We Are Marked

When we were little kids we liked going to the store to buy soda, and we also liked going back to return the bottles. Why , the deposit money served as our service fee. This was when soda was still in bottles-not can or plastic. One way to insure and ensure that the store would not lose the bottles, was to impose a deposit.  You don’t return it, deposit forfeited. As simple as that.

As I was reading Ephesians 1:13-14, I was reminded of a theme. Yesterday I talked about identity. Today I’d like to briefly touch on the mark and the seal.

A pawnshop is a clear illustration of how it works. You pawn something for cash, and you can come back to redeem it on the set deadline, but you have to have the ticket as proof of ownership. No ticket , no redemption.  Just like the soda store, no bottle , no money.

When Jesus Christ left for Heaven, he must have known the unsettling feeling of his followers. The insecurity and the uncertainty that came with his departure could be liken to a child being left or abandoned by the mother. Scary.

But our God is an all knowing God and He is always prepared. He is not an Indian giver. He gave Jesus as a gift but we know that His place is not here. Instead, those who accepted Jesus received a mark and a seal, the Holy Spirit. That’s why the enemy can spot us easily. We have our identity in Christ. We have that mark.

It is comforting to know that I have the guarantee of redemption and inheritance. It is a promise I can hold on to. It is a spiritual paradigm shift. All of a sudden, nothing matters in comparison to what I will receive in the end.

Jesus is coming back to redeem his own, and He is gonna look for that mark and seal.

Be ready.

Identity Theft

Frank Sinatra while still alive had been frequently linked to the members of the Mafia. Reported rumors that were accepted as facts. Whether true or not, the point of this blog is this: our association and identity are shaped by either what we do, who we hang out with or even our past.

In America, we are identified by our Social Security Number. We are identified by facial features. Our basic identity is our names. In businesses and products, identity is crucial. We identify lost pets through their tags. So what is the big deal about identity?

From the beginning of time, our identity was established when God created man from the dust of the ground in His own image. That distinction between man and the rest of His creation is crucial because it reflects God’s character and intent-relationship. That relationship enabled Adam and Eve to identify the God who created them just by the sound of his footsteps.

Our present age is the age of identity theft. People pretending to be who they are not, stealing information to have access to certain services and privileges. Even the movie Face Off toyed with the idea of actually switching faces to assume different identities. When someone steals identity and wrecks it, the consequences is enormous. How does one repair a damaged identity?

Good news! Jesus died for us and gave us a new identity. The sin and the filth’s gone, washed away by His blood. We, as followers of Jesus are identified with Him. Sadly, some people who claim to be Christians refuse to be identified with Jesus and his works. Some even are ashamed to be identified with Christ.More people are rejecting Jesus. What’s up with that?

There is one master manipulator, the cunning hacker of life. He is Satan and he is the great identity thief. You don’t believe me? Read John 10:10. He is never happy to see souls won over to Jesus’ side and if we are not careful, Satan is so good at deflecting the truth by messing with your head. “You are a sinner”, “God doesn’t love you”, “God doesn’t care about you”, “You are good for nothing and Jesus won’t accept you”.

You can choose to be identified with the world and be accepted, or you can choose to be accepted with Jesus and be rejected. But guess what? When the curtain closes and we come face to face with our Creator, the sweetest sound of His voice recognizing us as his own is gonna be worth it all.

Blessings.

1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 3:1

Zeal With a Kiss

I was once called a zealot. But somehow I felt like it was a bad thing because of how it was said. There is nothing negative in the way the dictionary defines the word, either. It is one trait that is really admirable because it shows fervency and passion. Obsession is not zeal so don’t be confused.

But zeal without knowledge is not good. You see groups that are passionate about what they believe to be right and that is a loaded statement worthy of another blog, but let us zero in on zeal.

Galatians 4:18
                                                   Galatians 4:18

The ever zealous Paul was talking to the of Galatian Christians  and said “it is fine to be zealous provided the purpose is good” (Galatians 4:18a). The situation of the early believers in Galatia must be frustrating to Paul (v.11 , 20) because the competing faction were trying to win them over to their side. Paul reminded the Galatians that their zeal was no good, for they were essentially bringing them (Galatians) back to slavery by  being legalistic and continuing on with their pagan tradition.

Be zealous for the glory of God. The tradition of old mostly were handed down to us and we just accepted and practice  them without seeking the truth. The tradition, rituals and celebrations we claim to please God,  takes the place of a true relationship with Jesus Christ most of the time. One could be totally passionate and sincere about religion, but could still be lost. Shocking to some, offensive to many but that is the truth.

Be zealous but for good. Seek the truth. Don’t take my word for  it, do your due diligence. Investigate and seek God’s wisdom that the truth be revealed to you. Then you can have the same zeal for the good and God’s glory.

Sisterly hugs and kisses too.

Complex Simplicity

Are you the type of a person who gets easily swayed? When outnumbered by popular opinion, do you back down or do you stand firm with your conviction? We all know that Christianity is being worn down with attrition. What to do?

I read blogs, forums and watched videos where people openly attack Christianity and it is never pretty. It seems like whoever starts questioning what Christianity stands for  is never really out to get the truth. It is always to argue, attack, and discredit.

It is not helping that there are people who profess to be Christians but how they conduct themselves is the exact opposite of what the Scriptures teach. They preach yet they breach. They are magnetic, charismatic but erratic. They have the ability to convince you that the sky is black even though it is blue.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise because even during the time of the apostle Paul, there were people who tried to pervert the gospel of Christ, confusing people causing them to stumble and abandon the truth.

But the simplicity of the gospel is what makes Christianity unique. The gospel that we preach is so simple, most people have a hard time accepting it as the truth. The gospel of Christ is all about His life, death, resurrection and salvation for mankind.

8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

This may be a poor illustration, but bear with me. If God were a salesman, he wouldn’t need our help to sell Christianity, the product sells itself because it comes with a gift.  All He needs is our testimony that the product is indeed working. Do I make sense?

Next time someone challenges you about your faith, this is it:

  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.-1 Peter 3:15

Grace and peace, everyone.

Paul’s Life Hacks

I imagine Paul all talked out after his third visit to the Corinthians. He was frustrated but quite a straight shooter. If he were alive today and is tech savvy he would probably blog everyday and use all the social media platforms available to get his message across.  He could be appearing on TED and tweeting crazy like this:

LH 1: Be #perfect. 

#Perfection is a process. Like diamonds constantly getting cut and polished, we should strive for maturity and becoming more like Christ daily.

LH 2:  Be of #one mind.

In unity and agreement  as to the teachings of Christ and His grace. The mission of the gospel and the mission of the church. No compromising of faith. Be drawn only to the things of God.

LH 3: Live in #peace.

There is no peace in the wicked, so be obedient to God and maintain a harmonious relationship with people around you. Don’t incite hatred, promote Godly love.

#saintlykisses everyone.

I Think, Therefore…

independiente.mx
photo credit: independiente.mx

Brainstorming in ad agency and TV shows is a common thing. What we see on TV, the sketches, commercials, print ads, billboards are a product of creative people. People who constantly think and come up with the best and the worse.

Every meeting is an adventure. Anyone working for TV and advertising know this. We think of things we thought we would never think of. It is scary and surprising because the brain when pushed to the limit and under pressure can produce wonders.

“You think it, you do it”, is how we roll, one of the many. If we come up with something fabulous, we hit the drawing board, pitch it, shoot it and we wait for its break. Whatever we see on TV comes from a simple thought.

What do you think about when you are alone?
Do you always act on it?

www.huffingtonpost.com
photo credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Our brain is likened to that of a computer-a biological computer, very different in mechanism from an electronic computer, but similar in the sense that it acquires information from the surrounding world, stores it, and processes it in a variety of ways, analogous to the central processing unit (CPU) in a computer.”-wikipedia

Complex and powerful, and just as bright ideas come from it, sin also starts from it. With influx of information and access via technology,our brain could be the perfect hiding spot for anything lustful, hateful or deceitful. Thinking it is not sin per se, but acting on it can lead to destruction and regrettable circumstance later on.

That is why, we are to take captive every thought to Christ. That is how we train our brain. Not everything we think of is necessarily useful and beneficial. We need the Lord’s guidance to help us resist temptations and be victorious in our head for the brain is a battlefield!

Think of our brain as a gas tank. Whatever we fill it in will affect the performance of our car. Fill it with the wrong type of gas, and it’s guaranteed to wreck our vehicle with costly consequences. Same thing with us. We feed our brain with pornography and our body will soon crave for it and indulge in it. Doesn’t happen instantly but if we won’t nip it in the bud, we are gonna be in for a wild regrettable ride.

Are you in a situation now where your mind takes you to unpleasant places?  Are you struggling about something negative playing in your head over and over again? Take them captive to Jesus!

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.-Philippians 4:8

photo credit: biblia.com
photo credit: biblia.com