Are You A Quitter?

*First published on Candidly Christian – February 20, 2017

How many New Year’s Resolutions have you kept? How many goals and dreams have fallen by the wayside? We get so excited to make a New Year’s Resolution, and we tell ourselves, “I’m doing it this time!” but, usually by the time February and March roll around, you didn’t lose the pound you wanted, or you didn’t break the habit you have every intention to do.

You made a goal, but it faded along with your enthusiasm. Been there.

In my last post on Candidly Christian, I spoke of my struggles with depression and how I found meaning in my life by discovering my purpose. Hopefully, you’ve made a list, and it’s in front of you. 😉 It’s time to begin the process of finding your purpose.

You’ve marked the things that you think you’d enjoy doing. You’ve researched them to see what’s involved and if it’s something you’d enjoy doing. You’re in the planning stage, and this stage may take a while, but don’t fret. Pour yourself a spot of tea, a cup of coffee, and enjoy the process. You don’t want to walk blindly into something without a plan.

I’ve loved writing since I was a child. I couldn’t wait to come home and write all about my day in my little blue diary. For those of you who love to write, a small page in a diary isn’t nearly long enough to get your thoughts out when you’re a teenager. So, I’d add pages and stuff them inside. My diary looked like an overstuffed pillow.

Because of the circumstances surrounding my adult life, however, I couldn’t seem to get my writing off the ground for one reason or the other. It wasn’t that I didn’t try, I did, at least until I got so discouraged that figuratively speaking, I’d shove my writing on that same dark shelf to collect dust and vowed to quit. My excuse, which I thought was a pretty good one, was that too many things were against me…nothing ever seemed to go my way…poor me.

So, I’d go about my life but the nagging desire always found a way to inch back into my thoughts. Begrudgingly, I’d pull down my rough drafts and try again. (They’re all still here in my filing cabinet. :))

This was my writing life cycle. Get encouraged. Quite. Get discouraged. Quit. Rinse and repeat. Later in my life I finally had to face the fact that I never wanted to admit at least not out loud.

A Quitter.

There was no other conclusion I could come to except that I’d been a quitter most of my life, especially when things got really difficult, or when I faced an obstacle that looked impossible to jump over. Just quit. (Thankfully, the only thing I never quit was my Christian walk with Jesus.) The last time “I quit” was actually about two years ago. I packed up all my work-related materials, placed them in a plastic container, snapped on the lid, and shoved it in my closet. I stomped downstairs and told my husband, “I quit. I’m done. And I mean it this time.”

He remained silent and processed my remarks that he’d heard before, and said, “Okay.”

I shot back, “I mean it.”

“Okay.”

Well, I barely made it past two days when I dragged the plastic container back out, snapped open the lid, and stared at my writing career like I’d done hundreds of times. But this time, I wrestled with why I’d been given this desire to write and then it not come to fruition. But the story wasn’t over. God reminded me of Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”

Two Reasons Why I believe things didn’t go the way I thought they should.

I’m embarrassed to say it, but I was a QUITTER. How can anyone work with someone who’s  a quitter? I’d go forward and slide back so many times that I was never able to reach the finish line.

  1. God wasn’t done with me yet. I’d gone through transformations in my life as we all do and this was going to be another long one even though I wanted to take the short cut. I realized that there were things that had nothing to do with my writing but everything to do with me…my heart and discipline issues. Was I even ready for the challenge? Was I ready to take the journey this time without quitting? How much did I really want to be a writer? And this is the question you must ask yourself. How much do you want what you want?
  2. God molds us into the person He wants us to become, but He seeks people who don’t quit; people who aren’t afraid to run the race, and who have the courage to work through obstacles. He wants us to see it through. We may fail, but it’s better to fail at something you’ve tried, then to fail at something because you quit.

I’d discussed my dilemma with a good friend years ago, and she gave me some good advice. She asked me if I could find a half hour a day to write, or even a half hour every other day so that I wouldn’t become burned out in the process before I began.

That sounded achievable, so I began taking her advised baby steps. And what the baby steps taught me was about discipline and an incentive to accomplish my goals.

Before I knew it, I found myself wanting to find more time to write because I saw my accomplishments taking shape. And with hard work, I had achieved one of my goals: finishing and publishing a children’s fantasy story. It may or may not be the greatest children’s fantasy story ever told, but I accomplished something that I never thought possible because I didn’t quit.

I learned about the craft of writing and it developed me as a writer. The learning is never-ending, but when I realized that I’m not Wonder Woman, and that I don’t have to race toward the finish line, my journey is more enjoyable because I can walk leisurely toward my goals, and still make time for family.

I’ve a few other writing projects I’m working on, and I’m enjoying the process.

What’s Hindering You From Accomplishing Your Goal?

Don’t wait. Take a step. Then take two. Take one day at a time and then take another day. And don’t become anxious when things don’t happen as fast as you’d like. If we race to achieve our goals, we miss out on the growing process. Our pastor once said that the difference between a dream and a goal is that a goal takes planning.

Maturity and growth take time. You know more now than you did twenty years ago, right? So take your knowledge, stir in some hard work, flavor it with persistence, and season it with the sense of knowing that your working toward a goal. Your goal.

And for goodness sake, don’t become discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t work out. Quitters never reach the finish line. If you quit, you’ll never know if you could’ve accomplished your goal. I had to tell myself  out loud time and again, “I’m not going to quit this time.”

Slow down. Take your time. Enjoy life. Enjoy the journey. We only have one life. Let’s live it to its fullest so that God will be glorified!

That’s how God has been growing me.

I’d love for you to share your success stories or where you are at in your journey.

~blessings to you all

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Three Tips On Pursuing Your Goals

Have you ever wanted to try something new on your path through life, or pursue a lifelong goal/dream that you can’t seem to find time for right now?

Save your thoughts. Write them down. Stop by Candidly Christian and check out my 3-Tips for pursuing your goals later in your life when you have more time. It’s never too late to start. Be ready for your future.

 

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What Is Your Passion? Your Purpose?

*Revised & Condensed (First Published December 12, 2016 on candidlychristian.com)

Many years ago, I struggled with depression. It wasn’t your normal, everyday kind of depression that comes one day and is gone the next. It was pretty severe and lasted for several months. It affected me emotionally and physically. It stole my appetite and strength, but most of all, my joy. Life wasn’t fun. My faith told me God was there beside me, but I couldn’t feel His presence.

Depression is a symptom of hopelessness.

I had lost hope until one day a dear friend gave me a book titled, “The Wall: A Parable” by Gloria Jay Evans. To my amazement, the story reminded me of my situation. I, too, had built a wall around me so high and so thick that no one could penetrate it. No one could get in, and I didn’t want to get out. That wall was my safety zone; no one would hurt me again. Perfect. Right?

Wrong. The wall I had built became cold, dark, and lonely. I had become its prisoner, paralyzed with fear, and I wondered what I was really good for or good at.

Without purpose it’s easy to lose hope.

That simple book that my friend had given me had child-like illustrations that had captured a snapshot of  my life at that time. But with God’s strength, I eventually was able to tear down the wall and step out into the world once again even though I knew I’d be vulnerable again, but better to be vulnerable than to be trapped inside a dark, lonely place. I also realized how important it was (is) to exercise, eat healthy, and find someone you can confide in.

Which brings me to the present.

I believe everyone is born for a purpose. I don’t think we’re born, we live, and then die without a purpose. If this were true, then life would be pretty meaningless, and we’d be insignificant beings walking blindly into an unknown future without much hope. Finding purpose in my life opened up a door, and I believe it can help you to open your own door.

Great News! Are you ready for a new chapter in your own life?

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” ~Philippians 3:13

I want you to discover your passion and purpose in life. Step out and pursue your goals and dreams and use them for God’s glory. I think it’s great news that we’re not just here taking up space; we’re here for a reason. We’re here on purpose. We each have a gift; something that we can do better than anything or anyone else. And that gift wants us to free it by stepping out and trying something new. And it’s not about making millions, but it’s about giving your life meaning, purpose, and hope.

Maybe you may need to further your education, hone your skills, take a few lessons, or learn a new craft that you’ve always thought you’d enjoy but never took the time to pursue. Maybe you’ve already discovered your passion, but you don’t know how or where to start.

Sunday school teacher or church leader? Graphic Designer? Photographer? Writer? Gardening? Sewing: making quilts, children’s clothes, doll clothes? Woodworking: birdhouses, flower boxes, plant stands, etc.? Computer skills: building websites, blogging? Social skills: relating to others, encouraging them? Working with disabled children? Volunteering at school or a hospital. Even with little or no experience, it’s never too late to learn a new career, trade, or hobby.

So ask yourself, what excites you? I’d like to challenge you to discover your passion by stepping past your own circle and discover God’s purpose for your life.

How to Find Your Passion and Purpose

5 steps to discovering your passion and living on purpose

  1. Sincerely pray and ask God for guidance. Take time and think about what you’d enjoy doing more than anything else.
  2. Make a list. Write down as many things as you can that you think you’d enjoy.
  3. Research. Take your list, get on the computer or go to the library and research your list. Discover what’s involved with each item on your list, and see if you’d really enjoy doing it. You may find that’s it something you really aren’t interested in, which could save you time and money.
  4. Narrow your list down. Pick the top three or four things you think you’d really enjoy more than anything else (and possibly make some extra money at), and something you believe you’d be good at and that you could accomplish. Educate yourself on the pros and cons, staying focused on the things that have a chance of becoming reality.
  5. Pray some more. When you’ve pinpointed those few things, pray again for God’s direction, and seek His will and plans for your life so that in the end, whatever you choose to do, you’ll feel confident that He’ll be behind you and able to sustain you through the ups and downs.

What’s Keeping You From Finding Your Passion?

Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”

With that in mind, I encourage you to seek people who are willing and able to help you achieve your goal(s). Find people who feel the same and make a new friend. By researching and asking questions, you’ll gain knowledge and discover new things.

These steps helped me discover my passion for writing. 🙂 What’s hindering you from achieving your goal?

What’s your passion? I hope this post has given you some things to think about it.

~blessings

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A Modern-Day Holocaust

As a former peer counselor at a Woman’s Pregnancy Care Center, the center helps to lead women choose life for their baby rather than abortion. We help them by offering material items as well as spiritual needs while they navigate the ups and downs of pregnancy. The center offers classes that benefit them along their journey. We reassure them that we care. Sometimes some of us would have “baby showers” at our church congregations where church members will donate new or gently used baby items, which helps the Care Centers.

Women who walk through the doors of a Pregnancy Care Center are there for two reasons; 1) a pregnancy test; and, 2) seeking help.

I know that speaking about controversial issues such as abortion is like walking through a mine field, and for my Facebook friends, twitter followers, and acquaintances, you can choose to unfollow or unfriend me although I hope you won’t.

I feel led to speak out.

The Head of the Snake

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Abortion is a snake’s head–pixabay photo

There are multiple reasons why women want to get an abortion but mainly they are due to financial status, pressure from others (a friend or family member), age, ridicule, shame, guilt, etc. We need to care about the welfare of these women and take their circumstance into consideration.

I believe it’s time to begin an open, honest, and real conversation about how abortion has taken root and wrapped its ugly tentacles around the soul of America. Isn’t it time to have civil discussions about the abortion industry without having to worry about repercussions from others in order for the snake’s head to be severed?

There’s been an intense struggle in America between pro-lifers and abortion-activists. But if we’re going to win the hearts and minds of those who are caught in this struggle, or the victims of abortion, then we must be an example to them by being authentic–honest and candid–so that we can help women who are in this position. There are opposing views on abortion, but isn’t it time to put away malice and hate and instead become a guiding light for Jesus to them?

TRUTH

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” ~John 8:32

People have a right to know the truth, but the truth must be presented in love and not be judgmental: 

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15  Truth must be given in love, kindness, and with all patience so it will have a chance of being well received and have a chance to sprout.

It’s been recorded by various sources that tons of abortions occur each year in the United States. Who really knows the exact number (not sure how these statistics are measured), but it’d still be safe to say “tons.”

The Guttmacher Institute, which was originally founded as a research affiliate of Planned Parenthood (PP), reports that the number of abortions have dropped since 2011. Carol Tobias, National Right to Life President, states, “That abortion rates and numbers continue to decline is heartening because it shows that women are rejecting the idea of abortion as the answer to an unexpected pregnancy.” [1]

Brian Fisher, Founder of Human Coalition, reports:

  • Since 1973, when Roe v. Wade made abortion on demand legal in all 50 states, more than 58 million Americans have been killed in the womb—and that number is climbing. Now compare that number to the more than 1.1 million servicemen and women who lost their lives during America’s military conflicts over the past 240 years.
  • According to some studies, abortions worldwide are estimated to exceed 1.7 billion human lives—and we are well on our way to reaching 2 billion.
  • An estimated 3,000 lives are lost every day to abortion in America alone. [2]

But this post isn’t really about statistics but about the heart and soul of America. I think we can agree that the abortion rate has increased significantly in all fifty states over the past four decades since Roe v Wade. Many vulnerable women have walked through the doors of abortion clinics feeling a sense hopelessness, desperate for help as their world crumbles around them.

The person sitting behind a reception desk at an abortion clinic is their first contact. Will this person show them love and grace while offering them an option to choose life? Or will the person sitting behind the desk give them only one way out: abortion?

The Right To Choose?

I’m curious why so many people today are concerned about a woman’s “right to choose?” Does “right to choose” really have anything to do with a woman’s health? Or their body? Why has a women’s right to choose become such an important issue woven into the fiber of our society?

First, I believe it has nothing to do with a woman’s body, but everything to do with profit. Ask Abby Johnson who was a Clinic Director at PP. She gives her testimony here and here. She states that PP makes approximately $313.00 per abortion, adding up to millions or billions a year.

According to a Fox News report in 2012, PP received half a billion dollars of taxpayer money ($542,400.00). “Their abortion services increased while their cancer screening and prevention services dropped.” How wonderful it would be if this money would be funneled into Pregnancy Care Centers where woman really can and do find help and hope for their lives because crisis pregnancies develop from crisis lives. These women need hope and help.

Modern-Day Holocaust

Abortion is a “modern-day holocaust” that has turned into a multi-billion dollar business. Choosing abortion, however, signals a deeper problem that some woman may or may not realize at the time of her abortion. Most who step through the doors of an abortion clinic are searching for answers, but walk out believing that abortion is their last, best hope.

Vulnerable women have been lied to by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. They really don’t care about a woman’s health–this has only been a cover-up to the lies they tell–as much as they care about their profits. And the lie is the snake’s head that must be exposed and severed. PP workers remain silent on the devastating effects that can occur from an abortion.

A New Message

Abortion-minded women need to hear a new message, a new voice and that is the simply the message of truth: THE FETUS IS NOT A BLOB OF TISSUE. It’s a life created by God. A life that is greater than all the other creatures of this Earth. They need to hear that God is the Creator of life and He is the Author of our faith. They need to hear this message again and again and again until it begins to sink in to the fiber of their hearts and minds and our society. They need to hear these truths, over and over, from those of us who really care and can offer them real hope, grace, forgiveness, and second chances instead of treating them as a number. This will not only change the hearts and minds of vulnerable women, but also society’s.

The first step in a woman choosing life happens when a woman begins to love and respect her own body, and having an ultrasound. And as she learns to respect her body, she’ll learn to respect the human life growing inside of her. And if she’s capable of loving her own body, she’ll be capable of loving her child and desiring nothing less than the best for her baby. But how instrumental is seeing that baby inside of you through an ultrasound?

A Strong Bond

god-holding-unborn-baby

pixabay photo

What many abortion-minded women don’t know and aren’t being told is the strongest of all bonds that exists between a mother and her child; a bond that is stronger than any other human bond. And this bond is the bond that links two lives together forever. This bond can never be severed, not even in death, and sadly, a mother may not discover this fact until it’s too late when guilt and remorse lingers upon her heart and soul. She can pretend that her abortion never happened, she can suppress it to the utmost parts of her mind and heart, She can even hurl insults at pro-lifers, but even that won’t heal her broken heart. She can even hurl insults at pro-lifers, but even then it won’t heal her broken heart because the bond between a mother and child cannot be suppressed or broken. It lives. 

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pixabay photo

But things change when a woman is given the opportunity to see her child under the scope of an ultrasound. She is more likely to keep her baby or give it up for adoption instead of choosing abortion. Sadly, without this opportunity, she often chooses abortion.

What happens after an abortion when the woman leaves the clinic? What happens when she finally faces the reality of what she’s done; when she realizes that the consequences of her decision became a missed opportunity to hold her newborn baby in her arms and gazes into the face of God’s creation?

There are several types of abortion methods, and none of them good. Some woman will experience cramping, bleeding, nausea, diarrhea, and pain, and sometimes it leads to death (for a number of reasons) that many hear little about.

The Effects of Abortion

Pixabay Photo

The emotional effects can be far worse than the physical, and they can linger for years:

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Guilt/emotional pain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Difficulty with relationships
  • Memory repression
  • Increased alcohol & drug abuse
  • flashbacks
  • long-term grief
  • Anniversary reactions
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Spirituality effects

Hasn’t America stood silent long enough? Shame on society and shame on America’s government for supplying the belly of this beast called abortion with our tax-payer dollars. Women who walk into an abortion clinic need our prayers, our love, our support, and most of all grace.

Let us get back to the basics of humanity. Let’s treat life as something so precious that we can’t destroy it.

If you feel the same, or you know someone who may be facing an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy…tottering on the edge of choosing between life or abortion, won’t you please share this post with them so they know there is hope through pregnancy?

You or they may contact Care Net’s Option Line at 1-800-395-HELP for further help.

Next: Part II – The Voiceless

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Don’t lose hope, live on purpose

passion

Candidly Christian is a new blogging site about Real Women, Real Life, and Real Faith. We will be talking about real issues that women face.

Join us here to discover how you can find your true passion and stave off depression in my post today, entitled, How to Find Your Passion. I hope it will inspire you to take a step toward your goal(s).

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Widows and Orphans

Helping Widows and Orphans

As I was driving the other day, God seemed to speak to my heart, and I wanted to share. Two words came to mind: Widows and Orphans.

James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

These two classes of people are really a lot alike–less fortunate and dependent upon others. I believe that this is the reason James, the brother of Jesus, made this point in his writings.

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The first class of our little citizens are our own orphaned children, unwanted, often times abused, and in need of so much love. Years ago, there were orphanages in the United States and they cared for ones such as these. But where have they gone? We live in the greatest country in the world, and it seems that orphanages have fallen between the cracks. There are so many people who would love to adopt these little ones.

I know there are social services that do the best they can, but I’d like to bring back”orphanages” to this country; a warm place and a home for abused children who so desperate need to be loved and cared for until they can either be adopted into loving homes, or if I may go one step further, by offering counseling to their parent(s). Is this really too big of a thing to see come to life? I don’t believe so because “with God all things are possible.” ~ Luke 1:37

dependent-100343_640The second class of citizens are our own widows. While some may be left wealthy, many others are left with little to make ends meet. “Honor widows who are widows indeed.” ~I Timothy 5:3  These who haven’t been as fortunate also need our help, love, and compassion. And as they grow older, they become more fragile and dependent like a child depends upon a parent. My heart truly goes out to them.

I’d like to see a place for widows (and widowers) where they can live out their days in peace, knowing that they’ll be taken care of by those who will love them to the very end; who will comfort them in their time of need. I’m not referring to a hospital setting or “an old folks home”. I’m speaking of places throughout our country that are more like homes with homey settings . . . by the water where they are able to see the beauty of God’s blessings and watch the waves push to shore, or to watch a thunderstorm move across the water and light up the waves.

Or, see sunrises and sunsets . . .

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I know that “With God all things are possible.” ~ Luke 1:37

What greater joy than this: knowing we are taking care of our widows and orphans?

As we grow older, we realize that in the end, it’s not about us, it’s about loving others–even the unlovable and less fortunate. This is necessary. And I can’t think of any two groups of people who are less fortunate and more deserving of love and care than these two groups.

It is my desire to someday be in a position to help these and provide them with their needs. I’m unable to do this now, but I’m tossing my net out to see what God has in store because He is a good God. What a wonderful thing to see that net overflow with God’s rich blessings to help ones such as these.

~blessings to you all

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Book Giveaway at Goodreads

The Secret of the Golden Heart

The Secret of the Golden Heart

Hi everyone, for those of you who are a Goodreads member, I will be having a book giveaway that begins tonight, April 16, at midnight and will run until May 16, midnight. Sign up for a chance to win a signed copy my middle grade fantasy/adventure book, The Secret of the Golden Heart, for ages 8-12. I will be giving away 10 copies.

Goodreads will randomly select the winners and send me the list. 

You can sign up on my website, or go here.

For those who might be in this area, you’re invited to my book signing at Century Center in South Bend, IN, April 29 – 30. There will be a drawing for a free golf lesson for any parent who buys a book, for a child or grandchild age 8-12. I’ll also be passing out bookmarks that look like the cover of my book, as well as passing out coupons.

 

 

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My Book Give Away On Goodreads-April16 Midnight

The Secret of the Golden Heart

The Secret of the Golden Heart

Hi everyone, I’m having a Goodreads book give away beginning April 16th (midnight) to May 16th (midnight). I will be giving away ten, signed copies of my book The Secret of the Golden Heart (for children ages 8-12). If you win, you can pm me on fb with a name to address the book to if you like.

Goodreads will randomly select the winners and send me the list. 

You can sign up on the link on my website, or go herebut it won’t allow you to sign up until April 16th after midnight.

Give away is only open to Goodreads’ members. If you’re not a member of Goodreads, you can check it out here. 

Thanks to those who enter!

blessings

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Hebrews 9:27-28

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27  Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28  so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.  ~Hebrews 9:27-28

This one is humbling:

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  1 John 3:16 NIV

And one of my all-time favorites:

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” II Corinthians 12:9

I hope you have a wonderful, Christ-filled day!

~blessings

 

 

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The Name of Jesus

trilogy-68582_1280Crosses Luke 24:6-7 says, “He is not here; He is risen! Remember how he told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners. Be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”

After watching a recent news segment, a young man is asking people to connect with Jesus by attending a rally in Washington DC (I believe at the mall) in July called, Reset 2016. Keep your eyes open for this event.

I admire him for asking people to connect with Jesus because it seems as though we don’t hear the name of Jesus much except when we’re around like-minded people.

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It seems society has tried everything it can to ban God and Jesus from our schools and the market place in generalbut they’ve failed miserably. The Bible is still around and so is God and Jesus.

God isn’t dead. (The movie God Isn’t Dead, Part II is out now).

Christianity is about Jesus, the only One sent from heaven to die for us in order to set us free from the law of sin and death, and the only One who has risen from the dead who is now at the right hand of God.

Those who don’t know Him, fear Him and want to wipe any reference of Him from society. But they can’t do it because He is the cornerstone of Christianity. He is the only One who claims to be God’s only Son. In the history of time, no one has claimed this because they can’t claim it. There is no other name under heaven or on earth whereby we must be saved except in the name of Jesus.

And this is what sets Christianity apart from the other religions.

Jesus is Savior. Jesus brought the message of hope that we can have eternal life in/with Him. No one else can promise this truthfully.

The US Constitution’s job is to protect us from having our religious freedom taken away. We have the right to speak openly about our faith–it’s the basic moral fiber of our heritage–and we need the courage to do it.

It’s all about Jesus…the One who gave His life to set us free from the bondage of sin and death so that sin couldn’t have dominion over us. His death has freed us to live a life that glorifies Him.

Let’s talk more about Jesus: who He is and what He’s done. 🙂

 

 

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