Jesus Will Love You If You Come As You Are, But Don't STAY As You Are

Jesus Will Love You If You Come As You Are, But Don't STAY As You Are

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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Whoever you are, whatever your skin color, hair color, height, weight, sexual orientation, or beliefs: come to church. Come to church with me. Find one that speaks to you and stirs your spirit. Please, please come. You are more than welcome.

That being said, I want to encourage you to not stay as you came. Let the Holy Spirit change your heart and do a work in you. Romans 12:1-2 tells us,

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship. 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."

It uses the word transform. That means change. When we let the Holy Spirit transform us, we let it renew us, which basically means it gives us a new rest that we've never known before. We let it change our hearts.

Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me."

There's that word again: renew. A new rest. We will rest steadfastly as God enables us to do so.

As a church, we do a bad job of welcoming those who are not similar to us. If your hair is dyed, we look at you weird. If your skin is different, we may react. If you're LGBTQ+, we may avoid you. If you don't carry the same values, we may tell you that you're wrong.

Listen, if I had blonde hair, my hair would definitely be blue or purple. Sorry, not sorry.

That is where we, as a church, have failed. I apologize for that. If you are in any of those categories and have ever felt hated, I'm sorry. We as Christians are supposed to love every person we come in contact with.

But just because we love you, doesn't mean we support you.

Being gay is a sin. I will love you if that's how you choose to live, but I cannot support that. If your hair is dyed, I will secretly wish I can do the same to mine. I applaud that. If your skin is different, that says nothing about your heart. I love you. If you don't believe the same, I will pray for you. I will not tell you that you're wrong or slam you down. I will love you.

As a church, we need to fix things, I will admit that.

But from the opposite end, you need to stop hating the church. Not every one of us is going to stand outside with signs telling you that you're going to hell, I think I've made that clear. We need you to work with us, as much as we can work with you.

You are more than welcome into the church. Jesus loves you, and so do we. Please, come and join us. But be open. Let Jesus change your heart and move in you.

Come as you are, but leave differently. Leave happier. Leave renewed. Leave refreshed. This is a reminder that God doesn't hate you because you're different. You are special to Him, and you are special to me, too.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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If You Want Proof That God Exists, Just Look Around You At The World He Created

None of it is an accident.

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It has always baffled me that people can truly believe the world was created by accident. It's like saying that Leonardo Di Vinci closed his eyes, tipped over a few cans of paint, and miraculously created the Mona Lisa. Nothing that beautiful is an accident. I believe that the truest and rawest testimony to Christianity is the universe itself. A proclamation of its creator.

When I need to be reminded how great our God is, I simply just look around me.

Romans 1:20 says, "For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God."

The Bible is telling us here that everything has a purpose. The world is not this beautiful by accident. Every purple sunset was intricately designed. Each rise and fall of the tide was crafted by the creator.

Look around you.

The Northern lights are not simply a coincidence. It is no accident that people's hands are gifted with such divine talents to create wonders like the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. There is a reason that your favorite song has such transcendent and heavenly beauty, as it escaped from the lungs that God created and gifted with talent. It is all of him; it is all from and for him.

He doesn't make mistakes.

There is a reason that we yearn for these beautiful things. That we long to glimpse sunsets and travel the world and hear beautiful music and see beautiful people. It is because we are heavenly creations, and seeing these marks of God's wonder bring us closer to him and remind of our true and divine pace in his kingdom. These beautiful things are little marks of God's divinity, and they remind us where we belong.

They are the reason our hearts constantly ache for something more.

And you are a mark of his beauty as well. The fact that of the billions of trillions of atoms that make up the matter that make up the universe were brought together in an intricate and perfect enough way to create a unique human being who could never be copied are replicated. You are a miracle. And your very body and soul are living proof that God exists. Nothing is an accident. Nothing.

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