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Saturday, August 29, 2015

FREEDOM


What is freedom?  Does it mean that we are free to do anything and everything we want to do in our own home or our own country?  Does freedom mean the same to you as someone from a totally different culture?  Do you feel free or enslaved?  From what?  

Most of us experience conditions in life that make us feel enslaved.  True freedom comes from a mature mind, acceptance of life in general and all of its imperfections.  I believe that freedom is achieved mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  You are what you think.

However, I'd like to go even farther with the word freedom and it is the most important one for me.  Spiritual freedom, that is.  There is no denying that our material existence in this world is temporary, but we are not just made up of matter.  We are moved by our spirit.  Our spirits thirsts for a deeper and divine love.  Turning away that love only leaves us yearning for it even more.  We sometimes lose our way and replace that divine love with something that feeds the "matter" in the form of food, drugs, sexual addictions, etc. but we all know that no matter how much the physical body is fed, it doesn't penetrate into the spiritual.  Some people will get that.  However, again, because they refuse the divine love, they seek a peek at a fictional future from astrological signs and psychic readings.  This type of search is a very dangerous one.

Enter, Jesus.  God loved us from the gate, that is a non-argument.  But then, He wanted us to understand who He is and how he works.  In the old testament, the way to atonement is through animal sacrifice. The fattest cow, sheep or whatever they owned was killed as offering to God in atonement.  But humanity didn't really get that.  It was so easy to offer atonement to God, after all, whomever had the animals to offer could easily atone with God but loses the essence of the repentance of the sin.  God forgave but He also wanted us to learn from it so that we can have a stronger relationship with Him, and the stronger our relationship with Him, the less we tend to succumb to the temptations of the devil.

He then sent Jesus, who was up in heaven with Him.  But not only did He send His Son to us, He also wanted to feel what it was like to be us.  He took the greatest pain that humans can muster up.   He found out what it was like to be crushed, despised, rejected and in deep emotional pain.  He knows the quiet desperation we endure when faced with mounting bills, job loss, marital discord, parenting challenges, etc. which if we were wise, sends us to our knees.  Jesus became one of us who can relate to our struggles and hardships.  Jesus kneels next to us to revitalize our energy, provide relief from our stresses, set us free from sin and enable us to endure life's discrepancies.  Through the Holy Spirit, again, God in Spirit, we are freed from all of life's storms and offers us a fresh start.

Our God is an awesome God!  Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!


Saturday, August 22, 2015

RUTHLESS TRUST



Now that you are a Christian do you ask yourself if faith has tiers?  What I mean is that are there different levels of trust in God?  

So you start out as a baby Christian, so coined by seasoned ones.  You have many, many questions.  You try to follow the teachings of the Bible and you wonder if others falter in their walk every now and then.  The answer is yes.  Since this is an established fact, how do you climb the ladder of faith?

The answer is the closer your relationship is with Jesus, the more seasoned Christian you become.  When nothing else matters in this world, when you are being persecuted because you choose to become a Jesus freak, when you have more enemies who cast you out of their circles because of the paradigm shift they see in you, you may just have climb up that ladder to a higher level.  

But by no means are you out of the woods when it comes to sin.  As a matter of fact, the closer your relationship is with God, the more the devil works in you, laying out your faults, telling you lies because we, as humans, are still vulnerable to the devil's wiles, until our earthly bodies transition into our heavenly perfected bodies.  But again, it doesn't mean we give in to sin.  We are glorified by God when we turn away from it.  In my walk with the Lord, when I do turn away from sin, it seems He rewards me with something better than the choice I would've made.  That's just how God works.  If you honor Him, He will honor you.

Ruthless trust is the courageous confidence that despite suffering and evil, terrorism and domestic conflict, God's plan in Jesus Christ cannot fail.  All of us will progress slowly into the final plans of God wherein we will all see each other as equal in His eyes without looking at each other's shortcomings and we will all rejoice in the Holy Spirit who makes us one with the Lord.  

Ruthless trust is what we should give God.  Just sayin'.

Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

GREEN WITH HOPE AND LIFE


We often associate the color green with the word envy.  When I painted this woman green, I was going to talk about envy.  But I felt it was a negative subject so instead, I decided that a more positive green color association equals life and hope.  

We are often impressed when we see and hear about some act of courage when people die for others and give their lives up for the common good.  We tear up when bravery is shown by mere humans and we sing their praises.  The reason is because we see that there is hope in life in this world.  Those courageous people mirror what Jesus Christ our Lord and our Father God had to give up.  But what Jesus gave up was a life of a deity, a divine life and He showed us how much He suffered and the trek to His physical death was a slow and painful one.  I often wondered why He wasn't just stabbed by a sword and been given a quick death?  Why did it drag on?  In my humble opinion, I can only surmise that it was because God wants us to understand that at the end of pain and suffering in our own life, there is hope.  Just as Jesus rose from the dead, in all His glory, we can see how hope transforms our lives of suffering in the flesh into a glorious state in the eternal.  God, in Jesus' expense showed us just how enormous His love for us is.  It is so enormous that He gave it a new name, Agape.  It is a kind of love that could not be fathomed, could not be explained.  It is the kind of love that can only be felt through the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit was given to us by God, through Jesus' death so that His love could be felt in our hearts always so that we can always be reminded that there is hope.

When spring comes, the whole world turns green.  God never ceases to give us reminders even in our surroundings, He always sends a message that after the cold frost and misery of the dead of winter, we can all pretty much be certain that everything will come back to life again.  We feel the transition of things start to come back to life.  We know we will feel the heat of the sun again, crops will bear fresh food again.  That is how God wants us to be reminded so we won't ever forget Him.  

Read Romans 5:1-11

UNTIL MY NEXT RANT... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!



Saturday, August 8, 2015

REPENTANCE





Here's the breakdown.  When God created us, someone messed up.  We could've been sitting pretty, perfect in ourselves just like the God who created us.  Those people were Adam and Eve.  That's water under the bridge, though.  At this point, we are individuals and as individuals, we have individual relationships with God which is sacred between us and God.  However, because we cannot save ourselves from the screw up of Adam and Eve, God His only Son,  who gave  up His life as a sacrifice so that the old Adam is cancelled out by the new Adam, Jesus Christ.  He could have just as easily fell for satan's tricks while in human flesh and failed just as Adam did but He gained victory over the devil's wiles.

God extends the life eternal in paradise to us on Jesus' account.  Why is He doing that for us when we are such sinners and quite frankly, don't deserve it.  That's because He loves us and the only way we can escape judgment is to repent. There is only one way, and repentance is it.  

To its very core, repentance is a paradigm shift.  It is resetting your brain, your mind and your heart from that which you have grown to believe, whether it is from parental influences or environmental influences.  It is not easy to do this.  We have to surrender everything we've ever known to God, God then injects faith that Jesus Christ, His Son, died on the cross to forgive our sins, providing us with somewhat of a blanket forgiveness, no matter what the sin is, and then and only then can He absolve us from our sins and allow us to start anew.  

But even in that circumstance, we are but mere humans.  Humans are not immune to keep sinning, but because of that change of heart, we now, on our own recognizance, will refuse to sin or try our might not to become repeat offenders.  Even when we slip, God is always there for us ready to forgive.  

But most of us are confused with the meaning of repentance.  The word alone is often resisted because old habits are hard to ditch.  Understandably so, since we are human and it comes full circle.  However, the closer our relationship is with God, the less likely we are to fall for sin.  We will never ever be perfect, but when we become mindful of the goodness of the Lord, the less we are inclined to sin.  It's just how it works.  We start to understand within our hearts that sinning is no longer okay.  We begin to see the things of the flesh for what it is and realize that a moment of pleasure from the commitment of a sin is no longer worth the pain we cause God, the only one person who truly has our back.  We can no longer see people as reliable, or material things for completeness, nor politicians  or government to make us hopeful.

The more tenured we become in God's will for us, the more we strive to make a contribution to the kingdom of God.  The reward in this life is a fruitful one until we transition to heaven and the reward in heaven, well, as it was pointed out in the Bible, is beyond what we can even expect or imagine.  I don't know about you, but I am excited to find out what it is.  Ergo, my blog posts to you along with an artistic creation I share with you being obedient to the task God has assigned to me.

Out with the old way of thinking, sacrificing the enjoyment of what the world has to offer, in with the enjoyment of what heaven has to offer.  

We need to repent the old life, because repentance is more than just turning from the wrong ways; it is embracing the right ways.

To begin your trek to repentance you have to build relationships with your family by discipling to them, your friends, co-workers, etc.  Taking every chance to call them to faith.

Jesus already did all the work, all we have to do is embrace salvation by making that paradigm shift from worldly to heavenly.

Until my next rant.... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!


Saturday, August 1, 2015

THE FREEDOM YOU



I notice that as human beings, our favorite pastime is to compare ourselves to others.  The proverbial greener grass awakens our green-eyed monster from inside.  Someone with a bigger house, nicer car, fancy clothes, vacation etc. sends us into an envy tailspin.  Some of us are even Christians who have been given as much as we can be given but we are still insatiable.

It is an innate characteristic as humans that makes this undeniable.  Something as simple as being in an art class together, following along with the art teacher but we still tend to look at our friend or neighbor's work to compare ours with theirs.  Most of that stems from the fact that we don't really know ourselves and our gifts that were given to us by God.  We are unique in our own way, we have strengths and our strength could be someone else's weakness, and vice versa.

There is a way to rid ourselves of that bad habit.  It is called God.  If we rely heavily on God, He will do the actual work for us Himself.  He directs our willing hearts to the purpose that we were originally born to do.    Gratefulness for the role God plays in our future puts a smile on His face because it is His sole desire that we love Him and obey Him.  Imagine if each of us gives in to God Himself as He leads us to the right path of our future, God will be pleased and our community, the church, will be strong.

The worst thing one can do is become a copycat.  We cannot successfully become someone else and feel original.  It is not where we want our future to lie.  So, ask God to reveal these things to you and you will achieve the happiness that He wants for you.

Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!