Tag Archives: sin

The Magnet Story

Last 2014, I asked my friend, Xenia to share her God-written love story. It took me two years to be able to publish it here in the blog site, for some reason I don’t know. 🙂

But, it’s never too late to share a great story authored by God. Hope you enjoy a glimpse of Xenia’s journey.

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Written February 2014

Rockwell and I have only been married since August 24th of last year. We are still enjoying the honeymoon stage.

I met Rockwell during the March for Jesus 2000 worship event at Bacolod City. At that time, he was a complete stranger to me. I saw him holding a banner and dancing to the song “Mercy is falling like sweet spring rain”. It was like magnet. My heart fell in love with how his soul loved Jesus while dancing in the rain in front of over a hundred people proclaiming the worth of Jesus. At that moment, I couldn’t help but utter praise and prayer. My prayer was that I wanted to worship the Lord like he did.

Little did I know, I was prophesying him to be my future husband (haha). In college, he was president of the student government in Riverside and I was his secretary. But I never mentioned this fact to him—about that worship event, and the prayer and the hoping. I had a long term relationship during that time and even after college. The prayer that was spoken for him to be for me was forgotten because of the circumstances that happened that I thought I could not control. I took the wrong path when I came here to the States. I got influenced with the worldly lifestyle. God became the last of my priorities. Having a good career and the praises of people were the ones that mattered to me the most.

As I chose to live my life freely, I continued to sin and to forget God. I was making a black hole in the depth of my soul that none of the material, physical or emotional factor can satisfy. The more that I drew farther from the Lord, the more that my life became very meaningless and hopeless. I reached to the point of giving up. I realized that it was not the life that God intended me to have. The life that He promised me was a life that is full of hope and a future. God reminded me that all good gifts come from Him because He is my Dad. I did not deserve the second hand things that I chose to settle with. As He promised, I deserved the fullness of life. When I asked God to take my calloused heart and make it new, it was like He breathed new life to my desert soul and dry bones.

After 14 years, God finally honored my prayer during that rainy event, having a heart that was so raw and open. Rockwell came back into the picture after I sought God’s purpose for my life. I did not beautifully wait for him. But God still turned my wasted life to a beautiful story when He rescued me and I was able to find fullness and grace again in Him. Isn’t God amazing?  He remembered every detail! He gave me the gift of a husband that I did not deserve.

Indeed, a life of worship and prayer is the key. God alone is good and faithful to His promises! He is full of mercy, grace and love for all of us. Our life should never be focused on the gifts that He gives us but our life should be all about who He is and His worth. How could a God still love us and still want us despite the things that we have done and will do which are not pleasing to Him? That’s our God!

Many are the plans in a man’s heart but only the will of God prevails.- Proverbs 19:21

It is not someone or our husband or wife that will complete us. The fullness of life can only be found in Jesus. I am blessed to have a husband whom I can see Jesus in him. It’s an opportunity for me to be able to love him with grace and mercy just like Jesus loves me. To be wired to Jesus, the Only Source of unconditional love, is how we are able to truly love someone unconditionally.  I believe that we can never give what we do not have. To be an overflow of love, we need God’s love to overflow in our life.

xenia & rockwell

Xenia & Rockwell Bennett

Only Best Thing in Life

 

Have you reached that point in your life that you just want to be at the feet of Jesus, see His face and gaze upon Him? Because the words you want to speak to Him are never enough? The pour out of your emotions for Him is just endless? As you try to fathom and comprehend His love for you, you just can’t?

Falling in love with Jesus is the best thing that could happen to any human being. It’s not something we start on our own. It’s a response to what God has started for us. It’s a response to a perfect, sacrificial and amazing love.

We are not worthy to be loved by Jesus, much more to love Him back. To be able to love Jesus is a grace from God. Because loving Jesus means we are ready to surrender our selfish, old ways and follow Him.

However, God has faith in us. He believes that we can overcome sin through Jesus Christ. Remember when Peter denied Jesus three times?

And He (Jesus) said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:34)

Jesus had so much faith in Peter. Even before Peter committed that act, Jesus knew that Peter will still turn back to God.

 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  (Luke 22:31-32)

And Peter did when he saw with his very own eyes that Jesus who died, had resurrected and is alive. And remember that even Satan has to ask permission from God to sift Peter. When temptations or trials are allowed in our life, it means that God believes that we can overcome those through Jesus.

Just like Peter, only a risen Lord can turn your life to God and never go back to the old life. Only when Jesus becomes real in your life and not just a fact that you know, that you will reach that point in your life that you just want to be at His feet because your life is an overflowing vessel of His love and goodness that you can’t contain.

I pray that you will experience the saving power of God in your life by humbly accepting Jesus Christ in your life that you will have the strength to turn away from your sinful ways.

 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

[Giving it All] Day 2: Your Priorities

Reading: Matthew 26:8-12

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.

Reflection:

What’s wrong with the disciples? Was it wrong to give the money to the poor to help them? The problem here is that they missed the point of why the woman poured out the expensive perfume on Jesus’ head (Matt 26: 6-7).

We are like the disciples at times. We sometimes miss the point of why God allows things to happen in our lives. We sometimes fail to see things in God’s perspective. We tend to get angry with God without even seeking Him.

What the disciples saw as a waste, Jesus described it as “beautiful”.  The woman acknowledged who Jesus was and without having second thoughts offered her perfume to Him. She knew that  Jesus was very much worthy of the expensive perfume.

woman perfumeSource

Is Jesus worthy of your precious time? Is He worthy of your resources and services? Putting God first in your life is never a waste. In fact, it is the most worthy thing you can do in your life. Your life will never be the same once you have set your priorities right, with God being the first.

Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind”  This is the great and  foremost commandment. The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

How do we put God first?

  • Making time for God. Have a quality time with God by reading the Bible and prayer.  When Jesus was on earth, He always wakes up early in the morning and even avoids the crowd when He needs to spend time with the Heavenly Father.  ( In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Mark 1:35)
  • Acknowledging God and His Word as your authority in life. The values and principle we live by should always be aligned with what is in the Bible. In our day to day, we will always face trials and temptations that is why it is important that we know what is right in God’s eyes through the Bible.  The standard of this world especially today is very immoral. We need to have a clear stand of what standards do we follow – the world’s or God’s. (And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2)
  • Choosing God in all circumstances. Compromise is very dangerous in our spiritual walk. When we start giving in little by little to the wrong things, we will eventually find ourselves justifying the wrong and making it look right. God does not allow temptations that we can’t handle. Temptation is not a sin but when we stop choosing God and gave in, then that’s when it becomes an act of rebellion against God – aka sin. But God does not let us overcome temptation on our own. He will always sustain us. ( No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13)

With God being the first on your priority list, loving our neighbors is the second most important. Who are these?

  1. Family – next to God should be our families. In the 10 commandments (Exodus 20), the first 4 talks about our relationship with God. The 5th commandment talks about family – “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
  2. Ministry, Work – our ministry in church and/or work should never take priority before our family. When we fix our weekly schedule, there should always be an allotted quality time with family. Work takes us most of the hours in our week that’s why other activities should be properly planned. Ministry is also important as this is our service to God and other people. But if this takes up more time than spending alone time with God and quality time with our family, then, we need to drop it. God first, Family second.

If you want God to help you set your priorities right, you can say this prayer.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you dear God for reminding me today of how important it is to put You first in everything that I do. Thank you for Your Son, Jesus who taught us how to live a life that honors You.  Lord, help me to make my priorities right. Give me strength and teach me discipline that I will be able to spend more time with you in my day to day. Guide me also that I may be able to spend more quality time with my family. Teach me to properly plan my week so that the other things that I need to do will not take the time I should be spending with You. This I pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him,  and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-7

Song:

Forever by Hillsong

[Persevering] Day 3: God Made a Way

Reading: Psalm 40:6-8

Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”

Reflection:

During the time of David, they offer animals as sacrifices to the Lord but these are not what God desires. In the time of King Saul, Samuel told Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23)

The verses 7-8 speak about Jesus being the perfect sacrifice that is only pleasing to God. Because God was not pleased with burnt and sin offerings of men, Jesus had to come to do the will of the Father. In Hebrews 10:10, it says, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

God does not want us to show off to Him how good or best we are at something. What God desires for us is to see Jesus sitting at the throne of our life. Why? Because Jesus is the only pleasing sacrifice that God accepts as a payment of our sinful life. Our good works or good intentions will never be enough because our lives are stained with sin. The blood of Jesus is the only cure that when God looks into our lives, He will see the blood of His Only Son covering our sin. And that will be enough for God.

Have you come to that point in your life that you feel so tired of trying to be better or to have a good life? I have good news for you. Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28) All you need to do is to receive Jesus in your life and trust Him to be your Lord and Savior. Through Him, you will receive forgiveness for all your past, present and even future sins. And not only that, through Jesus you will receive the most precious give of salvation that leads to eternal life. Once you open your life to Jesus, your life will never be the same again. There will still be difficulties along the way, but this time, the yoke will be much easier because Jesus is walking with you to strengthen you and sustain you.

If you are sincere in your heart to accept Jesus, you can say this prayer.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your amazing love that you have showed to us through Jesus Christ. Thank you for making a way for us through Jesus so that our lives will become acceptable to you. Today, with a sincere heart, I accept you Jesus to be my Savior. I believe that you have died and resurrected that I will receive the gift of salvation and eternal life. I ask of you today to also become the Lord of my life. Forgive me for all of my sins and help me to turn away from my wrongdoings. May You take over my life Lord Jesus that I may live in obedience to You. This I pray in Jesus’ Name,  Amen.

If you have accepted Jesus, I would love to hear from you and would love to pray for you. Please leave a message here.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.” – Hebrews 10:18

Song:

May this song remind you of the sacrifice of Jesus for all of us.

Confessions of a Sinner

Over the weekend, I just found myself feeling really alone. The past weeks were really tiring with work but it didn’t remove the joy in my heart. I was enjoying my work. But starting this weekend, I felt I was really slowly going down. I could not understand the condition of my heart. It seems empty and full at the same time.

I tried  praying so hard and pushed my self to read the Bible just to find comfort and to feel good. But, it didn’t work. I got so distracted with other things and my mind got tired of thinking what is wrong with me.

You see, I have moments like this in my life when all of a sudden I tend to get so emotional. Then, I start losing focus on God and start focusing on the desires of my heart. Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to pull my self up from the pit, I pull myself down even more. I admit that this weekend, I let my self just go down. I know God is letting me face something but I was just so tired in dealing with it. I just want to do things my way.

But, big BUT… God is simply amazing. His patience and compassion is just endless on me. He will do everything so that I will return to Him regardless of the condition of my heart. I was reading the book entitled, “Growing Deep in God” (by Edmund Chan) and it focused on prayer. There were 2 paragraphs there which really affirmed my heart’s condition. God has been rebuking on me already about it but I just ignored. But, God loves me so much He would even use a book to rebuke me again.

Here’s what God reminded me. The ones with comments in the side.

IMG-20130618-00426

I realized why I was so lazy reading God’s Word. Because I want to read to feel good and be comforted. And because I felt that it hasn’t been like that, I was doing my quiet time out of obligation when I should read because I love Jesus so much that I’m just thrilled to know more about Him.  I now understand why my prayer life is becoming a duty rather than a delight. It’s because it has been about me when it should be about God.

My heart hasn’t been right. My mind even. My perspective shifted because of too much distractions. Slowly, I focused on myself instead of focusing on God.

God knows what’s in my heart right now. The fact that God is always committed to me despite my weaknesses gives me a reason to go back to Him. I’m just grateful for a God who is always true and faithful.

I pray that I will be more delighted in prayer and His Word because it’s always about Him.