To All Single Parents, Be Happy Because God Loves You And Has Plans For You! (Part 1 – Hagar the Single Mother)

Long ago here in the Philippines, I noticed there were negative vibes against single parents. Specifically I’m talking about the individuals who became parents without getting married and also those who became parents (having at least one child while being married to a spouse) who became widowed (losing the spouse).

Decades ago, I noticed that there is this expectation within many families that getting married and raising a new family is a traditional goal which is expected to be fulfilled by the children as they grow into adulthood. This expectation, in my observation, is for the most part the result of religion-based traditions and rituals that influenced Philippine society for many generations.

As a result, there is a side effect caused by those religious traditions and rituals that emphasize marriage – discrimination towards individuals who became parents without getting married.

For the people who became single parents as a result of losing their respective spouses, they (as widowed individuals) often encounter expectations or suggestions from others to get married again.

In my experience, I noticed single parents get questioned harshly, get viewed with skepticism, and even get discriminated by others because most people got indoctrinated by the religious influence and expectations related to marriage. Of course, I am not saying that marriage itself is bad.

I personally know people who strongly believe in religious views of marriage and carry in their minds the false belief that single parents and their descendants are cursed and will always be treated as lower-class people. This belief, of course, adds to the discrimination against single parents. As such being a single parent is often challenging not only here in the Philippines but also in other parts of the world.

If you are a single parent reading this, fear not about your status. Do not let others put you down because what many of them do not know is the truth that God loves, cares and has plans for all single parents! That’s right! God values single parents and for as long as they keep faith in Him and maintain personal relationships with Him, they will be blessed by Him!

The good news here is that it is all recorded in the Holy Bible and in this article, we will focus on the true story of Hagar!

Let’s look back at the Book of Genesis.

Hagar the single mother

Some time after God established the first blood-sacrifice covenant with Abram (Chapter 15), his wife Sarai had no children with him (Chapter 16). She told her husband, “See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” (Genesis 16: 2 NKJV)

Sarai took her Egyptian maid Hagar and gave her to Abram to be his wife. After getting involved with him, Hagar conceived. Sarai dealt harshly with Hagar who fled from her presence. An Angel from the Lord found her by a sprint of water in the wilderness.

The Angel, who called her by name and her occupation as Sarai’s maid, asked her where she came from and where she was going to. Hagar replied that she was fleeing from Sarai.

“Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” (Genesis 16: 9 NKJV)

The Angel’s message did not just end there. He further said (Genesis 16: 10-12 NKJV):

“I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.”

“Behold, you are with child,

And you shall bear a son,

You shall call his name Ishmael,

Because the LORD has heard your affliction.

“He shall be a wild man;

His hand shall be against every man,

And every man’s hand against him.

And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

It was made clear to Hagar that God really has plans for her and her son with Abram. As she was not married to Abram and her involvement with him was the result of Sarai’s intervention (which symbolizes the dangers of taking God’s promises into our own hands), Hagar was illegitimate but God did NOT abandon her nor cursed her.

God really cared for Hagar and even before the birth of Ishmael, He made a plan for him as well. Eventually Hagar bore Abram his son. Abram, who was already eighty-six years old, named the baby Ishmael. At this stage, Hagar became a single mother.

Some time after Sarah (formerly Sarai) gave birth to Isaac, her son with Abraham (formerly Abram), Hagar and Ishmael’s time with them came to an end.

According to Genesis 21: 8-21, Isaac grew and was weaned and Abraham made a great feast on that very day. Then Sarah saw Ishmael. She told Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.”

This displeased Abraham. Eventually God said to him, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.”

In case you got lost, Hagar is referred to as the bondwoman. The single mother’s challenges continued but God still cared for her and Ishmael.

The fateful morning came when Abraham gave bread and a skin of water to Hagar, then he sent her and Ishmael away.

So did the single mother and her boy just get lost and died shortly after? Absolutely not! There definitely is more to the truth about them in the Holy Bible. As recorded in the Bible, the land promised to Abraham became Israel which was passed on to Isaac and Jacob. While Abraham’s line went on to become highly significant as God fulfilled His promise to him, this does not mean that Hagar and Ishmael ended up empty and abandoned by God. Now we go back to them.

Together Hagar and her son wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. Eventually the water ran out and she placed Ishmael under one of the shrubs.

Hagar went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot. She said to herself, “Let me not see the death of the boy.”

Then she sat opposite him and lifted her voice and wept.

The God responded to the voice of the lad and He sent an Angel to Hagar!

“What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.”

Then Hagar’s eyes were opened by God and she saw a well of water. She went to the well, filled the skin with water and gave Ishmael a badly needed drink.

As God had plans for him, Ishmael grew up and dwelt in the wilderness where he became an archer. He dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran and Hagar took a wife for him from her native Egypt.

Lessons learned

Hagar’s story in the Holy Bible clearly showed that God loves, cares for and made plans for single parents like her. This also means that blessings from God were extended to their children as seen through Ishmael.

While Ishmael did not inherit anything from his father Abraham, he still went on to live a life as an archer and as a husband as God fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham regarding his son with Hagar.

Along the way, God made clear to Abraham that He would establish his covenant with Isaac.

As recorded in Genesis Chapter 17: 18-20, Abraham mentioned Ishmael to God stating that he (son with Hagar) might live before Him.

God responded, “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.”

Going back to Hagar, the single mother in the Holy Bible symbolizes the person who has been unfairly treated, deserted, and cut off with little provision. But even so, the Lord intervened with provision (both spiritual and physical) for her. She and her son went on to live longer as God fulfilled His promise of making a great nation out of Ishmael.

When Hagar was desperate and struggling to survive in the wilderness, she called out to God crying. Even in the worst of times (being put down by Sarah, getting banished by Abraham and the like), she still believed in the Lord and trusted Him. From Heaven, God sent an angel to her and the well of water that suddenly materialized right there in the wilderness was only the beginning that led to the realization of His blessing for Ishmael. This proves that God will never abandon nor forsake His children. All it takes is having faith in Him and putting our trust in Him no matter how bad or how challenging life becomes.

To put things in perspective about God’s love and care for ALL of us (including single parents), here is a scripture from Deuteronomy 31: 6 (NKJV)

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

In John 14: 18 (NKJV), Lord Jesus (the Son of God) said, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

In Isaiah 41: 10 (NKJV), God said, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

To put into perspective God’s love, mercy, care and plans for all of His children, heed this scripture from Jeremiah 29: 11 (NKJV).

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Going back to the topic at hand, it is obvious by now that for as long as we keep faith in Him and maintain personal relationships with Him, God will always love us, provide for us and accept us into His Kingdom. All of these apply to single parents and the story of Hagar and Ishmael is the biblical truth that can be lived with.

God’s love and provision for the single mother Hagar and her son easily kills the false belief that single parents and their children are cursed. If you know someone who still lives by that false belief and looks down at single parents and their children, tell that misguided person to read Genesis 21: 8-21 in the Holy Bible. The truth should set that person free!

If you are a single parent who has suffered a lot and you lived a life of religion or unbelief, and you truly want to establish faith and a relationship with God, then you must realize that you need to be born again because Lord Jesus said so (refer to John 3: 3 and the subsequent verses).

It is indeed true that by nature, religion is mean, it will frustrate you and prevent you from establishing a relationship with God. You may not realize it until now but you really do not need religion at all. What you need is faith and relationship with the Lord. I know! Religion and its believers frustrated me and kept me in prison (literally) and it even pushed me away from God and made me a lost soul for a number of years. After that, thanks to the Lord and His Instrument (my dearest friend in life) I repented, submitted myself to God and I willingly accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I have been saved and been blessed a lot, and my life has moved forward a lot in a short span of time.

You have the power to decide to be born again. This includes repenting to God for all the sins you committed, submitting yourself to Him and then accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It is never too late to be born again and never too late for you to break the chains of religion (along with all the idolatry, rituals and traditions it comes with) or unbelief that has hindered you and your child (or children) for so long.

Think of the truth in the Holy Bible. Apart from the truth of Hagar and Ishmael who got banished by Abraham, there is also the truth of Adam’s rebellion against God which caused chaos and brought humanity downwards. Even with all the chaos that happened, God sent His Begotten Son Jesus into the world to spread the good news, died to redeem humanity (caused by the Fall of Man and Adam’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden), came back to life, made His resurrected presence felt and ascended to Heaven with the promise of His return.

If you seek salvation right now by becoming born again, be prepare to repent to the Lord, submit to His authority, let go of all the elements that hindered you from connecting with Him (the idolatry, traditions and rituals of religion and other unholy elements) and be ready to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. No more worshiping people and idols in any form. It is only the Lord you should always worship from this point on.

Ready? Then pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Dear God,

I believe that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. I believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that He is alive! Right now I call on the name of Jesus. Jesus, come into my heart. I receive You as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me by the power of Your blood. Thank You for saving me and giving me eternal life! Help me now to follow Your plan for my life. Amen.

Congratulations, reader! You are now a child of God! Praise the Lord and always be faithful to Him! The Holy Spirit is in you. As such, I encourage you – the born again single parent reading this – to read the holy scripture in Acts 16: 31. Grab the Holy Bible to read it as your first lesson and whatever new lessons you learned afterwards, do the Word of God by applying it in your life.

In the near future, another article about single parents and their situations in the Holy Bible will be discussed. Remember that God is not a tyrant and therefore nobody living in the flesh has the right to put you – the single parent – down. God is a loving, caring and providing father to all of us who believe in Him and have a personal relationship with Him. It is true that single parents like you who have faith in Him are welcome in His kingdom.

In closing this, here is a Christian music video for your reflection and faith in 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

With regards to Christianity, if you are within the BF Homes or Alabang areas of South Metro Manila and you are spiritually lost looking for someone to talk to or to join a Christian church that will welcome you, please feel free to contact me by mobile phone at 09053350831 or by email at Carlo.Carrasco@gmail.com to schedule a meeting.

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Trust the Lord with all Your Heart! Don’t Hesitate and Just Do It!

I want to share to you a valuable lesson I learned during Sunday worship service at church.

The lesson was all about putting our trust in the Lord.

It clearly makes sense. As I learned from attending prayer sessions, holy seminars, Sunday worship, listening to our pastors and reading the Holy Bible, God is a just god who loves us, who cares for us, who is gentle with us, who is merciful and, at the same time, He is NOT a tyrant. God gave us His begotten Son, Jesus Christ, so that we can all be saved and truly find salvation.

Those truthful descriptions about the Lord are some great reasons we need to put our trust in Him.

Why settle for less at all when we have the Lord? Why put our trust elsewhere or to someone who is inferior to the Lord?

Going back to the church lesson, the scriptures emphasized were in Jeremiah 17: 5-8 (NKJV).

Let’s start with Jeremiah 17: 5-6 (NKJV) which states:

Thus says the Lord:

Cursed is the man who trusts in man

And makes flesh his strength.

Whose heart departs from the Lord.

For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,

And shall not see when good comes.

But shall inhibit the parches places in the wilderness

In a salt land which is not inhabited.

Here is my take….we should always take the words of the Lord very seriously. In the above scriptures, it is made clear that people like us will not prosper nor find happiness, satisfaction, peace and harmony if we trust in people instead of the Lord. As His creations living in the flesh, we need to have the Holy Spirit in our hearts and realize our true purpose under the Lord. This brings me back to what I mentioned before: people need to be born again and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

We live in a really chaotic and screwed up world. There are indeed many unsaved souls living around us and among them are secularists, atheists, agnostics and others who prefer to ignore God believing that they can live greatly and happily without Him. There are also those who are trapped by religion (many of them even propagate religion helping it trap others and prevent them from establishing a true relationship with God) and they have yet to realize their souls need saving. There are also people who don’t realize they are spiritually unsaved or even spiritually lost. Clearly there is a curse when people don’t trust the Lord and instead trusted their fellow humans.

Be aware that as you trust in people instead of God, God Himself is watching you all the time and there definitely is no hiding from Him (Proverbs 15: 3 NKJV). Don’t even think about running away or using the latest in technology to cover your tracks because God is almighty and you are better off coming out in the open, repenting to Him directly (this means NO HUMAN MEDIATOR and NO HUMAN INTERVENTIONIST between you and God) and surrender yourself to Him.

With regards to making flesh our strength, there are lots of people out there who end up being consumed by worldly developments. Instead of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, there are those who prefer to become part of social or political movements (look at all those rallies that disrupt society, the activists who appear on TV spreading their ideology, etc.), or engage in crime, or engage in obsessive acquisition of money and/or things (under the influence of covetousness), or engage in the endless wave of news generated by corporate media organizations whose agenda is to manipulate people instead of informing them properly, etc. And there are those who allowed themselves to get lost by exploring social media.

Without the Lord, we would end up suffering, get lost, experience frustration and make the world even more chaotic. This is the cursed life the Lord warned us about when we trust our fellow man over Him.

There is however hope for people who choose to trust the Lord and He Himself is hope! Learn from Jeremiah 17: 7-8 (NKJV) which states:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

And whose hope is the Lord.

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,

Which spreads out its roots by the river,

And will not fear when heat comes;

But its leaf will be green,

And will not be anxious in the year of drought,

Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

It is indeed true that a person who trusts the Lord gets blessed by Him. I know! I myself experienced that. Since becoming born again and placing my trust in Him, I have been blessed by the Lord a lot and, gradually, a lot of positive things happened to me personally not only financially but also socially, morally and within the family. I now have my own website, a new job, new business clients for freelance projects and I have prepared myself better for the future with regards to financial planning. Things have gotten better for me under the Lord and for as long as I remain faithful to Him, trusting in Him, honoring Him and applying His Word in my life, the blessings and favor from Him will continue to happen.

This bring me to my next point – the Lord cares! He is loving, gentle and absolutely blesses His faithful followers abundantly. All it takes to be blessed a lot by the Lord (and have a happier future complete with prosperity) is faith and the first step you need to do is to be born again and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Trust in the Lord is truly essential and the scripture above confirms that. Do not be deceived by others out there who would teach you the wrong lessons about trust. Do not allow yourself to be fooled or manipulated by taking inspiration from sources other than the Holy Bible. In my old life, I used to take inspiration from watching movies, reading comic books and playing video games. The result was a life of confusion, hardship and frustration for me. I certainly do not want these past experiences of mine to happen to you.

It took a very dear friend of mine to invite me to attend a holy seminar at her church and as the pastor emphasized lessons from the Holy Bible, I saw the light, and just a few days later, I repented and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

In my experience, trust in the Lord really started a series of positive changes in my life. It is normal for me to read the Holy Bible (applying lessons into my life), pray in tongues, practice faith by the heart, avoid worshiping idols (man-made objects and people), avoid doing repetitive prayers (religion’s deceptive practice), pray privately in my room with the door shut, give back to the Lord cheerfully, doing my part as a member of the spiritual family at our church and worship the Lord with them on Sundays. Becoming born again is truly the greatest change in my life.

Trust in the Lord and you will be reformed and get blessed. You trust the Lord, then chaos, curse and frustration will not affect you. Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40: 31 NKJV). There is no denying that!

Eventually after that, you will realize the happiness that comes being blessed and being a blessing to others. This is part of true Christian living and I confirm to you, my readers, that I got blessed and became a blessing to others.

With Jesus and God’s kingdom in you, you will be blessed and become a blessing to others. With God on your side and with the Holy Spirit in your heart, nothing is impossible.

Here is another verse from the Holy Bible about trusting the Lord.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3: 5 (NKJV)

See? We are all better off trusting the Lord who created plans for each and every one of us before we were even created! Our true purpose in life is not about religion but it is all about the Lord! God has a high calling for us to realize, prepare ourselves by having faith in Him and to ultimately reach.

Don’t trust religion and other elements that will hinder you from connecting with Him. Go ahead to trust the Lord with all your heart and be more direct with Him because each and every one of us has a personal relationship with Him.

There is more to your personal relationship with the Lord than religion.

Let me end this piece with another significant verse from the Holy Bible for you all.

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Acts 16: 31 (NKJV)


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: I Need You More (July 7, 2019)

We all need the Lord. We all need God and His Son Jesus. After all, the Lord created us and we were granted dominion over the earth as written in Genesis 1: 26 in the Holy Bible. If course, we humans living in the flesh who have the power to shape the world we live in can never achieve true happiness, goodness and holiness without Him.

As written in Psalm 115: 16, the heavens belong to the Lord while He gave the Lord to us. Man was created to rule over the earth in communion and fellowship with the Lord. To rule the earth without God is meaningless and will only lead to chaos, disatisfaction, frustration, sadness and even to the traps set by the devil.

All the more reason we need the Lord!

This brings me to another beautiful and very holy song. A song worth of praising the Lord with. A song that will move your inner feelings, especially when you have the Holy Spirit in your heart as a result of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior.

That song is I Need You More, written by Kim Walker-Smith.

Below are the lyrics for you all.

I need you more, more than yesterday

I need you more, more than words can say.

I need you more, than ever before

I need you, Lord, I need you, Lord.

More than the air I breathe, more than the song I sing

More than the next heartbeat, more than anything.

And lord, as this time goes by, I’ll be by your side

Cause I never want to go back to my old life.

I need you more, more than yesterday

I need you more, more than words can say.

I need you more, than ever before

I need you, Lord, I need you, Lord.

I need you more, more than yesterday

I need you more, more than words can say.

I need you more, than ever before

I need you, Lord, I need you, Lord.

More than the air I breathe, more than the song I sing

More than the next heartbeat, more than anything.

And lord, as this time goes by, I’ll be by your side

Cause I never want to go back to my old life.

I need you more, more than yesterday

I need you more, more than words can say.

I need you more, than ever before

I need you, Lord, I need you, Lord.

I need you more, more than yesterday

I need you more, more than words can say.

I need you more, than ever before

I need you, Lord, I need you, Lord.

[x2:]

We give you the highest praise,

We give you the highest praise,

We give you the highest praise

We give you the highest praise,

We give you the highest praise,

We give you the highest praise

I need you more, more than yesterday

I need you more, more than words can say.

I need you more, than ever before

I need you, Lord, I need you, Lord.

More than the air I breathe, more than the song I sing

More than the next heartbeat, more than anything.

As a Born Again, I strongly relate with the song. I know what it is like to be a lost soul and I assure you readers that having no faith in the Lord is simply wrong and makes life empty, even makes a person more vulnerable to temptations and wickedness.

Thanks to my dearest friend in life, I got invited to a holy seminar at her church. So there I was, a non-believer and lost soul, entering the church surrounded by lots of people who are faithful to the Lord. I just behaved myself and observed the proceedings and worship. My dearest friend gave me her old bible. After witnessing the playing of Christian worship music, the pastor went to the podium and started preaching with lessons from the Holy Bible. As I listened, I started to see the light from what turned out to be God’s kingdom.

It was the Lord’s call for me to return to Him. That holy seminar had a deep impact on me personally and just a few days later, I realized…..I need the Lord! I realized that I need to restore my faith in Jesus and God the Father. My life back then was hollow and limited only to just surviving financially and focusing only on making ends meet without even aiming to better myself and rise. I realized that I could never improve myself and move forward a lot without the Lord. So shortly after realizing I need the Lord, I believed in Jesus again, repented and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior and strive to be faithful to Him for the rest of my life. That was when I became Born Again, a saved soul and entered the Kingdom of Light. I have been very blessed by Him too and now I know that He has a plan for me (created even before I got created) that I must follow to meet His High Call.

When it comes to the lyrics of I Need You More, the following lines resonated with me a lot:

And lord, as this time goes by, I’ll be by your side

Cause I never want to go back to my old life.

Those lyrics only reminded me of my renewal under God and Jesus. Becoming Born Again is truly the greatest miracle, the greatest change and the greatest moment in my whole life. For the Lord saved my soul through the help of my dearest friend (the Lord’s Holy Instrument), I will forever be faithful to Him and as a new creation my true purpose has been realized.

Having been born again, I will never go back to my old life. The old life that includes being trapped by religion and being treated like a prisoner, losing faith due to religion and living a very hollow life as a non-believer. Those days are over and nobody will fool me nor manipulate me to go back to my old life. As a Christian who received the Holy Spirit, got reformed and blessed a lot, I dedicate myself to the Lord. Reading the Holy Bible, understanding its lessons deeply, praying in tongues, spreading my faith and doing what I can to save the unsaved souls are now normal to me.

The truth is undeniable that we all need the Lord! If you have not been born again, then you must do it. Read John 3: 3 as well as the subsequent verses. Learn from the words of Jesus: Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and He will forgive you, accept you, reform you and you will realize your definitive purpose in life. True reform happens under the care of Jesus and God’s grace is something we can receive.

You will need the Lord even though you may not realize it now. Perhaps local society and occupations made you too busy and wore you down. You became so exhausted with duty and varied appointments, you ran out of energy to even reflect upon yourself and your faith. I encourage you to listen to I Need You Lord and check out the following lyrics.

I need you more, more than yesterday

I need you more, more than words can say.

I need you more, than ever before

I need you, Lord, I need you, Lord.

We all need the Lord! We cannot deny that and we cannot ignore God and Jesus! If you have been lost and frustrated, it is not too late to be born again to be with Jesus and become part of the Kingdom of Light.


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 Heart of Worship (June 30, 2019)

To truly connect to God and His Son Jesus (our Lord and Savior), one must have a genuine heart of worship and deep faith. In this piece, let me discuss with you the beautiful and holy Christian worship song The Heart of Worship (written by Matt Redman) which was part of the album Intimacy.

Below are the lyrics for your reference.

+++++

When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart
I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
King of endless worth
No one could express
How much you deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is yours
Every single breath
I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, lord, for the thing I’ve made it
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m coming back to the heart of worship,
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
It’s all about you
It’s all about you
It’s all about you
It’s all about you
It’s all about you
It’s all about you
It’s all about you
It’s all about you
It’s all about you
It’s all about you
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, lord, for the thing I’ve made it
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
++++++++
Clearly faith is meant to be done by the heart and not by the mind. There are verses in the Holy Bible about the heart of worship. Here are some for your reflection and enlightenment.
I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore. (Psalm 86: 12)
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5: 19-20)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 16: 3)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; (Proverbs 3: 5)

 

And Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22: 37)

Going back to The Heart of Worship, in my view the song emphasizes a person’s return to the Lord Jesus Christ with the will to worship Him. Lines like I’m coming back to the heart of worship, And it’s all about you, It’s all about you, Jesus, make this clear. It also acknowledges that the Lord looks into a person’s heart to determine if it is a heart of worship or not. In other words, there is no hiding on the part of people from the Lord.

This brings me to the lesson that worship is not limited in the form of words about a promise to worship but rather it is about dedication to worship the Lord, to trust in Him, to thank Him for His blessings, love and care, and live life with continued faith in Him. In short, worshiping the Lord is an essential part of genuine Christian living.

The song and the above bible verses strongly resonate with me for I had gone through the frustrations of religion-based living, descended into living in darkness (caused by religion), became a lost soul (for years I stopped believing in God and Jesus) before finding my way back to Lord by accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Being Born Again and being part of the Kingdom of Light, I received the Holy Spirit in my heart and I worshiped the Lord a lot more than my entire old life. My faith, my trust and my dedication to the Lord are stronger than ever before. This is my experience about living with a heart of worship.

It is indeed true that religion is not essential because the personal relationship with God matters more which requires faith (certainly not religion). As such, you need to be born again and I encourage you to read John 3: 3-7 in the Holy Bible.

Do not forget that you should only worship the Lord. Avoid worshiping idols, both living and non-living. Don’t worship people. For true Christian living, your heart of worship and faith are truly meant for the Lord only.


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: You Are Holy (June 12, 2019)

I love worshiping Lord Jesus and God the Father at church on Sunday worship along with our local community of very faithful and prayerful Christians. As part of our worship, our church’s musicians perform Christian songs using a combination of vocals, drums and electric guitars.

Before, I explained in detail why I love the song Happy Day which sometimes gets played at our church. There are many other Christian songs that can be admired, be enjoyed and be used to worship the Lord. One particular song that caught my attention lately is You Are Holy.

Released in July 1998 as part of the Hillsong Worship album Touching Heaven, Changing Earth, You Are Holy was written by Reuben Morgan and, to this day, many millions of Christians around the world listened to it and praised the Lord with it during Sunday worship. The late-1990s Hillsong Worship performance of it is available in video through YouTube which I recommend you watch and listen. Oh yes, Darlene Zschech‘s leading of the vocals is great.

To understand the essence of the song, posted below are the lyrics for you all.

You are holy, holy
Lord there is none, like You
You are holy, holy
Glory to You my Lord

You are holy, holy
Lord there is none, like You
You are holy, holy
Glory to You my Lord

I sing Your praises forever
Deeper in love with You
Here in Your courts
Where I’m close to Your throne
I’ve found where I belong

I sing Your praises forever
Deeper in love with You
Here in Your courts
Where I’m close to Your throne
I’ve found where I belong

You are holy, holy
Lord there is none, like You
You are holy, holy
Glory to You my Lord

And I sing Your praises forever
Deeper in love with You
Here in Your courts
Where I’m close to Your throne
I’ve found where I belong

The lyrics clearly emphasize holiness, praising the Lord, glorifying Him, loving Him and the faithful Christian’s dedication to Him. Lines like I sing Your praises forever and Lord there is none, like You are understandably powerful. The lines Where I’m close to Your throne, I’ve found where I belong perfectly conclude the song.

The holiness aspect of the song easily reminds me of my relationship with the Lord and my true purpose in life. I should say that as long as we Christians keep being faithful, keep learning from His teachings and achieve whatever tasks the Lord assigned us with, we will ultimately be rewarded by Him accordingly (Revelations 22: 12) and God is always the righteous judge (2 Timothy 4: 7-8, Deuteronomy 32: 1-4) whose decisions are final, just and definitive. As faithful Christians who already accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we all should look forward to judgment because it is our opportunity to be found faithful.

Going back to the song You Are Holy, I love listening to it. Going beyond appreciation for it, the song really helps me praise the Lord in a very personal way. Truly You Are Holy is a holy song! As such, I recommend to you readers to take time out to listen to it from start to finish.  Don’t forget to read the Holy Bible and pray in tongues to the Lord afterwards.

In closing this piece, I must tell you, my readers, to resist and disregard the propaganda being spread online emphasizing that the use of drums and electric guitar for playing music at church on Sundays is inappropriate to the Lord. That is simply false and whoever composed such propaganda are pawns of people who have narrow views about what church and Sunday worship music should be. Do not let those people fool you and instead of wasting time on them, focus on your relationship with the Lord and do not let religion get in the way. Back to music, the use of drums and electric guitars for Sunday worship music at church is actually fine and legitimate, and also useful to help Christians praise the Lord and connect to Him spiritually. Christian rock music is okay and so is having a band at church. Now we can move forward to 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

 

Beware of Covetousness

In previous times, I discussed that the Lord rewards the faithful abundantly in return for their faith and accomplishment of assigned tasks.

As I learned from our pastors during bible study sessions at our church, the Lord truly rewards His faithful followers and He truly wants each and every one to prosper. In His Kingdom, there is indeed kingdom wealth and this clearly shows that there is no lack and no poverty.

For as long as we put God first while we live in the flesh being faithful, we can enjoy riches, the good stuff, the luxuries and other forms of profit plus even more so that we can afford to give to others. As I discussed before, the profit, luxuries and good stuff we enjoy here on Earth is only a fraction of the kingdom wealth that awaits us in Heaven.

While we the faithful enjoy rewards from the Lord, we must never lose track of Him. It is a fact that it is impossible to worship both the Lord and mammon. At the same time, we the faithful must be aware of covetousness and its corrupting effects.

In the Holy Bible, covetousness is a sin directed towards the acquisition of more possessions. This means wanting to acquire more things (while living in the flesh) and this is ultimately self-defeating and futile. Earthly things that are acquired without prioritizing the Lord are clearly not blessings from Him.

Covetousness is clearly emphasized in Luke 12: 15 which states

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

To understand the whole story, Luke 12: 13-21 was about the Parable of the Rich Fool. Our Eternal Savior Jesus was speaking to a crowd when a man said to him “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus asked him who made Him a judge or an arbitrator over him, then he told the crowd about covetousness.

Jesus then spoke a parable to them…the parable of the rich fool. The rich man in the parable wondered what to do with his crops as he no longer had any room left for storage. Then he said he will pull down his barns and build greater so that his crops and goods will be stored. As he was focused on his possessions, he would say to his soul that with many goods laid up to last for many years ahead, take ease, eat, drink and be merry.

Then God said to him: Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? (Luke 12: 20)

“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12: 21)

God called the rich man a fool because he was so short-sighted with his life, he focused only on his wealth and possessions living in the flesh. Clearly that rich fool did not prioritize the Lord and only cared of his own interest. Covetousness will not only lead to a hollow life, it will also lead to greed which itself leads to conflicts, crime, being self-centered and carrying other negative things of life.

The acquiring of more possessions under covetousness is not limited to material things and wealth. To covet also means getting someone and this is made clear in the Ten Commandments. Here’s a scripture for you and the words are from God.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. (Exodus 20: 17)

And then there is also the coveting of the false god or idols. Long ago, God warned the people of Israel to not covet the gods of other nations. The coveting in this case on the part of the Israelites was about them coveting the freedom to commit sin that other nations had incorporated into their worship of gods or idols of pagan origin. Heed the words of God below…

You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 7: 25)

So it is clear. Put the Lord first, be faithful to Him, accomplish the tasks He assigned you with (note: God has a plan for each and every one of us) and then you will enjoy riches and the good life. What could be greater than abundant rewards coming from the Lord Himself? Think about that!

Jesus said, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Revelations 22: 12)

You don’t put the Lord first, then you are not rich towards God, you will be consumed by covetousness, and you won’t really enjoy your life and even your accumulated wealth. Trust me. There are rich people, in different parts of the world, living a sad and empty life. Covetousness is to think about or desire something so much, you will go to unreasonable measures to get it. To covet tells the Lord that you are not satisfied with what you have been blessed with. This, of course, blinds you of good judgment and what really matters most in your life.

Look at the different societies around the world. Covetousness clearly and negatively affected the lives of people and it is not limited towards the rich. Look at those bank robberies in which the robbers armed themselves, threatened people and even used tactics to break-in, disable security and organize planned getaways with the goal of escaping with a large stack of money or very valuable metals? The sad thing here is that these robbers are determined to harm and kill just for money! Think about that! Armed robbers would disregard other people’s lives for the sake of coveting wealth that they don’t even deserve!

Look at impoverished people who, during night time, go to a small business joint (or a family home), break in through the windows (or through a vacant aircon opening on the wall) then steal whatever valuable items they find inside. I’m talking about trespassing, damaging property and then stealing involved.

And then there are those “crime-less” acts of covetousness that get committed. A person can strive hard to earn money and/or find ways to get discounts all for the sake of buying the most anticipated video games for his gaming console. A person can go as far as exploiting the discounts of a big online sale ordering so many items that are not even needed. Along the way, the people committing covetousness can also harm himself/herself with the next bad thing – overspending!

Covetousness, again, is about desiring something or someone so much, you will take extreme measures to acquire successfully.

Clearly the Lord does not want people to commit crime or commit any bad deeds to gain something. The Lord knows fully well that criminals and other people consumed by covetousness are indeed foolish and sinful. The Lord is watching us all on how we spend or use the blessings He gave us, how we react on what is made available for acquiring within the flawed world system we are living in and what we do with what was acquired.

To really enjoy rewards from the Lord, you need to have faith in Him, repent to Him, prioritize Him and accomplish His assignment for you. This means opportunities to become a Kingdom Investor which I will emphasize in the future.

Clearly, you can enjoy riches, luxuries and the good life that the Lord will bless you with for as long as you prioritize Him and be faithful to Him. Don’t forget to discipline yourself with the money and other forms of blessings you received from the Lord.

What I have discussed with you here is not religion…it is the Biblical Truth. In my old life, there was never a single religious leader who ever warned me about covetousness or how we should handle the blessings we receive from the Lord. Religion did not help me connect to the Lord.

Religion will trap you. Religion will frustrate you. Religion will even corrupt you and lead you to greed and covetousness. The truth from the Holy Bible and having faith in the Lord and worshiping Him directly will set you free. I know! Because I experienced these in my life. I have been saved by Lord Jesus through His Instrument (a very dear friend of mine). Religion in my old life was darkness. As I learned along the way, it is better to be faithful to the Lord than to be religious.

There is more to your personal relationship with God than religion. You also need the Holy Spirit. You need to be born again and become a new creation in Jesus. Those are all true and you will realize it all eventually.

Are you a lost soul right now? Have you been living in darkness? Were you corrupted by covetousness and greed? You can still be saved and you have the power to decide to truly reform yourself! Reform does not happen because of a pretentious idealist who rants a lot on Facebook. Reform truly happens with the Lord and with His Spirit in your heart.

If you seek salvation now, learn that the first step is to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Clean yourself of the religious values that prevented you from connecting to the Lord.

Then pray the simple prayer in one of my past Christianity articles. It’s located at the end of my article Trust in God, Disregard those Idols and you only need to click here.

Remember that the Lord always blesses the faithful abundantly and He really wants us, the faithful ones, to prosper, be happy, be good and be able to give to others. Along the way, we ourselves have responsibilities to handle and we are still responsible over our circumstances just as we receive love and blessings from the Lord.

Resist the devil (whose tools include covetousness, lust, the frustration caused by religion and wickedness) by always being faithful to Jesus whose victory we should always remember.

With faith in the Lord and the Holy Spirit in your heart, you can be victorious, prosperous and happy eternally. Also never forget what Jesus said in Revelations 22:  12 in the Holy Bible.


Thank you for reading. If you find this Christianity 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

 

 

 

My Observations: Mang Pandesal in BF International

In recent times, I spotted a new business at the corner of Tropical Avenue and El Grande Avenue in BF International, Las Piñas City. It was Mang Pandesal and their store was easy to spot with its red and yellow colors.

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Mang Pandesal is located at the corner of Tropical Avenue and El Grande Avenue in BF International, Las Piñas City. It is along the way to the nearby Village Sports Club.

To put things in perspective, especially for the foreign readers viewing this, pandesal is a common roll of bread in the Philippines composed of eggs, sugar, flour, salt and yeast. It is found in many places all over the country from the rural areas to the commercial joints along city roads.

On the small business joint Mang Pandesal, simplicity is the best way to describe what they offer. The first time I went inside, I saw the counter and behind it was the space where the pandesal was orderly stored and there was an oven. They bake and sell small-sized pandesal at a very affordable P2 each. That’s it! Simple as that! Take a look at what I had the first time I bought a pandesal there.

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The lady carefully puts the freshly baked pandesal into a paper bag after I ordered some.
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This is the small pandesal sold at P2 each.
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The other freshly baked pandesal just waiting to be bought!

 

After receiving the pandesal I bought, I opened the paper bag and looked inside. These small pandesal pieces look really cute. Then I pulled out one and ate it for the first time ever. It tasted good!

Clearly, Mang Pandesal’s bread really lived up to the Tagalog sign outside that said, “Masarap at malaman kahit walang palaman.” That loosely translates to, “Delicious and satisfying even without filling.”

One pandesal gave a good taste. Consuming two or more pieces means more of the good taste plus the satisfaction. Don’t forget the low price of each pandesal for sale which makes it ideal for buying by the bulk for the family or friends.

And then there was a holy scripture at the counter – 1 Corinthians 10: 31.

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The scripture displayed prominently.

According to the New King James Version (NKJV) Holy Bible I’m using, 1 Corinthians 10: 31 goes as follows:

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

That scripture truly meant something. The next few times I passed by Mang Pandesal, I saw the store had a line of customers (some with their cars parked nearby) waiting to be served. There was a time when the customers were buying the available pandesal by the bulk.

And there was another time when there were customers ahead of mean just standing in line waiting for the next batch of pandesal to finish baking at the oven as the available supply of pandesal ran out!

From time to time, I failed to buy a single piece of pandesal there but I have no regret.

In fact, I can say out loud that Mang Pandesal in BF International is a blessed business by the Lord! They have the Word of God with them and it is truthful that the Lord blesses the faithful abundantly!

There is no poverty nor lack in the Kingdom of God. For as long as we are faithful to Him, we pray to Him, we follow and do His Word, and honor Him, the Lord will bless us and prosper us.

Going back to Mang Pandesal, I highly recommend buying pandesal from them whenever you pass by their store at Tropical Avenue corner El Grande Avenue. They are a blessed business and what they sell is unsurprisingly good.


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