A Broken Alabaster Jar

I cannot look people straight into their eyes because I know they’re disgusted when they see me.

“She’s a harlot!” That’s what they say. Scorned by the public, despised by my family.

Unloved.
Unworthy.

I cannot look at myself in the mirror, because what I see is an ugly woman hiding underneath the layers of her make-up.

Braided hair, beautiful clothes, fragrant smell; if only I can be like this alabaster jar—beautiful and precious. People will pay huge amount for this.

But not me.

For I am not worth your year’s wage. Scorned by the public, despised by my family.

Unloved.
Unworthy.

But You looked at me. You looked at me with compassion in Your eyes. What do You see that people can’t see? What do You see that I can’t see?

I know some men look at me with lust. I know some men look at me with disgust. But You see me differently. You don’t see me as a harlot; You saw what’s inside of me; You saw something so precious.

Now I understand, it’s not the beautiful alabaster jar that’s precious, it’s what it holds that has more value. But who am I? I am scorned by the public, despised by my family.

Unloved.
Unworthy.

I rushed to see this man. They say His name is Jesus. I grabbed my alabaster jar filled with pure nard.

Bowed down at His feet, I wept like child. For the first time I felt love, real love. My Lord, what can I offer except this jar of perfume? I am broken—a broken vessel like this jar of alabaster. My contents are all spilled out but I don’t care. I am loved. I will pour out my all, my everything at your feet. You are more precious to me.

Then He said these loving words to me, “your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.” I anointed Him but He also anointed me. Though scorned by the public and despised by my family, but in Him . . .

I am loved.
I am worthy.

A narrative inspired by a character in the bible in Luke 7:36-50.

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  Current mood: So many things to do, so little time.

May nagsabi na ba sayo na maganda ka?

Isang araw tinanong ko ito . . .

“Lord, ako lang ba at ikaw ang nakakaalam na maganda ako?”

Tinawanan ko nalang ang sarili ko, at sa totoo lang hindi ko kailangan ng sagot dun. Pero kayo ba, (lalo na ang mga babae) natanong ninyo rin ba yun? O kaya yung tanong na “maganda ba ako?”

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It's ok Natalie, you're still pretty, and hair grows. :D

We humans celebrate beauty. Gusto natin magkaroon ng artistahing mukha, katawan na pwedeng ipagmalaki sa beach, magkaroon ng “perfect” hair (kung anuman yung elusive “perfect” hair na yun; straight ba o kulot? Hindi ko alam). We spend so much on clothes, shoes, hair, and make-up. We have fallen in love on the idea of beauty and, for some, would die for it. But what about inner beauty?

Physical beauty vs. Inner beauty

Q: Maganda ba siya?
A: Sobrang Mabait.
Q: Gwapo ba siya?
A: Masipag naman.

Physical beauty will always be the first thing that people will notice, but inner beauty will the the last thing that they will forget. Physical beauty will attract the eyes, but inner beauty enchants the soul. I don’t know if you’ve realized this–inner beauty does not seek the praises of men.

We, humans, are created to deteriorate; mapapanis tayo, mga kaibigan. It means that physical beauty will fade but inner beauty will not. Though it is important to take good care of our bodies but it is more important to cultivate our souls.

Dress to impress

And lastly, try to answer this question: Who am I trying to impress?

I hope this verse will help you narrow down your answer to just one:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1Peter 3:3, 4)

Check your motives. Yes, we dress to impress but who is your target audience? We can dress right and do the right things because we want to be noticed by people OR do these things because we know it is of great worth in God’s eyes. I hope our motives should always be directed to God.

Personally, I came in to a conclusion that it’s ok for me if no one notice that I am beautiful. As long as I know that I am made beautiful in Christ, and in God’s sight I am of great value.

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  Current mood: Pretty-ness!

Thirty Minutes Late

4:00 AM. Tumunog na alarm ko.

“10 more minutes . . .”

Pero alam ko na hindi ko dapat pinag-aantay si God.

“Please.” I insisted. I gave my flesh a few more minutes to satisfy its desire to sleep.

30 minutes passed. Gumising na ako.

Photo source: Pinterest.com

Photo source: Pinterest.com

Binuksan ko Bible ko, nagbasa pero wala akong nakuha; I missed His presence. I was suppose to dine with God and feed my soul with His word, but now I find myself scrambling for a few crumbs only because I wanted to snooze some more.

Naramdaman ko yung naramdaman ni Esau nung wala na siyang blessing na nakuha galing kay Isaac.

. . . he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!” (Genesis 27:34)

He didn’t get his blessing because He despised his birthright.

Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright. (Genesis 25:34)

It was valid, Esau was hungry, but Jacob was even more hungry. Hungry for what? Hungry for the birthright.

Kung iisipin, ginawa ko naman ang dapat kong gawin–mag-quiet time. Buksan ang bible sa umaga, magpray, worship, etc. Don’t be too hard on yourself, Ana. OK na, nagawa mo na “duties” mo. But quiet time is not quiet time without His presence. And spending time with God is not just my duty–it’s my devotion.

I realized how much I demand God to give His promises NOW, His blessings NOW, His healing NOW. But when He asks for our time, our resources (actually, not ours but His), and our talents, what do we say? “Lord, 10 more minutes.” or “Lord, next year nalang.”

It’s stupid to think that God is all grace and mercy and devoid of wrath. Don’t ever forget that God is holy. He is the King and He can, and will, demand for attention.

Before I left my house I prayed–repented of my laziness. And then He said, “Sige, anak, bukas uli.”

Indeed, His mercies are new every morning.

the-block  Current mood: Basag.

For the Love of (Part 3): The nations

Ask.

Seek. Knock. That’s what the Bible says in Matthew 7. We can ask for cars, houses, babies, relationships, success for your business, jobs, etc. Nothing wrong with that, I’m also praying for those things. Interesting about God is that He also wants us to ask for this one thing He loves–the nations.

“Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” (Psalms 2:8 NIV)

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Photo by: pinterest.com

But we have to remember that when we ask for certain things there are prerequisites. Like, when we ask for a car–we need to have a driver’s license; when we we want to travel outside the country–we need to have a passport. And when we ask for the nations–we need to have a big heart to love the people–

broken people

selfish people

lost people.

We can’t love the nations if we’re too busy loving ourselves. Are you ready to die to yourself in order to serve others? Are we ready to ask God to have a big heart and a strong faith to love His people? If yes, then what are you waiting for? He’ll give it to you. Go and

Ask.

tuzki-bunny-emoticon-036  Current mood: Good job!

For the love of (Part 2): Yourself

Selfie

is named Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013. Selfie is a photograph that one has taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. Language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors reveal that the frequency of the word selfie in the English language has increased by 17,000% since this time last year. (Source: here)

We love ourself so much, don’t we? Posting online, from what we’re wearing to what we’re about to eat; letting people know our opinions, our pains, our happiness—we crave for so much attention. And the “likes” we receive, are vitamins for our egos.

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I am guilty of what I just mentioned.

Love yourself” is what the world is telling us to do. And it’s not hard to do, in fact, our own flesh wants it—it is satisfying. But, again, what does the bible say about loving ourself? In Galatians 5:14 it says,

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The entire law, as what the apostle Paul is trying to say, is summed up in a single command—love your neighbor. How? As you love yourself.

Is it easy? No. Is it doable? Yes. It’ll take a lot of effort on our part, that’s why we need to ask God for grace which enables us to love, not only ourselves, but others as well. Then we become, what people ought to be,

selfless.

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  Current mood: Achievement unlocked!

For the love of (Part 1): The Word

Day and night.

These are the important keywords in Joshua 1:8

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8 NLT)

The key to a prosperous and successful life is to learn loving the word of God. Meditate on it, not just when we feel like reading it, or when we are obliged to read it. Read it, meditate on it, eat it (not literally though), and love it.

THEN you will be prosperous and successful.

My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. (Proverbs 2: 1-11 NLT)” I suggest you read the whole chapter. ;)

Photo by: Veejay Jimenez

Photo by: Veejay Jimenez

You can study in prestigious universities if you want; get as much knowledge this world can offer, but if you don’t align your thoughts to the mind who created the universe every knowledge you amass will all be for naught. God has given us the Manual of life–the Bible–and all we have to do is to read it, live it out, and meditate on it

day and night.

56  Current mood: Hungry

The Second Choice, the Forgotten, the Last Option

I remember someone said this, “People will always remember the first, not the second.” Here are some questions to prove his point:

Who’s second person to climb Mt. Everest?
What’s the second fastest animal?
What’s the name of the second highest tower?
What’s the second largest continent?

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Photo: pinterest.com

Most, if not all, will remember the first, and not the second (or the succeeding). Well, except for king David—the famous second king of Israel.

David was, most of the time, the second or the last choice: He was the second king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1); the second husband of Abigail (1 Samuel 25); the last option to be anointed among his brothers, if not the forgotten one (1 Samuel 16:10-13). And the last option to, unthinkably, defeat Goliath.

We remember David. A lot of books were written about him. His psalms are sung in churches. His stories are being preached countless times, and almost everybody wants to be like him—an ordinary boy doing an ordinary job, defeating the giant, and becoming the second king of Israel.

The second choice, forgotten, the last option—we all can relate with David. But unlike most of us, the ranking didn’t bother him. Why? Because his heart was set on God, his mind on Him. His identity was with God. Did he complain because he was the second king? No. Was he mad because he was almost forgotten when the prophet came? No. Was he intimidated because no one trusted his skills to fight Goliath? Not even.

I hope we can all be like David, that even if we are not the first choice or the first in line, we will still give our best to God—our first love.

 

——-
Answers:
Ernst Schmied
Pronghorn antelope
One World Trade Center
Africa

  Current mood: Daming work *bow*