Giving Thanks To Our Heavenly Immanuel

I’m sure that if you’ve read the title of this, some questions are bound to arise. To clear things up, this post is meant to point out three conduits by which giving thanks to God is possible. And in the title, I mentioned God as our Heavenly Immanuel. The reason being so that we can remember the title given to Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:23, which is “Immanuel.” Immanuel means “God with us,’ and since we’re going to thank Him, we should remember who He is. He is with us.

Giving Thanks Through the Heart

Firstly, thank God in your heart. All deeds start with the heart and appreciation does not violate that expectation. Whether you bless or hurt someone, the intention starts within your thoughts.

Colossians 3:2 World English Bible (WEB)
Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth.

And so, I urge you to thank God in your heart. Just think to yourself, “Wow, God you’re so good, thank you for loving me.”

Now, I can imagine if some grow skeptical of what I’m saying. But, here’s the thing, you just need to remind yourself of who God is.

God is the one who came down to Earth as a human. He came as Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, since you and I have erred, we’ve done things that forever separate us from God, who is utterly perfect.

So, He let Himself be tortured and crucified by angry people who could not stand his life-giving miracles, jaw-dropping wonders, and breathtaking healings. Lord Jesus Christ bore the cross to give you an opportunity at another chance.

A chance to trust Him with all your failures and destruction as He suffers your punishment on the cross. Therefore, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

You’ve just got to remember and believe what He did for you, and no matter what state you’re in, you’ll feel a sense of gratitude.

His love for you means that if you’re currently in a state of bliss, His love is to thank for. Or if you’re in a season of disappointment, let the love of God console and comfort you.

The main point of this section is to make you understand that it doesn’t matter where you’re standing, God loves you deeply. Therefore, feel your heart’s drive to thank God for His meaningful love.

Romans 8:27 World English Bible (WEB)
27 He who searches the hearts knows what is on the Spirit’s mind, because he makes intercession for the saints according to God.

Thanking God Through Words

Next, use your words to express your appreciation to God. God is real. And it wouldn’t hurt to tell Him that you’re grateful for all He’s done. Like any other person, God should hear you speak to Him.

When you express gratitude to a friend, family member, anyone else for that matter, you tell tell them, “thank you.’

In the same way, say “thank you,” to God.

Philippians 4:6-7 World English Bible (WEB)
In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

The scripture above says to thank God as you pray and inform Him about your situations.

And although your immediate situation may not look the best, things will change. That’s a promise from God.

Matthew 6:34 World English Bible (WEB)
34 Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.

Plus, being anxious about nothing as you thank Him for taking care of it solves the issue of anxiety. Once you’ve done everything you could such as setting up your business, or teaching your children what’s right and wrong, thank God as you place your desire in God’s hands.

Thank Him for being with you. Giving thanks to Him verbally is not going to go unheard. Your words will not fall to the ground, instead, they’ll ascend to the ears of God like a sweet aroma.

Proverbs 16:1-3 World English Bible (WEB)
16 The plans of the heart belong to man,
    but the answer of the tongue is from Yahweh.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes;
    but Yahweh weighs the motives.
Commit your deeds to Yahweh,
    and your plans shall succeed.

He’ll take care of the rest. After all, His hands are bigger than yours.

Giving Thanks Through Actions

Finally, giving thanks to God through your actions is something that you must never forget. Your actions show God where your heart is.

For example, a person who lies constantly shows everyone that his/her heart is in a place of confusion and deception.

On the other hand, a person who lives in honesty regardless of its consequences upon one’s self shows everyone his/her heart is in a place of integrity.

Colossians 3:17 World English Bible (WEB)
17 Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.

Therefore, God sees whether you appreciate Him or not through what you do. And the choice to do what you want belongs to no one else other than the person reading this post. That’s you.

But, how do you show gratitude to God through your actions? You show appreciation by allowing His Spirit to enter and transform your life.

Romans 12:2 World English Bible (WEB)
Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

And His Spirit will convict your heart to do what pleases God. You can please God by avoiding evil no matter how tempting the proposition.

Also, you can please God through charity in Lord Jesus’ name and being a reliable neighbour to those God placed in your life.

Mark 12:30-31 World English Bible (WEB)
30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’Deuteronomy 6:4-5 This is the first commandment. 31 The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’Leviticus 19:18 There is no other commandment greater than these.”

To tell you the truth, only you know where God is leading you. And so, thank God by obeying Him through your actions.

Galatians 5:25 World English Bible (WEB)
25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit.

In conclusion, thank Immanuel, Lord Jesus Christ for His love for you. Hold onto His love and thank God through whatever means possible.

By Andre Wijesekera.

How to Fear the Lord According to the Bible

The word “fear,” has an predominantly negative connotation in today’s world. And what I mean by that is that if someone was to randomly scream the word, “fear,” in a room with people, some negative image will come to the minds of every person in that room. But then, what does it mean to fear God? And how to fear God? This question will be the focus of this post, so continue reading.

Who is God?

Does the fear of God mean to be terrified by Him? Before I tackle this question, let me clarify some things as I don’t want to cause any confusion in this post.

The God I’m talking about is the God of the Bible. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God who came down to Earth 2000 years ago as Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ healed the sick, freed the demon-possessed, and performed miracles, too many to count.

John 21:25 King James Version (KJV)
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

And how did the people of that time treat Lord Jesus Christ? Well, the religious leaders got jealous of Lord Jesus and they used the people’s herd mentality to pressure the ancient Roman government of that time to crucify Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 23:23 King James Version (KJV)
23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.

But, do not think for a second that this event was unforeseen by God. No, on the contrary, God knew that people are corrupted, and He allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified by His own people.

The reason for this is because you and I have all sinned. We’ve all messed up somewhere in our lives. And since God is holy and perfect, He cannot let us into Heaven because we are imperfect.

Thus, we need atonement. That atonement is Lord Jesus Christ dying on the cross for you and me. When He bore hell on Earth at the cross of Calvary, we can accept His sacrifice, and forfeit the destruction awaiting us in our afterlife. He is the God I am talking about and the only God who I know. So, if you haven’t already, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

John 14:6 World English Bible (WEB)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

Terrified by the Lord?

Now, to actually deal with the question, what does it mean to fear God?

Genesis 20:10-11 World English Bible (WEB)
10 Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you have done this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “Because I thought, ‘Surely the fear of God is not in this place. They will kill me for my wife’s sake.’

Well, it certainly doesn’t mean to be terrified or petrified by Him! I mean, look at the first time this phrase is used in an English translation of the Bible.

The first time this phrase was used in the Bible was in the above verse, where Abraham hid the fact that he was Sarah’s husband to Abimelech since Abraham thought there was no fear of God in Abimelech’s domain.

Does this mean that Abraham was scared to tell Abimelech that he was Sarah’s husband because Abimelech was not terrified by God? No, it means that according to Abraham, Abimelech did not care about God’s laws or respect God.

But, let me get this straight. If there’s anyone you should be terrified of, it’s God, and God alone. Now, I want you to read this slowly, otherwise, you will get really confused.

God does not want you to be terrified of Him. God does not want you to see Him as a danger. But, if you should be scared of anything or anyone, God is at the top of the list, not the devil. And that is because God is the most powerful being to exist.

So, if you’re thinking of going against God or doing something evil to another person, prepare yourself for the consequences. God looks for everyone’s best interest, and He will stop evil through whatever means necessary.

Matthew 10:28 King James Version (KJV)
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

This should give you confidence because if God is on your side, then there’s absolutely no one to fear. Even after death, Heaven awaits you.

Continuing on, the fear of God is when you respect Him as your God. When you respect Lord Jesus Christ as your God, you will have convictions that restrain you from doing things He does not like.

Deuteronomy 10:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 Now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

How to Fear God

So, how do you fear God? You fear God by respecting Him and obeying Him.

Psalm 33:8 World English Bible (WEB)
Let all the earth fear Yahweh.
    Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

To fear God means to stand in awe of Him. By standing in awe of Him, I mean to be in a state where you marvel at the goodness and love of God.

To fear God means to honour His love for you, and turn away from evil. Don’t do bad things because they benefit or pleasure you, turn away from them because God loves you!

Proverbs 3:7 King James Version (KJV)
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

Furthermore, God blesses those who fear Him. When you decide to respect God, God will make sure that you lack nothing in your life.

Psalm 34:9 World English Bible (WEB)
Oh fear Yahweh, you his saints,
    for there is no lack with those who fear him.

And another thing that comes with fearing Him, is wisdom. Once you commit to honouring God above all else, God will give you the wisdom that is relevant in your situation.

Psalm 111:10 World English Bible (WEB)
10 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.
    All those who do his work have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

So, what’s the conclusion? Fear God by honouring and respecting Him. And turn away from ways which you know aren’t right because ultimately, God loves you.

The Difference Between Superstition and Faith

Don’t tell me there’s no difference between superstition and faith. Because the sad reality is that many people, especially skeptics, like to brand faith as just another representation of superstitious belief. So, in this post, my goal is to outline the difference between superstition and faith to clear up all the confusion within our minds. And if you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section.

Superstition

What is superstition? Because if we’re going to discuss the difference between two things, we need to know what the two things are.

Superstition is the belief in the supernatural out of ignorance or fear. An example of superstition is when one carves a wooden humanoid figure and then prays to it for prosperity.

Isaiah 44:17-19 World English Bible (WEB)
17 The rest of it he makes into a god,
    even his engraved image.
He bows down to it
and worships,
    and prays to it, and says, “Deliver me; for you are my god!”

18 They don’t know, neither do they consider:
    for he has shut their eyes, that they can’t see;
    and their hearts, that they can’t understand.
19 No one thinks,
    neither is there knowledge nor understanding
to say,
    “I have burned part of it in the fire.
    Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals.
    I have roasted meat and eaten it.
    Shall I make the rest of it into an abomination?
    Shall I bow down to a tree trunk?”

Why is that superstition? It’s because the wooden figure is something someone makes which cannot hear their words, thus, being an ignorant belief.

Another example of superstition is the sacrifice of human beings to avoid the wrath of deities. This is superstitious because the person who practises such superstition is jeopardizing someone else out of fear that disobedience to their deities will incur punishment.

Now, the million dollar question is… does Biblical Christianity follow the path of superstition?

My answer to that is “no, quite the contrary.” And I’m going to explain how instead, the God of the Bible forges a new path to follow Him, a path called “faith.”

It’s not superstition, because the God of the Bible does not want you to believe in Him out of fear or ignorance. Let me prove this in the next section.

The Difference Between Superstition and Faith

Firstly, He does not want you to believe Him out of fear. That’s why He almost always says “fear not,” whenever He approaches a person in the Bible.

I mean, look at the verse below, the first thing God told Abraham in his vision was to not be afraid. God always makes it clear that He is the last person in the world to associate with worldly fear.

Genesis 15:1 World English Bible (WEB)
15 After these things Yahweh’s word came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

Secondly, the God of Abraham does not force you to believe Him out of ignorance, although, He does expect you to trust Him when things don’t make sense. And I’ll explain the latter part of what I said in the next section, but, for now, here’s an example of Him warning us of ignorant superstition.

Jeremiah 7:31 World English Bible (WEB)
31 They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I didn’t command, nor did it come into my mind.

God was so upset with the people who burned their own children as a sacrifice to idols, and He even admitted that such a deed had never presented itself as a thought within the omniscient mind of God!

Ignorant human beings thought that by murdering their own children, they would please deities of their own making, this is something God cannot stand.

Faith

So, how does God want you to believe in Him? It’s quite simple. And we better not muddle it with our theories, laws, and superstitions. We better see it as He depicts it in His Word.

He wants us to believe in Him by faith.

Ephesians 2:8 King James Version (KJV)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

What’s faith? It’s the belief in the God of the Bible where you trust Him through what He said in His Word (the Bible), and you know His grace and love.

His grace was revealed when God came down to Earth in the form of a human being as Lord Jesus Christ to die on the cross so that instead of God punishing you for your blunders, He would be sacrificed for you.

John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Lord Jesus Christ healed the sick, delivered the spiritually oppressed and blessed so many people during His ministry, but the religious leaders out of jealousy and fear, decided to crucify Him. Yet, this was all part of God’s plan to make the sacrifice for those who trust Him as their Lord and Saviour. I talk more about it in this post.

Therefore, put your faith in Christ Jesus as your Lord and Saviour to enter a relationship with God Almighty.

Faith is not superstition. It is the trust you put in God that He will do what He said He would do. It’s the acceptance of the creator who designed you and formed you in your mother’s womb. It is the realization that you’re significant and that you hold value in the eyes of your Heavenly Father.

This faith in Christ Jesus does not depend on your circumstances. If things aren’t going well for you, you must still trust God because He will make all things turn out for your good.

Faith is just another way of saying that God wants you to trust Him just like how you would trust someone in any other relationship. The difference between superstition and faith is tremendous so trust God; place your faith in Lord Jesus Christ.

The Importance of Convictions and Boundaries

Our world seems to encourage the abandonment of moral boundaries and convictions. And this lack of convictions and personal boundaries within people often leads to violations of the conscience or issues with mental health. That is why in this post, my goal is to teach you the importance of convictions and boundaries within one’s life if one wants to live in the best way possible.

Where’s Our Convictions and Boundaries?

Let’s face it. Our world’s losing its grip on absolutes. We like to muddle our picture of morality and expand upon the boundaries of what’s right and wrong.

For example, according to the Star, gun violence in Toronto, Canada has increased 13% since last year as of May 12, 2020. I can only see this fact as an apparent reminder that our society is forgetting what it means to hold moral convictions.

And if we don’t hold moral convictions, how can we hold spiritual convictions?

John 3:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 If I told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

I find it heartbreaking to witness a person find themselves in hell on Earth after violating all of our God-given boundaries. God gave us guidelines to protect us from the evils of our own self-destructive natures.

Jeremiah 17:9 King James Version (KJV)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

But, many people drive themselves into all sorts of addiction and sin. This ultimately leads to issues like depression, trauma, and more. There are all sorts of evils which a person can do, I don’t need to name them all.

Ezekiel 33:11 King James Version (KJV)
11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Therefore, take a deep look at where you’re at, in your personal life. And if you realize that you’ve lived without convictions or moral boundaries, now is the time to realize the importance of moral convictions.

The Importance of Convictions and Boundaries

Now, the point of moral convictions is to remind one’s soul if you or someone else is violating a moral law. Furthermore, stealing is a violation of morality and you should have the convictions to tell you that.

Ephesians 4:28 World English Bible (WEB)
28 Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, producing with his hands something that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need.

Even more, moral and spiritual boundaries tells us what lines to not cross. We should know our boundaries and not demean our worth to God by forgetting our personal boundaries.

For example, sexual immorality often occurs because people do not know the boundaries of marriage, and this leads many lives to devastation.

1 Corinthians 6:18 World English Bible (WEB)
18 Flee sexual immorality! “Every sin that a man does is outside the body,” but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

Know your boundaries. If you don’t know your own boundaries, you forget that there’s something to protect within you. And if you don’t understand your own worth, then read this post.

So, again, realize the importance of boundaries and convictions. Go down the straight yet narrow path, and ask God for the grace to lead you down that ever-so good path.

Matthew 7:13-14 World English Bible (WEB)
13 “Enter in by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter in by it. 14 How[a] the gate is narrow and the way is restricted that leads to life! There are who find it.

Where Do I Find My Convictions?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 World English Bible (WEB)
16 Every Scripture is God-breathed and[a] profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, 17 that each person who belongs to God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

If there’s anywhere I’d find convictions and moral boundaries guiding me as to what’s right or not, I’d find it in the Bible.

Psalm 119:105 King James Version (KJV)
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

And do you know why? It’s because, without God, there are no boundaries. There are only boundaries if there’s something worth protecting and without God, where’s the worth in you?

The God of the Bible is the only one to declare that you have value because you were created in His image. And I will stick to that justification of intrinsic human worth because it’s the only one I’ve got.

Genesis 1:27 World English Bible (WEB)
27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.

Reach out to the God who created you in His image, and let Him begin a new work in you. Whether you’re in the gutters of damnation or a pristine neighbourhood, God wants you to accept His saving help.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 World English Bible (WEB)
26 I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes. You will keep my ordinances and do them.

That’s why He came to Earth as Lord Jesus Christ and died on the cross to suffer the penalty for your sins. After 3 days, He rose again, victorious over death. So, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, He will not disappoint.

By Andre Wijesekera

Is Yoga Really Effective in the Long-Term?

Discern!

To those who’ve bothered to read this post, my guess is that you’re here to find out if yoga is really effective in the long-term scenario. And so, I am going to talk about yoga in this post as I look at it from a Christian perspective, a mental health perspective, and a practical perspective. My goal is to go into the depths of analysis as I deal with the question and I hope you find something helpful from this post.

Stretching One’s Self for Mental Peace? Is Yoga Really Effective in the Long-Term?

For those who don’t know, yoga is a series of stretches and breathing exercises originating from the East (India). Interestingly enough, the West (America & Canada) actively embrace yoga.

And what does yoga promise? Rather, how do gurus and yoga instructors mass-market yoga as? Well, they say “yoga is good for your mind, it eases the muscles, and reduces stress.”

I mean, sure, it’s an exercise that eases the muscles, but, why do people idealize yoga so much? So, in the next subsection, I’ll be taking a closer look at what it means to do yoga. As yoga protrudes beyond the boundary of exercise and into the territory of spiritual matters.

Why the Hype?

Ever wondered why yoga is so popular right now, especially in the West? Well, I think I’ve found the reason why. It’s because it’s foreign.

There’s a part of human nature that loves things which are foreign. People crave something unknown and that’s why advertisings of healthy protein shakes or perfumes always mention some tropical fruit or ingredient foreign to the Western climate.

But, aside from its physical risks, yoga poses spiritual risks often too grim for imagination. Remember, I said that it originates from the East?

Well, it originates as a practice meant to yoke with the so-called “gods” or “universal consciousness” of Hinduism. As a matter of fact, the word “yoga,” comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj,” defined as “to unite.”

And just take a look at the meanings behind poses in popular types of yoga such as Hatha yoga. One pose is the Warrior pose which embraces the story of a Hindu deity’s son known as “Virabhadra.”

Another pose is the Corpse pose, a pose where one stretches with their back touching the floor. This yoga pose intends to prepare one for death. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to embrace death in any way or manner.

Psalm 118:17 King James Version (KJV)
17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

Continuing on, this craving for the foreign is exactly why Eve ate the forbidden fruit.

Genesis 3:6 World English Bible (WEB)
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took some of its fruit, and ate. Then she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate it, too.

The Bible says that Eve saw that the one tree which God told her not to eat from as visually appealing and it promised her wisdom. Yoga is similar to this forbidden fruit in that it is visually appealing to many with its foreign, Eastern charm and promise of peace.

The tree Eve ate from was unlike any of the trees which God had made for Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. So, she disobeyed God and ate from that tree.

Both Adam and Eve disobeyed God but obeyed the devil which tempted them to eat from that tree. And this disobedience allowed sin, death, sickness, injustice, and more to enter the world of humans.

Romans 5:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 Therefore as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; so death passed to all men, because all sinned.

Bearing the Yolk of Lord Jesus, Alone

At the end of the day, yoga is endued with many spiritual implications. It is a result of Hinduism and is saturated with various Hindu concepts and spiritual meanings.

I know people who’ve practised yoga, and if anything, it’s made things worse for them. But, I’ve seen the transformative power of God’s love in Christ Jesus which changed the lives of various people who I know.

As a Christian, it is spiritually wrong to practice yoga. If you want mental peace, calmness, and no stress, then ask God. Ask Christ Jesus for the peace and grace which He promises to those who trust Him.

John 14:27 World English Bible (WEB)
27 Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.

Lord Jesus Christ is God who came down to Earth in the form of a human being and He bore the punishment for your sins on the cross and sacrificed Himself for you. Three days after dying, Lord Jesus Christ rose again, conquering death in your place, which I talk more about in this post. Now, when you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, you can enjoy a relationship with God, Himself.

Romans 5:15 World English Bible (WEB)
15 But the free gift isn’t like the trespass. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

Trust God for the peace that surpasses human understanding, and read His lovely word, the Bible.

Pray to God, and tell Him about the things that trouble you. He will take care of you and make everything turn out for your good.

Philippians 4:6-7 World English Bible (WEB)
In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

In the end, yoga follows the principles of Hinduism, by nature. If you do yoga, you are embracing a worldview contrary to the Christian worldview.

1 Corinthians 10:21 World English Bible (WEB)
21 You can’t both drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You can’t both partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons.

And Jesus makes it clear in His Word to only bear His yolk instead of doing yoga and yoking with spiritual beings.

Matthew 11:28-30 World English Bible (WEB)
28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The Benefits of Forgiveness in a World of Grudges

Why forgive? What’s in it for me? These are questions that I’ll be dissecting in this blog through a spiritual and mental health lens. The questions spring up from a common mentality within humans from all backgrounds, regardless of ethnicity, upbringing, or any other classifying factor. So, continue reading to learn of the benefits of forgiveness and if one should forgive others.

A World of Grudges?

Yes, our world is mainly a world of grudges. Our world is not in its prime state and people often struggle with forgiving those who do wrong. We often find ourselves saying things like “Don’t get mad, get even,” or “I’ll show you a piece of me.” And sadly, this is what the world considers as “natural,” or “normal.”

2 Corinthians 4:4 King James Version (KJV)
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The Bible drives home the fact that many in this world are blind. And the Bible says that the “god of this world” has blinded them.

This title is just another label for the devil, a being whose wickedness and bitterness blinds the hearts of those who have not yet witnessed the love of Christ.

However, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who made this world and designed your very DNA, is the one who loves you.

John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

He came down in the flesh as Lord Jesus Christ and was led to crucifixion by jealous, hypocritical religious leaders who hated Lord Jesus for healing the sick, loving the scum of the earth, and saving the damned.

Furthermore, your hell met Jesus Christ at the cross so His Heaven could meet you when you allow Him into your life as Lord and Saviour. And after three days in burial, Lord Jesus Christ rose again, victoriously conquering death in your place.

The Benefits of Forgiveness

Accepting Lord Jesus Christ means He forgave your sins, so why not learn from Him how to forgive your debtors.

Colossians 3:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Plus, it’s not like forgiveness is without benefits. Forgiving others does benefit you and that’s the truth.

One might ask, “Well how does forgiving the rascal help me?”

Here’s how…

Forgiveness allows you to preserve relationships that might turn out helpful in the future.

Psalm 133:1 King James Version (KJV)
133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Forgiveness pleases God as God is forgiving.

Colossians 3:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Forgiveness grants you the chance to imitate your Heavenly Father.

Ephesians 5:1 World English Bible (WEB)
5 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.

Forgiveness relieves you the burden of bearing a grudge, and grudges are an opportunity for the devil to harm you.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 World English Bible (WEB)
10 Now I also forgive whomever you forgive anything. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

Remember, the benefits of forgiveness I just listed are only a fraction of the many reasons to forgive others. I just listed the ones I could think of at the moment. Nevertheless, I hope that the last reason especially caught your eye.

As the truth is that holding grudges is an opportunity for the devil (Satan) to wreak havoc in your life.

That is why in the above Bible verse, Paul decided to forgive everyone. This doesn’t mean you have to trust people you’ve forgiven which I talk about in this post. But, Paul did not want the devil to take advantage of any unforgiveness.

Motives of the Heart

So, if someone hurt a loved one of yours, or embarrassed you in some way or manner, just let it go. Also, I am not belittling their mistakes or your loss, but, I am recommending forgiveness for your sake.

Again, this does not mean you need to trust the person you’ve forgiven, it just means you need to let go of the grudge you hold against him/her.

And, now, I want you to change the way you think. If you’re forgiving others for your own benefit, that’s good, but, if you’re forgiving others because you understand God’s love for them and you want to share with that lost person the forgiving love of God, that’s admirable.

1 Corinthians 16:14 World English Bible (WEB)
14 Let all that you do be done in love.

However, whatever the motive behind your forgiveness, the main thing is that you forgive the person. I was just offering a tidbit of advice if you’re ready for it.

2 Corinthians 3:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Therefore, relieve others of the sins they’ve done unto you and make the decision to forgive others. You don’t need to feel anything out of your forgiveness, you just need to decide to forgive.

Ephesians 4:32 King James Version (KJV)
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Life is Unpredictable in a World Where Anything Is Possible

The scary reality of the world is that life is unpredictable. And this is because our world is constantly changing. Nothing ever remains the exact same unless you’re talking about gravity, wind, or any other natural force. But, in this post, I’ll be talking mainly about how your life can change rapidly and it is my goal to touch upon how one should face this ever-changing world.

Is Unpredictability Bad?

Unpredictability seems to have a negative connotation. I mean when someone says the word, “unpredictable,” the majority of people think of something negative such as unemployment, bad people, messy situations, and more.

And it indeed has become a worry to many people, today. This agitating fear in the hearts of people is apparent when people ask themselves questions such as, “How am I going to face the future?”, or, “What if something happens and my life is turned upside down?”

These statements are common questions which depict a sense of fear of the unpredictable. People often fear the unexpected, and this can be a genuine worry for many.

Proverbs 12:25 World English Bible (WEB)
25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,
    but a kind word makes it glad.

Even the Bible talks about how people worried about what will become of them in the future. I modified the verse below in that I omitted some words from the beginning for the sake of emphasis. But I will quote this later in its full context.

Matthew 6:31 World English Bible (WEB) (Modified Verse)
31[…] saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’

But, why not think of unpredictability in the opposite sense? What if unpredictability could bring something good into your world?

Yes, life is unpredictable, but with that comes the possibility that things can exceed your expectations in a good sense. What if life is unpredictable in that your boss promotes you in your workplace, you find a new restaurant to eat at, or something else happens which is good.

And I believe Lord Jesus Christ reminds us of this in the Bible.

Why Life is Unpredictable

Before I get to what Lord Jesus Christ says about the matter, let me answer the question of why life is so unpredictable. It’s because God doesn’t give a guarantee that life will be predictable.

Instead, He tells us this.

Romans 8:28 King James Version (KJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

So, God never promised you that all things will be predictable. And yes, that does mean tough things may come your way. You might face challenges that make you feel like yanking your hair out.

But, He does give us a guarantee of blessings. God tells us that whatever comes our way, predictable or unpredictable, will work as part of His plan to prosper you in any way possible (physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, and more).

Now, let’s take a look at what Lord Jesus Christ said about how people should deal with unpredictability.

Matthew 6:31 World English Bible (WEB)
31 Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’

HE SAID TO NOT GET ANXIOUS ABOUT THE UNPREDICTABLE FUTURE! And do you know why?

Matthew 6:32 World English Bible (WEB)
32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

God knows you need clothes, food, a job, and all of that! He knows what you’re asking from Him, and He is not oblivious to your needs. You’ve got to trust Lord Jesus Christ and do your part. By doing your part, I mean to do what’s right, what’s wise, and what’s efficient.

If bad health surprises you, try your best to live healthily while asking God for His healing. Or if you’re struggling financially, try your best to earn more income in an honest way while asking God for a financial breakthrough. However, let us go more in-depth in the next post.

A Helping Hand in an Unpredictable World

Lord Jesus Christ’s instructions regarding worries of the unpredictable future are the following.

Matthew 6:33-34 World English Bible (WEB)
33 But seek first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well34 Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.

Seek God’s kingdom first and His righteousness. How do you seek God? Well, first, you’ve got to accept Him if you haven’t already. And the way to do that is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Jesus Christ, being God, came down to Earth in the form of a human being.

He died on the cross in your place so that all your sins and evil gets punished through Jesus Christ, and now you can live a life in His grace. I talk more about it in this post.

Philippians 2:5-8 World English Bible (WEB)
Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, yes, the death of the cross.

Now, getting back to the topic of unpredictability, Lord Jesus instructs us to not be anxious concerning our challenges. He says to take life one day at a time, and He will provide you with all that you need.

Therefore, I urge you to not worry, just thank and praise Him that He will make sure you end up in a good place. And if you want some encouragement, just read the Bible. I’d recommend that you read chapters 37 to 50 of Genesis in the Bible. You don’t have to read it all at once, just try to finish it before next week and you’ll see how Joseph faced so many unpredictable situations, both good and bad, with God’s strength.

Philippians 4:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

God Does Care About Your Mental Health

Jesus is Life

Mental health and Christianity make up the backbone of this blog. But, are these two topics even relatable to each other? Based on what I’ve learnt about both topics, I can easily say that both sides have a great deal to do with one another. And I believe that God does care about your mental health. So, continue reading to find out as to how they connect with each other.

Your Mental Health is More Complex Than You Think

The mind you possess is intricate and almost impossible to entirely fathom. Your brain is like a computer that no human engineer can ever fully understand. And the entirety of your mental health is as mysterious and as incomprehensible as it can get.

The reason for this is because your brain is the most complex organ in the human body. There ain’t a thing in the human body more complex than what you’ve got in your noggin. Why?

Well, it’s because your brain is the computer for your body. Everything that you do is a result of the instructions coming from your brain.

So, for such a thing as complex as the brain, there should be a designer. And that designer is God, Himself.

Hebrews 3:4 World English Bible (WEB)
For every house is built by someone; but he who built all things is God.

And I think the person who fully understands you at the moment is God. I cannot understand you, your parents cannot understand you, your best friends cannot understand you, your pet cannot understand you, but God can understand you.

God can understand your weird ways because He’s God and He is the one who oversaw the making of your DNA, the sculpting of your brain, and the experiences you’ve endured.

Psalm 139:1 World English Bible (WEB)
139 Yahweh, you have searched me,
    and you know me.

Furthermore, if you’re facing anxiety, He knows why you’re anxious. If you’re struggling with depression, He knows what’s making you feel that way. And if you’re facing anything which is against your mental health, He knows how to fix it.

Psalm 139:16 World English Bible (WEB)
16 Your eyes saw my body.
    In your book they were all written,
    the days that were ordained
for me,
    when as yet there were none of them.

God Does Cares About Your Mental Health

I need not say much more to convince you that God cares about you. And because He cares about you, God does care about your mental health. Lord Jesus Christ did not say he came to heal you only physically, He said he came to heal you entirely.

Luke 17:19 King James Version (KJV)
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Moreover, you must exercise faith in God to stay mentally healthy. Ask God to heal you of your depression, anxiety, food-eating disorders, and whatever other condition makes you less than mentally fit. Trusting God is the way out of your crisis.

For example, if you are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, ask Lord Jesus Christ to heal you of it. Ask God for His forgiveness and strength to overcome your horrific memories. God understands the traumatic things you’ve gone through if He remembers the number of hairs on your head. I talk more about PTSD in this post.

Luke 12:7 King James Version (KJV)
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

So, be aware of the fact that God cares about you and that He does not intend to leave you in a broken, mentally-sick state, especially when you trust Him.

1 Peter 5:6-7 King James Version (KJV)
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Therefore, humble yourself before the cross of Christ and put your pride away. Trust God that He will keep His promise to heal you if you allow Him to do so. Let Him restore your mind to its ultimate state and wash you in His tender love.

He Suffered More Than Just Physically

Now, as we draw to the end of this post, I want to leave you with one more point to support the fact that God does care about your mental health.

He suffered to restore not only your physical health but your mental health also. At the cross, Lord Jesus Christ endured anxiety, trauma, abandonment, and a bunch of other crises while being beaten to death.

He wore the crown of thorns as a symbolization of the stress and pains he had to endure.

Mark 15:17 World English Bible (WEB)
17 They clothed him with purple, and weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on him.

Furthermore, Lord Jesus Christ felt abandoned and alone as He bore the weight of mankind’s sin.

Matthew 27:46 King James Version (KJV)
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Lord Jesus Christ suffered a lot on the cross. And the stress wasn’t only hurting His body, it was hurting His mind. But why?

The answer to that question is you. God came down to Earth in the flesh as Lord Jesus Christ so that legalistic people, being the crafty creatures they are, would pressure the Roman government to crucify Lord Jesus Christ. This crucifixion was unjust but it was all part of God’s plan so that when He suffered your hell, you would experience His heaven.

Now, when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you become His beloved child. And as a beloved child of God, you have His mind, the mind of Christ Jesus to live life for God’s glory.

1 Corinthians 2:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

Transfigured by the Starter of Heartbeats

Closer than Ever

Change. It is such a lovely thing to change for the better. When you recognize your faultiness, it is so wonderful to improve. Now, there are those of you who suffer from depression, anxiety, addiction, mental health disorders, and a list of other things. But, no matter the suffering or issue, there is always a solution. And to experience change in all its glory, I invite you to be transfigured by the starter of heartbeats. Continue reading to find out what this all means.

Who is the Starter of Heartbeats?

Before talking about anything concerning the thought of change, I must introduce you to the starter of heartbeats. Believe it or not, no one knows the precise second or detailing of time when your heart first began to beat within your mother’s womb. Nobody knows!

Think about it… Your biological parents, your doctor, your closest friend, your spouse, your romantic interest, and every other individual, except one, knows not the first heartbeat that echoed in your mother’s womb.

Job 31:15 King James Version (KJV)
15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

The starter of heartbeats is the only one who does know your first heartbeat. And that being is none other than God, Himself. I can only imagine the care He invested into you when He made you in a unique but lovely way. He ignited that human heart of yours into being, He knows you to the most intimate detail. It is only God who knows you better than you know yourself.

And I strongly hold onto the belief that God came down as Jesus Christ to Earth as a human being to die on the cross as a sacrifice for you. He suffered the penalty for your sins so that when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you would not have to pay the penalty in hell. Instead, His blood on the cross allows us full freedom to be with Him in Heaven.

And only Jesus Christ lost His heartbeat to give you new life and new meaning. A purpose although new, was His plan before time began. That is why three days after His crucifixion, Jesus’ resurrection means so much. His resurrection means your heartbeat will always belong to Him.

Jeremiah 10:6 King James Version (KJV)
Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.

How to Experience That Transfiguration?

Continuing on, God designs your heart beat in such a way that it never stops beating. It’s working it’s hardest to keep you alive.

There is such importance which emanates from your life because God wants you alive so badly. Your life is significant and if you want to ever remind yourself of that, just feel your heartbeat, it constantly works hard to keep your precious life going.

Now, when you know your life is so precious, you must realize who He says you are. In the Bible, it talks about how Jesus Christ takes three of His closest disciples to witness His transfiguration.

Matthew 17:1 World English Bible (WEB)
17 After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves.

Upon further examination of the scriptures, one sees that Jesus Christ does this after six days from the end of the previous chapter. This signals the seventh day, a day of rest as God declares it in the book of Genesis.

Genesis 2:2-3 King James Version (KJV)
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

So, Jesus wants you to rest on His grace and when you do that, He fully reveals Himself to you. He revealed Himself in all His power and glory to His disciples during the transfiguration

Now, to be transfigured means to be transformed into what you really are! It is like unveiling what you really are.

Matthew 17:2 World English Bible (WEB)
He was changed before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light.

And when you rest in His grace, transfiguration’s a matter of time. He will unveil who you’re supposed to be, to you. You are a spiritual being and God created you for His purpose.

What Does It Mean to Be Transfigured?

This means that when you rest on God’s unfailing grace and realize that you are His beloved child, there is nothing which can stop you. It is so important to know that you are of His blood and that He loves you.

In the stormy situation when it is easy to become frantic or worried, learn or at least practice your trust in God. Lay your hand on your chest and remember that God started that heartbeat, He’s not going to let anything destroy it or cause it worry!

Romans 8:28 King James Version (KJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The verse above says that we should know this hence why the verse starts with “And we know.” It says that God will ensure our bad situation or good situation will end up blessing us in the end. And you’ve got to know that you are according to His purpose.

His plan for your life is the only way you will ever have some true meaning. Without Him, there is no purpose. With Him, you’re full of purpose.

So, in conclusion, rest on His grace, and witness the transfigured Christ in your life. I can only imagine how it feels to see the transfigured Christ in all His glory and splendour living in us. That is why we can be transfigured, too. Being transfigured by Him means that we change into who we are supposed to be.

When people see us, they should see someone who is living for God’s glory, who’s mental health is blessed and secured by God, and they should see us as loving people.

We should not be scared of God or what He has in plan for our lives, we should only respond to Jesus’ caring words, and understand that we are His beloved children. Let us be transfigured and understand how God really sees us!

Matthew 17:6-7 World English Bible (WEB)
When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid. Jesus came and touched them and said, “Get up, and don’t be afraid.

Thanking the God of Heavenly Revelations

For most people, it is often easy to adapt the nasty attitude of ingratitude. And if there’s ever an attitude ranked as the worst of attitudes, that’d be ingratitude. Ingratitude affects your mind, your relationships, and shuts you off from a life-changing perspective. So, continue reading to find out the power of thanking God and others for being in your life.

Appreciation in Relationships

Now, appreciation is a very important thing. It is essential within relationships with friends and family. If someone does you a favour and you don’t thank them for it, your heart is ungrateful.

Moreover, ingratitude is very bad for one’s mental health. It’s not good for your relationships and goes to show how you take things for granted. In fact, patriotism for one’s nation is a form of gratitude and that is also very important.

2 Timothy 3:2 World English Bible (WEB)
For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

And the Bible says that in the future, people will become more and more ungrateful. In the verse above, it says that people will become unthankful as that is simply and sadly a trait of human nature. So, the decision is up to you, as always.

Do you want to give in to your corrupt, self-loving (selfish) nature, or do you want to do what is right? Since you are someone who wants to please God and be remembered as grateful, start acknowledging the great things people do for you.

Be grateful.

And that is very important with God, too. He makes it a part of your relationship with Him to be grateful. It’s deeply integrated to your spiritual health. In fact, that is why we have a phrase known as “Thank God.”

There are situations you may face where the only one you can depend on is the God of Revelations, Jesus Christ.

Psalm 100:4 World English Bible (WEB)
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
    and into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him, and bless his name.

His Word says to “enter into [H]is gates with thanksgiving,” because thanking God is a way of entering His presence. Furthermore, there is so much to thank Him for. If you can’t come up with anything to thank God for, then look unto the cross.

Thanking God Above All

When you look unto the cross of Calvary, you see the most gruesome appetites of human evil manifested on a single individual. That single individual is none other than our precious Lord Jesus Christ. He is God who came down to Earth, 2000 years ago, in the form of a man.

And He lived a life on this planet, healed people, set people free, and more in His ministry, but the jealous religious leaders of that time convinced their government to crucify Him. They tortured and crucified Him, but it was all part of His divine plan. His plan was to suffer the hell meant for us to save us.

John 10:18 World English Bible (WEB)
18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father.”

After three days and nights, He rose again from the dead, full of power and authority. So, when we believe Him, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, our hell transfers to the cross. Now, you only need to expect God to be with you through the easy as well as tough times. I talk more about it in this post.

He’ll always be at your side. This is what we call the Gospel, and your heart should fill up with thanksgiving to God for all He does for you. He let nails and whips tear Him apart to heal, deliver, save, and bless you. No one else would do that for you, but He did it.

Romans 5:7-8 World English Bible (WEB)
For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a good person someone would even dare to die. 8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

No one loves you as much as He loves you, so thank Him for what He’s done!

Life With Him

A life with Him is a life lived well, I can guarantee that! Bow your knee to God and thank Him for all He’s done for you. And keep on thanking Him for the things you don’t have yet know that He’ll provide for you.

“What! How can you say that, Andre?” is what some of you may be thinking. But, what I’m saying is nothing less than what the Bible says.

Philippians 4:6 World English Bible (WEB)
6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

God does not want you to worry. He loves you, and whatever depth of suffering you endure, put your trust in His grace. The scripture above says to let God know your needs, you should thank Him for the solution.

He loves you so much because He created you, He formed you, and He decided how you were meant to be. And He wants His plan to come to fruition once you give Him everything you are.

Thank Him for healing because of the broken body of Jesus Christ, even if you are sick because then, He will heal you. Make it a point to give Him praise for the restoration of your mental health, because He will restore your mental health.

Take the communion!

Hebrews 11:1 King James Version (KJV)
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Therefore, trust God and keep on thanking Him for all He’s done. Thanking Him and thanking others should become a thing associated with you. When people think of you, they should think of you as a grateful person. Thank God, above all, and allow God to take care of you.

John 11:40 King James Version (KJV)
40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?