Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

In case you have not realized, words have extraordinary effect. You have the power to bring life (words of encouragement, a genuine compliment, a single word with a smile, etc.) or death (insults, taunts, jeers, sneers, etc.). In this case, the type of object of the preposition, what verb tense you use, and what form of pronouns you employ in your everyday vocabulary also have repercussions. Let me illustrate my point: many preachers or fellow believers (or annoying, hypocritical Christians, for example) tell you about what Jesus has done. "Oh, He died for you" and "He took your sins on the cross so you won't be condemned to eternal damnation" are popular phrases in respect to Christ's achievements. Then, however, come more maudlin responses such as, "He loves you more than life itself"; "The fact that He died for you displays His amazing love and that the King of all kings was willing to die for you, a mere human who bore no significance until His death"; and "He finds you more precious and of more worth than all the precious gems and jewels found on this earth combined". Afterward, some people feel inclined to mention that Christ is the Healer. Now, I have to stop, pause, and expand on this last point. To those who say Jesus is the Healer, you never hear people say Jesus could be the Healer or can be the Healer; they say He is the Healer. (Whether or not they live in this promise--that Christ bore sickness, disease, and infirmities--is not the point; however, if they believe it and live it brings more truth and power to their personal testimonies, but this is the point of this discussion.) So, the second part of their phrase or declaration is "you can be healed" or "you could be healed." That is an extensive grammar mistake, one that could potentially lead a person to believe that they no longer need to live with their disease and thereby casts out the sickness out or daunts in the fact that there is a possibility, a chance that they might get healed. You say that Christ is the Healer yet you can or could be healed? First of all, grammatically speaking, you have to be consistent with your articles (can, could, is, etc.); you cannot say is in the first part of your clause and then switch and say a conditional article in the latter course of your clause. It is not only confusing but it is incorrect. Second, words have effect on people, more than you know, so choosing words wisely would be prudent and recommended. If you say that you can or could be healed, say Jesus can be the Healer or could be the Healer, because that is what you stating from your conditional article in your speech. May I say that in the Bible, it is written that Christ is the Healer and By His Stripes, we are healed. Not can be healed or could be healed, are healed, as in it just happened, thus telling us Christians that we don't need to live with our infirmities since Christ has already delivered us. This is where another common yet heavily scrutinized grammar mistake occurs as well. In churches today, that Scripture--Isaiah 53:5--is read in context, yet when the preacher dissects its meaning, they often say, "By His Stripes you can" or "could be healed", when it is written there for all to see that you are healed, past active tense. You don't need to wonder if maybe Jesus will heal you or perhaps God can decide to heal you. NO! Jesus already took it on the Cross so you don't have to live with it. Inexplicably, many Christians don't like that. So what are you going to do now? Alter the Bible since you don't like what it said? Change the words a bit so it fits to your liking? If you don't believe that part of Scripture, what part can you believe, the parts that tell you that you can sit on your lazy, passive butts and let God do everything? The reason why many Christians like hearing the conditional form of the verb is is because that means they don't have to do anything, they are waiting for God to rain down with whatever healing they need, and sigh, relax, and do nothing while God puts all the effort and they nothing. When they read it that they are healed, it means work. You have to confess that Scripture daily, you have to disregard the negative and taunting thoughts of the enemy and you have to command the bad parts--the diseased part of your body--to get out by faith, which also requires work. Rather than taking at it like a pro, dedicating daily to work your faith, you would rather believe that God is so sovereign that He chooses who He heals, as if He is poking fun at us, deciding maniacally which one to heal and which one He will leave broken, empty, and sick. Not only is that wrong, wrong, wrong since it is clear what Christ has done for you, but you are deliberately deciding that God is what you envision in your mind He is--i.e. not the Healer, that He sits on His throne like a spoiled king choosing at random which undeserving subject will adhere to His mercy, which you know is not true at all. (If that's what your church teaches--that God is so sovereign that He gets to choose who He heals, as if we must have a reason that outshines, thereby allowing to be healed, when it is clear that the Blood of Jesus Christ is what gives us access to healing--then you may want to start looking elsewhere.) So instead of whining why God isn't healing, why nothing seems to be working, and why you see no results, make a decision: whether you want to work the Word, standing on the Word of God for every circumstance, thickening and deepening your faith, standing your ground, refused to be moved by what the world says and offers, and fall in love with Christ. Rather than have Jesus but not employ anything He has given us through His Blood, believing wrongful "truths" (taught in church, people), and spend your whole life toiling, choose to believe what His Word say. We are after all Christians, imitators of Christ who live up our character with His character. Jesus never wondered what do to do or asked His Father, "Abba Father, should I heal this man?" No, He certainly did not. That is because He knows the promises in the Word and acted up on it. Don't try to understand the Word with your fleshly and cognitive intellect (which will result in unbelief since our minds are not designed to understand God's supernatural work; it is through the Holy Spirit that allows us to comprehend Him and His Word). Instead, choose to believe. Simple as that. Choose to stand on the Word regardless of the sways and movements of the world; choose to believe that Jesus is your Healer, that His Blood is in your blood, thus rendering you spotless, clean, and whole (soul, mind, emotions, body); choose to believe Jesus more than your doctor(s) for your physical need(s); choose to believe God for finances rather than what some fleshly, untrustworthy, and sly financial advisor says who, by the way, is only after your money; choose to believe Christ instead of the world. Just as it is a decision to accept Christ, it is also a decision to believe Christ for healing (in every arena of life), finances (whose kingdom does not rely on the world's economic status), restoration, and spiritual life. There are no doctors, banks, or television talk show hosts in Heaven to tell us what we need, what we have, and how we need to structure our budget; it's only God and the darling of Heaven--Christ. You need to decide. It is only then that you will realize how everything changes. Once you choose and decide to believe the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, not doubting a single word, paragraph, comma, or apostrophe, you will realize that the words in Romans 8:1-13 are true:

THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.

For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],

So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.

Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].

[That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God's Law; indeed it cannot.

So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.

But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God].

But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you].

And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.

So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh.

For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.

Making the decision to believe will alter your mindset. Rather than have a fragment of doubt, you will empowered to have the confidence that you know that you know that you know what the Word says about this or that situation but it is your choice: do you want to be well, to be prosperous, to be whole, to be spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically alive? You have to decide and then act on it.


April 29th, 2011

This day shall seal the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now called Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I watched the Royal Wedding; with the guest list, decoration, her dress, her tiara, William whispering to her at first glance, "you look beautiful", the carriage ride, and lastly, the kiss. It was spectacular to watch them exchange vows and see it all unfold. I didn't get up at 2:00am to watch it, like some fellow Canadians, but I did manage to catch a glimpse of the remaining portion of the ceremony and the traditional balcony kiss (they kissed twice! how sweet). I am living through history in the making (a cool feeling, might I add), so I offer hearty congratulations to the happy couple.

I just wanted to add this photo. I couldn't resist. That has to be the coolest mode of transportation and the most festive Just Married (or Just Wed) sign. So, so cute. The feelings of bubbly sentiments are brewing. And, on my final note, her dress was absolutely stunning. It was so classy with the lace and her sleeves. She really did look beautiful and they both glowed.



Photo Wednesdays

Pardon the tardiness; with a burgeoning school schedule and university documents, I feel as though there are truly not enough hours in a day to accomplish all of one's tasks.


World Changer

What is your purpose in life? Whatever it may be, I assume it has something to do with making a difference. Making a difference in your community, in your school, in your home, but nonetheless, making a change. That is why I want to be a world changer--a person who dedicates much time and effort in changing the world one person and one soul at a time. That may come in the form of sponsoring an orphan through World Vision or Compassion, volunteering at a church soup kitchen to feed the homeless or the hungry in your town, volunteering at hospitals to feed encouraging words who are whispered negative comments all day long, or spending time with someone at your school--someone is labelled the outcast, the loner, the lonely people who don't have a voice. We are all created to change the world and whether we are oblivious to our potential, the truth is that we simply don't employ the potential we to change and rather, we shift our focus to less imperative matters, such as faking your hair and teeth so the school quarterback (who impregnated a girl last fall but you don't believe that) finds interest in you or ruin people's lives because the sadness and disappointments and anger of others somehow quiets and mutes your own tumultuous life. Rather than paying attention to trivial things like fitting in or finding the right words to fit in, think of other people. You are just one of the several billion people on this planet who have needs. If you give up part of your time and open your heart to those who are in greater need, you may be surprised to learn that you are impacting someone's life simply by not only being involved in that person's life but also by spending quality time with him/her, laughing, sharing, and preparing food. If you are volunteering at a church soup kitchen, look around and gaze at the people who come. Do you wonder how they came to be without a home, without food or water, or without a purpose? Perhaps that person suffered unimaginable loss and refused to live. Perhaps that person came from an abusive environment and the only exit was to live as a nomad. It doesn't matter how they came to this place; all that matters is that you have the opportunity to change that person's life. If you sit down beside, let's say, a seventeen-year-old girl or a young mother with her children, greet them with a smile. Then, after spending more time with them and familiarizing yourself with her or her children, you are in their hearts. Through your generosity and thoughtfulness, you find a place, a safe haven, for the girl or single mother. You provide a safe, warm shelter for them to grow. It may be your basement, an abandoned hospital, or whatever, but you seized the opportunity and you gave a hopeless person a future. Then, after talking with them afterward, they share that if it weren't for you and your help, they wouldn't have made it. Perhaps they contemplated suicide, or worse, trafficking to make ends meet. You gave someone a purpose to live, a reason to smile, the decision to live life. If you remained in your comfort zone and that person would have gone under your radar, who knows where they would be, but the fact that their change in circumstance is on account of you, the sense of hope you had given is immeasurable. Perhaps you see someone in your school with her head down, who doesn't speak, and is often seen alone. You sit down at her table (where she would otherwise be unaccompanied) and smile genuinely at her. Maybe your first interaction seems like it's lacking progress, but the second, third, or fourth time you sit at her table and start talking with her, she begins to open up. Then she becomes your friend. Then, she attends all your social gathering. Afterward, she is seen laughing and smiling. Years go by and she confides deeply in you that had you not befriended her, she would not be alive today. You are adding years to a person's life simply by just being her friend. Say that you sponsor a child in Africa or Asia by giving $30 a month (that's the price of 6 coffees at Starbucks). You sponsor him or her for a year, then 5 years, then 10 years. In an unprecedented affair, you meet face-to-face with your sponsored child and he or she tells you that if it weren't for you, that grown up child wouldn't be alive today or if alive, barely living in the streets, involved in gangs, etc. It is because of you that that person has hope, a purpose, and a future. Do you marvel at the repercussions of an act of kindness? Don't, because a simple act of kindness can change the world. Perhaps not the total world's population overnight, but through that person that you helped, counselled, and befriended, that person goes on and does the same to someone else, and so on and so on and so on. The cycle continues until it reaches hundreds of millions of people. Never question the power of a single act of kindness; it has the ability to change the world. And never question whether or not a single person can make a difference because it only takes one to start a change. I certainly aspire and want to make a change, thus pursuing opportunities that are too costly to give up. I want to make a change in this world. How about you?


Top 5: Minimizing Lengths!

In light of Spring, the end of April, the beginning of May, the temperatures continues to grow steadily (slowly but surely!). In lieu of jeans, boots, and leather bomber jackets, shorter and shorter dress lengths inaugurates its appearance with the escalating weather. Wise advice: Unless you are Carrie Underwood and are monikered as having the nicest and most toned legs in Hollywood, perhaps these minimal hemlines may prove more horrific memories than lauding laughter.


A reference to Carrie Underwood would not be complete without a photographic documentation of this aforementioned reference. This Stella McCartney sheath is very, very simple; however, it exudes an airy vibe as well as simplistic sophistication. The simple cut gives your legs the major headlines. 


Lauren Conrad's dress is very cool. The detailed design, the greenish colour, as well as her tan makes this an appealing view. The long sleeves keeps the hemlines clean. With no accessory in sight, this allows the dress to be to the main attraction. The heel length is nice; although a different colour may be preferred. 


Hayden's turquoise dress is very clean: clean lines, clean cut, and clean length. The vibrant colour gives a nice pop (as well as contrasting the weary Canadian "spring" weather). The piece de resistance? Her peach-hued wedges. 


No explanation necessary. Everything about her outfit is divine.


Okay, Kate Mara's outfit is fun! Her baby blue dress, her crimson heels, and her creme-coloured clutch makes this an excellent outfit. Wonderful; I cannot amass the words to express how awesome this outfit is.


Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Today is Good Friday and while I'm not sure what Easter or Good Friday means to you, I'll tell you what it means to me: It means everything. Although there is nothing that can adequately suffice in representing Christ's sacrifice, the movie The Passion of Christ comes close in allowing us to comprehend the unimaginable torture Jesus went through to redeem us from our unrighteousness, unholiness, and suffering. That movie is an absolute masterpiece; I can't watch it without having to cry my eyes out. When I view it, I see Jesus willingly suffering for me, so that I may live, not lack, and have everything. Even if it had to be longer than it was or more gruesome that it was, He would have done it without hesitance because He loves me that much. The Cross accomplished everything. When His Blood was spilled, all hell trembled at the sight of the Blood of the Lamb of God. The Cross and the Blood invested in my healing; in wholeness of spirit, mind, emotions, and body; in holiness and righteousness; and most importantly, in giving me worth and value that I would not otherwise have. Without His Blood, I would not even be worthy of serving such a wonderful and holy God but because His Son shed that Blood for me, I have the extraordinary and privileged honor of serving Him. When I see the whippings, my heart cries out because He did that for me. There is nothing that the Blood cannot accomplish--the enemy leaves, sickness departs, and supernatural miracles occur at the sound of His Great Name. Here are the lyrics to a powerful song--O The Blood by Gateway Worship--and while you read the lyrics, ponder on the sacrifice of Jesus and what it means to you.

O the blood

Crimson love
Price of life's demand
Shameful sin
Placed on Him
The Hope of every man

O the blood of Jesus washes me
O the blood of Jesus shed for me
What a sacrifice that saved my life
Yes, the blood, it is my victory

Savior Son
Holy One
Slain so I can live
See the Lamb
The great I Am
Who takes away my sin

O the blood of the Lamb
O the blood of the Lamb
O the blood of the Lamb
The precious blood of the Lamb
What a sacrifice
That saved my life
Yes, the blood, it is my victory

O what love
No greater love
Grace, how can it be
That in my sin
Yes, even then
He shed His blood for me

Isn't it wonderful to serve a King that would gladly die for us that we wouldn't be left in the dark, live with sickness, poverty, and lack, and because He loves us that much? On this Easter season, be blessed in the Blood of the Lamb and rejoice that He has accomplished everything! There is nothing more greater than His Blood and that is the wonderful reality of Jesus Christ.


Soul Surfer

I had just recently saw Soul Surfer and I am enamoured with its uplifting, determined-minded message: Never give up. After Bethany Hamilton suffered unimaginable trauma--losing her arm to a shark attack--rather than losing hope, floating through life, and having ambivalence and apathy, she summoned her faith and courage and continued doing exactly what fuels her passion: surfing. Bethany is a real-life Christian (as well as the actress who portrays her, AnnaSophia Robb) and while this circumstance could have greatly rattled her faith and turn her back on the Lord, she did what many saw impossible. She returned to surfing. That is the mindset of a champion. Rather than losing heart when things fail or things didn't work out for the best, it's the fact that you went out there, gave your best, put your heart in front of the battle zone, and did it. Bethany didn't place first at the National Surfing competition the first, but the fact that she tried and refused to give up inspired many not to lose heart either. What I particularly admired about the film is the Christian message. It was real. Everyone has problems and just because we're Christian doesn't mean we're immune to life's challenges; it's how you react to them. She fell down, regained her strength, and continued walking. When you can't continue, lean on the One who gives you strength. It was a very powerful and moving movie. For all the critics who claim that is a maudlin movie pouncing on weak sentiments, they fail to realize just how difficult it was for Bethany to get back up. What is of greater importance is that she often accomplishes more with one arm that most of us do with two arms. That is not to say that having one arm is best; it's just that in the big picture, our problems are not so significant. We have oxygen in our lungs, food on the table, water in the house, electricity, shelter, clothing, safety, and heating, so sometimes we shouldn't complain when we don't get to the Facebook page in the usual time of half a millisecond. Soul Surfer inspires its audience by reminding us that we have strength from Someone else and He gives us a strength that assists us in accomplishing what would otherwise be incomprehensible things. Don't give up. Don't lose faith. 


What Does P-R-O-M Spell?

It seems that everywhere I go, prom is on the mind. The new Disney movie Prom, countless magazines assisting you to make the best of this big day, and a slew of prom dresses in every department store window. I understand that high school is only part of the life experience and that graduation from high school is marginally important compared to university/college graduation, but, come on! There has to be a reason why this hype is so exponentially build up only to have girls dreaming of this days since the seventh grade or immediately after elementary school graduation. Now, for practical reasons, let's pretend that I was invited to someone's prom, that I am being escorting with someone to prom, that I have a reason to get all glammed up, spend money on hair, makeup, and extra prep time to ensue that every detail is of prime stability. Everything about me on prom night--my dress, my hair, my makeup, my shoes, my clutch--would epitome Old Hollywood. Definitely one-shouldered. Something that would nicely contrast my olive complexion. I can already picture it in my mind. And if you could read my mind, the possible dress options would be as following:

The dress is the pinnacle, the zenith of prom glamour. However, the makeup and hair cinches it all in. I would decide on something classy, something understated yet still visible and defining one feature. Essentially, the makeup and hair will be subtle yet there for everyone to see...

Shoes and clutches require no thinking; I already know exactly what I would get had I be invited to this massive event. Notwithstanding, I can perhaps imagine what prom might have been like, experience through wistful thinking, let my imagination soar and write a novel about the perfect prom night (I probably won't; too cliche). Sigh. Well, you can't experience everything. I suppose imagining or viewing from a television set will have to suffice.