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You Don't Only Live Once, You Live Twice!

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Have you ever heard of the saying/acronym “YOLO’? Which stands for “You Only Live Once”, as to say  live your life on your own terms. How you want, when you want, being unapologetic and just going after  any and everything you want out of life.  

Well, it all “sounds good” but can be a quite dangerous way to live one’s life. Throwing caution to the  wind and not having any regard for the potential consequences of living one’s life this way is, careless to  say the least. This is the worldly way of living. Thinking and acting this way appeals to the flesh, which is  contrary to God’s Word. We see this in 1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the  lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- comes not from the Father but from the world.” NIV 

As a believer, we seek guidance, direction, leading and teaching for our daily living from the scriptures in  the Holy Bible. Here’s another acronym you may or may not be familiar with “BIBLE”; which stands for  Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. All that we need is right there in the bible. God gave us the  standards and the guidelines of how we should be here on earth. For those who may still be a bit  confused as to what God’s will is for us, here’s one example in Rom 12:2 “Do not conform 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. NIV 

It is so easy for us to be distracted and pulled in to what this world has to “offer”. This world says you’re  not good enough, smart enough, tall enough, pretty/handsome enough, blah, blah, blah… All of these  things are lies from the enemy. Is it really offering us anything of true substance or is it all just  temporary and short lived satisfaction? The world has the glitz of glamour that appears to be able to fill  the void that we all have experienced one way or another. We all have insecurities that we try to hide,  avoid, deny overcompensate for. But, what most will find (if not all) is that no matter what one tries to  do to combat those lies fed to us by the enemy, we will still remain unfulfilled. The reason this is is  because the only one who can truly complete us and offer the love we all so desire is, Jesus Christ. 

I started this blog by saying we don’t only live once, but twice. The first life we live will be here on Earth.  But the second will be determined by what we do here and how we choose to live our lives. The life we  live here is finite. The one we will live after, is eternal. Our destination after we leave this life will either  be in eternity with God our Father, The One and ONLY God, and with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or  to be absent from God and be in Hell for eternity. 

One of the most well-known verses in the bible whether you’re a believer or not is, John 3:16. “For God  so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but  have eternal life.” See, we all have the opportunity to live eternally with God. All we need to do is just  Believe in Jesus. We don’t have to work for it, we don’t have to earn it, we don’t have to be the most  perfect person in the world. We just need to believe in Jesus, who He is and what He came to do for us  all. Refer to Romans 10 9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your  hear that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with you heart that you believe and  are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” 

Our eternal salvation is a gift that all we need to do is accept it. My prayer for you is that you know that  you are loved. You were created in the very image of God. He knows you better than anyone else ever  will. He knew you before you were even in your mother’s womb. He has a great purpose and plan for your life. So don’t believe the lies and doubt that the enemy tries to plant in your mind. Remember to  whom you belong, an AMAZING God who loved you SO much that He sent His Only Son, Jesus Christ, to  die for your sins so that if you would only believe in His Son, Accept Him as your personal Lord and  Savior, that he rose again that when we leave this world, we will live again with in Him in eternity.

Easter's Over...Now What?

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Easter Sunday is the most significant day on the liturgical calendar for a Christian.  It is the culmination of an entire week focused on the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Christians around the world join together to worship and celebrate the risen Lord and their adoption into the family of God.  All too often though, the festivities of Easter are followed by an adrenaline dump and a sense of malaise for believers.  For most churches, attendance is traditionally low the week after Easter. We must ask ourselves if this is appropriate.  Is there biblical precedent for this waxing and waning?   How did the disciples carry on after the resurrection?

The first Easter for the disciples was not necessarily the end of something, it was the beginning.  Acts 1:3 show us that, after the resurrection, it was another 40 days until Christ gave the Great Commission and ascended into heaven.  From all accounts, the passion of the disciples only grew from that point on.  It is important to note that the disciples, before spreading out to different areas of the world, only knew Jesus for 3-4 years.  That short time left an indelible mark on these men.  Their zealous impact for the Kingdom was realized in the years and decades after the resurrection and ascension, not before it. 

What exactly did the future hold for the disciples? History offers us some insight.  According to historical record, the apostle James was beheaded in 44 AD under the authority of King Agrippa and was the first recorded martyred apostle (~10 years of ministry).  Simon Peter died a martyr’s death between 64-68 AD under the persecution of Emperor Nero (>30 years of ministry). The apostle John died in 100-105 AD after being exiled to the Isle of Patmos and finally traveling to Ephesus after his release (~70 years of ministry).  The disciples went on to lead ministries that lasted decades in most cases.  Suffice it to say there was no shortage of fervency among the disciples after the first Easter.  They certainly did not rest on the laurels of the previous 3 years.  They traversed the globe by land and sea to share the gospel of Christ, and often met gruesome ends because of it.

What kind of an effect has Easter had on us?  It’s so common for us to treat Easter like any other holiday, forgetting the historical event that it commemorates.  The encounters Christ had with those during his life and after His resurrection effectuated meaningful change that had the power to endure.  The modern day “church fatigue,” that most seem to experience is more likely the product of buying into a secular understanding of Easter.  A biblical understanding produces something very different in the life of a believer.  This year, may we line ourselves up with Romans 12:11, so that the typical fatigue we have grown so accustomed to would be replaced by an irrepressible excitement, fervor, and zeal to serve our Lord.

Posted by Shawn Thomas

A Biblical Mother

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The first example of a mother in the bible is, Eve.

Adam, created from dust, was later given a partner from the other half of his rib. Genesis 3:20 states, "The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living." 

In the garden, Eve and Adam lived amongst each other and were given the permission to "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it." Genesis 1:28.

We see the example of being fruitful and multiplying throughout the bible with mothers birthing children born who later became great leaders. One great leader that we have come to know is King Solomon who asked the Lord for wisdom.

Solomon went on to write Proverbs and later speaks about how a woman should carry herself in Proverbs 31. This example of the Proverbs 31 woman is still used today especially when it comes to raising a family.

Proverbs 31:26 speaks about the characteristics of a mother’s speech and how it should be. "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." 

God also instructed mothers to take care of children in Deuteronomy 6:6–7, which further speaks about setting an example for children, "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." 

Mothers should be honored for raising children who will one day raise their own children and the generations to come. Mother’s Day is a day where we celebrate mothers who lead and set biblical examples for us to follow. These women have given us a firm foundation that has followed us into adulthood and has helped lead us on the path to Christ. This leadership has continued to inspire girls who later become mothers and is inspiring those of us who want to become mothers in the future.

Proverbs 31:31: "Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

Thank you to the mothers who continue to be an inspiration to us all.

Posted by Javannah Evans