Who is Your Cornerstone and Solid Ground?

We’re all in search of solid ground, a promise or a support that will help us to stay secure. If you have discovered a source of stability in your life, that’s wonderful. But have you ever thought of what actual foundation you are using as you start building your life on the solid ground that you think you’ve found? What is holding up your foundation? Building a strong and safe life is like building a stone house. In every stone building, one stone is the most critical. For a stone building to stand, the rock which holds the weight of the entire structure must be reliable.  This stone is called the cornerstone. 

Personally, I couldn’t find a safe place before I discovered my identity and purpose in life through my faith in Christ Jesus. Formerly, I trusted in people who I thought might be my rock. I believed they wouldn’t let me down. Unfortunately, that time of life took me through layers and layers of disappointment and at times, shook the ground beneath me. We are all human and are prone to disappoint each other. Human relationships will always be an important part of life, but the chains of family and friendship inevitably break down at some point. Yet God is faithful and close to the broken-hearted. [Psalms 34:18-20]

As for me, those experiences taught me to be vigilant in whom and in what I place my trust. It’s a work in process – though I may feel a daily tug-of-war within me regarding where to build my life’s foundation, I have come to realize that I must muster the courage to stop bowing to the wishes of others. I must instead let the Holy Spirit of God be my solid ground.  Jesus is my cornerstone.

The Holy Spirit has taught me many lessons. One of them is to keep on praying for those who have let me down. And I must pray for myself as well, to become more Christ like rather than responding in kind. The Lord’s word encourages me daily: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” [1 Peter 3:9]

I’m hopeful because [Isaiah 28:16] echos the Lord God’s word: “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: “Whoever believes will not be in panic.”

WITH WHOM DO YOU TRUST YOUR LIFE? WHO IS YOUR CORNERSTONE? 

19BD7D28-A06D-4FA4-B965-CA1668265584

 

Advertisements

Why do we Pollute our Freedom?

We are the only creature in all of creation that have been blessed by God with free will and we’re called to respect this freedom. From the very beginning of time, we have unfortunately squandered and misused our freedom.  If we look at the patterns of our behavior, comparing what God wants for us as a loving Father with how we’ve been responding, we will see how frequently we push the envelope by desecrating our freedom.

The question is: Why did God give us the free will? Wouldn’t it have been easier to create mankind genetically good? We would have lived happily ever after! 

Thankfully, God didn’t create us to live as robotic beings. Living without personal agency is meaningless, one must have freedom to choose. God wants to have fellowship with those who by choice truly love Him. He has given us the ability to choose to be better and have the potential to know what true love is. He has also given us the intellect to believe in facts, not myths; courage, not fear; peace, not chaos; order, not confusion; love, not hatred; forgiveness, not blame. Above all, He has bestowed us with the ability to worship the creator, not the creation. 

But sadly, we have been inherently selfish. From a very young age we say, “ME, ME, ME”, and, “I, I, I”.  We always make everything about us. I am not judging our natural tendency to put ourselves first. I admit that just like Eve (the first woman on earth), I am attracted to beautiful things and desire to have them. I’m as guilty as everyone else. With the knowledge that I’m a child of God, I have a hope to grow in the truth and am learning to stop saying “ME, ME, ME”, and, “I, I, I”.  It’s a work in process. 

Furthermore, what about our children? We repeatedly remind them (no matter their ages) what’s good and bad; what’s safe and unsafe; what’s true and untrue. We continuously we tell them about the consequences of their choices. They may listen or not, but as they reach adulthood, they make their decisions based on what they think they know. At times, our silent words may be the loudest voice, saying, “Hey, don’t dishonor your freedom. Make the right choices!”  As Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus reminds us in [Galatians 5:13],

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” 

We must be careful however not to quickly judge the choices of others. Your own choices of behavior or how you raise your children is a matter between you and God. Who are we to judge you? From your children’s early days, you have taught them the true meaning of a moral life. You are not to be blamed for how your grownup children live their lives. They may be enticed by the rules or trends of this world for a little while, but if their foundations are rooted strong on solid ground, they will come back to their roots. The most loving thing to do is to be there when they need you and welcome them back with open arms, just as God always welcomes us back with open arms.  And He has promised us in verse [Matthew 28:20], “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

8E275C1F-A2A8-46F8-AF56-F70C6B94B43A

“Our Pain Can be Conduit for God’s Glory.”

Don’t you believe there is a side to our sufferings we miss when we focus on our pain rather than on God’s greater purpose?

“Our pain can be conduit for God’s glory.”
— Lisa Harper

8268AB57-DDE5-441B-8AAD-C58A3E59E29B

It makes so much sense if you can see the purpose behind the pain, you can find the way out of this lie. If you can see the purpose beyond the pain, you will understand God’s ability to leverage the suffering in your life for greater things.
God uses the good and the bad in your life to help you grow. Growth often means pain.

”Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” [James 1 :2-4]

We know why suffering should be counted as joy, because it will change us for the better. It will draw us closer to God.

God says in [Jeremiah 29: 11]
”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Experience the Marvelous Sight! 

As I was reading the story of Moses and the burning bush, I pondered it’s meaning for quite some time. I wondered how it was that Moses found himself in the presence of God, in an unusual place and at an unexpected time.   I thought, “What would be our reaction if we suddenly found ourselves in the presence of God? What would we do?” Let’s first look at Moses’s divine moment with God in [Exodus 3: 1-7] before we reflect on our miraculous moments with God. 

“Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness, [Exodus 3:1]. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God…”

 Our tangible experiences with God may not be as bold and pronounced as Moses’s total amazement with God’s display. Yet we have had those jaw-dropping moments when we are utterly sure that only God could have done what was just witnessed. 

 I have had those astounding moments in my own life. Without any doubt, it was clear to me that the voice I was hearing in my heart belonged to God. I knew with all my being that the words weren’t my imagination or a hallucination. They were His — the Holy Spirit. Those miraculous and precious moments became the greatest testimony of my life. Though the presence of God didn’t fix my problems right away, it changed my perspective, and gave me a new understanding of my circumstances and how to move forward in faith. I’ve learned through bible study that the actual ground which Moses stood on was not holy; it was the presence of the holy God that made it holy.

 Some people think the only way to stand in the presence of God is to enter a holy place. Depending on their belief, it might be a temple, mosque, church, or another location deemed holy. God certainly dwells in these places! But you do not have to go anywhere to be on holy ground. God manifests his power to us daily; we’re the ones who fail to recognize His presence. His dwelling place is in our hearts.  When through praise and worship, we position ourselves for an encounter with God, He will enter our circumstances with power. We are already in the presence of God, the only thing missing is our awareness! 

 The Bible emphasizes on this in [Deuteronomy 31:6], “Don’t mistake God’s patience for His absence. His timing is perfect, and His presence is constant. He’s always with you!”

Dennis Prager, in his writings, sums it up like this, “The question is: Who sees the miracles of daily life? And the answer is: Whoever choose to see.”

AC7D2648-4F3E-4BFF-A4E9-923217043924.jpeg

What has God promised you that hasn’t yet been delivered?

Maybe God has asked you to do something, and you’ve done it, but not only has your mission failed to unfold in the way that you expected, it has caused more headaches and delays. You feel apprehensive and doubtful, wondering why God does not want you to succeed. God is not primarily interested in our success; he is more interested in building honorable character traits in us. He is longing for us to trust him. Even more, he is remarkably faithful to deliver on his promises in his timing.

Let’s take a close look at how we treat our children. Do we always give our children what we’ve promised them right away, or might we wait until we see improvements in their behaviors? And would it please us to see them wait patiently and trust us as we reward them accordingly?

Moses’s journey with God exemplifies the journey we have with our Heavenly Father. God told Moses, [Exodus ‪3: 10-13‬], “So now, go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt…” God assured Moses that he would be with him as he delivered the message to pharaoh, the king of Egypt. God even enabled him to perform miracles and change the mind of both the King and the Israelites. As for as the Israelites, this is what the Lord said to Moses, “That they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob, did appear to you.” [Exodus 4:5]

God not only promised his people freedom, he also promised them a rich land flowing with milk and honey. At first Moses pleaded with God to let him out of this mission. The task was difficult; it seemed impossible to convince Pharaoh to let go of the Israelites. Not only did the king of Egypt refuse to let God’s people go, he also gave them harsh tasks. Over the years, they faced trouble after trouble. It all happened as a result of their lack of faith and trust. They were grumbling, complaining, and blaming Moses for their misery. God did finally respond, not to their complaints, but more likely to build up their trust.

Bringing God into your life takes effort. Trust in God, carefully built over time, is a valuable and empowering character trait. The Bible says in [Psalm ‪9: 10‬] “Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

Did God deliver the Israelites to a rich land of milk and honey [The promised land]? Yes, indeed! Their 40 years of wandering in the desert is a life-lesson for today’s modern life. Moses’s life story is historical record, not a fairy tale.

Desert wandering is a reality that we will all face at some point in our lives. Yes, at times we’re skeptical (not to mention spiritually immature) and have no patience to wait for whatever our “promised land” is — job, career, marriage, home, education, children, etc. Some of us have it completely backward when we say, “Show me, then I will believe.” God says, “Believe Me with trust, and I will show you.” [Psalm 37: 5] “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
We may think we are waiting for God to act, but in fact, God is waiting for us to trust him. With this in mind, ask yourself this important question, “Do I have the kind of faith [a faith that can be the size of a mustard seed] and patience that will allow me to embrace the waiting-period, by trusting God without expecting immediate delivery of His promises?”

Another more serious question to ponder this week – Where is the promised land that God hasn’t yet led you, and how might you get there?”

50CE2C2C-A437-4AF9-B4A0-AD8D902C9956

What has God promised you that hasn’t yet been delivered?

Maybe God has asked you to do something, and you’ve done it, but not only has your mission failed to unfold in the way that you expected, it has caused more headaches and delays. You feel apprehensive and doubtful, wondering why God does not want you to succeed.  God is not primarily interested in our success; he is more interested in building honorable character traits in us. He is longing for us to trust him. Even more, he is remarkably faithful to deliver on his promises in his timing.

 Let’s take a close look at how we treat our children. Do we always give our children what we’ve promised them right away, or might we wait until we see improvements in their behaviors? And would it please us to see them wait patiently and trust us as we reward them accordingly?

 Moses’s journey with God exemplifies the journey we have with our Heavenly Father. God told Moses, [Exodus 3: 10-13], “So now, go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt…” God assured Moses that he would be with him as he delivered the message to pharaoh, the king of Egypt. God even enabled him to perform miracles and change the mind of both the King and the Israelites. As for as the Israelites, this is what the Lord said to Moses, “That they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob, did appear to you.” [Exodus 4:5]

 God not only promised his people freedom, he also promised them a rich land flowing with milk and honey. At first Moses pleaded with God to let him out of this mission. The task was difficult; it seemed impossible to convince Pharaoh to let go of the Israelites. Not only did the king of Egypt refuse to let God’s people go, he also gave them harsh tasks. Over the years, they faced trouble after trouble. It all happened as a result of their lack of faith and trust. They were grumbling, complaining, and blaming Moses for their misery. God did finally respond, not to their complaints, but more likely to build up their trust.

 Bringing God into your life takes effort. Trust in God, carefully built over time, is a valuable and empowering character trait. The Bible says in [Psalm 9: 10] “Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” 

Did God deliver the Israelites to a rich land of milk and honey [The promised land]? Yes, indeed!  Their 40 years of wandering in the desert is a life-lesson for today’s modern life. Moses’s life story is historical record, not a fairy tale.

 Desert wandering is a reality that we will all face at some point in our lives. Yes, at times we’re skeptical (not to mention spiritually immature) and have no patience to wait for whatever our “promised land” is — job, career, marriage, home, education, children, etc.  Some of us have it completely backward when we say, “Show me, then I will believe.”  God says, “Believe Me with trust, and I will show you.” [Psalm 37: 5] “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”

We may think we are waiting for God to act, but in fact, God is waiting for us to trust him. With this in mind, ask yourself this important question, “Do I have the kind of faith [a faith that can be the size of a mustard seed] and patience that will allow me to embrace the waiting-period, by trusting God without expecting immediate delivery of His promises?”

 Another more serious question to ponder this week – Where is the promised land that God hasn’t yet led you, and how might you get there?” 

50CE2C2C-A437-4AF9-B4A0-AD8D902C9956

Loving Someone Without Speaking the Truth is a Shallow Love!

From what place have you been speaking to others? Where are you standing? 

The universe is always speaking to us, either through someone or something, reminding us to look around, to stop, to feel, to touch, to believe, and to speak.  

I think the best and the most beautiful human characteristic is when one speaks from the heart with love. 

You may be a shy, timid individual, who’s afraid of rejection and conflict — not expressing your feelings or your beliefs, allowing fear to paralyze you and hold you as a prisoner. 

Or maybe you are an audacious person who speaks his/her mind with boldness and interacts with others in truth and self assurance. Though you encounter people who may not agree with you, you place a high value on living out the truth in love, because you believe that lovealways wins. Though we’re all blessed with different gifts, I think it’s a great quality to be blessed with affirming boldness. I salute you! It takes enormous courage to be yourself and speak your mind without fear. Not everyone can do that.

Indeed, anyone who believes in God, reads His word and actively strives to obey it can confidently speak from God’s platform. Yet God’s word reminds us to stop for a moment and take care not to judge, but rather to give one another a chance to speak and to be heard. 

Have you ever wished that the good hearted people would be the ones who are bold and outspoken about their beliefs? They don’t pretend who they are and their deeds are pure from the heart. They know their truth, and they see with God’s perspective. When they are emboldened to speak truth with their own voice, God’s will is revealed. 

It has been said, ”Kneel down and listen to the heartbeat of God. Then, and only then, can the house of lovespeak to the house of fear, from God’s sanctuary into the depth your being. After you embrace his love, then speak to others from that place.”

We must remember that when we speak from our hearts with love, people will hear us with theirs. They may witness that their house of fear has replaced with God’s dwelling place. 

Paul the apostle of Christ says in [Ephesians 4:15] 

“…, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

And David asked the Lord in prayer, as I do:

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” AMEN!  [Psalm 86:11]  

0BDF1195-E4FB-4B5F-9D5A-E368A0EF87B5

 

What is Your Legacy? How Will People Remember You?

When you think of the word “legacy”, you might think of an inheritance — anything handed down from the past, from an ancestor or member of a previous generation.  

Yet your true legacy includes not only the things you leave behind when you leave this world.  The impressions and footprints you leave behind at the end of each day are an invisible but powerful part of your legacy.  

Everyone desires to be liked, loved, recognized and remembered by others in the community after they are gone.  But have you ever asked yourself, “How would I like people to remember me while I’m alive?”

In all of history there have been many great men and women who have carved their names on the hearts of others by leaving behind the mark of their beautiful lives. We’re drawn to them. Though we can’t see them any longer or hear their voices, we remember them. We honor their history, cherish their lives and share their stories generation after generation. Throughout their lives, they built their legacy day in and day out and in the process, left their fingerprints on the world and changed many lives forever. They worked for the cause, not for the applause. Many didn’t seek to make their presence known, but their absence is felt.

What about you and me? Can we be the ones who make a difference in someone’s life? Can we improve the lives of others by practicing love, honesty, selflessness, compassion, and generosity? If so, we will leave a great inheritance to the community (children, family, friends and others) blessed by our endowment. After all, we’re the ones who get to choose the legacy that we leave.  I don’t know about you, but I want people to remember that I have loved well, even when the love was not reciprocated. You might say, “How can I love those who are against me or dislike me?” The answer is,  my faith and belief compel me to pray for them, and prayer is an act of love.

The word of God tells us, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  [1 Corinthians 13:7] “The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!” [Proverbs 20:7]

The legacy of LOVEis the richest legacy of all. Here is how it’s described in the law of God: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ”[Luke 10: 27]

A life’s legacy can be like a great show on the stage of life — the greater your performance the more likely people will remember you after you leave the stage. But at the end of the day, the quality of your legacy will come down to one great thing: How did the people whose lives you touched benefit from the love you gave? How we live and how we make others feel is not only how we are remembered, but partly determines the quality of their lives too.For that reason, we must be mindful of how we live our lives…

401FE1BC-9577-4C64-A239-84B813A0FCA0

A Mother’s prayer has the scent of heaven! 

Someone once said, “If a mother had to choose between loving her children and breathing, She would use her last breath to tell them, ‘I LOVE YOU’!”

Although this is not everyone’s experience, those who are blessed with a close relationship with their mother know that not only is her love precious, her prayers are as powerful as her love —especially if she is one of those mothers who abides in God.  God has promised that His spirit abides in her, and Heaven hears her prayers. I remember my mother’s prayers. They have followed me and shaped my life. I’m very grateful for her unceasing prayers while she was alive.

 It’s hard to understand a mother’s love, unless you’re a mother.  But if your mother is a woman of prayer, her prayers have been covering you up to this day. 

When a mother gives a birth to her baby, she has no idea what to expect in the days to come — the hardships that she will endure while raising her child.  But one thing she knows for sure — that she will love her baby with all her being as long as she has breath in her lungs.  She does her best to learn the rules of motherhood as her child grows. She sees her hopes and dreams in her children’s eyes.  Her heart is always with them. Her love is without measure, and knows no law. If anyone dares to get in her way, they must know that she will like a mighty warrior, shielding her babies with tender prayers. She will not allow any harm to come near them. Her love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Her love never fails her children.

 Do not underestimate the power of her prayers or the strength of her love. And please do not make your mother cry. Nothing is as painful as a mother’s tears, because her love is pure.

The word of God says in [Deuteronomy 5:16] “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

[John 15: 7] “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

This post is in the honor of all the mothers who have dedicated their lives to their children! 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!! 

0CD0F200-52BD-438E-87F6-D9E6E694F0DC.jpeg

The Message of Easter!

68FEB97D-7221-4017-B51F-32F597AB0C5C.jpeg

Based on God’s unconditional love for us and by His authority, He has done something that no human could do or even hope to understand (except through faith). The world witnessed God’s mighty power in the most important truth in the history – the death of Jesus and His resurrection. Surely it was God’s perfect plan, just as He planned Jesus’ miraculous birth (another event that’s beyond human understanding).  

His resurrection has enormous relevance and impact to the lives of all of humanity.

This event was not only predicted by Jesus himself (that He would die and rise again after three days – the description is in Mark chapter 8), but also foretold in ancient times by the Old Testament prophets. Why would God hand His perfect and sinless Son over to religious but blindly misguided people who would harm and kill him?

God’s love and mercy are great, even to the point of His willingness to send His own Son to die on the cross of Calvary to pay the penalty of sinful mankind. He did this so that He, in complete justice, could forgive those who are willing to turn away from self-dependence and sin and turn to reliance upon Christ and His finished work.

As it is clearly stated (in Romans 6), with the death of Christ, our sins become powerless to rule over us. Without the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ as the lamb of God (who was perfect, without any blemishes), we would still be in our sins, unforgiven, unsaved, and unloved. The cross erases our old lives. So the cross is not just a symbol, it is the mark of our salvation.

The story of Christ did not end with his death.  His resurrection is equally vital to the message of the gospel. He rose from death just as He told His disciples he would (in Matthew 16:21).  If He is not risen from the dead, then we would still reside in darkness with no hope.

Because of His resurrection, his promise holds true. He said (in John 14:19), “Because I live, you also will live”. Our great enemy, death, will be defeated.  It is impossible to separate the death of Christ from His resurrection. You can’t believe in one and not believe the other, as that would be a false teaching of the gospel. We are forgiven of our old sins by His blood on the cross and receive our new lives by His resurrection. Now we as believers and followers of Christ are no longer under the power of sin. And that is why we celebrate Easter. Our Lord is risen! Nothing can separate us from the love of God.  Amen!

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”[1John 4:10]