Category Archives: Choices

Taken for Granted

gods-handsIt’s easy to take people for granted after you’ve known them for a while.  The initial excitement of a new friend or lover wears off after a few months.  The term “Seven Year Itch” refers to the decline in happiness around the seventh year of marriage, but most people I have talked to these days have never had relationships that even made the five-year mark, let alone a year or two!  Divorce rates in Christian marriages continue to skyrocket.  If we cannot fathom what perseverance means in a marriage to another human being whom we can see, how can we understand perseverance in a relationship with God whom we cannot see?

Look at how God pursues us:

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;

I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
All day long I have held out my hands
to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
pursuing their own imaginations—
a people who continually provoke me
to my very face…”

 ~ Isaiah 65:1-3

All day long, God holds out His hands to a people who continually reject Him and choose to pursue their own imagination.  I’m not referring to imagination as in terms of delusions, but it’s more like dreaming of your future without including God in your plans.  When you plan for the next 30, 40 or 50 years until you die, do you consider how your life could glorify God in ever-increasing measure, or is it all about you?  God looks for you even though He never crosses your mind for a millisecond.

 11 “But as for you who forsake the Lord
    and forget my holy mountain,
who spread a table for Fortune
and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,
12 I will destine you for the sword,
and all of you will fall in the slaughter;
for I called but you did not answer,
I spoke but you did not listen.
You did evil in my sight
and chose what displeases me.”

~ Isaiah 65:11-12

 How about those who have already tasted the goodness of God and still choose to forsake Him?  Forsaking God is not an overnight process.  It varies for everyone, depending on how much one compromises with evil.  The more you compromise, the faster and easier it becomes to backslide.

 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

 ~ Matthew 13:3-9

 Some who come to the faith last a short time, while others last a very long time and then they fall away.  Very few last until they breathe their last, and that’s why the scriptures say that the road to destruction is wide but the gate to heaven is narrow (Matthew 7:13).  God reaches out to us every single day.  He reaches out to people who don’t know Him yet and extends the same to those who already have a relationship with Him.  Walking with God means having a loving relationship with Him, not only “till death do we part” but for eternity after death.

Have we taken God for granted and chosen the wider path, or will we pray and ask God for help to be obedient so we can stay on the road less traveled?

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.  And his commands are not burdensome.”   

1 John 5:3

#NarrowPath #PleaseGod #love #obedience #musingz4life

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Nothing More than You Can Bear

god-in-a-boxHave you ever felt all alone in carrying your burdens?  You have no close relatives or life partner who will divide life’s burdens with you, and you feel stuck trying to figure out life on your own.  You sense a large cloud up ahead coming your way, as in the form of elder care or child care after a bad relationship falls apart, and you don’t want to overwhelm your friends lest they think you’re needy or clingy.  You are tempted to numb out and escape, or you can face it head-on with the resources (or lack thereof) that you have.  What should you do?

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Run to God.  He is the Grand Chess Master who sees the whole board whereas you are just a pawn with a limited view of what’s around you.  When you pray fervently, He will show you where to go and what to do, and you will feel at peace if you trust that God will take care of everything for you.

13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

Trauma, pressure and stress are key ingredients in a recipe for addiction.  I’m not saying that everyone will turn to it when they’re under stress, but statistics show that time and time again, the growing number of users reveals that people need to escape the pain they feel, so they resort to a substance or habit that’s short-lived and pleasurable to get through the day.  Without using, the pain is just too great that it overwhelms the senses.  God offers another alternative:  Himself.

“It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:8

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and rescues them from all their troubles.”  Psalm 34:17

When you read the scriptures, don’t make the same mistake I made for many years.  Oftentimes I’ve been told that I just read the Bible like words off a page without letting it sink into my heart.  When you read, make a decision to believe that these are actual words coming from God who is watching over you and is ready to help you.  Just say the word, and He will be right there by your side to guide you along the right path.

“For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.” ~ Hebrews 4:2 (emphasis added)

How can the scriptures be of any value to you if you don’t believe what the Bible says?

“And [Jesus] could not do any miracles there because of their lack of faith.”  Matthew 13:58

It is entirely possible that your lack of faith is stopping God from doing miracles in your life.  Here’s a few more juicy scriptures to chew on:

In Matthew 9:28, Jesus asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

In Mark 9:23, Jesus said, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Jesus said, “With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

It’s not a question of what God won’t do in your life.  It’s a question of what you choose to believe.  Will you open doors with your faith and watch God work in your life?

#RuntoGod #addiction #stress #overwhelmed #musingz4life #pray

A Dollar for a Penny

ball n chainAre you willing to trade your dollar in exchange for a penny? Then why would you exchange a beautiful relationship for quick cheap pleasures?

Addiction doesn’t just destroy your relationship with the God Almighty. It destroys every other beautiful relationship you have on earth as well: your significant other, children, parents, coworkers, and other members of the community. Perhaps you have been the victim of addiction, having witnessed a parent come home drunk and fly into a drunken rage. Or you have witnessed sexual addiction tear your parents’ marriage apart by way of pornography or adultery.

  • About 43% of adults in the United States – 76 million Americans – have been exposed to alcoholism in the family. They grew up with or are married to an alcoholic, or they have a blood relative who is an alcoholic. (Alcoholism Statistics, 2013)
  • Children of alcoholics are 8 times more likely to develop an addiction (Merikangas, Stolar, Stevens, Goulet et al., 1998)
  • In a sample of 6,268 adults, adult offspring of parents with addiction were 50% more likely to develop depression than their peers (Fuller-Thomson, Katz, Phan, Liddycoat & Brennenstuhl, 2013)

What does addiction destroy?

– Intimacy
– Self-worth
-Brain cells
-Your soul
-Relationship with God
-Significant relationships in your life

Overcoming addiction often requires more than just a little help from friends and family. In order to achieve the satisfaction you want in life, you have to reach out and ask for help.

Jesus came to Earth so you could have life to the full (John 10:10).  Addiction holds you back from having that full life that God wants for you.  Sometimes addiction is a disease handed down through genetics; other times it’s induced by trauma, peer pressure or just personal choice.  If there’s anything in your life that is spinning out of control, or if close friends and family have expressed their concerns to you about certain habits or lifestyle choices you’ve made, it is time to consider: Would you rather have a dollar or a penny?

#Lifetothefull  #Addiction #Musings4Life #addictionholdsyouback

References

Merikangas, K. R., Stolar, M., Stevens, D. E., Goulet, J., et al., Familial transmission of substance use disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 1998.55(11): p. 973-9.

Esme Fuller-Thomson, Robyn B. Katz, Vi T. Phan, Jessica P.M. Liddycoat, Sarah Brennenstuhl. The long arm of parental addictions: The association with adult children’s depression in a population-based studyPsychiatry Research, 2013; DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2013.02.024

 

 

Are You Missing Out?

next exit“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life,” Jesus said in John 10:10.

Have you ever felt like something is amiss with your life? People around you are moving forward and you seem to be…stuck. Yet the bible promises “life to the full” and “a future and a hope.” What’s gone wrong here?

Satan’s Role & Your Role

There are two possible explanations for why one’s life may be stuck in “neutral gear.” In the above-mentioned scripture, John 10:10, the thief is Satan, whose sole purpose is to steal from you and destroy your life as much as possible. Things happen beyond your control and you have no idea how they happened. These misfortunes have the potential to crush your spirit and break your heart, but you can choose to respond by praying and casting your anxieties upon God who cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

“A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.” Proverbs 19:3

The other factor is the role you play. There are tons of scriptures about obedience if you want to look them up. The point I’m trying to make here is the need to own up to your behavior and folly (a.k.a. sins) and taking the steps to make amends with God and with others. Confess, repent, and move forward. Don’t blame everything on Satan. If you are not aware of the wrongs you commit (which can happen sometimes — there are even scriptures about unintentional sin), pray, pray, pray! God will surely reveal it to you and He will bless your repentance as well.

In essence, trust God with misfortunes out of your control, and love God by living a life worthy of the gospel.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:11

#DontMissOut #GodsPlansForYou #NeverGiveUp #Musings4Life

Telescope of Faith

 IMG_4155Examples of faith:

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark…

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going…

Hebrews 11

 

Examples of doubt:

When they had heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them…These returned and reported it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

Mark 16

How is it that our spiritual forefathers, before the time of Christ, had more faith than those who got to see God Incarnate and witness all the miracles He had done?  What was Jesus’ response to the disciples’ lack of faith?  “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their STUBBORN refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen” (Mark 16:14).  For some reason, it is easier to stubbornly hold onto doubt than belief.  The Eleven refused to believe until Jesus appeared to them in the flesh so they could see that the resurrection was real.  What would have happened if Jesus never appeared to them?  Would they have gone out and preached the Word boldly? Or would they have continued sulking in their living room feeling like fools because their savior was dead?  Where would you and I be if Jesus didn’t show himself to the Eleven after the resurrection?

In Hebrews it mentions righteousness that comes by faith.  First the faith, then the righteousness, which means that if we are only righteous because of what we have seen or because we are being humbled, then our “deeds” of righteousness will only last for a short while.  This sort of righteousness is not based on faith, nor is it really based on our love for God.  I am not saying that the love of God is entirely dismissed in this sort of faith, but anyone who relies on sight than on faith will struggle tremendously in their relationship with God because the temptations that come will have more power over us than if we had a true faith that sees heaven beyond this lifetime.

Every day we have a choice to see what we want to see.  God has amply supplied us with what we need, but not always what we want.  The doubters will always gripe about what is wrong with their lives: a significant other (or lack thereof), finances, themselves, work situations, etc.  There will always be something amiss and they are never content in any situation they are in. They always got to have a comment about everything, no matter how big or small.  The room is either too cold or too hot.  There isn’t enough time to do everything.  My life is in shambles because A, B and C happened.  Nobody loves me and I don’t understand why.  You get the picture.  God could come down from heaven if he wanted to and open our eyes to see what He’s got in store for us, but would we believe?  Do you use your deeds of righteousness as an exchange for something you want?  Or are you righteous because you have the telescope of faith that you are willing to die for, even if you don’t receive what you want in this lifetime?

#ChooseFaith #FaithIsAChoice #GetAVision #LiveOutYourFaith #KnowGod #NoDoubtingAllowed  #Musings4Life