Sharing my partial collection of verses and #mantras 😊 They’re a wonderful mix of wisdom/insights from the books I’ve been reading recently: the #Bible, ‘Five Voices, Five Faiths: An Interfaith Primer’ by authors from five major religious traditions, and ‘The Seeds of Love: Growing Mindful Relationships’ by a Buddhist author.
Recently, the Spirit seems to be leading me in a faith path that allows me to look deeper into my worldview (that includes my religious beliefs), and how this worldview affects my character, and the way I see and treat others/my ‘kapwa’. The revelations are deeply humbling.
Reading an #interfaith primer book has opened me to others’ beliefs, & I would say that it’s not just about having plain tolerance or willingness to understand the other four #faith traditions. It demanded from me the same level of respect and honor that I am willing to give my own tradition. I’ve realized how arrogant I/we have been in the past decades/centuries deeply holding the belief that only a certain group of people (i.e. those who belong in the same religion/religious sector or denomination/faith-based community as how we understand it) were privileged to know God, the Truth, salvation, etc. This sense of self-entitlement has brought so much indifference, and even conflicts, between & among peoples of this world.
On the other hand, Jerry Braza’s book teaches me the #Buddhist practice of ‘mindful living’, which to me, won’t give any #Christian an excuse to not bear the fruits of the Spirit. His profound collection of insights in the book springs from a generous heart that offers the world practical ways of growing good relationships which can be easily anchored to one’s faith. It’s an invitation to practice, just as the apostle Paul has urged Christians to train theirselves for godliness, ‘coz it’s never easy. It requires both discipline & constant practice.
I am amazed how God can wonderfully weave together these threads of wisdom to form a tapestry of one’s #spirituality. Many threads are still lying loose, some still missing, but thank God he’s forming the ‘patience’ part of His obra to help me not lose sight of what is yet to come. ❤
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
36 “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and the most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ 40 The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.” ~Matthew 22:36-40
In marketing, you cannot meet your goals if you do not know your target market. As Christians, our goal is to obey God’s commandments. So he said, love the Lord, and love your neighbor. In the first command, it’s quite easy to point who should be the…
Let’s start our “love talk” series by first revisiting the two greatest commandments in the Bible. We’ve heard about it many times in Sunday sermons or perhaps in Bible study. But let us see what else can we extr
act from it and how else can we show our obedience by practically applying it in our lives. I must admit, the insights I would share with you in this post are triggered by my partner in our Praise and Worship Team (Jake, who I know is just out there, reading some materials about humanity/theology/music/anything under the sun). Jake is currently studying in a seminary and taking up Theology. He’s very passionate about learning Christ’s life here on earth, his connection with humanity and society, and how we ought to live like him.
The two greatest commandments:
36 “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Last Saturday, we talked about practicing the attitude of Gratitude, and one of the tips we can apply is to keep a gratitude list (see previous post). This time, let us look back and find out what motivates us to give thanks, or the reason for living our lives full of gratefulness to our Lord. Again, this is not new to us I’m sure. You most probably know this, primarily because you have gone through it all. It’s just that, maybe to some, it hasn’t been presented with this easy outline: 3G (Guilt, Grace, Gratitude).
image source: gratisography.com
I first heard this concept in one of the session of Doctrines of Grace in our church. Then eventually, as our pastor embeds this outline once in a while in his sermons, and now in our sessions of Heidelberg Catechism, my understanding of it has grown deeper. I come to appreciate it more and…
In my recent post, Christians spell SUBMISSION with an ‘h’ and a ‘c’, I first discussed the ‘h’ – HUMILITY. It takes humility to submit. We should deny ourselves, swallow our pride, and acknowledge that the Lord has full dominion over us and over all the things on earth and in heaven. I cited Jesus as the perfect example for both submission and humility. Now, we won’t change our model for ‘c’ – courage. Let us now complete the thesis:
It takes humility to submit; and it takes courage to humble oneself.
Why courage? Have you thought of an instance when you needed courage to humble yourself? Or to be more specific, can you recall a time in your life when you thought that your self-made plans would go smoothly and would be for the best? but then, God poked you and asked you to follow His direction, instead of yours?
Let us admit it. Humbling ourselves is sometimes painful. We are too proud. We even say to the Lord, “Show me first what will happen if I obey you; then I’ll see if I’ll obey.” But the Lord is telling us “Obey me first, then I will show you what will happen.”
Our pastor’s wife shared us her testimony of one of the crossroads in her life: career. She was then working with a Christian company, holding a high position, and was nearly expecting for promotion to the next higher rank. But the Lord suddenly spoke to her through her devotions that there was something else God would want her to do. God wanted her to leave the company and transfer to another. At first, she was really confused and frustrated because she already had plans well mapped out in her mind. But the Lord did not stop speaking to her. It took 2 years for her to follow. She was really afraid at first because she it wasn’t that clear to her where God would lead her, but she eventually followed. God used her in ways she never expected.
Now, let us see the perfect example of courage – Jesus! When his time was near, he prayed to the Lord at the garden of Gethsemane. His prayer goes like this:
…he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will”…for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”…he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. – Matthew 26:39, 42, 44
We can see here that even Jesus felt fear of what was waiting for him – death on the cross. In the earlier verse, it was even stated that he was “distressed and troubled”. It was too painful to bear, so he appealed to God the Father in a form of intense prayer. The ‘cup’ he was referring to was the wrath of God. God would pour out His wrath for mankind on His only Son Jesus, and the plan was irreversible (see Psalm 75:8). Jesus knew from the beginning that it’s impossible not to die on the cross. But, he took courage to humble himself to the Lord. He took courage to submit to His will by saying “not my will, but your will”. He took courage to face God’s grand plan for salvation – the cross.
This leads me to remembering the post that triggered me to add ‘courage’ in Christian submission. Last week, I stumbled upon the blog post, Pray for Christians in Iraq. We know what has been going around there because of the rule of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Our brothers and sisters in Christ are literally suffering from persecutions, physical assault, and all the most inhumane things we could ever imagine. Since the takeover of the city of Mosul, the militant group has given Christians an ultimatum: Convert, Flee, or Die. So we assume that those they killed were the ones who refused to convert and flee. They stood by their faith till death. They knew that they could be killed, nevertheless, they chose death over conversion.
It is hard to say that this is part of God’s plan. But as far as we can see, it is, primarily because it happened. Nothing happens in this world without God knowing it or without God allowing it. But one thing’s for sure, one thing we know: He knows what He is doing. He is our mighty, sovereign God. For those who have been persecuted and killed for the sake of His name, great is the reward that awaits them in eternity. What really struck me was their humility and courage to submit, NOT to the ISIS militants, but to the Lord. They did not kneel before other gods. They fought for their faith.
If we look into our own lives, of course there are areas that we find difficult to submit to the Lord. But let us be encouraged with the example of Jesus Christ and of today’s Christian martyrs, they submitted to the Lord even to death.
How far can we go in submitting our lives to the Lord?