Do you want to know the crazy thing about life? No one's is perfect! So why do we try so hard to convince ourselves that ours is?? Do we truly believe that our sins are better than another's? I'll tell you one thing, I am not perfect and I am nowhere near it. I sin on a daily basis. I lie, I can be greedy, I gossip, etc. I recently read the book Whiter Than Snow and it changed my entire perspective on who I am as a Christian. I am a sinner. I was born a sinner. And I will continue to sin throughout my entire life. That is the reality of being a human. So as I stated before, why try so hard to convince ourselves and others that we aren't sinners? Every story in the bible gives us examples of redemption. Sinners who were lost, broken down, and then redeemed by God. When you read these stories it is easy to say oh my goodness I would never act like that, or how could he/she do that, don't they know better than to defy God? But these stories are us. The Prodigal Son, King David, Saul, Mary Magdalene, Cain and Abel, Job.
Paul was a persecutor, who vowed to put an end to Christianity. I very often hear stories in this day in age of Christians persecuting other believers of God solely because they feel that their way is the only way. But the truth is, we are all one in Christ. Christ did not persecute, he lead by example with love and patience and others followed suit. In fact, he struck down Saul off his horse asking him "why do you persecute me?". Paul was redeemed by God, and became one of the biggest Christian evangelists of all time.He does not want us to act self-righteous, to persecute, judge, or condemn, we are meant to uplift and show compassion, just as Jesus did.
The prodigal son was full of greed! He left his family, taking his inheritance and spending it all on his wild ways. Now who can relate to that? Greed. We long for worldly things , and crazy lives! But what happens when you waste away all your belongings and get lost in the world? The prodigal son came to his senses, just as we all do. Just as his father welcomed him back with loving arms, our father in heaven does the same for us!
Mary Magdalene was about to be stoned to death for her promiscuous ways and Jesus wrote in the sand "Anyone among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone" (John 8:7). Do we often find ourselves being judgmental towards someone who's sin differs from ours, as if our sins are better than theirs? I feel like this story is one that everyone can relate to most. It is actually one of my favorite bible verses. Let me just reiterate - WE ARE ALL SINNERS. It is not our place to judge or condemn.
Cain killed his brother Abel out of spite and jealousy when he saw that he was getting more admiration than him. How often do we find ourselves jealous of what others have or the attention that they receive? Although we don't o as far as to commit the act of murder, we make other choices that can put down or hurt another. Just as God reminded Cain, sin is ever present in our lives but it is our job to make sure that we don't indulge in it.
Job had everything in life : wealth, a beautiful family, flourishing farm, ect. He was a good man. He avoided sin as best as he could and shared his abundance with others. But was he only good when everything was right in the world? Did his good fortune make him who he was? Are we more often than not thankful and happier when everything is perfect? When storms come do we fall apart?? Job had a foundation like that spoken in Luke 6:48 " They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock, When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it because it was well built." When the storm came that stripped everything Job had from him, including his family, he held steadfast in his faith and showed enough patience to know God had a plan. A lot of times in our storms, we lose sight of and won't accept God's plan. Life is not always perfect. We need the patience of Job to fully understand God's reasoning behind everything.
Lastly, the story of King David.....God blessed King David abundantly and chose him as a mighty and great King to lead Israel. In gaining so much power, he got entirely lost in the world. He used his power to get whatever he wanted. He saw a women who intrigued him, seduced her even knowing she was a married woman, got her pregnant, had her husband killed in battle and then made her his wife. Now talk about sin. Lust, Adultery. Murder. And when God questioned him about it he was so far into his sins that he didn't even realize the wrong he committed until after it was brought to his attention. The entirety of Psalm 51 is David's plea to God to forgive him, wash him of his sins, and help him live for God. It is such a common occurrence now for families to be destroyed by lust and adultery. It is even more common with people in positions of power. Power is often used to get what you want without caring who is in your path. Could you imagine if we had a God like that? A God who used power instead of love?But God showed mercy on David, just like he will forever show mercy on us.
Although these stories can be extreme at times, isn't it crazy how we can relate them to our own lives today? Self-righteousness, greed, power, lust, promiscuity, impatience, jealousy, being judgmental. These are all things that we struggle with on many occasions! God took these men and women in these stories, broke them down and the prospered them! They were all sinners just as we are. They gave in to temptations, acted selfishly, yet they are some of the most influential people in all of Christianity. So it is important to understand that we are and will never be PERFECT, but luckily our God is merciful and full of compassion. When we become aware of our sinful nature it is easier to do our best each and every day to avoid giving in to temptations.
So, I have been contemplating what my next encouragement post should be about. About a two weeks ago I had my first negative feedback on my blog. Charlotte Russe had posted a picture of my in a bodycon dress on their instagram page. Every time I get posted I get beyond excited, so I began to read some of the comments and I read two comments about me being fat. The first was "gut gut gut gut gut #iseeyogut" and the second claiming I was "too fat for this dress". Sweet Charlotte Russe had taken the comments down pretty quickly, but I had already seen them. It honestly made me laugh because I weigh 130lbs at 5'8. and I know I am nowhere near fat. Plus they hashtagged Iseeyogut. Ha ha I laughed out loud on that one. The comments didn't effect me because I was raised to have confidence in myself, but not all women // girls are like that. In fact, the people commenting rude things for no reason have no idea what battle someone is fighting. Hench the picture I chose. After that I knew what I wanted to write about. BEING KIND.
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
- - Ephesians 4:32
Have you ever sat back and really looked at the example Jesus Christ was? He knew beforehand not only that he would die, but that he would be rejected, betrayed, and condemned by his own people. The very people he served and preformed miracles on. Did you ever hear about him turning his back, or being rude, or harsh? Absolutely not. As he was being crucified on the cross he spoke the words "Forgive them father for they no not what they do." He was man. He suffered, struggled, and felt pain just as we all do. The night before he was crucified he went up to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, telling God that this is not what he wants, but if it is God's will it will be done. Until the day the moment that he suffered death and joined his Father in heaven, he was kind to all. Never did he blame his people, or even disciples. In fact, Peter who denied him three times went on to become the first pope. He knew that Judas was going to betray him, yet he did not retaliate. Instead he Prayed. Just as we should.
"32 They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” 33 And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. 34 And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” 35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will"
- - Mark 14 : 32-36
Let's put this into perspective. Although Jesus had mentioned it many times, nobody, not even his disciples, knew the troubles he was struggling with. More often than not, people hide what they are dealing with. Meaning the girls who commented calling me fat had no idea whether or not I had been struggling with an eating disorder (which I am not, just an example) or didn't feel good enough, or low self esteem. There is no reason whatsoever to put others down to feel better about yourself. Instead, the world would be a much better place if we could just encourage and uplift each other, but most importantly be genuinely happy to see other people doing well. There is one story that has really stuck with me throughout the years. In high school I was having a conversation with some friends and they were talking about another girl in our class. They said "seriously? she wore that shirt last week!" It was an eye opener for me to reevaluate who I hung out with. Who cares if someone wears something every single day in a row for that matter? Is it effecting your daily life? Absolutely not. Does it make you better than that person by pointing it out and laughing? Heck no! Do you know whether or not that is all her family could afford? No. From that day on I always think before I speak harsh words, because I never ever want to sound how those girls sounded. If you think something you will say is going to hurt or tear someone else down then keep from saying it. Instead pray to God to soften your heart and refrain from having a mean spirit. Life is not about what we can do for ourselves, but what we can do for others. It also goes both ways, if someone is being rude, hurtful or disrespectful to you then turn to God and give it all up to the Big man. He's got it all taken care of.
Romans says it best :
"We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus."
- - Romans 15:1-11
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what is that good and perfect and acceptable will of God.” - Romans 12:2
It is amazing how I look back to my life a year ago and compare it to now. At the time I never realized that God was slowly, but surely working in my life. I was simply just going through life.I have always been a Christian and had faith, but I never truly relied on God. I went to church an hour on Sunday, and I can promise you that was the only time I prayed, that or if I wanted something. My problem was that I was scared. Just like in other parts of my life, I was scared to commit myself into a relationship. I was stubborn and hard headed, and if something needed to be done then I could do it best on my own, I didn't need to rely on others. Relying on others means that you are giving other people the opportunity to enter into your world and possibly hurt you right? I felt the same when it came to my faith. I was satisfied with just being average. If I didn't have the strongest relationship with God, then he wouldn't be as disappointed if I made a wrong choice. If I didn't rely on him to help me, then I wouldn't be as disappointed or mad when it didn't happen. My life was good; I worked super hard, I went to school full time, hung out with my family, went on random dates. It was my way, I made things happen on my own; just how I liked it.
But I was longing something and I knew it. I was graduating in May. That meant no more school, no more working at a bar. It meant the real world was coming. All of this thinking that "I can do it on my own" stuff wasn't reality. As much as I thought I was, I wasn't superwoman. I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career and I definitely didn't want to get stuck working at a bar my whole life. I was also longing to feel real love for somebody. I was 21 and had never once experienced an ounce of love towards somebody. If I wanted to make something of myself then I knew who I needed to turn to. I decided to make a New Years resolution to start reading the bible. That was the first turning point in my life. I began with the New Testament and it amazed me how I could relate my life to something that was written 2,000 years ago.....isn't that amazing?? Every thing i was reading had me intrigued. To this day, James is still my favorite chapter. I started paying attention to the readings at mass and really listening to the homily. I finally started praying again at night and thanking God for every opportunity that he has given me. The moment I said, but most importantly, truly believed, "God, I can't do this on my own. I am not going to force things, I need you and am giving my life up to you." My life turned around in the best way possible. A month later God blessed me with the love of my life, I quit my job, graduated school, and gave me the inspiration to start blogging. God is capable of anything. Even if your life is going good already, give it up to God and watch it be even better.
The point of this is that whether you are at your lowest low or highest high, you need God in your life! Open up your bible, and it can change your world. Your relationship with God shouldn't be one sided. Everyone knows that a relationship is successful when it works both ways. God needs you just like you need him. The best advice I was given was that God should be your best friend. Would you want a best friend who only comes to you when you want or need something? Or would you want a best friend who you can rely on and share your heart with, one that is with you every step of the way?
Hope you enjoyed!
Hey everybody! If you don't already know, I am a HUGE believer and a big time Christian. I believe that God has gotten me to where I am today, and I would be nowhere without him. I often look to encouraging scripture verses or inspiring quotes to uplift me. Whenever I am having a bad day, I open my bible and God opens my eyes to make me feel better. It is truly amazing the things he is capable of. I have the most amazing Fellowship of Christian Athletes bible <<< (click to find this bible ) that is so easy to follow along and it helps you relate to the Bible in your every day life. It has follow along bible studies that my friends, family and I do, which I plan on posting so more people can interact! I love to talk about God's works and am always on the path to understand better and gain more knowledge. I also understand that not everybody feels the same or even has faith, and if you don't, then this page is not for you. I do not force my faith on anybody, but if you want to talk then I am always open. This page is simply to uplift when you are having a bad day and to remember.....
"Be still, Let go & Let God" - Psalm 46 : 10