Archive | July 2011

The Pearl and The Butterfly

God has created so many beautiful things on this Earth as an example and representation to show meaning and purpose to our lives. John 1:3 says, “3All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being.”  Genesis 1:31 “31And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely.”  Although some things were corrupted through man’s sins, God still has some examples for us to use in creation that we can take away from.

Did you know that when a piece of sand is in an oyster it goes through a lot of pressure, refining, and weathering to make it come out shining like a beautiful pearl?  Our lives are the same way.  We go through many trials, ups and downs, tribulations, testings and weatherings, and we don’t realize the purpose until much later that God was trying to make a pearl out of us.  We are all each exotic pieces to a beautiful necklace.

God thinks we’re beautiful and He wants to form us into the creation that He sees in us.   So He might use different circumstances and different people and different situations to make us really question things in life, but God has a purpose.  He is shaping you to be a beautiful pearl.  When you become a pearl then you may develop some wisdom in this area and are able to share your “Pearls of wisdom” with other people and then you can be a blessing to others.  I truly believe that behind every pain and struggle that the enemy puts into our lives, God has allowed it to create beauty out of our lives and to shape us to fulfill our destiny.  God will give you back what satan has stolen sevenfold, just like it says in the Book of Job.

Another example God has given is the butterfly.  It starts out as this slimy, icky looking, sluggish, caterpillar, who on it’s own is just an infant, but to reach it’s maturity it is in a cocoon.  It stays there for awhile and it builds up strength.  What it’s doing on the inside no one can see.  But it is developing muscles and it is transforming itself so it can be a whole new creature.  It will expand and develop wings.  FYI:  Did you know that some butterflies actually have alphabetic letters on their wings?  I’ve seen them in Hebrew and in English, but I was told there are many other languages.  Butterflies are beautiful creatures and people love to marvel at their beauty and spectactularity (maybe not even a word) but I like to use it here.  The Houston Museum of Natural Science used to have (or maybe still does) an exhibit to look at butterflies.   But the amazing thing about them is that they come from something that was nothing like their former selves.  They used to be not able to fly and now they can fly.  They used to be primarily greenish or grayish or dull colored and depending on the type of butterfly it is now a new creation.

That is the way we become when we have accepted Christ.  We become new creations.  Gone are our old selves and we become new creatures.  Do you know why?  Not because we are not the same person in body and in mind, but we are a new person in spirit.  We have taken on the Holy Spirit of Christ.  We are no longer bound to our sins and Christ has cleansed us from our sins so we become new creations.

The butterfly analogy can be used to also describe a period of transition in our lives, when we seem to be stuck in one place, just like the pearl.  We don’t seem to be moving anywhere or doing anything or we don’t think anything good is happening in our lives, but God is working behind the scenes.  He is creating something in us to prepare us to be His bride.  His bride is the most beautiful creation in the world to the Lord and He loves His bride.  The Father God created the perfect bride for His Son.  She would have perfect eyes, perfect ears, perfect smile, perfect mind, and be perfect and beautiful in all ways just the way Christ is.

So some people don’t feel that perfect or beautiful right now and that’s ok because we don’t need plastic surgery because even Christ Himself was not handsome or attractive or anything to be looked at on this Earth, as it says in Isaiah 52.  But we know that in His redeemed body He was glorified and beautiful.  The same way we are going to be glorified and beautiful creatures with resurrected bodies.  But even in our spirits right now we are being shaped in Christlikeness so  we can become more and more like Christ developing in His character and His attitude so we can treat all things the way He treated them and so we can know Him who created us.  So if you feel like your in a cocoon right now, it’s ok – You will lose those pounds, You will get that job, You will write those books, and You will turn out and continue to become something that you never thought possible.  If you feel hurt by wounds of what other people said, or angry or depressed it’s ok because as long as you trust in God and realize that God is using you to shape you into a beautiful pearl or a beautiful butterfly.  Like the potter who makes the clay, He is the great Creator and He will shape you into being His perfection as you go through these things so you once you are free and can fly as a butterfly or can shine like a pearl you can be a blessing to others.

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God loves you even if you mess up sometimes

So many of us are waiting for someone to love us unconditionally, that no matter what we do or what we are like and even if we are total failures and we do something wrong, we ache for someone to love us just the way we are.  God loves us the way we are, but He loves us too much is to keep us that way.  Whatever addictions and problems that we may or may not have, God always has the solution and the promise waiting at the end.  It is through the mistakes that you go through in the refiners that you learn how to be purified as gold or silver, and in that process you may go through many trials, mistakes, and failures, but in the end God will restore what was once broken and hopeless and give joy and peace and make all things right in the bigger picture.  There are things that we must do as Christians as our responsiblity, but it must be led by the Spirit of God and when you are falling into condemnation then you need to learn how to go to God and accept His forgiveness.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139)

He knows what mistake you are going to make even before you make it and He is going to help you realize what areas you need to fix if you take the evaluation of your life.   In return He will give you beauty for ashes and joy for mourning and praise for heaviness.  He will fix upon you a new start and give you new mercies everyday.  Of course, He may even allow you to correct your mistake, like I made when I first wrote this post.  So there is always hope wherever you are.  People are at different levels, but God is always the one who can lift you up out of the miry clay.

 

 

 

Freedom

What is the meaning of Freedom?  As we celebrate the Fourth of July, or as it is known America as Independence day I wanted to shed light on the meaning of Freedom.  In the United States of America, we are blessed to have what is known as Freedom to this day.  Whether it is the same kind of Freedom our Founding Fathers were looking for is debatable.  But we know that Christ has given us some types of Freedom.

According to the etymology of the word, “free”, which came from “freo” in Old English, it means no longer being in bondage.  Other meanings are related to love, and also NOT being under “foreign rule and despotism” (Online Etymology Dictionary).

When talking about the first meaning of the word, Freedom – Christ has made us free from a bondage to sin and death.  Death here is not talking about physical death, but spiritual death, which is the suffering one must go through if he or she chooses not to accept Christ.

He gave us a Free will so that we can choose whether to love and accept Him or not.  Morgan Freeman, no pun intended, said in Bruce Almighty, while he was playing God in the role said to Bruce when he was asked how to make someone love someone else without affecting free will,  said, “When you find that one out, let me know?”  I thought about this even though it was a movie.  I came to realize that God loves us so much, and He even loved lucifer so much to give him the free will. He gave us the power to choose whether to love Him or not, which brings up an interesting point when discussing Romans.  Paul says that we are “slaves to Christ”, and that He has “chosen us”.  But this concept of being a slave brings up an interesting question – does being a slave negate your ability to have a free will?  Can it stop you from running away at any time?  No you still have the choice, and you have to live with consequences.  We are slaves to Christ, but He does not treat us like slaves or servants, He treats us like friends.   For people that went through slavery in this nation, sometimes the consequence was very painful, or even death.  As long as your mind is correctly working and you have the mental aptitude to make a choice then you have a free will.  If you are mentally insane, or have a disease like Alzheimer’s or Dementia, then you may not have free will or choice in what you think or believe or act.  In that case God is taking care of you, and He knows what is in your heart.

So going back to the concept of being free- another meaning of free is without cost.  But we were not free, we were very expensive so to say that we are slaves to Christ is not that accurate because He bought us with a very special price.  When He created the Earth and knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb, He went out and specifically chose us to see which of us were worth the price, and then we were given the special option of getting to choose who’s going to be our owner, God, or satan.  When I am thinking about this I get the image of Toy Story.  The Father is like the original owner of Woody in Toy Story 1, the boy who bought and loved Woody with all his heart.  By the time Toy Story 3 comes around, (sorry for spoiler), Woody and the toys belong to a new owner and that is a little girl, which could represent Jesus.  Theologically this doesn’t make that much sense and is a loose interpretation, but it gives the example of being bought with a price.  In Toy Story 3, Woody actually chooses to be with the girl.  The Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are by all means superior to the characters in Toy Story, so I want to emphasize that this was a metaphor to illustrate a point – that we essentially are not cheap, but we were bought with a price and we have the capability to choose our Master.  We were bought with a price so we could choose to be Kings and Preists for the Kingdom of God.

Christ also established us as free from the law.  What this really means is free from the consequences of not following the law legalistically and ritualistically, but we as Christians have to follow the Ten Commandments, or we have to face the consequences of not repenting from those sins.  In Galatians, it says that the Law was actually like a teacher, and once we have been taught, we don’t need them any more and what they have taught us should be written our hearts and minds.

In America we are blessed to have Freedom up to this point, which is essentially free from foreign rule or despotism, but even that was bought with a price.  Many people had to die so that we could experience the Freedom that we have today.  When God is going to do something great, there is usually some kind of cost, or trade off.  In Economics, we call this an Opportunity Cost,( the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices) [Wikipedia].    I’m sure God has done His cost and benefit analysis when coming to terms with the Freedom He gave us as Americans, and also as He gave us as Christians.

Looking ahead to the future, are we always going to have Freedom in America?  Maybe, maybe not, no one really knows, and it would be a sad thing to see if it ever did occur that America lost it’s Freedom.  As Christians in America look at how many of the Ten Commandments we have broken:  1) No other gods before The Lord, 2) Do not make or worship graven images 3) Do not take the Lord’s name in vain or entertain or associate with someone who takes the Lord’s name in vain 4) Remember and observe the Sabbath (Saturday – if you are not sure – think of Spanish for Saturday, SABADO, 5) Honor your Father and Mother 6) Do not murder 7) Do not commit adultery 8 ) Do not Steal 9) Do not lie 10) Do not covet or desire something that belongs to someone else.

How many of those do we follow in America?  How many of those do we follow as Christians?  Even look at our Law makers and see how many of them follow all these Commandments.  But fortunately, Jesus gave us two Commandments, known as the Great Commandments, “Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as you love yourself”.

1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

If we really loved each other regardless of being Christian, or not being Christian, imagine what kind of revolution could take place.  But because there is an opponent out there trying to keep us from this kind of love in our lives, and it is only a love that can come from Christ and he wants to steal us of that love.

Let us celebrate that we have Freedom in America, and that we can enjoy the Freedom from the time being from severe persecution and slavery, and foreign rule and oppression as we take pride in the God that holds our nation together, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Are all dreams besides nightmares from God?

If your dream has bad parts in it or parts that are not pleasing to you – does that necessarily mean it is from satan or it could be a warning that God is trying to tell you?  Should you come against the dream even if it has a bad message and made you feel bad after having it?  I would like to hear from more people about Biblical dream interpretation.