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23Jan/120

Food For Thought: What comes to mind when you think of Lamb?

So much has been going on in my life lately, and I've been wanting to share it all for so so long and to so so many people. This is going to be long, and this is going to seem really strange coming from me, to a lot of people. Strange it will be, but sincere it is.

Tonight, I feel, is the night that I am suppose to spill it all to the entire world.

As most of my friends and probably all of my family know, I have been waiting patiently for so long and have had my heart broken so many times by girls. Finally it paid off, because now I have the most incredible, lovable, beautiful, strong and perfect girlfriend for me. I can honestly tell you that I love her, and every moment (even the few bad) moments have been fantastic. We can talk about anything without shame or embarrassment - unless I'm upset and need quiet time to collect myself ;)

I have not only a job to be thankful for, but one that I enjoy and one that allows me to live a lifestyle I prefer.

I have begun a healthier life style, and am for the most part sticking to it -- having lost weight and been active back in the gym with cardio and lifting.

And also, the reason for this entry, is my refound faith. For so long I have been hesitant in telling people about my started-again walk with Jesus, not for shame of being a Christian, but for shame of what I had said and done while I was lost...

It would be impossible to apologize and ask for forgiveness to everyone that I surely offended in my time, so I can only pray and put out here that I am indeed sorry.

However, the meat of what I want to write about is this...

My knowledge on Christianity and the Bible is not large -- I will not claim it to be. However, there are a few things that have really captured my heart and mind and that I spend so so much time thinking about, and that is the following:

  • Teacher: My girlfriend! (she learned at her Discipleship School and shared it with me

 

 

 

 

 

 

    • Paraphrase: People maintain a spontaneous relationship with every single person they know: friends, family, strangers, pets. However, when it comes to our faith with our God (whichever faith that may be, truly) we are so structured. We wake up, we pray and do a devotion. We might bless our meals every time we eat. We occasionally thank God when something great happens (raise, promotion, avoid an accident). We pray when we go to bed.
    • Point: Our relationship with our God is supposed to be our #1 relationship, priority, and love. We should do our best to not structure that love, but to treat it with as much adventure as we would our girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife, child or friend. Theres no reason to not say a quick prayer to just lift up thanks and praise for the calm albeit boring day we have (something terrible could have been avoided and we dont know it!). Theres no reason why we cant turn on our favorite Christian band and have our own mid-day worship.
    • Summary: I just thought this was a really cool message she was delivered and passed down to me. I don't know how often she or any of you readers will reflect and strive toward a spontaneous relationship with your God, but I know that I do my best and it's wonderful! (So babe, thats my excuse if I forget to do my devotion in the morning and do it at night instead! I'm being spontaneous! :D )
  • Teacher: Pastor Phil @ First United Methodist Church - Stuart, FL
    • Preface: "My" church is Coastal Life in Stuart, FL, but when my girlfriend is in town I attend my church Saturday evenings and go with her to hers Sunday mornings. This particular service was the Christmas Eve serviceLamb of God
    • Point (see update title): See: John 1:29-"Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"
      • Every Christians favorite type of Lamb should be Jesus. For the last 7 months of dating Danielle, I've began listening to Christian music pretty early on and now it encompasses nearly everything I listen to, every time. So often you hear in the song references to the Lamb of God. I know we all know in our hearts and through our learnings that that obviously means Jesus, right. But have you ever truly thought into it? Ever truly had that revelation of the power behind that designation, to be the LAMB OF GOD? I wish I could give you the exact scripture but I do not remember and couldn't find it... But basically, in the bible for Lent it explains to take your perfect lamb (not one with illness, injury or any issues, but PERFECT) and to sacrifice it to avoid the angels of death. Likewise, Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God as he is the PERFECT sacrificial offering. It was he who was sacrificed by his own Father so that we could all avoid death -- death being forever casted away from Heaven and God and banished to Hell. It was such a powerful message to me, and still I think about it on my own and absolutely every time I listen to songs that sing about it.
    • Additionally, in doing research I found the following quote from Saint Augustine in 375 AD (Jesus is often referred to as a lion-like lamb in the book of Revelation):
      • "Why a lamb in his passion? Because he underwent death without being guilty of any iniquity. Why a lion in his passion? Because in being slain, he slew death. Why a lamb in his resurrection? Because his innocence is everlasting. Why a lion in his resurrection? Because everlasting also is his might."

I find myself being drawn more and more with my involvement in my church and with my faith, and I feel its all as a reason to help my walk develop into a full blown sprint while providing casted light in front of me to help keep me from tripping, stumbling, or twisting my ankle.

Each week I walk away from my churches service with plenty of food for thought for the week, and each week after if I'm able to I attend a college aged worship group, which brings me to my next part.

Essentially what our Saturday nights include are a great service at Church and then a gathering either at Pastor Ricks house or another persons, but lately it has been at our new churchs facility that has a really cool chapel built in 1928 that we use! We begin with some simple chit chat amongst each other and then work our way into a 30 minute to an hour session of worship, led by a number of people on guitars, piano and a bongo if available. Our songs are simple but passionate, long but never dull. And fortunately, Rick always leads us on exercises to help break us from our shells.

This last week was absolutely incredible, and brought me more joy and emotion than I have ever felt at one time. Rick asked us to one at a time just raise up to God in a prayer what we were thankful for (a new job, a safety net, a request, anything). There were any choice of prayers and thanks. Finally I decided to break the silence with mine, and I thanked God for his patience. I thanked him for his patience and his forgiveness. Then I thanked him for my incredible girlfriend... I thanked him for my girlfriend because of how he used her to bring me back on the path towards him -- he waited through everything I did and said, all the doubts and rebukes for years. Then when the perfect opportunity presented itself, my life happened. I say that because truly I had no part in it, it just fell into place. And at this point I was overwhelmed with relief, with love, and with shame -- and I broke down into tears. I hate to cry, and I hate to cry in front of a person. What do I hate more? To cry in front of 15 people. But it didn't even matter, because I laid it all out and out loud to him, not held within my heart and mind. I felt a burden lift, and I was just so overcome. And what is really incredible is that while I basically sobbed, and while I felt guilt and shame, I never felt bad. It was like, maybe, if you were at your grandparents house as a child and broke something and you felt terrible? They love you. They dont care... Its done, its over with. You're still their grandchild and they have no ill feelings.

I dont know, it was just wonderful.

My point for this post? To come out with my faith. To not be concerned with what others will think, or what my family might think.

I feel like my faith is that much more of a precious thing, because I "had" it as a child and young teen and then lost it, only to find it again, on my own terms and will full surrender -- not because it was a cool thing to do in my clique, or because its what my parents told me to do and believe. It was because I truly gave my heart and life over to God.

Closing: Someone recently told me, while they don't fully believe in the Christian faith that they think its an incredible thing for people in pain or need, suffering or outcast, injured or broke can use faith as a means of support and to feel better through their trials. My thoughts? Its because its real. And its because its God reaching out and being their crutch. See: Deuteronomy 31:6 " Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Also, I just want to say a big thank you to:

  • Danielle
    • You have been paramount in my life for the last 7 months. You have brought me more joy than I have ever had and could ever have imagined with a girlfriend. I cannot wait to see where our journey takes us. I cannot wait to learn more from you about life and about faith. You mean so much to me, and I love you.
  • Pastor Rick and my Coastal Life family
    • You were a huge part in my walk. It was with you that I prayed for my salvation. It was through you God spoke to me and peacefully called me back to him. It is through your Church that I grow, and seek to be a better person and a better servant to God. I learned that my life didnt begin at birth, but when I accepted Christ in my heart and that it will be for eternity surround by those who love me.
  • God
    • Every day I thank you for waiting for me and for truly loving me, unconditionally. I thank you for the life you have given me, for the trials you have put me through, and for the situations yet to come in my life because I know that you are the light in my darkness, and the strength when I am weak. I thank you for being forgiving and for having sent your son to die for me, so that myself and all other believers can spend eternity with you rejoicing. I am most thankful that you are helping me to be a better person and Christian, to overcome the shameful and disgusting things I do as I give in to sin, and to help me work through them and repent.
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