Wednesday, August 31, 2011

God Comforts Us All

2 Corinthians 1

Dear God,

I cannot continuously deny the fact that I am aware of the troubles my family is going through right now. It is not just simple financial problems, but more so of spiritual and relational ones. It is one trouble I am avoiding to worry about, but I do know that I must help out as a sister and daughter.

I do not really know what to do, God aside from praying, which sometimes, I even have the lack of it. It is no joke that simple dysfunctions is leading to (and I hope not) major relationship problems.

I have this feeling that what seems to be petty before– not confronting a fault, not being showy enough of one’s gratefulness and daily selfish choices, turned out to be something really bad for all of us. There is lack of trust from child to parent and respect from sibling to sibling.

I used to think that the only problem that we really have is on the financial aspect; and had there been no instability, we’d really way better. And that’s why ever since, that is something that not only I have been working on. But lately, it is apparent that it’s not the major problem at all. It is really the spiritual aspect, I believe so… I know that once this is corrected, everything will just follow.

God, why do I have this feeling that I am a major factor in bringing our family together? I know that I am not the only one who is concerned, but I really feel that I have a role in establishing unity in our home. But I am far away… And for now, I admit that I am comfortable of being distant. I am enjoying the independence that I get to have. And the less trouble it causes me to be at home -- where I could get easily discouraged of our situation. I am also certain that I know it is not yet time. I don’t want to go home until I am financially stable enough to help out.

God, please help me do my part, may it be in the financial or the spiritual aspect. Please don’t ease me in the burden of helping my family. But help me so in reminding me of my responsibilities. Give me the compassion that I have before in helping out, especially Mama and my other “still dependent” siblings.

God, I hope that you will allow me the time that I will be able to spoil my parents and siblings because of the fruits of my labor. Please teach me not to be selfish, teach me to endure the situation that I am now in. I know that all these personal achievements are nothing in the end, had I not shared it to others, especially my loved ones.

Thank You, God for the comfort and strength that you have given since I started my life away from home. Thank you for the peace of mind in spite of my personal struggles and problems at home. Thank You, Father for the overflowing comfort that I may give comfort, too. I will always ask of You, Lord for the wisdom that I should not rely on my own, but You alone. Surely, You are my Rock. I will rely on Your promises, oh God. Help me to do my part, in thoughts and deeds. Thank You so much for the assurance that everything will turn out good for Your greater glory, my Teacher.

Your daughter,


He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. (v.4)
We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. (v.12)
And you are helping us by praying for us. (v.11)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Compromise = Divided Loyalty

James 1
I get up early with the intention to go to church, and suddenly I heard the rain. Now, I’m torn in between. As always. Will I go today or not? Five more minutes, I say. And I’ll sleep the “extra” time away. 5, 10, 15.. My body and my spirit are battling. The decision lies in me on which side I will give victory. It’s been always like this. A constant struggle. A constant battle.
Just yesterday, I know that I need to finish a journal as part of the training. But I gave in to the temptation to watch a movie, which I could have done afterwards. The result, as expected, I wasn’t able to reflect on this chapter. And I’m catching up. Which is really my priority? Why did I give in so easily? My mind justifies my decision that I know I had spent most of my time on church activities this weekend, by far. Excuses! I know that I must do it because I’m on training. And I want to be successful on this training; I have to get my spirit back on track.
The examples above are what I’ve been trying to do. But those are only two out of the many things I’m always torn in between – refusing to endure, refusing to persevere. A bottle of beer. Hard rock music. Dressing way too sexy. Being late and overtime to compensate.  All those comprises... Oh, how I always refuse hard work in the spiritual arena. Christian living is really hard, I must admit.
Compromises are the easiest way out; yet are the ones with the worst consequences. Even worldly wisdom suggests that. The most dangerous safe is playing safe.  Compromise is divided loyalty. And His Word warns us of this. Be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. (v.6) Compromise is still disobedience. By not doing anything, we are still not following Him. Disobedience is not only when we do the opposite things but also in being in middle ground. This compromise or disobedience is also divided loyalty, which eventually results to failure. Even this is proven in other areas of our lives, especially in our business and relationships.
I believe that God is calling to my mind the compromises I have gotten myself into. And that I must endure rather than escape. I am with the wisdom that first, I must accept that I have a cross to bear, like Christ. This cross represents the troubles I encounter every day and the temptations because of my sinful nature. Temptation comes from our on desires, which entices us and drags as away. (v.14). Second, by acknowledging this fact, I must also bear in mind that my cross—the troubles and temptations, will make me grow in faith. When troubles come your way, consider it as an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow (v.2-3) The weight of my cross then is proportional to my spiritual growth, if I responded according to His Word. And third, yes there will always be a battle but in the end, we are convicted of our victory in Christ over evil.
In following Jesus I must not compromise, but I must endure. To endure is to continue to live through hardship or adversity. I must follow Christ who never changes. God never changes or casts a shifting shadow. (v.17) I am holy, because He is holy and that I must refuse to let the world corrupt me (v.27)
For every trouble, God has a promise. And for this, His Word says, God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. (v.12)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

With All My Heart

Deutoronomy 6

A short reflection on the chapter…
I have always known it is hard
To take the stand, the righteous stand
But I have always known from the start
It is the best way, there’s no other plan
As a maiden remains loyal to her lover
As a man’s regard for his comrade
As a heart who won’t wait for another
May I persevere, till my Savior’s return
I have always known it is hard
To take the stand, the righteous stand
I pray that I may discern with all my heart
To know, trust and commit my life -- into Your plan.
Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul and mind.

Thorn in the Flesh

2 Corinthians 12

So to keep from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. (v.12)

I think that everyone of us has been given a thorn in the flesh, and even Paul is not exempted. To each individual is a thorn unique in its own. In Paul’s case, his thorn in the flesh is the one that keeps him from becoming proud. Paul, being one of the greatest characters in the Bible, has everything to boast of. He has a long list of accomplishments in his lifetime. He was the one who had the 360-degree turn—from being the greatest persecutor of the Christians (as Saul) to becoming the apostle of the Gentiles, which constitutes majority of the population.

I think that some of us has overlooked this passage in the Bible, that Paul, after all his suffering from the external forces—hardships and persecutions, has an internal suffering, too. That is, his thorn in the flesh. And from here we begin to wonder why God allows this matter? If I come to think of it, as Christians, we suffer the same. Yes, there are insults and persecutions we get from unbelievers of our being “self-righteous” and all the blahs. While at the same time, there is also the constant struggle between our flesh and spirit within. There is also that certain pull backwards when we try to uplift ourselves more than what we wish to do. Isn’t there too much suffering, Lord?

Yes there is, but it is only at this point, when our dependence on God comes in. That we may not boast by our own spirit, but by His Spirit alone. It is only at this point we are being filled when we recognize His power, working in our lives. My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. (v.8) Take note of the word “best”; miracles only happen in the worst of times.

Sometimes, I could really blame myself in the fact that I’m not as confident and strong-willed as I wish to be. Not as strong in overcoming recurring temptations, and even not as bold in sharing in God’s Word. But if I am to think about it, where will God’s role come into my life if I am perfect? When will be the times will I pray for his help if I am all these? I guess given all that, I won’t have the “dependence” on Him. Without my dependence on God, there will be no sweetness in my relationship with Him. There will be no time that I will be grateful of my blessings. And there will be no joy in overcoming temptations and improvements, knowing that I did it all myself; when after all, every overcoming comes from Him alone. I won’t recognize God’s power, when I do not have this thorn in the flesh.

I hope that I will be like Paul, having the wisdom to rejoice in his weaknesses and sufferings. And I hope to understand better my thorns in the flesh – that I may not see it as a burden. And that someday I could say, That’s why I take pleasure in my weakness, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (v.10) … because it is only when I am weak, that God’ Spirit will be working within me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Wife of Noble Character: Revisited

Proverbs 31: 10 -31

I am not certain how many times I have read this chapter of the Holy Bible. Obviously, this is one of my favorites - a classic. For one thing, it has always been my prayer to be an excellent woman, just as it had been told here, thousands of years ago. Every time I read the passage, I always get inspired, hoping to be like her. I do not want to question the possibility of being like her, though she is one perfect package. I would not want to think it’s my idealism playing again, but I’d rather put it, my spirit is responding to what God calls me to be. And yes, it is not only me I know, but God is defining the woman one ought to be. And this is what He wants to tell me of how you and I could be, in line with God’s will:

A wife of noble character that she is and I am going to be…

She is a wife of an honorable man.
First, God speaks that I will be a virtuous wife, one whom a man could be truly proud of. I am going to be a blessing to my husband. I will bring him good and not harm, all the days of my life (v.12). And I will be grateful to do so. My husband is a dignified and respectable leader of the society. He is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. (v.23)

She is creative & a hard worker.
I will rise up early to prepare breakfast for my household (v.15) I will carefully watch everything in my household, and I will not suffer from laziness (v.27). I will learn practical skills. (v.13, 22 & 24)
She is rich & dignified.
I am going to be rich -- having servants, and I will plan out their day’s work. (v.15)

She is in good health.
I will be energetic and physically fit. (v.17)

She is a businesswoman.
I am going to be knowledgeable in business, and not ignorant. I am going to inspect a field and buy it. (v.15). I will make sure that my dealings are profitable (v.18)

She is generous.
I will extend my helping hand to the poor and open my arms to the needy. (v.20)
She prepares for the future.
I am not going to be afraid of hard times because everyone in my household is secured, dressed in scarlet clothes. (v.21)

She is exquisitely dressed.
I will be a model of elegance -- dressed in fine linen and purple gowns. (v.22) How wonderful could it be!

She is strong & confident.
I will be strong; confident and not worry-some of the future. I will laugh without fear of life’s uncertainties. (v.25)
She is gentle & full of wisdom.
I will speak wise words, and I will give instructions with kindness. I will be a good mentor. (v.26)

She is a mother of happy children.
Lastly, God says that he is going to bless me with my own family -- having children and they will bless me, as my husband praises me. (v.28)

How wonderful God’s promises are.  He is both the best designer and role model of the life’s finest characters. He is the greatest noble one could ever meet. He sets standards for His children, as He prepares them for His kingdom. And again, God is whispering in my heart that I am His daughter. I am a King’s daughter! And though how far I am to the wife of noble character, I know that he is molding me to be one someday. His Word is true; it brings renewed hope, refreshing my soul. J

Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. (v.30)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our Story Untold

I woke up this morning with the biggest grin on my face, seeing my newly waxed leg on your bulging stomach. Oh, how funny it is, for the night before I made you do the regimen after beating you in a game of cards, poker that is, in three straight rows. I dunno if I was just lucky enough. But I would like to believe I am good at it, modesty aside. And I never wanna entertain the thought that you just let me win! You are good at almost anything, you know. My superman.

Of all the many things you are good at, I am amazed in the way you handle someone like me – sensitive, idealistic & vain. Maybe you are just like me, too, as we often try to understand why we clicked. Maybe it’s just us having same interests and perceptions in life or maybe we’re both too empathetic. I really cannot tell, till now. I just know that at one point in our lives, we knew we really have something special together, that understanding – which not only the two of us felt.

I looked at the corner of your room, just a little above the bookshelf, and sighed to myself. “Ah, there it is”. It’s nothing but our picture taken just a week ago, together with the dogs, on one of our jogging trips. I insisted you replace our formal studio pic, for it is too old school. And you just as obediently followed without much question, replacing our rehearsed smiles with the natural ones. That’s what I really liked about you, my superman. For you just let me be. One time, you joked about liking the fact of putting me in authority, though for most part of your life, you always wanna be the one in-charge.

I reached out for your big hand and stroked it, admiring that it is one of a hard worker. Not the manual laborer’s kind of appeal, but still a hard worker’s hand. I smiled. Your dark complexion matches my fair one pretty well. I never thought I would be this fair, comparing to the younger me in college, where we didn’t have a knack for each other then. For a couple of times last night you asked, “Will you ever be sun-kissed again?” And we both laughed, recalling our snorkeling in Coron, where I admittedly forgot to bring enough sunblock to survive the violent UV rays. We both ended up with that “burnt look” for weeks. More so for you, my moreno-turned-negro lover! ‘Twas really funny. And for countless times you had to assure me that I still look OK – me with the “burnt look” in my corporate dress.

You surprised me with a kiss on my left cheek. “Good morning, muffins.”

To be continued…