Friday, March 27, 2020

Perfect Love Drives Out Fear


The threat of COVID-19 hasn't settled. In fact, it is still rising. Amidst this chaos and uncertainties, who among the living doesn't get scared?

A week ago, fear overwhelmed me. I was scared for myself. I was scared for my family. I was scared for the world. I was scared for the future. Despite prayers being lifted up, fear rested in my heart. I felt like I was a standing log, deeply and tightly compacted with concrete all around. I couldn't move. Fear numbed me. I didn't know where to go. I felt like I was inside a cell and couldn't break free. I did not understand why I felt fear in my heart. I thought I am a Jesus believer. But why do I feel the thing I should not?

As I was battling the darkness in my mind, I heard a voice inside telling me:
"It's alright to feel fear. It's normal. You are human."
"But you keep fear to yourself. You try to fight it your own way."
"Tell me about it. Talk to me. I want to hear. I am listening."

No wonder I felt stiff. No wonder I felt like running in circles that never ends.

I kept fear to myself and fed it with my own hands. I kept it in tight, close fists like a little girl who caught fireflies and doesn't want to let it go. I didn't give it to the One who calmed my many storms—the One who is the answer to my freedom. 

As I slowly disclosed to Him my anxieties and willingly opened my heart to offer to Him what I had been holding on, a revelation was exposed right in my very own heart. The layers of fear faded slowly, like leaves in the fall, each one falling into the ground—and the wind swept them away to nowhere. 

"Perfect love drives out fear." I've seen and heard this verse used so many times but never really fully grasped the totally of its meaning until this experience. It is not my perfect love for Jesus that drives out fear. It is not my believing in Jesus that kicks away anxiety. Rather, it is the perfect love of Jesus "to me" that drives out fear. I just have to voluntarily open myself up so He could pour into me.

After feeding on the truth of how loved, how protected, how provided I am in the midst of this dark time, only then my eyes saw the true meaning of perfect love. His perfect love. When you know in the deepest part of your being that He loves you so much, especially in moments when you feel like everything is crushed and gone, it's when you experience what it is like to be perfectly loved.

Fear will always be there waiting in the corner for you and me. It prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to persecute. There will be days when it gets to me. But now I know what to do the next time it roars at me. I will tell my Lord Jesus about it as He soaks me in His perfect love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Musings on COVID-19: The Light Shines Forth


It's been a week since COVID-19 crept into the spirit of men causing darkness to cover it. The first burst of fear into men's mind showed the worse of individuals. Greed. Greed because of panic. Panic because of fear. Fear because death.

Ever since the fall in the garden of Eden, death has been men's deepest fear. No one wants to die. Why? Because deep inside us cry for life. Men were not meant to die. It was never God's plan. But sin entered, and death found it's way into the flesh and spirit of men.

Hearing about people panic buying in the grocery stores was weird and didn't seem true. Until one day, we went to Walgreens to buy alcohol. We were told they were out. We tried other stores and witnessed empty shelves. The truth sat in, right in front of my very eyes. This is really happening. People were buying alcohol more than they normally use to fight the virus infection. I wasn't too naive to not wanting to get one. It's an alternative for my family to clean hands when soap and water are not readily available when we are out and about. Well, especially in this time of virus scare.

So that night, I went online. If I can't find it in the stores, maybe I can find it online. After all, you can buy everything in the virtual world. But lo and behold, Amazon was out of stock. People selling them on eBay in ridiculous prices. The sad thing was, people were buying them. Out of desperation, people were willing to pay $40 for what used to be $3+ alcohol.

But God was so, so good to me. I found online a local store that sells alcohol by the gallon. Not just 12oz, but a gallon! That's the smallest amount they sell. I ordered online that night, picked it up the next day. Yay! Who would have thought? Well, I do! I believe that I have the God who provides and supplies. Now we have a gallon of alcohol sitting under our sink, ready to grab when needed.

I tried fear to not overcome me. I prayed Psalm 91 over my household. My family took communion more than we normally do. We prayed for the blood of Jesus to cover us. My husband and I talked to girls about what is going on, and how we should not be afraid because God is our protector.

One morning while I took the Holy Communion with my girls, and prayed after for our safety and protection, my older one said, "Mama, I am glad we believe in Jesus." I asked her why. She answered, "Because we are protected." There is nothing I hoped for but for my girls to understand what it is like to believe in Jesus. What she told me was joy to my heart. "Perhaps, I am doing the right thing," I muttered to myself.

When I found out that churches were not coming together on Sunday services, I was mad. I had questions. Why now when you are needed the most? Why now when the people need your light? Why are you hiding church? Why are you scared? I thought we believe in the supernatural God. Then why are we fearful? What will the world think of us?

I didn't understand. I complained to my husband about it. I just could not believe that the church would come into such cowardly decision. Yes, that's what I thought of it. Decision out of cowardice. I felt embarrassed as a Christian. If the government doesn't restrict us to gather together in a church building, then there's no excuse to not do church.

Saturday afternoon, I found out that the lead pastor of Mosaic church, Erwin McManus, announced on Instagram that they too were holding online service streaming. Knowing Erwin, I couldn't believe it. But the local government advised not to gather together with more than fifty people. The government authority had spoken. Everyone must respect. That included me.

On the morning of March 15th, we watched the live streaming of our local church's service. It was actually our church's premier to live stream through a Youtube channel. It was a little weird at first. Totally not the same as when you are actually doing worship with the congregation physically. But God was obviously there in the midst. I felt Him. I experienced Him.

While engaging myself to the newness of this online church service idea (not only with my local church but as well as other churches I follow from other states), the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and made me understand the "why" of this new thing. I realized that my sharing the link of the live streaming to my social media account actually reached people in my circle who are not church goer or who are not believer. In a time like this when the world is full of fear, when people are desperate, when people hit rock bottom, when people asked questions no one can answer, when people feel unsafe, when people lose hope, when the world is wrapped in darkness, the church is there to shine its light as far as it can go. We couldn't do this if we are contained in a building with an attendance of people you can count. Doing church online reaches more peopl. A lot of it. And as a member of the body of church, I can do my contribution by sharing links on my social media to reach the people that God put in my circle. How awesome is that? The wisdom of God! He always, always turn things around for the good of those who love Him. I wouldn't know how many people turned to Him and received Jesus as their Lord and Savior with the very simple gesture of sharing a link. But God knows, and heaven rejoices. And this shall continue until God says it's over. For now, I will do what the church needs me to do—shine my light.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

#ThankfulThursday - Bearing Fruit with Abundance




I finally harvested the fruits from our lemon tree. I am in awe how this small and young tree could bear huge fruits and many of them! This is the year we got this much and this big. I am very thankful for the abundance it gave us this year. Even if I don't take good care of it as much as I need to, this lemon tree is just doing what it's meant to be—to bear fruit.

Aren't we created for the same purpose? Because we are in Christ Jesus, therefore, we bear fruits. We bear the fruit of the Spirit freely given to us. But the question is, are you using them? Am I using them? I can honestly say, not often. Barely as I say.

May we live to be like the lemon tree accomplishing its purpose, bearing fruit with abundance.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Importance of Our Testimony


Unless someone who has witnessed God's goodness in their life, announce to the world (people around us) what he experienced, the world will remain ignorant and blinded about the Truth. One very significant example in the Bible is the story of the Samaritan woman. After her encounter with Jesus at Jacob's well, she went about all over the town telling everyone this man who knows all about her story. 

Then the woman left her water jar, and went into the city and began telling the people, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done! Can this be the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)?”
John 4:28-29 (AMP)

Because of her boldness to share what she just witnessed, the people in her town became curious of what she said. Yet, it is not only her audacity that made people interested to investigate on what she had spoken. Something beautiful from her inside happened and it's showing on the outside (physical appearance). She just encountered the Messiah. Her spirit just fed from His Word that came out straight from His mouth. Her inner self became alive.

This is what usually happens to us when we first heard about the Good News of the True Gospel (God's grace). It is so good that something inside us is stirred. And that beautiful thing that happened inside us is manifested outwards. People notice the difference. The way we talk, the glow in our face, the inner peace that shines from within. This is what called the attention of the people in Samaria about how the Samaritan woman testified her encounter with Jesus. There was excitement in her voice. There was peace in her being. There was this inexplicable joy in her face, so contagious that their hearts want to have it too.

People believed what she said, so they followed Jesus and even asked Him to stay. He stayed for two days. Within those two days listening to His word, they have confirmed it to themselves who this woman was talking about. Many more believed. 

 Now many Samaritans from that city believed in Him and trusted Him [as Savior] because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked Him to remain with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed in Him [with a deep, abiding trust] because of His word [His personal message to them]; 42 and they told the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; for [now] we have heard Him for ourselves and know [with confident assurance] that this One is truly the Savior of [all] the world.”
John 4:39-42 (AMP)

It all started with one person's testimony. That one testimony spread like wildfire and many people believed and were saved. The world needs your testimony and mine. The world hungers for it. We cannot just hide to ourselves the goodness and kindness that God bestowed on us through His Son, Jesus. It has to be shared. The world deserves to hear it. They too deserve to experience what it is like to be so loved by their Father in heaven. They too deserve to be prosperous and joyful. They too deserve the peace that we have in Christ. 

This is God's will. This is God's heart.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Count it All Joy - I Love My Mom

April 26, 2019
11:11 PM
Home

Today is a very special day. My precious Felicia delivered a very touching speech at the Mother's Day Tea that her teacher hosted for their class. The speech was about, "Why do you love your Mom?" She stood up in front of the stage with boldness and confidence. There was never a hint of shyness. While most of the kids just say a line or two, Felicia's was the longest and the most touching one. She actually asked permission from her teacher beforehand if she can make her speech longer 😂 She got her wish and did as she planned to. She makes me so proud. I cannot believe I raised such an amazing child. I asked what did I do to deserve her? But no, it's not what I did or will do, it's the goodness of my Father God to me. My Abba is so, so, good to me. She gave me this extraordinary girl.



The kids in her class performed poems and songs for the moms. One of my favorite speeches from a kid is, "I love my Mom because she makes a lot of money!" That was a good laugh for everyone in the room 😂 This is one of the days I will hold dear in my lifetime.







 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Count it All Joy - Happy Birthday Dad

April 13, 2019
Saturday, 11:08 PM
Home

My father-in-law turned sixty-eight today. The family gathered at his place for dinner and dessert to celebrate his birthday. The girls made him birthday cards (I forgot to take pictures). I am very blessed to have a father-in-law who is very loving, supportive, and funny. He is all I could ask for as his daughter-in-law. He is fun to be with and I can be me around him. There are no pretensions. I appreciate everything he does for us, always ready to extend his helping hands when needed. I pray that God will give him many more years to enjoy this life with us, especially his grandkids whom he adores so much.


F requested her Grampa for a donut with ice cream on top for dessert. Of course, Grampa doesn't say no.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Count it All Joy - Heaven on Earth

April 12, 2019
Friday, 11:25 PM
Home

On our way to the girls' karate class, the beauty of the sky overwhelmed me. The hues of gray and blue mixed together was so beautiful, and the rays of the sun shining through the thick clouds was so stunning. The sky was filled with clouds above us. Half of it were different shades of gray, the other half was white and sky blue. There are no words to describe the beauty of the sky today. All I felt and all I could say was, "heaven." That moment I experienced heaven on earth. Made me wonder if other people around saw it too. Simply amazing. I knew in my heart that was a treat from my Father God. So beautiful.



Crazy Hair Friday
Today's theme for Spirit Week is crazy hair! F had dinosaurs all over her hair and E decided to have a bird's nest. Crazy hair day is one of the school events I look forward to because I get to style their hair. F was very proud and excited that she gets to carry dinosaurs with her, while E thought she needed five birds 😂


"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." - James 1:2-5