Archive for Faith Through Action

Like a Sparkling Slither of Sunlight

I wake up every day, feeling like a sense of dread in my stomach, wondering if God is going to be with me that day or not. Truly, the Bible says that God is always with us and that he does not leave us, but it certainly doesn’t always feel that way. Ever since I have accepted Christ into my life, I have:

-Been sure to love him with everything in me. The Bible says to love God with all your heart and all your strength and all your soul
-Been sure to dedicate everything important in my life to him (music, school, work/money, relationships), make him my very first priority
-Been sure to love others with the same love he has given me. I attempt to express my love through my actions

The point is I feel like I am giving God my all, everyday. I get mad at him in the day, I pout and I whine and complain to him, and then I try to brush it off so I can face a brand new day with a fresh start. And then the cycle continues again. Wake up eager, go to bed frustrated. I’ve always wanted to be a Christian who was real. Not one to make up a bunch of mumbo jumbo crap just because. I want to genuinely love God and express that love through real actions, through changing the way I live, and ultimately helping to change people for the better by showing them how to love God more. I want to be honest, I want to explain, I want things to make sense. But sometimes it’s just difficult. Sometimes I want to give up, and some days I feel like I do give up a little.

But then, out of nowhere, like a sparkling slither of sunlight peaking over the horizon after the coldest, harshest, and darkest winter night, comes a glimmer of hope. It’s starts seemingly faint and barely there, but grows bigger and brighter gradually throughout the day, until it fills up the whole sky with its magnificent beauty.

This reminds me of what God can be like sometimes. I walk around confused and scared and pissed off because a lot of times, things don’t seem to go right. I get so angry I could scream. But in the bleakness and coldness in my heart, I feel this gentle love start to envelop me. Love slowly begins to melt the pain in all of my frostbitten wounds.

God is like that sometimes.

Sometimes, we pray, and we get the things we want; sometimes, he gives us rest and peace, and then other times, he will push us completely to our limits, and then some more, and then just a little more. But I am slowly learning to walk around with this Christ mentality of peace. It’s the mindset of having peace, even in a life filled with chaos, and we can only obtain it by truly trusting God and giving him our problems in this life. He gives us the strength to carry on when everything is falling apart, as it so often is in my own little world.

“My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory.” 1 Peter 4:12-13

So God will push you, God will test you, and we don’t fail if we fall down, even if we fall down again and again. God knows we will fall and break because we are sinful by nature. However, we only truly fail when we become indifferent and stay down, refusing to get back up. I believe that God is not nearly as upset when we don’t succeed as he is if we don’t try in the first place. I mess up on the daily basis. But everyday, I guarantee that I will get back up and try again.

I am going to kick Satan in the face because I will not let myself be defeated for too long. I have invested too much into Christ to give up so easily, and more importantly, he has invested much too much in me.

Like a Thief in the Night

My grandma just passed away recently. She was fighting a battle with brain cancer, which I believe she had over the last 5 or so years. The first time it came, they treated her and she was alright for awhile. We were so happy. Then, it came around again and she just got sicker and sicker.

We would go visit her in the hospital, taking time off of work to spend time with her. I remember we were just starting to go back to church again on a regular basis, but because of the cancer, we would leave Saturday to drive from South Carolina to North Carolina to visit her, and typically come back sometime Sunday. I felt bad because she was sick and I felt bad because we couldn’t go to church.

It was hard watching my mom cry when she found out the news. Granny was so sweet. She was cool because she always wanted the family to get together. She lived in North Carolina near other family members. We had family members in Virginia and family in South Carolina. So North Carolina was our where we would meet half way, always at her house.

We would get together for Christmas at Granny’s house. We’d get together for Easter and Thanksgiving there. There were cousins and uncles and aunts and nieces and nephews, sisters and brothers, mothers, fathers, and daughters. It was beautiful how we all would hold hands in a huge circle as someone said grace for Thanksgiving. How we would wake up on Christmas morning to open presents.

I remember how I always wanted to spend more time with her, but I would put it off. I wanted to talk to her and let her know how much I loved her, but I never felt like I really made time for that. It’s hard to look back and wish about all the things you could have done.

I wanted to talk to her about Jesus. I already believe she loved him, but I wanted to share our mutual love and talk to her about my experiences, and hear about hers. I wanted to let her know how much he loved her. I could tell she already knew, but I wanted her to know more, because she deserved that.

Sometimes I wondered if she had already accepted Christ or not. But she was so passionate and caring, it’s hard to think otherwise.

Anyway, I want to share with you the scary feeling of not knowing where your family or friends will end up after they die. Some people are sure that their loved ones already love God, by how they act and how they live through him. Some people are sure that their loved ones don’t love him, also by what they do and how they act.

“Now, brothers and sisters, we do not need to write you about times and dates. You know very well that the day the Lord comes again will be a surprise, like a thief that comes in the night. While people are saying, ‘We have peace and we are safe,’ they will be destroyed quickly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3a

The truth is, we all want to believe that we have all the time in the world to live our lives in the right way. We think that we have tomorrow to talk to this person or that person, or that we can take care of that problem next week. Then next thing you know, it is next week, and we are procrastinating again.

I am so guilty of this. I typically wait to the last minute and put things off, and then rush to get them done. The Bible says that the day the Lord comes will be like a thief in the night. It will take us by surprise, we won’t see it come it. People will guess at the time that he will come, but no one in earth knows. He will come to judge the world.

This spontaneity is also true for when people die. We honestly have no idea when someone will die. We like to think happy thoughts, that our friends and family will die at a good, old age. But statistics and history tell us differently. People die from car crashes, from overdosing and drugs, from suicide, from diseases and illnesses, such as cancer.

I expected my grandma to die in maybe mid to late 70’s, early 80’s. I didn’t think she would be taken from us at the age of 67. I could have sworn she had maybe 10 years left in her, because she was always so alive.

Big mistake making that assumption. I have a few regrets that I didn’t spend as much time with her that I would have liked to, talking to her about boys and God and love and life and happiness, sharing memories.

The fact is, we can’t choose when our loved ones will pass away, so all we can do is make the best of the time we have with them today. You shouldn’t put off calling your friend, making up with your brother; I shouldn’t put off calling my dad, being nicer to my sister. Anyone I know can be taken from me at any moment.

While I am upset that the Lord took my sweet Granny away from me a little too early, I am thankful for what he has taught me through the experience: that we don’t always have tomorrow. The fact that I didn’t get to share my love of Jesus with her puts a fear and an urgency in me to tell others about his love before it is too late. They don’t always have tomorrow, and neither do I. Something awful could happen to me tomorrow and today may be the last time I get to shine bright for the Lord.

He wants us to live with this sense of urgency, that we are here today and gone tomorrow. That we have such little breath in us, such little life in us. Each of us is only a few sentences in his gigantic book of life, so he wants us to be sure that what we say, what we contribute to the story, is something worth sharing. He wants us to have some fear in us, and not so it will cripple us, but to remind us that it’s dangerous to live passively.

Regret is not a good emotion to live with, and once someone is gone, you cannot get them back. He has reminded me to live life to the fullest, because the day comes

like a thief in the night.

New Song- “Released”, Updates!

Yay! I keep wondering how my love for Jesus will reflect in my actions, reflect in my music. I have written and recorded another song, called ‘Released’. It’s almost of good enough quality to post on YouTube! Lol just kidding.

Download & Listen

These are the lyrics:

High school memories
Remembering the times past
Always went unseen
An outcast to outcasts
They looked right by me
As I stood in back
My movie
Fades to black

Something is released
Deep within me
For all the world to see
It’s overcoming
All the bitter feelings
Of being left alone here
What sets me free?
Separating from the fear?
What helps me start healing?
His presence is so near

Oh yeah!

Eat or be eaten
Find your own way home
But he is leading
Me to where I belong
Heart bruised and bent
All full of holes
But his fingerprints
Are on my soul
Warmth melts cold resent
As love takes its toll

Something is released
Deep within me
For all the world to see
It’s overcoming
All the bitter feelings
Of being left alone here
What sets me free?
Separating from the fear?
What helps me start healing?
His presence is so near

He stood by me
When the world turned its back
His light shines bright
While the world goes black

Something is released
Deep within me
For all the world to see
It’s overcoming
All the bitter feelings
Of being left alone here
What sets me free?
Separating from the fear?
What helps me start healing?
His presence is so near

Oh yeah!
Oh yeah!
Oh yeah!

copyright Jennifer Clayton

Another thing! I am looking for a band to sing and play guitar in. I found this website where I can put up my information and my music and look for a band and bands can look for me. I am going to start talking to people, and get this dream on the road.

My book of poetry for Jesus, named ‘Atypical Jesus’, is well under way. I have been writing and editing and moving and changing and adding and reading and everything. I really am writing this book. I can’t wait to post some of the book on this blog. I can’t wait to get it published. I’M HYPER EXCITED!! 😀

Remember, living for God means dedicating your life to him, making him your priority, and making sure that what you are doing is for him. I am incorporating my love of music and poetry and blessing him, the way he has blessed me. Utilise your talents for him, and see what a difference you can make. Share your love of God with others! 🙂

Anger and Bitterness part 5- Suffering in the World

A lot of people are bitter with God because of the suffering in the world. “How could a loving God be so cruel?” They might say. They have good reason to wonder. But I feel many people are misguided in the conclusions they come to.

It doesn’t mean God is a horrible father- but you only understand my point of view when you begin to understand why people suffer in the world in the first place.

Well, some countries really prosper, while others struggle. In some countries, like in my country, the US, people have jobs (for the most part), have nice houses, cars, money, and they can live the life they want (again, for the most part). If someone wants to go to school, they can go to school. We don’t worry about racism and prejudices nearly as much as we used to, we have a government that listens to the voice of people, and tries to treat everyone fairly.

In other countries, children starve to death, families suffer from diseases, don’t have homes, and embrace absolute poverty. There is danger all around, and people really don’t know what to do.

This is where some people get angry, hating God because of the suffering. Well, as sinful creatures, we are naturally selfish. We want what is best for us, even if it costs others. It’s not that we don’t actually want to help, but more so the fact that we get so wrapped up in our own busy lives, we forget to notice how much we already have, and how little others have.

As Christians, God gives us the awesome responsibility to reach the world. In a world that can often lack sympathy and love, we are supposed to share sympathy and love. We are called to shine brighter than the world, and draw people in with our integrity and our genuine care for the well-beings of others. This is so they will look at God and see the love in him. What we do and how we live reflects on God. Yes, we are supposed to speak God’s word, but we are also actively supposed to live out those truths: giving to the poor, helping those in need, offering a heart to someone who is feeling empty, offer a shoulder to cry on, offer hope to someone with no hope or joy.

Ultimately, it is our job as Christians to take on the hurt in the world. Yes, that is a huge responsibility, but we can start off small, just by merely paying more attention to others, being kinder, etc. And then we start to do more and more for the Lord.

My point, people, is this. When people want to act like God is the blame for everything, when they want to act like he is unloving and uncaring- this is all a big fat lie! God is a father, and we are all his children. A father can’t stand when there child is lost or suffering, so as a father, he loves us very, very much, and cares for our needs. The problems is that his people are slacking off, and not doing their job completely. God changes the world through his people, and if his people are too greedy and selfish to care for others, it will look as though God is heartless. We have to be very careful what we do, because like I said, what we do reflects on God, and we really, really don’t want to give others the wrong impression.

We can get rid of the bitterness in some people’s hearts and give them more faith in God if we live the lives we are supposed to live. As the quote goes, we have to be the change we want to see in the world. So be the change! Be the hope! Be the love! There is so much anger and bitterness we can erase.

Happiness?

I normally don’t feel happiness. I mean, I have fun, I do interesting things, but I never feel a real state of happiness. It just feels like fun here and there, and then, I begin to sink in an ocean of sorrow.

I’ve always been this way. Before I accepted Christ into my life, it was waaaay worse, though. I couldn’t enjoy anything in life at that time. Waking up was horrible. Being at school was horrible and I felt lonely. Planning things was horrible, hanging out wasn’t much fun, and fun things weren’t really fun at all. It’s as if this greyness kept getting thicker and thicker around me, causing me not to be able to see or breathe. It got so dark and so thick that I just suffocated to death.

After accepting him, all the grey fog didn’t just magically disappear. Yes, I felt more freedom, more capable of doing things, more competent. I felt love, more peace, and I certainly enjoyed things more. But still, something lacked- I still never really felt happiness. In all of my years, I can only remember glimpses of it, but never really seeing it; I can recall grabbing bits and pieces of it, but never fully holding it. It just seemed to always slip from me.

I don’t know if it was boys breaking my heart too much, feeling too left out, school being too stressful, family being too crazy. I believed in Christ but still felt overwhelmed and depressed. But then recently, I started focusing on doing the things I loved.

I had loved Christ for awhile, but I started letting that love transform my actions and the things I do. Whether through music or writing or giving or speaking, I just kept living more and more for him, dreaming I could change the world and saying it and feeling that from the bottom of my heart.

I payed more attention to myself, to my needs. I needed to connect more with people and build more friendships, and I have started focusing on that. I reward myself for the hard work I do, and I am more in tune to my desires.

Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, came this small, dynamic sensation, stirring in the pit of my heart. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t imagine it. Happiness. Through all the grey burst forth this feeling of immense joy and excitement. I kid you not! It sounds ridiculous, but that’s because it was ridiculous.

I was actually happy. It almost hurt because it was so strong and unbelievable. Like when the Grinch finally started being nice and stopped taking over Christmas, and his heart grew larger. It overwhelmed him, but it was a good thing!

Some people seem to walk around, happy all the time. But I was never one of those people. I just faked like I was to not seem like such a weirdo. I’m sure plenty of people fake it. But now, it’s not fake. It just grows and grows on the daily basis. I was terrified that it might just disappear, but it only grows stronger. I was worried it would go away when I got stressed out about school and work again, but it persisted even through that.

It’s so strange. But I firmly believe that my hope in Christ made this possible. Not instantaneous, it didn’t come as soon as I started trusting him, but possible. That’s all I needed. I was willing to put forth the effort and chase after it, he just made me believe it was possible, that I could actually have it. And that, my friends, has made all the difference.

Having that faith, even when things seem impossible. What’s impossible for us is not impossible for him.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

He will see you through the hardest of times. He will make a way out of no way. In a world overcome by poverty and need and remorse, we could use more hope such as this. If more people would put their hearts into it by trusting him and putting forth the effort, he certainly can make it happen.

2011 New Year’s Resolutions: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVERYONE!!! 😀

Okie doke. I am SUPER PUMPED to write this post. Last year, I made 8 New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Get job, keep for at least 3 months
2. Finish bible
3. Learn to play and sing 10 songs on the piano
4. Learn to play and sing 9 songs on the guitar
5. Draw 15 pictures
6. Still have this blog up and running at end of the year
7. Write and be able to play and sing 1 song by me
8. Heal (with relationships) emotionally

I planned these at the beginning of last year. I wrote them all down, and broke them down into smaller steps. And for each small step I achieved, I rewarded myself by doing something I loved. Buying myself a treat, watching something I love, going out, etc. This served to motivate me. And behold! I achieved all of these goals, to a T. Now I trust myself to succeed in all my various endeavors. I ‘m not afraid to step out and go after my dreams. I know Jesus fuels my strength and optimism and will. This year, I added more God-centered goals:

1. Tell 40 people about Christ
2. AJ blog: 200 posts this year
3. Play music in 12 places this year
4. Try to find band/people to play with for awhile
5. Get half way through the bible again
6. Draw 4 pictures about God
7. Basically have poetry book finished
8. Heal emotionally
9. Social network more
10. Write/learn 4 songs on electric guitar.

The reason 8 is still there from last is year is because even though I did heal a TON last year, I want to keep improving until I feel absolutely perfect. I did awesome before, and I want to do it again. 🙂

I wholeheartedly believe I can do it. I am trying to please God, and I am certain he is behind me in these goals. It is important for us to set goals in our relationship with Christ, and to go after them with all our hearts. This helps us to become better Christians. We need to be constantly seeking to improve, attempting to become more and more like Christ. We are never finished with this; we are supposed to become more and more like him all our lives.

“Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

“My brothers and sisters, if people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save them? A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food. If you say to that person, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,” but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing. In the same way, faith by itself—that does nothing—is dead.

Someone might say, “You have faith, but I have deeds.” Show me your faith without doing anything, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too, and they tremble with fear.

You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing? Abraham, our ancestor, was made right with God by what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. So you see that Abraham’s faith and the things he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did. This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” And Abraham was called God’s friend. So you see that people are made right with God by what they do, not by faith only.

Another example is Rahab, a prostitute, who was made right with God by something she did. She welcomed the spies into her home and helped them escape by a different road.

Just as a person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead, so faith that does nothing is dead!” James 2:14-26

People act like you can say that you belong to God, that you have faith in him, and then do nothing. But faith and doing good works to reflect that faith, those 2 things work hand in hand. What you do helps with your faith. To say you have faith, but live like an island, not willing to influence anybody with it in any way, to change them and shape them and help them be on better terms with God, this doesn’t reflect faith. Your faith should influence what you do. And what you do will influence your faith. It not only will help others, but it will make you stronger and closer to God, too. You can’t change the world for Christ by sitting on your butt and doing nothing. Don’t say you have faith in him but then be willing to do nothing. That faith is dead!

Without this strong faith in Christ, I would have never been able to obtain my dreams. It is the new found strength that he has given me that allows me to work so hard and have a will so strong. Before I accepted him into my life, I would still be struggling just to achieve 1 or 2 of these goals. But the strength I have gained in him is so exponentially greater than my strength alone, that my success is a lot greater, too.

Good luck with your New Year’s Resolutions! Comment and tell me what they are, and I can pray for you. 🙂 Make sure to have some that will help improve your walk with Christ. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Woohoo, 2011!

Reflecting on Romans 8:7-9

“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. But you are not ruled by your sinful selves. You are ruled by the Spirit, if that Spirit of God really lives in you. But the person who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ.” Romans 8:7-9

This means that people who are not saved and not yet changed in their hearts by God live sinful lives, getting caught up in all the bad stuff of the world. It could be drugs, sexual behavior, gossip, etc. But what captures my attention is how it says “really are not even able to obey God’s law.” It says not only do unsaved people not want to obey God’s law, but that it is actually impossible for them to.

No matter what they do, even if it is not necessarily bad stuff, if their actual hearts are not changed so that they love God, they cannot ever please God.

There are so many people who want to try to get into heaven by the things they do, but it is only by faith in Christ alone do we get into heaven. It is important to understand that it is literally impossible to get into heaven if we do not have faith in Christ.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Romans 5:1-2

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

But Romans 8:7-9 says we cannot please God unless we have the Spirit of Christ in us. But when we are ruled by the Spirit of Christ, we stop living for the things in this world, and start living for him. We become slaves to God:

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:16-18

I think this is a good way to tell if I am encountering a genuine Christian or not. A genuine Christian is changed from the inside out. It’s important to remember that the transformation starts from the inside, changing the heart, and works it’s way outside, into the things you do. So first, the person’s heart changes and they develop a genuine love for Christ and God. Then, the internal love starts to pour out, and it reflects into their actions: they start living for God, trying harder to avoid sin, like gossiping and lust, etc. And they grow more and more humble as they learn to seve others and serve God. Their actions will begin to reveal that the Spirit of Christ lives in them.

I look at it kind of like a disease. A person with the true Spirit of Christ in them once had a horrible disease, but they found the source of the problem to cure the disease, and so all the symptoms of the disease went away after they were cured. The source of the disease represents the sinful heart, and by starting to love Christ with all their heart and trusting him, they are healed, and so the bad things they do stop, as a reflection of their heart. They start living out what they feel inside.

A person without the Spirit of Christ, a false believer, they see the disease in themself and they do things to get rid of the symptoms, so they can convince others that the disease is gone. But even if they hide the symptoms, the disease is still there, tearing them down internally. Their hearts are not changed, they are just trying to convince everyone that it has been changed by what that do, and it phony because they still are evil inside.

To me, it’s typically fairly obvious to see who’s hearts are genuinely devoted to Christ. A false believer may try to act godly, but a genuine one, I can tell that everything they do, they do it to please God. They aren’t as caught up with trying to please men. When I see these people, they often wow me.

I have a friend who says he loves God, but he does drugs and drinks and totally gets caught up in the wrong crowd of people. I can tell his heart has not chagned, that he doesnt’ have the Spirit of Christ in him. If people have a changed heart for God, it should shine in their lives. It shouldn’t just be that they go to church. It should be that they eat, sleep, breathe, loving God. They give and share because they are trying to be like Jesus, and they are trying to get people to see that love in them.

They are genuine, with real hearts, real love, real care, good character. For these people, following Jesus isn’t just a thought, but it is a radical change in lifestyle. They are living for something bigger than themselves, for something more temporary than making themselves great. They live to make Jesus’s name famous, helping to advance the kingdom.

And that’s what Christians should do! 😀

Click here to Accept Christ!

A relationship – time= the death of that relationship

I have a friend named Tabitha. During our junior and senior years in high school, we became really close until we were the best of friends. I loved Tab. We had a lot in common, we both had strange boyish qualities: her love for wrestling and crazy rock music and her more ‘not caring’ attitude, and she always thought of herself as a tough SOB. She actually got me interested in wrestling, and I already loved crazy, heavy rock music. I always had this rockstar type of mentality, feeling like I am the craziest and the greatest. It was this kind of strange stuff that brought us so close together, and we were different from everyone else by our unique mentalities.

We both had the sadistic/pyscho kind of view of the world. So we always had fun together. We enjoyed talking to each other and hanging out, united in our weirdness. We talked tons on the phone, and I really started enjoying high school because of her. I used to just always feel alone, but the time we invested in each other made for an awesome time and an interesting friendship.

But the more we got wrapped up in our own worlds, the more we neglected our friendship. I missed her, but I started working. I had school and work. Soon, I really started aching to see her. I feel this way to this day. It is so painful and sad, knowing that our wonderful friendship is wasting away, and there is a burning of sorrow in my heart.

Whenever I finally found time to call her, we would talk for hours, until I had to go somewhere. Then it would be weeks before we talked again. I feel like if I don’t call her up to do something, our friendship will quickly keep evaporating until there is just nothing left to hold on to.

Relationships take a lot of time and effort. They don’t just survive ontheir own. We have to work long and hard to develop lasting connections with people we care about. I could cry for how much pain I’m in over Tab, because I’ve never had a lot of close friends.

Well, our relationship with Jesus is the same way. It takes time and effort and lots of energy, like being willing to get up early on sundays to go to church. Like giving God time in the morning through prayer and reading his word, to try to prepare ourselves for the day. Like spending time with a struggling friend, telling them that Jesus won’t give up on them, even when they give up on him. Like listening and being obedient when he tells us to do something. Like putting ourselves aside and putting away our selfish desires so he can get what he desires. Like trusthing him with our problems, with our money, with our everything.

Sound like a lot of work? Well, that’s because it is! Any relationship with having is worth fighting for. If we don’t spend time with Jesus, our relationship dwindles away. The firey passion we once had for him dies down into tiny flames. Then one day, we end up missing him, we end up screwing our own lives up.

A relationship – time= the death of that relationship.

If me and Tabitha never bother to keep in contact with each other, our relationship will eventually die, and it will cause a painful withdrawal for the both of us. If we don’t spend time with Jesus on the daily basis, we will lose our love for him, and it eventually will cause us a lot of pain, whether it means being stuck in a rut we can’t get out of by ourselves, feeling empty, or living a life we bitterly regret. These are some painful consequences of neglecting this relationship. Life builds up until it is impossible for us to handle on our own. The pain we feel when we neglect our relationship with Jesus is a million times worse than the pain I feel by neglecting my relationship with Tabitha.

Tabitha is my friend, and our relationship is important to me, so now I have extra encouragement to try to keep in contatct with her. Jesus is not only our friend, but also our father, our saviour, our redeemer, our hope, our love, our freedom, our strength, our Lord, our master, our everything. That means we should be infinitely more encouraged to spend time with him. I only had fun with Tabitha. I get to do that with Jesus while I grow more mature spiritually. I get to be stronger in my walk with him, and therefore stronger in my decisions of what to do in my life. I get to live a fulfilling life with my best friend, a life more awesome than I could ever imagine.

I will work on my relatinship with Tabitha, I will work on my relationship with Jesus. Time, effort, energy, pain, heartache, blood, sweat, and tears. Whatever it takes. Any relationship worth having is worth fighting for. What are you going to do to spend more time with our Lord and Saviour Jesus?

Don’t Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk!!

It breaks my heart to know that some people think that if they just believe in Jesus, just believe in God, they are doing enough. But it is not just enough to say you believe. When people doubt my faith in Christ, I don’t like to sit there and argue with them. I could argue about my faith all day, win an argument, but by my actions, show that I was lying and that my faith was false.

Like I could convince someone I was sweet and loving and giving, but never give a dime to anyone, never offer help to anyone who needed it, and just be incredibly selfish. Yeah, I won the argument, but that didn’t mean anything.

The same is true with faith in Christ. Anyone can discuss all day how good a Christian they are, but if they say that, and then never do anything to prove that their faith is as great as they claim it is, then as far as I am concerned, their faith is dead.

One thing I learned about being a true Christian, with a truly changed heart for Christ, is that if you love him and have really accepted him as Lord and Savior of your life, putting him first and putting yourself second, you will yearn to do things for him.

Like when you love your husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend, you want to do whatever you can in your own power to make them as happy as possible. You want to buy them gifts and do what they say and shower them with love. Well, Christ is the same way. I know in my life, I love him with every ounce of love in me, and so I constantly desire to pray more, and help others more, and write more about him to affect more people, and to give money in his name, and to trust him, etc.

My actions show that I love him. I work, I go to church and tithe, I sing about him in my music, I draw him in my art, I write about him in my poetry. In doing everything I love to do, I try to make sure he is a part of it. Because I live to glorify him and make his name famous, not mine.

When people question my faith, I don’t argue because I don’t like to talk the talk, I like to walk the walk. By walking and walk, and doing what God tells me to do, people will see what I do and there will be no need to argue. They will see I am truly faithful to God and my faith will affect them in a positive way.

“If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” James 2:16-18

Faith without works is dead. If you truly believe the message of Christ, and do nothing, how will other people truly believe? Someone had to act to reach out to you, so you could be touched and changed in your heart by the message of the Gospel. They had to ignore doing other things they wanted to do and focus on doing what God wanted them to do, and that was to act on his behalf. And by acting, they introduced many people to Christ, and many people had their lives changed.

To say you believe in Jesus, and then not tell a soul about it or live the way he tells us to, means you are a deadbeat in the body of Christ. If I go out and preach and write more about the powerful turth of the Gospel, more people will change.

I feel like, if we don’t do anything for Christ through our actions, we are just a story in a book, we are just pictures on a page, flat and 2-dimensional. But by committing the words of God to our heart and letting that eventually transform into what we do and how we live, we are no longer a 2-dimensional story, but we are alive..

like instead of watching a movie on a flat screen, we become a live play on a stage, living a life devoted to Jesus on it. The difference between a movie and a play? A story in a book and real life? One is a lot more real, a lot more genuine, personal, reaches people a lot more effectively.

We shouldn’t let the world see us as hypocrites. We should practice what we preach, so when people say crap about us, it won’t be true. We, as the church, should sparkle and shine as the bride of Christ with no blemish, no defect. People should see us and not think we are a bunch of hypocrites and liars, but think, ‘wow, this is an amazing group of loving people with hearts for God, and I want to be a part of it’.

Practice what you preach! Commit the words of the Lord to your heart, and let that transform how you live your life. 🙂

What do I think Jesus wants his followers to do?

Pray; trust him; be obedient; listen to everything he says; love unconditionally, him and everyone else, with every ounce of love in our hearts.

Work hard in his name- meaning in everything we do, we should do it in the name of Christ. Commit to excellence for him, in everything we do, so people will see us and should be blown away with how awesome he is. He wants us to give, be selfless, be humble, be involved with our Christian family, inspring each other.

Always, always, always find ways to improve as a Christian, trust ourselves less and trust him more, never give up, never lose heart, depend on his strength to get us through literally anything and everything. Never get tired of working hard. Hold tight onto the faith. Show our faith is true through our actions!

I’ll admit, I don’t pray nearly enough, I get tired and don’t feel like doing it. I get sick of people from time to time, not feeling like showing them the love I am supposed to show them. But Christ has called us to action. So I will grow from my weakness, and let my actions prove my faith, not my words.

God bless, Jennifer