Morning Worship

Whenever we -I sing this song in worship, that feeling of “awe” in the Lord’s majesty is always there. I love how this song captures (or at least attempt to capture the fullness of His splendor, as it’s too great to be caught) the Lord’s Holiness. His creation, grace, mighty works and more. 🙂

How Great Thou Art

How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

Mr. Stickman

Originally written last JUNE 3, 2012 

10:53PM

 

Doodling after my fair share of tea and night walk. It’s not everyday that I ran out of words, maybe tonight, I just let my fingers do the talking.

 

This doodle with Mr. Stickman falling, what are your thoughts?

I was outside, thinking and somehow, this picture popped out off nowhere. I wasn’t sketching anymore, so I have no pencils or charcoal. With my old-brown-and-fading sketchpad, I just doodled using some color pencil.

Like the picture of Mr. Stickman, that’s exactly how I feel when I get to do the same mistake -or sin I promised to God I won’t do again. But suddenly after a long hiatus, the flesh manages to slip. Then boom, I’m falling.

Falling, like I don’t know where and how to grasp. Or maybe I know I could hold on to Someone but is too ashamed to reach out. Humans are like that, aren’t we? Shame, self-pity then pride, gets the best of us.

Then the song “Pleasing to You” by Desperation band played, wow. What more can I say -feel? Just some funny moment thinking, looking at my life backwards. My only prayer is that I could die to myself (flesh) and live a life pleasing to my Lord, Jesus Christ. I know He doesn’t fail, it’s me (us, humans) who does.

 

Pleasing to You

By Jared Anderson

Sanctify me
Clean out my closet
Take away anything
That is not pleasing to You

Purify me
Destroy all my anger
Wash away everything
That is not pleasing to You

I will be white as snow
I will be pure as gold
Jesus my heart must know
I’m pleasing to You

I give my life my all
Taking the cross I will follow
Jesus my heart must know
I’m pleasing to You

Sanctify me
You are the light to guide me
To the place where I am
Only pleasing to You

Oh come and Purify me Lord
I need your light inside me
So the darkness flees
And I can be pleasing to You

Faith

One day I felt so angry at God. I told things that a
girl would usually tell to her best friend when
she’s upset. “Bakit ka ganyan, hindi mo ba nakikita
na nahihirapan nako?”, “Bakit wala kang ginagawa?”,
“Nakikita mo ba talaga ako?” I cried myself to sleep.
Half-expecting that the Lord Jesus would pity me and
do something nice the next day.

As I wake up, poof. Nothing. No miracle(s). Problems
still haunted me with my red puffy eyes and clogged
nose. Again I felt bad about God. Ranted that He’s
doing nothing. Maybe He’s nothing but that bearded
handsome gentleman they paint near Quiapo
churches. Worse, I doubted His love for me.

Have you ever came to a point where you felt your
problems are bigger than your God? Because I did,
me and my family did.

One thing I learned early is that you cannot make
God respond to your tantrums. No matter how hard
you cry yourself to sleep, you cannot expect God to
magically turn the tables. You could get angry at Him,
feel bad and hate Him but you cannot make Him lift a
finger to take off the load He set upon you.

There are those moments where you even ask for a
little, tiny sign but He gives none. Moments when
you feel that the whole world turned against you.
Suddenly everything is miserable. And in these times,
still God chooses to be silent. You cannot ask God to
work out something just because you need His help
now.

You feel sorry and pity yourself to death and God still
seem to be indifferent.

So where does Jesus Christ come in the scenario?

FAITH.

It’s this 5-letter-word that links man to the Holy One.
It is those moments when you can’t feel, hear or see
Him, yet you just have believe He is there. You just
have to believe that He sees your pain, knows your
heart and will do something with your situation.
Why? No, not just to justify His absence but because
God looks how much faith do you really have in you.

God is bigger and greater than your problems. He can
change your situation with a blink of an eye. He can
even make His presence known to You -feel, hear and
see!

So if He is really there, why won’t He show Himself in
times that I need Him?

Aside from the cliche that a man’s faith needs to be
tested, it’s because that God’s decisions and plans
are independent of a man’s decision and plan. He
doesn’t act according to what we want but what we
need. You may think that certain things are the best
for you when in reality, even before you know the
future, God already saw the repercussions of the
choices you make. Sometimes the Hand that leadeth
is forceful and painful -not because He wanted to
hurt us, but because we got ourself in a very bad
situation that we feel the pain in getting out.

No man can justify the Lord’s actions -nor make Him
explain His how’s and why’s. It is faith that makes a
man obedient, humble and honest before Him. Faith
-the abstract representation of the unseen yet
believing determination to the One who is equally
unfathomable and infinite.

It takes maturity to develop the kind of faith that
when God tells you to jump off a cliff, you’ll do it with
no hesitation because you know He’ll catch you. Faith
with discernment, that is what we need to develop.
That is what I want to develop.

You’re probably wondering what happened to the
child up there that had tantrums and doubted the
love of God.

I still have problems -well, who gets rid of them
forever right. “Nagtatampo” paminsan-minsan sa
Lord. But through the years, I’ve grown to understand
His ways. Why He didn’t brought us out of the
situation -lest why did He brought us in anyway. All I
can say is that whatever we learned from the tough
situations we’ve encountered and overcomed will be
needed for our future roles. So try to hang in there.
He’s not punishing us for anything.

I may not be able to share what took place during all
those “tough” years on this blog, I can peacefully say
that without those, I am not who I am right now. I
may be a different person. You see, it’s like the potter
and the pilot at the same time, we just need to
squeeze a bit and follow the lead.

With my half written thoughts, I guess I can now shut up my brain and go to sleep.

God is good -even when you think He isn’t. 🙂

Then and Now

In thinking so much of what lies ahead, sometimes we forget to appreciate what we have right now. Family, friendships, present situations we never thought we deserve, and more.

In thinking of God’s promises and revelations, we sometimes forget to live in the present.

Having a lot of “free-time”, I cannot not think and reflect of what happened during the past years, how a lot of things changed and how I’ve changed.

As I sit here, putting my thoughts into words, I remember myself as a child. My former interests (some I still like) and some what-if’s.

Like way back when I used to like Taekwondo; I remember planning to join that Milo Sports Clinic and really liked Japoy Lizardo as kid then, because of his skills.

I wanted to originally take up Fine Arts in college. But thought of what work I could possibly get afterwards.

If not for my fear of blood, I would’ve really wanted to get a course related to becoming a doctor/ nurse. Not because I could help save lives but because I liked the friendship and care they give to patients. I’m thinking of the great opportunity to talk to the family of the patients, give them hope through prayers and sharing the love of Christ.

I considered being a Social Worker once, but I had to alter some decisions. Of course, I would want to bless my parents first! And I wouldn’t be able to do that with the salary I’d be getting from that kind of job.

By taking up journalism, I discovered I could satisfy my desire for travelling and application of creative arts. Having a high grade on Basic Photography and Photojournalism (with no intention of boasting haha) I thought I found my new niche. I just need to get a good camera, some cash and courage to go abroad.

But in reality? None of my plans happened. None of these is part of the will of the Lord. And now I could understand the why’s of that.

Man had so much plans on his head that he frequently forgets his calling, the purpose God originally made him for. Now I could understand why “ALL THAT in my family and at church” had to happen. Now I could understand why I felt really bad, why I cried, why got angry, and all those emotions I had to experience to make me strong. It’s good to know what to do beforehand but it’s better to experience hardships –that gives greater wisdom.

I’m not saying I understand every bit of what’s happening in my life, but my Lord is faithful and sometimes, that’s just what we need –faith. Trust to that still small voice that’s saying everything will be alright, get a grip.

So yes, I still plan to pursue my interests and hobbies little by little (if God permits) but most of all, I want to know what He wants me to do as He unfold it little by little, step by step.

Life could only be understood backwards, but it is meant to be lived forward.

“Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean NOT ON YOUR OWN understanding. In ALL your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall make your paths STRAIGHT”. (Prov. 3:5-6)

Your ALL

What do you do when you found yourself caught between trusting God’s promise and avoiding disappointments?

Will you just half-heartedly anticipate that promise? So that when it didn’t actually worked out like how you thought it would, you’d only get half-disappointed? Will you just ignore the promise and live like come-what-may? Or will you stand in faith and contend with His promises in spite of the huge impossibilities?

The latter is obviously the right and idealistic thing to do. However, it’s the hardest.

Believing that the Lord will fulfill His promise at the right time and season is easier said than done. Why? First, it depends how deep is your understanding and practice of faith. But in its essence, when people put their faith upon something or someone, every part of that  person should believe and trust whole-heartedly.

Like a child drooling at the thought of ice cream that his mother promised when she gets home. To the kid, he’s already feeling the coldness of the chocolate ice cream. Better yet, tasting its creaminess in his head yet still has no possession of the cold dessert. That would be real faith right? Knowing that it’s there -that IT WILL BE THERE even when there’s still no trace of it.

And by me, saying that doesn’t mean I don’t trust or I refuse to wholeheartedly trust. It’s just that I admit my fallible, doubting, and limited nature that I’m learning to surrender daily in the altar.

Have you ever felt like being afraid of being “totally” happy? I do.  Sometimes I feel like when I am leaping with joy today, I might get suffocated with complications the next day. It’s like sometimes I don’t want to be  super happy because I get scared of what may happen tomorrow -of  what could possibly be taken (my family, friend or something  important) from me. Beneath all this optimism that I have and show, THIS is my Achilles’ heel. So I just tend to always “control” what I do and how I feel. Does it make sense? I don’t know sometimes I just think that when something really good happen to you, the next will be tough. It’s like this “balance” thing I have in my head.

I tend to always have a fallback like when things don’t work out. I don’t know, maybe it came with my experiences. It was like I needed to ‘always be ready’, get ‘immune to disappointments’ by not giving ‘your all’ and ‘not expecting too much’. The thing is sometimes, I don’t expect anything at all. Sometimes I don’t see myself deserving of anything good.

But someday I want to really be just “happy” and not doubt/ think about what’ll happen next. Because I feel so much of a hypocrite by saying that I trust God yet fail to be still before Him.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret.”  (Psalm 37:7)

“Lord, I want to be care-free (in a good way). I want to be able to FULLY trust You, hand-over EVERYTHING on the altar, surrender EVERY right, EVERY decision and EVERY thought that I have. Then BELIEVE with EVERY molecular and atomically substance within me that You’re sovereign.”

Amen.

In spite of this that I’m in the process of overcoming, I praise God for His peace; for He promised strength and peace to each and every one of His believers. (Psalm 29:11) God will deal everything that needs to be purified within us, slowly, in its own time and season.

Each of us has our own battles and trenches and what’s comforting is that we can rest in the knowledge that the Lord knows all of these. So maintain peace. 🙂

Learning through leading

I had to say; 3 years ago I wouldn’t even call myself a leader. Not because I’m scared or ineffective or what, but because I don’t see myself as one. Sometimes, I just do what I do. Not needing any title or recognition but do things to please the Lord. I’m not the typical go-getter, super sanguine, ever-so-friendly and forthcoming shepherd of the flock.

Sometimes I think I’m too laidback and flimsy to lead a team. I never called my cell-group/ discipleship group, disciples or cell-babies. I’d rather call them my sisters, brothers and friends.

I could say I trust God but I trust myself so little. But that isn’t possible right? Trusting the Lord meant that you should have faith in what He does and what He can do through you –and well, I wasn’t there just yet.

Until years of refining, pruning and ‘pushing’ began.

I’ve always liked to be at the back of the stage; assisting, extending help to anyone who needs it. But there will come a time when Jesus Himself would shove you into the limelight. Not for your own glory but for His; a part of His expansion within you and through you.

As circumstances become unavoidable, I keep this little principle at hand: SET UP THE STAGE FOR THE AUDIENCE OF ONE. And the One that I am referring to is the Lord of the entire universe, God Himself.

Each of us will always be given different roles. Like in a play, there are the lead actors, supporting roles, extras, and the backstage guys (where I always prefer to be). No matter what kind of role you take, do it all for His glory. Whether you’re just there to fill up a seat next to the actor, or sweeping the floor in some street in the scene, do it passion and delight. It’s not the significance you portray but the heart you display that weighs.

Just like in real life. It’s not the number of successful ministries you’ve handled or the booming churches you probably helped get established. The Lord looks at the heart most of all.

So… yes, I can finally say I am a leader. Not just any kind of leader, but a servant-leader. And by that, it means I’m no higher than anybody. In fact I am called to serve, help and assist. Not to order around and let them do the dirty work. In God’s Kingdom, we’re taught to lead by showing.

The greatest thing that I love about being servant-leader is that I get to learn every single time, through every single experience, from every single being.

Here are some of the things I managed to note down.

I learned (and learning):

-To love the unlovable          

There will always be people who will criticize and envy you. Some even want to pull you down, spread gossips and ruin your reputation. So there should always be room for forgiveness and genuine love –only by the grace of God.

-To really put effort, time and resources to people as this is essential in building relationships.

This is really a challenge, since most of the time I go on solo-flights. Now, I see those mall-trips, short lunches and long walks as opportunities to get to know people better, and to help them get closer to God.

-To put my walls down.

Another challenge, as I don’t trust people that easily. Most of the time, I get to know more about the other person, and he/she ends up knowing nothing about me at all.  If people are eager, I let people do the talking mostly.

-To shut up even though you want to defend yourself because you know you’re right.

All of the lessons I’ve posted here are based on my experiences -at church mostly. I won’t mention particular instances but this particular lesson hurt. It taught me a lot about humility and placing everything in the Lord’s Hands.

-To hold back. A LOT.

Hold back disappointment, thoughts, criticisms and such. I learned that sometimes, the people you handle don’t need your words anymore –they already heard it elsewhere. What you need is intercession and fasting, sometimes they don’t see the mistake because their spiritually blinded.

-To be more patient and understanding as some don’t purposely intend to do/say what they do/say.

You know playful people that say everything all at the wrong place, time and people. And you end up being the big-bad-wolf.

-To forgive. And forgive. And forgive.

Every time, each day and every circumstance.

-To set aside what you think is right and better (for a moment) to give way for the other person to learn.

Like what I said up there, sometimes people don’t need your lesson. They just need time, prayers and understanding. In other cases, you just submit. Not because you’re weak but because you know this will help your brother learn.

-To pray, intercede for people and circumstances. True, consistent prayer and fasting.

I learned that indeed prayer, coupled with fasting works! But up to this moment, I am still praying for some people who needs greater grace from the Lord.

-To just rely on the Lord EVERY TIME. No amount of people, friends –even family can replace that kind of dependence.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I noticed that just as I am learning to depend on somebody, he/she gets taken out of my life –or walks away from me (either they get busy, migrate or something). This happen countless times (mostly dear friends) that it hit me that God wants me to trust Him FULLY. See Psalm 88. What I learned from this is that, whenever God is giving us a family, friend or a special someone, He meant it for our joy and security BUT that should NEVER REPLACE our dependence on the One who truly gives and takes away. As I wrote in my journal, “whatever I am and whatever I have, is at Your disposal, Lord”.

-To stop ranting and just say a prayer.

Sometimes ranting to a friend helps, but praying eases more.

-To appreciate the strengths –even the littlest of what you can see to encourage them. Compliment.

Always see the good in other people. Always back up a good criticism with an encouragement.

-Rant less to people, talk to God more. As you open up your heart (and mouth) to the Lord, you’d soon find out that you’re not in the mood to talk about it to people anymore.

This is so true.

-Be more sincere, caring and loving. I tend to be cold and too private at times.

Yes, true.

-To appreciate subtle progress in the ministries –even at the very lives of people.

Who am I to judge someone? I could only pray and wish them well.

-To be there for people; to go the extra mile.

Even if it gets uncomfortable. Even if you’re tired, busy and all, make time. This, I still have to practice more.

-To NEVER get tired of listening –even if their stories and issues seem to go on a cycle and help (the Lord) is at hand.

What is pathetic to you may be troublesome to others. Each has different set of challenges, don’t feel all too good about yourself.

-To gather strength ONLY from God. Sometimes all those sensible people you used to confide with would not be there for you anymore.

Friends go, elder sisters get married and bachelors explore life. You saw them coming, you’ll see them going. Life goes on. People change but the Lord doesn’t.

It’s almost 2 in the morning and I better be sleeping. Again, what can I say, leadership is a great responsibility given to those who are willing to serve wholeheartedly. There’s so much to learn about everything that our brains cannot contain all of it. Just like the immensity of God’s knowledge which we can never exhaust in a lifetime!

I am excited (and nervously excited, lol) about what the succeeding years will teach me but furthermore, I’ve never felt this much love to the Philippines, my family, my friends, the church, the Filipino people than this year.

Stay still and be at peace at whatever circumstance. All glory to Yeshua. 🙂