Categories
god love

We are not alone

We all have tasted loneliness at some point in our lives.

It isn’t simply about not having company, but about having quality company that does us good. And that is not easy to find.

But the good news is, we are far from being alone. We are meant to be. And this loneliness that clouds our judgment and keeps us from seeing with the eyes of faith can be defeated.

So how do we defeat it? Well, the answer is: we don’t. It is the One who made us with unconditional love who defeats it. But he can only defeat our loneliness when we humbly accept his love.

Our lives are transformed when we become conscious of this love and gain the confidence, through faith, that we are not alone.

When we follow his ways, there’s no reason to feel lonely, because he gives us every opportunity to be with others who reflect his love.

Yet if we still feel lonely at times, we just have to call his name and he will be there through the people he brings into our lives.

Categories
love spirituality

Love is the only way

When I was an atheist, I nurtured a fondness and admiration for Jesus. Almost a reverence. I just didn’t believe that he was divine or that there was even such a thing as divine.

I remember a good friend of mine explaining to me that him being divine was the very reason why he was the way he was. Being an atheist and a well-read intellectual, I had a firm conviction that she was living an illusion that helped her find solace from the hardships of life. An illusion I associated with religion.

Since my conversion, my experience has radically changed. But it’s still obvious to me that many people talk about a Jesus, not the Jesus.

So next time you hear about Jesus, take your time and evaluate who they are talking about. When we seek to be of the same mind as the One who is unconditional love, people might not agree with us, but they will experience that love through us and feel a sense of peace.

But if we talk from a place of judgment, to exclude others and elevate ourselves, that’s coming from our own evil nature, not Jesus.

Jesus is a deeply personal experience that starts with a calling and becomes an entanglement with his Spirit. That’s how we share his divinity and are able to live through him, enjoying a transcendental freedom from the slavery of the evil systems of this world.

We already know about the love, mercy and forgiveness we received from the One who called us. So let us be expressions of his love for others who haven’t yet received his calling.

Categories
love recovery

We are not expected to be who we are not

A few months ago, I was at a home meeting with other believers whose company I always enjoy, because they are so full of love. And this young woman who was in distress kept talking in a gloomy way about how we need to nail ourselves to the cross with Christ.

Everyone in the room remained silent, which was very unusual. Normally each person shares encouraging words with an uplifting and hopeful tone, which is the very Spirit of the Good News.

Finally my friend’s husband spoke. He is that one believer that overflows with God’s light all the time. With a peaceful and loving tone, he said that God doesn’t expect us to be anyone but ourselves.

Friends, God does not expect us to be who we are not!

Yes, we know that not all things are good for us, yet we are allowed to do anything and it is up to us to be and live in accordance with the level of conscience that God has given us, not above it. That’s self-righteousness and it takes us in the direction of evil.

We are not called to bury ourselves alive. On the contrary, we are raised from the death of evil to enjoy life, the true life that the Spirit gives us as we rest in his peace filled with joy and hope in him.

The loving power who made us is transforming us and, while he does his mysterious work, we believe and rely on his grace to guide the way. He is not interested in sacrifices, but in spiritual worship.

Come as you are and seek him. His Spirit will make his home in you, so you can make your own home in the world under his grace.

Categories
god love

Singing in the name of love

I hold music dearly to my heart. There was always a soundtrack to the most meaningful moments in my life, and of course the type of music I listened to would often reflect the state of mind I was in.

Take for instance my Marilyn Manson phase. I am sure you can imagine what I looked like, dressed like and thought like. Then came a Nine Inch Nails phase. And I will give it to Trent Reznor, his music truly is beautiful. But it is also full of darkness, despair, hopelessness.

Only one band made it through the years in spite of my various degrees of darkness along the course of my atheism. That band was, and is, U2.

After being an atheist for 15 years, and a U2 fan for 20 years, I didn’t quite realize what their songs were really about. Now counting 25 years as a fan, and 5 transformative years since God called me out of my darkness, I can tell that the depth and breadth of these guys’ faith is written all over their music.

How could this band that was always there, always around, be singing about love, the higher love without me ever getting it? Simple: I never believed in God and thus his message was concealed from me and incomprehensible, as obvious as it was.

U2 is the perfect example of how it takes God calling us for us to listen and understand his message. Their songs all have this air of mystery, but for anyone who knows the Word and listens closely, the meaning becomes as clear as day.

Many well-known U2 songs have passed as poetic work, but they’re way more than that. Where the streets have no name is a reference to heaven. In the name of love is a reference to Jesus. Who is God. Who is love.

It would not be an exaggeration to call these songs as U2’s psalms to God. Listen closely and your spirit will be touched.

Categories
god love

A relationship like no other

Every time I find myself in a situation where someone is trying to understand what I believe in, I realize how tricky it is to explain it with just words.

When we are called, we know who called us and we develop a foundational relationship with him. But there is no name for it, because this relationship isn’t a religious one or a secular one or a pagan one.

It’s a love relationship with the one who made us, who also happens to be the One who made everything in the universe and who came to the world he created to show what being his offspring looks like when we do his will.

There’s no name or even explanation in this world that could possibly do justice to such a transcendental relationship. And this is the point I want to make. Cause often times, we create road blocks for others to walk with us by accepting a religious label as a way to define who we are.

Being simply a follower living under God’s grace is also what’s helped me have inspiring conversations with others along the way who are seeking God, but don’t even realize that’s what they’re doing.

I personally like to keep it simple by saying I follow Jesus. Over the years it’s become easier to manage the expected confusion that most people experience when they notice I seem religious, but in reality am far from it.

We are God’s children, not Catholics or Protestants. Even calling ourselves Christians has its challenges. It is wonderful to find a congregation where we feel built up by our family of believers, but there’s no need to adhere to its label.

Categories
love recovery

Are we being kind or just sugar-coating the bad stuff?

I believe anything is possible with love as our sole master in life. But I also believe we need to face what’s in front of us instead of finding a way around it and acting as if it didn’t affect us.

When we don’t like, don’t want or don’t agree with something that’s happening to us or around us, we should act truthfully and with love. If we sugar-coat it to make it seem as though we are peaceful about it, when in fact we are not, we are essentially lying and misleading others.

After my conversion, I found myself taking on far more than I could take and not taking a stand for fear of being unkind. At the time I thought I was being good to others, when in reality I was being pathologically good.

To be good, I mean genuinely good, we must set boundaries that align with our spiritual values. When we don’t, we end up throwing our pearls to pigs, who will trample them, then turn and attack us.

In life, we need to know where we stand and take that stand. So when we say yes to something or to someone, we should wholeheartedly mean yes, and when we say no, we should wholeheartedly mean no.

We are not called to be who we are not. Or to fake it until we make it. The world around us might be satisfied with that, but that’s not the standard that we have come to know as we live under grace and divine love.

Whether we speak with kind or assertive words, we should always act lovingly and truthfully to build relationships with gracious truth and not with illusions.