Love and acceptance

I wrote a blog a few days ago and my attention has been drawn to the fact that I have misinterpreted the intentions of the gentleman who I reported as having said that God does not communicate with people anymore. I have apologized to him and I want to use this opportunity to apologize publicly. It just shows how easily misunderstanding occur and how careful we have to be when we listen to people.

Misunderstandings can easily lead to severed relationships. Often Christians don’t agree about things and then part ways which is really sad. In Acts 15:36 – 41 Paul and Barnabas couldn’t agree about taking John Mark with them on a trip and their argument became so heated that they decided to part ways.

Acts 15:39 The contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;

We know that they eventually got together again.

Colossians 4:10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions, if he comes to you, welcome him).

Hebrews 12:14-15 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.

We should always put peace first between Christians, whether they have exactly the same doctrines as us or not. The Word of God should be our final authority. If the issue is doctrine we can still be brothers and sisters because at the end of the day we are children of the living God and Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.

Hebrews 12:28 – 29 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.

I have been offended by Christians and by the church, and I am sure that most Christians can say the same. It happens all the time and I don’t think that while the enemy prowl like a hungry lion that will change. I made the decision to return to the church which I had left and ask for forgiveness. We cannot afford to be at war with our fellow Christians. We have to make every attempt to be at peace with believers.

James 1:12-   Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let not one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived my beloved brethren.

We have to be so careful not to be enticed by the enemy to believe that we are right in taking offense. God does not want us to be offended. Offence is not one of the fruit of the Spirit. Offence is from the devil and we should be really aware of our feelings and our motives at all times.

Romans 14:13 Therefore do not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

1 Peter 2:11-12 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

If believers are busy pulling each other’s beliefs apart, what kind of an example is that to the unbelievers? We should at least be able to show brotherly love to each other without criticising and putting each other down. I am sincerely sorry about the misunderstanding and that I said something about it without first checking my facts. I can only aspire to listen better in future and also to show more love and acceptance to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

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Out of the box

Have you ever tried to get out of the box? Have you even just tried to look outside of the box? Just a peek? And what happened? You started seeing the possibilities and the freedom and then you worked up the courage to tell someone about it. You shared your vision. Down came the hammer. BAM! Someone crushed those dreams. Sometimes dreams can be destroyed without even using words. A look or an attitude can be enough to leave the floor full of shards. Most people don’t want others to rise up above their circumstances or to go beyond what is considered safe.

How many of us have advised out children to pursue a career that is stable and offers a pension plan and medical benefits? Why do we do it? To prevent them from following their dreams? Not at all. We mainly want to protect them against financial hardship. Nobody wants to see his child struggle. But isn’t it the struggles and the battles that make us tough and grow character? Isn’t it true that if we haven’t been through troubles and faced our giants that we aren’t really going to have much of a backbone?

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Anyway, to come back to the box, I do think that a lot of the time the ones who upset our apple carts only want to help us. Sometimes however there are those who are jealous and just like to rain on your parade. It really doesn’t matter what the motives of the thundercloud is, we have to decide in our own minds what we really want. We can’t allow people to decide for us what it is we need. If I am really passionate about something then I must go after that thing with my whole heart. I must be willing, no eager, to practice it every day. I remember reading a little joke where the teacher told the class that if you want to cultivate a new habit you had to repeat it 30 times to make it yours. A girl at the back of the class obviously only half-heard. She started repeating over and over: Michael, Michael, Michael …

What is a box, or rather, what is your box? I see anything that keeps you from reaching your potential as a box. How did you get into that box? Were you born in it? No! Little children have imagination and they believe they can do anything. Somewhere along the way you believed something that stopped you from reaching your potential and fulfilling your destiny. Family, friends, culture, religion or the media could have influenced you. Did they put you in the box? No, you did. You put yourself into that box by believing certain things about yourself. Those things don’t even have to be true, you just have to believe them.

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How do you know if what you think you want to do really is what you should be doing? If you really want to do something then go after it. If you wake up in the morning thinking about it and go to sleep at night planning what you are going to accomplish the next day it’s very good sign. I listened to a very good talk about following your dreams. If you are really passionate about something that passion will reflect in the way you do it and then there will be a gap in the market for what you do. Even a cheese sandwich made with passion is a cut above the rest. I love art and I love writing. I love a lot of other things too like gardening and sewing but art and writing are at the top of my list. When I paint (create something artistic) or write I feel alive. I feels like something inside of me has been ignited. It feels like this is what I have been created for. I completed quite a few canvasses this year so far, they are mixed media so I feel I shouldn’t say I ‘painted’ because painting was only a part of what I did. I also enrolled in a creative writing course at the beginning of December and I’ve just completed my fifth assignment. I told my husband that I am not going to wait until I retire so that I can do what I’m passionate about. I’m going to start practising so that when I get to retirement I’ll be used to it. So every day I do something creative. I have also hung my art in our shop and put prices on it. That is huge for me because it feels like I am exposing my soul and becoming vulnerable. I am opening myself up for criticism. I don’t know if anyone will buy anything but I feel like I can call myself an artist. Even if people just look at the work and feel the emotion I will be happy.

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Go after your passion. Don’t hide your light under a bushel or a bucket or what you believe about your abilities. You were created for a purpose and if you don’t get out of the box you are never going to see it happen.