The Teacher With the Multi-colored Notebook

Teacher Joel, my Sunday school teacher, was not my favorite. He “sprays” when he speaks (if you know what I mean) and I don’t like his hair. I was five years old at that time and I have no choice but to listen to him (and dodge his “sprays” if I’m lucky. Please forgive me teacher Joel).

One Sunday, it was his duty to teach in kids church, the only students he had was me and my sister. I don’t know if he remembers it but I do. In his hand he held this little multi-colored notebook; no words just colors. Using that, he told us a story that changed my life.

He opened the notebook.

Page 1: Black
He explained that my heart is dirty. It is filthy, dark, and evil. There is no way that I can make it clean–not even my good works nor good intentions.

Page 2: Red
But because God wants my heart to be clean, He sent His Son Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice. Meaning, He has to die on the cross in order for me to live. His blood washed my sins away.

Page 3: White
Now, because of what Jesus did my heart is now clean, pure, free from all sins.

Page 4: Green
We can now enjoy our new life in God. Not to live in sin but to obey Him and enjoy Him.

Page 5: Gold
We are now brought in His Kingdom. We are now part of His family. Through Jesus, we can call God, our Father.

He closed the notebook and asked us if we believe on what Jesus did on the cross for us and if we welcome Him as His Lord and Savior. We said “yes” and we prayed.

I was 5 years old at that time. But because of that simple explanation of the Gospel it led me to live my life under Jesus’ Lordship. I was spared to make stupid decisions that would ruin my life. My King saved and protected me.

The Gospel is not that complicated, a person who is really changed by it can share it to anyone, in any occasion, in any way possible. If a person is ashamed to share the Gospel then probably he/she is not really convinced of what Jesus did on the cross.

If we all understand that the greatest problem of this world is sin and the only solution is God, then will we not bring the solution to this world by sharing the Gospel?

I thank people like teacher Joel who’s willing to share the Gospel to five year-old kids, or those people who risk their reputation, most importantly, their lives just to share the Gospel.

I tell you, great is their reward in heaven.

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Current mood: In awe

The Hipster Christian

Paumanhin kung matagal akong hindi nakapagblog. Naglakbay uli ang inyong lingkod sa isang lugar na hindi ko lubos maisip na mapupuntahan—ang bansang Israel. Napakagandang lugar, pramis! Pero pagbalik ko sinalubong na ako ng mag trabaho at ngayon palang uli ako nakakaahon. Na miss ko rin magsulat. Kaya . . .

Welcome back!!! :D

Habang nag-iisip akong magandang return-of-the-comeback blog, yung tipong mapapatumbling kayo sa tuwa, naisip ko maging simple nalang muna. Simple lang pero madalas kong napapansin sa karamihan ng mga “Christians.” Hindi lahat, pero madami. At tulad ko, naging guilty din ako dito—ang pagiging Hipster Christian.

Ipaliwanag ko muna kung ano ang hipster, actually, madami itong kahulugan. Isa sa mga description ng pagiging Hipster ay ang pagsalungat nila sa mga “mainstream societal conventions” (Naks! Big words). In short, basta “masa” ayaw nila or hindi sila nakikiuso. They consider themselves cool because they don’t go with the flow and they have their own identity. Wala naman masama dun diba? Wala naman, pero sa akin sariling opinion, masama na ito kapag nagiging elite group na. Maslalo na kapag Christian ka.

So ano naman ang hipster Christian? Hindi ko alam kung nag-eexist na ang phrase na ito pero para sa akin sila yung mga naging “cool” na Christian because they say the right Christian terms, hang out with the “right people,” prays everyday, knows their bible pretty much, but shuns the sinners.

Hipster Christians are so religious they forget to love the sinners, like you and me. They forgot that they too are sinners and needs Jesus, just like very one else. They’ve kept the knowledge of Christ to themselves and created their own little club. No wonder there’s a growing number of people who abhors Christians.

Jesus came here on earth to reach down to the people, to love us and bring us back to God. When he saw the crowd he had compassion on them. He went where they are and healed them, fed them, taught them how to live. But more than all of these, He came down from heaven to earth to die for us and pay the penalty of our sins.

Our sins.

You and me—the mainstream and the hipsters.

Let’s be like Jesus. Let’s step out of our little hipster club and dive into the world where God’s love is most needed. It’s not going to be a comfortable life but I assure you it’s going to be worth it. :)

 

  Current mood: Busy. Very.

 

 

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!