Hello, here is a sincere apology to those who used to diligently read my blog posts and facebook updates…I know I keep saying things like “Hooray I’m coming back.” and “Sorry I’ve been absent lately.” Then I disappear again. Quite honestly I’ve had A LOT going on and haven’t had time to inform you all about it. However, here is me saying…I’M BACK!!!! ….again…. BUT…THIS TIME I’M BRINGING CHANGES…. okay okay I know….who likes change?…certainly not me…however…I feel like this is going to be good change…I’m changing the view…AND possibly the name of my blog…O_O Comment below if you have any suggestions! This is a NEW CHAPTER of A New Hope Through Christ…and writers love those ;)
This is something that has been on my mind, it’s the reason that I am up at 5 a.m. writing this after sleeping for an hour. Honestly? I do know God is real and honestly, I have proof. The proof may not be historic or scientific papers showing you that he is real. Because honestly I’m no good at that stuff. I think that’s why it’s so EASY for me to just KNOW that he is real. Because I have the Bible, and I know that I asked Jesus into my heart and the Holy Spirit came inside of me to dwell in me, and to guide me through this life. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to be a scholar to know that God is real. You don’t have to have the whole Bible memorized. (Quite honestly I haven’t even read it all the way through.) If we are being honest here I think some of the best Christians I know aren’t very smart at all. So now that I’ve said all that, here is my answer to the Question.
How do you know God is real?
Well I know he’s real for myself because he’s inside of me. His spirit is inside of me. Can I clarify that any better? The. Holy. Spirit. Is. Inside. Of. Me. And when you satisfy what’s inside of you it begins to make itself known in you. It begins to dominate over all. For example when you give in to the desires of your flesh, then your flesh will have the dominate role in your life. Just like in the Bible when it says you can’t have two masters. If you are serving one then you won’t be fully serving the other. So when you are feeding your flesh instead of your spirit you will be growing in your flesh instead of your spirit. BUT if you feed your spirit instead of your flesh then you will be growing in your spirit. And the more you grow in The Holy Spirit the easier it is to hear him, and to do his will. And when you are listening to the will of The Lord you KNOW that he is there. You can feel him inside of you.
Where is my proof?
My proof is in so many places, but one of my biggest examples is my dad, when he was younger he was addicted to a lot of things (drugs, alcohol, etc.) and from the stories he’s told me it was a pretty crappy life he lived. It wasn’t easy, and he didn’t have God. He lived his life for himself, not God. His life was a mess and if I would’ve been there I probably would have thought he was hopeless. BUT, a special something happened to my daddy one day. Jesus finally got through to him. My dad let Jesus in his life. And to this day, NO my daddy isn’t perfect, he still has struggles he still has painful things happen to him, but to this day if you turn on some worship music, my daddy will meet Jesus in all the pain and hurt that he’s in. And he will praise him for the good things and for the bad things. I’m not saying my daddy is perfect because he still has faults, but we all do, we all mess up, it’s about what we do with the mistakes that we make. Wether we hold on to them and condemn ourselves or we choose to take God up on his offer to wipe our slate clean. My dad does that. I don’t know how many people read this that knows my dad, but the ones that do know him, if you have ever heard him talk about Jesus, sing about Jesus, or just ,meet up with Jesus for time of praise. Then you have seen my proof first hand. Some of you may have seen the proof in somebody else, it’s in my sisters, it’s in my brother, it’s in my youth pastor, my pastor, the worship team at my church, the proof is in the lives of the people that have decided to let God use them even though they feel like nothing can turn out right for them.
So if you still haven’t caught on.
Jesus Christ living in us, is the living PROOF, that He is and forever will be Christ Jesus who died on the cross to wipe our slates clean. Not because of how good we are but because of how good He is. Not because of who I am but because of who He is.
Made Alive In Christ
In these verses Paul talks about one of my favorite subjects. Being Alive!
“1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
Paul starts out talking about how we were all dead. Because of our sins. (Which we were all born in sin.) Before Christ we lived in sin. We lived by what our flesh wanted. (We still give into our flesh sometimes.) We were all deserving of God’s wrath.
“4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I can pretty much sum all of these verses with two sentences. “We were dead because of ourselves. Now because of how good God is, we can be alive.”
Love this story, Joyce Meyer read it and I had to share it.
Leaving The City Of Regrets
I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I’m talking about my annual “Guilt Trip.”
I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.
As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.
First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know ol’ Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterday’s. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.
Then Shattered Dreams would surely make and appearance. And It’s Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don’t Blame Me and I Couldn’t Help It.
Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent “pity party” could be canceled by ME! I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN’T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them.
So, if you’re planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myselfs and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. God bless you in finding this great town. If you can find it — it’s in your own heart — please look me up. I live on I Can Do It Street.
Thanksgiving & Prayer
Ephesians 1:15-23 (NIV)
So we just read in verse 13&14 that when we believed we received the Holy Spirit who is our deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. Then we go to verse 15&16:
“15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
So Paul is saying because we received the Holy Spirit, when he heard about our faith, he gave thanks and prayed for us. I Love, Love, Love this verse. Because you can never receive to much prayer. I mean not only do we have an amazing God, but we have prayer coming from every direction!
The coolest part about this, is that he’s telling us what he prays for us in verse 17-23
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
So, what can we take away from these few verses? ALOT!
1. Encouragement, because there will always be someone praying for you. Whether it’s Paul, or me.
2. I’m praying for you! I pray for this blog and everyone who reads it. That my blog will be of use in somebody’s life. I pray that God will watch over everyone who reads it, and that he will comfort them when they feel lost. My biggest prayer is that this will not be a waist of anyone’s time.
3. You can start praying for people! Even ones you don’t know! You can categorize if you need to. (Pray for the hurt, lost, found, confused, lonely, etc.) If you don’t know what to pray use Paul’s guideline! Pray for wisdom, revelation, hope, etc. Remember, when you pray, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to sound like your pastor, it doesn’t have to be long if you don’t want it to. God is always looking at your heart. If your heart means it, you could say “God I really don’t know how to pray for these people but you know what’s on my heart.” and really you’ve just prayed for so much more than you may feel like you have.
Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
God has given us SO much! I love this piece of Ephesians because it is praising God for the things he has blessed us with.
“4,5 &6 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
Does this not get you all giddy? This makes me so happy, beyond explanation! “for he CHOSE us in him BEFORE the creation of the world to be HOLY AND BLAMELESS in HIS SIGHT.” That is just amazing to me. It makes me so excited. Like do you realize what just got said? I am HOLY and BLAMELESS in God’s eyes! I think so many people miss something about this and I will get to what it is in a minute…just roll with me until then… I am HOLY and BLAMELESS in God’s eyes! AND all of that was decided in God’s heart BEFORE creation of the world! Now some people are probably thinking right now, “Does that mean everybody is going to heaven?” …..Is that what the verse just said? NO….IN LOVE he pre-destined (planned ahead) for us to be adopted into his family THROUGH Jesus Christ, in accordance (harmony) with his pleasure and will. SO right there it just said that it is God’s WILL for us to be adopted into his family through his son. It was his plan from the beginning! But why do we not all go to heaven? What do people miss about this verse? I am holy and blameless in God’s eyes, BECAUSE I have been adopted into his family through his son. It says we are chosen TO BE holy and blameless in his sight. In love he planned ahead for us TO BE adopted into his family. In accordance to his pleasure and will. SO we are capable TO BE Holy and Blameless in God’s eyes. I AM Holy and Blameless in his eyes. ONLY BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN ADOPTED INTO GOD’S FAMILY THROUGH THE DEATH OF GODS SON! Did you get it? Are you now thinking ” well yeah that makes sense but then why would we have judgement day? What is that for if we are blameless?” Okay here we go…IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER!!!! When judgement day comes it will be for the ones with fault in there lives. The ones who have not been adopted into God’s family. Because, we just said it, when you are adopted into God’s family you are HOLY and BLAMELESS in God’s eyes. Need more proof? WELL I’m glad you asked cause now we are at verse seven!
” 7&8 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,”
OKAY! I’m going to point out 2 KEY words from this verse: REDEMPTION & FORGIVENESS! Do you know the definition of these two words?
Redemption (in short) :an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.
Redeemed: to buy or pay off; clear by payment: to redeem a mortgage.
^Oh my goodness! Are you catching it? IN HIM We are redeemed THROUGH HIS BLOOD. His blood was the payment for our redemption. His blood is why we can be adopted into his family. We have nothing to be judged for because after being adopted into his family. Because by his blood we are forgiven for every sin that we will ever and have ever committed. So there is no more sin to judge. Are you thinking “Just because it’s forgiven doesn’t mean it didn’t happen?” TRUE. It did happen. BUT let me show you the definition of a few words, starting with forgiveness. (Pay attention so you don’t miss it.)
Forgiveness = Forgive
Forgive: To grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, dept, etc.)
Remission: The act of remitting.
Remitting = Remit
Remit: To REFRAIN from inflicting or enforcing, as a punishment, sentence, etc.
Inflicting = Inflict
Inflict: to impose as something that must be borne or suffered. (to inflict punishment.)
Impose: to lay on or set as something to be borne, endured, obeyed, fulfilled, PAID, etc.
Did you catch it? If not read it again and pay attention.
To FORGIVE means to set aside any punishment, suffering, or sentencing. When God forgives us of our sins then he is setting aside any further punishment, suffering, or sentencing. He forgives us when we are adopted into his family.
Now you are probably thinking “But there’s this one person I know? They asked Jesus into there heart and they still sin all the time!?”
Well first of all, we all sin and fall short of the GLORY of God.
Now read verse 7&8 again. ” In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, ” …In accordance (harmony) with the riches of God’s grace. What does that mean?…..It means that we are redeemed and forgiven, not because of how good we are, but because of how GREAT God is. Because face it. WITHOUT GOD, WE can’t do anything right. WITH God WE cant do anything right. God THROUGH ‘WE’ can do great things. Bottom line. It’s never about how good we are, it’s always about how GREAT God is.
“9&10 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”
God made known to us everything about his will for us. See what we may or may not realize is that we know a lot more than we think we know. Because the Holy Spirit is inside of us. The truth is in us, and pieces of the truth will come into effect in our lives when the time is right.
“11&12 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.”
We were chosen in him. We were chosen according to God’s plan. He chose us and put us into the world at the time he did for a reason. He chose us for specific reasons. He has a plan for each person. It has been his plan from the start.
“13&14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
These verses are for everybody, but especially for the people who just recently came to Christ. When you heard the message of truth. When you learned about salvation and believed in God. When you asked him into your heart, he sent the Holy Spirit into you who is one with Christ. The One who died for you, to forgive you of your sins. NOT Because you are good, but because HE is Good.
P.S. I had my sister read this first and she reminded me of another good question. “If God forgives us and we are blameless in his sight then can we just go sinning all the time?” Well here’s the thing about that. If the Holy Spirit is inside of you then he will put the desire inside of you to do good. When the Holy Spirit is in you then you have come to the realization that Jesus died on the cross to save you, and you will want to please him. It goes back to what my dad said one time. “I don’t do good to GET IN heaven, I do good because I’m already IN.
Okay, so it’s not my Birthday, it’s my blogs birthday! 1 year ago today I posted my first blog post!!!! I’m so excited! :D
1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.
I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.
^That verse speaks for its self for the most part. Ephesians is a (really, really long) letter that Paul wrote to God’s people in Ephesus. They are FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS of Christ. (Keep that in mind as we study the rest of the book/letter.)
The reason I am stressing that it is a letter is because to me it makes it extra special. When I think of a letter I think of personal information being passed around on a piece of paper. A letter is different then mail. Mail can be a letter, bills, magazines, but a letter seems so personal. THIS specific letter is being written by Paul an APOSTLE of CHRIST. If you know who Paul is you know he is wise, not because of his own humanity, but because he puts away his humanity and lets God live through him. SO if he lets God live through him then Ephesians is EXACTLY what God wanted Paul to write to his FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS.
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
I can tell this is going to be a long series already. I mean even this one little verse is full of so much inspiration and relief! Okay, so right here Paul is wishing grace and peace to the people of Ephesus. I don’t know why but that gives me such a grateful heart for Paul. I mean really though pretty much every book Paul wrote he wishes grace and peace unto whoever the letter is to. If this is part of the Bible, then he is wishing grace and peace unto us too. Does it not make you smile to know that somebody you never met is wishing peace and grace unto you?!
This is just verse 1 & 2 we have 6 whole chapters in Ephesians. After that we have the whole rest of the Bible too! I mean just thinking about it. Everything in the Bible is EXACTLY what God wanted to be written.
In case you didn’t know. Ephesians is one of my favorite books in the Bible. So, I was thinking about doing a series on Ephesians. It would be on my own time, but I would be digging into Ephesians. Pointing out things that caught my eye. Showing you guys my favorite verses, and telling you why I love them so much. :) Would that be something you guys would enjoy? What would you like to see in it? …Just wondering… :)