Weak

I can’t go on.
I had enough.
I can’t do this anymore.

Recently, I went through something I am used to – people come and people go, right? I should be able to handle this for the nth time. Well, I was wrong. And I saw how it is true – when you are breaking down inside, you vividly see how the world perfectly goes on, how people happily lives on without you, while you try to pull yourself together with all your might.

The questions come one after the other, questions most often you won’t find answers to. And slowly, the bitterness creeps in, and before you know it, darkness. I started to question things I know about, questioning God, questioning myself. Every thing is wrong, someone has to be responsible for this. I have my choices: God, me, or him. Yet I cannot choose apart from me so I point the fingers at myself and felt ever more wrong, which lead me to question God, why create me? It’s a cycle spiralling down towards a dark abyss. I know other people would have chosen differently, and maybe for some it could have been easier to blame the other person and get over with it. That was my choice, a choice which clearly shows how much self-love I have – close to zero. I am selfish, but I do not love myself. I believed I was strong and now I am demanding that strength from myself.

One truth remains and that is, in darkness, Light will shine brighter, in weakness, His strength will be magnified. Only when I shift my focus away from myself and focus on Him; only when I stop blaming myself and start loving His creation called me; only when I accept the divine help He so freely offer and has been keeping me; only when I stop trying to control and solve the situation and rely on Him; only when I start to die to self and live for Him. It is singing to God with all my heart and soul Jesus take the wheel, take it from my hand, cos I can’t do this on my own…

As of this writing, I still struggle. Yet I know, I do not struggle alone and true help comes from Him. I still have a lot to learn from St. Paul. I don’t know how to boast about my weakness. I only plead for the thorn to be taken away but to delight in the thorn is something else. Yet St. Paul clearly said, for God’s strength to rest in me, I must first boast about my weakness. I pray that I will have true strength to surrender and tell about my weakness. Lord, I am a sinner and I cannot do this alone. I’ve tried and failed and hurt myself and other people. This is just too much for me to handle.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Second letter of St. Paul to the church in Corinth 12:8-10

True strength isn’t about being sassy, sexy, independent, self-reliant and in control.

True strength doesn’t rely on self – it dies to self.

Recognizing our human frailty and leaning on Him is what makes us strong.

A woman of strength recognizes she is weak and in need of a savior. She admits her need. She knows that it’s only the good kind of weak – the humble, soft, teachable kind – that will truly make her strong.

The Right Kind of Strong – Mary A. Kassian
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The Lost Sheep

I feel I am not worthy to write about God and the things of above. Before sitting down for this, I was bothered by these thoughts: so you want to tell people about God but here you are, you just committed another sin. Forget about writing about God, do not be a hypocrite, no one will listen to a sinner. Forget about writing at all, don’t waste your time. And I almost believed the lies. True, I am a sinner, I am the lost sheep. The lies are that I am not worthy and that no one will listen.

Just when I am about to get on my feet in the spiritual battle and find my purpose, I find myself attacked and fallen.  Sometimes we think, God allowed it trying to take on the responsibility of our choices.  Yet God allows choices, and I choose to do those sins.  I go out of the fence and wander far from Him. It is a dark and dangerous field out there and I find myself being beaten down time and again, by my thoughts, my actions – deceived time and again. 

I asked God, don’t you get tired of looking for me and taking me back?  I accused Him of letting all these happen.  Why cannot He just keep me safe in the fence and so my life will be happy?  Why give me the freedom to wander off and hurt myself and others?  I cried to Him, I am so tired of trying to understand and fight and do what you want me to do and I am so tired of this life, there is just no way that I will be perfect, holy and a Christian.  Even my tears are tired of falling, my heart tired of breaking.  Everything about me is just simply tired, but the irony of it all, in the tiredness I didn’t let go of the rein of my life, I didn’t turn over my life to God.  I held on to it with my remaining strength, trying to fix things, trying to figure things out. 

God, on the other hand, in His faithfulness continue to prod me, silently calling out to me, seeking me, and keeping me.  I know He does.  I cannot explain how I know, yet I believe with all my heart the only reason I still have my sanity and that I am still breathing and writing this right now is God keeping me and keeping His covenant with me.  And He is asking me, aren’t you tired of trying to make sense of your life?  Why don’t you rest in me? 

I wish I can tell you it happened overnight.  That I heard Him and accepted the invitation at once without arguing; that at the point I accepted and rest in Him, things got better.  It was a process that for some would take a while for others longer. Finally giving in and resting in Him, there was peace, there was true joy in me.  But one incident, one memory, one harsh reality and boom!!! a huge wave of thoughts and feelings rush back. I try to run away but it caught me.  I try to stay afloat while it beats down on me.  Truly, me of little faith.  Forgetting the Anchor, forgetting to fix my gaze on Jesus.  Things didn’t get better overnight, but gradually, in little steps, in little moments, with the graces of God, smaller battles are won.  It may take a little more time for me to be truly okay, or maybe I won’t be entirely okay and memories will bring me emotions that will challenge my peace and joy, yet I pray to be anchored to His truth, that in this world, I will have troubles, and I have to take heart and remember that Jesus has overcome the world and has been victorious and in that my hope lies, my rest is in Him.

12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Matthew 18 NIV

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11 NIV

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16 NIV

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Psalm 62:1 – 2 NIV

Alone

Previously I have called Lent the “white space”, the “white noise” of God, the period where winter turns to spring and it becomes cold and eerily quiet, it’s beautiful yet eerie.  This time, the battle rages on but our God is ever faithful.

I have been struggling internally with all the emotions and delusions I have – of the deceit and lies the devil feeds my mind.  I am unwanted, I am alone, I am made to be alone in this world, I will not find love, I will forever be left behind – name the lies, the enemy has it.  Yet, God, in His loving mercy and almightiness knew beforehand what will happen and has sent forth the weapons and help for me.  Well, He could have just stopped it but He didn’t, like with Job’s story.  And as for me, I could let the enemy fill me with lies and not use the weapons God has been providing me.

Yet here we are, here I am.  Faced with all these lies and deceit, God has been feeding me with my dose of Daily Bread, with His Word of Truth and Mercy.  It’s not easy, it sounds  Continue reading

Jesus Owns You

In the Philippines, especially in its capital Manila, the roads are filled with these rowdy jeepneys – the engine sound, the sudden stops, the blings and stickers on their bodies.  As a driver, you would want to stay as far away from them as possible which is an impossible feat in the metro.  These jeeps would often have names written on their body or hanged on the back, sometimes stickers of zodiac signs, artwork, or the face of Jesus, others hang signs like “God bless our trip” or some pinoy hugot or humor quotes.

As I was done with my first trip this morning and on my way to the second one, I was already getting cheesed off with the bad Manila traffic, the buses and pedestrians, the chaos so early on a Monday morning.  And it’s a Monday.  Half-way to my second destination, this jeep cut me and I was about to lose it when I saw what’s written on its side “Jesus Owns You” and it spells JOY.

So simple.  3-letter word.  3 words.  Says it all.  It occurred to me how we all strive and struggle to be happy, to find peace, to be filled with joy – the joy that the world can never ever take away from us.  We search, we seek, we ask, we knock yet often we are left asking for more or asking more questions.  All along, what Jesus is telling us, what God wants from us, is to be owned by Him – yet we cannot have that.  I am my own, this is my life – don’t we all say that and live that?  I want joy but I want my life to be my own as well.  Hmm… I really don’t know how we can work around that when JOY is simply being owned by Jesus.

What does it mean to be owned by Jesus and why do most of us resist?

To be owned even just by someone is to be a slave of that person, to obey and act on that person’s commands.  Didn’t God give me

Continue reading

Living on a Prayer

So you should pray like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
as we have forgiven those who are in debts to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.”

– Matthew 6:9-13

And this is how we ought to pray.  Not by memorizing the Lord’s prayer but by truly understanding what it meant.

To declare His glory and to make known His love; to submit to His will; to ask not only for the daily provisions of life but for the bread of life as well – the Word of God, the presence of Jesus in our lives; to forgive others and acknowledge that we are sinners and humbly lay down our sins at the feet of the cross; to pray for strength for we know that our flesh is weak; to acknowledge our salvation.

When we find it in our hearts struggling to submit to His will, or to forgive – let us pray for these struggles because we are weak and He is strong.  Let us not depend on our strength but rely on His.  And in times we do not know what to pray, or when we even cannot utter a single word to pray, a tear drop is a prayer that the Lord fully comprehend.  A deep sigh from a tired soul, a silence, a sob from a broken heart – all these and more the Lord sees and hears as our prayers.

The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness.  For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our heart knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.
– Romans 8:26-27

Pray, and listen.  The Lord delights in speaking to us when we pray.

Amate i Vostri Nemici

Love your enemies.

Simple.  Direct.  Crazy.  But, why should I?  How could I?

In theory, it’s already hard to postulate.  In practice, what more?  The world sees this as the craziest idea – a world that demands justice, revenge, vengeance sugar-coated into something we sometimes use as ‘I’m just teaching him a lesson’ or ‘He deserves it’.  Oh, how kind of us, teaching lessons, giving deserving presents!  And the world who loves gossips and dramas would be against a person who quietly accepts persecution and forgives – corny, boring, stupid.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth.’  But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.  If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:38 – 42

Personally, I struggle with this command.  It’s just too hard to comprehend and it goes against lessons the society has taught me growing up.  I look at a society that demands Continue reading

Merciful Father

Whenever I reflect on God’s Mercy, I cannot help but be amazed of the love that He has for His disobedient and stubborn people.  I see how unworthy I am of such love and how faithful He is for keeping His covenant in spite of all that the other party, we, does.  Seeing this love always drives me to tears and gratitude and makes me see that all other things matter less in this world.

One parable commonly told is that of the prodigal son, in other texts it is entitled the parable of the Merciful Father and rightly so.  Often the focus is on the son who Continue reading

What You Let Distracts You.

For the past 3 days, I’ve been repeatedly listening to Joyce Meyer’s ministry on podcast about this topic: Using Your Time Wisely.  I know I needed a lot of guidance in that aspect of my life and I know I needed to do something about it.  I listen to it again and again because I want to internalize every single lesson I am going to get from this ministry.  True enough, our gracious God sent His help in the matter.  Aside from the ministry, I am given today a strong Word about God’s visitation in my life.  Just when the term ‘visitation’ resonated with me from that podcast ministry, I get a reading that warns me about what happen when I do not realize God’s visitation in my life.

What about visitation from the podcast ministry of Joyce Meyer?

The word visitation and the meaning and importance of it resounded to me only on the second day I listened to the ministry.  It made so much impact on me that I pondered on it – what do I usually do when God distracts my routine, my plan?   Continue reading

If an old horn can amplify music, then perhaps our flawed lives can magnify the goodness of God.  We’re the megaphone; the music and the power come from Him.

~ David McCasland