June 23, 2011

Love and God

by Leticia Seviraneta

I wrote this on February this year as I contemplated on verses that really moved my heart. It is the summary of Jesus' teaching which He keeps emphasizing over and over again. I am still on the journey to apply this truth so I am not in a position of perfect person who demands you to be perfect right now :D I believe that this is a daily walk, a process that will guide us to true wholeness. It has been Jesus' prayer, God's dream, and now.. I hope it become our purpose as we walk with Him on this earth. Enjoy the nuggets ;)!

"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us." - 1 John 4:12
It strucked me that the we way to truly abide in Him is by loving one another. His love is brought to completion (full maturity) as I become love. It's not about doing, but being. For God is love. Where there is love, there is God. Where there is no love, there is no God. Hence, His presence can only be felt in the atmosphere of love ;)

It is interesting that Christianity began with faith in Jesus Christ. Faith on the other hand, can only be activated through our daily walk in love. It will be impossible for those who claim to have faith in Him for not to really walk in love. Love will be so naturally come out from they heart when they come to full knowledge and intimacy with Christ. Love is no longer our self-effort to do good because we have to but it becomes a pleasure. As we cultivate our intimate relationship with Christ, we will be like a tree that produces fruit effortlessly. For it is no longer you -merely human- who works but Christ within you does.

"Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." - Ephesians 5:1-2

Walking in love means esteeming and delighting in one another. Esteeming others would mean that we give them respect, honor, and sense of value to their core of hearts throughout our words and attitudes. Delighting would mean that we like and excited to know them. This verse also states that our act of walking in love is a sweet fragrance offering and sacrifice to God. Thereby, this act certainly will costs us to the most, which is the sacrifice of our flesh, our selfishness indeed. This sacrifice will be far more precious than any other kind of offering in the sight of God.

This is the original design of love. This ideal love is the craving of humans' souls and the answers to every conflict in this fallen world. This is love ... that we are intended to pursue with all that we have. This is my pursuit, my longing, and my purpose. This is where the Lord's prayer, God's ultimate dream, and my wholeness will meet together. The question now is... how far will I be able to reflect love in my life? How far will I be willing to sacrifice my selfishness to truly consider others more than myself?

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." - Philippians 2:3-4

I believe that when we truly love others, the cost won't matter. For love is not business. It's giving without expecting anything in return. Mother Teresa stated it very well :)

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway..

Allow me to represent the real meaning of love that we've been searching all the way. For me, the Bible defines love the best of all.

Love never gives up [slow to lose patience]

Love cares more for others than for self [kind, constructive]

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have [doesn't envy, not possessive]

Love doesn't strut [doesn't boast nor anxious to impress]

Doesn't have a swelled head [isn't proud]

Doesn't force itself on others [isn't rude]

Isn't always "me first," [isn't self-seeking, doesn't pursue selfish advantage]

Doesn't fly off the handle [isn't easily angered, not touchy]

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others.

Doesn't revel when others grovel, [doesn't delight in evil]

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.

Puts up with anything. [knows no limit to its endurance]

Trusts God always. [no end of its trust]

Always looks for the best, [no fading of its hope]

Never looks back,[always perseveres, can outlast anything]

But keeps going to the end. [it's the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen, love never dies]

Love never dies.

-1 Cor 13:4-8

I did a little experiment here :D For God is love, I try to exchange the world love in this passage to be "God" and the results.. jrenggg! It reveals His loving characters ;)

God never gives up and slow to lose patience. [He pursues those who are lost endlessly]

God cares more for others than for self. [that's why He die for us while we're still sinners (Romans 5:8)]

God does not force others. [His love for us is constant, our love for Him is our choice]

God doesn't keep score of the sins of others. [For those who repent, He erased all their wrongs as white as snow :) ]

God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

God's love never fail forever and ever.

Amazing isn't it?? The only key to implement this kind of love is by receiving His perfect love first. Contemplate and sense it all day. Then we will reflect it naturally. Selfless love can only be poured out of intimated relationship with Christ. And this is the Lord's prayer, God's dream, and our purpose:)

June 07, 2011

New Hope

by Leticia Seviraneta

Hope ... may not mean much when everything is under your control and goes according to your plan. No worry, no fear of tomorrow. But these few months I've been taught by God what it truly means to surrender and have hope only in Him. It has been a long devastating moments yet it comes out with a more refined character and stronger faith than ever to Him ;) I can say that this refining process has not meet its end by now and perhaps it won't be for my lifetime. Yet there is something essential in me changes. It's the way I see God and His ways. It's no longer a theory for me. I have testified it with all my heart and soul. And this story ... is what I'd love to share with you all :)

Have you ever gone through a moment when the opened door suddenly turns out to be the closed one? You may have plan a great future for you and you even have all it takes to step forward when suddenly all the roads block out. There are moments when the spouse whom you make the vow with few years ago breaks down the covenant. There are moments when we lose our dear ones at the very best moment in our lives. Heart breaks, illness, accidents, uncertainties, all of them can mess all your plans once in a blink of the eyes. It's something we cannot understand at the very moment it happens and all we can ask is, "Why?"

At that moment, this verse came out and became very alive for me:

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" -Isaiah 55:9

We can never grow in our faith as long as we put our hope in OUR plan and do not believe in GOD'S plan. What we think good may not be good for Him. He's God after all and we're merely sinful human. It's a moment that struck me down until I declare sincerely what Jesus said as well, "Not my will, but Thine, be done." -Luke 22:42 If you ask me to wait, I'll wait. If you ask me to go, I'll go.

It's not my dream, my life as I planned it to be, not my will. But God's. Anybody can take my dream but not my God. It is good to have a dream but it's no longer good when the dream itself possesses you. It could be your idol. Everything that we cannot let go is our idol. Knowing this ... I decide that I don't want to have anything in my number one besides God. Thereby, I let go and let God works. It's indescribable feeling. I feel free. I'm home where God's sweet presence comes upon me.

This is a kind of surrender that I never imagine I should do. A life that is not mine anymore but totally His. It is a crossroad where I choose to believe in who He is.. a faithful Father. As Rick Warren states, He's a father who's more interested in our character than our comfort. It's not a destination that matters but the process. I write this in the middle of this refining process which is very uncomfortable but now I do have a new hope. And this hope ... is placed upon the rock, Jesus Christ, which is the strongest fortress of our life. Life has its ups and downs. But you can be sure that in both sides, God's always there for you. He's just as far as your prayer :)

"I am near to you whenever you cry out." - Deuteronomy 4:7

"Don't worry, I will take care of you." - Matthew 6:25-26

My longing is to those who is in the same situation like this that you may stand firm in your trust in our good God. I never say that will be easy but it will give you strength to move on. Think about this and please do a favor for yourself.. There are things that we will never find the answer. But never let pain and suffering distract us from our belief in the goodness of God. Take every hard moments in your life as an opportunity to grow in character into Christ likeness and believe that no matter what happens God is good, God loves you, and God is in control of everything.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" - 1 Corinthians 2:9

"Do not be sad, for my joy is your strength" -Nehemiah 8:10

"Every promise that I make is true, for I do not lie or change My mind." -Numbers 23:19

My total dependence on Jesus' faithfulness is my new hope. Could it be yours as well?