Wednesday, February 18, 2009

With a Sword

Matthew 10:34 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. "

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

A Choice on Vday

I know this may be too delayed already for my Valentine's entry. But it doesn't mean I can't write about it anymore, right?

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

Near-Death or Dream?

3 am. I was awakened by my one-month old niece's cry. I share the same room with her and her mom. Instead of being annoyed, I couldn't help myself laughing at the sound of the baby's cry as if she were crying her heart out, pleading for someone (my sister) to give her some milk.

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

When others seem to get more favors easily

There are some people who don’t have to ask, more so to plead in order to get favors. They just have this irresistible charm that you just cannot say no to. Oftentimes, you go the extra mile just to give them whatever they request from you.

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

When it isn't about you this time

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.