Your dead shall live;
Together with my dead body they shall arise.
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;
For your dew is like the dew of herbs,
And the earth shall cast out the dead.
There are times when our efforts to change for the better seem futile, when the standard “formula” to becoming more spiritual does not seem to work. There are times when our inability to reject the lusts of the flesh seem to bear down on us until we feel like giving up the fight. This verse tells us that though we dwell in dust by being confined to the weaknesses of our physical bodies, we still can “awake and sing” through the power of spiritual resurrection.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2)
A New Year’s resolution is a promise people make to themselves to be better. For many people, the New Year is a good time for a fresh start. New Year’s resolutions are usually about living healthier, having more success, or finding satisfaction in life. Some common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, exercise more, learn a new skill, save money, etc. These resolutions are not of a religious nature. However, the New Year can be a time to reflect upon our spiritual growth and set a goal for spiritual renewal.
Oftentimes, we tend to think that our faith or the state of our spirituality is a result of our external environment —where God put us, the friends and family He gave us, the situations or trials He allowed us to encounter, and so forth. While all of these factors certainly influence our lives, they do not control or dictate our spiritual state.
Let’s look at the parable of the sower recorded in Luke 8:5-15. Had Jesus not explained the mystery of the parable to us, one possible interpretation is that we represent the seed, being sown wherever the sower pleases. This would have very well fit our theory that God puts us wherever He wills, which then directly impacts the outcome of our faith. If we go along with this theory, we may go so far as having pity on those who fell in unfortunate places like the rock or thorns, presuming they had no control of their fate.
However, Jesus revealed that the seed is the word of God. Therefore, we, namely our hearts, are the different types of ground. Continue reading
As humans we like to fix things. Or to get new things to replace the things that don’t work the way we’d like them to.
Sometimes, we think we can fix other people too.
This can be motivated by selfishness – such as when we want others to fit a mold based on our personal preferences and ideals, or when we want people to stop doing something just because it annoys us. Other times, it’s motivated by love. We may truly believe that it will benefit others if they do things differently.
But even when we have the best of intentions, we can often hurt rather than help others through the way we expect them to change. Continue reading