Warm welcome, sad goodbyes

With thanksgiving and praise I will trust the story He’s writing for me.

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As I look behind from where I am now
All things seem as fresh as yesterday.
Wrong decisions and broken vows
Coupled with victories and unforgettable hoorays.

Where would I be if not for the grace of God?
My failures might have overtaken me, led me astray, left me dwelling in the mud.
But here I am strong and standing still!
Trudging the path of life, trying to follow His will.

Failures of yesterday are stepping stones of tomorrow’s victory,
And my little successes intricately shapes my history.
God has a purpose for me — it’s heavenward, I see.
And always I will claim it ’til I reach eternity.

As I bade farewell to the memories of the past,
And as a new chapter is about to be cast,
I will look up to heaven with great expectancy.
With thanksgiving and praise I will trust the story He’s writing for me.

Oh Lord, I trust in Thee!

To the One who has set me free

At the cross you’ve shown me
A perfect love that has set me free.

No costly gifts to give,
No sumptuous food to share.
Only my praises to offer
With nothing else to spare.

A simple poem is all I have,
Words that came from within.
But still words aren’t enough
To express gratitude for forgiving my sins.

What more shall I offer
When you own everything?
Though I give my all
For you, would it mean a thing?

At the cross you’ve shown me
A perfect love that has set me free.
Sacrifices from me you do not ask
You just want me to accept Your love that will ever last.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

Why is Life so Unfair?

Whenever unfair situations in life brings us down, Jesus will lift us up.

It was a fine morning. I woke up early full of expectations that the day will be full of surprises. I went to school earlier than the usual. I did my assignment all by myself. For personal reasons, I deliberately entered the classroom late. everything was fine, until…

I entered the classroom and I saw some of my classmates checking their respective assignments (which was supposed to be done by their seatmates). But that’s not all! One of my classmates borrowed my treasured work and copied it, in a hurry, so as not to be noticed by our professor (Sigh! If she only knew how I value my work, but I guess she’s already insensitive to that, having done that for how many years I think). Adding to my frustration, while our professor is discussing the correct answers, some of my classmates are still doing their supposedly homework and takes no heed of the authority in front of them.

Life is so unfair, isn’t it? These unfair incidences in life makes me realize how the world has gone corrupt these days, and how far people have strayed away from God. However, as I’ve checked the Scriptures regarding life’s unfairness, here are the points God showed me:

1. God’s plan for life was marred by sin. Sin, the most detestable thing to God, spoiled everything in God’s wonderful plan. Supposedly, we are entitled for a life of abundance and consistent fellowship with the Creator, but sin ruined everything. Imagine the kind of life we’ll enjoy if all our needs are met because our Creator is just beside us (literally). But we cant blame them (Adam and Eve of course) for we ourselves are also sinners, and our sins are increments to the scars of God’s wonderful plan for our lives.

2. We are not of this world. Paul told about it, as well as the author of the book of Hebrews. Life here on earth is just temporary, and is fleeting. We are not really for ephemeral realm, but rather for an eternal dwelling place. Life here on earth is just a preparation on where we’ll spend our eternity. God allows frustrating things to happen to test us on how dependent are we to the One who has the power to save us from eternal damnation. Life here on earth is nothing as compared to the eternal life God has prepared for us.

Troubles may be too little or too big to handle, but rest assured, Jesus had overcame them, and we too will overcome!

3. Jesus Himself told about troubles and frustrations in this world. “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!” This is one of the most assuring verses in the Bible. It says that Jesus has acknowledged the life would not be complete if troubles will not take its place. These troubles may be too little or too big to handle, but rest assured, Jesus had overcame them, and we too will overcome!

4. Sometimes (or most of the time) we deliberately disobey God, thus making our lives miserable. Disobedience (and partial obedience) deserves punishment. God is just, and He will do whatever He has said. As His special creation, we are to reflect His holiness. “Be holy for I am holy”, says the Lord. And if we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God — Hebrews 10:26-27

5. The whole world is under the control of the evil one. This is the truth that is really hard to accept. John has said it in 1 John 5:19. If Satan is already the one taking hold of the whole world, what should we expect? Shall we expect fairness? Shall we expect happiness? Shall we expect justice? Definitely no. So we should be doubly careful, for the end of all things is near. Let us be clear-minded and be more serious in our prayers — 1 Peter 4:7

However, Jesus left us with a hope. He is our refuge and our strength. Whenever unfair situations in life brings us down, Jesus will lift us up. Above all, He promised us that when He returns, all the miseries and frustrations we have due to unfairness of life will soon come to an end.

Why should I not yoke with unbelievers?

I was bothered. I really don’t know what to do. I felt the urge to decide. I know that the Holy Spirit is telling me something, and my response should be done urgently. I was puzzled, and apprehensive. I want to reason out, but I know I won’t wind, (never will I win, rather). So I prayed…

And His response was:

“Do not be yoked with unbelievers” 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

It is a well-known principle among Christian teens, and is common to all believers. But I have almost forgotten about it. I pretended to be innocent about the truth it says and God revealed three reasons why should I put to an end a relationship that I keep on insisting.

I. We do not have something in common (vs.14-16)
I am a temple of the living God and He lives in me. If I keep on associating with someone who is walking in darkness, nothing good will happen. Just like a clear water mixed with water full of dirt, so as with a believer and an unbeliever having mutual relationship. It is obvious: Bad company corrupts good character. (Jesus took away our sins and made us new creations, made alike in His glory. So it is just proper to keep ourselves from the world’s wickedness). Not having mutual association with an unbeliever is not an act of arrogance; it is an act of obedience to the One who took away our sins and Who gave us a promise of eternal life.

II. God has something in store for me (vs.17-18)
God says, “touch no unclean thing and I will receive you”. God does not delight in the wickedness of men, so it’s detestable to Him if I come into His presence with unclean hands and hearts. Also, He gave me a promise, “that He will be my Father, and I will be His son”. If our biological father delights in giving us our needs and wants, how much more our Heavenly daddy, who owns everything? (In fact He even gave His precious Son to show his undying love for us). So, He assured me that I should only ask for “His will” and wait for her. And when the day comes when “His will” and I meet, my JOY would be complete.

III. As an act of reverence for God (vs.7:1)
When we associate with unbelievers, we often forget that we are Christians, and eventually we sin. How much more if the relationship with an unbeliever is mutual? God commands that we should purify ourselves from anything that contaminates body and spirit. Indulging yourself in ungodly acts with an unbelieving partner brings contamination in the body (in form of sickness such as STDs) and in the spirit (in the form of sin). God just wants to spare me from these things so He wants me to stop arguing with Him and start obeying Him.

I had already made a decision; to act for my decision should follow. If making a decision is too hard, acting in accordance with such decision would be doubly hard. But I know God, who helps me ever since — will give me the courage to do what He wants.

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Rhetorical Questions

If you are in the midst of trouble right now, always remember: God wants you to depend on Him.

When I first entered Children’s Ministry, I thought it is very easy. I thought I just have to learn how to keep children from roaming around whenever classes are going on, giving them pieces of paper to draw their favorite Bible characters or scenarios, make them listen to their teacher, listening to their (sometimes) silly stories, etc. Pero mali pala. Children’s Ministry is not just about playing with children nor keeping them in an area where they could not disturb others. Children’s Ministry, just like others, is meant to transform lives — not just the children themselves, but their families and communities as well. Nakapanghihinayang nga lang kasi natutunan ko ang prinsipyong ito after so many frustrations (at hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin ako tinatantanan ng mga ito!)

Marami-rami na rin akong pinagdaanan with regards to Children’s Ministry, and I almost broke out. Madalas kong tinatanong sa sarili ko kung worthy nga ba ako sa gawaing ito. The work is too noble for me, and I have a lot of doubts reagrding my competence. Maraming experiences na ang pinagdaanan ko sa naturang gawain. And most of these experieces, hindi ko malilimutan yung mga painful, yung mga frustrating. And these experiences gave birth to my questions:

Why does God allow His workers fell neglected?

Why does God alllow HIs workers suffer nights with tears?

Though I prayed hard about the task God gave me, why does it end a failure? (Of course in my own perspective)

Why is it a life dedicated to His service is full of struggles? Isn’t that God promised an abundant and happy life?

Why is it that some people have no appreciation, nor didn’t even recognize my efforts in the ministry? (Wala lang, nakakapanghina lang kasi kung hindi ka pinapansin di ba? But I don’t have bitterness within me, I’m just asking…)

At ang pinakahuli at pinakaimportante kong tanong sa lahat:

Is a dedicated heart enough to continue serving through ministry?

Well, with all these questions in mind, I’ve realized how foolish and childish am I with regards to knowledge about God. Para ko na ring sinabi na hindi God si God. Para na rin pala akong nag-deny na may pinaniniwalaan akong Diyos.

These questions in my mind are but rhetorical. “Napakagaling ni Lord!”, I told myself. Ako na rin mismo ang sumagot sa sarili kong mga tanong. Then I remembered a very familiar story. One that I often relate with my students nang maging teacher na ako sa Children’s Ministry — the story of JOB.

God wants me to endure tears, pain and anguish, not because He just wants me to, but rather because He wants me to see how wonderful and awesome His love is.

Kung si Job nga, inspite of his righteousness, was allowed by God to suffer nights with tears, pain and anguish, ako pa kaya? Who am I compared with Job? Pero sa kabila ng lahat ng paghihirap niya, he received the crown of his perseverance sa piling ni Lord. Likewise, God wants me to endure tears, pain and anguish, not because He just wants me to, but rather because He wants me to see how wonderful and awesome His love is. Truly, His ways are so incomprehensible, and His works, ah! AWESOME…

“And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”
Job 26: 14

Essence: If you are in the midst of trouble right now, always remember: God wants you to depend on Him. Kung wala kang trouble, you would probably tell yourself: “I do not need God!” But thanks be to God, because He wants us to depend on Him.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5: 7