Presenting… Christian Version 2.0!

Philippians 2:12-13

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Everyone wants to change for the better.

But did you know that this can only be possible with eyes wide open? And we have to work hard for it because it is never automatic.

According to the Pastor, there are five things we must do to be able to change ourselves for the better.

1. Abide

John 15:5-6

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and I withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

To abide means to submit. We must submit and connect to God because without Him, there will be no overflow in our lives, no blessings that’ll come our way.

If we want to change, hope is in each of us. The first step is that we must submit ourselves to God.

2. Align

John 7:15-17

And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.”

The pastor said something interesting: “What blows on my face often has my name on it.” And it’s true. Usually, our problems are inflicted by no one but ourselves.

And the question is, when are we going admit that we are the ones who blow the bombs on our own faces? Remember, we cannot change with eyes closed. We must turn self-indulgence to self-awareness. And how do we do it? By aligning ourselves with God who has the power to change us for the better.

3. Absorb

Mark 4:24-25

Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

There are two hindrances to growth, said the Pastor:

a. Indifference

b. Distractions

And if we don’t open our ears along with our eyes, there’ll be no way these two will be wiped out from our lives.

Be an eager listener. Especially of the Word. So that we’ll hear God’s revelations that will help us a lot.

4. Apply

James 1:22-25

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in the mirror.

Matthew 7:24

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Romans 8:12-13

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Of course, all those abiding, aligning, and absorbing are nothing if we don’t apply everything in our lives.

The Pastor also reminded his audience that in changing, we erase all our failures and mistakes. Change is a new chance to do better, thus, our past should not cripple us and define our future.

“You worst moment does not define your life,” he said. “Failure is an event, failure in not a person.”

5. Accountability

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Ephesians4:22-25

That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 4:14-15

That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.

There may be people who proclaim that they’re independent (like me), but still, seeing and doing things merely on our own isn’t enough. This is where accountability enters.

These people that we should share with can be a close friend, a family member, your spouse or significant other, or those from join support groups that can help us monitor how we’ve been progressing in life and can see if we’re doing things right.

If you’re not yet part of any caring group, maybe it’s time for you to join one. I, myself, will be doing it soon.

 

Are you ready for a better you? Since growth is not automatic, always keep in mind two things: Plan to grow by applying the five things in your life, and of course, always make time for it. 🙂

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Under God’s Loving Umbrella

Have you experienced a major problem in your life?

If you ask me, yes I have, in fact, I have already suffered twice. And these two circumstances, which both made my head spin, heart ache, and every part of my body crumble, were somewhat identical in cause, but what’s interesting is that both happened during the time when I was far from my Creator.

I call them my dark days and think that they were God’s sweet spanking for letting myself go astray from His loving arms. I had that theory in mind all along, until I sat alone in church, listening intently, and the pastor confirmed everything. I could relate to all that was taught, making it an interesting and unforgettable Sunday service.

Photo grabbed from Flickr

Complete with an umbrella and a man as props, the pastor demonstrated how we expose ourselves to bad things when we get out of the umbrella of God.

That day’s teaching is best illustrated through the Book of Jonah. What happens when we try to run away from His presence are:

a. We can get into a confusing and frightening situation – When we get to this point, maybe it’s God’s way of warning us that we’re slowly creeping our way away from Him and He is reminding us that we can never be okay without Him and that we should go back and accept His offer of company.

b. We can get into a zero-option situation – It is a dead end because there’s no solution if we stay away from God’s presence. Everything will be pitch black and we have nowhere to go to.

c. We can get out of our frightening and zero-option situations when we repent of our stubbornness and obey what God wants us to do. 

 

God gave us freewill, so we always have the choice whether to stay or not.  But He promises that if we let ourselves be surrounded by His presence, we will be abundantly blessed. The sun may still set every once in a while, but He’ll still make it shine for us.

The pastor gave a little guide to help us understand the importance of God’s presence and decision-making and how they go hand in hand:

a. Choices in life are options having to do with either remaining or running away from the presence of God – The Devil may be there and may drag us with him, but it is still up to us if we’ll soften up and let him lure us to his trap. We can also choose to obey and set ourselves free from zero-option situation or be stubborn and be perpetually surrounded by it. It is a matter of choice, and there’s no finger pointing since our lives depend on ourselves!

b. Corrective circumstances are realities we go through when we make mistakes – Wrong choices always have equivalent corrective circumstances. They don’t just happen for no reason at all. Painful episodes in our lives take place so that we can realize where we have failed and thus be aware of how to avoid zero-option situation from repeating itself.

c. Choices are often contaminated by our lack of forgiveness or lack of faith – Acceptance is the key to good choices. It gives us better perspective of things since our minds are not clouded with grudges. So forgive, and never lose your faith in God.

 

So the next time you think you’re soaked with unrelenting troubles, check your spiritual life and your faith if it’s still the same as before. It’s always better and safer to be under God’s loving umbrella. ❤

  

You were Born to Fight!

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Photo grabbed from Flickr

Each of us is a warrior. We may not be in a physical war wherein we are armed with physical swords and shields, but there really is a war that we cannot escape. And yes, being a Christian doesn’t guarantee a worry-free living, in fact, we are more prone to trials set by God and even by the devil who wants to steal us away from Him.

There is a war within us, and this is a spiritual war. That is why we were born to fight. But the bad part is when we are ignorant of the battle. Sun Tzu said in his The Art of War, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.” So know who or what your enemy is to succeed.

One of the daily adversaries that we should know of is laziness, and The Bible can attest to this:

Proverbs 6:10-11
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep–
So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.

Fight. Fight and leave that indolence behind because that’s what we were born to do. And remember: Success isn’t going to be given in silver platter, we have to move and do something to achieve it. And when we do that, we are sure to get hurt and shed tears, but God promises that at the end, we’ll win. It will be hard, indeed, but just hold on and never stop.

Deuteronomy 1:6-8
The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb: ‘You dwelt long enough at this mountain.
‘Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighboring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates.
‘See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers–to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–to give to them and their descendants after them.’

Do you have something worthy to fight for? You must have, because that’s what makes each of us tick. And when you fight, never leave God behind and make sure you also fight for righteousness, your families, and your future. 🙂

You were Born with a Purpose!

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

We were definitely born not just for anything, but for great things, and God assures us of this through His Word.

All we have to do is ask ourselves, What am I here for?, pray and believe in Him and His plans for us, and work hard in following wherever God leads us to. As a further declaration of His promise, God also says:

Mark 9:23
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

The pastor said that it is important to find out what we were born for because:

1. it reduces stress

Photo grabbed from Flickr

– It keeps us from getting jealous and envious of what other people have and are capable of doing better than us.

2. it increases the chance of success

– Because it give us something clear to focus on and therefore, a better path to take

3. it increases our passion

– When we know our purpose, passion comes oozing from within and provides us more willpower to reach what we are born for. Can’t recall what being passionate is? Just look at children as they play with their fellow, you’ll see.

Are you now aware of God’s plan for you? Maybe it’s time for you to finally find out. Just always bear in mind, you were born to do something great!

Proverbs 22:29
Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.