Dear Reader: You Are Loved No Matter What

Dear Reader- You Are Loved No Matter What

Dear Reader,

 

I want you to know that you are loved.

 

I want you to see that not only are you not your past, but you are not loved because of anything you could ever do.

 

While some see that as depressing, I see that as relieving. That no matter what I do, I cannot “lose” God’s love. Neither can you.

 

We cannot sin so many times to retract God’s love from us. We cannot make so many mistakes or bad decisions, or be such a disappointment that God says, “Sorry kid, I don’t love you anymore.”

 

The reality is that His love has nothing to do with our performance, but everything to do with His mercy and grace.

 

The conditions on which He loves us have nothing do do with who we are but who He is.

 

We make mistakes, and we sin. Our inherent nature is not to be perfect, but to live for ourselves. Yet God is different. God doesn’t say, “I love you because you’re perfect,” He says, “I love you because I am perfect.”

 

“I love you because I created you.”

“I love you because even though you do not deserve it, I choose to love you.”

 

That’s powerful.

 

You are cherished, no matter what your life looks like.

 

I’m not trying to say, “Hey, everyone! Because God loves you regardless of your lifestyle, go live however you want!” My point is to the contrary.

 

In knowing that we are loved in spite of the fact that we’re utterly imperfect, we find freedom. Not to live as slaves to our sinful desires, for when we grasp the love of God, the love of sin won’t seem so lovely anymore.

 

See, the love of God didn’t stop with the simple phrase, “I love you.” It only started there. It was an “I love you; let me prove it to you.”

 

Sending Jesus to die to pay the price of the forgiveness of our sins (whew, that was a mouthful) brought that love from just a word to an action. God didn’t sit back and say to us, “I love you, but you’re gonna have to figure it out on your own, because that whole sin mess you got yourselves into is ugly and tough to deal with, so good luck.”

 

No, He said, “I love you, and I don’t want to see any of you spend eternity apart from me. Here is my Son, to die and rise from the dead, that in believing in Him you may have life and be my child.”

 

John 20:31

“But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

 

John 1:12-13

“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 of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

So Dear Reader, no matter what you do, you are loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). You are loved by a God who desperately wants to have a relationship with you. You are loved because of who He is and because of His amazing grace, and not because of your performance.

 

Let us not forget that that we are NEVER out of the reach of His mercy and love.

 

*aj

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Are You Numb to Jesus?

Are You Numb to Jesus?

I read half a book on Sunday afternoon. I started reading The Pastor’s Kid by Barnabas Piper, because, um, I’m a PK and I had it sitting next to my bed just begging to be read. I gave in, needless to say.

It’s not a book on theology or anything like that, but more of a book helping people get a grasp on what being a PK is like and how to respond to that.

I cannot say that I relate to all of it, but something particularly stuck out to me. The concept of being numb to Jesus.

This can happen to anyone who’s been drowned in church, the Bible, and surrounded by Christianity. We can become numb to Jesus. Here’s a snippet of the book that I found spot-on.

“Being around Jesus-related teaching, literature, and events all the time makes Jesus rote in the minds and hearts of PKs. Rote is mundane. When Jesus becomes mundane, He ceases being life-changing and life-giving. In the case of many PKs, He never was either of these; by their estimation, He was just a character in an overtold story. Instead of Savior and Lord, He becomes any number of other things, most of which take on the character of those who represent Him in the church.” – Barnabas Piper, The Pastor’s Kid, page 73.

I remember feeling this way!

Sure, I always loved Jesus. But so many times growing up (not to say that I’m completely grown up now, but anyway), church was boring. I was tired of my Bible, because I just finished reading through it, and now I’m supposed to read it again? Jesus died for sinners. Does that include me? Grandma calls me an angel, even though I did throw a book across the room when I was mad last week…

Can anyone relate? I remember in 7th grade, things really started to click. I was baptized going into 7th grade and attended a winter weekend camp with my youth group.

It was somewhere around that time where I was like, “OH! JESUS IS AWESOME! HOW DID I NOT GET THIS BEFORE?!”

Maybe you’re a Pastor’s Kid, or a Missionary Kid, or you’re just so used to Christianity that you’re numb to Jesus. Jesus is a history figure, not a Savior. Maybe you had no “Damascus Road” conversion, just a prayer with Mom and Dad in preschool, kindergarten, or grade school.

And after being excited that “Jesus lives in my heart!” for a while, maybe even a few years, Jesus stopped being life changing. At least, it seemed that way for me.

I memorized all the verses, could rock Bible Baseball in Sunday School, could explain the book of Romans in detail, but my salvation didn’t seem life-giving. When I became a Christian in preschool, my life didn’t drastically change. Of course, John 3:16 was a good verse. Jesus died to save us from our sins. Great! We can go to heaven when we die.

I was so immersed into the Gospel that grace didn’t seem all that great, because I never felt like I experienced it. My conversion felt like a “press this button for eternal life and forgiveness” and so I pressed it.

I’m sure others feel or have felt like this too. Do you want to know what helped me find Amazing Grace for myself?

I finally understood the weight of sin.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should dwell on our sin too much. But listen up. If we don’t understand that we are sinners in the first place, controlled naturally by a sinful nature, we won’t see our need for a Savior. If a fireman came to your house and told you he was there to save you, but there was no evidence of any danger, would you appreciate him? No way. When I realized that without being under the control of the Holy Spirit that I was doomed to a life consisting of ball-and-chain slavery to sin, I understood why grace was so important.

Salvation isn’t saying some prayer and trying to be good for the rest of our lives. It’s being given a new nature, our sin is forgotten about and erased, and we are clean. It has nothing to do with “being good,” which, a lot of church kids are extremely good at. I was pretty good at it. I was legitimately accused of both having the entire Bible memorized and being a perfect angel. But that was me trying to be good, not letting myself be under the control of the Holy Spirit.

When I realized that I was, in fact, a true sinner, I could accept God’s wonderful grace to pay for my sin. It was only amazing, though, because I knew I didn’t deserve it and could not earn it.

I saw a relationship with God through Jesus as a privilege.

I always got the God/Jesus/Holy Spirit distinction mixed up. I’m not going to bother trying to explain the Trinity, because even I can’t full wrap my head around that. What I will say is this. Sin separates us from God (His holiness and our sinfulness cannot coexist). Jesus is our mediator, the one whom God the Father sent as a mediator between us and God. He willingly died to pay for our sin, and now we can believe in Jesus’ sacrifice to pay for our sin, have a relationship with God, and live by the power of the Holy Spirit (we aren’t controlled by sin now that it is washed away).

By taking my relationship with God for granted instead of seeing it as a miracle, I missed out on the blessing of enjoying my salvation. I became apathetic about being saved instead of rejoicing in it. However, when I realized the drag of sin and lift of salvation, I could see that I am blessed. Grace is amazing, and that’s so easy to forget when we’re so used to it.

Some other things occurred that year too, things that I don’t even remember, but the “AHA!” came when I was done taking Jesus for granted. I quit it with the cynical eye and read the Bible for myself. Because I wanted to, not because I was supposed to.

Friends, we can’t be numb to Jesus. Salvation is much too precious!

If you find yourself becoming bored with your faith, especially as teenagers, step back and examine. Who am I? Am I defined by what I’ve done, or by the cross? Why do I believe what I do? Is it because Mom and Dad said it was true, or because I have faith for myself?

I get it. I’ve experienced so much of it. The doubts. The questions and the answers. And you know what? I know that God is faithful. He’s not one to leave when we have doubts, but to prove Himself true.

Whether you’re a PK, a church kid, or anyone really, don’t let yourself be numb to Jesus. He is more than we deserve.

1 John 5:20

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

*aj

Why Joy Satisfies Me (More Than Anything Else)

Why Joy Satisfies Me (More Than Anything Else)

In my very first post, waaaayyyyy back on February 17, 2015, I talked about happiness vs. joy. I was a little baby blogling, testing out my writing voice in a little corner of the blogosphere, and didn’t quite know what I was doing. (It’s not my favorite post.) But I decided that the points in there were still important, regardless of the quality of writing.

I’ve been thinking about names recently. I’m Amanda Joy Beguerie. When I was six, I decided that I was going to change my name to Clara when I turned eighteen (and for the record, Clara just so happens to be the name of my book character twin). In addition, I always thought that Joy was a somewhat boring middle name, because it’s a word name (e.g. Grace, Faith, Patience, etc.).

Two nights ago, in Bible study, we talked about joy. We’re studying the book of Philippians, which is all about rejoicing.

I thought about my middle name and realized something.

My middle name is constant. I’m not Amanda [always changing emotion name], I’m Amanda Joy. Joy doesn’t leave, because joy is constant. I can’t get rid of my middle name, it’s just there. No matter how I feel, or what I do, it doesn’t change.

(This is how I think, okay?)

In Bible study, we talked about rejoicing in the Lord.

Because God doesn’t change, our joy needn’t change. Because things like grace and salvation do not change, we can rejoice in them.

Sure, I’m happy if I get a lot of likes and comments on a blog post. I’m happy if I buy something I really like. I’m happy to get my paycheck. I’m happy when people give me books and Amazon gift cards and clothes and free food. These things make me actually, legitimately happy. I won’t minimize that.

But those things aren’t constant things. They don’t last forever.

However, beautiful things like grace, and salvation, and God’s everlasting love are things that we can constantly rejoice in.

I’ve never struggled with depression, but I have been emotionally depressed from time to time. I think that most of us have, really. In those times, I cannot shake the feeling from myself because what happens is I forget my joy.

It’s easy to let myself become happy because of an earthly thing and then later, let myself be disappointed when that thing doesn’t last.

Joy is something that we will find in God alone. We will find joy in our salvation given us by the grace and love of God.

When we succumb to lies that tell us that our ‘joy’ should come from things, we deceive ourselves. This is where our joy should stem from.

Romans 5:8

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I know, I know. We’ve heard that verse a thousand times. BUT LISTEN TO WHAT IT IS SAYING.

When we had no hope, God provided us with hope. This hope is assurance that no matter what we have done or will ever do, God has forgiven us.

Philippians 4:4

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”

God has done what no one else could do, and He forgave us when we were unforgivable.

We are new in Christ, and our sin is not held against us.

Psalm 16:11

“You make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Joy isn’t a fleeting emotion. It’s a choice to live in gratitude to the one who saved our souls.

It’s a mindset that will give us constant satisfaction.

*aj

Simply The Cross

Simply The Cross

A low-key post today. Wherein I discuss the cross, and sin, and Jesus.

Does anybody remember back in April, when I did a four-part blog series on the Resurrection? Well, perhaps some of you are newer here, and don’t remember, but that’s okay. Basically, I talked about what the Resurrection of Jesus really means. (I’m not too fond of my older posts, seeing as I was still figuring my way around this blog and attempting to grasp at the essential threads of writing and blogging, among other things. So I won’t link up to them here. However, if you’re really curious and want to read them still, use the search bar on the side of the website to search for “The Resurrection” posts.)

I know it’s not Easter. I know that I’m talking about the Cross. It’s just about exactly halfway between Easters. Still, I love the significance of this Holyday in our lives. Because it honestly doesn’t matter that one Sunday a year we talk about Jesus dying and raising from the dead, it matters that we think about it every day. The weight of sin and the power of the Resurrection aren’t to be taken lightly.

So today, I want to address this. Specifically, the Cross and the Grave.

Yesterday, I was pondering this topic when a revelation hit me.

A lot of us may have grown up in church, like me, and practically lived there. Although that can be a really great thing, and strengthen our faith when we’re young, we may also take Biblical truths for granted. Perhaps simply because we’ve learned to recite them. It’s so easy to.

“Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He was buried and rose from the dead three days later.”

What hit me yesterday was the connection between this pretty-much-every-Christian-has-memorized mantra and Galatians 2:20.

Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Crucified. Killed. Destroyed. Buried deep in the grave. That’s what happened to Jesus.

Remember how He took the sins of the world upon Himself, and then He died? Well, guess what. Those sins – the sins that once defined us – died too. I have been crucified with Christ means that the sin was crucified too.

Then Jesus rose from the dead, but the sin didn’t. Our sin that condemned us to death stayed DEAD. When Jesus came back, sin didn’t. And what defines us now is Jesus, who took the place of sin in our hearts.

Christ who lives in me is the one that empowers me to live a life pleasing to God.

It’s not my effort.

It’s not my good deeds.

It’s not me.

Faith is it. Living by the strength of the Holy Spirit is it.

And if Jesus didn’t love us and give Himself for us, we’d still be hopeless.

Hope isn’t a wish, it’s assurance. We have assurance that we are forgiven because the weight of sin is gone.

Doesn’t mean we won’t mess up and still sin now. But condemnation is now gone because of grace.

And between grace and the Holy Spirit, we won’t want to sin any more.

So that’s the connection. I know it’s simple. Very simple, in fact. But sometimes, this church girl needs a reminder of the everyday things, not just the Easter things. Or at least the reminder that they’re connected.

COMMENTS, ANYONE? I’d love to hear from you. Any simple revelations lately? Can anybody relate to tending to tune out truth? Any thoughts on this post? How about this topic? Comment below in the little comment box that’s calling out for you to type into.

*aj

I’m Just Contemplating The World, Among Other Things.

I’m Just Contemplating The World, Among Other Things.

I don’t know what you’d call me. A thinker, perhaps. I think about things on a really big scale sometimes and people look at me like I’m weird when I make analytical and philosophical comments.

Nothing new there.

Anyway…I’m that weird friend that likes to talk about why things are the way they are. The meaning of life, the measure of success…all that jazz.

But I rarely stop there.

When I think, my life gets put into perspective.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about religion.

Usually, “religious” people have a normal life. School. Work. Play. Family. And on top of that, church and spiritual things once a week or so.

But that bothers me. If our lives are so-called “religious,” why isn’t it integrated into our lives?

That’s a question that has been weighing on me lately, as you probably read in my post about Church Camp Christians.

Honestly, though, my thoughts have been going even deeper than that.

These philosophical contemplations hit me at random times.

I few weeks ago, I was sitting around in my own little head (like I do most days), and thinking.

Why is Jesus the only way?

 

Why do I really live the way I do?

 

Why does God deserve my worship?

 

Could I just pick some other religion if I wanted to?

 

Why?

 

And I mean, I do know the answers to those questions.

I realize that I don’t have too much of a choice. This is God’s universe. He created it. He has existed forever and ever.

Now, when I say that I don’t have much of a choice, please don’t take it the wrong way.

It’s just like this.

I either choose to love God and be saved by Him, or I don’t.

I choose His way, or I choose mine.

At first, this might seem unfair. Who put God in charge?

Well, that’s the thing. This is HIS universe. He didn’t have to create us, but He did anyway. He knew we’d rebel against Him, but He created us and loved us anyway. He knew that we would rebel and therefore break our relationship with Him, but He still sent Jesus for us. He still forgives our sin because of His grace. And He deserves our worship because He is God. It’s not really explainable.

God has always existed, and always will exist. Earth is just a smudge in all of eternity.

So, why is Jesus the only way? Well, if there was another way to God, one that was easier, then why would Jesus have come in the first place?

Simple. He wouldn’t’ve. There’s no point in an unnecessary sacrifice.

When I look at the world, my thoughts are provoked.

When I see people walking in the streets. When I see people in stores. When I see people writing books or making movies.

What are they living for?

 

Do they realize that we are made for more than just going through boring old life?

 

Do they realize that God is at the center of the universe? That He is in control? That He wants to have a personal relationship with them, no matter how far gone they are?

 

Do they realize that they’ll never be satisfied until they get to know God for who He is?

 

Just a simple shift in perspective makes me realize that it’s not about me.

It’s not about how good I am, but about how good God is. He loved me, and gave Himself for me.

I don’t live out of guilt, obligation, or drudgery.

I live because I don’t deserve grace. I don’t deserve love. I don’t deserve hope.

And yet, I have been given it. It’s beautiful, really. Inspiring.

If you consider Christianity a religion, then I want my religion to bleed into my everyday life.

No, actually, I want it to take over.

I want my relationship with Jesus to be the thing that I live for. The thing that makes my heart beat. The thing that inspires me.

And you know what?

It sure does.

*aj

How Does Romance Fit In?

Blue Flowers

(This has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I updated my About Me page last night, because it needed some help. Check it out after you read this!)

I’m just going to come out and say it.

I’m a hopeless romantic.

I cry over chick flicks. And books. And songs. And I watch, read, and play them over and over and OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

Do you want to know why?

Yes, before you say it first, I’ll tell you that for one reason, I’m a girl. A girl who asks her mom and dad over and over again the story of their friendship, dating relationship, engagement, and marriage. A girl who has a Pinterest board of wedding dresses, engagement rings, wedding themes, favors, locations, photo ideas and all that.

But the fact that I’m a girl is really beside the point.

The fact that I value romance is more where I’m going with this.

I value True Love. Not the cheap Disney love that has the prince and princess meeting eyes, and getting butterflies, and getting married the next day.

Because I’m so so sorry…

But that love does not exist. It’s an emotion.

I don’t value that fairytale emotion like I value love.

I value selfless love. I value love that chooses to wait and not settle for second-best. I value love that puts another one’s interests above their own. I value the courage that it takes to love, even when it isn’t easy. I value the promise of love, even when the other person doesn’t seem lovable. I value generous love; love given to one who does not deserve it and can not pay it back.

And I value marriage, which is a commitment for life to love the other person.

The thing that I love about this thing called marriage is that when the “magic fairydust stage” (or, “honeymoon phase”) fades away, the promise still stands.

And each person has committed to stick together, in the toughest of times.

There is no, “I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, as long as you make me happy, I don’t get tired of it, and things go our way. And then when I have decided that I’m not happy anymore, I’ll leave.”

Because as much as love can be expressed in a feeling, love is a choice.

Ask anyone, the fairydust stage of a marriage doesn’t last for very long. But that cannot be an excuse to move on.

Because like I said, love is a promise.

I value love. Real love.

And I can’t WAIT to get married someday. (Emphasis on someday, but nevertheless I’m really excited.)

So as I was brainstorming for this article, something popped into my mind.

What if my desire for human love is just the tip of the iceberg?

No, really.

What if I crave something even deeper than that?

I do, as a matter of fact.

And it’s not like I didn’t know this before, it’s just hitting me harder and harder as I get older.

You know how I said that I value selfless love?

I’ve been given that selfless love by my Creator.

And before you stop reading and dismiss this as another one of those cliché articles about how being single really isn’t that bad, listen up for just another minute.

Through God’s AMAZING love for us, we see some really cool things.

Like these.

He is selfless. He loved us enough to let His Only Son die for our sins.

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

He lavishes His love on us when we can not pay Him back and do not deserve it.

He loves us even when we are unlovable. (AKA constantly.)

Romans 5:8

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalm 36:5

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

What I’m learning daily is that the yearning in my heart for love can only be truly and deeply satisfied by the love of God.

AND IT IS! I AM SO COMPLETELY SATISFIED!

I can rest in the security of His amazing grace and love because that love will never fail.

So, here’s where you probably say something like, “Wait, Amanda, where does marriage come into all of this?”

That’s a good question, and I hope to answer it well.

When I said that perhaps marriage is just the tip of the iceberg, that’s really true.

Because as amazing as marriage and human love truly is, it’s only a reflection of God’s love for us. His love for His people existed long before the first marriage took place.

Which is kind of mind blowing, seeing how prominent “love” is in our culture.

If love is so big in this world, how much more great and beautiful is the love of God, who Himself is infinite?

One thing that I always need to remind myself of is that marriage is not the loneliness cure, or the meaning of life.

Sure, it can be beautiful! And I can’t wait for it myself.

But it cannot be the standalone thing that we seek. My heart yearns for love. But deep down, I need to be loved more than just by my (future) husband.

If I don’t accept the amazing sacrifice for my soul, and the crazy amazing love shown in that, I can’t possibly accept another human’s love.

To reject that would be to reject satisfaction. To reject true love. To reject completeness.

Because whether we are married or not, we can all experience True Love on this deep level.

Selfless love. The choice of love. The courage to love. The promise of love. The generosity of love, especially when we do not deserve it.

1 John 4:9-12

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

*aj

Majesty Meets Mercy (Part 2)

Misty Mountain and Ocean

On Saturday, I shared part 1 of Majesty Meets Mercy. I focused more on the majesty and splendor and marvelousity of God. (Yes, I just invented a new word. I like the word marvelousity.)

Here’s the last thing I shared, and I want to dig even deeper into this today.

 

God. Designed. It. All. He designed it all, and has an eternal plan.

 

And yet, He cares. He’s not the giant mural artist who ignores the little specks of paint. No. No splotch of color is too small for Him to see. We are the specks, and He cares for all of us. ALL OF US!

 

This God – El Shaddai, Elohim, Yahweh, Adonai – in all of His majesty – is Abba. Father. He cares about us, because He is our Designer, Creator, Sustainer, and Provider. He is our Father, and loves us more than we will ever comprehend! He has mercy on us – His children – though His majesty is overwhelming. He is a BIG God, and yet he is a loving Father.

 

Mercy.

(Hillsong UNITED wrote a song called Mercy Mercy. I love it. It embodies this message, so I highly recommend that you listen to it.)

So what exactly is mercy? Mercy – mercy is when we are not given what we deserve. When we are guilty, but no charges are pressed.

When you think about that, that’s pretty amazing.

You don’t need mercy, you say? Well…hmm. I know we all need mercy. Here’s why.

God gave us free will – to obey Him, or to disobey. What did we choose? Disobedience, and utter abuse of freedom. What was meant to be a wonderful thing – freedom – became an ugly thing; Dr. Jekyll became Mr. Hyde; paradise became pain; love became hate.

We’ve all sentenced ourselves to death.

There’s no room for pleading here. We all deserve our fate. We all deserve an eternity in Hell, separated from God. We deserve to be cut off from holiness.

But wait. This is where mercy comes in.

Mercy says that God, in all His splendor and glory and marvelousity and infinity, became nothing, to extend His grace to us. Mercy says that when we deserved death, He gave us life. Not a life of slavery. Not a life imprisoned. Not a life of duty and obligation. No, mercy says that God freed us from sin and the curse that it brings. We were given freedom when we deserved death.

Philippians 2:5-11 explains this better than I can:

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

Mercy says that God became man – a servant, even – to extend His mercy and grace to His beloved children.

Yes, we are His beloved. We are His estranged children, the ones that He is calling to Himself.

We are loved and we are found. Because of His Amazing Grace, we are given mercy. The majesty of God has met mercy. We are loved and forgiven, sin washed away and we are free. And all we have to do is accept it.

Romans 10:9 says,

 

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 

That’s it.

Mercy has brought me to my knees.

I have seen what I deserve, and I don’t want to go there. I deserve to be a slave, and in exchange, I have been freed. What is this love that is so marvelously lavish?! I do not deserve it! I fall to my knees in awestruck wonder, because majesty has met mercy. God has met me where I am. This, my friend, is the mercy and grace of God.

I don’t know if I will ever understand it.

But oh, am I overwhelmed. I am so thankful. And now, why would I ever want to go back to my old life? Why would I want to crawl back into my old, cold prison cell? Why would I ever want to live as a slave to sin?

Truthfully, I do not want to. Mercy has rescued me. I am a new creation because I am in Christ, and I am not ever going back.

*aj

When I Am Weak…

Galaxy

Honestly, I usually think of myself as a weakling.

Not just physically, although I should probably work on that…

But I mean, I don’t really have amazing strength as a person.

I know how easy it is to fail a test.

I know how not to get stuff done.

I know how not to keep my emotions intact.

I know what it’s like to go through hard things.

I know what it’s like to be completely imperfect.

I guess we all do.

So many times I’ve relied on myself for strength…and failed.

Because my strength isn’t enough. My power is imperfect.

Imagine if life was all about how well we accomplished things. (Obviously, I would fail.) So if this was so, where would grace come in? What if we failed once? Twice? Ten thousand times?

I guess this comes back to the age-old question, “If people are good enough to get to heaven on their own, then why did Jesus have to die?”

Well, let’s face it. We are not good enough. Nobody has to teach us how to do wrong. Or fail. Or suffer. Weakness is a part of our humanity. But have you ever thought that that could be used for God’s purposes?

Yesterday morning, I was reading 2 Corinthians 12. And though I’ve read it before, it stuck out to me. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says,

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve gone from being perfection-obsessed to being fine with failure. So, where’s the balance?

Life is going to be hard, and we are going to struggle. I know I do. But the one thing we must remember when all of this happens, is that we were not meant to carry this alone. Because, as we know, life isn’t about us. And if we try to depend on our own strength, well, it isn’t gonna work. If we want to get through life, we need to depend on God. And this obviously implies that we don’t get the credit.

So, because of the weakness we have, Christ’s power will help us. Which is better than being “all set.” Because of our weakness, we are given grace. Because of our suffering, His power rests upon us. So, therefore, what Paul is saying here is that our strength comes from God alone to fill in the gaps of our weakness (which is like, every part of our lives).

So, on our own, we are hopeless and weak. Because no one can do life alone, no matter how pleasant it may seem.

But with God, we are given His grace and power to live life. We’re never going to be perfect until we get to heaven, and life’s never going to be easy until then, either. But remember: His grace is sufficient! He is the perfection for us.

It’s not the end of the world when we suffer, because we have hope and assurance that God will be right here, beside us. His power rests upon us in and through it all.

And we can say wholeheartedly, “When I am weak (living in the flesh), then I am strong (God’s power in me).” Remember guys, God will never leave you or forsake you. His love is everlasting, and you can’t do anything to make His love for you go away. His love has forgiven your sin, and has been poured out upon you.

I’m not perfect, but I don’t expect to be. I am living a life without regret: a life devoted to God, living for Him, through Him, and by Him Alone.

I’m going to be weak, and so are we all. But when we are weak, it is then that we are strengthened by Him.

*aj