The Dream

Then a stirring came upon my heart. I need to protect the lady.

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It was bit amusing yet chivalrous, bizarre yet encouraging, finding myself in a dream fighting to win someone’s heart. I know, it is imperative not to over-spiritualize things, especially dreams which are most of the time product of our ‘subconscious’ personality, but I believe my dream speaks of every man’s journey to search for his ‘better half’ and upon finding her, to serve and protect her with all his might. After all, God sometimes speaks through dreams. And while I do not claim any direct, divine explanation for my story, allow me to just sprinkle some thoughts I pondered as soon as consciousness hit me on my bed that day.

The Dream.png

The story unfolds inside a mansion with many rooms; contemporary in design yet the expanse so big it is comparable to an ancient castle. Some of the rooms are breathtaking in design and intricacies; some are so plain and dull. A fine, attractive lady is escorting me in my trip inside the mansion, bringing me from room to room boasting of its beauty. Her facial expression goes along with the design of the room – plain and mediocre when inside the plain rooms, radiant and spirited when inside the beautiful rooms.

As we progress in our journey that day, I noticed that the rooms are depreciating in splendor. The surrounding becomes damp and crowded; cobwebs begin to be visible and there emanates a stinking smell. Then I also noticed the embarrassment in her face. Our pace reduced and I can see the hesitancy in her eyes. It’s as if all the pain and doubts and worries and fears in life came upon her that moment. But I admired her for being strong. We moved slowly and she led me to the rooms with the worst condition compared to the first ones. She cries as she was telling me the stories behind the rooms. For some rooms, she can cite reasons, for others, she just returned blank stares, suggesting her lack of idea. I joined her in tears until we reached the terrace, which is also the end of my journey with her inside the mansion.

[I joined my friends outside the mansion. There we talked about our respective journeys in life. We poured out ourselves to each other as a band of brothers, ready to protect one another.] But when I gazed at the terrace, there I find visions of men and women contributing to the ugliness of the rooms I have witnessed inside the mansion. Some are even attempting to create new ugly rooms. Then a stirring came upon my heart. I need to protect the lady. I need to rescue her from people who try to add tears from her eyes by building ugly rooms in her mansion.

But we fought on the same battlefield. Our weapons seemed to be small and weak compared to our antagonists’, but we can retaliate. It is as if Someone stronger than anyone else in the field is backing us up.

With friends alongside, we fought the forces. We fought our different battles. They had their own motivations. Mine is to rescue the lady. But we fought on the same battlefield. Our weapons seemed to be small and weak compared to our antagonists’, but we can retaliate. It is as if Someone stronger than anyone else in the field is backing us up. Ultimately, we won. We ended up victorious. And a celebration awaits us.

I gazed again at the terrace. There she is, surrounded still by the horrors of the ugly rooms behind her. With her as well are the people who love her and care for her welfare. But now I can see her welcoming countenance. Without hesitation, I asked her to come down from the terrace. She turned around and bade farewell to the people behind her, as if asking for their approval, which they gave. And with just a glimpse, she joined me at the celebration below; with the happiest face I can ever imagine, ready to build beautiful rooms in our own mansion.

Lavished In Love

Naaalala mo pa ba yung unang beses kang na-inlove?

23

Day 22: God says you are…

LAVISHED IN LOVE

While I’m writing this post, I am listening to NSYNC’s “That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You”. The song is about a guy na titigil lang daw sa pag-ibig kung yung winter comes on summer, at kung sakaling may hangganan na daw ang “forever”. Rhetorically speaking, hindi siya titigil sa pagmamahal.

One of the things I love about 90s music, particularly RnB – punong-puno ng emosyon ang mga kanta. Tapos samahan mo pa ng mala-dramang music videos na may pa-sway-sway pa ng mga kamay at hawi-hawi ng buhok, ewan ko na lang kung hindi ka mapa-emo. Mula sa puso, maganda ang pagkakasulat, raw emotions. Love songs talaga, hindi mga sex songs. A trip down the memory lane. Buti na lang may Spotify at Youtube, pwedeng balikan anytime ang 90s RnB.

Naaalala mo pa ba yung unang beses kang na-inlove? Yung buhos-buhos ang kilig at ang attention na ibinibigay mo sa taong pumukaw ng iyong damdamin. Sino bang makakalimot sa emotional roller coaster nang first love mo? Yung emotional bliss nang sinagot ka ng nililigawan mo? Yung tila pagtigil ng oras habang lumalakad ka sa aisle at hinihintay ka ng groom mo? Kung nasaan mang yugto ka ng iyong love story, I’m sure you will agree with me na sa buhay mo, nagbuhos ka nang immeasurable amount of love. Kung sinuklian o hindi, ibang usapan na yun.

While we long for lavish love from others, take into heart that we have already received in Christ a lavish amount of love. Sobra-sobra, more than we deserve pa nga. Gusto mo ng proof? Look at the cross. Spreading His arms, He’s telling you: anak, this is how much I love you.

Lahat tayo ay nagnanais na makaranas na tumanggap ng buhos-buhos na pagmamahal. Yung love na hindi kinukwenta, boundless at unconditional. Pero sa takbo ng mga relationships ngayon sa mundo, medyo nagiging incapable na yata ang tao na tumanggap at magbigay ng ganung klaseng pag-ibig. Iba rin kasi ang influence ng media, ng mga failed stories at syempre, dahil na rin sa selfishness ng tao. Nagiging bukambibig na rin nga, kahit ng mga bata na “walang poreber” na hindi natin alam kung san ba talaga nanggaling. Medyo distorted na ang perspective ng tao pagdating sa pag-ibig.

While we long for lavish love from others, take into heart that we have already received in Christ a lavish amount of love. Sobra-sobra, more than we deserve pa nga. Gusto mo ng proof? Look at the cross. Spreading His arms, He’s telling you: anak, this is how much I love you. Kung ang ibang tao hindi tayo kayang ibigin ng totoo, kay Kristo makakasumpong tayo ng higit pa sa kayang ibigay ng sinumang tao. We are lavished in love.

Imagine God serenading you with his own version of love song, mas emosyonal pa kaysa NSYNC:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1

#PPAP

Pag-Ibig, Pananampalataya at Pag-asa

Napadaan ako sa paborito kong bookstore one time and I was drawn sa isang book with title “Love and Respect”. Drawn ako sa book unang-una dahil sa naka-sale siya, pangalawa dahil isa siya sa pinakamakapal. Ok, I judged the other books dahil sa cover nila – mas makulay kasi yung cover nung kinuha ko; mas makapal so inisip ko na mas maraming tinta akong binayaran. Ewan ko ba kung bakit yun ang naging pamantayan ko that time.

ppap

The book is about marriage. Wow. After reading a few chapters, sobrang nag-enjoy ako sa content. Na-confirm ko na normal nga lang pala talaga sa mga mag-asawa na pag-awayan kahit na pinaka-simpleng bagay sa mundo na kung tutuusin wala namang dahilan para pag-awayan: tuwalyang naiwan sa sahig, hindi ibinabang toilet bowl cover, at kahit na kung saan banda pinipisil ang toothpaste tube. Ang saya pala ng marriage life, sa isip-isip ko. Haha.

During the course of my existence, I’ve met and personally known wonderful couples whom I’m hugely indebted sa mga examples na ibinabahagi nila sa akin, both directly or indirectly. More than the examples written in the book, it is more encouraging to see marriage through the lens of reality. Mas makulay, mas madrama, mas kapana-panabik.

We want to set things in order. Kung tayo nga lang ang masusunod sa script ng ating buhay, mas pipiliin natin ang mala-pelikulang eksena kung saan tayo ang “knight in shining armor” ng ating “damsel in distress”, or kung babae ka naman, dudungaw ka na lang sa iyong bintana habang inaawitan ka ng iyong prinsipe. We want, as much as possible, a happy love story, like those in the movies. Pero the reality is, God’s gift comes not in a generic package. Walang mass production si Lord pagdating sa ating mga istorya. Lahat ay customized, tailor-made, suitably fit and handpicked. He knows what’s best for us. And most of the time, hindi iyon ang “order” natin. He knows what we want but He gives us what we need.

So hindi lang basta pareho kayo ng belief ay “equally yoked” na rin kayo. Hindi lang basta pareho kayo ng language ay talo-talo na. It’s not about trusting our own senses and promptings of the heart and emotions – it has to be God’s prerogative. Anything surrendered unto the will of the Lord He will honor and recognize as long as tama ang ating puso. Hindi naman Siya madamot. He just wants to set things in order. Kasi mahal Niya tayo. And that is the heart of the matter. Masu-surprise ka na lang.

The good thing about the book I mentioned, and many other books about marriage na nabasa ko na (apparently beneficial kasi talagang basahin yun kahit ng mga singles), is that it remains to be positive in the institution of marriage itself. There’s blessing and beauty in it na dapat nating kasabikan. Yes, marriage is somehow frightening and countless stories of failed marriages lurk around us. Hindi natin mapapasubalian yun. However, the disappointments of the few does not weigh the same as the joy of those who remains committed to it, no matter how hard they’ve been through. Maniwala pa rin tayo sa poreber.

Ang totoo niyan hindi ko rin alam kung bakit ako nagsusulat tungkol dito. Napaka-random lang talaga. Kasing-random lang ng song na ito: #LSS and stuck.

 

The Power of Rebuke

An open rebuke is better than hidden love.

Ayaw natin, as much as possible, na pinanghihimasukan tayo sa mga bagay-bagay na ginagawa natin. We feel offended when somebody cares enough to point out the wrong in us, aware man tayo o hindi sa mga ito. May pagka-sensitive tayo, ayaw natin na nasasaktan tayo.

On the flip side, hindi rin natin gusto ang makasakit ng damdamin. Marami rin sa atin ang hindi confrontational type. Sa halip na sabihin natin ang mali sa iba, we try to sugar coat our criticisms para hindi masyadong masakit pakinggan. To us, di bale nang masaktan, wag lang ang makasakit ng iba.

ON NOW

There was a time when I made a sensitive joke about a certain Facebook video. For me then, talking about (and laughing about) that joke is no big deal. Until someone who cares enough about me rebuked and reminded me how disappointing it is for a Christian like me to join the world in humiliating the person in that video by watching such over and over again, to my heart’s content. In fairness hindi ko naman ni-like and share, pero just the same, I took time to laugh about the misery of the person. Kitams, nag-justify pa ako. Haha!

An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Marahil sa iba, madaling i-brush off ang mga ganung remarks sa atin. “Ang KJ naman”, “masyadong sensitive”, “parang yun lang” to some even we have this snide remark: “masyado namang pakielamera”. Different responses – ang iba umiilag, ang iba naninisi, ang iba nagju-justify ng sarili, yet the best response I should say, ay ang pagtanggap ng rebuke without holding any grudge.

A rebuke is like a bitter herb given to us by people who cares enough to help us get rid of our “attitude” disease. Parang gamot na kung hindi natin tatanggapin, maaaring hindi tayo maging maayos.

There is power in rebuke. Hanggang ngayon ay naaalala ko pa rin ang lesson na dala ng rebuke na tinanggap ko out of my insensitive patronage sa video na yun. Ngunit marahil kung hindi ako napaalalahanan sa bagay na iyon, I am still living in the futility of my so-called entertainment. A rebuke is like a bitter herb given to us by people who cares enough to help us get rid of our “attitude” disease. Parang gamot na kung hindi natin tatanggapin, maaaring hindi tayo maging maayos.

May mga taong masyadong tolerant sa atin. Sila yung mga taong ayaw tayong nasasaktan. Kahit sobrang evident na ng mga bagay na dapat nating ayusin para sa ating sarili, mas pinipili pa rin nilang manahimik. Nakikita na nila ang dumi sa mukha natin pero wala pa rin silang imik. Hindi sa hindi nila tayo mahal o wala silang pakialam. Their dilemma is that they don’t want us to get offended. Subalit ang ganitong uri ng pagdadamot sa tao ng dapat niyang itama sa kanyang sarili ay hindi pag-ibig kundi pagiging makasarili. It’s the same as saying, “I don’t care if you’re living a lie or being destroyed by your misbehaviour – as long as you feel good about yourself you’ll be fine”. Again, ito’y isang pagdadamot. Kung malaman mo ang mahal mo sa buhay na may sakit at ang gamot ay nasa iyong mga kamay, ibibigay mo ito kahit gaano pa ito kapait. The same goes with our rebuke.

There is power in rebuke – and it is given to encourage, and not to bring a person down. Maybe a rebuke is the most loving thing you can ever give to a struggling person, something that sweet, flattering words can never become. Sabi nga ni King Solomon,

An open rebuke is better than hidden love! – Proverbs 27:5 NLT

Kaya naman thankful ako for people who take courage in rebuking me. Masakit, mahapdi, pero kailangan natin para matuto. In fact, they are the most loving person one can ever have.

Gusto mo bang maging mas loving sa iba? Maximize the power of rebuke. Pero word of caution lang, do this in the spirit of love and not with a motive of bringing someone down.

Splendor

The splendor of creation won’t be complete without you.

SplendorI believe that God created the moon and the stars

But why do they all sparkle in your eyes?

That God sends lightning in the skies,

But why do they flash every time you smile?

While lilies grow and tomorrow die,

Your beauty fades not with the passage of time

God has commanded mankind to love

But towards you, I would give more than enough.

The splendor of creation won’t be complete without you

For you work wonders even with simple things you do

Each day of my life I desire to win your heart

In this life, to keep you forever will be my lasting part.

You are a treasure in the deep

A diamond I’m willing to keep

And if you can be reduced to anything of value

You can only be measured by my love for you.

Loved

Love and being loved will always be a good feeling to desire.

14

Day 14: God says you are…

LOVED

Valentines Day, araw ng mga puso. I just noticed that unlike before when I was still in grade school, mas commercialized na ang Valentines Day ngayon. With all the roses and teddy bears on malls, streets and on almost everywhere, mahirap nga namang itanggi that V-Day marketing has really gone a long way.

Love and being loved will always be a good feeling to desire. C’mon, who doesn’t want to feel that sudden gush of emotion of kilig whenever you see your crush, or hold the hands of your special someone? When, as a married couple for a long period of time, you both reminisce your early moments as sweethearts, di ba sobrang nakakatuwa yun?

Pero on the opposite side of the spectrum, meron din talagang mga bitter sa araw na ito. Sila yung mga hindi pinalad sa naging partner, nadisappoint sa kanilang loved one, at talagang iniwang heartbroken.

Iba-iba man ang ating naging karanasan when it comes to human love, there is a kind of love that far exceeds all the efforts, all the mushy feelings and sweet-nothings we receive from a person. And this love is incomparable and unimaginable, dahil ang totoo sa lahat ng klase ng pag-ibig, dito lang nabigyan ng hustisya ang salitang forever. Marahil alam mo na kung Kanino galing ang pag-ibig na yun.

God loves you. 🙂

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Jeremiah 31:3

God’s Kind of Love

Tama si Princess: tuwing ganitong panahon, sagana tayo sa 3K: may Kilig, may Kabog, may Kirot…. It’s love month once again and I am about to share with you something about God’s kind of love.

The world defines love in these three emotions:

KILIG

– the superficial indication of a “desired” love. I say “desired” kasi ang kilig ay something desired, kasi ito ay desirable. Hindi ka kinikilig sa taong ayaw mo, lalo’t hindi sa kaaway mo. Ang kilig ay nararamdaman lang kapag ang taong gustong-gusto mo ay kinakausap ka, tinetext ka o kahit lumapit lang sa iyo. But we all know that love is more than just the kilig factor. Jesus was never kinilig when He was praying in agony in Gethsemane, much more hanging on the cross. But we all can say that that act is the perfect demonstration of love.

Their pick-up line: “Para kang araw, bininigyang liwanag mo ang umaga ko.”

KABOG

– the unexplainable feeling of being tense because of someone’s presence. Kinakabog ka kapag dumadaan ang kinakikiligan mo. Dinadaga ka kapag kinausap ka na ng crush mo. This is the kind of feeling na kapag tinamaan ka, all sanity seems to leave you. Nawawala ka sa sarili mong katinuan. Hindi makapag-isip ng tama. The world thinks it’s cute. But God’s kind of love doesn’t change like shifting shadows. Hindi pabago-bago at hindi dependent sa kapaligiran. Though He’s head-over-heels in love with us, He still knows that we need to be disciplined if we need to. Never Siyang kinabog ipakita ang Kanyang pagmamahal sa atin.

Their pick-up line” Kapag nandyan ka, kinakabahan ako. Para ka kasing araw, kapag lumitaw na, alam kong late na ako”

KIROT

– the sudden gush of emotion that makes you swear you will never fall in love again. Makirot sa pakiramdam kapag iniwan ka ng mahal mo. Ang gusto mo mamanhid ka na at wala ka nang maramdaman. Ayaw mo nang makinig sa payo ng iba. Ni ayaw mo nang kumain. Nagiging bitter in the end. But God’s kind of love, no matter the amount of heartaches and pain He receives from us, still keeps us as if we never offended Him. He never became bitter on us.

Their pick-up line: “Para kang araw, pasikat ka na, masakit ka pa sa mata.”

The world defines love in these three superficial definitions. But God did not just define love. He exemplified love. He demonstrated it. While we were still sinners, He died for us.

Minsan sa mga Bible readings ko, o kaya kapag nagninilay-nilay ako, whenever I encounter verses telling me how God loves me, I am over-awed. Sobrang nakakamangha. Imagine the God of the universe loving me and making me feel loved? Hindi po talaga kayang i-contain ng mga mumunting isipan natin kung gaano kalawak, kalalim, katayog ang pag-ibig ni Hesus. I remember times in my life na papasok ako sa office, tapos bigla na lang akong kikiligin, ngumingiting mag-isa sa jeep o kaya sa bus. Kasi di ko ma-contain yung sarili ko. Kapag nag-uumapaw ang presence ni Lord, nag-uumapaw din ang emotions. What happens inside is revealed on the outside.

Heto ang ilan sa mga love notes Niya na makakapagpakilig sa atin:

  • “I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. Jeremiah 31:3
  • “People might let me down from time to time but God will always take me in.” Psalm 27:10
  • “Now I tell you to love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12
  • Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
  • God’s love pardons us for the mistakes that we made, is we are in Christ, we will not be condemned because through Him we are set free from sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

These verses and many more are enough to convince us na mahal na mahal Niya talaga tayo. Pero bakit kaya minsan, kapag may mga trials na dumadating, I tend to forget His kind of love? Kapag kinulang ako ng budget, nakakalimutan ko yung mga time na dinala Niya ako sa Nueva Vizcaya with only 20 pesos tapos pag-uwi ko 120 pesos na. Kapag di ako mapakali sa dami kong hinahabol na deadlines sa church, sa school, I tend to forget na it was Him who made ways for me to miraculously finish college. Kapag may kinatatakutan akong kausapin na tao kasi baka sigawan ako, mapagalitan, nakakalimutan ko na minsan sa buhay ko, mga abogado at matataas na opisyal ng eskwelahan ang nakaharap ko sa isang dialogue. Mga mumunting bagay pero parang nakakapagpabulag sa akin kung gaano ba naging katapat ang Diyos sa kanyang mga pangako sa akin.

One thing we have to learn: God is faithful.

The Greek word for faithfulness is pistis and it means “firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness.” It carries the idea of giving someone credit. An English synonym is, oddly enough, reality. You focus your faithfulness on someone who seems “real” to you.

This faithfulness that we’re talking about is not the “saving faith” kung kaya’t tayo ay naligtas. This is the seventh quality of the Holy Spirit and it simply means “believing the believability of God”. Oo nga’t nanininiwala tayo sa ginawa ni Hesus sa krus: na namatay Siya, muling nabuhay at muling babalik. Pero sa mga “reyalidad” na nasa harap natin ngayon, do we still “believe” Him? Naniniwala ba tayo na he will provide kung kinukulang na? Naniniwala ba tayo na he will deliver us kung nandyan na yung aso at inaamoy-amoy na tayo? Naniniwala ba tayo na He will sustain us kung nagpa-follow-up na nga yung supplier, yung manager o yung customer?

Maybe the reason why we are sometimes finding it hard to believe His faithfulness is because we are basing our faith on the wrong thing. There are two bases for our faith:

Faith based on what God does.

This kind of faith is dependent on the obvious. To him, “if God is not obvious, then obviously He’s not God.” To him, to see is to believe. This kind of person shows faith kapag may gumagaling na karamdaman o mga panalanging sinasagot. Pero paano kapag parang inactive si Lord? Ayun, nawawala din ang pananampalataya. Sabi sa Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Faith based on who God is.

This kind of faith is dependent on the character of God. He knows that “Jesus is the same yesterday, and today, and forever”. His faith is not greatly moved because he focuses on a God not greatly moved! In the midst of a society where the only thing we can count on is we can’t count onto anything, God is his guarantee. He knows that God answers prayers in different ways: healing for one and not for the other. Victory for one and not for the other. But still, his faith is on God.

One reason we know God is believable is because of his incomparable record of fulfilled prophecy. Out of literally hundreds of prophecies which have arrived at their time, every single one has been fulfilled exactly as God said, down to the minutest detail. In fact the closest length of time between the major prophecies and their fulfillment was 200 years. More glorious still is the fact that at least 61 were foretold and perfectly fulfilled during the earthly life of His Son Jesus!

Now consider this. From the journal Science Speaks, Peter Stoner offered the following calculated figures: if you take 8 prophecies out the 61, the probability of all 8 being fulfilled is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. He illustrates it this way: take 100,000,000,000,000,000 silver dollars and lay them in face of Texas.  They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir up the coins. Blindfold a man and send him out to pick up the marked silver dollar. The chance he will pick u the right one is 1 in 10 to the 17th power.

If we add 40 more fulfilled prophecies to the 8, the chance would be 1 in 10 to the 157th power. Just imagine 157 zeroes! Yet all 61 were fulfilled just as God said it would be! Indeed God is believable! And He is coming back for us!

When He said I will provide, will you still doubt Him?

When God said He longs for you, do you still resist Him?

Now when God said He loves you, do you ignore Him?

And when He said I will come back for you, will you wait for Him?

This is God’s kind of love, a believable kind of love. Not the kind of love centered on superficial kilig, unexplainable kabog, and sudden kirot.

***

Note: Some points written here were taken from the book Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Holy Spirit by Beth Moore.