Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘church’

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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The Test of Love In A Speeding Taxi

It started from a promotion. It was followed by a debate.

It became a night of testing to our hearts.

As the taxi sped in the streets of EDSA, my friend Heidy was challenged when the taxi driver questioned our pastor’s principles. He questioned the idea of the unity of the trinity, yet he claims he believes in the Trinity of God.

Maan and I were then giggling at the back gushing on the play we watched that night. We then fell silent when the man began to discuss his distrust with various leaders of the church from different religions because of their “faultiness”.

The man, who questioned church leaders by saying that they should be judged, gave us a series of verses from the Bible. He did got them quite accurately except for a few. I was checking my YouVersion app in my phone.

But he insisted that everyone should be “judged” and the “judgement” “inside the church” is different from the kind of judgement to “those outside the church“. It was like saying that those who are “inside” their church are the ones to be saved. He is knowledgeable that Jesus died for our sin and claimed that he gave his life to God. But I don’t see any enlightenment as he insisted on the “judgement” given differently from those “inside” their church to the “outside”, summing up that to be “inside” their church is the way to be saved.

But he kept on saying “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. Maan asked him pointblank who said these words. He knew it was Jesus, but then still pointed again on the judgement of those inside and outside.

It was a tense moment in that taxi. I felt our journey was endless as I looked at the window to see where we were. Our hearts were challenged in speaking the truth to this taxi driver.

But most of all, it was challenge to our character.

One girl questioned him after another. We explained that Jesus died for us because of His love for us. And so, if we follow Him, we must love others as He did (and still does). But his argument always go back to the point of giving “judgement”. At some points, especially on the “love” portion, he would stop, but still try to bring up the “judgement” part.

Yes, there is judgement, but only the Lord has the right to judge rightly. The taxi driver was barely looking at himself as he points out that everyone should be judged. He obviously memorized some verses in the Word, but sadly, he has no revelation from the Holy Spirit. He knew them as legally and as contextually as they are.

But let me tell you that the Word and the Spirit go together. To memorize the Bible without the truth and wisdom of the Holy Spirit is futile. The Bible is one way to commune with the Father and the Son through His Spirit, not to be used for debates.

The discussion ended when we alighted at Ortigas. Maan was shaking, I was wearied, but Heidy spoke of parting words filled with a blessing.

Then the driver, despite all the religions he “judged”, admitted that he belonged to one religion that he did not mention in his earlier “judging”.

I contemplated on this as my bus sped the dark streets of EDSA. Then I realized that that moment was not only to challenge the taxi driver. It was a challenge for the three of us. I was blessed when Heidy told me later though a social website, “Praise God for His wisdom and gentle spirit…” Without it, we might have become a reason for the man to look more at the faults of his fellow man than the Lord Himself. What if I’ve shown the driver my rolling eyes through the rear mirror before alighting the car or I’ve banged the door just to show my disagreement to his “principles”. That’s not love. To react without a gentle spirit is pride.

We cannot force our enlightenment to another if we don’t love. Jesus loved unconditionally…and I’m sure He’s telling us to love this taxi driver even if we have parted ways. We three could have debated with him severely, but God is not calling us to force our principles into others. It is the Lord who will give the enlightenment. It is for us to be the light of the world by reacting righteously with unconditional love. We will always be challenged, but it is a testing on how to react with humility and love. When we do, this is a testimony of God’s love to the world and a way for His glory to be seen to those who had not known Him yet.

I was tempted to say to my friends, “This is the end of him, that taxi driver.” But, no! In such a way I was condemning him. I laid down myself to the Lord. “Oh, God, forgive me”, I whispered in the bus. I had been in the dark before. Who am I to completely condemn those in the dark?

So, how should we love? We already did our part that night, I believe. But I believe it made us see how these people need to be prayed for. Perhaps, it’s time that we get on our knees again and pray, not only for this man, but for those who have not seen the Lord Himself. Truth is, we can only do so much…but it is the Lord who will make the way if we seek His face, pray, and ask Him to intervene and touch every lives that we have encountered. 🙂

And indeed…I have been tested again. More tests to come. I pray, that I and my friends will just submit to the Lord at such moments. We are never perfect yet, let us love…and through this love may more see Your love to them, Lord…

One Soul At A Time

Sometimes, it’s so frustrating not to be a Billy Graham or a even just a plain superhero. For most times, I tend to be idealistic, dreaming that I can speak in front of millions and save them all (well, not really me, but the Lord through me). I imagine how it might be fulfilling when one reaches lots of souls at the same time.

But for most times, the Lord works in ways that we earthly people don’t expect. I’m no pastor, neither am I called to be one. And yet, there are a few souls that I always reach out in one time or another.

Every after Sunday service, I’d always look for my friends and familiar faces. There are not a lot of them, but I am always happy when I say hello to these few and see how they’re going through. And there’s this young boy whom I talk much…and pray for much…

And so my Mom tagged him as “Rhema’s Timothy”.

For most times, he’d share to me his problems, his frustrations and what the Lord does in his life. In turn, I encourage and pray for him. Most Sundays, the pattern is always the same…but every time we end in prayer, I felt fulfilled. For one more time, the Lord touched another soul through this frail little vessel.

Who knows what this little friend will be in the coming days.

I suddenly see myself that though I’m praying or talking to one soul, I am still part of God’s vast, eternal picture. I don’t know what this fellowship will make out of my friend, but I believe that this short fellowship and prayer will turn him into something that many will never expect. God has a great destiny for him and yet he needs fellow puzzle pieces to help him get into his rightful place in God’s picture.

With this, I am more encouraged to look for people and pray for them (yet, sensitive for such souls who need prayer and encouragement). It’s not only my friend who’s encouraged. Unconsciously, he helps me break out of this shell of doubt and frustration.

When I see him encouraged, I am also encouraged. I don’t feel proud. I’m happy to see him encouraged through God’s peace that works from within me. Who am I to be a vessel of the Spirit of a great and powerful God? Yet, I’m thankful, for we are both part of a greater picture that we will see in the coming days.

I don’t know how these small instances will change and mold both of us. But I believe it’s an overwhelming way on how God shows His extraordinary love to frail little souls like us. We are made for one another. These fellowships are made for such a season as this, I believe. And I can’t wait to touch another life in the coming seasons to whom the Lord will show His love and glory.

Small instances? The size does not matter. It may not be as big as any evangelistic crusade, but I will cherish these  fellowships and these friendships for the Lord cherishes and loves these people, too.

The Shift

Have we missed so much of His great calling? Have we become lost through the years?

The 24/7 call is echoing into my heart again. But I don’t know what to do.

As I was going though Pete Grieg’s “Red Moon Rising”, I was so moved on how God moves to mobilize 24/7 houses of prayers across Europe. Young people gather to pray as that of the Moravian prayer house more than 200 years ago. I couldn’t believe how an antagonistic society as Europe become a hatching point of an unbelievable prayer movement no one has imagined through the years.

And I wonder how God can change an overly religious society just as ours.

The Philippines have had its taste of revival in the 80’s, the same season when the Iron Curtain was ripped open to let the world’s fresh wind breeze in and the Berlin Wall crumbled down to welcome the new world. It was also the time of renewal in every point of society, government and all. At the same time yellow ribbons and white flowers flew across EDSA when a new regime sat in, the church was making a cultural shift in our nation. This is what we have known as our pentecostal movement. Churches breaking from the known “idolatric bigotry” sprang forth, a new Jesus movement raged through, and countless young people gave their lives to Jesus, miraculously from drugs and vices. This was the time the church turned back to who Jesus is, and the Holy Spirit gave forth a fresh revelation of God’s love to us.

Fast forward twenty years. The Holy Spirit was quenched. We have lost our focus from our first love.

Why? We have become so engrossed with our “religiousness”. We love to talk about God but we do not pursue to talk to Him. We listened to all those great speakers but we did not pursue to listen to His Spirit alone. We keep on working in ministries but we did not wait upon His Spirit. We keep on doing good things, but are we still doing His will?

We keep on doing so much, but we don’t realize how burned out we are. We don’t realize that much of what we do are not aligned to what He really wants us to do. But enough is enough. He wants us to refocus at His heart.

And so I’m struggling. I want to hear Him again. But I don’t know what to do.

I’m itching to see revival in the land as the Moravians did after praying night and day, day and night. I can’t wait to see a sea of drunkards and drug addicts come to Christ in one snap of a finger. I can’t wait to see the Church spring forth in genuine love to the lost and the poor. Right now, it is the government who does the social work for the poor and outcast, because the Church prioritized conferences and ministries rather than love.

This is what the 24/7 HOPs are for. We are to call forth justice and deliverance. We are to refocus our identity as the Bride of Christ. We are to know more who God is. We have to realign once again into His perfect will by seeking His heart.

And this call came years ago. I’m almost at my thirties. And I still haven’t seen these 24/7 rise up. And I still don’t know what to do.

I don’t want to miss Your call again, Lord. Should one generation pass without doing what You want for our time, it would break Your heart and so will mine. I am but a minion. You are God and God alone. Will You come and rise up in our midst? We have never heard You so clearly, we keep on saying we heard You but we really haven’t. Come change our hearts, let us refocus to what Your heart really wants and go pursue Your perfect will. Your will be done and Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.

Sustaining My Passion

The media world is a harsh realm. Ever since I started covering in the senate, I felt a sense of strong competition among different media personnel compared to that in the palace. I am used to the teamwork in the palace press people and so I am appalled by the reality that the media world offers for the sake of popularity and ratings in the outside world.

And so I experienced a belittling of my own entity.

During the first days, I felt desperate. But I had no intention of complaining. Although it’s fun to be with the people in the same feathers called our team, going around looking for ambush interviews were a shock for me. But I had soon beginning to gain a few friends outside our team, mostly young reporters.

But the biggest test was my character check. And it is in here that refinement is beginning to take place.

Naturally, I’m a bit shy…and childish, in fact. I always smile, thanks to my happy-go-lucky character. But the world states that one has to be harsh to win the top. But I don’t intend to be overly popular on TV. I don’t intend to bag awards or win public approval. I am just doing my job. However, this world is trying to put you into compromise.

But only by God’s grace that I survive without seeking fame.

Focusing on the “glitter” of this world is nothing compared to yearning for the love of a God I’ve never seen physically. And yes, how I yearn for Him and want His fellowship. I’ve experienced sinking deep into His presence before but that is not enough. I want more of Him. Thinking that this world will just pull me away from His love, I decided to stay in the church. But that was not His plan.

Outside the church, majority of the world’s entities has no pastor or church worker to touch the unsaved. I remember how desperate I was when I went into “secular” work, but my mother would tell me that I have a reason being there…since no pastor can get in there, who can reach those who had not known the Lord?

I’m no preacher. And I’m not as “great” as Cindy Jacobs or Chuch Pierce and yet I am a part of His puzzle for His Kingdom. I believe the Lord is sending out His children into the remotest part of the urban jungle in order to be a voice to those who have not heard and be a living testimony of His love.

How should I sustain this? I need hunger and thirst. I need passion to lift His Name and embrace His love and give it away. It can never happen should His presence not stay with me and fill me more. I need You, God! And this world needs You!

Little by little or perhaps by one sudden move, the earth will be filled with the knowledge and the glory of Him. And yes, the senate, the palace and the whole nation will be a different place. More of you God…do not only sustain me with You presence…make me sink in You more!

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