Kelsey-isms

The musings of Kelsey. Be excited.

Posts tagged God

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Conspiracies, Gun Control, Governments, and Jesus: The King Eternal

There has been a lot of hype recently over government, government conspiracies, gun control, wars, political elections, etc. It’s pretty obvious people are scared. Whether they are scared of predators abusing the law, foreign powers, failing economies, or our own government, one thing is clear: They are vocal about their opinions. I’ve been accused of seeming apathetic or even ignorant to issues going on in the world because I have remained silent or seemingly passive at times. I’ve been told to “open my eyes,” and “get my priorities straight.”

I would like to share my priorities now and explain why I don’t really plan on rearranging them.

It’s no secret that I am a Christian. If you follow me on Tumblr now, I’d say that’s painfully obvious. One of the basics of Christian doctrine is that man is sinful and fallen. For this reason, it should be no surprise when we see corrupt governments and bureaucracies because every person is susceptible to evil desires. Sometimes people worry and freak out over corrupt governments as if this is a new thing, but it’s been going on since the very beginning of society. All you have to do is take a look at a history book to see that war, government conspiracies, and corruption have all been around for thousands of years. These characteristics are not unique to one country or to one race or ethnicity. They are human, unfortunately.

So if these are matters of broken humanness and not broken society, what can we do? We could be passive and accept this as fact and then become depressed. Or perhaps there is another solution.

Christianity says man is fallen, yes, but not beyond redemption. God loved His people so much that He Himself took on humanity and lived and died to correct all of the brokenness. Trusting in Him and His work is the salvation of man. God then works in the heart to root out the hate, the corruption, and the greed. In fact, the Bible says this:

2 Peter 1:4 — “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

So if we trust in Him and escape corruption, what are we supposed to do with the world and these governments still in a mess? The most popular verse on this is when the Pharisees asked Jesus about paying taxes and, essentially, giving allegiance to the government. Famously, He says, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s." (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17) In other words, there is a healthy alignment with country and with government, but ultimately you are to separate that alignment from the most important one: the one with Him. Pay your taxes, vote, follow the laws, be a good citizen. But at the end of the day, your body, your mind, and your heart were created by God and belong to Him. Give everything truly important to Him.

Jesus fought the corrupt and oppressive Roman government not with militant force and insurrection nor with money and power, but with Himself. He brought His loving words of life, truth, and freedom through salvation. He took care of widows and the poor. He healed the sick. The only way to cure the disease of corruption was to attack it directly at the human heart, not treat the symptoms that manifest themselves in the broken government and oppression. This was frustrating to His disciples at first. They wanted militant power, but instead, they got the patient, slow, loving Messiah who targeted the very nature of man. This is what we should do, too. This is how we should combat the darkness of the world—with the light of God’s truth.

And don’t be afraid. At best, the political powers of this world are temporary. The greatest empires have always failed, the most evil dictators have always passed away, and the darkest regimes have eventually died out in time. Christ and His love and power have lasted for centuries and will continue to last for eternity. Ultimately, the government of not only the world but of the universe lies in the very hands that were pierced with nails for you and I.

Isaiah 9:6-7 — For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

This is the promise He has given us. He will rule eternally as the perfect, benevolent King. He will reign with justice, righteousness, and great peace that passes all understanding forever and ever.

I do not fear the powers of this world because they have already been overcome. With Christ’s death, He destroyed the dominion of death and evil in the world. My peace with the situation does not mean a naivety or trust for political power, but rather it is a sign of my allegiance with another power all together. I am not afraid of any president, government, or bureaucracy, because my King is the King of Heaven and He reigns eternal.

Filed under government conspiracy Sandy Hook gun control Christianity Christ Jesus God love hope encouragement King the Bible Scripture peace

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Thoughts on Connecticut and Christmas

Yesterday, I was going to The Hobbit with my boyfriend as one of our last dates together before we went our separate ways for the holidays. Before we left, though, we heard about the shootings in Connecticut. I felt incredibly sick to my stomach, not just because these were innocent lives lost, but they were children—the definition of innocence. Also, I want to be a teacher. The reality sunk in that teaching actually has risks, not just for myself but for the students that I love deeply.

Sitting in the movie, I found myself to be angry. I found myself questioning God and having that typical, angry debate with Him after instances like this.

“Why? Why God? Why children?”

No answer.

“He was awful. He was evil.”

Still, of course, no answer.

“His evil spilled into the lives of others. They took the punishment he deserved. The blood of the innocent should never be spilled to correct the sins of the wretched.

It was that moment that I caught myself. It was that moment that I think I had my answer. The blood of The Innocent had been spilled to cover all of the evils of the world, and it was the blood of God Himself—God, who humbled Himself, and came as a beautiful, innocent child.

I found myself guilty of the very thing that the disciples of Jesus were guilty of: they wanted a powerful, militant Messiah who would come in and crush opposition and forcibly put everything right. In fact, that’s what they thought they had, even after spending all of this time with Jesus and hearing sermons on “turning the other cheek” and “loving their enemies,” they went to buy swords during his last week on Earth. They were ready for a military insurrection until Jesus had to gently tell them to put their weapons away. He who lives by the sword dies by the sword. The point is that Jesus had a different kind of salvation in mind, and He was thinking of a different kind of battle—a spiritual one of the heart armed with swords of truth and love.

You see, you don’t fight fire with fire, you have to douse it in water and choke the flames out. Then, you have to begin repairing the damage of the fire by planting seeds, tending them, watering them, and working with patience and care. The results of such a process aren’t seen for months or maybe even years, but it is the only way to truly reverse the destruction of the flames. God knew that He could come and force His reign. He could come on clouds with terrible lightning and swift justice, but who’s to say we would have actually liked that kind of salvation any way? The human heart is so dissatisfied that we might have decided we didn’t want to worship a God who would force His rule. No, the only way to root out the evils of the human heart is to patiently and meticulously plant humility and love.

This is the Christmas season. My heart is broken for the families in Connecticut; for little children who will not get to open their Christmas gifts; for families with  hearts filled with grief at the empty spots around their tables. In that movie last night, there was one part that stood out to me. Galadriel asks Gandalf why he chose to bring the hobbit Bilbo on their journey, and he said, in so many words, that evil is never vanquished with great strength and force, but with small acts of kindness and a mysterious love and courage against the odds.

Remember that this Christmas season. Remember that God chose a young virgin, He chose to come as a child, He chose things that were unexpected and completely against our ideas of salvation. I’m not saying to not be upset about the awful things that have happened. By all means, be upset. I don’t pretend to understand everything that happens in this world. I don’t pretend to be okay with these kinds of terrible acts. Yes, I believe that God has purpose and plan, but none of those things are comforting at all in the face of immense pain. Truly grieving is comforting, and I think that’s okay. Jesus, God Himself, wept deeply. Tell God you’re upset. Be honest about how you feel. But know that the King of the Universe has humbled Himself to a manger and subjected Himself to the darkness of the world so that He could overcome it. Know that He weeps, too.

In fact, that may be the only comfort in such terrible situations. Jesus has felt it, whatever it may be, He’s felt it. The good, the bad, the terrible, the happy, the joyful, the sting of betrayal, the thrill of life and the chill of death—He’s felt it all. God is Emmanuel; He is with us.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Filed under christmas connecticut god joy love hope encouragement faith suffering pain doubts jesus messiah emmanuel manger virgin amazing amazed by his grace salvation evil hope hope hope

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For the Depressed, Brokenhearted, and Lost

In my American Literature class, we are reading “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath. My colleagues were commenting on Plath’s humor in the book, which came as a shock to me considering she is talking about a character who is breaking down mentally and eventually attempts suicide. The main character, Esther, jokes about trying to hang herself, but she gave up because it was too hard to tie a knot and her ceilings in her house were much too low. Jokes like this actually run throughout the book.

My peers admitted ashamedly that they laughed often while reading the novel, but they didn’t know how to take the humor considering she was discussing something as grim as death. Perhaps I am the weird one, but I never once found the book funny, just simply heart breaking. Esther uses humor to cover up the fact that she is very deeply hurt. Humor is often a defense mechanism to cover up insecurity or fear or one’s true thoughts. Her jokes only made the situation even more painful and dark to me, because she was showing that she and her author Plath, who based Esther off of herself, were very broken. That dark monster of depression still existed inside, but if Esther could only make the reader or herself laugh, perhaps everyone would forget it or overlook it. Perhaps if we all smiled, we wouldn’t have to look at or address the gaping wound. I just wanted to cry for her more.

It seems so painfully obvious to say that appearances are not everything, yet we tend to let ourselves be consistently caught off guard by real life Esthers and Sylvia Plaths. Depression was something that I grew up with and struggled with immensely. I remember admitting my depression and suicidal thoughts at a church retreat in high school and everyone was shocked. They said, “I would have never known. You just always seemed so happy and funny.”

I would really love to encourage you guys to do two things:

1.) Get to know people truly and deeply. That is, look beyond their image. Ask them intentional questions about their lives, their interests, their beliefs, their fears, their insecurities, their joys… Notice things about them! Notice when they don’t show up for class or church or when they are being a little more quiet than usual, etc… Be observant and be considerate. Don’t be intrusive, that is, don’t push it or try too hard if someone has put a wall up. But do not merely accept that wall or those smiling faces as all that is to a person.

2.) Love people for exactly who they are and where they are in life. This is seems so overused and cliche at this point, but it is truly the only way to get to know someone and to establish trust with them. You really never know who you can reach if you treat each person just like they are precious, valuable, and irreplaceable.

How do I know this? When I was struggling with depression and when I wanted to commit suicide, I had one friend who sent me an email from Asia who told me randomly how she didn’t want to lose me and she loved me. It was funny, because of all the friends and family I had here, she was the only one who could see my brokenness and she was on the other side of the world. She also shared the gospel with me, and though I had heard it one million times, that time was so different, because I actually saw the love of Christ in action through her.

What difference did she make? I didn’t kill myself that night.

And I accepted Christ for the first time. She saved my life, but more importantly, she pointed me to the One Who saved my soul. That’s all the difference in the world.

Filed under Christianity Christ love hope encouragement depression insecurity faith suicide I'm here for you I want to listen to you Jesus God Leslie

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If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Gospel is for sinners and saints. It’s for the thief on the cross and the widow praying at the temple. It’s for those who have had abortions and those who are in the pews on Sunday. It’s for the liars, the losers, the lame, and the lost. It’s for those who cuss and those who have tattoos and drink whiskey. It’s for the addict. It’s for the girl who sings in the choir. It’s for the person struggling with their sexuality. It’s for the student who stays up late every night studying. It’s for the families who are broken and for the couples who are crazy in love. It’s for prostitutes and Pharisees. It’s for the hypocrites who say they love Christ, but they don’t know a thing about what it means to love Him at all. It’s for those who hear about Jesus every day and those who could care less. It’s for those who are passionately devoted to God and for those who have given up. The Gospel is for me, but I also want to tell you that it is for you. This list is by no means exhaustive because the Gospel is for everyone. It’s for every tribe, every tongue, and every nation. It’s for the world because God wants every single human being to know how greatly and enormously they are loved.


From “Christianity is much too Exclusive… Isn’t it?

Filed under quote Christianity Christ Jesus the Gospel God the Bible Scripture hope love encouragement help sin struggles addiction happiness peace

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Christianity is much too Exclusive… Isn’t it?

Many of my friends who do not believe in Christianity have shared with me their frustrations with Christianity’s exclusivity. I guess for me this is an ambiguous term, so I have to break down exactly what they mean by exclusive. Truthfully, most things are exclusive. My University, like most I am sure you know, is exclusive to those who have the certain requirements and prerequisites necessary for admission. Taking that idea a step further, being a full-time student is exclusive to those who take 12 or more hours each semester and pay their tuition. Clubs and organizations are always exclusive. You probably won’t have much luck joining the high school band if you can’t tell a tuba apart from a trumpet. Sports teams are exclusive to those who follow the rules of the game. In other words, you cannot go into a soccer game and start using your hands and tackling people like in American football to get the ball into the goal. That is outside the confines of the rules of the game. Exclusivity surrounds us in everyday activities, organizations, and groups, so I am pretty certain this is not exactly what bothers people about the “exclusivity” of Christianity.

I think what bothers people most is not the exclusivity of Christianity, but of Christians. Christians, like myself, often make harsh dividing lines between what makes someone a believer and what does not. We like to draw the lines between which sins are acceptable as believers and which are not. Sometimes the statements get even more ridiculous, saying things like “Christians should vote for a specific party or candidate” or “can’t have that beer with the guys” or you fill in the blank. If I had a dollar for every time I’d heard one of these statements, I would be able to pay off my college tuition no problem.

Let me be clear with you: Christianity has a set of doctrines and beliefs that should be accepted in order to call yourself a Christian—namely, the belief that Christ is God who died for the forgiveness of every wrong thing we’ve ever done just so He could have a relationship with us again. Of course there are more, but I can’t touch on all of those in one post. Christianity is, in fact, exclusive in this way as anything else is in life. If we could just define Christianity by whatever terms we deemed necessary or right for us, there would not be a Christianity. It would be some vague, nonsensical belief with no real basis.

This being said, the belief of Christianity is not exclusive to one kind of person, which is the point that Christians often confuse. The Gospel of Christ is not for one kind of people group or culture. Jesus said this to His disciples during His last few moments on earth: You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (From Acts 1:8). This says something very profound about the heart of God: He wants to be available to all people everywhere. Christ Himself was very inclusive in the people He hung out with. I don’t know many people, Christian or not, who hang out with a lot of prostitutes, homeless people, lepers, tax collectors, and drunks. But Jesus hung out with all of these guys. If that’s not acceptance, then I don’t know what is.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Gospel is for sinners and saints. It’s for the thief on the cross and the widow praying at the temple. It’s for those who have had abortions and those who are in the pews on Sunday. It’s for the liars, the losers, the lame, and the lost. It’s for those who cuss and those who have tattoos and drink whiskey. It’s for the addict. It’s for the girl who sings in the choir. It’s for the person struggling with their sexuality. It’s for the student who stays up late every night studying. It’s for the families who are broken and for the couples who are crazy in love. It’s for prostitutes and Pharisees. It’s for the hypocrites who say they love Christ, but they don’t know a thing about what it means to love Him at all. It’s for those who hear about Jesus every day and those who could care less. It’s for those who are passionately devoted to God and for those who have given up. The Gospel is for me, but I also want to tell you that it is for you. This list is by no means exhaustive because the Gospel is for everyone. It’s for every tribe, every tongue, and every nation. It’s for the world because God wants every single human being to know how greatly and enormously they are loved.

There is nothing exclusive about that.

Filed under Christianity Christ Jesus God the Gospel religion questions about religion exclusivity faith hope love encouragement Scripture the Bible Acts 1:8

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The Two Things You Should Never Talk About: Politics and Religion

And I’m going to talk about them here in one post.

Last Sunday, my pastor at church gave a sermon about politics, then in my small group the next day, we discussed this further, so much of this post is a result of these two discussions.

I am so, so sick of politics and politicians, aren’t you? I hate the arguing. I hate the political “discussions,” because no one really discusses politics. They argue about politics. No one really listens to the other person’s point of view. They listen for things to pick apart about their point of view, or reasons why they are wrong. Also, to me, both parties just seem so saturated in lies. I hate the propaganda and the pandering. I hate feeling manipulated to feel or think in a certain way.

So here is my question: What is the Christian approach to politics? That’s what this week has kind of been about for me. Here are the three things that I got the most out of these long conversations:

1.) God is King. He appoints our leaders—yes, He does. He doesn’t sit in Heaven thinking, “Oh no… they elected that guy. I’m not sure what I’ll do now!” Nations rise and fall, currencies collapse, economies fail, rulers change, but the Sovereignty of God is constant. Our allegiance is first to Him and His rule and second to our country. What do we have to fear?

Our politicians are not gods, they are men. We seem to idolize them so often, and then we are upset and shocked when they fail. We have to remember, our leaders are human, too. We would be subject to the same temptations and mistakes if we were in their position. No government is perfect, and no government will ever be perfect because governments are made up of people.

2.) There are phenomenal Christians in many different political parties and schools of thought. Again, our allegiance is to Christ first and country second. We are to love God and love others above all else. That means that when we encounter those who may think differently from us, we are still to treat them with the same love and respect that we treat those of the same mind.

My friend Meagan said this to me this morning, “Yes, great minds think alike, but sometimes they think differently, too.” We should value each others’ thoughts and opinions and the process by which we have come to our political conclusions. That does not mean that we have to agree with everyone, but we also don’t need to try to convert them to our ideologies. I’ll just add this, too, that it is the mark of intelligence to be able to entertain and discuss other ideas without necessarily accepting them.

3.) We need to stop expecting politics to do the work that only God can do. By this, I mean that the law and the government will not solve the issue of sin in the world and in the hearts of men. A lot of times, I think we tend to believe that, “if we just had this law in place, people would stop doing _____, and things would be better.” Criminals do not follow laws, for one, and two, the law can never change the hearts of men. If the law could dictate our hearts, we would not have needed the grace of Christ on the cross.

The law said, “Do not commit adultery,” but there was still the adulterous woman. When she was about to be stoned for her actions, it was Christ and Grace which said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” The only man who had the right to condemn her, loved her instead. With that grace, He was then able to say, “Go and sin no more.” Our politicians will rarely, if ever, be able to exemplify the grace of God in this way—that is our, job, Christians. And if we are going to continue with the political theme, here, I’ll go so far as to say we are the ambassadors of Christ. We are to be representing Him, telling His message, and showing His love. It is that love which will bring about change in America and the world, and nothing else.

Filed under Christianity Christ God love hope encouragement politics political politicians debates voting

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Scarlet Sins + Scarlet Blood = Spotless Sinner

A friend had this conversation with me the other day, and it really touched me. He asked, “Why do you hang out with me? I’ve done a lot of horrible things, and it’s not like I’ve hidden them from you. You know all of my stuff. So, if you don’t do those things, why did you ever talk to me to begin with?”

I just smiled and said, “You know I am a Christian.”

"Yeah, but that’s even more reason to avoid me, right?"

"Not at all. It’s the opposite. You see, I believe very firmly that who you were yesterday does not define who you are today. I believe that who you are today does not have to be who you are tomorrow. If my worldview is one that says that anyone—even someone like me—can be redeemed, can be made better and new, why wouldn’t I think that way when I see you?”

I had the joy and opportunity of telling him that when I see him, I see him as someone whom God loves so desperately. I see him as someone that Jesus Christ gave His life and His blood just to be close to him. I don’t think myself better than him by any means because we have different pasts. In fact, I got to tell him how God sees him and how that affects how I see him—a beloved, precious, amazing child of God that He misses so much.

Then, this morning, I found this scripture on my phone first thing:

Isaiah 1:18 — “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

I don’t know who this is for, but I feel like I must write this for you. Come now. Settle the matter with Him. He misses you and loves you. He shed His blood for you. It doesn’t matter what you have done, so stop making excuses and feeling guilty and trying to get it all together before you come to Him. That’s not how it works. He wants your crimson, scarlet, deepest and darkest stains. He wants them so He can wash them before your very eyes and make you white like snow or like the wool of the Lamb. Nothing is too dark for the light of His grace, and no sin is deeper than the matchless love of Christ.

In fact, I’d say that the greatest mistake you can make is to wait a moment longer. Come now.

And wow. I wish you would see yourself the way He sees you—you’d never go back.

Filed under Christianity Christ God Jesus personal love hope encouragement scripture the Bible