Posted in Living

Looking Forward

In a few hours we will be welcoming the New Year. Either we look forward or we hold ourselves back.  Either we dread going back to work or we delight in our work.

Looking back, it’s been a tumultuous year for me. The divorced, the break up of my own family and the passing of my father happening all at once was no easy feat.  I was drowning, engulf in a sea of despair and hopelessness. The only one that saved me and gave me hope is the grace of God. Apart from Him, I would not survive all these.  Like anything in life, nothing last forever and that means your problems too.

As I look back, I ponder upon myself, not the bitter things I’ve gone through rather  the lessons I’ve learned from it.    Did it make me a better person?  It sure did.  I am actually grateful for it because I learned more from being broken than in times of pleasure.  I don’t feel hatred for the people who put me through these( divorced), though I get annoyed once in a while.  I feel pity instead. In spite of the hurtful words and lies.  I’m always standing ready to forgive, because Christ has also forgiven me. I know a lot of my friends wouldn’t agree. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth as they say.  To think of it these are the qualities we clamor from God, from His Son – forgiveness, mercy and love.  So why would I deny such things to those who don’t deserve it, and yet God never denied it to me, He sent His son Jesus Christ instead. He gave me a chance not because I deserve it, nor worthy of it. But because to prove His unconditional love for me, for you, for all of us. But we are too blind to realize that until it is gone and then it’ll be too late.

It’s like a spouse who were always there for you. Cook for you, took all those nasty words coming from you.  And no matter how much it hurts, no matter how much pain.  He or she will take it in not because of being blind or weak but because of the love burning inside, that regardless of what you put him or her through it wouldn’t matter.  Hoping that one day your eyes will be opened.

So as we approach the coming year I know for a fact that a lot of you has resolutions ready.  Majority of it concerns our own selves, the promotion of our self.  What about resolution concerning the kingdom of God?  Is there one?   It’s time to bury that grudge. It’s time to stop the blame. Start the new year by forgiving those who have wronged you even if they don’t deserve it. It’s time to move on and leave it on God’s hands.  Not everything is there to punish you.  Would you now deny to others the qualities you clamor after God?  That is up to you…

May the favor of God rest upon you all.

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Posted in Psalm, On Sufferings

Psalm 109

:22 – For I am poor and needy, and my heart is full of pain.
:23 – I am fading like a shadow at dusk; I am falling like a grasshopper that
is brushed aside.
:24 – My knees are weak from fasting and I am skin and bones.
:25 – I am an object of mockery to people everywhere; when they see me they
shake their heads.

 

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 Book Reviews

How to Ruin Your Life by 30 by Steve Farrar

I can’t believe when I passed by this book. I wasn’t even looking for this type of book. For some reason I got directed to it. I was like, “God are you kidding me, you know I’m turning forty. You want me to read another book?  Last time, you made me read that book by Mike Marra about marriage and singles, isn’t it too late for this.”  And then He said, “Don’t worry son, I got everything under control.”

As I open to the table of contents, it’s arranged numerically by giving you advice on what to do and what not to do.  I can’t stop telling myself, oh yes I did that, and that, definitely that. I mean if I had a pen with me I could check on all them with flying colors.  I  felt this regret rushing in.  All the pain I had to endure.  I know for sure that God has a reason, otherwise I wouldn’t bumped into it.

It doesn’t talk only about a certain topic. It touches everything, from what you want to do professionally, choosing friends, relationships, finance, sex and marriage. All from a Christian perspective and even if you’re not a believer it’s a good read for you too.

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Here are some of the excerpts I like and I quote:

“Calling does not come through an audible voice of God. Calling simply refers to God’s unique purpose and work for you.”

“Fake repentance justifies sin, rationalizes sin and minimizes sin. But authentic repentance does none of this things.”

“It’s better to be single and content than married and miserable.  Marriage will not fulfill you. God will. Marriage cannot meet your deepest needs only God can do that.”
“You want to have a great marriage? Then don’t focus on pursuing a partner. Focus on pursuing God. Let Him take care of bringing the right person into your life, in the right place, at the right time.”

“If you will yield your life to Christ and put Him first in your life, the other issues will take care of themselves.”
“There’s no reason to ask the Lord for guidance if you aren’t willing to obey Him.”

“Sometimes God’s greatest blessings come out of a disappointment. You see it in the lives of Joseph and Moses. God’s delays are not God’s denials.”

“The fight against oneself is the worst fight of all. I am my own worst enemy and you are yours.”

I highly recommend it especially to young adults. When I was reading this,  I wish someone when I was in my 20’s slap me with this book on my head. And for you young readers, who thinks you have all the time in the world, you don’t. Time will catch up to you and you’ll be asking yourself what happened.

Lay off whatever keeping you busy.  Video games, sports, social media, and your phone won’t be able to fulfill you.  Read voraciously and study the word of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Living

Ungrateful Heart

I can’t help and ponder about the money I spent on a wearable fitness device, as I sat there having lunch with my daughter.  You know those thing that looks like watch than can track your daily steps, your heart rate and what not.  For those of you who don’t know, I talk to God not only when I pray but also in my daily life. From day to day decisions to the more pressing things in life. Put it this way, I talk to Him like He’s right here beside me (and I know He is.) I ask Him about pretty much everything, for every decision I make.  Even the things I desire. If there is something I can’t afford I ask Him to provide for it and He never fell short.

I’ve been wanting to get a fitness tracker for a while now but I held myself back due to its price. It is something more of a want than need. Today, I decided to purchase one for myself since they’re going for fifty percent off. I thank God for providing it for me even though I didn’t ask for it. As I sat there eating, I can’t help thinking why it isn’t on sale for sixty percent off?  Think about it fifty percent is already a good deal.  That’s when I realize how ungrateful I am. Maybe that was the reason why it was on sale for that low because God knows I want one. And here I am grumbling if He could bring the price more lower.

That reminds me how God’s hand guided His people from Egypt to the promise land. How I have so much in common with them with their grumbling instead of being in awe and grateful for what He’d done. God practically showed His power to them.  From the ten plagues, which eventually set them free, the parting of the Red Sea so that they could walk on dry land, to the pillar of cloud to shield them from the sun, the pillar of fire to light their way in the night, for providing them water in the middle of the desert and raining meat on them from heaven.

I felt so embarrassed after that for having such an ungrateful heart, instead of enjoying it as one of His blessings.

Posted in Psalm, On Sufferings

Foreword

This morning I was doing my daily devotion. Part of that is reading a chapter each day on the book of Psalms.  As I read through it, I noticed that there’s a lot of sufferings and human anguish. Similar to our time. This suffering is what I’d like to share as I read through it.  It is not meant to discourage or to remind you of your failures rather to encourage you that nothing is new under the sun like the book Ecclesiastes say.  The enemy want to remind us that what we’re going is something new. We get beat down by voices that we are no good, that we are not even comparable to the giants of faith in the Bible. If you put an effort to read your Bible you’ll know that what the enemy is telling you is a complete lie.

As I share this events on the book of Psalm. I’d like to remind you that David is one of them.  The man after God’s own heart, crying on his pillow every night. Remember this is for your edification, I highly encourage you to read the whole chapter.   You are not alone in this fight of life. Keep on praying, keep on crying to Him. He will come. I wouldn’t tell you this if I didn’t have a first hand account.

All verses are from New Living Translation unless it noted.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Why Singles are not Married and the Married are Single by Mike Marra

I stumbled on this accidentally on my local library.  Sometimes, I wonder why God shows me such things, given the fact that I just got divorced and I’m pushing toward 40. I ask Him, isn’t this kind of late?  But hey, what do I know. The God of the Bible is the God of second chances and new beginnings. This is not the only book that I have read in which I wish I would’ve read when I was still in my 20’s. I like to share this not because of financial gain. I don’t know the author neither. I want to share this so that my dear audience, especially you young adults, that you won’t make the same mistake that I did when it comes to choosing your lifetime partner.

Here are some excerpts and I quote:

“When problems exist in a relationship, most people try to fix the problem.  But they focus on the issue. The issue might be money, promiscuity, careers, kids or many other things. What needs understanding is that the issue is not the problem!  We (the problem) stand in front of the mirror and do not know how to deal with the issue. The issue exist because of unresolved internal conflict. The internal conflict needs healing. The issue will resolve..once the problem (us) deals with the conflict (emotions.)”

“Being single is all about personal goals and desires. Dating is the learning stage of sharing interests, doing nice things for honey, and adjusting to their needs out of love. Engagement is a step toward building a life together, sharing our dreams, and letting the other person know we are willing to love them unconditionally. Marriage is the ultimate commitment: working as team in our proper roles and making sacrifices to help secure our spouse’s world with us. When parenthood arrives, things should become less important to self, while making bigger sacrifices for the children.”

“We are taught to seek out our “soul-mates.”  Actually, God created “helpmates” for us to seek out. If our souls are composed of our mind, will, and emotions, how do we find our “mind, will and emotions-mate?” I don’t think we can. Maybe it’s why they’re hard to find! Ideally, we need to find a godly man or woman who will help us to enjoy the good times and help us to get through the bad times in life.”

“We must realize that there is an intense spiritual battle going on. Satan blinds men and women in order to build his army while God builds His. However, Satan’s side is more attractive and fun for immediate pleasure. He knows how to attack and destroy which is his purpose. God’s purpose is to attack back, through prayer, worship and warfare. It’s accomplished with the indwelt power of the Holy Spirit we’ve asked for. But this requires faith and tenacity.”

“Satan knows the power of sex. He involves women at a level to distract men because man’s innate desire is sex.”

“We have a conclusion! Men are the reason men are tainted! Men are tainted because they haven’t been pulled aside o learn relationship! The ones teaching this should be women. But, women can’t be teaching men how to have a relationship with any respect toward them by removing their clothes at the drop of a hat!”

I encourage you to get this book.  Even though you decide to stay single. You’ll never know when love come’s knocking at your door.

 

 

 

Posted in Living

42

I guess you could say this somewhat a movie review. Spoiler alert ahead. I’m not really a sports guy per say. Rarely we see a good sports movie, less alone something that has a profound message, a good message. It’s a nice break from other movies that are filled with violence, sex and cgi’s.

I have a coworker and a friend of mine that suggested to watch 42 on netflix. I’m not really into sports movies but being he is a good friend of mine I took his recommendation. It’s a movie about Jackie Robinson, the first African-American baseball player in the MLB. I love movies that convey some truths to it. There’s a scene where Mr.Rickey, played by Harrison Ford and Jackie Robinson are having a conversation in the field. Mr. Rickey was asking him what he believes, in which he replied back and I quote, “I don’t think what I believe matters only what I do.”

It struck me that it rings so true when someone says I am a Christian but they’re actions say otherwise.We could say all we want. We could declare it in every roof top. We could carry a bible. Wear a cross in our necklace. Put a fish emblem in the back of our car. People wouldn’t care what they only care is what we do. Once an atheist said that the reason he doesn’t believe is the lack of action by a believer. He said they claim to be Christian but he doesn’t see it in their lives, they still living like everybody in the world does. “So why should I believe?” Those were his words.

I am not here to judge nor I am saying that I am perfect. But every time you say you’re a Christian and you’re still living like the world. Know this for sure that it is not you who is losing respect, but Christ in you. Once they know that you’re a Christian by you professing it is no longer the you they see instead what they see is Christ. Remember words mean nothing only action does. Aside from that it’s only emotions and feelings which are very deceiving because they’re not facts.

Maybe you’re thinking you’re under grace. True to that. Let me ask you this, most of us work for someone. Regardless of the size of the organization or company we work for, there’s a standard we have to follow because we represent it. Why wouldn’t it be any different for being a Christian. The only difference is the first makes you money, the latter eternity, which I would think matter more. Like me, writing this blog. I could put all kinds of persuasive words in here for you to believe. But if my actions doesn’t match to what I’m writing would you still believe?

So next time you do something, it doesn’t matter what you say only what you do.

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.