Your Relationship With God is THE Most Important One You Will Ever Have

Out of every single relationship that you could ever have in your entire life, the only one that actually matters is your relationship with God.  You could have a relationship with kings, presidents, celebrities, and many others, but nothing comes close to having a relationship with Our Heavenly Father.  There are many reasons this is true.  Here are my top three.

First and foremost, your relationship with God determines where you will spend eternity.  Having a relationship with God, or not having it, clearly says where you will spend all of eternity after death. This relationship can only begin by repenting of your sin and turning to Christ for salvation. It simply follows that having a real, genuine relationship with God means that you have done that and are saved.

I also fully believe that a relationship with God recharges your batteries, so to speak, and prepares you not just for your day, but for life.  We give people our time, attention, energy and resources if we are in a relationship with us.  That can be draining, especially if you prioritize the “wrong” relationships.  Bad company corrupts good morals, and will wear you down physically,  mentally and spiritually. Having Godly friends influence you to be godly, but having God as your Father, your friend and your everything transforms you into Christ’s likeness.  If you prioritize the Lord, you will be given much more than you could ever give Him.  In the process, you will be uplifted and invigorated.

The third reason I find most important is that your relationship with God is never ending.  It will last for all eternity.  Everything we have in this earth will fade away, be it riches, friendships, connections with big people, and even ourselves. Yet, one thing that will not fade away is God Himself.  Because of this, we should choose to invest ourselves in Him. Christ said, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”  If we invest ourselves in worldly relationships, we will only reap worldly benefits. If we invest in God who is in and for all eternity, we will reap eternal harvests.  Choose to prioritize God.  You’ll be glad you did!

 

 

Add a comment August 10, 2018

Restore Your Soul

The shepherd restores his sheep in several ways. If one wanders away, he goes out after it, and seeks it until he finds it, restoring it to the shelter of the fold. If one grows sick or weary, the shepherd does not leave it to die, but takes it up in his arms, and carries it home, restoring it to the fold. If a sheep is hurt, the shepherd tends its wounds until they are healed. This is a picture of how our Good Shepherd restores our souls.

Sometimes we wander away. It is very easy to drift away from Christ. The drifting is often unconscious, we don’t realize that we’re losing our first love, and little by little, we move further away from Him.

Perhaps it’s a favorite sin which consumes us. Or maybe it’s a worldly companionship which draws us away, loosening the bonds which bound us to Christ. Sometimes it’s business which leaves no room for God. Or maybe it’s the cares of this world which choke the Spirit.

Sin is a terrible thing. It wounds the soul and only Christ can restore it. But if we put our hurt life into His hand, He will give healing. What millions of sins has our Good Shepherd cured! When sorrow has left us heart-broken, it is only the Good Shepherd who can restore it. He’s a most skillful physician. We may put all sorrows wounds into His hand. He’s most gentle, and His hand is infinitely skillful. He’s a wonderful source of comfort.

Add a comment April 22, 2016

Life is Beautiful…Love It!

Too often we find more reasons to hate our life than to love it. And you know what? Life hates us back. Here are 77 reasons to love your life. Pick one or add your own!:

love your life for everything you already have

love your life for what you are yet to receive

love your life for all your certainties

love your life for the friends you have

love your life for the wonderful journeys you had

love your life for the friends you will get

love your life for all the bad advice you didn’t follow

love your life for your beautiful memories

love your life for the ones you love

love your life for the ones you forgot, as they are still to enrich your life

love your life for the work you do, as this is your gift to the others love your life for the jokes you still wait to hear

love your life for the beautiful travels you are still to make

love your life for everything you are not sure about, as it will still challenge your being

love your life for all the beautiful sunrises you remember

love your life for all the fantastic sunsets you still recall

love your life for tomorrow’s sunrise

love your life for yesterday sunset

love your life for the gifts you are yet to receive

love your life for the health you have

love your life for all the beauty you can spot around you

love your life for the ugliness around you, as it serves you to contrast the beauty you are ignoring

love your life for the riddles you haven’t yet solved

love your life for all your unanswered questions

love your life for all your victories

love your live for all the good advice you followed

love your life for all your lost battles, as they are your precious lessons

love your life for your enemies, as they are there to give birth to your forgiveness

love your life for all the small things in your life

love your life for all the ambitious goals you’ve set

love your life for all the answers you got so far

love your life for the smiles you get every day

love your life for the smiles you give every day

love your life for your energetic mornings

love your life for your romantic evenings

love your life for the life rediscovered through the eyes of your children

love your life for the smell of the rain

love your life for the gifts you still have to make

love your life for all the games you haven’t yet played

love your life for the next first snow

love your life for all the great ideas you had today

love your life for all the great ideas you will have tomorrow

love your life for tomorrow’s surprises

love your life for today’s gifts

love your life for all your fulfilled dreams

love your life for yesterday’s memories, they are there to enlight you

love your life for all the nice words you haven’t yet said to your loved ones

love your life for all the nice words you heard from your loved ones

love your life for all the nice people you haven’t yet met

love your life for all your mistakes, so you can have plenty of time to make up for them

love your life for all the adventures you haven’t yet had

love your life for all the words you haven’t yet read

love your life for all the words you haven’t yet written

love your life for all the unborn challenges you still have to face

love your life for all the stories you haven’t yet heard, written or imagined

love your life for the person who’s looking at you from the mirror every morning

love your life for the nurturing family you already have

love your life for all you have to share with others

love your life for all you’ve lost in your journey, as it will only make room for something even bigger

love your life for the feeling of your heart overflowing with love

love your life for all your unfulfilled dreams as you will have plenty of time to make them true

love your life for all the opportunities that are waiting for you just around the corner

love your life for the personal freedom you conquered

love your life for everything you created so far

love your life for the beauty of every spring

love your life for the energy of every summer

love your life for the emotions of every fall

love your life for the cold beauty of every winter

love your life for all the beauty inside you, waiting yet to be discovered

love your life for all the fantastic colors that are shaping your world every day

love your life for all the wonderful music you’ve heard so far

love your life for all the people you have met so far, they are your precious universe

love your life for wind that caresses your face every day

love your life for the all the unexpected changes of your plans

love your life for all the fights you avoided

love your life for all the crossroads you meet every day, they are there to offer you the best path you can chose

love your life for every single second, as this is all you have, only this infinite second

Feel free to take this list and use it as a guide for loving your precious life!

Add a comment December 18, 2010

Are Values and Morals Declining?

The answer to the “moral decline of America” question will always illicit an array of arguments. Some people will point out American progress over the last 50 years and wholeheartedly claim that America is on the rise. Likewise, some people will point to America’s problems over the last 50 years and vehemently claim that it is falling from grace. Wherever you come down on this issue, the fact is that you most likely have an opinion on whether or not America is in moral decline. Sadly, I believe it is.

Everyday on our streets, in our schools, and at our workplaces we see people breaking the law, cheating the system, and living without any moral compass, and we dwell on tiffs between the likes of Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump. The divorce rate is climbing; adultery is on the rise; there are few stable marriages in Hollywood; and our politicians are not far off the list of statistics.

Recently, I heard about a shooting of a high school boy. The victim was shot by another high schooler who was upset this boy was checking out his girlfriend. After arguing and fighting in front of dozens of cheering onlookers, the teenage killer pulled out a gun and shot the other boy. The Union Station shooting truly forced me to face the reality of what path our country is headed down and how casual our youngsters will resort to violence. There’s no doubt that this aggressive behavior is being reinforced by the shameless media and entertainment industry that constantly barrage us with these images.

As most of you know, I am a staunch defender of free speech and I believe censorship in most forms is a bad idea. I agree with Mark Twain when he said, “Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” I also believe that the American audience will eventually wise up and stop buying what the media is currently selling. At some point, the American audience will tire of the endless killings shown in action movies, the casual sex portrayed in sitcoms, and the downright shameful behavior seen in tabloids and magazines. But until we stop talking about these silly stories and watching these shameful shows, the media and the networks will continue to give them to us.

Although it is probably time for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enforce stricter laws, I think it would be vastly more effective to have the people boycott than the politicians legislate. Currently America is one of the most hated country in the world. Sadly, with every passing day, we become one of the most disrespected country in the world. We are seen overseas as a rich, pompous, egotistical, wasteful, shameful, and sinful society. We are accused of embracing a double standard that allows us to do one thing, while saying another. Examples of this include  polluting the environment more than any other country, yet refusing to join international programs to save the planet and expecting the rest of the world to abide by international laws but getting immunity from the International Criminal Court. The United States is surrounded by legal issues revolving around same-sex marriages which are further complicated by the nation’s federal system of government.

We are living in a time that we must deal with child sexual abuse in the priesthood and in society at large as well as kidnapping. Our children are our future and we must protect them. Unfortunately, there are no simplistic solutions to getting rid of pedophiles. We must deal with the painful truth that sexual abuse of children is a crime that not only occurs in the priesthood, but most of the time is committed in our own families.

Obviously there are many more examples of Americans living a double standard and each of us must admit our role in perpetuating this. Whether we’re talking about the media, the environment, the war, or local crime, it is all the same — we must stop the moral decline of America if we wish to avoid the fate of other past empires.

Add a comment December 13, 2010

Show Agape Love to All

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:5

 You have probably heard the term “agape love,” but may not be real clear on what it means. What is agape love? How is it any different from the dozens of other ways we use the word love?

First, let’s understand what it is not. It is not romantic love, because people of all faiths (and no faiths) experience romantic love. Secondly, it is not brotherly love, where you have a natural chemistry with another person. Terrorists and members of the mafia experience brotherly love. There’s certainly nothing uniquely Christian about that!

Agape love is unconditional love. It is a choice we make to love another person whether they love us back or not. It means that you choose to love someone even if he is your enemy! Agape love is not based on emotion at all. In fact, it may be contrary to our every emotion. It is an act of the will.

Agape love presents a real challenge for people, even Christians. It is tough to live out because it’s hard to love someone who doesn’t respond to you in the way you would desire. And all of us are going to have certain individuals—even within the body of Christ—that we have to struggle to love. And yet, God’s word is very clear: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. Now, you couldn’t find a more clear command about what we’re called to do as followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus “agape loves” us and commands us to “agape love” others.

Add a comment December 5, 2010

Be Positive in All You Do!

I was reading an article in a  magazine when I came across an article by Wally Amos, of Uncle Wally’s Muffins. In it he writes, “Many folks throughout the years have commented to me that being famous makes it easy for me to have a positive attitude. I explain that I am famous because of my positive attitude.” Here’s the question: What’s your attitude like today? Is it helping you or hurting you as you go after what you want in life? Is it positive or negative?

Help me out here. Do you believe the following statements are true? :

Companies are always looking for individuals with negative attitudes to employ.

You will make far more income throughout your lifetime with a negative attitude than with a positive one.

Successful people like to be around negative people.

Teams thrive with negative team members.

I’m sure someone out there is saying, “It’s hard to be positive in such a negative world?” Why? Because you believe it is. What if you could teach yourself to look at things differently? What if you could teach yourself to believe that hard does not mean impossible, hard does not mean can’t be done. That hard is just a word and that words have no power until you believe they do.  Be part of the solution, not part of what’s wrong. Look for the opportunities, not the obstacles.  Be someone with a positive attitude not someone who is thinking about having a positive attitude.

Add a comment December 2, 2010

Assess The Company You Keep

I Corinthians 15: 33 says that Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals. It is the Bible’s way of giving us a stern warning about the folks who we allow to be in our lives. If you keep bad company, the Bible says that your good morals will be corrupted. In other words, you will then become like the people around you…like the company you keep.

Throughout Proverbs, we are given wisdom about what happens when we keep companionship with ungodly people. The result is always unfortunate. Recently, there have been a number of high profile incidents that demonstrate the importance of keeping people who are bad company at a distance in our lives. The more they are in our lives, the more of an opportunity they have to know us, to know our weaknesses, to know where we are vulnerable—the closer they get to us, the more damage they are able to do.

Evaluate the people in your life. Are they good company or are they bad company? If they are not of benefit to you and your walk with the Lord, you probably need to take a serious look at whether or not to allow them to maintain the close proximity they have to you and your life.  Living in the moment, doing what feels good, tolerating bad behavior of others and pleasing the flesh are great ideas spawned by Satan, until you realize God’s ideas are better.  MUCH better.

Add a comment November 30, 2010

Be Generous Everyday Not Just for the Holidays

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (NIV, Romans 12:6-8)

Each of us has something to offer. We can give our money and our time to charity, be a friend to someone who is sick or lonely, be a volunteer, or be a peacemaker, teacher or minister. We may give unselfishly of our time to our spouse, children or parents. We may choose a service-oriented occupation, or we may just carry on in our everyday professions with integrity and respect for others.

It would seem that the more we give to others, the poorer we become, but just the opposite is true! Service to others brings meaning and fulfillment to our lives in a way that wealth, power, possessions and self-centered pursuits can never match. As Jesus said,

For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing amount, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measurement you use to give — large or small — will be used to measure what is given back to you.” (TLB, Luke 6:38)

Helping those in need is one of the major themes of the Bible and of Jesus’ ministry. As far back as the thirteenth century B.C., the Hebrews’ law institutionalized assistance to the poor:

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edge of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God. (NRSV, Leviticus 19:9-10)

Through service, we give others the things they lack, and we find meaning and fulfillment to our own lives. Both the Old and New Testament writings give many examples of the importance of service and charity:

He who despises his neighbor sins, but happy is he who is gracious to the poor. (NAS, Proverbs 14:21)

“Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (TLB, Isaiah 58:10-11)

And the crowds asked [John the Baptist], “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” (NRSV, Luke 3:10-11)

But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (NAS, 1 John 3:17)

The Bible tells us to share generously with those in need, and good things will come to us in turn. We are not meant to live hard-hearted or self-centered lives. This is never made clearer than in Matthew 25:31-46. A greedy, miserly life leaves us devoid of anything but an empty craving for more possessions, more power or more status.

He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. (NAS, Proverbs 28:27)

It is not necessary to be a wealthy philanthropist or a full-time volunteer to make a meaningful contribution. Rather, we should give generously of whatever wealth and abilities we have, no matter how small the amount.

And [Jesus] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a certain poor widow putting in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” (NAS, Luke 21:1-4)

Finally, our good deeds should be motivated by a sincere desire to help others. Public recognition should not be the goal.

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. (NIV, Matthew 6:1-2)

Each of us has something to give. Some have wealth, some have talents, some have time. Whatever gifts we have been given — large or small — we should share generously. When we do, we make the world better for someone else and find true meaning and satisfaction in our own lives.

Add a comment November 26, 2010

Are You Wondering What Your Purpose in Life Is?

The Bible is very clear as to what our purpose in life should be. Men in both the Old and New Testaments sought for and discovered life’s purpose. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, discovered the futility of life when it is lived only for this world. He gives these concluding remarks in Ecclesiastes: “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Solomon says that life is all about honoring God with our thoughts and lives and thus keeping His commandments, for one day we will stand before Him in judgment. Part of our purpose in life is to fear God and obey Him.

Another part of our purpose is to see life on this earth in perspective. Unlike those whose focus is on this life, King David looked for His satisfaction in the time to come. He said, “And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness” (Psalm 17:15). To David, full satisfaction would come on the day when he awoke (in the next life) both beholding God’s face (fellowship with Him) and being like Him (1 John 3:2).

In Psalm 73, Asaph talks about how he was tempted to envy the wicked who seemed to have no cares and built their fortunes upon the backs of those they took advantage of, but then he considered their ultimate end. In contrast to what they sought after, he states in verse 25 what mattered to him: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you” (verse 25). To Asaph, a good rapport with God mattered above all else in life. Without that connection, life has no real purpose.

The apostle Paul talked about all he had achieved religiously before being confronted by the risen Christ, and he concluded that all of it was like a pile of manure compared to the excellence of knowing Christ Jesus. In Philippians 3:9-10, Paul says that he wants nothing more than to know Christ and “be found in Him,” to have His righteousness and to live by faith in Him, even if it meant suffering and dying. Paul’s purpose was knowing Christ, having a righteousness obtained through faith in Him, and living in fellowship with Him, even when that brought on suffering (2 Timothy 3:12). Ultimately, he looked for the time when he would be a part of the “resurrection from the dead.”

Our purpose in life, as God originally created man, is 1) glorify God and enjoy fellowship with Him, 2) have good relations with others, 3) work, and 4) have dominion over the earth. But with man’s fall into sin, fellowship with God is broken, bonds and relationships with others are strained, work seems to always be frustrating, and man struggles to maintain any semblance of dominion over nature. Only by restoring fellowship with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, can purpose in life be rediscovered.

The purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We glorify God by fearing and obeying Him, keeping our eyes on our future home in heaven, and knowing Him intimately. We enjoy God by following His purpose for our lives, which enables us to experience true and lasting joy—the abundant life that He desires for us.

Add a comment November 25, 2010

Denounce Gossip

In the Bible, Proverbs has much to say on the subject of gossip and how destructive careless talk can be. A gossip betrays a confidence (Proverbs 11:13), so avoid a man who talks too much (Proverbs 20:19). A gossip separates close friends (Proverbs 16:28). Without gossip a quarrel dies down (Proverbs 26:20). He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity (Proverbs 21:23).

Paul was afraid that when he returned to the Christians in Corinth he would find “quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20). Paul had to deal with similar problems amongst the Christians in Rome. “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers… they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practise them” (Romans 1:29-32). James 1:26 says that anyone who does not keep a tight reign on his tongue deceives himself and his religion is worthless. It’s worth reading James 3:1-12 on the subject of ‘Taming the Tongue’ which shows how destructive the tongue can be. Verse 9 concludes that “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness… My brothers this should not be.” Jesus said: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).

Gods word is therefore very clear in denouncing gossip as un-Christian. We know that whatever is not of faith is sin, and anything that causes division amongst Christians is of the Devil. Christians not only have a duty to refrain from gossip, but also to denounce it. Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind, and it may be that you need to disassociate yourself from these people, but first speak to them about their conduct, and try to help them see the error of their ways. Stand by your Christian principles and pray they might come to their senses.

Here is an interesting insight I found in a book written by Naomi Alderman who grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community of Hendon, London: “Our sages warn us often against the perils of gossip: ‘lashon hara’ which means, literally, an evil tongue. Certainly, it is forbidden to spread false tales. Is this not bearing false witness – an action forbidden in the ten utterances from Mount Sinai? And as it is forbidden to speak false tales, so it is forbidden to listen to them, for he who speaks and he who listens both sin against the name of the Lord. One of our sages rebuked a woman who had spread gossip. He gave her a pillow and instructed her to take it to the top of the highest building in town and shake out its feathers to the four winds. The woman did so. Then the sage said to her, “Now go and gather up all of those feathers which you have scattered.” The woman cried out that the task was impossible. “Ah,” said the sage, “how much easier, though, than gathering up the tales you have spread.” Easier to cause a mountain to skip like a lamb than to retrieve an evil story once it has passed the guard of our lips.”

Fantastic advice!

Add a comment November 21, 2010

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