Tag Archives: Christ

Special three!

blog anniversary 2

Today, 8th May is a special day. For three main reasons:

We celebrate the Ascension of our Lord Jesus. The church commemorates the day He went back to heaven, after which He sent us His helper- The Holy Spirit. A day (Pentecost) we’ll be celebrating next Sunday. The caring God He is, He ensured we would never be alone.

During mass the mass the priest told us about this man who died and went to heaven. When he got there, God showed him the life he’d led when he was on earth. The man watched as his life was displayed before him. He realized that all through there were footprints left behind. There were two pairs of footprints. However, he realized that at a time in his life when he had been going through so much tribulation, there was only one pair of footprints.

Turning to Jesus he asked him, “You left me at a time when I needed you most. Why?”

“Never did I leave your side,” Jesus replied. “Those two footprints you see are mine. I carried you, when you couldn’t walk on your own.”

The man was speechless.

I bet if we had a conversation with Jesus we would ask him the same. ‘Why he left us when we needed him most’. Sometimes I feel like I’m alone. But obviously that’s never the case; because we’re never alone. God’s always there with us. We just need to believe that and push on, even when we feel like life couldn’t get worse.

Today as we celebrate the Ascension of Christ, we should remember that we are never alone. God made sure of that. If ever we get to a point where we feel alone, we should just trust that He’s right there with us and push on.

Ascension

The second reason why this is a very special day is the fact that today we’re celebrating our beloved mothers. I wish all the mothers out there the happiest of mothers’ day. Personally I celebrate my mom. She’s impacted my life so greatly. The suffering she’s gone through so my sisters and I can make it in life has taught me a lot. She sacrificed, and still continues to sacrifice her happiness so we could at least have a shot at life.

It hasn’t been easy one bit, but from her experiences I understand what motherhood is all about; or at least I think I do. One thing I know without a  shadow of a doubt is that being a mother is a full time job and given that it’s not something a woman can just delegate, it’s just about the hardest job in the world.

I remember this post I once read about a mother’s job. Can’t remember the exact details but in a nutshell, a mother’s job is like a ‘medley’ of jobs. A mother is a care-giver; she’s a teacher; she’s a doctor… a mother is many things. If God-forbid I didn’t have my mom, I couldn’t possibly start to imagine where I would be right now… she’s been there to help me through difficult times; seeming strong even when everything around me was crumbling…

Because of her, I have felt the healing touch of a mother’s love. I acknowledge that no one’s perfect and for that, even she has had her own shortcomings. Even so, I couldn’t have asked for a better mom. I love her, and I cherish her.

Happy mothers’ day to all the mothers.

happy mothers' day

The third reason why this day is special is because today I’m celebrating my blog’s third anniversary. It’s really hard to believe that this blog is now three years old, and counting… I haven’t been blogging much lately but I’m so grateful to all my readers; for your patience and understanding, especially where I go for weeks before replying to comments. It’s never intentional. There’s so much going on in my life right now…

blog anniversary

I cherish you all. Because without you, I wouldn’t have the motivation to write…much as I find it therapeutic. Thank you for your continued support, and encouragement.

So today, I celebrate the Ascension of Christ, all mothers in the world, my blog’s third anniversary and my readers. Such a special day!

 

Matters Faith

Matters faith

In my opinion, when it comes to matters faith, there are basically two categories of believers, who can further be grouped into four other sub groups:-

  1. The suffering believers
  2. The content believers

The suffering believers are fundamentally those who are immersed in unimaginable perils or typical glitches that could be feeling a little weighty at the moment. They can be divided into two:

  •  those who drift further away from God because they believe He abandoned them and that’s why they’re suffering;
  •  then of course there are those who trust God more at that time because they put their faith in Him to find a way out of their problems.

The content believers are those who are satisfied with the current state of affairs. They can be divided into two:

  • those who drift away from God when they are happy because they are in that bubble of bliss, which bursts eventually and it’s only then that they realize that they can never live without God; think the prodigal son…
  •  then again there are those who get closer to God at this time because they believe it’s only by God’s mercy that they have been able to enjoy the good moments in their life.

Point is, whether we’re struggling beneath the weight of overwhelming miseries, or are in a place in life where we feel life couldn’t be better, the situation we’re in, whether good or bad could determine the relationship we have with God. And it’s a choice we make…

Sometimes when life is too good we drift further and further from God, when we’re too caught up chasing the pleasures of life. One wakes up in the morning but because they are in good health and have servants at their every beck and call and money to indulge their every whim, they forget to say thank you for it all.

Truth is, we don’t always have to present ourselves before God when we need favours from Him. It’s only right that when He grants us our desires we thank Him; and even for those irking situations, because if we remain positive, we’ll see the good in those painful moments.

Unfortunately, our sinful human nature deters us from doing so. More often than not, I have heard a sick person say they can’t wait to get better because in more ways than one, the illness is curtailing their lives in ways so unimaginable.

When they recuperate, they realize that being healthy is not something that should be taken for granted. Looking at it from that perspective, I believe that while the majority of us might hate being in less desirable situations in life, we can choose to look at it from the ‘glass-is-half-full’ perspective: it’s only when we’re freezing during the chilly weather that we realize how much we need the sun; and when the sun’s blistering hot and we can’t stop whining, that’s when we realize we need the rain; we momentarily forget how much we detest mud.

In short, unpleasant situations in life make us appreciate the really good moments. As it is though, in life nothing is constant. Today someone is seated at the helm of a prestigious company; next thing you know they’re church-mouse poor because the company was declared bankrupt;

or maybe one is so healthy today, and tomorrow they’re moving from one doctor to another hoping to get a different diagnosis because they’ve recently discovered they’re suffering from a chronic illness. Such is life; no one knows what the next minute holds.

One thing I know though, is that the God who was there before those who came and went before us, is the same one who still reigns. He makes the earth rotate in its axis, clothes the ground with beautiful greenery and flowers.

If one is in a situation where they are struggling, they should remember the same God who provided for them before is still the one who reigns and will therefore grant them their heart’s desires when the time is right. So one shouldn’t let despair get the better of them.

If on the other hand one is feeling really blessed because for some glorious reason everything is falling into place, they should remember to hold on to God, because He who gave them all that gladdens their heart could take it all back if He deemed it fit; say when someone becomes too arrogant because their bank accounts are bursting at the seams and they could buy anything money can get them, so the need to be humble escapes them.

Whatever stage we’re in, we should remember nothing in life is constant; and as the cliché goes, ‘life is full of surprises’. What we need to always remember though, is that God never changes; and neither do His ways. If we don’t have what we need today, it’s not because He hates us. And when humility feels like a needless task because we have everything we could possibly want, we should remember that tomorrow could be a very different day.

Either way, we need God. When we’re happy, we should thank God and remember to treat everyone else with kindness. We shouldn’t wait for life to deal us tragic blows for us to grasp the whole concept of humility; and if we don’t have, we shouldn’t be bitter, despising all those who are blessed, because when our time comes, God will bless us too.

What type of soil am I?

parable of the sower

“Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As He scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots hadn’t grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up.

Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and chocked the plants. But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty.”

And Jesus concluded, “Listen then, if you have ears!” (Matthew 13: 3-9)

The purpose of the parables

Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

Jesus answered, “The knowledge about the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven has been given to you, but not to them. For the person who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing will have taken away from him the little he has.

The reason I use parables in talking to them is that they look, but do not see, and they listen, but do not hear or understand. So the prophecy of Isaiah applies to them:

‘This people will listen and listen, but not understand;

They will look and look, but not see, because their minds are dull, and they have stopped up their ears and have closed their eyes.

Otherwise, their eyes would hear, their minds would understand, and they would turn to me, says God, and I would heal them.’

As for you, how fortunate you are! Your eyes see and your ears hear. I assure you that many prophets and many of God’s people wanted to see what you see, but they could not, and to hear what you hear, but they did not.” (Matthew 13: 10-16).

Jesus explains the parable of the sower

“Listen then, and learn what the parable of the sower means. Those who hear the message about the message about the kingdom but do not understand it are like the seeds that fell along the path. The evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in them.

The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who receive the message gladly as soon as they hear it. But it does not sink deep into them, and they don’t last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once.

The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don’t bear fruit.

And the seeds sown in the good soil stand for those who hear the message and understand it: they bear fruit, some as much as one hundred, others sixty, and others thirty.” (Matthew 13: 18-23).

Understanding the parable

In the parable, Jesus talked about the sower. He is the sower; the one who doesn’t choose or discriminate against anyone. He preaches about the Kingdom of Heaven to anyone who cares to listen. He even gives chances to those who might not even listen, and He does it tirelessly; without giving up.

The seeds on the other hand, are the gospel and we are the soil. Some of us are likened to the soil along the path, others to rocky ground, others to thorny bushes and others to good soil, depending on how we understand the gospel, and our faith in relation to it.

This parable used by Jesus helps us reflect on the kind of people we are. How strong is our faith?

“What type of soil am I?” This is the question we need to ask ourselves.

 

These men are drunk

Day of Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious men who had come from every country in the world. When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited, because each one of them heard the believers talking in his native language. In amazement and wonder they exclaimed, “These people who are talking like this are Galileans! How is it then that we all hear them talking in our own native languages?” (Acts 2: 1-8).

Amazed and confused they kept asking each other, “What does this mean?”

But others made fun of the believers, saying, “These men are drunk.” (Acts 2: 12-13).

Peter’s message

Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles (together with Matthias, who replaced Judas) and in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd: “Fellow Jews, and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me and let me tell you what this means. These are not drunk, as you can suppose; it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. Instead, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:

‘This is what I will do in the last days, God says.

I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.

Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message;

Your young men will see visions, and your old men will have dreams.

Yes, even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my spirit in those days, and they will proclaim my message.

I will perform miracles in the sky above, and wonders on the earth below.

There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke;

The sun will be darkened, and the moon will turn red as blood,

Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.

And then, whoever calls up to the Lord for help will be saved.’

Listen to these words fellow Israelites! Jesus of Nazareth was a man whose divine authority was clearly proven to you by all the miracles and wonders which God performed through Him. You yourselves know this, for it happened here among you.

In accordance with His own plan God had already decided that Jesus would be handed over to you; and you killed Him by letting sinful men crucify Him. But God raised Him from death, setting Him free from its power, because it was impossible that death should hold Him prisoner.”

Significance of Pentecost

Sunday marked the 50th and last day of Easter. The word Pentecost’ is an English translation of the Greek word ‘pentekostos’, which means fifty. In the church it’s the commemoration of the day God poured His Holy Spirit down upon His first followers, and the day about three thousand new members were converted into the group.

Holy Spirit

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised His followers that He would send them a helper. On the day of Pentecost He fulfilled that promise. The Holy Spirit, as seen in the book of Acts, came down, and empowered the disciples to go out there and spread the gospel of the Lord.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the power of the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to everyone for their particular service.

The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. The same Spirit gives one person a message full of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full of knowledge. One and the same Spirit gives faith to one person, while to another person He gives the power to heal.

The Spirit gives one person the power to work miracles; to another the gift of speaking God’s message; and to yet another, the ability to tell the difference between gifts that come from the Spirit and those that do not.

To one person He gives the ability speak in strange tongues, and to another He gives the ability to explain what is said. But it is one and the same Spirit who does all this; as He wishes, He gives a different gift to each person.

One body in Christ

Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it’s made up of different parts. In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into one body by the same Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink. (Corinthians 12: 3-13).

Peter’s message on Pentecost to the people who had gathered (and what each one of us should reflect on) was, “Each one of you must turn away from his sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit.

For God’s promise was made to you and your children, and to all who are far away-all whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” (Acts 2: 38-39).

 

 

 

Spiritual blindness: Part 1

Jesus light of the world

Blindness is fundamentally described as the inability to see. That could go two ways: the inability to see with our physical eyes or the inability to see through our eyes of faith. In relation to the latter-spiritual blindness-a majority of us live in darkness, and some of us don’t even realize it. It could be anger that keeps us in darkness; refusing to see past it and making decisions when angry, which in most cases turn out to be wrong. It could be jealousy or lust…the list is endless. Every person knows specifically what keeps them away from the light.

Many are afflicted by spiritual blindness, and there is only one cure for it; to trust in God. In John 9: 1-41, we’re told the story of a man born blind who was healed by Jesus: He and His disciples were walking when they saw the man. His disciples asked, “Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents’ sin?”

Jesus answered, “His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents’ sin. He is blind so that God’s power might be seen at work in him. As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent us. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After He said this Jesus spat on the ground and made some mud with the spittle. He rubbed the mud on the man’s eyes and told him to go wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam (which means sent). So the man went and washed his face and came back seeing.

His neighbours couldn’t believe him when he told them Jesus had healed him; they took him to the Pharisees, who also started questioning him on the same. When Jesus heard what had happened, He found the man and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

The man answered, “Tell me who He is so that I can believe in Him.”

Jesus said to him, “You have already seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you now.”

“I believe, Lord!” The man said, and knelt down before Jesus.

Jesus said, “I came to this world to judge, so that the blind should see and those who see should become blind.”

Some Pharisees who were there with Him heard Him say this and asked Him, “Surely, You don’t mean that we are blind too?”

Jesus answered, “If you were blind you wouldn’t be guilty. But since you claim you can see, this means that you are still guilty.”

This is an abridged version of the chapter as the original version is quite long. Basically, we see Jesus restoring the man’s physical and spiritual sight. The Pharisees could see with their physical eyes, but were spiritually blind because they did not believe Jesus was the Son of God.

Believing in God heals us off our spiritual blindness because with the belief comes the strength to live in accordance with God’s Holy will. Spiritual blindness refers to sin. And in the bible, even physical blindness was associated with sin; that’s why the disciples were quick to ask Jesus who was responsible for the man’s blindness; if it was his own sins or his parents’.

Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will have the light of life.”

 

The Fourth Commandment

the fourth commandment

Back in the day, when God used to communicate with His people through prophets, He gave Moses the laws inscribed on stone, commonly known as the Ten Commandments. On the top of Mount Sinai, He came down on a cloud of smoke in fire and spoke in thunder as He gave the laws. In my own understanding, the commandments are subject to people’s varying interpretations and as a result, people decipher them differently.

The commandment I particularly want to delve into at this point is the fourth commandment: Respect your father and mother, so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you (Exodus 20:12). Notice He didn’t ask parents to respect their children? That’s how many people interpret it. But then, based on my own understanding, that brings me to another verse in the Bible: (Colossians 3: 21) Parents, do not irritate your children, or they will become discouraged.

That’s the thing about respect; it’s a two way thing. One can’t expect to disrespect someone and still expect that same person to respect them. As I’ve mentioned in some previous posts, I am not a mother yet, so most of my posts are written from a daughter’s perspective. Growing up, I had some dreadful moments where I just felt small; not by size, but because I felt my opinion on some issues wasn’t taken seriously. I often felt it was the, ‘I’m big, you’re small; I’m right you’re wrong’ patronizing attitude parents have towards their kids at times.

Maybe I’ll understand it when I get my own children, but until now I still don’t get it. In my opinion, everyone deserves respect. It doesn’t matter if it’s a homeless person, or a small baby. And being older doesn’t automatically mean one’s right. Sometimes parents feel like they’ve been around longer and for that they know how things work, but truth is sometimes children see things clearly, better than adults and for that they should also be heard. They may not always be right, but giving them a chance to share their opinion makes them feel valued and respected.

During one of my dark pubescent phases, I argued with my parents about everything; at some point I even contemplated running away from home, until a quick look into the future showed me I would screw up the rest of my life if I carried on with my plan. I decided that would be a foolish move so I scratched it. However, the misunderstandings didn’t stop there; they continued because the root cause hadn’t been addressed. It’s during that time that I suffered from some stress-related illnesses; depression and all.

At some point I got tired of all the fighting, and just decided to stop arguing, even if every part of me was itching to say something. I don’t feel my parents changed at all; they still look at things the same way they did back then. Sometimes I feel I grew up; that’s why I lost the urge to always fight back.

The other day my big sister was having a tête-à tête with dad. She asked him to look back and picture himself at the age she is now, and to remember how he wanted to be treated at the time. That, she told him, would help him know how to treat us. It would stop him from treating us like kids, just because he’s older than us.

When all’s said and done, I believe parents should also respect their children. Just because they’re younger than them doesn’t mean they’re indisputably wrong. And if a parent wants their child (ren) to respect them, the best thing would be to show them how; by respecting them back. Foster mutual parent-child (ren) respect because if it’s one-sided it won’t last long; it won’t be long before the child gets tired of always being the one to give.

Something I learnt when I was still a kid was that one doesn’t ask for respect, they earn it. It just happens that sometimes grown- ups do some shoddy things yet expect kids to still accord them the respect they deserve as adults. It doesn’t work like that. If parents or adults want children to respect them, they must carry themselves in a respectable manner.

However one chooses to look at it, God did ask children to respect their parents, but the same parents have a duty to help their kids live by that fourth commandment.

The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

wise men

This past Sunday was the last day of Christmas; that of course is according to the church calendar, when we celebrated the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Epiphany is a word connected with light. And as seen in Isaiah 60: 1-6, Jesus is the light of the world:

Arise, Jerusalem, and shine like the sun;

The glory of the Lord is shining on you!

Other nations will be covered by darkness,

But on you the light of the Lord will shine;

The brightness of His presence will be with you.

Nations will be drawn to your light, and kings to the dawning of your new day.

The word Epiphany refers to a revelation, or a manifestation of something. In this case, Jesus was revealed to the world as the light of the world. It’s based on the events narrated in Matthew 2:1-12. This feast was traditionally celebrated on 6th January, but on occasions where the day falls on a working day, the church has moved the celebration to the Sunday before or after 6th.

Some men who studied the stars, commonly referred to as Wise men, had travelled far from Persia, Asia and Africa to see the new born king. The bible doesn’t really specify they were three. King Herod, who had heard of their arrival called them to a secret meeting and instructed them, “Go and make a careful search for the child and when you find him, let me know so that I too may go and worship him.”

They left and followed the star, which went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They went into the house and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshipped him. They presented him their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, which have been interpreted by Christians to symbolize the state of Jesus as a King, Priest and Human (that He would die but not waste away, hence becoming the risen Christ). It’s from their gesture that the Christmas tradition of giving gifts originated.

After seeing the child, they left via a different route as God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. The bible shouldn’t be read as a history book; it’s full of signs: the wise men were led to Jesus by a star that shone from the East, but in real sense He was the actual star and the wise men, we’re told, didn’t go back the same way they had come. This could be interpreted as: when one meets Jesus they never go back the same way they had come; He gives a new beginning.

In my house we haven’t taken down the Christmas decorations yet, but it’s safe to say Christmas is officially over. I feel I have an inexplicable love for Christmas. Sometimes I feel if Christmas were a person I would marry him, just so I could wake up to him everyday; so it would be Christmas everyday. The good thing though, is that we recently celebrated the nativity of our Lord, and it doesn’t have to end there just because party’s over and life’s back to normal. We can choose to live the lives we had before Christ’s birth or, like the wise men, we can take a different route and become changed people.

I wish you all a HAPPY and PROSPEROUS 2014.