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

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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 .

The Security Blanket

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Linus van Pelt.  He is the best friend of Charlie Brown from the famous comic strip Peanuts. Linus is known to many of us for having a security blanket in tow anywhere and everywhere he goes.

My son has his security “blankie.”  Not one.  Six!   It started with just one – that one precious blanket that he refused to wash or be away from, which I somehow left in a vacation house out of town.  Not expecting to get it back, I got him a new one, and his grandma got him four (yep!).  So when the owners of that vacation house called to say they found my son’s blanket and would send it back, that made a total of six.

Much as I try, I can’t recall ever getting attached to any particular object as a child or even growing up.  What is the mystery behind such attachments?

Experts who have studied such behavior discovered that such “transitional objects” help individuals cope with change while clinging on to something familiar.    In my son’s case, he developed the dependence on the blanket when I started going back to work and he had to stay home.

It does make sense.  But when and how does it end?

While I try to understand my son and give him the space and time he needs, (after all, aren’t we all on the same boat?  At one point in our lives, we found that one thing or person that we latch on to like a barnacle); and while I am trying not to over-spiritualize this concern,  it is also my duty to give him a reality and spirtual check.

For the rest of us, whether we admit it our not, we also have our own  transitional object.  It could be an actual object we’ve been attached to since childhood.  It could be habits we developed.  It could be material possessions.  It could be careers that we’ve so passionately been building and working for all our lives.  It could be that best friend or spouse that occupied most of our hearts.  It could even be ourselves.

Looking at it that way, I did have my own share of “blankies.”

The bible calls it our idols.    An idol is anything or anyone that can satisfy our longings.  It is anything or anyone that consumes our emotions, time, mind, devotion and being.  It is anything or anyone that we run and cling on to make us feel better.  It is anything or anything that is not God.

Such idols need to be removed from our lives only by the grace and mercy of God.  Through prayer and constant feeding of the Word, God will slowly and surely reveal to us the idols in our lives and provide the strength to remove them.

Reference:  The Herald Tribune

3 Things To Remember When Relationships End

(An article from theprayingwoman.com)

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Not by coincidence or chance, but for a purpose. The reason doesn’t always present itself right away, but usually it is for our good. Sometimes the reason is staring us right in our face but it’s hard for us to accept. Particularly when it comes to relationships or matters of the heart.

Relationships can be rough especially if we try to take matters into our own hands when God has already spoken. When a relationship ends it can feel like the end of the world for most of us. Whether it’s a friendship, courtship, or business relationship, it hurts!

Here are 3 things to remember when relationships end:

Your destiny is never tied to someone who walks away from you. 

Healing is a process. You can’t heal if you’re constantly speaking defeat over your situation. I’ve heard women say…

He was my one true love. I don’t think I’ll ever find someone else like him.

I’ll never love anyone as much as I love him“.

“He was my one shot at love and I think I blew it.”

He was my “soulmate”. There will never be another“.

Does any of this sound familiar? The funny thing is most if not all of the women I’ve heard say this are now happily married, engaged, or in a relationship with hopes of getting married. God eventually revealed His beautiful plan in these ladies lives, but not until they were ready. It wasn’t until they decided to lay their burdens down at His feet and trust His will. It wasn’t until they realized life goes on.

Read the rest of the article at theprayingwoman.com

Your Friendgirl Deserves Better

This is an old article that a friend shared with me a while back as I was desperately trying to get out of my “Egypt;”   when I was desperately trying to restore my life and refocus my walk with the LORD; when I was desperately trying to make sense of what kind of “relationship” I was in.

As I meet and talk with a lot of younger single women (and men) today, it truly surprises me how this article applies to so many individuals who fall into the trap of being “friendzoned.”   It seems that this convenient arrangement  is a growing epidemic among the youth (and sad to say, in my case even for singles in their 40s and 50s), with the risk of severely breaking one’s heart.

To my single friends, be prayerful; be discerning.  Read on…

If you’re one of those guys who is passively encouraging a single woman to waste her time on you when you’re not romantically interested, then it’s time for one of the most important breakups of your life.

“Dude, we’re just friends,” said the defensive 20-something sitting across from me.

“It sure doesn’t look like a friendship to me or anyone else,” I said.

“So I enjoy female companionship,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we have to date each other.”

“Come on, man,” I said. “You are dating her — minus any sign of commitment from you. She’s your friendgirl, whether you want to admit it or not.”

He barely suppressed a smile, because he knew. He knew she really liked him; he knew he wasn’t really interested in her; he knew she was just a placeholder — and unfortunately, their dysfunctional relationship wasn’t rare.

Read the rest of the article HERE .