What is God?

Together as One

What is God?
Many Christians may think about this question as they try to understand their relationship with God. 

God is extremely mysterious. In Church, we were told that God is love. God exits everywhere and even within us. He is the ground of creation. He doesn’t have a form. God is a spirit and He works through us. God is composed of three: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It means He is a Transcendent Other. He is also personal and know all of our deepest secrets! He loves us very much but He doesn’t need our love. Well, with our human limitation, this is what we can understand and He is still mysterious.

A priest called Paul Knitter tried to explore this question and he suggested that God is actually a relational Being. He even said that God is a spirit and He cannot exist or act without the world. The world is an extension of God. He also said God is the Inter-being of everything. Every human being is connected to each other through God. Our spirits exist within God, but God is greater than all of us. 

As we realize that all of us actually belong to one, we will have compassion towards the others. Hence we can love the others as loving ourselves. When we understand this interconnectedness, we can get wisdom about life. Hence, when we are connected with the Holy Spirit through praying, we will feel the love, peace and wisdom from God. It is an interesting explanation.


Fear Vs Love

Love never fails

I am reading a very inpiring book called The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love by Susan Jeffers.  She compares a fear-based attitude with a love-based attitude.  I think this gives me inspiration about how to have a healthy attitude in our relationships.

Fear causes to protect ourselves. Love requires us to become ‘safely vulunerable’, in the knowledge that we can handle whatever happens.

Fear is rigidly holding on in desperation.  Love is relaximg and letting love flow.

Fear causes us to close our hearts.  Love is about opening our hearts.

Fear causes us always to put ourselves first. Love is knowing when and how to put our loved one first.

Fear creates judgment.  Love creates compassion.

Fear creates blame.  Love requires that we take charge of our thoughts and actions and change what doesn’t work for us.

Fear creates anger, discord and coldness between sexes.  Love creates a feeling of harmony, warmth and love.

10 Ways to Joy

10 ways to Joy

First I need to define happiness before suggesting ways to get it.  For myself, joy is a peaceful feeling that you have regardless of the circumstances.  When a person feels peaceful, it means he or she feel secure and content most of the time. 

10 ways to joy:

  1. 15 minutes mediation in the morning – I will pray for about 5 to 15 minutes every morning to set goals for my day.  God always gives me perspective and encouragement for my day. If you are not a Christian, just try to have a peaceful time and enjoy the here and now moment in those 15 mintues.
  2. Live for the moment – Focus on here and now.  Don’t let your mind wander to the past or your future.
  3. Stay fit –  Our body has a tremendous effect on our peace of mind.  If you don’t exercise, you will feel dull, drowsy or irritated all the time! Try to do cardio exercise for 30 minutues a day. It will help your body accumulate the happy hormone in your body.
  4. Eat clean and healthy food – When you eat well (more vegetables than meat), you will have less burden in your liver and kidneys.  Then you can conserve more energy for your mind.
  5. Smile! – Behaviors can change your mind.  When you smile, your body will relax and destress automatically.  Force yourself to smile sometimes when you feel dull or blue.  It will lighten up your mood!
  6. Act confident and do it afraid – Joyce Meyer said we can act confident even if we don’t feel confident.  “Do it afraid” means overcoming your fear and do what is right.  If we overcome our fear and worries, our life will be more exciting and free.
  7. Love and forgive yourself – Don’t judge yourself. You can’t enjoy life when you don’t like youself.  You can’t forgive the others when you cannot forgive yourself.  If you can’t forgive, you can’t love happily.  Forgive youself when you make mistakes.  Acknowledge the mistakes, repent and understand that you are getting wiser after that.
  8. Love your neighbour like yourself – Famous motto from Jesus and it is totally true.  Once you love youself, share your love and happinness with the people around you.  We should always believe in the best of the others and give them the benefit of doubt.
  9. Detox your mind – Screen out all of the negative forces in your mind, including jealousy, hatred, pride, judgementalism, criticism, greed and other wordly cravings.  We need to get rid of all kinds of mind addictions so that we can libearte ourselves
  10. You can do it!  – Make a decision and believe that you can achieve joy.  Don’t let your mind defeat you.  Happiness is a decision and a choice.

The Paradox of Suffering

The Battle
I found a link to a program called “The Question of God” hosted by a Harvard Psychiatric Professor, Armand Nicholi.  He invited many well-known scientists to his program to discuss if God exists.  There are in total nine conversations on major topics about human life.  One of them, which is the most controversial one, is about suffering and death.  I would like to give some feedback about their conversation here. 

Dr. Frederick Lee, a Chinese scientist  and Christian from Harvard, said he could not comprehend why a loving God would let so many horrible things happened to good people in our world.  He also said C.S. Lewis, who is one of the most important scholar in the modern Christianity, claimed that pain is mainly caused by faith and he was puzzled by this idea. 

Although I cannot answer this question with complete certainty, I believe that the human understanding about justice and fairness is different from God’s one.  Bad things happen to both good people and bad people, and good things happen to both good people and bad people.  God does not want us to suffer, but he cannot prevent the existence of dualism (i.e. good and bad) due to human’s free will.  Hence the battle between the good and the evil persists.  When we choose to side with God, we will suffer from the awareness of good and evil which is caused by faith.  The deepest pain is not physical, but emotional and spiritual.

However, Jesus mentioned that suffering is the high place of human kind.  It means that when we suffer, we have an opportunity to understand life more and let God’s strength shine through our weaknesses.  Like Victor Frankl, the Jewish existential psychologist who survived from the concentration camp in Germany, said we still have the last freedom to choose how to react to our circumstances despite of our suffering. 

According to my observation, I can see that people with faith have a different attitude towards suffering.  They have more hope and strength to go through suffering.  These people let me see the beauty of life and human potential in defeating the dark.  Without sadness, we may not know how good happiness is.  Without injustics, we may not know how important justice is.  And I have learned from these heroes that our lives are actually not for ouselves only.  We are born for the good of human kind.  True happiness come from sacrificing ourselves for the public.  I think when we look at the whole picture from a higher angle, we will feel less confused and have a more positve outlook in life.

References: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/nineconv/suffering.html

The Beauty of Ashes by Joyce Meyer

Body, Soul and Spirit

I researched the topic about the relationship between body, soul and spirit and found some interesting articles.  Let me summarize the key points of these articles as follows. 

Body is our fleshly-self and it has a lot of worldly needs, like hunger, competition for resources, lust, and selfishness.  Soul is the mind, will power and emotions, which is the gateway to the spirit.  Spirit is our innermost being, which lies in our subconsciousness and controls a lot of our emotional reactions and behaviors.  Before we surrender our will to God, our souls are in the wilderness and we are not aware of how sins affect our lives.  However, when we start to communicate with Him and repent for our sins, our spirits will connect with the Holy Spirit and we will gradually gain wisdom from Him.  Then if people keep praying, they will be able to submit their body, soul and spirit under the will of God.

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