Categories
love

Zeal for God

I’ve been very fortunate to find a group of non-religious followers of Jesus lead by a loving and forgiving man who genuinely inspires me.

Apart from him and a few people in his group, it’s nearly impossible to find others out there who are simply followers of Jesus, free from religious baggage.

Yet coming across different believers in the past year has been revealing for me.

One time, my Jewish neighbors knocked on my door to ask me to come over and turn on their oven and stove top for them, because they were forbidden to do that on a holy day. Although I was sorry to see their attachment to old testament laws and rituals, I felt a powerful love coming from them in their zeal for God.

My experience is showing me that our shared zeal for God brings us together – and very powerfully so.

Now I might not be able to share my beliefs with my Jewish neighbors, but we share love for God. And regardless of our differences, God is there for bothof us.

My Jewish neighbors and I are equally willing to please God.

We might not ever be best friends, but I wholeheartedly accept them. And I am grateful to God for having put them in my way so that I could learn in practice that it isn’t our likemindedness that unites us – it’s our love for God & love for one another.

As our beloved brother Paul beautifully said: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring glory to God.” Romans 15-7

Categories
love

Are you forgiving?

There are two fundamental things about forgiving others that most of us overlook:

1. Forgiving is not about merit
2. Forgiving is unilateral

So if a person has hurt us, we forgive her even if we don’t see any sign of repentance. We also don’t need that person to ask for our forgiveness, we just go ahead and give it.

When we forgive, we make a conscious decision to let go of that person without wishing for her punishment.

If there is mutual willingness to rebuild what was broken, with genuine love, we can invite her back into our lives.

The same way God has forgiven our sins without us meriting that, we forgive one another also without us meriting that.

Forgiving others “by default” is one of the wonderful fruits of God’s love in us.

With the beginning of a new calendar year, I invite us all to think about our ability to genuinely love and forgive others.

We must forgive everyone, including ourselves. 70 x 7 = always!

I pray for God to keep nurturing love and forgiveness in our lives going forward.

Categories
love

Make each day count

Today I was having lunch with a small group of fellow believers and that last song the musicians played before the Titanic sank was playing in the background.

Funnily enough, I was inspired by Jack to give this title to my post: Make each day count.

For a Christian, there really is no need to look at time as opportunity for new beginnings or look back with sadness upon realizing times haven’t been the happiest.

As Christians, we realize that the opportunity is eternally inside of us – it’s Jesus inhabiting us and filling us with love.

We transcend spacetime through God’s grace and understand that everything we have done and will still do is part of God’s plan to transform us and bring us into eternity with a renewed spirit.

We know that we are forgiven for everything we have done and everything we are still going to do.

We are free!

It is always a new year and a new beginning for us as we’ve been set free.

So make each day count. And enjoy your inner new beginnings each day!

Categories
love

Shine as luminaries in the world

I’d like to share with you an inspiring verse from the new testament. Let God’s grace transform you and enable you to transcend this world everyday. 🙂

Do all things without murmurings and reasonings that you may be blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world. — Philippians 2:14-15

Categories
love

To whom shall we go?

The more I read the gospels, the more I realize how Peter’s reaction to Jesus asking if he also wanted to go away echoes what many of us Christians believe in.

If we wouldn’t follow Jesus, to whom would we go?

Even from a logical standpoint based purely on worldly ideas, there is no one else that is worth following in this world. And things here ain’t getting any better!

I don’t know about you, but I consider myself extremely blessed for believing. Because believing and having faith are not my merit, but the fruit of God’s grace in me.

What have I (and you) done to deserve such a blessing that allows us to transcend the limits and struggles of this lifetime? Nothing!

We are looking at eternal life without any merit whatsoever coming from a world where merit determines who you are, what you can do and how far you can go.

So let’s celebrate the way, the truth and the light everyday through love.

Because God is love.

Categories
love

Believing in God

There are a lot of people out there who are seeking the truth about the meaning of life – and the existence of God.

As a former atheist who experienced a conversion, I feel for them because they are searching with their intellect. And that will lead them nowhere.

Our intellect, being strictly limited by the rules of this world, cannot grasp God.

Faced with this impotence, some of us have been touched by God to believe. And that’s really the only way to believe, because:

“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Categories
love

What’s your Christian tone like?

I came across a “Christian” blog post the other day and read it – which I never do. Deep inside, I was curious to see if the author would surprise me – although they never do.

And surely enough, the tone was very… how should I put it? Old testament like.

When Jesus came, there was already an ongoing situation with religion and religious people that was not surprising back then – and is not surprising now.

I’m talking about this stiff, judgmental, cold-hearted, hypocritical and legalist tone that the great majority of Christians has.

Being a Christian is about being freed by God’s love, a love that we are blessed with through God’s grace. And Paul describes the fruit of this spirit perfectly in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Now this blog post I read was talking about Christian friendships. And I wanted to write today about how far it was from the truth. Being a Christian is not about letting others know how they are at fault – cause, yup, that was the point the author was making!

I believe in praying for others when I suspect they are making poor decisions for themselves. I say “suspect” because what do we know of God’s ways, really? God can use a particularly difficult situation to bring good on us. In fact, it is in our weakness that his power is strengthened in us – and that is also his way of strengthening us in love.

That judgmental and cold-hearted blog post was painful to read, but it also reminded me that I rely on God’s grace not to turn to those loveless ways. And I do believe that from time to time I turn to those ways and have to back off from myself.

Our Christian tone ultimately depends on how much of a ‘fight’ we put up with the worst in ourselves. In other words, the evil that inhabits us is always there, but if we choose to live under God’s grace and not under the law, we will make it – because the righteous will live by faith.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because the righteous will live by faith. — Galatians 3 10-11

Categories
love

Love & Grace

I spent most of the year trying not to be dragged by what’s exalted among men. Deep inside, I try to give people a chance to be more than what they appear to be – but this year it really backfired on me.

Most of the struggles I’ve been through this year can be summed up by this passage:

And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.Luke 16:15

Mostly I experienced first hand how love is dying.

From utilitarian relationships to mystic friendships, I was right in the middle of the generalized lack of love that leads people to mistake comfort for meaning. Self-indulgence for freedom. Pleasure for love.

Nonetheless, it was only when I was crushed that I realized how much I had loved. How much I had forgiven. Even with all the hurt in my soul, I was being strengthened in love by God.

It is absolutely fascinating to feel what seems to be genuine love under the most adverse circumstances. And to think that isn’t even a fraction of how much God loves me – and you!

Ultimately this year has been showing me that all that matters is that I don’t lose my ability to love. And it’s also taught me to be far more cautious about to whom I give this love that is God’s grace upon me.

Grace & Peace 🙂

Categories
faith love

“Where Death Died”|Bono

I’m always touched when I hear Bono talk about his faith. The feeling of connection that faith brings is essential to inspire love in everyday life.

Categories
god

The Socratic Method and Moral Relativism

A lecture on Plato’s work, particularly his account of the Socratic dialogues, frequently attracts and inspires some university students to bring about a myriad of subjects that relate to morality. As is often the case, these students formulate questions in a way that points out to a commonly desired response: that what is considered “wrong” is backed by societal norms and not “truth.” The next step is then to argue that “truth” is fundamentally a mode of perception of reality. And the conclusion is to assert that each of us has a “truth” of our own, and that it does not require validation by others who do not accept or share it.

However, the relentless search for wisdom carried on by Socrates, which generated the form of inquiry known as the Socratic method, is not a search for answers that vary according with the context, but rather for answers that always apply. Hence why Socrates was not convinced that there were wise men in Athens: every inquired person resorted to relativism to define moral concepts. For instance, Euthyphro’s attempt at defining “pious” ultimately demonstrated that it was relative to circumstance and, therefore, lacked a referent. Conversely, the problem was not that a universal definition of the concept did not exist, but that it had not yet been found.

Socrates also looked up to the Gods for wisdom and there were truths to abide to as established by this higher power. Such truths were not relative to circumstance either. Although he has argued in the Apology that even the Gods disagree among themselves, he reiterated in his inquiry that such disagreement happens sometimes and not consistently. His unwillingness to escape from prison after being sentenced to death set an example as to where he stood when it came to morality: he preferred to die than to transgress the laws of the city, under which all citizens lived in collective agreement and with the respect (blessing) of the Gods.

For Socrates, one does something wrong out of ignorance. As such, his inquiries did not aim to point out the impossibility of universal truths in face of individual perceptions. Instead, he engaged in a truly scientific method hoping to unveil the rules in motion that regulate life. He sought to find them, not question their existence. And he believed that wisdom was intrinsically related to both knowledge and application of these rules.