Struggling with Discontent, part 3 of 3

This is the last installment of this 3-part article on Struggling with Discontent. In part 2, I talked about some of the things that give us discontent. Then I lingered on the inadequacy of the Prosperity Gospel to give the Christian a joy-filled life. Here’s the rest of it…

Here’s another truth. Here’s what else is real in our lives: the hard rules of the Earth.

These rules everybody must abide in, believer or not. Yes, God loves you. But don’t think He will bend these earth rules just for you all the time. More often than not, He allows these rules to have power over us to teach us discipline, perseverance and to develop our character. In case you’re asking why, let me remind you that He’s not your genie, He’s your Father in heaven.

Whether these rules would be miraculously suspended for anyone, its His call, not ours.

What are some of these hard rules that God often chooses for His people to work under? There are many. Let’s quickly go through a few:

The Laws of Physics. Throw a Christian and a non-believer from a 20-story building and they will both fall flat on the ground, regardless of their theology. Try it. Let me know what happens. I’m kidding.

No work, no pay. Amazingly, this is the law that most of us believers think we’re exempted from. Guess what?Even if you can make a pencil levitate in Jesus name, no income will come to you if you don’t work. No certain amount of prayer will make money sprout out of the ground if you don’t work hard. But, to be clear, the opposite extreme is also true. If you work hard without God’s help, you will also be working in vain. Any work done apart from Christ will eventually fall or deliver an empty life. But prayer without hard work, is also a recipe for failure.

Life not being fair. The Earth is not designed to be a child’s playground although it may seem like that sometimes. Evil is present everywhere and it affects believers and non-believers alike. We’re not supposed to be comfortable here. The Lord has prepared a place of peace and abundance for those who do believe in Him, and one day He will renew all things when He returns. But right now, the world is filled with fallen people. Let’s be thankful that evil can only go as far as we and God allow it to go. We are here not to love the world. But to love and yearn everything that is God’s.

The Appeal of Excellence. Being a meek and humble Christian doesn’t mean being mediocre. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t compete. You can strive to be excellent & competitive without being arrogant. You simply can’t be trusted and can’t be promoted if you don’t show the bosses that you’re capable – even if you’re a devoted Christian.

Value of Time. Whether you lose time from relationships due to vices or work or because of your service to God, you will lose loved ones all the same. Just because you’re a church volunteer doesn’t mean that your marriage will be miraculously mended without spending enough time with your wife. Its the same with your kids, your family and your friends. If time is used poorly, the result is always the same regardless of our beliefs…

OK, let’s stop there. What’s the point?

Instead of wasting time wishing for a better life, wishing for the prince charming to come, for superheroes to emerge, for Reality TV producers to walk up to us, for fortune to come as we pay Prosperity Gospel tele-evangelists – why don’t we use our God-given faculties, talents and skills to get off our behind and solve them instead? Instead of spending a lot of time daydreaming, why don’t we get the gears in our minds grinding? God designed your powerful mind not to park it, but to use it for His glory.

And if we can’t solve the problem regardless of how hard we’ve tried, then maybe we’re approaching the problem the wrong way… Or maybe we’re heading the wrong direction and God’s hand is not going with us and we need to change direction…

Because of His work on the cross, Jesus now isn’t just your Lord, Redeemer and Savior. He can be your always-present life-coach if you work on a relationship with Him.

The Lord Jesus did not promise an easy life. But He did promise rest even in times of chaos (Matt. 11:28). He promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He promised that He will provide enough for us the way that He does for the birds of the air (Matt. 6:26). He assured us that we need not fear life with Him because He knows how to give good gifts – better than what’s in our minds (Matt. 7:11). His words bear in them power that the world doesn’t understand. Jesus is worthy of our trust. And all these promises are ours to claim by His cross (Gal. 3:26-29).

He designed each one of us to be problem-solvers not problem-hoarders.

He wants His children not to be overwhelmed but to be always persevering. Worrying and complaining only wears us down. Let us remember that Jesus is the best example of submission to the Father’s plan even when it seemed impossible. Let us also remember the great victory that He achieved and the highest authority that He has now over all things in heaven and on earth.

We have been given a Spirit of Power and not of fearfulness (2Tim. 1:7).

So lets stop fantasizing about a life without kinks and dents. Face those problems head-on and grab it by the neck. Use them as foot holds as they come. Use them to bring you ever higher. Let us work towards a life that is always resilient, always hopeful and always faithful.

Struggling with Discontent, part 2 of 3

In part 1 of this article, I enumerated some of the things I blame for our habitual discontent.I ranted about some of the nice things most of us love to watch and follow (Disney movies, Hero movies, reality-TV, tele-evangelists, etc…). I expressed that I think these, despite of their good intentions, teach us never to be content with what we have.

Here’s the rest of it…

All these and more give us discontent. They pressure us to come up with a solution that will make all our troubles go away— or be labelled boring or unblessed. These suggest that money, fame and power will solve all problems. If only we could just break-free from the prison that we’re in. If only we could escape…

But what is real? Your life is real. Your problems are real. Your job, no matter how meager it is, is real.

Let’s get even closer to reality…

Girls, odds are, no prince charming will come to your rescue. And guys, for goodness sakes, find a job or build a business when you can and don’t wait for good fortune. Stop trying to become someone you’re not.

No superheroes will come to save us from a failing economy. We’ll just have to figure it out ourselves.  Most of the time, the greatest dangers we face is not physical and do not come from zombies or cataclysmic events (good luck to the doomsday preppers out there). The real heroes are those who do their jobs well and add value to the community.

Stardom is not the solution to anyone’s problems. We need to tell that to the youth. There are millions wanting to be in a Reality TV Show. Even if you can manage to get in, its no guarantee that you’ll stay up there for long. Stars do fade and fall, often. And, even if you’re just a simple fan, try to look at how much of your time and money is spent on watching them on TV and on buying the products that these shows promote. You buy them because you’ve been taught that what you see in the mirror is below expectations. Can you spell S-U-C-K-E-R?

Politicians are necessary. We do need to respect and submit to them. Someone has to lead and take care of the nation. But its just wrong to depend on them to make our future brighter. These guys are not at the very top of the society, we are. That’s why they’re called public servants. Its just sad that the public perception is inverted. Its a pity to see that there are unfortunate citizens out there depending on hand outs from the government without looking for a way out of their situation; thinking that they are entitled to government help because they have voted for those in position. Progress in our lives can’t be entrusted to politicians. They’re too busy promoting themselves. Depend on them for your personal progress, and the result would be a joyless life full of bitterness.

This may come as a surprise to you, but please read on after this:

Do not entertain any preacher who teaches that God will shower you with money, fame and good health for as long as you are faithful with your giving.

This is where I’ll linger… You only have to take a second look at Bible stories and you’ll realize that it is filled with, not only blessings, but sufferings as well. Living a Christian life is no guarantee that your problems will go away. It’s not a bed of fragrant flowers. Being a believer does not guarantee that your sickness or difficulties will disappear. Paul did all those great feats of faith with an illness. The Lord Jesus Himself was born into a simple life. You know how the rest of His story goes.

There are preachers who will teach you that since Jesus suffered and died already, you don’t have to. This is true, but it should always be followed by this other truth:

We are not in charge, God is.

Yes, there are abundant blessings, healing and prosperity— all good things— from God through the cross of Jesus. Amen to that. But He also has a grand plan that will be followed. Sometimes, it is part of His will for suffering to stay, for evil to triumph, for poverty to linger, for sickness to occur. Why these have to stay, no one knows for sure (more on that here). That’s why faith (believing in God and His goodness despite of difficulties) is very important to us and to Him. This is why, in the gospels, Jesus emphasized the value of faith, even if its as small as a mustard seed.

The Lord’s sovereign plan will not take a backseat so you can have your little project. The prayers we say are not to change His mind, it’s to mold ours into His.

End of Part 2…

Struggling with Discontent, part 1 of 3

Image by Roberto Bouza via Flickr, Creative Commons

Why do we spend so much time wishing for someone else’s life? Why are we so paralyzed by the things that we don’t have? Why do discontent and worry have a firm grip on us?

I blame Disney. With all its fairy tales where evil always loses to good; where dreaming and hoping always bear fruit as long you keep on believing; where young girls are taught to depend on the coming of the prince charming while wasting every second of their lives daydreaming; where young boys are taught that only those with the looks, the armor, the castle and the horses should do the venturing and the leading.

I blame the superhero movies that I love; where the fate of the world lies often on one man or a small group of individuals with superpowers; where we’re taught that we need extraordinary circumstances to be able to make a difference (get bit by a radioactive spider, be born from a different planet, be ultra rich); where it’s suggested that normal people should stand aside, scream and panic, as the mighty ones do all the work.

I blame the Reality-TV industry. I’ll throw-in show business as a whole as well. They teach us that anyone can be popular and glamorous; that if we keep auditioning, we too can be the next star; that as long as we devour all the beauty products that they sell, we too will eventually be discovered. They propose that as long as we stay beautiful, fabulous and visible— things will turn out OK. They present themselves no longer as entertainers but as the ultimate solution to poverty and hopelessness.

I blame politicians. They always promise to end ancient problems but often end up causing new ones instead; who present themselves as the ultimate solution but reveal later that they have short-term memories; who will indeed implement projects but for their own future campaigns; who will take the hope of the people but give little back to them.

I also blame those irresponsible Tele-Evangelists. Particularly those that preach solely the Gospel of Prosperity. Those who claim that hardships and difficulties are not meant for the genuine believers of Christ; who preach that for as long as we have faith, our businesses will prosper; who say that for as long as we “pay” our tithes and offerings to their movements, the Lord will always “return our investments” beyond our imagination (I wonder what they were thinking when the recession came in 2008?). They who claim that they can command the Holy Spirit of God. Who show as if they can “shoot” blessing from their hands; who then wear expensive suits, ride luxury cars, personal planes and go on spending sprees— all for the “glory of God”.

All these and more give us discontent. They pressure us to come up with a solution that will make all our troubles go away— or be labelled boring or unblessed. These suggest that money, fame and power will solve all problems. If only we could just break-free from the prison that we’re in. If only we could escape…

But what is real? Your life is real. Your problems are real. Your job, no matter how meager it is, is real.

End of Part 1.

Click here for part 2 of this article…

The Power Of Desire

Firedancer

Your deepest desires dictate your actions.

Our desires have multiple layers. Its coverings are like that of an onion. The outer coverings are a reflection of what’s inside. There are many layers, but when you peel them off, you’re left with a small compact center.

Our desires are often a reflection of the deepest ones. And if you dig deeper, you’ll understand yourself better. It is profitable to a person if, before doing something, he asks himself first, “Why am I doing this?”

Our desires can be tricky. Most of the time we think that a certain desire is the very reason why we do things but later on discover upon introspection that the desire is actually just a result of an even more powerful desire hidden deeper in our hearts.

Let’s say you got angry at a sales clerk at the mall, shouting at her after she told you that you can’t return an item. At first, you believe that you’re emotionally stirred because its an injustice, that you need to set it right because you’re being wronged. So you scream at the clerk without so much as asking her what she’s went through that day and how low her salary is.

You walk away satisfied that justice had been done. That satisfaction is lifted up all the more by the fact that justice had been done yourself. And then days later, in a moment of calmness and reflection, you dig in deep into your heart. And then you find that the incident with the sales clerk was not about justice at all but because of a very deep desire of yours to be respected and even feared. Because once upon a time in grade school you were terribly bullied and no one interfered for you and you promised yourself along the way that it should not happen again. And that desire to protect yourself gave birth to your thirst for justice and vengeance. And at that moment with the poor sales clerk was really not about her, the mall and not even about the $10 shirt. Without you knowing it, one of your deepest undisclosed desires have taken control of you. That whole incident was in fact the 8-year old you, defending itself from the kids that bullied you decades ago. It was an unsettled part of you bursting out.

This is important I think because it will add value and nobility to our lives.

It could free us from our bondages. Upon realizing that a desire for prostitutes is rooted on a deeper desire for acceptance because the person was once upon a time rejected too many times by too many people – money and effort can be redirected to better things that soothes the same desire.

It could intensify our passion for work. On the verge of giving up, a person can recover from burn out after successfully uncovering that he has been working not just because of his desire for money but because of his desire to preserve the heritage of his parents.

It could help us with life-changing decisions. An aspiring politician can postpone his plans upon figuring out that his drive to succeed is not driven by genuine public-service but because of a deeper desire for fame, power and money. If all politicians did this, I wonder what kind of world we’re all living in right now?

In the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Bradberry and Greaves teaches us that looking deeper into our hearts is the key to making better decisions:

The biggest obstacle to increasing your self-awareness is the tendency to avoid the discomfort that comes from seeing yourself as you really are… Rather than avoiding a feeling, your goal should be to move toward the emotion, into it, and eventually through it…

This brings to mind what Jesus said in Matthew 12:34-35 about the source of the words we speak and the things we do:

For the mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart. A good man produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil man produces evil things from his storeroom of evil.

Also, in Mark 7:15, He reminds us that we should be more careful of what’s going on inside than the food that we’re ingesting:

Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him… For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.

The widely accepted school of thinking teach that the way to discipline is the reward system. We reward what is good. We punish what is evil. This works, but most of the time it doesn’t. If it does work, it does so temporarily. Proof is the overcrowding of our prisons worldwide. There is clearly a missing factor in the way we correct ourselves.

Desires are powerful. Especially the deepest ones that hide deep in us. Those desires that have gained the ability to create multiple coverings around it. Desires that are able to tap into the power of the mind to dig itself deeper and deeper into the darkest parts of the heart.

Good news is, we’ve been equipped with the ability to harness these desires. We can either harness them and use them to propel us. Or we can allow them to subdue and control us.

The Bible offers help to those subdued by unwanted desires. And David asked from God in his writings in Psalms 51:10-12 for intervention because, just like us, he had desires that were getting out of control:

Create in me a pure heart, O God… Renew a steadfast spirit within me… Restore me… Grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

And the Lord answers in Matthew 11:28 and 2 Corinthians 5:17:

Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

No one comes to Jesus without being changed. Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church said this:

The true mark of a genuine Christian is a changed life… his sanctification.

There is only one requirement God asks a person for Him to give the power to overcome unwanted desires. No, its not to buy a book or to deposit $100 in a televangelists’ account or to touch a TV screen like some idiot. Its simpler than that. It’s in Psalms 51:17:

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.

Come to Him with pride and your academic prowess, and He will not come. All you’ll see are the inconsistencies in the BIble. Come to Him with your desire for prosperity and you will find the company of heretical fanatics. But have that broken, humbled heart the Lord requires, and He will come to you and change you into the person you were meant to be.

The best parts of your life yet are in His hands.

Handed Over: The Christian’s Only Fear

The Scream, a painting by Edvard Munch via Wikipedia

The Scream, a painting by Edvard Munch via Wikipedia

There are few things that a Christian truly fears. I don’t mean here that believers are emotionless. Sure we get startled in an explosion. Or get anxious about some things beyond our control. Or get scared of heights or spiders. We do have our phobias still. We’re human after all.

The fear that I mean here is that state of being continually fearful. That fear that is the blackest of blacks. That fear that consumes you day and night and makes you give up on life. The fear that has no hope of rescue – that’s the fear that I mean, the fear that a Christian doesn’t have.

How can we have that kind of fear in our hearts if we are children of an Almighty God? How can we continually be afraid of anything if we have a Mighty Father beside us, 24/7?

No believer continued to be afraid when the recession hit in 2008 because we knew then that our Provider never left our side. No Christian was desperate as Supertyphoon Yolanda hit in 2013 for we knew then that He is always in control. How could we be afraid today of what will happen to our kids in the future if we know that God loves our kids more than we ever could?

We just can’t be afraid.

Sometimes we get derailed, we stumble a little bit, but we always find our balance. Sometimes we fall, but our hope never runs out. We always rise again for our Lord who gave everything up for us in love.

But there’s a fear that a believer does have. A fear that separates the genuine from the fake. For this fear only grips those who truly love God and desire Him deeply.

This fear is the Christian’s fear of being handed over to his or her unholy desires.

This is the fear of being allowed by God Himself to what you think is nice after He kept you away from it for so long. This is that event in a believer’s life when our conscience stops working and we go through a downward spiral of sin. That terrible time when God lets you go and stops interfering. You think that God is OK with it regardless of what’s in His Word, when in truth, He’s already miles away from you.

Picture a cat surrounded by a gang of pit bulls – pit bulls that haven’t eaten for days. The cat’s owner did all he could to keep him away from them, but the cat is stupid. He thinks that the pit bulls are friends and all that barking means they like him. No matter how sophisticated the cage is, the cat always finds a way to get out and rush to the other side. The owner always caught him in the nick of time. But then the cat is relentless. He wants what he thinks is the best for him. And he sees the owner not as a protector, but a dictator and oppressor. So what does the cat do? The next time his owner catches him, he claws and bites. The owner realizes that the cat’s problem is his desire, entrenched deep in his heart; reason will not work at all. So he sadly lets his cat go, and waits. What does the owner wait for? The cat’s own realization that he was wrong all along and his master is right. The cat’s own willingness – his panic – to get back to his master’s arms.The owner doesn’t want it, but the cat won’t listen to reason and will rather experience the pain and separation.

This is what happens to a Christian who will not stop on doing what he knows is wrong. This is what happens when the believer ignores the Holy Spirit and refuse to repent. God doesn’t want it because He knows it will hurt the believer, but the believer keeps wandering away and sees God as his oppressor. So God lets go. With great sorrow, He stands back as His child is devoured by sin.

This “handing over” is found in Scripture. The ESV and KJV Bible calls it “give up”. The HCSB Bible calls it “deliver over”. The NIV Bible calls it “give over”.

Let’s use the ESV for this article…

“So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.” Psalms 81:12

“For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions…” Romans 1:26.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done…” Romans 1:28

Ephesians 4:19 is quite special because it shows the sinning Christian’s personal choice to give himself or herself over to depravity: ‘Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality…”

To illustrate this more, think of David and his adultery. After that, think of Solomon, his concubines and idolatry. Think of what happened next when God have them over to their desires.

This also brings to mind the BTK killer, Dennis Lynn Rader, of Wichita, Kansas who killed and tortured 10 people between 1974 to 1991. He was arrested in 2005. During the time of his arrest, he was president of the congregation council of Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita. Before his arrest, he wrote letters to police and media about his previous crimes. These letters were not letters of remorse but of boasting and taunting. Hiding behind an alias, he told the world of his desire to defile and murder women and children. It was discovered later that some of the letters he made were written in the church using the church desktop computer. When he pleaded guilty, it was without remorse. Police say that there are many “lucky” people because Rader was on the verge of relapse when he was arrested. He is now in solitary confinement. (Source: Wikipedia)

I will not say that Rader was never a believer in the first place and will go to hell. I don’t know that. Only he and God does. But here’s what I’m sure of, while he was a part of that church, God reached out to him repeatedly. Many times God forgave him and urged him to surrender. Many times, God would fight for him and tell him to stop his evil desires so that he won’t go back to where he came from in 1991 when he killed his last victim. But somewhere along the way, God had to let go. Why did God give him that much time? Why didn’t God strike him with death and disability right away? That is not for us to know. Fact is, God reached out to Rader. Rader wanted out. God let him go.

Christian, are you in that crossroad right now where God tells you to stop? Is the Lord urging you in your spirit to come back to him?

Is it a little stealing from the company funds? Don’t wait for God to let you go and let it grow into a full blown corporate crime.

Is it just a little gambling? Your God is trying to hold you back from bankruptcy.

Is it a little porn? If God let’s go, you won’t just lose your family, you could be on your way to becoming a pedophile. Maybe your first victim would be your own daughter.

Is it just one night of liberty with your boyfriend? If God let’s go, you better be ready for single parenthood.

Is it just a little torture of a puppy? Why do you think we feel so horrified when we see that done on any small animal? That’s God telling us that it’s not right. Dennis Rader started his serial killing with animal torture.

If God holds us back, it’s only because He wants us to get back to safety. Let’s love that about our Father. It’s an indicator that He’s there and that He cares.

It is with these same thoughts that David wrote, “..Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…” (Psalms 23: 4).

I would rather have His loving discipline than live a life of separation from my Father.

David’s Deliverer

Why did King David call God his Deliverer? When the Lord tells us in the Bible that He will “deliver” His people, what does it mean? Why do we ask Him to “deliver” us from our sins in the Lord’s prayer?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word deliver as “to set free”, “to take and hand over” or “to surrender”… The meaning differs depending on how you use the verb. But in David’s case, the second definition would be the most appropriate application.

He calls God his Deliverer because when he faced the super soldier Goliath and he only had his faith, his sling and some small pebbles – God took him and handed him over to victory and glory. Both of which would have been impossible without God.

Its tempting to say, “Good for David, he has friends in high places. Too bad for me, I’m at the bottom of God’s priorities…”.

Its true that God favored David from the very beginning because he was after God’s own heart. That means that David didn’t want anything else in his life but God. When he did something, God was always first in his heart.

And that’s quite difficult to do in the 21st century, I admit that. Today, entertainment and information is literally just at the tip of our fingers. Knowledge is so easy to find. We don’t need anyone to explain anything to us, because we have a huge bank of information in the internet. Our prayer life and meditation is replaced by Google and YouTube. The modern man finds these sites more useful because they provide solutions within seconds. While prayer, church and Bible study – they take hours of your time without coming up with a solution.

Most don’t realize that Christians have something that David would have given all his royal treasury to acquire – the cross of Christ.

While David was a great man and a great King, he was still separated from God. He had faith, and God was pleased with that, but he didn’t have what you have: the very personal presence of God because of Jesus Christ.

What’s the value of that? Everything.

Because of what Christ did on the cross, David’s Deliverer is now your Deliverer. No, you’re far from deserving this gift, but He will create in you a pure heart. Yes, it’s impossible for you. But not for God.

To further illustrate this enormous favor from God, picture in your mind your favorite logistics company. What do logistics companies do? They deliver. Its not possible for you to take the plane just to deliver a parcel and go back again. It will take away too much of your time, your strength and money. So you go to the logistics company who specializes on doing that on a regular schedule for a small fee. So you, now, don’t have to do anything. You just stay where you are and your important parcel will be delivered to where it should go. You will have done something that would have been otherwise impossible without the logistics company – your “deliverer”.

I think you can sense where this is going now…

When Jesus died for you on that cross, He made David’s God, yours. Regardless of your past or your present situation. If you believe and ask Him to come into your life, He will come and never leave you. As you seek to know David’s God everyday, as you go deeper and deeper into the Spirit of God, you will find that He really does sees you as His very own son now. And as the day goes by, you will no longer recognize the person in your mirror.

David was just a favorite of God. The believer becomes a son or daughter of God. How much more will the Lord deliver His own to freedom, to victory to green pasture?

So. Much. More.

Its not possible for you – child of God – to get that job, that promotion, that home, that financial freedom that you aspire for, on your own. It is not possible for you to sever your ties with your most favorite sins on your own, because you really desire them and resisting fiery desires are quite difficult for all of us. But with your faith, your sling and some stones – it is. Why? Because David’s Deliverer is now yours. The same God who guided that pebble to the right spot on Goliath’s head will take even the smallest of your efforts further than you ever can. Yes, it’s too far. Yes, it’s too difficult a climb. Yes, it’s too painful a journey. And your Father in heaven is excited for you to get into that secret place and to call on your Deliverer.

God aches to be your Deliverer. If what you’re asking for is good and aligned to His plans for you, He’s excited to move alongside you.

He will strike down your goliaths one at a time. He will part your red sea one after another. He will feed your five thousand over and over again. Why? Because you have surrendered all to him as David did. Because you have received His Son Jesus into your heart and now claims you as one of His own. And when He does, He never will leave you.

Some aim to become like David and Solomon. They like referring to these great men when they commit adultery or when their flaws are singled out.They will quickly point out that even David and Solomon had concubines and were imperfect. So they too can have concubines and can keep their pet sin.

Modern day fools.

I think that’s a mistake. You and I were given so much more than David and Solomon combined. And so our goals must be higher.

Don’t aspire to be like David and Solomon. Aim to be better. Aim higher. Because the Son of God, Jesus, paid the highest price to make David’s Deliverer – yours.

Would you like to start that journey with Jesus? Would you like that new life and be that new creation? Would you like to discover more from God than the shallow knowledge that your friends have? Please pray this prayer in your own heartfelt words:

God of Heaven and Earth, God of the Bible. God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God of Moses and Elijah. God of David and Solomon. I invite you to come into my life through the cross of Your Son, Jesus. I admit that I can’t do it on my own. I am a hopeless sinner and I can’t stop hurting you. I’m tired of it all. I need help. I surrender my life and my soul to you. I don’t know how this works, but please be my Father, my Savior and Deliverer. Bless me with faith. Change me from the inside and out. Set me apart and make me Yours. And as I wait for the change to come, I commit to get to know You in the Bible regularly, to get to know imperfect believers like me regularly, to be a part of your church, and to spend time with you often in moments of reflection. Thank you for Your love. In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.

May 2014 be the year of the Lord Jesus for you.

The Wide Gap Between Positive Thinking and Faith in God

Faithful believers don't have to look like this.

Faithful believers don’t have to look like this.

In the swift sharing of ideas that we’re capable of these days, things can easily get mixed up. Identical ideas can sometimes be unconsciously combined and the subtle differences ignored. Its so much convenient to say that two things are the same than argue that they are different.

We confronted the same problem in this page when we brooded the difference between Karma and God’s Justice here. Now, as the new year begins, I invite you to straighten out the HUGE difference between Positive Thinking (the power to align the universe at your command) and Faith in God (believing that you can do nothing without Christ).

From the previous paragraph, its quite obvious how wide the gap of these ideas are.

Positive Thinking is promoted and popularized by self-help books such as The Secret. It teaches that you have the power to affect the outcomes of what’s going on around you simply by thinking positive and using your mental powers to visualize yourself where you want to be. It also includes a certain amount of believing that when you do that, the universe aligns with you – conspires with you – to get what you desire. It would even stress that this is the secret of religions such as Christianity. It attempts to explain why faith works so much and why prayers are answered. Please note that this belief is a one-size-fits-all. God here, at least the ones taught by the ancients, is taken out of the equation. The universe and the power of the human mind is raised up.

Faith in God, the one taught in the Bible, is based solely on one thing. Actually, on one Person: God. There is no other way for a Christian or Jew to achieve anything good or eternal without Him.

Let me stress that last point a bit more. The Christian believes that, no matter how much mental power he uses, he can’t influence events in his life because only God is sovereign. He is in complete control. Without Him, we are lost – we are dried leaves in the wind. Fortunately, we can call Him our Father through the cross of His Son, Jesus. He has our best interests in mind and we can trust Him on that.

Faith is important to us, because Jesus taught in the Scriptures that its important to Him (Matt: 11:22-23 for instance). In fact, its so important to God, that he refused to do mighty works when a person or persons don’t believe in Him (e.g. Matt. 13:58).

In the Bible, faith isn’t referred to as positive thinking. It is simply defined as believing on an unseen God. It is demonstrated as believing that God exists, that He sent His Son to breakdown the wall between Him and man, that He knows whatever we’re going through, and that He is more than enough to deliver whatever our needs.It is admitting to God that we can’t go it alone, that we’re helpless, that we need Him in every thing.

Believers don’t have to imagine or visualize what is not there. We only have to take whatever the situation is and then lay it at the feet of the cross in surrender to the Sovereign God.

Positive Thinking trusts on the individual’s ability to visualize. It is trusting on one’s personal effort to think positive. Faith makes the believer depend on God and God alone. So what am I saying?

Choose. You can’t have both.

If you’re an atheist, knock yourself out with The Secret. From the reports I’ve read from articles and heard from friends, it allegedly works.

But if you’re a Christian, a Bible-believing Christian, get your beliefs right. Don’t claim anything as yours (as many Christians often fondly say). Don’t declare anything as yours (I’m getting fired up now). As far as your self is concerned, you’re supposed to acknowledge your helplessness before God (aka humility). Believe that God will make your dream come true ONLY if it aligns with His plans. Don’t act like you can claim anything or declare anything on your own. We’re not supposed to find strength and confidence in our selves or in the world.

Yes pray about it. Yes, believe that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. And then work hard for it. Leave the rest to The Lord Jesus. Be at rest. He knows what’s best.

If He says yes to your request, celebrate in thanksgiving! If He says no, thank Him still and ask Him what to do next. You don’t have to set yourself up for disappointments by forcing your mind to think of something that’s not there yet. Worse, don’t blame God when you lose something that was never meant to be yours in the first place.

Rather, keep yourself occupied with His Words, His goodness, His greatness and the work He gave you – as you wait for the God of the Bible to deliver your dreams to you this 2014.