Four months and two days later, here I am attempting to write some updates, hoping to have what I personally call my “writing therapy.” Too many things have transpired in my life and I am taking my time to absorb everything. I’ve been dropping by fellow bloggers’ sites, tinkering on my mail, reading some online magazines, and visiting the blogs of those people who inspire me (to know who they are, just check the left portion of this blog) when I realized I have my own blog to write.

So I braved to log in the wordpress site, only to find out that I entered the wrong password. It took me several seconds to figure out the correct one and here I am, typing some meaningless chatter. But hey, I am writing, at least!

The thought of not being able to write sends shivers to my spine. I almost forgot my password and truth be told, after month of preparations and the Bar exams, I almost forgot how it is to write–from the heart, that is.

I am nevertheless happy that the operating word here is “almost” and that it could have happened but it didn’t. Well, for now, at least.

Here’s to writing back (hopefully)! And oh, I was thinking of making a new blog over the past few days and in fact, I have made the preliminaries already. *winkies*

the Lord Jesus Christ’s grace.

Yes, I am. I do. I will always be. I need Him everyday of the week, every hour of each day, every second and minute of each hour.

As a Christian, I am not perfect. (In fact, no Christian is perfect.) I need Jesus every step of the way. We need Jesus in every breath we take.

This morning, God’s sweet surprise and wonderful blessing shared this Bible passage to me. And I find it very timely. The Lord, indeed, has amazing ways to reach out to me (and to each one of us) in various styles.  Thank you, Lord!

Psalm 19: 7-14

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.

8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.

11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

The past two weeks have seen a swarm of eager kids of all ages with their equally-excited-but-sometimes-distressed parents rushing to buy the requisite notebooks, uniforms, shoes and the necessary baon. College students, too, have joined in the commotion, if I may call it so, filling up Lee Plaza, Cang’s, NBS, and even the far-away Robinson’s Place Dumaguete.

Because I am impatient, I know all too well the ins and outs of this frenzied phase of the Dumaguete lifestyle. I’ve memorized the rush hours and tried to avoid them.  I’ve learned to delay my lunch at 1 pm when the queue has shortened.  And to skip the long lines, I’ve learned that it’s best to do the groceries before or during lunchtime.

The past weeks, however, I have no luxury of choosing my time. That’s why for me to at least avoid the June rush, I have suspended all my necessity shopping to an indefinite time when the rush finally subsides.

Last Wednesday, however, I was extremely hungry in the early evening and my taste buds were craving for quesadillas at Lee Food Court. Since I was pretty sure that not many people will be eating at the food court at that time, I bravely headed to Lee Plaza. With my books and other study paraphernalia still in my oversized bag, I decided to leave my things at the Courtesy Counter which was surprisingly empty when I arrived.

I thought I was able to avoid the waiting time in lining at the Courtesy Counter but the Lord, indeed, had a different plan for me. And I was glad that He had.

After eating my share of quesadillas, I was ready to head to Cangs, buy a good book, head home, and leisurely read the book in my bed. But imagine my dismay when I found out that the “Claim” line at the Courtesy Counter has stretched out to almost as far as the street where fruit vendors converge.

I could have just skipped the line; in fact, I wanted to. But I realized only at that time that my ATM card was inside my bag and my money at hand was not enough to buy that good book I have been eyeing for a while now. So, without a choice, I obliged to fall in line and surrendered my will to His will.

And indeed, I was amazed at how fast the line moved when I waited, willingly, in my heart. I did not grumble nor give up; I simply waited and did not get angry at such a delay of my schedule which I was supposed to rigidly follow. I still even had the time to enjoy observing other people.

Later, at Cangs where I had to pay the book and a Chocolait, I had to undergo another long line. And at that time, the line was a bit slow-moving compared to the first one. Nonetheless, I was not harmed. I even had the chance to witness a mother-and-son scene which really touched me.

Oh the joy of waiting! Just like in our lives, there are no shortcuts in God’s plans for us. We have to go through in each stage He has prepared for us because He knows that it is the best. We may think by our human understanding that there is no point in waiting but we all know that the Lord’s wisdom is beyond our comprehension.

With that ordinary experience of falling in line, God was telling me that there is no need to rush, actually. Everything and everyone in this world operates and lives according to His own time. God wants us to take in all the details, big or small. He wants us to live each day in faith, one day at a time—enjoying His love and grace fully in each moment!

Isn’t it great to know that the Lover of Our Soul doesn’t want us to rush; instead, He wants us to spend time with Him—slowly, fully, and more memorably?

Oh how perfect Your timing is oh God!

“Going a little farther, he (Jesus Christ) fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26: 39)

For somebody like me who has been “independent to the point of being stubborn” (Kuya Moe’s assessment of my personality through my handwriting one summer night at Sted’s some years ago), it is very difficult to trust someone, or anyone for that matter, for things about my life. One, there is the issue of trust. It’s hard to trust anyone these days. Second, there is this fear of inadequacy or complacency. And so I entertain myself worrying too much even on the simplest details of the smallest things. I always have Plan B to back up Plan A, or Plan C to back up Plan B and the list goes on. I always analyze and analyze further every thing in my life. I can not just simply let go of a plan without ever stressing myself, to the point of getting sick, literally and figuratively. I cannot submit to someone else’s judgment for something that belongs to my life, much less surrender my plans to any one.

In short, I want to be in total and complete control of my life.

Yet, this is not what God is telling me. More often than not, His gentle Spirit would rebuke me and remind me that He is in Charge–that it is not me but Him. He is the Master of my ship, the Captain of my soul. It is His will, not mine.

Human as I am, I still find myself debating with my Lord on certain matters, always justifying myself, always finding an excuse to have it my way. In this chapter of the Gospel though, the Lord Jesus Christ reminded me on how important it is to be obedient to His will. Yet, I agree with the message two Sundays ago.  ‘Thy will be done, Lord’ is the most difficult prayer to pray.

First, it involves a surrender of the will. My human nature has trained me to just rely on myself but God wants me to have confidence in Him. To be able to walk the path of obedience and humility, I have to acknowledge that God has a perfect plan for me and His plans are always better than mine.

Second, this involves a surrender of the soul. My human side wants me to fully enjoy life my way because I need to have the best out of it. But this is not so with God. Our life on earth is but temporary and the real joy lies in heaven with Him. So as to be able to do His will, I need to think more than just earthly happiness but the everlasting joy of sharing eternal salvation with the Lord in heaven.

Third, this prayer needs firmness and commitment. Even when others fail or even if fellow Christians themselves would try to pull me down (which is happening, really), I need to stand for my faith and just continue to put my trust in the Lord. In the further verses, Jesus Christ warned his apostles that they should always be alert and ready. That they should pray so as not to fall into temptation and away from His will.

Lately, I have been faced with difficult decisions involving following God’s will or having it my way. In this struggle, it is easy to fall prey to the temporal happiness that the world can offer. Yet, it is comforting to know that God the Father sent His Only Son to die for sinners like us. The Lord Jesus Christ became a human being so He knows the suffering of every human being in following the Father’s will for us. In verse 37, the Bible tells us that Jesus was filled with anguish and deep distress. He knows how hard it is to say “Thy will be done” yet He continued praying and trusting. It is also the same for us. But we can come to the Lord Jesus Christ and He will comfort us and equip us to do God’s will.

And so I end this entry with the confidence that the Lord God will help me in doing His will every step of the way. And everytime I feel discouraged and distressed, I recall one of my favorite verses: “My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; he is all I ever need.”  (Psalm 73:26)

*Pastor Andy’s message at DCC two Sundays ago, with my own reflection

“The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” (Luke 22:61-62)

After Peter denied Jesus three times, He gave him the look.

What kind of look was it?

A)     Was it a reproachful look that said “How could you…?”

B)      Was it a proud “See, I told you so…”?

This may come as a surprise, but the answer, is absolutely none of the above.

Because Jesus Christ was neither proud nor reproachful. The look that He gave was a sad but compassionate gaze that said, “I love you, despite your denial of me.”

This is Jesus Christ, our personal Lord and savior. He is not judgmental; never condemning. Instead, He is always filled with an immeasurable amount of forgiveness and an abundant and unfailing love. His mercy and grace are beyond our human understanding. His love is unconditional.

It is quite comforting to know what kind of look Jesus has for all of us. I can only imagine how gentle and loving His face was towards Peter, despite the pain of the flogging he was subjected to while his disciple comfortably denied him. Yet, he looked at Peter straight in the eye and said “I love you.”

I am humbled and it breaks my heart to know that I am undeserving of this look. But, by His grace, He has given me the chance to know Him and by my faith become His child.

It isn’t what we Have done that makes us His; it’s His will and free gift that we are saved. He chose us; and He wants us to be His and His alone.

Indeed, no one can love us greater than our God does.

*Sharing last Sunday’s message with Pastor Thomas at DCC.

Many times I whined and complained. I was lost and did not understand. At times, I was weak and I almost gave up. But Your love and wisdom are all-encompassing. You saw me through. You pulled me out from the depths of the lures the world has given me. You gave me comfort; You provided me with strength. Best of all, You know what’s best for me.

Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings. As we face a new chapter in our lives, we commit to You all our plans, confident that You will fulfill Your sweet promises of salvation and grace.  Help us to know You more and set our focus on You and You alone.

They say that when you’re 25, you’re supposed to experience a quarter-life crisis. Thank God, I didn’t. And I thank Him further because my 25th year was more than just celebrating two decades and a half of my existence. It was my year of redemption.

Asked about that one thing I like most about God, I answered, without pausing a moment, that it’s His faithfulness that always moves me. He has always been faithful to me—at that time that I didn’t know Him yet, to the time I found Him and decided to make Him my personal Savior, to the time I got so lost and weary that I started to rebel, to that moment that, through His ever merciful heart, I finally found my way back to His outstretched arms. God’s ways are always wonderful and amazing; I am always at loss with words to describe all of them. There may be, during turbulence and distress, times that I complained, whined, grumbled, and criticized; but always, I find myself standing with awe and praise after the long and dark journey. Indeed, He has never left my side nor has He abandoned His child. He was always there, showing his goodness and giving me victory through His grace.

Looking back, I find another character of His that simply overwhelms me. And it is this: that He is an all-powerful God—the God of all gods, and the King of all kings—yet, He treats each one of us with justice and fairness. Imagine, with his power and might, He could have just easily banished me from this world for all the sins that I’ve committed. But He didn’t. Or, on the other side of the story, He could have just used His power and might to dictate and rule over this world, making me good and sinless always. But He didn’t. Instead, He gave me a period of grace so that in my own free will, I will repent (Romans 2:4) and allow His Spirit to sanctify me day by day (John 15:26, Romans 8:26). He used even the most trivial thing and the most painful experience to make me realize that it is only He who can complete my brokenness; it is only He who can satisfy my needs and desires; it is only He who can quench my thirst and longing (John 6:35).

Now that I am 26, I am filled with gratitude to those people God used as instruments of His love: to my family, who, despite the fact that they are yet to fully understand the Good News of His Saving Grace, has always been there for me through thick and thin; to my best friend who was very patient and persistent to share to me God’s word and to bring me back to the flock at that time that my faith was fading; to those friends, teammates, colleagues and classmates whose sincere and genuine concern made me see God more and more clearly, though they were unaware of it; and of course, to God’s sweet surprise and wonderful blessing in my life, who is always very encouraging and supportive in strengthening my faith, always reminding me that what really matter are the motives and desires of my heart that only God can see, hence, what other people think or do should not affect my faith and that God’s love is above and over our love for each other.

But most of all, I am thankful to Him and Him alone because I know that He made all things in my life possible. No word or action can contain my praise and thanksgiving to Him. I am filled with awe at His mercy; I am humbled with His love; I am strengthened with His Spirit. In Him, I am renewed.

I wanna think about Christmas but it’s hard to think about it if everything around us is, well, to use my Contemporary Legal Issues teacher’s words, “in limbo.”

First, there’s the Maguindanao massacre, the worst massacre in these contemporary days. And then, the funniest, most comedic yet frustrating thing: a president running for Congress and this lady seems no plan to resign at all, for delicadeza’s sake.

Some political  analysts suggest that Arroyo already knew about the brewing political clan rivalry in Maguindanao but she did not budge nor do anything. So around 60 innocent people were killed. Now, Maguindanao is under Martial Law. Arroyo is running for Congress. The administration is fielding Gibo for the presidency. Arroyo revealed that her top agenda will be Cha-Cha: she will be the Prime Minister and Gibo will be the puppet president.

I don’t know how true are these speculations but given the tricky tricks GMA did, this is not far from possible.

So, really, it would be totally okay if my Christmas gift would be an assurance that Arroyo and Gibo will not win in 2010. Please. Vote wisely… And pray for the Philippines.

First, it was Manny. Now, it’s Tiger. Woods, that is.

What’s wrong with men???????????

Given the scandalous lives of public figures, it is expected for most of us to say, “Okay, what else is new?”

But, it certainly is NOT okay.

While we are human beings and are prone to make mistakes, we were also given the intellect to properly discern what is right or wrong. While the male species of Kingdom Animalia have the tendency to be polygamous, the male human being is considered highest in the hierarchy, which translates to him being exceptional from the rest.He has a brain and a heart to control whatever natural sexual desires he has.

So really, the excuse “I am only human” is getting passe.

It’s time guys should take the challenge and prove that they’re way above the animals.

Isn’t it that when you made the decision to love and to be committed with someone, you also make an undertaking to stick with that someone through thick and thin? And that this commitment brings with it the effort not to make “pa-cute,” or at least not give a reason for anyone to believe that you are making “pa-cute” with someone else?

That is why, even before the time I decided to love and to be committed with someone, I already had this conscious effort not to associate myself too much with guys who are already attached. Assuming for the sake of argumentation that platonic relationships between me and these already-attached guys can exist, I prefer not to develop too much of that platonic relationship for delicadeza‘s sake. I always put myself on the girlfriend’s shoes. What would she feel if she founds out that I am communicating with her boyfriend? How would she react if she finds out that a female like her is actually close to her guy? I did have a lot of close guy friends but once they found their special someone to love, I immediately put a distance between our closeness, respecting their girlfriends’ feelings. I respect their privacy and leave to them matters of their concern. I don’t interview them about their love life nor do I give suggestions, comments, and tips. I don’t believe in helping out for their relationship to work because the truth of the matter is, it is only the two of them who can make it work and an additional person meddling in their affairs would simply complicate the situation. I want them to discover more about themselves through themselves and not through me because I am neither the girlfriend nor the boyfriend. All these because I believe in delicadeza.

So, ever since then and until now, I have not been texting that much nor have I chatted with my sister’s boyfriend (even though there is his effort of getting close to our family), or my friends’ boyfriends or any guy for that matter.

It’s a personal decision I have, a long time ago, cautiously made.

 

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