Sunday, June 29, 2014

Organize your life to make sure you won't burn out - Part 3

This is the third part in the series to Organize your life to make sure you won't burn out 

2. Be thankful

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

The Message (MSG)

13-15 Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.
16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Bible tells us to be thankful and to have a positive attitude towards to life over and over again.

It is not surprising that modern research have found out about the huge impact that thankfulness and positive attitude have in a person’s brain and body.

There are research results that indicate that the stress hormone cortisol levels lowered 23% percent in the brain when a person thought about what they were thankful for.

Positive thinking lowers down the stress concentrating your thoughts into something else than the things causing you the stress.

Positive thinking and thankfulness

Make a conscious decision to think about something positive that happened to you every day.

Make a list of three things that you are thankful for that day at the end of every day.

Positive view of life does not mean ignoring the difficult and painful issues.

Instead it means denying you wallowing on them or asking yourself “what if”.

That way it prevents the downward spiral of negative thoughts because that is what sucks all your strength for certain.

If your negative thoughts contain stigmatizing words like “never” or “always” or “a complete failure” write them down and go them through with another person.

That way you can be certain that they are not true but just your feelings.

Concentrate on facts instead of feelings.

This is the third part in series about Organizing your life to make sure you won't burn out

If you with to read the first part, go to Part 1

If you want to read the second part, go to Part 2 

Friday, June 27, 2014

I was given a new life

Once there was a man who left his job and his important position in the society and the company.

He sold everything he had and gave it to the poor.

You are crazy, everyone else told him.

How are you going to live, his mother cried.

Who do you think will feed you, his father yelled.

You have made you wife and children beggars, they wailed.

What will the neighbors think!
He spent his days in contemplation and prayer, reading his big book.

Preaching from the book to others.

Let the book feed you, the people laughed.

Let your prayers clothe your children.

Finally he felt ready to answer his call and packed his bags.

Together with his family he travelled to another country.

Where people spoke another language and had different way of life.
There are poor here at home, people tried to talk sense into him.
People who need your prayers and your big book.

Why do you have to go so far?

In that other country he served the people.

He did not want anything for himself or his family.

But gave all to the strangers.

When the moment came, he gave his life also.

We told you so, his family and the neighbors claimed to his wife.
Look what he did to you and your children.

Now what you are going to do?

I will stay here and continue his work, she answered.

And if you have to die also?

Then I will gladly give my life, because it is the greatest gift of all.

I was given a new life and it is not mine to decide anymore.
How can I deny if I am asked to return it?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Casting the sins to the currents of God's grace - (Not so) Wordless Wednesday

"The Tashlich (literally, "casting") is a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages in which the sins of the repentant are ceremonially cast into the deep, ever-flowing currents of God's grace. It is a time of both penitence and celebration as a year's worth of shotcomings and failures are acknowledged, accepted, and then washed away so that life can begin again, fresh, with no mistakes in it."
Rachel Held Evans

18 Where is another God like you,
    who pardons the guilt of the remnant,
    overlooking the sins of his special people?
You will not stay angry with your people forever,
    because you delight in showing unfailing love.
19 Once again you will have compassion on us.
    You will trample our sins under your feet
    and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
Micah 7:18-19
New Living Translation (NLT)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Price of Our Freedom

Apostle Paul talks about the Roman practice where the owner could free his slave by paying the full price of him to the society in his letter to Corinthians.

The former slave could now leave to live his life the way he wanted or stay serving his former owner as a free man.

In Paul’s time the Roman society was roughly divided in two large groups: free citizens and slaves.

The free citizens led and directed the society, made the decision and money and had the fun in life. 
The slaves were bought from markets for different uses: to the fields, as domestic workers, teachers or even as doctors.

They had neither rights nor any ways to influence their lives or the society in general.

Slaves were marked with a brand and worked until they got seriously ill or died.
If a slave had children, they also were slaves and considered as property of their parents owners.
23 You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears. 1 Corinthians 7:23 Living Bible (TLB)
You could always recognize a run-away slave from their brand.

And just any free man that found them could return them to their owner or kill them.

A freed slave was given a document to prove their freedom.

In it was written the price their owner paid to free them.

And this is the practice that Paul talks about in his letter to Corinthians.

The group of people in Corinth to whom Paul was writing to was mixed.

Some of them were free men and some of them were former soldiers.

But the biggest part of the group was slaves, freed slaves or former prostitutes who had lived as slaves in the temples.

To them the text that the apostle had written was clearer than the water.

Jesus paid the price

Paul doesn’t talk just about a societal fact but he uses this situation that everyone knows to clarify a spiritual fact.

Every person in their lives has reached a point where they have become slaves to the sin.

We have all been branded by the sin.

The price of our freedom has become astronomical.

Jesus describes this sum of money in his parable of two men in Matthew 18:23-27.

One of whom was forgiven by the king from their debt of 10 000 talents.

That sum meant in dinars, the common currency of their time, 10 000 times the day pay of 6 000 days.

In today’s money it would be more than 7 000 000 000 dollars.

And the man was just asking for a little more time to pay his debt.

He did not understand at all how impossible it would be for him to pay his debt back.
23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’
Matthew 18:23-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

Someone has to pay the debt

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us how important it is that our debt is forgiven by our Heavenly Father.

The debt, the word that Matthew uses in original text, can be as well translated as sin, as Lucas does in his evangelism.

Both of them wanted us to understand that in front of God we are broken.

Without His mercy we have nothing and we are helpless.

Someone has to pay the debt.

Because it is impossible for the slave, even to the slave of sin, in Heaven it was planned how to free the humanity from their debt.

In John 3:16-17 we can read how this was done.

In the original text the amount of God’s love is not measured but the manner how the debt was paid.

And this is the fact that Paul talks about in his letter to Corinthians.

Faith in Jesus, trust in his death on the cross and hope of his resurrection proclaim us the love and the enormous price that has been paid for us.
16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
John 3:16-17 Living Bible (TLB)

Stay in the House of the Savior

The last part of the verse exhorts us to live accordingly to our new freedom.

We humans have the tendency of tying ourselves with new bonds.

Some of the freed slaves in Paul’s time would get into debt bondage and sell themselves as slaves again.

I don’t think that we Christians of today have it any easier.

It is common to wrap us in the phantoms of past, everyday troubles, hidden sins or discernible errors.

Why we tend to forget the price that has been paid for us?

Even minimize it?

To be slaves to people can be also following traditions, beliefs and customs.

It can be following blindly charismatic leaders.

15 It doesn’t make any difference now whether we have been circumcised or not; what counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people.
Galatians 6:15 Living Bible (TLB)
We can see examples of this both in general history as in the history of the Christianity.

There has always been people who have trusted their leaders to help them to be purer or godlier than reading bible or listening to their own conscience can make them.

In his letter to Galatians Paul is fighting against these same problems.

In that time people believed that circumcision and meticulousness in following the law would lead them to be better Christians and more pious people.

Today the people try to find profound experiences in eastern philosophy, metaphysics, theology of prosperousness, the doctrine of sinlessness, yoga, nature-based religions and other new-age beliefs.

At the same time, knowingly or without knowing it, we bond ourselves again.

Both spiritually but many times economically too.

Paul tells the new Christians to STAY in House of the Savior.

Nowhere else will we be treated as well as there.