What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?

What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?

So today I got mad. And I cried for an embarrassingly long amount of time over it.

Did someone die? No. Did a friendship end? Nope.

A friend and I were arranging my brand new writing space, a room I had wanted for a long time. We began to place my books on the closet-turned bookshelf, and as we laid down the last book, boom. Just like the walls of Jerico, it came tumbling down. It seriously ruined my whole day. Now, what does any of this have to do with God? Not a whole lot, but it has more to do with his nemesis. I let the devil rob me of my joy for a good chunk of the day over something so trivial and earthly.

I told everything that had happened with the broken furniture, how I reacted, and how I still felt about it to one of my church leaders (because we are more like family than anything) and she flat out told me that needed to stop tripping. Nowhere in the Bible does it say it isn’t okay to be mad or upset, but it does tell us that in the end, earthly things will have no room in the kingdom of heaven. God’s word also instructs us not to be anxious over anything, but to instead, trust that everything will work out to his glory.

God is trying to teach all of us something, and for me right now, those lessons seem to be joy, peace, and patience. True joy is found in God, and crying over the little inconveniences of life isn’t honoring him; it’s feeding the enemy.

My friend told me, “Really Ali? You’re going to be this upset over something so small? Is that gonna matter when you get up to heaven?’ With a little attitude, I responded with, “ I’m gonna ask God why he allowed this bookshelf to break.’ She laughed and said, “Then God will say ’˜depart from me, you’re petty.’

God knows our hearts desires, but the unfortunate thing is that Satan knows some things about us as well; he knows exactly what to do to make us angry.  I love books, and anything to do with writing, so of course, like the turd he is, he’s gonna go after those areas in my life.

I’m not mad about it anymore, and truth be told I should have just let it roll off my shoulders then and there. No matter what it is that’s got you down in life; bills, a toxic home life, a bad day at work, spilling coffee on your laptop, all of those things, big or small, have no power over us, because we are the children of a God who loves us, knows us better than anyone, and knows what we can and can’t handle in our lives.

Don’t let the devil win. He may know how to attack, but so do you. Make him mad with the way you respond, shake it off, know that things can be fixed, and have an awesome day. The devil can’t win if you don’t play the game.

Thanks, hope all is well!

-Alisha-

Moving Into 2019: Through the Window of Their Witness

I remember around this time last year scurrying about the library in Trinity College Dublin attempting to finish an essay. Hours of reading, drafting, editing and perfecting left me worn out. What was all my energy put into? An essay on the adaptation of Marxist-Leninist thinking in the domestic policy of Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution (I know it sounds riveting!). Although history and geopolitics is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is part of the grand tapestry of history in which we are apart of. Further, it is overseen by the Creator of all things.

Thinking back on that essay has made me concerned for my brothers and sisters in the country of China. In researching the 1960s and 1970s for the essay, I discovered the horrors that Christians encountered. Further, it seems if history is repeating itself again in China. Whatever the circumstances and trials our brothers and sisters in China face, to the world they are a window through which others can witness the reality of Christ.

That Was Then

Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976 made it his aim to roll Communism into all areas of Chinese life. Michael Lynch in his book Origins and development of authoritarian and single-party states notes how Mao saw religion as utter poison, even making the comparison of Christian missionaries in China to Nazis in Europe. In his leadership, Mao wanted to dominate the political sphere and weed out Christianity along with all other religions. Fenggang Yang, a prominent scholar on religion in China, noted that Mao set out in the Cultural Revolution to eradicate religion from China through a form of militant atheism. Religion was the stumbling block to Mao achieving total dictatorial power.

During these years, outward expressions of religion were banned, religious rituals were prohibited, churches were torn down and ransacked. Followers of Christ were tortured, persecuted and killed for their faith. Mao’s indoctrinated Red Guards aimed to permanently delete Christianity from Chinese daily life. Ironically, Mao ended up creating a religion around himself – Maoism. Mao, through propaganda, presented himself to the Chinese peasantry as a god. His little Red Book replaced the Bibles that were burned. His pictures were to take the place of the symbol of the cross. All aspects of life were infiltrated by Maoism. In all his endeavours, Mao sought to transform every aspect of the individual’s life in China. Frank Dikotter, a Dutch historian, notes that Mao only really managed to exact outward compliance. Faith moved into the shadows at this time, but within those shadows it grew exponentially. The Protestant denomination from estimates grew from 0.8 million in 1956 to 3 million in 1982. Climbing to 16 million in 2009.

Although Mao sought the riddance of Christianity in China by bringing worship to himself, he was unsuccessful as the Christian witness within China persevered and experienced huge growth. This can only be seen as the gracious and merciful act of God, bringing people to a knowledge of him as the gospel went across China during those years of persecution. Consequently, we might be prone to think everything is fine and dandy in China today. Even with the Reform and Open Door Policy of premier Deng Xiaoping in the 70s and 80s persecution of Christians in China continues. Moreover, things are intensifying under the presidency of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping.

This is Now

China is the world’s second largest economy and in years to come is predicted to overtake the US. With globalisation, China’s single-party police state is attempting to find means of dealing with the outside world politically and geographically. Historically, China has not dealt well with its surrounding nations, maintaining a tendency to look inward and grapple at self-sufficiency. Maybe greater openness has helped transform China though?

Modern day China appears to have greater accountability structures than those that existed under Mao – society is a project aiming for harmonious and prosperous living under party rule. Although we have seen greater openness from China since the tyrant Mao died, officials in China continue to crackdown on whomever they will. The CCP is permitted to go beyond the law without any accountability. This has created an environment of fear, uncertainty and frustration from the political to the economic to  the societal spheres. While this abuse of power is punctuated by human rights violations.

Diana Chandler addresses how 2018 has been a difficult year for Christians in China – has there been a return to Mao era persecution? Most definitely. For example, most of us have heard of the hunting down and arresting of members of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan Province. The pastors and elders of this church wrote ‘we will not bend, even it means jail, even it means death. We will continue to preserve our faith’. Police raids have escalated, crosses have been removed, people have been blocked from entering churches, worship has been shut down and Christians have been harassed. Those arrested from Early Rain reported being beaten, tortured and denied food. These Christians were dragged, stepped on, bound with chains for their faith.

President Xi Jinping will deny all these corrupt human rights violations. Unlike Mao, Xi does not want to ‘eradicate religion’ rather he desires to Sinicise it. He wants to bring the Christian religion in line with the CCP’s ideology. This is not feasible though as Christianity is diametrically opposed to a worldview system that bases itself in atheistic philosophy.

Xi knows that Christianity is a threat to CCP power, as it opposes everything the tyrannical and dictatorial CCP stands for. We, as the international community, need to stand for the religious freedom that Chinese Christians should be guaranteed. Any abuse of people made in the image of God in any shape or form is unacceptable and loathsome.  However, even in the midst of their persecution they are witnesses.

Those Who Witness

Secular author Ian Johnston noted how the Cultural Revolution showed how oppression encouraged real faith; the prayer for the church in China is that God would continue to grow his kingdom amidst persecution from the Chinese Communist Party and their cult like leader Xi Jinping. May the God of all comfort use the trials and difficulties of our brothers and sisters in China to bear witness to all around the world. Ultimately that they may believe in Jesus and his redemption of a sinful humanity.

The gospel of John begins by communicating how John the Baptist “came as a witness… that all might believe through him” (v.7). John the Baptist was the first among a great “cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1) to testify to the truth of Jesus’s life. This cloud has swelled to millions of Christians in recent decades in China. Each witness having seen Christ through the witness of one another. Many in this cloud have lost their lives in China, but through this we hope that thousands more will join the cloud of witnesses who testify to the Son. The glorious Son who came, full of grace and truth.

Goodlife Magazine Receives 2018 Best of Marietta Award

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Goodlife Magazine Receives 2018 Best of Marietta Award

Marietta Award Program Honors the Achievement

MARIETTA October 18, 2018 — Goodlife Magazine has been selected for the 2018 Best of Marietta Award in the Publisher category by the Marietta Award Program.

Each year, the Marietta Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Marietta area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2018 Marietta Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Marietta Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Marietta Award Program

The Marietta Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Marietta area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Marietta Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Marietta Award ProgramCONTACT:GOODlife MagazineEmail: info@goodlifemagazine.orgURL: www.goodlifemagazine.org                                                                   

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