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Archive for the tag “Spirituality”

Moon and Stars

I did something crazy. In fact, for a woman it’s an upshot of desperation and foolishness combined. It’s a mixture of not being able to stay still and my unbelief on the power and sovereignty of God. So let’s just leave it at that–I did something crazy, desperate, and stupid.

I would like to draw some inspiration from the story of Abram in Genesis 12. Abram feared for his life, so he asked his wife, Sarai to tell the people of Egypt that she is instead his sister.  To preserve his life, he was willing to sacrifice his wife. I did the same thing to someone. I lied so I can escape further humiliation and embarrassment.

I wouldn’t know how my lies had ruined God’s good plans. I fear for its repercussions. Will I suffer the same fate as that of Abram and Lot, and Abram and Hagar? How much of what I did would spiral out of control? Well, just as I finished typing the last letter of the last word of that last sentence, I knew the answer is not as important as knowing that God is in control and that His ways are higher than my ways. My friend, as she patiently peruses through my rambling messages on Facebook, wisely summed it up with this verse from Psalm 139:16Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

God will never run out of love, grace, and mercy, and they are all there for the taking. I was a bit resolute to go for a short run today at the park, so I went. I was positive that running will somehow get my mind off my messes and fears. And by God’s amazing grace, under the pale light burst of the unusually big moon set on the dusty Manila sky, He reminded me of that special scene where God took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5) 

Just 3 chapters away from whence Abram took a detour and lied about Sarai being his wife and yet God, full of grace and mercy, still chose Abram to bear and experience His amazing love and promises.

The moon, the landscape, the lights, Oh! they were so magical and mysterious and awesome, just like God’s promises for me. I know He will keep His word in spite of what I’ve done. There is no condemnation in Jesus. I know He’s not finished yet. More good is yet to come.

 

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The Malcontent

It’s easier to drown ourselves with negative thoughts. We are fed with lies that tell us to expect and hope less. We’ve grown accustomed to despair, depression, and cynicism. As a result, we lose a big chunk of our joyful and peaceful self that we couldn’t live life anymore without our insecurities and fear, because we feel that without them, we are nothing.

When blessings came pouring in, we fail to recognize the works of God ‘s hand, who has pulled off amazing stunts and little miracles just so we can live inside His grace and love. We and the enemy rob treasures of joys from ourselves, until it drains us, leaving us with no vision and desire to share Jesus to others; worse, it prods us to live dissatisfied lives, as if nothing will ever go right. We become malcontents.

malcontent

noun

: a person who is always or often unhappy or angry about something

Here’s what the Bible has to say about malcontents.

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones,to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. Jude 14 – 16

And this has made me realize how important it is to have a “gratitude attitude” and to hold on tightly on the truth found in the Word of God. Where it is sometimes easier to entertain cynical and negative thoughts, the Bible calls us to “turn [our] back on the turbulent desires of youth and give [our] positive attention to goodness, faith, love, and peace.”

It is important that we remain vigilant. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” We become malcontents or grumblers because we let evil thoughts linger in our minds. From thoughts, to feelings, to actions. And I have caught myself time and again a victim of this process. Sin is born within this cycle, from envy, lust, gossip, to anger and murder. Let us, then, take heed what this verse is reminding us:

Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life. Proverbs 4:23 NCV

Shame, the Condemning Teacher

There’s this friend that I haven’t seen for a very long time. I couldn’t even remember the last time I spoke to her, until one night she called me and we had the best conversation, talking about mistakes and how God has been teaching us the value of humility.

I never knew that God can use my pain from the past and the shame caused by my arrogance to reconnect with a long lost friend. Years ago, I experienced rejection after rejection. I jumped from one job to another.

No job was good enough for me. I blamed everyone for everything. I quit anytime I want even if it meant causing my company trouble. I just didn’t care.I’m good at what I do. That’s all that matters, I told myself. It was only a matter of time ’til the consequences of having a proud attitude found me at my weakest point.

I wish I didn’t have to go through it all. I wish I listened to my parents and saved myself the disgrace and pain of being kicked out of a job. I wish I had corrected my attitude earlier. I wish I didn’t gone far out from God. But the amazing thing is, God can use my pain to connect and minister to others, who are going through the same thing.

It is only by God’s grace that my experience can also serve as a warning plan to teach others not to go through the same mistakes. I haven’t had a talk like that with my friend since we became friends. But I trust that by the time we hung up the phone, she knew that she has a friend to whom she can confide with without any fear of judgment and condemnation.

I pray that through my story, she will also learn that God loves those whom he disciplines and that brokenness is not the end but a start to discover and emulate the humility displayed by Jesus Christ.

A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not ignore. Psalm 51:17

When the soul has laid down its fault at the feet of God, it feels as though it had wings. -Eugenie de Guerin

Why are You Sorry

Rhett Butler, played by Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind, playfully and adoringly told Scarlet O’hara, who was then played by Vivien Leigh, “You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.”

In my weakness and foolishness, I most of the time act this way. Crying out loud, feigning repentance not because I was a hundred percent sorry for what I did, let alone sorry that I disobeyed and displeased God; I was sorry because I couldn’t anymore escape the consequences of my actions and I fear the consequences more than the insult I brought upon God through my actions.

I have been asking God for forgiveness not knowing that my heart does not truly desire to make amends with Jesus whom I so offended. I was just so afraid of what my sins entail that I needed to come to God for Him to clean up my mess. How selfish asking for forgiveness can be I didn’t know up until now, when this verse from 2 Corinthians 7:10 was used in today’s message at church:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret from that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. (NLT)

Even when asking for His forgiveness, we need the grace of God. We need His wisdom to see it His way. Our sorrow and pain have to point us to Him and to the repentance that is fitting for a Savior like Him. I confessed to Jesus that I could not bring myself to change the selfish motivations behind my prayers.

The truth was I just wanted to never suffer the consequences of my sins and then, go on and enjoy the goodness of the remaining days of my life. I want to hate and forsake my sins, I want to turn around, but this desire to change was not driven by love–love that crazily yearns to please God. It was a desire driven by fear now that I’ve seen the consequences.

And so, I asked for God’s mercy. “I’m asking my Father, my Jesus to give me a life that is ALL for Him, wanting to obey Him completely, never wanting to hurt, offend, and insult Him. I want to forsake sin all because I love Him and I fear hurting and disobeying Him more than my sins’ consequences. Father, I don’t want to be one of the lukewarm Christians anymore, who want to go to heaven while in their hearts wishing they can enter it without loving and obeying You. Mercy, O Lord. I beg for Your mercy.” This was how my prayer went as I felt guilt killing my peace and as fear paralyzed me.

Then, as I was looking for a particular verse from Proverbs to share with a friend, I accidentally skimmed through this verse:

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but he whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

To caught an eye on such a verse that directly answers my prayer is just so amazing. It is God’s mercy and grace working! I don’t deserve this and I know that no matter how hard I work for it, I will never be worthy of so much as to speak His most precious Name. This is His love.This is how much He loves….

Once Ashamed to Stand Up for Jesus

I’ve just finished watching God’s Not Dead.
God's_Not_Dead
I am one for cinematic, breath-taking and critically acclaimed movies and I won’t pretend that God’s Not Dead is one of them. Yet it’s moved me to do one of the most important things one can ever do in life: first is to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and second, which I would emphatically talk about, is to proclaim the good news to the whole world.

There are no accidents in life. Like the multiple mentions I gathered today on Matthew 10:32 is no coincidence. It was one the verses used in the movie to move the protagonist named Josh Wheaton to go face-to-face with his professor as the defendant and the rest of his class as the jury and convince them that–well, God’s not dead.

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”

And the truth is I have been a lukewarm Christian, avoiding discussions about Jesus most especially with my parents. I couldn’t take that risk, that leap of faith. I have been a coward. And this movie showed me the kind of mediocre faith I profess.

This quote from C.S Lewis produced the same effects on me as it did on Josh.

“Only a real risk tests the quality of a belief.”

So I asked myself, “What real risk have I taken for Jesus?” Francis Chan said in his book Crazy Love, “Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God.”

To think that I pride myself for being a risk-taker. When I am asked about the few good qualities that I possess, I would unabashedly answer risk-taker. But I couldn’t take losing my face, losing everything for Jesus. How can this be when all there is in life only points out to Him? What good am I if not to give my 100% to the one true King?

A month ago, I volunteered to usher for a photo exhibit that the Missions ministry in our church organized. And I read in that exhibit that according to statistics, everyday, 100,000 people enter eternity without Christ; one-third of the people in the world do not even know a Christian who could tell them about Jesus. It was good research but my stance remained the same: I have to wait until my life embodies and mirrors what a true Christian really should be. But when is that perfection going to happen?

I have been hiding behind my pretentious rationale while millions of people live and die as a lost sheep.

I ought to do better for the One who died and gave up His life for me.

Turn My Water into Wine

I have cringed in shame.

In shame, a life under curse has lain.

Every day I labor and pray.

This heart, this soul needs change.

 

Truths frees and some stings:

Like knowing that inside, wickedness never flees.

This weight of sadness presses on,

like a jar of not so potable water that I have to drink on.

 

But before I came to be, you knew my water can never run as deep

So, you came in so much slick, in your own time, steady and humbly

while I’m being poured to my own reek;

married to darkness, engaged in a lifetime of ignominy

 

I have called and perhaps not,

yet you knocked and listened to an insolent pride.

You stirred me in love and gentleness

my empty jars, you filled with future and promises

 

From your truth, grace and peace whence emerge my Vine,

Always, you would invite, ‘Come and I will turn your shame into wine.’

You lifted my curse, patched waves into my staleness

and for this, I have longed and thirst for what all men have yearned so long ago.

A Savior.

 

Is He Asking You to Stay?

Is He Asking You to Stay?

Most of the time we think that waiting is only a waste of time. But for God, waiting on Him is proof that we trust in Him and that we depend on His power and might rather than our own strength.

The Enemy in the Self

The Enemy in the Self

Hello readers!

I’m inviting you to visit my new blog, Impart with an Umbrella, where I generously and unabashedly share my walk as a Christian. It is my desire that my work will mirror God’s love and His great power that never fail to transform lives. I hope that more and more readers will be able to relate to my stories of victories, struggles, and failures and that they may be a beacon of light filled with the warmth of God’s hand embracing you with the encouragement and comfort that all of us desired to have. 🙂

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