January 23, 2012

The Lord giveth (work). Blessed is He. :)

"I guess he figures since he gave me my career, he can take it away."

"Hey. He didn't give you anything.
You get hired because you've got drive, talent and love for what you do.
That's a gift from God, not some video director."

Happy to watch Honey again this morning :)
First saw this as a college senior. It's even more resonant now that I'm actually working in a neighborhood that's indeed in the heart of the streets.

Glory to You.

To underline the point: I just got an email from JobsDB.com:

Dear Maria Teresa Pulido,

We noticed that your resume(s) has not been updated for the past 6 months and hope this is because you have found a nice job!

Yes, I did. I "found" the best job for this season on the last line of the last page of their job listings. :) So I wouldn't be updating my resume (for the next job hunt) any time soon. Thanks to JobsDB, to Rye my colleague/church-mate, to FEU - East Asia College...

... and to my Heavenly Father, the source of all that's good and perfect.

January 17, 2012

Easy to follow (or, "Decisions, decisions")

Today I'm just thankful, for the times God makes it easy to follow Him. ♥

I remember my first "major life decision" as a Christian: contemplating the path to take after graduating from college. I prayed for neon signs pointing to just one path, God's will for me.

Sure enough, then and now, clarity arrives, things do fall into place, with criteria being met by only one option.

Even Jesus prayed, "Father, not My will but Yours be done." [1] "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven." [2]

Following God doesn't have to be a painful (if I may say so) hell. True, there are sacrifices and hardships, but the bigger picture is simply wonderful.

Jesus endured the most painful kind of death "for the joy set before Him." [3] "God's will is good, pleasing and perfect." [4]

Dilemma no more, head and heart united, His will becomes my own. There's no other place I'd rather be. Wouldn't you agree?

January 15, 2012

Worship God, not objects

Last Monday, classes in many Manila schools were suspended. Not because there was a natural disaster, nor because we wanted to extend the Christmas vacation for just one more day. Nay, it was the feast of the Black Nazarene.

This statue is the object of weekly masses and three annual processions [Wikipedia]. The January 9 procession is attended by millions, so much so that scores get injured or even killed in stampedes, and the government even took measures this year to avoid a potential terrorist attack.

Though some of my relatives are devotees of the Nazarene and are proud to have touched the statue themselves, the magnitude and cultural significance of it all hasn't really affected me until now. ("Really? Classes suspended for this? Terrorist threat?")

Which is why, I am all the more glad to see this reminder on our campus Facebook page:

"Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God." - Leviticus 26:1

IDOL = image, statue, object. Anything, anyone that is not God Himself.

Some people argue that they are simply "honoring" or "venerating" these reminders of God's presence. That sounds well and good. But:

(1) God Himself said, "Do not MAKE, do not SET UP."

(2) God Himself said, "Do not BOW DOWN."

Let me ask you: Why fight your way to see and touch a "reminder" of Someone who is already with you, who already saved you?

If we want to worship God, let's follow what He says. "Do not worship idols."

"Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus"

The most-watched video on Youtube: 


"[The Church] is not a museum for good people,
it's a hospital for the broken.
Which means I don't have to hide my failure,
I don't have to hide my sin
'Cause it doesn't depend on me,
It depends on Him. 

"Religion says "Do", Jesus says "Done."
Religion says "Slave", Jesus says "Son."
Religion puts you in bondage while Jesus sets you free
Religion makes you blind but Jesus makes you see

"And that's why religion and Jesus are two different clans
Religion is man searching for God
Christianity is God searching for man

"Which is why salvation is freely mine
And forgiveness is my own
Not based on my merits
but Jesus' obedience alone

"So for religion, no I hate it
In fact I literally resent it
Because when Jesus said "It is finished,"
I believe He meant it."

January 13, 2012

Thank You (Jan 13, 2012)

Thank You Lord for:
* snorkeling
* Iloilo getaway with friends from work
* Kenny's break-fast with friends from church
* letting me teach my fave subject once more
* the time, the money, the discipline
* my new home away from home ^_^
* more faith in the One who's in control

It's only the 13th of the first month and great things are already here. Here's to an awesome year! All glory to God






(Thanks to Bless, Resmond and Arvin for the pics :) )

January 9, 2012

It's a vine (not a beanstalk)

It's a vine. Not a beanstalk.

In our modern, techie society, we want instant results. Success is associated with "more", "faster", and "bigger".

Even churches (groups of Christ-followers and the places where they worship) are pressured to be "successful". Besides, weren't 3,000 believers added just like that in the early days? But let's be careful to distinguish godly wisdom over worldly wisdom: if satan tempted even Jesus with worldly power, all the more can satan twist our good intentions.

The Christian life is a vine, not a beanstalk. It's a moment by moment choice to pursue God, not an overnight ticket to riches (and evil giants out for your blood :p).

Our Master's words in John 15:1-17:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.

"I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you. This is My command: Love each other."

It is to God's glory that we be "successful"... but let's do so by pursuing not success but God Himself! (Seek ye first.) Surely we want quality and quantity, but pursue quality (our own walk with God) and the quantity will follow. It is God who will add the numbers. :)

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God, who makes things grow. 
- Paul to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

Be like Abraham

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.
He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 
even though God had said to him,
“It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  (Hebrews 11:17-18)

Consider Abraham, the "Father of Faith." He and his wife waited years to have a child of their own. In their old age, they were promised a child by God Himself. Miracle of miracles, Isaac was born... and now God wants him as a sacrifice. 

Then God said,
“Take your son, your only son, whom you love — Isaac —
and go to the region of Moriah.
Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up
and... set out for the place God had told him about.  (Genesis 22:2-3)

Early the next morning. As soon as possible, he obeyed.

Did Abraham doubt the logic of all this, like Zechariah?
Did he demand an audience with God to debate the matter, like Job?
Did he deny his encounter with God, like Peter?
Did he demand proof before he can believe, like Thomas?
Did he doubt what he just heard, or forget completely, like the Israelites?

Nope. Abraham gave God all his trust, including the benefit of the doubt: "Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death." (Hebrews 11:19)

Of course this comes with the friendly reminder:

"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world." (1 John 4:1-3)

And Jesus encourages us with:

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand." (John 10:27-29)

Got a message from God lately? Test... then like the father of faith, act in faith and obey immediately.

January 7, 2012

Not there yet? Follow on.

An encouragement from the great John Wesley. Do not fret because of what is not yet, but be happy in trust that He will act on what He promised.

Follow on in Faith

"Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
- Hebrews 6:12

Have you received a good hope of God's promise to be created anew in His image? Have you a strong consolation through grace that He will perform it? Be no more weary or faint in your mind, but follow on till you attain.

If you thus "taste of the good word and of the powers of the world to come," you will not murmur against God that you are not yet qualified for the inheritance of the saints. Instead of repining at your not being wholly delivered, you will praise God for thus far delivering you.

You will magnify God for what He has already done and take it as an "earnest," a down payment, of what He will do. You will not fret against Him because you are not yet renewed but bless Him that you shall be. Because now your salvation from all sin is "nearer than when you first believed."

Instead of uselessly tormenting yourself because the time is not fully come, you will calmly and quietly wait for it, knowing "it will come, and will not tarry."

You may yet cheerfully endure the burden of sin that still remains in you, because it will not always remain. Yet a little while, and it shall be entirely gone.

Wait the Lord's leisure; be strong, and He shall comfort your heart. Only put your trust in the Lord. 

This is taken from John Wesley's Sermon XXXVII: Satan's Devices, which was reprinted in "Renew my Heart", a devotional collection.

January 5, 2012

This 2012, first things first.

Tomorrow our local church will hold its annual prayer and fasting. Each of us is encouraged to list down our "faith goals" - what are we believing God for?

Best time as any to remind ourselves: 

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well."

I did list faith goals: most now have a check beside them, the rest are on their way. It truly was a miraculous year --- in terms of what I asked for, and better yet, in what I didn't! :) Truly He is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine."

"I know your works as well as your labor and steadfast endurance...
But I have this against you: You have departed from your first love!"

Last year I was so caught up in "following God" that I forgot the "loving God" part. (Remember!)

This 2012, first things first.

(Quotes from here, here and here.)