Thursday, May 28, 2009
And yet at the end of the day, that same thing that you've been trying to disregard becomes your last thought, and it still haunts you. Just as you thought it was nothing big, you begin to recognize something more than what it seems, something so disturbing that eats you up inside. And then finally in your aloneness, when you have disregarded your pride, you acknowledge that yes, this nonsense thing isn't really nonsense at all.
When the heart can't contain this huge deal of burden, it needs a form of letting go. Most often than not, to another heart who's willing to listen, who can still understand between sobs, who doesn't judge, who stays by until you've yelled all you want and until you've cried your heart out.
This amazing heart always comes knocking at your own stubbornness, saying "talk to me…" And when you’ve heed to this call, you'll have the most wonderful peace you never thought could still dominate your once burdened heart. You'll feel love so deep you'll wonder why you even tried to manage it on your own and why you hadn’t opened up before.
When you think nobody would understand and that you've no one to talk to, He is never busy to listen. All He desires is that you pour yourself to Him and what your heart can't contain…He will carry it for you.
Just had such a great time with God last night. =)
He Will Carry Me Cover - Ryan Holliday
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I don’t want to go into the specifics of what we discussed about. But in general, we decided to focus first on establishing personal relationship with God, thus stressing out the importance of being rooted on God's word, prompting us to put BIBLE and PRAYER on the top list.I don’t know how I got into the path of over thinking (yet again) but after two planning sessions with them, somehow I arrived into this list:
1. Why do you believe what you believe?
2. Why do you do the things that you do?
3. How do you develop a conviction on your faith, enough for you to be willing to die for your faith?
4. How can you make the personal truth of your salvation a general truth for all?
5. How can I prove the authenticity of the bible?
Along the way I asked a couple of people questions related to this list and I got some answers. I was offered answers like “We don't reason. We have faith. It's not by our ways but by God's grace that we disciple people” and verses from the bible saying not to worry for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say (Luke 12:11-12).
To be honest, at that time, I never quite understood any of it. I was qualifying all my questions and assessing all the answers given to me. (Talk about being overly critical.)
I was bothered. I was not satisfied, at least intellectually.
Don't be hard on yourself. There are things we really can't explain. Guard your mind, I was told.
Where do you go when you have troubling questions as these?
I got into a conversation with God. I told Him I won’t back off until He gives me the answers. I read the Bible, pleaded for wisdom, and threatened Him that I wouldn’t sleep until I hear from Him.
Without a doubt, He is found by all who seek him earnestly. Here is how the conversation went:
Him: What are you thinking?
Me: Why do we disciple? Bible facts?
Him: Are you afraid that you might be asked something you don’t know how to answer?
Him: Do you remember how you were saved?
Him: Did you have any questions when you accepted me as your Lord and Savior?
Me: No…I just believed…
Him: Look back at what I told you last night...
I had issues on the how’s and why’s of everything. Again, I have this attitude of wanting to be good in everything I decide to do. I want to know everything there is to know. I want to be prepared.
But then again, I forgot that it’s not about me, nor my own capabilities, nor my own intellect. So that was what Psalms 3:5 meant. Trust me with all your heart and lean not on your understanding. Acknowledge me and I will make your paths straight.
I passed by that verse, even wrote it in a post-it and stuck it on my bedroom wall. But it didn’t mean anything to me (although I felt it should) until I had that conversation with God.
Christianity is never about us. Everything works to give glory to God and not credit to men. We don't change people. We don't make them believe. It is by God's grace. Now it makes sense.
Do I want to be all planned up? All geared to disciple? I can never be. My own understanding can never equate His wisdom and His plans outweighs my own.
(Oh, did I not answer the questions above? This post is not meant to answer those. I got the answer I needed. And I am satisfied.)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I didn’t find it hard to get back to sleep. The moment I closed my eyes, I knew I already passed out. Now, the strange thing happened again. The heaviness I’ve been feeling occasionally in my sleep was there again. This must be exciting!
But, no… it wasn’t! I waited for the gentle sounds I ought to hear again, but to my dismay, what appeared before me (at the left side of me, specifically) was a hideous, scary face with a devilish grin. Of course it was devilish. I realized it was him, Satan himself.
He was definitely scary and he was undoubtedly luring me with his lies. His face was so vivid I cannot put into words how he looked like. I cannot quite identify the exact things he said because I didn’t want to pay attention. Besides, it was not as if he were saying anything worth listening to. All I remember is that I had the feeling that he was somehow saying that my efforts are futile and that there is no point to battle with him any longer for he is already reigning. And he kept on laughing at me with mockery!
I must admit I was terrified. Sure I was. He was right in front of me and I couldn’t move! But I didn’t want to give him that satisfaction. (Even now he must feel like a celebrity for me to write about him. You are not, so be disappointed.) I instantly cried out to God for help and I knew He was right there with me. He is really good and faithful. I knew He wouldn’t allow me to be defeated in that encounter. I knew He wouldn’t allow any of Satan’s deception sink into me. And by God’s amazing grace, I yelled at Satan: How dare you say you reign? From the very beginning, you have already lost!
Moments later, he disappeared and I got my precious sleep back.
(That was the second time he tried invading me at my sleep and both times, he failed.)
We might not encounter Satan face to face, but we are waging war1 against him daily- in our thoughts, our behavior, our decisions, the choices we make, in our dealings with other people, in our quiet time- in every aspect every moment of our life. 2 He will not stop trying to intimidate us and to deceive us until we consider that his arguments make sense and soon believe that he is right. And if we are not grounded on our faith, we will definitely fall in his trap.
Should we be afraid? Definitely not. He is simply a roaring lion, and as children of the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Almighty and all powerful God, Satan has no longer power in us.3 We are already victorious through Jesus!
If he keeps on insisting that he is greater than us, we ought to remind him of his destination. (Revelations 12:10)
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
Maybe he just missed that tiny, yet very powerful, detail.
1 – Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
2 – 1Peter 5:8 – Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
3 – Hebrews 2:14-15 – Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death, he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is the devil and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
I've seen a link that is helpful. You may want to take a look. =)
Sunday, March 22, 2009
(1 Cor. 4:9 - For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. NIV)
If I may just repeat in bold letters, we have been made spectacle to the whole universe. (Imagine that? A SPECTACLE TO THE WHOLE UNIVERSE!) I guess that's primarily the reason why most of us wear church masks in front of people so as to define ourselves with the rest. After all, people watch every move, every word, every reaction. Christians are expected to behave in a very crucial godly way.
- We go to church. Of course it's a must.
- We pray. Oh, how we close our eyes and bow our heads with everyone else in earnest prayer!
- We guard our tongues. We can't speak bad words! But what's going on in our head?
- We say faith-filled words. God is my healer! God will provide! God has a plan for us, to prosper us and not to harm us! Music to the ears of many, eh?
When we say something, it does not necessarily follow that we believe in it a full 100%. Most often than not, people say something out loud not to express conviction but to convince themselves on its truth and validity.
I hear people in a deep mess saying these to encourage themselves. But sometimes we ought to ask, Do we really believe in what we're saying? Sometimes it gets too overrated that it loses its impact to change our lives. Some even say these bible-based encouragements and quote verses from the bible just to look spiritual, or to make themselves look holier than thou.
We can seem to be the "ideal Christians" and the entire universe may adore us on how we behave, but still, the genuineness of our hearts remain to be the main indicator of who we really are. Are we putting up a show? Are we just trying to fit in? Is our faith merely on a superficial level?
At the end of it all, it's only between us and God.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
This is a late post.
I was privileged to have attended a talk about prayer led by Ms. Mary Malinao. (Not the Mary I am referring to here). In this very popular story in the bible, it is amazing how God could be speaking more than just resurrecting Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus arrived to Judea, long after Lazarus was gone, Martha and Mary approached Jesus and said the same thing: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." But there was a greater impact in Mary's encounter than in Martha's.
It's not because Jesus loved Mary more or that he listened to Mary's request more than Martha's. Nor is it because Jesus and Mary had a relationship (just like most people believed in after reading Da Vinci code).
Martha approached Jesus in a theological point of view.
- She knew and believed that Jesus is the Son of God. That's basic but still a good point.
- She knew and believed that Jesus can do anything. Certainly. He had calmed the storm, fed thousands of people, healed the sick. And ultimately died for the forgiveness of our sins. What else can he not do?
But when Jesus revealed himself as the resurrection and the life, Martha missed that very rare opporunity to witness God's power. She simply said, Yeah Lord, I know it right? She knew Jesus is capable of making all things possible, but she didn't understand that in front of her was the God, the resurrection and the life, who could prove it right there and then. Only, she didn't ask.
On the other hand, Mary upon seeing Jesus, immediately fell at his feet. And Jesus was deeply moved. Mary approached him in a relational way.
Most of us have or try to gain a good head knowledge of who God is and the immensity of his power. Like Martha, we know the wonders he has done and we believe in his might and authority over everything. Yet, we fail to approach him as a Father listening to his child
Faith is more than just believing, because Satan also believed there is a God. It takes a deeper understanding than that. More than memorizing the bible, more than knowing all the miracles Jesus did, we are called to seek God with no pretension. Can God turn his back to a child calling out on his name?
We see God as someone distant, sitting on his throne far far away, guarded by a million of angels. We doubt if we are heard, or if we are important enough to pay attention to. But in this story, Jesus revealed himself as a God simply waiting for us to ask. He longs for us to have fellowship with him. He longs for us to know him not like how we may know the prominent people of this world through their biography, but through a personal encounter with him.
The bible tells us different description and stories of God, but only through a relationship with him that any of it will become real in our life.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Now, that's something different. We've always thought of God as a God of love and compassion. We've always taken him for granted, thinking that he'd always understand. We sin and say sorry and think that everything is all right.
When I read this verse, I was shakened. I have to say I am guilty of fooling myself with the thought that God's forgiveness is always ready and available. Sadly, that's what makes us relaxed in dealing with things. We are easily swayed by the concerns of this life that we fail to stay right on track. We tend to think that it's ok to do this now, I'll just confess later.
But with this verse, another character of God is manifested. Although it still holds true that God is forgiving, he said that he comes with a sword. We can never mock God nor can we play him on the palm of our hands. He knows our hearts and our deepest motives whether or not we admit it to ourselves. We can never hide anything from him.
However we can always be confident that he loves us no matter what, we must also bear in mind that God is just. He does not condone evil nor he lets go of a sin unpunished. It is a great reminder to us Christians to take our walk with God seriously, now that we still have time.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I was excited for the party I was supposed to attend on Vday. It was themed "True Love Waits." It was a party organized by our church intended for the youth. You know how these young people get to be too impulsive when it comes to love. They always think that this person is the one! I should know right? I've been there. I know I'm no longer considered part of the youth but I'm part of the emerging leaders for this group.
After work, I headed back home to have lunch with my dad before I take off to the party. Unfortunately, my dad was not feeling well. I was very reluctant to leave. My dad's my number one critic on my new-found faith and if I decided to leave, that would make it harder for both of us to remain in good terms when it comes to my relationship with God.
But as much as I wanted to go to the party, I had to make a choice. So I called my friend and told her I wouldn't be able to join them anymore. I couldn't bear leaving my dad sick at home while I and my brother were out celebrating valentines' day. So I remained at home and satisfied myself with watching DVD of Twilight and Heroes.
Most of the time, if I want something, I am so stubborn and selfish to get what I want. Had it been years before, I would've gone for that party without even considering my dad's condition, thinking that there's nothing else I could do. He locked himself at his room anyway. But as I continue to know God more, I know that even the littlest of my actions matter. In that very simple way, forgetting about the fun of the party even if I was ecstatic about it just the night before, and staying with my dad, I knew I've made him feel loved and it's a choice I'd never regret. It's more fun to give out of love than to get something out of personal reasons.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
As I had already lost my peace in sleeping, I decided to listen to my ipod: Book of Revelation. I set the sleep timer after 15 minutes trusting that it would not take me longer than that to fall asleep. But I guess listening at that last book of the New Testament at around 3 am was too far from hearing a lullaby, as I kept turning my ipod on after every 15-minute sleep and ended up listening to the entire 22 chapters.
It was my first time to hear Revelation even if I've always been curious about it. I don't know if it was a good idea to have had it heard, rather than read straight from the bible. I have to tell you honestly, it was scary. What would happen on the great tribulation is nothing petty. Just thinking about it makes me tremble with fear. How much more having those thoughts at 3am when the baby had already stopped crying and feeling that anything can happen any minute?
The thought of heaven and hell was the last thing on my mind while I was trying to get back to sleep. I was trying to figure out how heaven looks like and how miserable people would be in hell after the judgment day when I felt something heavy on me. I felt myself starting to detach from my own body, slowly floating in the air. I thought I was having a nightmare, but I figured it was different. It was not as if I couldn't move like how I've had my nightmares before. I just felt myself floating.
At first I panicked, thinking that it may be the rapture just as it was said in the bible. I was afraid. Death scares me, especially when it isn't my own death I'm talking about. But I realized, life after death is even more frightening when you're not certain if you will experience eternal glory with God or eternal sufferings and pain on endless fire. Am I going to heaven? The thought of the possibility of me going to hell was just so terrifying. I know I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, but He remains to be the judge.
While consumed by my worries in mid-air, I suddenly heard sounds of trumpets. It was gentle, calming, and welcoming. I began to be at peace and wondered if it were heaven calling me. I know it sounds weird but instantly, the fear of death escaped me and I said, if it's time then I'd be glad to go.
Then, I woke up at my alarm at 5am.
I don't know if it were just a byproduct of hearing the book of Revelation or a mere imagination on my sleep. I'm not even sure if it were just a dream or was it a reminder of the truth of what God has spoken of hundreds of years ago?
I've always believed in heaven. But that welcoming sounds of trumpet, whether or not it was just a dream confirmed in my innermost being that heaven does exist.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I don’t usually ask for favors, afraid that I might be turned down. I’m not used to give others burden by my requests. And I used to envy those people bold enough to just give you a smile and you’d gladly extend a hand.
I heard a message from somebody I look up to, saying everywhere she goes, God’s favor is upon her. I was one of those people whose initial reaction was ‘God must favor you more than others because you’re a bible study teacher.’
But I realized I was wrong.
Romans 3:29 says “Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God…”
If God can pour others immeasurable blessings, He can give it to anyone. He is not a God of a few, but a God of all. What He can do to one, He can do it for you.
She believed for millions-worth of house and God built it for her. She believed for big business transactions and God provided for her. She believed for healing and God was faithful to heal her.
God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His promises stand the test of time. His favors are already spoken, just waiting to be claimed. We only need to believe that our God is faithful to shower us blessings that we could never imagine.
I never realized His favors in my life, even the littlest one, until I was told that. I used to say that God can do everything but in my heart I had shameful doubts of whether He would truly grant my prayers. I used to say that I trust Him, but I never really believed that until now.
I am not to envy anyone else anymore because I am now firm that I need not plead my case with God. He always listens. It’s never a burden for Him. He is always ready to open the gates of heaven for abundance of blessing.
We are irresistible to God. All we have to do is to believe that He is able.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Who isn’t thinking of becoming successful, being happy or getting the best in this life?
Do we not wake up in the morning preoccupied on running our life and making the most of it?
Do we not sometimes look at people thinking what can we possibly get from this person? Is he an asset or liability to my race?
Or even as we walk the streets, do we not think that all eyes are on us and we’re being watched by the world?
Do we not want to get recognition for every little thing that we do? Do we not mimic a child saying “hey dad! watch me! watch what i can do!”
Talk about being self-absorbed.
We are so consumed by ourselves that we sometimes think that the world has to stop and care for us, to listen and give us what we want.
Do we not like those people or guys (he he sorry) who just love to talk about their curriculum vitae and enumerate all their accomplishments, then give you 5 seconds to comment an “ah” or “ok” or maybe applaud? then continue rambling?
The ‘me-attitude’ is always not the best option.
In life, I think the more we focus on ourselves, the more we find that too much is lacking. Sometimes, when we shift our focus from ourselves, to what we can do for others, it’s where we find true fulfillment.
I’ve read a book once saying our own comfort comes when we give comfort to others. Financial sufficiency comes from sparing some of our own for others. It’s hard to understand but it works.
Most of the time, there are far greater things in this world than our own. And since we are concentrated with our own little world, we neglect to recognize our responsibility with other people and yes I believe we have.
Sometimes, it isn’t just about us anymore.
Friday, January 23, 2009
They say that the true character of a person is manifested when he's stressed or under pressure. I'm also guilty of being improper when I'm tired. When my staff asks me practically everything, when they throw on me all the unresolved problems of clients, and when they give me the last say on every decision to be made, I just transform into a green-eyed monster for a moment.
Of course after my outburst, I'd realize my mistake. There was even one time that I gathered them all together to apologize for my misbehaviors. Some business owners would advice that I don't get to excuse any decisions I make or anything I want to say or when I should say it. But I feel otherwise. I also deal with human beings whom I may have caused emotional trauma because of my own emotional instability. I don't think admitting mistakes would make me less of a person or a boss for that matter.
Anyway, maybe I have passed on my panic and distress to my staffs. For over a week now, when bulk of transactions come in, I just feel no harmony in the office. They get irritated with each other easily and they blame each other for petty mistakes. I couldn't stand hearing them not getting along well (at my watch!).
I intended to talk with them and settle whatever misunderstandings they have. But just this morning, I was really amazed when one of my staffs approached me and told me that everything was already settled among them. Apparently, she prayed about it last night and instantly, she received a message from her co-employee apologizing for her behavior. What a fast answer was that!
I was thinking, I never thought of praying about it! I was so overwhelmed by too much distraction at work and I never even thought of praying about it! Did I think I could handle it myself? Did I think it was too petty to ask?
Even that tiny little detail of her existence, and she prayed about it! I seldom do that. I got too focused on my busyness and when she prayed, I felt it was as if I were called to be more in tune with God.
Just a realization.