December 31, 2005

put your faith in the One who can save you =)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, saying, “Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves to you. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, O king. But even if God does not save us, we want you, O king, to know this: We will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
-- Daniel 3:16-18

giving credit where it is due =)

Praise God forever and ever,
because He has wisdom and power.
He changes the times and seasons of the year.
He takes away the power of kings
and gives their power to new kings.
He gives wisdom to those who are wise
and knowledge to those who understand.
He makes known secrets that are deep and hidden;
He knows what is hidden in darkness,
and light is all around Him.
I thank You and praise You, God of my ancestors,
Because You have given me wisdom and power.
You told me what we asked of you;
You told us about the king’s dream.
-- Daniel on God, Daniel 2:19-23

God also told this secret to me, not because I have greater wisdom than any other living person, but so that you will know what it means. In that way you will understand what went through your mind.
-- Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 3:30

As [Nebuchadnezzar] was walking on the roof of his palace in Babylon, he said, “I have built this great Babylon as my royal home. I built it by my power to show my glory and my majesty.”
The words were still in his mouth when a voice from heaven said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, these things will happen to you. You will be forced away from people. You will live with the wild animals and be fed grass like an ox. Seven years will pass before you learn this lesson: The Most High God rules over every kingdom on earth and gives those kingdoms to anyone He chooses.
-- Daniel 4:29-32

God’s rule is forever,
and His kingdom continues for all time.
People on earth
are not truly important.
God does what He wants
with the powers of heaven
and the people on earth.
No one can stop His powerful hand
or question what He does.
…Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give praise and honor and glory to the King of heaven. Everything He does is right and fair, and He is able to make proud people humble.
-- Nebuchadnezzar on God, Daniel 4:34-35,37

December 29, 2005

waiting =)

Waiting. =)
i don’t mind waiting for my husband. i have been wrong, so wrong, and so many times, in the past. Taking control is not an issue for me anymore because i have lousy judgement anyways :p .
Besides, i'm giving over the reins to the One who created me and created my future hubby. By the way, God created the entire universe as well! He knows the best plan for each of us, and if my life (or any other’s, for that matter) were to be studied, you could but conclude that He always acts in our best interests. Have i not put my heart and my trust in the right place? =)
Guarding my heart is crucial. Because i don’t know what will happen between now and the vows. Anyone who knows me personally knows I get affected really easily! i admit, I was troubled recently when i saw (blank 1) talking to (blank 2) --- as if (blank 1) were (i) a possession, and (ii) my possession! As if blank1 and blank2 cannot possibly talk to each other, the way i talk to each of them and to many others!! As if, as if…
(dec29 note: now I’ve also heard about blanks 3, 4, and 5…guard the heart! “As if,” i will chant over and over again…!)
My old self would know what to do – take matters into her own hands way before “dangerous” or “seriously critical” events (like blank1 and blank2 talking) could possibly occur again.
But i’m not my old self anymore. My old self came face-to-face with God Himself, and He has been renewing and transforming me ever since, into the beautiful, virtuous woman He has always intended for me to be. (If it’s not yet obvious, i can always say i'm still a work in progress! If the changes really show, then to God be all the glory and praise. =) )
My old self --- the old sinful nature, corrupted by selfish wants --- still pops up every now and then. i am torn between self and God; my will versus His will --- His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
It is so hard, battling against myself, battling within myself. Though God is all-powerful, He always gives us the choice to follow Him. Which is why humans, even those with Christ already inside them (inside us), still run the risk of stumbling and falling really hard.
It is hard, but really, what choice is there? Who else can i go to, to find life, meaning, joy, fulfillment? Who else is faithful, true, and good? Who else is like that for all time?

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
-- Peter to Jesus, John 6:68

As God gives me the choice, i give the choice back to Him.
i submit to His authority over my life, and that includes my heart. i also give back to Him the choice of who i will marry =) (er, Lord, i will marry, right?). The one (blank!) i’m thinking of right now may or may not be the one --- why, it’s possible i won’t marry at all, too!
God wants me to pray, to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and He will give me what i ask (Luke 11:9-10, Matthew 7:7-8, James 4:2). But at this point in my life, the future (my marital future) is not too clear. Instead, i will pray another of Jesus’ prayers: that God’s will be done (Luke 11:2) in my life; that His kingdom come (Luke 11:2) reign in the castles of my life, as i sit here…
Waiting. =)
(written December 17, 2005)

my chronicle on Narnia

i have to admit, God, that i'm still regretting not trying our for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” TEN years ago. imagine what it would have been like, if i had heard/read about Narnia half a lifetime ago…if i encountered Jesus before i met boys…if i took the ounce of prevention rather than the pound of cure.
BUT, though regret is part of the learning process, i should not dwell and drown in my past:
#1. It’s finished and i can’t change any of it.
#2. If i would have done something else rather than what i actually did, then it wouldn’t have been me. That’s just it --- yes, there are so many things that should or should not have been, but given my attitudes, circumstances, and mindset THEN, i would be led to make those SAME WRONG decisions again and again.
#3. No matter how grieved i am about the mistakes of my past, they have all the more made me appreciate the Good News --- that God took the punishment that i deserved, and that God is in me now, helping me to never stumble again.
Hallelujah. =)
i will watch Narnia next month just as i have read the books a year ago: with the same overwhelming sense of gratitude, peace and joy because God loved and saved a wretch like me. It has been ten years since i did not heed a still small voice telling me about Narnia, and the years i spent between then and now were full of immeasurable regret, yet these are all OVERRULED by the simple fact that God has never, not once, stopped pursuing me. He has always been and always will be there, whether or not i can sense His presence, and when we come face-to-face (or more technically, soul-to-Spirit), it would be my pleasure to kneel before Him as the Pevensie children did (i love that scene =) ).
(written December 17, 2005)

why i will name my future daughter after a nonliving bad girl!

why i will name my future daughter after Emma Frost, and not after Jean nor Rachel Grey

Background: for the comics illiterate =)

Jean Grey – “the heart of the X-Men”; the one with utmost compassion, often their spokesperson, has more than once sacrificed her very life for her teammates and for Prof. Charles Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants. MY favorite character, i consciously and unconsciously followed in her footsteps; yet in my self-righteous judgmental state (which incidentally are also her weaknesses), i did not know that i was actually becoming an Emma Frost.

Emma Frost – a formidable enemy of the X-Men until the 1990s, where after the death of some of her dear students (?) she was recruited by Xavier to teach the new generation of mutants. Though the circumstances were awkward to say the least, it wasn’t until her transfer to the X-Mansion (the team’s main headquarters) that sparks really flew – between her and Jean’s husband, Scott Summers, and as a result, between her and Jean. With Jean’s death, her position is now fixed in Scott’s heart, and beside him as co-headmaster of the Xavier Institute. After realizing my sinfulness and powerlessness to do right even if i wanted to (which interestingly came about through refraining from X-Men comics and websites for a few months – during the Phoenix Endsong limited series run, no less!). i now have a deep fondness for Emma; in fact my only wish for the comics is to see Emma repent and made new, as I have. Although, this transformed life is only possible ith God’s unfailing love and grace, which against the odds i’m hoping will be shown in the comic books. =)

Rachel Grey – the daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey in an alternate reality, she was so glad when this ‘reality’’s counterparts of her parents got married as well. However, soon she had to disappear, making the ultimate sacrifice not unlike her ‘mother’, for the sake of a friend. Curiously reappearing soon after Jean’s recent death, she openly showed her resentment towards Scott and Emma, and took on her mother’s first codename, first costume, and significantly, even Jean’s maiden name. Rachel’s fans say she’s much more than simply “the daughter of so-and-so”. True, but having been an avid fan of Scott and Jean’s love story for so long (i am so embarrassed now upon typing this, hehehe…), Ray oftentimes was my voice, what i myself would say if i was face-to-face with my favorite characters. Back then i would say, “They should be together,” Period. Now Ray and i are both growing in understanding: learning to accept that people change, that goodbyes are sometimes the best option (or, the lesser evil), that anyone, even the most outwardly annoying, despicable person (that would be Emma in this story) has a heart and good intentions and is often just misunderstood, like you and me and everyone else.

Now regarding my very long title --- actually i don’t plan on naming my future daughter after the most outwardly annoying, despicable person in the X-Men (again, that’s Emma). But i really really want to see Emma find grace, find salvation, just as i have. The one who previously was just “the irritating character” for me, is now the only one i want to give a hug. She really, badly needs it.

A very dear friend of mine had a Friendster testimonial for me, saying i (was) one of the most misunderstood people she knew. Just like Em! And Em went out of her way to be nice to Rachel (who understandably was acting like a bratty baby), and even extend a gracious hand after defeating Ray in a telepathic fight, and teach her a few tricks.

But what really touched me was during Christmas/Thanksgiving, when Em invited Ray’s grandparents --- the parents of Jean, not Scott. Wow. i’ve heard many accounts of noble acts, but i truly consider that a big thing. Emma may be manipulative, scheming, and selfish, but with regard to Rachel i could really sense a sincere and good heart. *sniff* (aww.)

Characters i read about --- in the Bible, in comics, and anywhere else --- i want to relate to, to appreciate them and the story more…or inversely, if i appreciate them, i look for areas where i can relate to them. Having been recently convicted of my sinful past, at around the same time that i've learned to appreciate Em, I wanted --- want --- to see goodness overcome evil in her life. Oops! All this time i’m talking as if these characters are real! =) but i do want to see that --- even if they’re not really flesh and blood, i still want to see the triumph of good.

Because ultimately in learning about their lives i've found a standard against which to measure my own. But all the comic books i've read operate implicitly under the concept that there is no God --- or, at least, is not present in their lives anyway.

Now i've found a new standard --- God’s standard, which is nothing short of perfection.

Be perfect, therefore, as My Father in heaven is perfect.
-- Jesus, Matthew 5:48

For My thoughts are higher than your thoughts,
and My ways are higher than your ways.
-- God the Father, Isaiah 55:9

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
-- Paul, Romans 3:23

God’s standard is the highest standard possible. Don’t we all want that? Even if our expectations are “realistic”, “expecting” that we cannot ever achieve perfection, all of us aim higher, not lower, than what we can achieve.

Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.
-- Paul, Philippians 3:13-14

We want to be the best; and to do what is right.

Oh what a wretched man I am!...I do not do what I want to do, and what I do not want to do I do…
-- Paul, Romans 7:24,15

We cannot appreciate the good news before first receiving the bad news. The bad news is, we cannot be perfect --- we cannot live sinless, guilt-free, blessed and fulfilled lives out of our own ability.

The good news is that it is possible with and only with the One who created us in the first place ---GOD.

i have always seen Jean Grey as the ‘best’ X-man --- loving, giving, ‘good’. And yet my intentions do not often translate to real life --- try as i might, and i've been trying for over a decade, i could not be the good person i want to be. Heck, Jean cannot sustain that “goodness” herself: she has fallen many times, and even has a holier-than-thou attitude that surfaces oh-so-subtly.

Are we not, on so many levels, like Emma Frosts? That was a big revelation for me. And reminds me of Jesus’ words:

  • For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 18:14)
  • It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. (Matthew 9:12, Luke 5:31, Mark 2:17)
  • Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little. (Luke 7:47)

i want to see Emma find grace, find salvation, just as i have. Not because the other X-Men are “well” and do not need Jesus anymore, but because Emma’s sins are so (relatively) blatant and obvious, and her need for her Savior so much more glaring, that she will more readily, easily, accept Him. Or so i hope.

The bad news, too, is that our sins, our falling short of perfection, deserves punishment. Our evil deeds, from telling a lie to committing murder, deserve a life and an eternity away from the just and righteous God of all.

But MORE good news: Jesus Christ already took that punishment for our sins. God in human form, who was tempted and yet never did any evil, deliberately endured the most humiliating, excruciating anguish ever known, for crimes against God that He did not commit. Blatantly unfair, so that we through His poverty might become rich.
-- 2 Corinthians 8:9

God’s love is unconditional, and yet there is something like a condition to the Good News. Even if Christ already took your punishment so that you can go free, you still have to accept that truth. You still have to accept that He is your Savior. You still have to confess; it is the Truth, but you still have to recognize it as true in your own life.

If a prisoner facing the death penalty were to be given an unconditional presidential pardon, he would still remain in bondage unless he accepted that pardon.

With the jail doors practically opening wide for him to leave, unless the prisoner believes that he is forgiven, unless the prisoner accepts that he can be and is set free, unless the prisoner takes that step of faith to freedom, then the pardon is of no use in the life of the prisoner. The prisoner has but one power, the power of choice, but that makes all the difference.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
-- Ephesians 2:8-9

Taking the prisoner analogy further, if Prisoner were sentenced to death, what if it was the President himself --- who has no criminal record and has a spotless character --- asks to be put to death instead of Prisoner? What if President loves his friend Prisoner so much that President wants to exchange records, unfair though it is?

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
-- 2 Corinthians 8:9

Justice must still be served. Someone has to pay. But what if Prisoner was so popular that he’s also buddies with a fellow death row inmate, Pal? What if Pal loves Prisoner so much that Pal, like Pres, wants to exchange records with Prisoner? But what’s the use? Prisoner and Pal will still both die! Only President has the authority to grant Prisoner a pardon and the ability to grant him a clean slate.

Only Jesus can save us. And He already did. All we have to do is receive Him:
as Savior for our past life of sin and evil and bondage;
as Lord for our new life of goodness and power, the power to do what is right.

With God, all things are possible, but He’s waiting for each one of us because He honors our free will.

Before knowing Christ i was able to read two books about God-centered romantic relationships, written by Joshua Harris. i was so blessed and enlightened by his writing, all of which sought to glorify God by following Him over personal inclinations, yet i fully agreed with him because in my heart and mind there was (i thought!) no struggle.

Back then, in avidly following the adventures of comic book characters, i thought i was ok, even better than ok!! Yet it wasn’t until i fell, fell really hard, as i aped the acts of those who do not know or obey God, that i realized how much i need Him. i want His goodness, i want to reach His standards…but i cannot until i realized and acknowledged my need for Him, my welcoming Him into my life as my Savior, and seeking and following Him as my Lord.

Shortly after accepting Jesus i got to read Joshua Harris’ third book, dedicated to his two children, one being named Emma Grace.

#1. The book was about guarding our hearts against lust.

#2. In my past struggles against lust, and in one time in particular, Josh Harris fought head-to-head against the X-Men. (The truth is embarrassing, but it needs to be told! =) …) You know the familiar scene in cartoons where the angel whispers in one ear and the devil shouts in the other? Don’t laugh, it’s true and it happened to me. The angel was quoting Josh; the devil was holding one panel of one page of one comic book. Just one image.

i could not even use the excuse that i did not know any better, because i did know better. In my weak state, far from God’s presence, guidance and strength, i went with the devil. The sad thing was i never got to hear from my conscience --- my angel, God’s still small voice --- for a long time after that. As if i'd listen anyway! =(

But God’s love and grace really are deeper than the deepest sea. So here i am now, talking about overcoming our weaknesses by putting our trust solely in Him.

#3. A few months after reading that third book, i started appreciating Emma to the point that i wished she would repent. Over and over i wanted to see that. i wanted to see Emma find grace, find salvation, just as i have. That’s my personal wish for the comics, short of giving that fictional character a great big hug. i couldn’t pinpoint an accurate phrase for it, the thought just always sprang up: “repentant Emma”.

Just this week i once again came across the page where Josh dedicates his book to Emma Grace and her brother. Awww.

That was it. Anybody could repent, and acknowledge their need for help, but the extension of that was it is God who gives grace --- goodness and love that are entirely undeserved.

i want to see Emma find grace, find salvation, just as i have. To me, “Emma Grace” is not just a phrase for a girl’s name, but the story of my life so far.

Wait, i take back my title. i don’t want to name my future daughter after a notorious woman…or any comic book character, for that matter.

No, in fact, i'll just call myself Emma Grace. =) Hihi.

As one other French-speaking X-Man might say, c’ez moi. =)

(written December 10, 2005)

The only good thing about 'Angels in America'

Maybe forgiveness is where love and justice finally meet.
-- Angels in America (please see long postscript below)

Aww. =)

WARNING: What follows is a very long postscript/endnote. i could have written this as a separate entry, but in citing the show i have to always have this long disclaimer…

Don’t bother watching that miniseries.
i like the quote above, but that’s about it. Disappointment is such a mild word to describe my reaction after watching the last segment. i thought, being award-winning and all, and being about angels for crying out loud, it can’t go wrong, right? Nope. i was wrong, and much of it did go wrong.
The premise is that God left creation. The lead character is angry. “Sue the bastard,” he says more than once.
The problem with the premise is that it’s not true. So the entire multi-part series based on a play is a complete waste of time.
The lead character is also selfish. He refused to serve as the angels’ prophet, yet insisted “I want my blessing anyway,” more than once. The story completely distorted the context of Jacob wrestling with his own angel/God Himself (seeking out and struggling with God).
OK, i have to admit that the young Jacob was selfish and deceitful and manipulative…but his story did not end there! Jacob was transformed by God, and his circumstances were resolved completely, not by simply extending the lifespan of the reluctant prophet/AIDS patient. It’s not the length of your life but the quality of your life that matters. Five years after the lead’s encounter with the angels and what? He had nothing to show for it. Did he gain anything aside from an extended lifespan? No, just the same old same old. Not exactly what you would want (and from Biblical records, what you would expect) from coming face to face with heavenly creatures.
i might sound like a closed-minded ignorant snob. i understand if you, the reader, would feel this way. Sadly, it’s the people behind this play and this show that seem to be, on so many levels, simply lost. Apparently they haven’t yet encountered the real, living God…the Creator who will never leave His Creation, nor forsake it, but even died for it.
Anyways, i expected to be blessed and enlightened by the show. i didn’t know the actual schedule on cable but i got to catch three to four parts, including the finale. i kept on looking for some “redeeming” points but only found that one quote above. At the very best, like i said, it would just be a waste of your time (and electricity). At the very worst, it could make you curse God but at the same time demand your blessing. Ngek.
Don’t bother watching it, but if you insist, just consider yourself warned. :)

(written December 17, 2005)

Just to be clear: neither FAITH nor GOOD WORKS (can save)

“Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.”
-- Jesus to a woman healed of a 12-year hemorrhage (Luke 8:48, Mark 5:34, Matthew 9:22) as well as to many others (Mark 10:52, Luke 17:19)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
-- Paul the apostle, Ephesians 2:8-9

Lest anyone should boast.
Lest anyone should boast, i would like to clarify that it is not my faith but the object of my faith that has made me well, that has saved me. From the trivial to the all-encompassing, we all believe some things, but not all are true, and not all are correct.
Lest anyone should boast, i would like to clarify that anything and everything i have is from God, whether or not i have faith in Him. He will not cease to exist if i refuse to acknowledge Him. i, on the other hand…where would i be without the One who created me?
Lest anyone should boast, i would like to clarify that my worth in God’s eyes is not determined by the size of my faith in Him. Please do NOT go around saying, “I have bigger faith, nyah nyah nyah…”(!!)

It is the object of my faith that has saved me and made me well.
Deeper faith does NOT automatically mean a better life.

deeper faith means greater dependence, bigger trust, on the Lord and Master of all Creation.
more willingness to tap into the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-encompassing presence of God Himself.

It is the object of my faith that has made me well and saved me.
It is a gift of God
not of works
--- and NOT of my faith, in itself! ---

Lest anyone should boast.

(written December 12, 2005)

a man after my heart...

…must be someone who’s after God’s own heart. =)
[1 Samuel 13:14]
(written December 11, 2005)


Last night i was stunned --- the realization that i will be in heaven, the heaven…masyado kasi akong naka-focus on this life, God-centered though it may be, na nawala na yung knowledge that i am eternal and will spend eternity in paradise.
i often hear, say, read the words, but last night it sunk as a physical reality. Wow.
(written December 7, 2005)

true devotion

Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there I will be buried.
The LORD do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.
-- Ruth 1:16-17 =)
(written December 7, 2005)

life instructions =)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written,
Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (Deuteronomy 32:35),’ says the LORD.
If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drinlk;
For in so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head. (Proverbs 25:21, 22)'

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
-- Romans 12:1-5, 9-21
(written December 7, 2005)

the foundation is in the doing and obeying

Beware of FALSE PROPHETS, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it fell. And great was its fall.
-- Matthew 7:15-27 =)
(written December 7, 2005)

on submission

(Here i go again. It’s really a significant issue for me, because i am/was a feminist…)

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.
For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.
For to this reason you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth
(Isaiah 53:9)”;
who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness --- by whose stripes you were healed.
-- 1 Peter 2:18-24 =)
(written December 7, 2005)


I thought of a rather cruel trick I once played on a wasp. He was sucking jam on my plate, and I cut him in half. He paid no attention, merely went on with his meal, while a tiny stream of jam trickled out of his severed esophagus. Only when he tried to fly away did he grasp the dreadful thing that had happened to him. It is the same with modern man. The thing that has been cut away is his soul.
-- George Orwell
(written December 28, 2005)

gender inequality

One of my struggles in the faith until…a few minutes ago? =) (Ah, God, thank You for taking the extra time and effort to tutor me in this! =) )

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your husbands…
…For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,
as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel…(1 Peter 3:1, 5-7)

Peter, how can you say such things?! To think you’re my favorite among the twelve!... :( (hmp.)
i used to take sayings like the one above as, to be honest, sexist, bigoted, unfair. i sensed the danger in the possibility that men might twist Scripture --- or to be honest again, i sensed the danger in men explicitly using this Scripture as it is, no need to twist it, it’s all there: Women, be submissive, you are weak. The same way i would feel if --- when --- other nations dismiss the Filipinos as (insert negative trait here). But then again, since Filipinos are at times looked down upon, and Filipino women are at times looked down upon by Filipino men, then a Filipina like me would be…at the bottom?!
Why, of all places, in Scripture?

I felt God gently telling me something.
Because it’s true, LORD? Are You saying men aren’t weak?! But they ARE!!! Look at Peter: he became my favorite because of his many fumbles --- fumbles which he eventually overcame with God’s grace…Look at Saul before he became Paul! Look at…aaarrrrggg!!!!

(You might think i'm such a hypocrite, calling God my ‘Lord’ and yet whining like a brat. I’m not even submissive to the Creator of the universe! =) But He knows my heart; He sees my anxious thoughts (Psalm 139:23). =) So please just bear with my whining till i figure this out. =)
If you have questions, doubts, fears, VIOLENT reactions, He’d rather you bring them to Him than to turn away completely. He’d rather you honestly confront Him, for it is His pleasure to reveal His truths to you. Just keep seeking. =)
This has been my struggle, often just at the back of my thoughts but i still consider it important --- i believe in fairness and justice and goodness, and i put my trust in God who is ultimately fair and just and good. And after almost two years, things are becoming clear. Thanks God! So you, i, let’s all just keep seeking. =)
There’s an entire lifetime --- and an eternity --- to realize and understand our unfathomable God. =) )

Back to my (former) struggle.

Because, God had said.
Will I let it be written if it’s not true?

But, GOD. How unfair is that! Some people are “better” than others?!
Women followers of Jesus being the first to realize that His tomb was empty; Mary Magdalene being the first to talk to the risen Lord.
Women, women SINNERS, welcoming Jesus wholeheartedly wherever He went, while self-righteous proud men refuse to acknowledge their need for a Savior.
One dear pastor telling us, don’t be offended, but usually male drivers refuse to ask directions and would drive around lost for hours. (Maybe this is active imagination on my part and not memory anymore, but you get the point. I do know guys who do this.)
Another dear pastor saying that it’s usually easier for women to get saved because it’s easier for women to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. It’s harder to get into the core of a man, past his inner defenses and barriers, and the walls he erects to be ‘strong’.
Okay, okay. OKAY. You’re really one of a kind, Lord. You don’t drown us with all the details of life’s truths in one sitting. So we’d have fun digging treasure after treasure, eh?
Shall we go back to Peter? (You’re not off the hook yet, favorite!) i like Peter so much because i can relate to his personality. Very extreme. Easy for him to believe, easy for him to falter, to deny. Er, of course we don’t want to ever deny Jesus, nor do we ever eant to be put into situations where the littleness of our faith is rebuked for everyone to see…BUT I am impulsive, over-the-top, all-out-give-it-your-best-shot. And so was Simon, who Jesus knew had the potential to be a Rock (Peter, Petra, Cephas). (Me too, Lord, i want to be a Rock too…now! now! =) )
i read somewhere that Peter may be at times on the wrong side of the fence (who else can rebuke Jesus? hehehe! i don’t recall satan ever doing that!), but Peter can never be accused of sitting on the fence (lukewarm, not even bothering).
Now to my gender.
Are we women like that? Um, yes…YES! Easily swayed to go to the wrong side of the fence. Let us not forget that satan tempted Eve, not Adam. ( =( )
But God has given me hope --- hasn’t He always? =) --- because this trait in women is also what makes it easier for us to be swayed back to the RIGHT side of the fence. =)
Finally, a balance. =)
A dear guy friend mentioned what he realized: that Adam knew that what Eve was doing was wrong, yet he did nothing to stop her, and even joined her in doing wrong.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)

As a young woman growing up, i firmly held that men and women are created equal. As a slightly-less-younger woman growing up in the LORD, i simply hold on to God. He who created man and woman and saw that it was good. He who created man and woman sublimely different from each other --- in body, in psyche.
THIS was what i've been looking for all along. Not equality per se, but balance. Where one person is weak, the other can be strong. You can choose to highlight the weaknesses in yourself and in other people, and stop there, or you can eliminate the weaknesses by tapping on all your strengths.
For myself, God has already come through for this struggle because He has shown me that He did NOT create man and woman to be equal ---but He did what He did so they would complement each other, and NOT because one gender is better than the other.
To man, who is not easily swayed by temptation, God gave the authority to lead:

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…in this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself…Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-24, 25, 28, 33)

To woman, who is easily drawn to God’s still small voice, God gave the opportunity to serve with all humility:

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the Word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,
when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
Do not let your adornment be merely outward --- arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel ---
rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit
, which is very precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:1-4)

Ah, there’s Peter talking again. Now the entire context of what he was saying (finally!) dawned on me. (Note to self: read the entire passage to help understand the entire passage! hehehe…)

But in generalizing the character and traits of men vs. women, am i not being a sexist myself?
i do not want to be TOO specific and generalize and discriminate and so on. But there ARE differences, there ARE weaknesses, men DO tend to have more of some characteristics than women and vice versa. i am only mentioning these general traits with regard to my own stuggle of faith about the genders.
Besides, it was Peter who was saying most of the Scriptures i'm quoting: formerly named Simon, he who was easily drawn to great acts of faith as well as huge blunders in his own relationship with Christ.
In his epistles and preaching later on in his life, he was obviously transformed --- not necessarily because he was male, no necessarily despite his being male. Ultimately it is not your gender but your personal encounter with Jesus Christ that changes you, renews you, restores you to who God originally designed you to be before sin took its toll.
And for all this, i am thankful.
Thankful to a faithful God, who never ceases to reveal His truths to me.
Thankful to a loving God who planned my gender, my circumstances, and my personality for Him to love a unique me --- as He has certainly done for all of us.
Thankful to a wise God who once again demonstrates that there are deep, sublime purposes beyond His actions (and sometimes, purposes beyond His seeming lack of action).
Thankful to a good God because, whether i understand His ways or not, i can trust that they are always for my behalf.
Lastly, thankful to a creative God, who even now gives me the opportunity to share what i have learned even while in the process of learning it. Thank You for the creative insights, the creative revelations, the creative ways of saying what i want and need to say, and for the creative use of blogging and the Net. (Yeah.)
Added with my day job as teacher and my being a student and a researcher, writing all this has taken me an entire day. But that’s nothing compred with the wealth of truth i've suddenly uncovered. Whee. =)
Thank You for that, dear God, and i hope that you, dear reader, would also be blessed with this writing. =)

Another question answered, as i take another step closer to God, in walking with God.
Next question please.

POSTSCRIPT: What about God as a “He”? “Father” and “Son”? My friend told me this is just a consequence of translating into English, which has gender-specific terms. i'll like the original text daw. Hmm, i haven’t checked that yet. But i've heard from other sources that God IS sexless, that He (here i go again with “He”!) transcends gender. Makes sense. As always, God, You be the One to make it clear for me. Yeah. =)

(written December 6, 2005)

subtlety =)

[God] delights, it seems, in using trees, flowers, rivers, automobiles, friends, enemies, church buildings, paintings in order to announce His presence or to work out His purposes....There is something crude in the depiction of God intervening directly in the play, the clumsy deus ex machina interrupting the speeches of the other actors and upsetting the stage. How much more tantalizing the God who hints and lurks and cajoles hiddenly through and around the actors, even unbeknownst to them. It is the humble God who chooses so to act.
-- Robert Barron
(written December 28, 2005)

Knowledge vs. Truth/Wisdom: A Warning, Not a Condemnation

From T.S. Eliot:
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness…
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

From Ecclesiastes 12:12:
So be careful, my son, about other teachings.
Of making many books there is no end,
But much study is wearisome to the flesh.

i don’t want to bite the hand that literally fed me for around twelve years (that’s a long time for a twenty-three year old!), that’s why this entry is entitled as it is. If i realized something, i shouldn’t boast about realizing it, but in the truth/idea/concept in itself…and the One Source for both the thought and my ability to grasp it. =)

From Max Lucado:
Who has more reason to worship than the astronomer who has seen the stars? Than the surgeon who has held a heart? Than the oceanographer who has pondered the depths? The more we know, the more we should be amazed.


(written December 28, 2005)

don't let me be a robot

i don’t want to end up like this…though at an age younger than Darwin’s when he wrote this, i could relate, in reverse…guess (between art and science) which nauseates me now?
too harsh? i’m presently in a field which is not an evil in itself, but for me, and with the present set of circumstances, i could definitely glorify God somewhere else.

From Charles Darwin:
Up to the age of thirty or beyond it, poetry of many kinds…gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare....Formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great, delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost any taste for pictures or music....I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did....My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts....The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.
(written December 28, 2005)

suffered, and called, for a reason

…”And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame (Isaiah 28:16).”
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone (Psalm 118:22),”
“A stone of stumbling
and a rock of offense (Isaiah 8:14),”
They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
-- 1 Peter 2:6-10

(written December 7, 2005)


And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
     --- 1 Peter 1:17-19

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
     --- Philippians 2:12

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever
     --- 1 Peter 1:22-23
(written December 7, 2005)

the leader's burden

Moses saw the face of God.
For him, it wasn’t obeying God that was difficult, but convincing others to do so.
God gave all of us free will. Which is why Moses was so deeply grieved for his fellowmen; there was always a possibility --- no, he knew it will come to pass over and over again --- that the people would draw away from God in pursuing their own selfish desires.
There’s the irony --- our best lies only in what God has planned for us. Who is more competent and more able to fulfill and satisfy us than the One who created us?
The question is, do we --- will we --- recognize Him? That He exists, that He created us, that He loves us, and that He already saved us?
In Moses’ words:
     The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers,
     if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
     For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it too far off.
     It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’
     Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’
     But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
     See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,
     in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.
     But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them,
     I announce to you today that you will surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess.
     I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
     that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.
          --- Deuteronomy 30:9-20

God has raised up mighty leaders like Moses, those who became strong because they placed their total trust in the Almighty. God gave us leaders, but it will always be our choice to follow them and to follow Him. =)

(written December 5, 2005)

marching orders

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
…Be strong and of good courage, for you must go…
…And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.
…Be strong and of good courage…
     --- Deuteronomy 31:6, 7, 8, 23

(written December 5, 2005)

the covenant in simple terms

IF you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them,
     … I will set My tabernacle among you,
          and My soul shall not abhor you.
     I will walk among you and be your God,
          and you shall be My people.      =)          
               --- Almighty God to the Israelites, Leviticus 26:3,11-12

[When]…you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, will all your heart and with all your soul,
     …the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. =)
          --- Moses to the Israelites, Deuteronomy 30:2,6  

     And you will again obey the voice of the LORD and do all His commandments which I command you today.
          --- Moses to the Israelites, Deuteronomy 30:8
(written December 5, 2005)

act on the little we DO know...

The secret things belong to the LORD our God,
     but those things which are revealed
belong to us and to our children forever,
     that we may do all the words of this law.
(New King James version)

There are some things the LORD our God has kept secret,
     but there are some things he has let us know.
     These things belong to us and our children forever
     so that we will do everything in these teachings.
(New Century version)

          --- Moses to the Israelites, Deuteronomy 29:29

(written December 5, 2005)

harder to not believe

The difficulties of belief may be great,
But the problems inherent in unbelief present even greater difficulties.
--- Josh McDowell, More Than A Carpenter
(willing to take on unbelievers just as he once was. Read his simple, powerful book!)
(written December 5, 2005)

sharing your own version of the Good News =)

     But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.
     But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. =)
     Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;
     for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. =)
          --- Jesus to His disciples (Luke 21:12-15)

(written December 3, 2005)

doing the right thing

When someone needs help, I will do what I can.

When someone attacks, persecutes, mocks, or hurts me, I will NOT do the same. :)

I choose to do, I choose to NOT do.
Thank you, God, for enabling me to do what is right…to choose and stay along the right path.

(written October 31 2005)

November 2, 2005

in spirit and in truth

It is said of the book of Esther that it is the only book in the Bible where God is not mentioned, although He is inescapably present. It can be said of Malachi that God is abundantly present in reference (in 53 of the 55 verses there is a mention of God) yet conspicuously absent in the people’s lives.
--- Ravi Zacharias, Cries of the Heart

For most of my life I would be like the people addressed by the prophet Malachi. I lived in a culture of God, with special dates, prayers, ceremonies, activities, and so on. But I did not really feel God’s presence. It was (as far as I could feel) all routine, it was (as far as I could see) all show…and so, for me, it was all useless.
I grew up in an exclusive girls’ school run by nuns. Our motto was: “Ora et Labora: Pray and Work.” Though I’m sure that motto stemmed from good intentions, I’m sure I’m not the only one who was misled by it (if others even bothered to notice what the motto meant).
True, faith in the God of goodness and love will undoubtedly show in actions…

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
(James 1:22-24)

…BUT good works is not going to earn us salvation. We cannot pay for our entrance to heaven by good works, for our efforts will never be enough.
To be “saved”, meaning, to be rescued from the punishment for our sins, and to have true life now and in eternity in the presence of our loving God, what do we have to do?

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…
To [Jesus] all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.
(Acts 2:37-38, 10:43)

Faith. Faith in God is all we need. The trust in the only One who can save us because of His sinless nature, and the One who did save us because of His overwhelming love for us.

When that simple and yet profound truth finally sank into my heart, I was moved to worship more, not less. For finally, I was not praying like the ‘hypocrites’, to be merely ‘seen by men’ (Matthew 6:5) --- now I am worshipping God ‘in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks’ (John 4:23).

the human way: Noah

“The Noah Way” --- printed in Reader’s Digest in 1976  :)

And the Lord said unto Noah, “Where is the ark which I have commanded thee to build?”
     And Noah said unto the Lord, “Verily, I have had three carpenters off ill. The gopher-wood supplier hath let me down --- yea, even though the gopher-wood hath been on order for nigh upon 12 months. What can I do, O Lord?
     And God said unto Noah, “I want that ark finished even after seven days and seven nights.”
     And Noah said, “It will be so.”
     And it was not so.   :p
     And the Lord said unto Noah, “What seemeth to be the trouble this time?”
     And Noah said unto the Lord, “Mine subcontractor hath gone bankrupt. The pitch which thou commandest me to put on the outside and on the inside of the ark hath not arrived. The plumber hath gone on strike. Shem, my son who helpeth me on the ark side of the business, hath formed a pop group with his brothers, Ham and Japheth. Lord, I am undone.
     And the Lord grew angry and said, “And what about the animals, the male and the female of every sort to come to thee to keep their seed alive upon the face of the earth?” 
     And Noah said, “They have been delivered unto the wrong address, but should arriveth on Friday.”
     And the Lord said, “How about the unicorns and the fowls of the air by sevens?”
     And Noah wrung his hands and wept, saying, “Lord, unicorns are a discontinued line; thou canst not get them for love nor money. And fowls of the air are sold only in half dozens. Lord, Lord, thou knowest how it is.

     And the Lord in His wisdom said, “Noah, my son, I knowest. Why else do you think I have caused a flood to descend upon the earth?”