Finding Joy During the Craziness of Christmas

finding-joy-during-the-craziness-of-craziness-of-christmas

Sorry guys. I was supposed to post Friday, but I was very busy and tired so I didn’t get to it. Well, here I am now with a post. After this, I’m probably going to take about a week break to relax and catch up on all the books. 😉

So, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

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Christianity Isn’t Just About Believing

Christianity-2.jpgSo I was listening to a bit of Not a fan. by Kyle Idleman yesterday while driving (No. I wasn’t driving. My dad was. I have not yet learned that skill.). Well, right at the beginning Mr. Idleman made a major point that I thought I’d like to talk about. A point that I hadn’t really thought about, but it struck me at how true it was.

You see, to become Christians, we’re told to believe in Christ. Believe that Christ is who he says he is. Believe that he died on a cross. Believe that he rose again in three days.

Believe that Christ’s death paid for your sins.

I took that step of faith around six years old. Now who knows when I really believed. Not everyone knows the exact moment when they believed. I just know that at one time I didn’t and at one time I did. I was later taught the ABC method to becoming a Christian. Do you know what that is?

  1. A-Admit that you are a sinner.
  2. B-Believe that Christ died and rose again. That the Bible is absolutely true.
  3. C-Confess your sins to God and you will be forgiven.

That was great and all. Especially for such a young kid like me at that time. I’m not saying that any of this is bad. But those are not the only things that make us a Christian. There’s another part, one that is even bigger than believing Jesus, and that’s following Him.

Believing and following Christ go hand in hand with being a Christian.

But we separate them, because the reality is that many people who believe in Jesus (who say they’re Christians), don’t actually follow him. When really the meaning of being a Christian is not just believing, it’s following.

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.

You must follow him, if you’re to be his follower, a Christian.

Now that’s hard.

It’s one thing to just believe in Christ. It takes faith; it is not that easy. But it is a lot easier than actually following Christ. Following Christ takes more sacrifice. It costs more.

And that is what turns people away. They, we, don’t want to sacrifice anything. We don’t want to do anything that costs us anything.

But that verse above says that you must give up your own way. Another version says, “you must deny yourself”.  You have to give up your own desires and take on God’s desires as your own. But when you love Jesus, taking on his desires is what you want to do.

Then you must take up your cross. Your cross. Just like Jesus took up his cross and sacrificed so much for us. He sacrificed even his own life so that we might live in Heaven for eternity. Now we must take up our own crosses.

We may not want to, but if we’re to be true Christians, we need to do more than just believe in him. We need to follow him.

-G. Paige

Taking That Step of Faith

Step of FaithEvery religion of some sort has a measure of faith involved. Some more so than others, but they all essentially do. Whether it’s believing that you reincarnate into something else after you die or believing if you do enough good works in this life you’ll earn your way to Heaven or believing that there are gods that control different element and forces of nature.

For Christians, it’s believing that there is only one God who rules over everything.

It’s believing that God created the world by just speaking it into existence.

It’s believing that the world was once perfect, but we brought sin into it.

It’s believing that God is three in one: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

It’s believing that God sent his son, fully God and fully man, to earth to save us from our sin.

It’s believing that his son lived a perfect, a blameless, life.

It’s believing that Jesus suffered torture then died on a cross.

Most importantly it’s believing that Jesus’s death was the ultimate sacrifice, the perfect atonement for our sins. That if we only confess them and ask for forgiveness, we will be forgiven. We will have a clean slate. It doesn’t matter what kind of sin it is, it is forgiven. To God’s eyes, sin is sin. One is not worse than another. They are all just as bad and he forgives them all.

It’s believing that against all odds he rose again on the third day.

It’s believing that he later ascended into Heaven.

To believe that takes faith. A lot of faith.

Yes, there is plenty of physical evidence that all of this happened. But even with this evidence you have to have faith. Evidence in many cases isn’t the reason that people believe. If that were true, then probably just about everyone would already be saved.

But there is more to believing in God than believing in the evidence. It takes faith. And having faith in something we can’t see, feel, hear, or smell, in something not physical is hard.

At times, we can find ourselves doubting. But we have to let go of that doubt. It will get us no closer to Jesus, but fully believing in him will.

John 20:29

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

This doesn’t mean that those who saw Jesus and believed weren’t ever blessed, but they weren’t blessed for that reason.

Faith in Christ is like believing that there is invisible hands there to catch you as you fall from a cliff. You are submitting to Him, placing your life in the hands of someone you only believe is there. But the thing is…

Your life is already in God’s Hands. It has always been in his Hands. Taking that step of faith is just you finally opening your eyes and believing in someone who has been there since the beginning of time.

That is the difference between our faith and other people’s faith in their religion. Our faith rests in something true and real; their faith is in something nonexistent.

-G. Paige

Kindness Can Change Lives

Kindness

So I updated my blog! What do you guys think of it? Do you like it? Do you love it? Please share your thoughts. I love hearing from ya’ll!

Kindness: something people who don’t believe in Christianity but have good morals try to exhibit and something Christians do (or, at least know they should) exhibit.

We’re told by our parents over and over to “Be kind to _____.” or just “Be kind.” and maybe you find yourself using the same words to your siblings (if you have any). I know I do. But saying something is a whole lot easier than actually following through with something especially concerning kindness.

Because kindness is something that can shown every moment of every day. Every thought, every word, and every action can show kindness or something quite distasteful. Unlike many other fruits of the spirit which you have the chance to exhibit only at certain times. Like having self-control only when there is something to get angry about. Or having patience only when there is something to be impatient about.

Kindness is something that can be shown all the time. There is always the availability to be kind. And that makes it oh so much harder.

I have so much trouble with this. I get in terrible moods and snap at people. I whine and complain. I get grumpy and grouchy and then don’t feel like doing anything helpful. Or better yet, I do something helpful but I do it with such a bad attitude that I’m not helpful at all.

And it happens all the time.

I also find that, for me, it is much easier to be kind to friends, than to my siblings.

Proverbs 3:3

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.

But being kind is so so important. In many ways, kindness is the first step to being loving and caring. Being kind can help us have better self-control, better patience.

More importantly, it is one of the most defining reasons why Christians are different from other people.

People who aren’t Christians can be kind. They can be loving. But they wouldn’t go to the extremes that Christians do. To them, what would really be the point of loving your enemies or being kind to those who hurt you? It’s just extra trouble. But we go through that trouble. And that is incomprehensible thing to many people. Why would we risk our lives for such a pointless cause?

But to us, it’s not pointless. We’re following the example set by Christ over two thousand years ago. We face persecution, even death, out of the love we have for Christ who set us free from sin. And it’s this strange concept that people who don’t know Christ don’t understand. It’s this concept that brings many people to Christ.

So we shouldn’t just be kind because we’re told to by are parents or because it’s right and good. Though those are good reasons, that’s not the main reason we should do it for.

We should be kind out of the love Christ gave to us.

And for many people your kindness may be their only example they ever get of Christ’s love. It may be the key to bringing people to Christ. As it’s said: one act of kindness may save a life, for eternity.

-G. Paige

Here’s to You: You are Loved

Here's to You_

Hey readers! I’m starting a new series of posts today. I hope that you enjoy it! Please let me know your thoughts.

Here’s to you:

You are loved.

You are loved by your parents. You are loved by your brothers and sisters (if you have any). You are loved by all your relatives. You are loved by your spouse (again, if you have one).

But more important than that is the fact that you are loved by God. The God who created the whole universe. Everything from the protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up an atom to the whole solar system!

Is it not incredible to realize that God chose to make the insects, the birds, the sea creatures, the land animals, and you? He chose to make you. Before the beginning of time God made this decision.

He never had to create you or me. God was not obligated to give us life, but He chose to. He wanted to. And that choice makes all the difference in the world. It means the difference between being expendable and unwanted to having meaning and purpose. It throws a whole new light on your existence.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

God’s love fulfills all these classes so completely. God, as one verse stated, is love.

1 John 4:8

But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

While people’s love may change and shift, God’s love stays the same. It will not diminish. It will not fade over time. It is not dependent on how “good” you are or how much sin you have.

God loves you just the way you are. And He’ll love you the same no matter what you do. No matter how many mistakes you make or how far you drift away from Him, He still will always love you. That’s a promise.

His love will cleanse and take away all sin. Any sins that you have ever committed won’t matter anymore. They never will again. The burden that sin has placed on you will be gone.

His love was so great, that He was willing to sacrifice His only son to save us, the people He loves.

Can you imagine the kind of love God has to let His own son be beaten until He unrecognizable and then killed by the very same people He was trying to save? I can’t even begin to comprehend it. It resembles the kind of love Abraham showed when he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac to God. And it is such a beautiful and sacrificial kind of love.

Wherever you are in your life, whatever you’re going through, know this: God loves you. Never lose faith in His love. Trust in Him. For His love is always with you.

-G. Paige

 

Letting Go of Pride, Taking on Humility

Letting Go of Pride, Taking on HumilityI find myself at times to be a very prideful person. I may not talk like I am, or act like I am, but I am prideful.

Pride is “a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.”.

I must say I have a very hard time discouraging those prideful thoughts. Those thoughts that pretty much all same the same thing: I am better than you. But don’t we all struggle with pride in little ways?

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

God call us to be the opposite of prideful: humble. God calls us to be humble. We all struggle with it, some more than others (like me). Pride is a fundamental part of our sinful human nature. But humility is something we all must summit to, if we’re to take those first steps to being saved.

That humbleness to admit that God created and controls the word. That humbleness to submit to the one and only God. That humbleness to confess that we’re sinful and we need help, help that we can’t give ourselves. All of it takes strength. Strength that we don’t have.

Philippians 4:13

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

God, He freely gives His strength. It is always there for us. But we can be too prideful to take it. We trust only ourselves. We don’t want to rely on someone else. We want to earn our own salvation. We don’t want to feel like we owe something to anyone.

But we already owe God everything. The earth we’re standing on, is His. Our very lives belong to Him! Everything we have, everything we were, everything we are, and everything we will ever be is in His hands. By His grace we’re alive! It is all belongs to Him.

All we have to do is give Him our hearts. He gives us the strength, and we make the choice.

Though it is hard for us to let go of pride, we must realize that nothing we do is done by our own strength. It is all through Him. Nothing we do is done through our own strength. We just have to learn to trust and rely on Him. It will be such a relief once we do, but we must take that first step. And we might have to keep taking that step, because it is so easy for us to forget and try to bring everything under our control. We want to be in control, but we need to let it go. Because holding on to pride will get us nowhere.

God is our strength. We can rest and have peace in Him, if we only are humble to give ourselves fully to Him. He is our rock, our foundation. On no one else can we find the strength we so desperately need.

We need help, help only God can give. Let’s find our strength in Him and let go of our pride.

-G. Paige

 

To Christian Teens: Having a Positive Attitude 

To Christian Teens_Sometimes I get frustrated (well, maybe more than sometimes). I get mad (quite easily, by the way). I get moody. Sometimes it feels like nothing can ever go right, especially after one thing after another goes wrong. I break down and cry. I give up. Sometimes it is over the simplest of things that I just lose it. Things like schoolwork, baking something that turns out wrong, or maybe just life. Those are the times I just want to stomp around, slam doors or cabinets, and say nothing at all.

Then I’ll remember stories about missionaries who went through torture with joy. Men and women and even children who were fed to lions while praying. People who never gave up. People who were burned at the stake singing. I mean, can you even imagine? Many of these people would have only had to say, “I don’t believe in Jesus.” and they would have been given relief. They would have been free from the punishment of Man, but not the judgement of God.

Then there are the stories from the Bible.

Acts 7:59-60‬

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

Stephen asked God to forgive the people who were killing him.

Acts 16:25

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.

These men were singing while in jail. They didn’t know when they were going to die. It could’ve been the next day. They didn’t know if God was going to save them, but they trusted Him anyways.

All these people went through so much. And here I am freaking out over schoolwork or whatever.

Am I the only one who does this? I think not. I know at sometimes it does feel like I’m the only one or you’re the only one and everyone else has their life all tidy and put together.

But that is not true.

All of us have problems. We can never really have a perfect life. No one can. I know we like to think that we can, but it’s truly impossible in a sinful world.

“So are you suggesting tha I should give up?” You might be asking. Well, I’m not. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t strive for the impossible when we already have all that could fulfill us.

Jesus is all we’ll ever need.

How do we get this fulfillment, this peace, this joy from Christ? I think one of the ways we get this fulfillment is by putting a positive spin on things. If we have a positive attitude, don’t you we can have a more enjoyable life?

Well this is exactly what the book Philippians discusses and it all can be encompassed in this one verse:

Philippians 1:21

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.

Isn’t that a positive way at looking at things? To live is Christ. To die is better. With an attitude like that, it wouldn’t really matter what happens to you. We could have joy whether we’re suffering or living in luxury.

Philippians 1:29-30

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.

It would be a honor to suffer for Him.

So let’s try to mimic that kind of attitude. Let’s look for the good in life (because there is good in life) even when it seems like all we are surrounded by is failures, frustrations, and shortcomings. There is hope.

There is a purpose for everything we go through. Even when we can’t see it.

I hope that I made it clear that I’m not trying to belittle your struggles and burdens. God allows each of us a fair share of hardships, but He will never give you more than you can bear with Christ in you. He knows your limits (it’s not like we’re all going to get the chance to be stoned or burned at the stake).

Jesus gave his life for us. Let’s live for him.

-G. Paige
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Just A Fact

tag-wordpress

Hello everyone! Today I’m posting tag that I got tagged in. Thank you Mary Kate for the tag! I love tags! I hope that you enjoy this post and learn a little bit more about me.

A Fact About Me: 

If you saw me in real life, I’d be the person on the sidelines of a group. I’m very quiet and shy (Though, I’m definitely not as shy as I used to be.). I’m not as comfortable in a group than by myself or with a close friend.

But even though I am quiet, I have struggled with self-control. I have a hot temper which pops up very easily. It almost always happens because of problems with my siblings. That is not an excuse, but that is how it usually happens. Unless it is schoolwork. Ugh…I can get so frustrated with my schoolwork.

This is something I still struggle with. Sometimes I think I have gotten better with it, while other times I think it has gotten worse. Either way, I know that only with God can I overcome my faults. I can’t save myself. That is impossible. I need to keep trying to get control of my anger, and I think I don’t always try hard enough. Of course, I can’t just try. I need to trust and pray to God for guidance.

If you struggle with something, remember to not rely on yourself. You can’t overcome it on your own. Pray to God for help and just keep trusting in Him.

Luke 18:27

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

Guidelines:

  • Take the banner and paste it to your post.
  • Tell a single, meaningful fact about who you are.
  • Explain this fact as open, and explanatory as you can.
  • Tag at least one other blogger, and give a reason why you think they should do this.
  • Add a Bible verse to close out this tag.
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you.
  • Have fun!

Tagged:

You seems to do a few tags now and then. So this might be a great opportunity to know more about you.

I don’t know if you want to do this, but I’d love to learn more about the author of The Blades of Acktar.

Morgan, I think you would do great with this kind of tag.

You’ve been a great friend. I would love to see what you would say for this!

Your posts are so fun! I think it would be awesome to see you do this.

I love chatting with you on Goodreads and I love the tags you do.

You just started a blog and so I’d love to be the first person to tag you in something.

-G. Paige