Religion Won't Save You

Religion Won't Save You

You call it religion, I call it a relationship.
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You believe in God. You're religious. You go to church. Isn't that enough?

Too often people confuse being religious with having a relationship with God. A relationship with God is so much more than just simply going to church and being a good person. It takes a real connection and understanding of who God really is to even begin to comprehend the complexity of our creator. Religion should be the stepping stone to getting to know our savior. The traditions and practices are a waste of time if you don't fully understand what they represent. Giving up temptations for lent is an amazing thing but only if you fully understand the reasoning in doing so and give that time back to God.

At church, you put on a mask to become the person you wish you were, to become the person you think you should be. Don't be late. Don't be different. Sweep all of your impurity under the rug. Fake it as best you can in order to be accepted by the people that will also have to someday answer to the Lord. At the gates of Heaven, God isn't going to be counting off how many times you skipped church or judge you for how much money you gave. God is nothing like the judgmental, "religious" people that criticized your every move in life. When you shift your focus from religion onto him, everything becomes more clear. It's no longer a burden. You no longer feel the shame and judgment. Praying becomes second nature. Rather than confessing to your priest, you speak directly with the Lord, and you feel his mercy like a weight taken off of your shoulders. It is through him and him alone that you will find peace.

Ultimately, God knows your heart. He isn't fooled by the mask you hide beneath. He sees the difference between the person you are in church and the person you are when no one is watching. Religion is nothing without God playing an active role in our daily lives. Don't get caught up in the cycle of religion only to forget what it's all about. Religion means nothing without a relationship and understanding of who God really is. The next time you find yourself mindless reciting bible verses in church, ask yourself, "Why am I doing this and is it really connecting me closer with God?" All he wants is a chance to know you and have a relationship with you, and in doing so, he will completely transform your life.

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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15 Bible Verses To Calm An Anxious Mind

Finding peace in the midst of turmoil.
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Anxiety hits us from all directions. Whether it be school stress, work stress, a stressful family situation, or anything else in life that causes us to feel unsettled, tired, and afraid of the future; anxiety can feel like it's taking over our lives.

As someone who constantly struggles with anxiety, I know how hard it is to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. When we feel anxious about something, we generally try to do all that is in our power to control the situation. When we can't control it, we become even more anxious. So how do we stop this downward spiral of anxious turmoil?

We must turn to the one who is in control of all things. God holds all of our lives in his hands and is the only one who can calm our anxious minds. When we frantically struggle to put the pieces of our life together on our own, we will fail.

The only way to gain peace in the midst of anxiety is to turn to God, trusting in His perfect will and His power to hold us in His hands. The best way to remember this truth is to look to the Bible. Here are some verses to help us remember God's provision in the midst of anxiety.

1. Philippians 4:6

We don't have to be anxious when we can freely talk with God about our needs. We can cry out to Him for help and He will hear us.

2. John 14:27

Peace is a wonderful thing. Notice how it says, "I do not give it as the world does." We have to remember that worldly peace is only temporary, but God's peace is forever.

3. Isaiah 41:10

Not only will God give us peace, but He will also strengthen us. The image of God "upholding us with His righteous right hand" is pretty powerful and very comforting.

4. Psalm 94:19

Anxiety can make us sad and upset, but knowing that God is with us can bring so much joy in the face of desolation.

5. Psalm 34:4

Freedom from fear is so empowering! Imagine God setting us free from all the fear that holds us back. Oftentimes fear can make us feel trapped, but God can set us free.

6. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about us so much, that He allows us to cast all of our worries on His shoulders.

7. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Human capacity is limited. We can by no means do everything, in fact, we can't do anything without the help of God.

8. Philippians 4:13

Nothing can hold us back or scare us when we have the strength of God.

9. Proverbs 3:5

We always try to lean on our own understanding, but it will never be enough. We try to control everything, but it will always fall through. It is because of this that we need to trust in the Lord for everything.

10. Matthew 6:25-34

This passage, while somewhat lengthy, is such a great reminder that God is truly in control of everything. We don't need to worry about a thing because He has it all planned out. We stress out about things that were never ours to worry about in the first place.

11. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were not created to be afraid, but to be empowered and loved by God.

12. Isaiah 26:3

If we simply keep God in the forefront of our minds, we will have perfect peace. Trust in Him brings the greatest peace.

13. Matthew 11:28-30

How comforting is this? Anxiety causes a lot of weariness but knowing that we can rest in God is amazing.

14. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for us, so we don't need to worry about it. His plan is always good and always exactly what we need. His plans will always be better than anything we try to control ourselves.

15. Isaiah 41:13

When we feel anxious and afraid we can take comfort in knowing that God is reaching out His hand to us to help us trust Him and walk with Him.

While anxiety can feel overpowering or terrifying, we should not fear, but rather trust in the perfect and never-changing love and peace of God.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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You Are Chosen

To the girl who feels unwanted, unloved, or unworthy: You have a God who loves you and treasures you as His child.

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YOU ARE SO LOVED

John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ Jesus died for us."

God's love is unchanging. God's love is comforting. God's love is given to us through Jesus. God's love is shown to us by the Holy Spirit. God's love exhorts us to love others. We live our lives doubting love because we are surrounded by earthly relationships that fail and that are faltered, but God's love never fails.

He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us. He loves us to the point of death, even death on a cross.

So don't ever think you aren't loved because of someone's unkind words or doubt that there is someone who thinks highly of you because there is someone who calls you BELOVED and who LAVISHES you in His love.

YOU ARE A TREASURE

Deuteronomy 7:6 says "For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Treasure is defined as "a quantity of precious metals, gems, or other valuable objects."

I don't often think of myself as valuable. But, Jesus sure did 2,000 years ago on the cross. We have been bought with a price. His death was for you and for me; therefore, you are given His love freely and you are valued by the One who created you. Proverbs 31 tells us that our value is more precious than jewels and our worth is far above rubies or pearls. Now, that's what I call special.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL

Jeremiah 1:5 says, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations."

Psalm 139:14 says, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

You are made in the image of God and that means you He formed you in the womb and had a plan for you are beautiful because God made you. Before you even entered this Earth, God knew what you were going to look like and what your character was faint to be. This is just proof showing how much God loves you and cares for you.

YOU ARE WANTED

Isaiah 43:1-2 says, "But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: 'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

He wants you and cares for you so much that He has called you His own. He has redeemed you and He has restored you. He has gone before you and taken care of you in the years before and will continue in the years to come. He protects you from the world and is with you always. We don't have to fear the future because He has already been down the paths that we have yet to cross.

YOU ARE CHOSEN

1 Peter 2:9 says, But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love, he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."

It's hard to think that we are chosen by God. But that's truly what we are as HIs children. He takes delight in us and calls us royalty. We are kings & queens in His heavenly palace. He calls us His own and says we are chosen to proclaim His excellencies. We, in our brokenness, get to do that only because He has radiantly redeemed us. Yes, you. Even in our complete mess, we have that privilege to love and praise Him because He has chosen to love us. Talk about lucky!

He didn't want Heaven without us, so He sent Jesus to die a death He didn't deserve and then rose again 3 days later so that we could be saved from eternal death. My sin was great and His love was greater. Now, we get to live redeemed and live for eternity under the reign of Jesus Christ.

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So thank you, Jesus, for loving me and then letting me love you in return! Thank you for choosing me; for telling me my worth; for telling me I am beautiful just the way you made me; and for telling me that I am wanted, loved, and treasured. I don't deserve this kind of love, but you give it freely and all I had to do was accept it. Now I get to live a life letting Jesus lead me. Jesus, you are WAY too cool!


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