All posts by jjlirazan

Reading Cultivates The Mind

“Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

READING IS THE BEST WAY to cultivate one’s mind. In fact, it is – specifically – a qualifying method to enhance vocabulary and grammatical proficiency; and one of the quickest ways to secure and assimilate new information.

Studies disclosed that reading extends the longevity of the mind; prevents dementia, senility or mental atrophy.

Voracious readers likened the brain to a muscle that needs exercise; to become more powerful and strong. In other words, the more we read the easier it is for us to become more analytical, productive and – most of all – creative.

Dr. Seuss revealed, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

While we spend time reading the writings of exemplary leaders, thinkers, writers and the like, we are being transformed into – or influenced by – their way of thinking.

The foregoing perception is a process of the so-called human symbiotic relationship; or, commensalism – in particular – where one is depending on the other.

If so, we may fully grasp what Ralph Waldo Emerson briefly but profoundly declared, “If we are related, we shall meet.”

Moreover, all, if not most, of the exemplary personalities are reflective and profound in their insight or perception; and they see the glass half full, than half empty.

In short, they see beauty rather than the contrary. As Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, the first person to use this phrase, complemented, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Martin Luther King, Jr., for instance, once remarked, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Mahatma Gandhi, broadly sustained, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is the ocean; if few drops to the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

It seemed imperative, then, that we befriended the foregoing exemplary personalities; and read their quality-content materials.

Charlie Jones forecasted, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Wise People Are Readers

“The wise have a solid sense of silence and the ability to keep storehouse of secrets. Their capacity and character are respected.”
~ Baltasar Gracian

Wise people read a lot; yet, consider themselves – in constant changes – as learners, rather than learned. Hence, they will inherit the earth.

Eric Hoffer aptly said, “In times of change, the learners will inherit the earth. While the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to succeed in a world that no longer exist.”

For them, there’s no better way for a continuing mental cultivation except through habitual reading; specially from leaders, thinkers and writers who walk their talk.

They have, therefore, clearer perception and see comprehensively every issue of life; and, in silence, treasure the same in their storehouse of secrets.

Scriptural advice comes with a caveat, “Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” ~ Ephesians 5:15-16

Wealthy People Are Readers

“Wealth is the slave of a wise man. The master of a fool.”
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Wealthy people have also a continuing-mental cultivation through reading; which is one of the essential reasons that brought them enormous wealth.

William Henry Gates III an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, and the richest person in the world as of Nov. 15, 2019, with a net worth of $110 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, reads 50 books per year.

Warren Buffett an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and the fourth wealthiest person in the world as of December 2019, with a net worth of US$86 billion, spends five to six hours a day, reading 5 newspapers and 500 pages of corporate reports.

Interestingly, although many wealthy people desire to accumulate their wealth, yet, some of them have been living in a calm and modest lifestyle.

Albert Einstein once remarked, “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

Pope Francis simply complemented, “Money has to serve, not to rule.”

Leaders Are Readers

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
~ Harry S. Truman

Great leaders in human history were enthusiastic as regards reading. They value every precious moment; and strive to improve as they reflect on the books they read. They draw inspiration from their model leaders to further their cause.

Some leaders who are truly readers can even integrate spiritual and secular realms; while other leaders opt to focus on the former or the latter.

Thomas Aquinas, for instance, the deeply spiritual and brilliant church leader, cautioned, “Beware of the person of one book.” Thomas Jefferson, his namesake, the great political leader, revealed, “I can not live without books.”

Moreover, they are encouraged by the continuing information from reading; which catapulted them to become more effective leaders, in their respective field of expertise.

A person, therefore, who is a habitual reader is the best leader; while passing the same paradigm to succeeding generations. As Jones Toledo magnanimously declared, “What I want for myself, I want for everybody.”

Writers Are Readers

“Reading makes a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.”
~ Sir Francis Bacon

All, if not most, great writers are habitually voracious readers. Some reached a point in their lives that they found themselves started jotting down few lines; and, eventually, developed their passion in writing.

It seems that a spark from within them enkindled into a blazing fire, which can no longer be contained; thus, prompted them to write.

In other words, readers – who become writers – have something within, which needs to be shared. An adage aptly provides, “You cannot give what you do not have.”

Vital few are destined to a higher calling; to contribute in making the world a better place to live with. Hence, great writers leave a legacy as they ascended to immortality.

Benjamin Franklin suggested, “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.”

Albert Enstein – the genius – affirmed,”There comes a point in your life when you need to stop reading other people’s book and write your own.”

Commit A Time To Read

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”
~ Mark Twain

Many people contend that – because of their busyness – they have no time to read. But – as we might noticed – people who are so busy seemed those who read more.

Most of them just started reading few pages; and, eventually, they reached a certain point when reading becomes a habit.

Spend at least 30 minutes a day, giving your full attention in reading; and focus on deliberate learning.

Victor Hugo once remarked, “To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

If so, eventually, it becomes a habitual reading; and you will read more than what you expected. It’s not too late, therefore, to start reading.

William Shakespeare encourages, “If there’s a good will, there’s great way.”

Read Quality-Content Materials

“You are what you read.”
~ Eskimo Valtaoja

Sometimes, in reading books, you may have an idea of its content through its title or cover, but not all the time. An idiom affirms, “Do not judge a book by its cover.”

Do not read any book, then, without first scanning even the table of contents. More importantly, select credible and proven authors in their field of expertise – which suitably fits your interest or passion.

Simply said, the world is offering “read-all-you-can” banquet. You need, however, to be cautious in selecting writers and reading materials, as earlier mentioned.

In summary, reading books is just like eating foods. Needless to say – basically – reading cultivates the mind, while eating nourishes the body.

Finally, reflecting is an important part of learning. You may keep a journal and write your reflections on what you’ve read; while having your dictionary too.

Edmund Burke reminds, “To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”

The Unseen Hand Of God

 “I am a little pencil in God’s hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more .”

~ Mother Teresa

“Does it ever bring you joy to see the fruits of your endeavors?” The Master replied, “How much joy does it give a tool to see what the hand has done?”

~ Anthony de Mello, S. J. (Awakening, Conversation with the Master)

THE ABOVE-QUOTED LINES unveiled the so-called spiritual inertia of two devout persons namely, Mother Teresa and Anthony de Mello as the implied unknown Master?

Interestingly, their exemplary thoughts revealed the depth of their spirituality – through modest expression or declaration.

In other words, they proclaim that the hand of God has done great and mighty things to humanity; by using them, simple as they are.

No wonder that – because of their total submission – God catapulted them for a higher purpose; yet, they attributed the glory to God, rather than taking the credit.

We can learn essential lessons from two paragons of humility and selflessness; as they consider themselves mere instruments (pencil and tool) in the hand of God.

Many people, however, are insensitive to the workings of the hand of God in their lives. In fact, most are even blind to the astounding beauty that surrounds them every day. As Confucius, aptly remarked, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. “

Sad to say, man thinks that success is his own making; and would – knowingly or unknowingly – merit himself to be called a self–made man?

The truth is, as the Scripture says, “We are God’s masterpiece.” (In – progress)  ~ Ephesians 2:10 (NLT).

And, definitely, all good things come to us not as a matter of luck or coincidence, but because of the “unseen” hand of God; orchestrating things behind the scenes – in our favor.

Man Proposes But God Disposes

An essential line written by – a German-born spiritual master – Thomas Kempis says:

“The resolution of good men depends more on the grace of God than on their own wisdom, and they put their whole trust in Him in all their undertakings. Man proposes but God disposes, and man’s destiny is not in his own hands.” (The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, Chapter 19).

Because of the deep spirituality of the author, the foregoing remarkable insight seemed an offspring of his reflection from some related Scriptural passages herein–below:

1. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  ~ Proverbs 16:9

2. “Many plans are in a person’s mind, but the Lord’s purpose will succeed.” ~ Proverbs 19:21

3. “A horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.”  ~ Proverbs 21:31

4. “I know, O Lord that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.”  ~ Jeremiah 10:23

5. “Jesus looked at them and said, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~ Matthew 19:26

6. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:5

7. “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”  ~ John 14:12

Interestingly, William Shakespeare – conformably – said, ” There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.”
Pride Hinders the Hand of God

The origin of pride was brought about by the rebellion – against God – of a dragon or serpent (also called the devil or Satan), who was thrown from heaven into the earth.

Let us review and ponder on the Scriptural highlight of the story (Revelations 12:7–9):

“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”

Dethroned from heaven, the devil – together with his rebel troops – seduced humankind through deception, which is his usual tactic; so that people will also disobey God, as they did.

 The fall of Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve were the first people deceived by the devil.  Let us review and ponder on the short story (Genesis 3:1 ~ 13, KJV,Public Domain):

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.  5“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”10He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”12The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The devil’s usual deception to humanity – of no longer needing God – was disclosed. But, sad to say, many people are still unaware and succumb to this snare or trap; eventually, they became victims of pride.

The Tower Of Babel

At–a–glance, we may also recall that – during ancient times – Babylon was one of the richest cities in the world. But when pride came, as they haughtily built the tower of Babel to reach heaven so that they could be known, God scattered them over all the earth.

Let us review and ponder on the highlight of the story (Genesis 11:4 – 9):

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel – because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

The Scripture seriously reminds, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” ~ Proverbs 16:18

Have A Grateful Attitude

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.”

~ Meister Eckhart

An implication of a grateful attitude is simply to acknowledge God, as the primary Source of all goodness; channeling the same through various resources such as, people, things, circumstances and the like.

Please be reminded that God has brought us this far – of better living; and to where we are going. We should, therefore, recognize the goodness of God; and give Him the glory, instead of taking the same.

Man was not created to contain the glory that belongs to God. If we take it, He may let us control our lives. But if we give the glory to God, He will – surely – increase our blessing.

G. K. Chesterton once remarked, “Gratitude is the mother of all the virtues.” Marcus Tullius Cicero complemented, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

The Scripture sustained, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5 – 6

May the “unseen” hand of God also use us to be simple instruments; as we constantly ponder on the ever-influencing prayer of the renowned Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; honor one another above yourselves.”
~ Romans 12:10

“I love you, my brother, whoever you are – whether you worship in a church, kneel in your temple, or pray in your mosque.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

ACCORDING TO THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF CREATION, all people descended from common parents – Adam and Eve – to whom Cain and Abel were respectively born first.

Perhaps, one of the most thought–provoking conversations between God and man – in the Scripture – is when Cain counter questioned his Creator, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

To understand better, and learn few but essential lessons, let us read the whole story.
Genesis 4:1–9 (KJV,Public Domain).
1And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. 8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

The first lesson to reflect upon : “Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.” (Genesis 4:3). Other Scriptural versions specified, “Cain brought ‘some’ of the fruits…” In other words, Cain offered to God “not the best” fruits of his harvest.

Sadly, on Cain and his offering God had no respect or did not look with favor; because, in God’s standard, what he did was not right. Hence, he was not accepted. (Genesis 4:5,7)

On the other hand, God had respect or looked with favor on Abel and his offerings; for he distinctively brought “fat portions” from the “firstborn” of his flock. (Genesis 4:4). In the same way, God will reciprocate us with best and surprising returns – if we offer to Him our best.

The Scripture further supplemented,“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

Social Responsibility:

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

Another lesson to reflect upon in the foregoing story is that anger, envy, insecurity and the like are emotional baggage; that will have repercussions to the person holding the same.

The aforesaid Scriptural verse evidently provides, “Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Genesis 4:8)

Moreover, an all-knowing God can foretell that Cain would kill his brother Abel; yet, beforehand, God entrusted to him Abel – as his brother’s keeper?

The aforesaid Scriptural verse finally provides, “And the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4:9)

It seems to imply that despite of our inadequacies – somehow – we are entrusted by God to be brother’s keeper too; in response to our social responsibility.

In this Internet era, however, we are challenged for global tasks; whoever and wherever our brothers and sisters would be; since in essence we belong to one and the same Creator.

An unknown thought leader complemented, “Globalization should make us brothers, rather than strangers.”

Moment Of Enlightenment:

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.”
~ Lao Tzu

A Rabbi gathered together his students and asked them:

“How do we know the exact moment when night ends and day begins?”
“When it’s light enough to tell a sheep from a dog,” said one boy.
Another student said: “No, when it’s light enough to tell an olive tree from a fig tree.”
“No, that’s not a good definition either.”
“Well, what’s the right answer?”asked the boys.

And the Rabbi said: “When a stranger approaches, and we think he is our brother, and all conflicts disappear, that is the exact moment when night ends and day begins.”

The Parable Of The Talents:

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” ~ Luke12:48

To utilize our God-given talents, in response to social responsibility, let us try to review a digested, relevant and self-explanatory Scriptural story, The Parable of the Talents.

According to the Scripture, in Matthew 25:14 ~ 29, a rich master entrusted to his servants – five talents, two talents and one talent, according to their abilities.

As we all knew, the one who received five talents put his money to work and gained five more. Also, the one with two talents gained two more. But the one who had received one talent dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

In the end of the story, the Master – in a seemingly paradoxical caveat – strongly declared, ‘‘For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (Matthew 25:29)

An Invitation To Change The World:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone into the waters to create many ripples.” ~ Mother Teresa

Anyone, then, who is willing to be an active participant – rather than a mere spectator – seemed invited by God to change the world for the better; as He bestowed each one with an appropriate time, talent and/or treasure.

The Scripture provides, “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.” (1 Peter 4:10).

Further, “There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service.” – (1 Corinthians 12:6)

In performing our tasks, however, we must be cautious not to be infected of the so–called holier-than-thou attitude, self-righteous mentality or messianic complex.

Let us learn from – the renowned immortal – Ralph Waldo Emerson who humbly declared, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”

Sustained further by – the deeply spiritual – Thomas Kempis with a seemingly stern complement, “Remember that you have not made any progress in life, unless you consider yourself inferior to all.” (The Imitation of Christ – Book 2, Chapter 2)

Be A Watchman!

“For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.”
~ Isaiah 21:6 (KJV)

In the Old Testament, God seemed more strict or demanding; specially with those whom He entrusted with greater social responsibility.

For instance, He had a strong demand to – one of His prophets – Ezekiel, “You must warn them so they may live. If you don’t speak out to warn the wicked to stop their evil ways, they will die in their sin. But I will hold you responsible for their death. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.” – (Ezekiel 3:18-19)

The same demand urged one to be a watchman who humanely condemns the sin but not the sinner; “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Thomas Kempis further reminds, “We are all frail; consider none more frail than yourself.” (The Imitation Of Christ, Book One, Chapter 2, last line).

In modern times, however, everyone seems self-sufficient. In fact, some may have a primary concern of a continuing soul-searching and spiritual deepening by seeking God; rather than seeking a brother, and be his keeper?

An unknown devout leader aptly shared an insight, “I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three.”

Wounded Healers!

“The main question is not, how can we hide our wounds…but how can we put our woundedness in service to others.” ~ Henri Nouwen

As God’s masterpieces-in-progress, we may also consider ourselves as wounded healers; humbly recognizing our woundedness, yet willing to reach out to our wounded brothers too.

Or, better yet, despite of our woundedness, God – through us – would like to extend His healing touch to all mankind; in their respective woundedness.

If so, we no longer ignore the so-called “sin of omission;” by not doing the good that ought to be done. While also aware of avoiding the “sin of commission;” by doing what is bad.

In conclusion, to preserve our peace – and yield to divine stimulation, rather than act on self assertion – we may join the devout Francis of Assisi in a prayer of absolute submission:

“God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Holistic Financial Concept

“It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.”
~ Margaret Thatcher

“There are two ways to get enough : One is to continue to accumulate more and more.
The other is to desire less.”
~ G.K. Chesterton

DUE TO INSUFFICIENT KNOWLEDGE, on seemingly complex or fragmentary financial concepts, many people are in a quandary or confused in the so-called financial journey to stability.

In spiritual realm, even some religious devotees have a false concept on financial matters. They believed that living in a temporary world, one ought not be wealthy for man’s permanent destiny is eternity anyway; more so, contradictory to being Godly?

Generally speaking, many would rather – consciously or unconsciously – want to remain poor; comfortably thinking – without valid reason – that to be poor is part of God’s plan.

Conversely, the deeply spiritual and brilliant Pope John Paul II openly declared, “Do not think that God wants you to be poor. God does not want you to be poor.” George Bernard Shaw supplemented, “Beware of false knowledge. It is more dangerous than ignorance.”

In secular realm, on the contrary, most people are quite immersed in accumulating wealth. However, unaware of – or ignoring? – purposeful or ennobled living, some are eventually trapped in the sphere of mere physical existence.

The foregoing financial perplexities can be resolved through a harmonious holistic approach. As Augustine of Hippo, theologian and philosopher, aptly said, “Pray as if everything depends on God. But work as if everything depends on you.”

You Can Be Rich And Holy:

Anthony de Mello, S.J., author of the book entitled: One Minute Wisdom, told a short but – seemingly paradoxical – exemplary story:

It intrigued the disciples that the Master who lived so simply would not condemn his wealthy followers.
“It is rare but not impossible for someone to be rich and holy”, the Master said one day.
“How?”
“When money has the effect on his heart that the shadow of that bamboo has on the courtyard.”
The disciples turned to watch the bamboo’s shadow sweeps the courtyard without stirring a single particle dust.

Have A Solid Spiritual Foundation:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Please be reminded that to live in prosperity is an innate right – instituted by God – you should be aware of; for your sublime destiny is at stake.

In retrospect, at-a-glance, when Adam and Eve were created, they cannot be found wanting. Conversely, God bestowed upon them the so-called “divine provision.”

The Scripture provides, Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food”. ~ Genesis 1: 29 (NIV)

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”~ Genesis 2:16 – 17 (NIV)

Moreover, man was – especially – created to partake in the glory and honor of his Creator. As the Psalmist aptly proclaimed, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” ~Psalms 8:4-5 (NIV)

Unfortunately, however, because of disobedience – by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – the umbilical cord of the aforesaid divine provision was cut off.

Henceforth, mankind need to do everything – by themselves, sometimes in painful toil – in order to live; as a substitute for the rescinded divine provision and freedom, once bestowed upon them by God.

But because of God’s “unconditional” love, He deliberately created plan B – to restore lives; as replacement for the destroyed plan A; so that mankind could again live life to the fullest.

The Scripture provides, “I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest ~ John 10:10 (CEB)

Mankind, therefore, must – above all – recognize God in the restorative process, as one of the pillars to build a solid spiritual foundation; towards the realization of a prosperous living.

The Scripture clearly reminds, “But remember the LORD your GOD, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” ~ Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV)

Explore Financial Literacy Cautiously:

“We are not taught financial literacy in school. It takes a lot of work and time to change your thinking and to become financially literate.”
~ Robert Kiyosaki

To learn the fundamentals of financial literacy is just the beginning in exploring the intricacies of a financial system.

Most proficients on finance disclosed that only “vital few” – of the world’s population – are “financially literates.” Conversely, sad to say, “trivial many” are “financially illiterates.”

Surprisingly, financially illiterates include even those with formal educational attainment, excellent in the academe, career executives, intellectuals, spiritual persons, and the like.

It seems imperative, therefore, that financial literacy should be explored cautiously; to equip a person in the aforesaid process towards financial stability.

5 Basic Sources Of Income:

  1. Employment – income source from government or private companies; including employed lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, etc.
  2. Self-Employment – income source from small businesses, who are their own boss; specialists and private practitioners who offer their time, skills, talents and services; including also self-employed lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, etc.
  3. Business – income source from big businesses. Employers own a system and people work for them; to plan, manage, direct and control the whole operation, and the like.
  4. Investment – income source from (1) Paper assets, such as: stock market, mutual funds, treasury and corporate bonds, etc.; (2) Real properties, such as: lands, commercial buildings, condominiums or apartments for rent, etc.
  5. Royalty – income source from creation and sale of intellectual properties, such as: books, musical compositions, patents, internet contents, etc.

Further, a person has to study and apply the various conceptual financial components, such as: frugality or living below your means, delaying of gratifications, necessary and unnecessary expenses, paying your debts faster, etc; and moral or ethical values, such as : discipline, honesty, gratitude, extra- mile mentality, and the like.

Henry David Thoreau, briefly but deeply said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”

2 Kinds Of Income:

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

  1. Active Income (man works for money, working hard, manual money machine).

“Employment” and “Self-employment,” belong to this category. One of its advantages is that, you do not need any capital to start with; only your education, skill, talent, experience, time, etc. – to render your services. In return, you will earn money; the reason why most people rely on Active Income from the start of their working lives.

The obvious disadvantage, however, is that : the moment you stop working, you stop earning money too. Hence, you may create additional source/s of active income to attain your financial goal, sooner than later.

2. Passive Income (money works for man, working smart, automatic money machine).

“Big Business,” “Investment,” and “Royalty” belong to this category. It requires initial money to invest with; and, likewise, education, skill, talent, experience, time, etc.

But once you have the profound financial knowledge and experience, you will earn continuing income/s with lesser efforts; yet your “net worth” continues to grow.

In fact, most financial experts consider Passive Income as the holy grail or key towards financial freedom.

As you explore, therefore, and become familiar with the details of financial literacy, the same will be embedded into your mind; and become an integral part of a mental framework.

If so, there will be a gradual manifestation of a financial paradigm shift from : Active Income (working hard) to Passive Income (working smart). Otherwise, a combination of both.

Apparently, in conclusion, holistic financial concept – first and foremost – is a mind-over-matter issue. More so, continuing study and strict application of its various valuable details may ultimately lead an individual towards – absolute – freedom.

As the renowned Albert Einstein profoundly remarked, “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

The Scripture briefly but precisely affirmed, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters.” ~ Galatians 5:13 (NLT)

Health Is Wealth

“The first wealth is health.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The greatest wealth is health.”
~ Publius Vergilius Maro (Virgil)

ACCORDING TO SOME STUDIES, genes are responsible for only 10 percent of diseases. The remaining 90 percent are nutrition related.

In other words, the genes in our cells maybe influenced by nutrients – released from foods – leading to changes in the way the genes function. In short, nutrition may alter genes.

Thomas Edison once remarked, “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

Harmoniously, emerging science also shows that health can be rapidly altered – for better or for worse – based on diet or eating habits.

Diet, then, seems to be the easiest, fastest and most effective way to improve and optimize health. Chinese proverb augmented, “He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors.”

In retrospect, during primeval or agricultural era, people eat natural traditional foods, due to the absence of complex modern technologies.

The foregoing brief insight may imply that ancient people were physically strong, vigorously fit and healthy; and seem to enjoy longer life spans?

Conversely, in modern digital era, nutrition and health experts continue to explore or discover alternative foods – as remedies – to sustain peoples’ health and live longer.

Some alternative processed foods, however, may result to harmful manifestations in the human body, due to artificial components, such as: preservatives, chemicals, and the like.

Eating, then, of processed foods, whenever possible, must be restricted; if not – on rare circumstances – minimized; except, naturally or organically processed ones.

The good news is – in raising our level of awareness – we have a great degree of control over our health destiny, to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

If so, we may – gradually – live life to the fullest and live longer; while – purposefully –serving our fellow human beings; by using our God-given time, talent and/or treasure.

Mahatma Gandhi, known for Indian independence and non-violent resistance, is then correct when he said, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”


Natural Or Healthy Option:

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.”
~ Paul Prudhomme

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
– Hippocrates

Many experts on health and nutrition advice that – if possible – the major part of our diet should be fishes, fruits and vegetables.

Fishes, are excellent sources of protein, a nutrient primarily needed by the human body; for growth and maintenance of tissues, and other health benefits.

Moreover, some are rich in natural fish oil or omega 3, and other minerals most beneficial to health; but, usually, low in fat.

Nature-fed fishes, taken from ocean, rivers or lakes are good sources of supply. Conversely, artificial-fed fishes should be restricted or, at least, minimized; except those natural or organic-cultured ones.

Incidentally, in ancient times, some seafoods or crustaceans were categorized as unclean, such as: crabs, lobsters, shrimps and various of shells, among others.

Crustaceans and shells are considered scavengers, garbage collectors or vacuum cleaners of the sea.

Interestingly, modern science also found out that many of these aforesaid seafoods or crustaceans have higher toxicities; which, apparently, are harmful to health.

While fishes, as mentioned earlier, should be one of the major parts of diet, meat is also one of the primary sources of complete protein; and, likewise, other healthy benefits too.

We may, then, opt to eat meat of nature or grass-fed land creatures, such as : beef, lamb, goat, free-ranged chicken, turkey, ducks, just to mention a few.

The foregoing land creatures, however, should be consumed in moderation, to prevent adverse health effects. As Desiderius Erasmus seriously reminds, “Prevention is better than cure.”

Needless to say, “fresh fruits” must preferred to be consumed, than preserved ones. Also, those harvested on soil, such as : “organic or natural-grown vegetables” and “root crops” are healthy to eat too.

Please be reminded, however, that human beings were created not only to eat and just exist; but, rather, for a purposeful living – that each one should discover. As Socrates, briefly but aptly advices, “Eat to live, not live to eat.”

Foods Affect Mind And Emotion:

“Man is what he eats.”
~ Ludwig Andreas Von Feuerbach

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are”.
~ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Apparently, if we eat healthy foods, we – precisely – become healthy. Conversely, if we eat unhealthy foods, we become unhealthy. It’s just a simple matter of law of cause and effect; or, the so-called law of the farm: “What we sow, we reap.”

Some studies also disclosed that the foods we eat, become part – not only of the outer fabric of our body but – of our mental and emotional wellness as well.

The book entitled: Your Miracle Brain, Jean Carper, author and leading authority on health and nutrition, reveals the nutritional secrets that can unlock the brain’s full intellectual and emotional potential.

Interestingly, according to the aforesaid author, our brain is a growing, changing organ; and we can greatly improve the very structure, wiring, and functioning of our brain cells by eating right foods.

As highlights, “fish eaters,” for instance, “stay smarter longer;” and, “eating of fruits and vegetables will save our brain.” These are just few specific healthy brain benefits of eating fishes, fruits and vegetables.

Moreover, some research and studies also found out that rates of depression, seasonal affective disorder, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are on the rise; especially among non-isolated populations. Suicide rates have also increased over the past several decades.

Some health and nutrition experts, then, opined that : “The decline in mental and emotional wellness, may be the result of – or connected with – the disappearance of natural traditional healthy diet.”

To reiterate, generally, most nature-fed land and water creatures – intended for man’s consumption – are healthy to eat; except, some that were specifically mentioned earlier, namely: crustaceans and various shells, and the like.

Conversely, foods that are artificially processed would create unhealthy effects; except, naturally or organically-processed ones.

On a serious note, whenever artificially-processed foods are consumed, harmful artificial chemicals and additives are transferred into human bodies; resulting to its early deterioration; including mind and emotion.

We should, therefore, continue to discover natural foods that would benefit not only our bodies, but also our mental and emotional wellness. As William Shakespeare profoundly complemented, “Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.


Health Has Spiritual Linkage Too:

“Diseases of the soul are more dangerous and more numerous than those of the body.”
~ Cicero

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.”
~ Mother Teresa

Let’s try to dig deeper.

The book entitled: Awaken The Healer In You, Bo Sanchez, the author, writes:
“85 percent of man’s diseases are caused of emotional roots and spiritual problems; while only 15 percent come from a lack of nutrition, a lack of sleep, a lack of oxygen, a lack of sunlight and a lack of exercise.”

Sad to say, on the one hand, in the Old Testament, it seems that “poverty and sickness are repercussions or effects of sin.” In other words, if a person commits a sin or disobey God, poverty and/or sickness would – definitely – be the consequences. As the Scripture provides in Genesis 3:17-19 and Deuteronomy 28:15-22.

Moreover, if sin is committed directly against God, then gravity would seem so heavy; that the effect of punishment is extended up to the third and fourth generation.

The scripture explicitly provides, “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” ~ Exodus 20:5 (NIV)

Interestingly, on the other hand, in the New Testament, the Restorer and Savior, recognized by Christians, is full of mercy and compassion; depending on the intensity of faith in Him.

At-a-glance, the scripture evidently disclosed a relevant beautiful story as regards “health restoration, through an expectant faith of a believer:”

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about JESUS, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. ~ Mark 5:25-29 (NIV)

If a person, then, is stricken by a disease – specially a severe kind – aside from medical remedies, it seemed a prompting for an introspection or a thorough self-examination. As Socrates strongly reminds, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Truly, therefore, health is wealth. More so, if the wholeness of man – body, mind, and spirit – is continuously nourished. As Plato aptly and profoundly put it, “The part can never be well unless the whole is well.”

Gear Up For Civilization

“Civilization began the first time an angry person cast a word instead of a rock.”
~ Sigmund Freud

“In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight. He who has known its satisfaction is provided with a resource against calamity.”
~ Mark Twain

CONTINUING EDUCATION, which is one of the components towards civilization, is misconstrued – by many people – that pertains only to “formal” studies or schoolings.

Conversely, many of renowned great leaders and deep thinkers were not degree holders. In fact, some did not even reach higher formal educational attainment, yet really belonged to the so-called civilized society.

Interestingly, Benjamin Franklin, for instance, despite of his low formal education, explored practicable ways – of educating himself – that elevated him towards civility.

Early on, Josiah, his father, wanted Benjamin to attend school with the clergy; to consider church as a career. He attended Boston Latin School but did not graduate, due to deficient financial support. His schooling, then, ended when he was ten years old; yet continued his self-education through “voracious” reading.

He worked for his father for a time; and at the of age 12, became an apprentice to his brother James, a printer, who taught Him the printing trade. When Benjamin was 15, James founded The New-England Courant, which was the first truly independent newspaper in the colonies.

When Benjamin was denied the chance to write a letter to the paper for publication, he adopted the pseudonym of “Silence Dogood”, a middle-aged widow. Mrs. Dogood’s letters were published, and became a subject of conversation around town.

Moreover, Benjamin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing this and Poor Richard’s Almanack, which he authored under another pseudonym – “Richard Saunders”.

He, eventually, became a multifaceted person, namely : a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. And, amazingly, became the 6th President of Pennsylvania. No wonder, he can be easily remembered through – the highest U.S. dollar currency denomination – a $100 bill.

The foregoing exceptional life story of Franklin – from humble beginnings towards civility – serves as an inspiration and invitation for everyone to “gear up for civilization.”

Benjamin Franklin, therefore, is truly correct as he once remarked, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

Integration Of Creation And Evolution Theories?

“We are born princes, and the civilizing process makes us frogs.”
~ Publilius Syrus

It is of great advantage, in gearing up for civilization, if we can study even basic knowledge as regards the history of first human beings; created in the image of God.

The Scripture provides, “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” ~ Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

Interestingly, the Catholic Church recently seems to recognize “evolution” in harmony with “creation;” which, for so many years, have been a controversial debate.

Pope Francis has openly declared: “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life… Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

Incidentally, Gregor Johann Mendel, a scientist, Augustinian friar and abbot, discovered the rules of genetic evolutionary inheritance; and gained posthumous recognition, as the founder of the modern science of genetics.

Be Aware Of Your Genealogy And Environment!

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”
~ Albert Camus

Apparently, “genealogy” and “environment” are fundamental and influencing factors in molding or developing one’s personality or a person’s total being.

Genealogy, speaks of a person’s “nature” – inherited through “genes.” Environment is about a person’s “nurture” – acquired through “upbringings.”

In other words, on the one hand, one’s personality is inherited from – or genetically influenced by – bloodlines. Thus, we need to study our own “biological” anthropology.

On the other hand, personality could be greatly influenced by environment, such as: human interactions, formal and informal studies, and the like; which may result to the so-called symbiosis or mutualism.

Hence, we also have to study – and be cautious of – “sociocultural” anthropology; vastly comprised of domestic life, economy, law, politics, religion – just to mention a few ; and various ways in which culture affects individual experience.

Simply said, one’s personality is a product of minimal “genetic influences,” coupled with – and largely determined by – complexed “upbringings.”

We should, then, continue to search, explore and enhance or modify appropriate recourses – forthwith – to develop our total being – to gear up for civilization.

Be Courteous But Objective

“Civilization is the making of civil persons.”
~ John Ruskin

Sometimes, it seems easy to conform with beliefs or ideas of others; whether or not, the same have appropriate bases to stand on. Conversely, John F. Kennedy has a beautiful reminder, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”

As we mature – in age and wisdom – we would like also to share our ideas. But, if seemed dissenting from others, we are reluctant to express it; and opting to be silent.

If so, we neglect our social duty as brothers’ keeper. And we may, eventually, stagnate or suffer the so-called mental atrophy – by not utilizing our minds.

Humbly, of course, we are bound to concur with credible ideas of others; while freeing our thoughts from unreasonable and baseless ones.

In other words, we have to be courteous but objective – than subjective – in sharing our ideas regardless of race, status, culture, gender, and the like.

George Washington, in a strict sense, aptly advices, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”

Setting Man Free From Men

“Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the law of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”
~ Ayn Rand

Whenever possible, we should interact with people of similar paradigm with us. Or, better yet, with those of noble or lofty ideas – who served as paragons of civilization; than opting to compromise with mediocre ones, just to please them.

Anthony de Mello, S. J., told a brief story – to reflect upon – of a Master who was once asked, “Isn’t there such a thing social liberation?” “Of course there is,” said the Master. “How would you describe it?” “Liberation from the need to belong to the herd.”

We should, therefore, give space to ourselves and be determined on a continuous learning and growing heading towards the apex of civilization.

As an unknown thinker briefly reminds, “The moment you stop learning and growing, you start dying.”

Anne Lamott, on a profound insight, concurred, “If we stay where we are, where we’re stuck, where we’re comfortable and safe, we die there… When nothing new can get in, that’s death. When oxygen can’t find a way in, you die.”

The Apex Of Civilization

“Civilization depends on morality.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Interestingly, in the book entitled :The Philosophy Of Civilization, the author Albert Schweitzer, theologian, physician, humanitarian, philosopher, writer, and 1952 nobel peace prize winner for his philosophy of Reverence for Life, profoundly explained:

“By itself, the affirmation of life can produce a partial and imperfect civilization. Only if it turns inward and ethical can the will to progress attain the ability to distinguish the valuable from the worthless.

We must, therefore, strive for a civilization that is not based on the accretion of science and power alone, but which cares most of all for the ‘spiritual’ and ‘ethical’ development of the individual and humankind.”

Further, he said, “The disastrous feature of our civilization is that it is far more developed materially than spiritually. Its balance is disturbed.”

Albert Schweitzer, therefore, reminds, “Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.” Ralph Waldo Emerson concurred, “Sunday is the core of our civilization, dedicated to thought and reverence.”

No Man Is Nobler Than His Fellows

“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.”
~ Franklin D Roosevelt

Further, Schweitzer, commended the magnanimous thought of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, who seems to moderate and equalize human beings, as he once declared:

“No man is nobler than his fellows, even if it happens that his spiritual nature is better constituted and he is more capable of higher learning. The world is the one mother of us all, and the ultimate origin of each one of us can be traced back to her, whether the steps in the ladder of descent be noble or humble.

To no one is virtue forbidden; she is accessible to all; she admits everyone, she invites everyone in: free men and freedmen, slaves, kings and exiles. She regards neither birth nor fortune; the man alone is all she wants…

This, in fact, is the demand which is laid upon each man, namely that he works, when possible, for the welfare of many; if that is impracticable, that he works for the welfare of a few; failing that, for the welfare of his neighbors, and if that is impossible, for his own.”

The renowned Francis of Assisi simply but aptly inspires, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

A Truly Loving God

“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.”
~ C.S. Lewis

“He causes His sun to rise on evil and good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
~ Matthew 5:45

“How much less to Him who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands.”
~ Job 34:19

IT’S JUST NORMAL that many, if not most, people have a hard time understanding that God can truly love – imperfect, unworthy or sinful – human beings.

They think that God will only love those – selected few ones – who are good and do great things for Him. Their mindset, then, is to do something good and great things for God; expecting that – in return – the latter will love them even more.

Conversely, in its truest sense, God’s love for all people is unconditional and constant.

The Scripture provides, “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” – Psalm 86:15

In a word, God truly loves humanity – righteous and sinners alike.

In fact, God seems to love sinners more than the righteous. The Scripture sustained, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” ~ Luke 5:32.

Interestingly, Meister Eckhart, German theologian, philosopher and mystic seems to prove how magnanimous and truly loving God is – as he once remarked, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

Moreover, there are many relevant stories in the Scripture that proved an exceptional nature of a truly loving God.

In the Old Testament, for instance, at-a-glance, the Book of Hosea had exemplified the ever-unique love story of Hosea, a prophet of God, and Gomer, his unfaithful wife.

Despite of the latter’s continuing infidelity to her husband, the former still continue to – truly – love his wife.

God, eventually, revealed to prophet Hosea that – similarly – despite of the unfaithfulness of humanity, still, He unconditionally and constantly love them.

In the New Testament, the Scripture has concretely proven – to Christians, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Purification Process:

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
~ Proverbs 3:11-12

Despite of the foregoing Scriptural affirmations, of a truly loving God, many would still contend why, then, God allowed bad things happen to good people?

The foregoing contention, especially for those who have been encountering adversities of life, is understandable and considerable.

Please be reminded, however, that it is – sometimes – a special way how God would discipline those He truly loves; as a father would do to the son whom he delights in.

In other words, God seems to bring out the best in you and me. Or, better yet, to gradually restore His original image in us; as destroyed by the disobedience of – our first parents – Adam and Eve.

On a serious note, everyone would seem a “masterpiece–in–progress” of a truly loving God. Whatever experiences – good and bad – then, we should undergo, would seem the way God wanted it to be; but always for our own betterment.

As the Scripture aptly said, “All things (good and bad) work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

Whenever gold is purified by fire, its originality or newness is being restored.

Similarly, the moment a person is purified – by fiery testings of faith – through sufferings, tribulations, trials and the like – he will be, eventually, restored to the original image of God, his Creator.

The Scripture provides, “So God created man in His own image, the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”~ Genesis 1:27

Needless to say, the aforesaid purification process is painful. A person may, in particular, experience being abandoned, rejected, ridiculed, alone, or isolated – just to mention a few.

For so long, however, that man will not succumb or surrender to trials and challenges of life, he will attain its gradual restoration of himself towards aforesaid original image of God; and will experience the freedom to enjoy life with his Creator.

Whenever we encounter, then, seemingly adverse experiences or sufferings, we should not lose hope; but, rather, visualize that something good is going to happen. And the glory that will be revealed in us – sooner than later –is incomparable.

As Paul aptly put it, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” ~ Romans 8:18.

A Hopeful Future!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11.

If we consider the foregoing affirmative insights, it would seem to imply that we should always look beyond our sufferings – which is a hopeful future!

Also, if we put our fate unto the hand of a truly loving God, it must be coupled with a continuing gratefulness. The Scripture reminds us, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.” ~ 1 Chronicles 16:34.

In fact, God revealed a tremendous expression of His love to each one of us. The Scripture again provides, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. ~ Isaiah 49:15-16

Perhaps God has been expressing His unconditional love for us so that we – too – may reciprocate to His love. And, likewise, extend the same to our fellowmen; which seems to remind us that our love is only dependent upon Him. As the Scripture sustained, “We love because God first loved us.” ~ I John 4:19.

Moreover, the fact that our Creator is a truly loving God, there’s no doubt that His plan for us is always for our best. Many people, however, cannot see how He – sometimes silently – operates in their lives. As Confucius once remarked, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Conversely, the truth is, there would seem a miracle always – for those who believe – even in the midst of aforesaid adversities. As Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Harmoniously, the book entitled : Man’s Search For Meaning, the author – Victor Frankl, a neurologist and psychiatrist, revealed an inspiring true story how he and some prisoners of war – in concentration camps – surpassed enormous adversities or sufferings, by summoning up thoughts of “a hopeful future!”

He was imprisoned at war camp in 1942 at age 37, liberated at age 40. He, eventually, write books, give lectures and help many people to search for meaning of their lives – while, at the same time, living a meaningful life – and died at age 92.

Victor Frankl is known for his self–invented theory called: Logotheraphy, which is less retrospective and less introspective but rather focuses on “a hopeful future;” and always strive to find meaning in one’s life – which is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force of human beings.

As Friedrich Nietzsche succinctly remarked, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

Even Death Is A Blessing From God:

“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.”
~ Socrates

Human creature cannot – by any stretch of the imagination – enter eternity in any other ways except through death as its door; to happily join the Creator forever. This time, no more tears, trials, hardships, sufferings, sicknesses and the like.

To enable us to understand profoundly as regards the aforesaid exceptional nature of a truly loving God, let us recall, at-a-glance,  the so-called “salvation history:”

As we all knew, when Adam and Eve – our first parents – obeyed God’s command, they can not be found wanting of anything in their lives.

In other words, they were “free” to eat all fruits from any tree, except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The Scripture provides, “And the Lord God commanded the man,You are ‘free’ to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” ~ Genesis 2:16

However, when they disobeyed God, repercussions followed. They were driven out of the garden of Eden; and, at this juncture – for them to live – they have to toil or labor.

Many people opined that when they were driven out of the aforesaid garden of Eden – to toil, suffer hardships and, ultimately, die – is a curse from God.

Conversely, if we try to reflect deeply, we will understand that death is – still – part of God’s plan for human beings. Or, better yet, even death is a blessing from God.

To sustain the foregoing insight, what do you think will happen if God did not allow human beings to die, after committing sin of disobedience?; and, as a consequence, continue to suffer hunger, hardships, illnesses and the like; even retaliation or rebellion from some animals – who became wild and untamed – after our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God.

Is it correct to say, that all human beings may experience the so-called “life–lasting sufferings” here on earth; for a simple reason that God’s “plan A” (man’s freedom to enjoy fullness of life on earth) was destroyed.

A truly loving God, therefore, has to create “plan B.” This time, however, mortals need to die in order to save them from the aforesaid life–lasting sufferings, then ascend to eternity (immortality); and, finally, enjoy eternal life at the bosom of the Creator.

In other words, death is only a door God has chosen, so that human beings can colonize heaven – their ultimate destination. If so, believers of a truly loving God shall triumphantly live with Him – in eternity – forever and ever!