Outrageous Love: Part 2

Over the past centuries lot of individuals, movement, religion, and whatnot have misrepresented Jesus. They do their plans “in the name of Jesus” hurting and killing so many lives. Sad thing about it is that Jesus’ name is still being used for their own personal gain.

I’m not writing this to defend His divinity, I am writing this to somehow tell you, my beloved readers, why Jesus came and did what He did when He was here on earth, and the WHY behind WHAT He did is far more important to me. But before anything else, I do not claim to be a theologian, I am though, a Christian who’s been smitten by this outrageous love that only He (Jesus) can give.

One day when I went home to visit my mom, one of our cute dogs, Coleen, approached me with her tail wagging like crazy, then she dropped something on my foot like a gift from her to me. To my surprise horror it’s not a toy but a cockroach, barely alive twitching and turning trying to escape his uh . . . death. So I shook my leg horrendously wanting to get that thing off my foot. But my dog was just so happy, she offered her gift of love and who am I to complai? But I don’t need her gift, I don’t need her pet cockroach, I just want to play with her.

photo credit: pinterest.com

We humans are somehow like Coleen, we come to God and we offer our gifts of love, our sacrifices, our good works trying to please Him — our Master. But God doesn’t need our gifts for He owns everything, He doesn’t need our talents nor our good works, He just wants you and me. All this sacrifices and good deeds are like filthy rags to Him (or like that cockroach). God is not an insecure God that if you don’t do certain religious stuff He’ll be sad or mad at us. In reality, He was the One who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy Him forever. I’m not talking about hyper grace here, but I am presenting this outrageous, lavish love He wants to give us.

Now about good works and obedience to His word and commands, we still have to obey that. Not to show how much you love Him but for us to know how much He loves us, so that we may understand His will and know, by obeying, His will is good, pleasing and perfect for us.

How then do we receive this “outrageous love”? By simply admitting that, by your own good works, you cannot merit His love. We can only get it if we receive it by faith. Acknowledge that it is only through Jesus that we can go to God — nothing more, nothing less. Some may be offended by its simplicity, some may not even accept Jesus. But Jesus is not moved to love you more if you love him back or not, because even before He went to that cross He had already decided to love you and me extravagantly. And now the question remains, will you accept that love? If you do then I want you to pray and tell God that you want to receive that love and acknowledge that it is only through Jesus you can receive that eternal love from the Him, our Father.

46  Current mood: loved.

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

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.

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*

Take the lead

I don’t dance. Sure, sure gagawa ako ng konting makukulit na dance steps pero hanggang sayaw bahay lang ako. At sa aming limang magkakapatid sila kuya lang talaga ang nabiyayaan ng kinesthetic intelligence; kaming tatlong babae ay talagang awkward sa dance floor. While my brothers can do break dancing I can just break things dancing.

Kung nabubuhay ako sa panahon nila Jane Austen, saan uso ang mga sayawan, malamang hindi ako nagsurvive nung era nila. Prom night was not my favorite event in high school. First, ayoko magdress-up noon dahil saksakan ako ng insecurities and second, like what I’ve said earlier, ayoko talagang sumayaw. Pero meron naglakas ng loob na lumapit sa akin para sumayaw, at napasayaw niya ako.

King Mongkut: I have never danced with a schoolteacher before.  Anna Leonowens: Nor I with a king.

King Mongkut: I have never danced with a schoolteacher before.
Anna Leonowens: Nor I with a king.

Si Ronald, nagkalilala kami nung second year high school; kasama siya sa HS basketball team. Matangkad (of course), maputi, kulot ang buhok, makisig, matalino, at higit sa lahat mabait. Crush ng bayan nung high school at nirerespeto ng mga kalalakihan ng batch namin. Pwede siyang pumasa sa listahan ko ng mga crush ko pero hindi siya nabibilang doon. Bakit? Dahil pinsan ko siya. Boo yeah~

So balik tayo sa prom night, nakaupo ako sa sulok nagbibilang ng oras para matapos ang gabing iyon. Habang ang mga kasabayan kong promenaders ay nageenjoy sa dance floor, lumapit si insan at inalok akong sumayaw. Inabot niya ang kamay niya sa akin; hindi ako inalok casually (dahil pinsan niya ako), kundi naging pormal siya. Dahil dun kahit gusto ko siyang tawanan sumunod nalang ako. Patungo sa dance floor medyo uneasy ako, but he took the lead. Dahil dun unti-unti nawala ang aking awkwardness at na enjoy ko ang pagsayaw. At dahil sikat siya, at nakita ng ibang guys na sinasayaw niya ako, sinayaw na rin ako ng ibang kalalakihan.

I still don’t like dancing and be seen dancing, pero na enjoy ko yung time na yun dahil may natutunan akong mahalagang lesson—men must take the lead.

Hindi man ako expert padating sa larangan ng “leadership” pero bilang isang babae (at future wife) gusto ko ng isang lalaking may leadership na susundan at pagkakatiwalaan ko. May mga tao siguro na magbabash sa akin about “equality” and whatnots dahil sa blog kong ito, but I really don’t care. You guys can keep your equality reasoning, but as for me, I will obey what the bible says and respect my role as a woman. I am single right now but in the future, if it happens, I will be my husband’s helpmate (a suitable helper for him). Not his slave, but someone who will encourage and help him in his leadership.

Men I urge you to do your part, because we need leaders who will love us, protect us, and lead us the way Christ loves, protects, and leads His church.

160  Current mood: First blog post for men! Yeah!

The Queen Named Esther: Part 2 The Queen and the King of kings

I like watching CSI or any crime scene shows; I can stay up late at night just watching those stuff. I don’t know why but there is something about investigating and seeking clues for answers that I like so much.

I forgot who told me and inspired me to do this (maybe it was my dad) but I was given a challenge to look for Jesus in the Old Testament. Sure, It’s easy to look for Jesus in some of the books because “The Messiah” was prophesied in many of the Old Testament writings, but to look for Jesus in Esther? God was not even mentioned in that book! Hmmm . . .

Challenge accepted!

But it wasn’t long enough until I found traces of God in her story. It was as if God intentionally left His fingerprints, and even though He was not mentioned pieces of evidence still point to Him.

Then I found Jesus, paralleled to the life of Esther:

• Listening and following

Esther. She listens and follows instruction from the people whom she knew would take care of her. First one is Mordecai, her cousin . . .

Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. (Esther 2:10)

. . . and the other one was Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the harem.

When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. (Esther 2:15)

Jesus. He listens and follows His Father’s voice.

I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. (John 14:31)

• Mission

Esther. By listening to Mordecai, Esther took the risk of being killed by approaching king Xerxes (for nobody approaches the king unless summoned).  The queen accepted her fate and said, “If I perish, I perish.”  And the king granted her favor; the Jews were spared from the genocide and Esther lived and reigned as queen.

13“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13,14)

Jesus. By listening to His Father He knew that He was going to die. Unlike Esther, Jesus has no ifs—He is going to be led to the cross for the sins He did not commit. But this time not just to save the, Jews but all mankind. Although He asked His Father to take it away, yet He obeyed and accepted His fate.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

• Prayer and fasting

Esther. All the Jews in Susa prayed and fasted for Esther.

Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. . . .” (Esther 4:16)

Jesus. No one prayed for Him, but He Himself prayed to His Father.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” (Matthew 26:36)

• Royalty

Esther. She was an ordinary girl, a commoner, who was crowned into royalty to fulfill her purpose.

Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. (Esther 2:17)

Jesus. A Royalty who came down from His throne and became like one of us to fulfill His purpose.

2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face. (John 19:2,3)

Reading and studying the book of Esther made me realize two things:

1)   You can find Jesus in any book of the Bible (and yes that includes Esther and Song of Songs)

2)   Even if God was not mentioned doesn’t mean He’s not there.

How about you? Do people know that you are a follower of Jesus even if we don’t always mention His name? Do our lives reflect Him?

Note: If you want to study more about Esther, read pastor Steve Murrell’s blog 5 Leadership Lessons from an Orphan Girl Who Saved a Nation.

160  Current mood: Tetelestai! Lord thank you!

The Queen Named Esther: Part 1 Where is God?

Esther, one of the books in the Bible named after a woman (the other one is Ruth, and no, Ezra is not a woman). This is the book where God was not mentioned (not even once). So we ask, where is God? And why is this book even included in the Bible?

I’ve been studying Esther’s story lately and there are some things that struck me; some of them are new to me, even though I’ve been reading (re-reading) this book so many times. The story of queen Esther, if you would take some time reading her story in the Bible, is actually a great material for a mini series—full of intrigue, hatred, politics, and lust for power. But we will not fully grasp her story if we will not talk about the villain. So even though I’ve entitled this post after the queen we will actually talk about Haman the Agagite. But don’t worry we will discuss about her in part 2.

Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the mere name itself sounds so villainish. And if you will tell your parents that you’re hanging out with this guy, let alone date him, they would not approve of it. I did not know this, but Haman was not supposed to be born. His existence was not originally in God’s plan. What am I saying? Let me take you few years back before Haman was born.

In 1 Samuel 15:2,3 God’s command to king Saul:

2This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will punish Amalekites for what they did to Israel . . . 3Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

And this is what king Saul did in verse 9:

But Saul in the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroy.

Even though Saul eventually killed Agag after Samuel confronted him, still some were spared. Total annihilation was God’s perfect plan, but Saul has plans of his own. Because of his insecurities he wants to please his army, his people—neglecting God’s plan.

Years pass and Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, was born. Insecure, hungry for power, loathing the Jews; he too wants God people to be totally annihilated and his perfect plan is genocide.

Where is God? He was there. He raised up this woman, we now call queen Esther, to clean up Saul’s disobedience—destroying the remnants of king Agag. Many times we think God has neglected us, but all along it was us who neglected Him.

When was the last time we heard God speak to us? In His still small voice, almost like a whisper, tell us something that we should do. But because of our own fear, insecurities, and pride, wants to shut Him up. And when trouble comes we ask . . .

“Where is God?”

 

tuzki-bunny-emoticon-021  current mood: summer heat, think happeh thoughts