Category Archives for "Inspirational"

inspirational people and stories

May 21, 2017

Facing The Ghost of The Past

set free

FACING THE GHOST OF THE PAST ( Genesis 32-33).

And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac … Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. (Genesis 32:9, 11).

After more than 14 years of separation from his hometown, his parents, friends, and quick disappearance from the sight of his angry brother, Jacob was now claiming his freedom for almost two decades of laborious service under Laban’s tricky hands. Nonetheless, because of God’s faithful provision and protection, Jacob was able to rise from rags to riches, from a mere wanderer into a successful leader of a rising generation– the 12 tribes of Israel.

When he went to Laban, he was empty handed, alone, and a newbie. But now, as he prepares to go out of Laban’s camp, he’s richly full, with four wives and almost a dozen of children, and with trustworthy servants who will accompany and serve them along the way.

Jacob then was blessed and successful.

But mixed to his excitement of leaving his uncle’s camp was a fear of facing his unsettled disputes with his brother, Esau. Of course, he was not intentionally planning to meet with his brother, he can’t do it, he’s so afraid of him, even after decades of separation, no communication and no letter of “Hi” and “Hello”, still the memories of his brother’s vengeful face hunts him.

But now at this juncture, he had no choice but to move on even if he’s in between two clashing rocks. Truly, he’s afraid of his brother, but it’s also a disadvantage and danger to him and his family if they will not go away from his uncle and start living independent of other’s control and tricks. After all, they are now able to do this, having sufficient resources and man-power to stand on their own.

And so, Jacob being naturally witty in all situations planned to go and settle in a place both far away from his uncle and angry brother. This was his plan but for unknown reason, this plan was brought to the hearing of his brother Esau. And worse is they were already on the middle of their journey when Esau knew it. But Jacob can no longer retreat; it’s too late already to do that. Even if he tries to escape and hide again from his brother, but this time, it wouldn’t work to his condition as a family man. If he’s alone, maybe he can do that, but having a big family with young children with them, it’s hard. Thus, the only option is to face Esau, but he must do this in a very cautious way. And so he thought again of outwitting his brother’s emotion by creating means that would directly touch and softens Esau’s heart. Being now a veteran businessman, he knows by experience that a man’s anger is easily pacified if you do him a favor (Proverbs 21:14). And so his first approach to Esau is to send him lots of gifts specially delivered by his servants. Then after that, he strengthened the intention and quality of those “peace offerings” by sending next in line his wives and children but with the exception of her beloved Rachel and their son Joseph. Jacob was hoping that maybe when Esau sees his nephews and niece, his grudge to him would subside.

Now, what actually Jacob did here was a risk. He didn’t know what will really happen for he didn’t have a firsthand knowledge of what will Esau would do. With his long years of separation from his brother, his knowledge about him is not updated, up-close, and personal. And so that’s a dangerous disadvantage for him, considering that the Esau whom he knew in the past was aggressive and easy to provoke. But what can he do? He was cornered and his wits this time were being disabled by his youth-hood fears. But what’s so encouraging about this story is that, when Jacob was at the end of his rope, there he found God. Oh yes, the Lord strengthened him to face and overcome the ghost of his past. And the reason why he was able to face Esau was because he had seen the face of God. His fear of Esau was replaced by his fear of God (Genesis 32:29 -30).

Thus, the principle that we can learn here is this: The power to overcome your fear, to face the ghost of your past is to be energized by the presence of the LORD in prayer and meditation.

Becoming a Christian

becoming a christian

Becoming a Christian…accepting Christ as Savior…being born again—whatever words you use to describe or define your relationship with God, they denote a commitment. In aligning yourself with Jesus you are committing to be faithfully obedient to him.

But are you? Are you truly committed? Or is your relationship with Jesus like your membership at the fitness club…in name only? Jesus wants… no… He expects…even demands more from us than a name-only commitment. Time and again we read in God’s Word that to be a Christian is who you are—not what you do.

How to make time for Jesus when becoming a Christian

Life is busy. I get that, but you cannot allow your life to become too busy to recognize, communicate, and serve your Savior, Jesus. Becoming a Christian starts with an attitude of acknowledgement. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. ~Romans 1:21 When you acknowledge Jesus as the giver of life and all its blessings, you will be more inclined to…

Give thanks throughout the day. Give thanks for your home as you put away the laundry, empty the dishwasher, flip on the lights, and feel the water run down your back as you shower.

Be more aware of what you allow into your home—tv shows, music, books, social media, etc.. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. ~James 4:8
Don’t just live life—pray it. Pray for wisdom. Pray for answers. Pray for guidance. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. ~Proverbs 3:5-8

Making time for Jesus in your home doesn’t require you to find extra hours in the day. It simply means including Jesus…making Him a part of each part of your day by:

• Talking to God about the big, little, and in-between things of life
• ‘Testing’ the decisions you make according to what the Bible says
• Recognizing God as the LORD of your life through your faith and obedience to His will

Jesus warns us against being lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). Don’t let this be you. Make time for Jesus all day every day, at home and in the work place.

The Importance of the Cross

Today’s blog re-post is courtesy of Free Cristian Illlustrations by Ian Coate

Happy Easter! Everyone looks forward to the Easter holiday, but few consider what it is all about and why Christ dying on the Cross is so important. The Importance of the Cross.

We will all eventually die. If the Bible is correct, there is an afterlife with judgement, heaven and hell. What is our plan to reach heaven?

Many say: ‘Well, I’m a relatively good person – when I die I’ll just hope for the best. Others add: ‘I’ve been baptized, had communion, plus I give regularly to the church and charities – I think I’ve ticked all the boxes.’
importance of the cross

 

It’s ironic that many people, including many Christians, think getting to heaven depends on what they do. When asked about the relevance of Jesus Christ and the importance of the Cross, most scratch their heads; they don’t see a connection between their going to heaven and what Christ did on the Cross. Many people consider the cross simply a symbol of Christianity – a story told at Easter how a good man was wrongly crucified and miraculously rose from the dead.

Fact is, if we could earn our way to heaven by good deeds or religious rituals, Christ died needlessly on the Cross. If we could save ourselves by our works, there would be no point for Jesus to die for our salvation (John 3:16).

The Bible states: we can never be good enough to save ourselves (Eph. 2:8-9) – our works are filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6) – that we need to be born-again (John 3:3) – and become a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

To enter the kingdom of heaven we need to have God’s perfect righteousness. This is the whole point of Jesus being crucified on our behalf. If we accept the gift of salvation by believing in Christ we receive His perfect righteousness and are instantly adopted into the family of God. Alternately, if we are hoping our good deeds or religious rituals will save us; sadly, we are in for a very rude shock.

We need the Cross. Christ is our salvation – He is the only door and way into heaven. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9.

The Benefits Of Video On Demand or Online Video Streaming For Ministries

Vіdео streaming has ԛuісklу gаіnеd рорulаrіtу іn thе online wоrld аnd іѕ now thе mоѕt ѕоught after tуре of оnlіnе соntеnt. Thеrе аrе mаnу ways іn which webmasters hаvе сhоѕеn to distribute vіdео соntеnt оn thеіr websites and thе mеthоd that has shown the best rеѕultѕ іѕ Vіdео оn Dеmаnd (оr VоD).

Whether you аrе lооkіng to ѕtrеаm videos for tеасhіng рurроѕеѕ or faith based video ministry or you are trуіng tо аdvеrtіѕе your product оnlіnе thеn уоu will nееd tо find a vіdео ѕtrеаmіng ѕеrvісе. One of the biggest leader in this industry is Uscreen. They help small businesses and solo-preneurs make money online by using this very technology.

Althоugh thеrе аrе рlеntу соmраnіеѕ оut thеrе that оffеr ѕuсh ѕеrvісеѕ, thе іmроrtаnt thіng іѕ to mаkе ѕurе thаt thеу аrе reliable. It really саn’t bе gооd for your business іf thе ѕеrvісе іѕ сrаѕhіng frеԛuеntlу. Bеfоrе actually іnvеѕtіng іn ѕuсh a ѕеrvісе you should first tеѕt оut thе company’s ѕеrvісеѕ and ѕее hоw rеѕроnѕіvе thеіr ѕuрроrt is. If you are рlеаѕеd wіth them then mаkе уоur рurсhаѕе аnd begin ѕtrеаmіng vіdеоѕ online.

Uscreen is Loved by over 1000+ Customers Worldwide

Read more at http://www.uscreen.tv/use-cases

Thіѕ tесhnоlоgу wоrkѕ by allowing uѕеrѕ tо ассеѕѕ streaming vіdеоѕ vіа thеіr wеb browsers. Thеrе аrе аlѕо mаnу оthеr wауѕ in whісh уоu саn make uѕе оf thе streaming vіdео technology. Onсе уоu fіnd оut exactly how іt wоrkѕ, уоu wіll bе able to соmе up wіth your оwn іdеаѕ fоr implementation.

Vіdео on Dеmаnd іѕ сurrеntlу the most рорulаr uѕе оf thе video ѕtrеаmіng tесhnоlоgу. Yоu саn hоѕt vіdео fіlеѕ on аnу server аnd they wіll become аvаіlаblе tо аnуоnе who has a computer соnnесtеd tо the internet. This dоеѕ nоt оnlу benefit реорlе whо are lооkіng tо entertain thеmѕеlvеѕ by ѕеаrсhіng fоr media online but іt іѕ аlѕо a vеrу useful tool fоr churches thаt give pastors an орроrtunіtу tо present thеіr sermon with rich mеdіа mаtеrіаlѕ. Bеttеr yet, members are аblе to access the mеdіа files аnуtіmе. This іѕ grеаt еѕресіаllу for churches with different branches.

Whеn іt comes tо branches, vіdео оn demand іѕ a vеrу gооd tооl bесаuѕе іt аllоwѕ thе user tо раuѕе and rewind thе video іn саѕе hе оr ѕhе mіѕѕеd ѕоmеthіng. Thіѕ is also thе reason why vіdео streaming іѕ іn ѕоmе cases mаkіng the lеаrnіng process mоrе еffесtіvе.

Vіdео ѕtrеаmіng саn аlѕо bе dоnе live. This tесhnоlоgу саn be very useful fоr brоаdсаѕtіng lіvе еvеntѕ ѕuсh аѕ рrеmіеrеѕ, online course, online teaching, lіvе соnсеrtѕ, роlіtісаl ѕреесhеѕ, etc. Live video streaming is also great аѕ a ѕесurіtу tool bесаuѕе іt allows mоnіtоrіng of remote lосаtіоnѕ in rеаl time. Thіѕ wау anyone on thе planet who hаѕ аn internet connection wіll bе аblе tо wаtсh a lіvе brоаdсаѕtіng wіth this technology.

Vіdео ѕtrеаmіng іѕ аlѕо doing grеаt іn thе wоrld of internet marketing. When it соmеѕ to marketing оnlіnе, vіdео ѕtrеаmіng is оnе оf thе mоѕt роwеrful tооlѕ available, рrоvіdеd уоu knоw how to take аdvаntаgе of thіѕ mеdіа. Juѕt thе way that tеlеvіѕіоn соmmеrсіаlѕ аrе thе bеѕt аdvеrtіѕіng media, the іntеrnеt streaming vіdеоѕ can also be used tо сарturе a large numbеr оf аudіеnсеѕ.

Hоwеvеr, users nееd tо take оn a different аррrоасh wіth their vіdеоѕ іn оrdеr to сарturе оnlіnе аudіеnсеѕ. Whіlе оn thе television реорlе оnlу nееd tо ѕее flаѕhу videos and catchy muѕіс tо ѕtор whаt thеу wеrе doing аnd wаtсh a commercial. In thе оnlіnе wоrld thіngѕ аrе rаrеlу that simple. Here you nееd to get a lіttlе mоrе creative. What you nееd іѕ to сrеаtе a viral effect wіth уоur videos.

Thе so-called vіrаl videos bеnеfіt from thе bеѕt exposure іn thе оnlіnе wоrld. Vіdеоѕ nееd tо be funnу, creative and іntеrеѕtіng іn оrdеr tо gеt реорlе tо wаtсh them. Hоwеvеr, еvеn if уоu саn’t mаnаgе to рut tоgеthеr a vіdео that has аnу of these things, уоur іntеrnеt marketing еffоrtѕ wіll ѕurеlу gеt a lоt mоrе аttеntіоn from prospective buyers whеn уоu аrе mаkіng uѕе of vіdео streaming.

It is nоt еnоugh tо hаvе a tесhnісаl knоwlеdgе of how vіdео ѕtrеаmіng works іf уоu wаnt tо be ѕuссеѕѕful wіth vіdео streaming оnlіnе. You аlѕо nееd to gеt mоrе creative аnd be аblе to gіvе уоur potential сuѕtоmеrѕ a better vіеw of whаt you are ѕеllіng. Good соmmеrсіаlѕ аrе thе оnеѕ thаt kеер vіѕіtоrѕ сurіоuѕ аnd wаntіng tо соmе bасk for mоrе.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Time to Get to Know Jesus Better

Making Time to Get to Know Jesus Better

I want you to think back to the day you took (and passed) your driver’s test. Oh, what a glorious day! What a milestone! What freedom!

It didn’t just happen, though, did it? You practiced driving. You drove (no pun intended) your parents nuts asking them to let you drive whenever the car left the garage. You learned to back out of parking places. You learned to yield, merge, wait your turn at 4-way stops, and all those other things that come naturally to you now. You practiced because more than anything else you wanted to hear the words, “You passed”.

Now I want you to think about what happened after you hear those two magic words and had license in hand (goofy picture and all). What did you do? Did you throw caution to the wind and start driving on your own terms instead of continuing to obey the rules of the road?

No! You don’t because you know it doesn’t work like that. In order to keep the privilege of having a driver’s license you have to know and follow the rules. Well guess what? Being a Christian is a lot like driving. Why? Because after you become a Christian you can’t just go your own way; living life on your terms. You have to live like Jesus. And the only way to live like Jesus is to make time to know Him up-close and personal-like.

Here’s how:
• Read and study the Bible
• Listen to the Bible on CD or on your phone while driving, walking, or doing household chores
• Listen to Christian music in the car, on the treadmill, or while working around the house
• Memorize a few key and favorite verse– and yes, you can do it
• Pray
• Join a Bible study. Everyone deserves a couple of hours a week getting away from work, the kids, and the other business we call life. And what better way to spend that couple of hours than getting to know Jesus and your brothers and sisters in Christ better?

Jesus tells us to come to Him in prayer and that He will speak, answer, console, and counsel– pray short, simple prayers throughout your day. Pray as if Jesus is by your side having a heart-to-heart, one-on-one conversation … because you are.

Serve- Use your talents to serve others in the name of Jesus. Be a part of your church, more than just a Sunday seat-warmer.
Making a commitment to Jesus requires you to follow the rules for Godly living. You can’t do that, though, unless you know what Jesus’ definition and expectations for Godly living are. And the only way you can know these things is to make your commitment to him a priority … your top priority. Is it?

Making Time for Jesus in the Work Place

As followers of Jesus we are to make time for Him not only in our personal life but in our work place as well. So how do we make time for Jesus? Simple, we do that by being by being like Jesus.

As a Christian you are a reflection of Jesus to the unbeliever and unsaved. Who you are is who they think Jesus is. And to your brothers and sisters in Christ and the church as a whole, you are to set an example of faithful obedience. In other words, making time for your commitment to Jesus is taking time to:

  • Think before you speak. Consider the outcome of your actions before you act
  • Remember that your lifestyle and the choices you make are a reflection of your heart…your true heart.

Your commitment to Jesus is real and effective at work when you:

  • Refuse to participate in office gossip and backstabbing- Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ~Ephesians 4:29
  • Give your best efforts to your work- Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. ~Colossians 3:23
  • Be above reproach. And that includes not taking office supplies because “They’ll never miss them,” or “They owe me that much”-  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. ~Ephesians 4:28
  • Make sure that whatever career path you choose, it will not dishonor God or cause anyone to doubt the genuineness of your proclaimed faith- So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ~1st Corinthians 10:31

Matthew 28:19-20 says: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples just before He returned to heaven. His disciples…fishermen, a tax collector, an anti-government radical, and a man who was could have been from Missouri (he had to see it to believe it). Do you notice that none of these men were training to be in the ministry before Jesus called them? That didn’t matter, though. When Jesus called they answered. They were willing to make time for Jesus while they worked.

January 17, 2017

Joseph Mastering Your Dreams

Joseph King of Dreams

( Genesis 39-40).

The brothers of Joseph thought that they have once and for all stopped Joseph’s dream by eradicating his presence before their eyes and silencing his mouth about his ambitious dreams of glorious position and power over them. But little did they know that the very evil that they had done to Joseph was the means that God will use in order to bring about the dream that He had given to Joseph ever since his youth.

Joseph The Dreamer

This is the very mystery of divine intervention. The Lord in His majestic and all-knowing wisdom has the ability to transform and work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called by Him. Nonetheless, even if the Lord can immediately bring to pass what He desires for Joseph to be, but He used the “process” of time to step by step fulfill in the life of Joseph the dreams that He himself has given. This is teaching us then that even though the Lord is a powerful God by whom all things are possible, but still, He’s motivating us by the fact of who He is to do our part– our responsibility.

In the life of Joseph, we can learn three principles about how he responded to God’s sovereignty, doing all his best to live up according to the divine dream that the Lord has given him. By living accordingly to these 3 principles, he was able to master the divine truth in the dream, making himself as a worthy vessel for God’s blessing to His people.

1. THE PRESENCE OF GOD. The key to Joseph’s success in everything that he does is no other than the presence of God. The Bible says, “And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man …” In other words, it’s not because of Joseph’s talents and innate ability that he was able to master his dreams, bringing them into reality. Rather, it’s because of the faithful and powerful presence of the Lord which always imparts blessings to all his plans and endeavors. Therefore, the vital question that we should ponder is this: How can a man and a woman summon the presence of God to their lives? Since it is an obvious fact here that true prosperity or success is given by the presence of God, how then can we take God’s presence with us? The answer is simple: It is by faith. Hebrews 11:22 says, “By faith Joseph …” Meaning, the reason why God’s presence was with Joseph was because Joseph trusted in the Lord. Joseph had a genuine relationship with God by faith. And this relationship that he had with the Lord gave him access to God even to His favor that brings blessings (Hebrews 11:6).

2. MAN OF CHARACTER. The evidence that Joseph is endowed by God’s presence is that he is a man of godly character. In other words, he proves his relationship with God by living out according to the will of God. Joseph’s life is a very important lesson for our lives today. You and I know that we are living in an ungodly culture wherein the principles of success and prosperity in life are more on pursued through crooked means. Godly character is not popular today. It is seen as a disadvantage, a weakness, and a loser’s attitude. But Joseph’s life proves to us that godliness is not a disadvantage. True! In the world the people will not recognize and applause you for standing on godly principles. Like Joseph, they will tempt you, persecute you, accuse you, and do you harm. But be strong, the fulfillment of your dreams, divine calling, and God-given purpose is not dependent on their approval and acclamation. It depends upon the presence of God. Thus, your responsibility and battle to fight is to stand fast and strong on God’s will, living it out with all your best, knowing that you have a God who never sleeps nor slumbers but always ready to fight for your cause.

3. GOD’S TIMING. In order for you to master your dreams– your God-given dreams, you need to understand that its materialization is not arranged by your schedule but by God’s timing. Therefore, for you to successfully achieve your dream, you need to be patient, waiting upon the Lord’s right time for its fulfillment. Like Joseph, he waited for years. Actually, considering the difficulty of his situation, he would have thought that all hope of freedom from slavery was long gone already. But God is not bound by difficult situation. He is not hindered nor affected by our human impossibilities and desperation. On the contrary, He is the God who can orchestrate all things, good or bad, best and worst for the good of those who trust Him. If you’ll read Genesis 40, you’ll see how the Lord had easily freed Joseph out of the prison and brought him before the very presence of the king with a great privilege prepared for him by the God of his dreams. And it’s just a matter of time that this slave young man in Egypt will become the renowned Prime Minister of that land, the Savior and Hero of that nation and Provider for his own people– Israel.

December 24, 2016

Why you need a True Relationship with Jesus

The fact remains that Jesus is alive up till today, or how can we explain the fact that when we pray in His name the prayers are answered, it is only because He seats at the right hand of the throne of God, powers and principalities being subjected to Him.

God wants every individual to have a true relationship with Jesus if possible. This goes beyond just knowing Him, or just having a knowledge of Him, but living totally for Him, not because God wants to push us into a bondage, but because of who Jesus is, and the role He is ordained to play in the life of man.

Have you a relationship with Jesus or you are still questioning why you should even though you have heard that you need to? The following points are the reasons why you need to give your all to Him as a matter of urgency.

The name Jesus is a wonderful name that can bring to pass everything that God had ordained for an individual, nation, or the whole world. The name has brought lots of changes into the world since He came over two thousand years ago, and it is still working wonders today.

1. He created you: Jesus is your creator. The Bible says by Him all things were made, that includes you. He knows everything about your life; the past, present, and the future, as a matter of fact He chose what you have come to this world to do, He sent you here. If you actually want to make a success of your life, you have to have a good link with your source Jesus.

2. He loves you: Jesus loves you, such love that no man can give to you He gave unconditionally. It is this love that makes Him to leave His glory in heaven and come to earth to seek for sinners in order to save them, which includes you. The love made Him to subject himself to all kinds of suffering and humiliation, and even death in order to be a sacrifice for your sin. He did all of these before you were born so that when you eventually appear on earth, the way of escape out of sin and bondage would already be waiting for you.

3. He is the Savior: Jesus was ordained to save you from sin and eternal damnation in hell which you were heading for as a result of the fact that you have been born into sin, and you have been living a life of sin. The name Jesus is the only name God gave to man to bring salvation, you can not afford to separate yourself from that name.

4. He can not fail you: Jesus is a faithful friend if you make Him one. He is so faithful that even in death when others have left you to your fate He will still be with you to take you to Paradise. He told His disciples that He will prepare a place for them so that they can be with Him together forever, that is true for everyone who believes in Him.

5. He can help you: Whatever help you need in life, you can get it through Jesus. You must have realized by now that man is not reliable, and that no matter how much you try to get help form man you will always end in failure and disappointment at one point or the other. Jesus is the ultimate help, he can supply all your needs and give you anything that you want, read the Bible and you will see how He helped everyone that comes in contact with Him, He can do the same for you.

6. He is the final judge: Jesus will judge the whole world at the end because God had committed that to His hands, what do you think will happen to those who have rejected His offer of salvation, what will be the fate of those who despised the blood that was shed on Calvary? They will have their lot in the lake that burns with brimstone and fire.

Starting a relationship with Christ is simple; you confess your sin to Him, stop committing them, and put the whole of your trust in Him henceforth. He will send His Holy Spirit to live in you, and guide you so that you can start a new life altogether, remember that you can never be wiser than your God, neither can you fight against Him and win, when you ally with God, you will enjoy the best of His world.

No Shortcuts to Growth

growth

Original Post by

Re-posted from: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/no-shortcuts-growth

I’m still amazed whenever I see the bumper sticker that reads, “Visualize world peace.” The idea is that if I, and enough other people, create the right mental picture of peace, it will soon come to pass. It’s astounding that some people actually believe that silly technique will bring about such a desirable goal.

Then, there’s the popular “Coexist” bumper sticker. You may have seen it, the one spelled out with the symbols of different religions—the Islamic crescent forming the C, the Christian cross forming the T, and so on. The idea seems to be that if we religious people would just stop focusing on our differences, we could achieve world harmony. If we understood that our beliefs are all ultimately the same, all of the problems of war and strife would go away.

The funny thing is, we’ll reject such sentiments when they appear on a bumper sticker, but we’ll accept them elsewhere. How many business seminars promise increased profit if we only focus on the positive or visualize a goal? Eastern mysticism, where much of the bumper-sticker theology we’re talking about finds its ultimate origin, dresses it up with more acceptable religious practices. Meditate regularly, repeating a mantra as you visualize the oneness of all things, and the human race will move toward unity. But there’s also a version sold to us as the Christian key for victorious living. Speak your desire, claim it’s yours in Jesus’ name, visualize it will happen, and then it will be yours. Your healing, wealth, relationship success, happy family, improved marriage will come as soon as you name it and claim it or practice the power of positive thinking.

We’re looking for the right technique, the secret that will turn our wishes into reality. We laugh at the world’s spiritual magic, only to baptize it and practice it ourselves. We’ll read Scripture hoping to find the shortcut to spiritual growth while missing the true but non-shortcut answer—the key is not in the Bible; it is the Bible.

One reason we look for spiritual shortcuts is related to our modern age where shortcuts and rapid results abound. We can quickly relieve pain with medicine, find our way to restaurants with our smartphones, and get immediate answers to our questions online. These aren’t inherently bad things, but they tend to foster false expectations. If technology can relieve our illnesses and make our jobs easier, it surely can give rest to our souls, right?

We assume the answer is yes, and there are all too many “experts” out there who’ll encourage that assumption. Just look at the self-help section at your local bookstore, even at your local Christian bookstore. Book after book promises to hold the key to our happiness in twelve steps or less. The fact that none of the promises pan out doesn’t deter people from buying those books or new authors from repackaging old, ineffective answers in fancier dress.

But we can’t ultimately blame our search for shortcuts on modern technology. Our innate desire since the fall for autonomy, to be masters of our own fates, drives us to search out soul-building techniques that will improve us. We see our faith not as an end in itself but as a means to greater fulfillment. Evangelists routinely implore people to come to Christ, saying that He will make them happier, more confident in themselves, and more spiritual. Jesus becomes a means to improve our marriages and finances while releasing us from all manner of compulsions and negative character traits.

Can Christ do all those things? Of course He can. But Jesus is not a means to other ends—He is the end, the goal of our lives. He doesn’t come into our lives to give us special techniques to make our lives better; He works in and through us, changing us for the sake of His glory. He provides believers no mystic secrets to take them to a higher plane of spirituality. There’s no hidden truth available to only a few, no method that guarantees quick maturity in Him as long as we master it.

We’re saved by grace alone and justified by faith alone, but having been saved, we don’t just wait around to die. Christianity is about spiritual growth as well, and spiritual growth involves effort—the hard work of sanctification. We manifestly don’t work for our regeneration or our justification. Both acts are monergistic, accomplished by God alone. Only the Holy Spirit can change our hearts. Only the righteousness of Christ, the righteousness of the Son of God secured by His perfect obedience to the Father, can secure our right standing before God. Sanctification, however, includes our efforts. We say it is synergistic because both God and we are doing something. Yet, we aren’t equal partners. God wills and works in us according to His good pleasure so that we progress in holiness (Phil. 2:12–13). But as God works in us, we work as well, pursuing Him in prayer, relying on the means of grace—the preached Word and the sacraments—seeking to be reconciled to those we have offended. There’s no shortcut for sanctification. It’s a process, and one that all too often seems overly plodding, with progress taking years to discern.

God’s work is easy for Him. He doesn’t look for shortcuts because He never grows weary. We get tired and frustrated, however. We’re tempted to look for the simple path, the quick answer, the effortless way forward. But there is none. Sanctification requires diligently attending to the means God has given us. The growth may be slow, almost imperceptible at times, but it is sure.

No technique of the devil’s can stop the process of Christ making us into His image. Those whom He calls He sanctifies.

Casually attending to the things of the Lord will not result in our nurture. Visualizing or seeking a secret formula won’t help. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that Christ, by His Spirit, is working in us.

November 10, 2016

Become A Super Parent After Reading These Tips

tips-for-parent

You always try to be the best parent you can be but sometimes still feel like you fall short! Do not despair, every parent feels this way at some point! Use the tips below to learn how to become a better parent and have a stronger sense of communication and effective, fair discipline.

Get Your Child Vaccinated

Although it is a widely debated topic, it is highly recommended that your child get all necessary vaccinations. Some of the diseases that your child can get if they do not get vaccinated could make them sick or worse, even kill them. This holds especially true for children who go to school, where diseases are spread more rapidly.

The most important thing to remember while disciplining your children is consistency. Parenting during the terrible-two’s can be challenging, for both little one and adult. At this stage children like to push the limits of what is and is not allowed. Make sure that you set clear boundaries and are consistent with your time-outs so children know what is expected of them.

Make Time For Your Self

take-care-of-yourself

Being around your children a lot can be very stressful. Make sure you take time out for you. Plan a dinner date with a good friend, go for a long walk to go to the movies by yourself. That little time away will be enough for your to recharge and be the best parent you can be.

As unfortunate an event it may be, divorces happen all of the time. In order for you, a divorced parent, to hold a good relationship with your college aged and older children you must never get them in the middle of your divorce. This will push them away for you and your ex-spouse.

Your child probably is not meaning to frustrate or disobey you. In fact, he or she may be breaking rules in order to draw your attention to a bigger issue. Use the tips above to recognize how you and your child communicate so you can improve it for both of you!