Learning Curve

Never stop yearning, never stop learning.

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Ang learning curve ay ang panahong kinakailangan upang matutunan ang isang bagay. Halimbawa, kung ikaw ay nasanay na gumamit ng isang android phone mula nang panahong nakahawak ka ng smartphone, tapos all of a sudden bigla kang gagamit ng iPhone, medyo maninibago ka muna. Ang panahon na ginugol mo upang matutunang i-navigate with ease ang bago mong gadget ay ang learning curve. Mas mabilis, mas magaling. Kung para sa mga kabataan ay hindi naman issue ang pagpapalit ng from android to iOS, para sa mga mahal nating tanders, it takes effort and a lot of adjustment.

The Learning CurveLike what my teacher did just recently, I would also like to quote Albert Einsten (though may mga discussions over the internet kung siya ba talaga ang nagsabi nito) on his definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This pierced my heart. I am on the look out to do greater things, to accomplish more – things I have never achieved since I began to exist. Pero looking back, parang hindi naman ako masyadong umuusad. I assessed myself spot on: anong pinaggagawa ko sa buhay ko? Steep ba talaga ang learning curve ko?

It seems like we don’t learn from our mistakes, we just look at it as if we have the luxury of time and emotions to go through it again. Masyadong steep ang learning curve.

How many of us learn things the hard way? Yung tipong sobrang tagal na nang panahon na ginugol mo sa isang challenge sa buhay mo, pero tuwing binabalikan ka nito, parang hindi ka na natuto. Na-scam ka na dati, tapos nagpa-scam ka ulit ngayon. Sinaktan ka na dati, you fell for the same tricks ulit. Na-sampolan ka na na mahirap magpa-exam ang professor, pero hindi ka pa rin nag-review the second time around. It’s a vicious cycle. It seems like we don’t learn from our mistakes, we just look at it as if we have the luxury of time and emotions to go through it again. Masyadong steep ang learning curve. Ganito ka rin ba?

LearningCurve2Image credits: https://mindprintlearning.com/blog/the-forgetting-curve/

We are all like the nation of Israel. They’ve been through a lot, literally. Binigyan ng promise, nag-fail. Bumangon, nag-fail. They went through slavery, oppression, captivity, famine, and defeat – consequences of the same mistake they have the inclination to enjoy: idolatry. Kapag nae-encounter ko sa Bible ang malungkot na cycle ng downfall and rising up nila, I usually ask the Lord, “bakit ang kulit nila”? Pero all along I know, I’m no different from them. Makulit din ako.

But the good news is that no matter how steep our learning curve is, God’s love is more stubborn than our worst stubbornness. And I’m saying this on a positive note! God is very patient with us no matter how slow we are to learn. Mabuti na lang! Otherwise, wala na tayong pag-asa. If God has been patient with the nation of Israel, He will also be patient with us. It doesn’t matter kahit makupad ka, as long as you’re aiming for improvement. Kung madalas kang madapa at matagal bago matuto, tuloy lang.

What defines us is not our mistakes kahit gaano kadalas, in the eyes of the Lord, He honors our commitment to learn from Him.

Mas profitable pa rin yun kaysa sumuko. Only the Lord can bring you out of the vicious cycle as long as you are willing to let Him. In the end, what defines us is not our mistakes kahit gaano kadalas, in the eyes of the Lord, He honors our commitment to learn from Him.

How steep is your learning curve? Matalas ka pa rin ba at madaling matuto? O like me, pumupurol nang medyo? Whatever the rate is, never stop yearning, never stop learning.

Unspoken Rules on Social Media

Masaya sa mundo ng social media. Pero let us not deviate from its intended purpose, yung maging mas connected tayo sa isa’t isa.

No one can argue how instrumental and monumental social media is sa lahat ng areas ng buhay natin. I grew up in a time na wala pang Facebook at dial-up pa ang internet connection, pero parang hindi ko na yata ma-imagine pa na bumalik sa panahong iyon. Ay wait, i-qualify ko yung sinabi ko. Haha! Siguro yung simplicity ng buhay noon gusto kong balikan, pero pagdating sa mga “tools of the trade” at mga productivity features of today’s technology, malaking tulong talaga.

Unspoken Rules on Social MediaSabi nga, the greater the opportunity for good, the greater the opportunity for evil. Ang bilis ng transfer ng information ngayon. And information comes in different faces – good news, bad news, depressing, informative, cringe-worthy, motivating, etc. Minsan pa nga, detrimental pa to the welfare of others. We live in the era of information right before our tiny screens. Ang tanong lang ay kung paano natin ginagamit ang mga information na ito? Nakakalunod ano? Ang social media na dapat sana ay for “socialization and connection purposes” ay nahahaluan na rin ng kalokohan.

​How do we make the most out of the blessings of technology, particularly that of social media? Meron akong ilang practical tips:

  1. Kumustahin mo rin, wag puro Everwing

I play Everwing, yung bagong game na kinaka-adikan ng marami. Ang catch lang ay kailangan mo pang mag-send ng “play with” message or “challenge” sa mga online friends mo para mas ma-enjoy mo yung game. Kaya naman maraming chat boxes ang napupuno na ng mga Everwing messages. Pati yung mga online friends mo na matagal mo nang hindi nakakausap biglang nag-pop up ang chat bubble dahil sa Everwing request niya. Maraming patay na GC rin ang muling nabuhay. Haha! Pero magandang opportunity to to reach out your long lost friends and catch up with GCs. Makipagkwentuhan ka rin, wag lang flood ng Everwing. Mas enjoy makipag-compete ng scores with friends kaysa naman mainis sila sayo kasi ang kulit-kulit mo. Invite them to play with you, hindi yung binubulabog mo lang ang messenger nila. Haha! 🙂 At sa mga nakukulitan sa akin, sorry po. Laro tayo. Hehe!

  1. Magrerespond ng “going” tapos biglang drawing? Wag ganun.

Maraming pagkakaibigan ang nasisira dito. Kung hindi ka pa naman sure na makakasama sa lakad ng barkada, wag ka nang masyadong magpabida at magsabing sure ka na. Wag kang masyadong paasa. Update the group, kasi effort kaya mag-prepare at magplano. Wag kang basta mawawala kapag malapit na ang usapan. Be honest and transparent, nakakasira yan ng integridad. Pero honestly, wala naman akong hugot, promise. Hahaha!

  1. Cooperate din sa GC para sa huli hindi ka masisi.

Gawain ko na i-turn off ang notifications ng mga group chats where I belong. Madali kasi akong ma-distract sa dami ng messages at nao-overwhelm ako kapag sobrang haba na ng kailangan kong i-backread. Pero try to keep up with the conversation pa rin. Lalo na kung kailangan mong ma-update sa mahahalagang discussions ng group kagaya ng anong oras ang lakad, magkano ang contribution at sino ang magdadala ng pagkain. Kung hindi ka updated, at hindi ka rin marunong magtanong, naku baka masisi ka sa huli.

  1. Wag mo silang inisin sa hobby mong pangsi-“seen”

Same with No. 3, maraming puso ang nasasaktan sa mga hugot at jokes nila na hindi mo naman pinapansin. Sayang effort. Huhu.

  1. Kung alam mo nang may pambubully, wag ka nang sumali

Sa dami ng mga status posts, videos at pictures na kumakalat online, hindi maiiwasan na maraming mga private individuals ang naco-compromise at nauuwi pa nga sa bullying. If you think na hindi na maganda at nakakasakit na, wag ka nang makigaya pa sa iba. Hindi mo lang alam how does a person feel kung ang lahat sa social media ay may hindi magandang sinasabi tungkol sa kanya. Don’t be an accomplice to bullying.

  1. Magtimpi kahit kaunti. Hindi lahat ng drama nilalabas sa social media.

May iba sa atin hindi makapigil sa sarili, lahat na lang sa social media sinasabi. Remember that whatever you put in social media ay maaaring makapukaw ng interest ng public. Kung hindi ka handa sa mga comments ng iba, aba’y magtimpi ka. Given na page mo yan at walang pwedeng pumigil sa mga gusto mong i-post online, pero be more responsible at aware sa mga maaari mong ma-fish na comments. Sige ka, ikaw rin. Pero friendly advice: hindi lahat gusto ng drama palagi ang nababasa.

  1. Be wise. Ang taong gullible, sa fake news mapagpatol.

Ang daming fake news online grabe! Pero ang mas marami, yung nagse-share ng fake news. Hahaha. Pwede ba tayong maging mas matalino sa pagdi-disseminate ng information online? Don’t just base on the clickbait headlines. Basahin rin ang contents. Verify with credible sources kung totoo ang balita. Be responsible online. Wag maging gullible.

Masaya sa mundo ng social media. Pero let us not deviate from its intended purpose, yung maging mas connected tayo sa isa’t isa. Maraming away at divisions ang nabubuo from the very thing that should connect us. Maging mas wise at responsible tayo as we behave online.

 

 

Pagod ka na ba?

“Napagtagumpayan ko na ito dati, ngayon pa ba ako susuko?”

We all have felt tired and downcast at times. Probably ngayon yung moment na yun para sayo. Season ito marahil na gusto mo nang isuko ang mga bagay na pinaghirapan mo mula noong una. Doubts may have crept upon and you begin to question your calling. Gusto mo nang umayaw.

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However there’s a voice telling you to remain strong, that help is on the way. Minsan pa, pinipilit mong kumapit sa pananampalatayang “napagtagumpayan ko na ito dati, ngayon pa ba ako susuko?” Totoo naman, kung babalikan mo naman ang naging spiritual walk mo, hindi naman nagkulang ang Panginoon; hindi ka naman iniwan o pinabayaan.

In times like these, we often run frantically searching for answers. Gusto natin madaliang solusyon sa kalungkutan, sa spiritual exhaustion and drought na nararanasan natin. Sa mga ganitong panahon na tayo’y nakakaramdam na tila pagod ka na at wala nang pag-asa, I would like to share a few insights on how to fight your battle kahit na wounded ka na. Hindi ito formula guaranteed to get you through but it might help you greatly just as it helped me and many others.

Be silent before the Lord.

To be silent means to not speak. Pero minsan, this may mean to just free your mind from all your worries. Hindi ka nga nagsasalita pero sa isip mo ang daming mga alalahanin ang naglalaro. What if ganito, what if ganyan? Yung tipong kapag binigyan ng microphone ang isip mo hindi ito matatapos nang kakasalita. Start with silence. Oftentimes, much of our worries come from the unnecessary noise around us, at dun tayo napapagod. So begin with shutting your mouth and your mind for a moment and let the noise of the world just die within your thoughts. Forget about your deadlines for a while. Kalimutan mo muna lahat ng problema mo nang sandali. You will be amazed how relaxing this will be.

Wait upon the Lord.

Ayaw natin na naghihintay. We want quick-fixes sa ating mga problema. Kung kulang, we want to be filled agad-agad. Waiting is a waste of time para sa atin. We selfishly thrive on instant gratification. Pero si Lord, hindi lang ang “bunga” ang concern Niya, He cares as well sa process. May mga pagkakataon na maaari namang tugunin ni Lord ang mga panalangin natin agad in His power pero He waits for the “kairos” time para sa lahat. Waiting is a virtue that develops our faith. Our faith is tested and strengthened when we have to wait for something for a longer time. Kaya we need to wait upon Him. As you remain silent before Him, wait upon Him. Wag kang mainip kung pakiramdam mo napakatagal – while you are waiting patiently upon Him, He is actually intently looking after you.

Listen unto the Lord.

Madalas kapag nananalangin tayo, we do much of the talking ‘di ba? Lord, pahingi po ng ganito, sana po ganyan… This time practice the lost art of listening. Listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit within you. However, you can only listen intently kapag silent ka before the Lord. Sabi nga ng librong nabasa ko, we can hardly hold on to what we never hear. So paano mo maiintindihan ang sinasabi ng Panginoon kung hindi ka naman talaga makikinig? Listen, and let Him do the talking.

God has already laid down His message to us in the Bible and yet God is never limited in His ways to communicate with His children, only we need to intently listen.

God speaks. Masyado lang kasi tayong masalita kaya hindi natin Siya madalas naririnig. You will be amazed sa mga paraan Niya kung paanong sumagot: through nature, through a song, through a memory na pinaalala Niya sayo, through a verse na nabasa mo sa Bible, or even through a person who just uttered something na naka-encourage sayo. This is of course not to be mistaken as over-spiritualizing things. God has already laid down His message to us in the Bible and yet God is never limited in His ways to communicate with His children, only we need to intently listen. Always confirm whatever you hear from Him in the context of His written Word.

Take rest in the Lord.

Nakakita ka na ba ng isang baby na natutulog? Di ba ang peaceful niyang tignan? Lalo na kung pinaghehele siya ng kanyang ama o ina, sobrang relaxing ng scenario. Imagine yourself to be a baby, at ang Panginoon ang iyong Ama na naghehele sayo. Will you be need anything, knowing that the Creator of heavens and earth carries you in His arms? Whatever message you have received in the Lord as you wait upon Him, take rest in that message. Panghawakan mo. Make it THE source of your strength. Ang sabi nga sa Psalms, God is an ever-present help in times of trouble. Kahit kapaguran man yan o pag-aalala, He is always present to give help. Find rest in Him and let Him fight your battles.

I would like to share a very familiar passage which has strengthened me just recently:

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

Find strength in the Lord. He is waiting for you, and is always ready to receive you. May you find rest and strength for your soul now, dear reader!

BASAG: A book launch with a dose of #feels

“Acting strong and tough ka pero deep inside, basag na basag ka na”

An afternoon of words and music, of numerous hugot and an inspiring story of an individual marred by heartbreak but made whole again by the grace of God. Mula sa pagiging BASAG hanggang sa pagiging buo muli. Yan ang inspiring story ni Ate Prexy Calvario, condensed in a small book guaranteed to help those who are in the process of moving on from a painful breakup. Ang mga kwento sa likod ng libro ang naging highlight ng book launching event na ginanap sa OMF Literature bookstore on May 27, syempre coupled with spoken word poetry and acoustic music.

Sino nga ba naman ang hindi makaka-relate sa mga kwentong heartbreaks at hiwalayan? Maliban na lang kung kabilang ka sa mga taong hindi pa nakakaranas na lumuha dahil sa pag-ibig, ang pagiging brokenhearted ay isang estado sa ating buhay pag-ibig kung saan acting strong and tough ka pero deep inside, basag na basag ka na. Yung one day, decided ka na to let go of the past pero marinig mo lang ang theme song niyo, cry to death ka na naman. Mahirap talaga kapag brokenhearted! Kaya naman blessing ang book ni Ate Prexy sa mga miyembro ng Moving On community.

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Ate Prexy sharing personal stories behind the book

During the book launching event, may ilang realizations lang akong napulot:

  1. Kagaya ng ex mo na hindi nagpahalaga sayo, your pain, too, shall pass. Hindi yan kagaya ng Motolite na pang-matagalan. Makaka-move on ka rin, promise. Unless mag-decide ka na magtampisaw sa sakit at bitterness, with determination and by God’s grace for sure babalik din ang ngiti sa mga labi mo.
  2. Unlike your ex na puro lang pangakong napako, asahan mo na sa moving on journey mo ay may mga promises si Lord na tutuparin Niya – that is, He will see you through. He will strengthen you. He will help you recover. He will always be there for you to give you comfort and peace. And during such time of emotional recovery, you will realize He is all you will ever need.
  3. After the ordeal of being heartbroken, you are now ready to be a blessing to others in need of encouragement and support. Magiging instant counselor ka sa mga dumadaan sa masalimuot na landas ng pagmo-move on. Maaari ka nilang maging gabay, huhugot sila sayo ng inspirasyon na kung kinaya mo, kaya rin nila. Kagaya ni Ate Prexy at ng kanyang libro, you can be the answer to their emotional need, hindi kagaya ng ex mo na kapag may need lang magaling.
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Syempre I took the opportunity to have my copy signed by the author 🙂

I am privileged to somehow endorse the book sa aking personal blog page, at nagtataka ako bakit may mga HAHA reactions sa facebook posts ko. Sa pagtatanong ko, nakuha ko ang sagot: oo nga naman, napaka-catchy kasi ng title ng libro, napaka-light, pang-masa – lahat tayo makaka-relate. Hindi lang basta broken, BASAG. Worse than being in pain, kundi BASAG. Uncommon for a published book title pero malaking tulong sa common emotional pains ng tao. No holds barred ika nga. BASAG kung BASAG. Wala nang kyeme. After all, totoo namang BASAG tayo nung huli tayong nasaktan di ba?

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Prior to this blog post, I have also written a review of the book in this link: http://bit.ly/2lH6J22

Taken from the back cover blurb of the book, let Ate Prexy do the pitch:

How about taking a special course condensed in this small book? Dahil nakagraduate na ako sa pagiging brokenhearted, baka sakaling matulungan kita. “Been there, done that” ang peg ko. Sabi ng iba, time heals all wounds. Ang totoo, God heals, in time. Through my story, let me tell you how.

BASAG: Bachelor in Nursing a Broken Heart, Major in Moving On is available for only P75. Look for the book at OMF Lit Bookshops, Passages Bookshops, Philippine Christian Bookstores, National Book Stores and other leading bookstores nationwide. You can also order online at www.passagesbooks.com.ph.

Blessed and my 13 Reasons Why

May mga pagkakataon na gusto ko na lang talagang sumuko. Nakakapagod, nakakasawa.

Hindi lang makailang ulit kong binabanggit sa sarili ko na sobrang stressed ko na para magpatuloy. May mga pagkakataon na gusto ko na lang talagang sumuko. Nakakapagod, nakakasawa. Siguro kaya may mga taong pinipili na lang na wakasan ang kanilang buhay kasi hindi na nila kinakaya ang bigat ng kanilang nararamdaman.

13 Reasons Why

In my case, before I even get consumed with my stressful situations in life, with all my worries and fears for tomorrow, I try to diffuse negativities and lies and replace such with truths. I am blessed beyond measure! Maraming dahilan kung bakit dapat tayong magpatuloy. Maraming dahilan para hindi tayo sumuko. I strive to push on with life and let me share my 13 reasons why:

Just this morning, you were able to breathe in life

Pagmulat pa lang ng mata mo, late ka man nagising o sobrang aga, hindi ba magandang isipin na another blank page has been flipped sa pages ng buhay mo, and you are now ready to take the pen and write your own story? Ang haba ng sinabi ko, pero yun na nga. Ang paggising mo sa umaga ay isa nang dahilan para maging mapagpasalamat dahil…

Over the night, no harm fell upon you

May mga taong natulog lang pero hindi na inabutan ng umaga. Maaaring inatake ng sakit, o nadisgrasya habang natutulog, inabutan ng sakuna, trahedya o kung anumang dahilan. Bottom line is, their time is up. Pero ikaw, hindi pa! You are blessed kasi you were given something na hindi na ipinagkaloob sa kanila, kagaya ng…

1 more chance to tell your loved ones, I love you

At the final curtain of life, it is not the amount of money or achievements or earthly investments ang hahanapin natin at papangarapin nating katabi sa tuwina, kundi ang ating mga mahal sa buhay. Unfortunately, marami ang inaabutan na ng panghihina ng katawan o ng mismong kamatayan ngunit hindi man lang nasasabi na mahal nila ang kanilang mga magulang, kapatid, asawa o mga anak. Kaya ngayon pa lang, isipin mo na you are blessed to be given this chance to tell them you love them!

Listen to the sound of nature

Subukan mong pakinggan ang huni ng mga ibon, o ang agos ng ilog. Mahirap ito kapag nasa city ka kung saan maraming ingay, pero pakinggan mo lang ang ihip ng hangin, damhin ang init ng araw. They are telling us a message – they exist to serve their purpose! Kung ang init ng araw, ang simoy ng hangin, at ang kabuuan ng kalikasan ay may purpose sa mundo, how much more ikaw na anak ng Diyos? Kaya sa susunod na iisipin mo na wala ka nang pag-asa, why not listen to the sound of nature?

Add friends and meet new acquaintances

Isa sa mga blessings na dala ng panibagong araw ay ang pagkakataon na madagdagan ang ating mga kaibigan at mga kakilala. Blessing yun! Imagine kung iilan lang ang tao sa mundo, o kung ikaw lang kaya mag-isa sa mundo, di ba ang lungkot nun? Friends and acquaintances make our lives easy. Kapag may nakikita tayong nakangiti, masaya ang countenance, nahahawa tayo. Kung medyo badtrip naman sila, napapaisip naman tayo kung paano ba natin gugugulin ang buong araw natin, kagaya din ba nilang badtrip din? Malay mo, nasa paligid mo lang ang tulong na hinihintay mo, galing sa taong hindi mo minsang inakalang aalalay pala sayo.

New learning and experiences

Ang mga experiences na pagdadaanan mo ay ang siyang nagiging launch pad mo for greater opportunities ahead. Remember, experiences, whether good or bad, makes us who we are now. Ang tanong lang ay sa nagiging mas bitter ka ba or better? You can always choose the latter.

Bukod sa mga bagong kaibigan, ang bawat umaga ay may hatid din na bagong karanasan at pagkatuto. Ang mga experiences na pagdadaanan mo ay ang siyang nagiging launch pad mo for greater opportunities ahead. Remember, experiences, whether good or bad, makes us who we are now. Ang tanong lang ay sa nagiging mas bitter ka ba or better? You can always choose the latter.

Improve yourself and others

May pagkakataon ka to be the best version of yourself, to be better than your yesterday’s self. Ang bawat panibagong araw ay nagbibigay ng pagkakataon sa atin para i-improve ang ating sarili, upang maging mas malakas tayo, mas matatag at mas kapaki-pakinabang. At sa pag-improve natin ng ating sarili, matutulungan din natin ang iba na ma-improve ang kalagayan nila. We are blessed to bless others. Don’t let it stop with you.

Exercise your right to be happy

Wala namang humahadlang sa atin na maging masaya kundi ang sarili nating paglilimita sa ating mga sarili. If people try to bring us down, we can always think positive, realizing that maybe we are evidently blessed kaya tayo pinababagsak. If people throw insults on us, maybe because they’re insecure of themselves. Learn to see the good things behind the bad, and once you’ve found it out, lift them up. We can always choose to be happy, and one good thing to do para maging mas magalak ay ang tulungan ang iba na umangat din, habang iniintindi sila. Of course, this is easier said than done, pero why not try and choose to be happy today?

Do more of what you love to do

Oh yes! May chance ka ulit na gawin ang mga bagay na gustong-gusto mong gawin. Take pictures, cook sumptuous meals, write blogs, read books, whatever your heart and hands want to do, do it for the glory of the Lord! You are given another day for you to enjoy the gifts of the Lord through your talents and skills. Make the Lord happy by enjoying His gifts to you.

Others are looking up to you and cheering for you

Madami ang nakatingin sayo, humuhugot sayo ng inspirasyon at lakas. Kung susuko ka, paano na lang sila? You were given another day kasi you are an encouragement to people. You give them hope, you give them joy, you give them a reason to carry on what they are going through. Kung iniisip mo na wala kang kakampi, just look around you, sa pamilya mo, sa mga kaibigan mo, sa mga nagmamahal sayo. They are cheering up for you!

Leave your baggage behind

Panahon na raw para iwanan mo ang mga mapapait na bakas ng kahapon. Hindi mo kailangang makulong sa mga regrets mo, sa mga bagay na nagawa mong mali in the past. Forgive and forget. Ask for forgiveness if you must. Iwan mo na ang emotional baggage mo at mag-move on ka na. This is the perfect day to do that. Wag ka nang maghintay ng bukas.

Open doors and windows

At dahil iiwanan mo na ang mabibigat mong dalahin, buksan mo na rin ang sarili mo sa magagandang plano ni Lord para sayo. Wag kang magmukmok at isipin na isa kang talunan. Open doors so that opportunities may come in, windows so the rays of hope will shine on your face. Ang bawat panibagong araw ay may hatid na pag-asa, kaya wag mong hayaan na hindi ka makakatanggap dahil nagtatago ka. Open up!

Rest for another day and get ready for tomorrow

At the end of the day, you know what’s good? Yung ma-realize mo na makakapagpahinga ka, at tuloy ang buhay bukas sa biyaya ng Diyos! Anumang bagay na pinu-pursue mo at hindi mo natapos, maaari mong balikan bukas, laying onto God your plans and dreams. You are blessed, dahil hinding-hindi ka mauubusan ng dahilan para ipagpasalamat sa Diyos. Maubos man ang araw natin sa mundo, pero hindi ang kagandahang-loob Niya sa atin. Kaya rest in His love. He knows how to take care of you.

Ikaw, anong mga dahilan mo bakit ka nagpapatuloy? Remember, you are as blessed as I am blessed. Cheers!

Living Room of Heaven

He spoke life to me: “My son, you are accepted. In this living room of heaven, everyone’s welcome. The only question is, are they gonna welcome me in their life as well?”

To us, Filipinos, our living rooms reveal much about our cultural personality. We are known for being hospitable and accommodating to our guests, whether they are really dear to us or not. We are too courteous to welcome people in our homes, asking them to dine with us though we don’t have that much on our plate. We put our best foot forward by allowing them to use our “well-kept” china wares, give them the best portion of our inihaw na manok or sinigang na bangus, and even running to the nearest sari-sari store to buy ice cold soft drinks that we wouldn’t think of buying if not for our visitor. We are even too generous to make them “feel at home” and provide them the best entertainment by giving them access to our most precious “remote control” should they ask for it. And to top it all, the kids will automatically be obedient and silent, on their best behavior as if a switch has been turned on. A typical hospitable Filipino family, right?

Living Room of Heaven

Our living room is the extension of our individual lives. Slowly dethroning the dining room, our living room becomes the primary place in home where families meet together to share their experiences throughout the day. This is because some family members opt to eat their food in the presence of their digital member of the family – the television.

If there is a place where everything must be pleasing to the eye and striking to the senses, it must be the living room. It speaks much about the family who lives in the house. In here visitors are welcomed, entertained and given the best of treatment.

During Bethel’s worship concert held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on March 18, Amanda Cook, one of the worship leaders, expressed that she feels like she’s in the “living room of heaven”. It’s really one awesome moment really to be inside a huge room with your brothers and sisters in Christ while you are all singing songs of praise to the Lord.

Then I wondered, what does it feel like to be in the “living room” of heaven? Join me as I try to visualize heaven with my own silly imagination:

***

During a time when my spirit’s too consumed with stresses in work and in ministry, I found myself in dire need of spiritual refreshing and release. I am so full of worries and emotional burden that all I can ever think of is I am experiencing burn out and I need to find my rest.

Then I found myself in front of a door with a sign that reads: “Living Room of Heaven. You are Welcome.” I looked around and found no one so I knocked at the door. To my surprise, Jesus opened the door, welcomed me and asked me to enter. As I enter, I noticed that the room is just a typical room, but the feeling’s so light and relaxing. There’s a couch, a coffee table with photo books, the lighting’s good and the ambiance’s comfortable. I wonder what’s in store for me in this Living Room of Heaven.

Jesus is very welcoming and warm. After a few introductions, He told me that He just have some things to do, and that I make myself comfortable in the living room. A very typical courteous act. So I was left alone in that room.

Are there soothing hymns in the background?

A soothing song is played before my very ears. Unlike the songs I usually hear somewhere, this heavenly chorus focuses on the glory of the Lord. At last, no longer I feel distressed by the songs of selfishness and greed of people around me. I am no longer hearing the songs of disappointments and frustrations. I am no longer dragged down by the depressing song I used to hear: “You can’t do it” by ConDem Nation.

In this place, all I hear are songs of victory, of celebration and of God’s goodness. Songs that heal all wounds and scars will soothe my soul. I feel so refreshed, renewed, strengthened. And all of happened as soon as I entered the living room.

Are there amusing photographs available?

I took the photobook. As I open each page of the photobook, I am amazed how the Lord has kept and captured all the things that has happened to me since I was born. He has captured all smiles, all laughter. It’s a walk down the memory lane as I flip the pages of God’s photo collection.

Yet what puzzles me is that He has also captured the moments I stumbled and earned a bruise for myself. I can vividly remember the times I seemingly failed in life – my first heartbreak, when I lost my job, when I lost someone dear to me, among others. I told myself that I will ask the Lord about such pictures but then I saw below each photograph a note that reads either: “This has made you stronger”, “This has made you wiser”, or “This has made us closer”. For every heartbreak, for every fall, the Lord indeed has a purpose. I can’t help but utter my thanksgiving. I felt relieved. No he is not concerned about my heartbreaks, He is in fact concerned about me.

WAIT! If He keeps such records, does it mean He also has photos of me in my most disgusting state? When I was so full of myself and of the world? I felt so terrified for the first time since I entered the living room. I can’t understand myself, should I continue flipping the pages of this photo book? Unknowingly I came to the pictures when I was 21 years old – the time I can vividly remember I have done a terrible act against the Lord (actually, even before and after 21 years old, I have been a terrible Christian). But to my surprise, some pictures are missing! I thought to myself, how can He lose some pictures, but I also felt relieved that He doesn’t have proof of my waywardness in the past.

Curious enough, I carefully inspected the blank pages, and in marks of red there are notes written: “I remember your sins no more”. Only then I remembered what’s written on my Bible and what my pastor’s been preaching about my sins. I have been forgiven – in full. His love doesn’t keep any record of wrongs.

Curious enough, I carefully inspected the blank pages, and in marks of red there are notes written: “I remember your sins no more”. Only then I remembered what’s written on my Bible and what my pastor’s been preaching about my sins. I have been forgiven – in full. His love doesn’t keep any record of wrongs.

Are there foods to be served?

Oh my! I felt so excited! I became so curious about the delicacies of heaven! To us, Filipinos, food equates to fellowship. So I assumed if there will be food, there will be fellowship! But then again, the reflective me was reminded of how many food fellowships I have shared with people I should not have alliances with. I have compromised my ideals, my principles and my calling by partnering with people with ungodly motives and with no regard to high morals. I have had unholy alliances with certain people God told me not to partner with, and most of our transactions and dealings went over luscious servings of food. I felt embarrassed.

And then one by one familiar faces enter the living room. I remember my childhood friends, my elementary schoolmate, high school teacher, college buddies, even people I am not sure when I first met. They all joined me in the living room of heaven and had a share of laughs and joyful reminiscing. We discussed how we have met the Lord, how one have been instrumental to one’s knowledge of the Good News, and how they have waited to join me in the living room of heaven. But what kept me thinking and curious is that, as beautiful and awesome the living room of heaven is, they said that the whole kingdom is beyond description. That is the place that I should be looking forward to enter into, in God’s time.

Funny thing is, they have seen my excitement in the beginning – that I am curious about the delicacies of heaven. No, they didn’t bring any food with them but they told me that a great banquet is being prepared for the “Wedding Supper of the Lamb”. Amazingly as well, since I entered the room, I didn’t feel thirst nor hunger. If this living room is perfect in itself, how much more the whole kingdom!

But while I am pondering about all these, a very radiant Person entered the room. Jesus, so white and magnificent, beaming with glory and kindness is walking towards me and as He draw nearer, I felt nervous and afraid. At the back of my mind, I’m asking:

Am I really accepted in the Living Room of Heaven?

He motioned me to sit, since I stood up from my seat as He draws close. He looks at me in the eye, not with condemning stare but with eyes full of compassion and grace. His love emanates from His presence, and His holiness is so extravagant that I cannot really look directly at Him. Again I am reminded of my previous life – about how I tried to be good, to be loving, to be gracious to people. How I served Him in church, how I spoke about Him, how I lived my life as a Christian. But all those things doesn’t really count in His presence. No amount of my efforts and sacrifices will make me feel better in His presence.

But in His most reassuring words, He spoke life to me: “My son, you are accepted. In this living room of heaven, everyone’s welcome. The only question is, are they gonna welcome me in their life as well?”

I remembered the time I first accepted Him as Lord and Savior. That’s the time I gained the keys to the living room of heaven. A special place in His presence, where my sin meets forgiveness, my weakness meets strength, my failures meet victory and me as a sinner meets Jesus as Savior.

This is the living room of heaven, where the song of my salvation’s being played, the panoramic episodes of my life is being blessed by the Lord, and where genuine fellowship with brethren is being generously served. This is the living room of heaven – a place where I am accepted. And in this living room of heaven, I can find rest for my weary soul and burn out spirit.

This is the living room of heaven, where the song of my salvation’s being played, the panoramic episodes of my life is being blessed by the Lord, and where genuine fellowship with brethren is being generously served. This is the living room of heaven – a place where I am accepted. And in this living room of heaven, I can find rest for my weary soul and burn out spirit.

If you’re gonna ask me where is this living room? It’s not out of reach. Just seek for the Lord. He’ll lead you to it. There you can find comfort and rest, salvation and hope.

In this living room of heaven, are you willing to meet the Lord too?

Gleanings: Off to Moab

What if God has allowed all such blessings to be taken away from His people? Magtitiwala pa rin ba tayo sa Kanya?

“In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.” – Ruth 1:1, ESV

Elimelech wants to spare his family from famine. Tulad ng isang mapagmahal na ama, gusto lang naman niya ang best para sa kanyang asawa at mga anak. Sino ba naman ang ayaw na mapaayos ang sitwasyon ng kanyang pamilya?

Off to Moab

During the time of famine, life was hard for the Israelites. Remember Jacob’s family during famine? They even went as far as Egypt para lang makahanap ng pagkain. During this period in Elimelech’s life, even Bethlehem, also called as the “house of bread”, ay nawalan na rin ng supply. Kaya naman napilitan si Elimelech na dalhin ang kanyang pamilya somewhere na may maibibigay siyang pagkain.

Elimelech, whose name means “my God is king”, have forgotten his God and King when he faced a time of great need. Instead of trusting the Lord, he relied on his own wisdom to carry himself and his family through. May sarili siyang diskarte. Sabi ko nga, he just want to spare his family from famine.

OK lang sana kaso the problem is he will be moving from the land of promise to an “idolatrous” land. He will be moving out his family from under the hem of God’s protection to a place of temptation and idol worship. He will be exposing his family into a compromising environment. Their law even says not to give their children to the ungodly people for intermarriage. He’s putting his family in danger.

Maybe on his mind he’s thinking: “pansamantala lang ito. We’ll go back to Bethlehem when the famine ceased”. So off they went. They left their own country, trying to escape the famine, and headed to a land of uncertainty.

Elimelech went with his family: his wife, Naomi, which means “sweet, pleasant”, and his two sons, Mahlon, which means “sickly”, and Chilion, which means “wasting”. Ang weird di ba? Papangalanan mo ang mga anak mo na sakitin, at nanghihina, worse naghihingalo.

“But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years”. – Ruth 1:3-4

Unfortunate of Elimelech’s family, after they have settled in Moab, their place of refuge sana, they have lost the head of their family. So without their supposedly spiritual, financial and emotional leader, ang magkapatid ay naghanap ng kanilang mapapangasawa sa mga kababaihan ng Moab – a direct disobedience to their law. Along with the death of the father is the prolonging of their stint in Moab na umabot hanggang sampung taon, na dapat sana ay pansamantala lang.

“and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband”. Ruth 1:5

To top all the misfortunes Elimelech’s family has experienced in Moab, Mahlon and Chilion both died, giving justice to their names. Iniwan nila ang kanilang mga batang biyuda – Ruth and Orpah, both childless. #Sadlyf.

***

What I have gleaned from the account first few chapters of the book of Ruth is that we have the tendency to veer away from challenges na dumadating sa buhay natin. It was not mentioned in the Bible kung sila lang ba ang umalis at nagpunta sa Moab to find comfort, but it doesn’t matter. Looking into the life of Elimelech, he may have good intentions for his family’s welfare, pero he failed to trust how the Lord works on the welfare of His people.

God cares for us more than we care for ourselves.

Eh bakit may famine?

In the same way that there are sicknesses and trials and pains and challenges in our lives, famine represents a hurdle we must overcome for us to be strong spiritually. Bethlehem is a very blessed place, kaya nga siya “house of bread”. Ang lahat ay provided. Pero what if God has allowed all such blessings to be taken away from His people? Magtitiwala pa rin kaya sila sa Kanya? Unfortunately for Elimelech, he failed the test.

  • Tumatakbo din ba tayo kapag may mga challenges sa harapan natin?
  • Umiiwas rin ba tayo sa mga pagkakataon kung saan sinusubok ang pagtitiwala natin kay Lord?
  • When all His provisions went low, can we still trust in His love?

O baka naman instead of waiting upon the Lord, we begin charting our own plans and off we go to our own version of Moab. Isang lugar, isang sitwasyon na nako-kompromiso na ang ating sarili.

Saan nga ba ang ating Moab?

  • Rather than trusting in the Lord’s provision, nagpapa-rescue na tayo agad sa mga usurers kapag medyo na-challenge ang ating mga pitaka
  • Tumatakbo tayo sa anumang nakagawiang bisyo para humanap ng kapayapaan ng loob at solusyon sa problema
  • Ginagawa nating escape plan ang pagiging magagalitin at pala-away upang ilayo ang ating sarili sa mga tao
  • Eto worse, pero baka naman kapag may away kayo ng ka-relasyon mo e may “sidechick” ka na pinupuntahan
  • Sinusubo na natin ang ating integridad sa pamamagitan ng pangungupit, pandaraya o pangingikil ng iba pang ilegal na paraan para lang mapunan ang anumang kakulangan

Big or small, subtle or obvious, when we choose to run to other things as source of salvation and comfort other than the Lord, that’s the time we leave our “house of bread” for an idolatrous Moab. And like what happened to Elimelech, bad choice produces bad results. Mas may chance pa sana siya if he chose to stay.

God wants to make you strong in the face of difficulties. Don’t run from it – face it! It’s safer to be in the eye of the storm with the Lord on your side than in a stronghold where the Lord does not guide.

***

I am writing this at the eve of my father’s birthday. Well, he may not be a perfect father but I know that he loves us perfectly. We may have had arguments in the past, I may not approve of some of his opinions and principles in life, but still no one could ever take away his place in my heart.

We all have Elimelech tendencies within us. Kagaya ko, kagaya ng tatay ko, kagaya nating lahat. Yet the grace of God allows us to run back to Him when our Elimelech-ness urges us to sojourn to Moab. At kung napadpad ka na sa Moab, balik ka lang. Wag mo nang hayaan na mahuli pa ang lahat.