Placing Your Roots in the Right Atmosphere

Everyone lives within a certain atmosphere. Now, when I say this, I mean it within a metaphorical context. Other people call it “environment,” some call it “social conditions,” but for the sake of this post, I’ll refer to it as one’s “atmosphere.” And at the end of the day, it is the atmosphere you decide to grow within, that determines the way you think as well as act. So continue reading to learn about placing your roots in the right atmosphere.

Tree?

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but, God has a keen habit out of likening humans to trees, vine branches, etc… in the Bible. So, as you read this post, you will notice my comparison of us, humans, to trees.

Nevertheless, onward we shall venture into this study!

Every tree requires a good atmosphere. If a tree doesn’t have the right soil, the right quality of air, the right amount of water, it fails to sustain itself.

But, what atmosphere do you put yourself in?

I can tell you right now, you are not superhuman to be free of what surrounds you. As a human being, it is impossible to have no attachment to what you consume.

If you spend your time listening to songs with aggressive lyrics and cuss words, it won’t be too difficult to find yourself swearing in your mind every now and then.

1 Corinthians 15:33 King James Version (KJV)
33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Furthermore, as the Bible says above, “Be not deceived,” because it is quite easy for well-meaning people to fool themselves into thinking that they are strong enough to be unaffected by what they spend time with.

Like it or not, the analogy of human beings to trees is a very real image. We are just as easily affected by our social atmosphere as trees are affected by their physical atmosphere.

You take away a tree’s sunlight, it withers. And in the same way, if you expose your mind to the world’s filth, you will be affected.

For example, if you watch an anime, movie, or TV show that embraces vulgarity, your mindset will automatically become more and more tolerant towards that which is vulgar. Therefore, start placing your roots in the right atmosphere.

Placing Your Roots in the Right Atmosphere

As I said in the prior subsection, please, begin placing your roots in the right atmosphere. Don’t let this world fool you into following its flow lest it leads you to loss.

Now, behind that computer or phone screen, you may be asking, “But Andre, where should I root myself upon?”

My friend, root yourself in the love of Lord Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus Christ is the one true God who came down to Earth in the flesh of a human being. His ministry healed, delivered, and blessed everyone. But, the religious leaders of that day wished for nothing but harm towards Lord Jesus Christ.

So they forced the ancient Roman government to crucify Lord Jesus Christ. However, this was the plan of God for He had to die as an innocent man to pay for the sin of humanity. The precious blood of Lord Jesus Christ paid for every sin, curse, and suffering.

And as you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you are placing your roots in the right atmosphere, you root yourself in His love!

John 3:16 World English Bible (WEB)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

His blood is the water which you need and His heart is the soil from which you must sprout. He died on the cross a horrific death to grant your soul eternal life and He experienced a glorious resurrection within 3 days to grant you victory over every trial and challenge.

Ephesians 3:17-19 World English Bible (WEB)
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love18 may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, 19 and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The Grand Gardener

John 10:10 World English Bible (WEB)
10 The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who came down to Earth in the flesh of a human being as Lord Jesus Christ has set before you two crossroads.

Choose the path that He wills for your life. Make sure you start placing your roots in the right atmosphere because with God, you will blossom and bear good fruit.

Spend some time studying the Word of God. Pray to the Lord your God, and place all your anxieties on Him. He will most certainly bless you!

Galatians 5:16 World English Bible (WEB)
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Let God be your gardener. He will water you, He will place you in fertile soil, and He will prune you so that you bear the best fruit possible. Under the care of God who loves you very much, you will grow and learn to love Him.

The sacred and precious heart of God beats with love for you. His words of care and concern for your well being are sincere and well-justified by the sacrifices He’s made for you.

You may not feel love for God, however, He only asks you to seek Him so that when you get to know Him more, you’ll fall in love with Him.

After all, what’s not there in God to fall in love with. He made you, He’s kind, He’s courageous, He’s valiant, He’s loving, and He’s so much more.

In conclusion, just spend time every day reflecting on His love and maintain a good relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Jeremiah 31:3 World English Bible (WEB)
Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying,

“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.
    Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.

Are You Standing At the Crossroads?”

Standing at the crossroads.

“Crossroads” is defined as the intersection of several roads. This post will metaphorically surround the topic of crossroads because you may be standing at the crossroads. What that means is that there are different paths/roads which you can take as you journey throughout your life, but, you need to make a decision. The truth is that we all come to a point in life where we have to make tough decisions. And I get it, decisions aren’t easy to make, but that’s why I’m going to talk about how you should choose which crossroad to take.

Standing at the Crossroads?

As I mentioned earlier, whether you care about your life or not, you’ve got to make decisions.

You can live your life with absolute complacency or back-breaking self-discipline, but in the end, the decision is yours.

Your decisions can lead you down a dark crossroad, and may ultimately betray you…

Proverbs 14:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
    but in the end it leads to death.

Or your decisions can bless your name and lead you down a crossroad of triumph!

Proverbs 2:20 World English Bible (WEB)
20 So you may walk in the way of good men,
    and keep the paths of the righteous.

The point I’m trying to get across is that your decisions matter. And the crossroad you take will make an impact on your life, I guarantee you that.

I’ll give you some examples of times when you might have to choose between crossroads. A personal example, is that very soon, I’ll have to make a decision as to what university I attend.

Another example, not relating to my personal life, is if one must decide between two careers. A different example of one stuck between crossroads is one imbued with a passion to begin a business yet is wary of the potential risk to such a pursuit.

I can give thousands of examples of major decisions we are all bound to make. But, you first ought to know that your decisions do matter because they ultimately lead to somewhere. Ten seasons from now, you’ll either be rejoicing or grovelling because of your decision.

There’s Someone Standing Next to You

However, you’re not alone. Rather, there is someone observing every step you make. He sees you as you stumble and He sees you as you succeed. You might have not taken notice of Him already, but, He’s there.

His name is Lord Jesus Christ. He is the God who came down to Earth in the flesh so that He may receive the divine retribution for your sins.

And the most important time you choose between crossroads is when you choose to either go down the path where He leads you or the path where you believe yourself to be the leader.

Psalm 119:105 World English Bible (WEB)
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet,
    and a light for my path.

In the above scripture, King David tells God that His word is a lamp to David’s feet and a light to his path.

And for a long time, I’ve been asking myself, “Who’s holding that lamp?” Well, I can say in my life, through every narrow escape I’ve made and every close call I’ll ever make in my life, it’s been Lord Jesus Christ who’s held that lamp.

I may have been ever so tempted to be unfaithful to Him, yet, it is Lord Jesus, who always motions the lamp in His hand to my eyes that I may see the crossroads ahead of me.

2 Timothy 2:13 World English Bible (WEB)
13 If we are faithless,
    he remains faithful;
    for he can’t deny himself.”

And as I gaze into His fiery eyes, I become confident that whatever path I take, I shall take for His glory. My question to you this day is do you have someone to hold the lamp for you? Do you know where you’re headed?

If not so, accept Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour; let Him guide you down the right crossroad!

Hesitation

I wonder what would happen if hesitation did not play such a glamourous role in our decision making. Either one of two things could happen.

We’d either be making more decisions that are terrible or more decisions that are beneficial. Therefore, I say to hesitate from making unwise choices yet show no mercy to the one who tempts you to be hesitant from that which is undoubtfully good.

An example of when hesitation is good is when it causes you to think for a second or two before making a business partnership. Think long and hard before you make any major decisions.

On the other hand, it is your responsibility to show no hesitation when God calls you to do something. When you absolutely know that God wants you to start some sort of venture, then, don’t let hesitation steal your opportunity to receive God’s blessing!

Luke 9:62 World English Bible (WEB)
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for God’s Kingdom.”

Let hesitation be your ally instead of your opponent for it is better to have it as a safeguard instead of as a tempter. Think twice before you make any major decision or investment of your resources, but, don’t look back once you’ve set out to do what God wants you to do.

If you’re not sure about what should be your next course of action, ask God for His wisdom. He’s not stingy when it comes to His counsel. You can be sure you will receive a response once you share your dilemma with Him because He never breaks His Word.

Isaiah 58:11 World English Bible (WEB)
11 and Yahweh will guide you continually,
    satisfy your soul in dry places,
    and make your bones strong.
You will be like a watered garden,
    and like a spring of water
    whose waters don’t fail.

In conclusion, as you stand at the crossroads, read His Word, seek Him in prayer, and let Lord Jesus Christ guide you down the path which He wills for your life!

Who Really Is the Captain of Your Boat?

You’ve got to know the captain of your boat. What I mean by this is that all of us are led to make the decisions we make, to feel the emotions that grip us, and to act the way we act. And if you don’t know who’s driving your life or who is controlling you, you’ll never be free to think or act the way that most benefits you. Please continue reading to find out who truly is the captain of your boat.

A Glance at Your Life

First, you may want to know that your life is controlled by someone. As I’ve already made abundantly clear in the introduction, your life is never out of control. It may be in chaos, but ultimately, there’s someone responsible for that chaos. Your life is always in control although potentially unsatisfactory.

Galatians 6:5 World English Bible (WEB)
For each man will bear his own burden.

There’s a responsibility that ought to be taken. If you find yourself in drug addiction, you didn’t just end up there, you made decisions that led you to that point. And the same goes for one who’s found financial success through discipline as well as wise decision making. So, look at your life, and you will clearly see who I call the captain of your boat.

Concludingly, it is quite easy to realize who is the captain of your boat by glancing at your life.

Everyone’s got a captain for their boat. And in this post, I want to focus on three sorts of captains. The three possible captains in charge of your life are the following: you, the devil, or the Spirit of Lord Jesus Christ.

And it’s time, you find out which of those three captains belong to you because until you know who’s your captain, you’ve got no control over where your life’s headed. Your life could be headed for disaster for all you know, unless you truly meet the captain of your boat.

John 13:16 World English Bible (WEB)
16 Most certainly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, neither is one who is sent greater than he who sent him.

As the Lord Jesus Christ says in the scripture above, a servant is only as great as his master. In the same way, your ability is limited by the one leading your life. And it is absolutely imperative that you understand this lest you become ignorant of where you’re headed.

Two Phony Captains

Now, of the three possible captains, two of them come as a package. I label them as the two phony captains. And please make a note that these two captains come as a package, they don’t come separately.

These two possible captains are known as you and the devil. Unfortunately, it is quite the challenge to discern these two fellows. Most of the time, people mistake their captain as only themselves.

Furthermore, people often believe that their captain is them. These people often make statements such as, “I am the captain of my boat, I make my own decisions and I’m proud of them.”  or, “don’t tell me what to do because I’m capable of anything when I put my mind to it.”

However sincere these people may be, they are naive. They don’t understand that if they alone claim the rights to their life, they are actually under the influence of a demonic authority. And do you know why?

It’s because demonic spirits are extremely effective when it comes to convincing anyone that they’re on your side. The thoughts you hear in your head are all too often not yours. And so, there are two phony captains whom you can choose to be the captain of your boat. You, and ultimately, the devil.

No one ever actually says, “huh, I think it’s a good idea to ask an ancient demon to be my captain.” Rather, people fall into the trap of thinking that they alone control their life when in actuality, there’s much more going on behind the scenes.

Ephesians 6:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The One Worthy of Being the Captain of Your Boat

Therefore, I make my plea to you so that you ask one person to be the captain of your boat. Ask Lord Jesus Christ to be the captain of your boat. He alone should guide and uphold your life.

The Word of God promises you that Lord Jesus Christ will never lead you to disaster. Instead, He will lead you to peace, blessings, and an established legacy.

Isaiah 46:4 World English Bible (WEB)
Even to old age I am he,
    and even to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear.
    Yes, I will carry, and will deliver.

But, to make Lord Jesus Christ your captain, you’ve only got to do one thing. It’s simple and let’s not complicate it. That one thing is to surrender to Him.

God came down to Earth in the form of a human being, Lord Jesus Christ. He healed the sick, showed God’s heart for people, and blessed everyone He interacted with. Religious leaders could not tolerate His truth nor His goodness and so, decided to twist the ancient Roman government’s arm to crucify Lord Jesus Christ.

Moreover, God decided to let Himself experience hell on Earth by being crucified in the flesh so that when you put your trust on Lord Jesus Christ, the hell you deserved would no longer await you.

Lord Jesus Christ died for you to give you hope and a new life. And when you entrust Him with your life, He will not disappoint. Just accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and surrender all of your life to Him.

James 4:10 World English Bible (WEB)
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Allow His Spirit to lead you and be sensitive to what He says in the Bible. To every gentle steer, He makes, yield to Him.

Romans 8:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Forsaking All Enticements The World Offers

Over the past millennia, human society has invented new ways to distract its members. As human beings, our world is full of enticements and distractions. Yet, you may be oblivious to any of the temptations or enticements holding you captive. If you want to know the litmus test to determine what is enticing you, look at what behaviours, habits, or desires hinder you in either your physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual health. Continue reading to learn how to begin forsaking all enticements that may come your way.

Don’t Entertain Any Bad Habit

Before continuing on how to forsake the enticements of the world, you must be able to identify what they are. There must first be a diagnosis before there is a treatment.

And, you must first be confident in your relationship with God. Too often, do I hear people claim to have a good relationship with God yet not know who is God. But, to clear all misunderstandings, let’s set the record straight.

The God of the Bible knew how all humans sin. Therefore, no one is fit to enter Heaven as Heaven is only for those who haven’t sinned.

So, God came down in the flesh as Lord Jesus Christ with a ministry of healing, deliverance, and more. Yet, jealous religious leaders decided to pressure the ancient Roman government to crucify Lord Jesus Christ.

But, it was God’s plan to let Himself, Lord Jesus Christ, suffer humanity’s punishment for sin on the cross. In this way, God transferred His righteousness to those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Therefore, accept Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

Romans 10:9 King James Version (KJV)
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Moving on, in the case of distractions or enticements, one can identify it by seeing how its nature affects you. If you notice that behaviour, habit, or idea comes in-between you and Lord Jesus, then, get rid of it.

Matthew 5:30 World English Bible (WEB)
30 If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.[a]

In fact, Lord Jesus Christ said in the above scripture, to cut off whatever causes you to stumble. So, when you see a sinful behaviour or an act of the flesh within your lifestyle, forsake it. Now, when Lord Jesus Christ said to cut off one’s hand if it causes one to stumble, He did not literally mean amputating a God-given part of your body. He just meant to immediately get rid of any sinful behaviour immediately.

Crucified with Christ for a Reason

This means that if you see drug addiction within your life, then, stop it, pray to Lord Jesus Christ, and seek the proper help. I also talk about addiction in this post. If you see a tendency to get angry very easily within your life, then, stop it, ask Lord Jesus Christ the grace to come out of it, and seek His counsel through the Holy Bible.

Start forsaking whatever appears to be against the nature of God within your life. That’s why the Bible says to flee anything so as long as it appears to be evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:22-24 King James Version (KJV)
2Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

Flee all appearances of evil!

Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear to have a fear of the Lord. I talk more about the fear of God in this post. And the main thing to know about the fear of the Lord is that it is when one respects God enough to know that he/she ought not to do certain things which displease Him.

When you honour God with your entire being, you know that He loves you and by nature, it hurts you to hurt God. Since you love God, prioritize Him over all things. If He says not to hold unforgiveness towards anyone, then, start forgiving. Or if He says we ought to be kind to others because God is kind to us, then, start showing kindness to those around you.

The bottom line is that when you have the fear of the Lord, His love develops a desire within you to please Him through whatever you do. And to get that fear of the Lord, you should ask Him for it.

Proverbs 1:7 World English Bible (WEB)
The fear of Yahweh[a] is the beginning of knowledge;
    but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.

Forsaking all Enticements

In conclusion, stay away from evil because you know that God loves you and you should make it your utmost priority to do what pleases Him. If there’s something that pleases you but displeases God, then cut it off, because, it will not benefit you.

Rather, do what is good and what you know is not going to hurt you physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

1 Corinthians 6:19 World English Bible (WEB)
19 Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

So, make it a constant habit to start forsaking everything you do which ain’t right.

We’re all not perfect, but as children of God, it should be our goal to focus on Lord Jesus Christ and begin forsaking every evil that distracts us.

Hebrews 12:2 King James Version (KJV)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The scripture above perfectly summarizes what ought to be our mindset concerning worldly distractions and temptations. What the above scripture means is that we should fix our eyes on Lord Jesus Christ because He fixed His eyes on the joy set before Him. His joy was to see us saved, blessed, redeemed, and His as He suffered the pain of the cross.

Remember that you were crucified with Christ and that whatever distracts you now has no foothold on you because Lord Jesus Christ already defeated every temptation on the cross.

Galatians 2:20 King James Version (KJV)
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

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Seeing Everyone As Opportunities to Bless

The big question of the day, or rather… this post, is how do you see people? How we see people determines a lot about what others see in us. That is why I making the goal of this post to convince you to start seeing everyone as opportunities to bless. You will see improvements in your life, in your relationships, in your reputation, and more, if you take this wisdom to heart.

Distorted Perspectives

The first thing you ought to know is that our perspective on others may indicate something about us. If you’re really honest with yourself, you’d see how easy it is to judge others, to rely upon baseless biases, and more.

The point is that we’re not perfect. And the last thing we should do is claim to be perfect. We’ve been trained by our culture, by our family, by our traditions, and more, to think in ways which don’t make sense.

Mark 7:9 World English Bible (WEB)
He said to them, “Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.

Now, the Bible is pretty clear on the cost of such worldly traditions, too.

Proverbs 14:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
    but in the end it leads to death.

Did you catch that? If you didn’t, let me point it out to you. The scripture above states that the ways of man which seem right, lead unto death.

That’s a bit frightening. And it is as true as it is terrifying. The wrong thinking and the wrong perspective can lead you in the direction opposite to the blessings and life which God has in plan for you.

Racism is an all-too-common example of the ramifications brought upon mankind when a deadly mindset is accepted.

Racism is a way in which arrogant people view others as inferior due to a difference in skin colour, and so, this mindset leads to the mistreatment of others as well as the darkening of one’s own soul. And racism surely has led to death every single time it’s been accepted by human beings.

A manipulator who cheats on their spouse is another example of distorted perspectives. When one sees people as opportunities to please one’s self and doesn’t understand the value of faithfulness, their life is headed towards destruction.

A Transformation of Perspective

So, there needs to be a shift in the way you think. For so long, we have based our values, perspectives, and ideals on what our world has given us.

But, the Bible clearly points out that the world’s standard of good is not God’s ideal. Our world was never supposed to be based on slogans like “survival of the fittest,” or “winning the rat race.”

We were never supposed to view other people as subjects of manipulation or exploitation. The thought of taking advantage of vulnerable people never came across the most precious mind of God.

Yet, it’s a thought that repeats itself within the minds of those who embrace the world’s standard of good. That is why there is so much corruption, injustice, and evil that persists in every nation.

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.

But instead, how does God want us to treat people?

Mark 9:35 King James Version (KJV)
35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Lord Jesus Christ said we ought to serve others, to love them, and to treat them well. This doesn’t mean we need to be a doormat for others to exploit. Instead, Lord Jesus means that we’re supposed to respect and love others as God loves us.

How do you know that God loves you? He showed His love to you on the cross. God came down in the flesh as Lord Jesus Christ and people hated His ministry of compassion, so, they, with all the religious teachers decided to crucify Him.

Seeing Everyone as Opportunities to Bless

Yet, this was all part of God’s plan so that through Him bearing your punishment, you would no longer suffer hell because of His sacrifice. Therefore, you only need to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour as a way of accepting His love as well as transformative grace.

Romans 10:9-10 King James Version (KJV)
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

I talk more about God’s salvation plan for humanity in this post.

Ask God for the grace to start seeing everyone as opportunities to bless. God calls us to be generous, to give unto the poor, to always be helpful to those who are in need of aid, and more.

We ought to follow the example of Christ. There should not be any hint of selfishness as selfishness is what leads people to throw others under the bus for their own benefit.

John 13:15 World English Bible (WEB)
15 For I have given you an example, that you should also do as I have done to you.

Furthermore, we were all headed down the path to God’s fierce judgment and wrath as God is holy and must rightfully punish people like us for the things we’ve done wrong. However, God is a God of love. He decided to let Himself be destroyed that we may be made alive.

Therefore, place your faith in the finished work of Lord Jesus Christ. Diligently read the Bible and see Christ’s example to us as we learn to serve others and be a blessing to everyone we meet. Fix your eyes upon Lord Jesus; you’ll start seeing everyone as opportunities to bless.

Treating All With The Same Heart

If there’s anything by which we measure others by, it’s the measure of character. Those with great character naturally attract people around them. And people are especially mesmerized by those who treat others with fairness, kindness, and compassion. Treating all with the same heart isn’t necessarily easy. That is why I’ll be talking about fairness, kindness, and compassion, as well as how they pertain to one’s character and one’s heart.

Treating All With Fairness

First of all, it is vital to treat everyone you know with fairness. Treating all with fairness means that you see people, not through the lens of their varying differences; rather, you see them through the fact that they’re made in God’s image.

Why does God want us to treat others with fairness? It’s because we don’t have the right to treat others in any other way. And that’s because, without Christ, we’re all failures. We’ve all made mistakes, we’ve all lied, and we’ve all done things contrary to the pure nature of God.

I don’t even need to prove the above point because even you know you’re not perfect. To think anything different would be foolish or dishonest.

Ephesians 2:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

And our imperfectness does not allow us to enter the Heaven of a perfect God, so what God did was that He came to Earth as a human, Lord Jesus Christ. He did miracles, healed the sick, and preached about the kingdom of God.

But, religious hypocritical people hated Him for His integrity and authority, so they led the ancient Roman Government to crucify Him two millennia ago.

However, Lord Jesus Christ allowed the pain to come upon Him for a reason. That reason was to atone as a sacrifice in our place. This means that whosoever accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will be saved.

That is why whether rich or poor, sick or healthy, smart or silly, Lord Jesus wants us to treat each other the same. He died for all, and He rose again after 3 days to live for all.

James 2:8-9 World English Bible (WEB)
However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”Leviticus 19:18 you do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors.

Treat All With Kindness

Next up is kindness. Kindness is beautiful. There’s no better way to describe it. We, as people, are naturally attracted to those who show kindness. The reason for that is because God is kind, and, although we may not be kind, ourselves, we still like its nature as God created us in His image.

To be kind, according to the Bible, means to go out of your way to honour another individual.

A prime example of a kind man is Boaz.

Ruth 2:8-10 World English Bible (WEB)
Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Don’t go to glean in another field, and don’t go from here, but stay here close to my maidensLet your eyes be on the field that they reap, and go after them. Haven’t I commanded the young men not to touch you? When you are thirsty, go to the vessels, and drink from that which the young men have drawn.”
10 Then she fell on her face and bowed herself to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take knowledge of me, since I am a foreigner?”

Boaz heard of Ruth, a widow distantly related to him, and he let her work in his fields. But, he was a kind man loved by all his workers. When Ruth started working for Boaz, Boaz ensured that she had access to water, his other workers would not bother her, and that she worked in an area which was best suited for her.

Boaz went out of his way to ensure that Ruth was well-taken care of. Later on, the Biblical story progresses to the point of Ruth and Boaz marrying and eventually becoming the great grandparents of the renowned King David.

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.

Likewise, be kind to others. Go out of your way to make sure that everyone is treated properly. Treat your parents with kindness, treat your siblings with kindness, and treat your spouse with kindness. Kindness must be shown to those you know before it is appealing to those you don’t know.

This kindness within Boaz was apparent not only to Ruth but also to his long-time employees hence why they loved him.

Ruth 2:4 World English Bible (WEB)
Behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “May Yahweh be with you.” They answered him, “May Yahweh bless you.”

Treating All With Compassion

Finally, make sure that you’re treating all with compassion.

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.

The word translated as “tenderhearted” above also translates as “compassionate” in other translations. But, the actual word for it is “eusplagchnos” which is a combination of the Greek words, “eu” and “splagchnos.”

“Eu” is a Greek word God uses in the Bible to describe a servant pleasing his master. The word in the below passage underlined and bolded is the English word for “eu.”

Matthew 25:20-21 King James Version (KJV)
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

The next part of the word, “splagchnos,” literally translates as “inward parts” or “guts or bowels.” Now, this word may be referring to emotions that comes from the deepest level of one’s emotions.

To give you an idea of what this word means in context, here is an example of a verse where I underlined and bolded the word for “splagchnos.”

Philemon 12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 I am sending him back. Therefore receive him, that is, my own heart,

So, when you put together the words “eu” and “splagchnos,” you get”eusplagchnos,” which translates as compassionate or tenderhearted.

Why am I saying this? It’s because compassion comes from a deep part within you and it desires something good for the subject of the emotion.

God’s compassion for us is genuine and gut-deep so that He desires good for us and will do something to make His desired good happen within our lives.

Therefore, show this same compassion to others and reflect the love of God. And treating all with fairness, kindness, and compassion is an expectation from Lord Jesus Christ. If you lack any of these, remember God’s love for you.

Remember His fairness to you where He is a fair judge.

Also, remind yourself of His kindness and His compassion towards you by dying in your place and blessing you.

Let these memories of God’s love motivate you to reflect His attributes. And let His Word, the Holy Bible, inspire you to practice His everlasting goodness within your life. Show fairness to everyone around you. Don’t treat any group of people less than another group of people.

Be kind and do everything you can to help others around you. And show compassion by asking God for a restoring love coming from within yourself, which yearns to bless those around you. In conclusion, make sure that you’re treating all with fairness, kindness, and compassion.

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.”