Monday, May 31, 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

Just got back from the magnanimous and authentic Chinatown! Five days of fabulous Shanghai ambiance - where east literally meets west, 13 meals of real Shanghai foods (initially, I expected to taste the best SHANGHAI LUMPIA :P) and nearly 30 hours of intense walking. Those days were definitely packed that I thought I had been in China for ages!

Our main objective was to visit the internationally marketed, grand event of the year, the Shanghai World Expo 2010. I expected to see beautifully manufactured exteriors of different countries and to taste and experience a glimpse of the country inside. On our 2nd day, while we were still in the van crossing the Lupu Bridge, I had an aerial view of the expo site. True enough, there were oddly shaped buildings of various colors plus THOUSANDS of people swarming around them. Later I found out, they amounted to at least 30 thousand people. There were also hundreds of buses parked symmetrically at the north east of the site. I thought "Wow, man! Tourists must be flying in from all over the world just to be here. This is the best place to be!"

Upon arriving, I observed that almost 90% of the visitors were Chinese. Most of the words spoken by employees inside the expo were also in Mandarin. Imagine this, if you were to enter the Portugal pavilion for example, those Portuguese would speak to you in Mandarin, same goes in Spain, France, Finland, USA, and every other Pavilion.

Here are some of our stop-overs ~ rich in culture, produce and not so popular information:

1. ISRAEL

It's amazing how the "chosen ones" have been protected by God from powerful enemies living at its borders. If you look at the map below, Israel is a small small country (painted in orange between Egypt and Saudi Arabia) surrounded by giant Muslim nations like Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. When enemies attack they have hi-tech weapons to defend themselves.

Just like their miniscule size, Israelites are the ones leading in the process of minimalization. Believe it or not: they developed and manufactured the "DiskonKey" which was later known as USB (Universal Serial Bus) Flash Drive, a powerful tool in the IT industry today. They also invented the smallest camera called the "Pillcam."

This is a health care device used to track and visualize disorders in the digestive track. Amazing ha? A camera right in your very own stomach. In the global scale, Israel will have a powerful role in the 2012 Olympics. They will use their satellites to broadcast the much awaited event worldwide. I now know that when Christ returns, it's truly possible for the world to see His presence. God can definitely make the impossible possible, and He has done numerous wonders for the Israelites.

2. PORTUGAL


This country is going back to nature with their sources of energy. They've tried solar and wind powers, now they're adding a new element, WATER, coming from the waves of the ocean.

They also have the yummiest egg tart in the whole world! If you're living in the east, you don't need to go to Portugal for a taste of their creamy, melts-in-your-mouth, delicacy. Hop on a plane or boat and stop by Macau (previously a Portuguese territory), they are also famous for their egg tarts.


3. SULTANATE OF OMAN

I'm not sure if you've come across this name. Oman is located at the coast of the Arabian Sea, beside UAE and Saudi Arabia. It has a rich history in trading, which can be traced back to the year 7AD when cargoes were loaded with luxury items such as gold, silver, pearls, ceramics, spices and perfumes. These made their way across the globe through Oman.

Sharing with you an interesting trivia: Do you know that Oman is the leading producer and exporter of Frankincese? This was one of the gifts offered by the three kings at the night of Christ's birth. I got to smell this fragrant flower. there.. Mmm....

4. MOROCCO

I had a wonderful time in the Kingdom of Morocco, the land situated at the North West of Africa. I stepped inside this beautiful mansion and got to skim and experience a life in Morocco for a great number of minutes.

I discovered that they have a very colorful culture, shown in their colorful fashion trends..

unique string instruments used to play Arabian music,

Harmonious scent brought about by their spices, nuts and middle eastern staples

5. AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan, a country stamped as off-limits in our passports welcomed tourists in the Shanghai Expo. I stepped into the room (not a stand-alone pavilion) with passionate curiosity. I saw that their mode of transportation was a double decked jeepney - quite intricately done.

Rubies and gems are popular commodities for trading.

as well as some carpets.

I'm not sure if you would agree on their tagline:

These are just five examples of countries featured in the expo, there are at least a hundred pavilions more. If you plan to visit the expo this June, better brace yourselves. It's the onset of summer in China, more people will be flocking in, thus you may have to stand long hours (at least 3 hours per pavilion) under the summer heat. I suggest you do as the Romans (or the Chinese) do.

1. Bring some refreshing and healthy snacks
I saw several people munching on whole cucumbers, apples, pears, loquat (or Pi-pa in Chinese) and bananas. These are easy-to-eat hand held foods that provide good fiber and nourishment as you walk and stand in line.


Since you can't bring in water, buy water bottles inside the expo. These are safer than getting water from their potable water fountains. You don't want to be rushing to the nearest restroom when you're halfway in line right?

3. Don't forget your umbrella
The weather varied in all the three days of our visit in the expo. It was hot on the first day, very cold on the second day (we had to buy scarves) and raining on the third. Rain or shine, an umbrella would be a good asset!

4. Pack light
Please don't bring anything that you would not use during hours and hours of standing and walking.

5. Keep your cool
There will be several people pushing or forcing their way in line. Don't waste a beautiful God-given day to fight. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the artworks and architecture all around you. Who knows, you may even make long-lasting friends there. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Everything in Its Time

My song of the year last 2007, "Everything in It's Time" gives me goosebumps. It has been three long years of seeking, questioning, learning and finding. And I'm amazed to see how God has made most (or if not all) of the pieces fit at the present. 'He has made everything beautiful in its time' (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

If you are in the waiting phase or locked in a moment of uncertainty or healing from a brokenness, then this song is for you.

Waiting can be painful. Every minute can be tension filled. What's odd is that we spend most of our time waiting than actually enjoying its fruits. (I'm sure you'd agree that most of the time the wait is worth it). Here's a comforting reassurance sang in a beautifully written song. You may opt to play this in the background of your life's setting. Go back to work and let this song tenderly provide music to your soul.



(Video was taken from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xxj7TaTIzyI&feature=related)


Everything in Its Time

by: Corrinne May

Sometimes I wonder what lies ahead
How long till my hunger is fed
They say it's hard to make it in this part of town
So many people on this merry-go-round

Some folks try astrology
Some turn to crystal balls
To find an answer,
To get through it all
I just fall on my knees and I try to pray
In the silence I can hear Him say

The river runs and the river hides
Out to the ocean and under the sky
I promise you, the answer will come
Hold on to patience and watch for the sign
Everything in its time

I often feel like I'm two steps behind
Somebody must have moved that finish line
There are a thousand reasons
Why I should give up
But I'm stubborn in the things I believe

The river runs and the river hides
Out to the ocean and under the sky
I promise you, the answer will come
Hold on to patience and watch for the sign

'cause maybe there's another plan
One I still can't see
A little surprise, like your love in my life
Funny how time changes how we see

The river runs and the river hides
Out to the ocean and under the sky
I promise you, the answer will come
Hold on to patience and watch for the sign
Everything in its time
Everything in its time

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's My Way or the High Way

A friend of mine chatted with me earlier this afternoon and shared his concerns on the terrifying events happening in the world. The series of earthquakes in the first quarter of the year, the oil spills in the west, uproar in Thailand, and hostility and deaths all around. Sometimes it seems that God has loosened his control already. But of course that's not possible. Everything must pass through the go signal of God.

Many of us have mixed feelings on deaths and also on the second coming of Christ. Some of us can opt to be happy because God has chosen us and so we are saved.. which means we won't go to hell anymore. Yey. But we are also concerned for the other people who have chosen to not believe in Christ. Maybe we can blame "free will" (or God for that matter). Why did God allow free will? Why did He allow men to not choose Him?

Well, guess what. Let me tell you a fact that might cause you a heart attack (if this is your first time hearing it), so brace yourselves. We are born to die, not just physically but also spiritually. Sin has crept in human nature and is spreading like cancer. We are dying day by day. After Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit, sin penetrated and grew. Imagine this, a generation later their son murdered his own brother. Sin can't get out of the system anymore. We cannot just choose to live and forbid death. We cannot work our way up to God and build our own version of Tower of Babel. We cannot work hard and earn merits to enter heaven. It's simply impossible. Death, by all means is possible. Life is definitely impossible.

I guess, there is no free will. If you want your free will, then it's your way and not the High way. (Our way is to be trapped in our sinful nature and die, since it's impossible to choose life.) BUT, and there's a big BUT here. There is the High way. Because God loves the world that He created, He has given us grace - a gift - such that through the gift, we have been given life. This grace is nothing but Jesus Christ, the life of the begotten Son Himself. May God grant you the wisdom and understanding, fervor and delight to take in this beautiful news.

Take heart dear brothers and sisters and live the High Way. To live is Christ! :)

video

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Most Unpopular Advice on Love

I've heard this advice several times. Count the number of fellowships that fall on Februaries, the summer camps with LCM (Love Courtship Marriage) workshops, plus friends talking to fellow friends who've been caught in heart dilemmas.

This is what I call the 2 Corinthians 6:14 advice:
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers..."


This verse exhorts that believers are not to marry or be associated with nonbelievers, for what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? Some may say this is downright discriminatory. Others may ask how can we let go of this opportunity to evangelize and let them feel the love of God? It's amazing how disobedience can flourish in several guises for evangelism's sake, from evangeligaw to biblesteady.

Why is there such a need for spiritual compatibility?


1. A common treasure
It would be very difficult to share what is most precious to you to someone who does not deem it as equally important. One of my favorite hobbies is baking cakes. I love its sweet taste and soft & fluffy texture. I enjoy trying out new combinations and tasting the final product. But if the people at home don't have much of a sweet tooth nor have equal appreciation for this type of food then I have no one to share the joy with. Imagine the feeling of having no one to share it with. Wouldn't it a bit lonely? God would like to spare us the pain of having an unshared treasure when he says "Find a spouse whom you can share Me, whom you can share your greatest treasure.

2. A common blueprint
Building a house with different plans, different designs, different blueprints is just plain impossible. How can the carpenters use conflicting materials, follow varied dimensions and still build the same house? Same goes with relationships - if he has fixed his plans based on his background and life views, while she has her own set drawn from her life experiences. Thank God that He has planned to step into the picture, crumple all the faulty plans and provide His own blueprint for us to share. According to a reliable source, 90% of the conflicts we have in relationships have resulted from inflicting our individual blueprints, or simply disobying God's blueprint.

3. A common strength
It's inevitable to undergo series of life storms in this imperfect world. There's sickness, death, automobile accidents, bankrupcy, anger, depression, self-pity, hopelessness, boredom, peer pressure, heartache, natural disasters, broken homes. Many times people turn to pills, bottles and other abusive coping mechanisms. God however doesn't want you to end up with a person who's a weakling, who easily escapes and say "I want to be out of this relationship" or "I quit." What a difference it would make if both parties could turn to God and find refuge and strength in Him. The ability to tap into God's strength is a gift you can both share and enjoy.

4. Common values
There's an ungodly world out there that eats people up. The workplace, schools, media including the internet are bombarded with profanity and sexual innuendo, with immoral lifestyles and temptations. If you don't want your future children to be eaten alive for lunch, then make sure that you marry someone with the same values of yours, who knows the truth, the way and the life; or else your children might face a fork in the road: to follow mom who believes in Jesus or to follow dad who uses His name as a curse.

5. Synchronized
There's nothing better than being with someone who shares the same sensitivity to the will of God. Even if you both pray for the same matter individually / separately (i.e. changing lifestyle, giving away possessions, making a drastic move), the Spirit would lead you and your partner to a compatible conclusion. There's no reason to fight, much more to quit.

To the couples who are equally yoked, good for you!
To the couples who are unequally yoked, pray about it.
To those who are about to be equally yoked, cheers!
To those who are about to be unequally yoked, better think twice and make the right decision today.

(For more info, read Bill and Lynne Hybel's book entitled "Fit to be Tied")

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Dreaded "M" Word

Recently, I've been told that maybe it's time to talk about the dreaded "M" word. It's so dreadful to me that I think I nearly suffered a headache after a few minutes of discussion. For one, he says that he needs to plan for the next couple of years. (By now, you probably know what the "M" word is all about.) He needs to decide where he should minister and see if I should already be in the picture (or not), so I said "okay then" with a long sigh.

You may ask why I dislike talking about the "M" word. It's not that I don't see myself being with my beloved for the rest of my life. The fear stretches from the lack of knowledge in the tasks of being a domestic engineer, the problems other couples face regarding their children, and all the other difficult adjustments. Obviously, I'm not ready for it yet and I believe many women are feeling the same way even after the BIG day.

We all know that marriage is a union between a husband and a wife. (NOTE: A husband and A wife only) This is when they "cleave" and "weave." The man and woman will "cleave" or separate from their parents as they "weave" and start their own family. Marriage is not merely a simple means of procreation, it is a sacred gift from God that brings a lifetime of love, joy and a sense of purpose to those involved. Well, this gift of lifetime of love, joy and a sense of purpose can only be enjoyed by those who have God as the center of their relationship. You see, men and women are so different, and almost always the opposite personalities attract each other. Thus, it's almost impossible for them to see each other eye to eye.

Let me give you one simple illustration. I'm the type of girl who sometimes adds a few funny remarks on serious talks, just to liven things up. My partner on the other hand, thinks that we should be serious all the time when tackling such matters. There's no middle ground. There's no way to see each other eye to eye. Without God, the tendency would be is to push/pull each other to one's own preference. There's no head, no mediator, no one to hold them accountable, no right, no wrong. Probably this is why people end up getting divorced.

Marriage is written by God. As I said, it's not simply a means to procreate. It is a love story. God always writes very interesting love stories. Maybe soon, I'd feature some here. He can make it plain and clear that there's one among the many other believers (or fish in the sea) that's best suitable for us. He'd bring man and woman who are very much opposites together, to share the same burden, the same mission and vision in life.

Marriage is also a calling. I read from a Christian author that both man and wife have the primary responsibility of leading their children closer to God. This is probably one of the most difficult tasks a couple can ever face. The greatest weakness of a person are usually sealed from public and are exposed only at home. It would take humility and God's grace to really bind a home with love and transform it to a shining blessing in the community.

Maybe the "M" word is not so scary after all. It's a BIG step of faith that can take us somewhere new, somewhere great and somewhere impossible.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

BEWARE: Comforting can be Harmful!

My daily adventure has taken me through the lives of the Kings of Israel to Esther's life (after the Babylonian captivity) and now to Job. Job, I think is one of the most poetic books in the bible. It contains a string of lyrical dialogues between Job and his three friends. And it would need a bit of diligent study and the Holy Spirit's guidance to uncover what our Father would like to reveal through this magnificent book.

The book opens with a scene in Heaven as Satan approached God. He has this job of testing the people on earth, to see if they would renounce their faith in God or not. (Note: there really is a spiritual warfare until now!) God suggested that Satan test Job. Job was an upright and blameless man in the land of Uz. The terms stipulated that Satan can strike anything and everything except Job himself.

Satan then killed all Job's servants (except 1) with sword, burnt all his sheep, took away his camels and donkeys, and struck all his sons and daughter dead. This is probably worse than any person's nightmare on earth.

Here was Job's response (1:21) :
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."

Imagine, he lost all his possessions and the people that he loved the most! Well probably except for his wife who loathed him. He was left with three mocking friends, and a couple of disrespectful servants who reported the tragedies to him and yes, his spiteful wife.

Satan, not contented with his work, spoke to God again. He said the right test of Job's faith would be to incur him pain, but he would still spare his life. God allowed Satan's plan. Satan gave him sores from head to toe, so painful that he could not move and speak for days. His three friends, namely Bildad, Eliphaz and Zophar came to comfort him. They took turns speaking to him, trying to shed some light, but all their words simply brought greater pain to Job. Rather than being comforters, they were giving Job "nonsense advice" and accusing him of sinning against God, being pious in his own right, etc. They replaced compassion with pride and pious theology phrases and judgments. Job would probably be better off without these friends.

Let me ask you, if you have a friend who's suffering, probably grieving for a lost parent or a broken heart, how would you comfort him? Are you the type that offers unsought advice? You say "Sis, you should go out more often and have fun.." without her asking for it.



Are you "like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda" by trying hard to cheer a heavy heart? You say "Okay lang yan..." just to have something to say and break the uncomfortable silence.


Many times, what a suffering heart needs are two listening ears and one encouraging, but oftentimes silent mouth. No one person has all the facts about suffering, so it would be very dangerous to conclude what's really happening and what one should do now. In Job's case for example, Job thought that God was unfair; his friends on the otherhand thought Job was sinful. But what they did not know was that there was a battle waged in heaven.


Be careful when a friend opens up to you. It won't hurt to pray for God's wisdom as you seek to counsel a friend.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Child's Love Letter

Sometimes, there are events in our lives that we just cannot understand. People get chained for spreading the truth. Innocent children get sick and die.

Let me share with you a beautiful video featuring one of the most creatively composed letter I've ever read. :)


video



"..For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD..

~Jeremiah 29:11-14

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010 = Election Day

After months of intense advertisements, press releases and debates, days of hearing endless jingles ("si... ang tunay na may malasakit... la la") on TV, on the road and outside the house, all will come to an end today. Finally! This is the day we've all been waiting for!

It was my first time to vote, my first time to exercise this right as a Filipino citizen and I realized that they (referring to people who opted not to vote) were right. It's really not that fine and dandy. This "right" requires you to stand in the hot summer weather, lets you wait for a couple of hours until one of the 20 chairs in the classroom empties itself for you.


But you know what, it was worth the wait. The process was fast. The teachers and other volunteers were accomodating. And most importantly, I was able to cast my vote. Someone once told me that this is the only right, or act, where that of the president and all the countrymen are equal. Thus, it's a privilege to vote.



I admire the teachers I encountered in my precinct room. One lady not only assisted me when I was putting my ballot in the PICOS machine, but she also taught me how it works, how to place the paper and what to wait for. This gentle lady, together with her colleagues, I believe are some of the greatest blessings in the country.

Let me share with you the marks of a great leader. I got the list from Ptr. Nehemiah Sia.

1. Humility
Is he ready to serve? Is she willing to accept and learn from mistakes?

2. Clear vision and strategy
Self-explanatory

3. Character of Christ
Is he able to model the life of Christ? Does he love God and love the people under his care?

4. One spouse
If he's not faithful to his wife and family, how much more to the country.

5. Team oriented
Is he a good team player? Does she always have to be the boss?

6. Empowering people
Not self-seeking.

7. Initiator
Is he able to bring the team closer to the vision through initiating changes or improvements?


Given a power to cast a vote, use it and be a responsible steward of God!
Bring a fan, a cold bottle of water and maybe a good book with you. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Today's Project: Homemade Journal

Recently, I've been watching a lot of Youtube! From cooking to notebook making, all these lessons have been stored up in a limitless void of cyberspace. People from all over the world upload videos, compete for the most number of hits and are hoping to be the next Youtube wonderkid. And we as ordinary internet consumers are enjoying the abundant information (although sometimes they are nothing but junk foods that take up our time from the real world, real relationships and real physical activities. So watch out!)

Yesterday I watched a video of DIY art journal. You see, I'm a collector of cute notebooks and journals. I enjoy writing my thoughts, realizations and learnings for the day. It's like taking pictures, capturing a moment of one's precious life. But in this case because I can't take pictures of what goes in my mind, I write it! You should try it too! Apart from keeping this blog, would you believe I update three notebooks frequently? I have an idea notebook, a prayer notebook and a journal. I'm not even including my personal organizer here yet.

What I made was a notebook to store memory verses, it's titled similar to my previous blog "A Proverb a Day Keeps the Demons Away."




To make this notebook, you'd need:

Cloth - 11 x 5 in (2 pcs if cloth is thin)
12 sheets of drawing paper - 5 x 7 in (I tore some pages from a good quality sketch pad)
Yarn thread
Needle
Brooch
String

1. Cut the cloth based on the size of your paper. Add a few inches for the flap cover. Glue or sew cloth back to back for a sturdy cover. You may use a different type of cloth or pattern at the back.

2. Mark the spine edge of the cover.

3. Align the sheets of paper on the cover and place paper clips to hold them in place. You may now start sewing!


4. Decorate the cover of the notebook. You may put brooches, artpapers, fabrics, laces, ribbons, keychains, it's your call! You are limited only by your imagination.

5. Start writing! Enjoy!:)



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Series of (Un)fortunate Events?

Some things are just too amazing to comprehend. Take life for example. The plot, the characters, the way events turn out may seem like a product of millions of perfect coincidences, but do you really think it's all based on mere coincidences? There was this guy I met before who was imprisoned twice due to drug dealing, and on the third time, (although he knew he was guilty as charged) was set free. Another guy who was a cop in the States got shot six times. But guess what, not a bullet touched a vital organ. Both, by the way, have devoted their lives to the Lord and opted to let God use them for His purpose. The first guy became a pastor. Hmm.. Are these a literal illustration of "series of fortunate events"?

There's another story from the historical records of Persia (which is also written in the book of Truth), that exhibits exciting twists and turns. It happened 2500 years ago in the Persian Empire. Watch this video below for a short and fun summary of the story. Or better yet read the book of Esther in the Bible.


video

In a matter of days, Esther, an ordinary maiden became queen. Her uncle Mordecai, a God-centered Jew, was in the right place at the right time and was able to unveil a wicked plot of the officials against the king. The bad guy Haman had a gallows built to kill Mordecai. But a day later, he himself was killed by it.


One time, the king was unable to sleep. He asked a servant to read the chronicles of his reign to him, then he remembered what Mordecai did. He asked a man who had just entered the outer court, "What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?"

Guess who's the man? Haman!

Haman thought it was intended for him, so he replied: "For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king's most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, 'This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!" The king then told him to do whatever he said to Mordecai.

Creative twists of events, huh? Still a coincidence? I don't think so. Although God's name was not mentioned at all in the book of Esther, I believe the whole story was written by an omniscient Writer and directed by an omnipotent Director. It would be impossible for all these "coincidences" to always side on God's people, whether Jews or Christians. God's exquisite timing plus the faith of His chosen people have proven again, and again, that God is victorious and His purpose always prevails.

Be it a series of unfortunate events or not, everything is under God's command. Nothing just happens.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Based on experience, I learned that when a child buys a gift to a parent, she almost always gets it back discreetly. One time, I bought my mom a thick hardbound cookbook for her birthday. I thought she'd love to have something like a guide for her to plan the family meals. A couple of months later, I found it tucked on a shelf in my bedroom. On another occasion, I gave my parents some inspirational books and a vase with dried scented flowers. Guess what? I found the books on the same shelf and the vase in my bathroom. Hmm.. Odd. :P

Finally, four years ago I discovered a gift that was valued by my parents, something that I couldn't take back (whether I liked it or not). It was the gift of service that required love (in action) and wisdom (well thought of). My gift was very simple. I went to the grocery and bought some goodies. Then, I woke up extra early on my mom's special day and cooked Gado-gado and noodles for her. She was surprised (since I don't really cook before). The joy and delight on her face was extremely priceless.

Mother's Day is coming up! Time to think of a nice mom's day gift, or better yet a mom's day service! You can take her out to a nice dinner date, cook for her, take her to a spa, or simply bond with her. Give her the time of her life. Let me share with you a short music video that may also bring joy to your mom. It's titled, Why a Daughter Needs a Mother.

video


After you're done with the planning and implementation, start thinking of ideas for the Father's Day!

Enjoy! :)



Saturday, May 1, 2010

Without It, You are NOTHING!

I took the opportunity last night to share an entry from the Love Dare book in the fellowship. Although Love Dare is catered mostly to married couples, it touches on the minimum requirement of the Christian life. It's something more important than words, for when one speaks without it, he will be like a "gong" or a "clanging cymbal." It's also more important than knowledge, if you know all the mysteries of the world or have memorized the Bible from cover to cover, but if you still live without this, you are NOTHING. What surprises me is that, it is even better than faith that can move mountains or riches that are given to the poor!

What is this "it" then that I'm talking about? It's LOVE (as in Love Dare, duh! Haha!). Let me share with you one of the most beautiful and poetic descriptions of love:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ~

An illustration for love. Jesus need not leave his heavenly kingdom and experience poverty, hunger and ridicule as a servant on earth. But He was willing. He needed to die, because it would take only a perfect man's blood to pay for all our debts. He opted to die on the cross for the mockers, adulterers, liars, prideful people, murderers, abusive husbands, disobedient teenagers, lustful men, disgraceful women, and all other sinners of this world including you and me.

Sometimes we see love as sacrificing our lives for others, but we tend to forget what love is in its everyday sense. How do you respond to your irritating little brothers? How do you talk to your parents? How do you deal with your bossy bosses? How do you react to friends who misunderstood you? Are there some people in your lives that you abhor, that you talk behind their backs? You may say, you are willing to die for others. But for now, reflect on your relationships with people around you, is there love? Or are you full of hate, bitterness, anger and complaints?

Love is built on two pillars "patience" and "kindness." All other traits stem from these two. Patience is reacting positively to a negative situation, choosing to not say anything hurtful (or negative) to someone who is overly irritating or hurtful. Patience is taking time to meditate, to ponder, to understand the situation before letting go of angry words. It is maintaining ones' coolness on a heated situation. Surely, a negative situation is a great tempter that aims to bring out the angry beasts in us. And if we give in to anger, it will just make matters worse.

Kindness is love in action. If patience reacts in order to minimize a negative situation, kindness acts to maximize positive circumstance. Kindness can be broken down into four basic ingredients: gentleness, helpfulness, willingness and initiative. Gentleness is to be careful on how to treat the other person, to be tender in words and action. Helpfulness is meeting the needs of the moment. Willingness inspires you to be agreeable. And initiative thinks ahead, takes the first step, it doesn't wait to be prompted before acting kindly.


How do we know that we do love?
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)

If we do not have patience, how can we lay down our lives for our brothers? How can we love? Impossible.

* Josh McDowell shared three types of love that this world has ever known.

1. "I love you, if.."
This is the most popular type of love when one has to meet certain requirements or conditions before they are loved. A dad may say "I love you, if you are a good boy." or a girl may say "I love you if you change and become like Bob." This is a very selfish type of love.

2. "I love you, because.."
This sounds a lot better than the first type. This love is given because of certain characteristics. The husband may love a wife because she is pretty and is a good cook. But then comes competition. Once there's a woman prettier than his wife, he would most likely leave his wife and pursue the woman who is PRETTIER and a BETTER cook. This is still a selfish type of love.

3. "I love you, FULL STOP."
Good thing, there's still a third type of love! This love can only be experienced by a complete and fulfilled individual - one who doesn't have to take from life's relationships to fill the voids in his or her own life. This is ONLY possible when Christ is able to fill your life on the inside that you feel free to give without demanding something in return. This is a CONDITION-LESS rather than an unconditional love. Ever since we rebelled against God, our ability to love unconditionally has been affected. Only through faith in Jesus Christ and having a relationship with Him can we be able to experience a love that is FULL STOP or condition-less.


Difference between love and lust?
Love cannot wait to give.
Lust cannot wait to get.