Archive of ‘Spirituality’ category

How Should I Pray?

32584-praying-hands-3-1200.1200w.tnPhoto from http://www.crosswalk.com

Is there a right way to pray?

I’ve been doing my quiet time regularly now for the past few years. And yet, there are times when I experience dry spells in my spiritual journey. This has lead me to question whether I may be doing it wrong. Am I not praying the right way? Or is there even a right way to pray?

This led me to purchase Timothy Kellers book entitled Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. Deeper intimacy with the Lord is a popular prayer request among my Christian friends. And knowing how to pray can certainly help with that.

What other nation is so great as to have their Gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
Deuteronomy 4:7

Prayer is an important part of our Christian walk. It is when we pray that we allow Christ to enter our life and make his will for us known. In fact, the bible calls on us to pray without ceasing.

To fail to pray, is not to merely break some religious rule-it is failure to treat God as God.
Timothy Keller, Prayer

What is prayer?

Keller defines prayer as a personal,  communicative response to the knowledge of God. It is how we, as Christians, connect to the Most High. It’s an intimate conversation with Him. It’s a response to the knowledge of God.

Prayer is both a duty and discipline. There are going to be times when you wont feel like prayer. But when we doggedly do what we must, that’s when we experience break though.

How should we pray?

There are a lot of ways to pray. And yet, according to Keller, the best model is still the Lords Prayer. He calls it the prayer of prayers.

Step 1: Praise

Our Father who art in Heaven. Hallowed be thy name, the Kingdom come.

This calls us to recall who we are and who God is. God is God, and we are his servants. This calls for us to glorify Him. Sometimes we become to familiar with God and treat his casually. Yet this part of the Lords Prayers reminds us that He is Holy and we should treat Him as such. John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion advises us to treat God with reverence and awe. To “hallow” God’s name is not merely to live righteous lives but to have a  heart of grateful joy toward God – and even more wondrous sense of his beauty.

Plagiarism is considered a big deal because it’s taking someone else’s work and making it your own. And yet when we refuse to praise God and give thanks to all He has done, we are committing cosmic plagiarism. All that we have is a gift from God. And yet when we take credit for something God has given us, that’s cosmic plagiarism.

Step 2: Repent

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

Asking for forgiveness changes our hearts for it allows us to bow down in humility. It is only when we have understood who  God is and the magnitude of what He has done for us, that we can be merciful towards those who have hurt us. Our relationship with God is directly proportional to our relationship with others. 

Step 3: Ask

Give us this day our daily bread.

As God’s children we are given the privilege to ask for anything – according to His will. Like a Father, the Lord wants to give us what we ask for. But the condition is that it must be according to His will for He knows what’s best for us better that we do.

And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us
-1 John 5:14

Step 4: Yield to the Spirit

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil.
Thy Will be Done….

The end of goal prayer should be for us to yield to the spirit. Because without submission to Gods leading, the whole exercise would be pointless. Since prayer is about knowing God and His will for us, then we are to submit ourselves to his plans and not ours. There maybe many things that we want in life, and that’s ok. But it’s important to discern what God wants for us and submit to His leading.

The acronym here is PRAY. Praise,Repent ,Ask, and Yield.

Daily prayer is an important part of our Christian journey. Kellers book has enlightened me on the right way to pray. I hope you’ll try this out as well – if you haven’t been doing so already.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

The Danger of Idolatry

s12890838_xxl-758x380Photo from http://www.ct.org.tw

When we think of idols we usually associate it to a physical object that people bow down to. In the old testament, the idols people worshiped were statues that had the form of their different gods. Today, the idols we have come in the form of wealth, fame, beauty and power. And they are as tempting as ever before. They promise happiness, yet they only lead to emptiness and ruin. No one thing in this world can fill us up as God can do. 

1 Kings and 2 Kings tells about many leaders who led their people to destruction because of idolatry. One such leader was King Solomon. God had blessed King Solomon immensely. He gave him wisdom, great wealth, immense power and influence. It was under his reign that Israel reached its golden age. Kings and leaders from other kingdoms visited Solomon to listen to his wisdom and learn from him. And yet, despite all that God has given, King Solomon turned away from God. He built temples for the gods of his wives to please them and also started to worship them. It was because of this that God tore Solomon’s kingdom away from him. And yet even in his anger, God was merciful. For the sake of David, he only took Solomon’s kingdom after his death. And even then, he did not take away everything. He left 2 tribes for Solomon’s son to lead. And thus, the kingdom of Israel became divided into 2 kingdoms.

As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, “You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel. But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other Gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated in my name.

-1 Kings 9:4-7

Idolatry is defined as extreme adoration of something or someone.

For instance, a woman who has searched for her true love a long time can, upon finding that person, cause her to regard the person so much that she may end up crushing him under the weight of her expectations.

Or a mother who has prayed for a son, may upon being given a son, smother him with too much love that it can end up hurting their relationship and preventing him from growing up.

Or a business man who has made it his life’s goal for his company to succeed, may upon achieving his goal, cause him to value his wealth too much, that it becomes the most important thing in his life.

Anything can be a potential idol. Even good things such as love and respect – can become idols if we value them more than we value God. Idols are not necessarily bad things. But when you take a good thing and make it the main thing in your life, then it becomes an idol and draws you away from God.

We are all susceptible to idolatry. And that’s why we need to be careful with whatever we pursue be it business success, a happy relationship or even ministry. Because only God should be at the center of our lives. When we allow Him to lead us, we will experience a kind of happiness and fulfilment that can’t be found anywhere else.

Whom have I in heaven but you, and there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
– Psalm 73:25-26.

Think about it. Is there an idol in your life right now?

Reach down deep within and stop to consider whether you have something that you’re prioritizing over of God. The Lord is faithful to those who are His. You don’t have to hold on too tightly. Surrender it to the Lord. He will take care of you.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Be a Good Testimony

779363Photo from Lemerg.com

Being a Christian is next to impossible. And yet, when you declare that you are one you have this responsibility to fulfill. You need to be careful how you act and carry yourself because you never know, you may be the only bible some people read. If they see you acting in a way that’s contrary to Christ’s teachings, then it may turn them away from Christ.

Yesterday, after getting a new listing in Philam Life Village, we stopped by a gas station to gas up. After paying, I was about to drive away when the attendant informed me that they had mistakenly gassed up my tank with diesel instead of gas. Apparently, the attended that filled up my tank was new and she got confused.My cars engine runs on gas. Since gasoline engines cannot combust diesel fuel, had I driven away, my car would have eventually stopped running and the engine would  need to be repaired.

The bottom-line is, it could have been very costly and time-consuming for me. As a real estate broker, I use my car a lot and to not be able to use it even for just a few days would mean lost revenue. After the mistake was discovered, all the attendants apologised profusely. One of them called their mechanic so he could drain out the diesel in my tank and replace it with gas. Instead of getting mad, I choose to wait patiently for their mechanic to arrive and fix the problem.

There are two reasons why I chose to stay patient.

First of all, getting mad wouldn’t have helped the situation. The damage had been done and so I might as well cooperate with them to fix it. Also, the new attendant that made that mistake didn’t do it on purpose. Hopefully, she’ll be more careful next time though.

Second, I wanted to be a good testimony. Had I gotten mad and yelled at them, I would have put my being a Christian to shame. 

Being a Christian is not always easy or convenient. But when you choose to honor God and do what’s right, I believe this helps bring more people to Christ. Every choice you make, whether good or bad, has consequences even though it may not be readily apparent.

What does it mean to be a good testimony?

Being a good testimony is not only about the words that you say but how you live your life. It’s a public declaration of your belief through both words and action. You must both tell and show people what it means to follow Christ. The purpose of a testimony is to give evidence to the world that Jesus really changes lives. Following Christ is a transformational experience and once you choose to let him in, it will be reflected in the way you life your life. 

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
-Matthew 16:24

Being a follower of Christ is a daily struggle. Because with my naturally sinful tendencies, I need to constantly watch myself. Yes, I still stumble from time to time. But I’m not aiming for perfection. My aim is to improve. And by God’s grace – with a lot of prayer and commitment –  I’ll do better each day.

“Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That’s not the small print—that’s a guarantee.” – Kyle Idleman

When you look at your life, what kind of testimony are you making?

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

3 Reasons Why We Should Spend Time in Prayer

monkimage
Photo from central365.org

Have you ever felt so busy that you haven’t had the time to stop and think clearly?

Life is a never-ending assembly line of “to do” lists. Every time I cross something off my list, there’s always ten more things that I need to do. Sometimes I feel like I’m on a treadmill running and running, but I never seem to get anywhere. The last 2 weeks have been especially busy because of all the clients meeting, realty board meetings, mentoring with our new salespersons. Plus our Dgroup was tasked to organize a seminar on Love and Dating.

So today, I decided to take the day off and just spend time in my favorite coffee shop reading God’s word. Armed with my bible and journal, I spent time pouring over God’s word and reflecting on what  he wanted me to do.

Why is it important to spend time in prayer?

First, prayer allows us to spend time meditating on God’s word and to reflect on our priorities. It gives us the time to think about what we really want. It gives us the opportunity to make plans. More importantly, it allows us to see what God wants for us. I have so many things that I want to achieve – tons of things I want to do. But it’s when I pray when I get to ask God what he wants for me.

Even Jesus who was a very busy man often retreated into the mountains to pray.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
-Mark 1:35

Second, prayer recharges us. We charge our smart phones everyday. And yet, we don’t take the time to recharge ourselves. Sometimes we just need to stop and take a break. To recharge and reflect on what’s happening. Trust me, your to-do list will never end because there’s always something that needs to be done. So it’s important to take breaks in between. Spending time in prayer gives us the lift that we need to keep pushing forward. Taking time to recharge, gives gives us the boost we need to be more effective in our tasks.

Third, prayer brings us closer to God. In order to build a relationship with someone, you need to regularly spend time with that person. And it’s the same thing with God. For us to be closer to Him, we need to regularly spend time with him in prayer. When we invest time in building our relationship with God, we will get to know him more and see more clearly what he wants for us.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
-Psalm 46:10

I think life is such an exciting adventure. But it’s only when you couple it with prayer and reflection that you’ll begin to truly understand what your purpose is. When you draw closer to God, you’ll see that the life you once lived is nothing like the life you can have when you choose to follow Him.

Have you ever felt so busy that you haven’t had the time to stop and think clearly?

Perhaps now is the time to take a break. Spend time in prayer. It doesn’t have to be a week long. A few hours is enough. As long as you focus those few hours on really praying.

Go life a Truly Wealthy life.

Alex

This 2017 – I Don’t Want to Live for Me

lonely-girl-walking-on-road-1Photo from returningthegift.org

The hardest part about being a Christian is not in accepting Christ. For me, that’s the easy part. And it’s only the beginning. The challenge that all Christians face is in being consistent in honoring and obeying God. I admit that I am not as consistent as I should be. Although I’ve been consistently attending a discipleship group and leading one every week, I find that I still struggle with sin. I still have the tendency to put my own desires above God’s desires. I guess some improvement is that I am now more sensitive to sin compared to before. But I still have a long way to go.

My past new years resolutions have been all about me. About hitting a certain financial goal, winning a contest or getting that dream body. But this year, I don’t want to live for me. I want to be more consistent in honoring and obeying you Lord. You, after all, are the reason why I am here. You are the source of everything. The only thing I can give you is my life. I want to live for you. I just want to be used by you.

Moriah Peters, an American contemporary Christian singer captures it perfectly with her song Don’t Want to Live for Me.

Here and now, I surrender all my life.
I take this vow and abandon me tonight.
No more going down and up and down so selfishly.
No more going up and down and up, you take the lead.
I don’t want to live for me.  

moriah-peters-presenta-el-tema-brave-de-su-lbum-hom-nimo-mdcnetPhoto from http://www.moriahpeters.com

Moriah’s story has been such a inspiration for me. She auditioned for Americal Idol a few years back but was criticized by the judges for her wholesome image, telling her to live life – kiss a boy – before joining the music industry. Moriah believed in waiting for marriage and thus had a ‘no kiss rule’. It’s often hard to stand for your values in this relativistic world of ours. But although Moriah didn’t win in American Idol, a random stranger (also a Christian), touched by the stand she chose to take, approached her after the audition introduced her to Wendi Foy. It was Wendi who helped her make a demo to market to record labels in Nashville. Because of this, Moriah was eventually able to join Reunion Records in 2011 and released her first album I Choose Jesus in 2012. Now she’s happily married to Joel Smallbone from the band For King & Country and they shared their first kiss on their wedding day.

I love this song because it captures what I want to say. Tonight, on New Years, I abandon myself and choose to live for Jesus. No more going left or right, up and down. I just want to follow the path that my God wants me to take. And by His grace, I can do it.

Following Jesus is not easy or convenient. And sometimes, the world will mock you for your choices. Only those who have also chosen to follow Christ can understand the commitments that believers make. But although it may be hard, when we choose Jesus, it’s always worth it.

What about you – what’s your New Years resolution for 2017?

If you haven’t yet, perhaps you’d like to take this time to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. I promise, you won’t regret it. It will be the best decision you’ll ever make.

May you live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

What does Salvation mean?

salvation_webPhoto http://www.victory.church

I was in my first year of college at Silliman University when someone first shared the gospel to me. I was told that I only had to accept Christ as Lord and savior in order to be saved. Salvation, I was told, was a gift that I could accept if I wanted to. It wouldn’t be forced on me. It was my choice to make.

But what does salvation really mean?

This was our topic tonight at GLC 2 (Global Leadership Center). GLC is a series of classes scheduled once a week at our church CCF (Christ Commission Fellowship). It’s purpose is to equip us to go beyond barriers to share the gospel to as many people as possible and to help us live a life for Christ.

Salvation is more than just the forgiveness of sins. Our speaker tonight gave us 3 things that happen when we receive the gift of salvation.

Born again. Once we accept Christ as Lord and Saviour, we are born again. Our old self no longer exists. This is our rebirth. Our chance to be new again.

New creation. Salvation is about us being a new creation is Christ Jesus.

New nature. Salvation is about having a new nature. Our old nature, the nature that wants to sin and do dishonorable things will still be there, fighting to win over our new nature. How can we win? We can win by starving the old nature and feeding the new. It’s only by focusing on God that we will be able to achieve victory in our life.

1 Peter 1:3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

It’s not about being perfect or never sinning again, because no one is righteous. Good works cant save us. Only faith can.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Once you accept Christ, it’s impossible for you to be the same. You will be slowly changed by God. Salvation leads to a changed life. Jesus isn’t interested in making a few touch ups – he wants a complete renovation. We think tune-up, but Jesus wants an overhaul. When we choose to follow him, Jesus will turn our lives upside down. He isn’t interested in having uncommitted followers. He wants complete and total dependence on Him.

God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way

-Mac Lucado

What then is role of good words?

If we are saved through salvation and not by good works, what then is role of good works?

Good works are a result of a life lived for Christ. It cannot bring us salvation. But good works result from having Christ in our life. Because again, once Christ is in us, we will be changed.

What next?

After everything God has done, what is our response?

We are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Worship isn’t only about going to church on Sundays or attending bible study. Worship is a lifestyle. Living a life as a sacrifice – holy and pleasing to God.

I admit that this is something I need to work on. When it comes to living a life of worship, I’m not as consistent as I should be. Some days, I get it. On other days, I fall into sin again. This is why I need the Lord more than ever. Because I can never do it on my own. I can only triumph over sin through His grace alone.

How about you? Do you live your life in worship?

God isn’t after perfection but a transformed life. All He asks is for you to let Him in.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

The Epic Love Story of Titanic

header-was-rose-just-imagining-things-fan-theory-proposes-that-titanic-s-jack-wasn-t-even-real-jpeg-240931-1Photo from asiatrvl.com

Who hasn’t heard of the timeless love story of Jack and Rose in Titanic? I remember watching it when I was in the 4th grade. The movie had ended but I didn’t want to move from my seat. It was so romantic and yet tragic. The me-against-the-world, I-would-die-for-you kind of love. So when Pastor Fernie showed a photo of Jack and Rose at the CCF service yesterday, it brought back a rush of memories. I thought that was the only epic love story of Titanic. It turns out, it wasn’t.

On the eve 1912, The Titanic, a luxury steam ship set sail from England to New York. On that ship was a 39-year-old Scotish pastor from Great Britain, John Harper, with his 9-year-old daughter. They had just finished their daily devotion when they heard a commotion outside. It turned that The Titanic had hit an iceberg and was slowly sinking. Harper quickly helped his daughter into one of the life boats and went back to the ship to help save more people. One of the survivors recall seeing Harper praying with terrified passengers on the deck for their salvation. While everyone else was busy fighting for their life, Harper was focused on saving them not only in this lifetime but for eternity.

john-harperPhoto of John Harper from moodychurch.org

John Harper’s last convert

In the ice-cold water, John Harper was doing his best to save as many people as he could. One Scottish survivor, Steve Crain, recalls that fateful night when the ocean waves brought John Harper near him.

“Are you saved?” Harper called out to him while holding on to a piece of wood.

“No I am not.” Replied the Scotsman.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Was John Harpers reply.

“Are you saved?” Harper asked for the second time.

“No,” Replied Crain.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31) Harper repeated. Then, loosing his hold on the wood, John Harper sank to the depths of the ocean. Never to be seen again.

Steve Crain, in that moment, accepted Jesus as Lord and savior of his life. And he was John Harpers last convert.

titanic-sinking-underwaterPhoto from titanicuniverse.com

I’ve always thought that the story of Jack and Rose was the epic love story of Titanic. It turns out, it isn’t. John Harpers story surpasses their love story in ways that can’t be explained. His love for Jesus Christ goes beyond life. Because he knew he was already saved, he wasn’t afraid to die. And up until his last breath, he continued to preach the Gospel.

We are all called to make disciples of all nations. That is our great commission. Our ultimate calling.

When was the last time you shared Jesus to someone?

God has given believers the responsibility of spreading the Gospel to all the world, and we need to use all at our disposal to accomplish this task.

Theodore Epp

I admit that I don’t do it as often as I should. John Harpers story, the epic love story of Titanic, reminded of what I should be doing everyday. So many people need the Lord. As His children, it is our privilege to share the Gospel to as many people as we can.

You have one business on earth – to save souls.
― John Weslet

Don’t wait for your last moments on earth to share the Gospel. Start doing it today.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

On Finding True Love

finding-true-love-with-tarotPhoto from freetarotreadinglove.com

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you find it.

Before I met Christ, I used to think I was ok. I was basically a good girl who did well in school and only broke a few rules. Being a very goal oriented person, I tried to find fulfillment and happiness in achievement. But no matter what I did, there always seemed to be something missing. Coming from a Roman Catholic family, I’ve known about Jesus since I was young, but I’ve never really had a personal relationship with him. I felt like God was someone you praised and admired from afar.

Then a friend of mine invited me to a Christian church. I was still a college student in Silliman University then. That was when I first had an encounter with Christ. I was amazed by how happy they all seemed, how fulfilled.

Time is God’s paintbrush as he paints his masterpiece in the hearts of humanity.

-Ravi Zacharias

I had no idea then, but God was already painting his masterpiece in my heart. My personal relationship with God didn’t happen in an instant.

Like most relationships, it blossomed through time. My first impression of Christianity, was wow, they have nice music here. They had a full band and all the musicians from the drummer to the bassist to the singer were so good. I’ve always loved music and the excellent playing of that church’s music team was what kept me coming back. I became friends with band and eventually joined the music team. I guess you could say, music lead me to God. When I accepted Christ in my life as Lord and Savior, it was only then that I realized what I was missing. The joy I felt in having a relationship with Christ eclipsed everything else in my life.

After I graduated college, I was in a limbo as to what I really wanted to do with my life. I tried a lot of things. Eventually, God lead me to real estate and together with my partners, we founded Truly Wealthy Realty. At the time, I didn’t have a church here so without meaning to, I started to lose my way. I began to focus again on trying to achieve fulfillment thru worldly success: Through winning Toastmaster contests, closing deals and making money. And yes, I achieved these things. But the happiness was not only shallow, it was fleeting. I was like a dog running after its own tail – chasing dream after dream with no end in sight. No achievement, no matter how lofty, seemed to be enough to make me happy. Then a friend of mine, Eddie, invited me to CCF. It was here that I found the Lord again. I started attending Dgroup and eventually, with the encouragement of my Dgroup leader, I started to lead my own Dgroup.

I remember what Ate Mel Santos told me, “Lex, start leading. You’re ready. Trust me, leading your own Dgroup is more fulfilling than closing deals.”

You know what, she was wrong. It doesn’t even come close. Through being part of a Dgroup and leading my own dgroup, I regained my balance. I started to focus on what is truly important – Jesus Christ.

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you find it.

Being a Christian all these years has made me realize 3 things:

First, a Christian cannot be a lone ranger. We need each other to grow in Christ. Even super heroes have their own groups. Justice league, Fantastic 4, even Batman had Robin. Superman had Louis Lane. We need the intimacy, accountability and the emotional support of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. That is why it is crucial to be part of a Dgroup. When you’re part of a discipleship group, you can watch out for each other and help one another during tough times.

Second, we need to share the gospel and disciple others. As believers, we need to bring as many people to Christ as we possibly can. It is both our burden and privilege. It was only when I started discipling others that I became more committed to honoring and obeying God. A teacher must practice what he preaches. Being a discipler has allowed my faith to mature in ways I could never have thought possible. Many are content to accept Christ as savior but not as Lord. But God calls us not to be timid disciples but bold witnesses. That is the great commission. That is our mission.

Third, God + 0 = more than enough. Everything else is just a bonus. A great career, financial security, a Godly husband… These are all just bonuses. I’m not defined by what I achieve, the amount of wealth I own or in having the ideal husband, but in Christ Jesus alone. He is my rock and my salvation. And in Him, I will not be shaken.

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you find it.

I have found my identity in Christ-and never again am I letting go.

This is love, in the highest and truest form, in every sense of the word.

May you find Christ like I did and live a truly wealthy life.

-Alex

The Passion of Christ

the-passion-of-the-christPhoto from mubi.com

It’s hard to find absolutes in todays relativistic world. Most things now are relative, how can one be totally certain of something? Can one still find an idea or premise that’s completely, totally and absolutely true?

I was listening to a talk by Ravi Zacharias and he tackled this topic beautifully. According to Mr. Zaharias, there are 4 absolutes in todays relativistic world.

Justice. We are always talking about justice. What’s right. What should be done. What we deserve. It doesn’t matter what our religion or citizenship is. We all want justice for ourselves, for others.
To define real evil. Evil can take on many view points. What’s evil from where I’m standing may be different from yours. What is the true definition of evil?
Love. The most important thing in the world that knows no boundaries is love. We are all capable of it and we all want to give and receive it.
Forgiveness. We all need and are capable of giving forgiveness.

What struck me the most was when Mr. Zacharias emphasized that the one place in the world where these four converge is on a hill called Calvary on the cross of Christ.

I just finished watching the Passion of Christ with our Friday Dgroup. It was painful to watch the extent of the suffering our Lord had to go through to save us from our sins. At the same time, it was also humbling to know the extent of Christ’s love for us. Growing up I’ve known that my God died for me. But it’s different to really “know” that he died for me.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8

This is where the importance of having a bible study group comes in. At CCF we call it Discipleship Group or Dgroup. Having a group that I’m accountable to helps keep me on track. They help me build my spiritual muscle so that when it’s crunch time, then I am better able to stand against the weight of temptation. The devil knows where our weak points are. We need to equip ourselves and get all the help we can to stand strong.It’s easy to judge the Pharisees and the people who crucified Christ. But as Mr. Zacharias put it, “The human heart is capable of the most extreme things when untamed and ungoverned. The problem is not merely moral, it is spiritual.”

The centerpiece of the gospel is the cross of Christ. We need to remind ourselves daily of what Jesus had to go through to save us from our sins. The truth is God loves us, and it’s because of this love, that he died to set us free. But we cannot be set free, we won’t be saved, if we don’t accept Christ as our Lord and saviour. It’s a choice that each of us are given the privilege to make.

Free will, though it makes evil possible, is the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automa- of creatures that worked like machines-would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for his higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared to with which the most rapturous love between a man and woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free. Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently he thought it worth the risk.

-C.S Lewis

What about you? How does the crucifixion of Christ affect you?

As for me, it humbled me for he died for me, a sinner. I’ve accepted Christ and by His grace, I’m now free.

Accepting Christ is your personal choice. I hope, for your sake, you make the right choice.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Why We Struggle with Purity

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Photo from buzz.eewmagazine.com

Remaining chaste and pure before marriage has become even more of struggle in todays world were sex outside of marriage has become the norm. Nowadays it’s accepted in most cultures to engage in sexual activity outside the marriage bed. I know that this is a sensitive topic to most people but I’ve chosen to write this post because it’s very real and it won’t go away simple by sweeping it under the bed. Keeping ones purity is a genuine struggle and I’m the first to admit that I struggle with it just as much as the next person.

According to C.S Lewis in his book Mere Christianity, to maintain our purity, we should either be completely faithful to our spouse or if unmarried, be totally abstinent. Now this is so contrary to our basic nature and that’s why it’s so hard to do.

He goes on to say that there are three main reasons why we struggle with sexual purity.

First, we have been led to believe by the devil in the lie that sexual desires are “healthy” and “normal”. And like all powerful lies, it is based on a truth – sex in itself (apart from the excesses and obsessions that have grown around it) is “normal” and “healthy”. God intended sex to be enjoyable so we would derive pleasure from it. It’s one of the greatest things you can experience with someone – but that someone should be your spouse alone. The lie then consists in the suggestion that any sexual act is healthy and normal. That’s it’s ok to give in to all our sexual desires. However, to achieve real happiness, quite a lot of restraint is necessary. If you do not have any sense of control then you’ll end up ruining your whole life.

Second, many people think that remaining sexually pure is so impossible, they don’t even bother trying. As a result, many give up before they even started. But think about it, when you attempt to do something thinking that it’s impossible, will you achieve it? With that mindset, I think not. It’s like answering a test. You may get some marks for an imperfect answer. But you’ll get nothing if you leave the test paper blank. You can be sure that achieving sexual purity – chastity – is impossible if based on your own efforts. But you’re not alone. God is there to help you. It’s only through his grace that we can hope to surpass this. Sometimes, it can feel like no matter how hard you try you just keep on failing. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but the power in trying again. For this process teaches us to depend on God and not on ourselves. We learn that we can’t trust ourselves even in our best moments and that we need not despair even in our worst, for we are already forgiven.

Third, psychology teaches us that “repressed” sex is dangerous. On the contrary, those who are seriously attempting chastity are more conscious, and soon know a great deal more about their sexuality than those who simply give in. After all, like other appetites, the sexual appetite grows by indulgence. It is in learning to control it that you conquer yourself.

This desire for heart purity is a creation of the Holy Spirit at work in the heart. ~ Duncan Campbell

Physical intimacy between husband and wife is sacred and beautiful. It’s an expression of love reserved for marriage. Chastity isn’t easy to achieve but with God’s help, we can overcome anything. Let’s depend more on him.

All things are made beautiful when done according to God’s perfect timing.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

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