the outsiders

Last night, I was listening to one of my favorite bands, NEEDTOBREATHE, and The Outsiders came on. I’ve listened to that song dozens of times before, but this time, the lyrics really hit me.

One of the greatest things about being Christians is that we are the outsiders.

Wait… “outsider” is a bad thing, right?

That’s what we’ve been told by the world.

But this world is not our home.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:20

Our true home is with Jesus. We are set apart by Him from the world. We are outsiders here, in our temporary home – but not in our eternal home.

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 15:18-19

Look again at the underlined part of that verse. The world hated Jesus.

Would you rather be loved by the flawed, twisted, sin-filled world that rejected Jesus – or by the perfect One who created you, knows everything about you, and still loves you unconditionally?

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

1 John 2:17

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather put my faith in forever than something that is “passing away”.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

Matthew 16:26

Next time you hear the phrase “there’s no place like home”, remember that for us, there truly isn’t – because we’re spending our eternity with Jesus.

Be an outsider.

On the outside, you’re free to roam,
On the outside, we’ve found a home,
On the outside, there’s more to see,
On the outside, we choose to be.

NEEDTOBREATHE, The Outsiders

-Clara ❤

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Dreams…

I am so thrilled to be guest posting here on The Young and Dreaming today, I am so thankful for this opportunity! I hope you all will be encouraged by my article.

We all have dreams that we hold onto tightly inside our hearts, dreams we cherish and think about every single day. I want to talk about those dreams because I am just like you; I had dreams in my heart that I wanted to make happen. But there was one little problem, or more like a big problem.

I thought I should wait.

I thought of my dreams; starting my own business, beginning a magazine to encourage and inspire Christian girls, and write my first Christian fiction novel. As I thought of these around my early/mid-teens, I thought, “I can’t do them now, I have to do school. I think I’ll just wait and do them once I graduate…” And so I didn’t make my dreams happen, I put them on the back burner with the thought of “someday” I’d make them happen. Now that I look back on it, why did I think that? Life is a gift, each day we have we cannot take for granted because we are never guaranteed a tomorrow. But still I waited.

Then something a friend said changed my whole outlook on my dreams.

She said something along the lines of, “Why waste your entire life thinking that ‘someday I will chase that dream of mine, someday I will do what I’ve always wanted to and feel called to do’, all the while wasting the years of your life until one day ‘someday’ is too late.” I felt as if she were speaking right to me in that article and it really hit home for me. She also mentioned that our youth is a gift; these years will not last forever. Look at David; he killed a giant with three stones in his youth!

So, one day I decided something. I wasn’t going to wait until I finished school; I wasn’t going to wait until ‘someday’ to make my dreams come true. With the Lord, I was going to make my dreams come true right here and now and stop wasting my life waiting for that ‘someday’.

Then along came another dream.

After contributing to numerous Christian magazines over the years, I had cultivated my love of writing. I found that expressing my heart and thoughts on paper (or computer screen) was how I was best able to convey my messages. I loved the Christian magazines I read and contributed to, and in my heart a small dream was forming like a tiny flower bud in spring before it burst into a beautiful bloom.

I wanted to start my own magazine.

This dream came along probably about a year ago and I decided on the name of “Sisters of Salvation” for my magazine. I do not remember exactly what happened, but I think the same old familiar excuse arose not shortly after. I decided to wait until I finished school. But, even though I was putting off my dream, I think it was the Lord’s way of saying, “Not yet, wait for My perfect timing.” It wasn’t until May of this year when my mom mentioned that I should start my own magazine (she now says she always knew as I wrote all the articles for other magazines that I would start my own someday) that I felt the Lord saying it was the right time to start the magazine. And now look where He has taken me! When I was just starting to bring together my ideas and plan how I would distribute this magazine, I never knew that in just 5 issues I would have such an amazing team of columnists, photographers, and artists along with a large group of subscribers in such a short period of time. “Christ’s Light Magazine ~Shining Bright in a Dark World” was born. The journey that the Lord has taken me on with this magazine has been such a wonderful one and hearing from my readers that they have been encouraged and inspired by it really makes my day every single time. I am so glad I followed the dream the Lord gave me of starting a magazine, because this magazine really is not mine at all. Jesus made it happen and it is His for Him to use for His ultimate glory and honor.

I had one more dream though. A dream of being published.

I have been writing a continual Christian fiction story for the magazine, “The King’s Princess” for around a year and a half now. I can’t believe the time has gone by so fast and that I am now on part 14 of the story that Lord placed on my heart to share. From the beginning of that story I had dreamed of one day combining and lengthening each part to form a novel, and it wasn’t until recently that I was inspired to put this dream into action by that same dear friend with the same words she had spoken before. Why was I waiting until I finished school? This friend is my role model, an author who writes books that touch my heart and soul in many more ways than one; she is the one who inspires me time and time again. I thought of her, having published her very first book at the age of 18, and I thought, “Why can I not do that? She didn’t keep her dreams bundled up until the day she finished school; she stepped out with Jesus and made her dream happen.” I knew in my heart Jesus wanted me to write a book, and my dear friend was just the right person to inspire me to make it happen. I am now in the process of lengthening and combining each part of my story into a Christian fiction novel that I am hoping and praying to be able to self-publish when it is finished. The Lord is making my dreams come true, and He used that dear friend to be His messenger to inspire me to step out and make them happen. I am forever grateful and thankful to Him for making my dreams come true and for bringing that friend into my life in the fall of 2015. She is my dearest friend and constant encouragement, she has never let adversity in her own life pull her down and crush her dreams. She has overcome a lot of things in her life, very hard things, things that would crush me, and how she has every single time trusted the Lord and overcome them has been the biggest inspiration to me. I look up to her, she is my source of inspiration and encouragement, she will never know how much she has affected my life and inspired me to dream with Jesus. My dear friend, you know who you are, I thank you for being you, the one and only you that the Lord brought into my life to inspire me to do big things for Him. I love you.

And now I am following Jesus on my biggest dream of all. A dream of becoming a missionary to the African country of Uganda. I know in my heart that the Lord has called me to be a missionary there, and I am always praying about it. That same friend knows in her heart that the Lord has called her to Uganda as well, she has known from a very young age where as I have only known I am called there for about a year or so now. What are the “odds” that I would have just happened to find a friend who shares the same calling as I do? There are no “odds”; it was the Lord at work in my life working out His master plan. I pray, pray, and pray some more that soon my friend and I will be able to go and serve together in the beautiful country of Uganda. I know the Lord has big plans for us, but you know something else?

He has big plans for you, too.

So take those dreams you are holding in your heart that you know are from the Lord, take them and with Jesus make them happen! Don’t waste your life waiting for that ‘someday’, do it now—today. The Lord is only waiting for you to step out; will you take His hand and let Him lead you on that incredible journey?

Megan 6

God bless you all! ~Olivia

​content to be an underachiever

okay, let’s be a little straightforward for a moment.

sometimes we see others and feel like we’re missing out in life. sometimes we see others and think, “why can’t i do all that?”. sometimes we see others and wish we could switch lives, even if for a moment, so we can experience all the fun they have each day.

it could be just me with my insecure mind, but i’m willing to bet there’s more who feel the same (and if not, this could get embarrassing for me real fast). we watch these people we know live such successful lives while we just sit amidst our fuzzy blankets, ice cream, and netflix wondering where on earth we went wrong. there’s always that one person (or persons) who’s active in three different sports each year, leads sunday school plus has a voice in the choir at their church, volunteers at the animal shelter two days a week, acts in a musical play group, takes three different music lessons, is a part of multiple extracurricular clubs, and still manages to ace their schoolwork and/or job with flying colors. most in society would call this person an “overachiever.” (i personally don’t, as they’re more of just people who take advantages of the opportunites given to them)

but i mean, wouldn’t that make you question yourself a little bit? i know i do would. just one glance at this person’s life causes me to realize my own is lacking. that i wasn’t living it to its fullest and should ram headfirst into all of these activities full speed, and envelop myself into the chaotic life because i feel like i need to prove that i actually do get out of the house (despite popular belief).

now, this is me talking as an extrovert. i’m outgoing and energetic when it comes to being around other people and i’m a huge sucker for the outdoors and physical activity. however, considering how i go to homeschool co-op and softball practice only once a week and manage to attend church about once or twice a month, you can guess i don’t get out of the house much. and with everybody else in the family working 30+ hours a week, i’m home alone most of the time as well. if i was more introverted, i would drink all this time up like a dog (which is very aggressively, if you didn’t know). it’s basically minimal human interaction, and even though i enjoy blasting music without anyone to judge me by my tastes, it can get, well, boring after a while. i love human interaction. that’s just my nature.

but here’s the thing: there’s only so much one person can do. you need to take all the factors into consideration. most of the time, the people who have all those opportunities live right in the center of or close to town, their parents are pretty well off when it comes to financing or having the time to spare, and/or they just have better and more options to choose from. when it comes to my own situation, i just happened to have most of the short straws. i live out in the middle of nowhere, both parents work long hours, and i have not had the chance to get my driver’s license yet.

and you know what? that’s okay. i’m very thankful to have my parents be this committed to me as it is (i didn’t exactly pick the cheapest sport to play, guys), considering i have four other siblings who also need attention. sure, they’re more independant, given the fact that they’ve all graduated highschool and gone on to their careers, but there’s always student loans, travel expenses, cars, insurances, etc. to think about. 

“but suzy!!” you may ask, “what about all the cool other stuff you could be doing?? you’ve got to be envious of at least a little, right???”

well, yeah i am. everybody is. of course i wouldn’t mind hanging around and taking care of stray puppies or rock climbing with friends or taking flying lessons, but that just isn’t possible at the moment. i know my time will come where i can do all that. i know your time will come.

we’re not going to be in the same situation forever, right? times and people change. i have three sisters who all went through college, and they are having the time of their lives now. in college or the workplace afterwards was where they found most of their friends today. they may have been home doing jack squat for most of their younger days, but they were able to use that time to work towards the bigger goal in the end, and it really payed off. 

so i’m content to be an underachiever.  i may not have a headstart like so many other teens i know, but i can at least use the time to work hard towards to what i know i will have.

– q

How to Gratitude Journal

Last year, I took a homeschool gym class at our local college campus. My group of friends hated it, but it wasn’t always that bad. Even when I had fun in our basketball unit or that semester we had epic teachers, I couldn’t really say that without getting a strange look.

This caused me to realize we can choose to love a situation for the good in it or hate a situation and focus on the negative  — but life would be all the better with more love.

That’s where the idea gratitude journaling comes in. It helps you focus on the good in life and makes you a happier person in general.  I got the idea from Christina and Amy Cimorelli. They mentioned this in their book, Lessons Learned. After hearing their own processes and how they’ve benefited from it, I’ve come up with my own routine I’m sharing with you all so you can see if it works for you too.

How to Gratitude Journal:

  1. Pick out a journal you like. You can do this physically or digitally; whatever works for you.
  2. Decide when to do it. I’ve found it’s most effective at two times: first thing in the morning or when you’re in a bad mood/have had a bad day. It’s been said the first ten minutes of your day set up the rest of your day, so why not start with a thankful mood? As for the latter, finding the good in your life when you’re in a bad time is totally life-changing.
  3. Come up with a structure. This helps you stay focused. Personally, I come up with five things to be grateful for and write it out exactly like “I’m so grateful for —”. Then, under each thing, I write “Thank you” three times to praise God for these things and really feel grateful for them (though now that I think of it, I should probably be writing “Thank You” 😉).
  4. Be grateful! The things you write can range from experiences (I’m so grateful I got to spend time with my friends today) to the things we take for granted (I’m so grateful I have a roof over my head) to random things that seem small (I’m so grateful for candles); you get the point. Be creative and try to come up with something new each time.

This has done nothing but positive things for me and been able to turn my mood around pretty quickly. I encourage you all to try this out and come up with your own way to do this!

Josie

the greatest artist of all

When was the last time you walked outside at night, tilted back your head, and gazed up at the glittering sea of stars?

When did you last kick off your shoes and climb up into the branches of a tree? Do you remember the feel of the rough bark against your hands and the fragile green leaves against your skin?

Have you ever planted a garden? Do you recognize the rich, earthy smell of freshly upturned soil? Have you ever dropped to your knees to smell a vibrant dandelion that pushed its way bravely up through the earth to greet you?

How about the rain? Have you ever stood outside when it was pouring from the sky in heavy torrents and let it soak you to the skin? Do you know the smell of a recent thunderstorm, that fresh, clean aroma of earth and sky?

Do you ever stop what you’re doing to scratch the ears of a smiling dog or stroke a purring cat? Have you ever listened to a bird’s early morning song or the cicadas and crickets belting out their chorus on a summer night?

We are living in the middle of a beautiful masterpiece, and every incredible part of it was created by a single Artist. Isn’t that amazing to think about? God created every little detail of every flower, tree, and animal on this earth. Every vibrant sunset, powerful thunderstorm, or fresh snow that you’ve seen – it’s all part of His stunning creation.

But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. – Job 12:7-10

Not only is every beautiful thing on earth created by God – He also created the stunning display of stars and moon above us. Our entire planet is just a tiny part of the immense galaxy that He has created.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. – Psalm 19:1

Get up, go outside, and take a better look at God’s incredible creation. You’re surrounded by an unspeakably beautiful masterpiece – and it’s waiting to be explored.

In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. – Psalm 95:4-5

-Clara ❤

do what you love

Lately, I’ve been feeling really badly about my job.

I mean, I like working with horses the way I do, but when I get home, I’m so physically and mentally exhausted that I don’t have any motivation to practice my dance, do schoolwork, or anything.

I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, because I know I have to go to work.

I don’t even want to write or blog, I’m so drained. All I want to do is binge Star Wars and sleep.

And I’ve realized, I don’t have to stay there. I used to want to work with horses, but now I’ve realized it’s not what I want to do my whole life. I want to dance and write as my career, and working at the horse barn is getting in the way of that.

So I’m quitting. Having an income was nice, but saving for collage won’t help if I fail my entrance exams because I didn’t learn enough in ninth grade. Having this job is standing between me and my dreams, and I won’t accept that.

So I guess the moral is, do what you love. It’s great to try new things and discover new hobbies, but when you find something you love and know you want to do for the rest of your life, go for it. Don’t listen if people say you can’t do it. You can. Pursue your dreams. And don’ let anything stand in your way.

~Bella ❤

celebrate | suzy and clara

There are so many things in life to celebrate. Holidays, events, people, changes — and somewhere in that mix is the gift granted to us of life. Today, not one but two of the amazing people who write for this blog are celebrating just that!

Clara and Suzy are two of the sweetest people I’ve met in the blogosphere. Both sweet, genuine, and funny, they’re always supportive and kind! (Not to mention talented. Have you seen Suzy’s blog? SHE CODED ALL OF IT HERSELF HOW DO I WORDS. And Clara’s photography! Hello what are you doing go look at some of it it’s amazingg)

Both of these wonderful girls are turning another year older today! Because of that, we threw together a mini virtual party to celebrate them and the amazing friends that they are. <33


 

clara

Clara is one of the sweetest people I’ve met in the blogosphere! She’s incredibly kind and is encouraging on a level that makes you smile uncontrollably. She’s a seriously talented writer, graphic designer, and photographer — I’m pretty sure she can make any everyday object into a work of art with her camera — and she’s so genuine and original in every single thing she does, never imitating any other person and always making what she does completely her own! <33

Clara — I love you so much! You’re so talented and THANK YOU FOR FIELDING ALL OF MY CRINGY CAMERA QUESTIONS. Your humility sets such an example and I can’t even deal with how incredibly sweet you are!! Now you shoulders really start that Photos Raphael™ pls.

From Charis @ Charis Rae: Happiest of Birthdays, Clara! You have been with me since the very beginning of my blogging journey, and I’m so happy our friendship has continued over the years. You introduced me to WordPress and helped me with themes, design, and post ideas. You’ve looked at my graphics, provided feedback for stories, and are so supportive and kind. You’re such a successful blogger, and I’m so excited for the future of our blogs and our friendship! Happy Birthday!

 

Happy Birthday, Clara! Love, Madi

 

From Mads @ Madi Grace: Eeep, happiest of birthdays to you, Clara! You’re such a gifted, talented, incredible person, fellow blogger, and awesome friend! I hope today is your best birthday yet, only to be topped by every year after. ❤

+ virtual bday card from madi 🙂

From Danielle @ Near But Far: Happy Birthday, Clara! Thanks for being such a great blogging friend. You’re so sweet and kind to everyone. I always enjoy messaging you, and you’re just one of the greatest people ever! You’re such an amazing writer and photographer, and just super fun to talk to. I hope you have a wonderful birthday full of great things!

From Nicole @ Wild Pennings: Happy birthday, Clara!! Thanks for being such a sweet and amazing blogging friend. It really makes my day when you ask how I am and then have a short conversation with me. 🙂 Not only are you super friendly, but you’re a very talented photographer—you’re pictures are stunning!—and blogger. Thanks for being an amazing person, and I’m so glad to have met you. 🙂 Happy birthday! *celebration noises*

From Megan @ A Barefoot Gal: HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLARA! I hope you have an incredible birthday, and I’m so glad we ‘met’ through blogging and that we are pen pals! You are so amazing at photography (I’ll refrain from using that title you seem to dislike even though it’s true, since it is your birthday) and graphic design and being amazing (yes, amazing at being amazing XD). I hope you have a birthday as fabulous as donkeys are!

From May @ Forever and Everly: Clara! You’re such a sweet, amazing, supportive girl. You take some of the most beautiful photos I’ve seen (because you are the CAMERA MASTER), and I’m in love with all the cute designs you make on your blog! I hope you have a WONDERFUL birthday & a great rest of your year!!! ❤

From Suzy @ The Youngest Perks (the other birthday girl!): HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOU FABULOUS AND BEAUTIFUL BEING, CLARA  I’ve loved every bit of our crazy rants about our mutual love for books and fandoms and the fact we’re literally twins irl. You’re an awesome person, and its been awesome knowing ya. 🙂 Now go stuff yourself with cake and food and relish in all the presents. Like right now. Shoo, it’s your birthday, get off the internet and eNJOY IT.


 

suzy

If you don’t know Suzy, you should definitely go wish her a happy birthday over at her blog The Youngest Perks. She’s a super talented coder (made her entire design from scratch like hello wow give me a minute to recover from the amazingness!!) and designer, as well as one of the funniest people I know in the blogosphere. She’s absolutely hilarious and she’ll stop at nothing to encourage others! <33

Suzy — I hope you have one seriously amazing birthday! You’re such a sweetheart and everything you say makes me smile. Also honestly pls give me your coding skills???? (Pretty pleaseeee????) You’re so hilarious and you put your heart into everything you do — I hope this year is the best yet!

From Clara @ Clara and Co: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUZY! I’m really glad we’ve been able to get to know each other thanks to this awesome invention called the internet. You’re an incredibly talented graphic designer, writer, and blogger. (I still can’t get over how gorgeous your blog is.) You’re also amazingly kind and hilarious – our conversations always have me laughing out loud. XD I hope you have an awesome day!! ❤

From Charis @ Charis Rae: Happy Birthday, Suzy! You’re hilarious and overall amazing. I’m so happy you’re a blogging friend! Your designs are bomb, your blog is amazing, and our convos are always full of lots of flailing and fangirling. I love you, and hope you have an amazing birthday!

 

Happy Birthday, Suzy! Love, Madi

 

From Madi @ Madi Grace: HEHE HI SUZY. I hope you have an amaaazing birthday today! It’s been awesome to meet you, and I absolutely love your blog. Here’s to an epic birthday!

+ virtual bday card from madi 🙂

From Danielle @ Near But Far: Hey Suzy! Happy Birthday! I don’t know you very well, but I do know you well enough to know you’re a great person with an awesome personality! You’re super fun to chat with because you’re super chill and funny! Have a great birthday!

From Nicole @ Wild Pennings: Suzy, I hope you have a marvelous birthday!! You’re one of the spunkiest, silliest people I’ve ever talked with and your comments make me laugh! XD Thanks for being one of the first people to ever comment on my blog; that encouraged me to keep at it. Your graphic design skills are just amazing, and I really look up to you as a person who always strives for her best. Again, I hope your birthday is a special one!! 😀


That wraps it up for this post! I know this is unusually placed and a bit unexpected, but we just had to have a special post to celebrate the birthdays of these two wonderful girls. Be sure to wish send birthday wishes to them both in the comments and stay dreaming!

sarah

meant to be here

This is a guest post by Megan @ A Barefoot Gal. She’s a really awesome blogger and we’re so thankful that she guest posted for us!

Once I read a book, and in the end a character was saying how it was neat that the atoms in our bodies “are made of exploded stars”. But I think it’s more amazing to know that we arent made from exploded stars, but we are made-designed-by the God who created every galaxy and the billions of stars in them. We are made by the One who created every creature and critter on this earth, every flower and tree, and every snowflake and mountain. And guess what he values most out of all his magnificent creations? Us.

We didn’t just happen by chance. We aren’t the result of a mistake. We didn’t evolve from chemical soup. We have amazing bodies that not only work to fight sicknesses and keep us alive but we also have the ability to love, to dream, to think. I was listening to a song by Switchfoot (it’s called “4:12”) and in the song he sings “I still can’t believe that all we are and that all of our dreams are nothing more than material. Souls aren’t built of stone.” God gave us bodies that can do amazing things in all sorts of ways , things that are unique to humans alone. He gave us hearts that love, and brains that can ponder and think about things. And God created us in his image.

So God created man in his own image,
In the image of God he created him;
Male and female he created them.

Genisis 1:27

God meant for you to be here. He meant for you to exist among his amazing creation. He loved humans so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to dies for their sins. Jesus didn’t die for the amazing giraffes, the huge whales, or the intricate honey bees. He died for the humans who mess up over and over and over again. God meant for you to be here and he has a purpose for you.

The LORD has made everything for its purpose.

Proverbs 16:4

And, as Job says to God in Job 42:2,

I know that you can do all things,
And that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Though to us the galaxies may seem far more incredible than ourselves, God values us over them.

To God be the glory.

-Megan

P.S. In case you were wondering why I’m posting today, the Y&D writers agreed to let me guest post this. Thanks guys!

smile

“Smile.”

You’ve been told that many times, each person with different intentions.

Smile, because you always do.

Smile, because I want you to. 

Smile, because I want you to see you happy. 

Sometimes you pretend to be happy so others don’t worry about you. You hate it when they needlessly worry, yet at the same time you want to know someone, anyone cares to break down your walls.

Sometimes you just want to break. Sometimes you use anger to cover up sadness. But when you are sad, you’re always told to… smile. Your feelings get stored up over and over again, hiding behind your plastic face.

It’s hard to be strong. What you don’t know is how much strength it takes to let yourself feel.

So frown. Cry all you want. Then smile – not because you’re supposed to or because someone tells you to. Smile because you are truly happy and because you are loved.


I guess all of my posts have kinda had a theme recently of being pretty short and talking about emotions. They’re usually based on what I’m learning in life, so I guess I’ve been learning a lot about feeling. Hopefully they’re inspiring and relatable to you guys too. 🙃

thoughts on reformation day

As many of you may know, Reformation Day was on October 31st. This is the day on which, in 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther nailed his famous Ninety-Five Theses onto the door of the Catholic church in Rome. This momentous act sparked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, which led to the founding of the many Christian denominations that exist today.

Luther was a German monk whose teachings and beliefs centered around Romans 1:17, which reads: “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'” The last part of that verse is the most important: The righteous shall live by faith. These words had been lost in the false teachings of the Roman Catholic church, and when Luther re-discovered them, his life was changed forever. He realized that no amount of atonement or good works to pay for his sins would ever be enough – in fact, Isaiah 64:6 says: “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Think about that for a moment. The greatest, kindest, most selfless, most incredibly righteous act that we could ever perform – it is nothing but filthy rags compared to the perfect righteousness of our Father.

This is something that I think has been forgotten by many Christians in the modern world. We put too much faith in our own good works, and we rely on them to help atone for our sins, whether we realize it or not. But the truth is, our own righteousness can do nothing to redeem us or pay for our sin. Only our faith in God can bring us to be born again and welcomed into His kingdom. Christ forgives all – the reason he died on the cross for us was to pay for our sin. He has already made the ultimate sacrifice for you. Your sin is already atoned for.

Though I’m saying this, I don’t think that we shouldn’t try to do good things or show our Christianity and love of Christ through our actions. We absolutely should do those things, and we should let the love and righteousness of Christ shine through us as we do so. We just need to remember to do these things not to pay for our sin, but to benefit others and help spread the love and joy of Christ.

Let all that you do be done in love. ~ 1 Corinthians 16:14

-Clara ❤