Showing posts with label Advise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Advise. Show all posts

Monday, September 29, 2014

Help or Be Helped: Would You Be My Angel?






            So many people nowadays believe in angels, in interacting with them, seeking their help, trying to talk to them, trying to see them. But today there is also much confusion about angels, because the secular view of angels has invaded the media. There are books, films, songs you name it about angels. A lot of people have become obsessed with angels and have become insensitive to their friends, coworkers, neighbors and even family members. In their pursuit of angels, they have forgotten the most important thing: giving praise and glory to God by loving one another. They are so busy trying to interact with an angel that they lose touch with their personal relationship with others and many times even with God. Now, I am going to propose another view on angels.

            I am not saying angels don’t exist or that they are not important¾please don’t get me wrong. What I have a problem with is when people’s obsession with angels makes them overlook the teachings of Jesus Christ and leads them to neglect their relationship with God. Once Jesus Christ is a priority in our lives, we can then learn to love and respect the angels.

             Why do we obsess about angels? I think because we crave a stronger, more solid relationship with God. We want to be more spiritual, but we approach it in a proud and even selfish way: “I and my angel”, “I have a unique relationship with angels”, “I am special because I communicate with angels”, “I am unique and good because I see my guardian angel.” In the end, we might end up forgetting others. We can become so focused on ourselves that we forget the main thing God wants us to do¾which is to love one another and take care of each other. Jesus Christ left us a message about loving one another. If we can focus on this, then we can be like living, breathing angels to each other. The message of Jesus was a powerful message of love in every sense of the word love in the sense of giving without expecting back, forgiving, not judging, treating others as we would like to be treated, helping those who are different, helping those who are in need, helping the sad, the lonely and the hungry.

            We can be angels to each other. We can give more time to others. We can listen to them, offer them our company, give them our support. We can be more patient with each other and more kind. We can change the world with our love, moving forward step by step, without having any grandiose expectations of “becoming enlightened” or “interacting with angels.” We can be content to just be ourselves, a simple person with many defects but capable of loving all the same.  Knowing deep in our hearts that we are a unique child of God made in His image to love and to be loved.

             Jesus came so that we would become children of God. Why do people get lost and start almost worshiping angels, obsessing about them…and all the while neglecting their relationship with God? All we need to say is: “God, Father, I need help,” and He will immediately send His angels so that we won’t even hit our foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:12) When we trust God and ask for His help, we know that His help will come through His angels in heaven or through those people who, out of love, become, even if for a moment, angels on earth.






Wisdom to contemplate:


“Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute (you), bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ Rather, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.’ Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)










Tuesday, September 23, 2014

True love ?







            We all wonder…does true love really exist? Will it happen for me? When will it happen in my life? Some of us go through life trying to appear strong and independent. Many of us go through life alone, struggling with loneliness and convincing ourselves that love is not a reality but a myth. We think Hollywood has exaggerated things and that people are fooling themselves, and we tell ourselves that we are smarter than that. We see ourselves as realistic, mature, independent and self-reliant! Besides, we are too busy, too this or too that to believe in love. After all, there are so many fish in the sea. We convince ourselves that it is illogical to think that there is only one perfect match for us and that we have to go out into the world to find him or her. It is ludicrous to think we need to put up with one person and one person only for the rest of our lives; after all, we are sexual creatures, we need variety, and times have changed! Right?

            Wrong! I am sorry if I disappoint you, but I am of a very different point of view. I believe people tell themselves lies as a defense mechanism, to protect themselves. They often convince themselves of ideas that have been taught to them by their own brains, a bitter psychology professor or the media. Many times, we tell ourselves that love does not exist, so we can excuse the fact that we are incapable of commitment. Maybe we need to face the fact that we need to change a few things about ourselves. Maybe, of all the chapters in this book, this will be the one that you will really disagree with. But look at it from the bright side if you can discern what is good and valuable for you and ignore what is bad, then what you are reading is already worth it. If you don’t like what I say but you feel in the very depths of your soul that I am right, then maybe you should reorganize your priorities and your life. 

        Do not be afraid to change your mind! Love is a reality, not a myth. But someone who does not believe in love will never find it. Perfect people are a myth, not a reality, but a perfect match does exist for each one of us. The idea that we can only fall in love with a perfect person is nonsense; it is unreasonable and unrealistic. But loving someone as a package, with all of his or her good and bad characteristics, is a possibility. Hoping for things to run smoothly and without any obstacles from the very beginning is unrealistic, but working things out one problem at a time is a wise approach. If two people keep in mind their love for each other and focus on the goal of being happy together, then, no matter what disagreement or argument happens, they will be able to overcome it.

 This is what I want to say to you in a nutshell. Now let me be a bit more specific. The most important thing is to always be honest with ourselves. Yes, we need to examine ourselves and find out what kind of person we are, what our priorities in life are and what we want or don’t want. This is essential in order for us to steer our lives into the right direction.

            If, from the bottom of your heart, you know that you never want to marry and that you will be happier by yourself than with a partner, then you can skip this chapter. If you are called to live a single life, then you need to embrace that call. Those called to the single life can live very fulfilling joyful lives, lives that God uses to touch and bless others. But, if, in the depths of your heart, you know that you believe in love and you want to find your soul mate, if you feel you are called to marriage, or if you would like to understand people who do , and/or give advise to those who need it then this chapter might be a good read!

            I believe we all have a soul mate. I know this sounds corny, but it does not make it less real. Many people are bullied into giving up their desire for and belief in a soul mate. But, in my opinion, there is a person out there for each one of us who will not only complete us but will also bring out the best in us, a person with whom we will become one flesh. We will no longer feel as if we are two people, but one more complete person.

            Somewhere, there is a person who will force us to extend our limits and who will not allow us to ever be mediocre. Someone who, in one way or another, will propel us to continue to improve and grow spiritually. Someone who will inspire us to be more patient, kind, humble, forgiving, encouraging, giving, trusting, truthful, hopeful, enduring and balanced. The person we fall in love with will make us push ourselves to the limit. That person will help us to become a better listener, advisor and friend. Sometimes that person will lovingly correct us or remind us of what is important. At other times, that person’s behavior will demand that we put into practice concepts that we believe in but have never acted on.

Finding this very special someone is not an easy task. But the best things in life don’t come easy. Why are we willing to try hard, look hard and work hard when it comes to our career, making money or being beautiful but not when it comes to finding true love?

             Why? Maybe because the world often teaches us to be mediocre in our dealings with love and society pushes us to have meaningless relationships. We are told that we should “have a taste of each different ice cream.” Our society applauds “not being so serious” and “having fun” and in the end all that happens is that we end up empty, frustrated and alone.

            Why do we let the world tell us what to believe? Why do we get duped into pursuing a series of meaningless relationships? Maybe because deep inside we think it is better not to believe in a great love than it is to pursue true love and never find it or, even worse, find love and then lose it. So maybe, as usual, the culprit is fear. My guess is that it is a mixture of fear, ego and selfishness. Because in order to have a great love, you have to be willing to give it everything you have and to risk everything you have for it. For a great love, you need two people who are willing to sacrifice and to compromise. In such an endeavor, there is no room for ego. There is only room for two people who have opened themselves completely to each other in order to become one, one in mind and actions, two people trying their best to endure and to overcome whatever challenges come their way.  

             Some people know that they are in love right away; other people take a while to realize it or to have the courage to accept it. When we are in love, it is important to recognize it, acknowledge it and act on it. With love, taking a chance is always worth it. Rejection you can live with, but missing out on the love of your life is something that is tragic and, many times, unfixable. The hardships that may come as part of the journey we embark on when we meet that special someone are worth it because loving is a feeling, a place, a situation, an experience that cannot be matched by anything else.

             To love is to choose to love. Yes, loving is a choice, a choice to make ourselves vulnerable, to not pretend, to not use masks and to give our hearts completely. To love is to believe we can love and be loved. To love is to dive into something with our heart full of trust and our mind set on the idea that we will be committed to it in good times and in bad, come what may. Loving requires constant revision of our “self.” It requires second-guessing ourselves and being open to accept that there are many things we need to change and many areas in which we need to improve. This is why I say that for one who does not believe in love it will be hard or even impossible to ever experience it or even understand it.

            There are no guarantees just our faith in this love we have found and our faith in God, because God is the glue that holds the two together. He is the source of all hope, the source of all patience and the source of selfless love. God’s guidance is the only way to correctly discern if what we feel is love. It is an awesome truth that one thing always remains the same that we can always count on God for help in our every decision. When we invite God to help us decide and through prayer seek for answers, then answers will be given to us. God knows the plans that He has for us, and if we invite Him into our every situation, then each time we will be given the gift that we need in order to make the best decision. He will make sure we have all tools we need in order to make the right choice. God will help us open our eyes and open our hearts. It is His delight to help us find our way in life. If we open our hearts, we will be able to discern what is good and pleasing to Him.

  





Wisdom to contemplate:
    



“Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)


“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” 
(Romans 12:2)


“And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)









Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gossip: Controlling the Tongue






Let’s focus on controlling what can become our worst enemy our tongues. Let’s say no to gossip and to all the other hurtful things that we can say to others! The people around us are very precious. When we are down, others can help us get up. When we are sad, others will cheer us up. When we feel we cannot go on, others will motivate us and encourage us. There is a proverb that says: “He who throws stones drives away birds; he who insults a friend breaks up the friendship.” Nobody is an island. We all need each other, especially when we are lonely or sad. But if we scare away everyone who cares for us by misusing our tongues, then we will inevitably find ourselves very alone.

            When we misuse the tongue, it harms us and others. We need to realize the importance of avoiding its bad habits. With the tongue we: lie, gossip, give away secrets and speak angry words. All these things will result in us becoming increasingly lonely. Why? Because people try to avoid pain at any cost, and lies, gossip, angry words and the betrayal of secrets hurt. Nobody likes pain, so we cannot blame people who drift away and avoid us if we have hurt them.

Sometimes the damage done by our words is obvious, and sometimes it is not. But the damage is not any less because we cannot see it. If we want loyal, caring, good friends, we have to be one ourselves. We need to be careful, so we do not lose all those people who love us. When we gossip and lie, we destroy the peace of those around us, and good people will after that do anything to avoid us. The only ones who will be left around us will be other gossips and liars, who will sooner or later end up gossiping or lying about us.

            The rule is simple: If we have nothing nice to say, it’s better to say anything at all. This does not mean that we don’t criticize or admonish the people we love. Criticism given in love is helpful and valuable. When our intention is to help and make things better, we still need to think carefully before saying it, and if we are still convinced it is a good thing to do, we can go ahead and speak. But if we are going to say something out of anger, jealousy, envy or revenge, or when the intention is to hurt, then our words are better not said. We must always think before we talk!

            The tongue can do a great deal of damage, but the tongue can also do a great deal of good as long as it is controlled by love. Without love, nothing can bring us good, but every action inspired by love, even if it seems small and unimportant, will bring some fruit afterward. Let’s make an effort to control our tongues. Any time we are trying to accomplish something of value, every time we want to do something good, we need to put effort in it. After a while, all our efforts will pay off and the results of our efforts will be good because when a good thing is repeated several times, then it becomes a habit. Let’s make it a habit to use our tongues for loving, encouraging, motivating, congratulating and everything else that is good. We can change the world, one word at a time!




Wisdom to contemplate:


“The tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna…With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers. Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can salt water yield fresh.” (James 3:5-6,9-12)



“He tells the truth who states what he is sure of, but a lying witness speaks deceitfully.” (Proverbs 12:17)



“He who guards his mouth protects his life; to open wide one’s lips brings downfall.” (Proverbs 13:3)








Sunday, August 10, 2014

Acquaintance, Date, Match: Lies or love?





So…let’s keep talking about love. How do we know when, and if, it is love that we are feeling? Many of us have thought that we were “in love” on more than a few occasions. We have been sure that “this time this is the one.” At least for us girls, it starts very early; we have strong feelings and can’t fight them. Like fools, all we do is think about the person who has stolen our hearts. And as soon as we are not around that person, we wonder when he will call. So we wait desperately next to the phone, dreaming of that last tender kiss. We go to bed dying of anticipation for the next school day, wondering if that special person will be there, hoping that at least we’ll get to say hi.

            In my opinion, “love” is no less “love” because it is in the heart of a young person; it can be as strong as, or even stronger than, the feelings we may experience when we grow older. We daydream in the same way while we listen to love songs or gaze into the sky on a starry night. We wish with the same intensity that it will last forever. We plan and dream about the same things, and then we suffer and hurt the same way when the relationship comes to an end.

             So how can we tell when love is for real? I think the answer to this question is not what is most important. Are you surprised? Maybe a bit confused? Let me explain. Love is real. Love is out there for every single one of us who believes in it. What will determine if we will find the love of our lives? What will determine if we will be happy and if one day we’ll be able to experience the great blessing of real love in our lives?

            When we feel in love, we should not be afraid; we should just let things flow. But there are a few rules we should follow if we want to have a better chance at finding true love. First, we must be real. No acting. No role playing. Do you know what I mean? Many times we try to give a certain impression, as if we are picking a character we are going to play in a movie. We decide what type of partner we want to be and what kind of relationship we want to have without being ourselves or allowing things to happen naturally.

            But if we force things in one way or another, if we pretend to be someone we are not, or if we act in some way that we normally wouldn’t, then we start out without truth. And when there is no truth, there is no chance for a good relationship. We have to start our relationships with as much honesty as we possibly can. We must be honest with our partner and with ourselves. In this way, we build the foundation of our relationship on rock.

            The second thing is to let things flow. Everything is perfect if we trust in God. Everything happens for the best when we allow things to develop naturally and we know in our hearts that we have been honest. So, if the relationship does not work out, even though we might be feeling immense pain, we can find the strength to let go. By trusting that things always happen for the best, we allow God to extend his loving hand to us. He wants us to find our soul mate. He wants us to find our calling in life. He wants us to be happy.

            So why don’t we all do this? There are many wrong reasons for why we may pick and/or hold on to the wrong person. Here are some of them:

Ø  We are lonely: We want to feel loved, special and cared for. We see couples everywhere; love is in the songs on the radio, at the movies and on the TV. We rush into a relationship because we are so tired of being alone. It seems as if we are the only one who has not been able to have a steady relationship. All of our friends seem to be married or have boyfriends/girlfriends. We feel there must be something wrong with us! Are we not lovable? We think of how our family loves us, but we think they have to because they are stuck with us. Sometimes even our family members don’t love us as they should. And so we want that special someone to come along. Someone who will sweep us off our feet. Someone who will love us because he thinks we are amazing. Someone who wants to spend every minute next to us. Someone who dreams with us. And we wonder if that is ever going to happen to us. Are we good enough, lucky enough? Millions of questions start to flood our minds, questions that cause fear and insecurity, questions that lead us to make wrong choices and big mistakes.

Ø  We feel that we are getting too old: We convince ourselves that time is running out. The funny thing about this is that it does not necessarily hit us at a particular age. We can get bitten by the “age bug lie” at any age. Once our brain believes it, that is enough. We easily fall for it and end up obsessed with the idea that by a particular age we should have found true love. If we fall for this lie, we run a very big risk of one of two things. The first one is that we can end up rushing things and settling for someone, without giving it too much thought. We are driven by the idea that we do not want to be single after a particular age, and we are terrified by the thought that we might end up alone. The second one is that we may end up in a depression because we have reached the deadline we set for ourselves and we are still alone. Last time I checked, there was no “Secret Book of Life” that tells us by what age we must be married or at what age we will find our soul mate. It is different for everyone. For each of us, it may happen at a completely different time in our lives. For some of us, it will happen in our teens, and we will marry our high school sweetheart. Others of us will experience it in our twenties, still others in our thirties, forties, fifties and so on. The important thing is not to rush and to enjoy our life as it is. Every day we live is a gift, and many things are one-time blessings, which means they will not happen twice in a lifetime. That is why, if we end up not enjoying a particular stage in our life, one day we will regret it when we realize how foolish we were and how little faith we had in ourselves and in love itself.

Ø  We want to get away from home: Depending on our cultural background, this may be a big incentive to rushing to find a partner. But this is not the right reason, and when we do something for the wrong reason, usually things end up going wrong. We might think that by getting out of our parents’ house we are going to be happy, but it might end up not being so. If our motivation for making a life with someone is to get out of the house, we will probably pick the wrong partner. And if we are with the wrong person, once we start sharing our life with that person, it will become clear that we have exchanged one bad situation for another, and at a big cost our happiness.

Ø  We lack self-confidence: It is very hard for our self-esteem not to be affected when everyone we know has a boyfriend or is married, everyone except us. This can be dangerous because it is in times like this that our minds can play tricks on us and convince us of many lies. We then start giving in and believing these lies, and in the end we might end up making a big mistake or becoming very unhappy. A partner does not make us a better, happier, prettier, wiser person. We make ourselves a better and happier person. Don’t count on anyone else to make you feel good about yourself. It is God who can change us and transform our lives from the inside out, through the power of prayer. A partner cannot do this for us, and in fact many times the wrong mate can greatly reduce our self-confidence. Let’s feel good about ourselves independent of other people. Let’s feel good about ourselves because we are God’s precious child, and because we are unique and God made only one of us. Only then will we feel good about ourselves next to someone else; otherwise, we set ourselves up for a miserable life.

Ø  We need some love and attention: We humans will do almost anything for attention and love. Actually, most of the things we do (good and bad) are in some way to get that love and attention we so much crave. But we need to focus on getting our love from the source of all love: God. God is love, and when we have invited God into our hearts, we have all the love we need. When our relationship with God is strong and it is His love that is feeding us, then we stop craving the attention of others. If we are not careful about this, we may end up accepting someone as a partner just to get love and attention. This can be a recipe for disaster. We might end up with a broken heart or end up breaking someone else’s heart. Neither option is good.

Ø  Our hormones are rushing us: Sometimes our hormones can really confuse us. We feel a rush of emotion and passion. We feel shaky and hot. We feel butterflies in our stomach. We feel so much emotion it shakes us from the inside out. But we need to be careful because we can feel these exact same feelings with a person who is completely wrong for us. Big passions do not equal big love. We have to try to sort things out with a cool head. Sometimes all we are feeling is a strong but temporary rush that will pass if we breathe deeply and give ourselves some time in order to think straight. Interpreting that rush as love can mean ending up with the wrong person. Be careful.

Ø   We feel pressure from our family: Sometimes, by trying to be a great help, our family members can end up becoming our worst problem. Consider and respect your family’s opinion and advice. But do not give in to pressure and do something that you will regret later on in your life.

Ø  We feel sorry for the other person: Sometimes someone can be very persistent. But we cannot accept someone as a partner only because we feel sorry for that person. How long do you think we can pretend? Such relationships don’t last, and it will be much worse when we can no longer keep pretending and things start falling apart. We should always be truthful with others and fair to ourselves. We must be kind, but we must be honest too. Love is an area where lies of any kind only bring heartache.

Ø  We get into a role, and we end up confused: Believing our own make-believe world, we might dive into a relationship that only exists in our imagination. We refuse to see the other person as he really is, and the situation as it really is. If we do this, one day we will wake up to a life that we do not want, with a person whom we do not love.

Ø  We are used to someone: Do you know what is worse than breaking off a long-term relationship and accepting that we have wasted many years of our life on the wrong person? What is worse is to not break up and waste our whole life. If we put off the inevitable, things will only get more and more complicated. Feelings will get stronger; marriage will happen; babies will come. We cannot allow “feeling comfortable” to steal our happiness. Love is the one area in life in which we must not settle for comfortable, for OK, for less risky, for less hassle. When it comes to love, we should not settle. We should seek true love with every bit of our soul.

Ø  We accept a partner for any other “wrong reason”: I could write a whole book about just this topic, but I think by now you should have gotten the point. In summary: If we believe in love, then love will be a reality for us. If we look for love, love will find us. If we are honest in regard to love, we will experience honesty in our relationships. Give love, and you will receive love! Trust in God and He will bless you with the love of your life.








Wisdom to contemplate:

“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18)


“He tells the truth who states what he is sure of, but a lying witness speaks deceitfully.” (Proverbs 12:17)



“ Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.” (Mathew 5:37)