Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

Acting Like A Queen

“Hegai liked Esther and she won his favor. He lost no time in beginning her beauty treatment of massage and special diet. He gave her the best place in the harem and assigned seven young women specially chosen from the royal palace to serve her.”

Esther 2:9

I’ve always felt a dislike towards rich or powerful people. They seem snobbish towards the poor and the disadvantaged. But what I don’t realise is sometimes their regality is a reflection of their true identity that is honorable and pure.

Esther must have been regal in every way, the reason she was chosen to be the Queen of Persia. The six-month treatment given to her seemed to have spoiled her well. But it’s not meant to spoil her. It was meant to mold her into what she was meant to be.

I have been battling with an orphan mindset for a long time. (Maybe that’s why I love to recite the line, “Alms, alms…spare me a piece of bread” with wide, teary Puss In Boots eyes when I was in high school…nah.) But really, I’m 31 but I would move around like a sorry little girl by thinking I should not become better than others. I have always thought I’d offend people when I do. And this what hinders me to my calling.

I believe I have been called to be a leader since I was a kid. I have been placed as a leader in school projects but would not fare well, I believe. Others would see a leadership potential in me that I could hardly see. But I’d always shy away…

But no matter how I run away from the call, it always follow me. There are times I’d do well as an elder, an ate, a leader. But at the back of my mind, I’d tell myself I can’t do this…it’s because I’m afraid of failing.

But Esther, an orphan, did not act like one. Instead, she stood out among others by going beyond the notch. Before she became one, she already acted as a queen and already had the heart of a queen. Besides that, she dislodges all notion that all powerful and rich leaders are aloof and distant to commoners as she saves her Jewish people from being destroyed under Haman’s plan.

Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

So being a co-heir is like being adopted into the family of God! Because we accept Jesus into our lives, we share in His inheritance, the glory and yes, even sufferings. But I believe these sufferings are not meant to punish us but they are to refine us, knowing that Jesus Himself has carried the punishment meant for us on the cross. 

I need to act as one who is in authority, just like Jesus. I should not stalk around like a little orphaned girl asking for alms while the Father is willing to give the best for me. I need grace – extra, extra grace to get out of the wounds of the past and break off from the pride of the pity party in order to take the crown and overcome in love and boldness. May I become totally free, so as not to be hindered from what I am being called for.

Dwelling In His House

“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”

Psalm 27:4
I was ironing my clothes when I had the fun of memorizing the first six verses of Psalm 27. I couldn’t help but go back at verse 4 over and over again, as this has become the favorite of many of us who are in love with Jesus.
Here’s one thing I realized while meditating on this verse. While this cry from the psalmist’s heart has become our heartfelt prayer, too, the Lord has already answered it through His Word, too.
1 Corinthians 3:16 reminds us, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” God’s has given His promise of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling to those who have given their lives to Christ. As we stand as the temple of His Spirit, we have access to His glory and His beauty which we can gaze all the rest of our lives. We don’t have to look for His presence from some distant place as He Himself is already living within our hearts.
I have been praying Psalm 27:4 but was surprised to know that God has already answered it. But this doesn’t mean I have to disregard it. Instead, I have to ask for an increase of awareness and of desire to walk with His closely, I can hear the sweet rhythm of His heartbeat.

Words Of Might On the Walls

I was getting ready to bed after a long day when I was captivated by an old framed picture in our house with these words…

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This gave me encouragement and a reason to be thankful for having real friends. I’m not rich with a millionaire’s bank account, but I realize I’m richer in God’s love through friends who don’t mind my status quo but who just love me for being myself. This wall decor has been with us with years and I never thought it would speak again powerfully. Here it quietly lies along the others in a small corner beside my room, where our eyes pass by them everyday but their existence is nearly taken for granted.

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I used to muse at each one of them when I was a small girl scratching the walls with various colored pens. I thought some of them was too dull to look at, so maybe I could make up a little story on one of them:

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As I was growing up, I would meditate at each of them from time to time. I believe this one has been the motto of most Christian families:

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This one is also a favorite verse during Sunday school days because it’s easy to memorize.

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As for this one, I pray the same for you.

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One little framed picture above them was a prayer for marriage. I have not mused on that yet, maybe because it’s not yet the season. 🙂

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My favorite among them is this framed poem of “Footprints In the Sand”. I’ve always wondered if real sand was used in this mixed artwork and marvelled at how Jesus can be that loving after reading the poem over and over again.

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Topping them all was this short but popular quote among Bible-believing Christians in my generation. That used to scare me as a kid because I haven’t had the grasp of what salvation was all about. I once thought that heaven was boring because I thought that we’d do nothing in eternity but play harps among the clouds.

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Lastly, the sides are furnished with these decors made if shells with a nearly fading handpainted blessing.

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Dust has already settled on them but the words they contain still carry the same power that can change lives. From time to time, I can’t help but stop and stare at one, and let me consider God’s promises in my life. I guess this is the reason they remain hanging on our wall. We just can’t take away God’s Word off our lives because it makes us alive. The time will come that these decors may deteriorate just like us, but for a season they have served the purpose of bringing back to our hearts of God’s covenant with us.

Never Letting Go Of the “One Thing”

Quiet TimeSunshine creeps into my room. Little birds called maya perch by my window to awaken me with their mischievous but sweet chirping. I breathe in the morning air despite having a stuffed nose, a daily sign of having allergic rhinitis.

Still, I sit up, meditate, and pray. When I open my Bible, revelation overflows, an encounter with God occurs. This is the One Thing I want to live up for. This is the One Thing I cannot trade with anything else with the world.

In this season of waiting, I am restored back to His presence and His intimacy. Like the psalmist in Psalm 27, I learned to pray: “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.” (verse 4).

I’ve lost this when I was working. I’ve been focused too much on the thrill of being a part of daily news events that I’ve lost focus on the God who is sovereign over these events. I forgot that there is more worth in His presence than being among congressmen and senators. I struggled with my daily prayer walk with God. I tried to seek him but ended up exhausted and stressed. But deep in my soul, I am thirsty; thirsty for the Living Waters that can refresh me.

Most of all, I was hungry for an intimate fellowship with the Lord.

The experience of encountering God was all I desire. To hear, see, and know Him was all I could ask for. After the moment I resigned from my job, my empty cup was filled to the brim. Day and night, I sought for His presence. For the first time after all these years, I stayed locked in my secret place to wait upon the Lord for hours. I never thought I could experience what I used to envy the routine great men of God were able to do.

All that four years of prestige, ambition, and achievement can never make up for that moment of staying in God’s presence. I felt that every reward this world has given me was nothing compared to the sweetness of intimacy with the Lord. Oh, I my dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

But in all these, this waiting moment is my time to pray for the coming days. Oh, that God would guard my heart on the moment I return to the competitive world. Let me not make the same mistake of worrying as I wait for a new job. Let me keep on pushing in prayer, trusting in the Lord after I have done my part to apply for a new job. But, I pray that this fellowship would not stop the moment I go back to work. May it flourish not only in my life but in the life of many as well.

The blanket of darkness now hovers over my little village. Silence cloaks the dusty roads that were once invaded by the sound of playing children and roving motorcycles in the morning. Once again I am alone in my room, having nothing but my pen and notebook, my Bible, and myself. Come again the silence. Come again the longing heart. And upon my waiting, I hear His voice once again, breaking me into tears, tendering my heart to heart His heartbeat once more. This is the One Thing I am to live for. This is the One Thing that can never be compared to any other prestige in this world.

Jumping Into the Pool

Here’s a devotional I wrote way back in 2011. After finding this while cleaning my bin, I’d like to share it to you. Hope you’ll be blessed 🙂

I wonder why of all the sick people at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus only healed the invalid man who must have stayed the longest there. I wonder how come not all the sick the people flocked Him when this guy was healed.

Jesus had mercy for everyone for sure but He focused on this man. As tradition says, when an angel touches the pool, the first person jumping into it will be healed (I wonder if this was for real – maybe it was like believing a quack doctor or something). The invalid man, though, couldn’t make it. Somebody always jumps before him. Who would care anyway? It’s like first come, first served! And everybody there was as eager as any hospital patient who wants the care and attention of the only resident doctor. Jesus, seeing how tradition had bounded the poor guy (he has been there for thirty-eight years!), was also eager to heal him.

Before He can perform any miracles, He asked first if he wants to be healed (verse 6). Here we can see how the Lord can be as a gentleman. Well, the man sadly – and indirectly – told Jesus that he wanted to but can’t. He did not even know that he was already talking to Israel’s popular Rabbi! Yet, Jesus just told him to “Get up, take your mat, and walk!” Now who wouldn’t be dumbfounded with that reply? Yet, the man was obedient enough and had faith enough just to do as He said.

Jesus got no favorites. I’m sure He had mercy for all the sick people who were there (oh, how He loves us so He wants the whole world to be saved!). But, take note…this WAS Jerusalem and as He said, “No prophet is acceptable in his hometown” (Luke 4:24). Also, that’s where the oppression against Him was the strongest and sadly, until now, not the whole of Israel believes in Him.

As He can discern the hearts of man (Mark 2:25), He must have seen hunger in the man. It’s a hunger for healing, and thus, it can lead him to believe in anything (even if he had to wait for thirty-eight years just to jump into the pool). So, though he could have been dumbfounded with Jesus’ command to get up, take his mat, and walk, he just did it! He must have had such a faith to do such a thing knowing he was an invalid for a long, long time.

Jesus is looking for hungry hearts. In our world today, so many set aside God, but He reveals Himself to those who are hungry enough to know Him. I’ve heard stories of people who have not heard of Christ becoming born-again because He shows Himself to them through visions and other miracles. How come? They were so hungry to know the real God!

Miracles only happen when the person being prayed with has that faith enough to believe (Hebrews 11:6). It goes the same with salvation (Galatians 3:22). It only goes to those who believe.

Hunger and faith are not only meant to the unsaved. We are also called to be filled with such characteristics. Revival will happen if we are hungry for Him and we believe Him enough to shake the whole earth. I pray we will soon all get to a higher level of faith and hunger and see Him reign over the earth once and for all! Glory be to God!

Perfection From Imperfection

Imperfection irritates most of us. I’m sure, all of us have come to a point wondering why we’re imperfect, wishing we got the qualities that others have. But I believe there is a purpose to our imperfection.

It has been said that there are dangers to being perfect. It can make us arrogant, as if don’t need God and man. I’m sure you’d expect me to say that we are made imperfect so we would depend on God. Yes, that’s true. But more than that, I believe that in our imperfection, we are also taught to love others, as well.

I learned this in our prayer group, whom I always stay with every weekends. It’s not a perfect group, each of us have qualities that the other wouldn’t like. There are times that we would be offended to one another. But together we grew, and through each other, there are some qualities in our characters that have been sharpened or filled. When one needs help, like a prayer request or advice, the other would share a piece of wisdom that may be of help. Sometimes, a constructive criticism or rebuke can awaken us from flaws that we have. A word of encouragement brightens a part of ourselves that could be wearied. It’s like that some of us have a missing puzzle piece that only that other can fill.

I have heard of church fights and church splits so many times and the reason that I could hear is due to out of offense of their leaders or other churchmates. There are no perfect churches. Each of us is a broken jar. When we cast aside our bitterness and pride, we can see the value of each other and help mending the character of each other. Though we may be right at one point and the party that offended us are wrong, rebellion is a sign of pride. Instead of reacting in bitterness, why not pray for that person’s welfare? I believe, each of us needs to be covered in prayer, and it can uphold the character of the person we pray for and molds us to love others dispite of the offense done to us.

Never question God why we are made imperfect. In everything, there is a reason that only He understands. In time, we will know how this imperfection molds us to become better in love, humility, and righteousness.

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Receive Much When You Give Much

‎It was a cold and friendly morning, bringing in whisps of that early Christmas sensation once again. As usual, I greeted neighbors on my way to work. I was startled when one of them said:

“Good morning! Cold, isn’t it? It’s gonna be Christmas soon! Why not throw in some gifts to us?”
I only grinned, bluntly said, “Budget’s tight,” and went my way.
I was quite disturbed at that kind of greeting. Do I look like Santa’s daughter? Sorry, I don’t wear red.
Ok, I can pass that out as a joke. But I wonder why it is a common mindset to most of us to ask for a gift this Christmas instead of the other way?
Somehow, her greeting’s a bit off. Maybe because I’m too thrifty (and I admit that), but being generous dosen’t mean you can throw your money to everyone in the world.
Somehow, I can’t help but think that the poverty mindset had made most of us obsessed with the hope of being treated by another well-off person in your neighborhood. It’s a sad thing to use the Christmas season as an excuse for asking “aguinaldo” or gifts for the sake of self-gratification. We have had much of the culture of receiving rather than giving. The worst thing is when we receive we ask for more without ever thinking of giving back.
In the Philippines, parents accompany their children during Christmas to their “ninong” and “ninang” (godfather and godmother). When your inaanak or godchildren dropby your house, you have to give them gifts or money. But my mother taught me differently. Whenever I dropby to my ninong or ninang, I give them a gift. Usually, it’s a chilled refrigirator cake that I made myself (yummy!)
Remember the cliche it’s better to give than to receive. I guarantee you that when you give, it’s equally fulfilling as receiving — much better actually.
But when I give, I think about it. I don’t just throw boxes in the neighboor all around while laughing, “Ho ho ho!” I make sure that my gifts are given to the right people: ones who are good stewards of it and to your generosity, and not the abusive receiver. These are the ones who are always thankful whatever they receive. Much like planting a small seed on good ground.
I guess we have to shift mindsets. It’s time we give for the sake of love. Whenever we do, we receive much more than when we ask to be given.

 

Awaiting A Life Mission

It’s been late of when I started to pray for my lifetime prayer partner. Like a blossoming teenager, I’m excited to fall in love, have a man to care for, and someone to share my life with. I wondered how it would be (and how I’d look like).

But there are days that I can’t help think if I’m really meant to have a lifetime partner. I contend with what I see to what I’m asking in faith.

When I shared my frustration to a friend months ago, he only said, “Ask God first what’s your assignment…”

What am I really meant to do? I was even more awakened when my mom —the woman who’s been praying for me to have a lifetime partner — told me, “Seek for His will first. Set aside your desire.”

No pressure. Just wait. Enjoy the coming thirties.

Then, I realized that to get married is to be a good steward of a Godly family.

I don’t desire to have children, yet. Actually, I can’t buy the idea of having my own family. Besides, having children means to have the assignment of becoming a good parent — the assignment of passing down a legacy. It would be a time of getting ready to pass by this world, by raising a new generation carrying your calling, wisdom, and anointing.

Many people are telling me to get married before thirty. Seven months to go.

But sometimes, the real mission comes after thirty.

I am in the cocoon stage. I am not quite definite with my assignment on earth. It’s like running after the wind and using your discernment as a compass in the nothingness. Remembering a word given to me that I am a late bloomer, I could see how true it is.

I’ve been given hints. I got short term plans. I have ambitions. But none of them are concrete yet.

Perhaps, my real assignment will come at the age every twenteener feared. And outcomes will not go as expected.

I know that God got a plan that I’d be surprised. If I just follow Him, it would be better than any adventure or any love story in the world. 🙂

Wisdom From the Meager Things

IMG_20140803_084516_editI’ve been quite bothered lately about money. With the meager salary I receive and the enormous bills to pay and needs to buy, I tried to balance myself to survive…until the next payday.

Somehow, I regret the time I wasted my money on useless things like excessive eating when I was in my former work in a BPO company. I saved, but a little. I used this up when I was jobless for a year. I could have invested it instead in a reputable insurance company. Gone are that first ten years of saving. Now, I am getting to the next decade my career as a faithful worker.

So, now my salary’s not as prestigious as my former job. I’m not complaining. But, this is my time and age that I am learning to budget and save well. Even I am still on loan, I can monitor my savings. I am considering other ways to invest, as well.

But right now, I am at my lowest point. This affected my enjoyment to be a part of an extra job that I am doing. I love my job and also the extra writing assignments I do on extra time. But, I felt greedy to do more so I can be paid more. Having this kind of mindset disrupts the very purpose and the quality of the job I do.

Here’s one truth that pacifies me. In Philippians 4:19, Paul prayed, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” The moment I received my salary, I just sighed, breathing this prayer to myself. Somehow, I can discern that in my meager finances, I am taught to be fully dependent to the God who has everything.

What we see affects our thinking. When we open our eyes and see that God is at work providing our needs, we’ll be surprised we have plenty, even if they are not financial gains. This is not the first time that I received more than the less I gained. Times before, I have received worst, which in the last week before the next payday, I was short of budget. Surprisingly, I survived without borrowing from anybody (not even from my mom).

And so, this truth encourages me. My God will really provide all our needs, because He knows them, and has the compassion and grace to sustain us when we fully trust Him. With this, I cling on to Him, as He teaches me to be a good steward of wealth. In this way, I gain more wisdom in choosing where should I spend my expenses, and in budgeting the rest for the coming days. Good stewardship is the lesson here and it’s a hard one to learn.

I guess the wisdom I am gaining at such a time as this is greater than the wealth I can ever accumulate (even if I get a million bucks). I believe when I learn to be a good steward of the little things, I can take care of bigger things that will be entrusted to me at the right time.

Through the Pages of “Real Men Are POGI”: Getting Ready for My POGI Man Of My Life

IMG_20140720_185240At first glance, Ardy Roberto’s “Real Men Are POGI” is obviously written for men. With its tag line below it, “How to be Handsome in God’s Eyes para maging Ready for your God’s best”, it serves as a man’s handbook guide for Christian living. But no book lying on our living room table would be spared from my book-hungry eyes. Once I sat down flipping through page one, this lady bookworm enters a heart-to-heart talk for real men. 

I’m not used in reading taglish (short for Tagalog-English) books. But Ardy’s conversational tone caught me staying up to the last page (though I wasn’t able to finish it in one sitting). Reading this book is like listening to an interesting, light, lively talk on stage. Peppered with humor and anecdotes, Ardy puts his point that goes straight to the heart.

Without giving much away, I’d give you an idea what POGI means. In Tagalog, pogi means handsome. But the POGI Ardy is talking about here is a man whose character is approved before God’s own eyes: Pure, Obedient, Gentleman, Intense in his love for God, his lifetime partner, and his family. Wow! This is what a single woman would love to ask for!

Sounds too good to be true, right? Especially, when the world says to go with “what everybody does”. But the testimonies in this book encouraged me. Even the writer’s very own story of intense love for his late wife (how he stayed up with her to her last breath) and his newfound love touched my heart. (Oops…I’ll try not to give spoilers :P). As he breaks down the characteristics of a real POGI, I totally nod and agree that this is what I want…

And while reading, I was praying while reading the book: “This is the kind of man that I want God!!”

Although the book is addressed to men, I began checking on my character too. Being given a partner, I should also be a good steward in loving him. I should learn to be responsible in things, emotions, and thoughts. I should also learn to take care of myself so as to take care of him, too. The book serves as an encouragement that yes, there is that POGI man out there that God is grooming for me and that I am also being groomed for God’s best for me. I am also encouraged to pray more for his coming and to be prepared when he comes…in surprise!

This book goes like a checklist to the kind of man that God wants for me. Also, I’d recommend all my bros and my male friends to read this. 

It’s true that our character cannot be perfected especially by our own. But only by God’s grace we would be able to be changed from glory to glory. “Real Men Are POGI” is just one of the books worth reading, not only to men but also to ladies waiting for their God’s best.

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