Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beautiful People August 2014: Gwennie

Welcome back, Beautiful People! This is one of the first times I've actually used the current, and not an archived, question list.

Without further ado

1) What does your character regret most in their life?
I don't know. Most of the bad things that have happened to her were not her fault. Probably a careless word or deed.

2) What is your character's happiest memory? Most sorrowful memory?
Happiest probably several years ago when she and Arthur were young and carefree, before her father lost his money. Most sorrowful memory hasn't happened yet – her mother dying. Before that it was probably when she heard that Arthur was getting married.

3) What majorly gets on your character's nerves?
People who complain, who are lazy, or who are condescending.

4) Do they act differently when they're around people as opposed to being alone? If so, how?
No, not really. Although she can hide her feelings, she's more likely to be bluntly herself.

5) What are their beliefs and superstitions? (Examples: their religion or lack of one, conspiracy theories, throwing salt, fear of black cats.)
She is a nominal Christian, but I'm not sure if she really knows God. I think she probably will by the end of the book, though.

6) What are their catchphrases, or things they say frequently?
Hmm, I'm not real sure what her catchphrases are. One would be "Really?" She can put all sorts of different stresses into it, from a polite, "Really?" when she doesn't care what you're talking about, to a sarcastic, "Really?" with an eye roll.

7) Would they be more prone to facing fears or running from them?
Facing them. She is more afraid for those she loves than for herself; with her mother sick and her father gone a lot, she is the strong one right now and knows she must be. She is more afraid of fear itself, you might say.

8) Do they have a good self image?
I think so. Sometimes, though, when around Arthur she is… shy? awkward? because she is very aware of her low status.

9) Do they turn to people when they're upset, or do they isolate themselves?
She isolates herself. She is very independent.

10) If they were standing next to you would it make you laugh or cry?
After I got over the shock of seeing a fictional character in flesh and blood, I'd be more likely to cry because I know the diabolical thing that's going to happen to her soon.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Comparisons that arise when reading Jeremiah

I have been reading Jeremiah recently. Sometimes it's almost scary how applicable the Bible is to now-life. I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts.
At the end of chapter five, it says "'A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?'"
This is so true in America – people would rather be told lies that make things easier, would rather have a watered-down, mixed-up version of Christianity that men make up by their own authority, than live the real gospel. But in the end, only the gospel is really real. None of that other stuff will do a whit for you.
In chapter six, vs. 10 says "To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it."
This is talking about Jews, you know. Not about foreign peoples who've never heard of God and don't know anything about him. This is God's people, who are offended by his words! Worse, this is true for God's people nowadays. How many people find pleasure in reading their Bible? They close their ears to what they don't want to hear. They say they want to hear God's direction for their life, maybe they even pray about it a little, maybe even read their Bible a few times a week to see if God will answer them, but their ears are closed. They don't want God's direction for their life – that is clearly written in the Bible – they want God's endorsement of what they want to do.
Vs. 13 says "'From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.'"
Notice the word loathsome; somehow I don't think God endorses this.
Then in Jeremiah 8:8 it says "'"How can you say, 'We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,' when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handle it falsely?"'"
There are so many weak churches in America; church leaders who preach sermons that say "Peace, peace," who think they are doing pretty good because they "have the law of the Lord", but their eyes are closed to actually see what is in that law. People who can recite Bible verses but don't even know what they mean. Worse is people who know that they are lax and that they should and could read their Bible more often, actually read it, put some effort into maintaining their relationship with God, but aren't really bothered by the fact that they don't. Or maybe, because it's Sunday, they will read their Bible. They'll share with their friends the spiritual knowledge they've gained. But then they count themselves wise, for they "have the law of the Lord", and they've done their spiritual act for the week. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all. Do they imagine that this kind of worship is what God wants?? God does not want people to worship him because it's on their to-do list. He wants to me to worship him because he is so worthy, not because I feel the need to make myself feel a little better and nominally spend some time with him. It is scarily easy to sing a worship song without realizing it – to get distracted by something on the other side of the room, but the words and the tune keep coming out of your mouth, though you aren't actively meaning the words.
In the last book of the Old Testament, in the first chapter, God says, '"A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the Lord Almighty.
"It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.
"But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?' You place defiled food on my altar.
'But you ask, how have we defiled you?'… When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the Lord Almighty.'
Giving God anything less than his due is not enough for him. Living anything less than the life we are meant to live, is not enough for you. It will do nothing for you to live a half-life; believe me, you will be bored and miserable. Step out into real Christianity. Actually listen when you read your Bible. Give God the honor due him. That is something that is no less than real.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Two months ago today I came back from a missions trip. That trip rocked my world. To quote from Kisses from Katie, "In the beginning, I would have described  it as God turning my world upside down, but now I know that He was actually turning it right side up!" My world was turned right side up. Today I wanted to share a small part of what I learned about world missions. 
Most Christians consider missions to be just one thing the church does – have a church picnic twice a year, do a VBS, give money to the missionary. They would say there is missions because there is the Church; but I'd like to suggest that maybe it'd be more correct to say there is the Church because there is missions. If God didn't want us to reach the nations, why wouldn't we all go straight to Heaven after becoming Christians?
With that in mind, I'd like to address one of the main objections Christians have to going overseas to be a missionary (certainly one I would have said before going on this trip).
I would have said, "There are needs at home; there are hungry, poor people in America and my grandma and some close friends aren't Christians. I need to stay here to reach and care for those people."
It it so true that there are needy people here. I do not in any way want to discount that. It is one of the duties of the church to care for the widow and the orphan and the hungry people, and it is a tragedy when that doesn't happen and little girls go to be hungry even here in rich America.
But the simple fact of the matter is that there is no church in Guinea-Bissau (that's a country, in case you've never heard of it). Who will care for the hungry and orphaned people there? Who will speak of Christ and love to the grandmas and best friends there who've never heard of Jesus ever and may not have even a single verse of the Bible in their language?
Revelation 7:9 says that in Heaven there will be people worshiping God from "every nation, tribe, people and language". There is no Bible at all in the Kulisusu language. The task isn't finished, because there are not yet people worshiping him in Kulisusu and Kanembu and Mandar. 
Your grandparents or your aunt or your best friend aren't one tiny bit less important than the Guinea-Bissau people. God wants them to come to know him every bit as much as he wants the hearts of the Kulisusu and Kanembu and Mandar people, every bit. He doesn't love them any less. But the point is that there are literally no Christians among the Kanembu. There is no one to show them God's love, and today, today, literally millions of people are living and dying without any bit of true hope. Isn't that the greatest tragedy? There are 6, 974 unreached people groups (clarify, a reached people group is one that has the resources for the people to become Christians even if they aren't all Christian, and an unreached people group is one that is less than 2% Christian and usually has very little Christian resources available in their languages). There are 2.1 billion Christians on this earth. 600 churches for everyone one unreached people group. 600!! What if every church sent 5 missionaries? That'd be 30,000 missionaries for one people group! Granted, some people groups are huge - billions - and might need more than 30,000 missionaries. Well, some churches are huge - and some are small. The point is not the numbers but that every Christian is called to be involved in world missions, even if not every Christian goes. But don't let "there are needs at home" or "someone else will go" be your excuse to not go. How do you know that anyone else will go? The harvest is plentiful but the workers are indeed few. The time to serve God is now.
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