Posts Tagged ‘heart’

I have felt this way more often than not. I see other girls and wish to God that I could be like them. They have perfect bodies, beautiful hair, huge eyes, are amazing at sports, can sing like an angel, and just seem like the perfect person. Or at least, they are closer to perfection than me.
I look in the mirror and cringe at the girl who stares back at me. No amount of makeup can help me, no matter how many different styles of clothing I try on, the solid truth remains painfully vibrant:
I am a failure to perfection.

I am broken, shattered into a million tiny pieces, I bleed constantly out of my heart, and none of my wounds seem to be healing. I beaten and bruised. Yet, if I did not tell you this myself, you would never know.
On the outside I can portray any face necessary to not stand out, but on the inside I can never seem to match the ideal perfection that I have created in my head.
I am sure I am not the only girl to feel this.
We feel like a disappointment. We feel like we are the random outcast that has no hope. Some of us do not have any good friends, or maybe you feel alone in a crowd of people, like you are faking your true self just to fit in.
Whatever the case is, we all feel it. We are being assaulted at the core of our femininity.
Who we are is not good enough.

I hurt for you girls who share these similar feelings. It’s harsh and brutal.
But let me share with you something that completely changed my view on me:
He saw that Fatima’s eyes were filled with tears. “Why are you crying?” He asked.
“I am a woman of the desert,” She replied, averting her face so he could not see,
“But above all else, I am a woman.”

We, as women, long to be bold and beautiful. We wish we had daring spirits, like Pocahontas or Sacajawea. They were equal with the men; they did things that none of the men around them could do. They played a special role that only a woman could fill. We long to fill a similar role. But we also long to fill another type of role, closer to the girls whom society holds up as ‘beautiful,’ ‘sexy,’ ‘alluring’. We want to not only be strong and daring, but beautiful and soft.
We get hurt by loved ones, so we harden ourselves into believing that the woman we need to be is one that isn’t affected by trivial emotions. But that is not what God wants us to be! We look so often to the world’s idea of what we should be and get downcast and feel like a disappointment, when all along we should have been looking at God and realizing just how special and perfect we are to Him.
Proverbs 31:10-31 tells us what kind of women God wishes us to be. Now, mark carefully, my words wished. The verses can easily feel like a laundry list of achievements to reach in order to be this ‘Noble Woman.’ It should not. See, He has already designed us to be this Noble Character. He created us to be beautiful and carry an open heart.

Your tender, emotional, beating heart is the key to finding out who you are as a woman.
Growing up, and sometimes even now, I used to use the excuse when arguing with a male, “Because I’m a girl.” in order to shut him up (most of the time it worked). As we get older though we attempt to explain ourselves differently. We try to title ourselves under our jobs or relationship status. We often get tired, upset, and disappointed with ourselves when we do this. Just as Fantima explained she was a woman of ____________, she nailed the deeper underlining issue, she was a woman. We are alike in this issue. And we need to know what it means to be a woman.
A woman is a master piece. She completed God’s work like the final stroke in the most precious picture ever made. Without her, something is always missing. With her, the world finally took off. She is trustworthy, lacking nothing of value for God gave her everything she needs. She turns the other cheek, without closing her heart to the pain of the punch. She throws the evil aside and helps the weak who are no longer able to push past the dark times. She seeks to find the good, keeping her eyes on the Heavens. She shows her feelings shamelessly and wears her heart on her sleeve. She is clothed with the strength and dignity from her Maker and can laugh at the hard times to come. She is to be praised left and right as a woman who fears the Lord, which is worth far more in her lovers eyes than any amount of rubies, pearls, or gold.
You may not feel this way 24/7, but if you open your heart and give it to God, you will always be looked upon as such.


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Discipleship in a Broken World (pt 2)

Part 2 of How Following Christ Transforms Everything

“Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you–I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus– I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.
For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved bother–especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”

– Philemon 1:8-16 (ESV)

In these verses, Paul is talking about how a disciple intercedes in broken relationships. When Paul wrote the letter, he put the greetings and who was sending it at the top – that’s how people sent letters then. Unlike us, where we sign a letter at the bottom. Paul has the heart of a forgiven man, if you don’t know what this means – he knows what it’s like to be forgiven and is able to forgive and have grace. If you’re still unclear what this means, read part one of this series.

Paul, as we see, loved Philemon as a brother. He (Paul) has a high regard for Philemon, as he was an established man of power in the Roman Empire. Paul knew that Onesimus, Philemon’s slave, had run away and he had met him.

When Onesimus ran away from Philemon, Paul realized that he wasn’t running away from Philemon, but from God. Paul told him that he could go on and try to run away from God for all of eternity, but it’s useless, because God will always call and chase after us, only to pick us up in his arms and reassure us that we cannot live without Him.

Side Note: You may be thinking – running away. It’s not that big of a deal. I beg to differ. In the Roman world, running away as a slave was a huge deal, as it was punishable by death if you were caught, and you could be put to death right then and there. It also often meant that the master was cruel and such. It was quite a big deal and a huge demeanor to the master in the social realm. Philemon was no such master, he was kind, gracious, and caring towards his workers. But because Onesimus ran away, Philemon was ridiculed and mocked; he was put down by his fellow Romans. Philemon was willing though, to be a teacher. For when Onesimus returned, he was not going to punish him, but teach him.

God asks us, despite being ridiculed and mocked (etc.), to minister to the people who want to be taught. We need to pray for those who do not want to be taught – that their hearts would soften and they’d be willing to hear God’s word.

In verse 11, there is a play on words that the English translation misses. “Onesimus” means “useful” — and in verse 11, Paul said he was once useless to you, but now he is useful. In verse 13, Paul talks about not wanting to send Onesimus back, as he wants Onesimus to serve him while he is imprisoned, and in verse 14, Paul said, “but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.”

Paul is saying we need to look from God’s perspective, forgiveness is the key to restoring a relationship. When we accept Jesus, it changes our life, and though you may not feel like their life is changed, God is working in you and you have to have faith and trust and obedience. A kind of forgiveness, the highest form, is when we have to forgive someone, and they know not what they have done. In Luke 23:24, Jesus cries out something similar like this as he is dying on the cross. Bloody, in pain, and suffering the world’s sin, as well as processing the emotional pain of his father turning his back on him, he said these words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

A lack of forgiveness impeded your joy as a Christian, if you hold back forgiveness you will not enjoy the forgiveness God has given us. Letting go of a wrong someone has done against you – whether intentionally or unintentionally – means more than just the words “I forgive you.”
A lack of forgiveness impedes your joy with other Christians – you lose the joy of fellowship.
A lack of forgiveness assumes against the role of God. In Matthew, Jesus says, “Do not repay evil fro evil.”
A lack of forgiveness makes you unfit for worship.
Lacking forgiveness misunderstands the nature of trials.
We need to have a good perspective of ourselves, and it is pride that often gets in our way – “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall,” (Proverbs 16:18 ESV).

Before wrapping up this post, I want to impose on you a few questions.

– Is it worth being miserable for the rest of your life because of the lack of forgiveness?
– How should you counsel someone who was finding it difficult to forgive someone else?
– What biblical principles apply?

Don’t just read through the questions and answer them in like a three-second answer. Take time, think about it. Write the answer down, if needed to help you truly answer in a truthful and honest way.

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What Is Love?

There’s a verse in the Bible that talks about love.

It talks about how love is essentially perfect – or the love shown by Christ and how Paul explains it in its true context.

People today think love is envious – that we are to envy those in love or love itself. Some people think they need to boast about their love lives and how they’ve found “that perfect person” (at age 16), when in reality they haven’t. They become full of pride and their hearts turn haughty — “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall,” (Proverbs 16:18 NIV).

These days you see so many people – young people broken and ruined. They chase after lust, not love. Their “love” is self-seeking, it seeks to please them and only their desires. It becomes dishonorable. Their love doesn’t seek to protect or look out for the other person’s interest or their own.

You may be thinking, This is  all ridiculous – outrageous. Where on earth are you getting these ideas – this verse?

Well, were am I getting all these ideas — these references? By simply looking around the halls of the high school and even in public. Social media is also a good source of information. Pictures, videos, even songs. Examples of the type of fake “love” I’m talking about in pictures can be seen on these two:

A few examples of the type of fake “love” I’m talking about in pictures can be seen on these two: Make Them Hate Us (found on Tumblr.) and Make My — (found on We Heart It). Examples of these in songs — Well I could make a huge list, but some artists I’m sure you all are familiar with are Rihanna, Neon Trees, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Karmin, Krewella, and so on. And videos are pretty self explanatory – or their covers and title are.

“This verse” is Corinthians 13:3-8. I’ve used this verse before in a previous post – but it was about God’s love. For Bible translations, the two primary translations I use are ESV (English Standard Version) and NIV (New International Version). I tell you this because for this verse, though both translations are good, the prefer the NIV, as the wording is better – or more meaningful to me, at least. Here’s the verse:

If I give all I possess to the poor and I give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It doesn’t not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

It’s a beautiful verse. The part that jumps out to me, personally, is the last verse – verse eight. It’s the first sentence, though it’s short, it’s powerful.

“Love never fails.”

Or in the ESV version:

“Love never ends.”

I don’t know what part may have jumped out at you – or if anything did – but I encourage you all to read it over a few times, memorize it even. It is an amazing verse, and to me it is one of the verses that I treasure in my heart.

In the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, Josh talks about this topic – love – he talks about it very seriously, too. In chapter 4 (or 5, depending on which version of the book you have), the chapter’s title is: Looking Up “Love” in God’s Dictionary. And in the chapter, Josh mentions the verse I just told you about – 1 Cor. 13:3-8 – but he also talks about what true love is.

“God’s definition [of love] can be as startling as an unexpected slap in the face.

The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, ‘This is love.’ God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, ‘This is love.’ 

God always defines love by pointing to His son,” (pg 64).

Amazing, isn’t it? When I first read this, I had to do a double-take. It really was – is – a slap in the face. You know on the second page, Josh writes, “Christ taught that Love is not for the fulfillment of self but for the good of others and the glory of God.  True love is selfless. It gives; it sacrifices; it dies to its own needs,” (pg 65).

Guys, girls – “as we seek to love according to God’s design, we must pursue sincerity.’Love must be sincere.’ – this brief command given in Romans 12:9 leaves no room for misunderstanding,” (Harris 67).

Love these days isn’t sincere, it’s actually a joke. Rarely do you see people saving themselves for marriage – protecting their purity. Rarely do you see (unmarried, young) couples protecting one another’s purity and hearts.

Obedience is key. Listen to God and the people (committed Christians) around you. Listen to the wise and experienced. Learn from their mistakes, don’t let history repeat itself in your life.

Even if because of selfish or envious love you’ve sinned, God is there, waiting to forgive you. But you have to be willing to change, listen, and repent. There’s still hope and time to truly love again. – Even if you’ve messed up whether it be major or minor.

It’s all by God’s grace and love.


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Oh so often we often question ourselves, “When will I have time to do anything?” Oh so often we are running around from place to place, watching the time carefully and making sure we are where we are supposed to be at a certain time. I know too many people who are away from their home almost all day (excluding school); they get back around 11:00 at night and don’t go to bed until 1:00 am, because of how their day was scheduled. It’s crazy and a little insane how our society has that constant push to go, go, go. There’s never a break, or leisurely pace.

I can say when me and family went to Ecuador, I could care less what time it was. I go up early in the morning and went to bed whenever. Our days went by according to what we did, and the projects we helped out with were finished whenever they were finished; there was no set date or time. We took each day accordingly. I can admit it was hard to adjust back to my “regular” pace of life. I suddenly had to be places right on time and and leave when it was over almost immediately. I suddenly had to get up for school; set my alarm clock, and make sure I stayed on my morning schedule.

I tell you all this because once in a blue moon do we sit down and read God’s word. We tell ourselves, “I need to make time for Christ.” And maybe a few mornings we read the Bible and study a passage, but rarely do we continue this in an appropriate manner. We get caught up in life. We get caught up in this day and age’s way of how things are thought to be; not how they should be.

Are you familiar with the questions like “how do I make room for Jesus when my life is crazy?” and end up answering it with: “I should make time, maybe the down time later before practice, but I planned to go out and practice earlier with my friends…” and after that, it becomes a “should I or shouldn’t I” situation? For me this is, all too often.

I know we’re not perfect; no one is, but this is the very reason why we need to study God’s word and take and apply it to our lives and store it down in our hearts. That extra time you have before practice? Tell your friends you made another commitment. This isn’t lying, it is the truth. You made a commitment to God way before you made a commitment to your friends. I know it may be hard, trust me, but the rewards are worth it. Taking that extra time to spend with God will be the best thing you ever chose to do.


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mirrored sunset

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

– Ephesians 6:10-20 (NIV)

We live in a time of war, not just physically like with the Iraq or Afghanistan war, but also spiritually. So many Christians lose faith because the Devil is able to creep his way in and take out, we must, in order to fight him off, put on the armor of God. There are four points in these ten verses. The first being the armor of God (10-12). The “full armor of God” is referring to the Psalm and Isaiah soldier; Ps. 59:17. It is only with the armor of God that we can defend against the Devil. When we try to do it ourselves it doesn’t work out so well and we end up losing the battle and seriously wounded. In verse twelve it says: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” It’s true. We are not fighting beings with flesh-and-blood, we are fighting dark forces; dark spirits that would love to ruin our lives and make sure we never see the light of Christ. In this day and age our modern war technology is amazing and deathly accurate, but it’s useless when fighting a war that one cannot see physically. We must turn to “old-world technology” and less advanced ways; we must put on the armor of God and arm ourselves with his word and prayer.

In the second point, the passage talks about the specific parts of the armor of God (13-17). Each part of the armor blocks major places we are vulnerable and replaces those weaknesses with God’s strength. There’s the belt of truth – for flesh loves to deceive and lie. The body armor of righteousness, to protect our hearts and keep them pure with good morals, for flesh likes to corrupt the good. The shoes of peace, so that we may be swift and well in sharing with others about God’s love and spiritual peace. The shield of faith is there to stop the arrows of the dark side (Devil) and keep them from burning our souls and turning them to ashes. The helmet of salvation, to protect our head so that we can make right choices and acknowledge our salvation and surrender in Christ. Finally, there’s the sword of the Spirit, which we use to cut down and vanquish the enemy and turn others to God, for the sword of the Spirit is God’s word; the Bible.

In the third point, I want to emphasize of blocking and extinguishing the Devil’s fire (16-17). When we block his fire, we don’t want to just bounce it off and let it burn elsewhere, when we block it, we need to them charge and suffocate it so that it cannot burn in the place it seeks to wreak havoc and destruction. To put that fire out we need to use God’s word, as well as prayer,  and speak the words of truth and justice. God’s word is like rain to the Devil’s fire – it rains till it’s out. Arming ourselves with verses for every occasion will prove us well, even if it seems like a waste of time at first, it’s not. At all. You’ll be thankful one day that you sat down, or while on a business trip, or on the school bus you looked at one verse and memorized it, adding it to your permanent memory bank, for you’ll be able to think and treasure each verse.

In the final point, it’s using prayer and the word of God in this spiritual battlefield – warfare if you will. We are told to pray at all times and on every occasion. At first it seems absurd, but once one does it enough, it becomes a part of life and we grow in our faith; stronger in it. Prayer is one of the biggest connections we have to our heavenly Father – it’s our way of communication to Him. When our connection isn’t strong, then our relationship with Him isn’t as strong as it could be. It’s like if you didn’t talk to your father often, your relationship would be poor and you wouldn’t trust him as much, and when you needed help, he wouldn’t understand well, because your communication was lacking. Of course God knows your every thought and feeling, but he loves when we talk to him and let out our frustration and troubles. We need to pray, too for each other. We are all in the battlefield – at school, our homes, or out on the mission field. We need to ask God to give us the wisdom and the words to speak to share and spread His word and the good news about Him. Even when we’re in chains (spiritually or literally), we need to still be bold and share. His word is like a wild fire – once it catches it spreads fast.

In conclusion, we need to though, understand that faith does not protect us, but it seeks to find a protector – God. To me, my faith is like a privilege. Jesus did not have to die to save us from certain spiritual death. He did not have to create us. He did not have to share about His wonders and amazing love and forgiveness. I am so glad that He did do those things… and more, much more. We cannot thank him enough. Reason alone will never figure out this world. We need the word of God to discern things in this world for us.

Some corresponding passages are Ephesians 4:1, which is one of the main points in this passage – it’s part of its context. Ephesians 4:44 also corresponds to this passage – it talks about putting on a new self, putting on these new weapons, and bracing to go out and share the Faith. In Psalm 88 it talks about wrestling with God, which is and can be a part of the spiritual warfare we endeavor and have to conquer with putting up a white flag and surrendering ourselves to God. Hebrews 12:1-3  talks about God and how He promises to bring differentiation to our lives because he loves us. Psalm 18 is about how we need to be trusting in God at all times, it talks of how there are perils, it seems, and how God is our solid foundation – a foundation that is never shaken or broken. Romans 13:8-12 is a great parallel to this passage, vs. 8 talks how we own no one anything, except loving each other, 10b talks how love is fulfilling, and vs. 12 talks about casting off darkness and putting on armor of light.

A Few Reflection Questions:

    1. How does this fit in with everyday life?
    2. Verse 10 is a continuation of verse 9, it is about family, work, etc. How does spiritual warfare play out in these places?
    3. In one of the corresponding passages, Romans 13:8-12, verse 8 and 10b talk about how we owe no one anything, except loving each other and how love is fulfilling. How do you think you could apply these to your lifestyle and seeing how true love is fulfilling?

Love moves towards people – it does not pull away.


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Christians: What People Think of Us

Disclaimer: This is a written as personal essay, as in meaning this is written in my opinion and what I believe to be true and what I’ve heard people say.

You are welcome to agree with it or not. Please no hateful comments. You are welcome to stop reading if you don’t like it.

“Christians as a whole are the most pretentious people ever to walk the earth. And as a whole, they show no contempt for anyone who doesn’t follow their beliefs. As a whole, they find no fault in pointing fingers, pulling out others flaws, condemning those who aren’t like them,” (Anonymous).

“You think you’re so perfect, is that right? And we are all just lowly losers compared to you, hm?” This is what people usually say or think about my religion. “You all are screwed,” is what some people put out there – while everyone is shooting darts at each other as well as shouting accusations back and forth. There are people who have issues. There are also people out there with issues plus more. Everyone has certain issues though – it’s just how mankind is, how flesh is. There are so many stereotypes, but they only exist because there are actual people who act in that certain manner to cause them to arise.

So many Christians are persecuted. Some are hung on a log and burned alive in the forests of Asia on missions. Others are teased for being clean and not drinking or “going all the way” with their girl/boy friend in their own school. Christians are often thought of as being pretentious, as said above, hating homosexual people, and call the people who aren’t of their religion condemned idiots and fools, not to mention being racist. Personally, this hurts. It’s humiliating to the rest of the Christians who aren’t like that. It hurts, though, to know that this is what people think of us as.

I will not deny that there are pious, racist snobs who call themselves Christians. Honestly, I loathe people who are like that – it’s ridiculous. As Christians we are supposed to think of ourselves lowly; be humble, not judging, but reaching out to people. As Christians, we as a people are supposed to be the least racist, in the Bible Jesus tells his disciples in The Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” (Matthew 28:19 ESV). All nations, in which means or refers to people of every race, gender or skin color. People –Christians– often forget this and though there are few words for this passage, each word has a deeper meaning contained within it. As Christians we shouldn’t go around condemning and cursing whoever the hell we feel like condemning on any given day or on any day, instead we are supposed to “turn the other cheek” and be gracious and gentle.

I am not a perfect image of a Christian kid. I yell at people, sometimes swear when agitated enough, and in regards to my patience and tolerance for select kids, it isn’t the best (I constantly have to remind myself: What would Jesus do?). I am not perfect, though I may try to be kind and good, I fail many times more than when I succeed. But it comforts me that when I fall down, He is there to pick me up, dust the dirt of, forgive, and help me move on and to make amends wherever needed and however hard it may be. Some may, and do, laugh at my faith, but it’s what has kept me alive… literally.

When talking to people at school, when I usually say, “Christian,” people make a face that is indescribable, and whether it is just from reaction or on purpose, I don’t know, but it is often funny to see, they make a simple comment of: “Oh.” And sometimes it’s “Oh…me too, but I am not really religious.” This indicates they are just saying that because they honestly don’t know what else to say, for me, but I find it absolutely hilarious, catching people off guard and seeing their reaction. It’s almost like a game. But after discovering my faith, people will most often turn to someone else and start a new conversation and ignore me. Makes me feel a little rejected, but that’s life, and I usually am smiling a few minutes later. Though, there are those occasions where people engage in a debate and I am sent running around in my head looking for the knowledge on such a topic and be able to respond with a reasonable response.

People have blamed me and my friends who are Christians that our morals, actions, and decisions are all based on our Christian beliefs, in which would otherwise be totally different (and more agreeable with them) had we not be Christians. This is partly true, but there are still some people who have a sense and can see where things might otherwise not end so well. I know many people who agree with me on some views and they aren’t Christians, they also have similar views, too. Many of my actions are just based on a process of thought and thinking ahead, some are, as stated before, influenced by my belief, but most are just by thinking through a situation and the society I grew up in earlier parts of my life. Many people are like this, ironically enough, you just have to look harder in this day and age to find people who aren’t stuck up in ridiculous things.

In response to my faith, I have had to stand up, and will stand up for it and my beliefs. I don’t care what people think of me, I am content in who I am. I have friends who care about me and will always be there for me (and I for them) no matter what. They don’t care that I am a Christian, how I look, or even dress. It is what is in the heart – the inside; what the personality is – that counts more so than what the physical appearance is. True friends will always stay by your side no matter what.


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The passage being looked at is in Romans, it’s Romans 12:1-8 (NIV):

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

In verse 1, we are urged by Paul to offer ourselves; our bodies as living sacrifices. Okay, now you’re already probably freaking out right now thinking, What? Living…sacrifices…our…bodies?? Stop. Don’t freak.  Okay? Let me continue…  it’s by God’s mercy we are able to offer ourselves; submit, to God as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to him.

This is describing our spiritual commitment of allowing Christ to live in us, so that we may worship him spiritually. Now, when it the verse first said, “sacrifice”  most discern a sacrifice as killing or offering something that’ll eventually have to die. Some may mistake this verse sacrifice as something taking possession over our bodies, in which, yes, Christ does take possession, but he takes possession of our heart. It’s not in a violent, stereotypical way (take the movie “Possession” for example) that most think of. He takes our hearts and keeps our attitude, thoughts, etc. in care.

He lives in us and when a dedicated Christians is living according to God’s word you can see there’s something different about that person. Most people -unbelievers- wouldn’t know that Christ was living in you, but people do notice how others (us) act – our kind “deeds.” Christians know what’s making a person act a particular way – it’s Christ living in them; their hearts. He uses us to show people what he’s like; we reflect him. So if we have a hard heart, do you think people will think highly of Christians? Or hate us? Hate us, right? Because who wants to act like that.

In the second verse, we are told in this verse that we must not follow the pattern of flesh – our world’s ways. Instead we need to let Christ transform us, we must change our mindset. When a person changes their mindset (in general) it varies what things get done, so when us (Christians) are able to alter our mindset so that we’re able to test and accept what God’s will is for us – his perfect will, planned millenniums in advanced, tons more things will be accomplished than following our flesh’s will.

Verses 4 and 5, talks about how as humans we have one body, one physical human body. Each person’s body is different – from blood type to DNA. With many others we make up many bodies – we create a church body. One that is one body because of Christ.

Finishing with verses 6-8… Because of how God made each and every one of us differently, so are our gifts given to us by God, according to the grace given. Whatever a person’s -or your- gift is, use it! If a person loves to help, let them help; if they enjoy teaching God’s word, let them teach; and so on! Do not hold back or be afraid to use your gift(s) God has given you.


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