We Are Redeemed! (Hebrews Bible Study: Week 5)

We Are Redeemed! (Hebrews Bible Study- Week 5

It’s never too late to join in this weekly blog Bible Study! Come find rest with us in this moment as we explore the book of Hebrews together.

 

A Brief Note: this isn’t a comprehensive and intense verse-by-verse Bible Study. It’s not a lecture, filled with incomprehensible theology and perplexing words – and I don’t want it to be taken that way.

 

This Bible Study is not a commentary and it’s not a headache, either. Really. No, it’s more like a regular blog post of mine – filled with a few truths from a few verses, and nothing too hard to “get.”

 

It’s truth for the people, people. I don’t want anyone to feel alienated. And yet, it’s so amazing to learn and be reminded of these important truths here in this Book.

Continue reading “We Are Redeemed! (Hebrews Bible Study: Week 5)”

Dear Reader: You Are Beautiful

 

Dear Reader_ You Are Beautiful

Dear Reader, you are beautiful.

 

When you wake up in the morning and slip out of your bed, you are beautiful.

 

When you stand in front of your mirror, with hair disheveled and shadows under your eyes, you are beautiful.

 

You are beautiful in your pajamas, the ones you hope no one will ever have to see, with skin blemished, covered in acne or freckles or wrinkles.

 

Your hair is frizzy, skin is bumpy, and your body’s discolored – but you are beautiful.

 

That person in the mirror – the one you criticize for your imperfections, will into being thinner, pinch into being prettier, make up to cover imperfections – that person is the one that God loves.

 

God loves the person in the mirror without nice clothes, without a status or title, without a nice scent, without makeup or product or styling.

 

God loves that person because He is their Creator. And that person is you.

 

Don’t believe the lie that being beautiful doesn’t apply to you. Don’t believe the lie that says you are not enough. Don’t believe that you couldn’t possibly be loved, that you could never receive the free love that God gives.

 

Dear Reader, I beg of you, please do not fall prey to the misconception that you are the exception. God sees you as beautiful because He sees His Son’s perfection inside of you, radiating from every part of you.

 

He sees you as beautiful because He looks at your heart; that same heart that He has made as pure as snow and called holy and blameless.

 

1 Samuel 16:7b

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

 

He sees you as beautiful because you were made in His image.

 

Genesis 1:27

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

 

God has made you with care and wonder.

 

Psalm 139:14

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

 

And you are beautiful because God promises it.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11a

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

 

As you stare at yourself in the mirror, curling and straightening and setting your hair, applying powder to your face to hide your scars and blotches and bumps, and dressing in the perfect outfit, remember that you are loved regardless of it all.

 

Remember that God sees you as beautiful, and loves you in spite of all your imperfections.

 

You were created in love, given a beautiful life to live, and a blank slate that God is using to write His story.

 

Forget the pressures of who everyone wants you to be, and come to your Father – blemished, messy, and exactly how He wants to see you: as you.

 

Friend, never forget that you are beautiful, and that you are loved. You can do nothing to change this truth, for everything you are is loved by the One who invented you.

 

He imagined your personality before you existed, and He called it good. He knew your thoughts before your parents knew you, and He loved you.

 

Never doubt how God feels about you, Dear Reader. He loves you, and He calls you beautiful.

 

*aj

Dear Reader: You Are Not Your Past

Dear Reader- You Are Not Your Past.png

I’m opening a new category on my blog called “Dear Reader.” This will be a lot like “Dear Christian Teens,” but it’ll hopefully have a more expanded demographic than just 13-19. I love to write in letter format rather than lecture. I want to share my heart as I would with a friend, not just tell you all what you should and shouldn’t do.

 

I’d like to do an occasional post where I can look you in the eyes and say “listen. I know you’re not perfect, and I’m definitely not either. Let’s figure out life together.” instead of writing a speech.

 

I want my posts, particularly my “Dear Reader” posts, to be freeing.

 

Without further adieu, let me bring you the first installment of “Dear Reader.”

 

Dear Reader,

 

You are not your past.

 

You are not what you have done or where you have been.

 

You are not the choices you’ve made.

 

You are not your image or accomplishments.

 

You are not defined by all the sins you’ve committed.

 

You are not your addictions.

 

And I mean it.

 

You are covered by grace.

 

You became covered by grace the moment you said “Jesus, I believe you can and will forgive my sins.”

 

You are covered by grace because you are loved by your Creator. Because He said, “I don’t want to see my child eternally separated from me.”

 

Grace is such that we cannot outrun it. We cannot out-sin it. We cannot get to a point where it does not apply to us anymore. We cannot earn it. Why?

 

Grace is a gift.

 

You do not deserve to be forgiven, and neither do I.

 

But Dear Reader, that’s why grace is amazing. We do not deserve grace of any kind, we do not deserve mercy, we do not deserve forgiveness. Grace is undeserved, and it is beautiful.

 

Grace says, “I have seen your sin and yet I love you. Yet I forgive you. I have seen your filth and yet I call you clean.”

 

God sees us as NEW.

 

He does not see our failures; He sees His Son’s perfection in us.

 

He does not call us on our screw-ups, on our deliberate sins, or on our flaws. He says, “I love you, and what you have done cannot change that.”

 

Dear Reader, you are not your past because God has washed it away.

 

You are called holy and blameless.

 

Titus 3:4-7

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

 

You are justified by His grace. God sees you the same as if you’d lived the perfect life and never did anything wrong.

 

You are not your past – you are a new creation because you are in Christ.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

Instead of beating ourselves up over and over about our sin, why don’t we see at as God sees it? FORGIVEN.

 

Psalm 103:12

“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

 

So Dear Reader,

 

It’s alright that we’re not perfect, it’s alright that we’re messed up, it’s all right that we’re sinners, because grace covers us. We are held in the hands of a loving God, not an angry one.

 

You do not have to let what you’ve done define how you see yourself. See yourself as God sees you, and let JESUS define you.

 

You are new.

 

*aj

You Have A Purpose

You Have A Purpose-2

Yesterday afternoon, I had a wonderful idea for today’s blog post. “I’ll remember it,” I told myself. Did I remember it? Of course not. So goes the life of a blogger.

 

Recently, I’ve been addressing topics having to do with life and purpose. I haven’t explicitly stated that, but let’s look at the most recent ones and you’ll see what I mean.

 

In There is Always Hope, I discussed how we can have hope even in the darkest situations of our lives. Similarly, in Where Does Your Strength Come From? I explained that we need to rely on God to get through our difficulties. In Don’t Regret Where You Are and There is A Plan For You, I talked about living lives glorifying to God right where we are. That it doesn’t matter what point in life we’re at, but that we make the most of the lives that God has given us. In Christianity: Hypocrisy vs. Authenticity, I wrote about living authentically as a Christian.

 

As you can probably see by my past five posts, life and purpose are important to me. So to tie those posts together, I’d like to explore purpose today.

 

Before we get into why purpose is important, I want to establish what it is.

 

The handy-dandy dictionary.com says that purpose is “the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.”

 

Therefore, it stands to reason that our purpose is the reason we were made. Why we’re here.

 

As Christians, we’re not left in the dark about this, though. We don’t need to wander aimlessly through life, crossing our fingers and hoping we make the right decisions. We can live a life full of purpose and meaning, and we don’t have to wonder what that is.

 

Firstly, we must acknowledge that God creates our purpose for us. His purpose is worked out in our lives through us.

 

One of my favorite verses is this one.

 

Job 42:2

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

 

It’s so encouraging to me to know that God’s plans surpass my own, and that no one can get in the way of His purpose and will. But what is His will?

 

John 6:40

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

 

I find that to be an interesting verse. It’s such assurance to know that everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus will be saved, and that salvation is not withheld from anyone who wants it.

 

2 Timothy 1:9

“[God] who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”

 

His salvation of us is by His grace alone, and not by our works. Because of His grace, we have been called to live in holiness – that is, as new creations in Christ, the holy people He has transformed us to be. We have purpose in this – to live out new, transformed lives.

 

Purpose is what gives our lives meaning. Purpose gives us a reason to live. A reason to get up in the morning. A reason to put others before ourselves and press on through hardships.

 

In this life, we’ll have difficult times. We’ll struggle, and stumble, and mess up because we’re not perfect. This life can get us down, stressed, depressed, discouraged, whatever. But because of salvation, we have such a great hope. We have the hope (and assurance) of everlasting life in Heaven, and God is not withholding that from us.

 

God desires for us all to choose Him, for us all to choose everlasting life.

 

This doesn’t mean that everyone on earth is saved, but that everyone who calls upon Him for salvation will receive it. It’s our choice. And His grace.

 

Romans 10:13

“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

 

With this purpose in our lives, a reason to live, and an assurance to inspire us to press on, we don’t have to fumble around. We can live confidently, hopefully, and peacefully, in knowing that there is, in fact, a purpose for us.

 

*aj