Life Is A Journey: You Might As Well Enjoy The Ride With God

Life Is A Journey: You Might As Well Enjoy The Ride With God

The unpredictability of life is a mystery that can only be fully understood by God. One day we find ourselves in a big city near the suburbs of Hong Kong. Another day we find ourselves living in a small town near the outskirts of Duluth Minnesota. How unpredictable our lives are, I say.

I often wonder how anybody can live life without believing that there is a God. Life is full of inexplicable surprises for anyone to deny the existence of a superior being. How can we explain the blessings that we receive and give? How can someone be born wealthy and chose modesty over principles? I don’t have the answer to these questions but maybe one day I will understand. 

I realized in a very short period of time that it is only by the grace of God that we can live a good life, regardless of what some might say. I live a great life full of blessings given by Jesus Christ. Every semester, I speak with a number of college students seeking new knowledge and life coaching tips. I help them to find themselves and to use the gifts that God has given them and me in a creative way. What a privilege is to be able to encourage the youth into serving God with their lives. I love it… I was born to do this. In the bible, we read in Acts 15:32, “And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.” We must do so with enthusiasm.

Some of us have the duty to encourage others to achieve greatness, be compassionate, and care for the poor. Someone needs to be a cheerleader for students and give them unconditional generosity. The bible talks about exhortation, an important gift given by God to some. In Romans 12:8 we learn, “the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness…” 

How great is His word and the plans He has for one’s future. The unpredictability of life is a mystery that can only be fully understood by God. I surrender it all. I want to be more christlike. It is well, it is well with my soul… As long as you lead me into your ways and future plans… We shall be just fine. My life without you is in vain, God. God always be glorified, forever and ever. 

Life is a journey — You might as well enjoy the ride with God all the days of your lives. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The other side isn’t that far away. 

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Wisdom Once Shared By Author CS Lewis…

Wisdom Once Shared By Author CS Lewis…

When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” The more I live in this world, the more God shows me that the former statement is in fact true.

God has been very gracious to me. Even though I don’t deserve the air that I breathe for falling short of the glory of God, The God of hosts has granted me all that I need in abundance under the sun.

When I left Brazil, I mean… the country, my circle of friends, family… I lost the blessings of the known, friends and family support. They were a blessing in themselves, I now realize. However, coming to the United States, to an unknown territory, without friends and family was also another blessing I wasn’t expecting. It’s amazing how God make things right overtime. Amazing.

I’m now bilingual, have as many friends as I once had in Brazil, my family is now near, and I got more education under my belt than I’ve ever thought possible. God provides, ladies and gents.

CS Lewis was right.

“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.”

Food for thought.

The Marks Of Spiritual Immaturity In Plain English

The Marks Of Spiritual Immaturity In Plain English

Two weeks ago… Ramon Torres, the Senior Pastor at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church shared with us a very important bible lesson in his Sunday sermon, “The marks of spiritual immaturity,” how to recognize them, and why so many Christians haven’t been as mature in the faith as they probably should.

Let me echo this message.

There are marks of spiritual immaturity clearly stated in the holy bible (1 Corinthians 3:1-9) and he nailed it. After hearing him preach on this topic, I said to myself, “I need to write about it in my blog because I believe that he was inspired by God with that message.”

So, let me share with you what scripture teaches us about spiritual immaturity first followed by the notes of two dreams I had on the topic. Be ready, this post will make you think and is likely to make you uncomfortable, perhaps a bit scared.

A clear sign of spiritual immaturity is pride. Infant believers are often not living according to God’s commands, which often leads to arrogance, lacking humbleness and often resisting the authority of God. Pride is a cancer that can destroy the very best, quickly. When we find pride, we find immaturity. Proverbs 16:18 – Pride [goeth] before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Jealousy is also a clear indicators of spiritual immaturity. Mature Christians are occupied with doing things that relate to God not men. Immature ones often focus their energy on attacking others, directly or indirectly, because of what they have or could have. The moment that the immature in Christ allows jealousy to consume her thoughts and actions, her mind, heart and life often pays the price. In fact, the former is quite easy to see among many church goers these days. Job 5:2 – “Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple.”

An immature believer is filled with strife. Generating false claims about someone and purposefully disagreeing with others with the intent of having conflicting opinions with them for “winning” sake is often a consequence of pride. As we have pointed out in this article, price is a cancer that can destroy the very best. Generating discord or disunity, sometimes isolation is not what God has planned for us to do with each other at all in his church and out. One cannot be spiritually mature behaving this way. Philippians 2:3 – “[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

Idolatry. Steve Jobs was a great leader but he wasn’t God. The moment that a person looks at a leader, person of influence, etc… as if he or she is a half god, chances are very high that this person is spiritually immature.  We can’t honor God and money. We can’t worship God and Krishna. It is not possible to love God and any corporate leader in this earth simultaneously. A spiritually mature man or woman understands this simple fact. 1 Corinthians 10:14 – “Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”

Living according to the world is also a sign of the spiritually immature. Seeking to live in Lavish houses, owning expensive cars, living life for money to do this, seeking more money to do that and forgetting God… Buying your way into a college or treating some well and others not with the fear of being reprimanded by an influential group are also signs of spiritual immaturity. If anyone has an obsession with wealth, they don’t live for God. A spiritually mature Christian doesn’t allow the world to sway him from what is important to God, which is total submission to God’s word. Be aware of those who claim to be godly people but mistreat the brethren for self again in the church and out. John 4:5 –  “They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.”

Are you spiritually mature or immature? Let’s do some retrospect about the former by relating what we are to the way that God asks us to be.

All right…

Now let me type in here the notes I got from two dreams I had relating to the topics we have discussed in this post. Are you ready? Here we go. *By the way: The notes below were written at 3:30am in the morning both times, right after I woke up from these dreams.

“Write more about the glory of God (not giving glory to other human beings) in everything and the dangers of pride. The dream appeared to be a dream about how christians would be tortured (or pay) for their sin until they got it right in the heavens. Write about salvation in Jesus Christ alone. That’s a condition of salvation.  I saw lost sheep (higher up clergy and Protestant pastors focused on money), in a sadistic place where a Christian had no way out. It was four layers down in hell.

I saw the disguise of a Christian act, repeated torture… knowing part of the answer to salvation allowed me to wake up. In the dream, there was a need to be grounded in scripture for your own sake and knowing the answers about what God wants us to know found in the Bible. Don’t lower your guard.

Scripture stopped an evil spirit from eating my right finger. I heard, “What God can give, He can take it away.” My cry for help didn’t work initially but I was able to wake up to to deep bible understanding. Live upright according to the bible and perhaps know that God paid a big price for our sins.

It was clear to me that both dreams had a clear message for us all, “Live upright and live grounded in the Bible.”

Know the Bible, apply the many Bible lessons, God doesn’t help sinners. I saw lie being used as a weapon for false hope (many times) and disguise to test your belief and convictions. Lukewarm is not enough.

Be patience. Don’t trust too quickly. Don’t rush. I saw the need for people to take anxiety medicine to take spirits out. I saw evil ants entering me and people I know, including my mother. Nobody could see what we saw or believed us. Our belief in God killed the ants, shortly.

At first I had no control over such attacks. Scripture was the only way to flee such attacks.

Devils were not able to function when I was patient and calm and trusted in God in the dream. When I resisted a sexy naked women who was tempting me, made the evil go away. I said, “This isn’t cool. Nobody should show their nude appearance too quickly to anyone. Wait women, patience.

I then was found myself wondering in the ocean with big waves in dark trees. My thoughts were focused on remembering trust and patience. Two weird creatures (angels) gave me the answers to escape the nightmare but they were not very clear. I think I remember the need to be patient in life.

These dreams were reminders that faith wasn’t enough. “Try to fight me with that only and see if you are going to win,” the devil said.

Literally surrender to God. Calm down and apply the faith. In my two dreams, it was clear that the depth of our faith matters. Be fascinated with God not anything else. Pride, living according to the world, idolatry… they lead to potentially having believers going to hell if they weren’t strong in the faith and truly applying what they believe.

I mean, everything.

Two weeks ago… Ramon Torres, the Senior Pastor at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church shared with us a very important bible lesson in his Sunday sermon, “The marks of spiritual immaturity,” Pride, jealousy, strife, idolatry and living according to the world are signs of spiritual immaturity. There are consequences for not doing what God tells us to do. My dreams were clearly a reminder of that, I think. I saw pastors burning in fire for greed. I heard the need to be patient in life and letting God work in our lives and much more.

In sum: It pays off to be spiritually mature and apply the lessons found in the bible for our own sake. Ladies and gents, let’s make God a priority in this world and the next. It seems to be the right thing to do.

Presence Is The Greatest Gift That You Can Give

Presence Is The Greatest Gift That You Can Give

It isn’t technology, sorry.

When we are present and legitimately interested in positively impacting the lives of others, it is the greatest gift we can give to someone. Sometimes, “being there” is what people need the most. This irony is that too many people “aren’t there” when others needs them, making the former quite rare in society these days.

When students graduate, I’m there for them. When students come to my office with fear, I’m there for them. When students are anxious, I’m there for them. When students play sports on campus, I’m there with them. When you choose to be “there” for someone, your presence… is the greatest gift for them! This is perhaps why most people would rather see you at their party without a gift than receiving a gift from someone who didn’t attend the event. People appreciate the presence of others when his presence is a genuine gift.

From a biblical worldview, the presence of Jesus is a gift to us all. His presence to the disciplines was the greatest gift they got. When Peter was afraid, Jesus was there for him. When Thomas doubted, Jesus was there for him. When Mary was in sorrow, Jesus appeared to her. The bible is filled with these kinds of stories and how important they are to the development of people.

When I see people purposely being absent when the brethren tries to connect with them, it worries me much because the former is often a clear indication that something isn’t right, often with those who refuse connecting. Have you ever been in this kind of scenario? I have experienced that, yes. It is sad but not unheard of. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who have ever experienced such events, either.

In Colossians 4:5 we read, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” It only makes sense to “make most of the opportunity” by being present to others. It is the best gift we can give, don’t you think?

I say, don’t be absent when others may need you the most. I’m aware of at least 30 bible verses reminding us about the need to assist others with their needs. If one claims to be Christian but fails to care for others, fruit may not be in her because “By their fruit, you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16). 

When we are present and legitimately interested in positively impacting the lives of others, it is the greatest gift we can give to someone. Sometimes, “being there” is what people need the most. Choose to be there for someone today. Let’s live a life for Christ following His commands not ours.

Living for God based on earthly values and beliefs isn’t very Christian, I say. Being with God is a gift. Let’s honor the commitment, ladies and gents. Sometimes, “being there” is what people need the most. Choose to be there for someone today. It is our duty.

 

 

A Wise Man Brings Joy To His Father And Mother

A Wise Man Brings Joy To His Father And Mother

The bible says, “A wise man brings joy to his father but a foolish man despises his mother” (Proverbs 15:20). In my life, I have done what I could to honor my dad and mom because this is what God asks of us, along with my belief that those who raise you must receive the very best in return from those who were raised.

It isn’t an accident that the bible mention 75 verses about parenthood. Clearly, God wants us to better understand our parents and respect them because being obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord (Colossians 3:20). How wrong can we do if we do what is right to God’s eyes? We can’t go wrong, I say. Some people may disagree but don’t forget what God teaches us in Ecclesiastes, “Do not pay attention to every word people say” (Ecclesiastes 7:17). 

Wisdom is better than folly, friends. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH (Ephesians 6:2-3). Don’t you want to live a long life? I do. Just realize that longevity isn’t calculated in human numbers but God’s time. 

Moral of the story. Love your parents and don’t forget them in their old days.  Don’t be foolish to think that they don’t matter when they are old or young. Lessons relating to patience, caution, strategy, and persistence are some of the lessons I’ve been learning (or shall I say, relearning) lately from them.     

The brethren must realize that the “Eyes of the Lord are everywhere” (Proverbs 15:3). God is paying attention to how we treat others especially our parents. As a devoted Christian, I see God’s writings as a manual for us to follow here on earth. Be wise and listen to your parents. God recommends us to honor our parents. If God says it, it settles it. 

Be Selective: Only The Very Best Should Join Your Inner Circle…

Be Selective: Only The Very Best Should Join Your Inner Circle…

I say this because a person’s social capital is as valuable if not more valuable than a person’s human capital. Sometimes is not how much you know but who you know, or hall we say… who knows you! Your inner circle is one of the most valuable assets you gave in life. Don’t let anything destroy what you got or give the impression that your network is not of any value or both.

Building a quality network of any kind is difficult, time consuming and can be quite expensive to build. For those reasons and more, be selective: only the very best should join your inner circle. Remember: In this life, people will judge you according to the people you associate yourself with, regardless of which philosophy of life you end up adopting. Build your inner circle with care.

You can be nice to people yet protecting your space, privacy, and network. Choose your friends very carefully. Why? This is why… Look at what the bible teaches us about friendship.

1. “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26).

2. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 12:26).

3. “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble” (Proverbs 13:20). 

6.  “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). 

7. Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

8. “A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good” (Proverbs 16:29). 

9. “Do not be a friend of one who has a bad temper, and never keep company with a hothead, or you will learn his ways and set a trap for yourself” (Proverbs 22:24-25). 

10. “Now, what I meant was that you should not associate with people who call themselves brothers or sisters in the Christian faith but live in sexual sin, are greedy, worship false gods, use abusive language, get drunk, or are dishonest. Don’t eat with such people” (1 Corinthians 5:11). 

I admit — I used to let more people enter my inner circle. What a big mistake I made for many years. Thank goodness, the former is now history and it won’t be repeated again. Prove me that you deserve to be my friend, is my new motto now. I recommend that you do the same, for your own sake.

After thinking critically about this issue this past July, I came to the realization that most of my misfortunes in life were based on letting a person (or a group of people) have access to some of my intellectual property and care without really deserving to have them. I clearly violated a very important lesson I’ve learned from the author Robert Greene, “Never put too much trust in friends” and the many teaching of the bible due to pity on others.  I have a soft heart for those in need…

In order to control for the a possible strife, which inevitably happens to the best of us, you should be very careful with who enters your network. Selectivity is a must. Get to know people in great detail before allowing them to have access to your brain. You will realize that not too many people you know deserves to have access to your insights, especially if they need your knowledge more than you.

Human beings can be sneaky, self-serving, egoistic and evil. From a Christian standpoint, the former can even be a manifestation of the devil in people, I think. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16). 

Keep your eyes open and be very selective with who is allowed to know you and your network. Don’t rush… take your time in the selection process.  Things that are truly great in life, e.g., the development of a person to maturity, college degree completion, a successful startup that was founded with little capital, a swimmer’s achievement of a gold medal in the Olympics…  take time.
Listen carefully to this one. Always keep your eyes open.