There comes a point in our Christian walk when we get confused whether God is pleased with our actions or not. No, I’m not talking about that sin you find so hard to deal with. Nor am I referring to that struggle you’re constantly battling with going 3 years now. I’m talking about issues that were not EXPLICITLY talked about in God’s Word.
I believe that there is a place called hell where eternal fire and suffering exists. Where nothing but eternal pain, horror and excruciating torture is felt. I believe that this hell is one of two places where people go when they die. I believe I was headed there.
I lie. I don’t remember when I did it the first time. But I’m sure it wasn’t far from when I was born. I don’t remember when I did it the last time either – but I’m sure it wasn’t far from today.
2) I’m a Thief
I steal. Something grabs my attention, piques my desire, arouses my greed – I take it. It’s not mine. But I store it away anyway. I’ve stolen some things.
3) I’m an Adulterer
My eyes wander to and fro. My heart yearns for the forbidden. I lust after another woman who is not my wife. My heart darkens. I’ve fallen deep and fallen often.
4) I’m a Fornicator
Taken deep by my lust, I wandered out to sate my appetite for my fleshly yearning. I go after another woman. I can never go back. There is no second virginity.
5) I’m a Murderer
I am guilty of murdering the only Son of God. He was crucified in my stead – a sinless man took away my sins on the cross. An excruciating, tortuous and painful death that should have been mine. Jesus Christ was the only qualified substitute for my place in hell.
I was well on my way to hell – because I am inherently evil. Trapped in my sinful desires. But God, in His great grace and love for me, sent His Son – Jesus Christ, to die for my stead so that I won’t have to go to hell.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16
Because of Jesus’ sinless life, death could not hold Him. He was raised again to life on the third day and I await His return – to go and join Him in His Kingdom in heaven.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” - Romans 10:9-10
He did it for you too, you know?
We have always wondered what heaven would be like. Will heaven be boring? Would it be just a series of praise and worship? Would it be an eternity of singing and harps and trumpets? Let’s face it, the heaven we picture in our minds seems a lot boring than what we have here on earth.
There were times when I would wonder what heaven is like. And from what I hear and from what I watch, it pretty much seems boring and uneventful. Yes people tell me that we can ask God anything we want (which would seem like it would take an eternity to accomplish), people also tell me that heaven would be a happy and joyful place (but how happy is happy? And how happy would it be when it seems so boring?), people also tell me that it would be wonderful and different. Still, life here on earth seems pretty much more exciting, wouldn’t you think so?
This entry is inspired by the book ‘The Journey of Desire’ by John Eldredge. Most of the words that I have used in this entry has been derived from his own words in his book – this is because I cannot describe heaven better than how he wonderfully he paints it.
When we think of heaven, we can’t even begin to imagine how it would be like. And if we try, it would seem bleak and boring. Churches don’t really describe heaven in much detail so we try to use our imagination. Unfortunately, our imagination is as tainted as our world – and we take our ideas from the media.
“I think the fear of being bored is an unspoken fear of many people about the life that is coming. After-all, the never-ending singalong in the sky isn’t exactly breathtaking.” - John Eldredge
“During a long layover at O’Hare, I studied the man who sells popcorn from a little stand in one of the terminal hallways. He sat silently on a stool as thousands of people rushed by. Occasionally, every fifteen minutes or so, someone would stop and buy a bag. He would scoop the popcorn from the bin, take the money and make change – all without a word being spoken between them. When the brief encounter was over, he would resume his place on the stool, staring blankly, his shoulders hunched over. I wondered at his age; he seemed well past fifty. How long had that been his profession? Could he possibly make a living at it? His face wore a weary expression of resignation winged with shame. Adam, I thought, what happened?” - John Eldredge
All our miseries prove our greatness: “They are the miseries of a dethroned monarch.” - Pascal
In our world today, only a very few people are blessed enough to make a living doing what they love. We yearn to do something of meaning and value that flows naturally out of the gifts and capacities of our souls. We were meant to be the kings and queens of the earth.
Alas, we have come a long way from the Fall.
The Kingdom of God
We usually hear of the Kingdom of God and that it is near. What does it mean?
It simply means the restoration of things to that which God said “It is good.” It means that things will be as they were meant to be – by the Creator, Designer and Maker of this universe. It means that this world will be healed.
“The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.” - Isaiah 65:24
Pollution will be gone, global warming will be a thing of the past, and the race of man will once again be put back in their rightful place as kings and queens – rulers of the earth. Sons and daughters of the King of the universe.
How’s it gonna be like?
“I’ve spoken with many people who believe that we become “spirits” when we die; that we lose our bodies when we float around. Some even believe that we become angels. But I don’t want to lose my body; I very much want it to be renewed. When we conceive of our future existence as something ghostly, mysterious, completely “other” than anything we’ve ever known, we place it beyond all hoping for. (You can only hope for what you desire.) the “otherness” of it takes away its power. But look at the first example — Jesus. What happens to Him after He dies? He is resurrected, of course. As someone or something else? No, as Himself, only healed and very much alive. Then what — float around? No, He has breakfast.”
- John Eldredge
Here we see how our lives after this life will be like. People and the world will tell you that you will be a different being. A ‘Spirit’ perhaps, which will float around and look at the world and watch as it grows old and everyone dies and joins you. There are so many myths and lies about the life after the one we’re living. There are so many myths and lies about heaven that we need to renew our minds.
What are we gonna do?
The God of the heavens and of the earth is a master craftsman. He is the most creative and intellectual being you have ever known.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.” - Genesis 1:27
The Bible says that we are like God. We are sons and daughters of God.
If you meet the son of Einstein, you would probably consider him somewhat of an inventor and intellectual, if you meet the son of Mozart, you would probably expect him to be musically inclined somewhat. We are expected to be like God. God is a creator and a monarch.
“Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’?” - John 10:34
We are the creation of the great Creator – designed and purposed to be like Him. When the Bible declares we are God’s image, it is describing not certain qualities of our character but capacities of our nature. This is why, when the essence of our likeness to God is announced, it is in the context of our position upon the earth, our place in creation:
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” - Genesis 1:26
We are made like God in our creative powers because we are to be like God in ruling the earth. We are meant to be kings and princes who are free to work as we please and desire. And in God’s Kingdom, we shall do so.
Imagine, a gardener who is given a garden without weeds and with good soil. Imagine an architect who can carry out his own designs without having to answer to anyone. Imagine your work – complete and perfect. Just the way you want it to be. Then you show it to God and say “Here Father. This one’s for you.”
“Somehow, we human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us.” - Os Guinness
There are little precious times in our lives when we finish a work we love and say “This is what I’m made for.” Remember those precious moments? Remember how temporal they are? Do you desire a lifetime of such accomplishments and self-fulfillment?
Heaven is what you’re made for. It is where you can truly be yourself.
When you’re a man who knows how long he’s gonna live. What would you do? As every year passes you by, you realize “I have 12 more years to live…” then another year… And another… King Hezekiah lived the last 15 years of his life knowing on that he was going to die soon. 15 last years to live.
There is no definite time as to how long we are going to live in this Earth. Accidents happen. Unforeseen incidents occur. We do not know what the future holds. That is our life.
But what if all that changed? What if God tells you that your days are numbered and your life will end in a span of ‘X’ number of years. What then?
“In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. ” - Isaiah 38 : 1-5
Imagine what great news it was for king Hezekiah when he heard that he had been given 15 more years to live.
At the same time, imagine how it was for him when the 15th year was approaching.
What would you do when you’re in king Hezekiah’s shoes? Knowing you have 15 years to live changes how you will look at the rest of your life.
Cancer patients always change and react differently once they know that they are going to die. And more often than not, they say that their affliction of Cancer has been more of a blessing because it made them realize how short life is and what they need to do with what they have left.
“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent” - Steve Jobs
Sometimes in this life, we need to be faced with death in order for us to realize how limited our time here on earth is.
The reality of it all is, we’re all gonna die .
How would you live your life knowing you will die soon?
Was having FroYo with some friends from church one day. The conversation was going well until one of them suddenly cried out “Oh no, I’m turning 24 next year!” So what’s so bad about 24?
This entry has been inspired by that YOUNG lady (who is most probably going to be the first to read this) and by my own experiences and questions in life.
“I’m almost 24!”
“I have no business yet.”
“I have nobody courting me yet.”
“I feel like my life is unfulfilled…”
Often we have a certain goal at a certain age. I know I do. And sometimes it gets to us when we are not moving as fast as we want to be moving and we realize that ‘age’ is slowly creeping by.
Set goals, not expectations
In our lives, goals hold a great value. Everyone ought to have target goals. Without them, our life would lack vision and would lack a certain sense of desired achievements-to-be.
When you set a goal, you have to do everything you can in order to achieve it. That’s why it’s called a goal. Discipline yourself. Make a decision and change accordingly – don’t wait for a little procrastination to take root in your heart. Because by the time that you want to change, that seed of procrastination would have already bore its fruit and it might be too late.
Time is what life is made of. Achieving that goal in a time period simply means wanting your life to have accomplished such in a certain point of living. If you realize that sense of urgency in you, that sense of time being your life, and in which sense is irreplaceable, then you start living one day at a time working to achieve your goal.
And if you think that you’re failing to reach that goal in time, don’t panic. Remember, it is a goal. Don’t expect that you will be able to perfectly accomplish it. If you know that you did everything you can in good discipline and management then what have you to panic about? What have you to worry about?
God directs our goals
Always remember that every goal we set is a goal God has placed in our heart’s desire.
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” - Proverbs 21:1
God can direct hearts. And He does it to achieve His purposes. We have to work on the goals that He has set in us. So don’t worry about your goals not being achieved in time. So long as you set your heart on achieving it and you discipline yourself daily in working on it, God will be the one to guide you.
Set your goal
Work on it
Trust in God’s timing
This entry is taken from my Multiply account – it’s dated on Nov 7, 2008. But I hope you find it interesting and insightful.
The GLS Leadership summit 2 days seminar was a blast! The 200 pesos we paid to attend that seminar is ultimately more than worth it. I would be willing to pay more to hear the wisdom imparted by the speakers in that seminar.
Craig Groeschel talked about IT – How leaders can get IT and keep IT
In the middle of his message he said “Failure is not an option, it’s a necessity.” – this really surprised me and it stirred up my thoughts.
Being a leader, you shouldn’t be afraid to fail. And failure is a part of life. This is such a big message to all of us. Especially to the people who have a lot of pride to keep. Failure can do two things to your pride: It can make it more angry, or it can tame it and break it. Leaders must not be afraid to fail.
I learned this the hard way. I was a leader back then and when you are a leader, there are so many eyes that look upon you, watching your every move. And at times when I failed, pride always had the best of me. I deny, I lie, I hide it. And guess what, it didn’t help me one bit. It made me miserable. It took away the fire of being a leader in me and replaced it with guilt. I have failed a whole lot in my life. And God, repentance and vision, decision and some very special people helped me get up again.
Then I realize that each and every one of us Christians all started from failure – that’s how we come to know God. We have all met a point in our life when we couldn’t make it anymore, when we utterly, miserably failed. And then I realize, Hey yeah, we all start from a miserable failure! And without us failing, there will be no grace. There will be no salvation.
But what then if we do fail?
Then we have to decide: “Am I going to stay down? Am I going to get up but go another direction?” Because you can get up from failure but turn away from God’s calling – because you’re afraid to fail again.
He illustrated a great example: the example of the donkey who fell in a pit. They couldn’t pull the donkey back up from the pit. They just can’t. So they thought “We have to bury it.” So they shoveled up dirt to the donkey and the donkey kept shaking it off. Then the donkey kept stepping up to the dirt that has amassed on the floor of the pit. And that’s how it got out.
So when we fail what are we supposed to do? Shake it off! Step up! You can’t stay in that pit forever. Pride will make you not want to step up again. Sonner or later you’ll suffocate because the dirt has buried you alive. We all have failed and fallen short of God’s glory – of His expectations and standards for us. But then from our failure, that’s where grace and salvation starts. Amazing isn’t it?
At the end of everything, there’s hope.
Never give up.
Because if you do – then that’s the time that you’re suffocating with the pride you’re buried in.
Often we have heard of people making it to the top and they tell us that “there’s nothing there.” in other words, their climb to the top, their rise to fame, their pleasures in life are all meaningless.
This entry has been inspired by the message of Ravi Zacharias “What is worthwhile under the sun”
Pain and pleasure are two very common things we experience in life. Everyone from great to small has had their share of pain and pleasure. I believe both need to exist for life to be, in a sense, in balance.
If you find honey, eat just enough–too much of it, and you will vomit. – Proverbs 25:16
Now, you have to understand, pleasure is a good thing – it is created by God for us to enjoy and feel. It is something that God has intended for our lives in order for us to feel His hand and hear His voice. It is something God wants us to experience in this World that He has called “good”.
Then why do the people who “get there” claim that life is indeed meaningless? Indeed even Solomon in all his glory found “everything under the sun” (which means outside of God) to be meaningless. I’ve found Ravi Zacharias’ explanation of it (from G.K. Chesterton) astounding. He said:
“Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure. When you have exhausted that last dream and you find it leaves you barren or empty”
I was stunned. Indeed it is when you have exhausted all pleasure and dreams that you find it leaves you empty that meaninglessness seems to take over your thoughts.
And we have to realize and learn from these men who have made it to the top, that everything under the sun and apart from God – is indeed meaningless. Only He is big enough to fill our longing for meaning in life. Pleasure can never replace His purposes.
By: Sean Si
Before I start, I just want to say that I’m not a very good critic because I can’t seem to separate my Christianity from my being a movie watcher and movie reviewer.
It was a Monday night when we watched New Moon, since all cinemas made it real hard for us to watch it in the weekend because all of them were fully boooked. I was ‘reserved’ by my friend to watch this, surprisingly since January. And so I went and gave in to her request… Hayyy…. It seemed to me like it was a good movie since tickets were sold out everywhere.
I haven’t read the book, and I do not plan to. So we made ourselves comfortable, they bought some popcorn and chips and I quietly waited for the movie to start.
You have to understand, my stand in ‘love’ is not how this world sees it. The movie started out with a very wrong sense of love and ended with such as well. All in all, I can say I did not enjoy it because it was not the right movie for my spirit. You can hate me for it, saying it’s unfair or it’s just ‘Fiction’ but I say ‘Fiction’ is a very dangerous word we have used to brand lies that are believable and seemingly logical even to the emotions of our soul.
The acting was okay, the cinematography was nice, the sounds… well…. They’re good enough, especially the music they played when Bella was in the room and the camera was twirling around showing that the months were passing her by. The story… Well it just went by the book, so I’d say it appeals to the readers. It might be a good movie for most, but for me, it’s not. Why?
Because ‘love’ is something our generation has been struggling with dangerously. It has been twisted and bent to something so evil, almost demonic in essence, that when we top it off with a movie that has a message such as this, it is already more than poison to the minds of the youth.
My generation is devastated with love. It is unknowingly struggling violently to know the meaning of real love. LOVE IS MY GENERATION’S GREAT WAR, it is my generation’s GREAT DEPRESSION. I do not exaggerate when I say this. This movie and story is such a big deception branded under the safety of the word ‘fiction’ that I was so distrubed when I was watching it.
I made a decision to change the world. Someday, I’ll get the chance to share God’s message to the world about real ‘love’. Someday I’ll get to share God’s message to the world that ‘Fiction’ is a dangerous thing to hide under. Someday, I’ll show the world that apart from Jesus, there is no hope, there can be no real ‘love’.
Some people I’ve talked with tell me that heaven is just a state of mind. Or that heaven can be found in this earth, when you do good things and feel good. Love songs talk about heaven as an emotional high. All in all, heaven is a word used for and from a lot of different perspectives to describe a feeling, a thought or a place.
But what is heaven, really? Let’s look at it from the Biblical point of view:
Notes from: Pastor Vince Burke
There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
Heaven is a place
There is no mistaking it. Heaven is a place described in the Bible in ways we can never imagine. Take a kid for example, who’s spent his whole childhood life playing in McDonalds playground. Can you imagine describing Disneyland to him? It would be tough because all his life, he’s known McDonalds slides and tunnels and play area to be the place of “fun and excitement.” He has a McDonalds point of view about Disneyland when in fact, Disneyland is way, way bigger and better than the play area in his imagination.
Heaven is not a state of mind or a feeling or whatever the world would like us to think. The world is trying to make our minds compromise the reality of heaven to the point that people would accept heaven not as a place, but something else that they believe they have already experienced here on earth – so as not to look for or long for it anymore. But we are created for that place, for heaven.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
I just hoped to enlighten people who keep on thinking that they’ve found their own version of heaven here on earth. Well, yes it might be your own version of it – there’s always that. But I want you to know the real version of it, straight from it’s origin and source which is the Bible.
Think about it. Heaven is a place we were created to be in. There’s something bigger than this life and you know it. It’s not the boring place where you imagine Christians go playing harps and dancing with cute, baby-faced angels. It’s something else. Something I can’t describe to you because hey, all of us have the “McDonalds” mentality until we see the real thing for ourselves.