Practical Ways to Rule Over Your Emotions

Practical Ways to Rule Over Your Emotions

 Practical Ways to Rule Over Your Emotions

The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. – Genesis 4:6-8

Despite receiving a warning from God, Cain was still not able to overcome the heat of anger. Being unable to control his rage, he made the decision that led to the first ever murder incident in human history.

Who are we to frown on Cain, though? Even today, it is so easy to hastily deal with things that enrage us. When we are wronged or ridiculed, we can just recklessly do whatever we feel like doing.

Letting this happen, however, is dangerous. When we allow our hearts to be filled with rage and let ourselves lose our self-control, we are on our way to making dangerous decisions – ones that can even lead to our own destruction.

It is vital, therefore, for us Christians to intentionally change our attitude and rule over our emotions. Here are some practical ways to do that.

Suppress yourself from speaking hateful words

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29

Jesus warns us to be careful of what comes out of our mouths because we can defile ourselves not through the food that we eat, but the things that we say (Matthew 15:11). Before blurting out anything, remind yourself of your identity. You are a child of God, and God’s children speak with grace (Colossians 4:6).

Forget about getting vengeance

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. – Leviticus 19:18

Discipline yourself to repay evil with good because that’s what God expects from us. He does not ask us to defend ourselves from wrongdoers. Instead, God tells us to trust Him and leave vengeance to His hands (Deuteronomy 32:35). To stay at arm’s length with the sin of hurting others, strive to do what is good for others (1 Thessalonians 5:15), regardless if they offend you.

Go immediately to God

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. – John 14:26

Ask the Lord to remove the anger from your heart and replace it with patience. Take a moment to literally pause and pray. This way, you can be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s conviction on the right decision to make.

How do you respond when others mistreat you? Do you lose your temper? Do you act in haste? Do you make foolish decisions?  Whatever situation you’re in, God promises never to abandon you. Resolve to practice self-control. Don’t let rage take over. Remember, “a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).

Indivisible: A Fight to Keep a Fort Undivided

Indivisible

Indivisible: A Fight to Keep a Fort Undivided

This film was based on true events that happened in the life of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather.

He brought his wife and three kids with him to Fort Stewart. Heather took all the responsibility of caring for their kids. She also attends to the wives of other soldiers at the Fort while Darren was in Iraq.

In this kind of separation between husband and wife, we see two different perspectives. For Darren, it means self-sacrifice to go and serve his duty at an uncertain place for the first time. For Heather, it means containing her strong-will so she can take care of her daughter.  Setting aside her personal need so she could provide for her daughter’s needs.

In Iraq, the shooting takes a toll on the soldiers. Their physical energies and emotional strength deplete. At the passing of months, Darren keeps his communication with Heather and his daughter but his spirit weakens at the sight of dead soldiers and a dead girl brought to him to pray for before they bury the bodies. Darren realizes that each soldier keeps themselves alive for their loved ones while they try to save as many innocent lives as they can in the battleground.

Lance questions Darren about God’s will and why He allowed the death of innocent people. He is unable to quote anything from scripture at that time.

However, Darren’s caring ways have drawn Lance to rekindle his belief in God to the point of getting baptized. Another character that he influenced was his neighbour Michael who also has some troubles with his wife. Darren convinced him to call his wife and connect with her again.

To both Lance and Michael, Darren served as a guide and a brother that reminded them God is with them even in their personal battles. Before returning home, an explosion killed Lance and Michael’s leg got severed that it was to be cut off. The incident traumatized Darren until their homecoming. Heather faced a withdrawn husband who was even edgy towards their children.

And these scenes truly happen in real life. There are soldiers who get into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This film showed us how it developed, how to get help and how the afflicted and their loved ones address it so they all could go into a healing process.

Darren decided to leave the military service in favor of working at a flower farm. He and Heather continue with their counselling sessions with an elderly Army Chaplain until he courts her again.

Michael, already in a wheelchair, confronts him that what happened to them in Iraq was beyond his control and that they need to move on from it. He becomes enlightened and ready to reunite with his family again.

Indivisible presented to us a powerful and inspiring journey of a soldier’s personal struggles, a marriage strain, spiritual healing and restoration of faith.

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The Young Messiah

The Young Messiah

The Young Messiah: A Glimpse of Jesus’ Childhood

We have seen many stories about the life of Jesus in the film, but an account of what his childhood could be like is what inspires The Young Messiah.

The story began with a Jewish girl playing with Jesus who was then about seven years old. A bigger kid teased and hit him for playing with a girl. A tall man in black cloak appeared and threw an apple to trip the kid, so Jesus gets blamed for his immediate death. Mary pulled Jesus from the crowd and locked the door. Jesus’ cousin asked if he can restore the kid’s life the way he did with the dead bird. Jesus sneaked out and prayed for the dead kid who woke up still angry at him.

The elders presumed that Jesus might be evil, so Joseph decided to leave Egypt and take his family to Nazareth. Both Joseph and Mary knew that at all cost, they are there to protect Jesus. At the slightest incident that may cast doubts about Jesus’ powers, they flee to secure his safety.

This narrative showed us common scenarios in those days. Roman soldiers easily wield their swords to kill anyone they suspect as rebels, so Joseph exclaims that they are travellers.

Two notable highlights worth noting in this film were the devil whispering to Jesus that his mother is a whore and father is a liar. The young Jesus was firm in telling the devil not to touch him, and that scene captured Jesus’ authority over him. It reminds us that the devil can influence bad thoughts to come to our minds that can lead to bad deeds, but he cannot harm us when we are firm believers that we are children of God. Another compelling scene was Jesus’ answering the rabbis at the temple in Jerusalem. A rabbi asked if God was a carpenter. He replied God gave Noah the dimensions for the ark and directions for building the temple. Jesus reminded us of how God’s guidance works for the chosen ones.

The culminating scene happened when Jesus stood face to face with the Roman soldier Severus. The devil whispered to his ear to go and kill the boy. But Jesus, looking at him, made him feel his power, so he let Jesus and his parents go.

Towards the end, Mary explained to Jesus that He is the begotten Son of God. He goes on top of the hill to accept and claim He is the child of God. A kind, humble, obedient and smart child preparing to become The Messiah to humanity.

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A Boy Called Po: A Special Child’s Wandering Thoughts

A Boy called Po

A Boy Called Po: A Special Child’s Wandering Thoughts

Autism is a delicate topic to discuss. A Boy Called Po is a film that talks about the challenges a widower faced while grieving the loss of his wife and being a committed father to a child with Autism.

David intentionally hid Beth’s passing from Po thinking that he might not understand. Little did he know that Po worries about the sadness he sees in him. We get to see David in us when we think it is better to wallow in our own pain than hurt our loved ones.

Five months passed and Po was still asking where his Mom was. He begins to drift into his fantasy world making it difficult for the teacher to get his attention. The principal told David to transfer Po to special education as he cannot thrive in a regular school.

The challenges he faced while dealing with therapists, insurance coverage, medical bills, and his projects at work. He is an engineer who experienced difficulty connecting with his son.

Po was actually a smart kid who loves complex math and enjoys reading the stock market pages of the newspaper.  Inside his fantasy world, he meets Jack who asks him for advice in whatever situation he gets into.  Po was normal on that other plane. He sings Dancing with Myself and tells Jack that for him, the song meant that he is confident being himself.  Since he gets bullied in school, he meets Amelia who talks to him and reads to him topics that interest him.  Later on in the story, we realize that Amelia is Po’s another imaginary friend too. We have seen here the picture of Po’s colorful mind.

There were several heartwarming father and son scenes throughout the film.  When Po used ketchup and mustard to draw a rainbow on the wall, David already turned his back and missed the boy’s remark you’re my rainbow Daddy. Once in a while, Po says don’t be afraid Daddy. Later on, he told him it means to not be afraid of him for the way he is.

David’s dilemma was whether Po stays in a facility so he can work. Meanwhile, Po was contemplating on staying in his fantasy world. Amidst the complexities in their intertwined lives, David finds comfort in Amy, Po’s last therapist who became his confidante.  Amy gave him moral support and encouragement on moments he needed it the most.  It was she that made him realize to choose Po over his career.

Towards the end, David reimbursed his 401K which turned out as a larger sum than he expected. Po asked for his signature and it allowed him to enrol at a high-risk stock trading that paid off. Finally, David told Po about his mom’s death, brought him to her grave and for a brief moment, he sees her in his thoughts and she held his hand. And having his thoughts wander is alright.

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Defining True Success

Defining True Success

Defining True Success

There are world standards that cause people to be pressured and even embark in worthless pursuits. In fact, keeping up with society’s expectations have become like a day-by-day task for most people.

We face it the moment we open our eyes in the morning until we slumber at night. It’s an unending cycle of doing things that others would approve. Focusing on what could make others’ perception of us better.

We become more conscious of whether to do or not to do certain things in the hopes of being accepted by other people. Failure to keep up with those expectations, more often than not, lead to anxiety, stress and even fear of rejection.

For Jesus’ followers, however, true success does not come from pleasing others. Rather, it is about doing things that we know our Master would be proud of.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant[a] of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

It’s a matter of having faith that despite us not conforming to do what will please men, the Lord is there by our side to uphold us with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

So, when the world system is trying to redefine what’s right and wrong for you, and you find yourself struggling, hold onto Him. He will never fail those who call upon His name. At the end of the day, it’s still his promise and His plans that shall prevail over any failure or any disappointment.

You may not be able to please others in every effort that you exert. And you may be regarded as lunatic for the things you think, say and do. You may seem lacking in people’s sight despite always trying to give your best. But you don’t have to be worried!

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled… And blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” – Matthew 5:6, 10-11

Jesus loves you and that’s a total gamechanger. Knowing that the God of all creations is there for you, you will have peace of mind. You don’t have to prove yourself to the world. Even Jesus himself said that in your lowest and weakest points, you are blessed.

Thus, to achieve true success, learn to change your perspective and decide to surrender and commit your work to the Lord.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” – Colossians 3:23

Instead of conforming to the world’s standards, let others see the fruit of the Spirit in you (Galatians 5:22-23), that they may come to know Jesus Christ through your life.

For our goal as Christians is to serve for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Our life’s purpose is not just about earthly desires, but things that are above and eternal (Colossians 3:23). That on the day we are to give an account to God for how we lived our lives. We may hear Jesus say, “Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master.”

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The Least of These: The Life Story of Missionary Graham Staines

The Least of These

The Least of These: The Life Story of Missionary Graham Staines

This film presented events in the life of Graham Staines, an Australian medical missionary who brought his family to a remote village in India. His intention was to serve the lepers and to build a home for them.

In the late 1990s, there are governmental laws against Christians who use inducements to make new converts. Indian journalist Manav moved to the town to uncover speculations about Graham. In exchange, his editor promised to pay for his wife’s hospital bills after the birth of their daughter.

Manav’s motive was to expose and pin Graham for doing something illegal. To his amazement, what he saw was a selfless act of serving the people with leprosy. Graham showed Manav the meaning of God’s compassion and love for the lepers.

However, Manav later found out that the leper on the bus works for Graham at a hospital-home that he built for the lepers. How ironic that a foreigner cared more in aiding the locals deemed as outcasts of society.

A subplot showed Manav taking a video of a Christian pastor baptizing a woman in the river. These scenes exemplify the risk taken by every Christian who goes to non-Christian countries. They are considered unwanted outsiders and their safety get placed in jeopardy.

There were two short scenes that show how common it is for us to judge people based on deformities that we see. The scene showed a leper got kicked out of a bus while another one gets booted out of a village. Due to the fact that they carry a contaminated disease.

These events showed that most people would rather throw them out and ignore the opportunity to help alleviate them from their condition.

Truth always seems to cost something. This line speaks volume in meaning as Manav continued to investigate Graham. We see the admiration in his eyes witnessing Graham’s relentless work. Considering he stoked the anger of Hindus at outreach by inciting that the head of the snake must be cut off.

His speech put Graham in constant danger. And as a result, they burned the Rover which causes the death of Graham and his kids. Manav felt guilty and seeks forgiveness from Gladys. She forgave him and continued the work of her husband. Gladys taught us the power of forgiveness to overcome hate.

The Least of These is a thought-provoking movie that narrates the life of a Christian missionary. The fact that Christians in some areas around the world are suffering from persecution. This movie is dedicated to everyone who served and sacrificed their lives to share the Gospel. And may this film serve its purpose so that we could bring everyone to love one another, especially the outcasts and the least of these.

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Run the race

Run the race

Run the race: Finding Strength in the Bonds of Brotherhood

Run the race is a film that portrays brotherhood amidst individual life situations. Zach, a football superstar bent on using this sport as a ticket to a scholarship at a university. His younger brother Dave was a devout Christian in spite of having an illness. Both worked at a local grocer owned by their godmother Annie. She cared for them after their mom’s passing to cancer.

Zach enjoyed his fame but kept a deep hurt against his dad who left them. At their mom’s grave, their dad asked for forgiveness. Dave readily granted while Zach called him a drunk coward. Zach’s ego masked his long-standing pain. Dave’s strong faith in God opened his heart to forgive. Despite the contrasting perspective of the two, Dave consistently encouraged Zach to turn in to God all his frustrations and seek guidance from Him.

The story turns when Zach’s knee got hit after a petty fight on an outdoor drinking spree with his football buddies. At an instant, Zach loses his chance to play football. His good coach encouraged him to try running track once his leg gets better. Dave overheard their conversation and got himself a medical clearance so he can compete in running. His underlying motive was to convince Zach to train him so he can work on his leg again. Dave placed second in the preliminaries but due to a severe seizure, he got confined at a hospital.

Zach’s emotional struggle was feeling broken and thus, finding it difficult to forgive. One of the heartwarming scenes was his conversation with godmother Annie. She told him how hurt she was finding out that she’s unable to conceive but through a twist of fate, she became a mother and cared for them both as if they were her own.

These words teach us that when we forgive regardless of our reasons and desired outcome, it heals the hurt we have kept for too long.

There are several inspirational words in this film. Their musings validated their faith. Coach pointed out to Zach’s dad that he needed a father by his side after the leg injury. Their dad confessed for his shortcomings and admits that he was mourning for the loss of his wife too. These subplots not only justified their pivotal role in the story but it lets us see that broken people are willing to repent and change for the better too.

Run the race culminates with Dave’s passing at the hospital while Zach was running the race. Dave’s purpose in Zach’s life has ended. On the other hand, Zach’s run as a substitute for Dave may have just paved the way for a good start at a brighter future on track and his journey of faith.

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Ashes of Eden: The Price of Redemption

Ashes of Eden

Ashes of Eden: The Price of Redemption

The film Ashes of Eden took its inspiration from The Bible verse in 1John 2:15 that tells us not to love the things of this world for we cannot serve two masters, this world and God.

Police arrested Red due to some misbehaviour. At the time of his release, he met his friend, Vargas, who convinced him to join a gang party. The police raided their venue and his cop mom Dana sees him. In the next scene, Red’s younger brother Jake convinced him to attend church service. He went to the church but abruptly left during the sermon.

Subplots were in disarray. However, it showed Red as a troubled teenager who grew up without a father figure in his life. This bad reputation placed him in some consequential mishaps with others. But lacking a father’s guidance is not enough reason to run away from his mother’s admonitions. Dana showed that she is a mom who intends to protect her son no matter what happens and a cop who is out to help straighten his ways. She turns to prayer for inner strength.

The school principal Tony suspended Red due to a complaint that he stinks in class. On a personal note, he is wooing Dana so he came to her house to tell her about Red’s status in school. Dana pleaded for another chance but Tony was firm in his decision. Had Dana been open with his kids about Tony’s intention to become part of their lives, he could have acted as the father figure that both Red and Jake needed.

Red’s girlfriend Angela spells trouble too. Her brother Carlos and cousin Poncho were drug-dealers. They hid the packed drugs in the toilet. While they took some packs, the remaining ones Red stole then he connived with Vargas to resell them. There’s a scene where a desperate mom hands Vargas money in exchange for drugs. Red felt sorry about this mom’s daughter who pleaded to them not to give her drugs. The story progressed towards Red’s conscience that led to his meet up with Dana at the cemetery. The short exchange of words was poignant for both mother and son who acknowledged their shortcomings.

Carlos as an antagonist showed pure evil ways. He beats up his cousin Vargas and eventually killed him while he was in a coma with no hint of remorse. Then he pretended to comfort his aunt, told the cop, Sean, that Red had a fight with Vargas. He knifed his other cousin Poncho when he accompanied Red to get the money from drug-dealing that Jake hid in the bookshelves. After that, he pointed a gun to Jake’s head and at the turn of events, the child Jake was the one who shot Carlos dead.

The final scene of the movie Ashes of Eden showed Red preaching the parable of the prodigal son inside the prison. He too was once lost but found his way to pay the price of redemption.

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Are you salty?

Are you salty

Are you salty?

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” – Matthew 5:13

Jesus said this to His disciple as part of His sermon on the mount. Back on that day, salt was a highly valuable commodity for its significant uses. They used salt to (1) maintain freshness and keep food from rotting; (2) bring flavor to food just as people do today; and (3) help wound heal faster.

Salt was extremely important that they even used it as payment when buying other commodities. The important question, therefore, is “What did Jesus mean when He compared Christians to salt?”

 

And as Christians, our role is to:

Help preserve people from sin and destruction

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” – Galatians 6:1

The world has systematically made humankind confuse good from evil. As believers, however, we should know better. Thus, when we see our friends being lured to sin, we should be the ones to gently urge them to resist giving in to the temptation.

Just keep in mind to constantly study God’s Word and seek His wisdom through prayer to make sure that we are guided by the Spirit of the Lord, discerning what is righteous according to His standards.

Add flavor to life by bringing joy to the people around us

“Remind them [believers] to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” – Titus 3:1-2

Jesus commands us to keep His commands and remains in His love (John 15:9-11). Imagine all the Christians showing gentleness and courtesy to the people they associate with. What a world to live in!

As Christians, we carry Jesus name in our thoughts, speech, and conduct. It is our responsibility to be ambassadors for Christ, portraying Him appropriately. Take time to think about it, has the world become a better place because of your presence. Or is it the opposite?

Be God’s instrument for bringing healing to others

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3

God can heal spiritually, physically and emotionally (Psalm 103:2-4). His power knows no bounds. Even in the most hopeless, most desperate circumstances, God can redeem His people and bring healing. As the salt of this world, be sensitive to the hurting people around you. Be ready to show hospitality, so they could experience God’s love through you.

Be careful not to lose your saltiness

Serving this world is both a privilege and a responsibility. Be intentional in keeping your saltiness, so as not to be regarded as useless, as Jesus puts it, “no longer good for anything.” Walk according to God’s will for you.

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Princess Cut Movie Review

Princess Cut

Princess Cut: A Christian Perspective on Courtship and Marriage

The film Princess Cut presents the meaning of the cliché true love is worth waiting for. Main character Grace is a dreamy naïve country girl who stares fascinated on a princess cut diamond ring at a shop. Since she was into a long distance relationship with college boy Stuart for 15 months, she assumed he would propose soon. He busted her bubbles in front of his other friends when he announced that he’s already engaged with another girl.

Grace showed a shallow outlook when it comes to getting into a relationship. When her mom asked what she liked about Stuart, she identified his traits as cute and smart, none of which pertains to his personality. Mom says she dated someone like that and he talks only about himself. In another scene, Grace told her dad she wanted to move near Stuart’s location. Her dad said that their land had endured three generations and a college boy is not worth to replace it. Grace accepted the cool barista from the café Jared as an immediate replacement to Stuart. He wanted intimacy. Grace felt she regretted it when he kissed her. Although in a state of confusion, she managed to confide and be honest with her parents. It means trustworthiness is intact within their family circle. With their guidance, she used tact to end her involvement with Jared.

The story had good scripting. There were several takeaways from mom and dad like let love find you. However, Grace didn’t know that marriage is not a be-all for a girl her age. While she is on a waiting game, she is not lacking in love because her family loves her. About losing Stuart, mom says it is not a total loss. She could have followed it up with you’re a wonderful girl as you are with or without a boyfriend. The amusing part was when her younger brother Andrew posted an ad just so a potential boyfriend can come to their doorstep. Dad says that marriage is a gift from God and he could have added so is singlehood.

Dr. Clint showed an old-fashioned way of courtship. He declared his intention of pursuing Grace for the possibility of marriage. While dad affirmed that Clint would do honorable things for Grace and God, he also vowed to protect her daughter in every step of the way. Both Clint and Grace agreed to explore a deeper friendship together.  Despite the odds like Jared and the doctor’s ex-girlfriend Brooke, the story ended with getting the princess cut diamond ring in Grace’s finger.

Lastly, the soybean analogy is a great lesson to remember. There’s a season of planting and harvesting. There’s a proper time for everything under the sun. Courtship paves the way to marriage so both man and woman should take time to know each other and by placing the word of God in the center of the relationship, it could lead to a lasting partnership.

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