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Broken Heart

It’s been a while since there’s been a post on this blog — so, if you’re not looking to read a book, then I’d scroll down the page and see what other posts there are, and if you’re up for a nice fire-side story… please, make yourself comfortable.

Let me start out with saying that the image in this post is over-looking part of a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in the early morning. This picture was taken on the last day, or morning, the team was in Haiti. Yes, I was part of that team if it isn’t already obvious. I won’t elaborate too deeply on my experience, but I will say this: No one will understand, unless they’ve been to Haiti, what I am trying to say. I could try and explain it a million ways and people would still not truly get it.

What is it?

It is my personal experience. For many of the kids on the team, including me, which consisted of 19 people total: 11 high school students, 3 eighth graders, and 4 chaperones/leaders, it was our first time going down to Haiti — and for some, it was their first time leaving the country. I have been on an international mission trip before, but to a more rural and less poverished country — Ecuador. Haiti, for me was an eye-opening experience, as it is for many, but since each person’s background story, life experiences, etc. is different, the experience has a different impact each and every time… if that makes sense.

For me, it was a literal slap in the face. The slap in the face, honestly, wasn’t bad – in fact I desperately needed it. I was struggling with so many selfish desires – these desires were to fill that void in my heart, the pain I felt emotionally. I did nothing out of lustful intents nor anything that breaks the law… but I did hurt myself and the people closest to me because of what I was doing to myself. Basically, what I’m also trying to say is that I hit rock bottom. I was done, I didn’t want to try anymore. I was so done that I almost backed out of going to Haiti, as I was second-guessing myself so much to the point I drove myself into having anxiety attacks. Going to Haiti made me realize that I may have it rough, I may go through trials, but it is nothing compared to what the Haitian people are going through. Despite the severe poverty, crime rates, and so forth, the Christians of that society… I envy their faith. Americans are rich with possessions — most often or not unneeded possessions — while the Haitians who are (for some, literally) dirt-poor are richer than any of us Americans could imagine in their relationship to Christ. Seeing how such a poor and troubled people could be so content, so happy, snapped me out of my own trance.

Our group was working on the floor of a school at the sight of the orphanage our church has been supporting for years, now. During breaks, or when we needed a break from the heat, we would go and play with the orphans, as they were on some sort of break. Gosh, I can’t even describe the feeling of getting to interact, hold, and play with the kids — all whose ages range from 2-18 years. I can tell you, as I’m writing this, I’m smiling like an idiot and starting to tear up at all the happy memories. The bonds/friendships made will last a life-time and beyond. The night we said goodbye was heart-breaking. And at that, it brings me to the main point of this entry…

Recently, I was listening to the music on my phone. I have about 800 songs on my phone… don’t judge. Often or not, I’ll “discover” songs that I had purchased a long time ago – and when I say “a long time ago” I mean a year or so ago. Anyway, as I was listening, a song came up that I had forgotten how much meaning it had written in between the lyrics. That song was “Break My Heart by Jonny Diaz. If you have not heard the song, need a refresher, or would just like to hear it, click the link, and take a minute and listen.

Before going to Haiti, that song to me, had as much meaning as the lyrics plainly state:

I see children in slavery
It’s all too much so I turn off the TV
A world away from the world they’re in
So I give up before I even begin

To try to make this right
To try to love like Christ

So, help me see through the eyes of the hurting
Come break my heart, come break my heart
True grace sees a face, not a burden
So, come break my heart, won’t You break my heart?
Come break my heart

It’s hard to see past my picket fence
So I give a little from a guilty conscience
How can I ever really make a change
When I’m too afraid to even feel their pain

So, help me see through the eyes of the hurting
Come break my heart, come break my heart
True grace sees a face, not a burden
So, come break my heart, won’t You break my heart?

I believe that love can bridge the distance
And I believe that one can make a difference
‘Cause one man on a cross changed the world

So, help me see through the eyes of the hurting
Lord break my heart, Lord break my heart
‘Cause true grace sees a face, not a burden
Come break my heart, won’t You break my heart?

Help me see through the eyes of the hurting
Come break my heart, come break my heart
Sure, Your love should never be a burden
Come break my heart, won’t You break my heart?
Lord break my heart, come break my heart
Lord, break my heart

Taken from: SongLyrics.com

I had never given much thought to the true meaning behind the song. But I doubt I could’ve without a little extra help. After going to Haiti, I heard of the stories of children being enslaved — I even got to meet some kids who had been rescued from the restavek programs, who had been rescued from being sex slaves. I got to see first hand through the eyes of the children, thanks to the wonderful workers at the orphanage. At first I had felt nothing after interacting with the kids, but that was because I knew nothing about their past. Their burdens were not burdens to me, their burdens – well, most had let go of. Their faces would light up as soon as they saw us, and so would ours. Those kids broke my heart right in two. This “heart break” isn’t like that of a relationship between a guy and girl… that “heart broken” stuff, for that, is crap. I’m sorry, but it is. To see a child, who is as much as a total stranger to you as you are to them, come up to you without hesitation and lift their arms up as a gesture to be held, hugged, and loved… well, it is heart breaking. I wanted to feel their pain, to know what they had gone through and then see where the kids were now. My heart broke because of the type of adoration I learned of. This kind of adoration cannot be explained.

That step out of my comfort zone — going while I was struggling, going to a different country without my parents, being held at a whole new level of responsibility — is all just a mere memory now.

That love Jonny Diaz is talking about, for me, did build a bridge. It built a bridge from my heart straight to Haiti and the kids there. Their faces are forever in my head – the smiles, the laughter. I thought that while I was going to be down in Haiti, everything would just be a burden, a painful burden. I had pushed my own burdens aside, bracing for these new ones — I was asking myself, “How can I love these children? How can I show them the love of Christ? How do I communicate it?” the list goes on and on. God answered that: be yourself and simply embrace them. I needed to learn how to love these children on my own, for God knew I’d find the answers to my questions very fast.

My heart will always be broken. It will always go out to the orphans and people of the world, no matter what status they are in society. I cannot wait to go back to Haiti and hug the kids and play with them and work in the heat. I do not care what other people think of me and how I feel towards Haiti and the people. Haiti will have a special place in my heart and I will never get tired of showing God’s love in countless ways, as well as serving Him – wherever, whenever, and to whoever he calls me to minister, too.

My wish for ever person that reads this blog, in general, is that they take the message of the post away with them. And I wish for God to place a burden in people’s hearts to do his will – I also hope that each and every one of you who reads this will get a chance to go on a mission trip, as the impact is amazing and unforgettable.

In Christ,
Tori

If you have questions concerning the statics, etc. of Haiti, feel free to send me a message via the blog’s email (found on the Contact Us page).

Here are a few sites about Haiti and its background, for those interested, including information on restaceks.

RestavekFreedom.org
–> The Issue

Love In Motion

MissionofHaiti.org
–> Haiti Facts

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Speaking Of...

Recently, I’ve encountered a lot of talk on “relationships and love” with people – and it got me thinking about God’s love. How his love sets us apart (as well as himself) from all the other people and their religions/beliefs. This also made me think of how even when we fall into chaos and unknown territory – he is there; he’s always there, for us. And he’s never mad, even when we fumble big-time, or turn out backs on him, or even commit a serious wrong or hold a grudge against someone that we need to let go of – he’s always there calling to us. And when we find him – his bright and ever-lasting light in the darkness of our lives, he opens his arms wide and embraces us, crying or laughing, or smiling with us.

There’s a verse my youth past told us and taught about to us on Sunday (11/3). This is about God’s love and relates to all the things I’ve said. Luke 6:27-33:

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do no withhold you tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”

Now, I want to first point out that the first phrase of the verse says “to you who hear.” Why do I point this out first and foremost? Because Jesus is calling people to really listen, as what he’s about to say hasn’t been said before. He knows – as well as you and I, that some people just zone things out or do that “half-listening” thing when people preach/teach on a topic that’s been heard before. He wants to get everyone’s attention, letting them know that this is a new topic, it’s a topic that people really need to whole-heartedly pay attention. Make sense, right? I hope so.

Okay, with that covered, let’s talk about the rest of the verse. This verse is obviously about loving our enemies and treating others how we want to be treated, right? In fact, one of the verses (vs 3) – “do to others as you would have them do to you” as many know it by – is a very well-known verse to many people (not just Christians). And at a first glance of the verse, people get the obvious theme (which I pointed out at the beginning of this paragraph) – be kind to people I don’t like/are considered my enemies, treat others fairly, and take care of the needy. Easy right? No. Is there more to the verse? Of course. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t tend to those who need help or turn the other cheek, or treat others wrongly – their all great and wonderful things to be practiced, but I want to focus on the last bit of the verse plus a few in-depth details about the first part verse.

I’m going to start at the end – with verses 32-33 (the last paragraph of the given verse). Jesus is saying that when we love and treat those who are good to us and love us – what’s the point? What do you truly gain? Yes, it’s crucial for those who love you to love you and for you to love them back, but what about that kid who bullied or you really bad once – maybe more? It’s easy to hold a grudge against them, hoping something bad will happen to them, just as something bad happened to you, or if they try to apologize, you want them down on their knees begging for mercy while you have your arms crossed, foot tapping, and your head angled enough to look down on them making a disgusted face and refusing – until they collapse – to forgive (Jesus even points out that when we love those who love us – even murderers, prostitutes, etc. love those who love them – that’s what he’s referring to when he says “sinners.”) Why is it easy to hold a grudge and not “love our enemies” as we’re instructed? Let me tell you a secret – it’s called flesh; sin. We want to have revenge; satisfaction, making whoever made us feel unloved, unwanted, and not good enough… we those who weren’t good to us, have the same feelings, if not worse.

See, if we only love and do good to those who love us and do good to us, then we do not truly treat those how we want to be treated, we don’t understand truly what it is like to love our enemies. We don’t know what it’s really like to show them God’s love, and we don’t try to understand how to act or reply in a Godly way to those who wrong us. Just like in school, teachers teach and have the students practice the concept they teach – for without practice how can we truly learn and know the material?

Rewinding to the first section of the verse (vs. 27-31)… try applying what I just said about verses 32-33 to these verses. Have a different perspective now? What about a new plan or way to approach situations in relation to these?

Now, in verse 27, isn’t just loving loving your enemies that “Oh, that wasn’t nice – but all well” attitude, it’s about coming along side them, helping them; showing God’s true love, and forgiving them even if they haven’t asked forgiveness. As a Christian, we should always strive to go that extra step. And – or more – but, when these situations come up, we need to check ourselves – giving/praying (to) our hearts to hearts to God and letting him take those grudges and put them away – destroy them. We also need to make sure our actions are for self-glorifying reasons.

You know that sarcastic phrase that people (you) often mutter when in or towards a situation that comes up and is hurtful, benigning, etc.? The one that goes: “Well, that was a slap in the face.” Literally, it could of been – but that’s also when you show grace and turn the other cheek. Don’t lash out, don’t retaliate. Humbly offer the other side of your face. Either they will “hit” you again or be in shock from your actions. And even if it seems that your actions had no effect – let me assure you, they did. God is planting that seed in their heart through you. Some may often even come back asking questions, because their so dumb-founded, of “Why?” and “How?”. That is your opportunity to tell of the “why” and “how.” The same application can go for the second half of verse 29 – where it talks about offering someone your “tunic.” When someone begs – have a compassionate heart. Give to them – and don’t demand repayment or ask for what you gave to be given back to you. Whether is was simply loaning a money to a friend who forgot their lunch at school to food to someone needy… don’t ask for repayment. These actions and showing love sets us Christians apart (and God), as I said before.

You do need to be careful though, of people who have a false claim, do show them God’s love, but be wary, going to God and seeking counsel on the situation you’re in. It’s sad, but there are people who imitate and act in ways that are deceiving to gain things they are have and don’t need.

Referring back to the first paragraph – where I was talking about how we oh-so-often struggle, I want to conclude partially in reference to Tammy Maltby’s book, Confessions of a Good Christian Girl. In the book, she talks and tells of women who struggled – these were good Christian women, leading Christ-like lives and living well, or that’s what it appeared. Yes, they loved God, but these women were conflicted with suicide, cutting, addictions (drugs, alcohol, pornography), self-image and confidence. The book tells countless testimonies of how in the deep dark, these women found the light, the love. One of the quotes Maltby put in her book, which is by Angela Thomas, goes:

“Jesus wants you to know that when you are broken, shivering, alone, or afraid, with nothing left and nowhere to go, then you can turn in His direction and lay yourself at the foot of his love…. God wants you to know that when everything is gone, that makes more room for Him, and every time there is more room for Him, you are blessed.”

(pg 5, Maltby)

In this we can take an apply the concept of that when we hold on to grudges, hate, and hurt (etc.) when you give them up and lay “yourself at the foot of His love” we are revived with his love and forgiveness. This helps us make that step to forgiving those who may have hurt us or even ourselves. Because just as other people may be our enemies and slap us in the face, we can do just as much damage, if not more to ourselves; we can easily become our own enemy. We must learn to have compassion on ourselves and others and to have respect for ourselves and others.

I wish I could write on about this topic, but time is such an enemy to me lately, so short and demanding. Before I part, until next time, here’s some verses in parting. Don’t just go, “Oh cool, verses to look at!” and ignore them or think I’ll look at them later. Look at them now. It won’t take much time.

Psalm 36:5, 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, 1 John 3:1-2, 1 John 4:7-12, 16-18

Some questions for reflection:

  1. Are you able and confident that in times when people wrong you, you can stand up, humbly, forgive, and give your burden to God, even though it’s not easy?
  2. Even when you mess up, or others, are you able to go the extra mile for God’s sake?
  3. Loving your enemy will be hard, but will you be able to rise above the offense and “offer the other cheek?”
  4. In times of distress it’s easy to forget about God – it’s easy to blame him, and in times when you want something badly, and it may not be his will – are you able to accept him and trust him to lead you 100% through?
  5. Sometimes it’s our very selves that get in the way of seeing truly what’s right – having a personal conflict is hard to accept, confess, and be able to reason and respect yourself, but sometimes that’s the first step to forgiveness. If some of these questions were hard to answer, maybe start deep in your heart and soul. Really think about it.

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How Following Christ Transforms Everything (Part 1)

“Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy, our brother,

To Philemon our beloved fellow worker and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from you love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”

– Philemon 1:1-7 (ESV)

In this verse, Paul is writing to fellow believers. His topic is on trusting God. In verses 1 to 3, he talks about how it causes us to trust God in our own broken circumstances.

Helpful Note: In many circumstances, take family relationships for example, when someone hurts someone, they apologize; they mend that bond that was broken and they take care of it tenderly, making sure they are more careful.

What Paul is talking about is when we are in broken circumstances – or situations the first relationship that must be mended is ours and God’s. A forgiven heart will seek forgiveness and reign in the heart. So if one person apologizes and the person who was hurt forgives, the person who apologized will be forgiving and more lenient themselves.

In our broken circumstances when we mend our bond or create one with God, our situation doesn’t magically get all better and our lives become easy and perfect. God does not immediately release us from our circumstances when we become followers. This is important to remember, because many people who convert or who are skeptical look around and pick out people whose lives do not seem changed. People are aware of the wonderful and mysterious things God does, and they want that to happen to them. God does provide and miracles happen, but they are often small, yet important, or they will happen in time. God is not predictable.

In the last remaining lines of the verse, verses 4 to 7, the apostle explains that even when we are struggling, it causes us to love and appreciate others even if they are in broken relationships.

Life changes when you meet Jesus Christ.

It just does, when you first meet Him, there may be a noticeable change in your life, a small change, or a feeling of fulness. It depends on the person.

When the light of the gospel break through on your own struggles, it shines in other place, too. These other places can be the darkest depths of your heart, or in areas of your life that you weren’t open to changing. It is different for everyone.

There are those people who only see the part of your life where God has not worked yet or is working on, and it can be hard as they will judge you. But we have to live a higher standard – not judge them or pity them – but show mercy. In Matthew, Jesus says, “Judge no, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you,” (Matthew 7:1-2 ESV). Pretty straight forward, huh? But also, as a Christian you are a representative of Christ. You need to be an image of Christ – just like a child looks up to his/her father and tries to do as he does, we need to look up to our Heavenly Father and try to match and follow his example.

All of us have residual sin and we can see it through the products of our culture.

Those who truly seek to follow Christ understand that God has control of our situations, and he has control of our lives and brokenness. Of all human qualities, forgiveness is the closest thing to God. The God who is forgiving, and all abounding in love, as well as slow to anger and fair in judgement.

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What Is Love?

There’s a verse in the Bible that talks about love.

It talks about how love is essentially perfect – or the love shown by Christ and how Paul explains it in its true context.

People today think love is envious – that we are to envy those in love or love itself. Some people think they need to boast about their love lives and how they’ve found “that perfect person” (at age 16), when in reality they haven’t. They become full of pride and their hearts turn haughty — “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall,” (Proverbs 16:18 NIV).

These days you see so many people – young people broken and ruined. They chase after lust, not love. Their “love” is self-seeking, it seeks to please them and only their desires. It becomes dishonorable. Their love doesn’t seek to protect or look out for the other person’s interest or their own.

You may be thinking, This is  all ridiculous – outrageous. Where on earth are you getting these ideas – this verse?

Well, were am I getting all these ideas — these references? By simply looking around the halls of the high school and even in public. Social media is also a good source of information. Pictures, videos, even songs. Examples of the type of fake “love” I’m talking about in pictures can be seen on these two:

A few examples of the type of fake “love” I’m talking about in pictures can be seen on these two: Make Them Hate Us (found on Tumblr.) and Make My — (found on We Heart It). Examples of these in songs — Well I could make a huge list, but some artists I’m sure you all are familiar with are Rihanna, Neon Trees, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Karmin, Krewella, and so on. And videos are pretty self explanatory – or their covers and title are.

“This verse” is Corinthians 13:3-8. I’ve used this verse before in a previous post – but it was about God’s love. For Bible translations, the two primary translations I use are ESV (English Standard Version) and NIV (New International Version). I tell you this because for this verse, though both translations are good, the prefer the NIV, as the wording is better – or more meaningful to me, at least. Here’s the verse:

If I give all I possess to the poor and I give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It doesn’t not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

It’s a beautiful verse. The part that jumps out to me, personally, is the last verse – verse eight. It’s the first sentence, though it’s short, it’s powerful.

“Love never fails.”

Or in the ESV version:

“Love never ends.”

I don’t know what part may have jumped out at you – or if anything did – but I encourage you all to read it over a few times, memorize it even. It is an amazing verse, and to me it is one of the verses that I treasure in my heart.

In the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, Josh talks about this topic – love – he talks about it very seriously, too. In chapter 4 (or 5, depending on which version of the book you have), the chapter’s title is: Looking Up “Love” in God’s Dictionary. And in the chapter, Josh mentions the verse I just told you about – 1 Cor. 13:3-8 – but he also talks about what true love is.

“God’s definition [of love] can be as startling as an unexpected slap in the face.

The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, ‘This is love.’ God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, ‘This is love.’ 

God always defines love by pointing to His son,” (pg 64).

Amazing, isn’t it? When I first read this, I had to do a double-take. It really was – is – a slap in the face. You know on the second page, Josh writes, “Christ taught that Love is not for the fulfillment of self but for the good of others and the glory of God.  True love is selfless. It gives; it sacrifices; it dies to its own needs,” (pg 65).

Guys, girls – “as we seek to love according to God’s design, we must pursue sincerity.’Love must be sincere.’ – this brief command given in Romans 12:9 leaves no room for misunderstanding,” (Harris 67).

Love these days isn’t sincere, it’s actually a joke. Rarely do you see people saving themselves for marriage – protecting their purity. Rarely do you see (unmarried, young) couples protecting one another’s purity and hearts.

Obedience is key. Listen to God and the people (committed Christians) around you. Listen to the wise and experienced. Learn from their mistakes, don’t let history repeat itself in your life.

Even if because of selfish or envious love you’ve sinned, God is there, waiting to forgive you. But you have to be willing to change, listen, and repent. There’s still hope and time to truly love again. – Even if you’ve messed up whether it be major or minor.

It’s all by God’s grace and love.

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The verse that’ll be looked at in this devotion is found in 2 Corinthians. It’s 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 (NIV):

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Starting out, in verse 1, one discovers that through God’s mercy, we have ministry – the opportunity to preach/tell the gospel to others, so that they may come to know Him and His word. Since we have that opportunity to minister and make it  so other people will have hope in something that’ll last forever, we need not to lose heart.

In the second verse, we see that it talks about our sinful ans shameful nature. We are often lost because of deception and we (as flesh) distort the ways of the Lord. But it’s because of the mercy God gives us, we have no need to lose heart; faith. By telling and recognizing the truth set forward by God for us to see, we gain trust from God to help preserve the truth. When we commend ourselves so that others trust us – mind, body, and conscience – we can then tell them about the word and God, too earns their trust – when they ask him to become their Lord and Savior.

The next two verses, verses 3-4, a discovery, too made here is that for those who try to “cover” the truth; God’s word, they are blinded from it, they are not able to fully see, because thy try to destroy it. For if you blind a driver, they cannot see, ‘nor drive safely. This is the same concept for when people try to hide; cover up, the gospel, they cannot and will not be able to “drive” – live a good safe live without it. It’s like driving without a license – it’s illegal! When you can’t see or understand or accept what Christ has done or see the light of the gospel, life isn’t going to be lived full – even though it may seem like it. Life can only be lived to its fullest with Jesus (the Holy Spirit) living and working in and through you. I can’t say it won’t be easy or anything, in fact life may get harder, but with Christ all things are possible and there will always be a light and reason at the end of each journey.

In verse 5, it’s here one can see -are told- that we ourselves do not preach, for sinful flesh isn’t capable of preaching God’s holy word alone. But it’s through Christ’s work we are able to preach the gospel – God puts the words in our hearts to speak through our mouths about his word. He makes is so that the itch on our heart to go out and serve him, just like Jesus did while he was on earth.

The last verse, verse 6, talks how the God, who made this earth and said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made it so his perfect light could cut through the darkness of our hearts. He gave us the light not only to see on this world, but so that we may acquire the knowledge of how beautiful his love and glory is, in the form of Christ and when he came down, died, and rose we’d fall over in sheer awe and submission to him. Just like servants ready to serve a wonderful master, who treats them like his own children.

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The focal verse is from Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV):

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this worldand of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Starting with verses 1 and 2, it talks about how we were dead in our sins – alive to human nature, dead to a godly nature. We lived a lost life, following this world’s evil ways. Committing horrible acts, we were destroying ourselves and others. Satan and his followers at are constantly at work trying to destroy us (Christians) and those around us, too. Our — everyone’s — sinful human nature; flesh, was already working to makes those lost continue in their transgressions.

In the next few verses, verses 3 to 5, states that we once all lived in a lost state – “slaves to sin.” Our flesh was just consuming its desires, following and granting; feeding our sinful cravings, following its thoughts, likes a dog follows its master. Before coming to know Hm, we were subject to his righteous judgement; his wrath. But we were sanctified – saved – from that wrath by God’s grace. His love for us is never ending, never failing. When we have faults he still loves us, when we drift away he calls us back, and still loves us. He is a patient God. His mercy is unending. He gives many second chances, even when we do screw up (please excuse my language, but seriously), recognize it, and repent. We were indeed once dead but He made us alive with Christ – when Jesus died on the cross, he saved us from ourselves and sin – he took (literally) all that crap, that honestly, we really deserved, we should have paid for.

In verses 6 to 8you can see something totally amazing… God raised us up from being dead; a “zombie” to sin. Through the ages to com are unknown to us, Christians today are still severely persecuted, what is still to come? When we die, we’ll go to heaven to be with God, all because of our Savior. Through and through God’s kindness and riches of his grace. By our faith and God’s grace, we are saved. The faith was acquired on our own integrity, but instead it was a gift from God, a truly amazing and humbling gift.  Life is a gift, new life by Christ is a gift from God that cannot ever be repaid. We need not boast about it, for then that is our sinful nature speaking, showing people – giving them the impression that we believe we are better than them. The gift of live is precious, if you’re going to boast, check yourself, remember that this is God you’re talking about, and how would he want you to act, and then go out and share his word in a kindly, humble, and godly manner. I’m sure you know this old saying: If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all. It applies to everyone in every manner. We did not deserve a second change, at all, but God thought we did, and it was by his works, not ours, that we are (and all can be) saved.

The final two verses, 9 and 10, we are told that we are created by God, in his  perfect image. He made us to do good works, not bad, so that others may learn about Him. He prepared these works for us, before we were even born. God is gracious, but he does cry when his children lose their way, he gets angry at us, too. Just like a father. He disciplines us according to our train of thoughts and actions, like a parent to a child, because he loves us and wants us to do and see good, not evil.

Life is a gift… One shouldn’t just “throw it out the window”

Because of a foolish

Mistake.

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The verse I’ll be going over is found in Hebrews, one of my favorites books. The verses are Hebrews 2:1-4 (NIV):

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Starting out with the first verse, it tells us that we need to be careful and be alert and listen so that we don’t drift away from Christ. Now, skipping down a verse to verse 3, The salvation being talked about sin’t like we’re being saved – bailed out – temporarily, but the kind of salvation of where we’re saved to the fullest extent – we are bailed out in full; all our debts are paid, we are saved! This salvation Christ offers us is because of his unconditional love for us. Yes, us. Stinky, smelly, sin-ridden us, but that’s all washed away when we truly believe that when Christ died he washed all that down the drain – he washed it all away, in which, he did!

Going back to verse 2, it talks about us; flesh, how if a message (ultimately given by God) spoken by the angels above was a binding; taunt, message, sealing our fate (if you will). Because of the price we would’ve paid for our sinful actions – the punishment it deserved – there’d be no hope for us. It’d be how our sin; flesh; human nature, would have over ruled us -just  like it is for people now-a-days who don’t believe in Christ’s sacrifice, they are distracted. For us, it’s only through God’s unconditional grace and love that we have been saved.

In verse 4, the last verse, we can just see miracles happening! How God is showing his love and power; His agape love. Though his word we learn. Through His wonders, we learn and come to a halt with life in awe. Through his signs, we can see and discover more. And when we obey and stay steadfast in his love, we are rewarded; given gifts by the Holy Spirit, which lives in us and is actively working.

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