Simple Guideline on Making Decisions

Guideline on making decisions

A Simple Guideline on Making Decisions

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. -Micah 6:8

All the course of your life, you will go through countless crossroads where you’ll get torn to choose between two (sometimes more) options.

There are times when taking a path is simple. Other times, however, picking is not as easy. Things become too complex, and coming up with a decision becomes quite difficult.

In such circumstances, the prophet Micah is clear about what God desires you to do. It is to (1) do justice; (2) love kindness, (3) walk humbly with God.

In all you do, therefore, you must ponder on these questions before you go ahead:

Am I being just?

This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. – Jeremiah 22:3

When making decisions, the Lord asks you to consider the interest of the people around you. Contemplate how your actions might affect the people you love, your workmates, your friends, and even the strangers you encounter on the streets.

If what you’re planning to do, in a way, treat others unfairly, then go the other way.

Do not let the Lord’s justice be upon you by oppressing or taking advantage of others, especially the weak (Deuteronomy 10:18).

Am I being kind?

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. – 2 Timothy 2:24

We are always taught to be kind to others, but how are we really to do this? You can name countless traits on how to be kind – hospitality, gentleness, patience, loyalty, forgiveness.

If you need to sum this all up and learn a practical way to practice kindness, just keep in mind Jesus’ command in Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

How do you know if an action or speech is kind? If it’s something you won’t mind others do to you.

Am I being humble before God?

Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favour: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. – Isaiah 66:2

Most importantly, before taking on a decision, make sure that it is in line with God’s will for you as His child. More than pleasing others, our primary goal as Christians is to honour God in all our thoughts, actions and speech.

For I desire steadfast love[a] and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. – Hosea 6:6

The Lord favours those who humble themselves before Him and walk according to the standards He has set before them. Our Christian walk is not just about practising spiritual disciplines. It is about intentionally offering our hearts to God, seeking to love Him and honour Him in every moment of our lives.

In what aspects of your life can you follow this simple guideline on making decisions? Ask God today to transform your heart and help you to always do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with Him.

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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).

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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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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Practical Ways to Stay Away from Temptation

Stay Away from Temptation

Practical Ways to Stay Away from Temptation

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy. – 1 Peter 1:14-16

The moment you put your faith to Jesus, you have automatically become part of God’s family. As glamorous as it may sound, however, being a child of God comes with great responsibility. You are called to stay holy and be set apart from this world (James 4:4).

The sad reality is, walking on earth the way God desires you is impossible. Relying only on your own capabilities will bring you nowhere. The Holy Spirit will be the One to cause a deep craving for holiness within you. It is, therefore, important to intentionally seek righteousness.

Here are things you can do today. So that you will be guided by the Lord moment by moment and be able to resist temptation:

The most important meeting of the day

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. – Mark 1:35

Even Jesus, despite being one with the Father, made sure to have fellowship with Him before doing anything else. No matter how preoccupied or busy you think you are, do not make the mistake of skipping your most important meeting of the day! Fill your cup with God’s presence first thing in the morning, so you will overflow with righteous thoughts and actions.

Scripture reading and memorization

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. – Psalm 119:9

Overcome the schemes of the enemy by always bringing with you “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). Neglecting to read and memorize God’s Word is also the same as going to the war without being equipped with any weapon. It is an act of succumbing to defeat. If you are determined to withstand temptation, read the Bible every day. Memorize key verses in which you can hold onto when the urge to sin comes your way.

Watching, reading and listening to Christian media

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Paul 4:8

With all the advancements in technology, modern Christians do not have any excuse not to have contact with materials that would help them lead a Spirit-filled life. Christian movies and songs have become very accessible across different platforms. To fill your mind with purity and God’s truth, choose to listen and watch to these media.

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Whenever you find it difficult to measure up to God’s desires, submit to His control. When you are being led by the Holy Spirit, that’s when you can gain self-control and be able to resist your sinful inclinations.

It’s only when you’re intimate with God that you’ll be able to overcome.

The shortest verse in the Bible

Shortest Verse in the Bible

The Shortest Verse in the Bible and the Lessons we can learn from it. 

“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35

Even with only two words, the shortest Bible verse in most translations is amazingly profound.

John 11 tells the story of how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This is even after the dead man being in the tomb for four days already. Like Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, you may be wondering why Jesus had to wait for Lazarus’ death before visiting them. “Why did Jesus not heal Lazarus when he was only sick then weep on his death?” you may ask.

Through this event, however, God is actually teaching us the following valuable life lessons:

The Lord is still glorified in the midst of grief.

“But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” – John 11:4

It is quite easy to question God’s plan in our lives. This is especially true when it seems so impossible to get out of our hardships and agony alive. Having this kind of perspective, however, hinders us from appreciating the good things God is about to do in our lives for His glory. As His children, God commands us to rejoice even in the middle of suffering (1 Peter 4:12). Choose to hold on to His promise that all things, either good or seemingly bad, work together for our good (Romans 8:28).

God is never apathetic about our pain.

Even when Jesus had to allow sorrow to be felt by His friends in order to bring glory to the Father, He did not enjoy it. In fact, seeing Mary and Martha, along with the other Jews, grieve over Lazarus’ death with loud cries, Jesus got “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33).

This shows that Jesus is truly and really man, subject to the same passions and emotions we experience. He feels just as we feel. He rejoices just as we rejoice. He agonizes just as we agonize.

Jesus proved in this scenario that our Savior is not distant from us. He is well-acquainted with us. He is not emotionless and he is never indifferent about how we feel.

It is okay to weep under afflictions.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

In your walk as a Christian, there will surely be moments of trials and difficulties. God does not expect us to be 100% strong and unwavering all the time. Jesus Himself said that you are blessed when you mourn as He will be the one to give you comfort.

Therefore, when you grieve, refrain from complaining (Philippians 2:14) or disputing God’s goodness. Understand that, in due time, the Lord will wipe every tear from your eyes. When that time comes, there will be no death, no crying, no pain anymore (Revelation 21:4).

It is natural to grieve for others.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” –Romans 12:15

Are you the type of friend who is there through thick and thin? You may be naturally ready to share the joys of others, but do you also share their sorrows?

As a Christian, we should follow the example Christ set before us. Do not only be ready to rejoice with the people around you. Be there also to sympathize and grieve with them in the middle of trouble. Look after their interests (Philippians 2:4) and extend a helping hand when you can.

Short but deeply sweet. John 11:35 teaches us that (1) the Lord is still glorified in the midst of grief, but (2) is never apathetic about our pain. It also helps us understand that (3) it is okay to weep under afflictions and (4) it is natural to grieve for others.

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Traversing Unknown Road with the Lord

Traversing Unknown Road

Traversing Unknown Road with the Lord

Lk 5,17-26: One day Jesus was teaching and many Pharisees and teachers of the Law had come from every part of Galilee and Judea and even from Jerusalem. They were sitting there while the power of the Lord was at work to heal the sick. Then some men brought a paralyzed man who lay on his mat. They tried to enter the house to place him before Jesus, but they couldn’t find a way through the crowd. So they went up on the roof and, removing the tiles, they lowered him on his mat into the middle of the group, in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.”

In this passage, we reflect on a day, during Our Lord’s proclamation. His days of healing and teaching, a multitude of people, even the top authorities regularly visited Our Lord. A group of faithful men brought a paralyzed man on his mat. Motivated by love for this man and the unshakable belief that Christ can heal him, they went up the roof through the path less chosen and removed the tiles, which were ‘impediments’ to get to Our Lord and be healed. Astonished by their faith, and overflowing with love and mercy, Christ treated him.

The Road Less Travelled

Most of us live through a life preferring comfort, going through the leveled path. Getting to the rooftop and creating an opening through the roof is no easy task. We must realize that to follow Christ; we must bear our crosses daily. Choose the path to Christ’s love and everlasting goodness.

There may be instances when we feel like God is testing us. Instead of bearing our crosses with glee, we mope around the corner and question Him, “Why is this happening to us? What did we do to deserve such loneliness?” These are the usual scenarios we go through when we experience trying times.

A Series of Impediments

The men in the passage did not just go through one hindrance, but a series of impediments, one after another. First, the man was paralyzed and cannot walk by himself thus a mat was used to get him around. A multitude of people was in the way, so they went up to the roof to get over this. Up the roof, there was no ready access, so they had to remove the tiles. What great faith they had!

As Christians, we will continuously encounter impediments. There will always be challenges. The enemy, Satan, and the fallen angels will consistently block our paths towards Paradise. Hence we must be vigilant. They will always find a means to lead us to avert from our true calling. Know that the most significant impediment is a sin. Sin draws us away from Our Lord. Sin prevents us from the realization of our true created purpose.

With this, we must pray and ask for forgiveness unceasingly. Every day, every moment is an opportunity to draw us closer to Our Lord. And every time we fall and ask for His mercy, He lovingly says “My friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Joy in Christ Jesus

Joy in Christ Jesus

Joy in Christ Jesus 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Are you joyful with your life right now? How are you feeling right now? If you are not feeling joyful right now, what makes you feel lonely instead?

Does your heart leap with joy, the kind that genuinely comes from the inside? Yes, joy is different from happiness. Happiness is externally inspired while joy, on the other hand, can be founded on internal motivations.

God wills that we be joyful, experiencing it through the power of the Holy Spirit. As one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, joy in Christ Jesus is meant to be experienced if we live in the Spirit.

“Rejoice in the Lord.” (Philippians 3:1)

This is a clear manifestation of God’s will for us to remain joyful. It’s not just about thinking happy thoughts; it’s more about a longer lasting feeling of satisfaction with God by our side.

Do we experience beauty in the works of God? If so, that is a joy as well. When you feel down and do not know what to do or who to turn to, remember that God wants us to experience joy and eternal pleasures.

These truths are in the form of God’s wisdom. God’s wisdom may not be the shortcut route we are imagining, however. We may encounter difficult times ahead when we follow God’s will. However, this is where authentic joy abounds.

The Bible, in fact, is filled with the ways to live and find joy in Christ Jesus. As long as we live up to these principles, we will definitely feel lasting joy. The Ten Commandments, for one, is a great source of tenets we can refer to when we feel lost. By honoring God and our parents, loving our neighbors, and caring for the people around us and for God’s creations, we can never go wrong.

Part of living with joy is resting in God’s promise of a great life as long as we trust in Him. Sure, there may be times when we underestimate God’s plans for us. We worry too much, ending up miserable because of the littlest things. And forget that God has an ultimate plan for us. We just have to have a firm trust in Him.

“You have turned my mourning into dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.” (Psalm 30:11)

The verse above just states how God can readily turn our mourning into joy. It reminds us that God does not forget His promises. He loves us so much that He wants to bless us with everlasting joy and peace.

When we manifest a joyful heart and being, trust that it will radiate onto the others we encounter. We will serve as the gem in the pile of rocks, with God by our side. And bring light and life to the people around us. We will be instruments of joy, ready to spread this contagious feeling to the ones who need it the most.

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