If I Died at a Concert, Would I Go to Heaven?

I’ve often asked myself this question. It’s a legitimate concern for me because I love music and I love going to shows. I love the feeling music alone gives me, and the power of performances is like nothing else.

So in light of what happened at a concert in Manchester recently, the question popped up again: If I died at a concert, would I go to heaven?

(*Note: I’m not at all giving any kind of judgment to any of those people who lost their lives at that concert in Manchester. My heart aches when tragedies like these occur. I don’t know their lives nor their hearts, and I’m not here to sentence anyone—that’s not my job.)

I’ve gone to countless shows. I’ve even seen one band nearly 20 times alone.

Here’s the thing though.

Within the last maybe year or so, I’ve really felt my concert-going days would soon be over for me. I felt God was calling me to set my mind on things above, and going to shows was something I had to let go of. If I’m honest (though through gritted teeth), I think it’s a pretty clear conviction for me.

Though yes, I’ve tried to ignore it. There are many, many concerts I want to go to this year. If I go to one of these concerts and end up dying, what does that mean for me? Where will I end up? Would my Christian life up to that point not matter? Did I just damn myself by that one decision, that one choice to go?

Is it dangerous to do something we know we shouldn’t be doing? Where do justice, grace, and mercy come into play?

Does ignoring our convictions and rationalizing them away end up leading us to an inevitable path of destruction?


So You Think Confidence?

I saw her walk through the door, earbuds popped in, a smile on her face and calmness I couldn’t match. Meanwhile there I stood, hands sweating, hair pinned back, barely remembering to breathe.

I wondered, how is it that she can walk in here with such confidence? She’s probably been here longer than I have, and that would explain it…

So in passing, I asked her.

To my surprise, she’d been there just as long as I had.

What, you’re like a pro! I told her. Why is it that every time I come in here I feel like I can’t breathe until I leave!?

She’s about my age and I wish I walked around with as much assurance as she did that day.

It’s no secret, I, as well as lots of other people, am afraid of making mistakes.

I mean I really, really, really just don’t want to mess up. Sometimes in a moment of decision I end up just standing there trying to decide if I should ask for help or figure it out on my own. People probably think I’m so weird. I am, but still ;P

I want to be thorough, yet time efficient. I want to be a problem solver, yet don’t want to make mistakes. How does one find the right balance?

I guess all this comes with time, comes with learning and growing and getting older… and just doing. The more you do something, the better you get at it and the more confidence you gain.

I also never really understood how truly related experience is with age until one day it just clicked. All the people I talked to, all the stories I’ve heard and the advice given to me all came together, and it finally made sense. I find myself always trying to be on the same level of someone twice my age with twice as much experience, and that just won’t happen. I am learning to accept life as a learning process, and not beat myself up for not being who or where I think I should be, mainly in comparison to other people. The key is to keep trying and not give up, and definitely not compare myself to others.

That in itself is liberating.

I don’t want to go through life living as if its just one big competition, but I do want the kind of confidence I see in others. Confidence in my jobs, in my faith, in my abilities, in my blogging…

How do I get there, how do you get there?

Speaking of confidence, I can’t continue this post without addressing something else: confidence in one’s own beliefs.

I’ve come to the realization of just how important it is to know what I believe, to know why I am a part of something and why I want to share certain things with others. What makes what I believe so special? Why should I invite others to have similar beliefs?

Part of what has been churning inside me for months now was realizing how utterly unable I was to give reasons and answers to things for which I should have reasons and answers.

It’s one thing to say I believe in something, but another thing to explain the reasons why. That takes some effort, but it will be worth all that effort in the end.

That moment was a flashlight into my own conscience, a beacon to remind me to do some real searching that I failed to do before. It was also a reminder to put my confidence in Christ. I lost sight of that, of my Anchor. The best advice I received on this topic was this: Learn, study, find the answer. If you trust God, He will provide the way.

And I think that’s how I can gain confidence all around: trust, in God and how He has lead me thus far, and how He will continue to lead me.

As I’m writing this I’m reminded of something new I’m going to be starting next week, and I could use all the confidence (and heavenly guidance) I can get. I also need to gain confidence in my blogging, because we all know the internet is rife with cyber psychos, and I’m just waiting for my turn to get bullied.


So, how do you stay confident?

Until next,


Gods Before Me

Anyone who has read any of my blog posts already knows this.

I am very much an advocate for avoiding things that are, in my opinion, quite obvious followers of Christ need to avoid. To a lot of others (Christians included), it isn’t quite so obvious. (This goes along with what I write about in one of my previous posts.)

For example, I think people who profess Christianity should not have sex before marriage, should not gamble, and should not partake in alcoholic beverages, regardless of the amount.

But that’s just it, is it my opinion, or is there biblical evidence to support why Christians should avoid certain things? (Phil.4:8 and 1 Cor. 10:31 are usually the starting points.)

Yeah, I know the Bible doesn’t actually say thou shalt not gamble, but the principles of good stewardship (how to handle and how not to handle our money) are definitely there.

Anyway, I don’t know how many times I’ve had to tell people, “No, I won’t watch that movie because it’s about this, that, or the other” without having to answer to, “Well why does that matter?

Look, I am by no means perfect. I don’t have all the answers. I am still learning (and will always be learning) on this spiritual journey I am on.

But I have just have to address this topic. What things in my life have I made “other gods” before my God?

Contrary to popular belief, the “gods” in the first commandment do not only involve idolatry over statues or carved images, but involve whatever other things we put primary in our lives.

Before I really started becoming serious about my walk with God, I never spent time reading, praying, or anything spiritual during the week. One day a week for church was good enough. I put everything else before God. I would stand in line all day just to see a band I liked, I would wake up early to score some tickets to a concert, I would put friends, boyfriends, entertainment, school, and even family before God (family is always a touchy one).

Basically, I always put myself and what I wanted before God. I never sought His counsel before making any decision.

But then I heard this: Giving the gospel to the world in this generation is our ultimate goal and purpose in the Christian’s life.

And I learned to ask myself this question: What am I doing in my life that is causing reading the Bible and other good things (attending church, witnessing/evangelizing, going to a Bible study,etc.) to be boring?

It’s all those things I listed and more. It’s all those things in my life I put before God.

Matthew 7:21-23 talks about people who profess to be followers of Christ but do not do what He commands us to do. Are we living a life like this, a Christian life where Christ will say to us, “I knew you not?”


I know what some of you might be thinking…this is too extreme. You’re being too extreme. Christ died so we don’t have to worry about any of this.

Let me just say, that is completely false. Read 1 Peter and 1 Thessalonians for what people following Christ should expect in their Christian walk.

There are plenty of people in the Bible who did some pretty “extreme” things because God commanded them to (e.g., Noah, Abraham, Moses, just to name a few).

So let me ask you this: Is doing what God asks you to do, what He asks each and every one of His people to do, really too extreme?

“Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god…”

That’s really the point of this post. Are there things in my life that I am serving instead of God? Is Christ the supreme love of my life? Am I willing to give up the things He knows are bad for me, things that take away my focus from Him?

The beautiful promise He gives us is that no matter what our habits are and no matter how much we struggle with them, He will provide a way for us to overcome. Habits are hard to break, and the guilt from them is often overpowering.

But guilt is meant to be momentary,not chronic.

“Let these despondent ones look up, the Savior is bending over the purchase of His blood. Will to serve him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength.”

The Desire of Ages

Until next,


Thanks to Belt of Truth Ministries for inspiring this post.


Defiling the Temple

What substances-legal or illegal- should Christians be avoiding?

Your body is a temple.

I’ve often wondered what that means.

So, what does it mean?

I read a comment online once that read: “Your body is a temple, so do with it whatever you please.”

I was a little uneasy about that response.

Is that how we are to look at our bodies, as something we can use, abuse, and do whatever we want with?

Many people will say, yes, that is exactly what it’s for.

On the contrary, I believe something different.

With recent stories I’ve heard of people and their substance addictions, it makes me think that the “freedom” we feel we have over our bodies is really more like bondage.

Addiction, whatever it may be over, is not freedom.

And how does one get addicted? It starts with just one moment, one decision to indulge…

I believe my body belongs to God, and is not mine to do whatever I want with.

“For you (we) are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16).

“If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Cor. 3:17).

Now, I already know some people are thinking, “Well, this doesn’t apply to me. I’m not a believer of anything the Bible has to say. I don’t believe my body belongs to anyone but me, and I’m also not an addict.”

Well, I believe it does apply to those people too, but we won’t get into that right now.

The main thing I want to get to is this:

How do we determine which things defile our bodies?

After reading 1 Cor. 3:17, I thought, well this clearly says we are not to defile our bodies, which is the holy temple of God, so clearly I know not to indulge in drugs, alcohol, premarital/extra-marital sex, etc.


I really don’t think it is clear to a lot of people.

In fact, I heard a debate between several Christians over why it is or is not okay to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke marijuana.

And the flood gates were opened.

Now, even though those debating folks are Christians, and I’ll tell you what, they had differing opinions as far apart as the east is from the west.

It made me think that this issue really is difficult to address because it’s such a sticky topic.

How do you answer from the Bible? How do I give an answer that is more than just a personal story or personal experience?

Then there are those people who ask, “Well golly, Em, don’t you think if you’re abstaining from alcohol and drugs, then you should abstain from things like pain relievers and sugar?”

I just want to shake my fists at those folks. Other than responding (quite fervently) that those things are very different, I kind of feel like my responses are lacking.

Are they different? Should I avoid sugar the way I avoid alcohol?

So you have people who avoid alcohol and drugs, but those same people are indulging in soda, coffee, processed foods, and over the counter pain meds.

Sticky topic, right?

So, what do you do? If you are a follower of Christ, how would you respond in way that isn’t just personal or anecdotal? What’s the right thing to do?

Until next controversial topic,


A Life that was Changed

As I’ve been at home sick the last couple of days, it is  appropriate for me to write about what I think it means to live my life for others and to live for a greater cause, while appreciating sacrifices others have made for me. If there is one thing I’ve learned while being newly married, it’s that I no longer do nor want to do things just for myself anymore. Pre-marriage I was doing things like working for myself, laundry for myself, meal prepping for myself, planning the day for myself, etc. But now I’m learning to put myself aside and put anything that has to do with his well-being as a priority.

And while I’ve been sick,  my husband has made his own sacrifices (like getting out of bed to drive me to Target at 10:30 at night to get pill-form medicine since I’m too picky to swallow the liquid stuff).

And lately I’ve been starting to see the shift in my own self-centeredness to being more, well, self-less.

I think a common misconception about selflessness is that selfless people are passive and weak, while other people feel they need to be self-centered and selfish, making ‘ME’ a priority in order to look strong and independent

I can recall few advertisements where helping others before helping yourself was the main theme, while I can clearly recall commercials, billboards, television shows, and magazines where self-centeredness is dominant.

Okay,okay the point of this blog is not for social commentary, so I’ll end that here. The real point I want to get at is the change I noticed in myself.

Another thing I want to note is that to me, putting his needs as my priority doesn’t make me “lose” myself or my own needs. His happiness is my happiness.  Others’ happiness is my happiness.

A few months ago, I was asked to take over a class at my church on the mornings before church service and, naturally, I was eager to say ‘no’.

Oh no, I thought. I’m afraid to commit, and I don’t know how to teach!

Fear already started to plant itself in my mind, but I’m learning not to make quick decisions if I don’t have to, and am learning to really think, pray, and meditate on any decisions that I need to make.

So I prayed about making the right decision every day after I was asked, and kept reciting in my prayers:

Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

That’s pretty scary-committing to something you don’t want to do for the sake of helping others… That idea is kind of foreign to me. I’ve grown accustomed to just doing what’s comfortable for me, myself, and I.

I’m trying not to think that way anymore. Any skill or talent I have, I want to use it to bring other people to truth, not to glorify myself


Whoa, that’s crazy! I never thought those words would come out of my hand. In the past, all I ever wanted to do with YouTube, music, or writing was to make ME the center, to make myself the highlight of any project.

What a difference, now. Now I want to be a blessing to others, to help other people, even in the smallest of ways.

During the week I was praying about the decision to teach the class, I got an urge to listen to old worship songs my mom would play for me and my sister as kids. As the songs started playing, memories flooded my mind. But when one particular song came on, the beauty of the lyrics touched me so deep, I started crying. Right then I knew what my decision needed to be.

The song was about all the people who were touched by the sacrifices one person made, touched so much that their entire lives were changed.

My sister and I performed that same song at our old church a long,long time ago, but I never truly appreciated the words until now. It’s amazing how God works.

And then later in my studies I read:

The plant does not germinate, grow, or bring forth fruit for itself, but to ‘give seed to the sower and bread to the eater.’  So no man is to live unto himself. The Christian is in the world as a representative of Christ, for the salvation of other souls.

There can be no growth or fruitfulness in a life that is centered in self.

What a change I need to make. Thinking of only myself can no longer be a thing anymore. I meant to publish this post weeks ago, but timing is everything. Being sick at home allowed me to see selflessness in others, and allowed me to listen to programs during the day that just happened to be talking about how important it is for representatives of Christ to use their talents and share their knowledge of truth with others.

I have been teaching the class alone for the last two weeks and it has reassured me that I’ve made the right choice.

We have been blessed to be a blessing, and I pray that God can use me to reach these young people, especially since high school is or soon will be a reality for them and they are going to make choices that will shape who they will become.



Through Being Cool (Pt.2)

Lately I’ve been getting caught up in moments where I’m taken back to my high school days and early college years, taken back to things I said, things I did, people I hung around with, the way I dressed.

It totally blows my mind how all of those memories were actually my memories, my stories.

And to be honest, I was a different girl. And what blows my mind even more is when I look a myself now…

I’m like, totally whoa.

Who is this girl?

Or rather, who was that other girl, that other me?

Was that who I really am, or is this who I really am?

I recently overheard a conversation between a couple of people I know about their ongoing activities together. I think I just happened to look over and make eye contact, so one of them asked, “Why don’t you ever come out with us?”

And I said:

“Why don’t you ever invite me?”

To which one responded: “We’ll invite you next time.”
To which I responded, rather playfully: “Is it because I don’t drink?”

“Nooo, we don’t drink when we *name activity here*.”

Mhmmm, I though to myself. Sure you don’t. And suuuure that wasn’t your reason for not inviting me.

I know how it is sometimes.

Oh that girl? She doesn’t drink anymore. Don’t invite her, she’s no fun.

They may not say it, but I know some people think it.

I’m not that “cool,” rebellious chick that everyone admires.

And really, I probably wouldn’t have gone out with these people. Not because I don’t want to hang out with them, but because I think I would have felt kind of awkward.

Why, you may wonder?

Well over the last two years or so, probably around the time I really stopped drinking, I noticed I started to shy away from making acquaintances at school, at work, anywhere I normally would, really, and I think it’s because I felt and still feel like I can never really bond with people, like I can’t really relate to them all that much anymore because a lot of my tastes have changed in many ways.

So I just stay away. This may or may not be the best thing to do, but it’s just what I’ve started doing after awhile.

I’ll be real, here: My social life resulted in a few relationships being messed up, and many relationships were formed that should have never been formed. It’s because of those situations that I think I’m way better off not being as social as I was, at least not in those kind of environments Boy, I feel like just this paragraph can be a blog post on it’s own…

And naturally after two years of “social abstinence,” I’m pretty awkward.

*Refer to previous TBC post to read my definition of “social abstinence”.

“Come out with us this weekend!”

“Sweet, I’m in. What’re we doing??”

“Bar hopping!”

Well shoot…I’m out.

Womp womp womp.

But that is how it has to be, my friends. What am I going to do bar hopping? Spend money on expensive soda while trying to yell over loud bar music? No thanks. I need to be different from the world, I need to be set apart, trying my best to avoid the things that can bring me down.

That is what He calls us to do, not to blend in with the crowd.

 Look, I know what you may be thinking…

“You’re being way too judgmental and legalistic, Em. We’re all sinners. Nobody’s perfect. We are in the world, after all.”

  Yes, some of that may be true, but I strongly believe and have reason to believe there are things in this world people as followers of Christ really should not be doing…at all…not even a little bit.

Think about who it is we are supposed to be representing…

I read the other day that

“We(I) have spent enough time involved with worldly people, when we (I) took part in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties…”

And it’s so true. I spent a lot of my time doing those things Peter says they (we) wasted time doing and need to stop doing.

So I woke up from the daze and confusion of the life I was living. I’m fighting against my fleshly desires to do what is right in His eyes, to be set apart, to be a special people…

To suffer for what is good.

( “Wait, fightingsuffering? Why would a God of love want us to fight and suffer?” I’ll try to address this in another post… Part 3 maybe?)

And really, why would I go around saying I’m “Christian” when I act like everyone else? How can I be God’s special possession when I’m still flirting around in darkness?

Until Part 3,