus is also found in Mark 2:21 and Luke 5:36. In it He explains to His disciples why He has come to earth.

Before Jesus came to die on the cross, rules and legality regulated faith. It was all about traditions and “Who was more faithful by what they did to show their faith.” Hence, the Pharisees. In 9:14, The disciples ask Jesus why everyone else is fasting, yet His disciples aren’t. His answer references a wedding feast. While the friends of the bridegroom are with him, they aren’t sad. It’s a time of celebration and fun. No one mourns during a celebration. Jesus is telling His disciples that they’re in a time of a wedding celebration with Jesus as the bridegroom.

Then He goes on to help them understand why He is with them. He didn’t come to o away with the law or change it (Matthew 5:17). Jesus came to fulfill the law and add something new. That “New” thing is His teachings (Or the Gospels). Even though there are prophecies ating back to hundreds of years before Him, no one knew the real reason He’d come. They were all under the impression that He’d be a warrior that would lead them all into battle. They weren’t counting on Jesus being a spiritual warrior that is kind, considerate, gentle, and forgiving and telling them to love their enemy (Matthew 5:44).

Jesus goes on to give another example in the next verse. Also found in Mark 2:22 and Luke 5:37-38

“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” – Matthew 9:17

In this next example, Jesus refers to His purpose on earth to the wineskins of their day. In His time, people stored wine in the skins of goats. People sewed these skins together and resembled what we would call waterskins or canteens. As new wine would age, the wineskin would expand. If someone put new wine into the wineskin, it’d bust. This is another great way of explaining why He came to us.

Jesus came to offer us forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him. He came to teach us what living a Godly lifestyle is like and to give us hope. Before we have a life in His arms we are nothing more than an old coat or a wineskin with aging wine inside. But when we are born again into a new life, God doesn’t patch up our old coat with new habits or “Good stuff.” He doesn’t mix “Good intentions” and “Holy Will” with the sins of our past. He gives us a brand new coat and a brand new wineskin to pour all of His love into.

His message will always be new because of the acceptance that must take place in everyone that receives it. If you accept Him, there will always be something new to learn, a new way to live, and a new way to serve. Each and every day that you breathe.

Picture via deusloquitur.blogspot.com

The Upside Down Cross: What Does It Mean?

“(18) Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (19) Jesus said this to show the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” – John 21:18-19

We’re taught that the upside down cross is a sign of evil. Since Jesus died for our sins on the cross, wearing it upside down meant that you didn’t have the faith. It also meant that you weren’t thankful for the sacrifice made to be washed in the blood of the lamb. The people who taught me this fact were wrong.

The idea of the upside down cross comes from the legend of Peter’s death. For those who aren’t aware of who Peter is, he was one of Jesus’s disciples. Peter’s remembered for his fantastic way of speaking and for his fantastic way of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time (An example is in Matthew 16:21-23). Insert foot in mouth syndrome here. I’m sure we can all relate to him in that aspect. What you will hear about his death is that it’s an upside down crucifixion. Hence, the upside down cross.

Christian tradition tells us that he chose to be crucified upside down. The reason is that he didn’t feel worthy of dying the same way his savior had since he’d denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26:33-35). This is a very poetic way of dying as a martyr and from it I’ve found a lot of respect for Peter.

The problem is that scripture doesn’t tell us when, where, or how he died. Roman records tell of his death, as well as many letters and other writings of that time. However, I haven’t read these writings yet.

In this scripture (John 21:18-19), Jesus states that Peter dies with outstretched arms. It’s interpreted that he’d be crucified. He also says that someone else will dress him and lead him to a place he doesn’t want to go. This could have meant that the executors would tie him up and take him to his death. None of us want to die (even when dying for our faith).

According to The Story of the Twelve Apostles (A History Channel documentary), Peter’s told of his death once more by Jesus. The church warns Peter that he might be executed so he begins to leave Rome. As he’s leaving, Jesus tells Peter that He’s (Jesus) headed into Rome because He’ll be crucified again. People interpreted this as Peter being told of his own death. If we look back to John 21:18-19, Jesus reveals to Peter that he will die a martyr. If Peter’s time was coming and he was leaving Rome, it only makes sense that Jesus would come to Peter and tell him to turn back.

No matter what happened, Peter’s crucifixion happened upon his return to Rome. The documentary says that this is found in the writing, The Acts of Peter. You can find more information on that by clicking HERE.

Regardless of whether Peter’s death was an upside down crucifixion, the point of this symbol is still the same. There are people in this world who are not believers and sport the upside down cross as a way of denying God. Bands and singers put them in their music videos. Other famous people wear them around. It’s a way of showing how far from God they are, or to defile God in some way that suits their needs to be defiant. They’re misinformed of its meaning.

It means that you are not worthy of God. That you are below Him and His holiness. His mercy, forgiveness, and love. It doesn’t mean you are siding with evil. It means that you are just not worthy. It’s as simple as that. However, if you’ve been saved and follow Jesus I wouldn’t wear them around. While we aren’t on His level, He’s washed us in His blood.

Picture via Symmetal.com

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