Showing posts with label Prada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prada. Show all posts

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lonely and Depressed: Don’t Let Your Faith Dwindle!

The Bible tells us: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1) What do we hope for? We hope for God’s promises to become a reality in our lives. Faith believes these promises will be fulfilled. Faith is experiencing God’s love, even though we might not see Him with our eyes. Faith is the glasses, placed on the eyes of our heart, through which we see God. Faith is a gift.

In the Bible, God also tells us: “The victory that conquers the world is our faith.” (1 John 5:4) This is a huge statement to meditate on, because faith is something we should never take for granted.

Is our faith real, or is it a counterfeit? Does it arise out of the passing emotion of the moment, or is it everlasting? Is it there to stay, or will it be stolen by the enemy when trials, persecution or temptations come? In my opinion, a great benefit comes from second-guessing ourselves and not being too proud about the greatness of our faith. Why? We can become too excited and too overconfident, and then we will be in danger because this is when the enemy will attack us. Scripture says “Be sober and vigilant.  Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him steadfast in faith…”(1 Peter 5:8-9) Faith is a shield, and so we must always have our shield up and ready but if we are overconfident, we might not realize our shield is not as strong as it needs to be! We do not want to get too comfortable and let down our guard. Hence we must give our hearts and elevate our minds to God each morning, surrendering our will and placing our trust in Him, humbly asking Him to strengthen our faith.

How can we believe in someone we do not see? God is so good and loving to His children that He has revealed Himself to us. All we need to do is to want to get to know Him. It is difficult to believe in Someone we do not personally know, to believe in that Person’s goodness, love, mercy and power. If we say we have faith in God, but we have not taken the time to get to know Him, this could mislead us we might end up thinking it is enough to just say we have faith.

            Saying we have faith is not enough. It does not necessarily mean we have faith in our hearts. We might want to have faith, might even try to have faith, but without getting to know God, our efforts are in vain. Knowing requires learning. I know math only after I learn math. Likewise, I know my classmates only after I take time to learn about who they are and what is going on in their lives.

            In the same way, learning about God can lead us to knowing God. And knowing God will lead us to loving God, and loving God will lead us to having great faith and trust in Him. Why? Because, as we fall in love with Him, we will naturally desire to do His will. As we start to do His will, our life will be turned around, and His graces will fully flow into our heart. Faith, God’s greatest gift to us, will then become firmly established in us, and we will be able to see the difference that it makes to live our lives in the presence of God.

            As we get to know God, a great desire to love Him will be unleashed. As we come to understand the greatness of His love for us and see how He loved us first, we will desperately try to love Him back, and then we will quickly come to the realization that to love Him we need to align ourselves with His will. This takes work. We cannot just lean back and say, “I believe in God, and this is enough for me.” No way! We need to put time into our relationship with Him. Only then will we come to experience the fullness of His promises. Only then will we come to enjoy the fruits of His Spirit living in us. Only then will we come to live under the shadow of His wings.

            When we get to know God, we learn that we need to follow His ways in order to be fulfilled in this world and completely happy in the next. We cannot just try to do it our way! He is all knowing, and we are not, so we need to listen to Him and do what He tells us! Through prayer, meditation and Bible reading, we come to understand what He wants from us. If we are humble and we recognize that there is much for us to learn and much for us to change, we will allow His loving hands to mold us and make us brand new. Then we will start experiencing a brand new life.

            We must make a commitment to learn His ways, doing what He tells us, obeying His loving words of advice for us. Like the psalmist, we need to pray: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path. I make a solemn vow to keep your just edicts…Your decrees are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on fulfilling your laws; they are my reward forever.” (Psalm 119:105-106,111-112) This psalm reflects a true understanding of the fact that God loves us with an everlasting perfect love. All He wants is for us is to be safe under the shadow of His protection. His desire for us is for us to experience the joy that it is to have His love living inside our hearts. His desire for us is for us to come to everlasting life.

            We must take to heart words of advice that have been said by Christians before us. Great saints give great advice. I once read that “In the deepest solitude, God speaks to our hearts.” Maybe that is why sometimes He allows us to become a bit lonely, so that we can let go of all that is preventing us from listening to Him. Only then, when we are ready to listen, can He lovingly speak to our hearts and show us the way to be followed.

Faith makes us act. If faith does not make us act, then we have fooled ourselves, and perhaps we have no faith at all. As it says in the book of James, faith without actions is dead. (James 2:17) And faith that is dead is no faith at all. True faith saves us because it leads us to go to Him and to follow Him with our hearts and with our actions. Have we come to know God yet? What are we waiting for?!

Wisdom to contemplate:

“But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

“No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

“Jesus said to him, ‘“If you can!” Everything is possible to one who has faith.’ Then the boy’s father cried out, ‘I do believe, help my unbelief!’”
 (Mark 9:23-24 )

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” (John 14:1)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fear of the Worst

     I am amazed at how many times painful situations can change our lives for the best. I believe it is important to “rejoice always” as the Bible says (Philippians 4:4) and always be grateful to God no matter what. To rejoice means to celebrate, to be glad, to be very pleased.

As we go through life, we sometimes face difficult situations, sad moments and challenging times moments in which what we experience is not what we would have chosen or what we had planned. For example, we can receive bad news, have to say goodbye to a friend or loved one, go through a separation, a divorce or be fired from a job. When these things happen, we find it hard to rejoice, and we might feel it is hard to be grateful to God. At these times, we need to remind ourselves of the importance of being always grateful and ask God to give us the grace to rejoice. As it says in Philippians, we need to “rejoice always”! Not sometimes. Not only when things happen as we wish. Not only when we are happy and we think the situation is fair. Not only when things go our way. No, it says “always.”

It also says “Have no anxiety at all.” (Philippians 4:6) This leaves room for zero anxiety, zero distress, zero sorrow, zero worry and zero fear. But we are humans, biological as well as spiritual creatures. Sometimes our heart aches, our emotions get the best of us, our brain does not understand why things have to change or why things have to be so hard. It is sometimes hard to rejoice or feel grateful. It is human to feel sad. So what are we to do? How can we rejoice always?

            In the Bible, we are advised to do three things: Be grateful, pray and think about the good!

Be grateful. The Bible says we should be “giving thanks always and for everything.” (Ephesians 5:20) Let’s be grateful to God every day, all the time, no matter what, especially when we are not in the mood or when we are weighed down with burdens. Let’s never say, “I can’t be grateful for this or for that.” We can feel grateful because in a bad situation we had the opportunity to learn a lesson or because within a bad situation things could always have been worse. In every situation, we can find something to be grateful for. For example, when someone we love leaves us, we can be grateful that we had the blessing of meeting that person and having had that person in our lives.

To feel grateful, we need to remember two things. First, we need to remember as St.  Francis said that “nothing is ours! Great wisdom will come to us as we meditate upon this thought until we become firmly convinced of it we own nothing. Everything has been entrusted to us for a limited time only.” The chance to share our love with others is a gift from God. Sometimes we get possessive and forget that nothing is ours and everything is God’s. If we have anything even for a limited time, it is thanks to His greatness, kindness and loving heart. It is a gift.

            We are blessed to have all the things we treasure in our lives, all our friends, our family, our children, our opportunities, our experiences, our health, our youth, our intelligence and our skills. But when the time comes to say goodbye, when time is up, we need to let go. We need to keep the good memories, learn whatever lesson the experience left behind, grieve what needs to be grieved and then find the courage to keep on going.

            When God calls for a change in our life and/or in the life of a friend or loved one, we need to be ready to lovingly say: “Yes!” Sometimes we can be like spoiled children, whose parents have taken them to Disneyland and who have a tantrum when the vacation is over and it is time to go home. Instead of saying thank you for all they have enjoyed there and appreciating how good and loving their parents were, these children have a tantrum because they want to stay longer. They disregard the precious gift their parents have given them, and they focus instead on what they can no longer have. Let’s not be like spoiled children. Let’s be loving, obedient children of our heavenly Father.

            The second thing we need to remember in order to feel grateful in every situation is to be humble. Humble means: meek, docile, calm, submissive, obedient, soft and gentle. It is the opposite of being proud and having a big ego. It is the opposite of “I want it my way,” “I don’t want it this way” and “I don’t like it that way.” We can be excited and full of joy at what lies ahead, but we must also be detached from everything and be ready to give it up if necessary. Let’s be meek and humble of heart, like Jesus (Matthew 11:29), so that we can let go when God calls us to let go.

Pray. In order to rejoice always, the second thing the Bible advises us to do is to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In Philippians 4:6, we are called to pray “with thanksgiving.” If we are upset and ungrateful and complaining, then we are not praying with thanksgiving! Once we have a life of prayer, then we can be sure that “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) Even if we do not understand why, even if the situation is hard to accept, we must pray and try to rejoice, and then God’s peace will guard our hearts.

Think about good things. The Bible says: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8) We can manage our brain well and keep our emotions in check, but we need to want to do it, and we need to put effort into it. We must make a conscious choice to focus on all the good we have. We choose where we set your eyes, either on all that is good in our life or on all that is bad. If someone says, “There is nothing good I can think of right now,” we should remember that there is always God’s love to feel happy about. We should never say, “I cannot thank God for this” or “I have nothing to be grateful for.” Instead, as Mother Teresa advised, “we should make a commitment to see every experience, whether good or bad, happy or sad, as a magnificent opportunity to do something beautiful for God.” In the toughest moments we encounter, we give glory to God if we gather the strength to smile and trust and thank, even if that is all we can do.

Wisdom to contemplate:

“And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:14-15)

“No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Monday, September 29, 2014

If We Want Help: We Must Do Our Part!

In life, when we go through trials, often we pray. But often we pray with doubt and fear in our heart. These things are the opposite of faith. How can a prayer without faith be effective? When we pray, we must pray with confidence and know that prayers are always heard.

If the answer that comes back is different from what we expected, it does not mean it is not the right one; it only means that there was a better solution to our problem. It is important for us to give the benefit of the doubt, to recognize the fact that we might not always know what the best outcome for a situation is. After all, there is a chance that there can be moments in our life when we might not know the best road to follow. We should not be stubborn, obstinate or inflexible, stuck to a specific idea. We need to trust and be aware of the fact that everything is perfect because God is in charge of our lives.

We must let things flow, with the certainty that in the process we are learning and growing. We must be confident that our prayers are being heard by a loving Father who would never ignore us and who has promised to give good things to those who ask. He reminds us in Holy Scripture: Would we ever ignore the request of one of our children? Now, if we, who have so many faults and defects, are not able to deny our kids anything, then what are the chances that He will ignore our requests? Think about how God is perfect; He is love Himself. Now think about how He has made us, His children. Think about all His promises and about His amazing love. It is simply impossible that He would ignore our prayers.

Therefore, we need to make sure that we understand and know in our hearts that even though at times it might take longer than expected, and even though from time to time our need might be met in a way less than hoped for or anticipated, our prayers are always answered. When we ask for help, we must do it with the absolute certainty that help will come, and we must know that invariably all things will come to us, with our welfare as a first priority.

Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9) If we pay attention to this scripture verse, we will realize that it requires action on our part. We cannot just pray for something to happen. We cannot just wish things were different. We cannot just sit and hope for something to happen. We need to contribute to the miracles in our lives by asking, seeking and knocking. We need to try our best to make things happen. We must take an active role in our lives and be participants in the miracles that we will experience.

We cannot just passively sit and wait and complain about how we pray and pray and hope and hope and nothing changes. We need to be more involved and take responsibility for the direction our life is going. And we must know that through prayer that direction can always change. It is up to us; it is up to God. Let’s learn how to pray and work on improving our relationship with God. Let’s strengthen our faith and work hard at doing our part. And, as St. Paul advises in Romans 8, let’s hope and eagerly wait with perseverance for the best to happen. I guarantee you that then we can never be disappointed, because hope in God does not disappoint. 

Wisdom to contemplate:

“Learn to savor how good the LORD is; happy are those who take refuge in him.” 
(Psalm 34:9)

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

“For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.…We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:24-25,28)

“Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

 “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)