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
faith

Wisdom comes from Love

Mystic practices keep us from enjoying God’s almighty power. We are called to walk by faith – forgiven, eternally loved and enjoying peace that exceeds all understanding.

It was only several months after my conversion that I realized how people who sought mysticism had a gloom to them, just like I had as an atheist. They couldn’t see it, but I could.

And I did not want that “life” anymore.

I wanted the glowing love and peace that I saw in people who relied exclusively on God and had a personal relationship with him. I knew that was only possible when we became completely free from a religion, denomination or practice.

Mystic practices and rituals like astrology, hypnosis, meditation and healers are for those who don’t walk by faith. For those who haven’t experienced the almighty power of God’s love yet.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.

Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

James

As a catholic, I was open to mystic practices that never brought good to my life. I was even more open to them when I became an atheist, after realizing the God of religion did not exist.

Even after my conversion, I was still open to mysticism. The vast majority of us who call ourselves believers continue to be misguided about God’s calling and pursue rituals. But there is always time to turn completely to his loving wisdom.

There’s no greater power than the eternal love from the One who created everything, including you and I.

Thanks to Jesus’ teachings, we understand that all we have to do is believe onto him and love one another. Then God will make his home in us and lead us with his powerful loving grace.

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
forgiveness

We heal when we forgive everyone

Forgiveness sets us free, but selective forgiveness has the opposite effect. We only heal when we forgive everyone.

No exceptions.

Serial killers, dictators, rapists? People who have cheated, abused and committed crimes against us? Yes, we are called to forgive them too. Our calling is to forgive the whole world.

If we forgive only the people who we think deserve to be forgiven, we are doing nothing more than judging them based on merit and singling them out.

When we take this path, we inevitably feed resentment. That’s how we end up chained to the people we can’t forgive. 

We have to forgive everyone. Instantly.

Forgiveness is an attitude towards life. Even people who have no relationship with God know that. What they don’t know is that it is only by God’s grace that we can forgive with a loving heart.

When we seek him first, we experience the power of forgiveness as a blessing. And it releases us from our chains straight into his loving arms, where we enjoy his peace and joy.

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
Church of U2 love

I Love, therefore I Am

Love is the I Am. The almighty power that created the universe and gave us the divine ability to be conscious of ourselves.

We know Love when we believe in it, seek it first in the spirit and express it by loving one another.

Love makes it possible for us to love those who love us, those who hate us and everyone in between.

If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!

Jesus via Luke

When we are fearful or afraid, Love is lacking in us, so we cling to the world. But the world and everything in it is going to pass.

U2 faithfully sings it in their worship song Love is all we have left.

I wanted the world but you knew better
And that all we have is immortality

U2

Jesus teaches us that love has no fear, because perfect Love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

God is Love. Anyone who knows Love lives in peace and makes a conscious decision to love others, regardless of merit.

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

Jesus via John

Nothing can separate us from the love of God except our own freedom to deny him. But why would we?

When we know Love and live in Love, we know God.

Love is God’s imprint on our spirit.

Categories
forgiveness

We know we are forgiven when we repent

Genuine repentance, sincere and fruitful, produces change of mind, attitude and posture. But we are only capable of repentance when God forgives us. 

God’s forgiveness is what produces repentance. 

The blessing of repentance comes from God. He crushes us, provoking our heart. He knows us, he wants us, and he forgave us through Jesus across time and space. 

Yet we are creatures of spacetime and, every time we sin, we need his eternal forgiveness to provoke our repentance. 

Without divine forgiveness, there is no repentance.

Repentance is always preceded by divine forgiveness. We have to be crushed by God’s sovereign forgiveness that turns us inside out to surrender. As we surrender, we are transformed. 

Our spirit recognizes a sovereignty that comes before any human conclusion. So even those who don’t genuinely believe in God experience repentance. Repentance is God’s power at play.

When we repent, we know that God has forgiven us.

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.