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(1 Love Jesus| Jesus Loves You)

Quick Update [12 May 2006|03:37pm]

aravis_1382
[ mood | hopeful ]

Sorry guys, I have been away in Spain and Rome and just haven't had the time to update like I oughta. Anyway, I don't have time for an oober long and well researched argument, but I wanted to introduce a quick concept for prayer. I learned this formula from Manuel in the Christian Union at University of Limerick, and it makes a ton of sense!

So, here is the idea...

ACTS

Adoration
Confession
Thankgsgiving
Supplication

Adoration-This is the first part in which you praise God for his glory and all the amazing things he does. Just take a moment to appreciate how amazing he is.

Confession-This is the part in which you admit you are not perfect and that you are not an island, that you need him. This helps to keep you in check, in your place in a way, so you don't get all high and mighty and forget where you came from and who makes it ossible for you to be here.

Thanksgiving-This is where you bring things a little closer to home and personally thank God for the good in your life. No matter how bad things are, there is some good in everyone's life, and why should you only pray when you are trying to ask for something? It is good to give thanks to God and not just come at him with the "Gimme Gimme!"'s.

Supplication-In case you don't know, this word means to "ask humbly for as by praying". This is where you make your requests (not demands!) of God, ask him to be there with you and/or to help you through something.

This is a very excellent formula to follow because it helps keep you from focussing on the Supplication part. Too many people only ever pray when they want something. Shouldn't we also be thanking God and taking time to appreciate him?

So, I want everyone to give this a shot! Comment your prayer (I will comment mine after I post this)!

~Rice

(4 Love Jesus| Jesus Loves You)

Discussion [05 May 2006|01:36pm]

aravis_1382
[ mood | busy ]

Sorry I haven't updated recently, everyone, but I have been away! I had an amazing trip to Spain, then back to real life for four days, then off to Rome tomarrow! Woot! So, while I regrettably don't have time to write up an entry, here is a short discussion I had prepared for busy occassions such as this! Enjoy!

Tattoos


Leviticus 19:28
“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”


Question: What do you think should be the Christian perspective on tattoos?

Consider the following arguments:
Several outdated laws (telling us not to wear cloth woven of two materials, to eat pork, or to cut our hair or beards, etc) surround this rule. Is this rule outdated as well? Was it only barred then to keep people safe and healthy? Back then it was common for people to become horribly diseased and/or die from tattoos. Today, tattooing methods are almost foolproof safe provided you do it in a respectable parlor (just like pork from a respectable butcher is safe). Does this mean the rule can be ignored as old fashioned? What about some of the rules in Leviticus that still apply (no bestiality, do not prostitute your daughter)? What makes it okay to abandon some and not others?

The verse states (after forbidding tattoos), “I am Lord”. Does this signify that we should avoid tattoos because they could act as false Gods? This is undoubtedly a warning against the dangers of tattoos, which were highly un-sterile at the time, but could it also be warning against giving in to vanity? God tells us to be modest, but tattoos draw attention to you, isn’t this un-modest? If this is the case, what about hair color and make-up which certainly draw attention to yourself as well? Could tattoos symbolize too strong an attachment to the secular world, therefore alienating us from God?

Suggested Passages:
Leviticus (All of it)-Contains many laws of a similar nature.

Hebrews 8:6-7; Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15-State that we are now under a new covenant and many critics suggest that the new covenant abolishes some of the rules from the old covenant.

Romans 14:20-21-We should not do anything to lead our brothers astray. Can a tattoo do this by influence or by causing temptation?

1 Corinthians 10:31-All things we do should be done for God. Can we get a tattoo to help advance us as Christians or to help God in some way? At the very least, is it a Christian Friendly tattoo?

1 Timothy 2:9-Tattoos draw attention to you, does this decrease modesty?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20-States that this is not our body, it belongs to God.

(Jesus Loves You)

Creator of the Earth and Sky [24 Apr 2006|09:04am]

aravis_1382
[ mood | thankful ]

As I begin my study of the bible, which will start "In the beginning", I thought it was appropriate to give praise to God's first and most amazing creation...everything! It all begins here, and everything that we know, all the stories and all of God's love only exists because he gave us that first gift: Life.


Creator of the Earth and Sky
Creator of the earth and sky,
Ruling the firmament on high,
Clothing the day with robes of light,
Blessing with gracious sleep the night.

That rest may comfort weary men,
And brace to useful toil again,
And soothe awhile the harassed mind,
And sorrow's heavy load unbind.

Day sinks; we thank Thee for Thy gift;
Night comes; and once again we lift
Our prayer and vows and hymns that we
Against all ills may shielded be.

Thee let the secret heart acclaim,
Thee let our tuneful voices name,
Round Thee our chaste affections cling
Thee sober reason own as King.

That when black darkness closes day,
And shadows thicken round our way,
Faith may no darkness know, and night
From faith's clear beam may borrow light.

Rest not, my heaven born mind and will;
Rest, all the thoughts and deeds of ill;
May faith its watch unwearied keep,
And cool the dreaming warmth of sleep.

From cheats of sense, Lord, keep me free;
And let my heart's depth dream of Thee;
Let not my envious foe draw near,
To break my rest with any fear.

Pray we the Father and the Son,
And Holy Ghost: O Three in One,
Blest Trinity, Whom all obey,
Guard Thou Thy sheep by night and day.

Source:
Click for score, Midi, and Info

(Jesus Loves You)

Full Bible Study [20 Apr 2006|04:21pm]

aravis_1382
[ mood | excited ]

Okies, anyone remember that massive read through of the bible I was planning? Well, here’s the information on it! Of course, you can change, add, or subtract any bits you wish to make it work better for you, but here is what I will be doing, and if you do it this way, know that you will have at least one person doing the same thing. But even similar things would be good for moral support and all! ^_^

I am going to study the entire bible by reading through one book each month. I figure a month will be more than enough time per book, even the longer ones, but is fast enough that you don’t get bored.

So, here’s the game plan using Genesis as an example:
1.Read through Genesis (highlight or take notes if you want to as you go).

2.Choose at least one point or verse from or related to Genesis to expand on (ex: creation).

3.Write up your thoughts on it. (I’d say minimum one page-ish, you can definitely think of that much to write)

The write up is good because it makes you think, so you are getting more from the bible on a personal level (hence the “study”). Also, you can post it to Good_Grapes and get feedback from others, and then it becomes a discussion. You can pull in the views of critics, personal examples, other bible verses, etc. Anything that helps you to make your point, really! Or, if you prefer, you can just state your opinion without any sort of back up. It can be professional or personal, for fun or to make an argument. Whatever floats your boat! You can do as many entries or write ups as you want, but I’d suggest a minimum of one.

I am planning to start this in May (except that I am going to start now because there are two weeks in May that I will be on vacation, so to make up for that rather large absence I am starting when I have nothing to do! >.< Plus I am anxious to begin! ^_^) So, the schedule I am following goes from May 1-May 31. Then June 1-June 30. July 1-July 31. And so on. I am reading chronologically (but you can do it in whatever order you want) starting with Genesis and then straight through to Revelation.

I suggest reading no more than one book per month because otherwise you won’t retain what you have read, ya know? Give it time to sink in before rushing ahead! I know that is going to be my biggest problem, not going ahead! ^_^

So, if you choose to go ahead with this, Good Luck! And have fun! :)

~Rice

(Jesus Loves You)

Easter Entry [16 Apr 2006|11:38am]

aravis_1382
[ mood | happy ]

I already did a real entry this Easter Holiday (see the one about Good Friday), so this entry will be a simple...



Happy Easter!



God Bless You!

Christ is Risen!
Christ hath risen! Hallelujah!
Blessèd morn of life and light!
Lo, the grave is rent asunder,
Death is conquered through His might.

Refrain

Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Gladness fills the world today;
From the tomb that could not hold Him,
See, the stone is rolled away!

Christ hath risen! Hallelujah!
Friends of Jesus, dry your tears;
Through the veil of gloom and darkness,
Lo, the Son of God appears!

Refrain

Christ hath risen! Hallelujah!
He hath risen, as He said;
He is now the King of glory,
And our great exalted Head.

Refrain

Blue Letter Bible-Midi File-Musical Score

(5 Love Jesus| Jesus Loves You)

Good Friday [14 Apr 2006|11:53am]

aravis_1382
[ mood | contemplative ]

Several years ago I finally realized what the fundamental difference between Christianity and Catholicism is. Now firstly, I want to say that all these assumptions and conclusions are drawn purely from personal experience, and if you have had experiences or have knowledge that counters it, feel free to tell me, but I am just saying what I know and have experienced. Also, this is not meant to offend anyone who happens to BE catholic or come from a Catholic family (I come from a Catholic family, so there! :P) I am just making an observation here. So, that being said, onward!

Today is Good Friday. For those who are not Catholic savvy, Good Friday is the Friday before Easter that commemorates the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. It usually involves going to mass for special prayers and possibly the reading of The Passion as told by John, maybe even meditation at the foot of a crucifix. It is a very solemn and sober occasion, and not really one for the joy and cheer that is in Easter. It commemorates death, after all.

As I’m sure we all know, Easter is a cause for joy because it commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus. It is an uplifting, optimistic holiday signifying the final miracle, which gave us all the opportunity for eternal life. It is the act of ultimate love and sacrifice, but the focus is on the good and not on the pain. Usually it involves church and a variety of rather commercialized activities that nonetheless keep with the spirit of the holiday.

So, the fundamental difference between Catholicism and Christianity: Christians focus on life, Catholics focus on death.

This is, of course, a very blanket statement, so allow me to back up this thesis. Firstly, the holidays that are celebrated in Catholicism are far more focused on the death of Christ. I will give a few examples, starting with the celebration of Good Friday, one that focuses solely on the death of Christ. It is true that Christ’s death should be commemorated, but it still strikes me as a bit morbid. Also, on Ash Wednesday, sometimes when the priest draws the cross onto a persons head he says (among other less morbid phrases),

"Remember, man, that you are dust
And unto dust you shall return."


Also, there is the general feeling of doom and gloom in the tradition of Lent. It seems to me that most Christian holidays are happy and surround life!

Also, the symbol that the church chooses tells you a lot about their beliefs. Often times a person can be identified by something they choose as a symbol, and organizations are the same (think heraldry). The connotations and messages from that symbol contribute greatly to an image. The catholic symbol is the crucifix; the Christian symbol is the cross.


Crucifix: The crucifix is an image of the dying Christ hanging from the cross. It is depicting Jesus’ death, reminding us constantly that he died to save us. This has the potential to generate feelings of guilt, gloom, and fear.


Cross: The cross, on the other hand, is without Jesus, just the cross, no dead man hanging from it. It focuses on the fact that Jesus rose again. It generates feelings of hope, happiness, and eternal life.


By no means am I downsizing Catholicism, I am just stating how it appears to me. Personally, I feel that I would rather focus on the resurrection. For one, it has better connotations. For another, it is what truly makes Jesus special. Anyone can die for his religion. Not everyone can come back to life after that. Also, the resurrection is symbolic in more ways than the crucifixion. The crucifixion focuses on the fact that Jesus died for our sins, he sacrificed his life to wipe our souls clean, to give us the ability to be forgiven and to live eternally in heaven. The resurrection symbolizes that and so much more! It also has connotations of eternal life. Just as Jesus was reborn we shall reborn in God’s kingdom.

Now, just to be contrary…Is it possible that Christians have shied away from the crucifixion, not wanting to face the fact that it is the sin of humanity which caused Jesus to die on the cross? Perhaps it is a good thing to be reminded on occasion that Jesus didn’t just rise again, it wasn’t just some random miracle. The resurrection was his ultimate miracle, it was his big finale, in a way! But, regardless, an important element in the resurrection is in the crucifixion. Jesus had to die in order to rise again. Do Christians ignore that? Do Christians focus all their energy on the positive? Are we living in self-inflicted naivety? Perhaps we can’t rightly learn our lesson if we don’t remind ourselves of it. Maybe a little guilt is a good thing?

Of course, this is all apples and oranges, and what truly matters is that we don’t take Jesus’ gift for granted. He has given us the opportunity for forgiveness, given us passage into heaven. He has given us the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate act of love, and regardless of whether you focus on the death or the resurrection, it all says the same thing,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16


~Rice

(2 Love Jesus| Jesus Loves You)

First Post and stuff [11 Apr 2006|10:23am]

phatfhorn
Hi everyone,

My name is Tim, and I'm a 23 year old classical musician living in Los Angeles. I moderate disciples_of_jc, which I haven't been too faithful in maintaining. Rice's committment to this group inspires me to make the same to my community.

Anyway, I have a lot of interest in theology and philosophy. My main philosophical interests are in aesthetics and philosophy of religion, and I've spent a lot of time thinking about worship in the modern day church. As you probably know, the church used to be the center for great art from the dark ages through the 18th century. However, since the enlightenment, artists have been turned away from Christianity for numerous reasons. As a result, art and music have been turned over to people who don't have expertise in those fields---Christian art and music has become largely amateurish, and the idea of architecture glorifying God has all but left from Bible-believing churches. There's countless reasons and excuses why, but the fact that people don't feel it important to make places of worship "special" in their design anymore (I believe) points to a deeper problem.

I don't like church-bashing. She's the bride of my Lord and Savior, and I am one of her members. We all know the church has failed and will continue to fail to be what Christ intended her to be. That's why He died for her, and why he desires to redeem her---we cannot be everything he intends us to be. But we can continue to try, to seek Christ and His glorification. Thats why whenever I get rallied up against some shortcoming of the church, I need to check myself and instead of judging, look at myself and how I can be the change I want to see (to quote Ghandi).

As a classical musician, I must do everything I can to elevate the level of edification in worship while maintaining a pure heart before God. The problem isn't with the quality of the performance per se, but with the overall worship style. We settle for music in our worship that lacks in theological depth, but also in aesthetic beauty. I want to find a way to fix both. The old, great hymns had a great depth to them which I love, and want to see restored in a way thats timely to the worshippers of this generation.

I'm sort of babbling now, so I'll leave my first post with this thought. We're content with so little, and with such mediocrity in all areas of our lives. God wishes to shake my life up, to make me endlessly passionate for him, and to have complete control of my life, if only I'd seek His kingdom first. Yet I insist on my own way. I pray that we'd wake up from our mediocrity in light of God's amazing beauty and grace. That we'd really seek Him with our whole beings. Its what he intends for his bride, and its what I want for myself.

(Jesus Loves You)

Good Grapes [11 Apr 2006|06:04pm]

aravis_1382
[ mood | nostalgic ]

Forward: I actually wrote this over a year ago. I went through and cleaned it up a little (spelling and grammar), but I am a bit crunched for time, so please forgive it's shoddiness. I swear I am a better writer now! >.< Anyway, enjoy!

Isaiah 5:3-4-Good Grapes

ISAIAH 5:3-4
"And now, O inhabitants of
Jerusalem and men of Judah,
Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.

What more could have been done to My vinyard
That I have not done in it?
Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes
Did it bring forth wild grapes?



When I began this site ages ago (it wasn’t a community at first) I had originally planned to post something from Genesis that I am very interested in. But, for some reason, I decided not to and I opened the bible at random, and I came upon this (and wrote it and now reedited it!). At first read, I did not understand what it meant or what it talked about and was ready to turn the page and find something new but I realized that it concerns free will and the age-old question "God, how could you let this happen?"

I cannot tell you guys how many times I have heard someone, a non believer, a former believer, a believer on the edge, etc, say to me, "If God is really there, if he really cares about us all as much as you say, then why does he let so many bad things happen?" Well, this metaphor tells it exactly!

See, Earth is like a vineyard. God made the Earth and groomed it to be all good and for everything to work out (think Garden of Eden), then he left the outcome up to us, but we destroyed it (The Original Sin). It is people who are messing up the Earth, not God. God wanted good grapes and prepared a safe and wonderful place for good grapes to grow, but somehow, against his best intentions, wild grapes took over.

This is free will. As I am sure almost everyone has noticed by now, humans are, by nature, malcontent. 'The grass is always greener on the other side.' Now, God gave us free will and we are not happy how that turned out, but imagine if God did not give us free will, if he controlled every aspect of our lives...people would begin to feel resentful and they would probably begin to say things like, "If God really loved us, he would let us live our lives!" Poor God! ^_^ He is in a lose-lose situation here! We are free and we blame him for disaster, but if we weren’t, we would blame him for enslavement!

After Columbine, I received and e-mail that really moved me. It was called Letter to God. It said:

"Dear God,
Why did you let all those people in Columbine High School die?"

Love, A Little Girl


The reply said:

"Dear Little Girl,
I am sorry, I am not allowed in schools.

Love, God


Isn't this so true?!?!? We are shutting God out of our lives and then getting upset when he doesn't seem to be there! But the real issue of this particular post is this; God did not let all those people in Columbine High School die. God gave those people the gift of freedom, the moment they were born they were free but able to live under the protection of God and be his child and accept Jesus’ offering so that they may spend an eternity in heaven with him, but they abused it. PEOPLE let those kids in Columbine die, not God. PEOPLE pulled the trigger, not God. PEOPLE picked on those kids for being different, not God. All God did was try to plant good grapes, but they went wild.

So, why is God the scapegoat for all this? Why, every time something in life goes wrong, is someone bound to say, "How could God let this happen?" Is it really God's fault if your father gets lung cancer from smoking? Is it really God's fault if your son dies in a drunk driving accident? Is it really God's fault if your love life is on the rocks? No. To be entirely blunt (and I pre-apologize for sounding blameful) it is your father’s fault for smoking, it is the drunk driver’s fault for hitting your son, and it is you or your lover’s fault for messing things up.

God is a mechanic, not a wrecker. He does not sit up there in heaven and go, "Hmmm...what can I destroy today?" (That's Satan’s job! ^_^) He sits up there and goes, "::sigh:: Such a beautiful world I gave them, how can I fix what they broke today?" What I am trying to say is, we should not blame God for all that has gone wrong because it is humanity's fault. When God planted his Vineyard, it was flawless and perfect but then, Satan and humans became wild grapes and ruined it. Not to sound cynical, but people really are the cause of everything bad in this world, straight from the first apple that Eve ate.

This does not, however, mean that there is not hope. While many of the grapes are wild, there are still some good grapes on this Earth. There are still good grapes who acknowledge God and all he has done for us. There are still good grapes who are not overtaken by the wild ones and the temptations they propose. I like to think that I am a good grape. I also like to think that if you are reading this, YOU are a good grape. And furthermore, I like to think that one day, the good grapes will outnumber the wild ones. But until that day, all I can do is try to be the best grape I can be.

~Rice

(Jesus Loves You)

New Layout! [10 Apr 2006|06:54pm]

aravis_1382
[ mood | artistic ]

Just a quick note to let you all know I have changed the layout. I made a new icon too! So go check it out, eh?

~Rice

(2 Love Jesus| Jesus Loves You)

Blue Letter Bible [09 Apr 2006|07:36pm]

aravis_1382
[ mood | impressed ]

I just wanted to share this site with you all. I stumbled upon it and it turned out to be really cool! It is called Blue Letter Bible and has loads of nifty features. I'll outline them for you so you get an idea of what it has, but I encourage you all to check it out on your own!

For one, it has the entire bible there, on the website!
Books of the Bible
It has a list of all the books, and when you click on it, it gives you the entire thing. It also has a dropdown menu with about a dozen or more options for translations! (King James, International, etc) And next to each verse are several clickable buttons with little letters on them. Each letter brings you somewhere different:

K-Correlating Passages
C-Hebrew (and something about Strongs numbers)
L-Commentary
V-All translations of that verse (versions)
D-Dictionary
Musical Note Symbol-Hymns (including lyrics and Midi files [and if the symbol has two lines in it then that means there is a musical score with it]) and Images

There are also a ton of commentaries in text, video, and audio which can be linked form the sidebar menu under Commentaries and Audio/Video.

And the Study Tools section contains LOADS of nifty things! There are:
* Charts and Outlines
* Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
* Introductions to Books of the Bible
* Timelines
* Missions
* Cults
* Miscellaneous

There are too many things to name, but there are summaries of the books, explanations, timelines, maps, etc. in this section, those are most basic.

There is also a section on Devotionals which has a bunch of nifty things, little bits you can read each day that have bible verses or encouraging statements.

So, all in all, an extremely useful site! If one hated people and crowds they could get all the "church" they needed from this site alone methinks!

So, go check it out. And if you are having trouble thinking of something to post about, you can use the stuff from that site for ideas! (That's what I plan on doing! ;) lol) Enjoy!

~Rice

(6 Love Jesus| Jesus Loves You)

Welcome! Bienvenidos! Wilkommen! Failte! [07 Apr 2006|08:04pm]

aravis_1382
[ mood | excited ]

Hi all! So, the site is back, only this time, in COMMUNITY FORM! BWAHAHA! Anyway, it is open membership and open posting, anyone can join and anyone can comment. I hope to keep it that way, but if anyone abuses it or something I will change it. But that won’t happen, right? :)

So, in honor of the restarting of the site, I am beginning a massive journey through the bible! :) But more on that next post. Firstly, I will attempt to recruit people to my site. So, join. Get others to join. Hand out flyers. Whatever. :)

But, more on the structure of the site now. Since I am the moderator or manager or whatever it is called, it falls on me to keep this thing alive. So, comments or no comments, audience or no audience, I will post. So, here is what I am going to do, and I want you all to hold me to this later:

I will post SOMETHING once a week, even if it is only the lyrics to a hymn or song of some sort. So, at least once a week, expect to see an entry from Good_Grapes on your friends page. I figure that a weekly post should be a nice, friendly little addition to your Live Journal-ing. A small bit of worship in your daily life.

At least once every two weeks I will make a potent post. It will be at least a link to an article or a piece of news or something, but may even be an ACTUAL original entry. Most likely will just we a question. You know, to invoke discussion.

And, at least once a month I will make an actual, original entry. While I am journeying through the bible, it will probably be related to that, but after that it can be about anything.

So, there you have it! Those are my minimums, mind you (that adds up to…I suck at math…7 entries a month minimum). I hope to do much more than that, but if you are joining or friend-ing this community, that is the minimum of what you should expect. IDEALLY I would have time to make a massive philosophical argument every single day, but who really has that sort of time! ;)

And anyone joining, you do not have to do this, but you are extremely encouraged to post regularly! If you WANT to follow this outline, more power to ya’! It makes for an excellent schedule, and will keep the site OOBER active! I will shower you in e-hugs and cookies! But, if you do join the community, please try to participate, cause it’s more fun that way! Although, silent readers are welcome too! ^_^ Entries, questions, comments, and the initiation of discussions is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED! :)

Well, I do believe that is all! In the near future (as in later today) I will probably post an entry explaining the name Good_Grapes as well as the battle plan for tackling the bible! Also, look forward to some excellent links! Cheers!

~Rice

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