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

 

Idolaters Will Not Inherit The Kingdom of God Unless They Repent, Disregard Their Idols and Submit To Him Willingly

I am a faithful Christian who got saved by Jesus through His Holy Instrument just over a year ago. I am no longer a prisoner of religion and no longer am I a lost soul. I am free to worship Father God and His Son Jesus. I left behind the useless acts of worshipping people, worshipping man-made objects, following rituals (that have little or nothing to do with the Holy Bible) and doing repetitive prayers.

Truly, the Christian life specifically requires reading the Holy Bible and applying its lessons in life, praising the Lord, seeking and following His plan which was written even before the beginning of time.

We live in a screwed-up world. A world so divisive, there are many people who drifted so far away from the Lord and the sad news is that those people do not even realize they are spiritually lost. I’m not just talking about the non-believers but also the people who are trapped by religion.

Religion is mean and frustrating. It comes with a whole bunch of rules, traditions and rituals that truly hinder a person from establishing true faith and a true relationship with the Lord. Among the many hindrances that come with religion is idolatry.

Idolatry, in its simplest form, is the act of worshipping an idol. In the context of the Holy Bible, idolatry is the worship of an image or a created object or someone (a person). Truth behold, idolatry is a sin and no matter what religious leader would say to defend it, it is truly a sin and there is no exception for it!

The people who commit idolatry are idolaters. You worship a picture or a statue or a person you find charming? That makes you an idolater and also a sinner in the eyes of God whom we should all be worshipping directly and trust fully. Consider the following scripture.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, not covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (NKJV)

Now this is not the first time I discussed how idols hinder people from establishing faith and trust in the Lord. The purpose of this article is to go even deeper about idols and why they are not only worthless but are elements that lead to sin.

In this messy world we live in, there are still many people who are trapped by religion and its rituals and that means they believe that God is not approachable. These unfortunate people have been misled and oriented by their religious leaders into believing that worshipping idol (be it a handcrafted object or an image or a person who is supposedly holy) is necessary to connect with the Lord. It’s simply not true!

The worshipping of a statue, or a painting or some man-made object is unnecessary. And then there is the religion-based belief imposed on people that they should see God in their worship leader which requires them to worship that particular mortal person just to connect to the Lord. This one is also unnecessary.

The truth is God is approachable and He does not require believers to worship an object nor a person just to connect to Him. Worshipping the Lord should be direct (with the guidance of a worship leader who does NOT require worship of him) and free from the obstruction of idolatry!

Apart from worshiping the Lord, people (whether they trapped by religion or unbelief) are vulnerable because they easily get charmed by people whom they find charismatic, heroic and capable of making reforms happen for their benefit. A person trapped by religion who thinks he’s worshipping God through idols, can always fall for the charm of another person whom he perceives to be a carrier of hope and change that would feed his selfish desire. Above it all, these acts of idolatry make one a sinner in the eyes of the Lord!

If you are someone who had to look up to idols to worship God, be aware that you’ve been moving down the wrong path all this time. Learn from the following scriptures from the Holy Bible.

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

Galatians 4: 3-8 (NKJV)

You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 20: 3-6 (NKJV)

Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19: 4 (NKJV)

Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.

Isaiah 45: 20 (NKJV)

Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy.

Jonah 2: 8 (NKJV)

See? The holy scriptures I just shared above are clear and definitive. We don’t need idols at all! We don’t need to do any idolatry! We don’t need to worship people to connect to God who is truly approachable and we are truly free to not only worship Him directly but also repent to Him directly, thank Him directly and converse with Him directly.

On the topic of idols, an idol is not limited just to man-made objects, images and people. Even things like alcohol, drugs, sex, a relationship, a vehicle, a computer, a smartphone, a very immersive video game or computer software, a highly interactive artificial intelligence and a home can also become idols in the sense that they will take you away from the Lord. You prioritize playing a very immersive video game like Fallout 4 (where you create a character and literally live a 2nd life within the game) over praying to the Lord and reading the Holy Bible? That is offensive already to Him. As God Himself said, He is indeed a jealous God and that means we must prioritize Him with our time and attention!

To understand this, take time to read this scripture.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘You have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and on all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke Me to anger, in that they went to burn incense and to serve other gods whom they did not know, they nor you nor your fathers. However I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying ‘Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!’ But they did not listen tor incline to their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense to other gods. So My fury and My anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is this day.”

Jeremiah 44: 2-6 (NKJV)

Those were God’s words above. That was His anger against His own people because even though His prophets did their best, the people refused to listen and ultimately, they disobeyed God. God’s wrath is not to be taken lightly and we can all avoid it by destroying the idols! No more worshipping objects and people! No more spending ourselves on vices or hobbies that take us apart from the Lord! We need to reform ourselves, change our lifestyles, repent to God for the idolatry committed and then dedicate ourselves to Him.

Along the way, there is the need for each and everyone of us to be born again. To learn about becoming born again, read the words of Jesus in John 3: 3 and follow the subsequent verses. Take note that in order to receive the Holy Spirit from the Lord and become a new creation, becoming born again is essential! You can also refer to the prayer on becoming born again at the end of my previous article about trusting God and disregarding idols.

So it is clear once again that we do not need religion, we don’t need idols and we don’t need rituals. Idols are clearly unholy! What we need is faith and a relationship with the Lord who is truly approachable. To be born again, one must willingly accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Along the way, reading the Holy Bible and applying its lessons on our respective lives is essential.

The path with the Lord is clear! Idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God. The saved souls will.


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

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.

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

 

 

 

Trust in God, Disregard those Idols

In this world we live in, it is too easy for us to allow ourselves to be distracted, to be swayed, and even worse, to be lost.

Look around you. People are so attached to their smartphones they spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other digital stuff it affects them tremendously making them addicted to technology. There is also the constant presence of cable TV news that somehow manipulate viewers to become news junkies (people addicted to the news) and the sad thing is that most people addicted to the news do not realize the fact that corporate media turned journalism into a commodity as they conspired with political forces and some advertisers behind the scenes.

And then there is the wide selection of entertainment from TV to mobiles games, the movie theaters, the radio and the like. There are those entertainment figures who become idols to their respective legions of followers. These are the famous actors, the famous singers, the famous fashion models, the famous media personalities and more. Apart from entertainment figures, there are also varied politicians who, because of democracy, developed their own respective legions of followers (voters) and they themselves become idols.

As if that was not bad enough, there is also religion which comes with the worship of idols (idolatry) along with traditions, rituals and repetitive prayers that actually hinder people from establishing a true relationship with the Lord.

As I mentioned before, I am a geek and I love entertainment. I play video games, I watch movies and read comic books. I also pay attention to some news coverage of political news since it is an undeniable fact that public service affects a lot of people. However, I learned to restrain myself, stop the entertainment addiction, stop being indoctrinated by the news media and focus more on my job and other priorities. I also rejected religion and became Born Again.

One of the top priorities of mine is keeping faith in God and His Son Jesus and constantly learning lessons from the Holy Bible as well as applying those lessons on my daily living. I learned to avoid worshiping idols, both living and the non-living ones (in the form of man-made art). Trust me. When it comes to faith, I felt very relieved by getting rid of those statues and other man-made figures that were never truly worth worshiping. Those objects are not holy! I also stopped worshiping people (both the living and the ones who passed away). At the same time, I am no longer constrained nor hindered by religion. My worship is is direct to God and His Son Jesus and that is how it will always be for me forever more.

Today I would like to discuss Psalm 115 from the Holy Bible and the lesson will be about the futility of idols and the trustworthiness of God.

Let’s start reading Psalm 115 with my explanations.

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,

But to Your name give glory

Because of Your Mercy,

Because of Your truth.

Why should the Gentiles say,

“So where is their God?”

My take: Psalm 115: 1-2 opens with the prioritizing and trusting of God who is the all powerful creator who is not a tyrant but is actually a loving, caring, forgiving and just God who wants His faithful followers to spread His truth to others, to prosper and be happy. As God is in heaven, he cannot be easily seen on Earth by mortals who do not know Him, do not believe in Him and have limited themselves to what they perceive as real while living in the flesh.

But our God is in heaven;

He does whatever He pleases.

Their idols are silver and gold,

The work of men’s hands.

They have mouths, but they do not speak;

Eyes they have, but they do not see;

They have ears, but they do not hear;

Noses they have, but they do not smell;

They have hands, but they do not handle;

Feet they have, but they do not walk;

Nor do they mutter through their throat.

Those who make them are like them;

So is everyone who trusts in them.

My take: Psalm 115: 3-8 clearly describes the idols that humans (who don’t believe in God) invent out of nothing (or out of a very false belief) just so that they have something to worship. While God will always be real to His faithful believers, the idols are simply non-existing even though the people who keep on idolizing them live on with the lie that their idols are real, living and responding to them. There definitely is a contrast between the spiritual God who reigns omnisciently and omnipotently, and the man-made idols who are limited to the space of a carved object. In other words, idolatry is absurd, worthless and a terrible waste.

Can these man-made idols perform miracles like God? No! Can these idols send real messages to the people who worship them? No! Can these idols impact people’s lives? Absolutely not and the fact remains is that the people who worship the idols are living a lie and wasting their lives away. An idol is worthless and its followers become worthless as well.

Oh Israel, trust in the LORD;

He is their help and their shield.

O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD,

He is their help and their shield.

You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD;

He is their help and their shield.

The LORD has been mindful of us;

He will bless us;

He will bless the house of Israel;

He will bless the house of Aaron.

He will bless those who fear the LORD,

Both small and great.

My take: Psalm 115: 9-13 emphasizes the fact that God is real and therefore can always be trusted even though He cannot be seen through mortal eyes. He is in heaven, after all. Even though He is far away from, God has always maintained great awareness of His faithful believers and in return for their faith and purity, they will be blessed.

It is also essential to know that fearing the Lord leads to enlightenment. As such other forms of fear – fear of the unknown, fear caused by unrestrained emotions, fear that the worst will happen, fear of hopelessness, fear caused by interventionism, fear caused by brainwashing, fear caused by being self-centered, fear generated by religion and more – should be disregarded. Faith in the Lord is all what a person needs to have in order live better, to be blessed and to prosper. Having fear of the Lord is part of practicing faith in Him.

The non-believers meanwhile will only struggle and experience hardship. These are the people whose souls need saving. (refer to John 3: 3)

May the LORD give you increase more and more,

You and your children.

May you be blessed by the LORD,

Who made heaven and earth.

The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s;

But the earth He has given to the children of men.

The dead do not praise the LORD,

Nor any who go down into silence.

Be we will bless the LORD

From this time forth and forevermore.

Praise the LORD!

My take: Psalm 115: 14-18 emphasizes further that God is loving, caring and will keep blessing faithful believers. In return, faithful believers keep living their lives with purity, maintain an unwavering faith and praise the Lord always.

On earth, people were born in the flesh as naturally flawed beings (lost souls) who have to struggle growing up, figuring out life the hard way while dealing with the unpredictable moves of nature and local society. The struggle, however, can end by believing in God, realizing He is real, praising Him and being faithful to Him. This also means that a person must be born again (refer to John 3: 3) in order to be saved and to see God’s kingdom.

People who were born with lost souls, lived life worshiping idols (or completely ignoring them but still failing to realize God’s existence) and later died without being saved truly end up failing  to see God’s kingdom. That is a very sad outcome indeed and not enough people realize that.

In this world we live in, countless forms of distractions hound us all the time. Among them are the idols, both living and non-living, that people seem to be captivated with. The sad thing about following idols in the modern world is that the followers (of the idols) tend to forget and/or ignore God and His Son Jesus. These people don’t realize they became lost souls.

Worshiping idols is futile. None of those idols will ever come close to the power, the love and care of the Lord. Here’s a passage from Psalm 86: 8.

Among the gods, there is none like You, O Lord;

Nor are there any works like Your works.

The gods mentioned above refers to the idols and myths that pagans refer to as gods. David is not acquiescing to polytheism (refer to 1 Corinthians 8: 5-6)

And then there are these powerful words from God from Exodus 20: 3.

You shall have no other gods before Me.

And then there is the passage of Deuteronomy 5: 7-10 which is connected to the Ten Commandments.

You shall have no other gods before me. 

You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

God is the one true god to worship and very clearly idols are not meant to be worshiped. God’s character demands loyalty while idols are worthless. You worship an idol, then you will be lost! Do you really want to waste your life hailing an idol and ignoring God and His Son Jesus? Do you really want to live as a lost and unsaved soul? You may not realize it but you need direction and you need to be born again. You can start reforming yourself to find your path to Lord Jesus by getting rid of those idols (both living and non-living) and focus on Him.

We should all read the Holy Bible and remember that Jesus came to this world and dwelt among people thousands of years ago. He came and spread the good news of salvation and those who believed in Him received the free gift of the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit received, the faithful believer will understand the Word of God as well as the nature of God, then develop a genuine heart of worship and become a new creation.

This is not about religion at all. Religion itself will frustrate you and prevent you from truly connecting to the Lord. Rather this is about your personal relationship with the Lord. Any person – including you the reader – needs the Holy Spirit, needs to be born again and needs to become a new creation in Jesus.

As such, if you have been idolizing someone or something, you have been living with frustrations and you really want to be reformed deep inside, then immediately you must decide to stop worshiping idols and look up to God and trust in Him! You have the power to decide for yourself and the good news is that it is not too late for you to be saved.

You have the power to willingly reject religion as well as all of its idols, rituals and traditions that prevented you from establishing a true relationship with the Lord. 

If you seek salvation now, learn that the first step is to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

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.


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

Don’t be limited with hearing. Do the Word!

In the local society we live in, many of us mistake hearing with learning and making a difference with it. Take for example someone heard a rumor that there was gun shooting incident at a certain part of the local community but he never bothered to investigate nor verify how true it is. Worse, the hearer believes in the rumor and starts thinking he knows a lot about it and then he talks about it to his neighbors sounding like it is factual. Think about how many people he misled with what he only heard. Think about the danger of unverified allegations passing from one neighbor to another.

The truth of the matter is that hearing itself is insufficient when it comes to making a difference in life. Hearing only can be misleading if the information heard is false or just a piece of fiction or an exaggeration meant to mislead people. Hearing only gives a person the false idea that he/she learned something valuable. Hearing only is not the same becoming enlightened. Hearing only is not the same as verifying the facts.

In the spiritual life, hearing is not good enough and as believers in the Lord we have a responsibility to not only learn about the Word of God but to act with it starting with applying it in our lives. As believers, we must stop being hearers and strive to be doers. Doers of the Word specifically!

Here’s an excerpt from the Holy Bible.

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

James 1: 21-25 (NKJV)

Verses 23 to 25 of James Chapter 1 refers to God’s Word, the purifier of holy living. Purity of life is not a quest for perfection as much as it is a quest for liberation from those things that may inhibit effectiveness and reduce power-filled living. The Word of God is expressed as a means of reflection – a mirror into which we are to look and see ourselves. The Bible has a corrective instruction and also an unwritten lesson. We should avoid the temptation to see (and judge) others in the Word, analyzing what they ought to do, instead of what we need to do.

Moving back to hearing and doing, it is clear that we are better off as doers than hearers. What we learn from Bible Study sessions or learning from the biblical lessons emphasized by the pastor to us during Sunday worship service, we must apply into our lives. We can also spread the good news of the Lord to the many unsaved souls out there and free those who have been trapped by religion. We must emphasize to the unsaved souls that there is more to the personal relationship with God than there is to religion.

Along the way, we should not forget to humble ourselves and do things properly. We can also stop living with the beggar mentality when praying to the Lord. We can also get rid of religion (along with its idols, rituals, so-called blessed sacraments, repetitive prayers and traditions that have little or even nothing to do with the Holy Bible) which has too long been hindering people from establishing a true and living relationship with God.

Religion is also a convenient tool used by Satan to not only prevent Christians from connecting with the Lord, but also to steal God’s Word from them. May I remind you, dear readers, that Satan is a loser for he has been defeated by the Lord countless generations ago. While religion teaches people that Satan is all-powerful and has an army to counter God, he (the enemy) is really just a lone loser who uses deception, distraction, manipulation and lies to bring down Christians and take them away from the Lord. Clearly Satan does not want any of us to read the Holy Bible, apply its lessons into our lives, worship the Lord and continue having a living relationship with Him.

To learn the lessons from the Holy Bible and applying them into our lives and acts are ways to keep Satan down.

How to do things properly? Learn again what was taught to us and grow with it. Learn from this passage from the Bible.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of us have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Hebrews 5: 12-14 (NKJV)

Once we grasp what we learned and do things properly under the guidance of the Lord, we can take action to deepen our personal relationship with Him, save the unsaved souls and make a tremendous positive impact on the world. That is an achievement worth doing!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article to be 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.