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The Second Greatest

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“Love your neighbor as yourself, as long as they love you equally in return, vote the same way you do, dress according to your standards, and meet the ethical code that you believe you think they should.”

Where in the Bible does it say that? Nowhere.  But that’s how a lot of erm, “Christians” act, isn’t it? So what does the Bible say?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

To give you some context, this is Jesus responding to a question of what the most important commandment was.  This question was coming from the religious leaders, who were known not by their intimate relationship with the Lord, but by their outward acts and Jesus exposed their hypocrisy. So, I have a suspicion that this question wasn’t aimed to ask “What can I do to grow in my walk with the Lord?” but “What can I do to make myself look better to men?”

Now something strange happened, the religious leader responded positively to what Jesus said:

“‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ Mark 12:32-33

We don’t often see teachers of the law in the New Testament that Jesus comes into contact with that just simply get it.

Our lives aren’t about what we do.  They’re about how we are loved and how we love God and others. They’re about serving the needs of our communities, our churches, our families, and reaching out when we can out of love. If we don’t start loving, we’ll never see a change.

What change do we need to see?  Jesus commanded us to love no matter how we are treated in return.  He didn’t say if someone else doesn’t love you, it’s okay to hate them. He didn’t say if someone else has different beliefs it’s okay to hate them. He didn’t say if someone else is on the opposite side of the political spectrum, it’s okay to hate them. He didn’t say under any circumstances that it is okay to hate anyone else.  Jesus commanded us to love each other as ourselves and that is not dependent on someone else’s action, beliefs, or identity.

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You Are Loved

Courtesy of Google's "Labeled For Non-Commercial Reuse."
Courtesy of Google’s “Labeled For Non-Commercial Reuse.”

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I’m writing this for all the people out there who are feeling alone tonight, for everyone who are maybe thinking about ending their life.

Let me first share my experience.

In December 2013, I started to have anxiety and depression about the future, thinking there was nothing for me. I had no trust in God, even though I believed in Him and still do.

I barely ate and when I did, I would throw up from the anxious feeling. Other times, I’d throw up from having medication on an empty stomach.

Eventually, I was prescribed medication and my anxiety and depression went away and I was whole again.

I shared in a similar post about my anxiety that in the Summer of 2014 came around and I accidentally missed my meds for 3 days and my anxiety came back. It caused a change in me, a not so good one. I didn’t value life. I basically would lay on the couch and mope, wondering why I’m even here. I didn’t want to live anymore. So many days I would contemplate suicide. I never thought I’d be okay again. I kept saying to myself day after day, “You won’t be here tomorrow.” I never actually attempted suicide, but it ran through my mind constantly. I even went down to Western Psych down in Pittsburgh, however was not admitted.
A few weeks went by and the medicine kicked in again. I was back to my whole self again. I started to realize I have things to live for.

I didn’t want to do anything for those two weeks. But somehow I managed to fit music into my schedule of moping and not valuing life. I listened to Invisible by Hunter Hayes a lot. It said a lot about me and what I was going through. I like to think that song saved my life.

You see, the thing about anxiety and depression is that it tells you you’re not good enough when you in fact are. It breaks you and tears you apart and give you impure thoughts about yourself.

It’s Satan. It’s Satan tempting you to be someone else. It’s like this peer pressure to be someone you’re not, only the pressure is to be a sad, broken person, when that’s not what you are.

And it will eat at you if you let it.

Do what you have to.

Take meds.

See a therapist or psychiatrist.
But please, don’t kill yourself or hurt yourself.

I promise you it’s not worth it.

Please. If you’re reading this, please know that you are worth it.
I had a friend recently reach out to me and say she wanted to end her life due to a breakup she was very invested in.

It breaks my heart because I know that is not the true her. The true her is the person I saw on Sunday; the person I was laughing with and goofing around with.

This is not her. This sad person is not her.

When I look back at all the journal posts I wrote down when I had anxiety, I can’t help but think, “This doesn’t sound like me.”

That’s because it wasn’t.

If you find yourself at the breaking point, call somebody. Whoever. Family, friends, the police. ANYONE.

Taking your life isn’t worth it.

There is a reason you’re going through what you’re going through.

This is just a trial in your life that you will get through. You’ll look back someday and say, “Hey I got through that. It wasn’t easy, but I did.”

I can’t thank myself enough for not taking my life. I look at all the things I would’ve missed. 4 of my cousins are getting married in the next two years. A lot of people I know are having children. I’m getting to see my favorite band in concert.

If you want to end it because you think you won’t have a good future, by killing yourself you’re denying yourself a future to begin with. You have a shot.

Someone out there loves you. Your family loves you. Your friends love you.

Don’t do it.

You are worth so much more those demons in your head.

You have a God given right to your own happiness.
Life might be a nightmare now, but one day, you will wake up and it will be a dream.

-National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 800 273 8255

-SuicidePreventionLifeline.Org

-List of Suicide Crisis Lines: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines

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Yes, All Lives Matter.

Taken from Flickr by Anthony Easton under a Creative Commons License.
Taken from Flickr by Anthony Easton under a Creative Commons License.

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In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Colossians 3:11 NLT

I don’t have to explain to you what’s going on in the United States right now between people of different races, especially in regards to the police.  Because of this, there are several different movements going around that have caused a lot of controversy: “Black Lives Matter” and, as a result of that, “All Lives Matter.”  (There is also “Blue Lives Matter,” but I won’t really address that.)

On either end, there are valid points.  Why? Because every human life does matter.  So what’s the problem that people have with the “All Lives Matter” movement, then?  The “Black Lives Matter” movement started to make a statement against violence towards African Americans.  The “All Lives Matter” movement seems to almost negate their purpose and say “No, we’re going to make a movement meant to open people’s eyes into something it wasn’t meant to be because we want it to be about us (whites)” if you look at it that way.

But you don’t have to, remember I said every human life does matter. Not because we decide that they do, but because they were created by God, to have a relationship with Him, not to be damaged by another human being but to love God and love others. 

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 ESV

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13: 8 ESV

The “All Lives Matter” movement, in my opinion, wasn’t meant to make it more about white people.  It was meant to literally say that we shouldn’t be saying “These Lives Matter” because LIFE MATTERS.  We should not even be having this conversation in the first place, but sadly we are, it’s all we hear and see.

We are not meant to live separated by race any longer.  It purely doesn’t matter, because all that matters is Christ.  The color of our skin has nothing to do with who we are on the inside, or our relationship with our Creator, which is truly all that matters in the end.  Christians are united in Christ and should not be concerned at all with the race of another.  Everyone else deserves to hear and experience the gospel.

Going to leave you with this:

Black lives matter.

Blue lives matter.

All lives matter.

Your life matters and so does mine and it has nothing to do with the color of our skin.

Just gonna leave this right here: Honesty Disclaimer.

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“Come to Me.”

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I have been hearing these words from God for days.  Instead of going to the One who saved my soul with my burdens, it’s easier to look everywhere else for answers. But here’s what Jesus says:

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28 NLT

There’s a few things about this that I want to address:

#1: It’s a command.

Jesus doesn’t say “Come if you want.”  It’s not up in the air of whether or not you should seek refuge in Him.  He says do it.  Why does He command us to seek refuge in Him rather than in something else?

#2: He knows what’s best for us: Himself.

Jesus doesn’t command us to seek refuge in Him to hold us there and never let us leave.  When we do seek refuge in Him, we wouldn’t want to leave.  Why would we want to walk away from someone that would lay down His life for us? Someone who offers eternal life with Him, a full and abundant life, and to give us rest from the burdens of this world? Our rest needs to be in Him and in nothing else.  We can try to find rest other places, but ultimately God has to the source of rest for our souls.

Just seek Him and you find that He was there all along, waiting for you to turn to Him.  He wants you with all of your junk.  Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, that junk doesn’t matter any more.