The Hero Story

What’s happening, Lord?

A prayer I uttered as I watch another news about terrorism. I squeezed my hands together placed it gently on my lips as I uttered another prayer. My words were so simple mostly crying out for peace.

What’s happening? What can I do?

I know after this prayer one day I will hear another news about terrorism, and another, and another. More lives will be killed maybe someone I love dearly or maybe my very own life. I felt very helpless about the situation, but am I really helpless? Is there really nothing I can do?

I went home bearing the heaviness of the situation. Sure I’ve heard news about terrorism before but that day was different. That day I needed to cry. So I did, I went inside my room closed the door and sat on my bed, I faced the world map I placed on my wall and cried again. Asked the same question,

What’s happening? What can I do?

Then I noticed something. Two verses I placed on my world map to remind me of what I should be doing.

“. . . my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” – Isaiah 56:7

“Perhaps this is the moment for which you were created.” -Esther 4:14

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I am called to pray at this very moment. Yes, just pray. I know about this already, so why am I still asking God? The method is not the problem, and the Holy Spirit revealed something in my heart that I did not expect. I wanted to be the hero.

He placed my focus back to Jesus and the Holy Spirit said, “He is the real Hero in this story.” I stepped back and acknowledged His presence.

Jesus, at that moment, lifted the burden off my shoulders placed it on His and said, “it is finished.” God has already given the solution to this problem, and His name is Jesus.

Some people may say I am too naive and too simplistic. Granted. But one thing I know and I will hold on to this—we do not need another political leader to change the world, we need a Saviour and a King who loved us and forgave us of our sins and who will teach us to do the same to the people we both love and hate. And until the whole world knows Him, my job is not yet done.

tuzki-bunny-emoticon-021  Current mood: Meditating

Love Wins

I have read and seen some facebook posts about the legalization of same-sex marriage. I have been quiet about the whole issue and would only speak unless I was asked about my opinion. But today I am breaking my silence and will say what’s inside my heart.

I am not pleased with what has happened in America, the news breaks my heart. Not just because of the legalization of this law, but more on how the Christian churches have reacted. I am not, in any way, including all Christian churches. I do believe there are churches who are doing a great job of honoring God and loving the people. Also, I am not just addressing this to the Christians in America but to the Christians all around the world.

People — male, female, young, old, poor, rich want to be loved. We crave for it; we write songs, poems, and stories about it; we paint pictures in our head what a loving family or community will look like. All of us crave for love and we, the church, should be the ones who are in the forefront in loving them. Instead we became judgmental, smug, proud of how good we are in the sight of God and we have forgotten about Jesus and what He did for us and for these people.

He came to this earth because He loves us. Jesus was dubbed as the “friend of sinners” because he loves them and who are we not to follow in His footsteps.

(11)For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. (16)By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. – 1 John 3:11,16

For example, (and I have seen this happen in real life) what do we do when a cross-dresser enters our church building? Do we laugh at them, look at them as if they are the scums of the earth? Or do we welcome them and love them as our brother or sister? Most of the church has been successful in rejecting them and judging them and we have been so loud in the social media by showing how immoral they are and how clean we are and yet we have been silent and apathetic in showing the love of Jesus to them. That, my beloved, grieves me.

If we have been loving people, then they won’t be looking for love anywhere else. Where can they find love and respect they want and deserve if we, the church, won’t lavishly give it to them? We do not want to misrepresent Jesus, do we?

(34)A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (35)By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

Rainbow

Photo credit: pinterest.com

I have also seen how Christians have reacted because the LGBT community have used the rainbow to symbolize gay pride where in fact it is a symbol of God’s covenant to His people and the earth. I want to look at the positive side of it and it gives me hope, instead of seeing the symbol being desecrated, I’d rather see it as a reminder of God’s love to them. How? Let’s look at the passage. This is after the great flood . . .

“Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’” – Genesis 8:20-22

This symbol will serve a reminder of God’s love to humanity. This Holy God knows how evil we are but His love still remains. Church, I hope we will not just fast and pray about this but we will also be the answer to our prayers, let us continue to be the light and salt of this world and let us continue to love one another as Christ have loved us.

Why? Because love wins.

160  current mood: successful first blog for 2015!

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

August 1996 (part 3)

Theologically speaking kapag sinabing Dark Ages yun ang panahon kung kailan hindi nakipag-usap si God sa mga tao, walang prophets pero madaming false prophets. Buti nalang hindi ko naabutan ang panahon na yun. *phew*

Pero paano kung nakikipag-usap nga si God pero ayaw ko naman makinig? Dito ko ngayon ikkwento ang aking dark ages.

Nagsimula ako sa aking relationship kay God ng maganda, sobrang inspired magshare ng pagmamahal nya at ienjoy lang ang buhay ko kasama sya. Pero ewan ko ba kung bakit pagdating nung college nag-iba ako. Napagod ako, feeling ko lahat ng ginagawa ko para sa kanya ay duty lang. Kailangan nag-121 ako sa iba, kailangan meron akong small group, kailangan mahusay ako sa acads dahil “kailangan” excellent.

Hay. . . nakakapagod.

Umaattend pa rin ako ng church noon dahil kasama ko nanay ko, pero kung hindi malamang pati yun di ko na gagawin. Umaattend pa rin ako ng small group para makipagkwentuhan lang. Ayoko na talaga maging Christian nun! Meron isang araw sabi ko kay God “Lord, ayoko na! pabayaan mo na ako” after 5 seconds, “ay Lord binabawi ko yun, alam mo naman na wala akong kwenta kapag wala ka. Pero God napapagod na talaga ako. Pwedeng wag muna ako magdisciple at tumulong sa church? Pwede ko ba munang gawin ang gusto ko at magsaya lang muna sa college?” God didn’t send His wrath against me when I said that. He didn’t say “you ungrateful selfish little girl! After all that I did for you, this is how you’re going to repay me?! Taste my wrath!!!!” *thunder bolts*

Nope. Instead God didn’t say a word.

Dito na nagsimulang tumigil ang aking spiritual maturity. Umaattend pa rin ako ng church at ng small group, at walang may alam na may problema ako. Accountability? Anu yun? Isa akong hypocrite, sa labas ok akong kristiyano sa loob hindi. I never shared my life to anyone, less share my faith. Alam ko na kinakausap pa rin ako ni God, pero ayoko makinig. Sarado tenga ko, sarado puso ko. Sila nalang Lord, wag na ako. Nagpatuloy ang buhay kong ganito pero naiisip ko na parang ang boring ng buhay ko at tuwing pupunta ako sa church nahihiya ako makipag-usap sa tao, pumasok na ang insecurity. Feeling ko bumaba self worth ko at kung baga sa basketball ang role ko ay ang dakilang bench warmer.

Summer ng 2006 pinakinggan ko na si God, tapos na college life ko noon at maghahanap na ako ng trabaho. Kailangan ko na ng direction galing sa Kanya, at ito ang sabi Nya: madami na akong nadeposit sa sayo, madami na akong binigay para sa sayo, panahon na para ipamahagi mo ito sa iba. Binigyan kita ng desire para magtravel at magagawa mo yun. Magsasalita ka sa buhay ng mga tao at makikinig sila, mga bata makikinig sayo, mga kasing edad mo makikinig sayo, pati mga masmatanda sa iyo ay makikinig din. . . . –prophetic presbytery 2006

Ito ako noon pilit na umaayaw sa mga pinag-uutos Nya dahil ako’y selfish. Gusto ko lang kung san ako liligaya, pero hindi ko naman talaga alam kung san ako liligaya. Siguro kung hindi ako naging selfish noon iba na ang pananaw ko sa buhay ngayon, malamang masmadami akong natulungan, malamang masmature ako ngayon, malamang hindi ako kumakapa uli at iniisip kung ano ang dapat kong gawin. Malamang malakas ang loob ko magsalita. Hay. . .

Kung ito pala ang plano sa akin ni God, ano ang dapat kong gawin at san na ako magsisimula?

 

Itutuloy.

 

really tired  current mood: masakit ang likod.

August 1996 (part 2)

Ako‘y nagbabalik tanaw sa buhay ko nung nasimulan kong makilala si Jesus sa aking buhay. Agosto yun ng 1996 nasa elementary, payat pero mataba ang puso (Pagbigyan nyo na ako gusto ko lang masabi na may mataba sa akin kahit paano).

Tinutulungan ako noon nila ate Jo at ate Belle sa akin spiritual maturity. At kung sa baby, ako ay sinusubuan palang noon ng mga bagay bagay na dapat kong malaman para maging malusog na Kristiyano. Ito ang tinatawag na one to one (121) training kung saan tinuruan ako about salvation, repentance, faith, prayer at iba pa. sampung topics ang meron noon sa unang edition ng 121, blue pa ang cover. Naalala ko nun nung nakita yun ng isang pastor niloko nya ang kapatid ko at sinabi “meron ka pa nyan? Eh magaganap pa lang ang last supper noon nila Jesus nung nilimbag yan ah!” oo buhay pa rin yung 121 booklet na yun sa bahay.

Kalagitnaan ng 121 pinabili ako ni ate Belle ng sariling kopya at sinabing pagkatapos ng 121 namin ako naman daw ang mag-121 sa mga kaibigan ko. Nagningning ang aking mga mata, medyo kinakabahan pero excited. Nung natapos kami inimbitahan ko sya kasama si ate Jeng para magsimula kami ng small group sa paaralan ko. So pumunta naman sila, nagprayer walk kami, sumunod na linggo pinakilala ko sila sa aking mga kaibigan, dito nagsimula ang aking unang small group. Lumipas pa ang ilang mga linggo na nagkikita kami sa loob ng classroom pagkatapos ng klase, hala! Eto na, nahuli kami ng discipline officer at pinapunta kami sa principal’s office. First time kong mapapunta sa principal’s office!!! Ang sabi ng principal bawal daw ang ginagawa namin, bawal na bawal magpapasok ng taga labas sa school at higit sa lahat bawal magkaroon ng bible study sa loob ng school. sabi pa ng principal na hayaan nalang ang mga estudyante sa kanila relihiyon, bigyan daw sila ng freedom. Sumunod pa rin kami ni ate Belle, hindi na sya uli nakapasok sa school pero sinabi nya na i-121 ko nalang yung mga classmates ko. Kung meron daw akong mga tanong lapitan ko lang daw siya. Kinakabahan ako, kaya ko na ba?

Believe it or not kinaya ko. Dito natin masasabi na ang kakayahan ay hindi talaga nanggagaling sa tao lang, basta willing kang sumunod si God na ang bahala sa iyo. Di nagtagal nung high school nagsimula na rin ako ng sariling small group sa loob ng classroom, nag-121 sa mga classmates at pinagpray sila. Wala na akong balita sa ibang mga nakasama ko sa small group noon pero nabalitaan ko na isa dun—ang pangalan nya ay si Luis—ay nagaattend na rin sa Victory ortigas. Nagkita kami sa bus nung isang gabi at sabi nya na kapag nakikita daw nya ako naalala nya ang church. Tinanong ko kung sino nag-invite sa kanya sa Victory sabi lang nya “Ikaw kaya!” di ko na talaga maalala yun, basta natuwa nalang ako nung nalaman ko na nasa church na sya, wala man ako sa tabi nya ngayon pero alam ko na meron mga tao sa church na pwede syang idisciple at mabigyan ng encouragement na malamang masmakakatulong sa kanya.

Itutuloy.



Tuzki Bunny Emoticon  current mood: excited sa august.

August 1996

Last July 24 (Friday) Victory celebrated its 25th anniversary and since we’ve (me and my family) been a part of Victory for almost 15 years, I can’t help but be reminiscent.

Hayaan ninyo akong magbalik tanaw sa aking nakaraan. *bubbles, bubbles effect tapos fade. With matching chimes sa background music* wag mag-alala di to ganun kadrama.

Agosto ng 1996 grade five ako nun nung binigay ko ang buhay ko kay Jesus. Ang pagkakaintindi ko kasi noon na kapag mabait ka at matulungin sa kapwa at kapag umaattend ka sa church kasama ng iyong pamilya okay ka na, Kristiyano ka na, hindi pala. Nag-uumpisa ang lahat sa relationship mo kay Jesus, ang pag-acknowledge na hindi ikaw ang magliligtas sa iyong sarili sa mga kasalanan mo kundi si Jesus. Ganun kasimple, hindi mo na kailangan maging matalino para intindihin yun.

Dito na nagsimula ang lahat ng aking adventure. Kung sa pelikulang “star wars” si Anakin ay meron trainer jedi na si Obi-Wan Kenobi na may laser sword, ang inyong lingkod ay dapat meron din (minus the laser sword). Si Belle Hiadan-Antonio at si Jo Anne Belardo-Flores ang aking mentors nun. Sila ang nagturo sa akin ng basics sa pagiging Kristiyano. Sa kanila ako natututo kung paano magpray na galing sa puso, magbasa ng bible at higit sa lahat ienjoy ang relationship ko with God. nakilala ko din si Jeng Cervantes-Gorre na naglead nun ng elementary-high school small group sa Victory QC.

Dumating ang unos sa buhay namin noon at muntik na akong di makapagtapos ng elementary, hindi dahil bagsak ako kundi wala kaming pangbayad sa school. Nag-aaral kasi kami nun sa private school at di na kaya ng parents ko pag-aralin kami dahil sa dami ng gastusin at sobrang laki talaga ng problema noon sa bahay. Lumapit ako at ang aking kapatid kay ate Jeng at nagpapray lang kami para magkaroon kami ng pangbayad sa school kasi kung hindi kami magbabayad, hindi ako pwede mag-exam at di ako makakatapos sa grade 5. Di ko na napigilan at umiyak na ako kay ate Jeng at kay ate Jo, sabi ni ate Jeng na wag daw akong mag-alala kasi God will provide. Nilapitan kami noon ni pastor Manny at kinausap si mommy, sabi nya na pwedeng tumulong ang church sa pagbayad ng tuition namin ni ate at hindi na namin kailangan pang problemahin yun. God indeed provided for our needs at ginamit nya ang church para tulungan kami. Nakakuha ako ng exam, natapos ko ang elementary at high school sa private school na yun at nung college nag-aral sa University of the Philippines Diliman, kumuha ng kursong Fine arts at grumaduate ng cum laude.

Napakaliit lang ng faith ko noon, pero dahil dun natutunan kong magtiwala kay God pagdating sa finances. Minsan dumadating sa buhay ko na parang kulang ang pera ko, pero napatunayan na ni God ng madaming beses na hindi Nya ako pababayaan at dahil dun bakit pa ako mag-aalala?

Madami pang nangyari sa mga lumipas na mga taon pero medyo mahaba na ang aking kwento para sa isang blog post ipapagpatuloy ko ang aking pagbabalik tanaw sa susunod kong post.

*pumasok uli ang bubbles bubbles na may kasamang chimes sound effect tapos fade to white*

 

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon  current mood: nagdadrama.