Kevin Menezes

Loved and Saved by God alone to Love and Serve God alone.


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Love With(in) Boundaries

They say “love sets no boundaries. I used to believe that until I fell in love myself. And guess what I discovered: True Love Always Sets Boundaries.
You can eat the fruit of all the trees in the garden, but not this one.”

You can play in the front yard where I can see you, but not on the main street.”

You can watch cartoons for an hour, but not all day long.

You can drive this car to town, but you cannot speed.”

You can hang out with all your friends, but not this jerk.”

You get my point?

Sometimes though, the very people you love and are trying to protect will come back and say “But I thought you trust me. I thought you love me unconditionally.”

When they do, you should say: “Well, honey, actually I do love you unconditionally and with that comes the part where I keep you from RUINING YOUR FUTURE or KILLING YOURSELF. It means I’ll happily bear all your shortcomings if I have to, but I will not tolerate your crap.”

#myHousemyRules


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A Tale of Trinitarian Coexistence

One of the inane things Jesus probably endured on a daily basis was having the general public — even his own disciples — discuss who he really was while he was with them. Some said he was a prophet, some said he was the Son of God. Two millennia later, that discussion still rages on.

My personal take on this whole ‘Who is Jesus Debate’ is pretty simplistic: Wouldn’t it be a lot better if we just leave Jesus to be who He is and focus on doing what He said we should do? That, I think, would make Jesus a lot happier than us trying to figure Him out. Because, quite frankly, no matter how much we discuss and debate this, there are some things we will never completely decipher this side of eternity.

Having said that, I am always up for a meaningful discussion, even if that means answering some questions over and over again. So, here goes:

The biggest conundrum about Christian theology is the TRINITY. The ‘Three Persons One God’ concept is a stumbling block for a lot of people – Muslims, Jews and even some Christians – who subscribe to the monotheistic (one God) philosophy. But the irony is that Christians subscribe to the One God philosophy too. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4) and “There is no God besides me.” (Isaiah 45:5) If these are key tenets of the Christian faith, the natural question that arises is why do Christians then club Jesus and the Holy Spirit along with the One God Almighty?

That’s a very good question. Let’s use examples from the natural world to explain the Christian view of God because you can catch glimpses of the Creator in His creation, and everything God created reflects Him and who He really is.

We see the first example of Trinitarian coexistence in the Universe. The laws of Physics suggest that Time, Space, and Matter cannot exist independent of the other. If you had Matter but no Space, WHERE would you put it? If you had Space but no Time, WHEN would you put it? You have to have all THREE components bound together in a Trinitarian coexistence of sorts to have ONE functional Universe. The Bible sorts that out for us in the very first verse. Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning (TIME) God created the heavens (SPACE) and the earth (MATTER).”

The second example of Trinitarian coexistence is the human race. Aren’t we who have been made in the image and likeness of God THREE dimensional beings too, comprising Body, Soul and Spirit? And what is your body without soul and spirit? That’s why even if scientists figure out some way to clone your body they will never be able to clone your soul. Your mannerisms, your thoughts, your ideas are unique to you and that is why there will never be another you – ever. Because the real you – just in case it hasn’t dawned on you yet – is not just your body. The real you is all THREE PARTS of you – body, soul and spirit – functioning together to be ONE COMPLETE YOU.

Jesus said “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (John 14:11). If you really want to understand Jesus and the Holy Spirit in relation to God take an ice-cube, drop it into a glass of water and then try figuring out which one is H2O. The minute the ice-cube hits the glass you can say the ice is in the water. But after a while you could also say the water is in the ice. And if that doesn’t convince you, pour it all into a kettle, put it on the stove, and watch it all turn into vapor. Water, the font of all life, can exist in THREE states: liquid, solid and vapor. But in all its states it is essentially still WATER.

Similarly, God is a three-dimensional being – Father, Son and Spirit. But they are intrinsically ONE. Jesus is the physical expression of a Trinitarian God, or the physical form God took to enter the physical world. He was God in heaven and God walking on earth all at the same time because God is not limited by time, space or matter. He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. And He exists far above and beyond the scope of all that He has created. He can permeate through everything to be whoever He wants to be because He is Limitless, abounding in Power, and with Him nothing is Impossible.

In short, we don’t serve a committee of Gods. Our God is ONE!

Hope that explanation helped. But if it didn’t, don’t worry too much about it. Like I said there are some things we will never completely decipher this side of eternity, and it would be a lot better for all of us if we just leave Jesus to be who He is and focus on doing what He said we should do. “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who persecute you.”  I think Jesus would be a lot happier if we did this, regardless of what our theology is. Just saying.


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The Case For A Good & Just Creator

Here’s one of the most pertinent questions in human history, one that’s been debated for thousands of years, and probably crossed your mind at least once too. If God Is Really So Good And Just Why Is There So Much Evil And Injustice In The World?

People who wrestle with this question eventually come to two logical conclusions: A) Maybe there is no God. B) Maybe God is powerless to do anything about it…because if He could, He certainly would, right? I am going to tackle both statements in this post, but in the interest of time, I am just going to scratch the surface.

Let’s start with the first statement: Maybe God Does Not Exist. I offer two theories for your consideration: Non-Scientific and Scientific.

THE NON-SCIENTIFIC CASE FOR GOD’S EXISTENCE

Here’s a hypothetical situation. You come to me and say your boss is crazy. Everything in your office is falling apart, people don’t do the right thing, they fib and back-stab each other and cut corners every chance they get. And your boss in just a silent spectator, he doesn’t say or do anything about it.

And then I conclude “Well, if your boss is not doing anything about it, maybe he doesn’t exist.” How’s that for sound logic? It sounds crazy, right?

The disorder in your office  is not an indicator that there is no boss. On the contrary, the fact that you have an office where you can run to whenever you want to hang out with your crazy colleagues itself indicates that there must be a founder somewhere.

Take another scenario. Your neighbor’s kids run up to you and say, “We are starving and our dad just doesn’t care about us. He doesn’t respond to our needs or our fears. He is never even there when we need him.”

And then you put on your thinking cap and say, “Well, if he is never there, maybe he doesn’t exist.” How is that for being absurd? The fact that you are talking to your neighbor’s kids itself indicates that they have a father. So, the real question is not whether he exists, but whether or not he is a good father.

By that same token, the reasoning that injustice in the world disproves the existence of God is a false alternative.

THE SCIENTIFIC CASE FOR GOD’S EXISTENCE

The laws of physics prove that everything has a point of origin. In other words, all forms of matter – organic, inorganic, mud, metal, plants, animals, you and me, the stars, the planets (and everything on them), the entire universe ­– originate from something. But here’s the deal: something cannot come out of nothing. So if things cannot cause themselves to exist, there must have been some sort of creation event triggered by a dynamic, preexisting catalytic force…a Creator of sorts.

summaWhen you consider the scientific evidence for this Creator, the reasoning that this Someone – let’s call him God – does not exist just because there happens to be injustice in the world becomes a very mediocre argument.

So, if God exists and He is a good and just God, the real question is why isn’t He tackling evil and injustice in the world He created?

THE CASE FOR A GOOD & JUST GOD

Have you ever considered that you can have the sun without the shade, but you can never have shade without the sun. How do we know there is evil in this world? Because good existed first. If justice had not existed first, you would have never known that what you are experiencing is injustice. Just as the shade actually proves the presence of the sun, evil and injustice in the world actually proves the prior existence of goodness and justice.

But how does that prove God is good and just?

Good point. To be considered good and just, God must first condemn evil and then bring all the perpetrators to justice. But there can be no justice without judgment. And for justice to be served, the judgment must be fair and without bias. You with me so far? Cool.

So, let’s imagine this: Someone has done you wrong and you are crying out to God for justice. Then, God turns to your oppressors and says, “I am going to condemn you to hell for all the wrongs you have done.” And you are as happy as a lark. But before you can even chirp for joy, God turns to you and asks, “And what about you and the wrongs you have done? What must be done to you?”

And you are all like “Um, actually what happened, God, is that I didn’t really mean to do all that. It was an honest mistake. I didn’t mean any harm. I was just fooling around…”

You get my drift… We want God to surely condemn those who have wronged us, but when it comes to us, we want Him to be kind and considerate. How typical!

But for justice to be truly served, God must treat everyone by the same yardstick. No favoritism. So if God decides to judge the very bad folk right away, He would also have to condemn the mostly good. And He does not want to do that without giving us a chance to make amends and save ourselves.

The Bible says God is slow to judge because He wants everyone, especially His own children, the genuinely good, saved. So, He offers us a way out. He says if you forgive others, I’ll forgive you. God knows better than any of us that all of us are sinful and if you don’t forgive your wrongdoers God will have to condemn them…and you. But if you show mercy, then mercy can be shown to you. It’s a fair call. It’s justice to the highest degree. And it is acceptable to God because God is just to everyone.

The fact that God is willing to wait proves that He is all loving and good. The fact that God is willing to forgive if you extend forgiveness to those who wronged you proves that He cares about justice.

So, to conclude, God is good. He is just. And, yes, He does exist.

 


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Getting Hitched?

If you are a single guy waiting to get married soon, this post is for you. If I could go back in time and speak to my younger self, this is what I would tell me.

GET YOUR OWN PLACE. 
When you get married, you’ll need privacy. You may have your own room at your parents’ place, but that just won’t cut it anymore. You need your own house to be your own man, to do your thing, to say what you want, to argue, to laugh out loud, to have long conversations with your wife until 3 AM, without bothering about your siblings, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and all the other people in the house.

Even the Bible advises men to leave their parents’ house and cleave to their wives. But it’s not just Biblical, it’s practical. You cannot cleave until you leave. You cannot be the man of the house, the head of your family and be your mamma’s boy all at the same time. 

Having said that, some guys take that scripture to the other extreme and completely abandon their parents. That’s not biblical either. You need your own place but you also need to take care of your parents.
Frankly, leaving your parents’ home is the hardest decision you will ever make, but it will be worth it. In any case, I am not trying to hard-sell this to you. If you are still not convinced, don’t fret about it. Do your own thing, bring your wife home to your parents’ place and give it a few months. Chances are you may find out real soon why God said get your own place. 🙂

GET A CAR. 
I love bikes. I ride mine every chance I get. I love walking too. I am not asking you to get a car so you can be hip. But once you have a kid, you’ll quickly realize that bikes and babies don’t mix. 

On second thoughts, crowded trains and buses won’t cut it either. Plus, it will be hot some days, and some days it may rain. A car is your safest bet when you are travelling with family. Unless, of course, if you decide to leave your wife and kids home for months together. That has the potential to backfire like crazy too.

Most women like to go out. Just because she’s had a kid doesn’t imply she has to remain cooped up indoors all day for weeks on end while you fly all over the place. In fact, I suspect being cooped up for weeks on end is what causes post-partum depression.
Frankly, most women love to be home with their kids, but that’s not the only thing they love. Everyone needs a break from the monotony every once in a while. And when I say break from the monotony I don’t mean expensive holidays. Oftentimes, just a drive around the block for a little change of scenery does the trick. 

But you’ll need (you guessed it) your own car to take that drive, or make that dash to the ice-cream store, or the grocers, or the nearest mall for some retail therapy. Go for one good car, invest in regular maintenance and then drive it to the ground. 

BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUND
Figure out how much you need to live off comfortably for a month. Then, multiply that by 12. That’s your emergency fund. Put that much in the bank and forget about it. You should dig into that fund on a “rainy day”, when you really need to. This is not the fund you go to when you need shoes for a wedding. This is for crisis (although I am sure you won’t have any). But just knowing you’ve got a little something stacked somewhere is very comforting.

Well, that’s it. If you’ve got these and a few other things going, you are almost ready to get hitched. :)👍


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I, Me and Jesus

​Okay, let’s see if you got this. 

I’ve got three multiple choice questions here. All you have to do is pick the right answer. Ready? Go!

1. WE SHOULD BE GENEROUS BECAUSE…

a) The Bible says God loves a cheerful giver

b) If you give God one dollar, He will give you 10

c) It will help the person you are being generous to

2. WE SHOULD NOT GOSSIP ABOUT OTHERS BECAUSE…

a) The Bible says it is not good to slander

b) It will make God upset 

c) It hurts the person you are gossiping about

3. YOU SHOULD NOT PRESSURE YOUR GIRLFRIEND FOR SEX BECAUSE…

a) The Bible says thou shall not commit adultery

b) If you do something bad to others, something bad will happen to you

c) Because it is not good to give others any cause for regret

Okay, here’s the deal….

On the face of it, it is seems like all of the answers are right. But if you look closely at the A’s and the B’s, the reasons listed there are very self-centered. 

This is how a self-centered person thinks: “The reason why I should be generous is because God loves it and (I) want to be right with God. I should not gossip because (I) don’t want God to be upset with (ME).

It’s all about (I) and (Me). 

In truth, there is nothing wrong with trying to please God, but the essence of what Jesus was trying to say when He said “love your neighbor as yourself” is that it is really difficult to really love anyone if you have a ME mentality. 

The idea that we can hurt people, coerce them to do things that are against their will and yet somehow please God by lighting candles or performing fancy rituals is totally twisted. You cannot be right with God if you treat people wrong.

Think about it. If someone speaks nicely to you but treats your kids rudely, would you be pleased with that person? 

Nope! 

But if they treat your kids with love and affection, you would be happy to do anything for them, right? 

It’s the same with God. If you want to please God you must treat all His children well. 

That’s why the Bible says those who claim to love God but hate their fellow human beings are lying. God wants us to be mindful of people and treat everyone with respect. 

– You should be generous because it helps the person you are being generous to. 

– You should not gossip because it hurts people. 

– You should not pressure your girlfriend or anyone to do anything they don’t want to do because it is not right to mar anyone’s future and give them cause for regret. 

That’s how you love your neighbor as yourself. That’s how you make a better world for everyone. That’s how you please God. 


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No War!

​Isn’t it ironic that we pray for innocent kids caught in the quagmire of violence and destruction in Syria, Iraq and other war-torn regions and then push for war in our own backyard? 

Make no mistake, folks. War ain’t pretty. Nobody really wins a war. And what is happening in Syria and Iraq could happen in our own neighborhood too. 

The only reason nations go to war is because it is good business. Every year weapons worth billions of dollars are bought and sold all over world in the name of SAFETY and SECURITY. Peace is not good for business…because nobody buys weapons in peace time.

Think about it. You didn’t get up this morning wanting to kill anyone. You just want to go about your day, take care of yourself and your family without bothering anyone. You’d be happy to help anyone if you could. Because you are good. And guess what? There are millions of people like you everywhere, Even Across The Border. They want to live in harmony, help someone in need if they can. They want to do good. They want to take care of their families. They want to finish their work, eat their food, and go to bed. They don’t want to bother anyone. They just want to live in peace.

There are innocent kids on both sides of the border. Good men and women who wouldn’t even hurt a fly. Let’s not play into the hands of those who incite violence and hatred for PROFIT.

All of this war-mongering by political establishments in both India and Pakistan, this 24/7 coverage of spy-pigeons and what-have-you by the media is nothing but baloney. Politicians do this for a living because they don’t have any other job, remember? And most of them, as we know, are thugs and crooks. Violence comes naturally to them. 

The media is also doing this because they finally have one more thing to harp on about. If they didn’t endlessly report on the conflict and who said what and create controversies where none exist, what would be left for them to do? They are doing this because it’s the only job they have. And they are going to milk it for all it is worth.

Yes, there are bad people in the world. And we must fight them and bring them to justice when we find them. But how do you justify war and the killing of thousands of people as retribution of the actions of one or two individuals.

Imagine this. Someone with your last name blows himself up in one part of the country while you are busy going about your day. Suddenly, you find yourself surrounded by a mob wanting kill you and your family in revenge. Would that be fair? You didn’t even know that guy. You didn’t ask him to blow himself up. And yet you are paying the price. Is it fair?

Well, when we shout WAR against an entire nation as retribution for the actions of a few crazy men, We Become That Mob. 

You see the accompanying picture? Do you see the trauma in those kids’ eyes? When we shout WAR, we are basically telling our government we don’t care about innocent kids and civilians. Let’s add a few more to the list. 

Because we presume that this will not happen to our kids. But war is war. Once you light the match, you cant control where the fire will burn. 

Look at the picture again. Is this what we really want? 

In the US, the very politicians who voted ‘Yes’ for the war in Iraq are now trying to prove they were always against the war. Why? Because they don’t want to be held accountable for the devastating consequences.  
It’s for good folk like us to decide what is good and what is bad. We must determine for ourselves what makes sense and what does not. 

Personally, I don’t want any child dying anywhere in the world for me….just so that I can feel happy and safe. 

War ain’t pretty. And it is not the patriotic thing to do either. It’s just good business. And I want no part of it. The blood of innocent children won’t be upon me.

I stand for reason. 

I stand for peace. 


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Family Fights: You Lose Even When You Win

​The only battle you’ll never win is the one you fight against your own family. Any man who verbally, emotionally, physically or psychologically beats his own wife, kids or parents down and expects to win is a fool because when they lose, YOU LOSE.   

Jesus said, “a house divided against itself shall not stand” because fights within the family are like cancer. The real reason cancer is so deadly is because it’s not caused by an external virus or bacteria. It’s an internal fight. Cancer is basically your body fighting you. It’s like a civil war breaking out inside you. You can only survive when the fighting stops. 

So, what you really need is for everyone connected to you to be winning everything — all the time. That’s why you’ve got to take the high road and walk away from some fights. They are really not worth your time and energy because even if you win, you still lose. The Bible says “anger rests in the bosom of fools” and “avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarrelling.”

Basically, God is asking you to be wise and stop fighting against everybody and yourself.