Perspective: Alton Sterling

As promised this is my first post on my perspective series. I’m trying not only to voice some of my feelings, but also some of my concerns with the current events in our country. I’m going to try to do this in the chronological order of the events.

The first incident (this time) was the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA. A homeless man called 911 stating that Mr.Sterling had threatened him with a gun. The police came to check the situation and he was shot to death during the exchange.

I became aware of this incident by the time the second video came out. That second video was the first one I saw.  Without more details I couldn’t understand why this man was shot. In the video that I saw, I saw him pinned to the ground by two police officers. One policeman had his legs, the other one was pointing a gun to his head and all of the sudden he received multiple shots to his chest. I know some people say that he was moving his hand, that his hand was moving towards the cop’s gun or could have been interpreted that he was going for the gun that he had in his possession. I don’t argue with what others saw. I didn’t’ see that. But that’s not for me to determined. The justice system is working on that and more details will come and provide more insight on this issue.

What hurts my heart about this incident has been the anger and reaction towards Mr. Sterling as a person. Comments like “he’s not an angel” and “he’s a sex offender” are thrown as if he deserved to die. From my perspective a lie and a murder are equal in the eyes of God. So any sin that I’ve committed in my life is not better or worse than any shortcomings that Mr. Sterling could have.  In moments like this we need to remember Romans 3:23

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I don’t know if the death penalty is legal in the state of Louisiana, but to my knowledge there are no sexual offenses that qualify for the death penalty legally speaking. Even, if so, as a society we have a process, a justice system that includes several steps to determine such things.

Mr. Sterling was a registered sex offender. He spent 4 years in jail for his offense. If you stop right here, you have already painted a picture of this man. But then you hear what the “victim” of his offense had to say; things are not so black and white. The mother of his son went on television to explain that she was in a relationship with Alton Sterling when she was 15 years old. Alton Sterling was 19-20 years old at the time. In the process of their relationship she became pregnant therefore he was accused of statutory rape and registered as a sex offender. I think in perspective the picture changes. The same lady stated that he was a good and present father for all his five kids and had a decent relationship with the mothers of his children.

Alton Sterling owed money for child support. If you stop right here, you can assume that he was irresponsible. Our reality as a society is that most convicts pay the consequences of their transgressions for a lifetime. Once they come out of jail, it is very hard for them to find a stable job due to their criminal record. So even when they have paid their debt to society, we continue to punish them beyond the term that the law saw fit for their punishment. Even with an education, it would have been very hard for him to find a well-paying job that could provide appropriately for his family. I’m not sure that he would qualify for a license to open his own business due to the same reasons.

The encounter with the police was not related to any of his past transgressions. When we say “but he did, but he was” we are providing a justification for his death. We are telling ourselves that it’s OK for him to not be alive because he wasn’t up to whatever standard we have placed on him and that’s not OK.

I saw his oldest son sobbing on television. It was a very sad thing. That son is 15 years. He and his siblings will not have a father to grow up with. Regardless of any past or current actions of Alton Sterling, he was a human being. He was a father, a son and a friend.

My prayer is that the community gathers around his family not only for support during this time of mourning, but for the kids in the future. My hope and prayer is that those around those kids step up to be inspirational figures so that they can become productive citizens.

Most of all, I want to make sure that we stop to think that a human being is dead and that a family is in mourning.

Blessings.

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I want to stress that my writings are my own. Those are my opinions, views and perspective and they do not reflect the views of my employers or any organization that I belong to. I also plan to not censor comments on these posts. I really never do, but I do require pre-authorization because I do not allow profanity, hate speech, or insults to me or other posters. Any comment with that content will be deleted. Disagreements in a civil way are more than welcome.

Perspective

For the last couple of months I’ve been silent. I know I’ve told most of my readers that I’m working on getting back to writing, but that I’ve been reading for a while, which is true. Something has changed in me. It’s not the desire to write, but somehow I can’t get butt in chair to get it going.  The events of the last few months have really troubled me and I’ve still been quiet, not out of not wanting to ruffle feathers or concerned with opinions. Those who know me know that I can speak my mind. I just couldn’t do it.

I think I’ve grown. When I started writing seriously back in 2008, I said that part of the reason I was starting this blog was to share my perspective on things. I wanted to share the truths that God had revealed in my life. The things I’ve learned.  I did so nonstop for several years. I also wrote some pieces of fiction that you have enjoyed and I did too. Ministry called me to work and my time to sit and write was not there, so I entered into a semi hiatus in which I reached out to check on all of you from time to time.  Once that season was over, I couldn’t get back in rhythm and I think it was because I was trying to force myself to go back to finish those fiction projects that I have not yet completed.

This morning I woke up with a heart full. I’m full from all the events of the last days. I want to write about it. I want to write about my pain and my heart for what’s going on. When I started writing fiction it was in part because there were certain events in my life that I wanted to share on an indirect level. Every author tends to do that. But I know that when I’m most passionate is when I speak from my heart. So to my novel lovers, they will come…but for a while I think I need to stick to my blog and some nonfiction ideas that are burning in my heart.

I’m going to start a series called Perspective: In this series I’m going to talk specific about : Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Dallas Police Shooting, Racial Bias, Election 2016, Social Media in Current Events  and other topics as they come along. Yes they are hot topics, but these are conversations that need to happen.

Expect the first one of these later today.

I want to stress that my writings are my own. Those are my opinions, views and perspective and they do not reflect the views of my employers or any organization that I belong to. I also plan to not censor comments on these posts. I really never do, but I do require pre-authorization because I do not allow profanity, hate speech, or insults to me or other posters. Any comment with that content will be deleted. Disagreements in a civil way are more than welcome.

 

Let’s get the conversation started.

WF: Worship and Positive Attraction

In its purest form, to worship is to offer reverence to God. The wonder that is worship is that this Cover 2 JPGexplosive offering is like a bomb that both gives off and attracts God’s positive emotional vibrations.
When you worship and praise God in any form you are releasing vibrations that are in tune with His broadcast. God’s presence is drawn in by these worship vibrations, for He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). This holy habitation means He literally lives and abides in His praises, and how could He not (?) for the vibrations of praise are the vibrations of His Spirit, touching God as a pleasing fragrance and kissing the very frequency of heaven itself.
Praise and worship are special and personal expressions of the heart that release adoration, gratitude, and favor; these expressions change and charge the atmosphere, ushering in a frequency that is in tune with a higher realm that is the abode of God.
In some church circles, the strong link between worship and positive emotion has upset some people as expressive worshiping is labelled as nothing more than ‘emotionalism’. As we understand the important role emotions play in daily attraction one should ask ‘what is wrong with emotionalism?’ God has given us our emotions for a reason and a genuine encounter with the Most High Source will touch ones emotions and see some form of emotional response. When one considers the fervour and passion seen in the stands of a football game how much more should expressive emotion be broadcast towards the Main Attraction, Creator God?!
A popular and particularly emotive expression of worship is through releasing vibration through song and music. When intent is placed behind the voice box and instrument a force of tremendous fortitude is enacted and released.
From the tribal war drum to a lullaby soothing a crying baby, worship through music is truly dynamic in authority that elevates vibrations into God’s presence and sees ones reverberations flow in harmonious synchrony with His Spirit.
Though this act is a pleasing sacrifice to God it also attracts pleasing things to us, for worship feels good, raising ones frequency and actualizing a positive emotional state. It seems a type of paradox that the more one gives the more one gets. The fact that by giving an offering of worship to God that He gives His presence, healing, and breakthrough is another aspect of grace. Though the heart motive of worship should be genuine adoration, appreciation, and glorification – getting is a by-product of giving that is His spiritual law. When it comes to worship we do not give to get but nevertheless we will get if we give.
One day my brother Leigh worshiped in song with the words to God “you are holy’ and distinctively felt Him singing back “You are whole – Leigh”. The reciprocal heart of God in the cycle of attraction reflects a love that is truly breathtaking.

bio2Author bio: An ever inquisitive mind, Craig has spent years carefully crafting a mosaic of rich philosophy through his study of the positive faith, mind-set and action connection and marrying these insights into practical living. With a message on his heart and an anointing to share rich and deep insights, Craig’s book ‘The God Attraction: A fresh revelation of the Law of Attraction’ can be found at: http://www.amzn.com/B01DFDLR8M

Simplicity

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Last summer I had to move. My 9-5 was relocating, my lease was becoming not affordable and I just needed a change. Before I moved into that apartment, I use to live in a town house. I had to get rid of a lot of things coming from a town house to a 2-bedroom apartment. This time I decided to move into a 1-bedroom apartment. I made that decision purposely. Again, I had to get rid of a lot of stuff. Guess what? I still have a lot of stuff.

The reason for the downsize was that I wanted live a simple life. I still look at houses in real estate websites that are gorgeous. At the end I always asked myself, who’s going to clean all that?

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As time goes by, I’ve been trying to prioritize my life. What’s the point of having my closets filled with things that I never use? What’s the point of having all these things around to have more to clean? In return I can have more time for more important things. I can have more time to write, to read, to exercise, to pray and most important to rest.

Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

When our focus is in getting more stuff and not in our live purpose, we are practicing a way of idolatry.

I haven’t just worked on simplifying my surroundings. I’m working on simplifying every aspect of my life. My schedule, the things I eat, the company I keep. Life is complicated enough without us trying to do more than what we’re called to do.

Simplifying our life will help us have more time for more important thing, and probably more resources to accomplish our goals.

Thbd8f307411d23d6481031f5d786380c0e Lord has not asked us to hoard treasures on earth, but to store them in heaven. Now I’m sure that none of the treasures that he was talking about can be found at your preferred department store or at the mall. That scripture in Matthew also says that where our treasures are, so is our heart. It’s our heart in the things that the world craves or in the simple things the Lord has created for us.

Is out lifestyle living by: Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

 

Have a great week!

Today is the End of the World

Today there’s a  group of people waiting for the Apocalypse to come. They were not told the hour, but as I write this at 1 EOWpm EST, it hasn’t happened. They’ve been told this in many occasions and when it doesn’t happen, the response is that they were not worthy of Jesus’ return, therefore he didn’t come. You may laugh at their believes, but if we’re not careful, we can all be in a situation following false doctrines and/or prophets.

I’ve always been curious about how cults work. Cults are not always a result of poverty or ignorance; you see educated and well off people joining these groups. They blindly follow a leader that tells them that they’re a messenger from God. Who doesn’t want to follow God? Therefore they believe what they are being told and follow blindly.

I grew up in church, but was never one to read the bible. I was taught that the man at the pulpit was chosen from God to shepherd his people, therefore I believed that what he said was true and that what he said came from God. Of course, everything he said he had a quote and a scripture to attach to it. I’m not saying that I was mislead in church. I just know that once I started studying the bible myself I was able to separate the truth or lack of truth of what God was saying to me or about me.

Where am I going with this? Sometimes because someone has a leadership position we trust in what they say. This is very true for believers, were they idolize their pastors, ministers’ u other leaders just because they are “men or women of God” and don’t stop to question some of the things that are being said. Let me clarify that I’m not denying that pastors, ministers and religious leaders have a high calling; they do deserve respect and honor. However the key here is “men and women”. They are still human, they still can make mistakes and they too can fall from grace.

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I was watching one of my real life crime shows the other night and it was about a pastor who killed his wife, but then was telling several women from his church that it was God’s will for them to be intimate with him as a way to supply his needs since he now didn’t have a wife.Some of these women were married to their husbands. Three or four women struggled with it, but then gave in, including the deceased wife’s mother. Yes, his mother in law.

I’ve also been reading about this group waiting for today’s apocalypse. Here’s what I learned. Part of their routine is to read the bible everyday. I couldn’t understand if they were reading the bible, how this “prophet” has them believing all these things and doing things that they do that are against the word of God. Everyone who has left the cult has said the same thing, that they were following “The Prophet” and not God.

We are responsible to study the word and contrast what we are being told with the word of God. The Word is the authority, not who is reading it to you!bible

It is not my job to judge what these man or women did. I do feel it is my responsibility to alert all my fellow Christians that if what someone asks you to do does not match with what the Word of God says, it doesn’t come from God. These are not the only cases where religious leaders have taken advantage of their position and the vulnerability of their parishioners. It has not only been with intimate relations, but with financial transactions, abuse and instances of power. “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8

In the bible we are warned about false prophets (These are just a few):

  •  Jeremiah 14:14 ”Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.”
  • Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading”
  • Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves”
  • Mark 13:22 “For false Christ’s and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible”

We should have a trusting relationship with our religious leaders, but our relationship with God should supersede that. God has a plan, and only one. His word is unchangeable, he has not changed his mind about his plan, and we’re the ones that veer from it. Therefore I urge you, when in doubt, go to the source.

In my journey with Christ, I have not found a single issue not being addressed in the bible; no matter how big or how small. If what anyone and I mean anyone requests of you goes against the Word of God, once again, it doesn’t come from God and you should remove yourself from that situation. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Like John says here… “Test the spirits”, go to the word of God, pray for your own revelation and don’t move until your spirit is at peace and in accordance with the Holy Spirit.

Be safe!

Where’s my blessing?

Yesterday we celebrated the ultimate demonstration of Love. God in the flesh died for blessingsour sins, but didn’t stay dead, but conquered the grave to provide us with salvation and a new life. There are times when you don’t feel like you are living that life. You see others succeeding around you and here you are, serving the Lord and not getting what you believe to be rightfully yours.

I was reading the passage of Genesis 27:1-45. This is the story where Isaac is dying and tells Esau to make him dinner and he will bless him. Jacob and his mother plot against Esau, trick Isaac who ends up giving Jacob the blessing. Once the truth comes out, Esau feels defeated. The blessing was given to his brother and now he’s empty handed. His father tells him that now he can’t give him anything. Esau gets bitter and angry against his brother, but it was because he didn’t listen.

See, many times we’re in Esau’s position. We think about job that we want or the relationship that we’ve been in; suddenly they’re yanked out of our hands and we get bitter. It was ours we say. We’ve been faithful and working so hard. Why did my blessing go away?

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This is what we hear, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above. You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother…” Everything was taken from us, now we have nothing but slavery to our pain and the yoke of seeing someone else enjoy what we believed to be ours. Here’s what I’m encouraging you to do today…keep reading!

See the next verse says,

“But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck”

In other words, you don’t have to live one single second in bondage. If you choose to break free right now, you will never be under that yoke, because you decided to break free. New mercies are waiting for you every day, and your blessings are intact. That what you thought was yours and stolen will be given to you tenfold, but only once you break free from the yoke of your brother. When you break the jealousy, the envy, the anger and unforgiveness, you will be set free.

This is your day beloved. Maybe it’s you who need a resurrection.

 

 

Looking at our true selves

I have the blessing of being part of two worlds that although to the naked eye are very distant from each other, they are quite similar. I have a job, a normal 9-5 and I also have a ministry life which is what I call my full time job.

Before I started in ministry, I longed for the days were I would have the opportunity to dedicate more time to the work for the kingdom. I still have desire to give even more than what I’m already giving. To be quite honest, it was not what I expected.

At work, I had the challenges anyone has: having to submit to authority, following rules and policies, taking care of those around you, develop relationships, following the chain of command, knowing that with higher titles came more responsibility. Also the understanding that all those underneath you wouldn’t understand your decisions because they didn’t have all the information or the bigger picture while on the other hand I disagreed with the decisions made above me. Wait, was that work or church? Exactly!

I used to complain a lot every time there was a challenge at work. A dear friend of mine perfectedtold me every time, “God is using these experiences to create skills in you for your life in ministry” I thought she was totally crazy. In my mind, church is the place where I learn to deal with the world. I was wrong and she was right.

See, this is why as Christians we get criticized all the time. Christianity is viewed with rose colored glasses and the expectations of those who claim to be following Jesus are quite high even amongst ourselves. We get called hypocrites all the time, which may not be far from the truth. Why? Because we put a mask on our faces trying to live up to those expectations instead of the actual life that God intended for us. We even hold each other to those higher expectations, that God didn’t place on us. God knows that we’re not perfect, who are we trying to fool?

As I became part of ministry and started growing in responsibilities, I realized my friend had been right all along. The way I managed up or down in my corporate life were the same skills I had to use at the church. Why the surprise? We need to realize that WE are the people in the church. Yes, the teacher at your child’s school, your doctor, your boss, your neighbor, the gal who served your fries on a drive thru, the one who lost the patience with you on a customer service call and of course, there’s you and me. Why would I or anyone expect a different behavior? Aren’t we all a work in progress?

God's planChristians are people who recognize that there’s a higher power that knows better than them. People who realize that following Jesus their lives can change and they can find a love never experienced before. We are made perfect through The Word of God, not ourselves, so less be honest about where we are in our journey. That’s the way our testimony will give Glory to God.

When two people are in love and they feel that they are “perfect for each other” they get married (for the most part) They may be perfect for each other, but even those who have been married to the love of their lives will tell you that it wasn’t always easy. There were disagreements, tears, challenges and a lot of work to do.

In our relationship with Christ, the same happens. We come with preconceived notions of how life should be lived according to those around us. As we grow in our personal relationship with Christ, we realize that some of the things we thought were right, may be wrong. We also learn that the way we are used to manage things is different, so the battle between flesh and spirit starts bringing those tears, disagreements, challenges, changes, disappointments and letting us know that there’s a lot of work to do in us.

The more transparent we are, the better the process goes.

We are not perfect people; neither are our leaders. As Christians we’re all pursuing to do God’s will, but sometimes we miss the mark. Let’s take off the mask of perfection, let’s be transparent. Let’s show this world why life in Christ is worth living. It is because in spite of our imperfections we found perfect love, because we found hope in a hopeless world and joy within our tears.

 

In Christ,

2015 In Review

20152015 has been quite a different year. Different is usually associated with a negative connotation, but different is not always bad. God has taken me into a journey that I never imagined.

In 2009, when I started this blog and had just finished the first draft of my first novel (The Road Home) I thought I had finally found my purpose. I’m not implying that I will no longer write, I actually miss it a lot. But I’ve been placed on hold to pursue other things for the Kingdom of God.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord in Isaiah 55:8 I have to admit that I still can’t get that through my head. After a life of fighting for everything, I stop the fight and have left the Lord be the pilot of this life that belongs to him anyway. My small mind thinks that with every step that’s as far as I’m going to go, yet the Lord surprises me again.

When I started writing, I never thought I would get a book to see the light of day. Now I have 4 books published: The Road Home, Growth Lessons, Season’s Greetings from Amelia and A Brothers Vow. I also have 2 other novels waiting to be edit for release: Saving Paola and Breaking Free.

In 2010 I started attending a ministry program called Celebrate Recovery to deal with the domestic violence in my marriage and eventual divorce. Today I’m the Ministry Leader of the only Spanish Celebrate Recovery in GA and a State Representative for Celebrate Recovery in GA. These are not my accomplishments, but places where God has brought me to that I never imagined. The State Rep happened this summer.

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It’s been kind of a quiet year. I’ve been a little reclusive doing a lot of introspection. It has been a year to connect with God at a different level. It’s been a year of growth.

I also moved to a new apartment in the summer. A smaller but way better apartment. My dog is happy as the complex has 2 dog parks, and she gets to drag me there to play.

For the first time in my life I have a television over 24 inches, not an accomplishment but something that happened. It looks really good and weird to see the clarity of some shows like if you were sitting right next to the characters or walking with them through hallways and streets.

It’s been a peaceful year. I’m really enjoying being quiet for long periods of time. I’m enjoying silence, which is a different pace for me. I don’t want to get too comfortable ad stop chasing dreams, but for now being able to breath is a good place to be.

Happy New Year 2016!

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Guest Post: Temporary vs Eternal by June Foster

A passage of scripture stood out to me recently. 11Corinthians 4:18. “So we fix out eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” It made me think.

God's Saving Hand reaching for the faithful
God’s Saving Hand reaching for the faithful

In the passage, Paul is talking about our future hope when we die. In this life, we are wasting away, our bodies are getting old and feeble, but these troubles are light and momentary. Someday we’ll experience an eternal glory that is so much better that we can’t even imagine it. He encourages us to think about the Eternal when we will see the Lord face to face, even as He now sees and knows us.

So what do I normally “fix my eyes on?” The TV screen, the computer, my kindle, my clothes closet, the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets—just to name a few things. But as the apostle says, I will experience these things for a short time. More importantly, we should focus on the next life. That’s Heaven for the Christian.

So here’s a short list of the “temporary” things we witness daily.

1.All the items I mentioned above, 2.house and place of work, 3.pets, 4.our car, 5.i-phones, 6.friends, 7.bar-b-que grill, 8.cosmetic products, 9.movies, 10.books.

Sure this stuff concerns us and occupies our minds, but how often do we center on the “eternal?”

  1. God’s word, 2.our lives in Heaven, 3.the Lord, 4. Jesus’ sacrifice for us, 5. speaking to God in prayer, 6.Praising God, 7.Singing to the Lord, 8.Spiritual gifts, 9. the Holy Spirit, 10.Sin.

We live in this world and must focus on daily chores and responsibilities. But maybe we should set aside more time to “fix our eyes” on what is unseen. You can’t go wrong, and I believe it would lift our perspective on this life and the next.

June Foster
Author – where God has the answers
Available from Amazon
Give Us This Day
As We Forgive
Deliver Us
A Hometown Fourth of July
Red and the Wolf
For All Eternity
Echoes From the Past
 
Available from WhiteFire
Ryan’s Father 

Are we celebrating the REAL Christmas?

The last 48 hours have been quite funny and sad at the same time. For the last 6 years I had stopped celebrating Christmas. I got divorced 6 years ago. I live alone with my dog and felt that there was no reason for me to put decorations or cook a big meal because I didn’t have anyone to share it with. Yes, I’ve gotten invitations from family and church family members, but it didn’t feel the same.

This year I got really down during Thanksgiving for the same reason. One of my brother’s in Christ saw me the Monday after and I told him how I was feeling. He told me to decorate my place and invite him and his wife over for dinner. Although I appreciate their gesture; something didn’t set well with me.

The next Sunday, visiting a friend’s church, they were talking about the meaning of Christmas. The pastor was talking about the time when Mary was visited by the angel. We all know the story, the angel told her she was going to fulfill the prophecy, have a virgin birth. She basically said let God’s will be done. Joseph wasn’t happy, but another angel came and told him this is from God and he went OK. He married Mary and off they went to Bethlehem and had the baby.

Was it that easy? I’m not a parent. Your 14 year old comes home and says she’s pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Think about it, I’ll wait. Your virgin fiance tells you that she’s pregnant by the Holy Spirit. I’ll give you a chance to digest that. You are minding your business cleaning the house and an angel shows up and tells you that you are going to be carrying God’s child.

The faith and obedience that Joseph and Mary had to believe God’s plan against what the world was in those times and it’s right now, most of us wouldn’t pass that test.

It got me thinking, what are we really celebrating? Everyone knows that Jesus was not born on December 25th, but that as a society we picked that day to celebrate his birthday. Are we really? Our Christmas celebrations have become about us and not about Jesus, even for those of us who go to church.

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I’m sure many will think I’m the Grinch and I’ve come to terms with that. Our traditional Christmas celebration is usually to decorate the house, a tree, and have lots of food. I’ve heard that Christmas is about gathering the family together. I didn’t read that during the story of Christ’s birth, but here we go. And of course we need presents, lots of them, especially for the kids, because we need to make it special for them. So we go to church, and pray before the meal and read under the Christmas tree the story of the birth… Being the good Christians that we are,”right”?

I think we’re wrong.

If we’re going to celebrate the birth of our Lord, shouldn’t we be giving gifts to him? Shouldn’t this be a day of service to others as an offering to him instead of serving ourselves? Naty, what the idea of getting together with the family? You can do that any time of the year. Actually why are you waiting for Christmas to tell anyone you love them? That sweater or new TV is going to be the same sweater or TV March 13th as it is on December 25th. Save that gift for that person’s birthday.

Naty, what about the kids? What about starting to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas so that they don’t stumble through the same paths that we have?

We get hung up on coffee cups (which I know it was a hoax). We say we need to put Christ back in Christmas, when our celebrations don’t put Christ in Christmas.

As I was thinking about this post I realized that the majority of us actually partake in the 7 deadly sins even while  celebrating that God sent his only son to save us from hell. Naty you are exaggerating! Am I?

Gluttony- I don’t even have to explain that.

Anger- It’s a joke already about the fights that happen when the family gets together.

Lust-Remember lust is not only about sex, but about things and pleasures that have nothing to do with God.

Envy-Wait, why is their gift better than mine?

Pride- I’m not inviting/calling XYZ, You remember what s/he did to7-Deadly-Sins me? Or, I have to make sure my outfit is perfect for the next Christmas party.

Sloth-This one comes right after the gluttony attack.

Greed-It’s the season to “give” but I’m expecting to receive too.

We already received our Christmas present. It is JESUS, is he not enough?

That was my revelation. I realized that when I was married, I still didn’t have a big family. It was usually  my husband, my mom and I. But I used to invite anyone who didn’t have a place to celebrate to my house. I was sad out of my selfishness because I had forgotten who my real brothers and sister’s really were. I had bought into the lie of the traditional Christmas. And as I try to get closer to God I’m no longer afraid to be criticized for not following the world but for following Christ.

I think this is the real gift, anyone who says that they love the Lord should give to Jesus on December 25th. Ironically this is in Matthew 25:34-40

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

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I challenge you to celebrate the true nature of Christmas. From this year forward, I know I will.

Merry Christmas