Friday, July 7, 2017

The Journey

I have expressed in several occasions that I have issues with letting go. The more I think about it, however, the clearer it is that these issues come from a lack of trust. The secret to letting go is to trust. And, in order to fully trust someone, we need to know that someone… really well, by the way… Consequently, for Christians, our ability to let go depends on how intimately we know our God. To know God, it is imperative that we dig into His Word… that’s how He has and continues to reveal Himself to us.

Therefore, as I see it, reading and studying the Bible is the key to reaching a level of trust in our Heavenly Father that can allow us to withstand all and any storm, help us to climb any and all mountains, protect us from and through every and all fires, keep us as we endure each and all trials we may face in this life.

Knowing God and His promises allows us to regain perspective when things don’t go our way, so instead of crumbling under the weight we know we cannot sustain, we let go, instead.

Knowing God’s Word allows us to relief the stress of thinking that all we have is our own abilities, skills and strength to work things out for our own good. Realizing that we are not alone and that we are not left to go through life by our own limited devices is the first step in our quest to letting go… and our first step in trusting God. But that step must begin by knowing Him.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 23 states God’s admonition: "Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.

I have trust issues, but I recognize that the root of my issues is that I don’t seek to know God with all my heart and strength. Instead of obeying Jesus’ command to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6: 33) I worry about the pursue of all the other things that I’m not supposed to worry about because the Father takes care of all of them. I forget that He knows I need them and therefore, He’ll take care of those for me. I worry about tomorrow, even though I’m supposed to stay put on today. But, the more I read Scripture, the more I memorize it, the more I make it part of me… the more I know His promises, the more I remember He is in charge, the more I remember He loves me, the more I remember who He is… the more I trust Him.

And… the more I let go.

The funny thing is that I often forget that I ought to trust Him not just on the big things of life, but also on the small, the trivial, the mundane…I have to trust Him in the thunder, but also in the quiet. I have to trust Him in the winds and the waves, but also in the breeze and the calm. I have to give Him all my plans, not just the big and complicated ones, but also the seemingly simple, trivial and uncomplicated. The truth is that, there aren’t any plans too small that I can handle on my own.

For instance, right now, we are about to leave on vacation for the beach. This is a week I have been anticipating since last winter. I have it all under control. I have planned this trip to the last detail. There is nothing I cannot handle… right?

WRONG! Of course, I have to give this plan, this adventure, this seemingly insignificant event to the Lord as well! And I do, right now! Please Lord, take this trip into your hands. I cannot do it without You…not a bit. Even in the fun days ahead, I want to seek you intently. I want to seek You First. I want to see Your Face in the face of others. I want to praise You and thank You for everything, and I want to see Your hand everywhere we go.

To make sure I seek Him this week, I will keep a journal, which I will post as I can to have a record of how the road to keeping Him with me in the pleasant journeys of life works out.

See you at the beach!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!

Praise the Lord for another 4th of July! Happy Birthday to the greatest country in the World!

Even though I was not born here, I have been adopted by this great land and I feel honored to call it my home. I celebrate this day as a day to honor freedom and the limitless potential of human ingenuity when guided by God. The United States experiment has been one of trial and triumph. Trial, because we have tried to make something wonderful here, but it has not been easy. It has been a journey marked by toil. But it is also an experience filled with triumph because the efforts have given amazing results.

We are not perfect. We know we are not. Those who label Americans as arrogant do so because of a lack of understanding of the essence of what it means to be an American. It is not arrogance. It is love. And anyone who has ever loved anyone or anything knows that it is almost impossible not to feel proud of the object of their affection. I love this country. Therefore, I am proud of it.

All these said, I cannot deny the fact that there are seriously profound issues that need to be addressed and hopefully fixed. However, today is not the day for that. I am not going to spend my 4th of July complaining. I am going to spend it with my family, praising the Lord for all the blessings and for the life He has given me here.

God Bless America, My Home, Sweet Home!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Emotional Intelligence and Faith

Well, I guess I’m still thinking about emotional intelligence and Christianity. My thoughts today led me to the idea that lack of emotional intelligence might have something to do with lack of faith.

In the workplace and in secular society, when people talk about someone having low or no emotional intelligence, they refer to people who are often impatient and get frustrated easily. It also applies to people who overreact and who have low levels of tolerance and empathy. They are not sensitive to the feelings of others and find it annoying when others expect them to know how they feel. They usually blame others for what goes wrong, particularly because they think they are always right.

As far as recommendations to increase emotional intelligence, secular thinkers say things like: “hit the pause button” and avoid having knee-jerk reactions when things don’t go your way. Pause and listen to others and to yourself. Choose wisely how to respond to situations. Practice empathy. Be humble.

The way I see it, all these advices could be summarized into one: Read the Bible!

For Christians, emotional intelligence is a matter of belief. We study God’s Word. We learn about His promises. We believe in the fact that Jesus gave it all for us. We know God loves us because He is love. We trust that He has a plan to benefit us and not to harm us… to give us a future and hope. We trust that we can do all things in Christ who gives us strength. We know that He is always with us, and that He walks with us even in the valleys of the shadows of death. We accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. And we know that He who begun a good work in us will complete it because all things work together for the good of those who trust in Him.

As we know, understand and believe the truth contained in the Word of God, we see our faith grow. We see our humility take a leading role. We see our empathy increase. We see the futility of demanding to be first, for we know that the kingdom of God belongs to the last, the mild and the lowly. We see our hearts fill up with love, the kind that gives it all in sacrifice to others as the Holy Spirit makes His fruits blossom in our souls.

I have lived a life in which emotions have often taken the wheel leaving nothing but the rubble of my neighbors’ feelings scattered all along the path behind… As a result of my lack of sensitivity, lack of self-control, impatience and above all, lack of faith and believe that God is in control, I have failed to be who I was designed to be. But I am finding out that the more I seek Him, the more I find His peace, and the more I realize I am nothing. The more I understand that it is not for what I do, but by what He has already done that I am a beloved child of God, saved and forgiven. Therefore, surrendering to Him is a most. It is not about me and what I do. It is about Him and who He is.

By releasing control, trusting Christ and having confidence that God’s plan for me is perfect even when I don’t understand, I grow in my faith… in a way, I get higher emotional intelligence. Perhaps, secularists will never admit to the fact that Christianity is the anchor that could bring the most effective emotional stability to those around them. But we know better. I mean, it is not that Christians have it all figured out and are perfect. Not at all! Exhibit A: insert picture of ME as an illustration of a failure…But we know that the road to emotional intelligence is none other than the road to sanctification, which is the road paved by the precious blood of Christ, open to us by the saving power of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Let’s just stay on that road, fed by the Bread of Life, guided by the Word that is the Lamp onto our feet, and strengthened by the Solid Rock, fitted in the Armor of God and robed in humility and love…one step at a time.