Wednesday, April 27, 2011

First Recorded Analogy Ever: Gourds

This is the first analogy I ever recorded in any of my journals. Sadly, I didn’t record the exact dates because for some reason I didn’t ever constantly do that way back when, but it was sometime during the fall of my junior year of high school, because I was making gourds for my sculpture class. It was definitely fun times. Many a time I wish I could go back to those times when I was in an art class, because I miss it a lot.

But anyways, I was just chillen in the back of the art room, working on my gourds and thinking about Jesus when suddenly a thought hit me. It was super exciting, one of my first complex analogies. Basically, how I had to make the gourds was that I had to take a decently sized lump of clay, form it into the gourd shape I wanted, let it get leather hard (hard enough to carve but not hard enough that it will break), cut it in half, carve out the insides, and then put it back together. Sounds pretty complex, right? It actually wasn’t that confusing, it was rather fun.

But anyways, I was sitting there carving out one of my gourds, and a thought suddenly hit me. The process of the creation of my gourds was just like the process of being reborn in Jesus Christ. Like I said before, I would form the gourd to the shape I wanted, let it get leather hard, cut it in half, carve out the insides, and then put it back together.

In the same way, God took us and formed us out of the dust. Then there was probably a period of time before we came to know him, which was the time in which we became leather hard, or the time in which we were being prepared to meet Jesus. For me, that time period was 15 years. And then, when we were ready, when the time was right, Jesus came into our lives and changed us forever, from the inside out. We opened up ourselves to him so that he could remove all the bad stuff from our bodies spiritually through forgiveness, and then he put us back together so that we could a live a life that glorified him.

And then there was this one gourd that I was making. It was supposed to be an acorn gourd or something weird like that. When I was making it, I had screwed up and carved the walls too thin. So, I got angry and threw it into the reclaiming bin (the bin where messed up or dried out clay is thrown and can be reclaimed by adding water), thinking that it was trash.

But, for some reason, I paused and looked back into the bin. I looked at my gourd for a few seconds, and then took it out and examined it for a time. It was then that I realized that I could totally still use it. As a matter of fact, it looked freaking sweet and it is my favorite out of the three gourds I made that fall.

This is similar to how Jesus can redeem absolutely anything. In the same way, even when we thought we weren’t redeemable, Jesus knew we were. We were so messed up, but Jesus took us up out of the dust and mud and redeemed us. And he can do the same for anyone, even the most messed up person you can think of. There is nothing Jesus can’t do. He turns the wretched story of a messed up person into an absolutely beautiful narrative of a person living for the glory of Jesus. I have heard a few of these stories, and they are often the most striking (not to say that all other testimonies are stupid—all testimonies are special and interesting).

So, I made, carved out, and put back together a gourd. Jesus made us, carved out the bad stuff, and put us back together to live a life that glorifies him. I made a really screwed up gourd that I thought was trash, but I reclaimed it and made it beautiful. God made us, and we screwed up majorly, but he reclaimed us and made us beautiful again. 

Our God is such an awesome God. He can redeem absolutely anything and everything, and He will redeem absolutely anything and everything. I know that God has beautifully redeemed my life, in ways that I cannot imagine. I am so thankful that He did, and I don’t know where I would be without Him. How has God beautifully redeemed your life?


Saturday, April 23, 2011

We Hurt Those Who Love Us The Most

Ok. So I’m in the library right now and I’ve spent an hour trying to get this right, but I need to post this. I need to write this too. So I’m going to go for it, and I hope it makes sense.

Recently, I have been thinking about my dad because the anniversary of his death is coming up. For some reason, I don’t think about it often, but that might be because I have already understood the reason for his death. Ultimately, he was responsible for his own demise. This was because of his experience in the Vietnam War.

He served in Vietnam for only one year, but that year of experience affected him for the rest of his life. As most of us know, Vietnam was a pretty bad war. It affected not only the soldiers that served, but the people back at home and the state of the country as well.

For my dad, I know he had a bad experience over there, but he never talked about it. Whenever I would ask him about the war, he would sort of ignore my question. I’m pretty sure that he never told anyone about everything that happened. Because of what he experienced, he began to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in the later years of his life. He was able to keep the experience from majorly affecting him until he had children, which added stress to his life and made things worse (not to say that he didn’t love his children. He loved them dearly). I would guess that around the time I was four years old, he started to use food as a coping mechanism for the war.

By the time I was in third grade, he was dangerously overweight and needed gastric bypass surgery. The surgery made his stomach the size of a dime so he was unable to overeat anymore. It was pretty successful in stopping him from overeating, but because he couldn’t use this coping mechanism anymore, he had to find a new one, and he chose alcohol.

 My dad began drinking on occasional nights, which soon progressed to every night. He would sit in front of the kitchen TV with a drink, every single night. However, he never physically abused us. He was instead hurtful with his words. He would yell and scream at us when we did something wrong or when we tried to tell him to stop. He said hurtful things to my mom, which she never deserved to hear.

He simply didn’t care about himself anymore. He was hurting physically and emotionally, and the only people he could unleash his hurt on were the ones that loved him. His family. He did this because he knew we would love him regardless of what he was doing. Because of this, he ended up hurting us with the hurt that he held back for so long. He hurt those who loved him the most.

I thought about this today because I was thinking about how much I care about how I act around others. I make sure I don’t hurt people’s feelings, and always worry if I’m being too annoying. But then I realized that I never feel this way about my family because I know that, no matter what, they will always love me.

And then this reminded me of someone we all neglect more than often. Jesus Christ. Recently, I have been so caught up in school that I have neglected to actually sit down and read my Bible for the past week or so. There are so many times when I just do whatever I feel like in disregard to how I should be living. My life has been consumed with friends and you tube videos (some of you obviously know this), and I haven’t taken the time to sit down and actually listen to Jesus.

All he wants is for me to love Him back, to make time for Him, to do everything for the glory of Him. And let me tell you, we definitely owe Him. He died on the cross for us. Yesterday was Good Friday, the day that He died on the cross. Today, He hasn’t risen yet. He is still paying for our sins in hell. We nailed him to the cross. We were cheering for Him, and then we left Him when the crowd was against him. We did everything to possibly go against Him and neglect Him, yet He still died for us.

Romans 5:6-8- “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

And in this, I see that we are constantly hurting the one who loves us the most. We know that He will always love us.

Joshua 1:5- “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

Jesus is always going to love us, and because we know this, we hurt Him the most. We forget about Him amongst our desires. Every day, we do whatever we want. We surround ourselves with things that try to fill the gap that Jesus leaves when we do not intentionally have Him in our lives.

This was true for my father. It is true for me. And it is true for you. Do the ones who love us the most really deserve to be hurt the most?


I originally wrote this on December 8th 2010, probably about a week or so before my first string jury. A string jury is a final exam for students who are taking private music lessons in the college of musical arts. I am required to play one piece of music in front of a panel of about 5 judges.

On that particular Monday, I was in my Cello lesson. My professor had just told me that today was the day I had finally learned how to play the cello.


So as you might think, I was kind of freaking out because it was a week before my first string jury ever. I was kind of confused at first. I had been playing the cello for 10 years and today was the day I officially learned how to play it? But then he explained it to me. That day was the day I had finally learned to analyze and understand the music I was playing, which meant that I was thinking about what I was playing, and not just playing the notes right off the page.

Then this reminded me of something.

There is a difference between a Christian and a Christian. There are two types. The first type is the one who goes through the motions every day without analyzing or knowing the meaning behind what they are doing. For example, these are the people who just go to church every Sunday and think that it is enough for Jesus. The second type is the one who is real and knows why they are doing what they are doing. They are actually committed to living for Jesus, and they understand the meaning behind the church.

So, in a sense, this process of learning how to finally play the cello paralleled my walk with Christ. Before I knew him, I thought I knew what I was doing. I just went along with Christianity, went through the motions. After I started walking with him on June 13th, 2008, I then realized what it really meant to be a Christian. I understood the meaning behind all of this stuff, and I actually started living for Jesus.

I think that this example can relate to a lot of people. We always think we have it, but then there comes a point when we actually understand it, and then we realize that we were completely wrong before. How does this apply to you?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Erasable Pens

When I was in elementary school, I knew this kid who always had erasable pens. He used them for everything. That’s all he would ever use actually. I mean, I always thought they were awesome, but why? What’s the point of an erasable pen when you have pencils and pens? Maybe you could write and have it look all official, but then erase it if you made a mistake. I don’t know. They were basically a contradiction. Being able to write with something that’s permanent and then being able to erase it pretty much made no sense.

Then one day I realized that an erasable pen is a great illustration for the sins we commit and the grace God gives us for them—basically, the definition of grace. When you write with a normal pen, it is permanent and cannot be erased, but when you write with an erasable pen, it is permanent but then can be erased. Basically the eraser is magical and makes no sense. It was created especially for erasing permanent pen marks.

This illustration reflects the way Jesus died for our sins. Before Jesus graced the earth, we could only write with normal pens. If we made any mistakes, we had to start over or cross it out, and crossing out didn’t erase it—it just made the mark more noticeable on the page. Before Jesus, there was absolutely nothing we could do to cover up or fix our sins. They were permanent, and we were responsible for them. After Jesus lived on earth, died for our sins, and rose from the dead, our sins were forgiven. He took all of the sins of the world and paid for them. He spent those 3 days between death and resurrection in hell, separated from the father, and went on to escape hell and be resurrected. By doing this, he made it possible for us to do the same. Now, by choosing to live our lives for Him, we can do the same. By this, Jesus became the eraser to our pens—the eraser to something that is permanent, something so permanent that we wonder how it could ever be erased.

By the creation of the erasable pen, we were able to erase something that would otherwise be permanent. By the grace of Jesus, we were able to erase something that was also permanent, but much more harrowing—sin. And can anything else erase a pen except the eraser that was created for it? Nope. You can try, but I’m pretty sure it won’t work. In the same way, nothing else can erase our sins but the grace of Jesus Christ. He existed to erase our sins and to set us free.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Refuse

Today, I'm deciding to make my blog officially legit.

I actually created this blog in December on an impulse. I had actually been intending to, so I finally did. I actually had a post on it one time, but my friend said that she saw it and said it was super intimidating since it was one very large paragraph. So I decided to completely renovate my dead blog and start using it.

I'm also going to start using short paragraphs so people will feel more inclined to read my posts.

Like this.

See? Not as intimidating.

Enough about the process. I heard a song on the radio today called "I Refuse" by Josh Wilson. I'm not going to post all the lyrics because I think that would be too intimidating. Personally, when I read a blog where someone posts the lyrics to an entire song, I don't really feel like reading it, so if you actually want to read all of the song lyrics, go to this website:

Basically, the song was about refusing to sit around and wait for other people to do what God has called you to do. I thought it was speaking to me because I have a huge research paper to do about misconceptions of Christianity in America, and I keep procrastinating. One of my favorite lines in the song is:

"Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else/ To do what God has called me to do myself/ I could choose not to move/ But I refuse."

I think that God was basically telling me to get my pants off the ground and start working on my research paper. He was probably also telling me to start working on this blog. Personally, I think this is a good message for everyone. We all sit here on our fat butts with everything we need, not doing anything to help other people. Basically, If you want God to move through your life, you have to choose to act on what he has called you to do. We can't just be passive Christians, we have to act on what God wants us to do.

Why did I underline the word choose? Because that's a huge part of following through with God's plan for you. There's most likely nothing stopping you from acting on His plan for you, so what are you waiting for? I'm sure half of you are just lazy and would rather get to the end result of God's plan. You're too impatient to wait through the journey. That's pretty much a description of me, so I understand.

What are you waiting for? Choose to act on God's plan for your life.