December 9, 2012

When God speaks but doesn't say

 "You're still in rebellion and you know what that is."


Just riding home from work and I felt God say this. And yes, I do know what "that" is. (Yes, Lord.)

It's amazing enough that the Great Creator of the Universe cares enough about the details of puny human lives...

But how good of Him to speak "just enough", for us to connect the dots and fill in the blanks. For us to be active participants in the learning process and not just be spoonfed robots. (As a teacher, I know how challenging this is.)

Aside from being effective, there's also a different kind of adventure when there's a mystery involved. Do you like spoilers? I don't. I'd rather not know what the author or director knows; I want to be as confused, intrigued, and surprised as the characters in a story. So in the story of my life, written and directed by Him, I'd actually prefer not to know :)

Lastly, I find it gracious that even though He and I both know where I am in error, He would rather not say. How gentlemanly! It's not like I'd be publicly humiliated in my mind but thank You anyway ^_^

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." 
--- Jesus

I don't want to be in rebellion. It's an empty waste of a life. Thank You for reminding me where I am in error, and for how You say (what You don't say).

December 3, 2012

Why I didn't go to church today

I didn't go to service today because something was not right.

Jesus quoted from the ancient prophet Isaiah: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

My heart wasn't right before Him. Surely, public worship and catching up with my church friends could remedy the situation, right? Well... sometimes.

If my relationship with God is not doing well, ultimately, it's God and I who need to communicate. Other people can inspire me and teach me, but I can only apply what I learned when I finally spend time with Him.

So today, I decided to stay home after all. And blog. And think. And rest.

My heart is still some distance away from His. But at least, it's closer compared to yesterday.

P.S. I believe this post balances and complements this one. ;)

December 2, 2012

Wisdom is a balance

That's right.

As Paul told the Ephesians to "speak the truth in love," so must we think, live and act with God's balance of truth and grace, justice and mercy, power and love.

It's a balance. It's easy to think of God as this All-Powerful, Majestic Creator (only). And it's easy to think of God as just this All-Loving, Goody Best Friend (only). But a half-truth is a complete lie --- we might completely miss out on God if we only know (or choose to see) one aspect of His Being.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." (Psalms and Proverbs)

Wisdom is knowing the Lord in the complete sense (well, as much as fallen limited humans can anyway). Wisdom is looking at the complete picture, first about God then about how He has made me. Finally, wisdom is about pursuing a life full of meaning and purpose.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7) That last part always gets me. It's funny how I proclaimed 2007 as my year of power, then 2008 my year of love, then... then... nothing. Obviously I lack "sound mind", "discipline", "self-control" (the various translations of that verse); as well as having too much fear (the first part of that verse).

Thanks to God, things are finally changing. This year, without my declaring it (haha), turned out to be my no-fear year, and miracle of miracles, even a little sound mind.

Finally, some balance. I feel His Power strengthening me, His Love encouraging me, and the fears fading away.

As for self-control, I'm learning, bit by bit. (Case in point: I wrote this next paragraph after being distracted by one hour of Plants vs. Zombies.) We're not yet there, but getting closer.  :)

Thank You LORD for the balance, the wisdom, and the complete picture. ♥

In case of emergency

Is this how we think of God?

Yes, God is "our refuge and strength in times of trouble"... but what about the other times? Do we treat Him like a fire extinguisher, collecting dust (at the back of our minds) until the next emergency?

Our God is bigger than any emergency. I've been a Christian long enough to observe that whenever something feels like it's a CRISIS, it's because I've lost sight of CHRIST. My universe was revolving around something else, such that when a problem appears, I panic because my new god can't really do anything about it.

In case of emergency, I find myself running to God. Which makes me realize how *far* I've drifted from Him. But that's OK --- what matters is we're back together. :)

In case of emergency, I need to break my heart. And put Him back inside.

Tempted much? Some reminders

These days I'm very tempted. And I fall, fall, and fall.

Reminders from His Word: 

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”
 (1 Corinthians 10:13–14) 

"Do not give the devil a foothold."
(Ephesians 4:27)

"When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."(James 1:13-15)

There's also a very good discussion here: "10 Temptation Truths"

God bless you, and God bless me. Gotta claim that. And look to Him, first and foremost, once again.

October 23, 2012

Self-critical much?

1 John 3:18-24:

My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love.

This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality.

It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism,

even when there's something to it.

For God is greater than our worried hearts

and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

And friends, once that's taken care of 

and we're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves,

we're bold and free before God!

We're able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for

because we're doing what He said, doing what pleases Him.

Again, this is God's command:

to believe in His personally named Son, Jesus Christ.

He told us to love each other, in line with the original command.

As we keep His commands, we live deeply and surely in Him, and He lives in us.

And this is how we experience His deep and abiding presence in us:

by the Spirit He gave us.

October 21, 2012


There's this passage that always gets to me. (Is that you, Conscience?)

It's the Parable of the Talents. (Several judgment stories like this are found in Matthew 25.)

The Story About Investment

     “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
     “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
     “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
      “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
     “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
      “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’

It's criminal to live cautiously like that.

Funny. I've heard of people getting into jail for wasting money, but not for saving!

But the thing is, it's God's money (and other resources like time, gifts, opportunities). And He will always make that resource grow. The question is, will we let Him? When He gives something to us, do we give it back to Him, to be used for Him and by Him? Or do we just drift along, or actively use those resources with the wrong motives?

I often find myself foolishly wasting time and money. Thank God, He never gives up on me. Every now and then I find that gentle nudge in the right direction.

Specifically, these two books are treasures. One is very short, sweet and practical:

Ang Pera Na Hindi Bitin: 
How to manage your money so God will entrust you with more
by Ardy Roberto
(Read sample chapters here. PhP 50 in OMF and National bookstores.)

The other is quite deep but really worth reading or even browsing:

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No
To Take Control of Your Life
by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
(The authors talk about the book here. P250 in Philippine Christian Bookstore.)

Now it's time. Time to manage my time, money, and everything else.

"Those who honor Me, I will honor." 
(1 Samuel 2:30)

A couple of weeks ago, I committed to honoring God even more with my money. I chose to invest in His work over improving myself (i.e., going to The Gym). I don't think it a coincidence that managing my time suddenly became easier. As in much easier.

Here's my schedule for this school term. This might seem pointless or silly to some, but for someone like me, it is a miracle.

Just like that, Time Management: check.

Giving more for God's Kingdom doesn't make me poor. It just takes wisdom and discipline. Yesterday my friend suddenly gave me a piece of advice: get a lump sum to balance every week or so, instead of withdrawing every time there's a need or want. Again, miraculous insight for someone like me.

Money Management: check.

As for the self-improvement... I finally got to lift weights, jog, and dance again. For how much? The first is free, the second is free, the third only PhP 50.

That's Body, Time, and Money Management too: check.

King Jesus says it best:

"Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:30)

Thank You Lord for being a Great Owner, and for helping me be a good manager. It's great to work for the King. ♥

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met."
(Matthew 6:30-33, The Message)

October 14, 2012

seek You and be secure

Just read this (Zephaniah 3:16-17):

Jerusalem will be told:

"Don't be afraid.
Dear Zion,
don't despair.

Your GOD is present among you,
a strong warrior there to save you.

Happy to have you back,
He'll calm you with His love
and delight you with His songs."

Security. ♥

I am secure because God already loves me.

I have self issues, career issues, relationship issues. But knowing and remembering that God already prepared good for me, already chose me, already died and rose again for me... How petty my issues become!

It's funny that when I realize how unworthy I am (still not done with that thing or this concern)

... because I get to appreciate how GREAT God is, and His love for me,

... I'm all the more empowered to be worthy for Him.

Looking at one's self is depressing indeed. We have ideals for perfection but oh, how far off we are.

But let us look to God, Whose arm is already stretched out toward us. The Way, The Truth, The Life, Who already paid the ultimate price so we can live the full life with Him.

I have so many flaws and faults. But thank God, Who already loves me.

I'll end with this text message from a co-teacher :)

One day you were going to cross a bridge with God. You were so scared so you told Him:

"Can I hold Your hand so I won't fall off?"

He replied:

"No, My child. I'll be the one to hold you."

You asked, "What's the difference?"

God replied:

"There's a big difference. If you hold on to me, something might happen and you might let go of Me.

"But if  I hold you, I will never let go."

Who's still insecure among us? ;)

October 5, 2012


The angel Gabriel greets a young woman (Luke 1:26-38):

"Good morning!
You're beautiful with God's beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.

Mary, you have nothing to fear,
God has a surprise for you...

Nothing, you see, is impossible with God."

Mary responds:

"Yes, I see it all now:
I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me as you say."

Lord, i belong to YOU. i am YOURS.
Let it be with me just as You say.

Jesus was around 30 years old when He said this (quoting from the book of Isaiah at the start of His ministry) (Luke 4:16-21):

God's Spirit is on me;
He's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
To announce, "This is God's year to act!"

This is the year!

I'm 30 now... I'm not the Savior of the world but a sinner forgiven with a part to play.

This is the time to watch God move;
to live in faith, not doubt;
because yes, the situation may be hopeless
but nothing is impossible with God.

In Luke 5:4-11:

Jesus said to Simon, "Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch."

Simon said, "Master, we've been fishing hard all night and haven't caught even a minnow. But if You say so, I'll let out the nets."

It was no sooner said than done --- a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.

Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. "Master, leave. I'm a sinner and can't handle this holiness. Leave me to myself." ... Awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him...

Jesus said to Simon, "There is nothing to fear. From now on you'll be fishing for men and women." They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed Him.

September 18, 2012

Too tired to *not* go ;)

College finals season is appropriately called "hell week" by students, but it's also the busiest, most stressful time for us teachers. We need not just intelligence but wisdom; we need patience and grace not just towards students (and their parents) but towards our colleagues too.

Thankfully I still get to eat and sleep but it's not enough. I need to rest.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?

Come to Me. Get away with Me and you'll recover your life.

I'll show you how to take a real rest. 
Walk with Me and work with Me --- watch how I do it. 

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 

Keep company with Me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.                      

--- Jesus (Matthew 11)

Religion need not be something done inside church. Religion can refer to any *performance* that would give the doer points depending on how he or she pleases the crowd. How hard (impossible!) it is to please everybody... and add the fact that public opinion is fickle and rarely reasonable. It's burnout waiting to happen.

Watch how I do it, God says. When I started this post, I was barely finishing my class records and still deciding whether to go to church or not, whether to lead our group or ask for a substitute or just call off today's meeting. How exactly do I interpret "watching God do it"?

But the point is, it's God doing the work, not me.

Which means, I don't really have to go that night. God can send comfort and peace to me and my friends wherever we are.

But this also means, I can choose to go and watch the "magic" (or "miracle") happen. Because it's not about me and it doesn't depend on my performance.


So I did go to church that night. Our group met for only 30 minutes (compared to our regular two-hour session), where we shared quick stories of how God is working in our lives and relationships, and of course prayed for each other. Then two of us attended the last service; I listened and was encouraged in many ways. I arrived home late, with takeout food for the family (a treat from my brother and me).

How about that! In a few hours, I went from burnout to overflow, and from dog-tired to perky lively...

Fatigue need not be a reason to stay home and do the same, stay the same. The effort in transportation and socializing would be rewarded n-fold. Fatigue is actually the best reason to be blessed, to be on the receiving end of grace and inspiration and goodness.

Again, definitely God could bless and help us wherever we are and whatever we do (or not). And we all have our too-tired-to-get-out-of-the-house days. But my point is, we don't have to worry about "having a bad day" or "not being good enough today" to go to church. It's actually when we empty ourselves of our selves, that we are able to receive more of Him.

To be an agent of blessing, all we need to do is show up. Because we are just instruments, and God is the Source.

When you are arrested, don't worry about how to respond or what to say. 
God will give you the right words at the right time.

--- Jesus (Matthew 11)

September 9, 2012

So everyone can know Your name. ♥

"What we are is God's gift to us,
what we become is our gift to God."
- Eleanor Powell

It's good to live for yourself, but better to live for others, right?

So will we live for the people who are gonna hate us no matter what,
Or will we live for the One Who already loves us no matter what?

I simply love The Script, and this song seems like a call to be the best *you* that you can be. For yourself, sure, but how about for the ones (and ultimately, The One) you owe your life to?

May they know your name so they can know His name. ♥

Hall of Fame
The Script ft. Will.I.Am

You could be the greatest
You can be the best
You can be the king kong banging on your chest

You could beat the world
You could beat the war
You could talk to God, go banging on His door

You can throw your hands up
You can be the clock
You can move a mountain
You can break rocks
You can be a master
Don't wait for luck
Dedicate yourself and you can find yourself

Standing in the hall of fame
And the world's gonna know your name
Cause you burn with the brightest flame
And the world's gonna know your name
And you'll be on the walls of the hall of fame

You could go the distance
You could run the mile
You could walk straight through hell with a smile

You could be the hero
You could get the gold
Breaking all the records they thought never could be broke

Do it for your people
Do it for your pride
Never gonna know if you never even try

Do it for your country
Do it for your name
Cause there's gonna be a day

When you're standing in the hall of fame
And the world's gonna know your name
'Cause you burn with the brightest flame
And the world's gonna know your name
And you'll be on the walls of the hall of fame

Be a champion

On the walls of the hall of fame

Be students
Be teachers
Be politicians
Be preachers

Be believers
Be leaders
Be astronauts
Be champions
Be truth seekers

Standing in the hall of fame
And the world's gonna know your name
Cause you burn with the brightest flame
And the world's gonna know your name
And you'll be on the walls of the hall of fame

Standing in the hall of fame

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
--- Hebrews 12

August 14, 2012

Put your hearts UP!

"If we give a little love maybe we can change the world..."

This is such a cheerfully cheesy song+video, even for me! But Ms. Grande pulled it off --- even redeeming the very "emo" track "What's Up?" by the Four Non-Blondes. Yup, the world does need more love and more hope-filled songs like this. The Philippines especially, beset with strong winds and rain to the point of calamity, needs a lot more sunshine than usual (literally and figuratively).

So put your hearts up! Along with the cheese comes the sun ;) 

Will we stand for the vision of love? :)

Just a little faith and the reminder that God already loves us... enable us to love the people around us. :)


Vision of Love
by Kris Allen

Wake up if you believe
Love is not a fading dream
Tell me I'm not the only one
Who feels this way right now

Lonely needs a friend
Ask him where he's been
You could be the light that comes
And turns his world around

I don't wanna run, I don't wanna hide
When someone needs somebody
I don't wanna say, I don't got the time
When someone needs somebody
With a little faith and a little soul
We can't go wrong

When a heart breaks
And the world shakes
Will we stand for the vision of love?
When a tear falls
And the fear crawls
Will we stand for the vision of love?

July 24, 2012

Thanks for 30 ♥

Writers used to end their work with "30". But today, my 30th birthday, I find there's so much more to write --- and celebrate --- about.

May I never run out of reasons to say, "Thank You, Lord."

Image credits:;;;

July 23, 2012

Reminders for the 30-year-old ;)

Because I'm officially turning 30 tomorrow ;)

11 Famous People Who Were in the Completely Wrong Career at Age 30
Heehee :) Quite encouraging. ;)

Letter to an Incomplete, Insecure Teenager
From tadpole to half-mature to complete... Beholding (God) is becoming (more like Him).

J. I. Packer's Advice To Aspiring Writers
Go deep in personal worship; Write to hit hearts; Write from a sense of calling.

How to Glorify God at Work
Honoring God wherever we are.

Questions to Ask When Preparing for Marriage
Hey, I'm just asking...

Too Soon Old
Every age and season is significant.

A 30-Year-Old Dream I Have Outlived By One Year
Surely my reward is with my God.

July 17, 2012

Back to work. ♥

Don't you remember the rule we had when we lived with you?
"If you don't work, you don't eat."
And now we're getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you.
This must not be tolerated.
We command them to get to work immediately — no excuses, no arguments —
and earn their own keep.
Friends, don't slack off in doing your duty.

     --- Paul to the Thessalonians

I was supposed to celebrate this one day, but it came and went like a blur.

I was supposed to celebrate the day I went back to work... But I forgot, because of work. ;)

Around 370 days ago, I was just like this guy.

I was trying to follow God in my own way (i.e. not working).

(Disclaimer: There are many people, different callings, but one God. My not-working was the path I thought was best for me. I cannot impose the same on anybody else.)

Then I came to the Book of Haggai. Why didn't I read this before?

The next year whizzed by. Time flies when you're having fun, right?

I found work that:
  • helps me (it's how God provides for me);
  • helps my family (even in small ways);
  • helps others (I can now treat friends and help out more);
  • and of course, related to the work itself: 
    • helps my students (my "clients");
    • and helps myself and my colleagues (we learn from each other).

Thank You God, for work that gives me fulfillment. ♥

May we all have that kind of work --- nay, calling. :)

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
--- Paul to the Corinthians

July 16, 2012

Free to Love ^_^

From C.S. Lewis' "The Case for Christianity":

“God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can't. If a thing is free to be good it's also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible.

"Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata --- of creatures that worked like machines --- would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they've got to be free.

"Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently, He thought it worth the risk. (...) If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will --- that is, for making a real world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings --- then we may take it it is worth paying.”

July 14, 2012

The Enduring Schoolgirl's Prayer

"Strength! Courage!" 
     --- God to Joshua

"When I was an infant... I gurgled and cooed like any infant.
When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good."
     --- Paul to the Corinthians

"Make sure you don't take things for granted 
and go slack in working for the common good;
share what you have with others.
God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship --- a different kind of 'sacrifice' ---
that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets."
     --- Letter to the Hebrews

I'm happy to be grown up and all, but there's one thing I do miss from my childhood days: that RUSH to get my schoolwork done. Believe it or not, there was a time I finished my homework before I reached home. 8-D

Now, I'm not like that anymore. Which is why I'm still a schoolgirl.

So my prayer for this season is to just do it. Sit down and finish *it* already. 

Yes, wisdom ultimately comes from God, and there are other things I also have to do, but...
  • I pray for the courage to face my thesis :) ;
  • I pray for the endurance to go on even when I'm discouraged, afraid, lazy, busy, distracted, and whatever excuse I can come up with;
  • I pray for motivation, even enjoyment, just like in those grade school days;
  • I pray for the endurance even when I'm not motivated nor enjoying what I'm doing.

school girl balancing book on head

Hay, Lord. :)  I don't want to be a schoolgirl anymore --- I want to be more mature, responsible, and to graduate already...

But I do miss that get-that-schoolwork-done attitude. And that giddy-as-a-schoolgirl feeling of accomplishment ♥  Let's go Lord!

July 10, 2012

Is it OK to play PC games? 8-D

Speaking of freedom and responsibility... I was just playing "Escape to Rosecliff Island".

And here are the issues associated it:

Fear: God doesn't like what I'm doing?
Answer: God gives us everything for our enjoyment.

Condemnation. Gifts are wasted if not maximized (or if lived only for self)?
Answer: A healthy rest makes a more effective worker.

Insecurity. God would not be pleased?
Answer: At my worst, God already loved and saved me.

Guilt. I spend too much time there (and on this blog)?
Answer: Yep. I've received so much blessings already. About time I give back.

Logging off and rebooting (myself)...

July 6, 2012

Freedom and Responsibility

Resting from the craziness that is *school*, I came across a reminder to the young generation. (Though I'm sure everyone else can use this...) From Ecclesiastes 11:9:

You who are young, make the most of your youth.
Relish your youthful vigor. 
Follow the impulses of your heart.
If something looks good to you, pursue it.
But know also that not just anything goes;
You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.

Remember that young people.

July 2, 2012

"Working for God"?

I love this song... :)

From John Piper's "Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist":

God's insistence that we ask Him to give us help so that He gets glory (Psalm 50:15) forces on us the startling fact that we must beware of serving God, and must take special care to let Him serve us, lest we rob Him of His glory...

Our job is to "wait for Him"...

God is not looking for people to work for Him, so much as He is looking for people who will let Him work for them. The gospel is not a Help Wanted ad. Neither is the call to Christian service. On the contrary, the gospel commands us to give up and hang out a Help Wanted sign (this is basic meaning of prayer). Then the gospel promises that God will work for us if we do. He will not surrender the glory of being the Giver...

Religious "flesh" always wants to work for God (rather than humbling itself to realize God must work for it in free grace). But "if you live according to the flesh you will die" (Romans 8:13). That is why our very lives hang on not working for God.

Then shall we not serve Christ? It is commanded: "Serve the Lord!" (Romans 12:11). Those who do not serve Christ are rebuked (Romans 16:18). Yes, we must serve Him. But we will beware of serving in a way that implies a deficiency on His part or exalts our indispensability.

How then shall we serve? Psalm 123:2 points the way. "Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till He have mercy upon us." The way to serve God so that He gets the glory is to look to Him for mercy. Prayer prevents service from being an expression of pride.

Any servant who tries to get off the divine dole and strike up a manly partnership with His Heavenly Master  is in revolt against the Creator. God does not barter. He gives the mercy of life to servants who will have it, and the wages of death to those who won't. Good service is always and fundamentally receiving mercy, not rendering assistance...

And so we will serve God by believing His promise of fullest joy and walking by that faith. We will not serve by trying to put our power at His disposal for His good, but by doing what is necessary so that His power will be ever at our disposal for our good. And of course, God has appointed that His power be at our disposal through prayer. "Ask and you will receive!" So we serve by the power that comes through prayer, when we serve for the glory of God.

Without doubt this sort of serving also means obedience. A patient who trusts his doctor's prescriptions obeys them. A convalescent sinner trusts the painful directions of his therapist, and follows. Only in this way do we keep ourselves in a position to benefit from what the divine Physician has to offer. In all this obedience it is we who are the beneficiaries. God is ever the Giver. For it is the Giver who gets the glory.

1 Peter 4:11 states the principle so well: "Let him who serves serve in the strength which God supplies in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and power forever and ever. Amen." The Giver gets the glory. So all serving that honors God must be a receiving. Which means that all service must be performed by prayer.

To be sure, let us work hard; but never let us forget that it is not we, but the grace of God which is with us (1 Corinthians 15:10). Let us obey now, as always, but never forget that it is God who works in us, both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Let us spread the gospel far and wide, and spend ourselves for the sake of God's elect, but never venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through us (Romans 15:18). Let us ever be praying for His power and wisdom, so that all our serving is the overflow of righteousness, joy and peace from the Holy Spirit. "For he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men" (Romans 14:17-18).

So the astonishing good news implied in the duty of prayer is that God will never give up the glory of being our Servant. "No eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him" (Isaiah 64:4).

June 24, 2012

The Winning Faith

Being a winner (or a loser) is entirely self-proclaimed.

God the Son says, "Become what you believe."

(Otherwise translated as, "Let it be done to you according to your faith.")

The power belongs to God,
but we can choose to ask for it
and claim that it is already given.

I've often asked God for His will to be done in my life
without bothering to name the details
It sounds very obedient and sacrificial
But how about lazy
Or even faithless?
Because I don't want to take the risk of not getting what I prayed for...?

Jesus prayed, "Father, not my will, but Yours be done."

Okay, so maybe something like this:
     "Lord, this is what I want, and I pray that You grant it,
     But ultimately I bow to Your will
     Which may not be what You want..."

Hmm... But the Bible says, the double-minded one can't expect anything from God. (How can God answer contradicting prayers?)

"But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."

Indeed, Jesus says, "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

So my prayer would now go something like this:
     "Lord, this is what I want, and I believe that You will grant it,
     Because ultimately I know that You want the best for Your children
     And I am asking in Your Name,
          with the right motives (hopefully!),
          and in complete faith that You will answer.
     Thank You."

And it shall be done, according to how much faith we have, in the One who can get it done.

Do we have enough faith to win?

June 23, 2012

Leader or Prophet?

From my brother's bookshelf: "Spiritual Leadership" by J. Oswald Sanders.

Sometimes we come to a fork in the path, and both ways look good and true. For example, a preacher with gifts of leadership faces a decision whether to be a popular leader or an unpopular prophet. A.C. Dixon faced such a dilemma:

Every preacher ought to be primarily a prophet of God who preaches as God bids him, without regard to results. When he becomes conscious of the fact that he is a leader in his own church or denomination, he has reached a crisis in his ministry. He must now choose one of two courses, that of prophet of God or a leader of men. If he seeks to be a prophet and a leader, he is apt to make a failure of both. If he decides to be a prophet only insofar as he can do it without losing his leadership, he becomes a diplomat and ceases to be a prophet at all. If he decides to maintain leadership at all costs, he may easily fall to the level of a politician who pulls the wires in order to gain or to hold a position.

Situations develop in which a leader must choose between a spiritual ministry and a leadership that would prevent the highest exercise of that ministry... Dixon wrote of [Reuben A. Torrey]:

The thousands who have heard Dr. Torrey know the man and his message. He loves the Bible, and believing it to be the infallible Word of God, preaches it with the fervor of red-hot conviction. He never compromises. He has chosen to be a prophet of God rather than a mere leader of men, and that is the secret of his power with God and men.

June 19, 2012

In one peace

"No more drama," sings Ms. Mary J. Blige.

Well, I love dramatic twists and turns in stories and in my own life... And I don't have control over the main source of drama: when people and things don't go *my* way.

But, I do have control over how to respond to conflicts, worries and fears.

"Peace I give you," Jesus tells us. Not the "security" of the world, that is based on endlessly getting more, getting even, getting better.

"The peace of God transcends understanding," says the Bible. There are a lot of things that won't make sense, including being at peace in the midst of confusion. But there it is: that peace is available.

This peace doesn't mean complacency nor laziness. It is good to want to be better and do better... But the focus of one's security shifts away from self, others and things.

One's security starts being placed in God Himself. The One who says He will never desert us. The One who loved us before we were worthy of Him. The One in control of past, present and future; whose will is good, pleasing and perfect.

So this is me --- resting peacefully in the midst of deadlines, tasks and activity. "Resting" in peace but all the more alive. *Matters* clamoring for attention but still in one piece, with One Peace.

God says His followers are in this world but are not of this world. They still have to eat, sleep and take a ride to work. They still need to do the same tasks as everybody else... but there's something different inside.

There is only one security that is truly secure. There is a peace that can only come from God. Would you like your heart to rest, finally, in the only Steadfast One?

June 17, 2012


We want this:

Diamond on black background

but not really this:

We want this:

but we don't really want this: 

SHINE means:
     1. To emit light.
     2. To reflect light; glint or glisten.
     3. To distinguish oneself in an activity or a field; excel.
     4. To be immediately apparent
(from The Free Dictionary)

To shine means to be bright... at the cost of being bruised all over or burned from the inside.

Am I willing to pay the cost to achieve the rewards?

My family name is Pulido: Spanish for polished. Like elegant floors or sparkling gems that don't just happen. There's a lot of work, pain and sacrifice involved.

Jesus says that if anyone is tired in and of this world, come to Him. HE will carry the burden, HIS power accomplishes the work. I'm still in the process of trusting Him while getting off my bum... still learning how to balance being at peace while making sure I accomplish my tasks... still trying to understand how He can work "through" me. Many questions remain: Which part is Him and which is me? Would it matter as much as long as I get my work done? What if I don't get my work done --- is this still His will?

The Bible also talks of being pruned to be fruitful and of everything being shaken to the core. That's happening to me right now --- every matter being challenged and refined. These past weeks have been craaaaazy. People might know a thing or two but only God knows how much SHAKING I'm going through right now.

But I do want to shine. Don't you?

Then let the polishing, the pruning, and the shaking continue.

Burn, baby, burn... Shine for God, by God. :)

June 3, 2012

Wait till you read THIS!

Can a good tree bear bad fruit?
- Jesus

I'm sick of being gossiped about.

Especially by Christians.

You know, people who read passages like "Love one another," "Don't lie," "Whoever is sinless can cast the first stone," and of course, "God hates gossip."

Sister Mary Martha has a fine, practical article on how to identify and handle gossip.

Also, the Four-Way Test of our friendly neighborhood Rotary Club reads:
    1. Is it the TRUTH?
    2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
    3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
    4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Let's go back to the basics:
  • Speak the truth. Is this a fact or just speculation?
  • Love others. Assume the best, not the worst. Am I acting in concern and respect for others? Is it my business? Is it the business of the person I'm telling it to?
  • First parties first. If there is a dispute, the first approach is to talk to the parties directly involved (Matthew 18:15-17). If the issue is not settled, take a few witnesses; if not, involve the entire church. Yes, in that particular order, not the other way around.
  • Forgive as God has forgiven you. For most of my life I've been the gossiper, not the target, so it's easier to understand and (supposedly) forgive those who are now doing the same to me.

To be honest, I'd rather not see the people I think are gossiping about me, and I'd rather not hear them. But I don't want to assume anything. I can confront each one to get the facts straight, but that's too draining, physically, emotionally and socially. I'll just go ahead to the forgiveness part: Forgive them if my hunch is right, ask and claim God's forgiveness if I'm wrong. 

And ask and claim God's forgiveness for my own gossiping ways.

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 
For this is the will of God,
that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
Live as people who are free,
not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil,
but living as servants of God.
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.
(1 Peter 2)

June 2, 2012

Light rising from the east (On the Corona impeachment)

The Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines was impeached by the Senate last Tuesday in an unprecedented 20-3 vote. GMA News gives a comprehensive overview here.

Former Chief Justice Renato Corona was perceived to be allied with the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and therefore in conflict with current President Benigno Aquino III. So how tricky to have a trial of Executive vs. Judiciary, as presided over by the Legislative branch, and where everybody in an ideally fair trial could be seen as partisan.

I wasn't able to follow this trial at all except for the final day itself, where each senator gave his vote and an explanation thereof. I was impressed and enlightened in particular by Senators Drilon, Escudero, Lapid, Legarda, Osmena, and of course the presiding officer, Senate President Enrile. More memorable moments here.

The main reason for Mr. Corona's impeachment was non-disclosure of properties in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth. The fascinating thing is, the prosecution won despite itself. They lacked evidence and they were ill prepared. Many senators simply pointed out the facts: a "lowly" court employee dismissed from government service for the same act although on a much smaller scale, and a simple pie chart showing the amount of Mr. Corona's undeclared assets compared to those he did declare. Other senators were convinced to convict, ironically, because of the witnesses of the defense: Ombudsman Carpio-Morales and Mr. Corona himself.

The trial was smoothly concluded but questions lingered about the lack of due process. In my humble opinion, the technicalities of the law were overruled but justice and truth prevailed. Our country has already gone through two peaceful "extra-constitutional" revolutions in the past quarter century. This could mark the third. I believe we're maturing with each revolution; that we're getting the spirit and the letter of the law.

Also, every now and then I hear my Christian brothers and sisters declare (yes, prophesy) righteousness in this land. President Aquino was elected on a platform of righteousness and reforms are certainly being instituted now. For example, the dispute pitting Aquino's own family versus the farmers who tilled their land is now settled. Moral accountability is now demanded of our public servants. 

Of course, there is still much to be desired. Some analysts see a darker future after this trial: quite possible. But a brighter future is equally possible. At the very least, the resolution of this very trial evokes hope in me. That we are already on the road to moral and economic recovery.

Politics and public affairs. (To use our latest tourism slogan:) It's more fun in the Philippines  :D

P.S. More lessons from the impeachment trial here.
P.P.S. It might sound like I voted for President Aquino last 2010 but I didn't. I'm just an eternal optimist  ;)
P.P.P.S. I'm optimistic but not blind. P-Noy needs to lead the people in righteousness and not just boot the people who aren't. On the same note, I should stop talking about righteousness and get back to my appointed duties (i.e., schoolwork). Toodles!

The Maturity Climb

How immature am I, still? :) Here's a good "checklist". 

The original and much larger version of this poster is found in Viruscomix. Thanks also to my brother for showing this to me. God bless us all, and may He enable us to live and be more mature with each passing day. :)

June 1, 2012

Free to work :)

"The diligent find freedom in their work;
the lazy are oppressed by work."
(Proverbs 12:24)

This is me. Well, this is supposed to be me:

Where are you in this graph?

I believe fulfillment in work is not just based on skills and challenges. Whatever our reasons are, below is a useful guide:

Maybe I'm just ahead of my time? Excuses. Surely I can adjust to the present!

The clock is ticking, I keep telling myself. Work is not a matter of life and death. JESUS already dealt with the real life-and-death-and-afterlife issue. All I have to do is walk in His footsteps, in the much less dramatic but still significant arena called the workplace.

And remember: Work, like everything else, presents many challenges that we can use to honor God. :)

Thank You Lord, for giving me work that I love to do. :) Amen.

May 28, 2012

The Way of the Brave

In the same way I was with Moses, I'll be with you.
I won't give up on you;
I won't leave you.
Strength! Courage!
    - God (The book of Joshua)

It's Monday... and one week to go before I go back to being a teacher and erstwhile-graduate-student.

So help me God, I will be brave.


Being brave means:
  • taking responsibility for myself instead of blaming others;
  • looking at the big picture and planning ahead;
  • doing what I love and loving what I do;
  • being unperturbed as I look towards the goal; and
  • just putting that foot out already!

As a believer of Christ, being brave boils down to continuing to believe in Him. The war is already won; the victory is already assured! The only question is whose side we are on. :)

Interestingly, the BibleGateway Verse of the Day (found as a widget on the upper right side of this blog) reads:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)

In obeying God I am often overwhelmed or discouraged. Lord, please remind me that it is YOUR strength and power that enables me to live for You. Then it would be quite easy to be brave.

May 22, 2012

Blessing, not sorrow

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, 
and comes down from the Father of lights, 
with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 
- James 1:17

Yesterday afternoon I listed down what I need as a working graduate student, the things I want and the things I don't want. Less than 24 hours later, I am staying in a new place that fit my qualifications. Actually, it was even the first option I checked out.

When God blesses, He blesses. I am reminded of Proverbs 10:22. The passage is rendered in several translations below:

God's blessing makes life rich;
nothing we do can improve on God.
(The Message)

The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it.
(New King James Version)

The blessing of the Lord brings wealth,
without painful toil for it.
(New International Version)

This doesn't mean we should just bum around while expecting to get rich and famous. God places value on our work and its well-earned rewards. But "blessing" means "gift" --- pure unadulterated goodness. Thank You God for "all the good and perfect gifts" You shower upon us. May we use them well. :)

And in case you were wondering: that's neither me nor the view from my window... but the sentiments are the same ^_^  Thank You God :)

May 21, 2012

Truth hurts but...

"The slap of a friend can be trusted to help you, 
but the kisses of an enemy are nothing but lies."
- Proverbs 27:6

The truth often hurts.
The "proper" or "gracious" manner can only do so much.
Thankfully, the truth also sets us free.

May 19, 2012

The Memoirs of a Wedding Guest


Tonight caps  my "three-weddings-in-one-week" adventure. What have I learned?

* God will provide --- from money for a wedding (if it's His will), to someone to marry in the first place (again, if it's His will).

* I am honored to be invited to each friend's/relative's/co-worker's wedding: one of the most special days in their lives. To witness, to pray for, to share joy in. It is a privilege.

* Surprisingly, I feel no bitterness. I'm single and will be 30 in two months. Society dictates I should be panicking by now (and dating around instead of... *blogging*). But, it's OK. I'm walking with God and He's in control; He knows best.

* "There is no more condemnation for those in Christ."  No more manipulation, guilt tripping, emotional blackmail, playing on insecurities, and defrauding. No more abuse. "All good things come from the Father." God-centered relationships are not perfect, of course, but may we recognize (and take action) if we are in a relationship that does us more harm than good. I would rather be single than in a relationship that displeases God and people. Well, prayer answered / wish granted --> I'm single now.

* I love people! These three weddings enabled me to hang out with three different sets: churchmates, family, and co-teachers. In particular, I love what my married co-teachers said: It's not about age, background, status.. It's about God, and who He'll send. Just pray. Wow. Amen.

* May the guests not just partake of the wedding; may they support the marriage too, for better or worse.

* I love food. I've said before that my goal for this year (and how many years before?) was to develop "the Spirit of self-control". Hmm. Tomorrow I'll exercise na, promise. ;)

* I'm looking forward to my own wedding, God-willing. Our Lord Jesus tells us that if we ask according to His will, He hears and answers. It turns out I still have a lot to learn about God's will, but on the plus side, at least I'm learning.

* Lastly, I should look forward to each day, single or not, approaching my wedding or not. "This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." There is a command to rejoice; it is an act of faith for those who wish their lives could be different. But God is good and great. Let's remember, and trust, and live each day to the full. Attend a wedding even.

May 16, 2012

No fear, only love :)

Since yesterday, I've had this urge to get a Venti (largest) Starbucks frappucino. My favorite is Dark Mocha, but they're featuring a new flavor, Cookie Crumble.

I'm not rich: I work for every centavo I get. Neither am I brand-conscious: I'm just as happy with a four-peso Nescafe instant coffee sachet.

My Starbucks cravings would appear to be an extravagant luxury, and that's actually the point: This is my date with God.

Disclaimer 1: Every now and then I check my heart if I'm just using God as an excuse.
Disclaimer 2: Of course, God can speak to us at any time and any place.
Disclaimer 3: The Bible reminds us that obedience (a flexible heart) is more important than sacrifice (an inflexible ritual).

Having said those, there are moments when I feel that He has something to say, and that I better be all eyes-ears-and-heart-ready. Like yesterday. I was thinking, Lord, You can talk to me here and I don't have to go to a coffee shop, right? But again, that's part of the point. Not that Starbucks is a holier place than the metro train or our living room, but it's probably because I have to be really out of my comfort zone, doing nothing but listening to Him.

This morning, around noon, I finally got up, ordered the new Cookie Crumble frap (venti please!), and sat down.

And listened.

Perfect love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18)

Love extravagantly. Live generously. (1 Corinthians) 

Love  <--->  Eternal Life
Hate  <--->  Murder
(1 John 3:14-15) 

My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love
     Shut down debilitating self-criticism (even if there's some truth to it)
God is greater than our worried hearts
     and knows more about us than we do ourselves
We're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves
     We're bold and free before God!

We're able to stretch our hands out
     and receive what we asked for
     because we're doing what He said,
     doing what pleases Him
          ==> Believe in Jesus Christ
          ==> Love each other
As we keep His commands,
     we live deeply and surely in Him
     and He lives in us.
And this is how we experience His deep and abiding presence in us:
     by the Spirit He gave us.
(1 John 3:18-24)

My dear friends,
     don't believe everything you hear.
Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you
     Not everyone who talks about God comes from God
     There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.
(1 John 4:1)

Let us continue to love each other
      since love comes from God
Everyone who loves
      is born of God
     and experiences a relationship with God.
(1 John 4:7-8)

If we love one another, God dwells deeply within us
     and His love becomes complete in us --- perfect love!
(1 John 4:12)

To love, to be loved (1 John 4:17-21)
God is love.
When we take up permanent residence in a life of love,
     we live in God and God lives in us.
This way, love has the run of the house,
     becomes at home and mature in us,
      so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day ---
      our standing in the world is identical with Christ's.
There is no room in love for fear.
     Well-formed love banishes fear.
     Since fear is crippling, a fearful life
     --- fear of death, fear of judgment ---
     is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love --- love and be loved.
     First we were loved, now we love.
     He loved us first.
If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating..., he is a liar.
The command we have from Christ is blunt:
     Loving God includes loving people.
     You've got to love both.