January 28, 2013

Sunday's Message

Today was the first Sunday of the month and the first of the year and the message from mass today couldn't be more timely than it was.

The first reading was Isaiah 60:1-6, the second reading was Ephesians 3:2-3a,5-6 and the Gospel was from Mathew 2:1-12.

The first reading emphasized on the light of God shining on all the nations of the earth. The second reading focused on God's grace given for the benefit of all mankind and the Gospel told the story of the three wise men, with gifts who followed the star to pay Jesus homage.

Today from the gospel, we celebrate the Epiphany of Christ Jesus. The wondrous and miraculous way He was born, the mysteries surrounding His birth like the wise men following a star, recieving messages and warnings in their dreams about Herod and being wise enough to return to their country through another route, so as to avoid Herod.

John 3:16 says'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed Him shall not perish but have everlasting life'. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the light of the world mentioned in the first reading. He is also the benefit to the whole world as seen in the second reading, because when He died on The cross, it was for all human race. The star that shone to guide the wise men served as a light to their path and that is why Christ came, so He could be the light to our path and the lamp to our feet.

Just today in church, there were varied faces. Different races, different backgrounds, different core values, different faces, different heights and shapes and sizes but we all had come to worship The one True God. God's light shines on all the nations of the earth regardless of our differences. He came to save just one race,-and that is The Human Race.

Today's message urged us to be Christ-like and filled with love for each and every soul walking on the face of the earth. It called us to not be prejudiced against any one citizen of the earth because we are all from the creator and He is not prejudiced against us.

We shouldn't be quick to rush to assumptions or pass judgements on people because we really do not know their stories. Every one is different and unique in their way and it is the heart that God looks at. He looks beyond the flesh and sees what is within. In trying to be Christ-like, let us too, look beyond the physical,beyond the superficial and make a conscious decision to not judge anyone.

Wisdom comes to us when we identify our prejudices, our weaknesses and lay them aside and choose to be good.Our prayer this Sunday and always should be that, 'Jesus give me the eyes to see the goodness in every one'. We too are flawed and definitely would not appreciate being called out on our shortcomings and weaknesses but definitely appreciate it when , the good in us is recognized.And as they say, do unto others how you will want them to do unto you.

This should be one of our watch words and prayers as we go through the year, that no matter what any one might have done to hurt us in the past, no matter who we come accross in our daily lives, lets make a conscious decision to see the good in them. Because Christ sees just and only the good in us, He looks beyond us to see what is in our hearts.

And lets remember that Christ' light shine on all the earth and therefore on all of its inhabitants, and regardless of what our differences may be, we have all received that light in our lives. Some earlier than others but it our duty as those who walk in that Light, to then shine onto to those who are still in the dark. We are only humans, trying to be Christ like. It is not going to be a walk in the park but God who sees how genuine we are will help us all along the way. May Jesus give us all the eyes to see the goodness in everyone as He sees in us.

God bless you and have a great week ahead.

January 23, 2013

Do Not Pray For A Calling.Pray Instead For God's Will

First of, i want to apologize to my readers for not publishing any Sunday messages, for two Sundays in a row. Life gets a better part of you sometimes and you hope that God understands but i feel bad because this has become a duty. There are people waiting for that Sunday's message to inspire the rest of their week and it is my responsibility and i am sorry i haven't delivered so far. But not to worry,i am getting back on track and will certainly make sure to post every Sunday regardless of circumstances.

This is not the article i was going to publish this week. What i had in draft was part 2 of the Love series i started last month. But i decided to hold off on that one because while talking to someone yesterday, i got inspired on this topic. I saw things a little different and i went into a thankful mode.Appreciating God for where i am in life right now and i thought someone else might be in need of this message,might be in need of a change and in need to see things differently.

This is the third month this blog has been running and i am still in awe of how i have been able to keep it going till now. I am still surprised at how i keep having topics to write about and when i am about to go blank, i suddenly get inspired. If anyone would have told me 2 years ago i would be blogging and not just that, but blogging about Jesus Christ and God, i would called them a liar.

I have always heard that people come into your life for different reasons. Some to inspire you and teach you, some to hurt you but leave you with important lessons, some to walk with you in your life's journey. I met someone a few months ago and our conversations were on a vast range of topics, but when we got talking about God, he said 'i never pray to God for a calling,i just ask Him to lead me in life and show me His will'. This is after he said, a pastor had seen great potential in him to work in God's vineyard.

At the time, i thought to myself 'you must be pretty full of yourself if a man of God sees potential in you and ask you to pray for God's calling in your life and you think you know better and ask for His will instead'. He explained what he meant by that and i didn't argue with him but still thought he should have done as the pastor had suggested. Little did i know that, while i silently judged him in my mind, i wasn't much different from him either.

Growing up, i could swear that i was going to end up in the convent. When i look back at my childhood and my teenage years, every thing i did was always somehow in line with my beliefs of what i thought a nun was supposed to be. My lifestyle, the way i dressed always seemed to mirror some life in the convent and i remember my mom asking me sometime when i was 16 years old without me telling her, if i wanted to join the convent. I do remember too, in lower sixth when i had a private conversation with the chaplain of my school and told him how i felt, how i constantly thought i was seeing some light and hearing some woman's voice telling me to join a convent, and that i would be a nun, and all the chaplain told me was to pray for my calling.

I had forgotten about all of that until i met this friend, who was apparently told the same thing and did other wise. I had just began this blog when we started talking and every time he said that, up until yesterday, i had always thought he was wrong. But i did a double take last night. Somehow the love of God has always been burning in me,i have always wanted to share God's goodness and do His work and it wasn't until five years ago that the urge and feelings of me wanting to go to the convent stopped.

What changed five years ago? Why had i indirectly groomed myself for this nun-like and convent lifestyle only to let go of it at the last minute? What was different? Unlike my friend who was smart enough to pray for God's will and guidance and not a call, i just started doubting myself a lot. I started asking a lot of questions? What if i got to the convent and couldn't stand the lifestyle? What if i got tempted a lot by the outside world? At some point i thought, how could i give up my love for shoes, jewelries and perhaps a glamorous lifestyle for some cloak for the rest of my life? Never for once did i pray to God to guide me in all of that confusion or for His will do be done in my life.

And yesterday, i heard those words again 'pray for God's will and guidance and not a calling'. To my friend's credit, he turned out a pretty great person, his love of God, his desire to share the word with anyone who cares to listen when he gets a chance,his desire to always reach out and help. I should say i am lucky and blessed to be where i am. I never did ask or pray for His will or guidance but it found me anyways and that, i am thankful for because not many people are that blessed to be led to what God wants them to do.

So when i heard those words again yesterday,all i could do was to magnify and exalt God for being God in my life. That He saw how much i love Him and wanted to serve  Him and decided to give me a platform. I have always loved writing and this is the third blog i have had and my only successful blog to date. I didn't have to be in the convent to serve Him, neither did i have to go a theology school to read, interpret and/or meditate on His word. But here i am, writing what the Spirit inspires me to write and sharing whatever message the priest or pastor talks about on Sundays.

It is not written anywhere in the bible that we need to be pastors, priests or nuns to know His word, to do His work or to witness the Gospel. We just need to be children of God who walk in the light and ask for His will to be done in our lives. Many times we have been told by ordained men of God to pray for God's calling in our lives. But that very word,-CALLING, is in itself scary when put in that context.
Some of us get scared that what if God's calling for our lives doesn't fall in line with our own desires in life? What if God's calling means we have to abandon every thing in this world to follow Him and do His work? For some people that is a lot to take in, especially if they have always had a glamorous life, they get scared that God's calling will mean for them to live in shackles.I was scared of it too at some point.

Gone are the days when people were made to believe that you had to dress a certain way to do His work, talk a certain way to be in Christ or look a certain way to belong to Jesus. Many people have shied away from their God-given purpose or guide because of things like that, forgetting that what they were doing was minding the flesh, what people would say instead of minding the spirit, what God says about them.

James 1:5 says ' If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,who gives to all liberally and without reproach,and it will be given to him'. Psalm 32:8 says 'I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;I will guide you with My eye'. and Psalm 119:105 says 'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path'.. All three passages above simply emphasize the need to pray for God's guidance and Will in our lives. Notice how they all say if we pray for it, God will generously give it to us, He will gladly guide us and His eye watches us every time of our lives.

Not many people are blessed as i was or am to have stumbled on God's will for them.That He took my love of writing and turned it into a service for His kingdom. Sure i would have given up by now if i didn't have anything to write about or simply even because of the readership. But He has kept inspiring me even to share this very message now. It is very encouraging to me that i check my page views in the less than three months that this blog has been running and it is at 500+. Sometimes i think if i was writing about anything else other than God, the readership would have been higher than that sure enough, but i am content with the little numbers i have. Because the bottom line is that i touch somebody's life somewhere in a special way, and when i am blessed to see a comment, it makes my day because it is proof that at least one person read and was inspired, and was motivated, encouraged and or felt the Love of God through my writing which is my goal every single day. And if that is all i get, just one click a day, or just one comment, then i know my work is done, because then, i must have delivered the message to whom God intended it for.

I have confidence that He who started this beautiful work, will definitely give me the strength to keep going and in His time, increase readership as He sees fit. So i am asking you today, that no matter what you have felt in your life, whatever that might be, no matter what questions you are asking yourself and no matter the fears that abound, all you need to do is go down on your knees and ask that He guide you. Ask Him to show you His will for your life. Remember like i said, you can do God's work whenever, wherever and however He wants you to do it. But you have to ask Him to show you the way,i was lucky He showed me without me asking but that is not always the case, because He clearly tells us to ask in prayers and He will freely give us or show us.

 So  if you are like me or my friend who was asked to pray for a calling and are terrified, it is ok. Just simply ask for His will and guidance instead and both will always take you to what He has called you to be in this life. And may we all be able to find our God-given purpose and fulfill that purpose gracefully.Wishing you courage,strength and God's mercy and grace through this journey and remain blessed as always.

January 16, 2013

Angry with your life? Relax, God is working behind the scenes

Have you found yourself lately being grumpy? Envying other people's lives and wishing you had that life? Wondering why your life is the way it is or perhaps, asking why things are not moving in your life? Have you found yourself comparing your life to your friend's and probably getting jealous? Asking why the same people seem to be having it good every time and when you will get to catch  a break from all the chaos in your life?

I guarantee that every single one of us has hated their life at some point. Every single one of us has wished we didn't go through the difficult times that we went through at some point in our lives. Very few of us have known to not be envious of any body's success but be happy for them and ask God for ours. Most of us have been jealous of others achievements at some point and for some of us, we had hoped that the Mayan calender was right, that the world would end and with it, our problems, our failures, our disappointments and our fears.

These are some of the emotions that make us human. It is our humanity and God perfectly understands. But it becomes wrong when we do not snap out of the feeling as soon as we realize it, or when we turn on God instead and blame Him for every thing going wrong in our lives.

Ephesians 4:26 says this 'Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath' and James 1:19-20 says 'So then , my beloved brethren,let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak,slow to wrath;for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God'. Both passages clearly state that we should not react on our anger because often times, that will lead us into sin.

Sometimes we become so  frustrated and overwhelmed with the problems in our lives that we start doubting God,(topic for another day), we begin to rebel against Him like refusing to pray and calling on His name.1 Corinthians 14:33 says 'For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints' and James 3:16-18 reads 'For where envy and self-seeking exist,confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,then peaceable,gentle,willing to yield,full of mercy and good fruits,without partiality and without hypocrisy.Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace'. Sure, God might let us go through difficult times in our lives, so that we can learn a crucial lesson for the future but it doesn't mean that He created those problems.

As He has shown us over and over in the scriptures, God cares about us.Mathew 28:20 says 'Teaching them to observe all things that i have commanded you;and lo,I am with you always,even to the end of the age. Amen' and 1Samuel 12:22 says 'For the Lord will not forsake His people,for His great name's sake,because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people'.In these passages, He has promised to never abandon us no matter what situations we are faced with, no matter the time, He will always be there for us.We are His children and if our mortal and earthly fathers will not lead us  astray or into confusion, then what more of our heavenly Father.

Instead of being angry with our lives, envious of others lives and being filled with hatred, lets focus on the word of God. Believe in His promises and keep hope alive. Jeremiah 29:11 says ' For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope'. So though you might be lamenting over your life, know that God has a plan for that life and that it is very precious to Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.' In the midst of all that confusion in our lives, we have to make a conscious decision to trust God and call on His name at all times.

It is clearly stated in Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 '  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; ...'...whatever we are going through is just a phase which will come to pass. Nobody ever said life was going to be a beautiful ride all through.There are always ups and downs, there is always the beauty with the ugly.But as Christians,we have to be patient and persevere, knowing that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that as long as God gives us life, we will always live to see another sunrise.

Next time when you are tempted to compare your life with that of somebody else and feel inferior to them, or feel like your world is coming to an end, make another comparison.But this time, instead of comparing with those who seem to have it all, compare and contrast your life with those who do not enjoy the basic necessities of life.Compare with those you know who might have had a lot to live for but just died suddenly.Compare with those who are severely sick and have no medical attention, compare and then count your blessings. See that despite what you are going through, you still have it better than others and yet, God has not abandoned them either.

I will leave you with one of my favorite Bible verses Roman 8:28 'And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose'.As long as we call ourselves children of God who strive to walk in His path, every thing will always work in our best interest.And loving God here means, praying to Him daily and constantly, seeking His face, being in His presence often, having that personal relationship with Him,feeding our spirits and body with the scriptures. As long as we do these, it doesn't matter what mountain will be standing before us or what valley we think our lives have plunged in, He will always deliver us.

After all, He knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us and His hand is always directing our lives. We just have to unplug from the world sometimes to see that He has always been there, every step of the way. I sure hope that this encourages you to stay positive and hopeful with whatever burden you are carrying. Take it to Him in prayers and He will surely give you rest.

Remain blessed.

January 3, 2013

Start The Year With Christ.

Happy New Year fellow readers.

I ended last year with a post urging you to reflect on all that transpired throughout 2012 whether they were good or bad and to make a conscious decision to be thankful for them, no matter what memories 2012 left us with.I also asked that whatever resolutions you were drawing up on a list,to make sure that a personal relationship with Christ was top most priority.

It is on that note that i begin my first post of 2013;starting the year with Christ Jesus.

2012 has been gone for three days now and with it, went our past, mistakes, shortcomings and failures. I urged you to be thankful for the surprises that sprung on you, to be thankful for life itself, for friends and family and every other blessing you could count in your life.

2013 on the other hand, has come with a lot of promises, hope, and desires. Regardless of what i might have written in my last post of 2012, i know people still went ahead to write down numerous resolutions and a list of to do things they hope to accomplish before this year too, draws to a close. But like i said, that list would be worthless if we do not start the year off on the right note.

And what better way to start the year than with Jesus Christ Himself. 2Timothy 3:16-17 says 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God,and is profitable for doctrine,for reproof,for correction,for instruction in righteousness,that the man of God may be complete,thoroughly equipped for every good work.' which basically means that the Bible exist as a guide for us to follow through reading,and from it we get all lessons we need in life and it is all we need to accomplish every good plan in our lives.

Joshua 1:8 also says 'This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth,but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.For then you will make your way prosperous,and then you will have good success'. This scripture is the simple recipe to success in life and the one we should hold close to our hearts this new year. For whatever resolutions or plans we may have in our minds or on our list, it is imperative to dwell on the word of God day and night because only it guarantees our prosperity and success with all those plans.

Finally Psalm 119:105 reads 'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path'. Whatever path or direction we want to walk this year, be it the path of financial freedom, good health,knowledge and wisdom, prosperity, we have to ask God to be the lamp to our feet and be the light that shines bright on our path.

For if we practice what these scriptures say, no matter the resolutions we aim at, we are guaranteed they will be fulfilled and completed because we walked with Christ. What ever our dreams and aspirations for this year, we have to decide to start the year right. And starting the year right means starting it with Jesus Christ, staying grounded in the Word, reading the Word often,meditating on the Word and praying constantly.

The best way to ascertain that there is no repeat of 2012's mistakes and failures is to make sure that we begin 2013 with the Word, with Jesus Christ.We have Christ's blessed assurance that whenever and wherever we call His name, He will always answer us.

So let us make it a point of duty to always call on His name before we embark on any journey this year,to seek His consent before arriving at any decision, to seek His counsel when faced with a difficult situation, to pray to Him always regardless of the circumstance we find ourselves in, because sure His goodness will follow us all the days of our lives.

This year is another chance we have been given to be better versions of ourselves, to be better husbands, wives, children, workers,bosses, friends but most especially to be better Christians.To live a life of example,worthy to emulate by non-believers. And we can only best do that if we walk, eat, start and end the day with the Word and with Christ.

It is never easy in this fast-paced world we live in to find time for the Word or to commune with Christ.But if we have time to go to the movies, to cook, to eat,to work and whatever else that we do, then we certainly can squeeze in time for our Creator. Five minutes a day makes all the difference in the world.

I wish you all the best for the year 2013 but i wish you especially a better relationship with our Maker,so that through Him, all of our hopes and wishes may turn into reality. Once again, Happy New Year.