Wanting Season | Waiting Season

The vessel must first be prepared before the water is poured out. Twenty five years may be a long season to wait but remember, God-sized promises require mountain-moving faith.

Have you ever tried waiting for something that seems to be too elusive? I tell you, you are not alone.

Abram was given overwhelming promises by God. He was promised to be a father of many nations, as numerous as the stars in the sky and sand on the sea. What a promise! Now, if only Abram is at the prime of his youth and his wife, Sarai was not barren. But we know the story. God fulfilled his promise to Abram and indeed, he became the father of many nations – the father and epitome of faith.

It took the couple 25 years of waiting for the fulfillment of the promise that they will bear a child. By the time God was ready to fulfill His oath, Sarai was already 90, and Abram 100. It was very humanly impossible for them to bear a child, and yet God delivered his end of the covenant.

Now let’s talk about the 25 years of waiting. T-W-E-N-T-Y-F-I-V-E years. Let that sink in for a moment.

I could think of a lot of things the couple would have thought about the promise while waiting. Perhaps they just ran out of options so they just “going with the flow” about the promise. Perhaps they have been tired of waiting so “come what may, we’ll lose nothing anyway”. Perhaps they just keep themselves preoccupied daily so they will not feel the pain of longing for a child during the day, and just shrug off the feeling during their solitary moments. Promises are supposed to energize us, and perhaps it also energized and kept the couple in high hopes! But 25 years, really?

We can only guess, and the Bible is silent.

Oh, but it gave us an account when after a few years since the first promise was given, Sarai, still barren, tried to help God to fulfill His promise of a child when she urged her husband to sleep with her maidservant Hagar. This act, though outrageous in today’s standards, was a common practice during Abram’s period of time.

Yet God was not happy with it.

Sarai did not inquire of the Lord, and Abram willingly obliged with his wife’s urging. The result: a patch up solution to a God-sized situation. Ishmael, the son born out of the maidservant, is not in the plan, and it resulted to a generational problems for his descendants. This reminds me of Eve urging Adam to take a bite of the forbidden fruit, leading to disaster. I see a pattern here – when the man of the house refuses to take the helm of authority in his household when he is clearly in the capacity to do so, problems arise. But this calls for another topic. When we try to fulfill the promise in a way that is not what God intended, it will not result in the blessings that God has promised.

As we wait upon the Lord, our longings are amplified and the temptation to “take over” is at its peak. Waiting makes us stronger, but it will sift us first. It will reveal us, scrutinize us, and bring us to our knees. Waiting is not easy. If it is, then patience will no longer be considered a virtue. Waiting makes us vulnerable – it separates the impatient from the virtuous.

Waiting is not easy. If it is, then patience will no longer be considered a virtue. Waiting makes us vulnerable – it separates the impatient from the virtuous.

The Israelites failed in waiting for Moses as he was in the mountain, communing with God. King Saul failed in waiting for Samuel and took the role that wasn’t meant for him. In Jesus’ parable, the lazy servant who was given one talent failed in his “waiting season”, so as the half of the ten virgins as they wait for the bridegroom. Sarai almost lost the promise with her impatience.

Though waiting is excruciating, help is always available, and so is hope.

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. – Habakkuk 2:3  

I remember an old VBS song we used to sing when I was still a child:

I will wait upon the Lord
And delight myself in Him
Waiting in the Lord
Trusting in His Word
I will wait upon the Lord

I believe that there is a big reason why God made Abram and Sarai wait for 25 long years. It was not because He wants them to suffer, for them to lose hope along the way. He wants to make a statement – that the baby He’s going to give them will be born out of a miracle. He wants the world to know that when God delivers, it’s going to be BIG, and it’s really worth the wait.

But are they ready for the promise? Will they continue to believe God’s promises despite the delay? The vessel must first be prepared before the water is poured out. Twenty five years may be a long season to wait but remember, God-sized promises require mountain-moving faith.

The vessel must first be prepared before the water is poured out. Twenty five years may be a long season to wait but remember, God-sized promises require mountain-moving faith.

Abram and Sarai waited and made it through their season of waiting. In the end, they were rewarded with a promised son. But more than the child, growing closer with the Lord in those 25 years is the biggest reward they could ever have. And why not? Generations later, Abraham is still regarded as the father of faith and a faith hero the Israel looks up to.

Are you in a season of waiting? His promise still stands, and your faith will soon be rewarded.   

Gift Ideas for the Ones You Love

Best gifts we can give our loved ones this season:

Para sa asawa:

Tokens, simple or extravagant are always welcome. Nagpapakita yan ng pagpapahalaga at nagpapatibay ng relationship. Kung wala, ok lang yan. Ang pinakamainam na regalo sa iyong kabiyak ay ang pagiging loyal mo sa kanya. Yung kahit anong mangyari, maganda man o hindi ang sitwasyon, ay mananatili kang tapat sa kanya. In the first place, yan naman ang pangako niyo sa isa’t isa di ba, for better or for worse?

Para sa magulang:

Sa maraming beses na hindi nila kinain yung huling slice ng cake o yung ulam na gustong-gusto nila para may makain ka pag-uwi, naku this time tapatan mo naman yun. Mag-uwi ka ng something for them. Yung pasalubong na walang halong sumbat at panghihinayang. Pero alam mo, kulang pa nga ang mga bulaklak, cake o chocolate para sa mga sakit at tampo na dinulot mo sa kanila sa tuwing nagpapasaway ka. Kaya more than the pasalubong, a sincere sorry will do. At magpakabait ka na rin kung pasaway ka man.

Para sa kapatid:

Partners kayo, dapat. Though may sinusunod kayong bro code, sis code o ano pa mang code na yan, ang mahalaga nagkakatulungan kayo. Gifts are good lalo na kung bata pa ang kapatid mo, pero alam mo kung ano ang best gift? Ikaw naman ang taya sa family dinner o sa bill ng kuryente. Hahaha!

Para sa jowa:

Alam mo na yan, dyan ka magaling eh. Haha! Ilang buwan pa nga lang napaghahandaan mo na yan eh, kaya di mo na need ng tip pagdating sa material gift. Pero best gift para sa girlfriend o boyfriend mo ay yung i-honor mo siya before the Lord, before her/his parents, and before others. Wag ipilit ang wala pa sa panahon. Wag magpadalos-dalos ng desisyon. An honorable relationship is still the best gift to give.

Para sa sarili:

Take some rest. It helps! Lalo na kung you’ve been very busy lately. Kung single ka, give yourself the gift of peace by not feeding yourself with self-defeating thoughts na dapat may jowa ka na para maging kumpleto ka. Mali yun! Kahit walang lovelife, you are still valuable and loved. Kung in a relationship ka naman, give yourself the gift of accountability by learning and growing from your relationship. Maraming life lessons kang matututunan kapag nasa relasyon ka kaya i-treasure mo yan at matuto.

Count your Blessings

We are “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ”

I don’t know if you can identify with me, pero parang mas tight ang Christmas na ito compared last year. Tight in a way na parang mas maraming outflow kaysa inflow. Sa tingin ko lang naman, though aminado naman ako that in one way or another, malaking factor ang mga unplanned expenditures ko this year.  

I missed blogging, really. Sa sobrang dami kong ganap this last quarter, halos wala akong oras na harapin ang laptop ko to jot down my thoughts. Marami akong blog ideas to write about kaso nanatili na lang sila sa notes section ng cellphone ko, nalipasan na ng relevance ang majority. Salamat sa holiday, kahit paano napahinga.

I read the first chapter of Ephesians the day before Christmas. I loved how alive and timely the word of God could be! As of that moment, two of my friends lost a loved one. I can’t imagine how totally different this Christmas will be for them. But the word of God is full of assuring words – that we are “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). How loving can the Lord be that even in the darkest moments of our lives, we can still see the “silver lining”, as Catriona Gray nails it. I just pray for the Holy Spirit’s comforting embrace be upon them in this trying times.

Going back to Ephesians 1, I recognized how easy it is for most of us to look for what’s lacking rather than appreciate the things that we enjoy. Mas madali kasi ma-appreciate ang mga materyal na bagay kaysa mga blessings na hindi mo naman nahahawakan. Yet the Apostle Paul’s thanksgiving is not much of the material things that he has, but the spiritual blessings every believer enjoys in Christ.

God has adopted us into His family. He graciously purchased with the blood of Jesus and forgave our sins. He has showered us with kindness, along with wisdom and understanding. He has included us in his eternal redemptive plan of bringing everything together under the authority of Christ. He has given us an inheritance through Jesus Christ. And if God’s believability does not convince you, He has given us a seal – the promised Holy Spirit – as a guarantee. Hindi ba sobrang blessed natin spiritually?


We may not have a lot of material things to count, but our fingers would not be enough to count the spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus.

If life is just about accumulation of material things, siguro nga napaka-kawawa natin as Christians. Especially those who gave up a lot for their faith. If life is about worldly wealth, malamang nasa dulo tayo ng pila. Kasi naman our standards for living are counter-cultural, beyond normal kung iisipin. We consider ourselves blessed when we give; instead of getting even, we forgive; when insulted, we turn the other cheek; when we want to be great, we serve; and when we want to live, we die to ourselves.

But life isn’t about wealth accumulation, and material things do not mean the world to us. If the world considers us poor based on its standards, it doesn’t matter. We know for ourselves that we are rich beyond the riches this world has to offer. We may not have a lot of material things to count, but our fingers would not be enough to count the spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus.

Dun pa lang sa joy of salvation, panalo na tayo e.

Let me join the Apostle Paul in this prayer: “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance” (Ephesians 1:18).

You are beyond blessed. Receive that.

Behind the Scenes

God works even behind the scenes

From Acts 27-28

May mga pagkakataon na mahirap para sa atin na makita ang kamay at mga gawa ng Diyos kapag tayo ay nasa gitna ng pagsubok. People say that we should keep the faith, we have to remain strong, and other well-intentioned encouragements. Pero ang totoo, minsan mas ramdam natin ang pain na dala ng problema kaysa providence ni Lord. Faith indeed is an ever-developing virtue sa atin. We have to make it flourish in our life.

Pero what’s amazing sa work ni Lord, even in the sidelines and behind the scenes ng buhay natin, evident Siya. Hindi Niya kailangan ng approval natin, ng audience natin for Him to begin working wonders. Kumikilos Siya in ways na hindi natin namamalayan. Advanced Siya mag-isip!

When Paul was being transported to Rome, yung sinasakyan nilang barko ay nasira ng bagyo. Hindi lang basta shipwreck ang nangyari – totally devastated, naubos ang lahat ng kanilang mga gamit, nagkandagutom-gutom sila, at halos mawalan na ng buhay at pag-asa. It was a very challenging episode sa buhay ni Paul.

But they were all spared. May plano si Lord. Napadpad sila sa isla ng Malta where a lot of miracles happened. Nagkataon na nandun si Paul to minister to the sick people of the island. Ministry call for the faithful servant. Pero para sa mga kasama ni Paul – everything that had happened was a mishap. It was a close call of death.

Iba-iba sila nang naging pananaw sa nangyari. Pero si Lord, iisa lang ang gustong iparating – that He is in full and total control of everything.

As they we’re doing what they can to go on with their respective lives and duties sa isla ng Malta, God has made them so favorable sa mga tao. They were a composition of prisoners and prison guards, of Jews and non-Jews, of Christians and non-Christians. Yet they all became objects of favor from the people. At ang lahat ng nawala nila sa shipwreck ay muling naibalik through the generosity of the people.

This is an example of how God carries His work as we carry His work. He does what He’s good at – doing miracles and leaving us in awe, habang tayo ay nagtitiwala at nagpapatuloy sa kung saan Niya tayo tinawag.

Paul and his companions were able to reach their destination in spite of the shipwreck that has happened because God worked even behind the scenes.

Go Back to “Bethel”

God met with Jacob at Bethel when he was still a needy person. And now that Jacob is already full to the brim, God commanded him to go back to Bethel.

Bethel is the place where Jacob first encountered the Lord. It was the place where he was given a dream and a promise. The place was originally called Luz, but Jacob renamed it Bethel because for him, it is where God resides – “house of God”. It was a special place, a refuge, a safe haven.

Go Back to Bethel.png

Jacob landed on Bethel as he was fleeing from the wrath of his brother Esau whom he deceived. He was so broken then, fearful, helpless and without anything to go on living. But it was during that most trying time, when everything has been stripped away from him, that God made him a promise – “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

And in response, Jacob promised:

“If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

A few years passed and God has been faithful to His part of the promise. Jacob’s wealth has increased tremendously and he became a father to a huge household. Moreover, he has once again earned the trust and the forgiveness of his brother Esau. And true enough, God has brought him back to Bethel, with all of God’s promises fulfilled!

God met with Jacob at Bethel when he was still a needy person. And now that Jacob is already full to the brim, God commanded him to go back to Bethel. It is as if God wants him to look back on how things went in his life. God wants him to go back to his first altar, to where his faith begun.

Surprisingly for Jacob, he demanded his household to purify themselves and to give him their pagan idols to be buried in the ground. And as Jacob went to worship the Lord in Bethel, God once again confirmed His promises – and for the second time Jacob was blessed with the name Israel – a name change signifying that he is no longer identified with his past sins and mistakes.

If you are a Christian, like Jacob, we all have our “Bethel” where we first encountered the Lord. Our Bethel can be a place or even a person. While we all know that God is everywhere, Bethel is a special because you know you commune closer with God there.

Are you in a moment of loss and despair? Why not go back to your Bethel and take refuge there? If life’s anxieties has brought you to your knees, rest your case to God and find relief in Him. Or perhaps everything in your life is going well right now. Still, God will be pleased to meet you at Bethel. It doesn’t matter whatever season you are in, Bethel is where the God of the universe meets with the vulnerable you.

As you return to Bethel, think of the things you might need to bury: your pains? Your regrets? Maybe your achievements? Anything that takes off your focus from God can be a pagan idol that might need to be buried on the ground.

Go back to Bethel. God is waiting for you there. He will gladly refresh you with His promises to never leave you, and will remind you that you are no longer the same fearful, broken and helpless person you used to be. You are no longer “Jacob”, but “Israel”.

 

Availability, Not Ability

Doing the ministry of the Lord is not about ability. It is about a heart of servanthood, which is evidenced by availability.

When we talk of ministry, you will find out that availability counts more than the ability. In fact, even Jesus, the greatest leader and influencer of all time, chose people not because of what they can do but on their willingness to submit to God’s agenda and schedule. He could have chosen the Pharisees, the spiritual leaders of the time, to mobilize the Good News. They have the influence, prominence and the eloquence to carry out His divine mission. But Jesus turned the world upside down with his ragtag team of ill-tempered, proud, doubtful and cunning disciples. Again, ability counts less, availability matters.

Availability.png

Yet the world looks after people with obvious gifts and prominent influence. We often follow those whose star shines the brightest. We admire them from a distance. We want them on our team. We think we can do more when we get the best and the brightest turn our steering wheel. While there’s nothing wrong with this, often this leads to frustration and defeat. We can’t always have the best people work for us.  They are often busy in their own domain that they might not have time the capacity to give you their full attention and own wholeheartedly your vision. They might not always be available.

But we have around us those whose star flickers unnoticeable. They may not stand out but they are there. We just fail to notice them, but they are waiting for their turn to take part in something worthwhile, something great. These “average-gifted” individuals fuel the team’s productivity, and bring the most contribution to the table. They are present most of the time, and are willing to sacrifice for your vision. They have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

There is wisdom when Paul said “God chooses the weak to shame the strong”. The famous, the influential, the strong, the intelligent – the best out there, are busy being the best in their respective domains that they don’t have time to work with others, to work for others, to be there for others. But invest in people who are always around you, no matter how “weak” they seem, and see how God do some wonders through their efforts. These people, like the disciples of old, have the potential to turn the world upside down.

Doing the ministry of the Lord is not about ability. It is about a heart of servanthood, which is evidenced by availability.

 

Life Choices that Defines Us

We all have a choice whether to push through with our dreams or stay where we are

Natutunan natin sa klase natin sa Economics nung high school na dahil sa scarcity of resources, kailangan natin ng matalinong pagpapasya kung paano ia-allocate ang limited resources natin sa mga wants and needs natin, gaya nang tanong na kung ang baon ba ay para ba sa lunch at pamasahe o para sa DotA (Ragnarok nung higs chool days ko) at barkada.

Natutunan din natin sa makabagbag-damdaming kanta ni KZ Tandingan kung gaano kahirap mamili between mahal mo o mahal ka. Hindi naman kasi tinuro sa school na may mga ganyan palang choices sa buhay.

Sa pagharap din natin sa buhay empleyado, palagi rin tayong humaharap sa choice na gigising ka ba sa higaan para pumasok o mag-extend nang another five minutes sa pagtulog (na alam naman nating kasinungalingan kasi umaabot hanggang 15 minutes minimum extension). Hitting either the stop alarm and snooze button is a hard decision to make. Alam kong alam mo yan.

Life Choices.png

Life is a series of choices. May mga choices na mahirap pag-isipan, may mga choices din na pine-present sa ating harapan pero parang wala rin naman tayong choice. May mga choices na kapag nagkamali ka, it’s a matter of life and death, of happiness or heartache, of winning someone or losing them away. Ang hirap ano?

Yet of all the choices na hinaharap natin, isa na yata sa pinakamahirap ay kapag may option ka na to be complacent. Yung pwede kang pumili kung gagawin mo na siya ngayon o some other time na lang. Alam mo kung bakit mahirap? Kasi minsan we have this tendency to delay the hard work at the expense of delaying the fruits of our hard work. Yes, may mga taong output-oriented, sobrang productive, yung tipong tatapusin na ngayon yung task na para sa susunod na dalawang araw. Nandyan lang sila sa tabi-tabi, lurking beneath the shadows. Pero kung hindi ka task-and-output person, siguradong nandun ka category ng mga taong ang motto ay “bakit ko tatapusin ngayon, kung pwede ko namang gawin bukas?”

One Day or Day One, Mamili Ka!

Pero ikaw, kung may gusto kang mangyari sa buhay mo, kung may pangarap kang gustong makamit, what are you doing now? We all have a choice whether to push through with our dreams or stay where we are. Either we will continue dreaming about that “one day” or begin with our “day one” towards the accomplishment of our goals. Meron kang choices at hand and your choices reveal much about your priorities, life values and how much you believe in the beauty of your dreams.

I often remind myself, “believe that God has placed your dream in your heart for His greater purpose”. Oo English yun kapag pinapaalala ko sa sarili ko. Haha! Kaya naman kapag gusto ko nang sumuko sa mga pangarap ko, kailangan kong ipaunawa sa sarili ko din na everything will be worth it. Lahat ng pagod, lahat ng sacrifices, lahat ng hard work.

I believe God honors the dreams of His people. He anoints the dreams of His people. He blesses them, lalo na kung para sa glory ni Lord ang lahat ng mga pangarap natin. Pero mas naniniwala ako na God is very much willing to bless those who don’t just dream dreams, but who works towards the fulfillment of their dreams. Yung mga taong nagsimula na sa “Day One”, kaysa naman sa mga taong “One Day” ang mentality.

Borrowing from the line of Heneral Luna, “mamili ka!”

I thank you, bow.