Before you say a word…


‎”Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
~Isaiah 65:24

Amidst our circumstances, our pain, our disappointments, our confusions and our hopelessness about our personal situation and what’s been happening in our country; God reassures us that before we even open our mouths to pray HE has already answered us and will ALWAYS be listening.

When feelings go blue— “Say goodbye to emotional hype and adrenaline rush”


The most silent time of a Christian life might be the time when we think that God finally decided to shut his mouth and hide His presence.

Most Christians if not all might probably been into this “silent stage”. These are the times when you are reading your bible, praying and attending church but it seems like everything just plainly takes place. Well it is different from praying, reading the bible and attending church out of OBLIGATION. You are sincerely doing these things to communicate and intimately connect with God because you love Him, but sadly it felt like God’s presence is absent.

That’s the keyword— FEEL. When feelings take over, we suddenly get clouded with confusions and doubts. Sometimes we thought that worship is some form of emotional hype or an adrenaline rush. We feel like when we are reading the bible and God is not speaking to us, God’s presence must be absent or maybe God is not pleased with our life recently. These are the lies that keep obscuring the unfathomable nature of God.

I myself have similar battles. One night, in my pursuit of hearing and feeling God’s presence again; I have decided to attend worship night in one of the nearest church. Well, I almost always attend there every week however, that time I was quite guilty to admit that my primary purpose was to seek God by attending the said worship gathering. One Pastor suddenly shared this passage:

New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Im pretty sure that it is not the first time I have heard or have read these verses but this passage really struck me to the bone!
What was I thinking, when I thought that God’s presence can be absent in my life? Havent he assured me in His word that He will never leave me nor forsake me (Joshua 1:5)? This passage reaffirmed me how God sees and values me every step of the way. Our relationship will never be affected by my fluctuating feelings and commitments nor with the dark sins I have committed in the past and will be committing in the future.
“And it is my desire to lavish my love on you, simply because you are my child and I am your father” ~1 John 3:1

How overwhelming to fathom God’s love for us!

Made me think how busy GOD is to follow me through life, even if I tend to forget Him sometimes.
Made me think how wounded God’s heart is every time I break his heart.
Made me think how big God’s heart is to contain his love for a sinner like me.
God’s deeds are unfathomable,so every time I can’t understand His reason, I will decide to TRUST His Heart.

Barbie Dolls for Display


Image

I asked someone what were your childhood dreams. He instantly answered me and flooded my ears with dreams he had, starting when he was an elementary student. From being a baseball player to being a veterinarian and then a scientist, he humbly said being a scientist is the only dream that came true.

I was surprised to hear him ask me the same question. Unlike him, it took me not just seconds but minutes to figure out my childhood dreams. I may have two or three but maybe not that significant for it to linger in my memories. So when I reminisced back my childhood days, I was almost begging myself to atleast come up with even a single answer.

I laughed and told him, “ I can’t remember but all I know was I am academically competitive during those years. My mom and dad will always give me Barbie dolls if I will have honors or awards at the end of the year.” Then he asked me, “Oh so you love playing barbie dolls,!” And I just realized that I never played with my Barbie dolls. I only secured on my shelves and treated them like precious trophies— symbol of my accomplishment.

I must admit I enjoyed staring at them but not playing with them. Girls of my age during that time prided themselves with original Barbie dolls. And yes even during tender years we can differentiate original Barbie dolls from fake ones.

PLAY GIRL

Flashing memories of my childhood made me realize that I never want to have Barbie dolls. Playing with real kids was really the most enjoyable time of my childhood. I even remembered an incident when my mom scolded me  because I played all day long and went back to our house a bit late (atleast for children my age). I met new playmates and I was engrossed with the game and their company that I forgot that it’s dinnertime. When I came back to our house, my mom scolded me like the way she never did before. I was crying and even irritated because my brother has been bullying me, calling me “PLAY GIRL” — the term he coined by himself because literally I am a girl who loves to play a lot.

Going back to dreams, it was funny to realize just now that having dreams came into my being when I was in college. When I entered University of the Philippines Los Banos, somewhat I got a taste of the real world or perhaps just a sneak peek of the real world.

STREET CHILDREN

Growing up in a middle class family, I would say poverty was a bit trivial for us. We may have heard of it or talked about it, but we had never tasted it nor have seen it first hand.

When I was a freshman student in the university, I’ve got to see street children and sampaguita vendors wandering along the streets and purposely asking every passerby to buy their sampaguita or give them even a single dime.

Little children that should have been playing or studying were in the streets working and pleading for money. I cannot understand it at first. This is when poverty started to creep into my consciousness little by little.

THEN there comes the DREAM

It takes few children for me to realize how grateful I should be. As I learn the stories behind those innocent faces; I also started to build dreams not just for myself but for these innocent souls that touched my spiritual consciousness.

I started to interview these children and offered them free lessons every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon at the “Freedom Park”. The park where we used to stay after classes; where we can sit and relax while observing people playing, strolling, singing, chatting and even running at the park.

Image

MORE than anything

Freedom park— was viewed by many students as a place where they can freely express themselves giving fame to the “fertility tree”. But I’m not going to elaborate on that. This place was where I met the sampaguita vendors that became one of my friends in the university. This park became our place of reunion every week. These children were hungry for learning. They stand in amazement as I tell them the story of Jesus. Their smiles and laughter are evidence of how they were thrilled to hear about God and play some sort of games that complemented the stories.

These children made me realize that there’s more to this life than material wealth and personal gains. More than anything it is very worthwhile to  share your life to these children—for the love of God and the humanity.

Photos are from http://www.sina.com and kayecabal. Special thanks!

Of Debris and Miracle: A real life story of survival from the experience of typhoon Sendong victims


February 20, 2012—Cheerful by nature, this man with approximately 5’4” height, brown complexion and contagious smile approached us offering a ride to wherever our destination was.
We had to take early lunch outside the airport since we skipped breakfast for our early flight. It was almost past 10 in the morning when we reached the Cagayan de Oro airport.
Since we were not that in a hurry, we almost easily rejected all taxi drivers who attempted to offer us a ride that in most cases, over priced.

When we finished our lunch in a nearby turo-turo (canteen) a man who sat next to our table, who was about to eat his lunch asked us if we need a ride. The negotiation was not too long since the cheerful driver spellbinded us with his giggle and light way of bargaining. Finally we secured our bags in his taxi and we were ready to go.
We easily got comfortable with his company and talked as if we have known each other for a long time. We even sang and laughed together when he played his CD of April Boy Regino.
As we passed thru Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, we noticed the remains of the tragic recent flashflood that robbed many lives and families. We asked him about the details of the recent flashflood and were surprised to know that his family was one of the victims.

MIRACLE
He told us that his wife and youngest daughter were sleeping when suddenly a big flood came gushing, sweeping his house in minutes. During the incident, he was out working and so was not around when the catastrophe happened. Based from his wife and daughter’s story along with three other survivors, they were really shocked to find that their houses were struck down by the flood in an instant.
The moment it swept through their residence around 11:00 PM; his youngest daughter cannot see clearly what’s happening because of darkness. As wood debris and logs started to appear, she had the instinct to grab one of them along with her mom. They just let the river carry them not knowing where it will lead them.

They even rescued another three neighbors (one of them is a small child) who were also struggling to survive. The flood carried them along until they reached the sea close to Camiguin islands. You can imagine an approximately 68km distance from Cagayan de Oro to Camiguin islands. They were rescued around 9am the following day. Miraculously, they were found without any wounds or scratches.

Hand that holds
Up to now his daughter testifies to how unfathomably they survive through the aid of a log. She even testified that it is as if someone is in control– an invincible hand that maneuvered it leading them to their safety.
The joyful driver simply remarked, “I believe it was God who was in control.”

photo source:http://www.smh.com.au

Is it really possible to LOVE one another?


Ephesians 3: 17-19

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Are you asking yourself why it’s hard to love others specially the unlovable, why it’s hard to forgive, why we tend to be always envious and insecure, why it is irresistible to think bad thoughts against people?
It is because by thinking that we CAN, we fail.

Only through the immeasurable love of Christ we can LOVE sincerely and unconditionally. Impossible? Yes with our own strength and might. But with God nothing is impossible.

Consider not yourself but the ONE who is in you.

Insanity for God


September 12, 2011| 4:00pm

I felt like a total nuts. I am feeling mixed emotions and my tears will pour anytime now. I blamed it all to the article I read from the Internet—“Is Jesus really a God”. I saw this link from an online newspaper, while trying to refresh my news writing skills.
I am about to write a news feature article for my organization’s website, but for hours I was distracted—maybe a divine distraction. There are thoughts flooding my mind right now. I don’t know where to start and how to start. Thoughts came flashing and I don’t know what to feel. All I know is that for an instance I heard God called me and I responded with a resounding, “God this is crazy, are you sure?”.

Multi-tasking, I was not planning to read the succeeding links of the article “Is JESUS really a God” article, because I was determined to finish my article that day. However it was the leading of a greater force that compelled me to read further. I am assured that Jesus is God. He is my personal savior now and forever. But I tell you, it was a great experience to be reassured that Jesus is God reading from other people’s perspective and journey. C.S Lewis’ journey is what I’m referring to. In his pursuit of discovering what Jesus really is, he searched and searched until he found the Light. This is one teary-eyed moment for someone who has been trying to please God in whatever she is doing—at least believing in faith to do so.

My Personal Issues

For a moment I was in complete chaos. I am sure my brain is still oxygenated, but the thoughts are flooding my head randomly, as if I was scanning an algorithm invented in the 20th century yet I am a computer from the 1990s. And then I asked myself why am I here? I answered myself, “I really want to glorify God in whatever I am doing. For an instance I was almost convince that I am a blind patriot— fighting but not for the purpose I was created for; as if I am invented to be a ball pen but I am shrewdly trying to be a spoon.

To say it plainly— I once rejected the idea of entering a full-time ministry for God. If there is a word “pre-rejection”, I would say it is the best term to describe it. Imagine this thought traveling in a speed of light but just before it reaches the uttermost part of my processing unit, I already approached and crushed it waywardly. Deep in my heart the thought of “serving other people to please God is the ultimate purpose I could have” as if I’m sure I was born to do that.
Forgive me if it wasn’t plain, but now I realized that no matter how I tried to be a technical writer I will always fall to be an awkward-creative-writer. This is the next stage of this exciting, difficult, yet hopeful kind of life. However I believe the question still remains the same; Where do I go from here and How do I get there?

And Yes, I was waiting for Your answer. I know you are listening.

Ten Photos to Shake the World


Recently I joined an environmental photography contest. One of the requirements of the contest is to submit photos which talk about environmental degradation/destruction or showcase wonders of nature. As I was browsing my photos, I realized that my lenses captured more wonders than destruction, however it doesn’t necessarily imply the reality…Maybe?

First Picture

The spider’s web is situated in an unusual angle. The sky highlighted the intricacies of the web as I tried to conceal the details of the concrete wall. The result was a complementary beauty of the sky, spider and the spider’s web.

Second Picture

I was reminded of Huckleberry Finn and Julie of Flipped as I watched this boy in amazement and envy. With my humble camera, I tried my best to capture the serenity and calmness of this boy as he laid comfortable in this generous tree– not knowing that most of the tourist spectators are standing in fear and rattle.

Third Picture

Trekking towards the Mangyan community, some sightings were undeniably odd. When I asked the leader of the mangyans he said these are the hills where “Pastuhan” is commonly done as well as mining. During the early days only mangyan people do pastuhan (conversion of forests to grass lands) and short-scale mining; but now large companies and rich families are taking over the area.