Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What to do with Criticisms?

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Recently, I did an action that might be questionable to others and that might lead to be criticized by other Christians. But I don't want to argue about it since it was my personal decision and declaration and I believe that my relationship with Him is as strong as before or even stronger. In Christian life, we can't escape criticisms from others; on why we are doing the things we do and what our real intentions are. These kinds of questionings might lead to conflict with others and we will be tested on how we will act and respond on it. How can we handle such situations and what are the godly ways to do it? How can we show that despite those damaging words and thoughts, we can still avoid great conflicts?

The best examples and answers to these questions are visible in Paul's life. If you will read Philippians 1:12-18 (12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. 15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice), you will see how Paul reacted on the criticisms of other members of church in Rome. Despite those conflicts and questions of intentions, he still showed positive attitude towards it because he was confident that he is doing what God wanted him to do: it was to share words and gospel. On his letters, you will not see any harsh words; instead, he spoke of encouragement and resolution to avoid conflicts. He also did not defend himself but the words and his love of God were exposed. It was so unbelievable that even he was in chains, he still rejoiced and celebrated the joys of being with Christ.

In real life, there will be people who will bring us down and can lead to loss of focus. The best thing that we can do is to look upon Him and clear out our hearts and offer Him the greatest praise. Some criticisms can be hurtful and painful but in His arms, there will be rest and peace. Don't act negatively and don't ever think about of revenge and vengeance. The most important thing is that we know from ourselves that our intentions are clean and that no harm will be put in our relationship with Christ. But in some instances, we can accept suggestions from others and check ourselves if we might need some corrections with our actions. But these things should never ever lead to doubt and loss of faith. Ask God for help and stay intact with your beliefs and understanding. As the song goes, "and if our God is for us, then who can stand against?"

Image taken from spacedragons.com

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gratitude and Appreciation

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Sometimes, we take for granted those simple things and favors that have given to us by someone. We normally forget to say "Thank You" and appreciate those moments. Maybe someone offered you a cup of coffee or wipe your shirt to remove small dirt or asked you how is your day and gave you some tips. Though these things are "small" in nature, still showing appreciation and gratitude to that person will put a smile on their face and it feels so good to see that right? Also, it is beneficial to that person probably because you can lift up his/her mood for that day. If we are on their side, say we did something for someone, receiving gratefulness can pinch a joy in our hearts.

In the Christian manner, we should be thankful for all the blessings that He is giving to us and no matter what the circumstances are, we should still appreciate what He presented to us. Of course saying "thank you" for wonderful things is easy but the real test is how to show gratitude to Him when challenges are coming into our way. For whatever the nature is, we should ALWAYS thank Him as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus). I have discussed before that adversities are just God's tests for us and these things will prove how strong our faith is once we overcome it. Failures and challenges are great opportunities to be closer to Him and have an in depth relationship with Him as we ask for guidance and help and He loves it very much when His sons and daughters are coming towards Him asking for divine help and providing solutions to our problems. Yes, I will say, give thanks for these instances and never doubt in showing appreciation to Him. We should be reminded that He loves us and those tests are there not for us to suffer but to cast away those weaknesses (Psalm 136:1 - "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.")

So let's be thankful for everything! He uses other people to help us and these people are His instruments to show us the way and provide us the necessary things that we need. We might be in lack for some factors in our lives but the people around us might become our greatest line of supply. Showing gratitude is so easy but remember to feel it directly from your heart and say/show it with gladness and sincerity. Thanking these people is also thanking Him.

image taken from thechangeblog.com