Monthly Archives: February 2011

Who wrote this?

Someone once wrote that it is not sufficient to have faith in Jesus.  It is also required to act. The writer wrote that when we ask for something, we should have faith that we will receive it, otherwise, we will not.  He also says that sometimes we don’t receive what we want because we ask out of selfishness. We should also resist what is evil, because if we don’t, then we become the devil himself. He suggests we listen more and talk less. And that we have to be careful what we say, because it can offend others.  The writer also wrote that if we say we believe something, we should practice it, not just say we believe.  Like when we see ourselves in the mirror but don’t pay attention to what we see and forget how we look. This includes believing in Jesus.  He then says that what pleases God is to visit orphans and widows.  We should not exclude anyone just because he or she is poor. The rich will eventually rotten.  Everyone should be treated the same. Mercy triumphs over judgment. The writer then dares to say that without work, faith is useless, like the body without a spirit is useless. We can say we believe, like evil people can, but that doesn’t prove anything.  We are justified by both faith and works.  The writer emphasizes that we must recognize God in everything we do, not just rely on our own agenda. We should be patient, honest, take care and pray for each other.

Who dared to write this message?  His name was James, the brother of Jesus.  I summarized it above.  And it has inspired me to act on my faith some more.  Thank you for reading.


Embarrassed by the Church

Dear Church,

Part of my moving away from you is for the following reason:  you embarrass me.

I am embarrassed when people point out the fact that you are divided into so many denominations.

I am embarrassed when you preach love, but condemn gays, addicts, and other religions.

I am embarrassed that serving the poor is not a priority to you as “saving souls” .

I am embarrassed when you raise your hands to worship God, but keep them in your pockets when a homeless shows you a sign.

I am embarrassed that you identify yourself as the “body of Christ”, but lack presence in the world.

I am embarrassed by your lack of mercy and transparency.

I am embarrassed by your passion for filling up pews, but not filling up the stomachs of needy families.

I am embarrassed by your fervent attempt to defend your faith, but not defend the victims of discrimination.

I am NOT embarrassed by the Gospel, which is to love one another as ourselves, but by you, for failing to live the Gospel.

Sincerely,

A Reflective Christian.

 


Unborn Christian

What does it mean to be “born again?”  Does it take the mere act of professing faith, or more than that?  I have been taught that Salvation comes through faith alone. But what many people don’t realized is that faith itself requires action.  Paul taught that faith without works is dead, and he was exactly right.  But, what does this mean?    Jesus talked to Nicodemus about this, but the teacher of the law did not fully understand what Jesus meant.    Jesus always tried to use physical examples to explain the spiritual.  Since I believe that the real teachings of Jesus entailed the genuine care and service of others, being born again then signifies the revolutionary act of ceasing to serve the self alone. You see, we humans are experts in serving the self, it is easy, natural, automatic.  But when it comes to reaching out and serving others, the same way we would serve ourselves, then it becomes difficult (Love your neighbor as yourself).  Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek, meaning, don’t retaliate and be humble.  That is difficult.  Jesus taught us to walk the extra mile, meaning, do more than what is asked from us.  That is also difficult.  Jesus taught us to not be angry at each other, forgive 70 x 7, love our enemies, never swear, not lust, and “hate our families” (meaning that living the Kingdom of Heaven is more important than living our selfish traditional lives).  These are extremely difficult.  Why do we have to do these things? Because they are required in order to live the Kingdom of Heaven.  It takes a lot to do these things, but we have to be born again, we have to be new beings.   We have to be free from ourselves.  We have to be saved from our own hell.  Our enemy is not the devil, but our own selfish desires.  Hell is not under the earth, but in the lives of people when they suffer the consequences of their selfish lifestyles.  We are all selfish beings, which is what makes us sinful.  If we don’t practice these qualities and stop serving the self alone, and start the genuine care and service of others, then no matter how many times we go to church, read the Bible, and pray, we are still Unborn Christians.


Don’t Miss This

 

I thought today how much I have missed in this life. I can see my children be born, change their diapers, teach them to walk, take them to school…. But I still missed a lot.  I see them running inside the house, but yell at them reminding them to walk.   I complain of how heavy they are when they try to climb all over me, but fail to contemplate how much they have grown.  I criticize how loud they sometimes are and scold them for yelling at each other, but fail to meditate on how much they have learned to communicate.  I try to avoid having to get up from my seat just to play catch, but miss the fact that they are still healthy and can play with me.  It is so easy to take for granted how blessed I am to have children who have grown so much.  I often complain  of little things that they do simply because I am so selfish.  I whine like a baby because they don’t meet my standards.  But fail to realize how much of a blessing they really are because they have met God’s standards. .  How unappreciative can I be?  How much more am I going to take for granted simply because I have a routine that I have to follow?  I have missed so much, I refuse to miss anymore. I will hug them at every opportunity, I will ask them about their day, I will play with them in spite of my fatigue, I will listen to them even if I am busy.  “Let the children come to me, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”


If I were God

This is a post I wrote two years ago in my journal before using WordPress.   I wanted to share with my readers.  Here it goes.

Does God want us all to be healed?  And the popular answer is yes.   However, we all know that does not always happen no matter how much we pray for it.  My own experience proves it.  So the answer that I have is, since God, by definition,  knows everything, more than what I can comprehend (this is the most understanding I have about God), then the reason for the suffering, including sickness, must have a greater purpose than my physical limited mind can comprehend.  It is merely accepting that God knows what He is doing.  Is this easy to do?  Of course not!  I have suffered to accept the fact that my physically impaired brother was born that way and has not healed even after decades of devotional prayer for his healing.  But God knows why He has not allowed the healing to happen, even if we desire it so much.  If I don’t believe this, it is because I have not come to accept the fact that God knows more than I know, understands better than I can (He has the greatest understanding) and has a purpose for the suffering.  I doubt, question, and even start believing that God does not exist simply because my arrogant and rebellious nature does not allow me to accept that God knows all. If I doubt God, if I question his existence, it is simply because I have put conditions for God, in other words, I have demanded God to act the way I would, and if He does not meet my standards, then He must not exist.  This is more arrogant than to believe that Jesus is the only way to God.  Can I question God when I feel like it?  Sure you can.  Job and King David did.   We are humans, and we should also allow ourselves to be angry at God for our misunderstanding, like a child cries and throws a tantrum when he is not allowed to cross the road without looking both ways.  Like a better knowing parent, God knows why he does not allow the healing.  If I were God, I would certainly do a lot of things different, but I am not Him.  And I believe that if I would have his knowledge, I would do exactly what He is doing, no matter how less knowing beings, like humans, would protest.  Think about it.

 


Focusing on Jesus

Some Christians tend to give too much attention to areas in life that do not deserve the attention. What was the main message that Jesus sent us? I believe it was summarized in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), where Jesus emphasized on being merciful so that we can receive mercy. And if this is the case, why bother in engaging in useless discussions about doctrines and morality? I think that the most important thing is to simply serve those in need to be able to glorify God, and not condemn those who we consider sinners. How much did Jesus emphasize on homosexuality, for instance? Out of 31,103 Bible verses, only seven frequently quoted verses speak directly of same-sex behavior, and none of them were spoken by Jesus. On the other hand, there are 2,100 verses about poverty, and Jesus mentioned some of them. Am I saying that homosexuality is not wrong? That is not what I am trying to say. What I am saying is that taking our focus away from what Jesus wanted us to concentrate on is wrong. The next time you engage in a philosophical or religious debate with someone, stop and think if you are doing it to genuinely lead the other person towards the Kingdom of Heaven or simply to prove a point and win an argument, which is a selfish behavior. To lead someone into the Kingdom of Heaven requires giving to the poor, visiting the sick, being a peacemaker, being meek, having poor and clean heart, fighting for justice, and admitting our weaknesses. We have to be careful in our walk with God, and make sure we are not acting our of self righteousness.  If we ask Jesus today, what is the most important thing about life?  He would answer the same way he answered in Matthew 22:36-40 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”