The Christian Atheist [book review]

Have you ever read a book that makes you take a hard look at your life and how you’re living it?  Well, I hadn’t either, until I picked up this one.

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Christian Atheist is a book written by pastor Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv and through this book he explains the difference of how a Christian lives and how a Christian Atheist lives.  There is quite a difference there.  Unfortunately, a lot of the characteristics of a Christian Atheist were and are ones that can apply to me.  Some of them I have grown out of while others, well, I’m still working on.

So what is a Christian Atheist?  Well, Groeschel defines it simply as, “a person who believes in God, but lives as though He doesn’t exist.”

In other words, someone who tells people they’re a Christian, but lives like any other non-Christian in the world.

Yes, I stated above that I was and am guilty of a few of the characteristics of a Christian Atheist.  I worry too much, I’m not great at sharing my faith and sometimes my actions don’t always reflect Jesus (usually when I’m hungry or pressed for time, but that’s no excuse).  There’s plenty more where those came from, as Groeschel covers in the book, and some of these I’ve gotten a lot better with, while others need more work.  This book made me really look at my life and every area I need to work on in my life to live a life that reflects Jesus, and I needed that.

Christian-atheistWhile plenty of people want to say that Groeschel is being preachy and judgmental in the book, I beg to differ.  One, he is a pastor, so if it seems like he’s preaching… well, it’s what he does.  Two, he’s not judgmental at all in the book.  He’s not pointing fingers saying that you need to change this in your life; he’s saying that we Christians should be living more like we actually believe in God… and he included himself in everything.  He includes a lot of personal stories where he has had to work on, and still is working on, some of these areas where it seems like he’s not living like God really exists.

In the letter to the reader, before the book really begins, Groeschel even states that this book is not for anyone who isn’t really ready for it.

“This book is for anyone courageous enough to admit their hypocrisy.  I hope it pushes you, challenges you, and disturbs you.  And if you’re honest before God – as I am trying to be – perhaps together we can shed some of our hypocrisy and live a life that truly brings glory to Christ.” – the Christian Atheist, page 15.

That being said, I had actually heard of this book a few years ago when my youth pastor was leading the adult Bible study and recommended it.  Of course, I wasn’t ready to read it.  However, on my last book store trip, I saw the book and began reading… needless to say I knew I was ready for it and bought it.

Again, this book really makes the reader look at their life and where they need to work on living like they truly believe in God and living for Him.  Many of Groeschel’s personal stories are touching and leave tears of happiness for the work that God has done in his life and others’ that he has witnessed.

So if you think you can handle this book, I definitely recommend it for everyone!

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The Friday Five: Blogger Love v.6

Oh my goodness, it’s already my 6th week doing Blogger Love.  The week are just flying by… which scares me because this means I’m about two months from graduating college and entering the real word.

Dun, dun dun!

Anyway, here are some of my favorite blog posts of the week!

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  1. How to Deal With One-Sided Friendships by Sarah from Seriously, Sarah?  Sadly, I’ve been in a few of these friendships.  It’s not fun to only be contacted by that “friend” on their terms or when they need a favor.  This is some good advice to confront that person and possibly fix or end that so-called friendship.
  2. Break the Blogging Rules by Christina from Route Bliss.  Because rules are meant to be broken, duh!
  3. 6 Writing Tips for Bloggers by Corrine of Skinned Car Tree.  I know I feel like I could use these once in a while, but this is especially for new bloggers who are uncertain of how they should write their posts.  I’m not saying these are rules for writing blog posts, but they are definitely helpful suggestions to at least get started.
  4. 10 Things to Do When You’re Snowed In by Anne of Love the Here And Now.  No doubt this winter has been brutal for the northern states and Canada… so if you find yourself stuck inside on a snow day, here are some things to do!  Though I’m hoping we’re done with snow.
  5. Confession Session by Kallie of But First, Coffee.  I have been wanting to do a confession post for a while now, but just haven’t gotten around to doing it.  I love posts like this because they’re personal and we really get to see the blogger as a person, not just someone typing words we like to read.

So there’s my five favorite posts of the week and I think y’all should go and give them a look.

As always,  don’t forget to check out the host of Blogger Love, Meagan on All The Joys and give her some blogger love as well!

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5 Reasons to Play Trivia Crack

Trivia Crack, I’m sure you’ve heard of it.  Even if you don’t play it, you’ve heard of it.

This was the case for me for over a year, since the game launched in October 2013 and I just downloaded the game about two weeks ago.  I had seen my Facebook friend posting about the game, whether it was how addicting the game is or posting their scores against their latest opponent.  I just wasn’t interested in playing it.

But two weeks ago, I downloaded it to see what the hype was about.  Let me tell you, Trivia Crack is my new favorite game to play, ever.  So I’ve compiled a short list of why one should play Trivia Crack… you know, if you’re still on the fence about it.

I’m here to push you over.

5 reasons to play trivia crack

  1. It tests your knowledge.  And not just on stuff you’ve learned in school.  Being a dedicated Harry Potter fan has come in handy for me more times than I can count while playing this game!
  2. You learn new information.  If you get an answer wrong, so what?  The game will show you the correct answer so that you know next time you get the question (and you will).  For instance, I had no idea the Green Bay Packers won the very first Super Bowl until a week ago.
  3. It’s interactive.  Who likes to play trivia games alone?  Well, I do… but it’s definitely more fun playing with a friend!
  4. No time to cheat.  Well, this is still debatable, but this isn’t like Words With Friends where you have all the time in the world to look up a fancy word to use.  Besides, with only 30 seconds to answer a question, the only thing you can really do is ask the person next to you for the answer… and they might not even know it.  It’s a pretty honest game.
  5. It’s fun!  Duh, what other reason would so many people be playing it?

You want to play it now, you know you do.  Okay, so it’s an addictive game, but it’s not a useless addictive game like Angry Birds, Temple Run or the late Flappy Bird (thank God I never got into that one).  Trust me though, this is not a game you want to miss out on… it’s just too much fun!

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my favorites a to z

I’ve seen a few of these posts floating around and I personally find it cool to learn little facts about bloggers I follow such as their favorite things.  Even though we get to learn a little about bloggers on their ‘about me’ pages or in a few random facts posts, those don’t normally tell us their likes and dislikes… or in this case, favorites.

So, I’ve decided to hop on this wagon and share some of my favorites – a to z style!

a | animal // Owls… can you tell?

b | beauty product // Chapstick – because I’m not really into beauty products.  But apple or caramel flavored Chapstick is always found in my pocket.

c | color // Orange.  Again, is it obvious?

d | drink // Cool Lime or Valencia Orange Refresher from Starbucks.

e | exercise // Walking, it’s easy and it can be done anywhere.

f | flower // Sweet Nymph Amaryllis – check this baby out.

g | game // Monopoly… or Trivia Crack… or The Sims 3.

h | human // my parents (think you can make me choose? ha!)

i | instrument // Saxophone. Seriously, check out some Kenny G

j | job // My current one at my school’s media center.  I’ve met amazing, and weird, people here and I’m really going to miss it when I graduate

k | karaoke song // Most Shania Twain songs.

l | lunch // Pasta salad.

m | movie // It’s a three way tie between Mean Creek, Titanic and Frozen.

n | number // Lucky 13!

o | object // My teddy bear I’ve had literally since I was born.

p | picture // This one is from when I first got a DSLR and was playing around with it taking pictures of myself in the park:

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q | quote // This one:

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r | restaurant // I’m actually really loving this local one my mom and I started going to called The Nutmeg Grille.  That, or Olive Garden.

s | season // Spring, Summer and the beginning of Fall.

t | trend // Yoga capris and oversized sweatshirts.

u | underwear // Anything that’s comfortable (just being honest)

v | vacation // Floria 2012!

w | writer // J.K. Rowling – The woman just really inspires me so much!

x | x-tra favorite :) // salted caramel hot chocolate from Dunkin’

y | year // 2009 – “Oh-nine we so fine!” (it’s a high school thing)

z | zodiac sign // none… not really into the zodiac thing.

So those are my favorites a to z.  Some of those were tough, mainly the favorite games and movies… ha.  I just like too many games and movies to really choose just one favorite.  Anyway, that’s a little more about me and feel free to try this out yourself.  I’d love to see what your favorites are as well!

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No Desserts – Day 7

For the first time in my life I have given up something for Lent.  I have never really given thought to doing this before, but after talking with my mom about why people observe Lent I felt a tug in my heart that I should do it.  Yes, it’s hard to give something up for 40 days, but the point is to think of how hard it was for Jesus to not call on the legions of angels to save Him from the cross, because they would’ve in an instant.

So, for Lent I have decided to give up desserts.  I realize this is probably one that many people choose, but I know this is particularly hard for me because I tend to have some type of dessert food just about everyday.  Whether it’s cake, brownies, ice cream, frozen yogurt, candy, or doughnuts, I am not touching those kinds of foods for 40 days.  It might not seem hard for some people, but for me… it is.

As of today, I’m on day seven with no desserts.  It hasn’t been too hard as of yet, but it’s only the first week.  However, yesterday was particularly rough when I went out to Olive Garden with my mom and my best friend.  See, not only do I love the chocolate mints that they give you at the end of your meal, but I always, always end my meal with the Dark Chocolate Caramel Cream Dolcini (as seen below).  If you love caramel and chocolate… and Olive Garden, then you have to try that dessert!

However, since I have ditched the desserts for Lent, I had to skip my dolcini and chocolate mints which left me feeling a little weird after my meal was finished.  Now, if I had just given up chocolate I would’ve been okay, but I gave up all desserts… ice cream included.  And usually after a heavy meal, a scoop of vanilla ice cream usually calms my stomach down, so to not have that last night after my heavy meal was pretty rough.  I made it though… Olive Garden with no dessert.

Last night was my first glimpse of really learning to think about Jesus’ sacrifice when I was tempted to give in and just order that dang dessert.

But considering what Jesus went through in the garden and on the cross, I think 40 days without desserts is a piece of cake.

Mmm, cake.

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The Friday Five: Blogger Love v.5

I feel like I say this every week, but I’m so happy that Friday is finally here!  Again, it was a long week.  I really don’t know why the week has to drag on and the weekend flies by.  That pattern can stop any time now so the weekends will seem to last longer.

Anyway, let’s move onto sharing my favorite posts of the week!

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  1. Dear Nelle {age 16} by Nelle of Simply Love.  I love the idea of writing a letter to your younger or future self.  It’s fun to read what others have written and I’m sure they’re fun to write… it’s on my to-do list.
  2. It’s Me… A to Z by Meagan of All the Joys.  Another one that’s on my to do list.  It’s a fun, creative way to learn more about bloggers by listing favorites in categories listed A to Z.
  3. 10 Awesome Things – Backstreet Style by Kathy of Him & Me (But Mostly Me).  Do I have to say it?  A post dedicated to 10 awesome things about the Backstreet Boys?!  Love it!  Even if I might be slightly more of an *N Sync fan (they were my first concert after all), I am a fan of the Backstreet Boys and the fact that they are still together after all these years is just amazing!
  4. 10 Book Related Problems I Have by Sarah of Seriously, Sarah?  … Need I say more?  As a bookworm myself I have experienced all these problems
  5. Finding you blog’s niche. Do you have to? by Val of In-Between Life.  I feel the exact same way about my blog… I just can’t focus on one topic.  This is definitely a good lil’ post for new lifestyle bloggers who don’t have a focus and are unsure if they should have one or not.
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So there’s my five favorite posts of the week.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

As always,  don’t forget to check out the host of Blogger Love, Meagan on All The Joys and give her some blogger love as well!

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All Out of Love – Glee Cast [music review]

“I’m all out of love, I’m so lost without you. I know you were right, believing for so long.  I’m all out of love, what am I without you.  I can’t be too late, to say that I was so wrong.”

Just when I think Glee is losing its touch, BOOM!  They hit me with a song cover that leads me to buy it right after the episode, as well as renewing my love for the original.

All Out Of Love was released by Air Supply in February 1980, just a month before their album Lost in Love, the record the song was off of, was released.  The song quickly rose on the charts, reaching #2 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the Adult Contemporary charts in the United States.

The song has been featured numerous times in television shows and movies and has been covered by numerous artists – it was really only a matter of time before Glee got its hands on this wildly popular song.

As always, when Glee covers a song that I love, it’s hit or miss.  With this song, they knocked my expectations out of the park!  It was a beautiful cover, showcasing Glee newcomers Mason (Billy Lewis Jr.), Madison (Laura Dreyfuss) and Jane (Samantha Marie Ware).  What made the performance enjoyable in the show was the reaction of one Sue Sylvester, whom we see having an emotional breakdown during the song as it’s off her personal playlist of emotionally-vulnerable songs.  But it also helps that the voices of the six glee kids on stage meshed so well together for this song, even if you’re not a Gleek this version of the song is not one to miss!  Heck, you might find yourself crying like one Sue Sylvester.

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This song has been the highlight of this season of Glee, at least for me.  I still don’t think Glee is anywhere where it used to be and I don’t know if it will ever get back there.  There are only a few weeks left before the era is over.  I just hope they can pull out a few more performances as amazing as this one was.  Their version of All Out Of Love is proof that you don’t need a flashy routine for a killer performance.

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Social Media Disorder – Selfie Syndrome

Let’s face it, social media is affecting our lives greatly.  While I like to believe in the positive aspects of social media, such as staying in touch with old friends and meeting new friends, there are side effects to using social media frequently.

One of these conditions is known as Selfie Syndrome.

To be fair, I made this video a year ago for a class project for my social media convergence class.  I got the idea from a few of my cousins who post selfies on Instagram everyday… I’m not even kidding.  While I still like to view this video as a parody, I can’t help but feel that this condition might be considered an actual condition in the near future (if it isn’t already).

So we might as well get the awareness spread about Selfie Syndrome now before it’s too late!

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Stupid Cold

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About three weeks ago my Meteorology professor told our class that the coldest week of the year is, on average, January 15th-20th.

Apparently 2015 is not the average year.

Just when we think we’re getting away with a pretty decent winter, BAM!  We get hit with a snowstorm every single week.  I kid you not, I haven’t had my Magazine Writing class since January 12th, the first day of the semester, because of all these snowstorms (well, and a holiday or two).  My professor for that class is probably ready to rip her hair out at this point, and I don’t blame her.  It’s not like we have make-up days in college.  This weather has just been ridiculous.

My mom told me yesterday that Boston has gotten over ninety, NINETY, inches of snow from the past few storms.  Not that we haven’t gotten our fair share here in Connecticut, but thank God I don’t live there.

Other than being bombarded with snow, we’re also just now experiencing freezing temperatures.  Just the other morning my mom said it was -4º in the car when she went to work and today it was -27º with the wind chill!  I am so, so thankful that today is President’s Day and I didn’t have to go to school or my internship.  I’m sorry, but isn’t it supposed to start getting warmer as we work our way through February?!  This winter can’t end fast enough.

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It’s not just cold… it’s stupid cold.

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Valentine’s Day Quiz!

I’ve spent the past month wondering how I would tackle Valentine’s Day here on the diaries.  I thought long and hard about writing an “anti-Valentine’s Day” post, since I personally feel that the day is just a way for stores to make extra money with all the cards, candy and flowers that get bought specifically for V-Day.  Although I guess having a universal day to say “I love you” to someone is kind of sweet… in that “give you an instant cavity” kind of way.

What I find really ironic here is that I can’t stand the holiday, yet I bought my boyfriend’s gift a month ago.  I don’t even do my Christmas shopping until a week or two before, and I love Christmas!

As I was logging on my computer to write what would be my infamous anti-Valentine’s Day post, I came across a post from Val of In-Between Life entitled Valentine’s Day Quiz and curiosity got the best of me.  It turns out another blogger, Erin at Two Thirds Hazel, created an editable quiz for other bloggers to download, fill out and link-up on their own blogs for the special day.  So, rather than be a pessimist about Valentine’s Day, I decided to fill out the quiz since well, I love doing quizzes (that are non-academic related).

valentine's day quiz

So, there’s my filled out version of the quiz!  If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day post idea or you just want to fill out a quiz, the original blank sheet can be found here.  I just want to give another shout-out to Erin of Two Thirds Hazel for creating this quiz and link-up!  You should definitely go and give her blog a look!

Other than that… Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!

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The Friday Five: Blogger Love v.4

I’m very glad that Friday is finally here!  The week really seemed to drag on, yet my days went by fast.  Does that make any sense?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

But what surprises me more is that it’s already my fourth week linking up with Blogger Love!  As always, I read some really great blog posts this week and I am very excited to share a few of them with you.  So let’s get to it!

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  1. The Powerful Effect Fiction Can Have on Reality – guest post by 50 Shades is Abuse on Tabitha’s blog, Arbitrary Scrawling.  A powerful post addressing the real story in the book 50 Shades of Grey, which is that it promotes abusive relationships under the cover of “romance”.  Though I have not read the book myself, I have heard enough about it and applaud the writers of this post and Tabitha for asking them to guest post.
  2. 10 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Mood – Katie from hyperactive daydream.  A short, simple post that is totally true.  I know that number 4 on that list always works for me!
  3. 5 Unusual Tips for Bloggers – Val from In-Between Life.  I think this is a great post since bloggers always tend to see the same tips over and over… you don’t always come across these ones!
  4. the one with february’s blog – butcher’s niche.  Apparently this is part of a monthly link-up where bloggers do a vlog answering a few questions for the month.  I’m actually thinking I might start doing this (maybe next month, ha).
  5. I’ve Got House Pride, Do You? – Seth of Tales With a Triplet.  Obviously I loved this one, as it inspired me to write my own post about my being sorted into Ravenclaw (every single time I take a Sorting Hat quiz).  For a newbie, he’s really kicking butt with his posts!

So there’s my five favorite posts of the week and I think y’all should go and give them a look.

As always,  don’t forget to check out the host of Blogger Love, Meagan on All The Joys and give her some blogger love as well!

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The Sorting Hat Tells No Lies

I was inspired by Seth’s post “I’ve Got House Pride, Do You?” touching on being sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore and it got me thinking…

Why didn’t I think of posting on this topic?

I was probably bound to think about this topic sooner or later.  Seth just beat me to it, but I’m glad he did.

Many moons ago, when J.K. Rowling first opened up Pottermore for her loyal fans, I was among the ones who were eager to join as soon as possible.  Though I only go on the site once a year now (maybe twice), back then I wasted no time joining and getting sorted into my house.  Looking back, I should not have been surprised at which house the Sorting Hat placed me in since the many Harry Potter quizzes I had previously taken online all sorted me into that same house…

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Ravenclaw.

I kid you not, every time I take a sorting hat quiz, I get sorted into Ravenclaw.  Just last semester my university hosted an open social event that was Harry Potter themed and they had it set up similar to the Great Hall in the movies, and right at the front of the room there were two computers where you could get sorted into your house.  Any guesses where I got sorted into?  Yeah, you already know – Ravenclaw.  I even had an old coworker of mine tell me that I would be in Ravenclaw if Hogwarts was a real place.ravenclaw crest

The thing is, when I first got sorted into the House, I wasn’t very convinced that I should be in that particular one.  Then again, I didn’t see myself in Gryffindor or Slytherin either… however, I could possibly see myself in Hufflepuff, especially after reading Seth’s post about the House.  But I guess the Sorting Hat thought differently.

Ravenclaw, the house of the clever ones.  Not that I don’t consider myself smart, I am, but I can also be somewhat lazy (at least when it comes to science and history classes).  It wasn’t until I read my welcome message from Pottermore that I truly accepted myself as a Ravenclaw.

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I chose that particular paragraph because the first few sentences fit me pretty well.  I have always been different than my peers, whether they know that or not.  I have a different style of creativity and I can just about guarantee that my imagination is much more active.  I am definitely what you would call an eccentric person.

I’m just also on the quiet side of eccentricity.

So since mid-2011 I have been proud to say that I am a part of the Ravenclaw house.  To be honest, I don’t think I would’ve cared which house I was sorted into; I don’t get crazy over this sort of thing.  Besides, being in a particular House doesn’t define the people of the House.  Sure, the Gryffindors are brave, Ravenclaws are clever, Hufflepuffs are loyal, and Slytherins are cunning, but those are just the general stereotypes for each House.  I don’t buy into stereotypes, most of the time.

After all, if the shoe fits…

“As we’ve learned from the books and movies, the House doesn’t define the wizard.  So don’t be ashamed of what House you were sorted into, be proud…”

Seth, Tales of a Triplet

Anyway, my point is, though I wasn’t entirely sure I had been placed into the right House when I first took a Sorting Hat quiz, the more I looked into it the more I saw that I was placed in the right one.  The lesson here, be proud of who you are and don’t give into the stereotypes that might surround you.

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Heart of the Word | Week One

I feel a little behind with this post, but I’m thankful I have the chance to do it.

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I came across this Heart of the Word Scripture Study though Rachel of Rachel Rewritten and was just drawn to it.  I have read Ephesians before, but you can never read the Bible too many times! (though there are still some books I need to read once).

Anyway, it’s been a long time since I’ve been a part of any type of Bible study and to find one through my fellow bloggers was inspiring.  In fact, I’ve come across a lot more bloggers who love God than I thought I would; it’s been amazing and refreshing!  From what I gather, this Bible study is reading through Ephesians at about 2 chapters a week, and there’s no real study aspect to it; it’s more of a ‘read and meditate on the words that God is speaking to you’ study.

Week 1: Ephesians 1-2:13

Throughout reading the first chapter and a half there were two sets of verses that really stuck out at me.  First in chapter 1, verses 4-6 hit me pretty good:

4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love 5he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – 6to the praise of this glorious grace, which he has feely given us in the One he loves.”

Knowing the fact that we’re sinners yet God still chose us and that He knew before He even created man that He would be sending Jesus to die for us… I don’t know about the rest of you, but that just blows my mind!  We were predestined to be saved through Jesus and be claimed as God’s children.  That just amazes me how much God loves us that still keeps us as His children.

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And chapter 2 was where I hit another good nugget of scripture; one that I hear about very often, but still just really hit me when I read it again this week:

8For it is by grace you have been saved, though faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”

So many people think that because they do good things, they’ll get to Heaven.  The thing is, if you don’t have the faith (believing that Jesus came to die for our sins and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior), then your works aren’t going to do you well.  Yeah, you’re doing the right thing by doing good works rather than bad ones, but those alone will not save anyone.  I like verse 9, where it says, “so that no one can boast,” because if we could be saved by our works, then that would be telling everyone that we don’t need God to save us.  So, by God giving us the gift of salvation, we’re saved by his grace and as long as we have genuine faith in this, we will be saved.

Well, I hope that if you read this it inspired you a little and maybe you’ll check out the lovely mastermind behind this scripture study – Bailey of Brave Blog – and join all the ladies participating!  And I just want to say thanks to the ladies running this study, it’s great to be part of something so wonderful!

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