Monday, April 24, 2017

Music Monday - "Mechanical Planet" by VERIDIA


Another VERIDIA song! "Mechanical Planet" is my top favorite. It's empowering, with an addicting rhythm and fierce message. 

Set in the perspective of regret, the first verse begins with:
I'm your regret I'll/make you forget all/you were made to be
How many times have you regretted something you've done, or something you didn't do? I've done it plenty of times. I've regretted not speaking up for an innocent person. I've regretted speaking harshly to that friend. I've regretted not spending my time better. Regret can kill you. It will make you hate who you are and wish for the moments you wasted. The danger of it is it can make you unsatisfied, fast, especially because often, there's nothing we can do to get those moments back. The chorus of the song goes like this:
I never want you to know/you were made for perfection/not created defective/on this mechanical planet/you were not made to be/just some broken machine/on this/mechanical planet
See, regret is Satan's whisper. He's the Prince of Lies, and he'll do anything he can to distract you and keep you from accepting the truth. Satan wants you to believe that you're defective, broken and worthless. He wants to keep you from clearly seeing who you are - who God made you to be. Friends, God made each and every one of you for a special purpose. You are not worthless; you are priceless. You are not hopeless; there is always hope. God created worth in you and a beautiful purpose; something only you can fulfill with His power.

Don't let this mechanical planet deceive you. You're not a broken machine; you were made for perfection!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter 2017!



HAPPY EASTER!
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay (Matthew 28:6).
Easter is all about life. It's the celebration of Jesus' resurrection; that He conquered death. Jesus' life changed the course of history. The only reason why He was put on this earth was to die in the place of sinners, though He was completely holy and innocent. When He was crucified on the cross, He united Man with God, mending the broken relationship (to read more about that, click here). But it didn't stop there. See, even death could not overcome Jesus. On the third day, He rose from the grave and conquered death. As What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong says, "death could not hold [Him]."

The most vital part of Easter is the fact that Jesus resurrected. If He was still dead, then Christianity would be invalid. Jesus' death is important because He took away the punishment for sinners. His life is important because it testifies to His power and His deity.

Jesus' life can affect your life as well - in fact, it's as easy as ABC:
  1. A - Admit that you are a sinner. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
  2. B - Believe that Jesus solely paid for your sin on the cross and that He is the only way to God. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
  3. C - Commit your your life to Jesus. "Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act" (Psalm 37:5).
If you have any questions about committing your life to Jesus, feel free to contact me via the contact form. I'd be happy to chat with you and answer any questions you have.

Though it's been almost 2,000 years since Jesus' resurrection, it still continues to affect people all around the world, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, culture or situation. If you've walked with the Lord for many years, Jesus' life will continue to inspire you to live like Him. If you are just starting a relationship with Him, let me tell you that God will treat you as He does Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross for sinners (you and me), in that time frame He was treated like us. Instead of us getting the wrath of God, it was all upon Jesus. And now, we get to be treated as Sons of God, just as Jesus is treated now. We can have that life-changing personal relationship with God, spend eternal life with Him in heaven, and share the good news with others.

This Easter, I pray that you would truly apprehend the goodness and power of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday 2017



Good Friday.

Why was it good? Wasn't that the day Jesus had to die? Shouldn't that be the day that Christians mourn and groan because of the invalidity of their faith? Wasn't God distraught when His innocent Son had to die this scandalous death? Shouldn't we forever feel guilty because it was our sin that nailed Him there? Wasn't that the day Satan won? Shouldn't it be named "Bad Friday?"

No!

What made Good Friday so good was when Jesus died, He broke the barriers holding us back from a personal relationship with God.

What made Good Friday so good was when He cried, "It is finished," Jesus mended the broken relationship between God and Man.

What made Good Friday so good was when Jesus died on that cross, He died for YOU so that YOU could live in eternity with God. Jesus took your place so that you could be treated like Him. So instead of Jesus being glorified by the Father, the wrath of God was taken upon Him. He didn't deserve it at all. But He willingly died for sinful, selfish people. How often would someone die for a good person? And yet "Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6). Instead of us being punished, we now have the choice of salvation and being treated like Jesus was. We can be children of God. Because Jesus died in our place, we have a reason to live and we can have that personal relationship with the Lord. 

Now, you don't need to be afraid of death.

Now, you can have a personal relationship with the Father.

Now, because of this great love that Jesus demonstrated to us, we can share it with others so that it may transform their lives.

Good Friday. It is good because it is finished. Don't keep the good news to yourself - share it with someone!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Happy Palm Sunday 2017!



HAPPY PALM SUNDAY!

Palm Sunday was the day of Jesus' triumphant entry to Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week. The following week would change the course of history and open up the choice of salvation to everyone in the world, not just Jews, as it had been traditionally. During His entry, Jesus did not make himself stand out, as a king normally would. No; even though Jesus was a king - THE King - He humbled Himself and rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey. What?! Jesus, the Son of God, the One who totally deserves the attention and praise of everyone, did what? He humbled Himself. Why would a King do that? He did it not only because it would fulfill Scripture (Zechariah 9:9), but also because a donkey is a symbol of peace. See, many Jews believed that when the Messiah would come, He would rescue them from the oppressive Romans. But instead of coming with a huge heavenly army, the Messiah came alone; humble and looking as normal as everyone else (Isaiah 53:2). Though He was fully man and fully God, many would never guess that based off of His appearance and dress. Jesus was modest, though He deserved more glory. He was peacefully even when He had the reasons to be angry at God's adulterous people. In short, Jesus was not what everyone thought He would be like. Though we often have expectations set in our minds about what our ideals look like, Jesus didn't look ideal. He looked less than ideal. I think the irony of this goes to show that our ideals aren't the same as God's. Look at 1 Samuel 16:7. God tells Samuel not to focus on the outward appearance but the heart. This verse is still applicable today. We focus on the outward appearance when we could be delighting in something much better, which may not necessarily look great on the outside. Look at Jesus. "He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty" (Isaiah 53:2). But inside, He was God, and still is. In other words, don't miss the gold by focusing on the pyrite.

This Holy Week, I pray that you would truly understand and believe in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we continue the Holy Week 2017 series, we'll go over the power of Jesus' life and how it can affect us even today, 2,000 years later. He came not to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17). God is waiting for you to accept this priceless gift. If you just believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven and to have a personal relationship with God, then it will be granted to you just like that. Your life will be transformed and enlightened in so many beautiful ways. He gives you purpose and meaning to life. I know it may seem too good to be true, or too easy, but that's kind of the beauty of it. God loves each and every one of us, so He is giving us the choice to choose this. Are you willing to make Him the King of your Heart, or will you continue to live the life of darkness?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Is the Window to Your Heart Open or Closed?

Windows. What normally comes to mind when you hear that word? Perhaps you think of opening them, and letting in an outpour of sweet sunshine and fresh air that brightens a room, or maybe you think of shutting them when the rain pours down and skies are stormy. I believe people are just like windows. By displaying or covering your feelings, you are essentially closing or opening the window to your thoughts.  You can open up the shutters and let people know how you feel inside or you can hide behind it and keep others from knowing what’s really going on. But there are certain times for sharing your feelings, and there are times when it’s best kept inside. Sometimes it’s hard to control our feelings, and we don’t know whether or not to keep the window open or closed. There is One who actually wants to hear your troubles and your joy, and that is your Heavenly Father. You can always keep the window to your heart open to Him. But how do our emotions within reflect outward actions? When should we show or hide our feelings? And should we always keep our windows open to God?

Let’s start with the first question: How do our emotions within reflect our outward actions? What is seen on the outside is usually a reflection of the inside, for both windows and people. Take a typical Bully. He feels insecure, jealous, and unloved, yet he doesn’t want people to know so he boards up his window. To make himself feel better, he picks on other people so that he can feel secure and satisfied. On the outside, he sure looks tough, but hidden inside, he’s weak and broken. Now, say he encounters the True Light of the World. At first, it’s hard for the Bully to open up his window because it’s been closed for so long. Likewise, this new Light hurts at first because the Bully has been hidden in darkness. Once he has been exposed to the Light long enough, the Truth is made known to him. Little by little, the Bully cleans his window of the iniquities he had by repenting. He confesses his sins, and Jesus gives him a clean window. Now he easily opens up instead of hiding. In the same way, someone else you know might be having a hard time. If he snaps at you, it’s not necessarily because you did something, it could be because inside, that person is suffering. Keep in mind that, since we cannot see inside other people, their outward actions are based on their inward emotions.

Since God gave us feelings, we should always show them, right? Well…not exactly. There are moments when the windows should be open and when they should close. It’s kind of like a game of hide and seek; you show your feelings sometimes, you hide them sometimes. But first, when should we hide them? Jeremiah 17:9 says,
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
While I want to stay honest as much as I can, some emotions, like sinful anger, should be hidden to protect others. A few years ago, I was fighting with my sister, and both our windows were wide open; she was angrily screaming at me, and I was angrily yelling at her. Finally, I couldn’t take it, so I spat out, “I hate you!” Well, that did it. Naturally, she was NOT happy. Proverbs says, “A soft answer turns away wrath,” something that I didn’t do. My dad says, “When you and your sister are arguing, you are both putting more wood onto the fire. You each have the option to put water on that fire instead.” While I did a great job of letting my sister know how I felt, I did it without a soft answer and instead with sinful anger. Be gentle and respectful when you expose your emotions. You might hurt someone if you’re not considerate.

In other cases, sharing your feelings is good! If you are happy, share the joy. It might just be the little touch somebody needs.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22).
Some feelings need to finally come out. Maybe you feel like no one will understand or listen or that they’ll just make fun. When you store up those hurt feelings all by yourself, you’re actually poisoning your happiness. And I know this, sadly, from experience. At one point of my life, I had a lot going on inside, and I was just feeling hurt, depressed and crushed. A couple people had hurt me with their words, and I felt like no one would listen and I had no one to talk to. I shed a lot of secret tears, but made sure I always covered up my windows so no one would know. And guess what? It worked. No one knew for many months. But I still wasn’t happy. In fact, I cried almost every night just thinking about all those hurtful words. After a while, I realized I was holding too much inside, so little by little, I let each person know how I'd really felt. It wasn’t easy at all. But I knew all my hidden hurting had to come out. Now, I felt like I could finally breathe. Those weighing emotions had burdened me, but now that I got it all off my chest, I felt like finally, fresh air flowed through my once-suffocated secret place behind my window. This is an example of when not to hide your emotions. If I had just gathered enough courage to tell those people how I really felt instead of constantly burying them, I wouldn’t have had so much emotional exhaustion.

During that time, my mom reminded me a vital truth: I can always tell God what’s on my heart. He never meant for us to hold our burdens alone. He welcomes us to cast our burdens on Him, as Psalm 55:22 says:
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
I realized that, though I had given my burdens to the Lord by prayer, I was carrying them mostly alone because I hadn’t told anyone else, unlike what Galatians 6:2 declares,
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
In every situation, turn to your Heavenly Father and tell Him how you feel because He’ll love you no matter how you feel. His love is not based on how YOU feel about Him, but based on HIS feelings for you, which are always loving if you are His child. Psalm 46:1 says,
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
In truth, God wants you to always keep the window to your heart open to Him. Yes, He already knows your feelings, but God still desires for us to tell Him ourselves. Don’t hide from God. He’s there to guide you through each and every situation. He yearns to hear your troubles and your joy, your hurt and your struggles. He is the Wonderful Counselor and He will help you through. When in doubt on whether to spill your feelings or not, you can also search the Bible for council, as Psalm 119:14 declares:
Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.
The Bible contains God's very words of wisdom. They can surely help you through your situation, no matter how difficult it may seem. To sum this up, when you need council, talk to God or search His Word.

People are so much like windows. Revealing your emotions is like opening the window to your heart. Likewise, you close that window by concealing your emotions. Because communication is so important for humans, make sure you are clear on what you are saying and respectful to the other person’s feelings. Yes, it's fun to joke around or be sarcastic - I do it a lot - but be mindful of the secondary effects; people are more sensitive that you think. I've learned this the hard way and have accidentally hurt someone's feelings by either not specifying on the person I was talking about or not considering that what I was saying was offensive to him, even though to me, it seemed innocent enough. They responded negatively toward me because actions, kind or rude, are heavily influenced by feelings. Though you might be having a hard time deciding if you should share your feelings or not, ultimately, God always welcomes you sharing all your emotions with Him. There is no need to fear; He already knows your heart anyways. So what now? I hope you will stay open with your Heavenly Father, first and foremost. He loves you, cares for you, and will give you wisdom and guidance when to open and close the window to your heart.
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