The Resurrection: Part 2

  

 

Happy
Tuesday, beautiful world! Hooray, we all made it through another Monday.
 So, I’m super excited about this week…because two things are happening.
1) IT IS EASTER THIS SUNDAY! Woohoo! Y’all know that Easter is my favorite holiday.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to climb onto their roof and dance and shout to the
world that their sins are FORGIVEN?!
I would, but my roof is slanted and I could possibly fall off and die if I did
that. Ah well. And 2) My BIRTHDAY is on Thursday! So all in all, this should
prove to be a wonderful week! Alrighty, I’m going to end my little blabbing
intro and say what I always do: thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Resurrection. Beautiful word. It literally means to come back from the
dead. Now let me ask a “Sunday School” question to make sure you’re not
sleeping. (#guilty!)

 

What
is Easter?

 

Sunday
School answer: the very first Easter was the day when Jesus
rose from the dead. But what does that mean? And is that really the most
important part?

 

Let’s
look at that in 1 Corinthians 15:12-22.

 

“Now if Christ is
proclaimed as raised from the dead,
 how can some of
you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain
and your faith is in vain.
 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we
testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he
did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in
your sins.
 Then those also who have fallen asleep
in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hopein
this life only,
 we are of all people most to be pitied.”

 But in fact Christ has been
raised from the dead
,
 the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come
also the resurrection of the dead
.
 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 

 

Alright. That’s a lot of information. Let me try to break it down so
it’s easier to understand.

Let’s look at the first section, verses 12-15.

Now if Christ is
proclaimed as raised from the dead,
 how can some of
you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain
and your faith is in vain.
 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we
testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he
did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.”

 

Paul was writing to the Corinthians,
in his first letter to the Corinthians. These people did not all (even as
Christians) believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead.

The
Corinthians, having a Greek background, believed in the immortality of the soul
but not in the resurrection of the dead and therefore some of them either did
not believe that Jesus was raised or
they had an inconsistent faith.

Now,
this creates a problem, and I’ll share it in a minute. If we say that Christ was raised from the dead, we cannot say that there is
so resurrection of the dead
. If we believe that He is alive, we must
believe that we also will be made alive at the rapture (physically, not just
spiritually).

Now
this is the problem. Let’s take a look at verses 16-19.

 

“For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in
your sins.
 Then those also who have fallen asleep
in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hopein
this life only,
 we are of all people most to be pitied.”

 

If Christ has not been raised from the dead, there is no
Easter.

 

Because
the wonder of Easter is not only that the resurrection of Jesus
is amazing, but that our sins are forgiven. That is where we get our hope.

 

 

If Christ has not
been raised, your faith is futile and
 you are still in
your sins.
 

 

Everything
rides on this one fact: the dead will rise again. If we do not believe this, we
have no hope. Forget the bunnies and peeps and chocolate. Without this amazing
hope, we are l.i.t.e.r.a.l.l.y. hopeless. Without the resurrection, we are not
forgiven.

 

But before you get caught up in thinking that we really are hopeless, let’s read verses 20-22.

 

But in fact Christ has been raised
from the dead
,
 the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come
also the resurrection of the dead
.
 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

 

Christ with 100% certainty has
been raised from the dead. That’s not only biblical, it’s historical. Because
of Adam, we have died – both
spiritually and physically. But now, because of Christ,
we have hope that both we will rise from the dead at the rapture (Jesus instantly taking all believers to heaven), and
also because of Jesus’ resurrection,
we will live forever with Him. Isn’t that so encouraging?

 

Easter
is amazing. If I put aside the candy and festivities though, is it still that
amazing?

 

Yeah,
actually. Without all the fluffiness of the holiday, Easter is even better.

 

*aj

The Resurrection: Part 1

  

Happy
Saturday everyone, and happy early Easter again! I’m just so excited about Easter.
Yay! So, in honor of my favorite holiday, I’ve decided to do a mini-series for
the first time on 1 Corinthians 15 (a chapter about the Resurrection) leading
up to Easter (that’s 4 posts). I hope you enjoy!

 

For
today, I’m going to be focusing on 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. Here it is so we can
read it. 

 

Now
I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

 

For
I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that
 Christ died for our sins in
accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the
third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,
then to the twelve. 

Then he appeared to more than five
hundred brothers at one time
,
most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared
to James, then to all the apostles.

 

 Last
of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of
the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
 But by the grace of God I am
what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. 

On
the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the
grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and
so you believed.

 

In the first section, we
read about this AMAZING gospel that we have been saved by and what it means for
us. First of all, we have received it, we stand in it, and we have been saved
by it if we truly believed. Now, I find that exciting.

 

 

Let’s spend some time on the second section now.

 

1)      Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. I just find that amazing, so let me explain.Jesus wasn’t just some guy. He was blameless and holy and perfect, the only person who could have paid for the sin of the world. And this wasn’t just a random occurrence; it happened in accordance with the scriptures, planned from eternity backwards (the beginning of infinity) and foretold thousands of years beforehand in the Holy Scriptures. IS THAT NOT AMAZING?!

2)     
He was buried, and he
was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
Alright,
let’s talk about the “he was buried” part. Joseph of Arimathea wouldn’t give up
his tomb to a non-dead person. Read my…uh, 
words. Jesus. Was. Dead. He was
beaten 39 lashes, lost just about all of his blood, his heart burst, his side
was pierced…you get the horrifying picture. Jesus
did not just pass out; he died, and was rightly buried. But then, something
happened. Something only God could do. He raised Jesus
from the dead. And not just that, but
in
accordance with the scriptures
. This was yet another miracle
that was planned and foretold from eternity backwards. IS THAT NOT MIND-BLOWING?!?

3)     
He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve, then to more than 500
people, then to James, and all the
apostles.
The twelve disciples couldn’t have stolen the body
and pretended he was alive. Why would they have done that? That would have
hindered Jesus’ message from going
out. And 500 people couldn’t have hallucinated that Jesus
returned all at the same time. Just saying. HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD, PEOPLE! AND THAT IS EXCITING!

 

I saw a play a few years ago of Godspell, a play aboutJesus’ life. Don’t get me wrong, the play was great. But there was one thing that got on my nerves. At the end of the play,Jesus died. The end. He didn’t rise from the dead. And ifJesus didn’t rise from the dead, our salvation is null and void, because the point of his rising from the dead was to show His conquering of death. The only person in the universe who could have conquered death would beJesus. If our Lord could not conquer death by His resurrection, nobody could have. Without Easter, we would have no hope. Without the resurrection, we are still lost.

 

And now to the last section. I just want to touch on a piece here. I love verse 15:10a, which says, But
by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.”
Essentially,
Paul is saying this: “Look here. I’ve
gotten to preach to you because of God’s amazing grace that He has poured out
on me through Jesus. He has given me
the chance to tell you about salvation in Christ
because of who He is, not who I am. And I am taking advantage of every
opportunity He gives me to share this grace with you, because of this amazing
thing He has done for me.” Now, is that not so WONDERFUL?!

 

So here is something to think about: if there’s more than one way to be saved, why did Jesus– the son of God – have to die and rise from the dead?

 

*aj

A Poem: The Song of Mankind (As Told By Eve)

  

Happy Tuesday, world! I hope you’re having a wonderful day. Now, I’m not feeling very well today and I don’t have the energy to write a full post, but I still did not want to leave y’all in a lurch waiting for a Tuesday post. So without further ado, here is a poem I wrote from the point of view of Eve and the rest of mankind after. Enjoy!

The Song of Mankind (As Told By Eve)
It all started in the garden
Oh, I was so naïve
Everything so beautiful 
Everything to believe 
That serpent started talking
Oh, he seemed so kind
Talking about that fruit
He seemed to read my mind
Before I knew it 
I bit in
I disobeyed God
I understood sin
I cursed mankind 
I caused the fall
Destroyed perfection
Brought sin to all
But God told of a savior
One who was to come
To forgive me and everyone
By pouring out His love
Mankind rejected Him
But even still He came
To conquer death, sin, and the grave
Though not deserved, He took my blame
He forgave all sin
And we’re all free
No more lies
He rescued me!
*aj

Life as a Teen in This Crazy World

  

I think that being a teen is just so crazy. 
We’re supposed to look and act like adults, but really, we still have the minds of children for the most part. (At least I do sometimes.) Life is a roller coaster, and we’re standing up on the loop-de-loop. (Or something like that. I’ve never been great with analogies.) Anyway, I wanted to talk about our crazy lives, and what we can do about them.
1) Stress.
Life is stressful…there’s no denying it. School, pressure from everywhere, freedom, tragedies…you name it, we feel it. Life is hard. The older you get, the more you understand and are told.
It’s hard to deal with, you know. One of my many comfort verses is Psalm 4:8.


“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

God is my peace. I’ll rest in Him. His embrace makes my stress disappear. I have peace in the crazy.

2) Love. 
Yet another crazy thing. There’s all this pressure coming from the world, saying, “Being single is bad. You need someone to satisfy your every need. How can you get it? Start dating! With countless [easy] payments of BHS (Broken Heart Syndrome)! You’ll never realize how hopeless you were once you have a significant other.” But…that leaves us confused. I mean, who doesn’t want someone to love them for them? Hold them and comfort them? Save them? We all want that, but it can’t be satisfied by a human relationship. It comes from a relationship with God…and if we don’t realize this, we are gonna be lost.
3) School.
Yup. School. I don’t like it any more than you…but we gotta do it. Sometimes I get so frustrated and freaked out over it. But it’s so small in the grand scheme of life, so here’s a verse that helps me through.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7, ESV)

We will make it. Really. (I’m going to save this post to my favorites so I can read it every day and be reminded of this.)
4) Everything Changing.
Everything is changing. It’s not really fair. Lives change, friends move away, life. is. insane. The one thing that I have to hold onto is this — Jesus never changes. Ever. 
Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” 
He never changes, even when everything else does. I can stay secure in that!
5) Pressure — From EVERYWHERE.
Social pressure. Emotional pressure. Physical pressure. Family pressure. Everything says “GO HERE! DO THIS! DON’T SO THAT!” And it’s hard. Need I say it again? IT IS HARD! Who do I please when I’m being torn in fifty bazillion directions? Well, here’s who. 
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, ESV)

We need to live to please God, not man. That takes a lot of pressure off, doesn’t it.
Life is crazy. But not impossible. 
Being a teen is hard. But we have the Creator of the Universe on our side!
We don’t need to worry. God’s got this. 
It will be okay. We will survive our teen years…and by following God, we will THRIVE. 
*aj

Who Am I, Really?

Hey guys! So…I’m still on this Easter kick thing. Yes, I know that today is Saint Patrick’s Day, and yes, he was a pretty cool guy (he was a missionary, not a leprechaun by the way). But Easter just makes me SO happy! I mean really. Forgiveness! Love! Hope! Acceptance! Joy! Peace! I have all these things because of the cross. So enjoy, reflect, and rejoice this Easter because of what’s been done for you.




“Who am I, really?” The piercing words echo in my head. I’ve known myself for almost fifteen years and I’m not always convinced that I know the true AJ. 

Who am I, really?


People say I’m beautiful. But I don’t feel beautiful. 
People say I’m smart. But I feel like a failure. 

know who I am. 

I’m a sinner. I am broken in pieces that I could never fix. I’m not always loving, joyful, or peaceful. My words are not always patient, gentle, or kind.  I am unfaithful. Good does not always define me. Self-control isn’t exactly one of my strong suits either. 

Why am I like this?!

Welcome to Planet Earth. I’m human. I’m an ordinary citizen here, which means that I’m a sinner.

I look at myself in the mirror, and half the time, I don’t even recognize myself. Who is that girl? What makes her who she is?

I don’t want to live behind a mask, trying to be someone I’m not. “Because,” I’ve heard someone say, “the more you live behind the mask, the more the mask defines you.”


Wow. I don’t want to be living behind a mask. I don’t want the mask to define me! I don’t care what people think about the real Amanda, all that matters is that who I am is the real thing. 

So what defines me? Who am I really? Well, there’s a dozen things I could think of…my guitar and piano, my surfboard, my blog, my bookshelf…you get the picture. But those things aren’t really who I am on the inside. 

I am defined by The Cross. 

What do I mean by that? Well, I’ve struggled with not letting my performance define who I am. It’s all fun and games until I get a C. Until I remember I *still* can’t play “that chord” on the guitar. Until I realize I just can’t catch the wave I’ve been trying to. I realize that I’ll never measure up on my own…and I forget who I really am. 

I am defined by The Cross. 

Because of what Jesus did at the cross, I am who I am. I am blameless in God’s sight.

I’ve fallen into the trap in my (actually pretty short) life of making achievement an addiction. When I can’t achieve “that thing,” I forget who I really am. I’m a child of God, because of The Cross. 

Grace covers Amanda. The Cross has forgiven AJ. The love of God has been lavished on her. 

Conditional things – popularity, beauty, money, talent – cannot define me. Because once I fail (which I do), then who am I? What makes me who I am? Popularity dies down. Beauty fades. Money gets wasted. Talent eventually fails too.

Just one thing will stand. 

Who I really am. 

I am a child of God. 

I am pure in His eyes.

I have been counted blameless. 

I am truly, 100% forgiven. 

I am defined by The Cross.

*aj

How Long Will I Trust God?


How Long Will I Trust God?
Really, how long will it be? What will be the thing that would make me stop?
The world wants me to believe that I know what’s best for me. Because “only I would (and do) know that”. It’s “my” life, after all. 
But wait. Who gave me “my life”? Um, God did, actually. So technically it’s not “mine,” then. 
The Spirit of God has made me,         and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4, ESV)
Who knows what’s best for me? Well, God gave me life with a purpose, so He must (and does). 
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalm 138:8, ESV)
Sometimes that’s the only thing I have to hold on to. When my world falls apart and I can’t help it, He will get me through. When life crumbles and feels like it’s crushing me, it’s okay. 
Because I trust God. 
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,         and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV)
I will trust Him always. 
I will trust Him when I succeed. I will trust Him when I fail. 
I will trust Him when I’m singing with joy. I will trust Him when I’m crying tears of pain. 
I will trust Him if I stay right here. I will trust Him if He calls me away. 
I will trust Him with now. I will trust Him with the future. 
I will trust Him if I stay secure. I will still trust Him if I lose everything. 
I will trust Him no matter what happens. 
I think we have two choices. 
1) Trust God and follow along, because He knows what’s best for us. 
2) Don’t trust Him and be dragged around in life, because we honestly have no idea what’s best for us.
Without God, we. are. hopelessly. lost. Really. Our finite minds cannot know the best. We can’t even make good little decisions. How could we possibly trust ourselves with our entire lives?
I’ve made my choice. I’m trusting God, and I’m not turning back.
*aj

Where Is God?



Happy Tuesday everyone, and happy early Easter! Because of the undeniable-yet-almost-unbelievable fact that Easter is right around the corner (despite of the three feet of snow on the ground right now), I have decided to do an Easter-themed post again. I love Easter because of what it means. I hope you find the same thing!

Many people are taught to think that God is “over there”. That He doesn’t care. That He wound up the world like a clock and then stepped away. That He couldn’t really be involved with us. 

But that, dear friend, is a very sad and misleading lie. 
God is love. How do we know what love is? We get to know God, because we CAN, and what God (through Jesus) did for us. 
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:16, ESV)

Why would Jesus lay down His life for us? Because He loves us.

Greater love has no one than thisthat someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13, ESV)

We sinned and broke our relationship with God. Sin equals separation from God. So why again did Jesus come?

To show us love. To lay down His life for us. To restore our broken relationship with God.

We need to lay aside the facts of our past and what we’ve done to think that we could never accept love from God. 
It’s true that we don’t deserve it. But that is how we know true love, that he reached out to us when we had run away…far away…too far away to be found by anyone accept God.

God wants to know us. And we can know him too. We know God because we accept His amazing love that He has shown us. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV)

God is not “over there”. He is here. And His love reaches far…no matter how far you are, you can always come back. 

I know this post is extra short today, but seriously, what more is there? 
Love is here because God is here; God is Love. 

Thank you Lord for your amazing love.

*aj

Category: From The Bible
Tags: love, Jesus, Easter, amazing love, God’s love, God

What Does The Cross Mean To Me?



Happy Saturday everyone! Today we have a special treat. On Monday, this post will be featured on my friend Rachel Schaus’ blog, Notes From My Corner Of Creation. Enjoy this sneak peek in honor of Easter!


What does the cross mean to me?


For me, the cross means acceptance.

 

The cross is the place where I was counted blameless and accepted in the sight of God. Not because of what I did, but because of what Jesus did for me. He took my place in death and shame and gave me the right to be a child of God.

 

John 1:12-13 says,  “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God.”

 

I am accepted. I do not have to be perfect. I do not have to earn my way to the love and acceptance of God. I do not have to do a certain number of good deeds to be cherished by God. Because I am not accepted by what I do-I am accepted because of what Christ did at the cross for me.

 

All I have to do is believe in His name! Accept the love he has for me! I am a child of God. Nobody can take that away.

 

The cross means acceptance. I think that we’ve all chased acceptance in our lives. We want to be loved, accepted, a part of the “in” group. Because, we think, maybe that will make us better people. Maybe we will have more privileges, our problems will all go away, or we will be satisfied…But our only perfect satisfaction by acceptance can come from God’s acceptance of us. Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

 

Stop trying to be accepted in worldly terms. Accept the acceptance of God. He loves us no matter what.
He knows we are not perfect. He knows that we will fail. He knows all this, and still loves us and accepts us.

 

Never once will we walk alone. Never once will God turn his back on us. Never once will we lose the love of God. Rest in the embrace of the Almighty – by what was done at the cross – FOR YOU.


*aj