Here on Earth

It’s Not Always About the Drama.

When people choose to call your pain as drama, or your struggles as sign of unbelief, would you still speak up? When your old demons are trying to resurrect themselves back in your life is it normal?

This morning, I almost snap.

I almost lost it. It’s been days, or maybe weeks, and I chose to face it alone. I tried to silence the words, drown it with the noise of the world, hid it behind God’s promise. Most of the time I succeed, but like an enemy that never gives up, it keeps on crawling back, little by little, lies by lies, pain by pain. And today, the enemy almost shouted “Victory!”

The morning didn’t start well, I was so tired, I woke up extra late. I was disoriented. I forgot what to do first, what to do next. I forgot to eat my breakfast right after my bath.

I was slicing some tofu, as tears roll on my cheeks. I don’t know why because I have a lot of things going in my head. Everything was flashing in head, the noise is killing me.

I prayed. Don’t tell me I should, because God knows how many prayers I have said during that ordeal. But as I say my words, the enemy is trying to tell me things, too. Don’t tell me I have weak faith. Please don’t, I was on my strongest that time.

Brief episodes by episodes, until I was leaning on a pile of clothes that I started crying too hard. I was calling on the Lord, then I can almost hear nothing. I started seeing and feeling things. I remember looking around with wide eyes, frantic, crying to God, as part of my brain is telling me to kill myself. Yes, I heard it speak to me.

Then, I ran pick up quickly my bible, crying loudly to Jesus. Speaking His name repeatedly, calling, saying it, calling it. I cried out to the Holy Spirit, and pleaded not to leave me. I was so scared. I opened my bible and I landed on the pages of John 14, and 15.

There as I scan the page, I saw Jesus’ words popping out for me. His words, His reminders.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.”

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

“If you love me, keep my commands”

“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching”

Then, every noise died.

Jesus enveloped me with so much peace, and comfort.

I was so scared. Really scared when I heard words in my head. I can talk about it now, because God gave me strength to do so. I am putting it here to remind myself how God saved me, once again.

I don’t think I could ever talk about this to anyone, maybe people would read this, but I don’t think I could ever seriously speak out. We always choose to shrug off our pain. Our fear. For fear of being judged, of being told that we don’t have enough faith. Of being told that we’re just doing some life drama. It always feels like that for other people, but for someone who’s into such ordeal, life is not going anywhere.

I am not sure if this is an onset to depression. I always feel like I have it, but I choose to deny it. But after I went through this morning, I am afraid I am sensitive to it, that like the others, I can be prone to it.

Each day I am on a lookout, for anything that might trigger unnecessary emotions. I am on a lookout to make sure I am sane enough to remember to call unto the Lord.

There’s too much in my head. In my heart. There’s too much that needs to be dealt with. There’s too much that needs to be vanquished.

But I know, nothing is too much for the Lord.

Here on Earth

Until All Stones Are Turned.

Today is one of those days again that I know no matter how much I pray, it’ll be unanswered. Not because God is playing deaf on me, but I know He put me through this because I have to.  Once you follow Christ, you understand that everything that you have to go through is part of the process. Nothing is coincidental. Nothing is wasted. You will get out of the situation alive, but changed.

I’ve been praying for a new job. Not because I want to move up my career, but because I am just tired of being here. What used to be a fulfilling and fun job with a relaxed but determined working atmosphere suddenly changed. Slowly, I can see its ugly head soaring above my office desk, with people trying to bite you to keep themselves alive. Everyone were friends, until we started to work for a living. I am suddenly tired, and I want to get out. So, I am praying for a new job, or maybe a new career, but I know God will not give it to me. Not now.

When I started feeling the ugly face of pride lurking behind me, whispering dirty truths in my head, I know something is wrong. I know God will not take me out here until I can deal with this enemy. He will not let me leave this place until I am sure with myself that I have killed it in my heart. Pride, if it’s still with me, wherever I go will haunt me, will ruin even the best things for me.

God will not let me leave until I stopped thinking that I deserve better. Until I stopped putting my pride on my job, until I can fully rest my happiness on Him. Until I learned to accept that this day job is a means to earn a living, and this is not my life. Until I stopped hating people for their desire to succeed. Until I stopped judging people’s effort against mine, I am not getting anywhere.

This is a tough process for me. Wearing this pride on my sleeves, indeed gives a certain kind of satisfaction. I feel bad for finding happiness in being catty, in rolling my eyes, in hating people, in snapping back. It gives satisfaction to my pride, to my personal earthly pride, but what about my pride in God? Am I living a life that’s still pleasing to Him? I am not. And I don’t know what to do now.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Romans 12:3

Maybe I need to spend more time with God, make sure that I have surrendered everything to Him. I know it’s time that I surrender even my job, my career, the things that I want to do. I need to step down again on my throne, and watch Him take over my life and see how He can turn everything alright.

I will not see the “exit” from here, until my heart is ready for a new beginning.

I need you now, my Lord. Remind me who I am, remind me again that my life on earth is just temporary, that my treasures are not here on earth where moths and vermin can destroy it. Oh, Lord, help me to step down from my high throne, help me to fall down, to break and see how high you can lift me up. I am tired, and I can no longer hold myself up. Lord, make me worthy to call you “Lord”, help me break free from this bondage of pride. Give me a heart that forgives, a heart that gives, that reaches out, that helps. Help me to be like you.

Here on Earth

Bucketlist Item: checked!

Summer time brings old friends to life! It’s hard to say “no” when old friends joined together in an FB group chat to plan for a summer getaway.

It wasn’t the best time when I had a mini-reunion with my high school friends; it was in a wake. We all went together in one evening to pay a visit to the late mother of one of our friends, and while we’re supposed to be all solemn, we cannot help but feel glad to see each other again after a number of years. We know we have so much to talk about, and we need to plan a trip so we can make new memories together.

I must say this trip made a lot a of “firsts” and realizations for us.

It’s best when It was not planned.

We know we’re busy rascals. And things and decisions might change if we plan the trip weeks or months from that evening, so I made a wild decision: Let’s make it this coming Saturday.

They complained. But I insisted, and they eventually agreed.

We haven’t decided on the destination or how to do it, but we all committed ourselves to our agreed date. It was a bit risky and can be too spontaneous for us, knowing we usually plan our trips for a couple of weeks or even months. But we need to do, what we ought to do. We cannot delay this any longer.

Adulthood

It’s been years since we last got together, and a lot of things happened in between the years. One of my friends now has his own family, another one now has four kids, my friend’s little girl is now in her teens, and a lot more. We are officially adults since years ago, but things are more different now.

I guess, as much as we didn’t talk about it,  pushing through with the plan was one of our #squadgoals in high school – to still hang out with your high school friends after 20 years. We’re no teenagers anymore, and our issues, from teachers, to grades are now about work responsibilities, family life and other adult problems that maybe somehow we looked forward to be discussing together years ago.

Unwritten bucket list item/s.

Our trip surprisingly pushed through on April 21. We met at 2:30 a.m for a convoy of three cars. There was an assigned “head”, “body” and “tail” for the cars. It was fun to be laughing at your friend’s driving skills as the “head” would drive in a zigzag pattern, forcing his way in between trucks and cars, leaving a “snake trail” for the “body” and “tail” to follow.

I cannot helped but feel a mixture of warmth and nostalgia. How, I remember one of my friends commenting “why didn’t we just had one big car, instead of driving separate ones?” I agreed to her sentiment, I mean, just imagine how much gas were spent in those three running cars, which would travel for almost 12 hours. But I recall saying, “this could be one item off our bucket list, to travel in our own cars someday, going to one destination.”

Yes, I guess it was one of our unwritten and undeclared bucket list items. We were products of public high school, who used to ride a tricycle or even walk (if we lost a peso for our fare) just to go to school. We used to be contented with a few pesos as our daily school allowance, trying to make the most of it, paying for our food and incidental expenses. We experienced different levels of financial hardships, and once in our younger years we made a promise that someday our lives will be easier. That someday, those things we dreamed about will happen in real life. Twenty years later, most of us are driving their own car, with their own family, working in a stable company, with our own careers to sustain our livelihood. Maybe it took a long time for us to really experience the “success” we all aspired for, but it doesn’t really matter. We’ve come a long way from where we were before.

We made a stop in one city from our destination to have our breakfast at McDonald’s. There, as we alighted the vehicles we get to meet the wife, the teenage daughter, the 7-year old goddaughter, basically everyone in our trip. It dawned on me how old we are now, how time really flew by.

We used to chase each other’s tricycle back in high school, while throwing shades and silly mockery to each other, now, personal cars are bringing us to our destination. Yes, we still throw shades and crazy comments to each other, but I guess, that thing we cannot erase from our lives. We became friends because of it.

We’re one BIG FAMILY.

We’ve known each other since we’re 14 years old, and as we grow older, our numbers almost doubled – counting the better halves and the offsprings.  We encouraged everyone to bring their wives, girlfriends, and even the kids, we love meeting them and making them part of our growing “family”. It’s a delight hanging out with everyone.

Memories are worth looking back on.

No memory will ever be too old to be remembered and talked about. In fact, the older a memory gets, the fonder it can be to remember. We talked about old loves, failures, crazy high school memories, unforgettable teachers, almost everything! I just realized that we never get tired of recalling high school stories, we talk about those each time we see each other! And we even laughed harder each time, too.

Those goodbyes.

We stayed in Nagsasa Cove, Zambales, for two days and one night. We pitched tents, cooked food, burned our toes in the raging heat of the sands, and swam in the beach. It was a laid back trip, I must say. We spent afternoons talking, teasing each other, and in the evening, for those of us who can stay a bit later we continued to reminisce our younger years.

On the second day, we once again did a convoy, passed through Subic Bay Freeport Zone to catch a dinner. After our dinner in a Japanese buffet restaurant, it was bye-bye time. Before we ride our vehicles, everyone shared quick hugs and kisses, we parted ways with promises that we will do another of this trip again.

I guess I must be the only one who felt the bittersweet goodbyes. We rode our respective vehicles and took our own preferred speedy routes. I am never the clingy friend, but I guess spending a couple of days with your friends, away from the stressful calling of the city will always be something hard to say goodbye to. That goodbye is an another beginning of a stressful week ahead.

Another new set of memories worth remembering was just added in our memory box, which I hope even in busy days, we will never choose to forget.

In Stillness

This Year with Him!

It’s the time of the year again when most of us will prepare resolutions to improve ourselves. Most of the time, admit it, I did, we failed.

Why don’t we try to do it differently this time? Let’s lift our resolutions to Christ, seek Him and lean on Him to change our ways. Christ gives daily opportunity, not just every new year, to change and experience His everlasting love.

Our efforts will be futile if we continue to rely on our own abilities to change. Christ equipped us with everything to help us change, to be confident in His arms, to have that boldness to claim His love, and be His child.

Let’s try it this 2018, with Him!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2Co 5:17

Here on Earth

This Rainy Evening

I just got home five minutes ago, and yes, it’s 12:38 already in the morning.

I am hungry, tired and almost drenched in rain. It took me roughly 3 hours to get a ride home. Along with other stranded commuters, we braved the long queue of passengers amidst the heavy rain.

At around 8:30 pm, on my way to the terminal, I started praying for an easy ride home, but to my dismay, a horrendous sight of long line of commuters welcomed me.

I took a spot in the line and prayed for a miracle of outpouring of vehicles to ride, and asked God to let me reach home within 45 minutes.

I waited. I prayed. I waited. I prayed. I prayed. I waited, and waited and waited, until after more than three hours I was able to take my ride.

It was still raining hard when I reached our place. I held my umbrella steadily as I rush against a rushing flood of water on the street. And as I feel the hem of wide-legged pants getting drenched, I asked God, “Lord, why? What should I learn about this situation? Why do I have to wait for more than three hours? I am so hungry. I am drenched. I am tired. I need to be up at 5 am for work. Why?”

I didn’t get the answer. But I did get an answer.

Like a bright light in a dark tunnel of my mind, I was suddenly enlightened.

Not everything is about me.

It is not always about my convenience. It’s not always about what I would feel, or what I want to do. The moment I offered my life to God, I am no longer living a life that aims to please myself.

God doesn’t owe me an explanation. He can make the rain pour forever if He wanted to. He can make me wait longer. He can make me more drenched and tired. He is in control, and I am not.

Things happen for a reason, and sometimes the reason is not revealed to us by God. He does not need to. We can only submit ourselves to Him, and trust that He will use us for His plans.

Until I started to acknowledge my role in this plan of His, I suddenly appreciated all the time I was in the terminal, waiting.

While waiting, I was able to read a book about Holiness and meditate on it, and also review my memory verses. While on my way home, I was praying for our driver and all the commuters left in the terminal. I was so grateful for our driver, that I was so close to verbally thanking him for braving the heavy rain and traffic just to fetch passengers.

When I reached home, my sister is still awake, with a missed call on my phone. Our dog is still awake also, waiting for me.

My sister helped my dry my umbrella and asked if I am soaking in rain.

I was able to appreciate our drivers, all the dispatchers who stayed with the passengers. I appreciate how my sister and our dog waited for me to reach home.

I don’t think there something big with the role I played in this plan, but I hope I did well. I am tired, but I feel contented. Not everything in life is about my success, it’s actually about His.

Again. It’s not always about me. Because everything in my life is Him.

“Lord, forgive me if I always think You are to please me, whereas I should be living a life to please you. Forgive me if I think everything else is about me, when in fact it is not one bit. Forgive me if I think highly of myself. Teach me again how to be like you.

In Stillness

As Love Knocks on my Door.

“Do you love God?’

– yesterday’s church service

“I have loved you,” says the Lord – Malachi 1:1

-another’s church podcast 

“We love, because He first loved us” – 1 John 4:19

– today’s bible reading

What are the chances that I will encounter the topic of LOVE thrice in two days?

It must be God telling me not to fear love. Not to hold back in loving. Not to doubt if I can love. Not to worry about loving the right way.  God is love, He loves me, and I can love Him back too. But what’s seems to be stopping me?

“Do you love God?’

– yesterday’s church service

I feel ashamed of myself, of my lack of passion to love Him. How come if I love someone I can follow their advice no matter if they can see me or not? But when it comes to Him, even if I know He can see me, He can read through my mind, and He can see my future, I still choose to disobey? I can spend my entire day just going through old text messages, tracking someone’s life, or even just thinking about that person, but when it comes to God, it seems like everything has to have conditions? Everything I do seems to be after a reward? Why am I making my God a secondary priority in my life that I vowed to be a living sacrifice for Him?

As I was trying to contemplate about this thing called Love, about my seemingly doubt on God’s love for me, and my capacity to love back, something came up again.

Monday. An old sin called me back again. I chose to disobey. Yes. This time I think, I cannot go on saying it’s the enemy who lure me, because I know I can turn away from that sin, yet I choose to obey my own worldly will. I cried and felt so stupid, so helpless, I can feel the enemy dancing in the background, rejoicing in my failure to obey God. I am starting to think again – I am a helpless sinner, even if God loves me, I don’t think He can give me another chance. How many chances should I keep on asking Him? Five? Fifty? A hundred? A thousand? Did God set any threshold on this?

It says in Hebrew 10:26-27:

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

I was so scared, I don’t think I could ever start over again. Can God still forgive me? Can He still love me? Can I still claim myself “a child of God?” When will my sinning stop? Will He still listen to my prayers? Will He still protect me? Am I still worthy to call for Him?

I am just tired of my helpless struggle.

And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also provide a way so you can endure.

1 Corinthians 10:13

I am weak. I am stupid for not trusting the Lord to help me out of that temptation. I was wrong for not calling onto Him, clinging on His promises. I will forever be helpless if I fight this battle alone, in Him and through the Holy Spirit I can only win.

Maybe I don’t really love God, because if I do I wouldn’t be battling with this sin anymore, because my love for Him could have prevailed.

“I have loved you,” says the Lord – Malachi 1:1

-another’s church podcast 

No other man could love me like Jesus. I don’t think any man would be willing to die for me, let alone suffer for me. Jesus did endure all the hardships to save me from death, from hell. Jesus died for me, thousands and thousands years ago before I was even conceived.

Yes, I know He loves me, how could I have doubted that. He brought me here because He loves me. I am facing this test because He loves me. He loved me. He loves me. He always will.

“We love, because He first loved us” – 1 John 4:19

– today’s bible reading

Oh, Lord, teach my heart to love like yours. What must I give to have a heart like yours, with outpouring love and compassion for others. Why can’t I even love you back properly? Why does it seems so hard me for me? You showed me what true love is, but my heart can’t seem to understand how to duplicate it. I want your love be duplicated, be multiplied through my life. But I am a sinner, and I don’t know how to love.

Here I am again, pleaded to God for forgiveness. I am not sure if He already did accept my plead, but I trust His love for me is enduring. I recommitted myself to Him and hopefully, during the process I will be forever free from this bondage of sin.

 

I just finished reading 1 John 5:13-15:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears is – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked for.

 

I thank God for this comforting words, for reassuring me that I can be His child again.

And as a gentle reminder:

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. – 1 John 5:18

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“Lord, free me from this bondage of sin, break the strongholds of the enemy in my life. My life is yours, use it for you glory. I am claiming victory against the enemy. I am freed from sin, you have set me free and I will not let sin take over my life again. Lord, I helpless alone. I am nothing withoutyou.”

Here on Earth

It’s All Yours.

I decided to let it all go.

This time, I commit myself to really let it go. Let God take charge, and I will stop making stupid daydreams, plans, scenarios and what-nots in my head.I sat there, under the glaring rays of the sun, almost blinding me as I read my bible. I was waiting for that time. I told myself I am going to take the chance to speak to Him, heart to heart.

It was the perfect chance.

I let it go. In His hands I gave up everything. I asked Him to take care of it. I know I have told Him already about it, but my heart was not ready. I was still clinging onto it. I was pretending all alone that I did let it go. He knows I didn’t.

But I am left with no other choice. No other better choice but to let Him take care of everything that’s hurting me. To let Him handle my pain, to let Him fill the emptiness I am feeling.

He blessed me with this ability to love, to feel pain, to love again despite the pain. He, too, can take away the pain, the fear to love again because of the pain. He will take care of me. He will. He always will.

I commit myself to stop thinking of it, to channel my thoughts to something better – to Him. I am putting an end to all the unnecessary thoughts. My hands are tied, and no matter how I go back in my memories it will not change the present or the future. For everything that’s happening in my life is based on His plans.

He is the God of perfect timing. The God who is in full control of everything. And I trust that through all of these sufferings, His name will be glorified.