Beliefnet
We Wait He Works

worship
There are many different forms of worship. What do you like better- going to church or going to a concert? Some people like church more, some people like going to concerts more than going to church all the time. What do you feel like you like more? Going to church or going to concerts? Some people may say church because that is where they feel the most comfortable. They are around their congregation and the believers they know and trust within their home church.
Many people feel more at ease at concerts because they are having fun and are able to sing praises without feeling forced to do it. They sing out more freely when they feel the Holy Spirit move them at a concert than when the Holy Spirit moves them in church, because at church, it may feel like people are being judgmental about others raising their hands in worship.
During a concert, people scream when God is mentioned or whenever His power is mentioned. People go to concerts for the fun of them and for the ability to have fun praising God with other believers. People even go to concerts to escape everyday life and to go back to the feeling of having an enjoyable time while worshiping and listening to their favorite artists. There is nothing like feeling the power of the Holy Spirit during a song sung by your favorite artist live. People go to concerts to hear these artists live and to also get a great message through their words.
I often find myself more at ease and able to worship freely at concerts than I am at church. A lot of times, I love singing at church and leading the congregation in worship. But it is nice to sit with my family during church services and worship as a regular congregation member instead of a member of the praise team.  I absolutely love the music of Third Day, Mercy Me and Casting Crowns and Skillet. I am a serious concert lover. I feel energized and almost electrified when I go to any of their concerts because the artists make me enjoy worship as much as I enjoy their music. They use their music to glorify God and to be able to sing with them in front of me, it’s a rush I’ve never felt anywhere else. That feeling that I get with seeing my favorite artists sing my favorite songs live, is the best part of any concert.
When you’re at a concert how often do you think, “oh my gosh what will this person who is sitting next to me think if I do or don’t raise my hands or if I don’t sing a song?” It may be more often than you think. Sure, you’re going to be looked at and judged if you raise your hands but that doesn’t matter because God doesn’t judge you.
Unfortunately, you will be looked at for not singing certain songs. But if you don’t know the songs, then how could you sing them?   Then look at the other picture: the people don’t know you. So, it doesn’t matter what they think of you.  It doesn’t matter what you look like or sound like when you sing either. God isn’t looking down on you whenever you sing, just because you don’t have a good singing voice. He thinks all voices are beautiful. The only thing that matters is that God is glorified through the song you’re singing.
Being in church isn’t something that you should be forced to do either. You don’t have to go to church if you choose not to go. God gives us free will to choose how we follow Him, but going to church is always a good thing. Going every week, I admit that it can be exhausting and mentally draining at first when you get there, especially if you don’t get anything out of the pastor’s sermons. Just like in regular everyday life, some sermons and church services are better than others. Other times the message that the pastor preaches can be both uplifting, and meaningful and it can strike chords within you. That is always a great feeling.
When you feel the Spirit talking to you through the messages and through the songs, you are not only able to have fun, but your mind is also opened to endless possibilities.
Don’t worry about what you think people may be judging you for in worship at church or at any Christian concert. The most important thing is to examine yourself and ask yourself whether you are in worship for yourself or for giving glory to God. It always pays off to make sure your heart soul and mind are in the right place.
When the spirit leads you to raise your hands at either church or at concerts, by all means, go ahead and do it. Lift your hands high and have the time of your life. Have fun in both church and at any Christian concert you go to. No matter what, make sure your heart is in the right place about glorifying God.

Loyalty
Living life as a Christian is a very hard concept. There is so much that we aren’t supposed to do- we aren’t supposed to swear, talk bad about anyone, we shouldn’t start gossip or spread rumors about people. We also shouldn’t covet or be jealous of what others have. We shouldn’t worship anyone besides God Himself. We shouldn’t worship any idols or have any idols in place of God.  We can’t and shouldn’t steal from others. Nor should we commit adultery and ruin our relationships by cheating on our significant others or finances or wives or husbands.
All of these things can be hard to follow every day, day in and day out. The bad news is that we’re all sinners. But the good news is that God has saved us from ourselves.
It seems as though Christianity is filled with so many things that we shouldn’t and can’t-do. Some may ask you, “when is there the right time to live your life, go out of your comfort zone and enjoy your life? How do you enjoy life if you’re a Christian? What is so cool or good about being a Christian?”  All of these questions can be very difficult to answer.  But the good news is that God can and will give us all the answers when He knows it is the right time. If people ask you why shouldn’t we live our lives and have fun? Then you have an open opportunity to witness for the Kingdom and an opportunity to bring someone you know closer to Christ. Don’t ever be afraid to shine God’s love and His light in someone else’s life. Even though it can be scary at times, God gives us golden opportunities to be witnesses for Him.
Everyone has different ideas as to what being a Christian can mean too. Some may think it just means following the commandments and going to church and a Bible study every week.  It can also mean praying at meals and such. Others may take a more extreme approach by telling their families that they’re not allowed to wear certain clothing like their friends or co-workers do.
They may tell their families and their friends that God will and does disapprove of them if they dress a certain way, talk a certain way. They may also tell them that He will shun them if He sees them act defiantly to Him or to their family or friends group. They may even tell others that they’re sinning by wearing the clothes they wear, the things they say or the things they don’t say. Just because you don’t act the exact same way as everyone tells you to, doesn’t mean you are any better than they are. What they do, whether they are Christian or not, doesn’t make them any better than you, either.
Remember though, we all sin every single day whether we realize it right away or not. We are all in the same amount of trouble with God. We deserved God’s punishment of Hell, but he decided to send His son Jesus as a ransom for us all because He loved all of us that much. As Christians, we should be honored by that and want to be like Him. We can be like Jesus in our words thoughts and in our actions.
 A lot of times being a Christian is looked down upon because it may look like people can’t even have fun in their life if they follow Christ. That’s a lie from Satan. He can make people believe that they can’t have fun and live life the way they want to if they’re Christian. You are free by God to live your life as you choose. But remember for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
God allows us to live our lives the way we want, but it comes with being aware that we have to watch what we say and do in life. It doesn’t mean going to the clubs and getting drunk or as we say nowadays-wasted. You shouldn’t get wasted just to feel the effects of alcohol. It is even in the Bible that there are wine and drinks at weddings, but it is also in the Bible that we shouldn’t get drunk just for the pleasure of it.
Being Christian doesn’t mean we can’t have fun though either. We can have fun with each other and we can also have fun learning about God alone and in groups. We can have time with Him at any time one on one or in groups. It means wanting to have that personal time with your Savior. Being loved by the King of Kings should make any of us stop dead in our tracks and realize how blessed and fortunate we really are. Being a Christian doesn’t have mean life has to be a burden, it is filled with hope and a future.

storms
There is a song by the artist Ryan Stevenson that has been playing on many Christian radio stations. It is called “In The Eye of The Storm”. It is a song talking about many different scenarios where God is still with us, even amid pain and suffering. I wanted to dig deeper into the lyrics.
First verse: “When the solid ground is falling out from underneath my feet. Between the black skies, and my red eyes, I can barely see. When I realize I’ve been let down by my friends and my family. I can feel the rain reminding me. Chorus: In the eye of the storm, You remain in control. In the middle of the war, You guard my soul. You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn. Your love surrounds me. In the eye of the storm.”
When we feel as though our own control over our own life is slipping away from us, we have to remember that we are not the ones that are in control, ever. God is the one that is in control of everything that is happening. When we feel like we’ve been let down by everyone we know, it can be hard to trust anyone let alone trust ourselves and to trust God with whatever His plan may be. But no matter what we face- in the midst of all our sorrows and pain, God is in control. His love surrounds us no matter what we may be going through.
Second verse: “When my hopes and dreams are far from me. And I’m running’ out of faith, I see the future I picture slowly fade away. And when the tears of pain and heartache. Are pouring down my face. I find my peace in Jesus’ name.  Chorus: In the eye of the storm (yeah, yeah). You remain in control (yes you do, Lord). In the middle of the war. You guard my soul. You alone are the anchor. When my sails are torn. Your love surrounds me (Your love surrounds me) In the eye of the storm (in the eye of the storm).”
 When our hopes and dreams get snatched from us, we feel as though we may be worthless and can’t amount to anything in our lives. When the plans that we had for the future aren’t what they should be in our minds, we may feel as though we are not only letting ourselves down. We may also feel as though we are a disappointment to our family and our friends.  That lie couldn’t be any further from the truth. God has never ever seen us as a disappointment. He knows the plans He has for each of our lives. He plans to give us hopes and futures, filled with the dreams He has already placed in our hearts from the day we were born.
Third verse: “When they let me go and I just don’t know, how I’m gonna make ends meet. I did my best, now I’m scared to death that we might lose everything. When a sickness takes my child away.  And there’s nothing I can do. My only hope is to trust You. I trust You, Lord. Chorus: In the eye of the storm. You remain in control. In the middle of the war (middle of the war). You guard my soul You alone are the anchor. When my sails are torn. Your love surrounds me (yeah!). In the eye of the storm. You remain in control (yes you do, Lord). In the middle of the war (in the middle of the war) You guard my soul. You alone are the anchor. When my sails are torn. Your love surrounds me. In the eye of the storm.”
When we end up losing our job and we don’t know where to turn or what to do for a certain amount of time, the only thing we can do is to trust God and His plan for our lives. Satan has easy ways of making us believe that if we lose our job we’re going to lose everything. That isn’t true. It only teaches us how to trust God even more, even when it feels like trusting Him is utterly impossible. When a sickness takes your child away from you, and you prayed that He wouldn’t take him or her, it can be extremely hard to not ask why He did what He took them. There is absolutely no harm in asking God why, either. You have to tell yourself to be patient in His answer and wait for His timing though as well. In the eye of all storms we face in life, He is always in control. In the middle of every day ware fare within ourselves and with Satan telling us lies, God guards our souls. He alone is the anchor that we can cling to when our sails are torn from our battles. His love is always surrounding us in the eyes of every storm. We can always look to Him, even when we can’t see through a storm. Take comfort in knowing that He has a way out of every situation. There is nothing He won’t get you through.

 

the lion king

I wanted to write something different for a few blogs. I’ve often thought some of my favorite movies relate to biblical messages in many ways. Here are some of the ways I think my favorite movie of all time can have biblical messages in it.

Some may have never thought that biblical truths could be found in any kids’ movie, nonetheless in any Disney movie. It may even be more surprising that they would be found in The Lion King. For me though, the movie strikes me with truths that can be compared to the Bible and to God, to my very core.
Ways in which it reminds me of God’s love are:
1. The beginning of the movie with “The Circle of Life”-the new life and celebration of the birth of Simba, the new future king. God allows new life to be born, for His glory, every single day, whether it is in human form or animal form.
2. The way the light shines on Simba as he is presented to the entire animal kingdom, reminds me of the way God shined light on His son Jesus after he was baptized.
3.  Through Scar plotting to kill and eventually succeeding in killing his brother Mufasa, it may make you think of Cain plotting and succeeding in killing his brother Abel.
4. It also makes me think of the way Jesus had to overcome Satan and defeat him. The way Simba comes back and defeats Scar, and restores peace and order to the animal kingdom at the end of the film. Much like how Jesus was trying to restore love and peace in His Father’s kingdom and that He will come again to save those who believe in Him.
5. Another way the film teaches biblical lessons is when Mufasa gives Simba a lecture about how he deliberately disobeyed him by journeying into the elephant graveyard. Even though it was against Mufasa’s strict orders. Then Mufasa turns it into a lesson about how being brave doesn’t mean Simba, or anyone in life should go looking for trouble. Then he turns it around and forgives Simba of his sin and lets him know he loves him unconditionally. Just like how God or a parent can lecture children about what they did wrong, and then forgive them with unconditional love. God forgives us, so we should forgive others with the same love.
6. Also, when Mufasa tells Simba to look at the stars and tells him that the great kings of the past look down on him from the stars.  He tells Simba to remember that he is never alone and to look for the great kings for guidance. During that scene, I often think of growing up, with my dad teaching me to always look for God and to pray whenever I feel alone or was dealing with any hardship. I often think of my family telling me to look to God and to trust Him, that He will always be there to guide me, and so will they.
7. The way Mufasa appears in the sky telling Simba to look inside himself and that he is more than what he has become, that part always gives me chills. The way he helped Simba understand what he needed to do for the sake of his kingdom, can be the same way God can talk to us through visions, through His word, or through prayer. God may be telling you how you can take your place and make a change for His kingdom as well.
8. The song, “Hukuna Matata”, reminds all of us not to worry and puts a fun, catchy spin on it. God tells us not to worry about anything, what we will eat or drink, what we will wear. He even asks us “is not life more important than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sew or reap or store aware in barns and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.”- Mathew 6:25-34.
9. The way Timon and Pumbaa create an everlasting friendship with Simba and even save his life, can be compared to the way God wants a relationship with each one of us, and helps us make lasting friendships with people in our lives.
10. Look at the way God could have been using Nala’s wisdom and hard hitting truth about the pride needing Simba and that it’s his responsibility to go back to Pride Rock, otherwise the situation would become even more dire. That same knowledge could be in the hard hitting truth someone tells us, even if we don’t want to hear it. It could be Him speaking through any of us to our friend or family member that need a wakeup call in our lives.
 11.  Rafiki saying telling Simba to “look harder. You see he lives in you,”. When he looks for his father’s reflection in the water. If we look hard enough, we know God is living in each one of us. We must make the right choices to help better the world, and listen to what God tells, even if it’s a hard choice.
12. Scar deceiving Simba about his role in Mufasa’s death can be compared to the way Eve was tempted by Satan to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Scar got Simba to believe that he was the one who caused the death of his father Mufasa, much like the way Satan used deception to lure Eve to eat the fruit off the tree.
13. Scar telling Simba that it was his fault that Mufasa died. This scene could be compared to Satan making any of us believe the lies about ourselves and our past and even our future.
14. Scar telling the lioness’s that Mufasa is dead can be compared to Satan trying to put horrid thoughts in our minds to make any of us forget God’s truth.
15.When Simba finally returns home to Pride Rock after learning the truth about his past from both Rafiki and his father. He learned to face his past rather than run from it. He’d been blaming himself for his father’s death for so many years, but after seeing his father, he could put it behind him. This is like God helping us face our past and forgive ourselves for our past mistakes.
16.Simba also learned the true value of friendship in Nala, Timon and Pumbaa. He realized that they were not going to abandon him. Just like how God promises to never leave us or forsake us.
17. Scar letting Simba take the blame for Mufasa’s death in front of his family, could also be compared to Satan trying to tell us to put the blame for something we did on someone else, so we don’t have to face the consequences.
18. When Simba confronts Scar about the murder of his father, and Scar turns the blame on the hyenas saying that they were the enemy. He realized he was in a lie he couldn’t get out of. This scenario is like the way Cain asked the Lord “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
19. Simba finally defeating Scar in battle and reuniting the animals at Pride Rock can be compared to Jesus’s victory over Satan on the cross and coming again for those who believe in Him.
20. When Simba and Nala show their newborn cub to the animals of the kingdom-this is like the new life we have in Jesus Christ through faith.
Are there any other ways in which you think The Lion King relates to a biblical message?