February 26, 2014

God's perfect will in an imperfect world

Some people expect God to bless their choice.
Others ask God for His choice, and expect to be blessed.

But first, a disclaimer!

There is no perfect person to marry,
no perfect job to take,
no perfect friend to hang out with.

To prove this, let's look at some examples of "perfection" and think of how unrealistic they are :)  (On the off-chance that you have all of these, congratulations! But I'd bet you still have a flaw, even just one...)

Wanted: Perfect Life

The Perfect Female Face 
according to Men (top) and Women (bottom)



The Perfect Day
work plan

If perfection is impossible, why bother looking around?

Because... we have a perfect God.

And He is calling us to be more like Him. 

Because He has a Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
and this is available to anyone and everyone who asks for it.

Because He reminds us to listen to Him instead of the foolish, self-serving norms of this world.

Because I'm not perfect,

but He is, and so is His will for me.


I am not perfect, and nobody else is. But I'm not going to marry the first Y-chromosome-carrier I see. Of all the billions of people in the world, not everyone would share my goals and my dreams. My future husband and I cannot build a life together if we cannot even agree. Yes, we can always decide and commit together as a couple. But it's much easier to live for what God is calling me to do, as a single, before embarking on a journey and a shared calling with a life partner. This way, I'm sure that I am living for God, first and foremost. 

And if I do get married, will it be because I want to, or because God wants to? There are many men (!) that I wanted for myself, but thank God He didn't answer my prayers. (Or, He answered with a resounding "No!")  I am NOT talking about somebody being superior or inferior... just a bad combination. Somebody could be a "really great girl", or "a man after God's own heart", but the union could still be a hindrance to one or both of them.

Love and marriage do not conquer all, but God does. I've seen friends who live for God yet cross continents to join their spouses, and that's great. I know others who, in living for God, decide to end their romantic relationship. I can say that's great too --- because they pursued God, regardless of where He would lead them, regardless if their hearts are broken.

And I know that His will is always good, pleasing and perfect. No man is perfect, no woman is perfect, but God will bless and purify the union of those who seek His blessing. But I do not have to wait for marriage to seek His blessing --- I can ask for His guidance now, and even His will in who to date and to marry :)

Recommended read:

"When God Writes Your Love Story" by Eric and Leslie Ludy

Do not conform 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.

--  Paul to the Romans


Unlike marriage, which is a lifelong commitment, looking for a job might be a little easier:


But if I am living for God, how will my priorities change? Specifically, what job should I look for, how well should I do that job, and what will I do with my spare time and extra income from that job?

Isn't this over-spiritualizing (or over-thinking)? After all, the Bible says:


So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do,
do it all for the glory of God.
 -- Paul to the Corinthians

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, 

as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 
since you know that you will receive 
an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. 
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
-- Paul to the Colossians

Serve wholeheartedly,
as if you were serving the Lord, not people,
because you know that the Lord will reward each one
for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
-- Paul to the Ephesians

Okay, so do whatever, right? As long as it's for God.

That's just it. Not all things honor, glorify and please Him. If I work in a company that regularly engages in fraud and corruption, or if my work environment encourages or even requires immorality, should I continue working there?

Some people choose to stay and fight the good fight, to be that one little candle in that dark corner, to challenge, revolutionize and reform their place. Others leave for better pastures, that will help them help others better. Still, others make their own company, build them up from scratch with God as their cornerstone. I think all these actions glorify God, but it is up to each person to determine God's specific action plan for himself.

Of course, we work to buy the "basics": food, clothing, and shelter. Yet Jesus reminded us of our priorities: 

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’
or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
-- Jesus (The Gospel of Matthew)

The main driving force in my life, including my career, should be the spread of God's Kingdom -- His righteousness, truth, love, grace, peace, justice. He will provide the "basics". But He is calling us to work (literally) for more than that.

Recommended read:
"Lifework: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day" by Darrow Miller    
**This is a shorter version for free 

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,
Your kingdom come, Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread."

-- Jesus (The Gospel of Matthew)


Think of your best friend. The bestest friend you have ever had. Did you have at least one fight? Or at least one issue you disagreed on? Was there something that left you disappointed or even betrayed?

Thank God that He is our Perfect and Best Friend, our Rock, Rescuer, and Defender. 

Thank God because: 
  • He loved me in spite of my faults;
  • He forgave me before I asked;
  • He died in my place so justice would be served;
  • His Spirit is always available to transform me, to cleanse those faults, and to empower me to rise above them.

But God's commands boil down to these:


Our life with God does not end with God. He should always be first and foremost, but loving Him means also loving the people He created --- including the least lovable people we know ;)

God loved us without waiting for us to be perfect. He calls us to do the same (and interestingly, He calls this "being perfect"):

“You have heard that it was said,

‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I tell you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
... Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
 -- Jesus (The Gospel of Matthew)

But, like marriage and career, we need to choose wisely if we're looking for mutual, life-giving, healthy friendships.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
     “I will live with them and walk among them,
     and I will be their God and they will be my people.”
     “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.
     Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you.”

-- Paul to the Corinthians

This might seem confusing. Let's backtrack: 

God created everyone and loves everyone, 
so we should love everyone too.
(If that's hard to do, think of your worst sin,
and how God already loved and forgave you for that. ♥ )

But when it comes to seeking advice, guidance, inspiration, responsibility and accountability, who will we go to? Shouldn't we go to the people who would encourage us to do right, and not wrong? Even (especially) when we are weak? 

And let us consider
how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,
but encouraging one another —
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
-- Letter to the Hebrews

Again, this is not looking down on (fellow) imperfect people, but just doing what is wise. If I am tempted to do drugs, should I get advice from a drug addict or a drug pusher? Of course not! I should get advice from (a) someone who has never struggled with that issue, or better yet, (b) someone who has struggled and overcome. How inspiring is that, and directly applicable to my own present issue!

Again, nobody is perfect, in our lives and relationships. We are called to love imperfect people perfectly. But if I know that someone is walking with God, then I have more confidence that I can walk with him too: same Way, same goal.

Recommended read:

"What's So Amazing About Grace?" by Philip Yancey
** This is a related study guide for free

Stop Looking Around

How easy it is for us to use "I'm not perfect" as an excuse to continue doing wrong. Being an imperfect, flawed sinner is an explanation but never an excuse. Instead of wallowing in the mud of our faults, or slinging that mud to others, we can simply ask the one and only perfect God for help. He will never disappoint.
I have a challenge for you: to stop looking around for perfection; and to seek God, the only One who is perfect. We become who we follow. When we seek God, we become more like Him --- still with human flaws and no divine powers, but we can mirror His character and be His agents of blessing, power, grace, love and truth in this world.


First, first, first, our focus should be on God. Oh, how perfect!

But as we live in this fallen world, we join God on His quest to redeem and restore this world, one good deed at a time. Perhaps we do seek perfection, impossible though it may be. But we have God as our Author and our Finisher, and with Him, all things are possible.

God's will is good, pleasing and perfect. The more we seek HIS will to be done, the more we will encounter His Kingdom --- on earth, as in Heaven.

Recommended read:
"The Bible" by God :) 

As for God, His way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
He shields all who take refuge in Him.

-- Psalm 18 

Not my will but Yours be done.

-- Jesus to God the Father

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
-- Proverbs

1366x768 Perfect Me

February 10, 2014

Bad Eye Day

This week I have an infected lower eyelid. Last week it was the upper lid of my other eye. I'd love to show some pictures but, let's keep those disturbing images to ourselves  ;)

So what's the cause? Allergies? Fatigue? Malnutrition (!) ?


Filipino folklore says a person gets an eyelid cyst or sty from peeping around. So I'm already used to someone cracking that joke when they see me with a "bad eye". Then I'll come up with a witty retort...

But these past few days I do feel God drawing me gently towards Him again. Thank God I still feel Him. Thank God He does not let go but He does not force anyone to love Him either.

I've been busy. But that's not an excuse. One's hands can be busy but still have a heart, mind, and soul connected to God, our One True Love. It's humbling to admit that I have to be "forced" to STOP moving, to experience the lack of joy in going after anything else, before turning back to Him. 

I had to apologize, and I need to claim His forgiveness. 

"Your eye is the lamp of your body. 
When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. 
But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 
See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 
Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, 
it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you."
--- Jesus  (Luke 11:34-36)

Ultimately, God the Son says we just have to do two things: Love God, and love one another. This season, both my relationship with God and with others needed a major reboot.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven... 
For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
--- Jesus  (Luke 6:37,38)

I've heard the above passages many times and really taken them to heart. I think. Lately I've been seeing more of the depths of my evil nature, which makes my physical condition a very appropriate (ironic? sublime? gentle? funny?) reflection of my spiritual condition.

Continuing from the same passage above:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye

and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’
when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye,
and then you will see clearly
to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
--- Jesus  (Luke 6:41-42)

These days my eyes burn with tears, and it's not because of the dust around me. I'm filled with shame and sorrow for the filth inside of me.

But tears cleanse and purify.

On my way home tonight, I was surprised at how CRISP and clear my vision was. I still had my cyst, and that offensive nature... but I can see much clearer now.

"For judgement I have come into this world,
so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind...
If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin;
but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."

 --- Jesus  (John 9:39,41)

For some people, it might seem like a miracle to be finally made aware of their own sins! (*Ouch!*) But it's still not enough. There is no use realizing you're on the wrong way of a one-way road, if you don't do anything about it.

"This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you:
God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.
If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not live out the truth.
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, 

we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
If we claim we have not sinned,
we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us."

--- John  (1 John 1:5-10)

To have healthy eyes, they must be kept clean. Feed them with the right nutrients. Don't make them suffer in darkness; keep them in the light.

Take care of your eyes and they will keep on showing you the truth about your surroundings, and even about yourself.

And now, to take care of my eyes by going to sleep. Good Night!