“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Romans 12:2

“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him”   Colossians 3: 5-10

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness?’” Matthew 7: 21-23

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”   James 1:22-27

There are so many people in this world that say, “I am a Christian, and I believe there is a God.” But do many of these people really understand what it takes to be a true Christian? It takes so much more than just believing that there is a God; even the devil and his demons believe in God. I use to be one of those “Christians”, I always stated that I was a Christian, but I did not live and understand the Christian life. Once I started going back to church and my love started growing for God, I started to crave a closer relationship with Jesus. I realized that in order to have that closeness with Jesus Christ you have to live “Christ Like” and you have to use the Bible as our “Instruction Manual for Life.” Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins, but he also came to earth to leave us an example of how we should live, in hopes that we all would follow in his footsteps. (1 Peter 2:21)

Once you truly become saved, your life begins to change. You realize that the music you listen to and the TV shows you watch are not acceptable anymore. You change the way you talk, and the way that you treat people. You begin to care more about others, and their salvation. You may even begin to drop friends that do not understand this great change in your life, and that is ok. They are not truly your friend if they do not stick around and are happy for you. You have to live a life where the unbelievers look at you and say, “Wow. I want what they have!” You must show how great and wonderful it is to have the glorious, perfect God on our side. You also must produce good fruit, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Jesus has unconditional love for us all, and no matter what He is always there for us. This means since Jesus is our example we should treat others just as Jesus treats others, and yes that means even our enemies. As the bible says in Luke 6: 27-28 and 35-36 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful.”

Reading the Bible is very important in your Christian walk, and God wrote through man just for us. “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”  Psalms 119:105. The Bible is our study guide for how we should live our life, and how to have a closer relationship with God. The Bible references everything you would need in life, such as marriage, parenting, being successful, how to treat others, trusting in The Lord, etc. The Bible has no error, and every word is true. But you can’t just read the Bible and not live it; you have to be a hearer and a doer!! (James 1:22-27, see above) So next time you are reaching for a book to help you with your troubles, grab the Bible instead because it is guaranteed to change your life. Prayer is also very important in our spiritual walk with God. Praying is our communication to The Lord, and it is an opportunity to thank Him, praise Him, and ask Him. Reading the Bible and prayer is the way to get to know God, and for Him to speak to you and guide you. You need daily bread; otherwise the devil will take that opportunity to attack you when you are weak. One way to be fed the word of God, and to get other spiritual inputs of the Bible, is to go to church and fellowship. Even though you may sit at home and read the Bible on your own, sometimes it helps to hear someone else’s perspective on scripture. There has been many times I may take a scripture one way, and then hear someone else’s input and I think “Why didn’t I think of that….it makes perfect sense?!!” Also church helps because a lot of times it gives God the opportunity to talk to you. There have been many times that the pastor has said something, and the Holy Spirit just cries out within me, and I knew that I was meant to receive that and I needed that. God uses people often to speak to you in order to help you; God sent someone to help me receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost, because He knew I needed the words of encouragement at that time. God knows what you need and when you need it, and it is absolutely amazing how God works!!

One of my favorite parables Jesus talked about in the Bible is Matthew 13:3-23, which he talks about a sower sowing, and some of the seed sowed feel by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty fold. Then Jesus explained this parable as: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces. Jesus explains here the different ways that people receive the gospel; let us all be the good soil that the seeds fall upon.

In conclusion, be Christ Like and be the one to lift people up. Treat people the way you want to be treated. We only have one life to live, and God sees everything and takes note of it. There will be great rewards in heaven for people that do good things in the name of Jesus Christ. Don’t you want to make your Father happy?? He will bless those that have trust, faith, and who long for that special relationship with Him. He will be there in times of trouble; He will mend a broken marriage; He will heal your depression and sickness; He loves you more than anyone in this world! All that He longs for is to hear your voice call out His name, and He will happily be there to wipe your tears away. When there is no one else to go to, all you have to do is call to Him and He will hear your cries. He is such a merciful God; no matter what you have done or been through all you have to do is ask for forgiveness and mean with all your heart and he forgives. Your chains will be broken, and you will be set free, just leave your burdens at the Cross. Isn’t it amazing??! That Jesus would come to earth as a human, just to die on the cross for ALL of OUR sins, so that we could have the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven with Him. God gives YOU the choice to choose….What is it going to be?? Spend eternity in heaven with our loving God, or spend eternity in lake of fire with the devil???? What are you waiting for? Get on your knees and pray now!! God is waiting for you…..

-Brandy

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