We Are Set Free

MEXICOChange. I almost shiver at hearing that word sometimes. There are good changes and there are bad changes. But, for the most part, we don’t like any type of change. Change may bring sadness or difficulties or happiness or something new different. And we don’t always like something new.

The Jews didn’t like change. They loved their traditions and laws and sacrifices. So when Jesus, the Son of God, came down to earth and told them to change, they hated him. He offered them something new and different, and most of the people rejected him. They crucified him. Jesus gave them freedom from the law and forgiveness of sins without sacrifices. He offered them new life. Eternal life. But for this they had him beaten and hanged on a cross.

Matthew 24:9

Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.
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This is why Christians are persecuted more so than most. We’re different. Our “religion” isn’t a religion. It doesn’t tell you to work harder and be good so that you can earn your way to Heaven. All religions ask something of you. They give you laws to follow in hopes that you might earn your way to Heaven or Paradise or something like that. But you can never do that. None of us can. We’re too sinful and fallen. We can’t do anything on our own.

The Jews were in the same predicament as everyone else who followed a religion, except for the important fact that they followed the one and only true God. If you look throughout the Old Testament you’ll see that they couldn’t live up to God’s standards. Again and again they fell short.

Jesus changed things. We can now have a one on one relationship with God. We don’t have to be good enough for Him; we just have to believe in Him. There is no more need for sacrifices. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness and He will never fail to forgive us of all our transgressions. We were in slavery under the law, but now we are set free.

This is why someone will always be persecuting us (at least until Jesus returns). Our sinful human nature wants to work for salvation. It gives us a feeling of self, of identity (though our identity can be found in Christ). We like to believe that we did something on our own. Like God isn’t actually in control of our lives. But that’s not true. For everything we’ve done or ever will do has been because of God. All the glory belongs to Him.

Let’s rejoice over the freedoms we have today in Christ.

We are set free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:3

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

This doesn’t mean to live however an ungodly lifestyle you want.  Because of this precious gift God has given us we should want to live by the example Jesus set before us. We shouldn’t ever waste such freedom that way.

Jesus changed the world. Now it’s our chance to live out that change to the fullest.

-G. Paige

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Why are We Even Here?

ahr2Do you ever feel…lost? I know the feeling. The feeling of not knowing where you are heading. Or, why you are even here? I think that sometimes we get so wrapped up in life that we forget the real point of life, of living. It is a very important thing to remember, but too easily we will take it for granted and, well…forget about it. I mean, we all got like a thousand things to be doing each day, right? But in doing all the thousands of things that need to get done, are you taking time to prioritize the right things in your life? Or, have you lost sight of the goal in the ruff and tumble of life? I know that I do.

So as the new year begins, as we start this year with a new perspective and new resolutions, let’s also make sure that our priorities are straight.

First off, a reminder of why we are living: to glorify God. That’s it. To glorify Him in any way possible.

Genesis 1:26-27

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

You know what is so neat about this? He created us out of dirt. That is about the lowest form of matter that He could have possibly used. But then He made us in His own image. His image. No other living being is created in His image. Only us.

Psalms 147:12

Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!

How can we glorify God? I believe that there are so many different to glorify Him. So I won’t go through them all. But there are some I want to briefly talk about.

One is by worshiping God. All that takes is to sing, maybe out loud or maybe in your heart.

Another is reading His Word. Through that we can grow closer to God. It is quite a simple thing to do, but I think that because most have the option of always available, we don’t do it. There are people around the world who don’t have Bibles but would love for the chance to read one like we can.

Prayer. That can be very powerful in glorifying God. Jesus taught us how to pray. I think that means that it is important to him, so it should be important to us.

One of the most important ways to glorify God is by following His commands, especially about spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. That doesn’t have to mean going to a foreign country and teaching people (though that may be what some people are called to do), we can spread the Gospel right in our hometowns. By being kind and when the right opportunity presents itself, share the Gospel. It is amazing what kindness can do for a person.

As this new year starts, let’s remember why we’re here. A lot of time we do get lost and lose our way, but we just need to run back to God. He is the only one who can truly give you meaning to life.

This is a new year with fresh possibilities and hopes and dreams. Some may just come true. So through everything we do, may we do it for God’s glory.

-G. Paige

 

Peace: Can We Find It?

ahrPeace. Is that not what we all want? Peace from war. Peace from stress and anxiety. Not a single thing to worry about. No tragedies. No struggles. No hard times. No sadness. No sickness. No death. Well, that’s starting to sound like a utopia to me, don’t you think?

I know we can’t really stop wars, though we can be a good influence in the world and maybe it would happen less. Tragedies, slavery, starvation, natural disasters, and the like are always going to be here. We can make a difference in the world. But are any of these things ever truly going to stop? No, and that includes death. “So, are you telling us to just give up?” You might be asking. No, I am not. But I am saying some things just will never come true, at least, until Jesus returns.

Peace, inner peace, all of us can have. God, the creator of all the Heavens and the Earth, offers us peace. How do we get this peace?

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

God’s peace is beyond anything that we can even begin to comprehend. It can never be taken away from us. All we have to do is trust God with our lives, our struggles, our hopes, our dreams, and everything!

‭This is part of a song praising God.

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

‭‭I think this is one of the main reasons we have trouble being and staying at peace. We can’t keep our thoughts fixed on God. I know, it is hard. We get so caught up in our lives at times. Our worries and everything else get in the way what we should be spending time on.

Another reason could be fear. We want control over our own lives. If you pay attention to what the world is doing today, it seems we want control of everything. The desire for control, power is one of our greatest downfalls.

Now we need to let go. We have to have faith. Jesus has given us that chance for peace.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

Because of what Jesus did on earth, when we have faith and trust in him our sins are wiped clean. We become righteous to God! That, is why we owe him everything, especially our lives. So we should be full of joy to be able to glorify Him through everything we do.

John 14:27

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

‭This peace is such precious gift (See what I did there?). Money and other material stuff can not bring you peace, only God can. God is the only one who can give you everlasting peace. No thing, no one, can do that.

We may not know where we are going or what is going to happen to us, but God does. We can rely on Him to lead us down the right path. He is good, and can’t do anything wrong or He wouldn’t be God.

So lets trust Him and receive that peace. Alright? It is such a relief to know that your life is not in your hands and in the much more capable hands of God.

In closing, here is one more verse. I wish it for all of you.

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

-G. Paige