Living the Christian Life – Easy as 1 2 3: Salvation 101

Foreword:

My Dear Friends!

As I get back into regular blogging, after having my seventh baby June 2017 (wow she is almost a year old!) I would ask that you forgive my “rustiness”. As I have always attempted with my previous blog posts, it is my desire to prove The Word of God (aka The Bible) is an easy book to follow. I believe God is not a hard Task Master and it is my desire to simplify the Word into easy to grasp concepts. This first post is titled “Living the Christian Life, Easy as 1, 2, 3”

Many of the scriptures I quote are from The Message Bible, with some Amplified, New International, and King James Bible quoted as well. Thank you for being loyal subscribers and friends… Jessica

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE:

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG

BE CHEERFUL NO MATTER WHAT… Q: How is this even possible?

Have you ever tried being “cheerful” no matter what the situation? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, there are two prominent definitions to the word cheerful:

  1. A: Be full of good spirits, B: Ungrudging
  2. Conductive to cheer: Likely to dispel gloom or worry

How do these definitions cause you to feel? Does being “cheerful” sound more relatable now? The second definition, to me, sounds a bit easier to grasp. While I might not be able to constantly be positive, I certainly be conductive or prone toward cheer. Much like a fuzzy blanket which starts out cold, but warms up the longer you have it on you – I believe we too can become cheerful no matter what, as we evaluate a situation and choose to think good thoughts about the possible outcomes.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV

I don’t believe when Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians he was writing to discourage men and women and set impossible standards, that is not what Christianity is about. Christianity is about freedom, not persecution brought on by having to pretend to be someone you are not. If you find it hard to be Pollyanna (always positive and never having a down day), don’t try! Instead be found prone to cheer – become the person your friends can count on who will take ALL situations thoughtfully, and the end choose to be encouraging and uplifting regardless of the situation.

PRAY ALL THE TIME … Q: Do I have to give up my job, or what?

In the nearly 40 years I have spent as a Christian, I have found prayer means different things to each person. As a matter of fact “prayer” is more like personal language between you and God than a formula you use to get what you want or need. To some prayer is secret, to some prayer is verbal, to others prayer is meditation, and to some prayer can be as simple as a feeling. Judging the way another brother or sister “prays” is WRONG. There is no wrong or right way to pray… there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus – but our prayers can be as unique as we are.

The enemy wants us to be confused about how we pray. It’s his job to attempt to keep us from praying. This is why I believe so many people choose NOT to pray. They are afraid they will be doing it wrong. Prayers need not be glamorous or short and to the point. Prayers need to be from the heart… this is all that matters to God, and praying from the heart – sharing how you feel with the God of the Universe ALL THE TIME, can be easy and FUN!

“Lord, thanks for this pizza. It’s awesome.”

“Man God, this coffee is exactly what I needed.”

“Whoa! That was a close call, thank God that car didn’t hit me!”

“Man Jesus, I could really use a Big Mac right now!”

“You know it’s bedtime, and I am really thankful for my kids and my bed”

“God is good.”

When we begin to see our “prayer time” as an ongoing conversation with God our Father, we begin to realize just how simple praying all the time can be. You have probably have been doing it for years! Keep up the great work!

THANK GOD NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS … hmmm, really???

Let me start this stanza by readily admitting this: there are no guarantees in life. Yes, you read that right. I fervently believe there are NO guarantees. Just when the Doctors tell you you are having a boy: OOPS, you are having a girl. Just when that dream job is a shoe-in, the promotion you were counting on, is given to someone else. As soon as you move into the “perfect” neighborhood, Oscar the Grouch ends up being your neighbor!  Life is unpredictable at best, and when all the dust settles I believe it is in the unpredictability we all can find peace and joy.

Look at the television show Sesame Street. Jim Henson the creator of the children’s show created all of his adorable characters which lived on the street pleasant and upbeat… except Oscar the Grouch. I believe this was a stroke of genius – a reality check in which each child who watched the show would come to say “Nothing is ever perfect, there are grouches among us – and that’s ok.” (Even Oscar had a soft spot and would always eventually submit to his neighbors ‘happiness’ proving – in his own way – even he could be persuaded to become cheerful given the right circumstances) Did the fact Oscar lived on Sesame Street get his neighbors down? NO! His neighbors accepted him for the grouch he was, and they choose to be thankful no matter what. This is how we are called to be.

THIS IS THE WAY GOD WANTS YOU TO LIVE … Q: Why???

God wants you to live conductive to cheer, in constant communication, and thankful no matter what is going on in your life… but WHY?

Because this is how we represent Christ. This is how we win souls.

Maybe you have never led anyone to the Lord, maybe you have never really thought about it. Let me tell you, if you choose to be cheerful and thankful, if you choose to be positive and uplifting… YOU WILL WIN SOULS. You will win souls first by becoming extremely attractive. There is that old saying which states: “You can catch more flies to honey than with vinegar”, this is how we as Christians are called to represent Christ, with pleasing demeanors which are cheerful and welcoming. (Which takes CONSTANT PRAYER!) Doesn’t it? I wish I could say I never lose my cool, but as a mom of seven children who is constantly doing laundry or cleaning up after a child… remaining “soul winning” requires constant prayer and communication with the Lord!

My mother once had a coffee cup with this saying on it: “I do my best, and leave the rest up to God.” We can’t win them all, and we certainly cannot be perfect ALL the time (even though we try), but we can certainly DO OUR BEST… wouldn’t you agree?

Jessica Heilman is the Founder of Wholehearted Ministries and is also mom to The Cookie Boys. Jessica has been a student of Psychology, Philosophy and Theology for nearly 25 years. Jessica founded WHM in 2008 while in Bible College.The Wholehearted Ministry blog has over 11,000 subscribers and is growing daily! Jessica and her husband Jeff have been married for 21 years. Jeff and Jessica live in the Silicon Valley with their seven children and their dog Kennedy. Please share this message if it encourages you! Wholeness is for everyone! You can also check out our new category tabs on our site www.wholeheartedministries.com for more subjects such as Salvation 101, Marriage 101, Salvation 101, Money 101, Parenting 101, and Minute Motivations. We are working tirelessly to update our site, thank you for being patient with us as we work through this time of transition!

 

 

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