Tag Archives: Culture

Taxes and Paying it Forward

16 Apr

“6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.  8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

Romans 13: 6-8

It may be April 16th, but it is TAX DAY!  Yay? Sorry to those who thought they could escape it since the 15th fell on a Sunday this year.  I’m sure most didn’t, but I wouldn’t put it past some individuals.

I thought I’d share some scripture pertaining to the wonderful world of taxes.  Yep.  Even way back in biblical times (and before) people paid their dues and hated it just as much as we do.  What I enjoy about this particular scripture passage is that the focus is not just on giving taxes.  Yes, we are to respect the governing authorities and pay our dues, but we also are to give to others what is due them.

What does that mean? Should we only respect and honor those in position over us or only those we think deserve it?  What about only those who first respect and honor us?  Is this a good way to live with others? Continue reading

As He Has Done For You: Day 37: Lent Journey

5 Apr

1It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” – John 13: 1-17

 

Today is Maundy Thursday for the Christian church.  We remember Jesus as he ate his last meal at Passover with his disciples.  This is where our ritual of communion comes from, as we partake of the bread and wine (or grape juice), we remember the sacrifice Jesus made of his broken body and poured out blood.

We also remember how Jesus lived a life of service, demonstrated in a powerful way on his last night with his closest friends.  Jesus, who had already taken on human form, humbled himself even more and took on the form of a servant.  He washed his disciples’ feet.  He lovingly took the dirty and weary feet of his friends, cleaned them with his hands and water, and gently dried them with a towel he had tied to his waist.

Imagine a king stooping down to wash the feet of his court advisers, or even the pheasants he is entrusted with.  This is the act of Jesus.  A King of Kings, bowed down in service to all of humanity, from the strong and rich to the poor and weak.  He loves and serves them the same.  His sacrifice is for all.

As I reflect on these final acts of love and service that Jesus performed, I can’t help but wonder if I am really taking on the mind of Christ in my own life.  Do I have a mind and a heart to serve?  Do I put myself aside enough so I can see those who need the love of Christ poured into their lives?

I hope I do.  I strive to live a life of letting God love through me, but I know I often fail.  I guess all I can do is continually wrap the towel of loving service around my waist again and again, and help bathe others in Jesus’ grace and love.

In what ways are you being called to lovingly serve someone else?

Gracefully~~Heather

Beauty in the True You: Day 31: Lent Journey

28 Mar

“You are altogether beautiful, my love;
    there is no flaw in you.”   – Song of Songs 4:7 (ESV)

God created each one of us; lovingly crafting His children from the inside out.  He knows us.  He chooses us.  He loves us.  The real us.

God isn’t fooled by the images we try to create of ourselves; what we present to the world.  He is interested (and He already knows) the real story.  He looks at each of us and desires for us to know our story as well.  He wants us to accept the offer of grace that is freely given, so we might discover our true story.  A love story.

We are masterpieces of God.  When we are covered by grace, God sees us and says, “There is no flaw IN you.”  God sees the true story inside us because He shaped us.  He is waiting for us to see our own true beauty.

I want to share the lyrics from Ginny Owens’s song, True Story, one of my favorite songs.  I encourage you to download it if they speak to you.

True Story

I am a gifted artist
I’ve learned to paint this canvas well
I work until I’ve finished
An ideal image of myself
But you know better

I am a storyteller
Quite brilliant, if I do say so
I tell them tales they want to hear
And they believe it’s me they know
But you know better

Chorus:
You see my imperfections
Still You say I’m a masterpiece
A marvelous reflection
The image of Yourself in me
You paint with strokes of grace
Undoing my disguise
You say beauty lies in the true story

The world might think me foolish
If they could see beneath my mask
They might find my dreams laughable
Or be embarrassed by my past
But you know better

(Chorus)

Of where I’ve been
And where you’ve brought me to
Of who I am
All because of you

Ginny Owens

I hope you have a day full of beauty.

Gracefully~~Heather

Let Your Light Radiate Love: Day 30: Lent Journey

27 Mar

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.  4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
5 Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;”

-Isaiah 60: 1-5

Many people are familiar with the song, “This Little Light of Mine.”  It is a Sunday School staple but it also one that has made its way into popular culture through quotes, movies, and other media.  It is a song to help teach children that they should hold the light of Christ that is within them, up high for all to see.  They are taught not to hide it under a bush or a basket, or to let the light go out.

What light? Continue reading

Sexier?

28 Feb

I was checking my email when I noticed this image in an ad banner.  I almost gagged.

Image from Victoria's Secret Ad

I am sure that some of you think there is nothing wrong with this image.  Some of you will see nothing but a beautiful woman in lingerie (creeps), and come of you will see what I see; something scary.

Please, hear me.  I’m sure the model is a fine person, and this is not an attack on her.  She is a product of the fashion industry, reduced to skin and bones.  While she is very pretty, her form is sickly skeletal.  This type of image is everything that is wrong with our culture and the persisting images that ultra-skinny= sexy.  This is one major reason eating disorders are so dangerously rising in teens and tweens.  When you can LITERALLY see ribs and other bones jutting awkwardly from a person’s frame, they are too skinny.  There is nothing wrong with being fit, thin, and in-shape. I think we all need to find the healthy weight and shape that best fits us individually.  There is something wrong with this degree of skinny being hailed as “Very sexy, now sexier.”

Yes, the ad is supposed to be about the lingerie, which is really cute.  However, you can’t ignore the model wearing the items.  Despite the fashion industry’s best efforts to create models who are mere “hangers” for fashion, we do still see the models behind the clothes.  The image projected tells millions of females that unless you strive to look like this model, you aren’t sexy enough.

This image just makes me sick and very sad for the state of our society, and all those who will see images like this and think, “I’m not good enough.”

Hear me:  Yes, you are.

 

Song for Saturdays

8 May

Paradigm by All Together Separate

Hope Unshattered

I thought this song is appropriate for where I am currently.  I first heard this song performed by a friend at the Baptist Student Union my sophmore year of college.  The song really hit me hard and spoke some serious truth into my life.  It doesn’t get played often on the radio, but when it does, I always crank it up.

What is a paradigm?  For this song, it refers to a the values, principles, and practices you live your life by.  If you look at what the world judges these things by, it is constantly shifting, adapting, and compromising.  As a Christian, this shouldn’t be what the paradigm of my life looks like.  My touchstone and foundation is rooted in Christ and sharing that love, no matter what the world says in response.  I’ve included the lyrics because I think they need to be seen, not just heard.  Click on the title to watch the video by All Together Separate.

Paradigm

Everybody loves a rose,

But will you be thankful for the thorns?

Love is easy when you’re loved,

But do you curse another when you’re alone?

Chorus

Oh, I give my life to You so I can gain it back again

Oh, I stand solid while the paradigm is shifting

You say live and let live,

But people are dying everyday.

You say what I don’t know won’t hurt me,

But if what I do not know

Is the very thing I need

Then I say,

Chorus

Humanity sees truth through a shattered window pane,

That blocks the view

Plants the seed

So we draw the curtains to a close but I say

That the sun can still shine behind a closed mind

And sticks and stones do hurt

When tossed from the tongue of mankind.

Synonymous Saturdays

7 May

Today’s word is Soigne or Soignee

Pronounced swhan-yey, according to dictionary.com soigne is of french origin and means fashionable, well-groomed, polished, and showing sophisticated elegance.  It is an adjective and I think it can and should be used to describe those people and things we find attractive, fashionable, or ‘rockin.’  As in:

“That actress is wearing a rockin’ outfit,” would become, “That actress is wearing a soigne little outfit.”

Hot would be another word that soigne or one of its synonyms could and should replace, as we too frequently refer to people and items as hot.  Plus, the synonyms are a bit vintage and should be fun to play around with.

Synonyms:

dolled up, dressed to advantage, dressed to kill, dressed to the teeth, dressed-up, gussied up, in full dress, in full feather, spiffed up, spruced up, well-dressed

My personal favorite used in a sentence:

“Evangeline Lilly is in full feather for the Lost finale party.”

Synonymous Saturdays

1 May

Awesome

Today’s word is one of the most overused in the English language, and I am guilty of its overuse frequently.  I mean, are there really that many amazing or awe-inspiring things we encounter on a daily basis?  Perhaps if you work in a circus or in Vegas.  I have found myself even overusing it in sarcasm.  “Yes, honey, the fact that OSU got a verbal commitment from a 5 star player today and you know everything about him, including his favorite color, is awesome.”

I think the application of awesome may be somewhat subjective, though I know it can be quite annoying when it is the only way people describe something they think is great, fun, cool, et cetera.   Here are some synonyms for awesome according to thesaurus.com:

alarming, astonishing, awe-inspiring, awful, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, exalted, formidable, grand, impressive, majestic, magnificent, mind-blowing, moving, overwhelming, shocking, something else, super, stunning, wonderful, wondrous

I’m also going to throw in yummy.  As in, “That cake is yummy,” or “That doctor is yummy.”

So, here’s to having some mind-blowing conversations!

http://djbogtrotter.co.uk/2009/06/12/awesome

Great Comic

Check out the comic strip here