To Doubt


And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

This passage from scripture is a very important one that is often overlooked and not paid the attention that it is due. Here we basically see that even if it is only for a millisecond, Jesus is doubting God. Now he quickly brushes it off, but the fact is that he did. This is good news us and for anyone who has experienced doubt in God in some of their most trying times, it means that we can be and will be forgiven that doubt.

We see that Jesus brushes this very brief doubt off in the Gospel of Luke: Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I command my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:46

These passages in scripture also shows that no matter how trusting and believing we are in God, no matter how committed we are to our heavenly father, there will always be that one minute where doubt creeps in. The important thing is not to, not have doubts, but once they show up to brush them off. To not let doubt sink in and find a home in our hearts.

Look at the situration that Jesus is in when he does cry out to God in doubt, he does it while he is on the cross not long before he finally dies. With all the pain and suffering that he was enduring, (for us) the fact that all he did was one little cry out when it is highly doubtful that you or me or anyone else can endure what Jesus did without acting out more is itself telling.

As Jesus shows us, doubt will at some point come to everyone. To doubt while not good is ok as long as we do not keep that doubt. In fact in some ways a little doubt may perhaps be a good thing in the long run when it comes to our relationship with God, for it teaches us. We learn form that experience of doubt and once we overcome that doubt we and are faith become stronger because of it.

Even when Thomas doubted at first Jesus’s resurrection, Jesus does indeed adomdish him, but Thomas is forgiven as soon as he does believe (John 20:24-29).  As John tells us after Thomas overcomes his doubt (with a little telling to from Jesus) his faith in Jesus became stronger, “My Lord and my God” John 20:28. Doubt when it does not hold you down, but teaches you and you learn from it can become a good thing. Now it is still better to avoid having doubt in the first place, but as is so prevalvent throughout holy scripture, it is possible to turn a negative into a positive.

My heavenly father, and Lord Jesus Christ, help me to not doubt you and to always follow you and walk in your ways. Help me to make my path straight. But when I do stray and or have doubts as is bound to happen, help me to quickly brush those doubts off as you have done and to learn form those doubts and to actually increase my faith in you. Amen! 

 

What is Precious To You?


What does it mean to have something or someone that is precious to you? Merriam-Webster defines precious as rare and worth a lot of money, very valuable or important: too valuable or important to be wasted or used carelessly, and greatly loved, valued, or important. For me, though, something precious can never be something with a monetary value or something that I could buy or sell. The second and third definitions by Webster works the best for me because there is meaning there.

To have an item or a person that is precious is to love it so much that it holds a very special place in your heart. If you buy something, you can like it very much but you could never love it in that way. Though you can for a friend, for a love one, for a wife, and for your child. Items with monetary value can change in that value and can be discarded over time but the love for a child or wife, for example, cannot, they will always hold that special place in your heart even long after they have left this world.

Being precious, to hold a spacial place in one’s heart that will never change, the value of that love will never decrease and never increase because it is not phiscally posible to have more love than one already does; this is exactly the relationship that each one of us have with God. He loves each one of us so much and we mean so much to him that we each have a spot stiched into his heart. That love has always been there and will always be there and will never change and has never changed.

The love that is represented by holding something or someone to be precious can neither be added to or subtracted to because once again it has no monatary vlaue. It has no monatary value becase it transends monatary vlaue. To be precious to someone or to have someone be precious to you means that the amount of love is just right. It is hard to expalin but it just is, love cannot be quantified.

So the next time you think or say that something is precious to you, think to yourself is it really? Does it hold the special place in your heart that will never change. Compar it to what you know really is precious to you such as your children and Wife or other family members and you have or answer. If you make everything and everyone precious to you then nothing is precious, only God has the capaciety to do so without taking anything away from what it means to be precious. For us, being precious means so much because of its limitedness to application by us, yet we all yearn for that limitedness even when in reality there is no limitedness of this preciousness because God has so much of it for us.

Asking For Help, Helps


This is a response to the word prompt “Help” from “The Daily Post.”

Why is it that we all seem to have a problem asking for help? Most people don’t ever have a problem giving help when it is asked of them, yet those same people themselves are always reluctant to ask for help when they need it. Why is this the case? What is it that makes one person so happy to give help to another and at the same time receive some help in return?

For me, it is most likely to do with being vulnerable to others. With, offering our help, it is relatively easy because we want to be helpful, we don’t like seeing others struggle. But when it comes to asking for help ourselves, it most likely means we could really need the help and that means we are in a vulnerable position.

We do not like to advertise our vulnerabilities and let them be seen by others. We somehow think that if we ask for help we are saying that we are weak and insignificant. However, this is not true, it is not being weak to ask for help but just the opposite, it is being very strong to ask for help. When we ask for help we let others see all sides of ourselves and yes, we do so with some vulnerability, but in a good way that is liberating for us. Asking for help is also a very humbling experience for it teaches us that we can’t do everything ourselves, but do need help with a lot of things in life, but that is ok.

If we find it difficult to ask for help from fellow human beings, then we find it nearly impossible to ask for help a lot of times from God. If asking for help from a regular person requires vulnerability just picture how much asking God does.  This is especially true in today’s world where we don’t want to be seen by others as putting faith in otherworldly powers such as the divine.

The thing is that just as there is no reason not to ask a fellow human being for help there is even less not to ask God. It is even more, liberating asking God for help than when we ask a person. Actually, I would make the case that when we ask for help from someone we are actually asking God. Both are humbling experiences and require great courage and afterwards makes us feel a little better.

So remember the next time you find yourself needing to ask for help, just jump in and ask. Don’t think about it, asking for help does indeed help in more ways than one. Asking for help makes you stronger not weaker, especially if the person you are asking is God.

 

Give Just A Drop of Love


This is a response to the one-word prompt “Drop” by “The Daily Post.”

If you are a Christian; then one of the main tenets of your beliefs is the love of God and the showing of that love through individual human beings and human acts. God loves us, each and every one of us so much that when we acknowledge that love, we are compelled to return that love to him. How do we return our love to God? By showing God’s love to others and by sharing that love.

The rub is how could we share God’s love with others; when his love is such an abundance of love that we as humans could never match. We can never match the love of God, no matter how much we may strive to. The thing is, we don’t have to match his love only a drop, a tiny drop of love and God will do the rest. You see, we experience God’s love the most through the good acts of others. So when we do even just the simplest acts of kindness, such as helping a lady across the street or carrying a bag of groceries when it was not expected, God will magnify that kindness.

By giving just a drop of the love that we get from God back to others, we are actually giving an endless treasure of infinite worth. That’s all it takes, just a second or two out of your daily routines, to make someone else’s day/life better when things are not going their way. And when you do this, showing God’s love, even just a drop, not only are you given a whole lot you are also getting a whole lot in return, not money or trinkets but something better more of God’s love. This, in turn, makes you keep giving more drops or more of God’s love to others making them experience his love and they themselves will share it with others. This, in turn, enriches the world and all in it; it helps to heal the world of all the wrongs in it.

As Jesus Christ teaches us, the best way to combat evil in this world would be to have a society of people loving and caring for one another in the love of God. By just doing a few helpful and good/decent things here and there whenever the opportunity strikes; by just giving just a drop of love to others, we make the world a better place and keep evil at bay. By the way, this message is not just for Christians but for all peoples who just want to help others and make the world a better place. You do not need to believe in God to share his love with others, although it makes it easier when you do and have experienced his love yourself.

Be Inclusive To Others


“Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:7

     As Christians, we are called to welcome all peoples and bring the good news to Christ to them regardless of who they are or where there are from. However, in practice, we humans are not always that good at the inclusive part of being Christian or just plain being inclusive. We divide ourselves on race, creed, wealth, ideology, and politics.

This is especially true whenever we face times of crisis and the fear of the unknown about a certain group of people overcome our good senses and morals. This has been a black mark on the United States of America with the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII and now threatens to do so again, not only in the United States but for the countries of the European Union as well.

The Refugee crisis from people fleeing the civil war in Syria has brought the enemy of Christ and inclusiveness once again to the forefront of people’s minds in the Western World. Fear of terrorist attacks, of losing national identity and just not knowing how to deal with so many new people flooding the system all at once. These are all legitimate fears, but one cannot let them override one,s normal sense of what is right and let that fear take over. A little fear is good, it is a survival instinct, but when that fear paralyzes us and changes us, that is never a good thing.

For the United States and most of Europe who is now dealing with this crisis, we all should know better. For both have strong Christian roots, even when faith has lost much of its meaning in much of Europe and to a lesser extent in the United States as well, both still have the underlining values and teachings of being a Christian, such as inclusiveness.

The thing to remember when it comes to crises such as the current refugee one and the threat of terrorism is that a society can still be open and accommodating to those in need and still take precautions. A society can also take steps to make sure that assimilation does happen, as is largely done in the United States already. The main thing is that if we let our fear of something take over, it will change who we are before we even realize it. This change is never in the long run, good for ourselves and society for it is self-destructive. It is self-destructive because one never makes the change them self, but lets their fear do it for them. So matter what happens in the future, remember to be inclusive of others, for Christ died for all.

Be Open And Welcoming Not Confrontational


“Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions.” Romans 14:1

     For Christians, this piece of scripture is very important to pay attention, when one is trying to explain and show just what the faith of Jesus Christ is all about and why it is important. One needs to be inviting not confrontational, to be open and not closed. And above all else just be their selves (if they are truly Christians this is a very good thing). But this advice from Romans 14:1 need not be for just Christians, and for just bringing those into Christianity but for all peoples and in all situations.

In all matters of life, rather it is trying to sell a product to a customer, explaining one’ s point of view on a particular political issue, or just having a discussion about any number of things; the world would be such a better place if they remembered to be open and inviting to all peoples and all views all the time. That is not some of the time, but all of the time.

When encountering different viewpoints to one’s own, it is important that not only do we listen with one ear but both. What I mean by that, is not just putting up with the other person for the moment and then when leaving the room to throw out what he/she said in the trash (in one ear out the other). When this is done, we are not respecting the other person or his/her ideas.

Christian teachings are not just about the Christian faith; though that is important, they offer life lessons on how to behave and interact with one’s fellow human beings and being a Christian is not necessary to take them to heart and live by them (but it helps). One only needs to look at the United States and much of Europe and the rest of the “Western World” to see this is true. Most of the whole of the “Western World” has a long, deep-rooted Christian Tradition, yet is increasingly secular or not religious at all. Yet, the values that this part of the world holds dear such as basic human rights and treating every human being with decency and respect to just name a few can be traced back to Christian teachings.

So remember, regardless if you are a Christian or not, do not be confrontational with others, but be open to them and they hopefully will do the same to you. Despite what you may think it is not all about you, but God and all human beings.

Live By Love Not Passion


“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26 

     As followers of Christ, one is called to live a certain way, act a certain way to others and to be a certain way not sometimes not when it is convenient but all the time, every minute of every day. To the point of it, being second nature for us. This certain way as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-26 is basically to live in love, and to show others Christ’s love for them in our actions. Though as the scripture says it is important not to just be kind to others, but to be patient with them; to not be quick to anger with others and not to hold grudges.

Though this is not always very easy for us even as Christians to do, (it is never easy). One area in today’s society that I believe needs us to live more by the fruit of the Spirit is in the political divisiveness that constantly is facing the United States and the World in some places. We need to remember that though we have our differences on how to confront the different issues facing us, we are all humans and children of God.

So the next time you get into a discussion on a political issue, don’t to let your passion for it get the better of you. Be patient with the person or persons and listen to their side. When you keep your passions in check  in either political discourse or any other arena of life and don’t allow them to take over you allows few so much better afterwards.