We, as Christians are called to live out our lives to be as Christ-like as we can. We are not perfect, we are human and we sin. So what does it mean to live out your life like Jesus Christ?
To live like Jesus we must:
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” ~1 John 3:2
In John 13:1 it says: “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
Jesus showed love to his disciples- these were people who were of the world, people like you and me. Jesus chose them to be walk alongside of him, to teach it words across the nations and he loved them unconditionally for who they were!
Other examples of Jesus sharing loving unconditionally can be found in:
John 15: 13 “13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
1 Corinthians 13:3 “3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
Luke 23:34 “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”
Even though Jesus was about to be crucified, He was still forgiving those who were persecuting him.
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
3. Extend Grace
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”[a] ~James 4:6
Romans 3:24 “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Romans 5:2 “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
This is only a beginning to how we can be like Jesus. I will bullet point some of His qualities. Please keep in mind this is not an extensive list.
Have you ever had those days where your emotions run wild?
Let me start by saying that 2019 has been a very emotional year for me. It is August and so far this year I have experienced loss, sadness, hope, excitement, anxiety, doubt, uncertainty, and joy. I know it seems like quite a few emotions and they are all over the place.
I can tell you I would NOT have made it this far without my faith in God. When things get hard, He is there. When I don’t feel like I could take another step, God carries me. When I feel lost and out of control, God is there to remind me that He is ALWAYS in control and that He has a plan for me. When I feel as if I am just going through the motions, God assures me that He is pursuing me- that He loves me and that I am NOT alone.
I mentioned that this year has had lots of emotions. I was working for a company that I dearly loved. I gave my all but missed some days due to my mom’s illness. Not long after that I found out that I had a tumor and that the cyst I had been dealing with never went away and ended up landing me in the ER. Due to my own health concerns- the company was unable to keep me past the seasonal assignment. I was devastated. God knew my devastation and He told me to be still- that He had gone before me and I would be okay.
My last day at this company was February 8th. Now- let me show you how good God is. He knew that the trials I had coming would need my undivided attention. My mom passed on February 21st. So you see, God gave me mom’s last 2 weeks. Two weeks where I could stand by her side, walk alongside of her and be present in her life. Two weeks that I will forever cherish. Two weeks of additional memories that I would have missed out on if I were working because I wouldn’t have been able to be there for her the way I was able to. God gave me two weeks of sitting by her side, by talking about God’s goodness, his grace and his mercy. God showed me the strength that he gave my mom. She battled a few forms of cancer, COPD, and had a few more things going on and yet- no matter how much pain she was in she always had a smile on her face. She would respond that she was having a good day. Not once did she complain about what she was going through. Although- she did think she had cancer in her stomach for quite some time. It wasn’t found until December of 2018.
So God not only made the way for me to be by my mom’s side, He also prepared the way for my surgery. I had to go in to have the tumor in my uterus removed along with my uterus. The doctor also removed my left ovary. When she did so, she also found that I had endometriosis. So as you see, God was protecting me and caring for me through all of this. As hard as it was for me to have surgery two weeks after my mom’s death- God was there. He showed me He was there by putting me on the same floor my mom was on a couple months before. He showed me He was there by giving me my mom’s nurse from when she was in. He gave me someone to talk to about my mom. Someone who remembered my mom and shared her memories with me. Someone who told me how much she saw my mom in me. That was a gift that God prepared for me.
God placed people in my life at just the right time. He gave me a wonderful church family whom I love dearly, He brought some of my family back together. They all came together to love and support the rest of my family with meals, love, listening ears, encouragement, and compassion during our difficult time.
Fast forward from February/March to now- August. I went back to work in May at the company that I dearly love. I had trials as I have been moving forward with this company. I have now gone through my oldest son’s wedding, moving, and my divorce. I have NOT gone through any of this alone. Though it was hard to be at my son’s wedding and not share the day with my mom; God game me the strength to get through it. God prepared me for the move I was about to make and He gave me peace for the divorce I was facing.
This goes to show how present God is in our lives. You only need to look for the blessings that He gives us. If you don’t you may miss them. So I ask that as you go through your day, try to focus on the positive things, the blessings that God gives you every day. Are you running late and stressed out? Think about what God protected you from because you were running late, or who you encountered that you normally wouldn’t have. Are you stressed because you are working with people that you may not care for or get along with? Think about the lesson God has in it for you. Maybe they need a friend, or someone to confide in. Maybe they act the way they do because of their past or personal situation and God has placed you in their life to be a witness to them, to plant a seed, to love them unconditionally.
I could go on and on, but think before you react. God gives us blessings every day.
Father God, I pray for those who read this. I pray for their hearts to be changed so they have a heart like you. I pray for their eyes to be opened to your blessings from you everyday. I ask that you give them a desire to help other people, to come alongside them. A desire to be kind to one another no matter what the situation is that they are in.
Father, I ask for your guidance; that you block the stumbling blocks that get in their path and help them to stay on the road you have prepared for us. That if they don’t know you that the seeds are planted and you use other people to water them and to help grow them.
I have been wanting to write a letter and send it out to Matthew West for quite some time now and haven’t done so. Why you may ask- perhaps God felt that I still had a lesson to learn, growing to do, only He knows.
First, I would like to say Thank you to Matthew West. Though I have seen you in concert many times and I have heard some of your story through WinterJam when Children’s Ministry leaders were able to come backstage and hear from you, I feel as though God placed you in my life to witness to me.
You are forever hearing stories of those who have been broken and hurt and haven’t felt like they were strong enough to get back up again, but I want to tell you a story of grace, mercy, and unconditional love.
I first heard you at WinterJam a few years back. Lauren Daigle was there with you at the time, then a few months later you both performed at The Ohio State Fair. During this time I was broken! I couldn’t listen to broken things without balling my eyes out. Then when you performed Mended for the first time- I cried even harder.
You see, I was at the bottom and didn’t know which way was up. I felt like the church had given up on me and everyone turned their backs on me. As I prayed- though I felt God was answering my prayers, it wasn’t God. The answers that came didn’t align with the Bible.
During this time, I was just going through the motions. What I thought was from Christ wasn’t. I was serving at church- only to have realized that I wasn’t doing it for Jesus. I was going through the motions for my own selfish purposes. I was at rock bottom and I heard Strong Enough come on the radio and God showed me what I was missing in the song. Sure, I knew the song by heart but part of it didn’t click until God put me in my place.
“Well, maybe Maybe that’s the point To reach the point of giving up
‘Cause when I’m finally Finally at rock bottom Well, that’s when I start looking up And reaching out”
God showed me through these lyrics that I was struggling because I wasn’t depending on Him the way I should have been. He showed me that He allowed me to hit rock bottom so I would depend on Him and call out to Him to help me.
I began praying more, reaching out to God more, praising Him for opening my eyes to those specific lyrics in the song. I know that I can do ALL things through Christ- I know the Bible says because he strengthens me- but I like to look at it a little differently. I like to look at it as HE IS MY STRENGTH! I can’t do this alone, no one can and until we are at rock bottom we don’t realize how full of goodness, grace, and mercy God is.
Please bear with me as I feel like I am babbling a bit. My thoughts are all over the place and I am trying to get them out in the most logical way.
I knew that I wasn’t strong enough to face what lied ahead of me and I knew I couldn’t get through it on my own. I was broken as I mentioned above. Broken Things came on the radio- and I questioned how God could use me- so broken. I had extremely low self esteem and I struggled to fathom how God could give me grace. I felt like what I had done in my life, the roads I had travelled were unforgivable. There was God, with His arms open wide waiting to embrace me. It was during this time that I realized that God had not turned his back on me, it was me who turned my back on Him.
This leads me to Mended. In the song you say:
When you see broken beyond repair When you see too far gone When you see nothing but damaged goods You see your worst mistake You see worthless You see unworthy, undeserving
That was me! That was how I saw myself. So for me to hear that I had a purpose, that I was worthy and deserving and that I was priceless I didn’t know how to react to it. When you were singing it- first time I heard it and it was at the Ohio State Fair- I cried… it wasn’t you singing it- it was God and He was singing it to me. He told me that I am His, that He knew me before I was even born, that He had a plan for me that I only needed to trust Him.
Go used you to witness to me, to deliver His message to me. When you felt like you were going through the motions when you had your surgery and couldn’t talk for a while- God was preparing you- He was getting you ready to be His voice! He will look at you and say “Well done, good and faithful servant!” I have no doubt about that.
Music is one of the ways that I feel God talking to me and He has moved me more through your music than any. He has used some of Lauren Daigle and We Are Messengers to smack me in the face as well. I can connect with so many more of your songs. I know you have said that you write your songs from stories people have told you or from experiences you have gone through. I want you to know that God is using you in big ways. I am sure I am not the only one that God is using you to witness you.
So, Matthew- Keep moving forward and doing God’s work! Keep following the Holy Spirit’s guidance because He is using you in great ways and you are moving mountains in the name of the Lord.
If you have been able to see this and read this- I hope that you have tears running down your face and that God tells you, well done! I hope you are able to see the fruits of doing God’s work. If you ever want to hear my story, I will gladly share it. I know God gave it to me to help others and I will help anyone that God places before me. I may be slow to recognize at first- but that is because I have learned to give it to God and seek discernment for what He wants.
Father God, I pray that you continue using Matthew to deliver your word, I pray that to continue speaking through Him and changing lives. Father I pray that you give him guidance and discernment for his family and his music that you not only have him setting the examples for us but for his family too. I pray for his kids- that you just put your shield of protection around them and that you cloud their ears from hearing the promptings of the devil. Father I pray that his family continues to grow even closer to you. You say that the least of us will be first and the greatest will be last, Father, I pray that Matthew will be among the first. I pray for his discernment when writing songs, for the people he comes in contact with- Father not only that their stories will inspire him to write about them, but that through his music you will continue to help other people who are lost, broken, afraid, those that feel like they have nothing left. I pray that they leave these people with hope and being able to feel your unconditional love. I pray that they will know that they indeed are “A Child of the One True King”. That their identity isn’t in themselves but in you! It is in your precious son’s name we pray, Amen
This topic is very near and dear to my heart. People seem to think it is okay to judge others. So let me ask you, what does it mean to judge someone? To judge means to form an opinion or conclusion. The problem is, most people form these opinion’s/conclusion’s without knowing all of the facts.
With that being said- I have to ask- who are we to judge? Matthew 7: 1 says “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” and in Deuteronomy 1: 17 it says “Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.”
If we adhere to what the Bible says, it is NOT up to us to judge others. It is up to us to come alongside someone else, to invest in them, to spend time with them, encourage them, and to even tell them when they are wrong as long as it is done in love and through friendship.
I mentioned earlier that this topic is near and dear to my heart. I will share some of my personal story with you. I am currently divorced- although I did my best to make my marriage work it was full of ups and downs.
During our first year or two- we had a good relationship. We had our share of disagreements but we managed to work them out- or so I thought. My husband at the time started pulling away and stopped spending time with me. He stopped serving in the ministries we served in together and placed everything on my head- at least that is how I felt. I tried talking to him about how I felt and he told me there was nothing wrong, it was all in my head. Now- I don’t know if there was truly a problem on his end or not, or what he was telling other people. He did not share any of this with me.
Throughout our difficult time, we were serving the homeless and bringing some of them back to our house, feeding them and taking them to church the following day then taking them back to their camps. My husband decided to stop serving, but was still telling me to bring them back for the night. Then he told me he wasn’t taking them back to their camp that I had to do it. At this point- I felt we were invested in these people and didn’t want to walk away or feel like we were turning our backs on them. Serving was a huge blessing for me and I felt like my cup was overflowing.
After a few months, things were proceeding to be worse at home. It was stated to me by my now ex husband that I was nothing more than a maid, that it was my job to make him dinner, do his laundry and clean up after him. During the conversation he asked me if I had feelings for one of the guys we were serving- admittedly I told him I had developed a crush on one of them. (Yes, I know I should not have- but I wanted to be honest. It was my hopes that he would step up and be the husband I needed him to be.)
Instead of him showing me love and making any attempts to rebuild our marriage he continued to turn his back on me and accused me of having an affair. We began counseling and I feel this hindered us more than helped us. When he would get mad at me, he would call up our counselor and tell him everything then when we met, it felt like our counselor already had his mind made up. (I am not saying this was a fact- it was how I felt.)
We continued to go through counseling, I was told that I had to step down from serving in all aspects and that I was to have no contact at all with these “people” that we were helping. In my mind, I couldn’t see how I could turn my back on those who were depending on me. I knew that I had a crush on one of them but I had not acted upon it. One day, I got a message from one of them asking me to give them a ride- so I went after work, spent some time talking to them and went to give them a ride. While loading their bike into my vehicle my husband at the time showed up- (He put a gps tracker in my vehicle after getting the idea from our counselor.) He threw the bike on the ground and told me I no longer had a home and neither did my kids. He then called our counselor and said he caught me in an affair.
Although nothing was going on intimately between me an this other person- my world collapsed because of my husband at the time. At this time- I was now homeless and jobless because I lost my job the following day.
To be honest, I was now homeless, I didn’t have a job and I didn’t know what I was going to do and my friends from the street were there for me. I didn’t think I had anything left. I lost my faith because at the time I needed the church the most I felt like they turned their back on me. I got nasty messages from people whom I thought were my friends because they were told that I had an affair and were not told all of the facts.
Once we were separated, I admit, I did things I shouldn’t have. I thought I was going to get divorced so I allowed myself to move forward in a relationship with someone I shouldn’t have. I allowed myself to do things that were completely against everything I had once believed in.
It took me a bit to realize that the life I was now living wasn’t a life following after God, but that I was listening to the promptings and suggestions from Satan. When I would pray I thought God was answering me- BUT I didn’t think about how the answers didn’t line up with what God would have wanted for me. I soon realized that what I thought was love, caring, and affections for this person were just an addiction. I know that may sound strange- but I was addicted to him. It was like no matter how much I tried to pull away and get back on track I couldn’t. I was like the yo-yo on the end of a string. The situation I was in was not a good one.
I knew I needed to get my life back on track. I felt like I was a huge let down for my kids, that I was a disappointment to my family, and that the church wouldn’t even want me back. I felt like I was the biggest sinner of them all. My daughter was frequently upset with me because she said all I did was cry. I was so broken that I didn’t know that the pieces could ever be put back together. Every time I heard the song “Broken Things” by Matthew West, I would ball my eyes out. I was broken, I was as low as I could get. I felt that my kids deserved a better mom than I was and that they would be better off without me. No- I didn’t do anything to try to harm myself although I thought about running my vehicle into a tree a few times but could never do it.
So, here I was needing to make a change in my life, needed to get out of this addictive relationship that I was in, needing to find God again. I can’t tell you what the turning point was exactly, but I can tell you that my son who had recently had a major surgery wanted to go to church and I didn’t want him to go alone. I prayed, asking for strength. God answered- He gave me strength- not just to go to church but to walk away from the addictive relationship I was in. The guy told me that day that I was to drop my son off at church and then come back so him and I could talk. God gave me the strength to say no, that I needed to be there for my son. That was the last time I saw the person I was in a relationship with- but it was not the last time I heard from him. He continued to wreck havoc in my life.
God showed me grace and mercy. He showed me unconditional love. God told me that I am HIS child and that He will indeed leave the 99 to find the 1 who was lost and bring them back to Him. This was the beginning of a hard road that I would be travelling.
My now ex husband and I began talking again- and we began dating and trying to rebuild our marriage. He began going to church again with me and ended up welcoming the kids and I back home. It was tough at first, but I gave it to God. I worked hard on rebuilding our marriage. I wanted us to do things together whether it was grocery shopping, going to church, etc. We began counseling again with someone new who encouraged date nights. We began taking turns planning date nights and would surprise each other with what we were planning. It added to our marriage.
Our marriage was once again good for the first year we were back together. We had laid everything down, seeked forgiveness from each other and extended grace. I thought we were on our way to a great marriage but I was wrong.
He once again withdrew, he began sneaking around and lying to me. I asked him about it and he once again told me it was all in my head. He began sitting in the other room instead of in the same room with me. He stopped going anywhere with me and once again reiterated that I was nothing more than his maid. He stopped going to church- he said that he didn’t believe in God and wasn’t going to go so he could be a hypocrite.
Once again my life was being turned upside down. I chose to quit serving so I could spend time working on rebuilding our marriage. All the efforts I put into it weren’t enough, things continued to decline. When I confronted my husband why he was lying to me and sneaking around- he told me he didn’t know why he did, that he just did.
Things continued and we were living more as roommates than anything. He would grocery shop for only him and cook for only him. We lived two separate lives in the same house. I sat and I prayed even more. God knew what was going on. He knew the struggles I was facing and yet God embraced me- He gave me peace that He had already prepared the way and that He would do what was best for me.
This changed my whole outlook and brought me even closer to God. It made me want to seek Him more, to fellowship more for His glory. It wasn’t about me- it was about God!
I am telling you all of this because through all the trials I have faced, God has remained by my side and carried me when I couldn’t do it on my own. But the world- people- have chosen to judge me. People who don’t know the whole story, people who say they believe in God but yet are ready to crucify me because of my wrong choices without even given any thought to the actions of my now ex husband.
I know I am not perfect, I am a sinner and daily I seek forgiveness. There is no one in this world who is perfect or not a sinner. That is the way we were created.
Yes, I have made mistakes- but others judging me for my transgressions is like me judging those who have treated me wrong. I have been raped in the past by someone who I thought was a friend and instead of judging them or condemning them- I gave it to God and God helped me to forgive this person. I have reached out to them and let them know that I have forgiven them. It wasn’t easy for me to do but I felt led by God to do it.
I hope me sharing some of my story with you will help you in your journeys. I hope that you will see the goodness of God. I hope you will be able to see Him as a protector, a giver of grace, a forgiver, and one who is your everlasting Father. A Father who has already prepared a way for you.
I don’t know if you are able to email me through this blog or not- but if you would like to reach out, share your thoughts, or seek encouragement I would love to be there for you to come alongside of you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to hearing from you. You don’t have to even give me your real name- I can pray for you however you wish. God knows your name and that is what matters. He knew you even before you were formed in your mother’s womb. God loves you so much more than you can imagine!
Hi, my name is Amy. I would like to tell you a little about myself.
I am a believer in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and love to share about Him with all who are interested. I am a mother to 4 wonderful children and a daughter in law who is more like a daughter to me.
I love God, family, and children. I believe that everyday is only what you make of it. That we should look for the blessings each day.
I am better at putting my thoughts and feelings into my writing than expressing them verbally- hence the reason for creating this blog. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with all of you and hope that you will enjoy reading them.