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

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