Are You Really a Christian?

“Somehow many have come to believe that a person can be a  ‘Christian’ without being like Christ. A ‘follower’ who doesn’t follow. How does that make sense?” – Multiply, Francis Chan.

I picked up this quote from a blog entry I read this morning titled, “What does it mean to be a “Follower of Jesus?” Doesn’t the quote capture the prevailing attitude and belief of Christians these days? You know, the nonchalant verbal profession of their Christianity without actions to back it up. Are you really a Christian or do you just say you are? Because we all know that actions speak louder than words.

If everyone who call themselves “Christians” actually stopped and thought about what being a Christian really means, then the entire world would definitely become a much better place. As one quote says, “Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.”

Take the time today to think about what you may need to do or change in yourself so that you can be more like Christ.

God Will Test Your Faith: Perseverance

Testing Your Faith Produces Endurance,” prompted me to open my Bible to James 1:2 & 3. This verse says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” God will test your faith at many points throughout your life, but developing perseverance will help you continue to find joy.

Being followers of Christ in today’s world, isn’t it wonderful to be hearing these words from St. James? All of us have experienced trials in our lives, and I believe that you agree with me when I say that fighting through life’s storms can be quite disheartening at times. These words from one of Jesus’ disciples ought to remind us to feel joy instead of disappointment or frustration and anger whenever a trial comes our way. For it is only through the endurance of trials that our faith is fortified. It is not a matter of if God will test your faith, but when.

Do you know Job? The faithful man from the Old Testament whose faith was put through a series of serious trials? He endured all of them and remained faithful to God til the very end. He had this to say about his trials: “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

May we all have an attitude towards trials and faith like Job.

The Impact of Our Catholic Faith

A recent post at The Catholic Writers’ Guild titled, “The Narrow View” brought me a wonderful realization today. The realization was that my faith has the power to affect not only the lives of the people around me or those who are living in my time, but can also possibly make an impact in the lives of believers in the future. The impact of our Catholic faith now, impacts the faith of Catholics for generations. Isn’t that amazing?

Just as how the faith of the 12 Apostles and the early followers of Christ affected (and continue to affect) the faith of Christians who lived hundreds of years after them; our faith too has the potential to transform the lives of others who will live years after we are long gone. Only if we work hard to strengthen and nurture it.

May the thought of how we can still continue bringing souls closer to the Lord even after we have left the Earth further fuel our desire for a life-long unwavering relationship with the Lord. The impact of our Catholic faith is far greater than any one of us, but we all contribute to the big picture.

The Power of God’s Promises

Reading a post titled, “Standing On God’s Promises,” today reminded me just how life-saving God’s promises can be. The power of God’s promises are extraordinary. They can be a person’s reason for pressing on and looking forward to better days ahead in the midst of life’s storms.

Right now hundreds of people are struggling with troubles and worries in their personal lives. I wanted to share 3 of my favorite Bible promises just in case someone needs to hear them:

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. Phillipians 4:19

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” Luke 12:22-24

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

If you are going through some tough times, turn to God. Through his words,prayer, and meditation you will find comfort and solace. The power of God’s promises is immeasurable.

Raising Strong Yet Gentle Kids: Our Task as Parents

I came across this statement today from Toughen Up, Encourage or Both?: “As parents, it’s not our job to toughen up our children to face a cruel and heartless world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” These words sure did made me do a lot of thinking. (And I bet it will do the same thing to you now.)

So, what are we supposed to do as parents? Do we help our children toughen up and be ready to face the heartless world, or do we help them to become individuals who make the world less cruel? I say, we do both. We can do that, right? Raising strong yet gentle kids doesn’t seem like too much to ask for. Kids who are not only able to protect themselves from the harms of the world, but are also able to repel evil with kindness and overcome hatred with love.

On our own, this may be a near-to-impossible feat. But with the help of our ultimate parent, up in heaven, sure we can! I pray to God that raising strong yet gentle kids is not a unattainable feat for parents.

God Is Not Finished With You Yet

I started my morning readings with this honest and very inspiring post: “For The Times When You Feel Like You’re Falling To Pieces.” The piece centered on the reassuring words of Philippians 1:6, “I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world.”

I felt so wonderful starting my day with a reminder that I have a God and Father who is constantly working to make me become the best me that I can be–transforming my mistakes into miracles and using my failures to mold me into a wiser, stronger and more faithful individual. God is not finished with you yet, no matter how despondent you’re feeling.

In my existence, I have questioned God so many times; but he has never forsaken me. He has never gone tired of reminding me that he has great plans in store for me. So for days when you feel like your life is in a mess, be patient, God is not finished with you yet.

Treating Everybody as a Neighbor

I read “Father Jim Hogan’s Homily Weekly Homily” today and I found it to be such an eye-opener. It gave me some fresh perspective on the story of the Good Samaritan and other interesting ideas to consider today and throughout my weekend. The main focus was on treating everybody as a neighbor, which I thought was a cool way to think about being a good Catholic.

In the homily, Father Jim emphasized what it actually means to be a “neighbor” in relation this incident in the Bible:

Luke 10:25-27

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan to further explain that “our neighbors” are not only the people who we know, love and admire. The whole world is our home, and everyone is our neighbor–neighbors we ought to love as much as we love ourselves.

May we all take the time today to fill our hearts with God’s love that we may be able to be a neighbor to every person we meet. Treating everybody as neighbor is now my goal for the weekend.

Attract Others With Your Strong Catholic Lifestyle

If you want to make other people pay attention to something, you better know how to hook and reel them in. As you may know, one of the most effective ways of keeping somebody’s attention is to make them curious. The Catholic Writer’s Guild has an article up today titled, “Curiosity, Little Souls, and the Quest for Ultimate Happiness,” that discusses just how “curiosity” can be a powerful tool for evangelization. It is critical to attract others with your strong Catholic lifestyle.

How do we arouse curiosity in others for our faith? Vice President of The Catholic Writer’s Guild and author of the above mentioned article Jennifer Fitz has this to say: “To arouse curiosity, our lives must be noticeably different than average.  We must be disciples of Christ.  For most of us, that discipleship will become visible in small things we do…”

We can share our faith through words, but it is our everyday actions that get others to take a deeper look into our lives–and see the source of all the wonderful things we do, which is Jesus Christ. Show your faith and attract others with your strong  Catholic lifestyle.

Having Child-Like Faith

Have you watched the animated movie “Rise of The Guardians?” I watched it with my kids a while back. Today I was wonderfully reminded of it by Sr. Marie Paul Curley’s blog post on The Catholic Writers Guild site titled, “Nurturing Our Writing with a Playful Spirit.” The post made me see the film in a whole new perspective. It contains a very valuable lesson–the importance of having child-like faith.

In the Bible, Jesus in Mark 10:15, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” Do you remember how it feels like to be a child? To be full of wonder, innocence, courage and free of worries, fears or cares? That is how God wants us to be. To submit ourselves to him and have faith in his goodness with  no trace of doubt or hesitation. To wake up each day believing that everything is going to be just fine. Having child-like faith that God will make everything work out in the long run isn’t easy. It amazes me how adults can really learn things from children every day. Sometimes they have life more figured out than we do!

Don’t Be Lukewarm, Reheat Your Faith

Archbishop Chaput’s message yesterday, “Catholics Should Live Their Faith ‘All In’” reminded me of this verse in the Bible, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16) The message is don’t be lukewarm, reheat your faith.

A lot of people around the world call themselves Christians but do not really follow the footsteps and teachings of Christ. They adhere to Christ’s teachings and commissions only according to their preference–their convenience. This are what we call “lukewarm or halfhearted” Christians. When you look at the verse above, God despises these kinds of people. God wants us to be completely with and for him or not at all.

As he says in, Matthew 12:30, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

So are you fully committed to God or are you living your life comfortably as a lukewarm Christian? I strive for full commitment and you should too! Don’t be lukewarm, reheat your faith!