Read Any Good Christians, Lately?

“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
2 Corinthians 3:2

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It’s been said that Christians may be the only bible that others will ever read.   No one is exempted from that!

Being a follower of Christ is a privilege, but it’s one that must not be taken lightly. There are responsibilities that come with it and that includes being accountable to everyone of your words, actions, lifestyle, and most importantly, how you treat others.

We may say that only God knows what’s in our hearts, and that we cannot please everyone. That’s true. But that doesn’t mean we go on neglecting our part in trying to win others for Jesus. It doesn’t mean that we go on with the lifestyle we want (there must be repentance). And it doesn’t mean that we regard ourselves over and above everyone else just because we now belong to the Kingdom.

Being a Christian means we walk in this world as our Savior did. We love. We serve. We share His message of salvation to everyone.

What are other people reading in your life? Are you truly living and carrying out what God’s Word teaches you?

Lord, teach me to walk in Your ways and to make my life truly reflect You and what You have been teaching me. Cleanse my heart of the old me and fill it with the desire to serve You and others. I pray that what others see in my life spark in them the desire to know You, whom I love and serve. Amen.

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Stew For Sale!

“Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
Genesis 25:29-34

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Many are all too familiar with this story. Esau was exhausted and famished that he did not think twice to sell his birthright in exchange for a portion of Jacob’s stew. During a time when a birthright was considered holy, it would be reckless to give this up. Not only would one relinquish his rights and privileges, he is also giving up his leadership role in the family and an inheritance twice that of the other sons.

For us Christians, our birthright is our spiritual inheritance – our position in Christ after having been saved by God’s grace.

After reading this, many will be quick to say that they would never do anything as rash as Esau’s actions, but how many times have we nonchalantly shrugged off our position in Christ for something trivial and temporary?

Proverbs 19:2 says

Desire without knowledge is not good,
and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

It is not wise to make rash decisions when you are highly emotional. It could either be you are too happy, too depressed, too angry or in a state that you cannot really think straight or rationally.

Just like Esau, most people give up or sell their birthright when they are:

  1. Exhausted (v.30) – Esau was tired and famished from hunting his game.
  1. Exaggerated (v.32) – “I am about to die!” Nobody dies just by skipping a meal!
  1.  Execrate (strongly despise) (v.34) – The negation of love is not to hate. The absence of love is called “despise”. It means like you don’t give it much importance or value.

Reflection: What have I been desiring so much that I have or almost given up my birthright?

If we have any respect to how holy our birthright is, and if we truly value it, we should not exchange what is given to us by our Father for the sake of temporary pleasure.

10 Things To Teach Your Child

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I attended a parenting fellowship the other day.  Oh, how encouraging and refreshing it was to be with parents who readily  and humbly admit that they don’t have it all together. And like me, there are many short-comings and areas that totally need God’s grace and guidance.

As a mother of a soon-to-be teenage boy, it scares me to death on how I’m ever going to be able to handle the transition through puberty.  The thought of having to talk about sensitive issues freaks me out.

During the fellowship, I was reminded once again that I am not alone in raising my son. God is his Father who will guide and protect him.  And there are the men in church who are ever present and always willing to help steer him in the right path.  I was reminded once again of God’s promise:

Train up a child in the way he should go;

even when he is old he will not depart from it.  

Proverbs 22:6

So, what must parents teach their kids?  Here are the notes I took from a teaching by John MacArthur, which was shared during the fellowship.  If you are a parent reading this, I hope this will enlighten and encourage you to be more diligent in teaching your child the ways of the Lord.

10 Lessons To Teach Your Children

1. Teach your child to fear the Lord. (Proverbs 9:10)
Do everything in your life to show your honor to Him, to show your respect to Him, to worship Him.
Fail to teach your child to fear God and the devil will teach them to hate God.

2. Teach your child to guard their mind. (Proverbs 4:23)
“Watch over your heart – ” or your mind, means the same. “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Guard your mind.
Fail to teach your son to guard his mind and the devil will teach him to have an open mind.

3. Teach your child to obey their parents. (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20)
The first lessons of submission and critical obedience are in childhood. You can’t live in the world if you are a rebel. You can’t break laws in the world and have a peaceful life.
Fail to teach your child to obey his parents and the devil will teach him to rebel and break his parents’ heart.

4. Teach your child to select their companions. (Proverbs 1:10)
Fail to teach your child to select his companions and the devil choose them for him.

5. Teach your child to control their desires, to guard their body.
(
Proverbs 5:1, 5:7, 5:22, 2:16, 6:20, 7:1, 7:6, 9:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:3)
You cannot leave children uninstructed about the deadliness of sin. They have to be instructed or their own iniquities will capture them and their own sin will bind them. This is critical. This is the pathway to death.
Even in a society that doesn’t bring about capital punishment for adultery, death can come many ways, many ways. It can come through a disease. It can come through a murder. It can come because it’s simply an early death because of iniquity. It can come in a profoundly spiritual way and be the death of all hope for a good and noble and meaningful life.
Fail to teach your children to control their body and the devil will gladly teach them to give it over completely to lust.

6. Teach your child to be faithful to their spouse. Teach your children fidelity in marriage.
(
Proverbs 5:15, Proverbs 31)
Be content with your own wife or your own husband. Drink fresh water from your own well.
Fail to teach your children to enjoy the marriage partner and the devil will teach them to destroy the marriage.

7. Teach your child to watch their words.
(Proverbs 4:24, 5:2. 6:12, 10:11, 10:13-14, 10:18-21, 10:31-32, Ephesians 4:29, James 3)
What’s devious speech? Lying. Stop lying!
You can sin more readily with your tongue than any other physical component. You can say anything. It’s a fire; it’s a destroyer. Teach your children to guard their speech, their words – so very obvious, and so very basic. Watch your words. You need to discipline your children seriously and consistently when their speech is not wholesome and edifying and grace-giving.
Fail to teach your children to watch their words and the devil will fill their mouths.

8. Teach your child to pursue work. Teach them to work. (Proverbs 6:6, 10:2, 22:29)
Teach your children to work, not to waste their lives. Teach them to work. That don’t mean they all get a job. Teach your daughters to work at home, to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and do everything possible with all skills and diligence for the benefit of the family and the honor of God.
Fail to teach your children to pursue their work and the devil will make laziness a tool of unrighteousness

9. Teach your child to manage money. (Proverbs 3:9-10. 6:1, 13:22. 22:7)
Don’t be foolish with money. Be responsible for their money. They work hard for it.
Control your money to honor the Lord. You start by giving the first fruits to Him. Take care of your financial obligations immediately, get out of debt, and leave an inheritance.
Fail to teach your children to manage their money and the devil will teach them to waste it.

10. Teach your child to serve their neighbors. (Proverbs 3:27, 3:31)
In the midst of you being wise with your money, you still are called to love your neighbor as yourself. If somebody has a need and you have the resources, it’s your obligation: do it. You have the power to do it: do it.
Fail to teach your children to love their neighbor and the devil will gladly teach them to love only themselves.

 

Tell Your Heart To Beat Again

Begin Again

2015 is about to end.  So many emotions come to surface as I reflect on the past 12 months.  It was, indeed, a roller coaster ride – emotionally and spiritually.  There were times of depression and bitterness. There were times of spiritual testing and emptiness.  But there were also times of joy, peace, comfort and hope.

God is truly faithful, even if and especially when I was faithless and unfaithful. And because of His unfailing love, I choose to be thankful rather than dwell on all the “what could have beens.”

This morning, as I sat and poured out my heart to Him, He brings this song to me  by Danny Gokey entitled, Tell Your Heart To Beat Again.  The lyrics sprang to life and spoke to my heart to remind me to keep trusting, to keep hoping, to keep surrendering.  After all, HE is our heart’s beat.

Danny Gokey says,

“I dedicate this song to all those who need 2016 to be a better year than the years before. Disappointments, past failures and broken relationships may have left you feeling hopelessly stuck, but God has a plan for your life in spite of it all. Allow God in the dark hidden parts of your heart to heal past wounds so you don’t have to walk with a limp anymore. Let Him remove the pain of the past once and for all. Come in agreement with your Heavenly Father and tell your heart to beat again, to hope again, to dream again and to believe again. It’s time for you to get back up again because it’s never too late to become all that God has destined you to be.”

Here are the lyrics of the song:

You’re shattered
Like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

Beginning
Just let that word wash over you
It’s alright now
Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story’s far from over
And your journey’s just begun

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven’s working
Everything for your good

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again
Beat again

Oh, so tell your heart to beat again

Sing it out as you listen or watch the video:  Tell Your Heart To Beat Again

Unrelinquishable Crown

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On the evening of December 20, 2015 7/6c, majority of the world’s population watched with anticipation as each country’s respective contestants vied for the crown of Miss Universe. It was a night filled with the usual excitement expected in a beauty pageant– until the last few minutes where the host, Steve Harvey, announced the wrong name as winner. That was the highlight of the evening.

Both real and cyber worlds were abuzz. Interesting comments and opinions were expressed. The whole mix up became the most trending topic to date!

For some, it provided amusement. For others, It evoked pity for Miss Colombia. For Filipinos, pride for their candidate. And then for a great number, judgmental assumptions on what went wrong and accusations toward Steve Harvey’s carelessness.

The world is in a constant battle to claim that sole representation of glory – whether it be the Miss Universe crown, the seat of the Country President, the gold trophy at the Olympics, or the position of CEO in a multinational company – while it brings a promise of fame, power and fortune, it does not last. They all soon enough, deteriorate.

For us Christians, the God’s Word is clear in encouraging us that our aim must not be for the temporal, but for the crowns that God has promised the believers in eternity.

The Bible mentions five of them:

  1. The Crown of Life – to the believer who perseveres under trials.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)

  1. The Soul-Winner’s Crown – to believers who labored to save souls from the fires of hell.

You are our hope, our joy, and the crown  we will take pride in when our Lord Jesus Christ comes.  (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

  1. The Crown of Righteousness – for those who look for and love Christ’s return.

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.  (2 Timothy 4:8)

  1. The Crown of Glory – for those who faithfully teach and preach God’s Word.

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive  the crown of glory that does not fade away.  (1 Peter 5:4)

  1. The Incorruptible Crown – for those who “run a good race” in the Christian life.

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. (1 Corinthians 9:25)

If this won’t encourage us enough to love others and not live for our own glory, nothing will. After all, these crowns are just bonuses for our true Treasure is Jesus Christ, Himself.

The bible further reminds us that the pursuit of temporal glory and gratification is all vanity.

Philippians 2:3 says:

Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory;   but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.

Psalm 119:37:

Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.

Let us all strive to find our True Treasure – one that leads to eternal satisfaction and fellowship with the King of the universe. One that is given to us without mistake. One that cannot be relinquished.

Video reference:  Wrong Winner in Miss Universe 2015

When Healing Is A Choice

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After my first engagement was called off, I moped, cried, stared into space, cried again, and basically did everything anyone with a broken heart would do.  After several weeks of the same routine, a friend told me, “You have to eventually snap out that phase!  You have to make that decision to move on.” Although it took some time, I eventually did make that choice to snap out of it and move on.

As I go through another process of piecing my heart back together, praying fervently to God to heal me and help me learn to forgive, the Lord has been reminding me of the invalid man in  John 5:1-9.    This man who, for thirty-eight years had been living with his illness, did not once ask for help to get into the pool of Bethesda.  And when Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well, his response was more of an excuse rather than an enthusiastic affirmative.

“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.

-John 5:7

Jennifer Rothschild goes direct to the heart of the matter in saying:

The man at the pool gave an explanation for his situation rather than an answer to Jesus. He blamed others for why he was the way he was.  Instead of just saying “Yes, Lord, I want to be well” he felt the need to say, “But Lord, this is why I am not well.”

We do the same thing.

To be well means I lean on Jesus instead of my old coping mechanisms.

Now, I’m not talking about true diseases like the Retinitis Pigmentosa that caused my blindness. I’m talking about the more serious disease that has nothing to do with blindness — the diseases of self-pity, anger, or resentment that can deeply debilitate me.

Sometimes we actually prefer our pain. We are so used to our weakness, our addiction, or our sin that we don’t really want to be well. We want an excuse to be who we are — stuck in our own weakness — paralyzed by our circumstances.

We sometimes find it difficult to shake off our bitterness, anger, resentment. self-pity and depression, but all we really need to do is make that choice, stand up and head straight to the arms of  Jesus.

Read Jennifer’s entire blog at Jennifer Rothschild – What It Means To Be Well

Overcoming Rejection

Everyone has had their share of rejection at some point in their lives. How do you deal with it?  Some would have the strength to just shrug it off and not bat an eyelash. Others have the resiliency to move on.   And there are others (like me), who would internalize it and let it affect their whole being.

Sad to say, the way we react to rejection says a lot about our past and about our personalities.  But there is hope for us of the third kind!  Rejection – or our tendency to negatively react towards it – can be overcome.

118HHere are three steps:

  1. Realize that Jesus loves you unconditionally.
  2. Love Jesus more than you love anything or anybody.
  3. Love people as Jesus loves you.

Read Kristina Piatachenko’s full article here .