Monday, April 23, 2012

Does love conquer all?

Wow!  So it's definitely been a LONG TIME since I've last posted... and God surely has been doing A LOT in my life since my last post, which is probably why it's been SO LONG.

Interesting enough, I had a friend ask this question on FB today, and my response just felt "Holy Spirit driven" as frequently used among those who follow Christ.  My answer even convicted my own heart so I felt the need to go ahead and share it with ALL OF YOU!

Question:  Does love really conquer all?

My very limited response:

Yes, if you understand who TRULY encompasses REAL LOVE... in that He stands ALONE, He; is Jesus Christ. That's my response. Love on our own strength and interpretation, NO, it/ we can not conquer all because we've seen our imperfect understandings, definitions, and ridiculously selfish attempts of love fail many times, but we've seen only ONE example, ONE TRUTH of LOVE NEVER FAIL... God's love for us (imperfect people) and that's found in HIS WORD!

I encourage you to read in the Bible; 1 John 4:7-21 (NLT is a good, straight forward version) 2nd part of verse 8 is kind of straight forward.

So yes... LOVE does conquer all because "...God is love." v.8 We are not love, nor are we able to accurately portray love so no we can not conquer ALL. ONLY HE CAN.

:-) Blessings (anonymous)! I don't have all the answers but that's the only answer that I know, and has been consistenly true in my life... I hope it'll ring into yours :-) Thanks for the good question on your status and hope you're doing well?

In His hands,
- Steve

Song of the Post:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Transparent Luminaries.

January 30th, 2012.

      I have spent the majority of my 'Christian' life hiding my faith, being cautious or surface level with those around me, even those I went to church with so as not to get hurt; for fear that my sins would be evident and I would be judged.  As Christ and the Holy Spirit continue to mold & fill me, the more I have realized that my foundation is Christ and He was calling me to be something... Transparent.

"Transparent" is defined as "having the property of transmitting rays of light through its substance so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen.  Easily seen through, recognized, or detected" (  

       To be direct, God & Jesus Christ is The Light... 1 John 1:5-9 "This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you:  God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.  So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.  But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.  If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in truth.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."  By inviting Christ into your heart, into your life, you now posses "The Light."  John 8:12, "... you will have the light..." Hence salvation & the gospel.

More support: John 12:46.

There are some phrases I'd like to focus on within this definition that I've found interesting as 'Transparent' has been coming up in my life:

Definition & Matthew 5:14-16 

*"transmitting rays of light, through its substance..."  This is our call; to gain 'substance' or spiritual growth and maturity to allow 'light, The Light' to shine through us, in our being, in our character, actions, words, everything... SUBSTANCE.

*"so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen."  This one obviously is a definition but the parallels that I enjoy is that the purpose of being transparent is not only to allow Light to be the transmitter, but what it displays is our substance which is Christ WITHIN and that is should be 'distinctly seen!' v. 14 (*note: I do not think Christ is behind, or am implying that I am in front of Christ, as the definition might suggest)

In v.15 & 16, of Matthew 14, the last word in my translation, NLT is "house." v.15.  I am relating this to ourselves, the church, and the body of Christ; which we are as a community & followers of Christ.  Then in v.16 it says "... shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."

Is your life effective in the furthering of God's Kingdom?  "Have you affected the conversion of others?" -Pastor James MacDonald.

*To those who I worship with here, near, and far...

"As we continue to seek community with one another, (John 17:20-23), transparency has to begin somewhere, to build upon the depths & greater calling of being one body in Christ and getting to better understand one another. Fearful yes; for ridicule and judgement are possible outcomes, but our identity should be found in Christ alone. Therefore making the transparent life a necessary one for the pursuit of spiritual maturity as we prayerfully ask the Lord to protect our hearts, our souls, our spirits."  
Psalm 119:114-117 (NLT).

*A wonderful song, from one of my favorite female worship artists, and actually what sparked this call of "Being a light"...
(For the record, I am not copying my lil sister's blog, I'd like to note that I actually sent her this video first... in love, haha)

"Heavenly Father, thank You for Your continuous fill in my life.  For being my refuge and strength, and allowing me to establish my identity in You.  For Your true love, let my life resemble my gratitude, to the best of my human capabilities.  May Your Holy Spirit continue to poor through me into this world that I am in.  Let those who know me and those who don't always see Your Light within me, as I continue to pursue holiness and strive to exemplify the life of Your son, Jesus Christ until You call me home.  In Your mighty and loving name I pray...


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Running Isaiah 40:31.

So yesterday (Sunday 1/15/12) was pretty amazing, experiencing the Holy Spirit at church and one of those, "Ooooh that message was for me..." moments.

But my additional awe of God came after church when I got home from lunch.  I took a small nap on the couch and decided to flip through some channels on tv.  I ended up coming across the 2012 Marathon Olympic Trials in Houston, SWEET!  So of course I didn't sleep, unfortunately it was the absolute final 800m of the race.  However, to my happiness I was able to catch both of my favorite runners crossing the finish line!  Meb Keflezighi & Ryan Hall go 1, 2 (Top 3 make the Olympic team!).

Now I always knew they were great runners and had always seen something different in their demeanor, but this time as I watched their interviews, I noticed that they were giving a lot of glory to God, so I googled, "Is Ryan Hall a Christian" "Is Meb Keflezighi a Christian."  I joyfully pulled an article on Ryan Hall featured in Running Times online magazine entitled; Ryan Hall: the faith interview and then a STV (Sharing The Victory magazine) video clip about his testimony and running.  I was amazed at how souled for Christ Ryan and his wife are!  His testimony fueled me to evaluate 'Why I run?'  As I read the article I was amazed at how similar Ryan's philosophies on running are in comparison to how mine used to be.  I realized that when I just ran for Christ, when I ran just for the sake of talking and experiencing God my performance was at it's best.  But ever since I started focusing on training, times, speed, etc... my running has been less satisfying.  It's amazing how God tends to remind me of when I was walking/ or running with Him in the past, to bring more clarity on a ministry vision I have been praying about.  In the interview video, Ryan explains how one of his favorite verses is:

Isaiah 40:31, "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint."

The memory that rushed back into my thoughts was my senior year at college, I had a treadmill that I always ran on that overlooked our athletic fields, and I remember thinking quoting that scripture over and over, out loud as I ran, because I was getting fatigued and tired.  Before I knew it, I had hit my desired distance and finished my run.  It's amazing how parallel running/ endurance is to our spiritual walk and growth.  Even in the Bible, running is referred to so many times!  1 Corinthians 9:24-26, Proverbs 18:10, Isaiah 40:31, Galatians 5:7, etc...

Like the many stages of running, we experience in our lives with Christ:
-Energy & Adrenaline in the beginning - when we first experience the Holy Spirit.
-Pacing - sometimes we hit a plateau in our spirit and just coast through 'Christianity' because we're comfortable, we feel good, we're with God, things are going okay.
-Fatigue - we hit a point in our spiritual life when we're faced with difficulty and that's when we have to dig deep.  This is when endurance and character are built up within us (Romans 5:3=5).  However some people in running, 'dig deep' within themselves, but as followers of Christ; when we 'dig deep' we should dig into the Holy Spirit and God's Word!  That is our fuel, which brings us to...
-The Kick - That burst when God fills you after you've been seeking, crying, kneeling... 'digging' that burst that comes when you begin to see a glimpse of the metaphorical 'finish line.'

For me in this case, it's a vision that I've been seeking God for clarity on and some other things, that I know are going to be a longer race...

"Heavenly Father, be my pacer, be the one who goes before as I look to You for guidance, and strength to endure the races You place in my life.  Let me worship You as I run, let my steps be in faith and may Your Holy Spirit continue to fill me with strength, peace, and comfort.  May You shine forth from my life, that I might continue to be a useful tool in furthering Your Kingdom on this earth.  Continue to give me a heart for running, and let the talents You've instilled within me, be used for Your glory and praise."

- Amen.

Mary Amelia Chellappa.

January 14th, 2012

My achie (Tamil for 'grandmother') is one of the most Godly women I know.  I loved her very much even though at that younger age, I may not have always shown it; but I attribute much of my spiritual values to her teachings.  She taught me how to pray, to kneel and humble myself before God in prayer.  She taught... she drilled, it within my sisters and I to pursue God and His word daily; every morning before we went to school, she would line us up, place her hand on our heads, say a prayer in Tamil and cross our foreheads 3x with her thumb, "Father, Son, Holy Spirit" to instill blessings and protection over us.  After school, she would have us come to her room, sit on her bed as she read "Keys for Kids," our daily devotional, then tell us to kneel by the bed and pray... then homework.  My grandmother was always praying, and talking with God, praying, reading and learning His word.

Yesterday, (1/14/12) my dad and I were discussing some topics, that our family has been asking & trying to trust in God to deliver on.  My dad had just gotten done with his small group and I was helping to straighten up and we were collecting some bibles that people had left behind, oops.  My dad curiously looked at one resting on a corner table, that had looked familiar to me.
"I think that's mom's?" I said.
He opened the cover and inside the front page was an inscription written in my achie's hand...

She had written this on the day she came to America, and gave it as a gift to my mom...  Joshua 1:8...

"Study this Book of Instruction continually.  Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.  Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do."
v.9 "This is my command - be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:8-9

My grandmother; always teaching...

"Thank You Heavenly Father, for sending Your Holy Spirit and renewing my soul to continually trust in You as I battle my fears, and look to You for guidance & wisdom for my future.  Thank You for Your Word, and for using my Achie as the messenger, even though she is with You, she continues to watch over me.  I pray that my life might reflect Your Holy Spirit living within me.  Let me be a man who loves, and impacts my world around me, while I'm in it... and even when I am not."

- Amen.

Joy in the Mirror.

January 6th 2012

This is a translation of my soul experiencing the Holy Spirit after one of the Young Adult nights at my church (Harvest Bible Chapel Naperville) in the form of creative writing.  When your soul recognizes its own growth and refinement as done by no one else other than the Holy Spirit, sometimes it comes out like this...

Tonight I took joy, I took joy in my own reflection...
I danced, danced in the presence of the Holy Spirit, in my bathroom.
To you I would look like a fool,
to Him, I was pleasing because when I looked in the mirror,
I saw His presence,
and I had to dance.

I saw something through my own eyes into my soul,
the man that God is continuing to mold me into.
Finally Lord, evidence that I have been listening;
years it took.

I looked and remembered the different reflections my self held & will hold again I'm sure,
despair, frustrations,
exhaustion, questioning, sorrow,
confidence, arrogance, searching...
but tonight I saw not me,
but Him within.
It made me smile; big.
I tried to hold it back for fear of vanity,
but you can not suppress joy when it wants to come out.
The recognition of God's refining hand in your own life
should be humbly noted & done more often than not,
so that praise might be continuously given to the refiner
in recognition of His never ending work.

Know who you are in Christ;
know who you were;
ask for Him to reveal more of who He wants you to be.
So that you will remember Gods personal hand that holds you.

So that you can look down at the pieces that have fallen from His chisel,
fallen off of your spirit,
and know that His work is in progress.
More of you God,
less of me,
so that I might dance more in the mirror...
With joy.

- Amen.

Beginnings of "Refinement"... Romans 12

July 30th 2011...

There came a point in my life where God had to remove His substitute(s) in my life.

Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that I am a romantic...  I longed for a woman who I could take care of, who I was able to be a man for.  Sadly, I was not ready for that; as God Almighty had to lovingly (Hebrews 12:1-13) point out; I was a sinful man, I am one still.  But God had to remove what I cherished most in my life, for God is a jealous God and He stands alone!

As she is His daughter just as much as I am His son, our Divine Father protects His daughters from those who are unworthy of their hearts.

"Thank you Father for protecting your daughter as I was not a man yet fit to lead.  How did I expect a woman to support, help, and follow me; if I was not following after You?  Forgive me of my disobedience, refine me into the man that you desire me to become...."

And so He answered, and continues to mold, chisel, shred, burn, shape, and rebuild me... *(For the sake of limited space on the internet, the refinement that God took me through, is between God and me).

Inspired by my older sister (who is has always been the loving & practical voice in my life) & my younger sister (whose spiritual advice and walk with Christ I dearly love) I started this personal blog.  Documenting and sharing what the Holy Spirit continues to do in my life.  I pray that I will be more of a 'Romans 12' man... one of my life verses revealed to me, at the beginning of my continued Salvation.

"Heavenly Father continue to teach & reveal more of who I am in You, and who You are in me."  This is my faith on my sleeve as I have for so long wore my heart on it, no more...  I pray.  "... Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in this world" (1 John 4:4).  I pray for you, that my life, and my walk with Christ will be an encouragement to you who reads this and challenges you to pursue His Kingdom and those He loves with a great passion and desire."

- Amen.