Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for December, 2011

Looking Back at my 2011

Before the year ends, I want to have a glimpse on the significant events that I’ve been through this 2011. Summing up all the joys and the pains, I can see how the Lord has been faithful to me. Before every firecrackers in Bocaue has exploded, before every pasta and round fruits on our media noche dish is consumed, perhaps I would be given the right to take a review on how my life was this year…with the expectation of getting on deeper waters with Him in the coming year.

At JIL Calamba for the Laguna JRev Night. Before I got into full-time media work, I would tag along JRev ministry work for God's glory. Photo courtesy of Riz Olaguer

With tons of what I’ve gone through in the past 365 days, I never thought only a year has passed. I’ve experienced great shifts at the first part of 2011. With almost a year of being jobless, I only understood the word that the Lord has been telling me on Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The moment I learned how to trust the Father regardless of my situation then, the moment He opened new doors. From February to the first half of March, I became a part-time Korean English teacher and then on April, I took the reporter’s job in a Christian station.

At the TESDA MOA signing at Makati on Oct. 2011

With an overly bubbly but shy personality, I would never expect to land in such a job. I was a masscomm student, I love the mass media, but I only thought that I was fit for a quiet office job. But I have this free-spirited character deep within that gets easily bored on the same-old routines and locations – just as I had in my first job in the BPO industry. What’s more shocking was my beat: although a cub reporter, I was assigned as a presidential reporter.

So everywhere the president goes, I would tag along (expect for far-off locations). It’s an exciting and yet a stressful beat. I hated politics, but soon enough, it was slowly being instilled in me. I began to understand the technicalities of the law a bit…but I know I have still a long way to go.

It’s been an exciting year for me. Somehow, I was becoming a part of my country’s history as I witness some of the biggest events in the nation: Perhaps the most significant ones for me would be:

  • Pres. Aquino’s visit to the flooded areas of Calumpit, Bulacan
  • State visit of foreign dignitaries like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak
  • Courtesy Call of the Phil. Dragon Boat Team (as the president fearlessly announced not to mix politics into sports anymore)
  • First out-of-town coverage at Albay, Bicol for the President’s visit at the 1st Climate Change Media Conference
  • Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo’s transfer from St. Luke’s to VMMC (although we were not able to get a shot of her leaving the hospital and were late to catch up her convoy)
  • And my favorite: the clash between the President and the Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. Twice, I’ve witnessed how the president criticized the chief justice. It is my fellow reporter who witnessed Corona’s speech against the executive head of the nation. Also, I was in the Senate to witness the senator’s oathtaking on the impeachment trial.

Being a reporter is very exciting. But these events are not something to brag about. I would love to share the stories and even the bloopers in our news team. The one thing I love and have been learning on being a reporter is the importance of communication and connection. I have not mastered this yet, but I can see how the Lord is breaking me out of my shell to reach out, not only make friends, but for territories to be enlarged for His glory!

Waiting for President Aquino at Calumpit, Bulacan for his visit to the flood victims on Oct. 5, 2011. Behind me was the truck that he rode to inspect a small piece of the flooded area.

But I also have a lot of failures and refining sessions on-going in my life. I need to value authorities in my life. I need to lessen my happy-go-lucky attitude and my complacency that hinders me from growing in skill and in my prayer times. I need to accelerate in my writing skills (as I always have a hard time in Filipino news writing – ack! The irony of living in my own language!), my communication skills, and my competency as a media person. I want to learn more and I want to be trained more. Enough is not enough.

But the thing I’m after for is my intimacy with the Lord. I want to have a deeper relationship with Him. It’s not enough that I pray, read the Bible, go to church like tradition. Living in and with Christ is no tradition! It’s a lifestyle! I want to hear His voice, see His face, and know His heart. What is a life without Him? One day, my career in media will be gone, but let my love for my Beloved remain in eternity!

I’ve received a lot of material blessings. I’ve gained favor. My family experienced open heaven – not only because our home’s storehouse was filled with sacks of rice – but we let the blessings flow to others. I was touched on how my mother’s prayers were answered.

Photo ops with the Philippine Dragon Boat Team! Taken on Aug. 12, 2011

What do I expect in this coming year? I believe there will be a new shift in 2012. My prayer is that I will be more refined than now, braver and bolder than I’ve ever been and will be a Daniel for His glory. I pray it is Jesus who will be seen in my life and I ask nothing else but to see His Kingdom come in my beat, in my church, in my nation, and in my life.

A few hours to go! I believe I will be going into unknown waters. Am I ready? I will only be ready if the Lord holds me close. One thing I am always reminded: It’s not by might, nor by power, but only by His Spirit that I can face the future with Christ who strengthens me.

May the heavens open over all of us! God bless everyone. Let His Spirit flow to us this 2012. Happy New Year! 😀

Recognizing the Leaders of Our Society

It’s really hard to break old habits, but how more much to break stubborn pride. I must admit, I always have a hard time when my character is refined, especially when you’re talking about breaking pride.

There’s a stubborn, little rebel in me that always wanted to break free from authority, whether in the office, at church, or at home. No one is perfect, not even our leaders, and it is not at all times that we would agree with one another. But true enough, it is here that God tests us on how we deal with our authority.

Studying the Nazirite Training Phase 1, I looked back to the topic “Submission to Authority”. Until now, this is the phase that the Lord is still dealing with me. I’m usually quiet but deep within I love to criticize. But the Lord reminds me that it is not my business to criticize a leader’s fault. The issue is how I respond. Let’s take a look why we should recognize the authority of our leaders in society:

Leaders are appointed by the Lord: Hebrews 13:17 says “Obey those in authority over you for they give account for your souls”. We have no right to question why such are in authority. The Lord has a reason to put them in place. Whether it’s a tyrant or a very impressive president, only the Lord has the right to promote or demote him (Psalms 75:6-7).

We are a generation in need of fathers and mothers in society: Although God is the central point of authority, he has placed people to lead in various aspects in our lives to guide us (Prov. 15:22). It does not mean that He can’t handle us. They are there as a guide and they are like the shadow of His authority. But that does not mean they are perfect. Yet, their imperfections should never be the reason that we should disrespect them.

Rebellion and disrespect lead to one’s breakdown: There are many instances in the Bible that a person falls because he disrespected those who was in authority over him. Ham, whose family line was cursed because he “pointed a finger” at his father, Noah, who was drunk one time (Gen. 9:20-24), the former King Saul, whose promised kingdom was taken away when he sacrificed the offering himself without waiting for Samuel (1 Sam. 13:5-15), and Eli’s sons who died early because of the wicked deeds they did even though they were serving in the temple of the Lord (1 Samuel 2:12-36). In fact, the Bible has a promise to those who will obey their parents: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) Yes, disregarding authority can lead to loss of inheritance and even death. But look at the lives of those who regarded those in authority: David, to whom the kingdom was handed down to him by the Lord because of his respect and love to Saul even though he was an object of his murderous obsession (1 Samuel 24), Nehemiah, who found favor to rebuild the temple as he regarded the authority of a secular king (Nehemiah 2:1-9), and Daniel, whose life was always spared from great harm, as he honored the authority of non-Jewish kings (Daniel 6:10-28). See the paradox? God’s rule is simply black and white. No in betweens. Obedience mean life and gain. Disobedience means loss and death.

But the Lord is merciful. And I am under refinement on such things. Our generation can never stand as leaders if we never regard our leaders. Society falls when the people rebel. What more if we disregard God’s authority over earth?

May we learn how to regard those in position regardless of their character. May we learn how to yield and to react in love and respect regardless of their imperfections. And may we grow in grace as the Lord hone us to become the leaders of this coming generation. Lord refine us to be like You. We can never take our position if we are not willing to be broken from our own will. Let Your will be done in us as it is in heaven.

 

A Time to Share

It’s natural for us to love receiving. A lot of people, especially kids, await Christmastime because of the gifts we would be receiving. It’s a really a blessing to receive a lot. But actually, it is more blessed to give (Prov. 22:9).

In my first year in the media industry, I’m so blessed to receive a lot from a lot of people. From make-up kits to seedlings, and even winning a new pseudo-SLR – that’s a lot of blessings. These are gifts and blessings that I did not ask for and yet the Lord opened up His storehouse for me. How good and generous is my Father. But here’s one overflowing gift I’ve received of this season: sackloads of rice.

One of them I won from a raffle in a Christmas party and the other smaller package was a gift from big people in my beat. That was not meant to bribe, since it’s a tradition that these people should give. I had a hard time planning and bringing it home, as I had it carried from our service car to another car and then to my big brother’s tricycle back to our house (and it took a couple of weeks before it got to our house). Looking at the weight and quantity of the rice I brought, my mom and I thought it was too much for us. And yet, we did not hesitate to give so much of it away.

The small bag was our share (and it was overflowing on our table haha). As for the bigger sack, half of it went to my big bro. As for the other half, my mom had an idea. It was through this that I saw her heart for giving.

For a long time, my mom dreamed of sharing a lot to other people. We are not a rich family and yet in whatever she would receive, she would share it to me, to her grandchildren, her family, and even to friends. Whenever we would have shortage in our resources, she would be saddened, not because she had not enough for herself, but she had nothing to give to others. She shared to me just this morning that giving rice to our neighbors was one of her prayers. Oh, blessed be my generous mom!

Rice, candies, other goods, these are just simple gifts for the needy. But we wanted them to receive food for their hungry souls

I loved the idea of sharing what we have to our neighbors. But my mom had seven families in her heart to whom she wanted to share. Three would be from my Kuya’s apartment. The other four would be from outside.

We had parted the remaining rice into seven parts. I believe each had one to two kilos. Along with each pack is a bag of candies for the children and a canned good. But material gifts is not what she really wanted to give out. She had another thing in mind. And I almost cried when we put them into the bags.

There were gospel tracks. Yes, the ones given out with God’s salvation message inside. As there were no Christmas gospel tracks in the Christian bookstores in the nearest mall, she had her own copied xeroxed. She would admit that she is not as bold as any preacher to speak out with words of fire on the salvation message. Yet, it is her heart’s desire to see our neighbors surrendering their lives to Jesus.

My oh my…how generous is my mother indeed. Lord, bless her dear heart.

A gospel track that my mom had readied for this day. In it is a timeless message that feeds your soul.

We prayed for the bags and then set out on dark. As a natural reaction, the neighbors were grateful. But I prayed that they would take time to read the track and that the Holy Spirit will move into their hearts.

I do not write this to brag how generous we are. Actually, it was my mom who was the more generous one between us. I was just so blessed to see her heart for our neighbors that I wanted to share to others. When I saw the tracks for the first time, I felt guilty. What she did seemed small, and yet the Lord saw her big love to the unsaved. I believe she had reaped a lot in heaven for she had sown so much for His Kingdom. I did not even had the heart to do such a thing, even though my effort might seem so small. What is the quantity of our efforts if we had enormous sincerity and passion for the reason we do it? Truly, the Lord rewards these passionate people in unexpected ways, and somehow, I could sense that my mother will be blessed enormously.

In our culture today, we view Christmas as a time to receive and receive. Families would go out on the 25th to do the modern tradition of “namamasko”, going from house to house expecting to be given gifts. But my mom taught me that we should reverse that and instead, we should go from house to house to give not only gifts but also Jesus’ pure, unrelenting love. What we did yesterday was just a glimpse on how big and genuine is my mother’s heart to share.

May many see God’s great love through the birth of His dear Son on earth. May the whole world feel the Father’s love when His Son died on the cross for all of us. May the Lord bless people just like my mom who wanted the world to see His love through giving. And may the young generation like me become generous just like my mom. It is indeed more blessed to share. We cannot keep what we receive to ourselves or we’ll receive no more.

I’m sure there are other “secret santas” out there who anonymously give what they have out of love. May you be blessed abundantly! Merry Christmas to all and may the heavens pour out on everyone! 🙂

A Party and A Tragedy

Public perception can’t be easily beaten out. A tiny act can cause a major ripple that can drown one’s reputation. Once you’re beaten by the public eye, you can’t back out.

One small tweet can cause a flurry of reactions. Who had not heard of Valerie Conception tweeting how the President enjoyed her show at his PSG’s Christmas party? At the same time, thousands of our fellow brothers and sisters in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were savagely hit by Typhoon Sendong. It can’t be helped. No matter how she tried to apologize in her following tweets, as they said, the damage has been done. Besides, it caused the President another stone into his soup.

I understand how the President, who always wanted a time out, can’t deny the PSG’s request to be at their Christmas party. The President is no god, you see. And yet, he’s no fairy either. However, the public eye is very sensitive and critical. I guess, they should have checked out how things would have gotten out right after the party. His communications personnel tried to save his reputation but it’s too late. Another public flak thanks to a small tweet.

And yet, it is part of our culture that one’s presence can give great comfort to the multitude. This is what the former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had mastered in her 9 year presidential term. One story said on how she immediately came at Pasig right after Ondoy hit Manila. She does know political PR, after all. However, PNoy also had a point that there are already LGU’s who should look into the situation and the welfare of the people in their communities and he had made sure that the regional officers are taking charge of their people. But the battle here is public perception. No matter how PNoy wanted to change the mindset of the public, it’s not too easy. For us Pinoys, the emotional attribute cannot be attested by the physical attribute. No money or other aide can replace one’s physical presence – especially from that of a popular figure.

What can we do? The President is just too human to handle all things. But no matter how things were straightened out, people are not easy to change. He just have to do what he has to do.

So, it’s public perception over public funds. Besides, it’s not too late for him to take a visit tomorrow to symphatize with the people. On another hand, I guess it’s time for the public to learn on how to depend on themselves and to get over our public-figure worship. We have leaders other than the president, but the most important is we have all our fellowmen being sincere in their sympathy. President or no president, we can stand on our own in the aftermath of the storm.

A Bookworm’s Secret Longing

Ah, I can’t wait to read Joel Rosenburg’s “Epicenter”. Who would have thought I would be having a copy years after it’s being published. My secret santa was so considerate to ask what I want and so I got what I want. My Father in heaven really knows how to give the desires of my heart.

It’s been a long time since I had new books. And now the book worm was revived in me…oh, how I crave to know more and how I long to read more! I used to remember how it was a struggle to read and more so, buy books. I will never forget how I stared at a bookstore with puppy eyes when I had no work and how I yearned the scent of a freshly bought book in my hands. And so now, the joy of having new ones is back again. But it would be a joy for me to have the ones I really long to have.

I still have more in my wishlist…but it’s up to my Father to give them to me in due time. :))

Tag Cloud