Do you feel far from God? Like any relationship, our relationship with God requires work. In order to feel close to God, we have to know God. In order to know God, we must spend time with him. (Would you like to know God personally?)
Think about a car. Eventually, a car runs out of gas and needs to be refueled. Our spiritual lives are just like cars. If we don’t refuel our hearts, we will be empty tanks unable to function.
Get real with yourself. How are you and God doing?
I’ll never forget how I felt the first time I looked into the mirror after being date raped. I stood there naked, alone and ashamed. I began to question God and his love for me. (more…)
Heartbreak. We have all been there. Those nights when the loss is so unbearable that you fall to your knees, crying out to God, “Please, take away this pain in my heart. Why did this happen?” I know the feeling well and so does my friend Sam. As a monthly contributor to JP Ministries, Sam writes vulnerable stories from the heart and this post is no different. If you are experiencing heartbreak and loss this Christmas season, know that you’re not alone. And most importantly, know that there is a God who loves you so much that he sacrificed his son for you. Press on through the pain and you will one day experience joy. (more…)
There is beauty in rebellion. When I first started living my life for God, I felt the weight of shame from my past of rebellion. I hated myself and the sins of my past. It took a few years for me to begin to break free from this shame and begin to experience the beauty of rebellion. I’m praying that you will experience the beauty of rebellion and the freedom that comes through Christ. xoxo Joy (more…)
The questions we all want answers to: How do we know if the guy or girl we are thinking about dating is totally in love with Jesus? How do we know if he or she is running after God with everything? How do we know that he or she isn’t just putting on a show? I know that I’ve asked these questions before in a few situations, so I am thankful to have guest blogger Sam Eaton here to answer them.
Comment below and share how you have decided if a guy or girl totally loves Jesus. How did God reveal this to you? What have you learned from previous situations? Sam and I love hearing from our readers and love knowing how God is working in your hearts. Love, Joy
As I took the lid off of my Caribou cup, a rush of steam rose and quickly evaporated above the table between my incredible friend Anthony and me. For many years we have been meeting in overstuffed chairs to catch up on life and talk about everything from our dating excursions to where we see God calling us to next.
Amidst one of these discussions a few weeks ago, Anthony asked if there were any girls I was interested in as he gave me his sly, “you better tell me, bro” smirk. After some bantering and ridiculous laughter, we landed on this complicated and important question:
If you’re attracted to someone, how can you tell if they are recklessly pursuing Jesus or just putting on a show?
According to 2012 Gallup poll, 77% percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian. Yet, being a Christian and a Christ-Follower is a very different thing. The truth is I want to date someone who is running towards God and isn’t just checking the box.
Oh by the way, it’s not really an easy thing to gauge, especially when you’ve just met someone. It’s not like Cosmo magazine is dying to publish my article “25 Signs Your Man Totally Loves Jesus.” So how can you tell if someone you’re interested in has a mature and inspiring faith? (more…)
The concept of knowing God can feel so abstract that it seems impossible to ever understand. Growing up, I went to church every week, but I had no idea that God wanted to know me. I had no idea that God wanted a personal relationship with me. I was missing out on the heart of Christianity. And because I was missing out on knowing God, I turned to other people and things to fill my emptiness. I was told religion would satisfy me, so I tried to be perfect. I thought being a Christian was about going to church and being a morally good person. As long as I was acting morally better than other people, I believed my Christian life was on track.
Lies. I believed so many lies because I never had the truth fully explained. Growing up not fully understanding the Gospel caused many problems in my heart.
As I strived for perfection, I failed over and over again. This view of “Christianity” was all wrong. Sadly, I think a lot of people have this view – that they have to be perfect and “good” people. Personally, I hate the phrase “good” Christian girl. (Read why). We are not good. I had to come to that realization in order to surrender my life to Jesus. (To read my full story, click here).
Lacking the truth – I had no idea that being a Christian was about realizing how broken and sinful we are, so that we realize how desperately we need Jesus. God had to break me in order for me to see my sinfulness. He had to bring me to my end, show me that I will never be satisfied in this world, and break my heart – for me to turn to him. As painful as those moments were, I can now say they were worth everything, because now I know and believe that Jesus is the only answer. A guy will not complete me. A perfect body will not give me hope. And a friend’s approval will not make me feel good enough.
Only through Jesus and the Cross will we ever find completion, lasting hope, never ending satisfaction, and eternal life. (more…)
Do you want to be closer to God? Do you want to experience the glory of his goodness and presence? It is possible to be close to God on an intimate and personal level. God created us so we can be in a relationship with him.
To discover how to come near to God, we will look at a passage from James and then break apart the passage into 5 key parts. (more…)
I used to believe I was a “good” Christian girl. Now every time I hear this phrase, I cringe. Growing up, I believed that being a Christian meant being good, moral, and perfect, so I tried to be a “good” person. I failed, a lot.
It was not until college, that I learned that being a Christian has nothing to do with being good enough. Being a Christian is realizing that nothing we could do would ever be enough to cover our sins, and that is why we need Jesus.
I’ll never forget the day my high school boyfriend told me I was a “bad” Christian. I thought I was a “good” Christian girl for many reasons, but in regards to our relationship I thought I was “good” because we had never had sex. We were on our way to school and had been fighting the whole drive there. I told him that God had convicted me, and that I wanted to stop pushing physical boundaries. My boyfriend did not like or understand this idea. He wasn’t a Christian, and didn’t understand my conviction. I don’t blame him, because I did a bad job of living my life for Jesus. His response, “But we already have done these things, how can we just stop?”
Through out our relationship, I openly called myself a Christian, yet I wasn’t walking with God. I considered myself a “good” Christian girl because we weren’t technically having sex, but we were doing everything else. I was believing and living a lie and this would finally be brought to light.
We got out of the car. He slammed the door. I slammed the door. And as we walked up that hill to go to homeroom, he looked at me and said, “You’re a bad Christian.” (more…)
Jesus came to heal the sick and the broken. He came to save the sinner. In one of my classes, this thought came to mind as I heard sad story after sad story from my classmates. (Jesus, will my classmates ever know you?) This does not mean that he supports their actions, but his love for them will never change. Why is this? Because Jesus came to save the broken.
Jesus came to save my classmates, but they lack the realization that they need him. Maybe they think their lives are fine without him. Maybe they think they’re spiritually healthy.
While on earth, Jesus spent most of his time with the lost and broken. In Matthew 9:12-13 (NIV) Jesus states, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Healthy people don’t understand that they are sick, sinful, and in need of a savior. But the sick, they line up outside of the doctor’s office hoping for something to heal the pain. Do you realize that you are sick and in need of a savior? Maybe you are immune to the hurting in your heart. Maybe like my classmates, you think these feelings are a normal part of life. Or maybe you actually think you are healthy. (more…)
You know those nights where you feel so unloved and alone? When you wish you could have someone to hold you and tell you they love you? The love we experience on earth will never compare to God’s love for us. Our hearts have been made to cry out for a love that can only come from our creator.
A guy may seem like the best fix, but only God’s love is a lasting solution. This truth is written all over the Bible.
Did you know that the Bible is God’s love letter to us? Isaiah 43 is a great example of a love letter from God. When I study scripture, I like to read it and then write it out in my own words. This helps me better understand what I have read. For this particular chapter, I read the passage as if God hand wrote me a love letter in beautiful calligraphy. I wrote it in my journal in the exact same way. You can do the same thing. (more…)