12 November 2013

Without Love, Where Would You Be?

I had a conversation recently with quite a few people about christianity. What makes it so wonderful? Why would I want my life run by a selfish God who gets all the credit for good things that happen? What if it's all a lie?
Well I'll tell you.
Before I do, I've got a question for you. Can you name one religion out of ALL the religions where the god would lay down his life for a bunch of ungrateful, sinful people?
It's ok I'll give you a few minutes to think about it...
Give up? Figured it out?
Yeah, there is only one. Christianity.  Call it what you want, fairytale, false hope, whatever. How many people do you know who will not only pardon a guilty convict on death row, but die in their place? I don't know anyone, and there are a lot of amazing people out there, but no one would do what God Himself did for me.
Every other religion calls you to do good things, or be punished. I know what you're thinking. "Well doesn't God want us to do good things, or He'll send us to hell?" He wants us to do good, but what you do has no bearing on the free gift of salvation. Remember, He died in my place, while I was still sinful and ungrateful. A gift is not something you earn. You just accept it.
What about the Ten Commandments? What about them? Have you been able to keep ALL of them perfectly? No worries, no one has. And there is no sin worse than another in God's eyes. If you break one, you're guilty of all of them (that includes whether you did it, talked about doing it, or even thought about doing it). No one can live up to such perfection.
If you think that's demanding, think about how Jesus sums up the law. He said to "...love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40 nkjv).
Bottom line is love, my friend. I certainly wouldn't take a punishment someone else deserves...and I call myself a loving, caring person, right?!  God can ask of us to love because He personally demonstrated how it's done.
And thinking about how selfish God must be because He gets all the glory. Well, nope not selfish at all. When you can create a universe out of nothing, live a 100% blameless life, eradicate the sins of others (without their approval or desire for it), and stick to all your promises, then you can get all the glory.
As for me, I would gladly give my life to Him because He deserves it and I do not. I try to do good, not because it's my guarantee into Heaven, but because I'm grateful to an all-powerful God who certainly didn't have to save me. I can only know how to love because He first loved me.
When you get that understanding (not just understanding, but belief), everything else will fall into place. Trust me on that. You won't know everything there is to know, but you'll be able to walk in confidence and grow beautifully.
If you have questions, want to know more, or want to debate, I don't mind really (actually, I don't like debating or arguing...but we can talk about our differences), feel free to contact me. My email address is ardentgailla@gmail.com. I would love to talk more about Jesus and His awesomeness.

03 November 2013

In Other News...

Well, you know that last post I did...about being still and not fighting so hard for a job...trying to find purpose in life and not just remain busy?!

Yes, this one...

Well, I have a job now. My temp agency found a long-term position with the Dept of General Services.  It's a county government facility and could become permanent.  God really does hear and answer prayer.  If you haven't read my previous reflection...I decided to stop fighting so hard for a solution to my woes.  I realized that I'm very controlling when it comes to my life and that perhaps I've been struggling so much because of that.

I have changed the way I pray.  Instead of just asking God what it is I want, I have to remind myself that it's not about what I want.  It's about what God wants for me.  I want to want the same things that He wants for me as He sees fit in my life.  He knows I want to take care of my family.  That I don't need an extravagant income to do that.  I'm pretty sure that being in debt is not what He wants for any of us.  I want to be able to pay off my debts and stay current in my bills, be able to afford my basic needs (food, shelter, clothing), the ability to save (and give to others in need), and of course a few luxuries (like video games and Facebook).  I try to ask that whatever God wants to happen happens and that I am obedient to His will...not mine.

I also applied for an administrative position with the school system.  It was suggested to me that I work for the schools so that I will have my weekends off (church on Sunday!) and the holidays will more likely coincide with my kids' holidays (including the summer off and snow days!).  However, an administrative job is not likely to have all those luxuries.  I may still have to work during the summer (but everything else is good). If I'm going to go for a job with the schools that will give me summers off, too, I'll have to look at teaching.  All I have to do to get my foot in the door is pass the Praxis exam and become a paraeducator.  I'm pretty sure if I were to take the Praxis right now, I could pass it, but I want to make sure that it's what I should be doing, not just what I want do.

Not only have I gotten a new job (yay), but I've become active again with my Thirty-One business.  I'm at risk of becoming inactive with Avon (no orders in the last couple of months), and I've closed my Melaleuca business (on the account that I can't afford it right now).  I'm beginning to think that perhaps I should just stick with the one (Thirty-One) in the face of all these inconveniences (if I may use that word in this situation).

Thirty-One required the largest amount to start up ($99), but requires the least amount of effort to maintain.  I only have to do $200 in business every three months (and that can easily be done with just 1 party).  Melaleuca required that I order at least 35 points of product every month (which was at least $60 before taxes and shipping).  While I enjoy the products, I cannot afford to spend nearly $100 every month like that.  I have to do what works for right now, right?  Avon required the least amount to get started (only $10), but I have to purchase catalogs every 2 weeks (while not expensive, this does add up and still doesn't guarantee sales).  I would have to constantly be "working", distributing the books everywhere I go and passing out my business cards.  Avon seems to require the greatest amount of effort with the least return for me.

I fully understand that in everything, each person has a different experience.  Many people get started in Avon and they skyrocket instantly.  Some people work tirelessly and get nowhere.  Can't say that I've worked tirelessly, but I haven't just sat around either.  I have no hard feelings for neither Melaleuca nor Avon.

Thirty-One was founded by a Christian woman (and named after the Bible passage, Proverbs 31, regarding the virtuous woman).  I was very impressed after just hearing that.  I always want to be a part of something(s) that answer to a higher calling.  Businesses and friendships that keep God front and center.  I'm not a money-hungry person either.  I don't get overly excited about incentives for iPads and trips to Hawaii, or a bonus check.  I guess I'm trying to say that maybe these other businesses are not working out for a reason.  Maybe they weren't meant for me?

I've spent a lot of money to keep them up and running...and here I am without them up and running!  I think for now, I'll keep it simple and only focus on one business at a time.  Thirty-One, for now.  I do love the bags, too.  I can't say that I love Avon or Melaleuca as much.  I like how Avon has something for every budget, but I rarely buy the products for myself because, well, I'm cheap.  Either I have something like it already, or I don't wear it, or I like to purchase it somewhere else (cheaper)...lol!  Melaleuca has great products that are safe and all-natural, but I can't always afford them.  While Thirty-One doesn't sell products that need to be regularly replenished, I think that I could do alright if I can do 1 or 2 parties every few months.  I also actually use the bags on a regular basis!  So book a party!  And tell your friends to do the same!  One party every 3 months is all I'm asking!

I can't wait to see how things will play out.  I don't always enjoy changes, but when you think about it, nothing is ever the same as it was when you started it.  Life is an adventure.  Each day, that adventure begins again.