Thursday, July 20, 2017

Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos

 “I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid." John 14:27

I was desperate to write something. I read my daily bible reading plan. I prayed for inspiration. I prayed to be motivated. Nothing. Worse case scenario, two little girls came out from their cave; noisy, chattering girls. One with an octopus puppet on her hand, the other with two plush dolphins and a shark. E came over and walked the octopus' tentacles on my head, while F, poked through the rocking chair's holes (where I'm seated) her dolphins to my shoulder. They started talking about under the sea creatures. It was a mess (in my thought). This scene is not what I planned. "I want to be alone right now so I can do what I want to do. How can I write something with this chaos all over me?"

I told them to go in their room and give me some time alone. I needed to do something. F went in their room, talking to herself on the top of her lungs. E was two meters away right in front of me petting the cat with her octopus and shushing her little sister.

I prayed for peace. Peace inside the house. Meaning, no loud voice because it will drive my concentration crazy. More so, I didn't know what to write which was the major dilemma. I prayed that God will whisper in my girls' heart to keep quiet so Mama can write. That's the kind of peace I asked. I prayed hard. Nope...nothing...nada. The pandemonium worsened. Can you imagine my irritation boiling?

Then God whispered to my heart. "You want peace? I will give you peace. Ask your girls to come to you. Play with them." Well, that wasn't my plan at all. But I obeyed.


                                     
The sound of their laughter and shrieks as I pretended to be eaten by a shark and imprisoned in the octopus' tentacles; the glimmer in their eyes as they shared to me their favorite sea creatures; the bright minds I beheld as they told me what these creatures can do, that's peace. That's the peace my soul needed.

As we talked about these awesome creatures, God gave me the privilege to minister to my girls. I saw in their eyes and heard the excitement in their voice, their fascination for these animals. I asked why they like what they like. "Wow, how awesome are these creatures!" I exclaimed. "But do you know who is the most awesome? The One who created them—God!" Even if I didn't tell them it's God, they know. I told them how I marvel at the many creation around me: colorful sunset, beautiful flowers, majestic mountains, fluffy clouds, etc.. These things are just so breathtaking to look at. I told them, in all of these wonderful creations, let us not always forget to look beyond it. Let us always ask the question to remind ourselves, "Who created it?" The Creator is far more grand than the creation,  so many of us missed to recognize.

Then they talked about how the smallest octopus in the world called the "blue-ringed octopus" is the most deadly in all of the octopus family. I made examples of how a small scorpion is more lethal than the big one; how ants, though  itty bitty in size, are strong, know how to look for food, and find their way home to store their food. I told the girls how big and small are different in God's ways and the "world". The world considers the big ones as mighty and powerful. Meanwhile with God, the small ones are mightier and powerful than the big ones.

It's funny sometimes how I push myself to do something I badly want to do, and yet, God has a different plan. However, the Holy Spirit does not push me to do what He wants me to do. He is not that kind of God. He waits for me to act on it. He does not fight tooth and nail against my will. He respects my decision of "yes" or "no." Had I not listened when He told me to entertain and play with my girls, I wouldn't find the "real" peace that I needed in that circumstance. Had I not obeyed, I would find myself frustrated at myself and my precious ones. I would find myself defeated for not being able to write something. The "chaotic" situation (which I thought) I was in, was actually the answer that led me to the peace I was looking for.

The subject matter my Father planned for me to write is not something from the Scripture I read today. Rather, it is finding my peace in the midst of complete disorder. "The peace I give is a gift the world cannot give."  The world may cause my world become chaotic, but Jesus gives me the peace as He promised. My part is to obey so I can receive His peace.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

To the One Who Loves Me to the Bones



I am loved by HIM to the max!
 Abba, thank you. Thank you for the year that passed Thank you for another year ahead of me. Another year that is going to be better than the past. I look forward to this year. I look forward for the amazing things that You have prepared for me. I expect great things ahead. I expect blessings upon blessings. I expect grace upon grace. These are the things You want to give me. These are the things You want me to expect. You have given me much. Yet, there is more that You want to lavish me. Your are just so generous. You can't help it. It's Your character. It's Your nature. How wonderful is Your love for me. I thank You that You help me understand it day after day, circumstance after circumstance.

I continue to ask for understanding. Make my heart understand more of Your love for me. Your love for me is so deep. I desire to know about it more. There is more to it than what You have shown me already. Let the roots of Your love for me  go deeper, grow bigger, and stronger. Let it fully cover and envelope my human heart. Keep it that way, Father. That is what I want. It's what I need. It's what I thirst.

I pray for those who are lost. I pray for those whose hearts feel empty but don't know exactly what it longs for. I pray Father that You call the Holy Spirit to knock in their lonely hearts. I pray that You give their hearts understanding to know who really is the Person that their destitute hearts long for. I pray that You reveal Your love for them through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that You soften their harden hearts, Lord, so that their heart in bondage will experience freedom—total freedom! I pray that the Holy Spirit will help them to know Your love more in their journey of the new found freedom. I prophesy for millions and millions of people find their way to Your love this year, in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ! What beautiful sight that is for You who loves us so much! How joyful will Your heart be! :)

Come Holy Spirit, I need You. Come and consume me. Do not leave me. I will get lost if You do. But I know You will never leave me nor forsake me. How awesome! :)

My Lord Jesus Christ, how wonderful You are. How beautiful, how lovely. I need You. Strengthen my faith, Lord. Take me to where You want me to go. Lead me. Help me to listen to Your voice. Help me to obey. I ask in Your precious name. Amen.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Let Us Go

When we allow our Father God to hold our hand, we are eternally secure.
 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.-" John 11:16

Reading the context of this passage, my first reaction was chuckle at what Thomas told the other disciples. My thought tells me that Thomas said these words out of sarcasm and not out of empathy. 

Jesus wanted to go back to Judea to take care of the needs of Lazarus' sisters, Martha and Mary. However, His disciples warned Him of the danger. They reminded Him what happened the last time they went to the place—the Jews were looking for Jesus to stone Him. He wants to go back and expose Himself to danger, again? How ridiculous, they thought. The disciples didn't understand why Jesus would risk His safety. I reckon they were more concerned of their own safety than Jesus,' the reason why they didn't want to go back to Judea.

Nothing will stop Jesus from going to Lazarus' place. He had a mission, not for Himself, but for the people who are about to witness the power and glory of God, His disciples most importantly.

Jesus told them that Lazarus is dead. Whether they like it or not, they are going to Bethany [Lazarus' place]. I love how Jesus exercised His authority in this scenario. After Jesus told them they are going, Thomas came into the scene, telling the other disciples (probably in a provoking voice), that to me sounds like, "Hey guys, let's go! If He dies, then we die too. Sounds fair to me!" But I think these words were not spoken out of zeal and willingness to die with Jesus. It is because he signed up to follow him, so he must do what He tells them to do, even if it means death.

I don't think Thomas wanted to go with Jesus to Judea. If he was, why would he remind the disciples the danger that could happen to them. In the first place, the disciples were already terrified. Thomas knew what it's like to be there with Jesus. He saw how the Jews wanted so bad to stone Jesus. He was a witness to their boiling rage. It was very scary for him. But despite of his insincerity, what he told his fellow disciples probably helped their decision to go.

Why have I thought of Thomas' words and action as insincere? I do not know exactly. I was brought to the scene where he expressed his unbelief of Jesus' appearance to the other disciples after His resurrection. Despite being with the company of Jesus for three years, witnessing His works and amazing miracles, listening to His teachings, Thomas still, was in the state of unbelief. He told everyone that he will not believe until he, himself will see Jesus with his own eyes. But that's not what all his conditions were. He said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." [John 20:25 NKJV].

We know what happened after.

And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." [John 20:26-27]

I love this scene. The faithfulness of God, who can question? The very first person Jesus addressed to when He showed Himself to the disciples again was Thomas. The same Thomas who swore he is not going to believe that Jesus was alive unless he can poke his finger right into the nail-pierced hands of Jesus. The Almighty, all-powerful God humbled Himself and gave in to Thomas' demands. Why? Because He loved him. He cared about him. He desired for him to have a rooted faith in the Lord Jesus before He leaves them.

And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God! [John 20:28] Everytime I picture out what Thomas looks like in this encounter, I can see his mouth hanging open, standing still, eyes wide open. It's too much for him to bear and witness the Truth, standing right in front of him.

My faith in Jesus is sometimes like Thomas.' It wavers. In spite of having witnessed countless miracles, and experiencing His works in my life, my faith is still affected with the affairs of life. But what keeps me going is having the knowledge and the truth that my Father God is always faithful even when I am not.

 I am thankful that the character of Thomas is given a space in the Word of God. God knew there would be many believers who can relate to Thomas' words and actions. It really doesn't bother God. What is important to Him is for us to be anchored in the truth of who He is when our own faith fails us. God is faithful and He will always be no matter what. Let us go, continue life, carrying inside us the truth of God's faithfulness to us, His children.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Blessed is She Who Believed

Photo Credit: sasint | Pixabay
"Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord!-" Luke 1:45

Our heavenly Father loves us so much. All He wants for us is to enjoy all the good things in life. The Scripture says that, "All good and perfect gifts come from above..." However, there is one thing that hinders us from receiving these gifts: unbelief.

Unless we believe in our hearts that we have a good, generous Father God who wants nothing but lavish us with good and perfect gifts, we will never have them and enjoy these gifts promised to us.

When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her about the Father God's plans for her, Mary was awestruck. She was so overwhelmed with wonder, for among all women, she was chosen  to carry the Son of God. Who wouldn't be? She may be shocked of the news, but she never expressed unbelief. In her state of awe, she gladly opened up her whole heart to receive what God offered her. She did not only receive it, but most importantly, she believed. She believed that she was the chosen one. Along the way after the Angel Gabriel announced to her the news, she was probably asking the question, "Why me?" Yet, that question was accompanied with excitement and full expectations instead of "what ifs?" What if God change His mind? What if God realized He made a mistake of choosing me? But no, no, no. Mary knew who God is. Mary knew that God is a faithful God. She knew God never makes mistakes. She knew God is all-knowing, full of wisdom and grace. She knew that God's love and promise is unchanging. All along, Mary knew and so sure in her heart who God is. She held on to the end what she believed.

Mary's attitude toward God's plans for her is a great example for us, women. Each and everyone of us is His daughter whom He wants to spoil with good and perfect gifts. But oftentimes, we doubt our capabilities and capacity to do things, specially the ones we are passionate about. The core of this problem is our unbelief. We look too much on ourselves, instead of God's generous love and desire to equip us everything that we need to fulfill His purpose for our life. We are so busy tending to our insecurities, the things we don't have, the things we cannot do that our mind insinuates. 

It is time to start believing. It is time to shift our focus from our self to the mighty things that God can do for our future. Let us be like Mary who never doubted the Father's amazing plans for her. Let us have that moment of wonder as we look forward to the good and perfect things that the Father has in store for us. He is just waiting for us to open our hearts and receive His blessings. It is time to believe and be blessed.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Daily Devotional: The Worth of Two Small Coins

Photo Credit: Pixabay @Pixarama
Mark 12:41-44
Then Jesus sat down opposite the chests for the Temple offerings, and watched how the people put money into them. Many rich people were putting in large sums; but one poor widow came and put in two small coins, worth very little. Then, calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others who were putting money into the chests; for everyone else put in something from what he had to spare, while she, in her need, put in all she had – everything that she had to live on."

I very much admire the generosity and faith of the widow mentioned in these passages. Despite of her poverty and lack at that very moment, she thought of the LORD first than herself. She put every coin she has. What character! What faith! What a heart!

Talking about the rich people in the scene, I can surely relate myself having the same "attitude"in the matter of offerings. I think of what I can spare for myself first, then decide what I can offer to the LORD. Like the rich people in this story, I tossed in the extra, not the source. In God's way of economy, it's the other way around. The widow in this story totally understood this principle. More so, she didn't allow her poverty to hinder herself from honoring God of what she had. She offered it all. Her offering sprung from a genuine love and gratefulness to her Creator. She was not worried nor ashamed of the amount of money she can give. All she wanted was offer what she had.  Jesus saw her heart and her faith, and He counted her offering to be much more worth than what the rich people offered, combined. I believe in my heart that God rewarded her for it with abundance of what she lacked once.

I desire to change the attitude of my heart in my offering. My heart desires to have the kind of character and faith the widow has. It's going to be a process. It can be long or short, depending on how I respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I can sometimes be stingy, greedy, fearful of the future along the process. But I will ask for God's grace as I walk through this course.

My heart yearns to have a cheerful, faithful, generous heart. A heart that believes my future is secure in every circumstance. A heart with no reservations in my giving and sharing what I have to those in need. How much I am willing to give, is how much I am willing to receive. My sowing will reap rewards from Him who made heaven and earth. Most importantly, it's the attitude of my heart that truly matters first and foremost.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sowing the Right Seeds in My Daughter's Hearts

 
I'm sitting here on bed alone, as I typed these words. Smiling with a glad heart as I listen to my two girls out in the living room, singing their hearts out along with Hillsong Young & Free's, "Alive." Yesterday, we bought them headphones. My older one Evie, found her Daddy's old MP3 player laying around, got curious about it. To make the story short, Daddy passed it on to her.

On our way to Walmart to get groceries and a headphone for Evie, our conversation in the car was centered on the MP3 player that she will use. She's thrilled and excite. Then I thought of my Felicia. What about her? For sure, she would want something like what Evie has (as most siblings do). Immediately, I remembered a very tiny MP3 player my husband (then my boyfriend) gave me nine years ago. So, I mentioned it to him. Lo and behold, that player apparently is still available, kept in our car's dashboard. Thankfully, after being stored in the car for all those years, it survived the summer heat of Arizona. It still works! Can you imagine how happy the little girl was when she found out that she will have her own too?

Since yesterday, both of the girls were all over their MP3s, listening mostly to Hillsong's. I told my husband to only store Christian songs in their players. If there's secular songs,  make sure the lyrics are appropriate for them. The Holy Spirit reminded me that the kind of seeds we choose to hear, are the kind of seeds that will grow and flourish in our hearts. Same true to our little ones, most specially. As parents, we are responsible for guarding the things that get into our children's hearts. We cannot always filter what they hear, but in times we have the opportunity to exercise our parental duties, we must do so, with the grace of God.

My husband and I are not perfect parents. We fail many times in our responsibility as "watchmen" of the things that our daughters hear and see. We are working on it. I am working on it, with God's grace.

Monday, June 12, 2017

How Cool is My Father God?



The same God who flung the stars in heaven, is the same God who happens to be my Abba, Father. How cool is that? How privileged I am to be His child! May I remember all the time who my Father is specially in my times of insecurities, thinking of myself small, and unworthy. May I always remember how loved I am by the God who created heaven and earth.