Saturday, December 17: Redemption — Creating the Need It Satisfies

four.  that’s the number of relationship breakdowns i’ve experienced this year with people i trusted — two of them occurring in the last three months.

i kept poring over God’s purpose in it all.

if it is all about proving and reassuring,  He is all-knowing, so why bother?

“the inner reality of redemption is that it creates all the time. And as redemption creates the life of God in us, it also creates the things which belong to that life. the only thing that can possibly satisfy the need is what created the need. This is the meaning of redemption— it creates and it satisfies.”  — My Utmost For His Highest

omg.   so what are the things that belong to a life intimate with Christ?

is He strewing my path with this unpleasant turn of events so that i can evidently act the way He did and be truly identified with Him?   is it so that  i come face to face again with my faults (which i readily admit, anyway) and work at eradicating them completely so i can come out a tad stronger this time until i am finally the best i can be?

is He really just creating these trials so i can look to Him more intently and desperately because He alone can satisfy?  are these tests of my obedience, loyalty, preference, courage, forgiveness, unconditional love, and faithfulness — regardless the cost?

people get fed up with religion because they found out that the G0d-given peace and prosperity promised them never came.  that the religion they held on to was merely a fantasy and it didn’t work.

so is this about commitment and surrender?  spiritual unity and harmony with Him?

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“Lord, You know very well the answers to these.    I just wished you wouldn’t bother testing me anymore.  You already know that all these burdens others have tried to put on me will only draw me closer to You.  that no matter what, i will strive to live and love the way You do and to please You as much as i can

by Your grace alone, though. 

dearest God, fill me with Your Holy Spirit that i may fulfill this to eternal life but only with CALM CONFIDENCE and JOY.  i love You, Jesus.”

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Friday, December 16: Wrestling Before God

right now, i am consciously and determinedly veering my mind away from worrying.  Christ tells me, “do not let your heart be troubled.  trust in Me.” 

i am getting scared.  not because the Lord has decided to keep me waiting but because i feel i am losing the calm confidence that i used to have  in knowing that He would supply me more than what i ask for in the nick of time.  

is He not acting because He who sees all knows that i actually have more than enough time in my hands than i am believing?   come to think of it, my circumstances seem to agree with that.  however, the planner in me knows that His help is overdue. 

 “if I am complete in Christ, my prayer brings victory all the time. Prayer is effective only when there is completeness— “take up the whole armor of God . . . .”  — My Utmost For His Highest

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“my Lord, i am not wrestling with Your ways.  why? because i trust in You.  i am where i am and i have what i have because of You.  i have gone a long way from nothing.  

although i speak my mind aloud, i ask You why, and i long to understand Your ways, but never doubt my deep love and faith in You, dear God.  i call on You and You supply all my needs. 

in Your heart, more important than meeting my temporal needs is growing me into Your loving best.  fill me, complete me, and sustain me dear Jesus. 

i look to that with hope and trust. 

thank You, Lord.”

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Thursday, December 15: Approved to God

three years ago, humbled yet overflowing with gratitude for the Lord’s saving power and grace,  i felt called to share my life story.   i was told by a couple of priests back in australia that i should write a book about my experience so others could hear about the blessings that come from knowing God’s truth. 

and to both i said the same thing,  “when i reach my happy ending, father, i will write that book.”

FAIL.

i had already reached my happy ending.  i had already hit the jackpot.  and the grand prize was Jesus.

i attended the biggest kerygmatic conference in the philippines that year i returned here and the same thing happened.  i felt called again to share my life.  and if you know the feeling one gets after attending any of these soul-stirring and mind-moving conferences,  you can imagine how set and afire i was. 

not one to sit back and do nothing, regardless if i knew deep inside that it was going to be an uphill climb,  i quickly reconnected with an old acquaintance, an expert in the field of public speaking and drama to be my coach.  however, being such a generous and believing soul,  she didn’t think i needed any more training because of who she said i was. 

FAIL.   

so i told God, “Lord, You will just have to wait because unless i can talk about You with the eloquence and charisma You deserve, then i cannot go anywhere with what You want me to do.”

“The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.”  — My Utmost for His Highest

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“my dearest Lord, i am sorry for the opportunities i may have missed to share Your truths to others because i was too shy, too proud, too ashamed, or too busy.  grant me the courage to stand up for You always,  to put nothing and no one before You so my life can truly boast of You.  strengthen me where i am weak, dear Lord, and lead me where i am strong.  i pray for the same for my children.  i love You, Jesus, my love.”  

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Wednesday, December 14: The Great Life

i must admit i have been bugging the Lord for something for like two weeks now and all i keep finding myself saying is, “c’mon, Looord, let it happen.  just will it, pleeeeease!” 

i don’t get mad, i just persist.

today, i met with my building contractors and our discussion veered towards my other concerns both in the apparel business and domestic front.   their comment was, “oh my, you have a lot on your plate — too many problems.” 

i could not help but retort quickly, ” no, i don’t think of them as problems.  these are just things i have to stand up for.”

to me, something becomes a problem only when i cannot get the help i need from God.  that is a biiiiiiig problem.  where else would i go?

still, i persist in asking.  not many people realize it, but i’m a shy person.   with God though, i can be and say anything repetitiously, irritatingly, naggingly, agonizingly, and disturbingly … 24/7.  believe me, with Him,  i persist —  really persist.

that’s probably why He has to jolt me into some catastrophic incident for me to finally conclude, “oooops.  so that couldn’t be done, Lord?”

now it’s worse being on my own.  the minute i get inside my room, He is all i have.  and, i am all His —  full blast.

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“You are a wonderful God, dear God.  i am not apologizing for being annoying because You are all i have.   You need to understand that.   You are limitless, You are all power, You are all knowing, You own everything,  You are the source, You see all, and You are big.   and, who am I?   c’mon, Lord Jesus, please just will iiiittttt! 

thank You for the angel You sent tonight in the person of my dear friend who offered me unsolicited help with my other “problem.”  that one is looking solved. 

what would i do without You?  after all, i must admit, mine is a great life — all because of You! 

i love You, my sweet Jesus.” 

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God’s mark of approval, whenever you obey Him, is peace. He sends an immeasurable, deep peace; not a natural peace, “as the world gives,” but the peace of Jesus.  (My Utmost For His Highest)

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Tuesday, December 13: Intercessory Prayer

eureka!  praise God!  i have found the solution for people who suffer from irritability, hatred, jealousy, envy, anger, condescension, pride, ill will, unfairness, injustice, abuse, profanity, disrespect, and every other negative behavior man often has for another being.

i have found the solution for those secret, dreadful moments when we can’t stop wishing another person to be totally  and irrevocably removed from our lives, aka, dead… or, when we can’t stop backbiting the enemy…  when we can’t stop the color of our eyes from turning green with envy every time this hateful neighbor drives past in his brand new porsche while we have to drive a 10-year old, rickety, second-hand piece of junk… or, when we can’t stop verbally abusing our spouse/ partner/ not-so-significant-other-anymore  for being so slow in everything.

and here it is.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER.   “True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance.   People describe intercession by saying, “It is putting yourself in someone else’s place.” That is not true! Intercession is putting yourself in God’s place; it is having His mind and His perspective.”  –  My Utmost for His Highest

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“thank You, Jesus for that!  stop me from seeking to change others to my standard and liking, from stunting their growth with criticism, from feeling superior over anyone for you love them all.  

Lord, however, be with me and grant me the divine grace to view myself from Your perspective, Your great love, and wonderful plans for me so i can have the faith in myself to step out from the quicksand of my past,  the determination to keep on amidst delay and want, the hope to look to my future with confidence and joy, and the faith in You to know that i am beautiful and amazingly loved by the One Person that matters.  and that because of it, i can do all things You send my way. 

Lord, bless my family and the world that we all may find the comfort and guidance in being closely in contact with You.  amen.

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Monday, December 12: Personality

“personality is the characteristic mark of the inner, spiritual man.  personality merges, and you only reach your true identity once you are merged with another person.  when love or the Spirit of God comes upon a person, he is transformed.”  — My Utmost For His Highest

i had lunch today with a 30-year old man — a nephew by affinity, actually.  let’s call him joel.  joel is married with three young kids.

very likeable and sociable, joel enjoys going out with his single friends a lot.  like, two times a week.  and he gets so carried away with all the fun, booze, and God knows what that he ends up sleeping at their city apartment with his male friends to recover from the hangover — only to drive home late the following day to a frustrated, hurting, angry wife and worried kids.

obviously, his wife loves him too much.   she had made several concessions in the past just to buy peace while joel routinely makes promises (the latest ones last night) to keep his devoted wife assured and hopeful enough to keep on.   (i know!!!!  it’s so bad, yeah?)

evidently, neither efforts from both spouses ever worked.  they deal with the same problem week in and week out.   their sad stories have really gotten tiresome.

so today, we were supposed to work out a doable and honest plan that would  finally satisfy his and his family’s needs at the same time.  (good Lord!)  we considered options, including the prospect of even selling the city apartment!

as much as i love him like family, joel is obviously a selfish, egoistic  son of a —- (no disrespect meant to my long-time friend)  who keeps forgetting that he’s got a wonderful and gem of a wife back home,  adorable kids, and yet a marriage intact (albeit fighting for dear life).   gosh, he is genuinely better off shackling himself to the legs of their bed.

i couldn’t help saying, “for someone who gets his happiness at the expense of the woman  he is supposed to love,  cherish, and protect, you are certainly very lucky to have a wife like you do.   because if  you were my husband, the next time you skipped a night at home, you would find all the door locks changed and all your belongings right across the street at the neighbor’s gate.”

we worked out the most realistic plan we could.  but unsure of his commitment, all i kept repeating was, “you really need to pray to God for help….   seriously, since you yourself admit that you cannot help yourself when you’re caught up in all the partying,  then you need to pray to God for help, joel.   no other way.  at this point,  it seems only God can help you.  

because i can talk to him like a son, i went on, “but of course,  if you can’t do that, then it’s also alright.   you know, we learn life’s lessons best the hard way.  so just keep doing what you’re doing and you wait and see. 

believe me, the time will come when you will be so broken, so confused, so alone, so down, so lost, you will have to be found by God Himself and there will be no way for you but up.  then You will never, ever go back to Your old self again.  so, it all ends well.

God is not in a hurry,  so which way do you prefer?”

he quickly asked for the check, buzzed me on the cheek, and lunch was done.

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“my Lord, i meant him well but i am no expert so You better help my nephew fast.   put Your hand upon him, touch his heart,  show Him the path, and give Him the strength to follow it so he becomes the husband and father that his family needs him to be.  He is Yours, Lord, so please empower him with Your divine grace to be exactly that.  all for your glory and joy, dear God.” 


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Sunday, December 11: Individuality

“our individuality must be yielded to God so that our spiritual life may be brought forth into fellowship with Him.  we hinder our spiritual growth more than any other way by continually asserting our individuality.”  — My Utmost For His Highest

“He must become greater; I must become less.”  (John 3:30)

so how do we protect ourselves from us? 

i received this particularly inspiring testimonial in my inbox today entitled, “I am Third’.”  let me share an excerpt of it.

“There was a young man who was popular in school. He was intelligent and a leader in school organizations. A friend visited him at home and saw the plaque hanging on his room door with the words “I am Third.” When his friend asked what it meant, the young man explained, “It’s the motto I try to live by. It means God is first, others are second and I am third.” 

unless we continuously remind ourselves of who is first and where our place is, our spiritual life will always take a back seat.

i try to keep myself in check through prayer, daily reflection, scripture reading, constant conversations with God, and watching others already ahead in their journey. 

it works.  how do you do it?

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“my Lord, please look after my heart, mind, and soul always so that all my thoughts, words, feelings and actions amidst the myriad of things you send my way everyday will reflect Your triumph over me.  thank you, Jesus.”

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