Archive for January, 2011

Jesus is your: Example! Con’t 2

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you.” John 13:34

Jesus is our example that we are supposed to follow. He loved people, so we should be able to find it in ourselves to do the same. People cursed him, tried to kill him, spit on him, mocked him, eventually did kill him… but he still loved them.

I can’t sit back and say I’ve been in that much pain, so I can’t say it’s too hard to love people. If anyone, he is the only one who really can say that, and even though that’s true, he decided not to. He loved them regardless of the pain they caused. He prayed for them while they hurt him. He could have stopped loving us, but he didn’t. And I am so glad he didn’t! This life would totally suck if he decided to stop loving us.

He said we should love others, like he loved us. I do it all the time. It can be annoying to love people you would rather not, but I do it anyway. People who have broken my heart, annoying people like my sister, I love my mom when it’s difficult… It is hard for me to at first, but I eventually manage it. It’s good to love others, even when they hurt you. Because if you continue to love them afterwards, it shows so much character, and you can help them to become better Christians, as you become a better Christian by embracing such humility. It’s not easy.

There are so many people I can’t stand, but I love them, anyway. Because if Jesus refused to stop loving me, and to give me so much mercy and grace and freedom, I can’t say that doesn’t matter. Saying I refuse to love people, even knowing what Christ has done for me, is saying that what he has done is not important enough. And I would never say that.

It is a command, one of the greatest ones. The other is love the Lord with all your heart and strength and soul. Find that love hidden somewhere inside your heart, and share it!

Jesus is your: Example! Con’t

“Whoever says that he lives in God must live as Jesus lived.” 1 John 2:6

Okay. This is how you weed out a lot of the hypocrites and liars. People like to say that they live in God, claiming to be Christian and loving Jesus and acting like that is who they are. But the way they live doesn’t reflect this at all. If you are a true Christian, you have had a genuine change in heart; death of your old self, and you become a live in Christ. Now with this change of heart, the Holy Spirit starts to live in you, and he helps you to grow more as a Christian.

This internal change in heart eventually affects you so much that it transforms into external action. It’s like a well of life and love fills up your heart and bubbles, running over the sides, until it affects everything you do. So if you are a genuine follower of Christ, you will feel such love and excitement, and you can’t really hold in how you feel, you need to tell the world. So your heart for God will reflect into how you live and the things you do.

You should gradually become more Christ-centered. Jesus should become more and more important, and you should become less important. So if your actions are not good, like if you are constantly doing the wrong things, hanging with the wrong people, and you are not compelled to change or you don’t feel convicted, and it doesn’t really bother you, you have not had the change in heart.

So it starts with the heart. My friend claimed to be Christian but nothing in his life really reflected it, so I can’t see the change. Those who are changed are compelled to live as Christ lived, loving and sharing and teaching as Jesus did. They gradually become more humble and more focused on Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven.

So if you really live in God, you must live as Jesus lived! Follow his awesome example. We can’t be perfect like him, and we will definitely screw up a lot, but we have to at least try, that is what he wants us to do.

Jesus is your: Example!

“This is what you were called to do, because Christ suffered for you and gave you an example to follow. So you should do as he did.” 1 Peter 2:21

Jesus is our example. He suffered for us, sacrificed for us. So we should be willing to take up our cross and do the same! He was always humble and very loving to people. We should follow his example and humble ourselves and love others. He was very faithful to God, being obedient to the point of death.

Therefore, we should be obedient to God and to him. He told people about the Gospel, and we are all called to share the Gospel. If we don’t tell, no one will know, no one will be saved and changed. It’s so necessary to read the bible and start to understand how Jesus lived, so we can live in the same way. Being graceful to others, pushing sin out of our lives, working hard in Christ, doing what he tells us. 🙂

*Poetry Corner- “Shoot for the Moon”

Shoot for the Moon

I shoot for the moon
Working long and hard
Though I have failed to reach it,
It never breaks my heart
Because I shoot for the moon
And always land on stars

I strive for excellence, perfection
Going for the gold
Why am I prevented from achieving it?
My scarred, imperfect human soul
I aim to get closer and closer to it
Constantly and consistently improving, bit by bit

In achieving all my dreams,
In everything I do
Lord, you are my standard
I always look to you
Because you shoot for the moon
And always make it that far
I will shoot for your moon
And always land on your stars
When I aim, I’m never so far aff
That I fall so far down
That I make it all the way
Back to the cold, lifeless ground

Because for you, I aim for excellence
Working long and hard
I cannot reach the moon like you
My sins keep us distant, far apart
But I’m pulled closer and made stronger
By knowing your heart
So when I shoot for the moon,
At least I always land on stars

-Jennifer Clayton

I wrote this poem because I work hard to tell people about Christ, and to improve as a Christian on the daily basis. It says that I strive for perfection in the things I do, but I never quite reach it; only Jesus can do that. I strive to not sin, but of course, I will sin; I strive to be faithful, but of course, I fall short.

It is the nature of who we are: fallen, broken, imperfect. And that is what Christ is for. By accepting him as my Lord and Saviour, asking him to come into my life and lead, trusting him in my heart, he made me flawless through himself. He is perfect, and I am not perfect, but I am made perfect through him. Only through him.

The goals I could not reach on my own, he helped me reach them. The strength I could never muster up on my own, he mustered it up for me. The courage I never had, he gave it to me. The love I never had, he shared his with me. Yes, the list goes on and on. He shoots for the moon and always lands on it. I shoot for the moon, fall short, but that is okay.

He forgives me for not being good enough, for falling short sooooo very often! Whenever I stumble, I am caught in his grace. His mercy is why it is okay for us not to be perfect. By dying on the cross and rising up 3 days later, he paid for our sins, all of our various imperfections. So I know it is okay to be imperfect, so long as I have in my heart. 😀 He is perfect where we can’t be, so we learn to depend on him. It truly is okay.

Jesus is your: Friend! Con’t 2

“This is my command: Love each other as I have loved you. The greatest love a person can show is to die for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14

We are his friends, and as friends, we want to make him the happiest as possible. Well, he commands us to love each other. To look out for each other, help each other, guide each other. He has been more than a friend to us, so we should do this for others, also. He showed us the greatest love by dying for us, so we need to love fully, with all our hearts, even when it’s difficult to.

Even when it means putting aside our pride, when we don’t like people, so that God can reach them and change them. Then, he can be glorified because of our humility. Love is the greatest gift ever! So love others as God has loved you. He humbled himself to serve others, and we are called to do the same.

Jesus is your: Friend! Con’t

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I heard from my Father. You did not choose me; I chose you. And I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name.” John 15:15-16

Yes, we do serve God. But he wants us to realize that we are so much more than that! We are his friends. We don’t just obey and have cold hearts toward God, and he doesn’t have a hard heart towards us. He allows us to have an intimate relationship with him, where we praise him and worship, and where we are his children and he is our father.

Where we love each other more, where things taste better and music is more lively and things are more exciting. We stop existing and really start living, with hearts fully devoted to Christ! He is not just some abstract religious concept. He is not merely an idea, but a new way of living.

He is not some small hobby, but a radical and awesome change in lifestyle. He is not some distant God who wants to have no say in our lives, who wants to sit back and watch us mess everything up. He is a loyal and amazing friend and father. He adds color to a grey life, gives purpose to this otherwise meager existence. He inspires hope, courage, strength, fellowship, ideas. He ignites love in our hearts.

As far as I am concerned, nobody ever really experiences life at all until they have spent a day with their hearts in Christ. He pushes us to change for the better, to help people more, to make less of ourselves so that he can become greater. He adds sparkle to our eyes and more enthusiasm in each step we take. Life will be challenging but still invigorating. Difficult but well worth the difficulty.

People act like Christianity is so corrupt- and though it’s true that corrupt Christians give us a bad name- I want to shout at people and let them know that this is what it is all about: lives truly being saved and changed by having faith in Jesus.

Which brings me to:

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with me.” Revelation 3:20

If you feel God tugging on your heart, don’t be cold and unresponsive. Don’t pull away from him! He’s knocking on the door of your heart, begging to be let in and to have fellowship with you. Trust him. Let him lead you and guide you. He is truly looking out for your best interest.

Let go of trusting yourself, trusting your job to keep you happy, trusting people to always be there for you, trusting that everything will go well because we live in a good society. We all know that sometimes, we trust in these things and they fall short. Something goes bad at work, you lose someone close to you, the economy gets horrible and goes completely insane!

Trust in the one who will always be enough for you: Jesus! He never falls short. He forgives. He gives us strength when times get hard. He will make a way. He is not merely a leader but a friend. Let him in your heart. Have fellowship with him!!

Jesus is your: Friend!

“Some friends may ruin you, but a real friend will be more loyal than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

This is soooo true! We must be careful with whom we become friends. A friend can either bring you down, or help you up, allowing you to become a better person in the end. A bad friend can get you into all kinds of trouble, get into bad habits (such as drugs, smoking, sex). They can actually cause you despair and ruin opportunities for you. These people get so close to you that you don’t even realize how much they are bringing you down. You have to step back and away from them to see how they really aren’t good for you.

But then, there are good friends, who help make you wiser, stronger, and they encourage you and give you all kinds of love. They try to lead you in the right direction, they are really there to help you. I want friends such as these, I want to be a good friend like this to somebody.

While in this world, we have to be very careful in making friends and deciding who is good or who isn’t good for us to be around, Jesus is always a good friend. Always a great friend! He is never afraid to be honest with us, tell us where we are messing up. He holds us accountable for the things we do. He guides us and makes us stronger by what we suffer.

He teaches and disciplines us… he also loves us, gives us peace at times, wants what is best for us, and actually knows what is best for us. He leads us to very uncomfortable places when we follow him, but these experiences ultimately help to build us up. When we can’t depend on others, we can depend on him. Strong, courageous, genuine, AWESOME!!

I pray that you surround yourselves with good friends, and be a good friend to others. More than anything, I pray that you discover what an incredible friend Jesus is.

Jesus is your: Protector! Con’t 2

“At your side one thousand people may die, or even ten thousand right beside you, but you will not be hurt.” Psalm 91:7

This is how it goes when we trust the Lord in our lives. Whether someone gets sick or dies, we lose or gain money, we have everything or have nothing we want, in all things, our hearts will remain strong. If we believe that in all our circumstances, God will keep us strong and help us get through them, he will always be with us. Then he can use everything that happens to us, whether bad or good, for his glory!

He attaches purpose to everything we suffer through, and uses it for our ultimate good through himself. That’s why even though there is a ton of suffering in the world, if we believe God can lead us out of the constant, bleak darkness that surrounds us, he can take away the suffering, use it to build character, and create strong hearts that rest in eternal hope.

But to me, Psalm 91:7 says other people will place their trust in themselves and in the things of this world, and they will be destroyed because of it. But the Lord’s people will trust in him, and at the end of the day, they will be spared. He is our protector! 🙂

Jesus is your: Protector! Con’t

“‘The Lord sees the good people and listens to their prayers. But the Lord is against those who do evil.’ — Psalm 34:12–16 If you are trying hard to do good, no one can really hurt you.” 1 Peter 3:12-13

When we are trying hard in our hearts to please the Lord, he hears our calls. When we manage to stay focused on him when everything gets chaotic, he always sees our effort. This is something I am struggling with right now. I feel like I am constantly doing my best to please the Lord, but that all my efforts are in vain, and that he doesn’t see any of it. Seems like he notices everyone else’s problems and hardships except mine.

I believe it’s true that I still have hope, though. Sometimes I feel like I am going insane, but he is still here somewhere, watching over me. I know that even though I hurt, I am indestructible. I know I have his strength when the going gets tough. He sees our intentions. If our intentions are good, if we are trying to please him and not do evil, he will create a light out of the darkness.

*Poetry Corner- “Fall Out of the Sky”

The stars fall out of the sky
Crushing everything
Down below
The inky blue of the night
Drowns everything
All living things
Cease to grow

And everything of today
Just fades away
And the world implodes
Within itself
When the world is gone
What is left?

All your broken dreams
Once held together by
Temporary things
Overwhelmed by new found misery
Deceived by your worldly
False sense of security
And when all is gone
You just about go insane
Calculating what remains
What of this world?
Well, nothing
Just nothing
You are a sellout for this world
Well, there’s nothing
But Jesus and his glory
And the hearts of those who believe

And the dangerous means
By which you chased after your
Fleeting dreams
Leaves you crumpled and empty
Now you’re fading and leaving
Did you not know
Those feelings were fleeting?

You look up and whisper goodbye
Asking “why?”
Those beautiful stars fall out of the sky
Crushing everything down below
How could you not know?
How could you not know?

Copyright Jennifer Clayton 😀

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