Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

A Slow Death

As I gazed at the landscape that was once plush green, thoughts ricocheted like bullets in my mind.

I wondered how leaves changed from being green to brown, orange, red and yellow.

They change and transform by a slow death.

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The result is from the breakdown of chlorophyll, due to the changes in the length of daylight and temperature. The leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their splendor.

God is the master artist weaving a beautiful tapestry in nature with the ebb and flow of leaves, seasons, tides, births and deaths.

Watching the leaves turn reminds me of God’s power and my fragility, His strength and my weakness, His immortality and my mortality.

In reality, we are all fallen leaves, dying a slow death.

For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:17

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Blind Spots

One of the biggest challenges for Christians is the ability to see themselves. It reminds me of the blind spots while driving.

Blind Spot by Nimish Gogri | Creative Commons

Blind spots are areas of the road (or vehicles) that cannot be seen while looking forward or through either the rear-view or side mirrors.

What do I mean by blind spots in our Christian walks?

Here are some examples:

Example 1: A father who has been a Christian for many years, graduated Bible school, did missionary work and is a worship leader. He is known to drop everything to do “ministry.” Yet, when his son was down and out, lost his license and vehicle due to a DWI and needed a ride to work, his father told him that he couldn’t give him a ride because it was too much for him.

Example 2: A woman receives a negative health diagnosis and is waiting to have a procedure done. She is alone and anxious. She decides to text a sister in Christ and ask for prayer. She never responds. The following day she texts her again to ask if she had received her text. She responds by saying yes, but that she didn’t have anything to say.

Example 3: A son gets kicked out from where he was living. For all practical purposes, he is homeless. He reaches out to his father and asks if he could stay with him temporarily until he can get himself together. His father says, No.

All three people are believers, who are either doing ministry or serving the Lord. However, when the rubber meets the curve (I’m trying not to use cliches, lol), their words and actions are incongruent. There is a disconnect.

This is what I refer to as blind spots and what others call hypocrisy.

Blind spots are deceptive, dangerous, and destructive. We all need to face the truth about our blind spots. They need to be dealt with, and not ignored, denied, justified, deflected and excused.

How do we face our blind spots?

  1. By accepting that we have them.
  2. By praying, repenting and asking God for awareness, assistance and forgiveness.
  3. By reading and studying the Bible daily, which helps in examining (2 Corinthians 13:5), and judging ourselves. (1 Corinthians 11:31).

Thank the Lord for your truth, love, forgiveness, mercy and grace.

“Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see”

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Update

I know… it’s been awhile.

So much has happened in the past twelve months between one thing or another. I have not been able to post much, and truthfully, I have not been up to it. But I wanted to update you… my dear subscribers.

I have been reading when I can, but not regularly. Nor am I reviewing books. However, I have been vlogging intermittently. You can feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you would like (please click here or you can  search for Pilar V. Arsenec to subscribe).

It’s been over a year now that I have been struggling with my health which has unfortunately disrupted my life in more than one way. This, mixed with several other things, has adversely affected me. It has been the grace of God and the prayers of the saints that has kept me afloat.

I can honestly say these past two years have been one of the most difficult times of my life. I am getting hit on all sides. No exaggeration.

But through it ALL, the Lord is teaching me about Him, and my faith is slowly growing stronger.

These verses have become real to me,

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

It has been a hard journey, but through the adversity, the Lord is revealing Himself to me in His Word. Not by any mystical experience, but just by the pure simplicity of the gospel.

As much as it has been an unpleasant time in my life, I do believe I would not have the understanding and discernment that I do now had I not gone through the furnace of affliction.

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10)

Like the Apostle Paul, I am resigned to glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

So there you have it, my brothers and sisters in Christ. I would appreciate your prayers. I pray all is well with you and your loved ones. God bless you. 

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Good Riddance 2017…

I don’t know about you, but this year was probably the most difficult one for me. I won’t get into the details, but suffice it to say, it was hard beyond words.

To be honest, I am a bit apprehensive about 2018.

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But, even though it was a tough year, there was still a lot to be thankful for. And three things come to mind: faith, family and friends.

Faith

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:1-5)

I drew closer to God this year. I believe it was the hardship that brought me closer to Him. Which reminds me of this verse…

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” (Philippians 3:10)

Our faith grows not when everything goes right or our way, but through suffering. Pain, loss, suffering helps us grow and mature as Christians. Pain certainly doesn’t feel good, but sometimes it is necessary for us to see things clearly and change our perspective and priorities in life.

Family

…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

One of the things I am most grateful for is my family and that we are serving the Lord together. I am also grateful for my family in Christ, the few close sisters who have stood by me and prayed for me.

Friends

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NLT)

A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NASB)

I have been blessed to know many people in my life, and to call them friends. However, this year has taught me who my real friends are.

First and foremost, it is Jesus Christ. Second, my husband, who has had a million excuses to leave, but chose to stay. He is my example of strength, character, integrity and tenacity in the face of difficulties, obstacles and opposition. He is loyal, committed and a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I realize that sometimes it takes falling and failing to distinguish truth from lies. To recognize who is actually for you, not just when the sun is shining, but when the sky is grey for days. The gift of being able to see beyond the smoke screens, fakes, phonies, and politically correct, the ones who only know how to smile in your face, and stab you in the back

I have had plenty of those kinds of friends. More than my fair share. But I thank God for all of them, my dear frenemies, because they taught me so much. So many valuable and priceless lessons. They have no idea how much they’ve served me.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result…” (Genesis 50:20 NASB)

When you are told so many lies… they begin to sound like the truth. Until the facade evaporates, and the ugly truth remains.

I’d rather know the hard truth than believe a bunch of lies. Those saccharine laced words, so sweet at first, leaving a nasty aftertaste. I thank God for delivering me from the web of deception, and for the pain I’ve endured at the hands of people I’ve cared about and loved, because I am no longer enslaved to them. I am free. Thank you, Jesus.

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NASB)

This is my prayer for you:

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16-21)

Happy New Year!

 

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Why Is There So Much Evil?

Hello my friends,

I haven’t been blogging or vlogging much and the first video will explain why.

In the second video entitled “Does God Still Heal?,” I share some personal experiences which I hope blesses you.

Please feel free to subscribe to my channel and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

God bless you and thanks for watching.

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The Day I Deleted 3,000 Friends

From 2014 through 2015, I went from blogging and reviewing Christian genre, to crime fiction and urban literature. I enjoyed it, and in the process, learned a great deal about myself, and others.

However, once I rededicated my life to Christ in the beginning of 2016, I had to reevaluate things. What I was doing, where I was going, and mostly, what God wanted for me.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

My deleting over 3,000 “friends” wasn’t personal, it was something the Lord impressed on me to do. He wanted me to put the past behind me, and start anew. As it was, not all of my decisions were lining up with His, and something needed to change.

The Bible says, in Hosea 4:6a, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

Life is a journey, and the road can either be smooth or tumultuous based on our decisions. Our choices have to be aligned with His for things to go right in our lives.

The devil likes to confuse us and take us on rides, to get us off course, so that we get frustrated, give up, and abort our calling. This is what happened to me. So, I had to repent, recalibrate and get my life back on track.

As an artist, I do appreciate all art forms, however, I had to reconcile with the fact that a lot of what I was reading and reviewing was no longer feasible. The books I read were well-written by some talented authors, however, the genre was no longer one I could indulge in as a follower of Christ. So I had to make a decision, I was either going to follow Him or do it my way. And trust, that doing it my way didn’t result in anything good for me.

Thus, I am returning to blogging about my faith, reviewing Christian books, and classical literature. My goal is to continue to do my best and provide you with a variety of relevant content; full of substance, meaning and depth. Thank you for traveling on this journey with me.

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Ta-Ta 2016… Hello 2017!

2016… what can I say? You were like a bad marriage on steroids. Lots of downs, and not enough ups. But like any other commitment, we trudged along together through every obstacle with gritted teeth. But boy did you hit us with some doozies.

There were a lot of disappointments, shedding, and letting go of people, places, and things. Which is why, I’m not sorry to say, ta-ta, arrivederci, and good riddance!

Courtesy of Creative Commons

In 2016, I learned to surrender, obey, pray, and trust Jesus. He taught me how to stand in the midst of each relentless and incessant storm. As a result, my faith got stronger. My Comforter gave me the courage, and strength of a lioness to confront things without fear.

Through every wind and wave of adversity, He taught me not to cower or give up. I am determined to walk with Jesus every single day, every step of the way, with no turning back. Ever again.

This verse became real and personal to me,

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise up against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:17)

When others turned against me, Jesus never did. He never left me nor forsook me. He showed me His faithfulness, and showered me with His unfailing love, grace and mercy. He truly is a good, good Father, which is why I will follow Him all the days of my life. No matter what. Even if I must walk it alone.

No, I didn’t like you very much, 2016, however, I would be remiss not to thank you for every lesson, test, trial, tribulation, storm and adversity you’ve sent my way. My circumstances may not have changed, but gratefully, I have.

Happy New Year!

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Do You Feel Empty?

Are you thirsting for something more? Is there an ache in your soul? A restlessness? A sense of something missing?


I have read the Bible and there is much to be gleaned from it, but the one thing that always stands out for me is how Jesus treated women.

Like the Samaritan woman at the well, for instance. Jesus asked her for a drink of water. She responded “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus didn’t allow social customs or barriers to stop him.

What comes after astounds me. Please read it for yourself:

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4)

Jesus did not judge her. He did not criticize her. He did not throw anything in her face or use what He knew against her.

Here is another example, the woman caught in adultery.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8)

Again, Jesus did not judge or condemn her. Time and time again, I see Jesus’ unfathomable love and compassion poured out to women.

It comforts me to know, that no matter how sinful, dirty, broken and bruised we are… we can always come to Him and He won’t reject us.

If we lived in this world long enough, we are broken in some way. We have a void. We are all chasing after something, thinking that it will somehow satisfy us or fill the emptiness in our hearts. But, it never does.

I’m not religious. I believe in Jesus. I believe He died for sinful me. I believe He loves me when I don’t even know how to love myself. My faith in Him is what has gotten me through every crazy storm in my life. If it wasn’t for His grace and unconditional love, I don’t know where I would be today.

I don’t have the answers, but this I know… nothing and no one in this life will satisfy your inner longings. You can chase for an entire lifetime, thinking success, money, fame, etc… will fill the emptiness. But only God has the ability to do that.

Do you feel like you have been chasing after things because you feel like something is missing in your life?

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Everyone Deserves A Second Chance

Last week I was on vacation. We were able to get away for a few days, which was nice.

What I found interesting was that by changing my environment and routine, I was better able to connect with my creative side.

I still woke up early for writing practice and as I wrote, ideas flooded my consciousness. I realized I need to do this sort of thing on a regular basis. I need to unplug and change my environment to be able to get in touch with myself; to think, write and create.

One of the things that came to mind on my vacation was the concept of second chances.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

I believe people deserve second chances. Yes, even those who may have done atrocities.

Look at Paul in the Bible, before Jesus appeared to him, he was killing His followers.

So what makes Paul different than anyone else in God’s eyes?

Humans are the only ones who seem to put limits on God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy.

We are the harshest critics and judge of others.

Why do Christians believe they can get on their high horse and be self righteous of others they “deem” as unforgivable?

Christians forget where they came from. They get cleaned up and then they begin noticing the dirt on others. All the while oblivious to how dirty they were before God pulled them out of the mire.

Excuse me, but what right do we have to judge those who are in prison for instance?

As Christians, we shouldn’t be uttering under our breaths how they deserve everything they get or how they must of done something bad to be where they are in the first place.

We mock, we criticize and we judge. We act as if we are better, and have attained some high moral standard which allows us the right to point our fingers at others.

We read our bibles, pray, attend church and tithe, yet, we are not Christ like in the least.

We preach a good game, and mastered Christianese. However, we are so far from the heart of God and loving the outcasts of society.

We look down at and snub the homeless, the drug addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes. We look at those who are in prison like they’re lower than animals.

This grieves me. I see Christians all around me convinced they are living out the Bible. Meanwhile they can’t even control their tongues as they pour out their unrestrained and thoughtless criticism on others around them.

Their attitudes are far from what it means to love others as Christ does.

And we wonder why there are so many Christian marriages failing today.

This sums up the equation: Christians + Church = Hypocrites.

I want to assure my readers that I love Jesus. However, I don’t love religion or judgmental and religious people.

My vision of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is much greater than the limited and legalistic Christians who I see a lot of nowadays. I have no interest in mixing with them. I’ll pray for them, but I’m not playing religion. I’m also done pretending, it’s not for me. I’d rather walk this walk alone than be fake or phony.

I’m not the type to preach at people or tell people what I think they should or shouldn’t be doing. That’s not me. I will be the first to admit I have not arrived and am a work in progress. I refuse to walk around high and mighty, like I have my stuff together and have all the answers, because I don’t.

Nor will I look down my nose at anyone, not those selling their bodies, not homosexuals, not criminals, not murderers, not drug addicts or drug dealers, or alcoholics.

God loves everyone. He loves the sinner, but hates the sin. And guess what? We are all sinners, even those who have been saved by grace. We still contend with a sin nature, even after we get saved.

What I’m saying is there is no one better than the next guy. We are all the same in God’s eyes.

I know it’s a hard pill for some Christians to swallow, but it’s the truth. The reason why some have a hard time grasping this truth is because they feel the need to be superior or important.

God loves the humble and lowly.

Yes, I love Jesus, because Jesus is the only one who loves us in a way, no human is able to emulate. His love, compassion and forgiveness is all encompassing and far from our limited reach.

We want to put Jesus in a box and project what we think His love should be. All we’ve managed to accomplish is forming and following a god of our own warped understanding.

God is greater than anything we can come up with. Our vision is clouded to see Him as He truly is.

Jesus is loving and invites everyone, especially the outcasts and rejects of society.

He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Mahatma Gandhi said it best — ‘I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.’  Truer words were never spoken.

Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance?

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By The Word Of Our Testimony

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the Word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11

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What makes Jesus real to others? Is it what we say? What we do? How do the unsaved come to believe Jesus is real?

Revelation 12:11 says, it is by our testimony.

When I think about my testimony, I cringe.

Do I really want to tell others what I have done and been through?

Truth be told, I never share my testimony. I may share bits and pieces of it, here and there, but I never get around to actually telling people what God has delivered me from.

I remember when a close friend of mine who is a missionary introduced me to other missionaries. She began telling them a little bit about my testimony and I was mortified. She saw the expression on my face and pulled me aside to apologize. I told her I wasn’t comfortable sharing my story with others, whether they are Christians or not.

I am not comfortable sharing my past, which is why I don’t share my testimony.

Recently, I listened to a message where a pastor said, “God did not deliver you for yourself. He did not deliver you, so that you could live a comfortable life, sitting on your sofa, eating popcorn. He delivered you so that you can go tell others about what Jesus has done for you, so that others may believe.”

Boy, did I feel convicted.

All these years, I have been sitting on my testimony because I don’t want to be judged and criticized by others.

Yes, God has delivered me of much, but yet, I want to tuck it away somewhere, go on with my life and forget about it.

We can continue to use prescriptions and formulas to bring others to Christ. We can also act like we have it figured out and attempt to do everything with our own reasoning.

However, as you can see from the above verse, it isn’t by our logical antidotes or persuasive words that brings others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

It is by the Holy Spirit, the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony.

This is God’s prescription.

The real question is, will we continue to follow our own way or do it His way?

Do you also find it hard to share you testimony?

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Mad Faith

You’re probably wondering why am I using the word “mad” in connection to “faith”.

The word “mad” is commonly used in New York City. The urban dictionary defines “mad” as “extreme” or “a lot”.

I decided to connect the two; mad faith.

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I’ve been thinking madly about faith. What makes one have more faith than another, and that sort of thing.

It’s a mystery.

My desire has been ever increasing for my faith to be authentic.

In Christendom, I see many chasing after signs, wonders, miracles and manifestations, to the point of idolatry.

I’m not judging, but merely making an observation.

Truthfully, I used to be one of those people. I would chase after God here, there and everywhere.

I was seeking some kind of sign or experience and chasing after Him as if He couldn’t be found.

Frankly, I had it all wrong.

It sort of reminds me of Moses, when He went up to the mountain to get the Ten Commandments and left the people behind. In time, they all started making physical idols to worship instead of worshipping the God who miraculously parted the Red Sea and delivered them from the Egyptians.

What is it in us that inclines us to chase after other gods, instead of Him? Why are we restless and unsettled in our faith? Why must we chase after experiences? Why isn’t Jesus enough?

These are the questions which gnaw at me daily. I don’t have the answers. All I know is that I’ve already tried it all. I’ve traveled around the world in search of Him.

I am certain of this, it is not by signs and wonders that our faith increases, not in the least. I tell you this from personal experience. This doesn’t deepen our faith.

One thing that does though, is adversity.

My faith was strengthened, when I shook with fear, felt hopeless, thinking God wasn’t going to deliver me out of something, and He did.

To me, that’s miraculous. Not manifestations of angel feathers, gems or gold dust appearing at some gathering, where the attention turns to man and not God.

This is where the confusion begins. Everyone starts worshiping and idolizing the creation instead of the Creator. The credit for these so-called manifestations becomes attributed to man, instead of God. If something is going to take the focus or pull you away from God, you should run the other direction and don’t look back.

I’m sharing what I’ve gleaned from all of the mistakes I’ve made in my life.

I’m not claiming to be an expert or have it right. I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t have all the answers. All I know is my heart longs for the authentic. For the living God of this universe to be real and present in my life.

I don’t want my desire for signs, wonders, miracles and manifestations to take precedence over Him. He already gave and did it all by dying on the Cross for me, what more do I want?

I want to have mad faith which is undeniable and unshakeable. I want to experience more of His love and presence in my life. Not experiences, sensations, imitations or cheap substitutes. The real deal.

What about you?

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