Why Know Who You Are?

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Every day, we face our own battles. In fact, we’re going to spend our lives fighting. But no matter how big our battles are, our response makes the difference. How do you respond when you’re faced with challenges? Will you just give up or will you press on?

Remember that if you will not fight your battle, it will overcome you. Some people are in bondage and couldn’t get out because they believed it’s over for them.

Knowing who you are is important!

In today’s time, there seem to be a demand for attention and acceptance from other people. So we try to do anything to get it! We want to earn other’s approval so we try to become like this or that. The first thing we need to understand is our identity.

Identity is simply WHO YOU ARE. A bird flies because it’s a bird. A fish swims because it’s a fish. So who you are determines how you behave or act. If you think you are defeated, you will not win. If you think you are worthless, you will not succeed.

Two essential needs of man: Security and Significance

We try to meet these two needs by trying to be somebody we are not. We seek for unconditional love and significance so as much as possible we have to look like this or that. We have to dress up like this or just do inappropriate things to please our friends, find a bf/gf so we will somehow find unconditional love.

Our need for security and significance can only be met by Christ. While this world will tell you “You have to be like this so you will be loved…” Jesus will say, “I love you the way you are. Don’t become like anyone else.”

You are loved unconditionally and accepted passionately by Christ. How unconditional and passionate? It is when Jesus died for you and I, that’s how he showed it to us. Jesus died at the cross, in our place, so we will be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life. So we will experience his love. At the cross, Jesus defeated the devil! So if you are in Christ, you are an overcomer! You are not defeated!

In Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Knowing our true identity in Jesus gives us the confidence to overcome life’s challenges.

IS CHRISTIANITY A PRESSURE FOR YOU?

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There are many reasons why Christians have hard times being Christians. I think one of these is PRESSURE. Yes pressure! It’s the pressure you meet every day wherever you go. It’s the pressure of being good, being correct, being godly – and you do this for the fear that you will not get right with God, your faith will be questioned, or you will not be accepted. So you’re praying, reading your Bible night and day, you’re in a small group, you fast, go to church every Sunday, does not lie or cheat. But why do you feel so less of yourself? Why do you feel so mad? And you feel like what you’ve done is not good enough? There could be pressures inside of you. And you’re afraid – so you try everything you could to make all things right. You thought that through the good works you do, you can earn God’s approval, and you feel much loved. You try to show to God you deserved something from Him.

You think that if you read your Bible every day or every hour, you think you’ll receive merit from God. That God will love you more if you read more. And If something is not good enough, you gonna do extra effort to balance it. And if you can’t make it, you feel you’re no longer loved, and God is going to hate you. It’s as if God is that immature. That if you’re wrong, He is going to hate you! That He is going to send His angels to punish you, and He is happy when you’re hurt. God does not think like a child! My nephew is four years old and he’s smart, but he cries every time. When he wants something, he would do everything to get it and if you’d stop him, he will start crying and say he hates you. God is not thinking or acting just like my nephew. God is not surprised of our mistakes, of our sins. God knew about it. That’s why He sent Jesus to die for us. Jesus made us right with God. It’s important that we know about the grace of God, so we’ll no longer have to work to earn God’s love and approval. He has given His grace for free. It’s His goodness we don’t deserve yet He gave. It is through the grace of God that we can now have the confidence to come to God, to approach Him not as servants, but as His children. When we’re wrong, did mistakes, we can go to Him and ask for forgiveness, and He will forgive us. His grace is sufficient for us. God doesn’t want us to be pressured. The reason why we do good things is because we’re already loved and blessed by God. We cannot do anything for it, it’s done for us – JESUS DID IT.

But grace is never an excuse to sin. The reason why you keep on sinning is because you haven’t understood grace. The Apostle Paul knew about this dilemma, that’s why he wrote in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Paul insisted that grace does not give us the license to sin, instead he wanted us to understand that because Jesus put sin to death, we who are united with Him also died to sin. In response to this, Verse 11 says, “…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” The grace that brought us to Jesus is the same grace that will sustain us and enable us to live out our purpose and be the children He wants us to become. We do have our standards and some things we do as Christians like going to church, reading the bible, joining small groups – but we should not pressure ourselves in being who God wants us to be. God does not want perfection but simply wants our obedience. Christianity should not be that complicated. That’s why Jesus summed it up into four words: Love God, Love Others.

Don’t be pressured!

Photo credit

When It’s Not About the Shirt

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It’s easy to catch Christians nowadays! You can see them almost everywhere. They are those who have Christian statements or Bible verses in their shirts, ballers, bags or caps. You can also see them posting verses in Facebook or sharing photos that says like this: “Like or Share this if you believe in Jesus,” or “Type Amen if you believe that Jesus Loves you.” These are few of the many reasons why it’s easy to identify professed Christians from other people we see in the streets or in the web. But why is it that even when it’s easy to identify them, there is nothing distinctive about them being Christians but their shirts that shouts FAITH? Why Christians with verses in their clothes and proud of their faith (which is honorable) can’t even share the gospel? But first to break rules in traffic? Gets impatient when waiting a bus? Cheats in class and just repent afterwards? Gossips their neighbors and defend it’s a holy gossip?

We Christians have to walk the shirt, or should I say walk the talk. Our shirts or our posts define who we are because it forms part of our being. We have to back up our claims, and let’s not live in mediocrity or shallow Christianity. Christians are in the streets, malls, campuses not so they will be seen differently, but for them to share the love of Christ. God will not commend us because we have nice shirtsbut because we shared the gospel. Shirt and Share are two different words. The latter is a thought, but the second is an action!

This generation is in need of RISK-TAKERS and not FAITH-FAKERS.Many times I professed I am a Christians but I am not that gentle, patient, compassionate, and loving. I get angry when somebody does even a small mistake to me, I get impatient whenever I fall in line for a burger or for a bus, and I wore shirts that says MAKE DISCIPLES but not really making one. I admit that I have fallen from these hypocrisies. It’s a precious reminder for me, and for us that if we want to honor God and see the world change, we should become the SALT and the LIGHT (Matt. 5:13).

We should be reminded that we are being noticed by people. Verse 14 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” So either we are wearing our shirts or not, we are the representatives of Christ. All our actions should magnify Him so that people will “glorify our Father in heaven” (Verse 16). Only when we step out of all superficiality and mediocrity and begin to love people that we can make a difference!

It’s not about the Shirt!

Receiving Beautiful Gifts from God

fffReceiving Beautiful Gifts from God

I love to receive gifts. I think you love it too. Why? More than the joy of having something, receiving gifts makes us feel so special. And the surprise factor is just so awesome. That’s why you should not try to know your gift until you receive it. But of course, sometimes you know it because you said what you want, or you are asked what you want. Anyway, if you would ask me, I prefer surprises.Let me tell you a story.

It happened when I checked on my shoes. They were no longer in good condition so I just prayed I would have new ones. In the next day, a friend messaged me about the size of my feet. I knew that the person would buy me shoes so I was excited to tell him my size. It was Friday when I received the message that I’d be receiving slippers. I was disappointed! I thought it would be shoes because I prayed for it but it turned out that I’d be wearing slippers instead. At night, I received the gift.  I wondered why it’s in a box because slippers are usually in plastic bags. I opened it anyway, and I was surprised that it was a pair of rubber shoes. My friend told me the night before he bought it (that’s when I prayed) that God told him to buy me shoes, specifically me. So he did buy a pair for me.

I was happy that I received such gift. It is true that if you ASK God, He’ll certainly answer it. And I recommend that you specify what you want. It is not that God does not know what you want, it is just that He wants to hear it from you. If for example you want a car, you tell God what is the model, color, or any specifics. The Bible points this out in Matthew 4:7, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” God is our Father and we are His sons/daughters and He is happy to grant us our prayers. So when you pray, you should recognize your relationship with Him. You are not a servant but a son/daughter. Your prayer can go like this, “Father, I need a new pair of rubber shoes, coz mine is no good.” That’s it! You don’t have to wait for a certain feeling for you to believe He hears you or for you to have faith.

The Apple Theory

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Why apple best represents the “forbidden fruit?”

When I was young, I loved reading story books. I grew up with so much of it. I knew those fairy tales, legends and myths. I remember it even today, and I sometimes tell those stories to people. So speaking of stories, there’s a popular story that has ever hit me, and that is – the Story of the Fall. Today, whenever I think about it, there’s so many questions that pops in my mind. One thing that amuses me is the “forbidden fruit” or what I thought was “apple.” Yes, apple! And if you’re going to browse story books, you’ll see that it’s really an “apple,” though some artists created other apple-like fruit so it will not look like an apple.

Anyway, what’s the deal about apples? And how did it occur in the creative minds of people as the “forbidden fruit.” Let’s try to answer this question. Of course, what I am going to share is something like an observation. It’s not to conclude that the forbidden fruit is apple or has something to do with it.

WHY APPLE FITS?

Apple is red
Though apples vary in color, what really depicts it is its color red. I noticed that most of the popular fast foods are red, like McDonalds, KFC and Jollibee. Why? It’s because red is the color that most attracts attention! Try to think of a lady wearing red lipsticks or red blush ons? Wouldn’t they look attractive? In the book of Genesis, Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and Adam ate also. We can see that there was temptation happened, and the two gave in to that temptation. According to psychologists from University of Rochester, the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women. And men are unaware of the role the color plays in their attraction.1 When Eve gave some of the fruit to Adam, he was silent. He could have said “no” but he did not. He just remained silent when he faced with the temptation. Until now, many people have fallen from temptation and have given up what could have been theirs.

Apple has natural wax
Apple becomes more attractive because it has a natural wax. Dr. Joe Kemble of Horticulture at Auburn University agreed that apple is one of the fruits that produces its own wax. If you try rubbing a cloth in an apple, it shines even more.2 One of the tactics of the enemy is to deceive us – making something appear better than the blessings of God. Most of the time, we fall in his trap. We exchange our future into different things this world offers. An apple appears so delicious because it’s not only red but it’s shiny!

Apple has toxin
An apple has cyanide in its seed, which is a lethal poison, though it’s little in amount and can be detoxified by human. Here we can see two characteristics of toxin. First, the toxin can be found on the seeds, and second, it can germinate. Seeds are the heart of a fruit. It is also hidden in the inside. Behind its attractive face, sin hides its true character. Sin is toxic. Sin always hide. It doesn’t want to be exposed. Sin also germinates. An addict became an addict because he acted on compromises leading to addiction. That’s what sin does, it’s going to make you taste a bit of it until you cannot give up wanting for more. It will consume all you have and you would have. Sin will always hurt you. It may not be today, but it will. Though for a moment it gives us such pleasure, but eventually it’s going to hurt us.

Apple becomes a pie
There are many recipes of apple. When you google it, you can see a lot of it. But with those recipes, what I loved most is the apple pie. It’s what I often eat at MacDonalds aside from burger or potato fries. Maybe you like apple pie as well, or cake or juice? (Just comment your fave) Anyway, my point is that – apple can become anything we want. We can make apple what we want! An apple pie, cake, juice or jam? Anything! It means we have the power to make it what we want because it has no control over us. We can stop it to germinate. We can burn it. We can step on it. Or eat it.

Sin can become like a pie. When Jesus came on earth, we’re forgiven from our sins and set free from it. Through His grace, sin has no master over us (Romans 6:14). We can make sin like a pie! It doesn’t have control over us. Though Satan have devices or traps, Jesus have overcome him through what He has done at the cross. Now, we are overcomers – the world and its wickedness has no power over us (1 John 5:4).

More about apple
So many things we discussed here! Hope you liked it. Again, this post is just my observation about apple but the characteristics of sin as presented here is based on the Scripture. Thanks for reading it.


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When It Takes Too Long

There’s a friend who asked me to edit videos for his project. I knew he’s going to pay me, though I understood how hard it was. I used laptop with low specs, and I have to edit HD videos – that means I have to wait in all changes I make before proceeding to the next. Because if, while loading and I continue to make changes, my work will crash. But it did not end there, I still have to render the whole project, and wait for hours.

In everything we do or desire, there’s a need of waiting. To cut it short, life is full of waiting. It’s how God designed life to be. However, we hate to wait – we want everything to happen instantly. We love the idea of shortcuts. We might have been waiting for God to answer our prayers. We often ask God, “Why does it takes too long? Do you still care?” Sometimes, we feel like God does not hear us, and He doesn’t care if we’re getting tired waiting.

Most of the time, because we can’t understand God, and we couldn’t wait, we would just do things in our own, we decide in our own and forget God. That even if it’s not yet the right time, we still go because we couldn’t wait. We have to understand that God has His plans why it takes too long.

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1.God is preparing the best for us.
God doesn’t want us to settle for the less or ordinary. That’s why God set the boundary lines to protect us from harm, and the selfish decisions that we make that would eventually hurt us. It’s not because we feel like it, God will approve it and now because we don’t receive His approval, we rebel against His will. Let’s remember that God is not a genie that grants our wishes instantly. God is our Father which means He does care for us and does not want us to get hurt. He will not give it if it’s not really for you, and He will not give it yet if it’s not really the time.

Some people trade God’s will into pleasures they can immediately feel. They couldn’t wait for God, and so gave up their sexuality. They trespass God, and to trespass is to sin, and sin separates us from God. Sin always hurts, and it will cost us more than we can afford to pay.

If things do not go along with God’s time, it will always hurt you at the process and most of all, in the end. Let’s take a look at this one.

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It’s a fruitcake, it’s probably one of our favorites during Holidays. It’s usually given as a gift, or prepared as a desert. The first time I tasted it, I really didn’t like it because of its taste. I learned that it’s not the real fruitcake because a real fruitcake has to be “aged” to taste better, which would take months. The one I tasted was just made a week before. But when I tasted the real one, I appreciated it so much that it has become my Holiday favorite.

Just like in life, we have to wait because the best is yet to come! The best things are those that undergo a slow, long process. When you wait, you’ll have the best!

2.God wants us to grow
My friends and I love to play boogle or scrabble. There’s one afternoon when we played for almost 5 hours. We didn’t notice it’s already late though we recognized our hunger. So we packed up and hurried for dinner. We decided to eat at Jollibee because it’s the closest. Inside, we joined the people falling in line for orders. We decided we wanted ultimate burger steak. However, when it’s our turn, they said we’re going to wait for 10 minutes. What? We fell in line for so long and again wait for 10 minutes? I was already losing my patience, so I let my friends do the talk. We looked for a table and waited for that precious 10 minutes of our life. Our ultimate burger steak came exactly 10 minutes, and as much as we wanted to eat, something just went wrong. We only have 3 burger steaks yet we were four. We looked at the receipt and found out it was not punched. We were not able to check it out before because all of us were hungry. Again, we waited for it and yeah it was amazing when that 1 burger steak came.

I knew my patience was tested there though I was at the brink of losing it. When it takes too long, God wants us to grow. He wants our character to be built in us. It may be painful but it’s how it’s meant to be. Before God will give us what we’re asking, He’s gonna make it sure we are ready to receive it. He wants us to patiently wait for Him, and as we wait, God also wants us to serve Him and do the things we should be doing. When we wait for time, we’ll gonna get bored and if we are bored, it’s easy for us to be impatient. That’s the reason why there are tvs on the hospital’s waiting area so people will not get bored. We cannot wait for time to pass by. We have to do something right now. The more we think of time, the more we become impatient.

Waiting is a test of character. It shows how much we value things that we wouldn’t desire to lose it. That we want to ready ourselves to receive it, and in time enjoy it. We also have to consider that the things we are hoping and praying for wouldn’t come if we just wait for it. Sometimes, it takes too long because we are not doing something about it. There was a farmer who asked God for a great harvest. Yet, harvest didn’t come. He prayed again and again, and it took him months but still no harvest. How can he have a harvest if he did not sow seeds? It’s good to pray and wait, but it’s not good if we don’t move. Let’s remember that in life, we have to work with God. We sow seeds and God who would cause it to grow and bear fruits. God will not do what we have to do, and we cannot do what God can do. For so many times we pray and wait, how many times did we do our part?

3.God wants us to trust in Him
We cannot always understand God. His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. For some of us, we’ve been praying for so many times and yet God is silent. He does not respond. God’s silence doesn’t mean He doesn’t care for us, God’s silence means, “Trust in Him.” That’s why our relationship with God involves trust. We have to trust in God no matter how complicated things become. Waiting is also motivated by trust. Why would we wait? Because we are expecting something to come.

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The movie “Eight Below” tells the story of a guide, Shephard leaving his eight dogs in Antarctica when storm hit the place. The dogs hunted for foods and strived for survival from the ruthlessness of Antartica. Sadly, two dogs died. After some months, the guilt-ridden Shephard decided to rescue the dogs, so he and his team returned to base and found the five dogs, and was able to rescue the other one.

The dogs waited, and though bad things happened, their master still came! I don’t know why dogs really wait because I’ve never been a dog. But all I can say is that dogs teach us about waiting. I also experienced it myself. One weekend, when my sisters visited our relatives in a nearby town. My mom and I left home. When it’s lunch, we got bothered because we couldn’t find Silver, our dog. I tried searching for him but I failed. It was getting dark when my sisters came home, and I asked them if they ever saw the dog. They said he followed them all the way to the hi-way, but when they found a bus, they left him. They explained that they tried to shoo him away, and they thought he can manage to go back. It was scary because there were many cars out there. So we hurried to get to the hi-way. We asked the people there until an old woman said she saw a dog walking just in the area. We searched everywhere until we found him. He was laying under a tree. We took him and brought him home.

Just like the dogs, we have to wait for God and trust in Him and in His will. God wouldn’t tell us the exact time, but He says in His word it will come, then it will come! We have to trust on God’s promises. We don’t have to know everything to trust in God. That’s why it’s trust! If we put our trust in God, we will have peace and enjoy our lives because we know God’s plan for us is to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future.

When it takes too long, trust in God.

Photo Credits fruit cake eight below1 eight below2

WHAT SELFIE CAN TEACH US ABOUT GOD

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In our group, we love taking selfie photos… and it’s no doubt that we loved it because it’s almost everywhere. Whenever you open your facebook, twitter or instagram, selfies always welcome you. There’s no NON-SELFIE Day.

SELFIE’s popularity was a record-breaking. It’s not only because it hit the globe, but it’s also became the most popular word for 2013, and until now, it’s still in the limelight! But what SELFIE CAN TEACH US ABOUT GOD?

I had a facebook friend who loved taking selfies. I don’t know why he’s my friend… maybe I just accepted his friend request in one occasion. Anyway, what I noticed about this young man is that he’s taking SELFIE seriously. I mean, when I open the news feed, I would often see his series of selfie posts. There’s the photo featuring his eyes, nose, and lips – every part and every side of his face. I see it almost every day, and I don’t why he’s doing that. Maybe he just feel like doing that, or he’s got some problems.

To go with the trend, we take our selfies, and it makes us IN. I am not saying selfies are wrong, but if we make selfie a source of our belongingness or acceptance or it’s where we find our identity, then it’s wrong. That’s why there are many people who have hard times when it comes to relationships. Because there’s a strive of “getting accepted.” So they live in I HAVE TO – “I have to do this, I have to do that so I feel belong.” And if they cannot make it, they try even harder until they give up, and got hurt.

If we base our identity on the things of this world, like fashions or trends, we are losing its true value. Our identity can only be found in God. He is our creator, and He created us with different personalities and looks, and He will not deny and thwart His own creation. We may be the least admired people, because we don’t have the looks or wealth, but let’s be secured that God admires us and loves us. We are valuable to Him.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Psalm 139:13-16 ESV

Just as God creates us, He is the only ONE who knows our purpose. A manufacturer knows everything about his products. It may be tv, cellphone, or cameras, a manufacturer knows how his products functions, and he knows its purpose. God knows our purpose. Problems occur when we search our purpose outside of His. A microwave oven is intended for heating foods, but if we use it to wash our clothes, we not only loose its purpose but we destroy it. But how did we know its purpose? Because the manufacturer says so!

Life is about God. The purpose of our life is to please God, enjoy a relationship with Him and follow His will. He must be at center of everything.

“In this world, we have to do something for us to be accepted but God accepts us just the way we are. We don’t have to strive so He can receive us, but He receives us whoever we are, and whatever things we have done.”

We don’t have to strive, selfie shall be selfie, not a source of Identity.