Month: May 2020

What God says, goes!

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How can we know who we truly are? We have to know what God says about us first! Thankfully, our identity in Christ – that is, who we are as followers of Jesus – can be found rooted in the foundation of Scripture.

So many voices compete for our attention. It can be easy to hear other voices above the voice of God. For some, it’s falling into a social media stupor which can often leave us feeling like we’re seriously missing the mark. Why can’t I prepare organic farm-to-table meals for my perfectly-dressed children, who are doing age-appropriate crafts…happily? For others, it is the constant bombardment of opinions, whether good or bad, from friends and family. It may be negativity from a spouse or a discouraging work environment. We may even think that we define our own identities. At times, it may be tempting to conform our thoughts and views of ourselves to what we see and hear from others – good, bad, or indifferent.

In a sea of confusing voices and opinions, there is only one voice that offers the true and right answer to the critical question: Who am I?

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Follow the Scripture readings. Take note of who you are according to God’s Word, and what is yours through salvation in Jesus!

Scripture Readings

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust.

I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause
.

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long Psalm 25:1‭-‬5

12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:12-13

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:3-14

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Identity in Christ, 2 comments

The Original Outstanding Blogger Award

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Award Creation

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

The Original Outstanding Blogger Award was created by Colton. I was kindly nominated by Lydia Porter. Thank you, Lydia! 

Rules:

  1. Provide the link to the creator’s original award post. (very important: see why in step 5)
  2. Answer the questions provided.
  3. Create 7 unique questions.
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination. Neither the award’s creator, nor the blogger that nominated you, can be nominated.
  5. At the end of 2020, every blog that ping-backs the creator’s original post will be entered to win the 2020 Outstanding Blogger Award!

This award was created by Colton Beckwith.

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My favourite Blog – Move far away from the shallows?

Questions:

  1. Which of the 4 temperaments are you (Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic, or Phlegmatic)? Sanguine
  2. If living on another planet was an option, would you move there? No. I love the beauty Earth provides.
  3. Is there a movie that you have memorized from start to finish? If so, which one? Yes. The Lion King.
  4. Do you prefer to be a leader or a follower? Leader
  5. When you have a spare hour on your hands with nothing to do, what’s the first thing you would be found doing? Probably resetting with a movie.
  6. What’s your favorite holiday and why? All of them! It’s a day off.
  7. If you could make a new law that everybody would have to obey, what would it be? It should be a law that no one may ever drive slower than the maximum speed limit.
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My 10 Nominees:

  1. Improve Life
  2. Krista
  3. Somtochukwu
  4. Sana and Ashar
  5. Unashamed of Jesus
  6. The Godly Chic Diaries
  7. Stephanie Temple
  8. The Strong Traveller
  9. Sharings from sam…
  10. shubhangirawatofficial
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My 7 Questions to the Nominees:

  1. If You Had To Work But Didn’t Need The Money, What Would You Choose To Do?
  2. What Is In Your Fridge Right Now?
  3. If You Could Dis-Invent One Thing, What Would It Be?
  4. Do You Do Dance Crazy When No One Is Looking?
  5. What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
  6. How do you feel about putting pineapple on pizza?
  7. What sport would be the funniest to add to the Olympic Games?
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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Award Nominations, 6 comments

Move far away from the shallow

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Reflecting on the last wrote on this subject, I spoke about a song, an earworm, that I had playing in my mind over and over. Well, 2 days later and it’s still there. The song, Shallow,” a duet by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper from the movie “A Star is Born“.

To view the first post, click “Are you far from the shallow?

Today’s post focuses on the song, “Shallow“, from the movie. To put the song into context, it will be helpful if I give a short summary of the movie. (The movie, much like the song, resonates with many people).

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“A Star Is Born” – The Movie

A seasoned musician, Jackson Maine (played by Bradley Cooper) discovers, and falls in love with, a struggling artist Ally (played by Lady Gaga). Ally is on the brink of given up on her dream to make it as a singer, but then Jackson gently and persistently persuades her into the limelight. While Ally’s career takes off, Jackson is battling his own inner demons with alcoholism and other personal issues. Their personal relationship begins to break down. In the end, Ally sings a song Jackson wrote, a song about his love for her, after he had committed suicide.

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“Shallow” – The Song

Why is it that this song resonates with me and so many people? What connects us to the song? Certainly the lyrics mean something different to each person. Why does our culture love this song? Is it the the stunning vocals? Or the calm, classical tone of the music? We read in the bible how David would play the lyre to calm Saul down (1 Samuel 16:14-23). Or, if we dig a little more, there’s a deeper, natural need that we all feel, a need to get out of the shallow. For me, the “shallow” is a represent of a place where human relationships are disconnected, a place where authentic, personal relationships are lost. We’re connected more on social media than we are in person. We long for is, “the deep end”, where we make more connections, deeper connections, are made with other people.

I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now

The song

If you not familiar with the song, check out the music video:

Songwriters: Andrew Wyatt / Anthony Rossomando / Mark Ronson / Stefani GermanottaShallow lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Downtown Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Concord Music Publishing LLC

We are able to pursue exciting careers where we can use our passion and skills, opportunities and blessings, technology and knowledge, unlike the generations before us. But like the lyrics suggest, we’re still not happy, we need more, we long for change. Do you fear what you might do when times are tough, when emotions are out of control?

Are you happy in this modern world?
Or do you need more?
Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?

I’m falling
In all the good times I find myself
Longin’ for change
And in the bad times I fear myself

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How do we change this?

You simply cannot connect deeply and intimately with others over technology. This has become more evident during this pandemic – we’re connecting to family, friends and colleagues over video chats and text messages, and the once deep connection, the personal relationships you have, are fraying. (There’s such irony in all this, we’re connected and disconnected at the same time).

Look at the people around you. Talk to them. Get to know them. Trust them. Connect with them. Believe me, you’ll live a far happier, connected and authentic life being connected with people personally than what you ever would on social media.

Deep Dive

As the lyrics go, we all want to “crash through” the superficial friendships and relationships in life and “dive into” deep, authentic relationships where we’re fully known and fully loved—“where they can’t hurt us.”

As Christians, we are commanded to love each other. We simply cannot love one another over social media, not in the way God intended.

Matthew 22:36-40 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

As Christians, we’re also called to be in fellowship with one another. To build up and encourage one another, connect with one another. Again, we cannot do this adequately, how God wanted, over social media.

1 Thessalonians 5:1111 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Hebrews 10: 24-2524 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

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A heartfelt conversation

The song also feels like a conversation between a man and a woman who should be connected, but aren’t. God created Adam, and then realised it’s not good for him to be alone, so he created Eve, to be his partner and companion (Genesis 2:18). This union, intended between man and woman, husband and wife, is a beautiful God given gift. The pressures on this world often blur the lines on this union and put unnecessary stress on a marriage. This could create a longing for a deeper connection between the husband and wife.

Whether it is a romantic relationship, a friendship, a family relationship, there’s a special joy, happiness, and purpose that comes with being fully known and fully loved by another person.

But maybe that yearning and void in our hearts are there so that we’ll realise our greater purpose. That yearning is there so that we are drawn back to God to enjoy a deep, fulfilling relationship with Him. That yearning is there to remind us, over and over, that this is not our permanent home, but that we wait expectantly to live for eternity in full communion with our Father.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Secular References, 2 comments