Saturday, September 10, 2011

What Makes a True Hero

I remember ten years ago, I was sitting in school doing schoolwork. I had just started fifth grade a few weeks prior, and was so excited just to see what this year would bring.

I sat in my desk, quietly doing my grammar work. My friends were sitting next to me, across from me, basically doing the same. Everyone seemed completely at ease without much of a care in the world. My teacher was quietly sitting at her computer.

My homeroom fifth grade teacher was wonderful. She was always in a great mood, smiling, telling us funny stories to help us with our lessons. She had short, curly red hair, which just added to her whimsical nature. So, it was definitely strange to hear her be upset over anything.

The silence in the room suddenly broke when she said, “Oh no! A plane crashed into one of the twin towers!”

Gasps suddenly went up, along with the sound of pencils dropping. Murmurs and worried talk went up all over the room. I continued to stay quiet. I had no clue what the twin towers even were until then. However, I figured it must be pretty serious since most of the other kids were getting upset over it.

A few minutes later, a woman came over the intercom and told us that we needed to turn on our televisions. When we had turned it on, the second plane had hit only very shortly before. Later, we watched as word got out that a plane crashed into the Pentagon and as the two towers collapsed.

I remember sitting at the after school program discussing it with my friends, and all of us were quite scared at everything occuring.

I was so young, I couldn’t completely understand what was going on. This was the very first time that I had ever heard the words “terrorists”, “hi-jacking” as well as a few other things. It was a very eye-opening day for me because I never knew until then just how heartless and horrible people could really be.

However, this day also showed how strong people could be. This day showed us how selfless and caring the human race could be. This day showed us what heroes actually were. So many of the emergency workers as well as regular civilians risked their lives or ultimately gave them up.

It reminds of the words in 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.”

Those people who saved many lives that day and ultimately gave up their own, didn’t have to. However, they did it anyway because they knew that they needed to put others needs ahead of their own. When Jesus Christ died for us, he didn’t have to give up his life for us; but he did. He did it because He loved us, and He knew that to save our lives, he needed to give up His own.
To me, that is what defines a true hero: someone who will sacrifice their own well-being to help others. That’s exactly what Jesus did and those people on 9-11-01. If the situation arises, will we be able to put others ahead of ourselves? Let’s hope that we can.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's Rude to Point!

People seem to get unnerved when they see Christians doing what they’re supposed to do, don’t they? They get may get angry and accuse them of acting “holier than thou”.

It seems, however, that people who are supposed to be Christians have a tendency to do this as well. I keep hearing numerous stories about people who bad mouth other members of the church because of how much someone does. Many of these people say, “Oh, that woman is only doing such and such because she wants to look holy.”

It’s rather funny because, a lot of the time, when you look at the lives of the people saying such things, you see that they’re not really living a Christian life to begin with.

I think it’s safe to say that, whether or not they’ll admit it, they’re passing judgment off on the active people because they don’t want to look at themselves and see the dead bones lying inside of their hearts (Matthew 23:27). So, to make themselves feel better about the things that they do, they make accusations of others that most likely aren’t even true.

There are people in this world that want the sinful world and God. But, when one studies God’s word, we see that this is impossible (Matthew 6:27). God gives us grace and mercy because He loves us (John 3:16). So, in return to show that we really do love God, we will do everything we can for Him. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). It also says that when we are doing God’s will, we must do it with our whole heart (Colossians 3:17).
If we, those who are supposed to be mature Christians, half-heartedly serve Him and not because we love Him, our so-called faith is pointless. The bible also says, “You shall love the Lord Your God with all your soul, heart, and mind.” (Deut. 6:5, Matt. 22:37, Luke 10:27, Mark 12:30) This means that we are going to do everything we possibly can for God BECAUSE we love Him.

If you find yourself pointing fingers at those who do a lot of work for God, maybe it’s time for a healthy dose of self-evaluation towards your own actions.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Something to Think About...Cheer and Dance Teams.

When I was about 11 years old, I wanted to try my hand at cheerleading through the local recreation department. I went to all the practices, did all the cheers, and I can definitely say that it was a real blast! However, I ended up spraining my ankle, and wasn’t able to finish out the season.

After that, I wanted to continue to do it. One particular night though, the chance of me doing it again completely diminished. A girl from the congregation we were currently at had gone to cheer camp over the summer. The final night of the camp, we had gone to see the performance that they put together.

When we got in the car to leave, my parents didn’t have much good to say about the performance. My Mom told me that when I got into middle school, I was not going to try out for the cheerleading team. I was, of course, upset, and didn’t understand.

Being in public school, I saw plenty more dance and cheer routines after that. As I got older, my eyes began to open more and more.

Below, please read what I have to say, and at least think about it. I say these things only out of love and care for the people reading this; not to ridicule or be overly judgemental. There are two main issues with cheer and dance teams that I want to point out.

1. The routines are usually trashy. Swinging hips. Shaking chests. Rolling one’s body. Dipping down low….these are just a few examples of movements that are found in most cheer/dance routines…as well as strip clubs. Believe it or not, the bible condemns things like this. In Ephesians 4:19 (and a few other places in the bible) it mentions a word called “lasciviousness”. Being lascivious means inappropriate bodily movements or actions which can incite lust. It’s also a sin to do things which will cause others to sin (Romans 14:13). Girls, when you move your body in such a fashion, you will most likely cause a guy to think things he shouldn’t. (Matt. 5:28)

2. The outfits worn are usually very immodest. The skirts or shorts worn normally come way up above the knee. Some of the the outfits show off entire stomachs and a large part of the chest. Some outfits are extremely tight. In your normal everyday life, would you dress like that? If you wouldn’t dress like that in one situation, why dress like it in another? When you are following God, and doing as he says, you are doing those things the way you should no matter what the situation.

The bible doesn't necessarily condemn dancing in and of itself; but what it does condemn is acting in "lascivious" ways. And, I think it's safe to say that a lot of the time, cheer and dance teams are prime examples of what IS lascivious. As far as some other forms of dancing go, we need to be very careful in discerning when and where forms of dancing are taking place; and if those are even situations that we as Christians need to be in. As it says in 1st Thess. 5:22: "Abstain from every appearance of evil."

I’ve mentioned this before in another article, but a guy’s thoughts and physical reactions aren’t going to change just because of the situation or location. Don’t just assume they’re all hopeless perverts. God just wired them differently, and there are some guys who genuinely want to treat us with respect and not think about us in such a way. Let's not be selfish and help them out! The bible says that we are supposed to love one another (1st John 4:7) and build each other up (1st Thess. 5:11) so that we can all become stronger Christians.

Like I said, please carefully consider what I've said. I don't write this to be rude or mean. I write this only because I feel I need to be honest and help open other people's eyes to things they may not have noticed before. God asks for us to give Him our all-and nothing is more important than Him, don't you think?