Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘faith’

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!

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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.

The Magic Of Dinner Over Movies (Fifth Bite): Faith and Courage For Food

It was a almost a month since I had my second meal with this wonderful woman who is an epitome of courage and strength. For me, this is one of the most unforgettable dinners I had. Her story is better than the burgers, fries, and sundae she blessed me. I guess I was more fed with encouragement with the testimony of this admirable woman of God.

I usually meet Dianne in Christian conferences like JRev (Jesus Revolution)

My good friend Dianne with tons of fries and burgers. Couldn't be any better than the dinners I've had.

My good friend Dianne with tons of fries and burgers. My past dinners couldn’t be any better than this! 🙂

Night. But I did not expect that on this last JRev night I’ve attended last February 17, she was there. I was comforted to see an old friend after thinking I would be going home alone. Like a feather in the breeze, her bright smile filled up my tired spirit. I find her like a lamplight energizing me in the night, even though the event was over.

If you think her positivity is overreacting, no. It’s something natural in her. Glad to see each other, we decided to have dinner together before going home.

I missed having large fries and burgers in the night. I know this would be a wreck in my diet, but I’d rather take this opportunity to bond with a friend. I took all the ketchup for my fries because she wanted her fries to be in her burger!

We called it a post-Valentine date which we really enjoyed. As a single lady, I’ve always enjoyed being with friends at dinner. But how much I’ve enjoyed this date as her testimony marked meaningfully in my life.

I am aware of the hardships she is facing in her life. She has been taking care of her mother, who has cancer. It’s not easy for her and her family. Not only financially, but physically and emotionally. I must admit I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing a loved-one in pain. But Dianne has to endure her mother’s screams of pain everyday. Add to that, she was juggling a lot of tasks like taking care of her little nephew.

As she shared to me her pain, she also shared to me the encouragements she has been receiving. Not only had she received kind words, but she and her family had been receiving financial and emotional support from different people. I was blessed when her church family had come together as a big group just to pray for her mother (and because of that, her pain lessened!).

But the battle she faces goes on. And she faces it everyday. She would be tired, I know, but she has this amazing strength that keeps her smiling. I was somehow ashamed, because I would be so tired at the pressure of my daily tasks. But Dianne has bigger and painful problems than mine. I could see how these refine her well: in spirit and in character.

In another rare moment, I was chewing my burger slowly. I almost gaped while listening to her story of faith and determination. I wondered how she kept on holding on to this thin wire hanging over the dark cliff. Deep in her heart, she knew that it’s not her mother’s time to go. Her faith kindled mine. I agreed with her — her mother will recover, indeed she will.

What amazed me more was how she keeps her eyes on the Lord. No blame-throwing at Him, she just clings to Him. Last hope you may say, but He’s more than that. He’s everything, a faithful Father and Friend from the first to the last. Dianne wouldn’t exchange Him for anything else. He’s the One strengthening her and sustaining her all along.

This post-Valentine date must be more remarkable than any romantic dates I never had. :)

This post-Valentine date must be more remarkable than any romantic dates I never had. 🙂

It’s an honor to have a friend a woman who stands strong in the midst of great testing. I believe that this season in her life is preparing her for something greater. At this point, I could say that she has blessed me more than I could have blessed her. Such people like her has received more than most of us have had, I guess. Despite of great pain, she receives great strength, courage, and faith. But the best of all is the great love of Jesus that had caused all the positive fruits in her life to bear. These fruits she shared to me as seeds waiting to sprout in the upcoming seasons in my life.

Truly, I was enlightened that night, sweeter than the sundae I’ve had as my finale in that dinner. Her testimony had nourished my tired body. Truly, it’s an amazing dinner with her, better than any romantic dates I’ve never had. 🙂

Shifting Focus

I left Monday with an angry and stressed outlook.

It’s so frustrating when one day you’re empowered with the Lord’s promises and restful atmosphere on Sunday but suddenly shifting into a furious worker on Mondays. I almost thought of myself as a modern-day Dr.-Jekyll-slash-Mr.-Hyde. What’s even more frustrating is when I realize I’ve broken another testimony. It’s like shattering a new golden ball you received as a gift before your folks can appreciate it.

The Kingdom of Heaven is righteousness, peace, and joy. But absence of these three things reflects the loss of them. Only through Christ can we receive these things. But they can only manifest if we fully have faith to let go of our selfish ways and let the Giver of these things take over our lives.

It requires a change in focus. Whatever I focus affects my perception, and much sooner, my emotions. Should I focus with what I see or what I hope for? Blessed are those who have not seen yet believed, the Bible says.

I hope for excellence. But I cannot move forward if I focus on the failure of one step.

I hope for alliances. But I cannot have it if I focus on the character flaw of one person.

I hope for promotion. But I cannot obtain it if I focus on self-pity and insecurity.

I hope for world restoration. But I can never be part of it if I focus on myself alone.

I cannot dwell in the lack that I see. All I have to focus is on the One who can fill the lack. If I have no cards left, only God can change the game to my favor…not because of me, but because I’m part of His team that brings His glory and love to a broken world with a distracted focus.

What You See Is Not What You Get

“Why are there people who seem to get all the luck in the world?” A fellow reporter said half-jokingly. In the middle of the event, we can’t help but watch the striking personalities matched with similarly-attractive people.

I just smiled. Almost everyone in this world does not think the same as a few does.

It’s not about luck. It’s not about being beautiful. There is more than what meets the eye. I know these words were said over and over again. Yet, it takes so much of our minds to be absorb and realize these truths.

It would only take our spirits to be alive to know that our standards are not the basis of life. When we commune with the Lord, His eyes become our eyes, as His heart become our hearts. That’s when we see that the things we thought as beautiful, are not really the best in eternity at all.

Full Trust in the State of Massive Loss

“And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord.”
Job 2:21

This verse has been ringing in my head over and over for a few weeks. I just can’t imagine how somebody like Job can still praise God despite of his sudden tragedies in life. Just like the song, he was able to bless the Name of the Lord, for he knew that everything came from him.

When I passed through the book of Job, I was quite surprised to see how this man had already died to himself. He’s not totally blameless, you see, for he still had small flaws in his being. Yet, his viewpoint of God is so different from his contemporaries even from most of us. He knew that because of God’s infinity and greatness, he knew he had no right to rant and complain, but he wanted to plead his cause before the Lord. I felt quite guilty when he told his wife “…shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). I was even more shocked because his trust was not rattled when he said “Though He slay me, I will hope in him…” (Job 13:15). Talk about a person dead to himself!

It’s hard to die to oneself, I know. Although I have received the Lord Jesus and surrendered my life to Him, I must admit I’m not yet 100% submitted to Him. There are many things and aspects in my life that are hard to let go (on my part). Selfishness is a natural part of me. I have this short-term memory to forget that everything I have are just lent.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein…” Psalm 24:1 says. Indeed, everything is His and yet he gave dominion to man (Psalm 8:6). And because we have sold ourselves to the enemy, we began to dwell in selfishness, forgetting that what we have are just lent so that we are taught to be good stewards.

The Lord gives us blessings but He does not ask for a price. It’s just, we have to remember that He has the right to take something from us for our own good. To learn not to whine when something is taken away is hard, especially when it’s close to our heart. He do blesses, but He wants us to become fully close to His heart and fully trust in Him. When we don’t receive a good salary though we have worked very well, shall we praise Him? When the car dies down while we are rushing to the office, can we still lift our hands in adoration? When we missed an opportunity to bring us to greener pastures, can we still say glory be to God? When the most beloved person died in a tragic way, can we still say blessed be Your Name?

Job had lost hundreds of camels, sheep, oxen, and donkeys. But I believe that most tragic was the loss of his ten children. In the end, he was able to worship as he mourned (Job 2:20). To worship God is to show we still trust Him, despite of tragedy. To worship at such a moment is a sign that we have died to self. It just takes much more of me to be just like Job.

I got a lot of pains and complaints and yet I want to just like Job’s character. I still have a lot of refinement to go through. I’m no holy person, but I’m just God’s work in progress. May I learn and know more, and let me become like Jesus. I pray, let me say despite of life’s pains, blessed be Your Name…

Keeping an Eye at the Source

My mom, holding a bunch of apple mangoes from our backyard three summers ago

My mom is an everlasting giver. I don’t know how she obtained that spirit of generosity despite of the hardships she had gone through in her younger days. A retired teacher herself, she was a good disciplinarian in class and a good friend to her students at dismissal. But what she is best known for in our little town is her heart to pray. However, this impression had made others loose their sight in the Source of healing and deliverance.

For a number of times, her closest friends would come up to her and request to pray on certain events. This she would not turn back – but not at all times. There are a few moments when she had to arrange a few things, hence she can’t be available at a certain moment. The funny thing is, some of them prefer her to pray for them over a leader or even a pastor. But isn’t God not looking at the person’s heart and not the kind of person who prays? She would only sigh, trying to remind them to look at the Lord, and not at the person.

In our culture, most of us can’t divorce what we see to what is the truth. It’s like Samuel, who first thought that Jesse’s first born was the capable king. Surprisingly, it was the rugged youth named David who was chosen to stand in places of authority. We tend to look at the medium, but not at the Source. As we do not exercise our intimacy with the One true Source of Creation, we loose sight of who He is, and depend our faith on those whose hearts are close to His. But God does not only want the heroes of faith to be the only ones close to His heart. He wanted everyone to know Him more. But it would take a lot of us to struggle and contend for His intimacy as He is filled with holiness. Intimacy with Him requires us to be stripped of our pride and doubts. Yet, doing so will hurt us so it’s hard for us to go for it.

And even my mom, an arbiter of love and faith in our home, still struggle for it. “I’m old”, she would say, “and times have already hardened my perspective”. But God blesses her for seeking Him especially in the morning, when the sun has not shined in. What she does not know was that God is seeking for more of our inner being, not that He still does not know us well, but because He wants us to be fully His.

I pray everyone in our small neighborhood turn back to the Source of love. When that time comes, there wouldn’t be a problem for prayer requests. 🙂

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