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.