Categories
faith

We become stronger when we stop defending ourselves

I grew up being told to defend myself. You probably did too.

And I have to admit it: my instincts used to tell me the exact same. Sometimes they still do. But I know now that the best defence that I can ever get is not my own, or anyone else’s.

It is the wise, timeless and powerful defence from the One who is the master of everything we see (and cannot see).

Relying on God to do the weight lifting takes confidence in his love, trust in his ways and faith in his power to transform us.

We become stronger when we stop defending ourselves and let God defend us instead. While we might fail, he always succeeds and does exactly what needs to be done to deliver us from our oppressors and bring peace to our lives.

Relying on God to defend us is a daily exercise.

But his strength becomes our strength when we let him take over from us. All we have to do is step back and watch his love at play making the impossible possible in every aspect of our lives.

Categories
love

Giving the Good News with the right Spirit

The Good News bring us hope and peace. Which is why we should never use them to crush others and frame them as sinners.

We are all sinners and capable of the same things.

As we start navigating the Word, we will realize all these horrible things about ourselves and others. But we do so with the confidence and peace of mind that God forgave us through Jesus.

There are also a million other sins we won’t be aware of. Possibly things this world looks up to. And with God lifting the burden of guilt from us with his forgiveness, we will be able to, under his grace, make better choices as we move forward.

It is only when we put love (=God) first that our lives reflect His love, peace, forgiveness and hope.

And the greatest of all these is love.

We are called to love one another, not judge one another.

Categories
spirituality

Converting from Christianity to Jesus

There are many layers of understanding to uncover when we desire to have a relationship with God, but the hardest one to reach is the understanding that religion has nothing to do with God. This includes Christianity in all its denominations, and even its non-denominations.

Our lives might look a certain way from the outside, but only God knows what’s in our hearts. We are called to follow Jesus, not Christianity, which is a world system that tells us what our lives should be like and who we have to be to belong.

A lot of us seem to refuse to accept that Christianity is a religion and, as such, just as problematic as every other religion that has ever been created by men. Yes, religion is and has always been an obstacle between us and God’s love.

Jesus teaches us that we can not separate wheat from chaff. Yet being a Christian is largely about saying who’s living a godly life and who’s not. This is also why most churches are empty.

As Jesus’ followers, we are not called to tell people how they should live as a condition to be saved. God loves all of us and he saves whoever he wants. The transformation that he operates in our lives is unique to each of us and entirely up to his will.

I am often appalled by the oppressive Christian beliefs about our sexuality, which reveals their legalistic systems.

As a friend of loving people who are gay, I can absolutely not stand the oppressive Christian preaching that singles them out as if they were the worst sinners in the world.

What about the heart of stone ready to exclude and condemn someone for love, albeit same-sex? Is that not sinful? Remember, mercy always triumphs over judgment. God is not going to send a loving brother to hell because of his sexual orientation.

As a woman, I can absolutely not stand the oppressive Christian preaching about virginity and marriage for life. This is being preached among many who are abused, abusers or too conservative to promote a satisfying relationship.

When we pervert Jesus’ message of love to promote a deeply legalistic and religious lifestyle, it becomes evil and oppresses people instead of saving them into a gracious spiritual life.

But God puts his word in people’s hearts however he wants, including people who haven’t heard of Jesus. This truth is offensive to most Christians, blinded that they are by their religious arrogance.

Following Jesus and abiding to Christianity are thus mutually exclusive. Yes, there are followers of Jesus who happen to attend Christian churches, because there is a good community there. Yet the vast majority of Christians are not followers of Jesus.

Christians’ conviction that believing into Jesus requires religious knowledge and practice shows a profound lack of understanding of God’s almighty power and plan for every one of us.

Following Jesus, not abiding to Christianity, is what saves us from our own pursuits of adequacy and worthiness. He calls us to lose our lives so we can become a home to his life-giving love.

Remember, our God is a God of the lost. After he finds us, we still desperately need his loving grace to guide us along the way.

Categories
recovery

A lesson on resilience

I watched Schindler’s List for the first time a few weeks ago. The resilience of those people while facing the absolute worst of humanity could only have come from God. They would have never made it without him, and neither would we.

I believe all our sufferings are relevant. But watching a movie on such a horrific story really puts things into perspective. It is a tough watch, but a humbling experience. Our sufferings look so small compared to these dehumanizing events.

Another key aspect of our dark history is how often it takes a monster to defeat another monster. We know God has used ruthless characters to defeat oppressors of his people.

Although it might look like these ruthless individuals are doing what’s right, we are not in a position to justify them or rely on them. Their cruel actions have good outcomes exclusively because God can bring good out of any situation.

We should always remind ourselves that we can only trust and rely on God

It is God who gives us the resilience to walk through the most terrifying moments with the confidence that they will yield good outcomes of a spiritual nature in our lives.

Holding on to his love saves us from losing our ability to be grateful, loving and forgiving in the cruelest of circumstances.

As we walk with God, we know everything is going to pass. At the end of the tunnel, there is light, goodness and unfailing love.

Categories
recovery

Finding cure in divine forgiveness and Love

When I was an atheist, two psychologists helped me navigate and cope with a series of life events that crushed me. But they never healed me. I never healed until I surrendered to Love.

To say that I was hanging by a thread would be an understatement. And although I have a lot of appreciation for deeply humane and loving psychologists like the ones who helped me, there’s only so much they can do. 

I couldn’t imagine myself going one week without therapy. At that point I felt emotionally crippled. My life was a full-time burden.

That’s when I did the unimaginable. One night I surrendered and asked God for help. Being an atheist, I had no idea what I was doing. But I had a crushed, humble heart as I called him. And God listened.

God healed overnight what two different psychologists couldn’t heal in years.

For the first time in my life I knew that there was one who loved me just the way I always wanted to be loved. And his divine love set me free.

God’s love worked in me to forgive others who had been the root cause of a lot of emotional turmoil in my life. And he also taught me to forgive myself.

Without God’s love, I could never have healed. 

It is his divine and eternal love in me that makes it possible to forgive everyone and the world everyday, regardless of merit. And heal.

Categories
recovery

Love blossoms in weakness

Being weak reminds us that no matter how hard we try to be strong and stay strong, we still crash and burn. Because we are only truly strong when we rely on God’s love for strength.

While we live the illusion that we got it, we close ourselves to the infinite possibilities of his loving power. We can drive ourselves crazy strategizing solutions for our failures, or trust that he makes the impossible happen when we seek him.

God’s loving power is perfected in our weakness. When we humbly acknowledge how limited and powerless we are, he steps in to teach us how to navigate life under his grace.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Paul

He teaches us to give it all to him to live better: our worries, our pains, our frustrations and failures. Then we can enjoy this peace that only the One who made us can give us.

With a grateful heart, we are able to see his blessings in our lives and the many times he rescued us from our hopelessness. He knows what we need and always gives more than what we ask for.

He is the way maker, our strength and path to eternal life.

Categories
spirituality

God’s gifts bring joy, not fear

We know that we have a gift from God when it makes us peaceful and when it is used by God to also bring peace to others.

We are free to accept these gifts or reject them. They don’t dominate or overpower us in any way.

God’s gifts don’t make us gloomy or fearful.

If we experience gloom and fear about an unusual manifestation within ourselves, that’s not a gift from God.

God is all good, all light and expresses himself through love.

Any ability we have to see and interact with who’s dead or to manipulate how others think and feel is not from God.

It is only when we rely on his light and love to guide us that we have the strength to rebuke this darkness that offers us pseudo powers that ultimately only aim to separate us from God and destroy us.

As always, God gives us the freedom to say “yes” or “no” to everything. To life, death, hatred, love – even to his salvation!

He is ready to rescue us from the expressions of evil in the world when we decide that we don’t want them.

We can ask God to take away the evil oppression that’s troubling us and he will replace this darkness with his light.

He called us to a life of freedom in the spirit and his loving power is manifested in us when we love one another.

Categories
faith

Giving our worries to the One who can pacify our hearts

Our worries can sometimes paralyze us and rob us of the peace it takes to make good decisions. But we are not alone. And the One who made us wants us to give our worries to him.

When we seek him first, be it by reading his word, praying or by loving one another, we enjoy his peace.

And he lifts the weight from our shoulders.

I love reading his word while savouring my breakfast, to start my day with what’s most important in my life. And it is his message of love that nurtures and prepares me for sleep.

He teaches me to acknowledge my struggles, but let troubling thoughts go by like clouds in the sky.

When we engage with our worries, we invite them to stay.

Sometimes I stubbornly insist on being in control. That’s when I know it’s time to pray and cry to him about my struggles, instead of trying to figure them out by myself.

He always nurtures my spirit with his love, giving me the ability to forgive and go through the day with a grateful spirit.

When I humbly seek his wisdom, I know that I live better.

Trusting that he’s taking care of me makes me overflow with love in the spirit and all my worries are swallowed by his peace.

Categories
Church of U2 faith

Our offerings of gratitude

Everything we “have” was given, so we don’t actually have anything in the sense that it’s “ours”, because it’s all gifts.

Living with this spiritual understanding humbles us.

Like in the worship song Gloria, by U2, we acknowledge that we don’t have anything. But if we did, we’d want to give it to God as an offering of gratitude for the eternity of love he gave us!

Oh, Lord

If I had anything

Anything at all

I’d give it to you

U2

When God calls us, we become expressions of his love by worshiping him with the talents he’s gifted us.

My offerings of gratitude to God are my writing and counselling/coaching with his Love as my “methodology.”

What about you, what are yours?

Categories
faith spirituality

When being wronged is good

We will be wronged a lot in the course of our lives.

Each of us has the freedom to either be wronged and not take action against our oppressor or pursue the justice of this world.

Yet it is when we have the willingness to be wronged and to suffer loss that we are given the opportunity to keep Christ’s virtue at a cost that this world is not willing to pay.

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?

Paul

I know wonderful people who have suffered severe wrongdoings.

Thanks to their surrender and faith in the wise ways of God, they make a decision everyday not to pursue worldly justice. Their peace and joy overflow and inspire.

This way of life, which mirrors Jesus’ spirituality, resonates with few of us. Yet this is the life that rewards us with peace that exceeds all understanding. This is the divine life worth living.