Romans 15:4 --- “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”
If someone were to ask you if you want to be an example of what it means to live a christian lifestyle, I feel that most of us would say yes. We all should want to strive to live for Christ and to show others that a life filled with Him, is one of the greatest treasures.
Now think if you were to have a big test coming up, for example, one that gets you your new job or gets you into your desired degree study. What are you going to do? If you truly want to succeed, you will study that way you can pass.
This is where Christians need to look at the Bible for their life, as students do for a book for class. The scriptures, as it says in Romans 15:4, were written in order to TEACH US. They were not just written so we could have stories to read, but they were written for us to read them, to learn from them, and to use them as a guide for our life. We need to plan to pursue the Bible and all it has to offer us, in order to live a life that is pleasing to God and brings us closer to Him.
Romans 1:16 --- "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes."
Anytime something exciting happens in our life, our first reaction is to what? To share to the good news! As soon as someone gets married, has a baby, gets a promotion, we go right to sharing the good news, whether it be in person or on social media. When we get good news, it is hard to keep it to ourselves. So this is our question: should you not be even more excited to share the good news of God's unending love and mercy? Why do we sometimes feel nervous to speak or our salvation? Are we afraid we might "offend someone"? Do we not feel "qualified" to speak on God's Word?
We need to do more than just post an occasional scripture on social media with a #SelfieSunday. We need to live a life that declares to everyone that WE BELONG TO JESUS. Using social media is a great way to spread God's love, but it is not the only way and should not be the only way that we do it. Pray that God will help you to live boldly and to help people with His Word and His love.
Philippians 4:8 --- "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Each day we are faced with problems of negative thoughts, attitudes, feedback, etc. and sometimes these things come at the best times and seem to just ruin it. When we are faced with these bad thoughts, we must fight for peace in our minds. Bad thoughts can come whenever, but it is our duty to choose the good thoughts. Go out with ungratefulness, moaning, conflict, past hurts, anxieties--- go in with the true thoughts, the honorable thoughts, the just thoughts, and the pure thoughts. You will never be able to live a life of excellence and "anything worthy of praise" if you do not allow your mind to let go of the things that bring you down. Which thoughts do you need to remove from your mind? Which thoughts do you need to let take over your mind? I encourage you to write these thoughts down somewhere that you can visualize them every morning and let them serve as a reminder to start living the life that brings you joy and happiness.
After Christmas is over, it can seem like a hectic time of life with taking down Christmas decorations, starting new routines, going back to school and work, plus so much more. We do what we always do and set goals that we have for the new year to come, which can sometimes be overwhelming. However, this is when we must remember one important thing: God has everything under control. We must not let this busy time, overtake our mind to where we forget how our Father in Heaven brings us the most comfort and strength that we need to make it through any situation. When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, this is the best time to just sit and pray that we your mind can go back to peace knowing that God has already handled any worry that we can even think of.
Romans 5: 1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
When you give people Christmas gifts on Christmas morning, or any time, you always want to see them open it that way you can see their excitement for what they have just received. If they were to receive your gift and never open it, than it would feel like a worthless gift.
We have all received a gift from God and that is Jesus Christ. However, some of us are the people who never open this gift of salvation from God. This is the gift that has forgiven our past, gives us a purpose for living, and gives an eternal home in Heaven and yet, sometimes, it can be the gift that is sitting in the corner unopened on Christmas. God has given us this gift this Christmas and every Christmas, all we have to do is be willing to open it up and give ourselves to God. Let us remember to not get too caught up in all of the hustle on Christmas day and rather, remember our true gift we have all received.
2 Corinthians 9: 6-8 --- “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;”
God has been and continues to be, the most generous giver to us in more ways than one and he even continues to give when we do not deserve it. Even though we have been given so many blessings, sometimes our selfish nature takes over and we struggle to give to others. There are so many reasons to give to others and when we do give it can improve our mindset, show us blessings within life, help others, and most of all, spread the love of Christ. When we give to others, it gives us a connection in Christ together and brings joy to both the receiver of the gift and the giver. This holiday season I challenge you to become a generous giver and have the opportunity to be a provide a blessing to someone else. Whether this be a small donation or a large one, let’s all put our mind in a spot to #giveBEYOND
Colossians 3: 1-2 --- “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
I am sure you have heard the saying, “you are what you eat”, correct? Well, have you ever heard, “you are what you think”? For Christians, this statement can lead to some truth in a way. If you have ever had something exciting coming up (for example vacation), that thought typically will occupy your mind until it is time to leave. As Christians, we should think about this concept and learn how to fix our mindset on Christ, rather than the world. When we become focused more so on everything around us, we will slowly become more like the world. Culture can be influential if you do not guard your mind and it can slowly start to affect how you think and how you act. However, if you continually keep your mindset fixed on Christ, you will begin to see the blessings of God more and the problems of the world less. It will keep your spirit in the eternal perspective and rather than being so distracted by the world, you will be ‘distracted’ by Christ, that the problems of the world will not seem like such big problems anymore.
Psalm 92: 1-2; 5-8 --- “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” ; “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.”
Sometimes in life we go through hard times that can seem to never end. In some cases, it may even seem that the hard times only get worse and we start to question whether they will ever end. This is when we should look to the book of Psalm for guidance. The first verse says how “I wait quietly before God”... during hardships, we can find ourselves wanting answers immediately and we can even begin questioning if God is even doing anything in our life, but just as it says here, we must wait. We see in many verses in the Bible that exhibit God’s perfect timing (2 Peter 3:8; Jeremiah 29:11) and tell us how he already has a plan for us. We must remain faithful and try not to take control of our own situation. The second thing that the book of Psalm shows us about hard times in our life correlates with waiting and that is to wait in silence. In order to let God speak to us and to see his blessings for us, we must not let our own mind and distractions get in the way of what God is doing. Even in everyday life, it can be easy to not see continuous blessing and to hear God when we are constantly distracted, so when you are going through hard times, it will be harder to block out these distractions, but we must remember that we have to be fully open to receiving God’s comfort and faithfully believing in his promises within scripture.
Psalm 92: 1-4 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, a harp, and the melody of a lyre. You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.”
This is one of my favorite times of the year and stating things that I am thankful for every single morning has been something that I have integrated into my daily routine lately and it has shown me so many more things about God’s love. When we begin to thank God on a daily basis, we begin to recognize His blessings more and we get less distracted by the earthly things that draw our attention away from all of God’s great love. By doing this, we can also begin to have less anxiety and worry, as our mental state improves substantially and once again, we are focused on what we do have and what God is doing in our life. All of this thankfulness will lead us to remembrance of God’s great faithfulness and it will show us more of how He works in our life daily. This Thanksgiving, lets not only be thankful for all of those around us and all of our blessings, but let’s be thankful to the one who has given us all of our blessings and remember to praise Him.
1 Peter 2: 20-21 --- “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,”
Everyone wants favor in their life, however, sometimes obtaining favor can also mean having endurance through hard trials. When we are going through these trials, there are typically two different ways to respond: we can either grumble and complain or we can endure these times with patience. Of course, enduring these times is what finds favor with God, even though we might not want to accept it. Think of all that Jesus went through… He did not do wrong when He came to this world, however He was treated with the most unjust actions, yet He endured it. Why did He do this? Because He knew that by doing this, greater things would come of it. When we trust God through not only every good time, but every bad time as well, we are showing our endurance with our trust in Him and His will for our life. Once we do this, God will empower us with strength to respond in a justly way and act accordingly.
Matthew 26: 36-39 --- “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."
The story of Jesus praying in Gethsemane is one of the most well known stories of prayer and exhibits Jesus’ humanity best. It is evident that Jesus was struggling with fear and anxiety which is something that we as humans, can relate to very well. However, even though Jesus was experiencing the same things that we do, what He did is what made Him win His internal battle of struggle. In verse 39, we see that Jesus “fell on His face and prayed” and He prayed until He was fully surrendered to our Father in Heaven. He became fully accepting of God’s will for His life and trusted in Him that God’s will was better than His own.
This is exactly what we as Christians should look to as a guide for when our emotions are too much to handle. We must trust God’s will and fervently pray with Him in order to have ease. If our goal is to be like Jesus, we must look at the examples that He set for us, just like this example in Gethsemane.
Daniel 1: 8-9 --- “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials,”
In our current society, one of the main ideas is that each person is free to decide what is right and what is wrong. As christians in this society, it is important to remember our morals through all circumstances and the story of how Daniel exemplified this is a perfect example for us. Despite being in the Babylonian culture, Daniel committed to following the Lord’s word no matter what the cost was. When this is related to current times, sometimes people can let the fear of rejection and ridicule keep them silent rather than standing by their beliefs. This silence may let you be comfortable in society, but it will never be pleasing to the Lord. Are you a person who will stand by God’s word and not let the overpowerence of society take over? Think about this and if you may be like that, but want to change it, pray about it and keep this story of Daniel written down as a reminder to you that the Lord’s way will always be more promising of a fulfilling future.
Colossians 1: 9-12 --- “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
When one is trying to grow their relationship with God or for this purpose, wanting others to grow their relationship with God, there is one thing that is most important that we must do and this is praying for God’s will. The external things like being an influence with Bible verses and encouragement is of course helpful, as well as inviting people to church, but the ultimate thing that one must do is pray for God’s will in their lives and in your own.
When we pray, we must not pray for what we think should happen, but instead, we should pray for what is already in the Bible. By praying for God’s will, our prayers become much more powerful. For example, by replacing the word ‘you’ with someone’s name in verse 9 and 10 from above, you are praying for someone with God’s will for their life, rather than what you believe should be their will. Of course, these things do not happen overnight, so be sure to be fervent in prayer and being faithful through the journey.
Hebrews 4:12 --- "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Gods word is a powerful tool. It tells us our rights from our wrongs and helps through the best of times and the worst of times. God's word will guide us in any direction we need to go in life, but ONLY if we apply it. You cannot just read the word and say you are living a life for God. This is like reading the instructions on how to build a piece a furniture, but never actually doing it. YOU MUST MAKE THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE ACTIONS. Do not just read about how you need to change something in your life, change it. Do not just read on how to better yourself, actually apply it. Do not just read on how to live a life for God, go live your life for God. Be the action that you want to see. BE BOLD. GO BEYOND.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 --- "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart."
Often times, when you see, for example, younger siblings arguing, there is always one thing that each sibling tries to do: have the last word. Each child always tries to add in that little last bit to make their argument seem more valid. We might not realize it, but sometimes we can get caught up in trying to have the last word with God. A situation can happen in our life that we might not like the outcome of, and instead of closing our mouth and taking a step forward, we can often question God on how He is leading our life.
In order to fix this problem, we need to learn to listen, rather than speak. Let the one who created our life and our path, have the last word. Do not have attitude in your questions about life situations, but rather have gratitude and wisdom. Learn to pray and listen, learn to #liveBEYOND.
Genesis 50: 19-21 --- “But Joseph said to them, Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
The story of Joseph with his brothers is one of the best examples of forgiveness. After all that Joseph had gone through by bearing many brunts of jealousy, plotting against him, and selfishness, he still had the ability to forgive in the end which can be a hard task for most.
When we do not forgive others it can lead to many built up emotions and resentments in our hearts. It will also begin to make us have bitter feelings and it will start to affect our emotions. Not only this, but it will also begin to affect your relationships with the other people in your life. If you have a disagreement with a family member and you cannot find it in yourself to forgive, it will continue to lead to problems until there is forgiveness. Overall, the outcomes of unforgiveness are not worth it. Do not think that forgiving is considered weak or that it is embarrassing to admit you have done wrong, but rather see it as a positive thing that you can humble yourself and not have resentments.
Genesis 25: 29-34 --- “When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; and Esau said to Jacob, Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, First sell me your birthright." Esau said, Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?" And Jacob said, First swear to me"; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
When we read the story of Jacob and Esau, the most immediate thought to come to our minds is typically, “why we would he sell his birthright for a bowl of soup?” It seems foolish and the two items do not compare to one another in terms of value. However, let’s take the context out of the actual items traded and ask ourselves if there is anything of lesser worth that we are trading for something that is truly valuable?
Think about the activities in your daily life. Are you giving up time and devotion with God for more time to do leisure activities? Are you prioritizing your hobbies or work over your personal family? These are all examples of something of value that we give up for something of lesser value. Some of these choices could ultimately be stopping us from receiving the blessings that God is trying to place in our life and we may not even realize it. Consider what you are planting in your life, because the day will come when we must reap what we have sown… do not let your personal “bowl of soup” bring an obstacle into your life.
1 John 3: 18-19 --- “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:”
It can be easy for people to say “I love you’s” or “I am here for you” with a simple text or especially in the age we are in with social media. However, just as the verse above states, we should #goBEYOND just these words. If you love someone, SHOW them you love them with your actions. If you really want to be there for someone, BE THERE. It can be so easy to say you will be there and when the time comes and you are not, some people result to the mindset of “it’s the thought that counts”. It is different if one can truly not be there, but people tend to use the thought that it counts as a way out and it is ultimately not. Do not live with a mindset filled with only words and no actions. Imagine if God only gave us words through the Bible with our life and did not show us His blessings in our life everyday? People would feel a lot more lonely and have a harder time trusting through in their faith. Love more, be there more, and use actions more.
Ephesians 4:26 --- “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,”
This verse is definitely one of my favorites, because it can turn a situation completely around. It is a verse that my boyfriend and I live by and when I say it lead to some of the best conversations I mean it.
When you get angry at someone or a situation in your life (this includes being angry at God), it can be so easy to go to bed and have the mindset that you do not want to deal with it anymore and that you are going to bed to ignore it. However, this is one of the worst things to do. This is letting the devil win his fight. All it leads to is bitterness in the morning and unsolved problems. It will usually even affect your mood for the entire next day. Who wants that? Hopefully no one does! Guess what, you might lose some sleep or maybe even a lot of sleep depending on the entirety of the situation, but even if you have to stay up all night, you always work out your issue first. You must be open and willing to humble yourself by realizing no argument or anger at a problem is worth going to sleep on. We must also teach ourselves to never let our anger lead us to sin. This often happens due to feelings of retaliation or spite, which in turn, typically lead to regret of the act. You will have to face your issue at some point so never try to put it off until you do. #liveBEYOND your anger and learn to be filled with graciousness from the Holy Spirit.
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