Pagod ka na ba?

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

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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.

pagod ka na ba-.png

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!

A Father’s Heart

A father with a vulnerable heart towards God, his heavenly Father.

10-13 David blessed God in full view of the entire congregation:

Blessed are you, God of Israel, our father
from of old and forever.
To you, O God, belong the greatness and the might,
the glory, the victory, the majesty, the splendor;
Yes! Everything in heaven, everything on earth;
the kingdom all yours! You’ve raised yourself high over all.
Riches and glory come from you,
you’re ruler over all;
You hold strength and power in the palm of your hand
to build up and strengthen all.
And here we are, O God, our God, giving thanks to you,
praising your splendid Name.

14-19 “But me—who am I, and who are these my people, that we should presume to be giving something to you? Everything comes from you; all we’re doing is giving back what we’ve been given from your generous hand. As far as you’re concerned, we’re homeless, shiftless wanderers like our ancestors, our lives mere shadows, hardly anything to us. God, our God, all these materials—these piles of stuff for building a house of worship for you, honoring your Holy Name—it all came from you! It was all yours in the first place! I know, dear God that you care nothing for the surface — you want us, our true selves— and so I have given from the heart, honestly and happily. And now see all these people doing the same, giving freely, willingly—what a joy! O God, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep this generous spirit alive forever in these people always, keep their hearts set firmly in you. And give my son Solomon an uncluttered and focused heart so that he can obey what you command, live by your directions and counsel, and carry through with building The Temple for which I have provided.” – 1 Chronicles 29:10-19 (Msg)

A Father's Heart

I was caught off-guard while reading this portion of the Scripture. Emotions welled-up inside me and I cannot help but take a break from reading and praise God for His greatness. I felt humbled and little in comparison to His glory; filthy in comparison to His holiness and righteousness; weak and dumb in comparison to His might and wisdom. Indeed, God, in His infinity, is beyond comprehension. That moment is truly remarkable.

Yet beyond the overwhelming message of His Word, what overcame me was the peace that followed. I have been through a difficult emotional turmoil days prior my encounter with the Word, and during that incident, I found myself seemingly receiving a pat on the back from God Himself. I felt like a little child crying because of fear and insecurity and right when I need it, I was comforted by a hug from my Father.

Living in the times when fatherhood is becoming more of an idea than a responsibility, King David’s example is something to imitate. He displayed how to be vulnerable in front of His heavenly Father so he can be a strong earthly father to his son.

I admired King David praying and committing his successor-king son Solomon to the Lord. I was moved by the earnestness and passion of His fatherly prayer. I was moved by his desire to ensure that Solomon will choose to do the right things. I believe that if He was given a chance to guide Solomon’s actions in their whole father-son lifetime just to make sure everything’s working out fine, He will do so. Yet, King David, and every godly father know that their lifetime is brief and in different time frame. Soon his father role to Solomon will cease because of his finiteness. That’s why he entrusts his son to God – the infinite Father. He acknowledges that God is a Father who will care and protect, and will never cease to do so, because He is infinite.

I am not yet a father myself and I desire to be one soon. Living in the times when fatherhood is becoming more of an idea than a responsibility, King David’s example is something to imitate. He displayed how to be vulnerable in front of His heavenly Father so he can be a strong earthly father to his son. He acknowledged that the ultimate Source is not, and will never be him. He knew who the real Authority is, submits to that Authority and encourages others to do so. He demonstrates the godly values of honesty, gratitude, and generosity in worship, among others. When I become a father someday, I want to be like of King David, a father with a vulnerable heart towards God, his heavenly Father.

Pagsuway at Pag-alalay

May hugot din pala talaga sa biking.

Pagsuway at Pag-alalayLast Saturday, my friends and I went biking along the hustle and bustle of Pasig City. It took us almost eight hours of pedaling through occasional humps, bumps and rough road.

Ang masakit, nung pauwi na, habang dumadaan sa C5, bigla na lang napatid ang pagpedal ko. Since I am yet to learn how to discover what’s wrong with my bike, much more fix my bike, medyo nagpanic lang ako ng konti. Masyado pang malayo sa bahay. Halos parating pa lang kami ng Tiendesitas! Aakayin ko ba ang bike ko pauwi ng Marikina? Sasakay ng taxi?

Good thing, naisipan ni Jem na itali ang mga bike namin gamit ang mga bike chains. Kaya from C5 to Marikina, hila hila niya ako – dala ang bigat at pag-alalay kung paano kami makakauwi ng matiwasay.

Kagaya ng sinabi ko last post, may natutunan ako sa episode na yun ng buhay ko:

Inaalalayan tayo ng Dios, kailangan lang natin siyang pagkatiwalaan

Medyo tinamaan ako ng konting hiya nang mga sandaling hinihila ang bike ko. Ayoko kasi ng masyadong dependent sa iba, yung masyadong umaasa sa tulong ng iba. Pero that time, helpless na halos ako. Kaya kailangan kong magtiwala na magiging ok lang kami.

Kagaya din ng ating relasyon sa Dios. Minsan naiisip natin na kaya na natin. Nahihiya kasi tayo sa Kanya, na parang isang malaking kahinaan ang pagkapit sa Kanya. Pero in the first place, helpless naman talaga tayo kung wala Siya!

One thing I appreciate with my friends is their willingness to help me at the cost of their inconvenience. That’s what friendship is made up nga naman. But the Lord is a Friend as well, and more than a friend actually. Kaya kung pinagkakatiwalaan natin ang ating mga kaibigan na di tayo iiwanan, how much more can we trust the Lord?

Mas mabagal at delikado ang takbo kapag may attitude of resistance

Habang hila-hila ako at ang bike ko, may mga pagkakataon na ako ang nagpipilit magdikta sa magiging takbo namin. Kakabig ako pakaliwa, o pakanan; o kaya naman ay biglang preno.

When we resist God’s plan in our lives, tendecy is either we’ll delay our progress or worse, endanger our lives. Minsan kasi nagmamarunong tayo e.

Pero along the way, narealize ko na kung ako na dependent ay mag-iinsist ng gusto kong mangyari, possible na instead makauwi kami agad, mas bumagal pa kami or mailagay ko sa mas delikadong sitwasyon ang takbo namin. We are trudging C5 at hindi yun biro!

When we resist God’s plan in our lives, tendecy is either we’ll delay our progress or worse, endanger our lives. Minsan kasi nagmamarunong tayo e. We tend to think that we know how to direct life better than God, where in fact we are just mere passengers in His vehicle.

Kapag masyado akong nagpabigat habang hila ako, mas bumabagal ang takbo. Kapag tumigil ako, titigil din siya, pero may choice siyang iwanan ako. Hindi ko hawak ang pacing ng byahe namin, at lalong hindi ko desisyon na tulungan ako. Likewise, resistance to the Lord is futile, because we will always end up disadvantaged.

Kahit sa gitna ng iyong kalituhan, mayroon pa ring kapahingahan

Sa tagal ng pagpadyak namin, talagang inabutan ako ng pagod. Hindi biro ang halos walong oras na pagpedal a! Mula pa man ng pag-alis ko sa bahay at habang binabagtas namin ang mga kalsada, I keep on uttering prayers of guidance and protection, maging yung mga bisikleta namin ay wag nawang masira.

Pero nangyari nga ang di inaasahan. Kaya di ko maiwasang magtanong kung bakit kahit anong panalangin ko, namgyari pa rin. Ngunit sa gitna ng kalituhan, naroon ang kapahingahan. Umupo lang ako sa bike ko habang hila-hila ng bisikleta sa harap ko, at ang iba naming kasama ay nakaalalay. Napahinga ang mga paa kong napagod na sa byahe.

Likewise, God’s ways are puzzling. Mahirap intindihin kung minsan. Pero what’s best about it is hindi mo naman kailangang intindihin ang lahat sa Kanya. He is infinite, eternal and incomprehensible in the first place.

At mas ramdam ko ang daluyong ng malamig hangin at mga matatayog na istruktura sa Eastwood. Nakauwi ako, with less padyak and more pahinga (than the rest of my peers. Haha!)

Likewise, God’s ways are puzzling. Mahirap intindihin kung minsan. Pero what’s best about it is hindi mo naman kailangang intindihin ang lahat sa Kanya. He is infinite, eternal and incomprehensible in the first place. Yet when we trust His sovereignty over our lives, mas maaappreciate mo ang bawat himaymay ng wonderful plans Niya sa buhay mo. It is better to rest in Him than to be restless, stressing yourself.

May hugot din pala talaga sa biking. 🙂

Speaking with a goldfish: Important notes I’ve discovered in the Book of James

When one is in trial, he learns to persevere.

Amidst my tight schedule, my preoccupations and numerous unreasonable excuses not to open my bible, finally I managed to get through the book of James. And it took me fifteen days to actually get its message! I call that goldfish memory days – my short lived memory cannot contain the jewels of life the book is giving me, perhaps due to physical exhaustion. But praise God, His words are powerful enough to overpower my seemingly over fatigued mind and body just to tell me How awesome His love is for me. During those fifteen days, God is like a man teaching his goldfish instructions to live life. And because nothing is impossible to God, He actually got His message across!

I have just finished my second week in school. At this early point, I’m already contemplating whether the subjects I’m currently taking are wise choices. Actually, I don’t know. Being a working student, my only goal is to get as many subjects as I could so as to accelerate my years studying. And after my first two weeks of gruelling schedule, I find myself overwhelmed with tons of responsibilities. To be honest, I have no complaints. I love challenges. I’m used to deadlines and pressures. My creative juices manifest when I’m in an adrenaline rush. But I was caught off guard this time. I’m thinking whether I’ve bitten more than what I can chew. And there is no turning back for me now. I have decided to face the challenge no matter what, backed up with confidence that God stands by me in this battle.

Consider it pure joy?

The earlier part of the fifteen-day journey through the book of James tells me to consider it pure joy when I’m in trial. Perseverance is the key.

Consider it pure joy? How can I be joyful when my eyes want to sleep but I still have to pass a research paper? Where can I find joy in the midst of tense classmates because our professor might “send us to hell” any moment?

When one is in trial, he learns to persevere. Perseverance produces maturity and completeness. Well, at first it’s easy to comprehend. These are all common and familiar verses in the Bible. Actually, the whole book of James is. But its familiar message turns surreal when I began to meet my terror professor, tons of assigned readings and lack of sleep. Consider it pure joy? How can I be joyful when my eyes want to sleep but I still have to pass a research paper? Where can I find joy in the midst of tense classmates because our professor might “send us to hell” any moment? But still, God speaks through James to consider it pure joy. Okay then, I’ll try…

Humility is Wisdom

In a classroom there exists competition for good grades and reputation. It is every wise student’s desire to excel in class. I believe I am one of those “wise” students. I want not just to survive the semester and get the most of my tuition fees, but to earn good grades and learn. But I was reminded that wisdom is evidenced by good life and deeds done in humility.

For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice. So a Christian’s “show-off” of wisdom is though genuine humility and good deeds, and the wisdom that comes from heaven is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

For people whose sole desire is to be at the top, they don’t mind being caught up in the midst of an unhealthy competition, fighting for their rights and boasting about what they have and what they can do. Envy and selfish ambition gets prevalent. But with Christians, it is (should be) different. We must not get wired up in the competition but must be above it. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice. So a Christian’s “show-off” of wisdom is though genuine humility and good deeds, and the wisdom that comes from heaven is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. A real challenge because we tend to react to competition by trying to overpower others with what we have. But God says, be humble. And that is true wisdom.

Patience in Suffering

My terror professor asked the working students in the class, “You already have your job, why do you still want to pursue your studies?” I have an answer in mind, unfortunately I wasn’t called.

But as to when will I reach my goals, everything seems blurred. But God says be patient. As a farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, for the autumn and spring rains, so I have to be patient.

I reflected upon that question as I go home, and I realized that even after I finish my second course, I’m still not sure what will happen. I have my visions in life. I already have my goals set. But as to when will I reach my goals, everything seems blurred. But God says be patient. As a farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, for the autumn and spring rains, so I have to be patient. Moreover, the Lord is coming soon. To wait upon the Lord seems to be taxing but the rewards outweighs the pain; the result is greater than the suffering. He will avenge us from our oppressors. Above all, He will put in our heads the crown of life He has promised to those who love Him, to those who stood the test, to those who persevered under all these trials.

These are just some of the imperative reminders I’ve discovered in the precious book (I discovered a lot!). The best thing, this is just one of the life-transforming books available in the bible. And its message is applicable not for the semester alone, but throughout my faith journey.

Slow Fade

For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see.

*With lyrics from Casting Crown’s Slow Fade

Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

I was reminded how compromises (or little foxes, as King Solomon puts it) corrupt a whole being. It may sound innocent, but a reply “just this one time” to an invitation becomes an open door for the spirit of complacency and stubbornness to creep into one’s system. It brings a slow fade in one’s spiritual health, which when neglected, leads to eventual death.

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

Oh! How many times I have allowed just-this-one-time mentality overtake my priorities. The results surfaced, unfortunately not in an instant but in a sure hit, gradual manner — and I was caught unprepared. All the time I know I am strong enough to make counter-attacks should there be any attempts to meddle my spiritual growth, but I never realized that I was already caught off-guard, thanks to the compromises I have made. I almost found myself asking “am I fighting a losing battle?”

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you’re thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Indeed, people really never crumble in a day. Just like a simple crack eventually destroys an edifice, a little rumor ruins integrity, and a trivial misunderstanding breaks relationships. Our biggest problems in life aren’t those we fear the most — broken relationships, flawed personality, bondage to a certain problem — usually they are the little foxes creeping their way behind us, slowly ruining our vineyards. Compromises only give birth to bigger frustrations.

“Our vineyards are in blossom;
We must catch the little foxes
That destroy the vineyards.”
Song of Songs 2:15

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

“Please celebrate with me that Satan cannot do anything to us God cannot use through us! No matter what gains the enemy has had in your life,if you will cooperate with God and allow Him to direct your life henceforth, God will turn defeat into victory! Satan does not have to have the last word the circumstance he authored in your life.” — Beth Moore