The Loneliness Cure

Lonely Girl

It’s real.

Loneliness.

Loneliness is ever so real, and oh, have I felt it.

Sometimes I try to escape the feeling of loneliness by distracting myself. Listening to music, reading a book, texting a friend. Though it may make me “cheer up,” for a moment, I just go back to feeling alone.

It hurts. Trust me.

When my friends leave, when I don’t talk to someone for eight months, when I haven’t seen my best friend in so long, when I haven’t cried with anyone since who-knows-when, when I haven’t been able to pour my heart out to someone at my level – that’s when it hits.

I would not call it depression; I would simply put it as devastating lonely disappointment. The more I dwell on how imperfect I and everyone else is, the more I see the flaws in every aspect of life. And the more I dwell on flaws (mine include), the more I feel sorry for myself.

I feel sorry that people haven’t texted me, or that I wasn’t invited to so-and-so’s house the other night, or that my old friends aren’t my closest friends anymore. I feel sorry for myself because ultimately, life is not perfect. And I can’t expect it to be.

It hurts me to dwell on “how few” friends I have. That is, friends that I am free to share my heart with; friends that I trust; friends that will talk to me out-of-the-blue, because they just really do care. (Um, yes, this probably sounds pathetic and over-dramatized. I do have a lot of friends, it’s just hard to consider *all* my friends to be my closest friends.)

But I’ve realized something really important.

No matter the number of friends I have, no matter the quality of friends I have, no matter what I’m given in life, I’m still going to be lonely.

That is, if I rely on people. We’ve already established that people are imperfect, and this world is flawed. Therefore, it stands to reason, that there is no way that friends alone can cure my loneliness.

But Someone else can.

That amazing Someone is God, who created us to love Him and crave His love. And by His amazing Word, I know that He is the only one that can cure me.

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

Psalm 38:9-11; 15

“O Lord, all my longing is before you;

    my sighing is not hidden from you.

My heart throbs; my strength fails me,

    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.

My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,

    and my nearest kin stand far off.

[…]

But for you, O Lord, do I wait;

    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”

 

Joshua 1:5

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

Psalm 34:17-18

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

 

Psalm 9:9

“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”

 

Isaiah 26:3

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

 

See, the Lord God Almighty (and all-merciful) is the One who our hearts long for. My heart longs to be filled with His love, and His peace, and His strength, and His saving, and His steady grace to fill me where I cannot fill myself. It’s so amazing to have this to lean on!

So whenever I am wallowing in my loneliness, I make myself remember. I remember how much God loves me. I remember how much grace He gives me. I remember how He will never leave me. I remember how He’s saved me. I remember that He’s on my side. I remember how He gives me courage to face anything, because He is here with me. I remember that He is my friend who will never fail me. I remember that He restores my soul.

And no matter what, He will uphold me. No matter what I’m going through, He will be here with me.

And in comparison to my loneliness – this horrible beast that wants to ruin me – it has absolutely NOTHING on the God who bought my life with His own.

Loneliness can be cured. But not by a phone call, or a friendship, or a trinket, or a pep talk.

My loneliness can only be cured by the love that comes from my Father in Heaven, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

When I’m feeling alone – I am not alone. I have the God of Angel Armies on my side, and no one can stand against. Praise the Lord!

*aj

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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

Someone Understands!

Desert Sky Sunrise

Do you ever feel like God just wouldn’t understand?

Like He couldn’t care about you? Or that because He is God, He would never be able to understand what it is like to be a human? How to help you with your problems? “He isn’t like me. He’s invisible and is probably busy with all His God-like duties.”

Hebrews 4:14-16 says,

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

It’s like the classic teenager’s excuse not to talk to their parents about anything. “They wouldn’t understand, they’re not my age.” Okay, well, they were your age. Did you think they were born adults???

It’s the same with Jesus.

Yes, He is fully God. But He was also fully human, and in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

 

Jesus is the mediator (also called “High Priest”) between us and God. He isn’t “un-relatable” or “doesn’t understand” or is too far off to get involved in our lives. He lived our lives. He was fully human. He fully sympathizes with our weaknesses! Jesus was tempted to “steal the cookie,” just like we are. (Okay, maybe not cookies. Cookies probably didn’t exist in the first century.) Just as we are tempted to sin, He was. Just as our hearts get broken, His did too. He was fully God yet fully human, and we can’t take that lightly.

We can’t hide from God. First of all, it is impossible. Second of all, He doesn’t want us to. He loves us and wants what’s best for us. He wants us to get to know Him. He is our Heavenly Father and paid the penalty for our sin so we could spend our lives (and eternity – in heaven) with Him. He wants us to draw near to His throne (pray) CONFIDENTLY, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

In time of need – for me, that’s every minute. Why do we have confidence? Because we are His children, and He loves us ever so much. His grace covers us, and will help us. He wants us to come to Him.

Jesus understands what it is like to be tempted and to suffer (hello, he was tortured and executed the most painful way possible). And Jesus is God! God wants us to come to Him, because He knows how much we need Him. Jesus, our High Priest, sympathizes with us and is on our side.

Isn’t it great to have the GOD of the UNIVERSE on our side? Empowering us! Giving us GRACE! Helping us through hard times! I don’t know about you, but that’s really encouraging to me.

Don’t ever forget that.

*aj

It’s Not About Me.

Boat in Ocean, Sufficient Grace

Am I the only one that sometimes thinks that life is all about what I do?

“I gotta do this…I gotta accomplish that…I better make sure I do this thing…I couldn’t ever forget about that…” And on and on.

Because somehow, in the deep and dark recesses of my mind, there’s a little voice that sometimes says to me, “Amanda, you better do _______ or it’ll surely be the end of the world.”

Riiiiiightttt. And guess what? I fall for those stupid little tricks every time.

If I only do this, people will like me more.

 

 If I only accomplish this faster, God will be more impressed with me.

 

If I would only dress this certain way, people would notice me and it would make my life better.

 

*groans*

Why is it so hard to remember that my life is not about me?!

Remember Ephesians 2:8-9, anyone? For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 

Somehow or other, I forget this sometimes.

It. Does. Not Matter. How. I. Do. In. Life. Because. I’ve. Been. Given. Grace.

Because of my faith (ALONE!) I’ve been given grace, which has saved me. And guess what? This isn’t my own doing, because it’s a gift.

Imagine giving someone a gift that was extremely expensive and the only one in the world. Instead of them enjoying their gift (and being profusely thankful), they insist that they earned it because of everything they do for you. You simply shake your head and try to explain that what they do is great, but them receiving the gift has absolutely nothing to do with what they’re doing. You just love them and wanted to bless them. But they insist that they had something to do with it.

Human, you don’t get it. I gave you this gift because I love you. You couldn’t earn it, you weren’t even close. This was a gift, not a prize. Love, not payment. A blessing, not a reward.

And I have to relearn this every. single. day.

And guess what, everyone? God is giving me grace to relearn it every day. Because why?

2 Corinthians 12:9. “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.”

 

His grace is sufficient for me. There’s enough grace for me as there is enough water in the ocean for a baby krill.

Life isn’t about me, it’s about Him, and what He’s done for me.

It’s so easy for me to focus on my mistakes, comparing myself with others, and how good my performance turns out to be.

But I have to remember (I think we all do) that our gift of salvation rests not upon what we do, but upon His grace.

Because it doesn’t have to be about me.

*aj

How Much of the World is Too Much?

 

 Oh, it is very much a difficult feat to write a blog post at the time that it should be posted. (It will supposedly auto-post early Saturday morning, at 12:00 A.M. if I’ve finished it.)

But I’m committed to it and I love it, so it’s not a burden at all.

Maybe a lot of our lives are that way.

Maybe you enjoy school. Or you have the perfect job. Perhaps you have tasks that you do every day – not just because you should – but because you want to.

And then there are also things that go the other way around. For me, it is getting out of bed in the morning. I could sleep until 10:00 A.M. every day – but I wouldn’t get anything done, so I don’t do that. Instead, after hitting snooze probably four times, I drag myself out of bed and shove myself into the shower. Painfully.

This is an example of doing something despite the fact that I passionately do not want to do it.

Dear friend, I think we approach so many things in life with a less-than-“enjoying-it” attitude. For example, reading the Word of God.

That’s right. The Bible.

How many times do we take for granted what we have access to?

Most of us probably have at least five Bibles in our homes. Or maybe even one or part of one. (Including digital copies, my family most likely has over twenty…But that’s probably just us.)

When did reading the Holy and Inspired Word of Truth become a chore?

Seriously, we have no idea how good we have it. Freedom to read (let alone own) a Bible is a privilege. Friends, this book is ALIVE! There is no other book that has the power of the Inspired Word of God.

Here’s one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It’s Psalm 119:9-16.

How can a young man keep his way pure?

    By guarding it according to your word.

With my whole heart I seek you;

    let me not wander from your commandments!

I have stored up your word in my heart,

    that I might not sin against you.

Blessed are you, O Lord;

    teach me your statutes!

With my lips I declare

    all the rules of your mouth.

In the way of your testimonies I delight

    as much as in all riches.

I will meditate on your precepts

    and fix my eyes on your ways.

I will delight in your statutes;

    I will not forget your word.

 

There’s a lot of truth we can pull from this. First of all, we learn how to remain pure.

How can a young man keep his way pure?

    By guarding it according to your word.

With my whole heart I seek you;

    let me not wander from your commandments!

I have stored up your word in my heart,

    that I might not sin against you.

 

We must guard our lives according to the Bible! We can’t expose ourselves to the world purposefully, then cross our fingers for good luck, hoping we won’t be influenced by the world too much.

I’ve thought about this question a lot lately, “How much of the world is too much?” But I’ve realized this is the wrong question.

The question cannot be “How much sin can I get away with and still be a Christian?”

Grace isn’t about God forgiving our sin and letting us get away with whatever we want because He’s not going to punish us. When we understand grace – undeserved forgiveness when were so hopeless – we realize that we were saved from being a slave to sin, not just being condemned to Hell. Why would we want to go back into sin when we were rescued from it?

Think about it. If your house was burning down, and someone rescued you and your family from it and got you out, would you go back in there? You’d better not. Because that burning-down house is l.i.t.e.r.a.l.l.y. fleeting from existence. “But my cash is in there…”

Human, do you want your wallet, or your life?

Do you want your fleeting-pleasure-sin, or eternal life?

Listen to the Bible. Don’t be a part of the world because “It’s cool.” In a hundred years, when you’re dead, cool will not matter. Eternity will matter.

The better question would be, “How much of my life can I possibly spend living for my Savior? How much can I grow to know Him more?”

That’s the best way to spend our lives. Live. For. Him.

Now please don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying that if you don’t read your Bible, you can’t truly be a Christian. That is NOT what I am saying at all. But the difference between reading and not reading is the difference between surviving and thriving.

Blessed are you, O Lord;

    teach me your statutes!

With my lips I declare

    all the rules of your mouth.

In the way of your testimonies I delight

    as much as in all riches.

I will meditate on your precepts

    and fix my eyes on your ways.

I will delight in your statutes;

    I will not forget your word.

The Word of God is amazing. It shows us who God is. How to live. His majesty. Splendor. Love. The most priceless artifact in all the world. And it belongs to us, the children of God.

Don’t let the Bible become that dusty book on the top shelf. Let it be the Book that has a cracked binding because it’s been read so much. Let it be the Book that is never “put away.” Let it be the Book that has so many pen and highlighter marks that you can barely read the words anymore. Let us buy a new Bible because the old one is so worn – not because we think it has gotten “boring.”

The Bible is beautiful. Will you read it along with me?

*aj

The Resurrection: Part 4

  

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope that you had a wonderful Easter Sunday. Now, I have one last post in my Resurrection series and I like having one last thing to hold onto from the Holy Day. 🙂  So, without further ado, here is post #4 in this Easter series. Thank you for reading!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that most people want to die. I mean, usually, to die means to suffer. And if you’re not sure of where you’re going, dying isn’t exactly something that you look forward to. Am I right?

We celebrated Easter a few days ago. If you haven’t noticed it already, Easter is my favorite holiday. Why? No, it’s not because of the candy, or because I get to see my family and friends (although that’s fun too). It’s because I get to rest in the assurance of my salvation, that sin has no power over me. I am not punished for what I’ve done. What I deserve — Hell — is not given to me, because I have placed my faith in Christ alone to save me.

Let’s read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

    O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

I love these verses because — like I said — we have victory over sin and death. But let me back up.

Verses 50-53 talks about the Blessed Hope.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”

To simplify, we (believers) have hope. H. O. P. E. Some of us may never experience death, but be taken to heaven in the ‘twinkling of an eye’. We will be changed! We will be given immortal bodies!

I know that earlier I said that we don’t need to worry about dying if we know where we’re going. But this is even better. Not only do we have the assurance of Heaven, but some of us won’t even die at all. Woah. I find that extremely awesome!

Okay, now for my favorite part. 15:54-58.

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

    O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

When the perishable puts on the imperishable and the mortal puts on immortality (AKA when we are given new bodies and we become live-foreverable) this saying will be able to be quoted in the present tense.

Christ has defeated death. Death is conquered by victory, the victory that came by Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are victorious over death — we are not owned by the devil and sin that drags us to Hell — we are SAVED.

Sin and death have no power over us! NO POWER!

And for the last verse, we are to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.

We are not working for others, we are working for God. Our work is never wasted in God’s kingdom. We live to give glory to God, and that is never in vain.

I know that Easter has passed. I know that today is not Easter Sunday. But the truths we celebrate are the same all year round.

We have been saved. Sin and death have no power over me any longer, because Jesus has done the amazing thing — conquered death.

Easter is about the amazing love of God. It’s about the joy that it brings. It’s about the hope that we’ve been given. It’s about the peace that now rules our hearts. It’s about how we didn’t deserve what was given to us, which is what makes the resurrection so beautiful. Salvation is a wonderful thing because we fully deserve to be punished for our sin. It’s about this amazing grace bestowed upon us.

God is not out to get us. He is out to save us.

And this is why I love the resurrection so much.

Mankind rejected Him, but even still He came.

To conquer death, sin, and the grave,

though not deserved, He took my blame.

Isaiah 53:5-6 pretty much sums it all up.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions;

    he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

    and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

    we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

    the iniquity of us all.”

*aj

The Resurrection: Part 3

  

Good day, wonderful inhabitants of Earth. Can you believe that tomorrow is Easter Sunday?? I sure can’t. And yeah, I’m really excited. Jesus ROSE FROM THE DEAD, after all. Woohoo! Okay…so, I miscalculated when it came to scheduling posts for the past two weeks. Today’s post is not the last part in The Resurrection mini series. We still have Tuesday. Sorry about that melted-brain-Amanda moment. Ah well, today I’m writing about the resurrection of the dead. I think this is pretty cool, and I hope you do too! Enjoy. 🙂

What does it mean to rise from the dead?

I know what it means spiritually — my sins have been washed away and I have been counted blameless under God — but what about my physical, earthly death?

All us Christians will be resurrected. Which means that we all will die (unless Jesus comes back first). And I’m sorry for you who think you won’t die ever, but it doesn’t work that way.

We like to think of life as a wonderful thing, right? (Or at least certain people’s lives?) When people say they have “the perfect life,” we might envy them. I know I have. We all have wanted to change our lives in one way or another I think. But really — life doesn’t get too much better from one person to another. We all live in the same sinful world, and we all will eventually die. The best part is what comes after we die.

Let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians 15:42-49.

“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

So…as I was saying a minute ago, we all have perishable bodies. therefore, we all will  die. (Food analogy — if you leave perishable fruit out on the counter for a few weeks, it will perish. End of analogy. Sorry, Im bad with analogies. ANYWAY.) But life does not end at our physical death. Remember John 3:16?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus came to give us eternal life. Our souls will not perish in Hell if we believe in Him; we will forever be in Heaven with Him.

Back to the first part of the passage I cited, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.

“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

  1. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. What does that mean? Our earthly bodies will die, but our souls are immortal. Our souls will be raised from our bodies and we will live forever (although technically, eternal life begins when we believe on Him). Praise be to God for His wonderful saving of our souls!
  1. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. What does this mean? Well, in short, it means that we have hope. It means that though our lives will be miserable and painful, this is not the end!
  1. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. We all have souls. That’s not our decision to make. We don’t decide if this life is the end — because it is not — we just decide whether we want to receive eternal life or not. I don’t know about you, but I’m going for it.

Here’s the second part, verses 45-49.

“Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

As I was writing this, I was a little apprehensive about trying to explain this part. After all, I’m only fifteen and not a Bible scholar or anything. But I will do my best, and if you have any questions, you can comment below.

  1. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. Do you know what that means? Well, the first man Adam is, well, Adam. You know, the first man who brought sin into the world with his wife. *cringes* Yeah, I like to think that I would have perfectly obeyed God, but I don’t think I would have. We’re all human, and as much as I hate admitting it, I ain’t perfect. Not even close. That being said, because of Adam’s sin, all of mankind was dead in our sins. But the last Adam? He is Jesus Christ. Through Christ, a life-giving spirit, we have literally been given life. Our sins are GONE. We’re not just patched up or made better, we are new. AND IT IS COMPLETELY FREE! Is that not WONDERFUL?!
  2. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. Okay, that is a little confusing. I’ll break it down. Adam was from the earth, formed of dust (by God, not evolution). Jesus is from heaven. We by default have the image of Adam on us — sin. But by Jesus, we have the image of life and heaven on us. Isn’t that great?

I know that a lot of people think that the default destination for anyone — or at least good people — is heaven. But it’s not. Heaven is a choice. A choice to believe on Christ to save you from your sin and make you new. I’ve made my choice — have you?

Tomorrow is Easter. A wonderful day. The day that represents our new life in Christ. I know it is really easy to get caught up in traditions. We wake up, open the wonderful Easter basket (yummy chocolate bunnies. What do they represent again? *thinks hard and crinkles forehead* something about animals, Spring, grass, life, NEW LIFE…oh right! Easter is about new life in our Savior, Jesus Christ!), go to church, come back, spend the day with family and friends, and go to bed, gorged on candy and ham.

When did Easter became more about festivities and less about our Savior? Why? One timeless question that will jab and stab and blab in my mind for the rest of my life. Remember, just because the world does it, doesn’t make it right. Tomorrow, I hope my mind will be set on this wonderful assurance of life. God bless you all!

*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