Christian · Faith

Eternal life is the Greatest Reward

In our life, it’s easy to see, that humans are more naturally motivated to do something when a reward or incentive is involved. In teaching, for example, some people motivate students by giving them rewards for completing work (this could be anything from stickers to money… yes I had a teacher give money for completing an assignment…) However, there are some teachers who are not happy with that model because it promotes learning for the wrong reasons – to receive a reward. It can send the wrong message. We tend as adults to be motivated by this same reward based system as well. Think about it, after a long day of work or completing a difficult task what’s the next thing we do?

We seek something pleasurable to help us relax and unwind from the day… These activities range from person to person, whether it’s binge watching Netflix, or going out to eat with friends, we all strive to fill our lives with things that make us happy. This is good self-care, however at the same time, I think we have to be careful that the reward and security we seek is not becoming an addiction, bad habit, false idol or controlling us because eternal life is the greatest reward. As a Christian we must do everything through the power of the Holy Spirit to protect and nurture this sacred gift.

The gift of “eternal life” is a confusing concept to most. It’s an enduring relationship with a holy God by acknowledging the truth of the Gospel presented in the Bible. The Bible presents the loving and true testimony of God sending his holy and perfect son Jesus to earth to live with us. However, God gave Jesus a special mission and that was to die a torturous death on a cross for a specific purpose: so that human sin is forever forgiven and we can get access through Jesus to an “eternal life” relationship with God in heaven. Christ’s blood atoned for human sin. Accepting Jesus is the key part to this relationship because it is only through accepting how Jesus laid down his life and took on the deep burden of sin, as well as believing in his witnessed resurrection after death, that we can have a redeemed relationship with God Almighty and promise that God will take us to heaven one day.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 4:16 NIV

I have to admit, as a new Christian I thought that eternal life started after we die, however, I have learned, according to Scripture, that once we accept Jesus we are adopted into God’s family here on earth and we can experience the greatest reward which is a relationship with Him, this is eternal life.

It is important to know about God’s character and why you would want a relationship with Him. God is a God who cherishes relationships because He initiated a relationship with us through Jesus, but He also reveals himself in different ways to different people throughout history.
The Bible relays some of God’s relationships with people. He created and planned our birth one-by-one and He encourages us to respect one another as all humans are made in the likeness of God.

..”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Luke 10:27 NIV

Eternal life may not be as instantly gratifying as some of the things we tend to reach for in terms of reward in society – but as you get to know the true nature of God and Jesus in a personal relationship, through Scripture and other believers you will see that it is the only thing worth living for.

Knowing God and surrendering to his will is the greatest gift you can ever receive because He is the creator and maker of everything and He knows what happens today, tomorrow, and the next day. He can generously share his ways and wisdom with you during your lifetime and beyond. Yes, you heard me correctly, through accepting Jesus’ saving work on the cross and investing in your Bible, prayer, church and a personal faith life, you can have lifetime access to God!

Ready to accept Jesus? A website I recommend is http://peacewithgod.net/ to help you get started!

 

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Christian · Faith

Why You Should Pursue Godly Wisdom

When I found out the late Reverend Billy Graham had a habit of reading a proverb a day I thought this was a great Bible habit that I wanted to adopt.

Although my parents are not yet saved, they have their fair share of adages that I grew up with, ranging from all sorts of topics like airplane etiquette to being proactive.

I’m betting your parents also had a few phrases they repeated that have stuck with you or guided you in some way into adulthood….

I think it is safe to say that most advice is intended for our benefit, but even the most well-meaning advice could be the wrong advice for us.

Perhaps none of your family or friends have direct experience with the sin you struggle with or maybe you’re uncomfortable confessing your sin to them at first.

The Bible has answers to your questions and so does God who is living and active and informs the Christian believer through the Holy Spirit of wisdom when asked.

Because, like Solomon and all the other humans in the Bible, I am a sinner and acknowledge my brokenness has been redeemed by Jesus on the cross. Being saved is a pure gift and knowing that I tend to mess things up on my own frees me to follow God’s lead.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As humans, we have many questions about life, because there are many things we don’t see in our lifetime. Such as: when we were born, when we expire, who our parents were before we knew them, and why people behave in certain ways.

But God’s wisdom, and that contained in the Bible, is comprehensive and expansive to guide humans in all areas of life and to help us understand the weightier matters.

Not only that but God’s wisdom leads us to spiritual maturity and the joy of eternal life by knowing God and what he likes and dislikes.

The best advice a counselor gave me was this: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

For she knew biblically my heart needed healing and protection from the Lord. I needed to care for it spiritually.

Before accepting Christ, I got lots of advice and because I was not yet saved, I overvalued the opinion man whether good or bad. Superficial or deep, I absorbed what people said like a sponge.

Outside voices said things like:

‘What have you contributed to society?’

‘You look crazy’

‘You should be happy to take care of your (relative)’

‘You should be getting all As in school…

I actually adopted other peoples’ advice, comments and thoughts as if they were my own because I was desperately looking for guidance.

A lot of the advice I got involved the word ‘should’, but ‘shoulds’ without real care and concern rarely motivate us to change (Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend).

Or if other peoples’ shoulds do motivate us, they can lead to resentment and an unhealthy preoccupation: (that John Piper writes about in his book Don’t Waste Your Life) to be liked above all else.

In contrast, when I was in rebellion and isolated from advice, I was relying on my ‘own understanding’ which God tells us NOT to do in Proverbs 3:5-6.

Why? It is spiritually dangerous to rely on either of these two positions: relying exclusively on others’ opinions or on one’s own.

Being unbalanced in either of these areas denies God the ability to work and move in your life. If God gave us each individual personalities, gifts and talents we owe it to ourselves and God to trust in the vastness of God’s grace (demonstrated through Jesus on the cross) to let the Holy Spirit be the helper and guide of our soul as God intends.

The Good News is that we have access to God’s wisdom through Jesus’ work on the cross and by asking God for what we need in prayer and conversation. The Bible is our guide to see what all-knowing God recommends.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

This verse shows us that God expects us to have a posture towards Him where we ask Him what’s on our minds and take proactive steps to follow what God has placed on our hearts.

God set the things he did in you for a reason and the world needs what you have.

God encourages each one of us to be discerning and prudent in our thoughts, actions and behaviors. Proverbs makes it clear that the wise embrace discipline and correction and have many counselors, only the ‘selfish‘ maintain isolation.

Proverbs indicates just how valuable wisdom is because it guards our life from unnecessary evil, sin and pain.

Since God’s wisdom is personal, proverbs makes it clear that we need to filter outside advice with a grain of salt – filtering in through our psyche and judging for ourselves what to do or where to go based on God’s will.

God wants to speak wisdom into your life regarding the dreams and questions you have, the path you take and the company you keep.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 NIV

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Christian · Faith

Feeling Discouraged?

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Contrary to how you may be feeling at the moment, we receive many spiritual blessings daily.

James 1:17 NIV Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

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Make a short list of what you are happy or grateful for today (it can be mundane :)). Seriously, do it now.

Below is my list,

  • The beautiful weather
  • An encouraging and insightful talk with my stepfather
  • A gentle correction from God to avoid evil thoughts
  • A photo opportunity with my best friend
  • A roommate that helps me pay the rent so I can live the way I do
  • A difficult person that God is helping refine my spiritual walk with

Do you see what happens when we take our minds off of ourselves and immediate circumstances and focus on our blessings?!

Our mindset changes to prepare our hearts to worship the Lord, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

God’s love and generosity is endless and He gives to each person as He sees fit.

Guard your heart against the temptation to envy other people’s blessings and wonder at God’s faithfulness and favor in your own life.

Maybe God is delivering you a ‘blessing in disguise’ at this very moment…

Many people pride themselves on being a great gift-giver but the truth is we can trust God to provide for us and do a better job of it than we can.

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him. Matthew 7:11 NLT

Trust God and put your faith in Him to provide for you and let His abundant blessings and love bring you joy.

Comment, like or share this with someone it may help 🙂

God bless!

 

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Christian · Faith

The Lord is Near

When I remind myself that the Lord is near everything changes.

I usually have worship songs reverberating in my mind — the one that comes to mind now is “Keeper of my heart” by Kari Jobe.

“Keeper of my heart” is such an amazing worship song meditating on God’s splendor in the universe and the fact that He is forever good and faithful to us personally.

I receive eternal hope when I meditate on the Lord and all He does for me. This includes waking me up every morning and putting me to bed at night among the many other blessings I enjoy like good relationships, learning, eating, drinking, coffee dates and good books.

However I also enjoy spending time with God just for the pure fact that He is God. He is available at all times, generous, loving and encouraging. His preemptive love and faithfulness through Jesus’ death and resurrection from the cross helps me be loving and faithful to Him in return.

God is the one receiving His children back when we wander. He wants us back and to humbly ask Him for the things we need or want.

God is so relevant. God is everything I’ve ever wanted and He can turn even the crummiest day around. We must constantly make the effort to …

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” James 4:8 NKJV.

Recently I asked the Lord to come near me and it quieted my soul in joy. If you are feeling far from Him ask Him to be with you. If you are close, keep enjoying the Good Lord. Praise Jesus.

If you need help with this, please feel free to reach out, much blessings!

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Christian · Faith

You do not have to be perfect

“Perfect is the enemy of good” Voltaire

In a culture where people are championed for looking or being perfect (in physical fitness, outer appearance or by outperforming others in roles such as a student, mom, wife, friend or business professional) we have to fight the urge to fit in just because it’s easy.

For a long time I’ve struggled with the fear of making a mistake/saying or doing the wrong thing/displeasing people but especially God – believing the enemy’s lie that I have to be perfect.

In other words, I was afraid to stand out by being myself.

This perfection led me to procrastinate, not try, and bow out of challenges. It also led to a lot of shame and hiding from making decisions in my life.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A bible story that reminds me that God looks after all people even those who are in low social positions is God’s relationship with Hagar.

God spoke to Hagar in the Bible when she felt lonely and desperate in the forest. Hagar was a pregnant slave woman carrying Abraham’s illegitimate son. She was running away due to unfair treatment by her master’s jealous wife Sarai. When she had nowhere else to turn, alone and pregnant in the forest God showed up to meet her. “She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.””Genesis‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭NIV

This encounter with God through an angel was truly life transforming for Hagar. She names the place after meeting God. He tells her gently where to go, about the birth of her son, future children and acknowledges her situation. The bitterness in Sarai’s heart towards Hagar was due to her failure to have faith that God could produce an heir in her in her old age but God is faithful to His promises so He knew Sarai’s joy would come when God gave her a child.

We can take courage that God sees us too and that in His eyes we can gain confidence and accept Jesus’ love and compassion enough for ourselves to step out in faith.

Another scripture that stands out to me is  “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us” Romans 5:8.

We are flawed yet wildly loved by Jesus.

In the spirit of new adventures: I say cheers to the blog starters and blog posters, the timid and creative, the entrepreneur and the artist and cheers to the ones who have the courage to be themselves: stumbling and bumbling forth into new waters for the glory of Jesus Christ.

How will you step out in faith?

Kruger, Barbara. Belief+Doubt. 2012, Hirshhorn Museum, Lower Level.
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Christian · Faith

Suicide, Depression and the Hope of Jesus

Godly hope in the midst of celebrity suicide

I was scrolling through a Facebook feed when I noticed that Linkin Park was trending. Next I saw an article about a tribute to Chester Bennington –a tribute? This isn’t good… come to find out the singer of the rock band Linkin Park had taken his own life – suicide.

I cried. I could scarcely believe someone who I had connected to so well during my lifetime through his music had just taken his own life. It’s shocking and terribly sad.

I received the Meteora CD for my 14th birthday. I listened to it in my CD player over and over again. It was easily my favorite album.

Even when I went camping I still brought Linkin Park with me – letting the older generation have a listen because I wanted them to experience it too.

At times, as an adolescent, it felt like Chester was going through some of the same things I was experiencing — pain, disappointment, skepticism, bitterness and anger.

From the foreword introduction with the sound of breaking glass that segways perfectly into the first loud rock song to Chester’s singing and growling and Mike Shinoda’s rap rhymes the whole album is so raw and palpable. I found this kind of emotional honesty breathtakingly refreshing. Chester was able to express his emotions  in a way I wish I could at the time. I admired him speaking so openly about the not-so-niceties of the human condition. Chester references in one of his songs looking for “somewhere I belong”; maybe you too are looking for somewhere you belong.

If so, keep reading!

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I want to let you know about a place with an open invitation where we belong. This place is not a location you would find on a map but it’s a faith journey instead into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord.

What do I mean by this?

I’m inviting you into (if you don’t already have) a real relationship with Jesus, the living and loving Son of God.

His testimony is given to us in the Bible.

Jesus -who is God’s son and part of the divine trinity- was born of a virgin woman on Earth and lived a holy life preaching of His Father in heaven and how God wants us to live: loving God , Jesus and one another.

Jesus then went to die on the cross as a blood sacrifice for all people in order to reconcile our broken relationship with God (our relationship was tainted by our destructive desires aka sin that keep us away from God). But Christ did not only experience death, He rose from the grave to show us His power over death after his crucifiction. 

Only by Jesus’ death and resurrection as holy and blameless God coming to earth in the form of a man dying innocently on the cross for our repeated offenses can we receive the gift of eternal life and forgiveness for sin. There are profoundly serious consequences spiritually and eternally for the ways in which we act. Jesus chose to pay that penalty for us and offer us escape from sin and death in exchange for an eternal relationship with Him.

….Maybe you’ve cheated your way in business, lied in a relationship or struggle with an addiction…

Jesus can forgive and heal us but we must choose to call and believe in Him. God says that we must adhere to Jesus and stay connected and rooted in Him to be productive in any area of our lives.

““I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:1-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your comments below 🙂

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