Archive for 1 John

Depression part 2- But Sometimes it is our Fault

Sometimes, we get depressed because of events and circumstances that are out of our control. But sometimes, we get depressed because of the destruction sin has caused in our lives. I know this very well from experience.

I was falling in love with a guy who was with someone else, and I got really upset with him and the person he was with. But regardless of what happened, I was still in the wrong, living in jealousy and dealing with adultery. This caused me a boatload of pain that lasted for a long time. I woke up in distress, feeling depressed. Our sins can cause so much destruction in our lives.

So we have to be careful with our actions, be careful that we are living for the Lord. I eventually did stop feeling depressed because of that guy I liked, but it was only after I had started turning away from those feelings and started tuning down my desire for him, and all the bitterness slowly followed in leaving. I forgave myself and forgave him and anyone else I felt like was to blame. My depression left when I focused on something else, and started trying to live like Jesus would want me to again.

As Christians, we have to focus on what is eternal as opposed to what is temporary. Being Christian, I still have problems at home, at school, and at work. My family still suffers, we take notice of the effects of this failing economy. I still cry, I still hurt, I still get confused and feel lost at different points. I still get angry. But how am I different from the rest of the world? I realize that there is hope beyond what I see today. Living the Christian life doesn’t mean the absence of suffering. But it means that you find strength in the love of God, and you realize that your problems are only temporary. You are with the Lord, and as long as you are trying to live for him, he will not leave you behind.

“The ways of God are without fault. The Lord’s words are pure. He is a shield to those who trust him. Who is God? Only the Lord. Who is the Rock? Only our God. God is my protection. He makes my way free from fault. You give me a better way to live, so I live as you want me to.” Psalm 18:30-32, 36

So we have to turn away from whatever bad things we are doing. Stop desiring to have what others have, stop gossiping and saying bad about others. One thing I learned from loving that guy and then letting it go: when I let go of the desire and anger, the pain and bitterness let go of me!

When I stopped caring so much about being with him and I started focusing on my own life, I realized that I was less and less bitter as the days went by. I was less angry and annoyed. so let go of your sins and the consequences of that sin will eventually let go of you.

I also realized that God forgives me when I forgive others. So when I let go of that guy and forgave him and his partner and all those who made that experience horrible, I realized that God would forgive me for trying to impose on that relationship. God will treat us how we treat others, he is just in this way.

“But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.” 1 John 1:9

“Don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. Don’t accuse others of being guilty, and you will not be accused of being guilty. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

“I will forgive them for the wicked things they did, and I will not remember their sins anymore.” Hebrews 8:12

Forgive ourselves, forgive others, and seek forgiveness from God. Doing this helped to lessen my depression, and it can lessen yours, too.

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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.

You Have God’s Love Simply Because You Are His Child!

Some people believe that they can do enough ‘good works’ to earn God’s love. That if they act good enough, help enough people, don’t sin, don’t curse, don’t gossip, steal, etc., God will love them and allow them to come into heaven.

But imagine these scenarios:

A baby, screaming her head off, her dad doesn’t know what to do to make her stop crying. He’s exhausted, trying to feed her, burp her, make her happy, change her… but she won’t stop crying. Snot is running down her nose, tears down her face, she has this ear piercing scream. Dad can’t take it! Does he suddenly not love her anymore? Because she won’t behave, is she suddenly not important to him anymore? Of course she is! No matter how she acts, she is still his little girl, and he’ll love her no matter what she does.

A 16 year old boy is acting up in school, always coming home way past curfew. Got caught up with drugs once, lies to his parents to get what he wants from them. He sounds pretty horrible! His dad hates his behavior, wishes he would pay attention is school, stop wasting his life, stop hanging with bad people. He yells at his son because he never listens, and he’s very disappointed in him. He breaks his heart so much. But if that boy ever really needed his dad for anything, he would be there to help him out. In an instant, if he had to die to let his son live, he would be willing to die, no question about it. He’s angry at how he behaves, but that doesn’t mean he doesnt’ love him anymore!

You cannot earn God’s love. Stop trying! God already loves you, just because you are his child. Guess what? You’re the screaming baby girl, the messed up 16 year old boy. And even when you do nothing but mess up, Jesus still loves you. There’s nothing you can do that is so horrible that could ever change that.

“Yes, I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us, nothing below us, nor anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

“Because of his love, God had already decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him, and it brings praise to God because of his wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in Christ, the One he loves. In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:5-7

“But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.” 1 John 1:9

We cannot go to church enough to win God’s love. How many times have you messed up, and your parents forgave you? God knows we are not perfect. It’s for that very reason that he sent his perfect son Jesus to the world to pay for our sins. Because we are imperfect, and we cannnot get to heaven by ourselves, God noticed this imperfection in us and sent Jesus into the world to correct us in our hearts, so all that we have to do is trust Jesus, let him be Lord in our life, recognize that he takes away our sin, and we can get into heaven.

“So do we have a reason to brag about ourselves? No! And why not? It is the way of faith that stops all bragging, not the way of trying to obey the law. A person is made right with God through faith, not through obeying the law.” Romans 3:27-28

All we can do is try to do the best we can in our walks with God. We have to try to be obedient to him, listen to him, live like the bible tells us to live. And we’ll screw up all the time. Heck, I screw up every day. But God doesn’t say we have to succeed, but we have to really and truly try. As long as our hearts are in the right place, Jesus takes care of the rest. If we stumble in our walks with Christ (which we will), we are caught in his grace.

When we mess up, if we maintain faith in Christ, he will not let us be ruined. He will help us get back up when we fall. However, this means we have to give our hearts to him, and trust him. Many people reading this post have not even given our hearts to Jesus, and it is impossible to please God until we have faith in his son.

“When people’s thinking is controlled by the sinful self, they are against God, because they refuse to obey God’s law and really are not even able to obey God’s law. Those people who are ruled by their sinful selves cannot please God.” Romans 8:7-8

So you want to please God. You have to trust Jesus to lead you in your life, and stop trying to lead the life yourself. Pray that he comes into your life, takes over, confess your sins to him. Trust him, he will forgive you. We get to be in heaven with God by trusting that Jesus saved us by dying for us on the cross, and rising 3 days later. Pray that he comes into your heart and takes over, know that he is Lord. He will rescue you. You are his precious son or precious daughter. He knows how to take care of you better than you know how to take care of yourself.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

“for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”Romans 10:13

If you believe in your heart that Jesus has rescued you from sin, you will be saved. Stop trying to be in control, let him have control. You have his love, he is waiting for you to start loving him back!

Jesus Is A Bridge

I drew this picture on neondragonart.com.

Took about 8 hours. (Click pic. for actual size! :))

This picture rings so true in my heart. Mankind is on 1 side of the world. God is on the other side of the world. We could never reach God because of our sinful nature:

“There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24

Without Jesus, we would have to be perfect to get into heaven. But because Jesus was perfect and sacrificed himself to take on our sins and free us from them by paying for them by death on the cross, the broken connection between God and mankind is now fixed. His strength and love and mercy allowed us to have a relationship with the Father, allows us to get into heaven.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.'” John 14:6-7

Jesus was perfect where we couldn’t be perfect, and he was perfect for us. God is too glorious for us to reach alone, but because Jesus was just as his father, he bridged the gap, healed the broken family. Wow.

So while we might try to do many different things to get into heaven, for example, go to church, pray, not curse, not gossip, give money to those in need- none of these things will get us into heaven. Because when we sin, we are out of reach of heaven. The bad thing is that we sin everyday, all the time. It’s very natural for us. The good thing is that we are saved by having faith in Jesus Christ, having faith that he saved us from our sins and died on the cross from them and rose 3 days later.

We are saved as we allow him to lead us in our lives instead of letting ourselves lead. Just having faith in a general ‘God’ will not get us into heaven. It’s having faith in Christ. Jesus was our only chance, and he did not let us down. Now we have to choose to take a leap of faith and take that chance.

We are saved not only from hell, but from the bondage of this world, saved from being trapped in sin. After we accept Christ into our hearts, we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness. We no longer belong to the world, we belong to Christ.

“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19

Ever since being redeemed by Jesus, I have felt a sense of peace and an everlasting eternal freedom.

Freedom to grow, love, be strong, survive, thrive, be happy, have hope.. my whole spirit was reborn. Where before, I always felt way too inhibited to do those things, trusting in Christ and trusting in God helped me to have that freedom in my heart again. It gave me freedom to stand against the crap in the world and feel awesome doing it.

I hated feeling alone all the time. I hate that even my best days, when I belonged to the world, even those days really sucked. I love the fact that with Christ, the worse days I’ve ever had with him are better than the best days I’ve ever had in the world.

I have literally cried over and over and had my heart broken and stumped on and been mad at Jesus and been in so much pain- and it does not come close to the pain I had when I was in the world, even when I was doing my best there. It’s so insane! Why would anyone not want to have this strength? It’s awesome that this strength is not even my own strength, but Christ in me.

I used to write so much poetry to ‘make my heart heal’, but it never worked. My heart only broke even more. I remember I thought I was gonna die and felt like I was gonna go insane before I trusted God. I’d sit at the computer and not be able to really write, because there were so many thougts that I just could not freakin’ keep up with! That was my strength alone- to try constantly to succeed at making me feel better and only fail. That’s where I died; in that room, on the computer, fighting to getting the words out, loosing an eternally impossible battle. Trusting God- that’s where his life started in me.

So the heart I have now is does not contain the desires that I want, but rather contains the desires that God wants: to reach the world, to save all the broken people, to let them know there is strength more than they could ever know; to let them know there is strength and so much mercy that they could have peace, no matter how horrible their circumstances are. Jesus is funny like that, awesome like that.

You could be beaten half to death and still feel a sense of peace in your heart, because no matter what people try to do to you in this world, he gives you freedom from them, because you belong to him when you trust him. I’ve gone through so much agony in Christ, and felt this endless fountain of love and hope and strength.

Following Christ is not easy, but it has always been easier for me to do this than to wrack my brains out trying to write poetry to heal myself and what not.

I never say “I want to be famous because I am awesome,” or, “this life is all about me, me, me”. Because that selfish little “me, me, me” heart died at that computer screen. The reason why I am so eager to please the Holy Spirit and obey him is because I gave up myself that night, when I realized I was going to die if I trusted in my strength.

I don’t mind tithing my money to church, or devoting time and money into relationships that help tell people about Christ. Because Christ is the true answer to all the hell in this world. There was a kid that accepted Christ once, and his dad was into sorcery and what not, and he tried to beat Jesus out of his son.

He beat him from his head to his feet. He kicked him out the house and said he was dead to him, because he loved Jesus suddenly. But the kid didn’t even care. He had that fountain of strength in Jesus, his friends said that they saw peace in his eyes, despite what had happened to him.

So I’ve learned that even kids in the most difficult circumstances- whether in poverty or having a tough time with family- if they have that true hope that Christ rescued them from sin by dying for them on the cross, they gain that fountain of strength, and can endure the craziest of circumstances!

This is how even the people in the most disasterous of situation can survive in their heart and spirit, where they couldn’t survive in this world. Paul the Apostle new what it was like to love Jesus, be treated like crap for it, and completely be able to handle it, for he said:

“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:4-10

“Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.” 2 Corinthians 11:23-27

This shows that Paul the Apostle suffered so severely for Christ, but he had strength to endure it. Who else has the strength to go through so much pain and tolerate it, no matter what? He has the strength of Christ in him. That boy who got beaten by his father has that strength. Me, even with all my bad days, feeling better than I’ve ever felt before… I have the strength of Christ in me.

This bridge from this world to the next. Faith in Christ. Freakin’ awesome. Are you ready to devote your life to him? The bible says:

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:8-10

Pray in your heart: “Jesus, come into my life, take over, be my Lord. Lead me, show me how to live for you. I know you paid for my sins on the cross. Be my king”

As long as you truly mean that when you pray it, you will be saved. How many of you have already made this decision? Let me know! 🙂

God bless, xox, Jennifer Clayton

The Most Healing Words

I have this book called GOD’S PROMISES for every day, and I was just reading it. All it really is is bible verses selected for different phases of life. When I read bible verses, whenever I am in pain or feel like I am losing faith in God, the verses help make me feel loved and keep me from getting discouraged. They make me feel safe like Jesus will protect me.

Sometimes we all forget how healing these words can be. This is one thing that is so attractive and genuine about Christianity. You can read a bible verse a thousand times, and each time, discover something new about it, look at it in a different way, it can radically change you and help you grow each time. It never gets old. It’s because God’s word is overwhelmingly filled with his love. Each time I read, I feel his love reach my heart and kiss it. It teaches me discipline and patience and integrity. It teaches me to have grace and mercy because Jesus had grace and mercy towards me. It teaches me humility and strength, and fills me with the richest kind of wisdom. I directly feel God’s love for me when I read.

When I feel broken and torn up inside- when I feel misused, his words truly heal my broken heart and bandages my wounds. It pours peace and hope into all my internal cuts and bruises. It takes the very sting out of the pain the world has caused me.

It is my closest, most sacred and important friend because the word is God-inspired. It’s God’s words, wrote down by man. I watch myself heal from the most pain I have ever been in my life- and that anyone could call that fake by calling Christianity fake- is someone who obviously has never experienced the peace is brings. It challenges and comforts you all in one. People who don’t believe, such as atheists, travel in this world feeling alone. When life knocks them down, they don’t know the eternal peace God has given us so that we have grace in all situations we are in, bad or good. They have not experienced the strength and mercy of the Lord. That is one hell of a dangerous place to be: travelling the world, alone in your heart.

I have decided to write some powerful verses from the book, GOD’S PROMISES for every day, here:

Because of his love, God has already decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him, and it brings praise to God because of his wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in Christ, the One he loves. In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace. Ephesians 1:5-7

But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done. 1 John 1:9

Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want. Depend on the Lord; trust him, and he will take care of you. Psalm 37:4-5

Then Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

For his own sake, the Lord won’t leave his people. Instead, he was pleased to make you his own people. 1 Samuel 12:22

I will not leave you alone like orphans; I will come back to you. John 14:18

So faith comes from hearing the Good News, and people hear the Good News when someone tells them about Christ. Romans 10:17

Every time I hear stuff from the bible, every time I read it, it resonates in my heart in a new way. It’s hard to explain. It’s like God’s voice speaking to me and loves echoes throughout my soul. Spend some time studying the word. Get closer to God doing so. You learn about him, and how to live an upright life. The bible is strength and protection and hope. It builds bridges where there are no bridges; builds bridges where the heart is broken.

It is the foundation of good living. It is so firm and it gives you something firm to stand up, something to hold on to. It teaches you and shows you how to be disciplined. It is mighty and challenges you to constantly change for the better.

These are the most healing words. Words written down by men, inspired by God himself. Read it, be blown over in the love of it all, and learn the true nature and character of God’s heart. It’s one of the best ways to get close to him. And also, pray. 🙂

What Drives Your Life?

I reflect on a quote from Daily Inspiration for the Purpose Driven Life.

“Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” 1 John 4:18 The Message

This is superb!! Fear is so crippling, and don’t pretend or shy away from that—people fear things every day! Judgment is a huge thing people constantly fear! In the backwards society where people follow the crowd, judgment is a huge thing people fear. People are like this all over the place! Take time to reflect all day on the things that cause you that crippling fear. Even pray that God would lead you and make very clear to you those things. As you come to take notice of them, see how God is missing in that area of your life.

You can’t be fearless, confident, and truly wise, and if you don’t trust God in those areas of which you have fear. Only God can fulfill you and take away such unnecessary fears and every day worries if you trust him.

Before I got saved, I noticed this fear all throughout my life. Fear of people and what they thought of me, thinking I had to put on this fake attitude that truly wasn’t like me. Now I am much less afraid of going after my big dreams because the fears of the world do not control me. I get over fear of judgment easily by realizing that it does not matter how the world judges me; by listening to them and their crappy opinions, I will not be fulfilled and truly succeed in life.

Only when I realized that God is always looking out for my best interest and that he never judges me in unfair ways, only then did I realize that it’s okay to not live like the world does. He is trying to lead me to the most fulfilled, happiest life. Before I met Christ, I listened to people all my life, and they could never lead me to be fulfilled. Now, I am very bold in Christ because he is very bold for me, giving his life so that I may live in true freedom.

You really have to realize that the more you trust in Christ in all areas of your life, the more you feel his love. The more you feel his love and how comforting and strong it is, the less you fear things as the world does. Truly, you need to only fear one thing, and that is the Lord, and through fearing him, he banishes all other fears.

Someone can achieve worldly ‘success’ for a few days, weeks, short years… But you can never reach you full potential without trusting God, letting him take away the unnecessary fears, so you live life more boldly and in a way that’s perfect for you. This is so critical to take into consideration, into your own heart.