What’s Your Motivation to Follow Christ?

 

 

What's Yourto Follow Christ?As a Christian, with Christian parents, I can not tell you how many times I have been told to do what’s right. Told to “be kind”, “be honest”, “be loving”, “be thankful”, and the list goes on and on. Or I’m told not to do what’s wrong. Told to “not be mean”, “not to lie”, “not to be ungrateful”, and I think you get the gist of what I mean. I even find myself saying these exact things to my siblings.

The Bible also tells us to do what’s right and not to do what’s wrong.

Galatians 5:25

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

And the Spirit’s leading is:

Galatians 5:22-23

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Now my point is not to say that this is bad. No, definitely not. It’s good to be reminded of what’s right and what’s wrong. Especially since we, as human beings, seem to forget things so easily (Just look at the history of the Israelites for proof.).

But when we decide to do the “right thing” or the “wrong thing”, what is our motivation behind that decision? More to the point, why are we following Christ?

Is it because we’re told to?

Is it because it is right?

As children when we’re told to do or not to do something by our parents, we obeyed. And all the explanation we ever need to obey is because our parents told us to (or maybe because we also didn’t want to get into trouble). But as we got older and smarter many of us asked the question “Why?”. Why should we do this? Why should we not do this?

And now I’m asking you again: what is your motivation behind the decisions you make? Why are you following Christ?

If it’s because it is “right”, how do you know it’s right? Well, if God’s standards are your moral compass for judging what is right and what is wrong then you are on the right track.

But because it’s “right” shouldn’t be the only reason you follow God.

The most important reason we should follow God and do what’s right is because we love Him.

John 14:23

Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.

We do everything for God out of love we have for Him.

If you don’t have that love for God, it’s like doing a exercise you never want to do. How long will you keep it up until you quit?

Knowing that something is right in your head is not enough. It’s not going to keep you going. You need a reason more motivating that. Your heart needs to be in it. You have to want it with all your heart. You have to love Him.

Mark 12:30

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.

Loving Him can motivate you to do anything for Him. It is the reason that Christians can face persecution with joy.

We need to make sure that we have that love for Him, because we can never really live for Christ without loving Him first.

-G. Paige

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Where is God in the Midst of our Struggles?

imageLet’s face it. Life isn’t easy. Each and every one of us go through a lot in our lives. Whether it is school, children, work, or whatever, it’s all a part of life. This world use to be perfect and sinless. That was how it was before Adam and Eve disobeyed God and brought sin into the world. Life must’ve been easy then. But let’s not dwell on the past. What’s done is done and we can’t do anything about it.

Anyways, now this is a world full of sin. It’s a fallen world. Now we face hard work, danger, pain, suffering, and death. All of these things are pretty common in this world we live in. But sometimes these things bear down on us so much that we lose sight of God. We lose sight of the big picture and can only see the struggle that we’re facing. I get it. It’s like quicksand. As soon as we step in it, we start sinking and the more we struggle the quicker we sink. We all have those moments when we are so down deep in that quicksand that we begin to have doubts. Where is God? Does He even care? Why did He let this happen? We think that maybe we’ll never get out of this sand and that we will just keep sinking. And we will. Without God we’ll always be sinking.

Luke 18:27

He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

But with God anything is possible.

So where is God when we’re struggling?  Here right there with you. He is always there with you. How? Because God is omnipresent which means he is everywhere at every time: past, present, and future all at the same time! But more importantly, as Christians, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Isn’t that amazing?!

He cares more about you than you will ever know. He love is everlasting. God cares so much about you that He created you. He certainly didn’t have to create any of us. But He did, because He wanted to. He didn’t need to. God went farther than just creating us though. He gave a beautiful world to live in with anything and everything we could ever need. Sin degraded the beauty of the world, but Jesus has bought redemption for us and soon the world will be perfect again when Jesus comes for the second time.

Why? You still might be asking. Well, we can’t ever truly know why. We don’t know how God thinks or what He thinks. But struggles do help us grow in our faith.

Romans 5:3-5

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Clearly, this shows that through struggle we develop endurance and this turn into growth in our faith. Remember that the next time you’re are going through something tough: there is always a reason for it. And always remember that God is with you.

-G. Paige
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God and the New Testament (Part 2)

ahrHere is the second and last part about God, His love, and His relationship with us. If you missed the last part, you can check it out here. This part will focus more on God in the New Testament and in this present time.

God is three in one. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For the most part, we only see the Father in the Old Testament (but all of them are there). In the New Testament we see all three, though Jesus is the most prominent. They each add something as a whole. The Father is the one who created the world, Jesus is the one who saves the world (at least, those who accept him), and the Holy Spirit who comes into our hearts and fills us. The Holy Spirit is like our conscience, always urging us to do what’s right and letting us feel guilty when we fall short. The Holy Spirit is the one who gave the twelve apostles the ability to speak in tongues and allow people (even in today’s time) to preform miracles.

In the New Testament the Father shows His love by sending His only Son into the world, fully God and fully man. He was born of a virgin in the little town of Bethlehem. Throughout his life on earth Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies about him in the Old Testament. He had twelve disciples, one of whom betrayed him. He preformed many many miracles, including raising someone from the dead, and he taught those who would listen (usually in parables). He never sinned.

After he was betrayed, Jesus was tortured then crucified and died. God let it happen, even though His son asked for the suffering to be taken away from Him. It was the only way to save us.

Luke 22:42

Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.

God is so holy and sovereign that He can’t even look at sin. We can’t even begin to comprehend God’s majesty. That is why Jesus said this at his crucifixion.

Mark 15:34

Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

God turned away from His own son because Jesus had taken on the sins of the whole world (past, present, and future) so that God couldn’t stand to look at him. But Jesus rose again on the third day after his death and once appearing to many people he arose to Heaven to sit on the throne at the right hand of God forever.

Just think for a moment. God gave up His only Son. Of course, I’m not a parent, but I am sure some of you who read this are. Would you give up your child to save the world? He wouldn’t even save the whole world, only those who accepted him as their lord and savior. I can’t even begin to imagine that. But God did it for us. Now that is just plain amazing. It shows us His love, but also His hate of sin. His own Son was the only sufficient sacrifice that could wipe away our sin.

Before Jesus went to heaven, he gave us a “mission”.

Matthew 28:19

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

This command is for all Christians. Considering what God did, Jesus did, to save us, we should be glad to do this. The rest of the New Testament gives us great examples of this task being carried out.

I’m not perfect, no one is. This point of this discussion is to know that God doesn’t change. He is the same forever. He has always loved us and He will always hate sin. So lets remember that. Okay?

-G. Paige

It’s Hard Not To Fall

imageNo matter who you are, or where you come from, you’ll always have temptations. Where does these temptations come from?

‭James‬ ‭1:14‬

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.

It is different for each person. Nobody is perfect, even me. 😀 Some of my faults include: anger (I can lose my self-control very easily with my siblings) and pride (I sometimes think in my head that I’m better than another person in whatever we’re doing), but for you this may not even be a problem.

Temptation is a major reason why we sin. That doesn’t mean that it is not our own fault when we sin, it still is. Sin itself is a temptation. But it is so much harder to not sin, when it is a temptation.

‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:10-15‬

My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent! Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death. Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take. Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.” My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths.

This is what King Solomon said to his people. If you read through the Old Testament you will see time and time again the Israelites fell back to their idols and away from the one and only true God. Solomon is warning them to stay away from sin, from temptation. This can apply to us too. Too easily we fall to our temptations. We literally can not stop sinning and falling to temptations. “What? Than how can we stop sinning? You’re telling us to stop. Are you joking?” is what you might be thinking. I’m serious though, we can not stop sinning, by ourselves. We need Jesus in our hearts to be able to stop sinning. Even when we have Jesus we are still going to be tempted. Everyone is tempted, even Jesus was tempted.

‭Luke‬ ‭4:1-2‬

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.

Though Jesus was tempted, he never fell for it. He persevered. We, filled with the Holy Spirit, can persevere through temptation too. Remember though, it is Satan who tempts us, not God. God is never the one tempting us.

‭James‬ ‭1:13‬

And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.

We will fall, no matter what, there is going to be those days when we follow the desires of our flesh. But never ever blame God for being tempted.

‭Luke‬ ‭17:1-2

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.”

See? There will always be temptations to sin, but with God we can resist temptation. “There’s hope.” you might say.

‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:13‬

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

This verse gives us so much hope. Our temptations will be no more than we can bear. Does that not bring a feeling of relief? Lastly, when others fall we can help lift them up. That’s what Christians are to do: lift each other up. Encourage one another.

Galatians‬ ‭6:1

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

We have help, from our friends, family, and especially God. So, whatever you’re going through continue to remember: with God you can do anything.

-G. Paige

Was Jesus Fully Man, Fully God, or Both?

The idea for this blog post came up as I was reading the gospel of John. I was thinking about what to post about and it just popped into my head. I know it doesn’t really connect (or make sense, for that matter), but it is how I came up with this.

So… “Why this???”  some of you might be asking. Well, I don’t really have an answer for you. I just came up with it and I’m going with it. Here is some history on this question: in the early Christian church the answer to this question was the difference between Christianity and heresy (it still is), and there was much controversy over it. I’m thinking it’s worth taking a little of time to delve into it and find out what we truly believe, why, and how important it is to us. Don’t you agree?

First, lets see what the Bible says about Jesus.

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭1:20

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”

Okay, so we know that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He is at least part God, if not all.

Mark‬ ‭1:11‬

And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

‭‭John‬ ‭10:36

‭‭”why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world.”

From these two verses we see that God identifies Jesus as his Son, while Jesus identifies God as his Father.

‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭

And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him.

If what the Bible says is true, than Jesus must be fully God. If he was only part God, he would still sin. So he must be fully God. Just look at the miracles and wonders he performed. He did more than anyone ever before him. He even raised up people from the dead!

John‬ ‭19:1-2‬

Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him.

‭John‬ ‭19:17-18

Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha ). There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.

Jesus also was made of flesh. He could be hurt (he was flogged actually). He was beaten, bruised until no one could recognize him. Nails pierced his hands and feet. A sword pierced his side. So this must also mean that he was fully man.

‭‭John‬ ‭20:26-27

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

Jesus must be both fully man and fully God. He couldn’t even have been a god in human form. Our finite minds can’t even begin to comprehend it, but look at it this way. To save us (everyone) from our sins Jesus had to be the perfect sacrifice, the unblemished lamb. He had to be perfect, if he had sinned, he death would not have done anything. Only God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) does not sin, that means that he was fully and undeniably God. But if Jesus had just been God, how would his death have saved all of mankind? So you see, he had to be a man to save mankind.

Here is the short version: Jesus had to be God to be the perfect sacrifice to wipe out all our sins; he also had to be a man (a human) to save to human race from eternal condemnation. Isn’t it beautiful how God works?

I’d just like to end with one more verse.

Romans‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭

“The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.”‭

This is major important subject for our belief system. We can’t just believe Jesus was a man or God, because that would mean we didn’t believe something in Bible and we are to take the whole of Scripture as true. Then (as I said before) his death and resurrection wouldn’t mean anything to us. In reality, his death and resurrection mean everything to us.

-G. Paige

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God is in Control (He Always Has a Plan)

So as you might have noticed these last two weeks (and in the coming weeks) I have not been posting as often as I should. They will probably be like this for the next couple weeks maybe even a month or so. Why? Well…my family and I are moving so without Internet it might get a bit hard to post. Just sayin’. I can’t work miracles (but we do know one who can).

So…we are moving to Puerto Rico! Oh, it is going to be so different from the United States. I am SO excited!!! It will be so amazing, but sometimes I feel like life can get so crazy that we wonder, is God really in control?  We all have those moments when we feel insecure. And with my life going a little crazy right now…I thought this would be a great topic.

God is in control, no matter how hard it gets. Look at what the Bible says.

‭‭Job‬ ‭12:10‬

For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.”

The life of every living thing is in His hand, isn’t that amazing? He holds everything in his hands. Nothing is out of His control. If something were out of His control, He wouldn’t be God.

Deuteronomy 31:6

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

It is so comforting to know that, as Christians, God will be with us all the way. We will never be alone. We never ever need to fear that God will leave us. No matter what happens, no matter where we are in life, He (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit combined) will always be with us. He is forever faithful.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

So when you’re feel unsure and you feel like how could God be in control of this or maybe why would He let this happen, know that God has a plan for you. He always has a plan. He will never ever fail you, me, and anyone who believes and trusts in Him. I know it’s hard, especially when we haven’t seen Jesus face to face.

John 20:29

Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.

There is proof that Jesus (God essentially) exists all around us. But even though it is still harder for us to believe is Jesus without having seen Him like the many people who did about two thousand years ago (it is even harder when you are going through tough times), we are blessed. And we can have just as strong a faith (or belief) in Jesus Christ as those who saw Him had. Our faith (or belief) can even be stronger than them because we rely on faith not sight.

‭Psalms‬ ‭147:5‬

How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!

Why certain things happen we may never fully understand (at least, until we are in Heaven with Christ). As the verse above says, His understanding is beyond comprehension. But God does has a plan for us and is in control of everything, no matter how horrible and unjust it seems. This next verse says about the same thing but adds a little more.

Isaiah 55:9

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

So, I’ll repeat, God is in control. Your life, my life, is in His Hands. Everything that happens, happens for a purpose, whether we can decipher that purpose or not before we go to Heaven. “my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” That speaks such truth. God is God; we are not God so we will not be able to fully comprehend or understand God until we go to Heaven and become perfect. I can’t wait to be able to look back on my life and see God’s Plan for me.

-G. Paige



God’s Grace

So…about three days ago I was flipping through Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul (I actually read it almost three years ago). I came across a section about God’s grace and I thought that might be a good topic to discuss. But first, for starters, we must know what the word “grace” means. So what does grace (biblically) mean?

Grace means (at least from the dictionaries I’ve looked at) the free and unmerited favor of God. My mother use to explain it like this: grace is getting something that you don’t deserve and mercy is not getting something that you do deserve. Mercy, you say, I thought we were talking about grace? I know, I just want to make sure that you know the difference between grace and mercy because they’re definitely NOT the same thing. Mercy is forgiveness given to someone by someone who could punish them instead. Grace is blessings given to someone who should be punished.

Okay, now that we know what the word “grace” means, what does God’s Grace have to do with us (as Christians)? God’s grace is one of the foundational reasons why we can be saved and be “Christians”. Without God sending His one and only Son to suffer and get the punishment we deserved, we wouldn’t be able to be saved. Jesus taking on all our sins and dying to give us the chance to be able to believe in Him and live in Heaven after our life here on Earth, that’s grace. I think this Bible verse states how we are saved quite clearly.

Acts‬ ‭15:11‬

“We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”

We are all saved by grace. There’s not one person who lived, lives, or will live that has not been saved by grace. This next verse also says what God’s Grace does.

Titus 2:11

“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.”

The grace of God, His undeserved favor, has come. This saving grace brings salvation to all people. Isn’t that amazing?

Hebrews 2:9

“What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.”

God’s grace is the reason Jesus suffered and was tortured to death. Because he did that for us he was taken from his position “a little lower than the angels” to now where he is seated at the right hand of God “crowned with glory and honor”.

‭Romans 11:5-6

“It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.”

We must always remember that God’s grace is free and undeserved, as the verse states above. It wouldn’t be grace if it was not free and undeserved and it wouldn’t mean anything either. We can not comprehend how much grace God has given us, but God’s grace is not infinite. There will come a time when judgement will fall as described in Revelation.

Jude 1:4

“I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

As Jude wrote above, we should not use God’s grace to our advantage. Look at what James says.

James 2:14

“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?”

If people use God’s grace as a free ticket to live immoral lives, thinking that they won’t get the consequences that come from sinning (which they will), are those people even saved in the first place? If you are saved by God’s grace, you should want to follow Christ because God, through the Holy Spirit, has given you the need or want to follow Him.

So I’d like to close off with a verse from “Amazing Grace”:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost, but now I’m found.

‘Twas blind, but now I see.

Doesn’t this portion of the song speak such truth? God’s grace has saved us all. We are so blessed to have such a gracious God.

-G. Paige