On this Easter Sunday, we celebrate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. He was crucified, but on the third day he was raised—He is risen! Is there any news more wonderful than this? Certainly not!
When Jesus died on that cross, He died for us, for our sins. If you believe in Jesus, you will be saved.
What does that mean, exactly, to be saved? It means that you believe in God. God loves you so much that He sacrificed His own Son (Jesus) to die on the cross for your sins. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-9
How can you be saved?
First, you must recognize that you are a sinner and that you are in need of a Savior. (And, we are all sinners.) Second, you must want to be forgiven of your sins and want to be a better person. Next, you must have faith in your heart and believe in God. Then, you can be saved.
The Bible is clear on how to receive salvation. “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 10:9-10
“He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.’” ~ Acts 16:30-31
This is a free gift from Jesus—he doesn’t ask for you to do anything but believe in Him in order to receive it. This is the most precious gift you can receive. We may die here on this earth, but we will live forever in His kingdom of Heaven, as long as we believe in Him.
Once you believe in God, you will want to live a very different life than the one you have been living. You will want to live a better life, one that is pleasing to God. You will want to share His love and grace with everyone you know. By doing this, you will be obeying His law and doing His will. This is what God wants from you. And, you will want to give it to Him, once you realize what all He has given to you.
If you don’t know Him yet, I beg you to seek Him out. Read the Bible and make up your own mind. Have conversations about God with people that you know are saved. I would even suggest you do research online. There are many great resources out there at your disposal. (I especially like this article: What Does It Mean to Be Saved? By Cecil Maranville)
And, I would be overjoyed to share with you why I love God and believe in Him. Feel free to reach out to me anytime!
This morning, I was scrolling through Facebook, and quickly came across a heart-breaking post by a friend of mine that I met through work. A very good friend of hers and her family had the most horrific thing imaginable happen to them yesterday. Their house burned down, taking not only everything they own, but most tragically, the lives of their two precious young sons.
Someone has set up a crowdfunding page for this family. I read the story there and started crying. I don’t know this family personally, but I just can’t imagine what they are going through. It hurts me to think about it. If you would like to help them out, I know they would appreciate it. And, please, remember them in your prayers.
When I read about something like this, I immediately start thinking about how blessed I am. And, I start thinking about all the stupid things in my life that I have been considering “problems” and realize that, compared to this family and their problems, I have nothing at all to complain about. And, then I feel badly that it takes something this horrific to make me stop and realize how truly blessed I am.
I have a feeling that I am not the only one who does this. So, I say, let’s stop. Let’s stop focusing on all of our problems and start looking for all of our blessings. You may not think you have that many things to be thankful for, or you may be going through something so horrible; that it is impossible for you to focus on what is good.
But, trust me, if you start looking, you can find one thing after another to be thankful for. You can be thankful for the clothes on your back, the building that shelters you, for indoor plumbing, for being able to get out of bed, for having food to eat. Start with the small things. And, as the old saying goes, the small things start to add up to big things.
God loves you and you are blessed beyond measure. When you start to thank God for all the small blessings in your life, it opens the door for more blessings to flow through. I truly believe this. I have seen it happen in my own life.
So, today, on this first official day of spring of 2016, let’s start being thankful for the small things in life. This one small shift in our way of thinking can cause big and lasting and powerful changes in our lives.
Just be yourself.
How often have we heard these words? Pretty often, especially in the context of meeting new people.
But, for some reason, this is one of those cases where it is much easier said than done. Why is that?
We have this stupid idea stuck in our head that we have to make a good impression, that we need to put up a protective barrier, at least until we start to get know other people a little bit better. We don’t want to say or do anything that might upset the other person. I guess initially, I understand this reasoning, especially depending on the situation. (If you are interviewing for a job, making a sales pitch to a new company, or meeting with a perspective landlord you want to make a good first impression. I get that.)
But, I think in general, we as a society need to embrace each other—just as we are. So, honestly, just start being yourself. We are all different, and that is what makes us great!
Plus, isn’t the idea of just being who you are, and not worrying about what other people think or say about you, refreshing? It takes a world of weight off of your shoulders. Because, as long as you are happy and content with who you are, who cares what anyone else thinks anyway? No matter who you are, or how you act, there will always be some people who like you and some people who don’t. So, why worry about it? There is nothing you can do to change that. It is just human nature.
And, I go back to quality over quantity. I would much rather have a few people who love me for the real me, than a lot of them who say or think they like me, but don’t even really know me.
I also believe that people have this idea stuck in their head that they need to be above average or extraordinary. Since when is bad to be ordinary? It is like that is a dirty word.
I celebrate being ordinary. I am an average person who makes mistakes. I am an average person who is growing and changing everyday. This is what humans do.
The problem happens when we start to think that “being ordinary” is a bad thing. It isn’t…because we are all ordinary; we are all just human beings. Ordinary people are the ones who do extraordinary things. Everybody starts out ordinary.
Now, notice that I didn’t say that being ordinary or average means that I am a nobody. If we believe that lie, then we cannot develop the gifts that we have been given. And, each and every one of us has special and unique gifts. It is up to us to grow and use these gifts, to put them into action for the greater good. When you invite God to work through you, an average, ordinary human being, you become extraordinary.
Besides, I believe that much of life happens in the ordinary, the average, the everyday. Yes, some days are exceptional and some days are horrible. But, in general, most days are average. And, I, for one, am grateful for that.
In closing, I believe that if you just be your true self and strive for growth and doing the right thing on average days, then you will discover the extraordinary power of being yourself. And, just being yourself is a glorious thing!
To learn more, read this great blog post from Mike Robbins entitled: “Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken: Transform Your Life With The Power of Authenticity”
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.