Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Conversation Excerpt

Location: Car
Date: November 30, 2010
Time: 20:35

We were on our way home from dinner...

Mom: I will be using the window screen to…
(Old screen used for the window that has been replaced during the renovation.)

Dad: Why are you keeping it? You should be throwing it away. (my mom and I just love stashing things away for reusing or recycling purposes. My dad on the other hand is worried that we might turn our guestroom's bathroom to a complete bodega.)

Mom: We need to place it on the big rectangular hole outside our house. That’s where the cockroaches outside our gates are coming from.

Dad: How will you do it? The water might not be able to course through the hole as easily.

Mom: We will just put it on top of the hole. If you can see our neighbors’ holes, theirs are really small that's why you won't see much of those cockroaches crawling near their gates.

Dad: I see.

Mom: I was talking to our neighbor Kalet about it and she told me, “Ahhh.... Kaya pala sumisigaw si Mitzi pag umuuwi ng gabi!” (“Ahhh.... So that’s why Mitzi is shouting when she gets home in the evenings!”)

Me: O.o

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wisdom = Sorrow

Let me share with you a very odd thing I experienced recently. I prayed to God for wisdom as Solomon did. I prayed to God for knowledge and discretion, for insight and understanding, and for prudence and discernment. I prayed for that which he (Solomon) said are better than gold and silver. I've sought them, watched daily at wisdom's doors, waited at its doorway.. "For whoever finds me (wisdom) finds life and receives favor from the Lord."

So, I thought it was all good. Since the real Wisdom is written in the Bible, then it contains the best guide to the right path and the best framework for decision making. However, what caught me off-guard was that the more I sought and pondered about wisdom, the more it unraveled itself, the more depressed I got. It reminded me that I could not meet God's standards. It convicted me of my shortcomings.

Occasionally, it left me a "You're a fool!" mark when I could not always answer my parents like a patient and obedient daughter should; when I rejected some much-needed corrections; when I groaned and complained once being disciplined; when I was too prideful and avoided godly counsel; etc. Basically, it showed me that I was more often wrong and opened alternative (and usually painful) pathways for me. Ways that would be more pleasing to God. Ways that would ultimately save my life here on earth. And when I tried to do the rights things, I can't hardly accomplish any of them perpetually.

I'm not sure if you feel the same way -- incompetent, unworthy, sinner. You've been a Christian for years, you've sought the Lord for months and yet you still find yourself lacking in several aspects. Why don't you try to read and digest a chapter of Proverbs each day in the coming 31 days of December and tell me how you feel?

I was not surprised that when I turned to Solomon's next book, Ecclesiastes, I faced this particular adage (v.18): "For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief." This verse shows a very realistic grasp of our sinful nature. Because of sin, we are not able to enjoy wisdom and knowledge. Both of them are naturally good. Both are supposed to lead us to a joyful and blessed life. However our sinful nature is just not compatible with them. Our being sometimes disregards wisdom in moments of trials despite having acquired it. That's why the more "right things" that we know we have to do, the more instances we see our inability to achieve them due to our sinful nature.

Solomon himself was considered to "have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem." And yet he admitted that he experienced "madness and folly." He acquired not only riches and knowledge, but also 700 wives and 300 concubines that ultimately led to his downfall! He had a deep well of wisdom, a massive think tank, to know God's clear command that “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods” (1 Kings 11:2). "As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been" (v4). So despite the fact that he was blessed with wisdom, Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD and of course he was punished for it.

Solomon's deliberate act of folly was a clear indication that knowing and gaining wisdom alone will not save us from life's perils. We may have the desire to follow God's path, but our human imperfections and our attraction to Satan's temptations make us fall short in doing so. Having the wisdom and knowing it will definitely fill us with sorrow and grief, a depressing feeling of utter helplessness, and I think this is what Jesus could be saying in His beatitudes: "Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."

The"poor" here is translated from ptochos, which literally means "to crouch or cower as one helpless." Nobody wants to be poor. It denotes weakness, frailty, dependence, affliction and distress. Who in the right mind would want to go out and beg for alms right? But this is where more wisdom is bringing us ~ to sorrow. And this is where God is most pleased to see us ~ in full dependence of Him.

As a famous preacher named Charles Spurgeon once said, "The way to rise in the kingdom is to sink in ourselves." It is this realization of our utter unworthiness, a sense of spiritual need and destitution, that drives us to seek Christ to lift it. (Source: www.bibletools.org). Truly, the poor in spirit will be blessed, for theirs is the Kingdom of God!

May we continue to seek God for His wisdom and knowledge even if it will bring us much sorrow and grief. We ought to feel the sorrow, we out to feel the grief. Because through this we will find the real condition of our self, poor in spirit.

God bless you!

Monday, November 22, 2010

In the Grip of God

A burning and deluding passion inside
Cracked the innocence of mankind,
They cover their bodies with leaves and twigs
Their sins shadowed by the false righteousness they sing.

They who were beautifully and wonderfully made
Hid in seclusion. The light and vigor fade
Wholly, unduly,
into darkness.

he twisted like the serpent --
Although cunning and independent,
The purpose of life he yearned,
Is not in the darkness, he learned.

his emptiness, hunger and thirst
were left unquenched like a curse.
“Lord, Lord,” he cried out
From darkness, he wanted out!

When he heard Jesus call his name
he faced Jesus with regret and shame
The door to his heart he unlocked,
Jesus reached out and welcomed him back.

he called Him Savior, he reached for His hand
he journeyed with Jesus to near and distant lands
From the darkness he left, the bondage of sin he escaped,
By the blood of Jesus, his eternal crimes were cleanly scraped.

Sometimes he fails to remember
That while on earth, he is still a sinner
Ready to be tempted and devoured
By Satan who is creeping around the corner.

Yes, he still sins and acts in folly and haste
And sometimes he even wanders in a “keep-off” miry place.
he realizes that even if his spirit is poor and weak
he can not escape from God's firm and loving grip.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:38-39

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Master Spoke

The Master Spoke
Author Unkown

The Master spoke, but I scarcely heard
Above the noise and the din
Of hurrying feet and hammer-stroke--
I was building a a house for Him.
Then He took me aside and He taught me this
While earthly things grew dim--
He would rather a place in this heart of mine
Than the house I was building for Him.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Purpose of Purpose : An Answer to Quarter Life Crisis

Have you come to a point in your adventure, when the walk becomes dreary, the air dry and the scene dull? And when you can't seem to remember what your daily routine is for or where it is supposed to take you. Have you ever experienced that after days of moving, weeks of pushing forward with your brow full of sweat, you find yourself lost, empty, and without a purpose?

Why don't we just eat, sleep, work and play until the day that we die? Why do we need to have a purpose? Won't our bodies end up in ashes anyway? Why do we have an innate longing to find and fulfill a purpose? Why do we feel horrible if we don't see a purpose?

A friend of mine said, "without purpose you're as good as dead." Once upon a time, I had a cellphone. It was a sleek black and grey slide Nokia phone. It was cute and compact. It had a camera, a radio and a sudoku game that never failed to entertain me. It allowed me to send text messages to groups and save important messages in folders I had created. Wherever I went, it went with me. I felt incapacitated without it. However, once upon a time, it fell from a great height of what seemed like the highest mountain. It landed with its insides torn to pieces. After that tragic incident, no word, no icon, no number could be seen. It wasn't able to call, to text to load the sudoku game anymore.

Although it is still cute and compact, it is now neglected and unused as it lies lifeless underneath piles of books in my cabinet. This made me realize that like the cellphone, if we do not fulfill our purpose, we are as good as dead. Each waking day is dreadful and boring, without life and vigor, such that you can't help but wish for the world to just envelop you into its core. Such that you hope to just wake up the next day finding yourself in heaven. Such that you want to sleep day in and day out. Such that you can't seem to say anything nice about your day except that work is meaningless and you are simply wasting your time. Do you get what I mean?

God once created us pure and clean to fulfill a purpose. But when sin crept into our system, instead of just forgetting the purpose altogether, God gave us an an innate longing to fill in the vacuum to settle the unrest. More often, we replace the original purpose with selfish goals and corrupt motives. We throw in money, love life, business, world peace, fight against global warming, etc into the vacuum. We busy ourselves and hope that this odd longing will just go away. Funny thing is, it doesn't go away. Instead it makes us feel empty and lifeless at the end of the day. You know why? Because unless we fulfill our original purpose, this desire will not be satiated.

I admire how God has created men with the innate desire for purpose. Without it, probably many will just run their own ways happily and guiltless. The desire to give meaning to life tugs the hearts of men to remind them that "Hey, go back to God, the maker of heaven and earth, the one who made you." And it's God's subtle way of saying, "Get to know me, get to know Jesus, because I am the only one who can give you life."

Last Sunday, Bro. Dan Cura of DZFE FM 98.7 shared with us what is the purpose of mankind. And I believe this is the original purpose of God for us as well. Better brace yourselves and get ready for the truth. If you really want to find your purpose, then read on.

The original purpose of God is to create a united and peaceful family where His love and glory will shine, a.k.a. the body of Christ. We are to build up the body of Christ "until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Some of us may lead, others may need to follow. Some may need to teach, others to preach and others to do the inviting. Each person has been given a gift "as Christ apportioned it" after He conquered death and ascended to heaven. Each of us has a designated part in God's family. If we do not want to be "joined and held together by every supporting ligament" in the body of Christ, then we will never fulfill our purpose.

The body of Christ may include the current and the future believers of Christ. So wherever you are, be intentional in your living. If you are really good in singing, by all means join ABS CBN and be a singer. There are plenty of lost souls there that you can introduce Jesus to. If you are good in drawing, draw Christian literature. If you are good in writing, write for the Lord! If you are good in teaching, study the Word and teach. Embrace and celebrate who God has made you to be!

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. ~ Ephesians 4:16