Joy, Joy, Joy!

Hello dear readers! 🙂 Before I go on sharing insights, blessings, and failures I have received and experienced these past few days, I want to show you these photos which contain amazing truths YOU should claim!

by an unfailing God at that 😉

photos c/o Safe, Sound, Secure (tumblr)

Isn’t God so sweet and malambing (affectionate)? 🙂

Last July, God spoke to my heart and told me that He desired to fill my life with JOY–the indescribable, overflowing, divine, and wonderful kind. Who wouldn’t want that? I actually prayed to God about it, that He fill me with His joy, because one of my toughest struggles is depression which emanates from self-centeredness. God led me to the short but insightful book of Philippians written by the apostle Paul who was a very joyful man himself. I still can’t get to grips with the fact that an imprisoned man wrote this book to a people so dear to his heart with joy and rejoicing as its recurring theme (joy and similar words were mentioned 16 times in Philippians!) In clever and sly ways, the world influences us to worry and be anxious. In the world’s eyes, smiling at your problems is immature. God says otherwise. 🙂 Are you ready to be infected with outrageous joy?

Before you continue reading, please be reminded that reading my posts won’t make you any joyful just as staring at food won’t make your hunger go away. You have to decide for yourself to: 1) focus on Jesus and surrender to His leadership and to  2) choose joy over worry at any time of the day regardless of how you feel. Also, note that some insights are personal (but not too personal :D). Challenge my insights, add new ones in line with God’s truths, and most importantly, always go back to the Bible. When I studied the book of Philippians, I read an entire chapter first and let God speak to me before I read devotionals and other supplementary resources. God will speak to you. The question is: are you willing to listen?

Click the next entry to begin your study on JOY! ENJOY! 🙂 God bless you!

Getting It

Reading a chapter or verse from the Bible does not automatically make you get it just as you can’t fly a plane after a 2-hour, one-on-one session with a professional pilot. Getting it, really learning it, takes time and constant practice depending on the subject matter. I remember when I was a little girl, about 7 years of age, I couldn’t read the clock properly. My knowledge was limited to hourly readings. I don’t think I really got it until I was ten or twelve. It took me years to read time–whether it be in quarters and halves–properly and correctly with ease. That was five years ago and the things I learned were simpler. Lately, things have been tough.

Growing up in a Christian home, I thought I already knew the Bible. I do know and understand Biblical doctrine (at least half of it) at the back of my hand and with conviction, but I didn’t know I haven’t gotten it just yet. How do I know? Well, for the past few months since 2011 started, I was compromising. A lot. I generalized one sin after another, saying it can be condoned because it’s not that bad. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into until I found myself in the aftermath of all my actions. Bitterness, ill-thinking, gluttony (it was still there all along), selfishness, and pride slowly but surely paved their way into my heart one compromise at a time. The effect was staggering. Since my temperament make-up tends towards the introvert side, I don’t throw wild tantrums or instigate quarrels with my family and friends. I find it more terrifying to be the silent type. Ika nga, nasa loob ang kulo ko. When I reach my boiling point, instead of whistling, I well up with emotions–sorrow, bitterness, anger–you name it.  This is the same girl who grew up memorizing all 66 books of the Bible by heart, singing Psalty songs, and teaching young kids in Sunday school. Saints can get pretty messed up, too.

What I was trying to “get” was totally unreachable. God Himself already said it:

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

– Isaiah 55:9

“Child, getting it completely is not the point. Obedience and love is.”

I can never fully understand God’s ways until I see Him face to face! 🙂  His love is unfathomable. In effect, I was trying to see if my knowledge can match with God. Obviously, my effort failed. He did not ask me to know Him completely in one sitting or in one year. For this reason, the Bible often makes use of the verb seek. “Seek and you will find.”  A stomach stops seeking food and water when it is full. The Bible says seek His face. Seek the Lord. Day in, day out. You can never be “full” with God that you have to pause and say, “I can take it from here. Thanks, God.”

” My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.”

– Psalm 27:8

A true child of God will hear and feel his heart cry this statement out: SEEK His face! A true child of God who has wasted plenty of time in worldly affairs will eventually hunger and thirst for true spiritual feeding. Getting it, coming to your senses, is the first step in true repentance. No matter how often you listen to Gospel sermons, unless you get it–unless the heart and the mind connect–there is no transformation.

Have you gotten it? God will wait. The moment you do start to go back to Him like I did, He’ll start running. Yes, God runs. It’s been a habit of Him ever since the first ear-piercing sound was heard: the crunch of a bitten fruit in the middle of  a beautiful and perfect Garden. And He’ll never stop running to you until you get it. 😉

“How Can I Give You Up?”

One of the things I love about the Bible is that it can be personalized. Albeit unknown to many, God’s Word is His love letter to man. 🙂 Even if a verse, chapter, or book was written to a specific person or people, God’s words still apply to people today because it’s the only truth that will last forever.

” The entirety of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”

– Psalm 119:160

“ All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
But the word of the LORD endures forever.”

– 1 Peter 1:24-25

My quiet time this morning left me in awe of God’s amazing love. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, but I had to, because it is the truth. This is the personalized version:

 “ I taught Jenny to walk,
Taking her by her arms;
But she did not know that I healed her.
  I drew her with gentle cords,
      With bands of love, 
And I was to her as those who take the yoke from her neck.
I stooped and fed her.

How can I give you up, Jenny? 
      How can I hand you over, Jennifer Grace? 
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim?
My heart churns within Me;
My sympathy is stirred.”

– Daddy God (Hosea 11:3-4, 8)

If you are a child of God, claim these verses!! God can’t and won’t give you up no matter how bad you get. However, God is also just. He cannot let your sin go unpunished. As a Father, He will discipline you when you do wrong.

“For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

– Hebrews 12:6

God’s love has no threshold, but His patience does. Don’t abuse it.

I’m sure you will agree that it feels good to know you’re loved–really, actually. This feeling, which actually transcends feelings, is amazing! 🙂 Thank You, Jesus.

 

Let Go and Let God Transform You!

Transformation.

It’s a long word–heavy, even–but I believe it’s what most of us really want. When people say they want to “change,” they actually mean transformation. It’s just that we don’t want to risk our temporary comforts and luxuries for the eternal treasures that lay ahead. Change will only do so much: make a house sparkling clean, slim down a bulging waistline,  bring a broken family together. What does it take to keep a house sparkling clean, lead a family from togetherness to forgiveness and patience and empower a person to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Transformation. Even better than that: heart transformation. 

Last week, I was in “change” mode. The intense house cleaning and cooking made me giddy and on my toes and thankful to God for giving me the break from idleness which I really needed and wanted. All of the meals I prepared (except for the banana-custard layered dessert, unfortunately) were well received and consumed. 🙂 I worked out everyday, ate less and picked healthier gastronomic choices. I bonded with family and friends and enjoyed our fellowships. At the end of each day, I felt good, relaxed and fulfilled.

I can still feel the joy, relaxation and fulfillment hard work brings, but I know that these feelings won’t last. I won’t be surprised when I will post songs on keeping strong and not giving up and fangirl photos to shove the stress away. That’s just a phase. The whole roller-coaster adventure is just a fraction of the entire transformation process. I just have to muster my courage and say, “You signed up for this. He’s got your back, don’t worry.” He’s not done with me yet. 🙂

Wherever you are in your life right now–seven and clueless; seventeen (like me) and somehow confused; twenty-seven and happily married; forty-seven and thinking of giving up; eighty-seven and frail–transformation is possible for you. It is indeed a costly feat, but surely invaluable! Enough with temporal and secular gratification! Let’s throw hedonism out of the window. I think we’ve had enough in the world’s buffet table; we’ve had way too much disappointment, pain and anguish to put up with.

Transformation begins with a T: TRUST. Godly transformation feeds on the tested, proven and tried promises of God. 🙂 Don’t give up! Stay strong!

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”

– 2 Chronicles 20:17

Let Go and let GOD. Let His transformation of you take place. Now. 🙂

\”I\’m Letting Go\” by Francesca Battistelli

End Of The World…Not!

As we all know (and can see and experience), today, May 21st of the year of our Lord 2011, is NOT the end of the world. To those of you who are still frantic about the “last things” to accomplish, run frantically no more. You are only wasting your time.

The first time I saw of this crazy and undeniably foolish ‘prediction’ on one of the opened tabs of my Dad on his Macbook, I snickered. How stubborn can people get, really? I’m not saying I’m perfect–yes, I am as stubborn creature myself–but I’m not too stubborn and foolish to the point of attempting to do something utterly impossible: stating the exact date of the end of the world. How many times does Jesus have to say this:

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. ”

– Mark 13:32-33

To those who mathematically computed for Doomsday’s date which was not genuine at all, please learn from your mistake. WE will NEVER KNOW until the real day comes. Indeed, the second coming of the King of Kings (no longer as a suffering Servant) is drawing closer and closer each day. The initial signs are obvious:

  • false prophets
  • wars (and rumors of  wars, both within society and among nations)
  • one nation hating another
  • famines
  • earthquakes
And may I add, tsunamis and floods (though you don’t have to worry about mountain-high floods; God promised He won’t repeat the Great Deluge ever again). According to Jesus, those are just the beginning of birth pains. Like a mother laboring to deliver her precious baby, so the world will cry and wallow in pain until the Son of Man, the Lord Almighty, comes in glory.
Why such the long wait for the actual end of the world? Why throw at us the signs, Lord? This period is something we should not complain about, but instead, thank God for! He is being very, very, very ultra mega patient with us, waiting for broken people to return to Him because He desires no one to perish. Not a soul (2 Peter 3:8-10). Indeed God is just, but even His justice flows from His undying love for humanity–His undying, sacrificial and patient love for you and for me. Don’t take that for granted. Don’t wait for the “end of the world”–whenever that is–because once the “first end” comes, you would wish you received Christ earlier. By God’s grace, He has given me the privilege of studying about the end times in our church last year. The series contained mostly facts that I myself wouldn’t want to hear, but I cannot help heeding the truth. Do you want a sneak-peek of the “end of the world?” Here’s what it looks like:
  1.  “At that time….There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered….” (Daniel 12:1) The world will marvel at this occurrence, but not for long because..
  2. “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’…. then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:15-16) the Antichrist shall rise and gain control of the world. This marks the beginning of what we call the Tribulation period.  This will last for 7 years. Oh and it’s not just “it-will-last-for-seven-years-let’s-have-fun” kind of period. The most grueling pain and suffering mankind will ever experience shall take place in this period. The movies make it look manageable, but the Bible says in Revelation 9:6:
“During those days [end days] people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.”
While it is not yet the end of the world, there is hope. Remember, above all else: GOD IS LOVE! He is just, but He is LOVE. 🙂 He wants YOU to have a bright, limitless and awesome, eternal future with Him starting here on earth. Don’t wait when darkness falls and you can no longer see the light of day until you come to your senses and say, “God save me.” Life spent well is a life spent bonding faithfully with Jesus. 🙂
Have you eternal life? God loves you, dear one. He really does.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
– John 3:16
Now replace the underlined words with your name (or appropriate pronoun). See? This is God’s gift. 🙂
*All Bible verses are taken from BibleGateway, NIV