Monday, December 24

Music Is The Manna: A Guide To Grieving At Christmas

   


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Hayley Esther (Young) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to daisychange.co.uk 
There are affiliate links in this post. We genially believe the resources will serve you. 







I'm gonna level with you guys,

This year has been a tough one. Not just for me but  I think a lot of people have felt it. I've also noticed the mainstream media being hit with some really tough stuff this year and then add to this the uncertainty of the future here in the UK and you get a very, unstable, painful year.

There has also been a lot of high profile deaths. The one that hit the hardest for me personally though was Stan Lee. I couldn't do justice to a tribute. He will be sorely missed by fans world wide.

In my personal life, I've gotta say I don't think I've had such a tough year in my entire adult life so far.  This is saying something as in previous years since legally being classed as an adult. I've had years where I faced unemployment, deaths of loved ones, an extremely painful healing journey ( I will get into that a little later) and do I even need to mention, all the health issues I have well documented on this blog.

Yet all of this pales in compassion to this year. It's time to employ that thing I like to do to tell you what's up with out boring you so here's my year summed up in a few short statements.

Wow, I'm glad 2017 is over, finally we get to move on, oh actually no, the heat got hotter. Homeless again? More deaths? Debt? But that's not like me! Let's move to Wales, Nope  London, Back to Wales, London again,Wales to cat sit and then , Accident. Agony!  stuck in Wales. Then finally back to London, only to face the worst storm I've known as an adult, desert sand and what! More debt? But this REALLY isn't like me!! Oh and the pain's back. Now people leave me. Isolation in the desert, so not fun! Gotta battle on! Keep. Building.The.Blog.And.Sharing.Truth, I'm finally getting somewhere ......

Then the word of the king is hijacked by a narcissist and they convince me to...

Pass The Torch.

But? How am I suppose to earn now??

 Okay faith it is..is that wise ? 

I haven't gone hungry and even with all the instability of living arrangements, I have had a roof on my head somehow all year....but seriously though something isn't sitting.

I know that the time to bless others is when you are in need yourself. Trust me. There is an unseen law at work which is basically the real deal that the fake rules of the law of attraction, tries to counterfeit....but the real thing is far more tasty.

Anyways, point made. Tough year as you can see.

Recently I was reminded that, this isn't the first time I've reached the holidays with a whole lot of stuff I could grieve about.  It's one thing for all this year long stuff to be the background thing going on, but I've also had Christmas days which have been spent in tears. I am gonna highlight just 3

How about the Christmas that a family member and I were not talking, and I genuinely thought they would never speak to me again, because we had a disagreement about something they decided to do, and the rest of my well meaning family were completely confused as to why we just couldn't tell them what the crack was or better still just get over it.

Or how about the Christmas that the guy I thought I was going to marry, broke up with me on Christmas day. It was one of those intense teenage 16 year old no one knows how I feel kinda deals. When your that age, your so much more passionate about everything at the time I thought my world was ending, but years later I am SO glad this happened, as I ended up with someone much better and far more well suited.

Finally, here's the one that really broke me. The Christmas day that all of a sudden, completely out of the blue, my brain decided now was the perfect time to throw flash backs of the day I got raped 3 years previous. I was so broken, all I could do was cry in my room all day, (I'm fortunate to have a family that was always very understanding if I or my brother didn't want to be involved with the festivities) I'm proud to say that I strongly believe in sexual purity and up until I got attacked, I had been waiting, quite happily for marriage one day. This made realizing that I had been attacked all the harder to deal with, and I was only 17 at the time of this Christmas, I didn't want my family to know so I tried very hard to wear a brave face. That Christmas sucked.

Now I know this is not the cheery type of post you expect at Christmas time but the fact is that if you clicked on this post because of the tittle then chances are maybe you can relate to some of this.


If so then I'd love to spend some time today sharing with you how I survive the worst of the grieving thing, as I know that the holidays can intensify emotions, both good and bad.

This is my Christmas present for you today guys, I hope it helps.

Okay, after a un-characteristicly  long introduction, let's get into it shall we?




So how I survived all of this is  by leaning into my love language.


My best advice for surviving grief especially in the holidays, is to figure out what your love language is and lean into it. 


Love Will See You Through.




But what if you are alone this Christmas? Well, then you are perfectly positioned to experience the best love of all...stay with me I've got something for you too here. 

Most people in the self help community are aware of the New York Times Best Selling book The 5 Love Languages but did you know that Garry Chapman has written many other books including God Knows your love language?

In that book I discovered that the way I mostly receive love is through words (ha no surprises there then) but the dialect of words that works best for me is music. You see joy is most useful when you are hurting and music brings me a whole lot of joy!

Maybe it does for you too.

God cares about every little bit of your life and since He made you, He also knows how best to help you when you are in a state of grief. I know that we are all different, but I believe that a majority of people reading this, will likely have some sort of connection to music, because I don't believe your reading this is an accident. I believe that heaven is calling out to you, to let you know that God sees your pain and He has the answer. Love is the answer. Joy can be your lifestyle. 




Music Is My Manna, Here's 3 Ways I Use It.


The first is to find a song that allows me to dance the grief out of my body, even if only in the short term. This can especially work if you need to be strong for a loved one for a few hours. What I do is take my mp3 player to the bathroom, lock the door and dance like cray cray for the duration of the song. The more upbeat the better.

For This method, I recommend you check out my previous post. I cover it better there. (In fact that whole post is about using music to mend a broken heart, it's useful as a companion to this post)

The second method is to connect with the God that created me through music. This is not about being religious, it's about spirituality. The connection is electric. I know it may sound odd straight off the bat, but if you try it you won't be sorry.

Here's my top choice as of right now for this method.




Finally, there's the obvious choice of crying it out. This can be good for you too. Grief is not one size fits all, we all do it differently, and it doesn't occur in one step after the other, your emotions do go on a bit of a roller-coaster when you are grieving. Hopefully, these songs will help you get to the point of tears if you need to, but please be gentle with yourself.

1.Blink:Revive - Blink is the track that gets me every time.
2.The Storyteller Collection : Amy Grant- Oh How The Year's Go By should not be missed.
3.Identity: Colton Dixon - Other Side is beautiful.


Bonus! Here's 2  Great Resources To Help With The Grief Process.




https://tedxinnovations.ted.com/2016/06/15/5-tedx-talks-on-coping-with-grief/



I hope this has served you well.

Whatever you are doing this Christmas, I hope you have a warm,joy-filled holiday season. Remember joy is not a feeling, it goes much deeper than that. If you need a refresher then please feel free to go back through some of our older posts.

 If you want to reach out to us, the best place to do so is Facebook, here's my personal link.

Although it is the holidays, I will be checking this inbox frequently. I am currently working on sorting out our email box so in the mean time I will treat Facebook messenger with the same level of care I would our email account. If this doesn't work for you though, I will also be checking all our other social media platforms regularly.

Please share this post with anyone you think it could help. That would be the best present ever. 

If you are in the position to/led to support us then please feel free to donate to this site via this page.  We are currently working on a curriculum and eBook around the theme of exhibiting and experiencing joy when you are hurting. Any donations will go towards helping others via this website.

That's about it.

Merry Christmas guys! Have a good one!

We will be back with the final part in this series next week!


























Music Is The Manna: A Guide To Grieving At Christmas






   


Amazon Associates Disclosure

Hayley Esther (Young) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to daisychange.co.uk 
There are affiliate links in this post. We genially believe the resources will serve you. 


I'm gonna level with you guys,

This year has been a tough one. Not just for me but  I think a lot of people have felt it. I've also noticed the mainstream media being hit with some really tough stuff this year and then add to this the uncertainty of the future here in the UK and you get a very, unstable, painful year.

There has also been a lot of high profile deaths. The one that hit the hardest for me personally though was Stan Lee. I couldn't do justice to a tribute. He will be sorely missed by fans worldwide.

In my personal life, I've gotta say I don't think I've had such a tough year in my entire adult life so far.  This is saying something as in previous years since legally being classed as an adult. I've had years where I faced unemployment, deaths of loved ones, an extremely painful healing journey ( I will get into that a little later) and do I even need to mention, all the health issues I have well documented on this blog.

Yet all of this pales in compassion to this year. It's time to employ that thing I like to do to tell you what's up without boring you so here's my year summed up in a few short statements.

Wow, I'm glad 2017 is over, finally, we get to move on, oh actually no, the heat got hotter. Homeless again? More deaths? Debt? But that's not like me! Let's move to Wales, Nope  London, Back to Wales, London again, Wales to cat sit and then, Accident. Agony!  stuck in Wales. Then finally back to London, only to face the worst storm I've known as an adult, desert sand and what! More debt? But this reality isn't like me!! Oh and the pain's back. Now people leave me. Isolation in the desert, so not fun! Gotta battle on! Keep. Building.The.Blog.And.Sharing.Truth, I'm finally getting somewhere ......

Then the word of the king is hijacked by a narcissist and they convince me to...



Pass The Torch.




But? How am I suppose to earn now??


 Okay faith it is..is that wise? 

I haven't gone hungry and even with all the instability of living arrangements, I have had a roof on my head somehow all year....but seriously though something isn't sitting.

I know that the time to bless others is when you are in need of yourself. Trust me. There is an unseen law at work which is basically the real deal that the fake rules of the law of attraction, tries to counterfeit....but the real thing is far tastier.

Anyways, point made. Tough year as you can see.

Recently I was reminded that this isn't the first time I've reached the holidays with a whole lot of stuff I could grieve about.  It's one thing for all this year-long stuff to be the background thing going on, but I've also had Christmas days which have been spent in tears. I am gonna highlight just 3

How about the Christmas that a family member and I were not talking, and I genuinely thought they would never speak to me again, because we had a disagreement about something they decided to do, and the rest of my well-meaning family were completely confused as to why we just couldn't tell them what the crack was or better still just get over it.

Or how about the Christmas that the guy I thought I was going to marry, broke up with me on Christmas day. It was one of those intense teenage 16-year-old no ones knows how I feel kinda deals. When your that age, your so much more passionate about everything at the time I thought my world was ending, but years later I am SO glad this happened, as I ended up with someone much better and far more well suited.

Finally, here's the one that really broke me. The Christmas day that all of a sudden, completely out of the blue, my brain decided now was the perfect time to throw flashbacks of the day I got raped 3 years previously. I was so broken, all I could do was cry in my room all day, (I'm fortunate to have a family that was always very understanding if I or my brother didn't want to be involved with the festivities) I'm proud to say that I strongly believe in sexual purity and up until I got attacked, I had been waiting, quite happily for marriage one day. This made realizing that I had been attacked all the harder to deal with, and I was only 17 at the time of this Christmas, I didn't want my family to know so I tried very hard to wear a brave face. That Christmas sucked.

Now I know this is not the cheery type of post you expect at Christmas time but the fact is that if you clicked on this post because of the tittle then chances are maybe you can relate to some of this.


If so then I'd love to spend some time today sharing with you how I survive the worst of the grieving thing, as I know that the holidays can intensify emotions, both good and bad.

This is my Christmas present for you today guys, I hope it helps.

Okay, after a un-characteristically long introduction, let's get into it, shall we?

Saturday, December 22

draft


he Christmas day tradition I want to look at for this post is the tradition of the Nativity. Here in the U.K it's not uncommon for school children to do a nativity play at Xmas time, carol services by candle light are held at church's all around the country and many people remember Xmas time as the birth of Jesus Christ, light in to the darkness, the Savior  of the world.

Now although I am a Christian, I am not going to stray into religion or faith at this point. If you are interested in knowing more about the Nativity, there are plenty of films, books and articles out there on the topic, not to mention it is in the bible, a quick internet search will bring up thousands of options.

What I do want to look at for this post is the heart of the Nativity message which is very relatable to everyone, from all walks of like and regardless of what you believe.

That message is simply peace on earth, something that most of the world really wants and secondly good will to all. It is very much apart of human nature to want things to better in your own life and even in the world. We are wired to want to be happy, so therefore regardless of your views on faith and the like, this message is a good one for all of us.

There is an even deeper meaning in all of this that is often missed and that is the idea of light into the darkness. That idea is something I want to explore in the next two posts but I am going to split it.

The next few posts will be a mini series within this series. So kind of like a present within the present. The two things I aim to represent in life in general are there is always hope and the life of faith through grace instead of being ruled by often well-meaning  but cold and empty religion.

I am going to call this mini series  In search of Stars

Here is the basic schedule of these 3 posts so you can decide if any which of them you want to come back to this blog for.

1 In search of Stars - Star Keepers ( For Followers of Christ Jesus)
2 In search of Stars - star-gazer ( For The readers that are asking questions for a unbies approach to understanding Christianity)
3 In search of Stars - Star Dust - 10 common misconceptions about Christianity and resources to continue your search or faith walk ( For everyone)

The idea of this mini series came from the fact I have readers messaging me with questions and I thought rather than just answer individuals, that this mini-series could help allot more people.

Coming back to this post topic, I want to leave you with one thing,

Next time you see candle, the lights on a Christmas tree or walk through the glittering streets this season, just remember that those lights are but shadows of what this season is all about.

The fact light always over comes the darkness.
Love Hayley
xXx

This post is a real treat for me. I don't think I've ever had a reason to just address my fellow brothers and sister in Christ. If you are reading this and you don't believe in it, then you are very welcome to stick around if you want but for this post I am going to address other believers in Jesus, just like myself. I do call non-believers " the world" in this post, I am sorry if that offends anyone it is not my intention, but I just really want to make this letter that I am about to write be as true to how many believers would speak to each other as possible.
 Dear brothers and sisters,

This is an open letter regarding the issue of relating to what we would call the world when it comes to talking about our faith and/or religion. There are a few things I would really like to bring to your attention, all of which I have learned from experience and are very much my own opinion and observations, but since the bible does say that we as believers are supposed to encourage each other in the faith, I feel justified in sharing my thoughts.

Firstly, please understand that all of these observations come from a genuine desire to see the kingdom of God grow and a heart of humility and love, but also a genuine concern that so often, we as Christians tend to come across as crazy, heartless or completely miss-guided. As well-meaning as we are, many of us fall in to some common traps when attempting to communicate our faith to others. This is very damaging as it usually causes people to write us off and the God we claim to stand for as complete rubbish. Sometimes guys, we just need to get out-of-the-way and let God do the work, He is more than capable of reaching people if He chooses to, and while it is our mission to preach the gospel to all, we must remember that what we carry is very precious and we need to be careful with our conduct for sharing the gospel for it to be effective.

Here are some common mistakes that we make, I know that I myself have made these mistakes in the past and so again, this comes from a heart that seeks to help further the gospel. I don't claim to know everything but this is what I have learned via life experiences.

Mistake 1 - Pushing the message
As well-meaning as we are, many times because of our frustration that so many of our loved ones, may well be heading to hell, we become self-appointed crusaders and may even make certain people are assignment to get them saved.  This may be done through badgering of  Christian material, questions, insisting the person comes to church with you or by telling the person that what they believe is wrong and treating them like they know nothing. Although it doesn't apply to all of us, the term "bible bashing" had to come from somewhere.

The truth is, we can not convert anyone, it is only our job to share the gospel, if people wish to explore it, but pushing the message causes people to just put walls up and dismiss what we have to say. In other-words, by doing this, we are helping the devil with his mission and hurting the very God we serve.

Mistake 2 - Using Christian Jargon.
The world is not familiar  with a lot of the terms we use when we talk to each other. The average non-believer will look at you like you are from another planet if you start to talk about "being saved" asking Jesus in to your heart" or "being born again" just to name a few. We need to try to speak in terms that the person you are speaking to will understand, however if you really must use typical Christian terminology, please explain it first in simple terms.

Mistake 3 - Insisting Christianity is a relationship NOT a religion
To us, our relationship with Jesus is very precious and something we want to share with anyone who will listen because we know how amazing life with Jesus in the picture really is, so yes to us it is about relationship. However, the world views Christianity as a religion, partly because of history and partly because that is how it is portrayed by main-stream media, especially when you have people saying that they are a Christian and God hates X,Y,Z which always comes across as very law based and condemning. I know many Christians will not like what I am about to say, but guys we are apart of a religion, church is a religious institution especially in the many strains of denominations, tithing, communion, baptism, marriage and even prayer and fasting are all typical religious acts, some of which are practiced by other religions, not just us, to deny that when talking to the world, is only going to result in them thinking we are closed-minded, ignorant  and arrogant. When you explain your relationship with Jesus, do it in the manner of explaining how it enhances those seemingly religious practices to be more about relationship and doing it because of love and walking with a living God as appose to trying to state you believe in God but you don't see yourself a religious. Many people do believe in God, even if they are not a Christian, but the real difference is knowing Christ. Please try to keep that your focus when addressing this issue.
 Mistake 4 - Getting into depth with social issues.
Paul warns about the dangers of getting into fruitless debates with the world. Remember they don't see any better because they have yet to have their eyes opened by Jesus. It is not their fault they don't know any better, the god of this world has blinded many. Politely direct the conversation in a different direction if you get these questions. Saying plainly not talking about that because the person won't understand will make that person think your calling them stupid. It would be better to say, that it's an interesting question but in order to answer that you need to explain the basics first, because the philosophy behind what we believe will not make the blind bit of sense to anyone if you don't first lay the foundations. There is a time and place for addressing these issues but if you don't feel confident that you can do it with a focus on grace and love and without coming across as condemning or judgmental then don't feel like you have to answer these questions. Remember you are only one of many sources this person may have found for finding out more about our faith it is often a team effort that gets people to the point where they decide to consider inviting Jesus into their lives for themselves and this team effort can be spread through the person's life. Don't feel like you have to do everything, just do your part.

Mistake 5 - Being known by what we believe not who we are.
We as believer need to be known more for what we are for then what we are against. No one wants to listen to people who tell them that can't do this, that and the next thing. God is love, we are his Children so spread the love!

Above all else, remember you  are a beacon and carry the light to the world in darkness, shine bright.
Take care & God bless
Love Hayley
xXx

1. We all believe the same thing.
While are basic foundation is pretty much the same, different Christians believe different things and have very different interpretations of the bible, this comes into the way in which we conduct our lives. Christianity is very much about personal choice in terms of what you believe and how to conduct your life based on your convictions.

2.We hate gay people and they are going to hell.
Not at all. We don't actually hate any one group of people, God is a God of love and as His children most of us will try to follow that example and be very tolerant of people, regardless of their life style. Being gay won't get you to hell as of itself. We believe it is down to what you do with God's son, not how you choose to live.

3. Christianity is the biggest kill joy religion ever, you can't do anything.
We believe that the rules in the bible are there because God loves us and has our best interest at heart. While there are certain things some Christians will be very much against, Christians are supposed to be and can be very happy people from all sorts of walks of life. It is very much down to personal conviction in a lot of cases.

4. Drinking alcohol is a sin.
Jesus's first miracle was turning water in to wine. Go figure. Seriously though, the bible doesn't say you can't drink it just advises against getting drunk because God is just looking out for you and knows if you drink too much you will get a hangover. It's as simple as that.
5. Christians are super-humans that never do anything wrong.
News flash, Christians are humans too! I can't stress this enough, we all have our own minds, make mistakes, dream, fail and love just the same as anyone else. Becoming a Christian doesn't mean you will never sin again, it just means that your less likely to want to because who really wants to knowingly hurt someone they love?

6. Christianity is incompatible with logic and reason and certainly has no place even trying to co-exist with science.

Tell that to Albert Einstein, C.S Lewis or Issac Newton! To start with faith and logic are polar opposites but once you have had faith in God and He has come through for you a few times, it becomes logical sense to trust Him, even though your mind may try to logically reason that faith doesn't make sense to the mind. That is because it was never designed to make sense, it wouldn't be faith if it did. This one is confusing but you can look into it for yourself if you want to know more.

As for Christianity and Science co-exists, I know a very intellectual scientist that likes to put it this way....

" Science is the how of what God did"

They can exist side by side, but I am not going to try to explain it because it does take faith which is why to some it may seem that this is entirely impossible.

7. Christianity is boring
This one always makes me laugh. Christianity is anything but boring!  Well maybe to some is, but personally being able to live with the knowledge God is looking out for me no matter what is really comforting and encourages me to enjoy life. God wants his kids to have fun it's not all serious prayers and solemn songs. In fact, there are so many different types of christian music of all genres, and in doing research for this article I came across Christian martial arts groups, Christian wrestling, Christian break dancers, Christian Goths and even Christian anime, gamer's and comic book lovers, just to name a few. Christianity is more diverse today then ever.

8. You have to clean up your act to go to church.
No, Jesus would accept you as you are and so should all believers, again its only the minority that lets us down.

9. Christians are judgmental.
Yes, some of us are unfortunately, but those that are have just not really understood the love of the God they claim to serve and experienced His grace yet. This goes back to Christians are human too, we are more than capable of making mistakes and unfortunate we often do.

10. Christians are a bunch of hypocrites!
This one is unfair human nature tends to look at the negatives in all people. What happens allot is that non-believers will catch a Christian do something that they believe is against our bible and will latch on to that one thing, instead of remembering all the times that one believer got things right. I can assure you if that believer truly loves Jesus they will feel awful about it, you telling them how much they messed up is the last thing they need. If you are not a believer, then just think of it as being nice to your fellow human being to not rib them about it. However I am not going to claim that this one is complete rubbish, some "Christians" hypocritical" but again I would argue they don't really know the Christ of the Christianity.

Ok time for the rest of my readers to have a post addressed to them. I have already done a post for the Christian readers but this one is for those of you who are interested in understanding more about Christianity but you don't want a one-sided  approach to the topic.

Firstly to get this started, I am a Christian, but that doesn't mean I have to write a post that is designed to get you to convert so before I even start let me explain why I am doing this.

I believe that faith is only real when you have found it for yourself. No one can push faith on anyone else, no one can convert anyone no matter what tactics it just doesn't work. If you decide to come to decide Christianity is for you, then I want you to be able to do so knowing that it was your choice no one pushed you into it or scared you into it or the like. I know I have people reading this that have no interest in choosing Christianity as a walk of life but you are interested in knowing more about Christianity in terms of what Christians actually believe and the way in which we think. Some people just genuinely have an interest in understanding other people from all walks of life, some of those people sent me messages asking for this post so here it is.

Side note, I am very interested in making posts that my readers actually want to read, I will interact with tweets, messages, comments and the questions of my readers to the best of my ability because I want everyone who reads my blog to know they are valued.
Anyway, getting back on topic
So you want to know about Christianity?

Well the first thing you need to understand is that you can learn about Christianity regardless of your life choices and views and most of us will actually be more than happy to answer your questions with a fairly open mind and without judging you. It is only the minority of quite frankly religious nuts that let down the rest of us.

Second thing to know, we are human too. Although are way of doing things may seem strange to you as may are thoughts and convictions, we all have our own minds. Christianity has many different groups within the church structure, all of which have different interpretations and ways of expressing their faith. We all have a very basic foundation in common though which is made up of 3 things.

We all believe in God
We all have our own way of expressing worship for God and/or serving Him.
We all believe in Jesus as the son of God and that he died on the cross for our sins so we can be reconciled to God. Most of us believe Jesus is now alive, but some groups do not.

Christianity is like other religions in that all religions have their own practices and ways of living and basic moral framework.

Christianity is not like in other religions in that Christianity is the only religion that believes in only one God and that this God is alive today. The religion of Christianity is dead without the living person of Jesus Christ who we believe we have a relationship with, which sounds strange I know but it's about faith.

Regardless of your faith there is no way of proving faith. You either believe or you don't. Even if there is all the evidence in the world, if someone chooses not to believe in something then they just won't. So faith is a choice and it is the choice to believe in Jesus and the choice to have faith in Christianity as-well  as the Christ of the Christianity that is what this life style is about.

We believe God is a God of love and He loves you. However, if you don't believe in Him that statement will mean nothing to you which is why I am stating it is what we believe not what is the case.

Many intellectuals were/are also Christian.

Intellect and logic can work with Christianity but it is not something that can be explained only experienced, which is where faith comes in and may seem like the biggest cop-out ever, but that really is how it works.

Christianity is about hope, faith love and peace but it is certainly not by any means an easy life choice.

Throughout history Christians have been persecuted and there is still persecution going on today, although in most cases it is in a far more subtle form.

The reason that we put up with that though is because we  believe what we experience and have with Jesus in the picture is so amazing that it is worth it no matter what.

On the flip side of this, we do also believe in the devil, we believe in a spirit world and that there is a war going on. I know I am being very brief here but all I aim to do in this post is give you some thoughts to help you get started/continue on your quest to find out more about this religion/faith. If you want to know more about the dark side though, you can find that in my devils tool box series on this blog.

The bottom line of what we believe is that Jesus is the light that overcomes the darkness of this world, He is the star that leads you home.

At this point I am going to leave it there, although I have only scratched the surface.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have,
but until next time.

Take care,

Love Hayley

xXx

I just realized that some of my cracking Xmas posts that were scheduled didn't actually go up on my blog. It feels like the moment has passed now, it would be uploading for the sake of it  so I'm not even going to bother upload them so that means Cracking Xmas is all finished.

I think the search for the meaning of Xmas can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. For me personally I think what Xmas means to me is a time that outlines the truth about relationships, be it family friends or significant others, relationships and people are very important and I really learned the value of that through this series.

That said, thank you so much to all my readers for sticking with me this year and roll on 2014!

Happy New year all!

xXx



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he Christmas day tradition I want to look at for this post is the tradition of the Nativity. Here in the U.K it's not uncommon for school children to do a nativity play at Xmas time, carol services by candle light are held at church's all around the country and many people remember Xmas time as the birth of Jesus Christ, light in to the darkness, the Savior  of the world.

Now although I am a Christian, I am not going to stray into religion or faith at this point. If you are interested in knowing more about the Nativity, there are plenty of films, books and articles out there on the topic, not to mention it is in the bible, a quick internet search will bring up thousands of options.

What I do want to look at for this post is the heart of the Nativity message which is very relatable to everyone, from all walks of like and regardless of what you believe.

That message is simply peace on earth, something that most of the world really wants and secondly good will to all. It is very much apart of human nature to want things to better in your own life and even in the world. We are wired to want to be happy, so therefore regardless of your views on faith and the like, this message is a good one for all of us.

There is an even deeper meaning in all of this that is often missed and that is the idea of light into the darkness. That idea is something I want to explore in the next two posts but I am going to split it.

The next few posts will be a mini series within this series. So kind of like a present within the present. The two things I aim to represent in life in general are there is always hope and the life of faith through grace instead of being ruled by often well-meaning  but cold and empty religion.

I am going to call this mini series  In search of Stars

Here is the basic schedule of these 3 posts so you can decide if any which of them you want to come back to this blog for.

1 In search of Stars - Star Keepers ( For Followers of Christ Jesus)
2 In search of Stars - star-gazer ( For The readers that are asking questions for a unbies approach to understanding Christianity)
3 In search of Stars - Star Dust - 10 common misconceptions about Christianity and resources to continue your search or faith walk ( For everyone)

The idea of this mini series came from the fact I have readers messaging me with questions and I thought rather than just answer individuals, that this mini-series could help allot more people.

Coming back to this post topic, I want to leave you with one thing,

Next time you see candle, the lights on a Christmas tree or walk through the glittering streets this season, just remember that those lights are but shadows of what this season is all about.

The fact light always over comes the darkness.
Love Hayley
xXx

This post is a real treat for me. I don't think I've ever had a reason to just address my fellow brothers and sister in Christ. If you are reading this and you don't believe in it, then you are very welcome to stick around if you want but for this post I am going to address other believers in Jesus, just like myself. I do call non-believers " the world" in this post, I am sorry if that offends anyone it is not my intention, but I just really want to make this letter that I am about to write be as true to how many believers would speak to each other as possible.
 Dear brothers and sisters,

This is an open letter regarding the issue of relating to what we would call the world when it comes to talking about our faith and/or religion. There are a few things I would really like to bring to your attention, all of which I have learned from experience and are very much my own opinion and observations, but since the bible does say that we as believers are supposed to encourage each other in the faith, I feel justified in sharing my thoughts.

Firstly, please understand that all of these observations come from a genuine desire to see the kingdom of God grow and a heart of humility and love, but also a genuine concern that so often, we as Christians tend to come across as crazy, heartless or completely miss-guided. As well-meaning as we are, many of us fall in to some common traps when attempting to communicate our faith to others. This is very damaging as it usually causes people to write us off and the God we claim to stand for as complete rubbish. Sometimes guys, we just need to get out-of-the-way and let God do the work, He is more than capable of reaching people if He chooses to, and while it is our mission to preach the gospel to all, we must remember that what we carry is very precious and we need to be careful with our conduct for sharing the gospel for it to be effective.

Here are some common mistakes that we make, I know that I myself have made these mistakes in the past and so again, this comes from a heart that seeks to help further the gospel. I don't claim to know everything but this is what I have learned via life experiences.

Mistake 1 - Pushing the message
As well-meaning as we are, many times because of our frustration that so many of our loved ones, may well be heading to hell, we become self-appointed crusaders and may even make certain people are assignment to get them saved.  This may be done through badgering of  Christian material, questions, insisting the person comes to church with you or by telling the person that what they believe is wrong and treating them like they know nothing. Although it doesn't apply to all of us, the term "bible bashing" had to come from somewhere.

The truth is, we can not convert anyone, it is only our job to share the gospel, if people wish to explore it, but pushing the message causes people to just put walls up and dismiss what we have to say. In other-words, by doing this, we are helping the devil with his mission and hurting the very God we serve.

Mistake 2 - Using Christian Jargon.
The world is not familiar  with a lot of the terms we use when we talk to each other. The average non-believer will look at you like you are from another planet if you start to talk about "being saved" asking Jesus in to your heart" or "being born again" just to name a few. We need to try to speak in terms that the person you are speaking to will understand, however if you really must use typical Christian terminology, please explain it first in simple terms.

Mistake 3 - Insisting Christianity is a relationship NOT a religion
To us, our relationship with Jesus is very precious and something we want to share with anyone who will listen because we know how amazing life with Jesus in the picture really is, so yes to us it is about relationship. However, the world views Christianity as a religion, partly because of history and partly because that is how it is portrayed by main-stream media, especially when you have people saying that they are a Christian and God hates X,Y,Z which always comes across as very law based and condemning. I know many Christians will not like what I am about to say, but guys we are apart of a religion, church is a religious institution especially in the many strains of denominations, tithing, communion, baptism, marriage and even prayer and fasting are all typical religious acts, some of which are practiced by other religions, not just us, to deny that when talking to the world, is only going to result in them thinking we are closed-minded, ignorant  and arrogant. When you explain your relationship with Jesus, do it in the manner of explaining how it enhances those seemingly religious practices to be more about relationship and doing it because of love and walking with a living God as appose to trying to state you believe in God but you don't see yourself a religious. Many people do believe in God, even if they are not a Christian, but the real difference is knowing Christ. Please try to keep that your focus when addressing this issue.
 Mistake 4 - Getting into depth with social issues.
Paul warns about the dangers of getting into fruitless debates with the world. Remember they don't see any better because they have yet to have their eyes opened by Jesus. It is not their fault they don't know any better, the god of this world has blinded many. Politely direct the conversation in a different direction if you get these questions. Saying plainly not talking about that because the person won't understand will make that person think your calling them stupid. It would be better to say, that it's an interesting question but in order to answer that you need to explain the basics first, because the philosophy behind what we believe will not make the blind bit of sense to anyone if you don't first lay the foundations. There is a time and place for addressing these issues but if you don't feel confident that you can do it with a focus on grace and love and without coming across as condemning or judgmental then don't feel like you have to answer these questions. Remember you are only one of many sources this person may have found for finding out more about our faith it is often a team effort that gets people to the point where they decide to consider inviting Jesus into their lives for themselves and this team effort can be spread through the person's life. Don't feel like you have to do everything, just do your part.

Mistake 5 - Being known by what we believe not who we are.
We as believer need to be known more for what we are for then what we are against. No one wants to listen to people who tell them that can't do this, that and the next thing. God is love, we are his Children so spread the love!

Above all else, remember you  are a beacon and carry the light to the world in darkness, shine bright.
Take care & God bless
Love Hayley
xXx

1. We all believe the same thing.
While are basic foundation is pretty much the same, different Christians believe different things and have very different interpretations of the bible, this comes into the way in which we conduct our lives. Christianity is very much about personal choice in terms of what you believe and how to conduct your life based on your convictions.

2.We hate gay people and they are going to hell.
Not at all. We don't actually hate any one group of people, God is a God of love and as His children most of us will try to follow that example and be very tolerant of people, regardless of their life style. Being gay won't get you to hell as of itself. We believe it is down to what you do with God's son, not how you choose to live.

3. Christianity is the biggest kill joy religion ever, you can't do anything.
We believe that the rules in the bible are there because God loves us and has our best interest at heart. While there are certain things some Christians will be very much against, Christians are supposed to be and can be very happy people from all sorts of walks of life. It is very much down to personal conviction in a lot of cases.

4. Drinking alcohol is a sin.
Jesus's first miracle was turning water in to wine. Go figure. Seriously though, the bible doesn't say you can't drink it just advises against getting drunk because God is just looking out for you and knows if you drink too much you will get a hangover. It's as simple as that.
5. Christians are super-humans that never do anything wrong.
News flash, Christians are humans too! I can't stress this enough, we all have our own minds, make mistakes, dream, fail and love just the same as anyone else. Becoming a Christian doesn't mean you will never sin again, it just means that your less likely to want to because who really wants to knowingly hurt someone they love?

6. Christianity is incompatible with logic and reason and certainly has no place even trying to co-exist with science.

Tell that to Albert Einstein, C.S Lewis or Issac Newton! To start with faith and logic are polar opposites but once you have had faith in God and He has come through for you a few times, it becomes logical sense to trust Him, even though your mind may try to logically reason that faith doesn't make sense to the mind. That is because it was never designed to make sense, it wouldn't be faith if it did. This one is confusing but you can look into it for yourself if you want to know more.

As for Christianity and Science co-exists, I know a very intellectual scientist that likes to put it this way....

" Science is the how of what God did"

They can exist side by side, but I am not going to try to explain it because it does take faith which is why to some it may seem that this is entirely impossible.

7. Christianity is boring
This one always makes me laugh. Christianity is anything but boring!  Well maybe to some is, but personally being able to live with the knowledge God is looking out for me no matter what is really comforting and encourages me to enjoy life. God wants his kids to have fun it's not all serious prayers and solemn songs. In fact, there are so many different types of christian music of all genres, and in doing research for this article I came across Christian martial arts groups, Christian wrestling, Christian break dancers, Christian Goths and even Christian anime, gamer's and comic book lovers, just to name a few. Christianity is more diverse today then ever.

8. You have to clean up your act to go to church.
No, Jesus would accept you as you are and so should all believers, again its only the minority that lets us down.

9. Christians are judgmental.
Yes, some of us are unfortunately, but those that are have just not really understood the love of the God they claim to serve and experienced His grace yet. This goes back to Christians are human too, we are more than capable of making mistakes and unfortunate we often do.

10. Christians are a bunch of hypocrites!
This one is unfair human nature tends to look at the negatives in all people. What happens allot is that non-believers will catch a Christian do something that they believe is against our bible and will latch on to that one thing, instead of remembering all the times that one believer got things right. I can assure you if that believer truly loves Jesus they will feel awful about it, you telling them how much they messed up is the last thing they need. If you are not a believer, then just think of it as being nice to your fellow human being to not rib them about it. However I am not going to claim that this one is complete rubbish, some "Christians" hypocritical" but again I would argue they don't really know the Christ of the Christianity.

Ok time for the rest of my readers to have a post addressed to them. I have already done a post for the Christian readers but this one is for those of you who are interested in understanding more about Christianity but you don't want a one-sided  approach to the topic.

Firstly to get this started, I am a Christian, but that doesn't mean I have to write a post that is designed to get you to convert so before I even start let me explain why I am doing this.

I believe that faith is only real when you have found it for yourself. No one can push faith on anyone else, no one can convert anyone no matter what tactics it just doesn't work. If you decide to come to decide Christianity is for you, then I want you to be able to do so knowing that it was your choice no one pushed you into it or scared you into it or the like. I know I have people reading this that have no interest in choosing Christianity as a walk of life but you are interested in knowing more about Christianity in terms of what Christians actually believe and the way in which we think. Some people just genuinely have an interest in understanding other people from all walks of life, some of those people sent me messages asking for this post so here it is.

Side note, I am very interested in making posts that my readers actually want to read, I will interact with tweets, messages, comments and the questions of my readers to the best of my ability because I want everyone who reads my blog to know they are valued.
Anyway, getting back on topic
So you want to know about Christianity?

Well the first thing you need to understand is that you can learn about Christianity regardless of your life choices and views and most of us will actually be more than happy to answer your questions with a fairly open mind and without judging you. It is only the minority of quite frankly religious nuts that let down the rest of us.

Second thing to know, we are human too. Although are way of doing things may seem strange to you as may are thoughts and convictions, we all have our own minds. Christianity has many different groups within the church structure, all of which have different interpretations and ways of expressing their faith. We all have a very basic foundation in common though which is made up of 3 things.

We all believe in God
We all have our own way of expressing worship for God and/or serving Him.
We all believe in Jesus as the son of God and that he died on the cross for our sins so we can be reconciled to God. Most of us believe Jesus is now alive, but some groups do not.

Christianity is like other religions in that all religions have their own practices and ways of living and basic moral framework.

Christianity is not like in other religions in that Christianity is the only religion that believes in only one God and that this God is alive today. The religion of Christianity is dead without the living person of Jesus Christ who we believe we have a relationship with, which sounds strange I know but it's about faith.

Regardless of your faith there is no way of proving faith. You either believe or you don't. Even if there is all the evidence in the world, if someone chooses not to believe in something then they just won't. So faith is a choice and it is the choice to believe in Jesus and the choice to have faith in Christianity as-well  as the Christ of the Christianity that is what this life style is about.

We believe God is a God of love and He loves you. However, if you don't believe in Him that statement will mean nothing to you which is why I am stating it is what we believe not what is the case.

Many intellectuals were/are also Christian.

Intellect and logic can work with Christianity but it is not something that can be explained only experienced, which is where faith comes in and may seem like the biggest cop-out ever, but that really is how it works.

Christianity is about hope, faith love and peace but it is certainly not by any means an easy life choice.

Throughout history Christians have been persecuted and there is still persecution going on today, although in most cases it is in a far more subtle form.

The reason that we put up with that though is because we  believe what we experience and have with Jesus in the picture is so amazing that it is worth it no matter what.

On the flip side of this, we do also believe in the devil, we believe in a spirit world and that there is a war going on. I know I am being very brief here but all I aim to do in this post is give you some thoughts to help you get started/continue on your quest to find out more about this religion/faith. If you want to know more about the dark side though, you can find that in my devils tool box series on this blog.

The bottom line of what we believe is that Jesus is the light that overcomes the darkness of this world, He is the star that leads you home.

At this point I am going to leave it there, although I have only scratched the surface.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have,
but until next time.

Take care,

Love Hayley

xXx

I just realized that some of my cracking Xmas posts that were scheduled didn't actually go up on my blog. It feels like the moment has passed now, it would be uploading for the sake of it  so I'm not even going to bother upload them so that means Cracking Xmas is all finished.

I think the search for the meaning of Xmas can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. For me personally I think what Xmas means to me is a time that outlines the truth about relationships, be it family friends or significant others, relationships and people are very important and I really learned the value of that through this series.

That said, thank you so much to all my readers for sticking with me this year and roll on 2014!

Happy New year all!

xXx



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