WF: East to West

I think one of the things Christians, especially new Christians struggle the most is condemnation. We live in the world of “forgive and not forget” and we have the tendency to look at God in the same light.

I have said many times that understanding God’s mercy was hard for me. How could he forgive the things I had done when his Word said that those things were against his will? Then I discovered Grace. That favor that God gives us that covers all our sins. That which brings to life the sacrifice of the cross.

Even after salvation we are not perfect, and there are times when we life in this fear of when will be the day when he will say enough, you’ve crossed the line of unforgiveness. But lucky for us that day will not arrive. As long as we repent we will be covered once again by the blood of the lamb, because Jesus died for ALL our sins. The ones we did and the ones to be done.

 1 Peter 1:18-20

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Let’s Praise God for that!

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No Small Job

I observed a man this morning in a suit trying to push a wagon of boxes. He was truly struggling to balance the load and pushing the cart. The boxes were empty by the way. It reminded me that the things we do, do not define who we are.

People have the tendency to place certain professions, jobs, tasks or qualities in a pedestal. The body has many members, and all of them have different functions, but none of them are less than the other.  Look at your hand for a minute, if you lost one finger, any of them, you would miss it terribly and you would have to make major adjustments to go back to “normal function”. The same is with the way we are as a collective, everyone has a function to do and nobody is better or worse for the position they have been placed.

I used to work with a brilliant doctor. It was a delight to hear this man speak, full of knowledge and wisdom, but totally technologically challenged. He couldn’t operate his computer or his cell phone. If some of us in the office didn’t pull out his e-mails and voicemails, he would not be in the loop of the things that needed to be done. That didn’t make him less or didn’t make us more. We had different skills and functions to complete.

I also remember being a manager. I’m a pretty gadget and technically savvy person, but for some reason the fax machine at that office and I did not get along (anyone remembers the movie Office Space, yes that was my relationship with the fax machine). I tried to not bother others and do my own thing. When I would disappear for a while and my assistant knew that I was not in a meeting, she usually checked the copy room and there I was fighting the fax machine. She would take the papers from my hands and get the job done in fifteen seconds.

My dad used to say, someone needs to sell hot dogs on the corner of the street otherwise I wouldn’t have a place to buy it, and someone needs to pick up the garbage, otherwise it would pile up in our house.

So no matter what you’re doing today, don’t look at it with the eyes of the world that classifies tasks as better or worse. Look at your job as a gift from God to render a service that in the large scheme of things it’s just as important as the next one to keep things working the way they should.

Luke 13:30
indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Blessings.

Emotions and Christianity

I was reading an article on the magazine “In Touch” the other day. They will have to forgive me because I don’t remember the specific author or the edition of the magazine that I read. The article was talking about how as believers we tend to have unrealistic expectations of what our emotions should be in determined situations. I think the saddest part about it, is that we permeate this culture of unrealistic expectations when we attempt to provide support to someone in distress.

I’m guilty of telling someone one that they are not trusting God on a situation, because they are exhibiting anxiety or distress and I know I’m wrong for that. I also know that I’ve accused myself of not being submitted enough to God for experiencing things like: fear, anger, sadness, anxiety.

There’s this wrong perception that if you’re a believer everything in your life has to be going absolutely perfect. We forget to read that part of the Bible that says, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Who can forget the scene where Jesus kicked everyone out of the temple? He was angry. The Word says, “be angry but do not sin”…it doesn’t say you’re not allowed to be angry.

Where do we even get these ideas that because we believe we’re going to be walking in clouds, our children will be perfect, and our relationships will be perfect? Yes, we have deceived ourselves.

The interesting thing that we missed, that was addressed in the article was that we are made as God’s image; this means every emotion that we have, he has and made for us. It’s what we do with our emotions that could either edify us or destroy us. If we use our emotions and turn them into prayers, instead of complaints, and remember that the test is only the beginning of the testimony; we would see our life with different eyes.

I had a situation this week, where everything that could go wrong, went wrong. At the end of the day, I was tired, frustrated, overwhelmed. I kept praying God’s peace. I surrounded myself with my accountability support people. I finally came to the conclusion that this was the test becoming a testimony. The testimony is that every single thing that looked impossible on Monday was resolved without my intervention and in ways that only God could have shown himself. The fact that I cried and was frustrated doesn’t mean that I didn’t know that God had it in his hand and was going to deal with it. I didn’t’ doubt it for a minute. I just had a bulk of emotions; I recognized them as such and treated them as such.

Sometimes we lose focus that not only the lost souls struggles, but our fellow believers have struggles too, and how can we be of help when instead of mercy, we hand out judgment.

Be Blessed!

 

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WF: Get off the fence

Last week’s teaching at my church was very simple. Stop being wishy washy about your faith. If you really believe God is God, then live your life like that is a truth. In this Friday, I challenge you to evaluate your life. Are you living like those things you preach? Are you living in the permissive will of God or the perfect will of God?

After sitting to process this in my own life, I’ve had this song attached to me all week. I think I’ve woken up every morning with it in my head and I wanted to share. May it impact your life like it has impacted mine.

Be blessed.

WF: Worship Friday

WF: Resting in his peace

I don’t know about you, but on Fridays I feel tired. You start Monday with the energy to take on the week. Each week brings challenges of their own and when it all ends all you want is to rest and have some peace. You don’t want to hear about the bill  that is due, the report that needs to be finished, the double game that the children have over the weekend, the grocery shopping, the house cleaning or the car cleaning, all you want to do is rest.

In the times when routine is overwhelming, but also when life gives us unpleasant surprises we want the world to stop for just a minute to help us catch up.

He says in HIS Word in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”

Take five minutes which is the duration of this video to worship the Lord and rest in his peace.

Be blessed!

 

WF=Worship Friday

Christians getting tattoos

I had an interesting conversation the other day about tattoos. Like any form of art, they are quite interesting, some are really nice, and some are not. But the discussion was, Are Christians allowed to get tattoos? This discussion does not relate to those who come to Christ already with tattoos, we are talking about those who are already saved, didn’t have one and are now getting them or contemplating them.

For the longest time I was one of those raising the hand with Leviticus 19:28, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.” (NLT), but is not as clear cut as that. First of all there’s the judgment part. If I am judging other people for getting tattoos, piercings or men wearing earrings, then I’m the one in trouble for judging. I’ve met true worshipers with all of those or some, these are Christian leaders who I truly respect for their spirituality and who have been mentors in my life. I admit that at the beginning I was conflicted. So I decided to do some research.

First of all I discovered that we need to read things in its context This rule and many others in the Old Testament were placed by God to avoid pagan rituals amongst the Israelites. He wanted for his people to be set apart and he still does. So does getting a tattoo makes you conform to what the world is doing? There are two schools of thought, some that say that the rules in Leviticus still apply to us, some that say they don’t. Well, I agree in Leviticus 19:29 when it says “Do not prostitute your daughter…”, but it also says two verses before, “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard” (19:27) and we know that men have haircuts and shave everyday.

From the majority of the articles I read that do not attack the tattoos (meaning not necessarily approve of them, but don’t have the notion that they will send you to hell) I gather that it’s all in the motivation and heart. Even tattoos are a matter of the heart. Why do you want to get a tattoo? Is it to fit in within the culture? Will the tattoo bring more attention to you than to Christ? Remember that our ultimate goal is that He becomes greater as I become less (John 3:30)

Some people even claim that God has tattoos using the scripture of Isaiah 49:16 “I have tattooed you on the palm of my hands” Others have said that Jesus has a tattoo as well referring to what is said in Revelations 19:16 “On his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords”

At the end, more than the focus of is it right for a believer to have or not a tattoo look at where your heart is. If you don’t have one, “are you looking at the sawdust in your brother’s eye while paying no attention to the plank in your eye? (Matthew 7:3) If you are considering one, why do you want one? Have you talk to God about it? Will getting one affect your relationship with God or make others stumble?

Personally I’ve looked at some and they are quite interesting, I could never get one and it goes beyond any religious convictions. I don’t see myself sitting for any extended period of time to be voluntarily poked. Also, I don’t think I could commit to a design. I don’t think I could agree to one color as my favorite color for my entire life, it used to be red, and somehow my mom says it used to be yellow and if you ask me now it’s blue. Can you imagine?

As always I’m interested in hearing your opinion. Let me know your thoughts and hope you have a blessed day.

Moving Forward

First of all I want to apologize for not writing in the last few days, between Camp Nano and other distractions I have not been able to sit down long enough to concentrate. I’ve been thinking a lot about how sometimes we are affected by issues regardless if they have direct or indirect impact in our lives.

Life is never without challenges, disappointments and painful events, most of them out of our control. The way we react to those events and the way we view those events will determine our behavior and ultimately potential future outcomes.

When something unexpected affects negatively our lives its very common to feel anger, sadness, shock, resentment, disappointment, grief and many other negative feelings. Ephesians 4:26 reads “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” but I know there are wounds that are longer lasting, however once the sun comes back up, it may be time to start our baby steps back on the road of life.

We believe that we have no control over those feelings and that’s not totally true. Yes, those feelings are normal. We should not stuff them or deny them. We should talk about them and process them, the problem arises when we sulk and get stuck on them.

At some point the grieving process of an event runs its course and yes, the timing is different for everyone, but when the grief hinders you from functioning, you’ve gone too long.

That’s why I say that you can ultimately impact your future outcomes, for example…the loss of a relationship may be devastating, but it could open the door to self examination, discovery and the potential of a new, sometimes even better relationship. The loss of a loved one is devastating, but if you have faith that they are in a place of no pain and no sorrow, that will give you hope. The loss of employment or some other financial loss will not be easy to recover until you get back on your feet.

Feel what you need to feel, process what you need to process, but then it’s time to get up and move on. Trust that God will make everything right and that he’s in control. That there’s no evil that will not be avenged and no good deed unrewarded.

Faith will get you through

Be blessed.