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)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
Rest for our souls is a gift from God. But it is not automatic. First of all, we are commanded not to be anxious about anything. This means anxiety is also a choice. We can choose not to be anxious and the grace of God will start working in our hearts through faith. Our feelings must not rule our hearts. Instead, through faith, we should be able to rule our feelings based on God’s word.
Next, as the Lord commands, we should pray. When? In every and any situation where anxiety might prevail. We could think of so many instances in our lives when anxiety comes up so easily. But God’s word says, pray. Don’t be anxious; just pray. How? With thanksgiving. That’s how we pray by faith. We already assume that God hears us, and yes He does. There’s no doubt about it. That’s why it is commanded.
The result is a promise, not another command. The peace of God, which is not created by us, since it passes all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. It will be a gift of God’s grace through Christ Jesus who dwells in our hearts by faith.
So rest does not come to us automatically. It comes as a gift when we exercise faith in His word. We choose not to be anxious, and we choose to pray. We turn away from self-induced worry and we choose to trust God’s faithfulness in every situation. That’s how Sabbath rest becomes real in our lives. 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)
Have you ever experienced a blackout or brownout within your vicinity, and as soon as the electricity came back, you heard someone said, “And then there was light?” Maybe you once said that, too. But before anyone else ever said it, God did at the very beginning. Indeed, He created everything out of nothing (Genesis 1:1). Although it may sound like a cliché, it is the truth.
As I think about it, God created light for us to see better, to be enlightened, to be encouraged, to have mornings, to appreciate the beach, to be sunburned, and so on. But it does not just end like that. As the Creation has been narrated from the Old Testament, the New Testament also tells us about re-creation. Both maximize the work of God.
The point is this: God created everything for us, but He also created us for everything.2 After God created the light, He also created us. It is not just the literal light that He created. He also created us in His image and likeness. But the fall damaged that image. And now, through Christ, He recreates it for us through the Holy Spirit. Now we have become light of the world.3
God gave you everything you have right now — time, talents, treasures, friends, families, opportunities, *insert everything here* — so that you can make use of them to glorify Him. Above all, He saved you. Now you have the grace and power to testify about Him.
This is to remind you that you were made beautiful in Christ. You can now glow by His grace and power. So strive to shine your light starting today.
- Do not take His grace for granted.
- Maintain a healthy relationship with the Lord as you fulfill your mission for Him and His Kingdom.
- Be hungry for God, not just for what He has and what He gives you.
- Remain in the presence of the Holy Spirit as you become the salt and light of the world.
- Help one another in shimmering all over the earth and in spreading the Good News.
- God also wants you to shine on somebody else whose light bulb is starting to run out or has already gone out or has not lighted yet.
May your hearts never cease to be on fire for the Lord and the Great Commission as the Lord comes back to restore His Kingdom. When things get rough, giving up is not an option. Please, keep it shining for the Lord. He is with you always to the very end of the age.
1What is the Great Commission? Take a moment to read on Matthew 28:18-20
2 Com’ on! It’s not that confusing and mind twisting to remember, right, mates?
3 YOU ARE THE LIGHT (Sorry, I just feel the need to repeat that on you.
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