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Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
Many people are frustrated about their spiritual lives. They feel they need to grow, but often they are discouraged by their lack of progress. They try so hard to become better Christians, but they end up repeating the same old mistakes that tend to make them lose hope. The key is to focus on vital behaviors that can significantly alter the course and quality of our lives in disproportionate ways. It’s the principle of leverage. You focus on a few crucial behaviors that can place you in a position where you can experience more of God’s grace. Ultimately, of course, it’s all about God’s grace. The key is not to try harder, but to train in such a way that you place yourself in a situation where God’s grace can flow more into your life, to enable you to do what you cannot do by yourself otherwise. It’s all about cooperation, not trying harder.
Now, to begin, you need to focus on the physical aspect of your life. Yes, you heard me. Focus first on the physical aspect. In as much as we want to grow spiritually, we need to understand that we are a unified being. Our body is not an unnecessary shell that we just carry around with us wherever we go. Our body is part of who we are. We are a living soul, and that includes our body. You cannot do anything in this world apart from your body. If you do not focus on your body first, there’s nothing that you can really do about any other aspect of your life. Now, of course, I do not mean to say that there’s nothing you can do if you do not have a complete healthy body. Many people who are in that kind of situation can still do a lot of things. Nothing is impossible if someone is determined and if he or she would trust in God’s grace. But my point is that your body is the means through which you will be able to live your life here on earth. So if you do not train your body to submit to God, nothing else will work. Your spirituality begins with your body. This is why we must offer our bodies first to God as a living sacrifice. Regardless of the condition of our body, whether we are healthy or not, we must offer it. You must surrender your ownership of your body and offer it to the One who truly has the right to own it. In other words, God must own our bodies if we are to succeed in walking or following Jesus Christ. So the key to becoming a faithful and fruitful follower of Christ, and so to experience a better life, is to offer your body to God and let Him be the Lord of your body. Why don’t you do that starting today. Start with your body. That’s where all your spirituality will begin. Shalom! (PB)
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25 NIV
It’s easy to despair when all you see around you is pain and suffering, injustice and evil, hatred and division, etc. The list can go on and on. There is ample reason why many today feel hopeless. When you’re hopeless, you’re willing to settle for anything that can give you a glimmer of hope, even if that option is not the best option. Something is better than nothing, you reason. In fact, if you really think about it, the problem in our country, the Philippines, is nothing less than hopelessness. Majority have lost hope. Many have given up. There’s nothing to look forward to as far as the future is concerned. Is this how you feel?
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I cannot but have hope because God has made certain promises about the present and also the future. I know it may be hard to believe, but God promises a new and better world someday. But He also promises a better life today. This is what the word of God says. Therefore, I cannot live my life without hope. I cannot make choices based on desperation. I will choose based on hope. I will conduct my present life based on God’s present and future promises. Despair, for me, is not a option. God is and will always be faithful.
If you’re feeling hopeless today, stop focusing on the problems all around you. Focus on God’s precious promises. They are true today and they will be true tomorrow. Look to Him who is faithful and true. Everything else may crumble all around you, but the word of the Lord stands forever! Expect better things from here on and unto eternity. Trust in Jesus! Shalom! (PB)
17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (Romans 5:17)
Because of one man’s disobedience, the whole world suffers today. Pain and misery is now the lot of all men and women, young or old. No one escapes the consequences of sin. It produces death in many different ways.
This happens even today, when we choose to disregard His will. It may not appear immediately, but our souls will surely die. We may appear happy and fulfilled on the outside, but soon sin will require its payment. We will inevitably feel the emptiness of being separated from God, because that is the consequence of sin. Nothing in this world can fill this up, because only God can fully satisfy our souls.
But now, through faith in Jesus Christ, our souls can be healed. God’s abundant provision of grace and of the free gift of righteousness will bring life again into our weary souls. We will live again! Instead of misery and pain, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit will fill our souls. Jesus Christ will enable us to experience a life that is so much better than the best life we can ever imagine! All we have to do is just to turn from a life of sin and surrender our hearts to Jesus. Let Him heal you from the consequences of sin. Let Him give you real life. Stop running your life; you will only ruin it. Instead choose the real life that only God can give you through faith in Jesus Christ. Shalom! (PB)
1 Corinthians 2:9
It’s easy to think that this verse might be referring to something that happens only when you die. But looking at this verse closely, and especially when you take into consideration the context, you will see that this verse is not just a promise for the future (and of course, there is that idea as well). Instead it’s also a promise for the present time. There is a better life that is so much better than the best life you can ever imagine, and it can start right now! Eternal life begins today! This life is no other than the life that you can only receive and experience through faith in Jesus Christ. It’s the only life worth having and living. The way to experience it is by remembering the acrostic LOVE. First, you need to learn from Jesus. Make sure that you are receiving inputs from God’s word on a regular basis. Let Jesus teach you about what life is really all about. Second, obey His word. Let the word of God dwell richly in your heart, but make sure you obey it. His wisdom is useless unless you put it into practice. This will result not just in life transformation but in knowing God’s will for your life — His good, pleasing and perfect will. Third, value key relationships. You need to prioritize your love for the lost, for the found (i.e. for fellow believers), and for your family. Neglecting these key relationships will lead to an emptiness of your soul. Finally, embrace your calling. Where you are is where God called you to be. Serve Him there. You can experience the joy of serving God wherever you are, if you do all things for His glory. You are called to be a child of God, a member of God’s family, and an ambassador of God’s kingdom — wherever you are! Embrace it and fulfill this calling! When you follow these simple disciplines, which I would refer to as “living a life of LOVE,” you will experience a life that is so much better than the best life you can ever imagine. Shalom! (PB)
27 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go;you don’t have to stay any longer.” 29 Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” (Exodus 9:27-30)
What is true repentance? It is not mere words. Repentance is not merely saying, “I’m sorry.” Words can be empty, if they are not backed up by truth and faithfulness. Sometimes we may even make pious statements like, “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.” But in the end, are we really sincere? Moses knew that Pharaoh was just pretending. He tells Pharaoh, “But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” It is important that we recognize that God knows our hearts. We must stop pretending. If we want to receive God’s forgiveness, and the corresponding grace to change our lives, we must be willing to acknowledge our true heart condition before Him. He will not accept mere pious words. We cannot impress Him. Therefore, let us come to the Lord with sincerity and truthfulness of heart. Let us avoid duplicity or pretension. Come as you are. God in His mercy will show us favor and kindness, if we come to Him in spirit and truth. Today, remove your mask and show true repentance.