Miracles.

Hey all, would just like to share some words of encouragement in the form of a poem.

I wrote this poem approximately a year ago, and it always astounds me to look back at old pieces of writing and see what God was speaking to me at the time.

This universe is a miracle.
That’s the only way I know how to express
This unfathomable wonder that I feel
When out of my window I look

The leaves on trees
I think they all have their own name
If I wanted to count them
I’d have to spend all of my days.

Wouldn’t even be able to do it,
Because winter would be on its way.

Grains in the sand,
Little molecules in the sea
The “ecosystem”
And its sustainability

All of this we are only beginning to understand
How could I not be amazed?
The world is just so grand!

The stars in the sky,
The moon and
The sun
You and I,

Everyone!

We are all
Miracles.

Even from a secular standpoint, isn’t it rather amazing? I mean, the functions of the earth, right? Not even to mention space and the galaxies beyond. There’s so much out there that we are unaware of, yet there is still so much within ourselves that we are not aware of as well. We consider space to be so far “up above” sometimes, and but in doing so overlook all that’s going on down below at the depths of the sea. There’s so much going on, so much interacting, and somehow, it all works out. Personally, I believe that there is a God, who orchestrates all of these interactions in a powerful and beautiful way. What do you believe?

I don’t know why these words come to mind, but they do. Maybe they’ll come in use for me, or a reader.

When you’re down and out,
when you feel like trash,
just waiting for the garbage truck
to collect you from the curb.

Remember, that you are a miracle.
Possibly battered, maybe broken.
But still one of God’s own.

And the garbage man isn’t coming,
that’s not who you’ll see make the turn.

Instead you’ll see The Redeemer.
Coming to take you home.

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Miracles and Wonders

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog! I’ve been plugging through the Old Testament in the Bible, and God has been giving me some interesting thoughts. Rather than just keep them in my mind, I decided it would probably be a really good idea to actually write them down somewhere more permanent.

I was thinking about how I sometimes catch myself saying to myself, “It would be so much easier to believe in God if He could just… I dunno… Do something crazy and miraculous right in front of my eyes.” I hear other people say this sometimes too, sometimes they’re Christian, sometimes they’re not. Essentially, the point is they want something tangible in front of their eyes that shouts out, “So amazing that there’s no way that God was not involved.” And I mean, I’m tempted to point out the existence and sustenance of this earth. All of the little details and complications that are required for this earth to just remain in orbit, have an atmosphere, and have a bearable temperature seem so delicate and intricate, that I don’t believe there’s any way that God’s hand is not involved. This earth in and of itself is pretty much a “miracle”. I however won’t go onto that topic in this post.

Anyway, going back on track… “It would be so much easier to believe in God if he could just… I dunno… Do something crazy and miraculous right in front of my eyes.” I have definitely had that thought before, but now I’m not so sure that a miracle would quite do the trick. Like I said, I’m currently plugging through the Old Testament, and in particular, I’m on Exodus right now, and Moses is leading the people through the desert, out of Egypt. Where I left off, they had just pretty much arrived at the border of the land of Canaan. It was at that point that I noticed something funny. God had done many amazing and miraculous things right in front of their eyes. He had swarmed Egypt with many different plagues and disasters. Many were so supernatural that the Pharaoh’s Magicians could not do the same. God drove the Pharaoh to a point where the Pharaoh was pretty much forced to let the Israelites go. God used plague after plague, should His power. And then, Moses leads the people out of Egypt.

And then, they come to the scene where Moses splits the sea. Before Moses does this, the Israelites again doubt God. Moses goes ahead and splits the sea by following God’s instructions, and then the people walk along the bottom of the sea, with the water halted water on both sides. The Egyptians give pursuit, but are drowned. The Israelites then sing a song of deliverance, praising God and saying that they put their faith in Him. They proceed to the desert, and become hungry. They doubt God again at that moment, and God makes food rain from the sky. Anyway, they get to the border of Canaan. I haven’t quite read what happens yet, but I remember the story from my childhood (I’ll see how accurate it is when I actually read it). They go in and are scared of the Canaanites and don’t want to go in. In the face of fear, they apparently have forgotten all the miracles and signs that God had thrown at them, that God had delivered them, protected them, warmed them, cooled them, and provided for them.

So I really doubt that miracles and signs will produce true faith. It may do it sometimes, but definitely not often. I mean, in parallel, in the New Testament, Jesus performed many miracles, yet the Pharisees still doubted Him. I believe that some Pharisees even proclaimed that Jesus was a devil, or something similar to that. So I definitely don’t think that miracles will necessarily make it easier to believe in God. It certainly did not make it easier for the Israelites to believe in God! I have a feeling that it’s partly because of all of the mishaps in the old Testaments that God inspired Paul to write “For we live by faith and not by sight.”

Anyway, that’s all for now! I hope everyone has an awesome Thanksgiving Weekend!

My viewpoint: Why Faith is Falling in North American Society

Viewpoints: Why Faith is Falling in the US.

The real issue is homosexuality.

Essentially, if you didn’t really read the article, that is what the article states is the reason for the fall of faith in the US. The author claims that there is a divide in the thoughts of the younger generation and the older generation regarding homosexuality. I won’t get into my thoughts on homosexuality as I do not think that homosexuality is the issue. I’ve written about it before, and I’ll reiterate it now, but it is because we’ve forgotten God. We, as Christians have left God out of the picture, and that is why faith is falling in North American Society (not just the US). I write about it in detail here.

The author of the article writes,

But now they say, “I guess I’m no religion” when seven years ago they said “I guess I’m Christian”.

(And then later)

This is why it’s good news that mushy-middle people are saying “I’m no religion” in response to poll questions. Not because anyone’s behaviour has actually changed—I doubt these folks were going to church anyway, even when they called themselves merely “religious” in 2005—but because it means that “no religion” is now the safe neutral thing to say.

I find this absolutely silly. “I guess I’m Christian”, was never supposed to be a safe or neutral thing to say. Being Christian was supposed to be something passionate and radical, not lukewarm. And yet “seven years ago” being Christian was apparently “safe” and “neutral”. I almost feel like using strong language to express my confusion over this. I can not help but find myself asking how did this happen? Regardless, I am going to say that it’s because at one point being “Christian” was the lukewarm option that faith is falling in North America.

As Christians in North America, many (not all) Christians are no-longer relying on the Holy Spirit for their evangelistic message, but rather relying on themselves. If one looks at the radical and transforming message of the bible and thinks, I have to share that to people that don’t understand?” What would the natural response be? If it was myself in that situation, I would honestly think… “Oh Good Lord. If I share this to people, they will think that I am crazy. I have to… tone it down a few notches, make it short and fast so that I do not take too much of their time, and make it appealing to current society.” And this is how the Christian advertisement scheme known as the “Prosperity Gospel” likely began, and this is also where things went horribly horribly wrong. What the evangelist previously mentioned should have thought was, “The Holy Spirit will give me the words that I need to say, and as long as I give Him control, His words will speak into the life (lives) of the people that I am speaking to and will move them toward God. His words will be much more powerful than anything that I could ever come up with.” There is a HUGE difference in those two statements.

People came to Christianity looking for life, and life to the full. Jesus promised that. But what did they find? They found some candy, a free, all expenses paid trip to heaven, and they found the gospel covered in a lot of whipped cream and icing. Some parts of the gospel were so covered in whipped cream and icing in fact, that they were completely blotted out. In particular the parts that come to mind are the areas in the Bible where Jesus speaks about the cost of following Him. They came to find God, but instead they found a cheap marketing scheme. Of course Faith is falling in North American Society. People are purpose, people are asking for life, but instead we’re giving them “an easy way to Heaven.” People are asking for water, people are asking for the Fountain that will not dry, and yet we’re giving them sugar. People are asking for spiritual food, and yet all we can seem to dish out is cake.

Please, rather than giving people sugar, start giving them Jesus. Please, instead of relying on yourself, start relying on the Holy Spirit. And maybe, just maybe, we will be able to see the amazing things that the disciples and the churches were able to see in the book of Acts.

Thank you for reading, God Bless.

What is Heaven?

Last night, I posted a facebook status that is essentially the heart of what this post will be. Today, I felt the need to elaborate on my thoughts. The facebook status post went as follows:

“Do you follow God because you want to get to heaven? Or do you want to get to heaven so you can follow God?”

Essentially, those two questions together for me ask one simple thing. Do you believe that heaven is simply the end destination for Christians? Or is that simply a “checkpoint” in our journey following God. I’m not talking about “physically migrating” or anything to another place afterwards, I’m talking about our spiritual journey. When we get to heaven, is that when we’ve reached the end of our spiritual journey? I think not.

I think that many of us realize this through instinct. We say things like “When I get to heaven, I’m going to ask God so many things” In other words, we realize that even when we get to heaven, our journey to pursue God and to learn more about Him still continues! (Just going to pause here and say that’s beautiful). And yet so many times, I hear Christians talk as if heaven is the final destination, heaven is where it ends. “If you enter a relationship with God, you’ll go to heaven.” and that’s the end of what I hear. I really feel like when we say something like that, we are saying that God is essentially our train ticket to heaven. I don’t think that’s correct. We enter a relationship with God, and we start our spiritual journey. As part of our spiritual journey, God takes us to heaven, and in heaven, we continue to walk with God.

Our spiritual journey can not possibly be complete upon reaching heaven. I believe that it is necessary to reach heaven to complete our spiritual journey. At the moment, we live for about 100 years. Give or take around 20, and then account for the many unfortunate incidents that may or may not happen to decrease that further, or end it abruptly. What I’m trying to say, is that we live for a very short time, and God’s character is so expansive and so amazing that we could not possibly learn all about Him in the time that we have to live. As a result, we need to reach heaven so that we have an eternity to study God’s character and walk alongside God. Because there’s still so many things that we need to learn about God.

I feel less confident about this post after having written it out. The idea makes so much sense in my own mind, but I’m not quite sure I found the right words to express it here. If you have any comments or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me in some form and we can discuss this further!

Hope everyone has a wonderful long weekend!

“Are you going to heaven?”

I feel like this question has been asked a lot. I myself have asked it within my church community, and I always have gotten differing answers (that basically mean the same thing). “You are saved by your faith in God’s grace.”, “You are saved by God’s grace.”, “You are saved by faith, which is said to be dead without works.”. Those are the answers in the middle. Some will say, “You are saved if you’ve prayed the prayer.” or, “If you have prayed the prayer, you are saved. There is no need to do any works because you are saved by God’s grace.”. And I mean, to a certain extent, these things are true. But I don’t think they go deep enough. They only graze the surface. Indeed, no amount of works can make imperfect man perfect again. God’s grace however, can sanctify us and make us holy. I feel like just very recently, I’ve been able to wrap my head around the answer to this question better. I believe that you are saved if you know and have a personal relationship with God.

But what does that look like? I mean, I suppose even that statement can look somewhat “surface level”. But let me go a little deeper.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

So according to my own belief, to be saved, one must know God. To know God, one mustlove. Well then, what is love? Love seems to be a very broad term. Luckily, love is defined in the verses right after those two verses.

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)

To be saved, one must know God. To know God, one must love. To love, one must love unconditionally. God loved us before we loved Him. And as it clearly shows in the verse, God’s love (the love that is requested of us) is not some lukewarm love that is all talk, it is a crazy red-hot sacrificial love that is life changing. I mean, I feel like we almost “coax” people when asking them to “pray the prayer, have faith and be saved.” Because really, we’re missing out on MASSES of information. IF you have faith in God, there is NO WAY that you can avoid experiencing God’s love. WHEN you experience God’s love, there is NO WAY to stop it from changing your life entirely. WHEN your life is transformed, THE ONLY OPTION is to LOVE people the way that God loved us!

I mean, in the end, yes, all this will be happening willingly. But at the same time, why do we give people a surface-level answer when they inquire about God? “Oh yeah, pray this prayer and you’ll go to heaven.” That doesn’t sound amazing at all! That doesn’t sound life-changing at all! The message of the good news is AMAZING and LIFE-CHANGING. Why have we converted it into a LUKE-WARM “pray this prayer once”? Are we afraid that we will scare them off if we tell them how much this decision will really “cost”? I don’t think we should be because what we gain,is LIFE, and life to the FULL. And that FAR outweighs the cost. I think either the mass majority of the church has a misconception of salvation, or is scared that the “full version” of the good news will not be accepted by the public. But I think we have also forgotten. It is not our words that convict people to follow Christ, it is the work of God and the Holy spirit. Church, do not be afraid. Preach the gospel, and preach the gospel in its entirety. Jesus WAS NOT afraid to do so,

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)

Jesus was VERY clear about the cost. If we are to follow Jesus’ example, why aren’t we?

Friends, do you know God? Have you experienced God’s overwhelming, crazy, life-changing love? Are you sharing that love with others? Are you going to heaven? Essentially, I feel that all of those questions are asking the same thing. I feel that I should share this video as well.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

An Amazing Day! (Everyday!)

Hello once again all!

I suppose I’ll explain from the start. A friend of mine updated his facebook status saying how (I’m paraphrasing) “Today’s an amazing day because _____”. Then I wrote a response comment (somewhat jokingly) saying that “Today (and everyday!) is an amazing day because we’re living on the earth that God has created and because we’re breathing the breath that God gave us.” As I finished writing the comment, I realized that it didn’t feel so much a joke anymore once I finished writing it. I truly honestly believe it to be true and well, it’s amazing and it makes every day amazing!

I mean think about it. An all powerful God designed and created this world and us. He breathed life into us and distinguished us from all of His other creation. Even after we fell away from Him, He reached out His hand to us and continued to guide us and sustain us. Then He sent Jesus down to redeem us from the fall and to pick us back up. And now, we have the hope of a new earth, a new life and an eternal relationship with God! I mean as I’m writing this now, it feels really obvious to me, so obvious that it feels like this post is unnecessary, but I remind myself that about just a half an hour ago, I did not actually think these thoughts so clearly.

I mean think about it! Isn’t it amazing? Even when I experience brokenness or pain or depression, I still have hope in the redeemed world that God will reveal when it is the right time. I still have assurance that God will pick me up when I fall down. I have faith that God is working to fix the world, and that brings me joy. And I mean, most of the world doesn’t have the same hope, they don’t have the same faith. Basically yes, this is a post to encourage any and all readers that are believers to share the good news! Because once it is known and truly understood, it brings joy, hope, love, peace and a lot of other things! And all of those things (the fruits of the Spirit) make each and every day amazing.

Hope that the remainder of this weekend is wonderful for You!
Ciao!

— The prayer that I prayed as I finished this post.
Dear Heavenly Father Lord,

I pray that I do not forget these feelings that I am feeling right now. I pray that You remind me of Your love and Your grace each and every day, and remind me of this overwhelming joy that I feel right now. I pray that You convict me, to spread this love, to spread this hope, to spread this joy each and every day. I pray that my actions, my words, and my thoughts all glorify You and are contagious to others. I pray that they become curious, that they wonder, “Where is Dennis getting that joy?” I pray that when they become curious, and if they come and ask me, that You prepare me for that time God, so that I may have a proper answer to them. I thank You God, for this wonderful amazing day.

In Your name I pray,
Amen.

The Gravity of Sin

Hello again!

I was originally planning to write on the topic of sin and give my best attempt at saying, “Well, we’ve often heard that all sin is equal in the eyes of God, but can we wrap our minds around that in terms of human thinking?” The latter portion of that sentence has not changed. The former however has been abolished. While looking for information, I stumbled upon a blog post where the writer made very strong points about why all sin is not equalI still however firmly believe that all sin, regardless of the gravity of the sin leads to death and separation from God. That has not changed. The writer in essence says that, “Yes, breaking the law is still breaking the law no matter the degree of the offense, but that doesn’t mean that all offenses are the same.” That however, is not what I am venturing into.

If anyone is interested, the blog post that I read is here.

Now, what I was originally going to try to explain was why we as Christians should consider any “small” sin as grave as any “large” sin. I’m not saying we should condemn ourselves or someone else for lying as harshly as we would for stealing, not in that sense. Not even to guilt-trip ourselves. I’m saying that when we sin (or preferably before sinning), we should consider the sin that we’ve either committed or are contemplating to commit to be as large as what we consider a “large” sin.

See, the moment we say to ourselves, “That sin is a ‘small’ sin.” We give the enemy, Satan, almost a quick access path to attack. And that’s certainly not a good thing. In contrast, if we consider lying as grave as murder (which is certainly hard to do), we will be much more reluctant to lie and we give less room for an attack. When we say something is a “small” sin, we become less guarded towards that sin. There’s a vulnerability there for Satan to attack. I don’t know about you, but when I watch action films or anime, when the antagonist hits the weak spot of the protagonist, the weak spot doesn’t shrink. It actually grows.

If we give room for Satan to by saying one sin is “small”, that vulnerability in our defense will expand as Satan continues to attack it. Eventually, we’ll have a big list of sins that are “small” even though they may not have originally been. I’ve certainly experienced this before, and I’m sure many of you have. Sin is like falling into a pit that Satan has dug. I fall into the pit, and God pulls me out. I find myself falling into another pit that’s just a little larger. Because it’s only a little larger, I’m not all that concerned. And God pulls me out, but the next one is just a little larger than the last. And the cycle continues. That is why I believe that we should consider committing a “small” sin just as dangerous as committing any “large” sin.

Be as wary as possible and don’t give the enemy any room to attack! (I’ve got to work harder on this as well.) Please note, I am not saying that lying is as bad as stealing. What I am saying is that if you think lying is a “small” and “acceptable” sin, one day, it is very possible that stealing will become a “small” and “acceptable” sin (subjective to you). To prevent that from happening, consider lying to be really bad so you will avoid it as much as possible.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!
(Side note) One thing that I will do my best to do this week: (maybe you could try it too if you aren’t already doing it)

  • Always have a prayerful mindset (If I’m talking to God, I remember that God is with me and thus am less likely to sin)