Our Life is a Letter

2 Corinthians 3 2 (1)

1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

 

Have you ever had to write a letter of recommendation for someone or had one written for you?

 

In this passage the Corinthians are requesting a letter of recommendation from higher up disciples to prove that Paul is doing the work of the Lord. Paul explains to the Corinthians that their life should be his recommendation letter, a confirmation of his teaching.

Imagine if your life was a letter, open to anyone to read, and when they read it they would know exactly who you are, what you stand for, your convictions, your beliefs, your faith or the lack of. Paul is saying our life is a letter written on our hearts through the Holy Spirit. How we live confirms the message of the gospel. It’s a way for others to see and understand why we dedicate our time, money, and energy into church, ministry, mission work, church camps and much more. When we face the king on judgment day we will not be getting a letter of recommendation from our pastors or parents saying why we should be in the kingdom. Instead Jesus will read the letter of our hearts and our life.

If our life is a letter open to the world to read what do you want people to read? What kind of letter are you going to allow the spirit to write upon your hearts? And will you choose to follow it?

 

-Elleigh

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Forgiveness

luke 23 34 a

Society is filled with people who have no forgiveness.  We judge, ridicule and try to come up with the next sarcastic zinger to roast someone.  Escalation of situations that could have been resolved in their infancy are full blown Hatfield and McCoy level feuds because people did not possess the unceasing ability of Jesus to forgive.  Jesus was able to forgive even in the midst of extreme situations like being on the cross:

Luke 23:34 NIV Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Jesus found the strength to forgive even though he had been mercilessly mocked, beaten and ultimately murdered!  Meanwhile we struggle to forgive people for minor infractions like not liking our outfit, or denying the fact that we are the greatest spike ball player on the planet.  Seeing how Jesus was able to forgive his persecutors who had done much more to him than anyone else has experienced convicts us as Christians to be able to forgive others who have wronged us regardless of our situations because Jesus was able to forgive in situations worse than us.

-Zack Dylewski

My Friend Grace

Ephesians 2_8

Do you have a friend that is there for you? A friend that continues to text you even though you don’t text back till like three days later? Do you have that friend in your life that loves you even though you’re not always the best friend back?

I do, her name is Grace. She is the very best friend I could ask for. Grace is the kind of friend that is intentional, loving and always there for you. She is the type of friend that continues to reach out to you and loves you no matter what. She has taught me so much about what it means to be a friend.

When I think about Grace’s friendship I’m reminded of God’s Grace in our life. God is very intentional about his relationship with us. He loves us unconditionally even though we don’t deserve it. God gives us this wonderful gift of salvation and forgiveness despite our flaws and downfalls. This gift of grace allows us to realize our human weaknesses and failures but know that God still loves us and desires us to have a relationship with him.

I’m so grateful for my friend Grace’s continued, intentional friendship despite my flaws. In the same way I’m so thankful for God’s Grace in my life.  

Ephesians 2:8

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

 

-Elleigh Dylewski

Teddy Bears and Corn Snakes

Joshua 1_9

Do you consider yourself to be courageous?

Do you see courage as being something only heros have? Do you have to be like David taking down Goliath or Daniel surviving a lions den or the Avengers fighting against Thanos? Or can you be courageous in your everyday life?

According to Dr. Yadin Dubai, from the Weizmann Institute of Science Rehovot, Israel courage is something that can be practiced. He came to this finding by splitting a group of volunteers into those that were afraid of snakes and those that weren’t. The volunteers were instructed to choose whether to move a teddy bear or corn snake closer or further away. While the participants were making their choice there was a functional magnetic imaging scan done of there head. This scan picked up on activity in the part of the brain called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC). When the participants who feared snakes chose to overcome fear and move the snake closer the sgACC increased, versus those that gave into fear and moved the snake further.

This research found that our brain can learn courage. We can activate and increase the sgACC or part of brain that houses courage by taking conscious, deliberate steps to overcome fear.

Many of us won’t find ourselves facing a literal giant, surviving a lions den or even battling an intergalactic space villain (although that would be sick!). We do however find ourselves facing fears each day. Sometimes those fears are simply getting up out of bed and starting a new day, maybe it’s forgiving someone that you thought you never could, or maybe it’s flying across the county to do mission work or start a new ministry. Whatever your fear in life may be, know that you can overcome it with a little practice and a little patience.

Joshua 1: 9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

-Elleigh Dylewski

Living in Love

1 John 4_16

God has given us so much, he gave us his perfect son, and let him pay the price for our sins because he loves us. In 1 John 4:16 it says God is love and whoever lives in love lives in God. By living in love, we can live with God. We can show the love that he gives us to others, and we can be an example of Christ Jesus. If we have a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith, we can love others the way God wants us to, and show them a path of compassion. By loving others we can show them God and what he has given us.

-Blair Simon

His Example

john 13 14

Pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith, we know what these are and how to achieve them but a better way to see this is through Jesus Christ. He constantly showed God’s love through his actions, by caring for those you wouldn’t expect him to. He was the son of God and he humbled himself to all around him, to show that we are here to serve. By following Jesus’s example in serving and loving others we can do good, and have a positive impact in the world around us.

-Blair Simon

Of Greater Worth than Gold

1 peter 1 7

In 1 Timothy 1:5 it says we must love with a sincere faith, which I think means an enduring faith. Our faith is going to be tested, which makes it stronger. In 1 Peter 1:7 it refers to our faith as more precious than gold, which is perishable. The word perishable makes me think of an apple, something that rots quickly and isn’t that important, but gold, that was a form of currency, very important. Also gold isn’t naturally perishable, nothing organic can destroy it, and chemical compounds cannot fully destroy gold. But compared to our faith, gold is meaningless and perishable. 1 Peter 1:7 also says our faith will be tested by fire. To have a strong faith we must go through hardships so we can come out stronger, and by keeping God’s word with us, we can make it through these struggles and have an enduring faith.

-Blair Simon