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!

Saan ka nga ba Humuhugot?

Yung mas humuhugot pa tayo ng inspirasyon sa mga human relationships natin more than Him.

bakit ka nga ba HUMUHUGOT-Gone are the days na ang mga kabataan ay nagbibitaw ng mga pick-up lines at mga cheesy jokes. A few years ago, uso ang mga “ways to win her heart” at mga “how to catch his attention”. Ngayon ang uso ay mga “hugot”, na sinusundan pa ng “walang forever” at “maghihiwalay rin kayo”. Bentang-benta sa atin ang mga negosyong may kaunting touch ng ka-bitteran at encouragement sa pagmo-move on. Nagbabago nga talaga ang panahon.

Being a hopeless romantic myself, samahan mo pa ng pagkahilig ko sa mga mabulaklak na salita, tuwang tuwa talaga ako dati sa mga pick-up lines. Those catchy little phrases were my attention catchers whenever I speak before a group of youth. Pero ngayong mga salitang pa-hugot na ang in sa panlasa ng mga kabataan, medyo kailangan ko na ring mag-upgrade ng artillery ko. This is my observation sa mga kabataan ngayon – most of the time you can win their attention with your wit. Kapag may pagka-smarty-smarty ka, malaki ang chance na makukuha mo ang kanilang atensyon necessary as you unload the gospel story.

Sa dami ng humuhugot ngayon, nagiging katatawanan na siya. Ako mismo, I find most of the hugot lines on the internet both as amusing and intellectual. Nakakatuwa ang katabaan ng utak ng mga nasa likod ng mga ito! It just proves how resilient we are as a nation – hindi lang tayo sa mga bagyo at baha matatag, maging sa anumang uri ng unos na dumarating sa ating mga puso. Ano naman kung mabroken-heart? Isang hugot lang yan!

Pero ano nga ba ang nasa likod ng ating mga pag-hugot?

  1. Isa ka nang bitterana

Marahil ay naranasan mo nang masaktan, hindi lang nang isang beses kundi maraming beses na. Sa sobrang exposure mo sa sakit, naging hustler ka na. Alam na alam mo na ang pakiramdam at naging manhid ka na dito. Pero gayunman, kabilang ka pa rin sa mga umaasang darating din ang panahon na mapapalitan ng tamis ang bawat pait at lalabas din ang sweet tooth personality mo.

Hugot 1
Image taken from https://kami.com.ph/8929-elections-hugot-lines.html
  1. Lunod ka na sa luha ng iba

Sa araw-araw ka ba namang iyakan ng mga kaibigan mong akala mo kasama sa marathon kung maghabol sa jowa nilang ilang beses na silang iniwan, syempre mapapahugot ka talaga. You learn by experience ika nga, pero sa experience ng iba.

Hugot 2
Image taken from https://www.wattpad.com/200184000-ms-hugot-hugot-lines
  1. Reflective ka lang talaga

Ikaw yung tipo nang taong hugot nang hugot kahit wala namang lovelife; yung huhugot na lang bigla makakita lang ng maruming basahan, tuyong dahon o kahit gamit na tissue paper. Lahat na lang ng bagay kaya mong bigyan ng hustisya. Hindi ka man lunod sa luha ng iba, lunod naman ang iba sa kakahugot mo out of nowhere.

Hugot 3
Image taken from http://www.manillenials.com/twitter-hugot-lines-class-suspension/
  1. Add your personal reason

At walang makakapigil sayo.

Hugot 4
Image taken from https://twitter.com/pinoyhugotlines/status/742317502613463040

Last year dahil sa That Thing Called Tadhana, naging pambansang destinasyon para mag-move on ang Sagada. Ngayon, salamat sa bagong commercial ng McDonalds, naging mas malapit at mas affordable na ang pagkalimot kay ex – no need na para umakyat nang bundok. Burger McDo lang, mapapakanta ka na ng “tuloy pa rin ang awit ng buhay ko”.

Magandang mai-release natin ang ating mga hinanakit at pait sa buhay. Malaking bagay na ang anumang nagpapasakit sa ating puso ay mailabas natin para tayo ay makarecover. May mga therapy pa nga na ginagawa ang iba na kailangang magbasag ng mga pinggan sa pader para makapagrelease. Unfortunately for some, mas pinipili naman nila ang maglaslas. Umibig – nasaktan – lumuha – nagselfie.

Kaya nga tinawag siya na moving on ay dahil kailangan mong pumunta from one place to another – from a place of hurting and pain to a place of recovery and freedom from bitterness. Ngunit hindi magiging madali ang proseso. Sa iba, ito ay mabagal at sa iba naman ito ay madali lang, no need na sumunod sa Popoy rule na three months. Ang pagmo-move on ay hindi isang karera na kailangan mong mauna sa iba – ito ay isang paglago tulad ng isang binhi. Sa paglipas ng panahon, mas yumayabong ka at nagiging mas matatag.

May mga instances sa Bible na kahit si Jesus ay napapa-hugot din from His surroundings to drive important points para mas maunawaan natin ang mga gusto Niyang sabihin. He’s the best teacher after all.

Nang minsang kumain siyang kasama ng mga tax collectors and “sinners”, mga social outcasts nang panahon nila, pinag-chismisan siya ng mga ruling religious men. Kaya’t nagsimulang humugot si Jesus:

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” – Luke 15:4-7

Sa labis na pag-ibig din Niya sa atin, with deep emotions and compassion may isa pang hugot si Jesus:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” – Matthew 23:37

Sobrang mahal tayo ni Jesus and out of His great love for us, He wants us not just to know about it but to experience it as well. Ngunit maraming pagkakataon rin na nasasaktan lang natin Siya. Gustong-gusto niya tayong makausap at makasama ngunit hindi natin Siya pinapansin. Ang mas masakit pa, mas humuhugot pa tayo ng inspirasyon sa mga human relationships natin more than Him.

Maraming gustong sabihin si Jesus sa atin. Buksan mo lang ang Bible mo at mamangha sa napakaraming hugot ni Jesus – hugot nang pagmamahal at hindi ng bitterness, hugot upang tayo ay mag-move on towards Christ-likeness from a life of brokenness.

May mga hugot tayo sa buhay at kadalasan puno ito ng bitterness. I encourage you na in all of these hugot sentiments, mas humugot tayo ng lakas, inspirasyon at tunay na pag-ibig from Jesus Himself.

In Pursuit of God

He is a God that can enter the realm of our experiences – not just a God we can fathom with our intellect.

There is a world of difference between knowing about God and knowing God. We may know Him – His works in the past, in the present and what He will do in the future. We may know a lot of things about Him – His awesome qualities and stories about Him. We may know Him by name, but unfortunately we may not know who He really is.

The sermon today really hit the mark. I can no longer justify myself. I was rebuked to the core, challenged to take honest assessment of myself and moved to take my knowledge of God to the next level. He is more than what my mind can conceive, much more than what every good book can describe of Him, even more than doctrines can ever produce depicting Him. He is God – the only real God with whom no substitute can ever compare.In Pursuit of God.jpg

What makes this God so special is that He is a personal God. He is not a distant God who just looks towards us – His creation, and leaves us wondering what to do with life. Instead, He has given us His lavish grace and blessings for us to appreciate that He wants the best for us. Who would have thought that an omnipotent God who alone can create the universe with just a word from His mouth will care about us – creatures who are even incapable of reciprocating the kind of love He gives us. If there is one word I can describe God’s love towards us, I’d like to say that it’s a stubborn kind of love. And I am forever grateful to that.

It’s one thing to enjoy Him – His love, His grace, His forgiveness – all His many benefits; it’s another thing to really pursue Him. Now a convicting thought lingers on my mind: how am I really pursuing Him? Or am I, really?

Is it enough that I know about His love? Is it enough that I appreciate His wondrous works that benefits the helpless soul that I am? Is it enough that I just savor the beauty of His grace, enjoying the lavishness of His love incomprehensible? Pwede, pero depende.

It’s one thing to enjoy Him – His love, His grace, His forgiveness – all His many benefits; it’s another thing to really pursue Him. Now a convicting thought lingers on my mind: how am I really pursuing Him? Or am I, really?  The mere thought makes me think how unfair I [we] really am [are] when it comes to relating to Him.

Being busy for the kingdom is not a thing to be confused with being intimate with the King. We can do all the crazy stuff out there to at least say we’re busy pursuing Him, but in the end, our soul’s connection to the Father determines the futility of our actions. In Him, there is fullness of joy, there is peace beyond understanding and love beyond any condition. No amount of activity can fake out what only God can produce in and through us.

Amidst all the ministerial busyness, is He really the One being sought after? Or are we just downsizing Him to an activity we can jot down on our planners? He is more than that. As Psalm 34:8 says, His goodness can both be tasted and seen.

He is a God that can enter the realm of our experiences – not just a God we can fathom with our intellect.