Peace is often a subject that many discuss and yet we continue to see a world deprived of such.
How does one define peace? Is not every answer in the question itself?
In Luke 6:31 Jesus teaches us to do unto others as we would unto ourselves. However how could we possibly do unto others when we are at times not receiving unto ourselves?
How could we offer peace if we are not in peace? In Matthew 11:28-29 He also asks us to go to Him when we find ourselves burdened and heavy laden while promising to give us rest. In verse twenty-nine He continues by saying, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
In our day to day lives we are continuously invited to take upon ourselves the yoke of this world. One that is heavy, one that is filled with guilt, shame and one that binds us to our flesh rather than the spirit within. One could say that our understanding of peace is often collapsing with our ability to take upon ourselves His yoke. What is the foundation in which we can offer peace if not one of love and acceptance? When we go from an internal place that is truly rooted in love and acceptance, much can be accomplished.
Often times this is what I refer to as speaking from the soul rather than the assumptions of the flesh. It is much easier to reach people’s internal greatness when also offering them the same.
Father I thank you that your yoke is light and that in you I can find the comfort my soul needs to rest. Teach me to receive all the good blessings you have for me and instruct me in the way I should go. Help me to go from an internal place of full acceptance when speaking to others and give me wisdom to give unto them as you would.
Grief is a silent killer and those who cause it, often pull the trigger. Having lost a few loved ones myself, I have had the experience of having to survive this invisible pain that grief introduces.
In one phone call my heart shattered. I told my grandfather I would call him back as soon as the hospital staff got him ready to leave the hospital room. I had called in because I had heard he was in the hospital and I lived an ocean away from the country he lived in. I had a brief conversation with him prior to the callback promise. In that conversation he mentioned he had suffered an emphysema attack. He was recovering and was soon to leave the room and go to his home. I was so positive that he was going to be well.
I waited a few minutes while sitting on a chair in my small apartment in Los Angeles. I finally called back to speak with him again and my father picked up the phone and in a very confused tone, he proceeded to tell me that my grandfather had a complication and while the nurses were getting him ready to leave the hospital, something happened and my grandfather died.
I don’t have words to express what I had suffered that afternoon. One moment I was assured he was going home and the next he was no longer here and I was unable to speak to him or let alone go to his funeral.
The mind is often a field and whatever you plant there, you will also reap. I had no idea what I had planted in mine to reap this sudden moment. Something was taken away from me so quickly and I simply wasn’t ready to let it go. Life is a game of give and take; letting go and holding on.
I remember sitting on this grey and white chair I had for a few minutes after the news and simply thinking, ” What if I had not hang up the phone or what if I was placed on loud speaker while they were getting him ready?” “Should I have hang up the phone or talked a bit longer, what if I knew that this would be my last conversation with the man who gifted me the only upright piano I have ever had?”
I never understood what had happened. I don’t know why things happened they way they happened. A big part of me would have liked to have had at least a little bit of a warning so that I could prepare myself for this sudden moment.
I have had so many sudden moments that simply have taken so much from me. I don’t want any moments like the sudden ones anymore. I had to come to terms with myself regarding his death and I had to place God’s words over my own. See, it’s not the good moments in the life of a Christian that defines their faith; rather it is the moments you have nothing to reason with. In these so called sudden moments, my faith has been put to the test and I can either be what I am called to be by God, believe what He says about the situation or I can let the enemy attempt conquer ground in my life.
People often say God won’t give you anything you could not handle, and I believe that what He says prevails over what people say. I started looking at theses moments as opportunities to get closer to someone bigger than me, a purpose bigger than myself and I allowed God’s strength to rest on me because I had none of my own.
A couple of years prior to this experience my two year old niece had tragically died. I had just started coming to closure with that ending and the next began. One year after my grandfather passed, my grandmother who was left being a widow also passed. They say in Brazil, that she died of a broken heart. I could not attend either funerals and to this day I wish I had been able to.
Everytime I’m tempted to be discontent with these experiences I had, I keep in mind how God’s heart breaks for us everyday. Unless your heart is broken completely, the wellspring of life cannot flow from it. I believe that sometimes God allows hearts to break so that we can turn ourselves into the wellspring of life. We search more, we become moldable like clay in the potter’s hand. Maybe His plans for us are bigger than the circumstances we experienced.
I learned that the only way through is to surrender to something bigger, by doing this we get to experience resurrection. We get to give God an opportunity to rest upon us and make us stronger as the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 12:9.
If you have experienced any form of grief, I truly hope you turn your grief towards God so he can turn His love towards you. He promises in Isaiah 61:3 “To bestow a crown of beauty instead of ahes.”
Father who is heaven, Empower us to trust you in moments we do not understand grace
Guide us to a place of peace and comfort and keep us close to you. Help us to feel the warmth of you love
and bless us in moments of grief. Please hold our hearts for us in moments we cannot hold ourselves.
Something to have, something to keep and something to hold. That is most known of love and of what love is. Someone asked me once what I had that love is; my answer was very simple. I responded by saying, ” Love is when the wellbeing of another is essential to your own”
I heard a quick pause after that, followed by the; ” hold that thought, and let me write this down,” I decided to do the same.
I often think about the words of Jesus when He expressed that we are to do to others as unto ourselves. I have seen many passages in the bible where He has gone out of His way to heal people, set the captive free, give water to the thirsty, food to the hungry and hope to the hopeless.
He started by doing this to His neighbors and to those around Him, which brings me back to what am I to my surroundings that I can be for him?
I see people jumping into relationships and often many have not been of service outside of themselves. How are they then to be of any service to the one person they are to be with?
I have this upbringing that taught me that everything is to be from the Divine (God) to the outside of myself. In a relationship, I am no different than this.
I have served in church since I was six years old, and have been of service to communities since I was about 10. I helped start orphanages, a recreational center, served in music ministries, thought Sunday school and I also flunked a pretty big relationship in my life. This brought me to the realization that I needed to lose myself in order to gain it. So I did.
I needed to lose myself in anything and everything I did in order to become the love I wanted to attract. I lived in the world of service, it’s what I knew and it’s great; however; it can very much exhausting to a person.
I then decided to shift my world of serving others to being of service to God even when serving others. I have since then experienced freedom. Freedom in love, freedom in being, freedom in service and freedom that surpasses the common understanding of reason.
When I give a person a glass of water I now do it unto God and if that person ever retaliates to anything I do or don’t or never gives me water back, I am free of the concerns due to the reality that when I gave the glass of water; although it was to a person, the place where the giving came from was to Its creator.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
It is no difference in romantic relationships. People often have a hint of expectations when serving or giving unto another, How is that freedom?
When looking from the perspective of affluence and influence, I see how Jesus created that in such a humble and free path that it is almost unheard of in the world of today. He gave and freely gave and He became and so He is.
What if we can do the same in everything we relate to? What if we are here to love and be loved and simple experience and expand in love as human beings?
In this thought, I hope you have a great Valentine’s evening and that you are of the outermost service to you also and to others from a Jesus perspective instead of a self-inflicted reality. We are just passing through.
God fill me with your love and instruct me to love as you love,
Fill me with your truth and allow me to be more as you are
Misplaced expectations cause unfulfillment. Have you ever had a though implied on someone followed by an expectation that left you completely disregarded?
I have often seen people impose pain in themselves by placing and energetic agreement on someone having never expressed that agreement through words. The energetic agreement and the physical agreement simple were not expressed congruently.
The Bible makes mention in Proverbs, that hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
A good example of such is played out in romantic relationships. One of the people related places a demand through thought process on the other person and that demand, was never clearly expressed in words, thus than allowing for deferred hope to take place in the relationship.
This is often the open door people give the enemy to parade in the relationship. When the person unknowingly carries that expectation, it is as if he or she is walking around with a cloud above the head. Nobody told that person what was expected and so there is no way to properly fulfill it. This also leaves the person who has placed the expectation without expression due to the mere fact that this person is simply living inside of her or his head instead of out there with the other person in the relationship.
I bring this up because the bible also notes that we are to guard our hearts for it is the wellspring of life. This is what we are to guard against, not as if we were never going to be hurt in relationships, therefore, this does serve to say we are not to put the heart on the line of fire. Either way, since all things work for good, it is all a form of personal expansion in the love we are and can be in Christ Jesus.
Father who is heaven,
I ask you for wisdom in communicating with others all that I am to communicate.
I ask you to add kindness to my speaking and prepare the heart of that person that is going to receive my communication.
Thank you for all that you are, that I am still learning to be and deliver my heart from possible deferred hopes.
Have you ever had a day you wished you had a do over button?
Perhaps the plans you had simply did not go through as you thought they would, or maybe you laid out plans that simply did not fulfill your expectations.
Life was great and all was well until that moment you realized you had everything you wanted and nothing you actually needed. From the time prospective of a young life you just new that you were going to make it; and then you did, until you had to face yourself and everything came crumbling down.
The moment you faced everything you ever contributed to, even your worse nightmares. The lives you affected, the hearts you broke, the people you met only to look around and realize they simply aren’t what you thought they were.
It is fairly easy to take yourself for granted when everything is well, until a source outside of your every-day commodities allows for situational confrontations so that you can see yourself as God would.
God often inspires people to be strong in the grace He offers. Evil often wants to take your eyes off of the promises, for the mere fact that if you do, you already lost more than your own life. What would it take to stay in truth when obstacles are threatening?
What would it take to create a path where you see none, and a life where everything you had was simply taken away?
What would it take to be someone you have never been before and live a life you have never lived before and would you have courage to do so?
Do you ever allow for that level of courage in your life?
In the verse reference bellow, God has assured success in any path simply by affirming the power people have in Him through His spirit.
What if you had a take two button? Wouldn’t that make a difference?
What if you are that button? What if inside you is a life never lived yet and you are the one that allows for such to be possible in this world?
Who could you be then?
What if you knew the path you are about to create for yourself is sure to work itself out and you have absolute success? Most people want assurance for their investments. Whether it is financial, emotional or even personal to oneself. People don’t want to be heart broken and in despair, assurance allows for that knowing. The knowing that no matter what happens, you know in the end you succeed and your heart is never broken again. The only thing is; assurance often robs you of faith thus than not allowing you to grow closer to God, the giver of faith. Do you then really have assurance and would it not be exhausting to live life as if you were one?
Don’t confuse assurance with certainty, in faith you always are certain. In the certainty God gives, success is always around the corner. Having shared this with you; what is the certainty invested in you by Him that you are to share with someone today?
In creating that for others, you often find yourself in the path of life. A life you have never had before and you simply become. In this becoming, you are made new and in this new you get to know yourself as an expansion of a dimension you never experienced before.
Father maker of heaven and earth,
I ask you to grant me the courage to live a life worthy of your name.
Inspire me with your wisdom and establish me in your truth.
I give you my life and ask you to be the lamp to my feet and light to my way,
making all things new.
Allow me to fulfill what I came here to fulfill and deliver me from all evil.
The concept of what it is to be and American for a girl like myself, who was born and raised in Brazil, is a process that is learned. I spent years of my life educating myself and training myself to look the part so that I would be able to succeed as they do. I am a foreign born American; at least that is what is written on my naturalization papers.
I grew up with groups of Americans going to my birth country mostly visiting me at church and teaching me how to be, how to behave, how to be the first as they are. Later I moved to this country and I am happy I did. This is not a “Let’s bash the America we know blog entry.” It is rather a perspective share to the viewer from the other side.
In two thousand and nine, a group of seventeen people and I chose to go to Chihuahua, Mexico. We wanted to share the love of Christ with some orphans and we extended ourselves to the Taharumara Indians while we were there also.
We arrived in Chihuahua and were very well received by a group of pastors and missionaries who also invited us for dinner across the street. This was the only night we would have this privilege to rest in a hotel and be with everyone together. Upon having dinner and getting acquainted to one another, we made plans as to how the remainder of our days there were going to play out. We had a lot to do and many children to meet. We had to be organized, ready for anything because curve-balls happen and we better be ready to handle anything. We had no idea one was about to be thrown at us.
The dinner was great and I was in peace, I felt as if I knew everyone and could count on them for pretty much anything. It is now time to go back to the hotel and as we are all crossing the road, I hear cars and loud banging noises; someone quickly screemed, ” hide behind the walls now and get down.” That is exactly what I did, I ran and finished crossing the street, I hid behind an old wall that was half broken and stayed there until further notice.
As I hid, I looked through the wholes in the wall and saw two cars going at each other with guns. Some in the group and I were in the middle of a shoot-out between the police and what appeared to be drug lords. I was told later that that’s what they were. The police had this very small car and guns that did not look great; while the drug lords had a truck and bigger guns. All that aside, I hid until the road was clear of bangs. I was behind a wall and right to the left of the wall was the hotel I was supposed to be in, after the nice dinner we had.
The loud bangs stopped and I was finally able to walk back to the hotel. I remember upon entering, there was a room with a piano and to the left people were greeting us in English and Spanish; there was a lot of talking. No big conversations, commentaries were had about the shoot out or the hiding behind the wall, we just sort of looked at one another, had this deer in the head-lights kinda look and continued to move forward with the plan.
The plan was everything we talked about. The plan was to devote ourselves to that small orphanage where children were dropped off and refurbish their tiny learning center and later we were go to the Taharumara village and place a clean water filter somewhere we didn’t know yet.
I am not going to go into all the details of this trip because I could probably write a whole book on this alone. Having said that, the first night went by really fast and we closed that night with a prayer specifically thanking God for allowing us to be safe and being grateful non of us were shot in the shoot out. Then we divided ourselves into groups of three or four and went into our separate rooms. Girls with girls and boys with boys, we all went to get much needed sleep.
There I was again eating breakfast in the midst of a few people that were grabbing our luggages and placing them in trucks, telling us to hurry up and get going sooner than later.
It was goodbye hotel and hello middle of nowhere that I didn’t even know to go to but I went. When I asked the where about’s the answer was ” We are going to follow that car and they will show us the way.” We were in the hands of the kind Mexicans missionaries to guide us there and the local pastor. That was definitely a test of trust and perseverance. First the shoot out experience; then it was the ” Let’s follow them.”
The cool part is that not one of us saw this as dangerous or as something we were not excited about. We were so excited to be there and be able to have the experience with those children while transforming their environment, that the whole thing that had previously happened didn’t even wobbled us to do otherwise.
We prayed every morning, every-time we got into the cars and every night before going to sleep in our separate floors, rooms or wherever we were put in. We counted all as joy and adventure. We were happy to serve, be blessed and be there with them as one of us and us as one of them.
We finally arrived in the orphanage; where I had a personal shock and reality check.
I entered in through these rusty gates and immediately noticed the plain grey looking brick walls, ahead of me to the right I saw a sierra with beautiful mountains, and to the left a thing that looked like a house and another smaller structure that they called a school.
Minutes upon arrival, the pastor took us inside where they had a few rooms with red bunkbeds and I also saw some mattresses on the floor with toys around. I kept walking, getting the tour of my life. I had to hold my head up you know, crying on the first day there just wasn’t an option. I kept walking and the more they showed me around the more I swallowed my own saliva so I would not have a complete breakdown.
Now I had seen inside the lodging they had, so they walked me to their eating area next. To my surprise it was actually pretty descent and they had theses big tables that were donated to them. The tables were all lined up one in front of the other in rolls and they had a whole system going that really worked. After that I entered a tiny space; it was their chapel. They made a space for a chapel where they went to thank God for the blessings they had and petition for their necessities. I witnessed that myself on the third day, but we aren’t there yet. Right after that, I walked in their little school; the very place I was assigned to help refurbish.
See, when we were there, there was no male or female. We all did everything we were assigned to do and we took in consideration the fragility of the women present, however it was all about where we wanted to be. It was about where we felt called to serve, that is how we carried out the assignments. We figured that God would place in our hearts what we were to do, and this would show up as an interest for us or an internal inclination, and so we choose accordingly.
We had brought items to give away also, items such as food, pens, pencils, tooth brushes, tooth paste and other school supplies. We crossed the boarders of Chihuahua driving a bus carrying these items for them. See, we flew from South Florida to Texas. When in Texas we went to get our rented bus and we; seventeen of us drove through the boarders. The guard lets us pass happily after they walked in the bus and searched most of everything. They asked us to stand outside and selected some luggages to be smelled by their dogs and to be seen by their people. They knew what we were there to do, so they let us pass through. Not to ruin the surprise but we came back that same way also, through the boarders while driving ourselves in a big bus. We had no guns, no means to defend ourselves. We had us, our prayers and bibles everywhere. We figured that would be enough, as long as we have His word, we have everything we needed.
Yes, we were previously warned of possible dangers, however we spoke amongst ourselves much more about the rewards, celebration and blessings that this opportunity was to give and get from and to us a lot more then allowing ourselves to dwell in useless worries. I personally knew worry never gets anyone anywhere, but where hope is found blessings abide. I was there for them, and all I had in mind was them. I was excited about making a difference in their lives and allowing them to make a difference in mine.
Now I am fully acquainted with the orphanage and it’s structure. It’s time to meet all the children. We prayed first and the group and I walked into their eating room. The pastor made a brief introduction in Spanish and introduced us all including myself and two other translators. I said hello to some of the children while others were personally engaging in conversations with other members of the group.
This was a day that I realized how privileged I am to live in a country such as America. We had brought big bags of fruits, apples being one of them. Some of the girls from the group set besides the children talking to them getting to know them while sharing food and eating with them. Others were standing watching, and distributing the foods. I remember as if it was today, the time the children were given the apples. I was besides this little boy.
His close were worn out and he had some dirt on his face from playing outside, and he kept hitting the apple on the table as if it was a toy. As I have seen, it’s common for children to play with their food, so I thought that was what he was doing, simply playing.
After a while of observing him hitting the apple on the table, I went up to the man standing who knows them really well. I asked him if he knew anything about the boy’s behavior and if there was something I could do for him. The man kindly responded, “He doesn’t know what to do with the apple, he has never had one.” My world was slightly shared at that moment, I could not imagine a child living right besides me, I mean in Mexico. It is right besides the U.S technically my neighbor; not being able to eat an apple.
I walked up to the boy and set with him at the table. I showed him as I cut the apple how to eat it. He acted surprised and sort of gravitated towards some of the other food he had. He did eat the apple. The main thought in my mind was ” What if he likes this apple and I cannot assure that he will have this for the rest of his life? ”
See, I was not the richest in the group and I was there temporarily for a couple of weeks. I only had a couple of weeks to do something for them and the reality set in fast, after seeing the boy.
That afternoon we separated ourselves in groups. A few girls were to the left in some room doing activities with some of the children such as face painting, games and girl talk. Some were outside playing with footballs and other toys the boys had brought with them. I was at the school cleaning, dusting off and removing old furniture from inside the place to outside in the sun. Some of the girls that were with me, were sanding off the old paint from the furniture I had just given them, so we could refurbish them to be re-used in the school again. Some of the guys were striping the paint from the walls inside so we could re-paint it. Meanwhile some were placing the new school supplies we had brought for them.
We had a sytem going, it worked. We did more in a few days than a lot of people do in months. The work was intense, we didn’t stop. It was days, afternoons and evenings dedicated to this sort of fun. We had a blast.
We shared skits with them, that we created ourselves from bible stories, we played guitar for them and sang songs they had never heard, which had them started on singing for us also. It was fun to see strangers become friends through just simple acts of kindness.
We took turns between serving and sharing at the orphanage and the Taharumara Indian village, where we found a place near the mountains to place a water filtration system.
I won’t go into much details about this village because this blog entry is already so long and the longest one yet. In order to keep it shorter I will share about the orphans and the widows.
I walked up to one of the women in the Taharumara village, I had the impression she was a single one. I asked about her children through a translator, the Indians do not speak Spanish, they speak their own language. She shared with me that she had ten children, and I saw only two of them. So I asked her where the others ones were so I could meet them also; she proceeded to tell me they were up in heaven as she pointed up. I had no idea what to say at that moment. There were so many moments in this trip that shaped my life. It was as if carving a pathway. The villagers also shared with us that their language is the only one where the word love, does not exist. How do I express love to someone who’s language does not even convey such.
So I kept asking questions and I learned more in that afternoon in the village than in supreme college courses. This was life vivid and in colors. They don’t have consistent medical care, dental care or methods of preventions. The children often die before the age of five.
I will never know if I was ever able to actually be the love they needed. All I knew is we saw what they needed most and we actually spent time with them. We were the most interested people they knew during those days and we prayed for them everyday. They needed water, we gave them water. We didn’t take doctors there, we didn’t take dentists there and I wish we could have.
I didn’t know much about them prior to this trip aside from the common knowledge I found online while researching. You see, there was not much about Taharumaras online prior to this trip we took. I left the village that day to go back to the orphanage and finish what we had started. That day was midweek counting from the day we started, and that night we slept in missionary housing away from the sight we were working at.
We slept in different locations for most of the time we were there and everyday was an adventure. We took very short showers due to lack of clean water. I was dead tired and yet filled with so much joy, fulfillment and spirit that not even the swine flu breakout stopped me. Oh, and to clarify, upon arriving back to the U.S my blood was tested and I never acquired the flu even though I hugged all those children. I washed my hands a lot and used bottled water to wash my face.
Long were the days and short the hours. We truly enjoyed so much that we felt as if they were blessing us instead of the other way around. At the end of this trip the orphanage was refurbished, the village had clean water and I met children who’s courage spoke louder than any words. They were dropped off in that orphanage regardless of age. I saw a seven year old boy be dropped off and he thought he was going to picked up. His parents dropped him off as some people drop a puppy. It is horrific I know, however if we judge them, we simply cannot love them. Their parents cannot afford them and due to lack some are dropped off. The good part is that the missionaries were there to pick them up at the orphanage and take care of them there.
When we drove and crossed the borders back to America, my life had transformed. I quickly saw that even around me here, although dressed differently, orphans are everywhere and widows are many. I saw single mothers in similar needs, people with parents that are no where to be found. I saw how much work is needed here also and how easy it is for us all to get side tracked, distracted with things that don’t matter.
The difference we make is in the difference itself. I had no idea what was going to happen during that trip. I was willing, present, compelled, spirit filled; I had so much joy and I brought that with me. For some reason that was enough. They shared all they had with us, and we shared us with them. We ate with the orphans, the widows, the sick, the blind, the Indians, the pastors, the missionaries, the strangers, the friends, the rich, the poor, the man, the women, and on the last night we ate amognst ourselves only while barefoot and wearing white.
We definitely talked about Jesus to them but most of all we extended His actions. In that exchange of love towards one another, I became different. I hope to continue to live this diference everywhere I go.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Religion is a word that carries a lot of heaviness. People quickly associate the Christian with the heaviness it carries. It is quite a grieving experience for many when seeking the Jesus others talk about. Who is He? Where is He? Does He even care?
People are hurting, suffering and why? I myself have asked these questions and in different occasions have sought to receive answers that would satisfy my want for a resolution. Where does it all begin and when does it all end?
What exactly are we looking for when we seek God? I truly believe that at the core of humanity we are all in search for home. A home we can belong in, a home we are made for, a home where fellowship is at the core of not simply existing and rather a place where we can fully experience living.
First and foremost for those who have encountered a masked form of Christianity and have believed lies that the false indoctrination of legalistic religion brings; on the behalf of all Christians who seek a true relationship with the Creator I sincerely apologize to you. Christianity is about a relationship with the Creator, one that allows for mistakes, grace, forgiveness and the kind of love that cannot be easily broken. He is Love and love covers a multitude of sins.
So many are constantly in the search and because they cannot see, or hear, or they may think they do not possess what is sufficient, fall prey to the belief that God is no longer the God that comes to us. We are to seek; He promises we will find.Therefore in the midst of the journey or while waiting in the hallways in between doors, remember He is also the God that meets us exactly where we are. So when you can’t see Him, rest assured that He sees you; when you don’t hear Him, He hears you and answers your prayers before you even finish asking; when you don’t believe, He steps into your disbelief and compels you through His love and when you feel lost He finds you because He is the same yesterday today and forever. He loves you too much to leave you where you are.
Imagine a garden and that an artist created a flower for this beautiful garden. He created everything and all the flowers in that garden.He knows their name, He knows the scent they give off, He knows their place and position in the garden and He loves them. They are His cherished possessions; His treasure. One day a stranger walks in when the artist is away and steps on one of them. That flower is now hurt and although unable to move properly, it gives off a scent and the artist smells the fragrance from a distance. He immediately goes to the garden and restores the flower to it’s original condition. The garden is His and the flowers are His, therefore He knows what it takes to restore them. Although the flower could not properly hear, or move, or see because it was stepped on, the scent immediately called for the creator.
Now imagine yourself as that flower and how the artist that created you knows your scent and cares about you more than you could ever imagine. In many instances when we feel as if we cannot go to Him, He meets us where we are.
In Luke 19 the bible tells a story about a man called Zacchaeus and how he sought to see Jesus and on account of the crowd he could not, he was small in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him. When Jesus came to the place,He looked up and said to him “ Zacchaeus hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner”
Zacchaeus made an attempt, an effort, and Jesus stayed with him and was received by him. In spite of the crowd’s upsets.
I truly believe that just as the bible portrays in this story and many others, Jesus still meets us where we are. As I have understood before, I know Christianity to be a relationship with the Creator and is a constant spiritual practice; a oneness with God.
Jesus reveal your love to us in such a tangible way that we may not feel unloved.
Inspire us with the wisdom that you and us together can do anything.
I came across Mathew 6 where Jesus teaches regarding laying up treasures in heaven rather than on earth. I have read these verses many times and although I grasped the general concept and idea, I have never really stopped to read it as I did today.
I started reading verse by verse and seeking distinctions in the dictionary for each word in hopes I would gain a different perspective. The result has been eye opening!
He starts on verse 19 by saying ” Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where the moth can corrupt and rust destroys and where thieves break in and steal”
I then sought the distinctions of the words moth, rust and thief in a much proper way rather then the assumed definitions based on everyday generalities.
According to my findings the proper definition for such are as followed:
A nocturnal insect similar to butterflies and is attracted to light.
Substance formed on the surface of iron and steel as a result of reacting with water and air. Rust can cause metal parts that are supposed to slide over one another to become stuck and can also make holes in sheet metal. Keeps iron (which is a conductor); from conducting proper electricity.
A person who steals another person’s property specially by stealth and without using force or violence.
I was then in shock at how many times I unknowingly allowed the moths, rusts and thieves to corrupt and teal from me. I realized I have taken many actions in life which is to “lay up” that were absolutely correct and yet around the wrong surroundings. I am a person who truly tries to keep a heaven perspective when making decisions and I strive to not aim for earth only. How could then a person that prays like a do and read as much as I do end up not properly discerning these things sooner than later?
Notice that the moth although an insect and appears to fly as a butterfly does, it is not a butterfly. They are also attracted to light and as to butterflies; artificial light confuses them as they rely on the natural light of the Sun to guide them.
The rust is formed upon as a result of interacting with water and wind and makes itself noticeable on the surface of strong metals such as iron and steel. In Proverbs 27:17 it is mentioned that iron sharpens iron. Rust is then of no benefit, except to make itself known in such ways; given that it is formed on the surface of such metal as a result of interaction. Now we can see who they are and distinguish the difference.
What truly blew my mind the most, was when I searched for the definition of what a common everyday thief is. I had this generalized idea that I would certainly know if a thief broke in. Things would be messy, items would be gone and something would be visibly broken. Evidence would certainly be all over the place. Isn’t that what we see in movies and the common portrait reality of what a thief is?
Well, as you can see in the definition provided above, stealth is their main trait. Going unnoticed as one. The everyday thief tends to not use force or violence and are “pros” at keeping it under the raps.
Jesus is attempting to warn us in this parable and those who have eyes will see and those who have ears will mostly hear what He is intending. He follows on verse 20 and 21 by saying ” but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”
I don’t want to turn this into a long message but as I have seen incredible value in this; I desire the same for you. Having said this, I went after the definition of the importance of the heart. The heart is defined as the central or innermost part of something. It is also a hollow muscular organ that pumps the blood through the circulatory system by rhythmic contraction and dilation, being essential for the survival of a being.
A treasure is defined as a valuable item, a gem, cherished, gold, silver and something to keep carefully.
Wow, although these appeared to me as simple definitions I took a careful look at the message given. The enemy wants to disturb our hearts, for it is essential for our sustainability and life. The thing is what does the enemy look like?
Without placing judgement and rather attempting to discern surroundings; how many times did the enemy go unnoticed? Perhaps dressed as a moth and perceived by many as a butterfly? A thief and yet so stealth in tactics that we may have perceived as calm and collected. A rust; to rub off on those who consider themselves iron only to produce corruption?
We are to sort through, distinguish and define our surroundings in attempt to not treasure a moth like person, a thief or a rust. Rather take actions towards a place where these don’t stand a chance of infiltrating. This is in regards to our own selves too! We are also to search within and make sure we are not being these definitions in our lives towards ourselves or towards another.
The things, people, places, activities and conversations we treasure affect our heart’s wealth and health. I don’t mean just in a physical way either; I believe that some without knowing are being affect spiritually due to such things.
Jesus as we understand that you resurrected and are still alive, please help us to distinguish our surroundings. Instruct us on how to lay up our treasures in heaven where the moth, thief and rust cannot destroy. Help us to be people that are internally and externally healthy and instruct us also on what to treasure.
As I read my bible and sought to understand as to what it means to carry the love of Jesus into the world, I come to learn that true Christianity is a profound spiritual practice.
I come in contact with many people who often offer to share with me their own views, ideas, and preconceptions as to how they view what it is to project the Love of Christ into the world.
As many may know I have a profound love for animals and for those who cannot in many ways speak for themselves. I was once told although at times we may not have language; nothing is without expression.
Although God is the author of life He has told us in 1Corinthians 3:9 “we are to be co-creators with Christ”
The great question is creators of what?
What are we really creating? What is the legacy He left behind that we are to continue? Why animals? Why humans? What does it mean to be a human being? What is a being? What if animals and humans are beings and they are just two different types of beings? What if we are different in tasks and equal in value? What is task? What is value?What if one is made in the image of God and the other is a simple expression of His love towards us? If so then what are we doing? Do we know what we are doing? Do we ever stop and think about what it is that we want to create with Him?
I often see people that create their god and their god creates them, it’s called idolatry. What if idolatry is anything and everything that takes precedence before His truth. So many of us want the truth to be given to us and masticated through someone else’s understanding rather than they themselves taking the risk and personal responsibility, picking up their own bible and asking God to reveal Himself to them. Isn’t that how Jesus died?.
He picked up His cross and who else around Him did?
Were they not just complaining? People in His time also lacked understanding of who God is and they asked Jesus so many questions in order to get Him in trouble with the corrupted system because they themselves were corrupted. Anyone that didn’t agree with their earthly indoctrination like Jesus, would, of course, have to die.
He obviously upset the power structure of His days. This leads me to think and question within my own self, what if He came into our world today? Would the results be any different? Have we really understood Who He is and what He stood for?
Are we really that different? Would we know what we are doing? Are we really people that are less judgmental? Are we really accepting?
Could it be that we are conformists at times of the patterns and indoctrinations of this world? He asked us not to be conformed to the patterns of this world and rather be transformed by the renewing of our minds in Romans 12:2.
What if the indoctrination of this world wants us to be completely desensitized as to what and who LOVE is? Have you ever given a thought as to what this could cost you at the end?
When worth goes out of the way to reach value we are to see the greater picture instead of being petty and argumentative, gossipers and slanderers.
I don’t know what love looks like to you, but I look in the face of love every day. And as I myself am still learning what it all means I am a firm believer that when He says in Psalm 150:6 “ Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” He meant it for them too.
Father who is in heaven instruct us and teach us to know love, be love and do your will
According to some distinctions, character can be distinguished as the qualities impressed by nature or habits on a person. Character is not fully formed when a person has not acquired stable and distinctive qualities.
The Bible explains in James 1:7 “the double minded man is unstable in all of his ways”
One can understand from this verse that acquiring an un-wavered character is a must in order for us to not have a double mind and promote internal stability.
Insecurity is an undeniable weapon used to hinder the thought process of anyone who is in the pursuit of consistency in life.
What is character that you are being to yourself? How are you being consistent with it?
It is easy to take a look inside and be critical at times because we think we know ourselves. We have established a consistent way given through a persistent interaction we have with ourselves and others about who we are as characters. This interaction often leaves us knowing, and knowing what?
Is this knowledge one that promotes a negative evidence or one that speaks to ourselves as God sees us? He has already laid out for us who we are and it takes as much faith to believe who we are in Him than the knowing who we are in circumstances.
Everything we experience in life, one way or another shapes our view of who we are internally. The great problem this poses to our personal growth is that it’s only one way for us to see ourselves. God is a multidimensional God and He sees us in ways that are much higher than our own created ways of seeing ourselves.
I was once told that a person of great love is often a person of great faith, and Jesus asks us to love our neighbor as ourselves in Mark 12:31. The resolve with this verse and our everyday interactions leaves us often depleted. We are shaping who we are and who we want to be in every breath we take, every person we interact with and every motion we are a part of. We are to extend ourselves to one another in love but how are we be able to do this if we hold a view of ourselves that may not reflect the view of the Creator towards us?
The resolve to this incoherence is to know that in each moment we interact with anything is an opportunity for us to reappropriate ourselves as believers and servants of God. In doing this we get to rearrange our perspectives, emotions and analogies towards anyone or anything we interact with.
Heaven is a kingdom in which perspective is required in order to achieve an unmovable character.
Father, I thank you for the ability we have to see ourselves through you.
Help us to see ourselves as you do. Reveal to us all the distinctive qualities we have in you and establish in us a character worthy of serving you.
When reading the story in Mathew 14:30 Jesus asks Peter to walk out of the boat and Peter did just that. We can also see that for as long as Peter kept his eyes on Christ he continued to walk until he decided to look at the waves and almost drowned.
It takes as much faith to keep a heavenly perspective as it does to look at the evidence of the waves. As Christians, we have been called to walk by faith and not by sight. Faith took Peter out of the boat onto the water towards Jesus. The moment Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the waves he drowned.
What is fear and how do we actually relate to it? What is fear that we are to fear?
The words “Fear Not” have been mentioned in the bible 365 times, one for each day. If fear did not exist and it was a simple illusion or a shift in perspective, what could we perhaps do?
Fear is a projection that can also be shifted into courage and motivation. Courage is not the absence of feeling fear and rather being able to move in spite of it.
God I Thank you for giving us the assurance of courage and letting us know that we do not need to fear. Thank you that you have already conquered the world. I ask you to teach us to move in bold courage towards everything that we are to do. Give us the necessary wisdom to move forward according to your will.
I ask you to multiply your mercies and blessings unto us and may all glory be given unto you.