Sunday, August 30, 2015

Working to Be Loved?

     How many times do you feel that you need to work for love? People sometimes tell you that nothing is free in this world and that you need to work for what you want. So does that mean I will have to work hard just to be loved by someone? Our parents gave us love and we did not have to work for that. However, sometimes I feel if I disappoint them or anyone else that have loved me, their love will become a little bit less. I think to my self, I must now work hard to gain back their approval and their love. And then I wonder to myself does all love come with conditions and if you really mess up in your life, could you find yourself without anyone to love you at all.
     Maybe everyone should make out an individual list so to give to others their conditions you have to meet before they could love you. Then if you are not receiving any love from that person, you can look at he's or she's list and see what you are doing wrong. Ha! Just kidding. But I do believe that our love has limits, we are not as limitless in our love as God or Jesus Christ. If someone really hurt us bad, we will not like them anymore, let alone to love them. God and Jesus still love those who rejected them. Jesus said while hanging upon the cross. In Luke 23:34 "And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know what they do...." 
     Jesus told us to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. He said this in Matthew 5:44-46 "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46for if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?" This is a great love that many of us has yet to attain. For I have seen many friends break up just over a few bad words. I even find myself harboring some bad feelings toward others on some occasions. Jesus went on to tell us in Matthew 5:48 "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." I am not perfect, so I to like many of us, am still working on my own perfection.
     Yes, I am still working own my own perfection. I am not there yet and probably will not get there until Jesus Christ returns. I will be praying a lot to God for forgiveness for my shortcomings and I will be asking others for their forgiveness if I mistakenly hurt them in anyway. I am trying to grow in my spiritual maturity as fast as I can but sometimes it feels that it will take me forever to do it. I know I need to understand more about love and I know that others do to. Knowing that we are imperfect beings who require a whole lot of forgiveness, I will try not to overly judge others if they hurt me in someway, in that way I can keep a road open for friendship. 
     Working to be loved, it sometimes feels that way. As we see in the Bible, God wants us all to give and receive love freely between us. If we feel there is a need to earn somebody's love then we are doing it wrong and they are doing it wrong if they are putting conditions on their love. Love is freely given to us by God and he wants his children to freely give that love to others, with no earning required.      

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Undeserving Me

     Why did Jesus die for me? I did not deserve it. He endure the pain of his crucifixion and he did nothing wrong. He only loved us with his whole heart. His loving nature was rejected by others. His kind words were not listened to. He took my death and made it his own. Why Lord did you do this for my undeserving soul?
     Out of my stupidity, I brought about my own pain and from his mercy I was forgiven. I walk away and he waited patiently for my return. He welcomed me back with his love, and his comforting words. Even if I had brought shame to myself, he stood by me with his wise counsel. 
     Lord, why do you put up with me? I lived like a madman who knows nothing at all and yet you wasted your valuable time on me. Because of my imperfection, I stumble and fall and in my time need, you held me up so that I could walk. 
     Why do people say cruel things about you? I see nothing in you to hate but everything in you to love. I thank God everyday for your compassion and love, undeserving they are for me.   

Friday, August 21, 2015

I thank God for Giving Me a Choice

     I thank God for giving me a choice, to be the kind of person that I want to be. No one has control over my mind. I can walk the path that I choose and I can believe the way I want to believe. In my opinion, this is the way it is for all of us. There are those who choose to do bad things but I do not have to be like them. I can spend my time doing good, it is my choice. I do not have to be like them and they do not have to be like me, we are all given a choice in how we choose to be.
     I know there are exceptions, like the severely mentally disabled people, who seem to be at the mercy of their impulses but most of us have the freedom of choice. When I say freedom of choice, I mean the freedom of doing good over evil, of choosing righteousness over unrighteousness, even in extreme conditions. In chapter 3 in the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden image and order his people to worship the image, when the music played. If anyone did not fall down and worship the golden image, they would be thrown into a burning fiery furnace.
     There were three people who did not worship the golden image. Their names were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar became furious with them and told them if they do not serve my gods or worship the image that he had made, he would cast them immediately into the burning fiery furnace. They gave their answer to the King in Daniel 3:16-18 "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the King, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."
     The story goes on to tell us that those men were thrown into the fiery furnace but an angel from God protected them, they were not harmed, nor even their clothes smelled of smoke. King Nebuchadnezzar told them to come out of the furnace and then he order his people to never to speak against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego again. This story shows us even when our very lives are on the line, we still have a choice whether or not to be faithful to God. Our enemy does not have control over our mind and we can still make a choice. Maybe it will be our last one upon this earth but remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
     I thank God I am given a choice to serve him even unto death. I do not have to do as others do. I do not have to murder my brothers and sisters. I do have to steal or to cause any harm to anyone if I do not want to. I can try to do good all the days of my life and serve God until the day I die.  God has given us all, this vast freedom to choose up until the day of our final judgement. It is left to all of us whether or not we spend our days doing evil or doing good.      

Sunday, August 16, 2015

In Time All that We do will Come to an End

     All that we do will come to an end. All that we work hard for and to build will disappear in time. Then what is left? Maybe some ruins, showing that someone was here at one time. It is beyond our power to capture eternity. We are only here now in this present time, then sometime in the future we will be gone. I believe that was the point that King Solomon was trying to make in the book of Ecclesiastes.
    King Solomon told about how he felt after he had done many things in his life. Ecclesiastes 2:11 "Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and the striving after the wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun." King Solomon said that all that he had accomplished will not last forever. He concluded that a person reward is the reward of enjoying the the task and nothing more. Ecclesiastes 2:24 "There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. this also, I saw, is from the hand of God,"
     I feel for what King Solomon was trying to do, he was trying to attain as much wisdom that he possible could. He tried to know everything but in doing so he found no permanence in anything. He said in Ecclesiastes 3:20 "All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to the dust all return." He was referring to the flesh of men and beasts. God said that to Adam in Genesis 3:19 "....for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." No matter how hard we try, we can not last forever. We are temporary beings that create temporary things, like King Solomon said all is vanity, meaning it will not last.
     So all of this leads me to a big question, what are we all trying to accomplish with our limited time we have on Earth? Whose glory are we working for God's or ourselves? King Solomon said in the end we will all have to answer to God. Ecclesiastes 12:14 "For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil." So would it not be wise on our part to put what God want us to do, first in our lives? Yes, we could go our entire life ignoring God but as you can see there will be an accounting in the end, and then it will be to late to make any apologies or to show any regrets. The scriptures have been around for a very long time, there are not to many people left that can claim a total ignorance of God.
    King Solomon does give us good advice on how to spend our days while we are here. Ecclesiastes 9:9,10 "Enjoy life with the wife, whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going." King Solomon tells us we need to enjoy our life with our wife, if we have one. He also tells us to try to enjoy the things that we do and do as much as we can because our time here is so short. He also advises us never to forget about our service to God. Ecclesiastes 12:13 "The end of the matter; all as been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."          

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Losing Control

     Losing control is pretty scary for most of us, after all we want total control over our lives. We try to plan for everything even for the things that might happen to us. Sad to say, even with all of our well thought out planning the unexpected still occurs. Our entire world can be turn upside down so easily by accidents, severe weather, fire, earthquakes and even by unexpected health conditions. The control we think we have can slip away so quickly leaving our lives in complete disarray. During these out of control situations we desperately look to someone for help, to help us out of the chaos and to help us get back on our feet again.
     Who do you usually turn to when you feel your life is totally hopeless? The answer for me and I think for most of us is God. We will pray to God for help. There is something inside of us that instinctively says, "Please, help me God!" This reminds me of this quote by James Morrow, "There are no atheists in foxholes' isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against foxholes." When we are near death and there is no one else to turn to, I think in my opinion that most of us will send up a prayer to God for help.
     Losing control over your life can also happen due to emotional stresses in your life. When your life isn't turning out the way you expected. When your life's problems and burdens becomes way to much for you to handle alone. In those trouble times, I find comfort in reading the Bible. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." God said in Isaiah 41:10 "fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." These verses tell me that during the trouble times in my life I can depend upon God's help. He will strengthen me and give me rest for my emotionally tired soul. God also said he will never abandon us. Hebrew 13:5 "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."                                                                 (ESV)

     P.S. I have made a youtube link to Carrie Underwood's Jesus, Take the Wheel. This song is about a woman who loses control and then she asked Jesus to take over.   

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Be Thankful

     Sorry to say, that I have not really been thankful for the things that I do have in life. I have gotten so use to looking ahead and trying to attain the things that I do not have, that I rarely look back in appreciation of the things that I do have. I think that the old saying holds true that we really do not appreciate the things we have until we lose them and that goes for our health as well.
     In the Bible, Colossians 3:15 says, "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." This is good advice, I need to slow down and just let in the peaceful spirit of God and then in that peaceful state of mind give thanks to God for all the things that I have. I know to well in life that what you have today you might not have tomorrow. So being thankful now is a very good thing to do.
     I know how the lack of not having things can consume your time. We think that we need many things to make our life happy but in fact if we are truly happy inside we can get by on less and be just as happy. I find that I am at my happiness when I am just praising God and reading his word. Colossians 3:16,17 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
     We may get to busy to stop and be thankful but I am telling you, you will regret not appreciating the people around you, your health and the things that you do have now. There are many things in this life that can happen to you and to the people that you love. Now is a good time to be thankful and not later. Live this moment and be thankful, for tomorrow may never come.

Monday, August 3, 2015

I am not Good Enough

     How often do we become our own worst enemy by thinking less of ourselves? We sometimes think that we are not good enough and that others are much better than we are. We think they are more deserving and more capable. But we are so wrong in our thinking for God does not see us in a negative way as we see ourselves. He see our full potential of what we can be and what we can accomplish. He has helped so many people throughout history to realize they are more than what they thought they were.
     In the Bible there are stories in which God had helped people who thought they could not accomplished a certain task. For example, Moses thought he was inadequate for the task that God had given him. Exodus 3:11 "But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" We see that Moses thought he could not do this. God reassured him that he could with his help. Exodus 3:12 He said, "But I will be with you, and this be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain." What Moses thought he could not do, God showed him that he can with his help.
     The prophet Jeremiah thought he could not be, whom God wanted him to be. He said to God in Jeremiah 1:6, Then I said, "Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth." Then God told Jeremiah in verses 7 and 8 "But the Lord said to me. "Do not say, 'I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8Do not be afraid of them. for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord." God saw something in Jeremiah that Jeremiah could not see in himself and with the help from the Lord, Jeremiah became a prophet to the nations.
     We are all more than what we believe are ourselves to be. If we were not God would not waste his time on us. God loved us enough to sent his only begotten son to die for us. He would not have done that if he did not think we were worth it. God has given us all a chance of everlasting life but only with his help and God is willing to help us if we want him to. With God's help we can reach our full potential and be the people that God's see us to be. The apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."