Christian Living

More Than Religious; We’re Family

I was thinking… about Holy Week and what to teach from it. There are so many lessons and inspirations we can take from even Good Friday to Easter Sunday alone. Why? Because Jesus is rich and abounding in endless knowledge, power, and love.

That weekend around 2,000 years ago, King Jesus revealed to us just a taste of his majesty! He took on pain that would be unbearable for most people of the world; He suffered likely one of the worst deaths in history; and finally, He brought Himself back from death.

Jesus made Death writhe in pain as He tore easily from its icy grasp and Darkness shriek in fear as He stung it with his glory—Christ rose from the grave, undefeated.

I chose just one idea to talk about—the third of Jesus’ last seven messages as He died on the cross.

#3 of the Last 7 Words of Jesus on the Cross

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple who he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

John 19:26-27 NIV

Jesus brought about a very important idea for us as Christians with those words.

When you follow Christ, the term ‘family’ becomes more than a legal and biological idea. Every Christian is united in Christ. We are now related by blood: the blood of Jesus. This is the will of God’s Kingdom here on earth: to see those in need and provide for them, to be a particular family figure to one who lacks that person in their lives.

Jesus brought this act into motion. Even while he was dying on the cross in misery, he saw his mother. She had other sons, yes. But Jesus was her firstborn son—the firstborn should be the one to care for the mother in her old age. So he told John, the ‘disciple he loved,’ to be her own son, to look after her as his own mother.

During the early years of the Church, there were not many believers. Those who were were being persecuted. They needed to depend closely on each other in that time of suffering. They needed to lean on each other like they were siblings, fathers, mothers—family.

Nowadays the Church of Christ can seem so large and divided that we don’t even share the same religion, much less family. But Christianity is supposed to be dedication and faith, not just religion, tradition, and rituals.

Background, ethnicity, denomination, and all the like shouldn’t divide us from being family in the One True God. Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians; Christian Nigerians, Romanians, Argentinians; Believers of the suburban, rural, and urban areas; them and many, many, many more who know Jesus Christ as their Savior are all are still going to be praising Christ with myself and each other when He comes to take us all Home.

But what about you—personally? I pray God will give you the courage and wisdom to be a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter—whatever, to a fellow struggling Child of Christ.

With God’s help,

~Daniel Amador

Christian Living, Young Adult Life

When Your Hardest Doesn’t Go Highest (Society’s Secret Scandal)

One of the most frustrating experiences for an ambitious youth is to pour all their heart into any sort of project and its ends up fruitless and overlooked. It’s disheartening when you try so hard—harder than all those around you, it seems—and you still end up at the bottom! No one likes to be that one mountain climber who has all the rocks crumbling beneath them.

You keep trying to scale the ladder, but everyone else is either shooting past you, pulling you down, or kicking you back. The whole reason people want to climb high to the top is, simply put, to get that ‘high’ feeling. “So what’s the solution? How can I ever feel truly accomplished if that high only lasts a moment?”

Stop climbing the ladder. Let go and let Jesus carry you.

Maybe that sounds like one of those cute, cliche quotes you’ll find on Social Media that are inspirational… but completely unhelpful. So let me explain further.

Society’s Secret Scandal

Society, today’s popular culture, sees the world as a ladder. A mountain we’re all meant to spend our whole lives climbing. The best future envisioned in society’s eyes is having a good education, spending your youthful days enjoying your physical prime and having as much fun as possible, then spending the rest of your life pursuing what career and person you love, and getting rich and famous off your job—thus making the whole focus of life power and love.

It’s really a hopeless reality.

This is why people who have real relationships with Jesus tend to have better mental, emotional, and physical health. Even if they still deal with depression, sickness, weakness, and other struggles, they know where they’re going, they know they have a purpose, and they know they are loved! If purpose is power (maybe a mental power), then the real Christian has power, love, and destiny. That’s a one-up to society. 😎

All this to say, society’s secret scandal is the sly lie it spreads to every teenager and young adult: if you can’t climb high, you don’t deserve the high, or happiness.

Jesus’ Generous Gift

Your hardest climbing might not always bring you to the top. Your fastest running might not always bring you farthest. That’s when society’s lie kicks in. You feel hopeless, undeserving, and good-for-nothing.

So when your hardest doesn’t go highest, doesn’t take you higher, don’t believe the society’s sneaky lie—instead, remember Jesus’ generous gift! Salvation from hopelessness. Peace during the storms. Eternal paradise in Heaven when you die. Never-ending forgiveness through repentance.

Never give up on what God is calling you to do! Also, remember that hard work doesn’t do it all—knowledge of what you’re pursuing, wisdom on how to pursue it, and support from those more experienced are all vital!

Let me rephrase: Stop climbing the ladder. Let go and let Christ carry you—even if he takes you off the wide ladder to the narrow pathway on the side. After all, Jesus’ plans do seem sideways to the popular culture. 😉

With God’s help,

Daniel Amador

Christian Living

Why Fasting is Better Than You Think

If you saw the title of this post and rolled your eyes or had feelings of annoyance, this post will be good for you, and is for you! If not, you should still probably read it anyway.

Yesterday, our church finished our 21 days of prayer and fasting—every year for many years our church has done 21 days of prayer and fasting in the month of January. I joined in with them, and even though it could have always been better—as in I could have always tried harder to pray more and resist more, it was good for me, both in spirit and bodily health.

Today I want to share with you why fasting is so important, why you should consider it, and I’ll also clear up some misconceptions.

For starters, this is what fasting is: Wordly sacrifices for spiritual benefits.

That takes me to…

Why You Are Fasting

Truly, everything in this post points back to this: why you are fasting. People in the Bible fasted for different reasons. Nehemiah fasted out of sadness (Nehemiah 1:4). Moses fasted for Words from the Lord: wisdom and commandments (Exodus 34:28). Jesus fasted before he took on a big project: his ministry to save humankind (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:1-13).

You can fast for all sorts of reasons—mourning, confessing sins, seeking wisdom, preparing for something big.

The whole idea of fasting is to focus less on (even temporarily turn away from) worldly distractions and focus more on God and prayer; to have a time of spiritual healing, restoration, and/or strengthening. I’ll say it again: worldly sacrifices for spiritual benefits.

The above 112 words form—in reality—the main point. Now, I’d like to talk briefly on 4 other factors that are important and need to be addressed. I know I tend to rant, but I will try to keep it concise, every sentence I write having a purpose.

1. What To Fast From

Biblical fasting was most commonly from food, often even food and water. However, there are other unnecessary nonessential distracting activities, as well as worldly items that take your attention, that could be fasted from. Food is important, but of course there are circumstances where it’s not the best thing to fast from.

Activities: Preparation of a meal, video games, social media, TV, listening to secular music, I could go on. The last four listed are not necessary. You could spend your ‘social media time’ reading God’s Word. You could listen to Christian music instead of secular music.

As for the first listed, your body needs water and food to keep on functioning. You could have easy-to-make meals so that you can pray while you prepare. Before you fast I suggest writing down a list of healthy, easy meals, then go out and get ingredients for them.

Items: Chocolate. You don’t need it. Your phone. You don’t need it (well, maybe you do but there are things you use it for that you don’t have to). Coffee. You don’t need it. Have I made my point clear yet?

Sacrifice. If you utter one single prayer to God, something like, “fix all my problems please,” I bet you He won’t do it. Anyone can say that. But not everyone has the strength to sacrifice in order to have ‘all their problems fixed.’ If you really do believe in God and love Him, you have more than likely sacrificed. You spend your Sunday morning with the Church; you’ve quit bad habits; all that. When you fast, you’re just sacrificing even more and I’m sure, at the end of the day, you will reap the benefits!

No sacrifice I could offer would be anywhere near what Jesus sacrificed for us when He literally died on a cross. That is in fact one of the most painful ways to die, and He did it for us, because He loves us. The least we can do in return is sacrifice some of the things we treasure on this earth.

In conclusion, focus on anything that’ll encourage you to look to Christ, and avoid anything that will point you away.

2. How Long To Fast

Now you have in mind what you will be fasting from. “Great,” you might be thinking. “I’m not going to go on social media or eat chocolate. For how long??”

Good question!

It’s really up to you and what you feel God calling you to do. It also depends on why you’re fasting. You could fast for a day, a week, even a month. (It also depends on what you’re fasting from. I’m not telling you to fast from all food for a month.)

3. Other Benefits of Fasting

Fasting is not dieting. You fast because you want to grow closer to God. But physical and/or mental health benefits do often come included!

Mental: In sacrificing, you’ll build up self-control, which is a very important virtue. If you succeed, you’ll be more confident in your abilities to resist. Then there’s social media: it can literally destroy your mental health. That’s not a lie. The more time you spend reading instead of scrolling, the cleaner your mind will be. Of course, if you slip and catch yourself giving into temptation, do not let it sink and do not quit. Apologize to God, then get back up.

Physical: Your taste buds are crying out, “we want sugar! We want sweets!” Do not listen to them! They don’t see the big picture of your whole bodily health. Unhealthy foods bring temporary pleasure, but healthy foods bring longer-term strength and health. This is really all I need to say.

4. Avoid Being the Pharisee

I’ve always been a rule-following control freak with the (God-given) mind and qualities of a leader. The title of ‘pastor’s kid’ only increased the significance of that. When I was younger, during the 21 days of fasting our church had I’d always be like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. Focusing on the actual doing instead of the real meaning. I would subtly, sometimes even directly, ridicule my brothers and friends for not fasting from as much as I was or caving into temptation.

Don’t go there. It’s not a healthy place. Jesus called the people who were like that whitewashed tombs. That’s not a title anyone would want to be given, especially by the Son of God, King of kings.

I’m trying much harder to not be like that but to be merciful (when need be) and kind. When people see me, I want them to see someone who intentionally does things for a true and good purpose and not just to appear superior and cool.


This is all I have to say. In conclusion, please consider fasting! If you’re only a teenager and not quite an adult yet, maybe talk with your parents about a more serious fast. Actually, talk with your parents about it anyway, serious or not, adult or not! It’s something I need to do more of. Well, God bless and see you next week!

With God’s help,

Daniel Amador