Your Past Does NOT Define You For As Long As You Believe in God and His Plan For You

Some people out there cannot do anything but be stuck with the past, be panicky, be fearful, be frustrated, be trapped by religion or by unbelief and, even worse, drag other people down with them. It comes to show that we live in a physical world that is screwed up and chaotic. There are so many distractions (examples: politics, movements, entertainment) happening almost all the time people are being separated from Lord Jesus and God the Father.

And then there are others who say that for as long as you made mistakes in the past, you are automatically unworthy of God’s love and care.

That is not true! While it is true that none of us can change the past, we can live on to be better people for as long as we have faith in the Lord, trusting in Him and applying His Word for the rest of our lives. The truth is God wants us to have not just a future but one of peace and hope! Pay close attention to the holy scripture below.

For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, say the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29: 11 (NKJV) 

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Nobody has a perfect life. In varying degrees, people drift away from the Lord, knowingly or unknowingly, because of how society moves and affect its members. What is clear is that the more distant people are from God, the harder and more problematic their lives become.

The more people remain hurt or frustrated about their past – with the mistakes they committed, the bitterness they carried towards others, living with the mindset that there is no hope for divine change – the more they suffer.

I myself had frustrations over my past. I had religion which made my life directionless and frustrating. Later I lived with unbelief and even became antagonistic towards the Lord. Eventually, I met a very special friend who invited me to her church and there I saw the light from the Lord. A short time later, I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, repented to Him, received the Holy Spirit and became Born Again. My faith in the Lord is stronger than ever before and my true purpose as a child of God has been realized and I now have a true personal relationship with Him. Christian Living, not religion, is my path for the rest of my life.

My past cannot be changed nor could be erased. My sins, however, were washed away by the Lord because forgiveness from Him is true and I repented to Him plus I have forgiven others who hurt me. Forgiveness works three ways: be forgiven, forgive others and forgive yourself.

PART 1 – Forgiveness in the Holy Bible

Forgiveness from the Lord is real. Forgiveness is an act of kindness that helps people get healed under God’s light. Forgiveness also comes with responsibilities that are part of living with holiness afterwards. Forgiveness is not to be taken lightly and does not serve as a license to commit sin repeatedly with the expectation that you will be forgiven again. To be forgiven requires admitting our sins and there is no point of hiding them from the Lord who can see through us all.

For You, Lord, are good and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

Psalm 86: 5 (NKJV)

But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent – not to be severe. This punishment which was afflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven the one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,

2 Corinthians 2: 5-10 (NKJV)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

1 John 1: 9-10 (NKJV)

Within the Model Prayer cited by Lord Jesus (Matthew 6: 5-15) are key references on forgiveness.

And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

Matthew 6: 12 (NKJV)

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 6: 14-15 (NKJV)

Receiving forgiveness from the Lord should be valued deeply and remind you to change yourself for the better and refrain from committing sin again. As mentioned above, forgiveness is not a license nor an opportunity to commit sin again and again expecting to be forgiven again and again. Sin no more after being forgiven by Him, leave your past behind and move forward with holiness and strong faith (not religion) in Him. As such, there is a need to become Born Again.

Remember that God is a just creator. Clearly it means that sin, wickedness and evil have no place in His Kingdom. Evildoers will not go unpunished under the watch of God. As such, if you are wicked, constantly sinning, doing evil and you intend to abuse the Lord’s forgiveness thinking you can fool Him and sneak by Him to enter His Kingdom, then you will fail and you will be punished by Him in due time. Did your religious leader or a friend blinded with unbelief fool you? Read the holy scriptures below.

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness. Nor shall evil dwell with You.

Psalm 5: 4 (NKJV)

Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.

Psalm 34: 21 (NKJV)

The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth. The LORD laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn the sword And have bent their bow, To cast down the poor and needy, To slay those who are of upright conduct. Their sword shall enter their own heart, And their bows shall be broken. A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous. The LORD knows the days of the upright, And their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the LORD, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.

Psalm 37: 12-20 (NKJV)

PART 2 – Letting Go and Moving Forward

It is naturally difficult to let go of the past, especially the errors you made, the acts of foolishness, being shortsighted and the like. This is why there is a need to become Born Again (read Jesus’ words in John 3: 3), repent to the Lord to receive His forgiveness and allow yourself to be led by Him (and not by the people and society around you).

Take note of this holy scripture.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12: 2 (NKJV)

Reforming yourself to be better requires the Lord’s involvement. You cannot rely on any single person or an object or any man-made inspiration to better yourself. Do not even think about engaging in idolatry (looking up to someone or something followed by worship) because that is a sin (refer to Colossians 3: 5, Isaiah 45: 20, 1 Corinthians 10: 7, and 1 John 5: 21). To change for good requires looking up to the Lord, worshiping Him, praising Him, trusting Him and glorifying Him. Once you achieve those, then holiness, positive reform and blessings will come to you. This is how you can move forward from your past! I know, because it happened to me.

As you pursue holiness, never ever fall for the constant lie that your past mistakes or disappointments disqualify you on your future under the Lord. Satan, who has been defeated long ago when Jesus redeemed humanity, continues to fool and deceive people with that lie. Satan, whose evil values influenced religious teachings and practices (note: idolatry is just one of them), does not want you to know that hope from the Lord exists. Satan does not want you to achieve salvation under the Lord who truly cares and loves us, and is merciful. Satan wants you to be stuck in this chaotic world we live in and he wants you to be apart from God and Jesus (and the enemy prefers to manipulate you to be rebellious, defiant and unholy). Satan does not want you to know the truth from the following holy scriptures – including Lord Jesus’ own words in John 16: 33 and John 3: 16-18.

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

2 Corinthians 7: 10 (NKJV)

He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147: 3 (NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

John 16: 33 (NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have an everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3: 16-18 (NKJV)

Clearly, to move forward from your painful past, you need to be Born Again and no less than Jesus Himself declared it.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3: 3 (NKJV)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”

John 3: 5-7 (NKJV)

Once you are Born Again, you become a new creation under the Lord, a true child of God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5: 17 (NKJV)

For as long as you are willing to submit yourself to God and His Son Jesus, you can reform yourself to be better, holier and be more blessed than ever before. By becoming Born Again, you can break the chains of the past that made you a prisoner of darkness, sadness and frustration. I myself have gone through these and left the past behind me as I persevere under the Lord. He has a High Call for me to live up to and a plan for me to follow. You will realize these and relate with these once you become Born Again.

Christianity is not about religion at all! It is about having an established personal relationship with God and living with holiness with the Holy Spirit in you and the teachings of Jesus always present in your mind. The Holy Bible – God’s Word – is the ultimate authority and nothing else comes close to it. You will learn eventually that you will not only understand the Bible but also apply it on your life (read: living with holiness).

Don’t let your past define you and trap you. Never let religion and unbelief dominate you. Move forward with Father God and Lord Jesus! Follow the Lord’s plan for you!

Have faith in the Lord and praise Him always!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Christian Music Appreciation: The Stand (September 22, 2019)

Hi everyone! I got something nice to share to you in this latest edition of my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) series.

Recently while attending Sunday worship service, our church musicians (who are very blessed by God with great talent as each of them is faithful to Him) performed a song that really engaged me and my fellow Christians. That song was The Stand.

Written by Joel Houston and released in March 2006 as part of the United We Stand album of Hillsong United, The Stand is a lively reminder that each of us was created by God. As His creations, we truly have a purpose to honor Him, serve Him, worship Him and keep on being faithful to Him. Along the way, the Lord loves us and He is so generous and merciful to us. Don’t forget how long and how much God has blessed the faithful. God is the source of all prosperity, opportunities and progress!

For your reference, here are the lyrics of The Stand.

The Stand

You stood before creation

Eternity within Your hands

And you spoke all life into motion

My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure

And carried the cross for my shame

My sin weighed upon Your shoulders

My soul now to stand

So what can I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

So I’ll walk upon salvation

Your Spirit alive in me

This life to declare Your promise

My soul now to stand

So what can I say

What could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

So what could I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

So I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours

(So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

And I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours)

So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

And I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours (Oh Lord I will stand)

So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours

So I’ll stand

(With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours)

So what could I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

Before the song was played during Sunday worship, the Passion Translation of Romans 12: 1 was displayed on screen and emphasized by the lead singer of the service. It read:

Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.

This particular holy scripture is related with the lyrics of The Stand. Truly, we should humble ourselves and submit to Him. We who have been saved should not let ourselves be dominated by religion and its idols (note: do not worship people, images, those carved figures and many other elements that keep you away from the Lord) so that our respective personal relationships with Him will not be affected negatively. Each and every one us should be mindful as to why God created us and we really have a purpose to live in holiness under Him.

Those who are unsaved (or even lost as souls) can be saved and the good news is that there is still time for them to willingly decide to be born again. Anyone who has sinned a lot before can still surrender themselves to the Lord directly for His forgiveness and acceptance. Anyone who does not want to remain an unsaved or lost soul anymore can still reach out to Jesus and make the major decision to accept Him as Lord and Savior. Truly to be born again means becoming a new creation of the Lord with a purpose to live in holiness.

If you are already a saved soul living with the Holy Spirit in your heart, try to reach out to the many unsaved souls out there and invite them to your church to the best you can. Saving the unsaved and the lost souls is a goal worth achieving again and again all for the Lord. Those who will be saved will not enter religion (which itself is unnecessary and deceptive) but have a genuine personal relationship with God. There is more to the relationship with the Lord than religion.

Back to the song, there is a clear message about gaining salvation through God who sent us His begotten son Jesus to save us all. We all struggle with sin, temptation, frustration, darkness and challenges before realizing that we were all created by the Lord who had been watching us all the time. These were emphasized in the first three paragraph of the lyrics of The Stand.

You stood before creation

Eternity within Your hands

And you spoke all life into motion

My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure

And carried the cross for my shame

My sin weighed upon Your shoulders

My soul now to stand

So what can I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

As I mentioned previously, Adam’s rebellion towards God recorded in the Book of Genesis marked the fall of humanity and in the many generations that followed, people struggled and sinned until Jesus came to spread the good news (as well as God’s love), died for everyone’s sins and returned from the dead. Jesus ascended to Heaven with a promise that He will return to us.

Clearly, as creations of God, we are destined to be saved and that can only be realized by believing in the Lord willingly and by practicing faith by the heart (not the mind). As I learned from our pastor, we have free will (which God gave us) and we can decide to authorize Heaven on Earth.

There is still time and hope for any unsaved soul to be born again (refer to Jesus’ words in John 3: 3 and the subsequent verses) to become a child of God, to stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the Lord, and truly be His. Now that you’ve read this, I encourage you to read the Holy Bible and apply what you learned into your life, listen to The Stand and let its holy lyrics flow in you, reach out to the Lord, pray to Him always and follow His plan for you!

In concluding this article, embedded below are YouTube videos of performances of The Stand. Enjoy these and move forward the Lord! 😊


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

Christian Music Appreciation: The Potter’s Hand (August 11, 2019)

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the latest installment of my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) series which puts focus on songs that are not only great to listen to but are also holy and worthy of praising the Lord with.

Today, we take a close look at the song The Potter’s Hand which was released in 1998 by Hillsong Worship with words and music by the great Darlene Zschech. This is truly a beautiful song and at the same time, its lyrics are very meaningful and should make you reflect about your purpose and your existence.

Here are the lyrics…

Beautiful Lord, wonderful Savior

I know for sure all of my days are held in Your hand

And crafted into Your perfect plan

You gently called me into Your presence

Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit

Teach me dear Lord, to live all of my life

Through Your eyes

 

And I’m captured by Your Holy calling

Set me apart, I know You’re drawing me to Yourself

Lead me Lord, I pray

 

Take me

Mold me

Use me

Fill me

I give my life to the Potter’s hand

Call me

Guide me

Lead me

Walk beside me

I give my life to the Potter’s hand

 

You gently call me into Your presence

Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit

Teach me dear Lord, to live all of my life

Through Your eyes

So what does the song mean?

In my honest opinion, the clearest meaning behind the song relates to the creation of humanity done long ago by God and the purpose He prepared. In the song’s title, the word potter was used to symbolize the creator. The potter is the one who creates pots using raw materials and special skills (molding, timing, estimating, shaping, etc.). It was God, not some accidental phenomenon of science, who created the human race. As such, we need to go back to the very beginning in the Holy Bible starting with the Book of Genesis.

It was written on Genesis 1: 26-28 (NKJV):

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Take note that on verse 26, God’s words were “Our image” which turned out to be the Holy Trinity as explained in the New Testament. “Our image” most likely refers to such qualities as personality, reason and intellect along with the abilities to hear, see, speak and relate. In short, the human race was created with God’s characteristics and He really had a plan on establish the earth as a world filled with His creations that carry His traits. This truth alone is worth reflecting when we ask ourselves why God created us in the first place.

Part of humanity’s creation was for man to be God’s kingdom agent on earth. Man was meant to rule and subdue the rest of creation, including the aggressive satanic forces. God said, “let them have dominion,” which gave man the authority to execute and maintain His rules on earth. In return, it was expected that man be always obedient to Him for He is, after all, the Creator of everything. Man’s power to reign in life will extend only as far as his faithfulness to God’s law.

God’s creation of man and woman formed the foundation of the house of the Lord. Through them, He intended to manifest His character and authority, express his dominion over the earth, display His indisputable power over the works of darkness, and subdue His archenemy Satan. It was clear all along that God had plans for humanity. Those plans were created before each and every one of us were even born!

From the song was the line I know for sure all of my days are held in Your hand followed immediately by And crafted into Your perfect plan. These two lines strongly reflect what God intended when He created the human race. As such, evil human traits like racism, extremism, discrimination, killing, idolatry, unfaithfulness, destruction, rebellion and abuse are clearly wrong and completely in opposite to God’s plans for humanity.

As recorded in Genesis chapter 3, humanity failed when Eve was tempted by the serpent (the evil one) into eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which she gave to Adam who ate it. Adam, who was specifically commanded by God to never eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2: 15-17), committed rebellion against Him which led to an enduring series of chaos (wars, genocide, fascism, murder, crime, abusive governments and the like) in our world even until now.

Generations later, God sent to us His Son Jesus. It was Jesus who performed miracles, made people aware of God’s plan and love for them, set examples in accordance to God being a just creator, and ultimately redeemed humanity from Adam’s rebellion (refer to Hebrews 2: 14-15, Romans 8: 38-39, John 11: 25, Romans 6: 3-5, Galatians 3: 13 and Revelation 20: 6).

Clearly God had planned to save the flawed human race with Jesus! His own Son was sent to not only bring hope but also give humans the good news that God cares, loves and is willing to welcome them into His kingdom…and all it took was having faith in the Lord!

Jesus, who died for people’s sins, came back from the dead, made His return felt to several people and eventually rose to Heaven, achieved the most tremendous victory for humanity through redemption. He truly is the Messiah, the Redeemer and the Son of God whom we should all be thankful, faithful and obedient to. Jesus is the one we all should look up to for all time in our lives. Jesus is also God in the flesh which alone makes it important for us to reflect upon our creation. Creation itself is what The Potter’s Hand reflects.

To truly connect with Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, it is essential to be born again (this includes receiving the Holy Spirit into your heart) and this means breaking ourselves free from the chains of religion (along with its idols, teachings and rules that hinder people from establishing relationships with God) as well as the chains of unbelief. Being religious is NOT the same as being faithful to the Lord. Christianity is not religion but a way of life complete with faithfulness and a living relationship with the Lord. There is more to the personal relationship with God than there is to religion, and this is the truth that religious people don’t realize or have refused to accept as they allowed themselves to be trapped by religion. By becoming born again and receiving His spirit, you will truly become a child of God as well as a saved soul.

Trust me. I know! In my old life, religion ultimately led me to ruin and becoming lost. I was even hostile to Christianity during my lost years. After becoming born again, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and then a series of positive changes plus blessings (including love) followed. Thanks to Jesus, my life has moved forward by leaps and bounds! My true purpose in life has been realized and my faith in the Lord will never fade away. I have been saved, reformed and redeemed!

As Lord and Savior, Jesus is the true reformer and redeemer for humanity. Reform to be worthy of becoming part of the Kingdom of God is only possibly by having faith in Jesus. Reform led by Jesus is way beyond what any man could ever achieve. A man living in today’s age of social media and smartphones can arrogantly present himself as a reform-minded savior (or “reformer”, a fake one at that) and attract some fans (some of whom become obsessed by his charm and even commit idolatry) by using technology but ultimately he will NEVER match the impact of Jesus! People who seek salvation don’t need idols, don’t need to worship people and don’t need religion. They need Jesus!

Remember these very powerful words Jesus said in John 3: 3 (NKJV)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Going back to The Potter’s Hand, take note of the following lyrics.

You gently called me into Your presence

Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit

Teach me dear Lord, to live all of my life

Through Your eyes

 

And I’m captured by Your Holy calling

Set me apart, I know You’re drawing me to Yourself

Lead me Lord, I pray

As His children, God called us and He has plans for each and every one of us since before the beginning of time. The true purpose of being Christian includes humbling ourselves, submitting ourselves to the Lord, learning and re-learning His lessons with deep dedication (this means intense learning from Him through the Holy Bible), realizing His plan for each of us, repenting our sins directly to Him, being faithful to Him, following His lead and meeting His High Call. The above lyrics symbolized these elements.

Truly God created us all with very solid purposes. By realizing our true purpose as Christians, we acknowledge the Holy Bible (not rituals, not traditions, not idolatry and not religion) is the ultimate authority as it is the true path to Lord, having faith in the Lord is sufficient for salvation, having a personal relationship with God is essential, spreading our Christian faith to help save the many unsaved souls.

All these lessons as confirmed by Holy Bible make The Potter’s Hand truly a very holy and meaningful song. As such, The Potter’s Hand is worthy of praising the Lord with, especially on Sunday worship at church.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com