Jesus And Religion

Jesus And Religion

Jesus came to say "My story is bigger than religion."
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As you see the title, you begin to form an opinion on what you think this post is going to be about. "Oh," you think, "she's going to go there," or maybe you looked at the title and thought, "Wait what.. I thought Jesus and religion was the same thing??" You could be super intrigued about what you think I'm going to write, or maybe you almost clicked the x button when you read the title. The good news is that you haven't even read the meat of this post yet! So I advise you to keep reading.

To set things straight, I'm not writing to answer that age old question, "does Jesus hate religion?" because honestly, the best answer I could come up with is "kinda, sorta, not really, idk." I'm not here to answer what I think Jesus hates and loves, because I'm not Jesus. I do not think that Jesus hates religion, nor do I hate religion. What I am going to say though, is that religion has been distorted to say things that Jesus did not establish. I think we all hear Jesus loud and clear when he says "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17 ESV) but something that we still have trouble with is sticking to the true religion that Jesus brought us.

Let's start at the beginning. Today, religion begins with how much we love God, but in Jesus, we begin with how God loves us. We try and make our outside self look pleasing to God and putting in good deed deposits hoping and saying to ourselves "one day I can be good enough.." But Jesus came to say "it's not like that." Jesus is only about what God can do for us, because here's the thing; Christianity isn't about making ourselves aesthetically pleasing to God or hoping one day we can be worthy of His love, Christianity is about receiving the love that has already been poured out on us.

Today our goal in religion is to get to God, but in the true religion established by Jesus it is clear that Jesus is on a mission to get to man. On that Christmas night in Bethlehem when the baby was born, God showed a whole different way - not of us getting to Him, but of Him coming to us.

And finally, religion is about our requirements, what we have to do to get to heaven, how many good deeds we've completed; but Jesus is summed up in "done" and "it is finished." Religion ends with the unknown, with a huge gamble wondering if in the end, are you sure that what you have done will be enough - enough to be forgiven, to go to heaven. But Jesus has stirred in our hearts saying "there must be more than this" and Jesus ends with eternity. Jesus says that our forgiveness and our salvation isn't based on our good deeds, our merits, our lack of sin, but our salvation has already been won by the ultimate sacrifice and has established eternity in our hearts.

Jesus came to say "my story is bigger than religion."

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

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

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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My church has saved me in more ways than one

Cheesy, but true

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Ridgecrest Baptist Church has been my second home for as long as I can remember and I was there every time the doors were open. Just like most people I have had my ups and downs with a church which is why truth be told you would have never heard the words "I love my church" come out of my mouth a couple of months ago.

About two years ago I went through a really rough patch where I honestly didn't think I would make it out. Satan constantly fed me lies making me feel neglected, unwanted, disposable and ultimately discouraged. My church family allowed me to voice my frustrations and constantly uplifted me with prayer. After I made it through my struggle I felt like I was on top of the world but then came another deep low that I was not prepared for.

My church is family and families fight and that is the reality. In my weakest moments, I believed that my church was not on my side and I turned away allowing Satan to win. I felt more alone than I had in a really long time and it caused me to lose sight of my relationship with God.

After realizing that I was searching for something that I could only find in God I returned to my church. I was ready for a cold shoulder which I deserved but was pleasantly surprised when I was welcomed with open arms.

I love my church because no matter where I go or what I do I can come back, no questions asked.

My church family has been there to help me celebrate my successes and comfort me in my sorrows, they tell me what I need to hear even when it is not what I want to hear, and they don't judge when I mess up because they understand I'm human. I couldn't imagine what my life would be like if I didn't have the people of RBC in my life.

We all go through trials but thankfully I don't have to go through them alone because I know my church will be there with me every step of the way. I'm extremely grateful for this village who raised me and the God that saves me. So I will scream it from the mountain tops so everyone can hear that I LOVE MY CHURCH!

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Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

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