December 31, 2012

2012 Reflections

Today is the last day of 2012 and what better way to end it than with reflections of the year that is about to conclude.

A customary tradition it has become, we all had resolutions at the beginning of 2012 we were hoping to have achieved before it drew to a close. For some, the resolutions included loosing weight,going back to school, getting a new and/or better job,making new friends, traveling and discovering new places,conquering our fears, taking a chance on love or whatever and so on.........

But for so many of us, finding ourselves on December 31st , the last day of the year might have taken us unawares and sent us on a regretful trip instead. We found ourselves lamenting about all the things we said we would accomplish before year end and failed to go through with them.

We realize we didn't take that one chance on love when the opportunity showed itself, we were reluctant to go out and seek work, we got too comfortable in our old jobs and lacked motivation to go out in search for a better one, we lost the determination to loose weight, finances didn't allow us to go on that long planned trip or adventure, we didn't overcome any fears or phobias,....etc

And now we are already drawing up a list of new resolutions for the year 2013, and that list looks very much like the one of the just ended year. We are carrying over the to-do list of 2012 to 2013 with the hope that we would be more determined to accomplish them and tick them off the list.

Yet for others, their resolution was simply to wake up every day regardless of how unbearable life might have gotten. That despite not having food, not having clothes, not having shelter, they had hope and only prayed to wake up the next day. And sadly, that will still be their resolution, to just wake up every day breathing.

So instead of focusing on the things we failed to accomplish, how about we reflect on the positive things that 2012 brought along. If nothing else, the mere fact that we lived to see December 31st should make us thankful. For so many who had resolutions and who might have been able to go through with them, did not live to get a chance at that resolution.

How about thanking God for that child we were not expecting but were blessed by their birth, for that graduation we didn't see coming that sprung on us, for all the journey mercies on the scary roads, that despite the numerous flight and airplane crashes and scares; we came out safe and sound,that we survived a terrible ordeal or disease like cancer,that we were miraculously untouched in a shoot out,(fill in what you are thankful for)....etc

While it is totally alright to go ahead with your resolution list, do not loose sight of what the most important resolution of 2013 should be. For me, that resolution is drawing closer to my Maker, seeking His face daily,eating and drinking His word,and growing stronger in faith as i build a better relationship with him.

Mathew 6:33 says 'seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto to you.' Once we seek to know Him better, to serve Him in spirit and in truth,to love Him unconditionally,and to commune with Him every day, every other resolution will come to be because He will give us the Determination, Focus, Drive and Motivation that we need to accomplish them.

So as we enter the new year, lets reflect on the so many blessings that came to be this year,be thankful even for the dreams that didn't come to pass because God knows better,have the resolutions at the back of our minds while resolving to put God first place in our lives. Knowing that if He is first place in our lives, He will in turn put us fist place and therefore lead us to achieve those goals because He knows, they will only make us better servants and Christians.

In conclusion, lets resolve to be thankful for every day we wake up, not take it for granted and go out to achieve our God-given purposes while keeping Him first place in our lives.

Thanks for visiting each day that this blog has been running and hope you keep coming in 2013.


December 21, 2012

Jesus is our Forgiveness This Season

Welcome fellow readers to another series called Forgiveness Part 1.

As you might have probably noticed by now, every article i have written within the last few weeks have all been connected to the season we are celebrating in one way or another. You might think its too repetitive for me to keep going on and on about what we should and shouldn't do this season. Well, i crave your indulgence to bare with me just a little while longer and we would be done talking about Christmas.

Whatever i have shared up to this moment has been what i have been inspired to write and what The Spirit led me to talk about. All i did was obey in hopes that, the message does touch somebody somewhere in a deep and special way.

So unto the topic of today, Forgiveness. We are a few days from celebrating Christmas, a day when Jesus Christ the Son Of Man is born, but i bet there are so many people out there who do not feel the joy and happiness yet, even as we are just five days away.

Every day we come across people who try as hard as they can to mask their real emotions with a smile, just to hide away what is tugging at their hearts. And the simple fact of it is, their hearts are heavy. Not with fear,worry or anxiety but with guilt. The guilt of past mistakes, errors and sins.These people have imprisoned themselves with their guilt.

The very reason  we are told Christ died on the cross was for our sins. He more than anyone else other than God knew that we are human and by that human nature,will always falter. The significance of His crucifixion was the forgiveness of our sins, both the ones we committed and are to commit. This in no way justifies why we keep sinning  neither is it permission for us to keep repeating old mistakes.

 But Ephesians 1:6-7 says 'To the praise of the glory of His grace,by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.In Him we have redemption through His blood,the forgiveness of sins,according to the riches of His grace.' and 1 John 1:9 says 'If we confess our sins,He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness'.

From the two passages above, it is very clear that God does not hold us in contempt of our past words or deeds, but invites us to come into His presence , seeking for forgiveness with a clean and genuine heart. Then He , in His infinite mercy and love will always forgive us. He is our father and we are His children. If our earthly and mortal parents can forgive our shortcomings, what more of our Heavenly and Eternal Father.

It doesn't matter how stained your past is or what mistakes you committed. What matters to God and Christ Jesus, is that you are sorry enough and realize that mistake to ask for forgiveness and to not repeat the same actions in the future. What matters to God is our hearts, our willingness to admit our faults, our genuine and sincere apology and our willingness to continue to walk in His ways.

Hebrews 8:12 says 'For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.'Thank God for being God in our lives, because were it dependent on us, the world would be filled with hate and people holding grudges against others for their mistakes.

But as much as God forgives us, we cannot fully receive the mercy and grace that comes with His forgiveness if we do not forgive ourselves first. It is alright to let go of the guilt and realize that we are only human and bound to fall again. The difference is when we decidedly choose to not falter again, at least not in the same aspect or way.

So before Christmas gets here, make it a point to free your mind, body and soul of whatever guilt that you have been carrying around and let the love of  our Savior touch you in a special way. And when it does, be open and ready to accept His forgiveness and receive the mind-blowing peace, grace, mercy and love that comes with it. It is Christmas after all, and you cannot give love if you do not have love. And you can only give love, Christ love when you accept the one He is offering you through forgiveness.

Free yourself and be ready to receive Jesus, our forgiveness this season. Merry Christmas to all.

December 16, 2012

Sunday's Message 12/09/2012

I hope the Sunday was a happy and blessed one fellow readers. Before we begin the new week, here is today's message delivered to us from God by His anointed servants.

The first reading came from Baruch 5:1-9, the second reading was from Philippians 1:4-6,8-11 while the Gospel was from the book of Luke 3:1-6.

Both the first and the second readings were focused on the Joy that Christ wants His children to experience, to feel peace and love and the Gospel talked about God sending His word to His children through John the Baptist, as Prophet Isaiah had proclaimed.

The preacher of today's liturgy was Fr. Tom and he interpreted the readings and Gospel as thus:

Advent is the season when we are called to examine our lives and refocus our priorities. It is the time when we are required to deal with the stuffs that are really important and beyond material things. We are called to examine our relationships with family, friends, people and every body that we may come in contact with in our lives.

As we wait for the birth of the Son Of Man, we need to ready the way for Him to find and occupy a place in our hearts.But we cannot do that if our hearts are not pure and free of grudges. It will be difficult to let God come into our lives and heart if we do not forgive past hurts and grudges.

Forgiveness is never more so for the forgiven than it is for the forgiver. This is because, when we forgive, we free and clean our hearts of any bitterness and hate and open the door for love to come in. Forgiving somebody doesn't mean that we were wrong and they were right,it is more than that. It is a process.

It is a process that we can only fulfill with Christ , so that we can get to the point of reconciliation. Reconciliation doesn't necessarily mean that the person has to be back in your life because the truth is that, some relationships are toxic. Relationships that do not make you a better person or that do not contribute to your life positively are toxic relationships and as Christians, we need to abstain from anything or people that make us go contrary to the will of God.

So reconciling our differences with those who hurt us, is so that we can make our hearts free, clean, pure and ready to welcome Christ in. Because holding on to grudges only gives the other person more power over you, as they go about their daily lives and you are stock-up on the fact that they hurt you, and nobody should have power over your life other than Jesus Christ Himself.

So lets take some time out and do a bit of soul searching and reach out to those who we think wronged us or hurt us. Wipe the slate clean with them and let go of all the hurt and pain. Clear the air and forgive one another because then we would be freeing ourselves from emotional torture. We would be better people and Christ would find us ready and waiting when He finnaly comes, because there would be room for Him in our lives and in our hearts.

As we go out to begin the new week, lets keep this message in mind at all times and work towards that goal when the opportunity presents itself.

Have a blessed week ahead every body and may God grant us all the Grace, to accept the things we can't change and give us the courage we need to forgive those who seek it from us. Try that this week and witness, experience a New You in Christ Jesus.

December 12, 2012

God never abandons His children

Life they say, is full of ups and downs and we never know what to expect as we go through it. There is no manual on how to live life and though we may all have experienced the same thing at some point in time in our lives, no two stories are the same.

I am sure there is somebody out there, who thinks they have reached the end of their rope, who thinks they can't go on anymore, the frustration, the hurt, the pain and the disappointment.

I have been there.There was a moment in my life when everything seemed to be going downhill and life itself was working against me.It seemed that the harder i tried, the more i failed, the weaker i got, the faithless and hopeless i became.

We have heard countless times that life is not a bed of roses but nobody equally prepares you for the kind of storm that you might experience in your life. In my case, i got drained to the point that i started questioning God, i rebelled against Him, i stopped praying and when i occasionally found the strength to go down on my knees, they would suddenly become weak and i would loose speech.

Despite all that i had been through and thought that God had abandoned me, He chose just one event in my life at that point to show me that He never left my side. It was a day when everything would have come to a stop for me, my life would have literally ended. In the midst of that panic and fear,God worked everything out and i came out of the situation miraculously.

It was only after this ordeal, that i looked back at every single day of my life, every single event leading up to that day and realized that God had never left my side to begin with. He was always there. Those times when i questioned Him, when i rebelled against Him for "abandoning' me and when i failed to call on Him, i hurt Him but it didn't change the fact that i was His child and like He said, He would never forsake or abandon us, He never did 'abandon' me.

Maybe you are at the end of your rope or so you think, maybe you are where i was a few months ago, thinking God has abandoned you. Wondering if He sees you or if He hears you when you call.

Well, i have got news for you. He never left you in the first place.Hebrews 13:5 says 'let your conduct be without covetousness;be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor Forsake you.'" and Mathew 28:20 reads 'Teaching them to observe all things that I may have commanded you;and lo,I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen"

Take a moment to examine this life of yours that you think is perhaps coming to an end. Think real hard and examine situations you have been in, and see how you are still alive today? It is no coincidence. It is because His hands have always authored and directed your steps and path, even in those lowest moments. He never left your side.He was invisible for a short while and maybe, He needed you to learn a very important lesson from your ordeal.Or maybe, just maybe, He needed to make you stronger for a future project.

I have come to really understand and believe as have been told, that God's Will will honestly never lead you to where His Grace will not guide you and as Romans 8:28 says 'And in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.' So whatever you have been through or are going through, know that it is going to work for your good in the end and you are closer to your blessings.

So unlike me, don't go rebelling against God or questioning Him or not calling on His Holy name. Instead, count your blessings. If not anything else, the mere fact that you are alive and somebody else isn't, should be enough cause for you to go on your knees and glorify His name. For again, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says 'In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you'.

And here are a few more scriptures to encourage you and give you hope during this period of trials in your life,because that is what this is,-TRIALS: 1 Samuel 12:22, Isaiah 41:10,John 14:1-18, Psalm 147:3.So relax, return to Him and in due time, He will manifest Himself in your life and your life will be made beautiful, so that you too, will have a testimony to share about His goodness.

December 9, 2012

Sunday's Message

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent season and it couldn't have started any better than with the message it did.

Mass yesterday was beautiful and it did begin with the dedication of a newborn to Christ Jesus by his family and Godparents.

There was also the lightning of the Advent candles which gave the church a serene and calming feeling and added to the beauty of the mass.

Despite all this beauty in the church and activities, they would be rendered useless if God didn't have a message for his servants as usual to be delivered through his anointed one.

Father Gabriel was the preacher of yesterday's liturgy and he always delivers God's message in a poignant and timely manner.

The first reading was Jeremiah 33:14-16,the second reading was 1Thess 3:12-4:2 while the Gospel was from Luke 21:25-28,34-36.

The first reading talked about The Lord fulfilling the promise He had made to the people of Israel and Judah and the second talked about The Lord increasing us in love for one another and that we follow the ways of Christ. The Gospel was talking about the coming of the Son Of Man.

Father Gabriel asked the congregation,"who are we waiting for?" It is very eminent from the Gospel reading that we are waiting for the Son Of Man. But who is this SOM whom we await? He is none other than  Christ Jesus. The scripture says there will be signs in the sun,the moon and the stars,the earth will be in dismay.People will see the SOM come in a cloud with power and great glory  and it urges us to be vigilant,lest we are taken unaware,so that we can escape the tribulations.

We know of the life that Jesus will lead on earth and of the ordeal that He will suffer,how He will be betrayed and then crucified,how will rise again on the third day and then come again in Glory.

But before He does come again in glory,before He comes as a cloud,or a wave and takes us by surprise, He chose to come first as a baby, Baby Jesus. His coming though has been announced by the angels,still is going to be a surprise for us because of His gentle nature and soul.

He came as a baby to make a difference in our lives,in our world,in our hearts and in our communities. This is a beautiful difference because His coming is to soften our hearts,increase our love for ourselves and for one another,fill our hearts with love,kindness and joy..

He is coming to be the light in our darkness. That our lives may shine bright to be examples for others and call more people to Christ by this light. This coming is to bring us renewed hope, faith and grace in Him and to grant us everlasting life for every moment that we spend in Him.

So as we begin this Advent season,lets ready the way, our hearts and our lives for Christ to come in, have His way and enact all the changes we need in our lives and we shine bright with whatever goodness He imparts on us this season.

Happy Advent Season and have a blessed week ahead fellow readers.

December 5, 2012

Giving and Showing love this Season.

There is so much to write about on the topic of LOVE with regards to the scriptures and what God expects of us.Seeing that we cannot exhaust it all in a single writing, this will be the first in this series i call, The Love Series.

In the Old testament, we were handed down The Ten Commandments by Moses from God on Mount Sinai, and all ten commandments but two emphasized on what we as Christians should not engage in. But in the New testament, Jesus when asked what the greatest commandment was, summed up the ten in two as is evident from the scripture below:

Matthew 22:36-40
New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Notice how Jesus summed up all the commandments in one word, LOVE. He first of all said to love our God with all our hearts,souls and minds. Then He proceeded to say "love your neighbor as yourself". This is the second greatest commandment after the first and this Jesus urges us to do all the days of our lives.

Genesis tells that we have been made in the image and likeness of God.There really should not be any reason why we hate one another or engage in hate acts if we actually accept that every person we meet or see is Christ and 
1 John 4:7,says  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God

And what better season to show this love, Christ-like love to one another than during the season when we await the birth of Son Of Man. So many people are dying every day without having experienced first hand the love of Christ in the world they lived in.

Christ urged us to love even our enemies and so why not show a stranger love today. You just might make their day and you really don't have to know somebody before you can show them that Christ loves them, and the only and best way to do that is by being there.

It might be as simple as a smile, a hug, a handshake or for those who can, providing just the basic needs to someone else in need like a blanket, shoes or better still, volunteering in one way or the other. But whatever way you choose to show that love, make sure to be in contact with that person for no matter what it is that you have made available to them, nothing more would be appreciated than when you smile at them or hug them and assure them that Christ has not forgotten about them.

Jesus is the reason for this season and Jesus is love,and if we can keep to the commandment He gave us, the world would be a much better place. For there would be no wars, no conflict and no hate. Why do we walk around passing judgements on people without even knowing their stories? Without knowing what they have been through and not knowing if we would be that strong, if we were in their shoes?

We have been clearly warned to not pass judgements so we ourselves are not judged. So instead of being quick to label somebody or pass judgements on people whose stories we clearly have no idea about, how about we extend a hand of friendship first, of love, and touch a live, so that even if we do not remain in contact with the said people, they will know that what they experienced was nothing short of love.

It doesn't have to be fancy gifts,just your time, a listening ear and a  warm hug works every time, because that hug, or time you took to listen to this stranger might make all the difference in the life of someone who was contemplating suicide. But also, make sure, while in their presence, to share the goodness of God with them and reassure them of the love He has for His children.

For when we obey and practice this second greatest commandment, then would it be easier to practice all the other eight commandments because we would not hurt those we love. So regardless of who it is, be it our enemies,families, friends, or strangers, lets show that Christ is alive in us by our actions, which should be nothing short of the Love of Christ.

Seasons greetings.