Posted in Lift up your head

The Closet Christian

Every time I drop off my daughter to her school, she always ask me to turn off the radio.  I don’t know if she’s embarrass of me because of the music I listen to or it’s just her growing up.  The faster the time goes by so are the changes. It felt like it’s just yesterday.

One morning stood out.  I was listening to K-LOVE and she said to turn it off, she didn’t want to “offend” certain individuals who don’t believe in God. I remember a high school classmate of mine who became a born again Christian during our high school days.  I never knew that she’s been a believer that long.  I only found out on Facebook after all through these years.  Going through a Roman Catholic school, it wasn’t easy if you belong to a different faith. Day in, day out persecution is always there but it’s expected. There’s not a day that someone’s making fun and mock of this new faith that I’ve found. That’s only the school, I still have to contend with my parents at home who are both devout Catholic.  I didn’t care, I was happy I finally found the truth.  All the insults, the slurs, the painful words, the way how quickly individuals change just because you belong to a different faith; it was all worth it.

I ask this classmate of mine why she hid her faith, why she didn’t openly display it.  It was her fear of rejection, of how fast things would change once people knew.

It was hard back then being a believer, it is even more harder now given how society has portrayed Christians and God.  So what do we do?  Do we cower in fear?  Will we give in to the pressures and abandon our faith? Are you going to be that seed that fell on the rocky ground who have no root or are you going to be the seed that fell on good soil who produces a lot of crop?

In response, I told my daughter to be bold in her faith, regardless of what people say.  The opinion of God outweighs any opinion than is in this world.  What matters most is what God think of you not what the world think of you.  Do not be like Peter who denied Christ not once but three times.  If you’ve ever been in the same situation like Peter, God is abounding in grace ready to forgive you.  He forgave Peter He will forgive you too.

There’s a saying, “If you don’t stand up for something you’ll for anything.” The time to stand up for what is true is now. Remember what Christ says, “Whoever denies me before men, I will also deny him before my Father in heaven (Matt. 10:33).”

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Posted in Lift up your head

Late

This past Monday, I dropped off my daughter at school but we were  twenty minutes late. One of the things that I don’t like is not being on time, I abhor it.   I don’t care even if they’re family or close friends or lover.  I hate being late.  I hate it when somebody’s late. If you’re five minutes early you’re on time, if you’re on time you are late.

I was expecting to be five minutes late.  When I got to the main road, traffic was heavy because of an accident from icy roads on one of the freeways.  Tried to take a detour, same results. While we were sitting in traffic, I began to get upset inside me. I wanted to scold her for not listening to me when I told her to wake up and get ready for school.  Instead she choose to sleep in more and argue, now we have to face the consequences.

I choose not to.  I held back not because of my lack of parenting skills but rather she’s my child. I talked to her instead and explain that there’s a reason for all the things that I tell and ask her to do.  That it is for her own good and not mine.

As I was talking to her, it reminds me of what our heavenly Father think of us whenever we disobey Him.  If I being an earthly father have this compassion toward my own child, how much more when it compares to Him.  Whenever we disobey Him, He has all the right to get angry and punish us.  He punish us not because he hates us but to discipline us like any parents would do to their child.  He chose not to but keep giving us multiple chances to repent and change our ways.  Instead of raining His wrath upon us He sent His only son Jesus Christ to die for the penalty that was meant for us, so that we’ll know He is full of compassion.

No matter how much you’ve failed, He is always there telling you to wake up.  Do not be late, wake up when He tells you to.  You might end up late and the doors of heaven will close on you.

Posted in Lift up your head

No Hope to New Hope

This year is coming to an end faster than anticipated. As I look back to all the things that I went through, both good and bad.  I asked myself what’s the upcoming year has in store for me.  It has been a wild ride for this year.  A lot of changes, spiritually and emotionally.  Going through my last minute shopping, people look happy and satisfied, everyone is getting ready to spend Christmas with their families.  It put gladness in my heart when I see families and friends having fun and enjoying this festive season.

At the same time, I can’t help but think about others who have given up hope.  Thinking to themselves that another new year is coming – that there is nothing to look forward to. I wonder if they’re dreading it?  “Another new year, same heart aches, same problems? Beat down, nothing will change.” And the defeated mind keeps playing this back to you.

Or the less fortunate who can barely afford anything. Trying to make ends meet hoping that someone will have a good heart to give them gifts.

Everyone loves gifts.  Who doesn’t?  Some of us will love it, a little of us will loathe it, and plenty of us will cherish it.  Most will agree that the novelty will wear out eventually like any other material things.

So this season I would like to present a gift that’s been given to me. It’s the only gift that’s been going after you, the only gift that’s been caring for you, that’s been thinking of you. Regardless of how far you’ve run away, even rejecting it. It’s always been there waiting for you.

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The gift of God’s unconditional love through His son Jesus Christ.  You don’t have to be afraid anymore nor dread the coming new year. Because in Him there is always hope and everything will be new.  You might say to yourself that you’re beyond redemption. That you can’t undue the past.  He will change your heart like the way He’s changing me.  God didn’t create you for nothing. He has always a plan for you. A good and perfect plan.

All you have to do is call on His name with all your might and soul. Surrender all to Him. Let Him do the work and He’ll give you a new heart. Together we will face the new year with renewed strength. Do not be scared and have a little faith..He is waiting…

Posted in Lift up your head

The Hero

I’ve always been fascinated by superheroes. With the majority of them dominating all the movies that has come out even until now and to the future. Who wouldn’t like to have super powers. Think of all the good things you can do. You probably could even use it to impress that special someone.

Then it came to me, given the propensity of our hearts succumbing to pride and power. It could do a great damage too. Majority of us once we are in the pinnacle of success we often tend to forget God. Instead we fall into diverse temptations. Forgetting how we begged and ask God to give us all this material blessings, promising Him to use it for His kingdom and glory, to be a blessing to other people. But we all know how that turns out. This power only relates to material wealth. How much more if you have an actual physical power. Giving you a status to be like a god. I often joke with my friends that maybe this is the reason why God never bestowed such things to mankind. Because even Adam and Eve couldn’t even obey a very simple command. How hard could that be not to eat from the forbidden tree.

There’s a passage in the bible in Luke 9:51-56 where Jesus and the disciples went to a village but they weren’t welcoming towards Jesus. James and John asked Him if they should rain down fire on them. Imagine what would have happen if it’s not because of Him intervening.

This is one of the reason why Christ teaches humility like no one else. Unknown to most people there is power in the kingdom of God. There is power in God. Jesus Christ himself declared for every believer that they have authority over all the works of the enemy (Luke 10:19), whether it be healing, or deliverance. The bible is inundated with supernatural events. From the deliverance of the Israelites from Pharaoh, the parting of the Red Sea to Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Sadly, most believers have forgotten that they serve the mighty God.

It is not easy being a Christian. In fact, it is the hardest thing to do. Denying yourselves, being a servant to all, forgive even those who don’t deserve it. Taking up your own cross, lose everything for the sake of the gospel. Forsake the ways of this world. And we all do this not solely of the rewards of being a believer. We are willing to do all these to bring the gospel, to show to you by our actions, that there is a God that cares for you. If Christ went to such great lengths dying for all of us why shouldn’t we be any different. We never deserve nor could earn it, but He did so because God is love.

If you are an obedient believer in Christ. In His eyes, you are the true hero. It takes a lot of will power to conquer yourself whenever prides set in, or the pressures that is put upon by this world. You’d rather suffer for His sake than to suffer from the temporal pleasures of sins.

Posted in Lift up your head

The Beauty Of Adversity

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You might be thinking, how crazy I am to see beauty in adversity. How am I able to see through the darkness. To survive through the storms. No one like trials. Specially, trials that involves your faith. A lot of people ask me and wonder how was I able to survive my divorced, going through and the aftermath.

To tell you honestly, I still look my self, how I was able to survive that.  The lies, deceptions, and watching fourteen years of marriage, of hard work, compromises, heart aches and sacrifices, down the drain, gone in the blink of eye. I remember, telling myself. One more day, survive one more day, live one more day. Trying to make sense of everything. Asking God why? And it’s just silence. An eerie silence of abandonment covered with darkness. The weight of the world coming down on you. God must have His own reasons, I said with a doubt while wiping the tears off my eyes.

When someone ask me, how am I able to survive it. I smile and say, “My faith in God and His promises.” Not my strength nor my effort, but in Him alone and no one else. Because no matter how many times I fail, I know that He loves me no matter what. That there’s nothing or no one in this world that could surpass His unconditional love for me.

Past forward to present, I see things differently. Before I used to cower in fear. Fear of abandonment, failure. All the what ifs of things that could go wrong. Everything is all about perception. If you see trials as a way of being defeated then you’ll always be defeated, you’ll never gain victory. If you see it as an opportunity to grow, to improve yourself, to learn from it, and evolve from it. Then you will have an upper hand. Victory will surely be yours. A lot of us ask God why is this happening? Why is it that He put us in certain place? To suffer a particular circumstance. It would be better if we ask Him, to show us the reasons. I believe God allow such things to happen. I believe that He put us in a certain place. Not to punish us, but so that He could show His power and might through us. So that the people around us will see that we serve the mighty God. So that He could show His glory through us. I could not think of a better method to be a witness to this fallen world but by our actions. How we react through all the craziness in our daily lives.

I guess you could say I’m out of my mind. But when I see adversity coming, I ask God to lead the way. I think of it now as  opportunity to grow and learn. To show this world, that greater is He the one that lives in me than the one who is in the world. In order to come to this level of spiritual maturity, God had broken me down, now I see. Before I always ask Him why. Now, I couldn’t thank Him enough. Like the verse above, I am indeed perfect and complete lacking nothing. Because in Christ alone I found true joy. Not the things of this world or anything that comes with it. It is my prayer that you will too.

Posted in Lift up your head

King David

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Who would’ve have thought that a man after God’s own heart suffered such grief.  Before, I always think that the people in the Bible are perfect.  As I delve and study them, they are broken and lost like we are today in some cases even worse.  As I read Psalm 6:6, it reminded me what I’ve been through a few months back.  I thought I was abandoned by God and being punished.  Little did I know that it’s a lie being put in my mind by the enemy.

When I read through this passage, I was in awe and still am.  Knowing that David, the anointed king of Israel, who’s called after God’s own heart. He’s been through what I went through, though not for the same exact reasons.  The outcome after that, we were both delivered by God, only by putting our complete trust and hope in Him. And by obeying Him even though a lot of it doesn’t make sense.

If you’re being hated and tried look no further on David’s faith.  The fact that he has numerous opportunities to do harm on King Saul, he never did. He waited on God instead to act on His behalf. God never failed him.  We might think that God will be late, He is never late and I can testify to that.  It is when we rely on our own understanding and strength that things wouldn’t go well, it is when we rely on our own human perception that things would turn to bad to worse.  God sees things differently from us.  He sees and control everything, we don’t.  Our job is to obey Him no matter what the consequences.  In the end everything will work our for your good and His glory.  God can always turn dire things into blessings.  You won’t realize at the present but as you go on everything will fall into its place.

Stop being scared, stop doubting. Start trusting in Him.  I know it’s hard to do.  I felt the same thing, deep in my heart I know He will never abandon me nor forsake me. It is one of His promises in the book of Hebrews.  Things would’ve turn for the worse if I took action by myself.  I’m grateful for all the trials and heart aches I went through because if it’s not because of them I wouldn’t be able to develop this closeness to God.  I was crushed to pieces, I thought it was the end of me. And yet God picks me up and put me back up. Better, bolder, kinder and tougher.  As time went by, I become to see clearly, having this spiritual insight. Now I know everything makes sense.  That He doesn’t hate nor punish me. That He loves me and cares for me.

Stop turning back to the solutions the world has to offer. You know it’s a beaten path. Don’t give up on yourself because God never gives up on you.

Give God a chance.

 

Posted in Lift up your head

God’s Promises

I’ve discuss before from my earlier post what God makes who He is and that is His unfailing love for us. Couple days ago, I felt down due to the effects of my recent divorce. Praise be to God, that He’s always there to catch me and lift my head up. As I spent my quiet time with Him, I was reading the book of Hebrews 6:17-20(NLT), “God also bound himself with an oath, so those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence.”

As a society in whole we thrive in promises. You promise to your children, to your spouse, parents, siblings, friends and co-workers. However, given the propensity of us being humans, we make mistakes and end up not fulfilling such promises. Some of these promises have dire consequences if they don’t get fulfilled, leaving individuals with emotional distress and heart aches.

This is what set God apart from us, because He always is faithful. No matter how much we’ve failed and disobeyed Him, His promises never change. So long as we have a repentant heart. I really like those words on the verses above, unchangeable and hold on to his promise with confidence. For me, this promise is another evidence how much God loves us. It trumps all the promises out there. The fact also that He bound himself with an oath as an assurance that He would never change His mind, despite of Him being the God. Isn’t that amazing.

How do we received God’s promise? In the same chapter on verse 15, “Then Abraham waited patiently and He received what God promised.” Note the keyword is to wait patiently. I think for all of us this is the hardest part, waiting patiently. We all know what the consequences are whenever we try to over step God’s timing, especially in a society which is saturated for instant gratification.

In closing, I hope you continue in trusting the Lord no matter how dire the consequences are, no matter how rough we’re going through. Because rest assured, our home is not here, it is in heaven. I’ll leave a song down below, and I hope it’ll encourage you like the way it encourage me.

Posted in Lift up your head

First Step

There’s nothing like teaching your child learning how to ride a bike. It is one of memorable moments of child hood. Being a father I feel proud of seeing my daughter finally learn how to ride a bike. I thought she’ll never learn it due to her lack of interest. Her bike has been sitting in the storage for a while. With a little push and encouragement she finally did it. The hardest part is the first step, learning to balance. When you master that everything falls into place.

I know it’s not easy riding on two wheels. It scares us. The fear envelops us. We don’t want to get hurt . Who wants to be? But it is necessary to take that first step. You have to pass through it. My daughter struggled to balance as she keep her other foot down to ride. Sometimes she would crash and hurt herself. I felt the pain too. I want to hold her but I know if I do that she’ll never be able to learn. So many times she told me that she couldn’t do it, “Too scary,” she said. She wanted me to hold her bike for her. I replied, “You have to learn to balance it yourself, do not give up, you have to conquer your fears and doubts. You can do it.” But how? You just have to do it over and over again until you get better. Then that day finally came, she done it.

It reminds me when I was learning to drive a manual transmission, the first gear is always the hardest ,same thing with motorcycles. The faster you go, the easier it’ll be, but only if you are willing to take that first step. I never rode a motorcycle before. It freak me out even more when I have to ride through a series of cones both straight and zig zag. I was trying to go slow for fear of falling. In motorcycles, the faster you go, the bike will balance itself. All the people in my class kept yelling, “Go faster, go faster.” I was too afraid and then it dawned on me I better listen to them since they have more experience than I am. Oh boy, I just can’t describe the feeling. The wind hitting your face. The smell getting trap in your nose. All the elements hitting your body. The adrenaline pumping through your blood. It was fun and I used fear as a reason to not to crash and always have a situational awareness.

Like in life, there’s a lot of challenges that we go through. In order to overcome them changes has to be implemented. It could be going to college. Getting out of bad relationships. A change in career. Or God choosing you to serve Him. Day in, night out you tell yourself you’ll do it next time. As seasons pass nothing change. The fact is aside from you having doubt and fear, the most troubling is you don’t want to step out of you comfort zone. You’re use to it and you like to be comfortable. Little did you know that if you only take that first step, things will get better. In the end, a plethora of opportunities awaits you. Then you ask, “What If I fail?” So what, learn from it and be better. Now, go and take the first step or you’re going to end up in regret.

Posted in Lift up your head

Trials and Punishments

When I was younger sometimes I found myself hating my parents due to the fact that they were so strict.  I held this belief that somehow they’re there to get me and make things miserable for me.  I realize now all the rules and punishment was for my own benefit.  Wouldn’t be any different with our Heavenly Father.  I actually thought they never love me.  Now, being a parent I understand why.  I realize that they truly love me.  And I’m very grateful for that.

Nobody wants to go through trials but it is a necessity for growth and change.  We get fixated on the hardship that we’re going through.  We start doubting and ask God why.  Then the devil will start spewing lies.  Telling you that you are never good enough and God doesn’t care about you.  Whatever you do you’ll always be a reject and a failure.  Go back to the words of God.  Because it is the truth and that’s how you defeat all the lies the devil has planted in your mind.  Do not let your past and failure defines you.  It is not who you are.  You are a child of God.  There’s nothing you could add or take to gain favor with God.  You are under grace and God loves you just the way you are.  You have to keep believing in Him and let Him lead, surrendering every area in your life. When I say you’re under grace I hope you don’t go on sinning willfully.

I’ve been through a lot of trials myself.  The recent, my wife and I breaking up.  I never thought in my life I would get divorce.  It is painful and heartbreaking.  It’s been the reason why I haven’t written lately for the past few months.  Through this, it made me closer to God than ever before. It made me realize all the lies the devil has put on my mind.  My faith and understanding with God has never been deeper before.  I know the enemy had hope that it’ll be my demise and fall from faith.  I admit that for two weeks I was defeated but by God’s grace I was able to get back stronger than ever before in the entire history of my Christian life.  Then I look back all the  good things that this trial produce.  Like faith, obedience, perseverance, patience and peace.  I know it’s sound crazy but I thank God for it.

You’ll never know peace until you experience it in the midst of chaos and confusion.  Peace is not the absence of trials or problems.  Peace is when you know that deep inside God’s got you and He is always in control.  Remember Joseph and Job.  There circumstances were bleak and hopeless and yet  He can always make a 180 degree turn.  In the end everything will fall into place, it’s all for the Glory of God.

Posted in Lift up your head

Best Way to Worship God

What is the best way of worshiping God? Is it by lifting our hands, singing in praise? Giving our time and money to the church. Helping those in need?

As I sit here, I thought and wonder about Christ’s temptation, how the devil promise Him all the kingdoms of the world and all its glory so long as he bows down and worship Him. He didn’t even ask Christ or offer any conditions. Just bow down to me in exchange of material things. What an egotistical maniac. Sadly I found this often among us believers. We only know Him when things are good but when things are bad we tend to go back to the ways of the world. Try to fill that void of sadness and emptiness with alcohol, drugs, pornography, or whatever carnal things we indulge yourself into. Only to find yourself in the end that we are empty as ever. We are too blind to what God is doing behind the scenes, we are too ignorant that there’s a spiritual warfare going on. I know it blinded me. All I see is the hurt I can’t see anything else just pain and darkness. I am going through a storm right now but I’ll write more about that in upcoming posts. I ask God why, and as weeks go by I see myself closer to Him. And I thank God through this storm I’m going through He opened up my eyes and I had a chance to share the gospel among relatives which I haven’t done for a long time. One of the ways how mature you are as a believer is trusting God and entrusting everything to Him no matter how bad you are going through. So bad, that everything doesn’t make sense and everything is against you.

If you want to know what kind of worshipers does God wants, you don’t have to look any further. John 4:23-24 says, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” And the only way to find the truth is to read His words and obey it. Mankind have this mindset that Christ’s words are burdensome, it is far from it. He Himself said, I came to give you life and to give you more abundantly. The enemy comes to destroy (John 10:10). Truth is the only one that will set us free from being slave to sin and it is only found in Christ Jesus.