Sea-kissed

Sand between my toes,

waters rush to my feet

On and on it goes,

‘fall in love as we meet!

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Seeds

Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. – Matthew 13:3-9

I love how Jesus told stories to people in those ancient times. I can imagine the wonder and bewilderment in their faces as they did not understand the things he was saying. When Jesus’ disciples asked Him why he always spoke in parables when talking to the people, He said,

You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. – Matthew 13:11-13

Being a Christian and a follower of Christ, I believe that by the Holy Spirit’s anointing to us, we can comprehend the language that Jesus used in His parables. These stories reflect the beauty and power of the Words of God, therefore, we can have the understanding of the deepest and most mysterious teachings of Jesus.

The pharisees were not ready to hear the purging truth in the words that Jesus was speaking since “anyone who isn’t with Him opposes Him, and anyone who isn’t working with Him is actually working against Him.” (Matthew 12:30). No matter what Jesus told them, they would fight against it as if those were the most abominable things they have ever heard. Because of their hardened hearts and closed ears, they were not able to endure the truthfulness and power of Jesus’ words. And so, Jesus would speak parabolic stories, instead.

But because we have been born again and have come to understand God’s saving power and love for all of us, we delight in His words and wisdom. The words He spoke thousands of years ago that were perplexing and deafening in the ears of the ancient unbelievers are the the very same words that we adore and rejoice in today, just as His disciples and followers did in those days. When Jesus discussed about the seeds being thrown and planted in different types of soil, He was talking about the people who are able to hear His Good News but have different ways of responding to it.

The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted! – Matthew 13:19-23

Which seed are you?

The Waiting Game

You’re on a long queue at a fast food chain, waiting to finally have your order taken. Your stomach grumbles and you wish for nothing but to sit on one of those chairs and satisfy your hunger. You also grumble, thinking why the moment you came in to that restaurant is when people also came flooding in. It sucks.

You’re at the airport. A long line of passengers are in front you, all wanting to beat the check-in queue. You’re getting anxious and the thought of missing your flight within an hour is starting to creep in. Good grief.

None of us wants to wait. We may associate waiting with unnecessary delays, wasted time or money, or even psychological or emotional torture. To some, waiting is like a senseless moment of time, only to throw anxiety, confusion, discomfort, and hopelessness into our mind. But what is it in waiting that it seems to be inevitable in our lives?

Abraham and Sarah waited until they had a son. Abraham was 100 years old and his wife was 99 when Isaac was born. How did that happen? Like normal people, we would scoff at the idea that a couple so old could still bear a child, and Abraham and Sarah were not exempted from this madness.

Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” -Genesis 17:17

So she (Sarah) laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?” -Genesis 18:12

If we will look at an earlier event in Genesis 15, when the Lord told Abram (Abraham’s old name before the Lord changed it) that he will have descendants as many as the stars in the sky (v. 5), Abram believed (v. 6) and he was counted as righteous because of his faith.

The old couple must have been so crazy to believe something that is impossible to happen, but they still chose to believe and wait. As they waited, though they came to a point that they thought it was hilarious to do so, Sarah became pregnant and soon they had Isaac through whom a descendant of Jesus the Messiah came (Matthew 1:17).

Notice how waiting became an absolute thing in the story of Abraham and Sarah. Not only did they wait, but they received the reward for their patience and faith.

It seems futile for us to wait for something that we cannot see or even conceive in our mind, but waiting is just a part of a season before we become ready to receive something that is wonderful. Waiting is actually the amount of time wherein we realize that we cannot have the things we want all at the same time. If it weren’t so, we may not be able to handle everything so well and we will end up devastated more than if we waited to have it little by little or soon.

Waiting can also be a form of God’s protection over you or your loved ones. Standing on a massive check-in queue at the airport may mean having you miss your flight but you never knew that a couple of hours later, that plane you’re supposed to board will crash and tragically kill the people in it.

You may have a long-awaited job that you so anticipated but your hopes came crashing down when the employer told you you weren’t shortlisted. Little did you know that the company was close to bankruptcy and laying off and you were spared because you waited for that rejection.

After multiple attempts, you just can’t pass that certification examination. You have studied enough, spent considerably for the examination fees, and you have waited a great deal of time already. And yet that sweet taste of success seems to be too elusive for you to reach, and you ask why.

Three years have passed and you are still hoping that your old flame will come back to you with a love stronger and better than you had before you broke up. But in those three years you heard nothing from him. So you continued to pray and wait for the right man to come along… until another man whom God destined for you unexpectedly turns up and now he is your husband.

You see, divine waiting does not mean harm or misery; it is just one of the instruments that God can use for you to be safe or for you to be able to get to your destination. Though at times you are left clueless why you have to wait, but perhaps you just need to open your eyes and see beyond what is in front of you. God may be telling you something that, for years, you have always disregarded and escaped from. Perhaps it is His way to call your attention and make you realize something that you need to get right with Him. It is not His nature to confuse you or get you lost in your track, but that He only wants you to learn how to prioritize, or declutter your life, or just know which are the most important ones that need to be valued and kept.

Like in the story of Abraham and Sarah, they needed to understand God’s sovereignty and all-powerfulness before they could have what they were praying for. They might have laughed at the idea that it will happen, but their faith accounted for the thought that it will happen. God showed them His nature and right before their eyes, they saw the things that are impossible to man became possible to God.

This waiting game entails a lot of frustrations and disappointments, but in the end, we are never losers in this “game”. God orchestrates our lives, including the pauses and the pitfalls, but alongside them are the victories that we will attain if we remain faithful to Him while we’re waiting.

God wants to see your faithfulness in this wait. He does not want you to just wait, but He wants you to be active, hopeful, and expectant. He wants your heart and your submission to His will so He can move greatly in your life. He wants you to experience His love through Jesus, as He also waited for this moment to be with you because He loves you with the kind of love that waits for His child to come back to Him and live with Him for all eternity. Jesus painfully waited for that day that He would be crucified and ultimately fulfill God’s will. He also waited for three days before He could come back to life and be with the Father. And now, He is also waiting for you to come to Him and so that He can make His dwelling in your heart and strengthen you and bless you as you go through the waiting season.

So, what are you waiting for?

“You memorize me.”

Three words. But still, hundredfold thoughts keep on mesmerizing me.

Who has ever memorized a person, so deeply and completely, that he knows one’s every motive, deepest desires, and the soul’s innermost thoughts? No one, not even blood-related kins or closest of friends could do that.

But how? How do You do that, God? That even in my highs and lows, You know me? That in the midst of my wonder and praise You listen to me? And even before I say these, You hear me?

How come, my Lord, that You see the unseen in me? How did You know me so fully and incomprehensibly and yet you love me so purely?

Why did You choose to hold me so dear and open Your ears to my voice?

As much as I have these questions, I drown in the answers that seem to elude my frailness and limitations. I am breathing the love that is vast and glorious…the same love that keeps me seeking His glory, that makes my spirit soar and rest in the bliss of His mindfulness and thoughtfulness for me.

His love knows me. He has known me before I came into being. He knows me today, and He knows me tomorrow. “He memorizes me.”

And when I ask why and how… I hear Him say,

“I love you.”

That’s when I know that He does know me with the love that I will never be able to fully memorize.

For it takes eternity to know a love that knows me forever.

Crazy Faith

Have you ever been told that you’re crazy? What did you feel about it? Were you thrilled, exhilarated, or offended? Or perhaps you just felt funny being told that you’re insane? Whatever you felt, you’re still crazy enough to have felt that way. 😉

I, myself, have been told that I am crazy. If I would count the times that people lovingly or sarcastically said it, I wouldn’t be able to count them with my two hands. Plus, I don’t know who labelled me as such behind my back, but let alone. I actually thank them for seeing that realest description of myself.

Ever since I became a Christian, many “weird” things have taken place. For example, since I was young, I have always loved reading books, however, the Bible was not even on my list. But when Jesus revealed Himself to me in a dream, I suddenly felt the natural urge and eagerness to seek Him and know Him by reading God’s words. I also felt convicted of my own sins, making me fall down to my knees and cry out in repentance. In a blink of an eye, my life turned around and I received His promises for me. I went from glory to glory and strength to strength, and from that day on, I lived each day with the wonderful hope that He is always with me and that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Receiving Him in my heart was the moment when I could say I almost felt weightless because all the burdens and bitterness I had kept long hidden were purged out and forgiven right before my eyes. And I could say I was out of my mind, too. Who would ever understand the mysteries and amazing redemption that God does in a person’s heart? Not even my mind could grasp it.

Weird. Odd. Strange. Abnormal! Name it. Because in this fast-changing, restless, hostile world, devotion to God and the decision to trust Him for one’s salvation is an unpopular and not a normal choice to make. We live in a world where people will mock you for proclaiming the good news, scoff at your conviction, hate you for the truth, and ridicule your stand and belief in Christ.

In reality, we have two choices- to be with God’s presence or to go into the wilderness and away from His love and forgiveness. The choice you make makes you the kind of crazy that you wanted to be. Would you prefer to be mad about the One who could save the world, or be mad about the vain, passing, and futile things in this temporary world? In this kind of generation, it pays to have a solid foundation and make a firm stand. It takes courage to submit yourself, your pride, self-righteousness, envy, unforgiveness, anger, rebellion, your sins to the One who can wipe them all away and make you into a new person.

Indeed, those who are true followers of Jesus have gone mad. They’re mad about God’s unfathomable love, power, and limitless grace. They’re insane about praising Him at the top of their lungs and worshiping Him with trembling and highest adoration. They are madly crazy about God and all that He is. Because in this life that we have, it is up to us if we would embrace our purpose of knowing Him and enjoying His amazing love that is abundant and most beautiful. For me, it is way better to have an undignified faith and endure all oppositions than to be away from the King of my very own heart.

Yes, I am crazy. Are you?

A Universe of Wonder

Today, I was mesmerized by the fact that I am so small.

Not in height (I already knew that), but I am talking about my size in relation to the cosmos. I’m afraid that am nothing worth compared to such vastness and immensity… but still, I feel so great. And it’s a real good shrinking feeling.

I have always been fascinated by space, stars, planets, galaxies, light years, milky way. I am a huge astronomy fan! It just goes to show that in my tiniest existence, there is an unimaginably enormous existence outside of the world that I’m actually living in. I bet I am still smaller than a bacterium invisibly swimming in the Pacific Ocean, as I am in this universe. There are even claims that our universe is not the only one; there are a lot of other universes (multiverse) that are impossible to count or explore. These have always blown my mind, why, it cannot certainly grasp its enormity!

This astonishing knowledge leads me to the realization that, everything on earth, the things in my life, or the ideals I cling to, are just a speck of what there really is. Most of the time, we get so entangled with the mundanities of everyday life, including its worries, imperfections, injustices, doubts and fears. At other times, we get caught up in our happiness, pleasures, successes, and worldly affairs. There is nothing wrong with being on a pursuit to finding life’s joy and triumph. After all, we all live and struggle to attain happiness and contentment. However, if we picture it in a larger (way, way larger) scale, everything in life is temporary… and limited. And if we focus only on this finite measure of existence, then most likely we will end up always searching for something that cannot be possibly found anywhere in the visible reality. Thus, we end up always desiring for more, dissatisfied, discontented, hungry, thirsty, wanting, incomplete.

Empty.

That’s what cripples us- the void in each one of us that is so dejecting and gruelling. And so we desperately fill it with things in this meek, small earth in order to feel complete. (But even the earth itself needs the sun for survival of its living inhabitants). It seems that all things imaginable must depend on something or someone to be complete, but wherever we look, we just can’t find our fulfillment.

That someone complete and perfect” is sometimes the most neglected reality. Maybe because he is invisible? I say He is the most visible evidence of greatness and power in all existence!

Who keeps the planets in place in space? Who knows the number of the stars and each of their names (Psalm 147:4)? Who holds together the entire universe in His hands (Colossians 1:17)? Who goes from the beginning to the end (Revelation 1:8)?

No one, but the God of the universe.

He is the God who causes the sun to rise up in the morning and set at dusk. He is the God who causes bolts of lightning and sends rain from the sky. He is the God who creatively crafts snowflakes and cause them to fall from the clouds. He is the God who sprinkled endless sands on the shore and sends waves into the seas. He is the God who breathed the stars and made the heavens when He spoke. And He is the God who breathed life into us, His very masterpiece of limitless, endless, and immeasurable love.

We are a galaxy of thoughts from our loving and great God. If He created space and time in ways that we cannot fathom, then how much more when He created our very being that is infused with the love of an eternal God? How much more value and favor and power there is?

I may not be able to fully comprehend and describe this magnificent love that I’m talking about, but I’m sure it is what has compelled me to believe and surrender my life to the One who is the ultimate expression of His love, and that is Jesus. His son whom He sent to die on the cross for our own sins is, for me, the meaning of my existence and by which God’s love is measured. He is the beginning and the end, the power that is before all things and in whom all things hold together.

It is true that we are so small. But our God, who is bigger than endlessness and eternity itself, has loved us with such greatness that our significance stands out among all the universes…

That love alone completes us, makes us understand the unfathomable, and makes us see the invisible.

How great is our GOD!

If you want to be more amazed by God’s greatness in His creation, you can watch these videos (Links below). Trust me, they’re worth watching. 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAuGRhZsMCs

Everything is Meaningless

If the title has raised some eyebrows, or has made you cynical or wary for some reasons, then most likely you are reading this right now. Just who is this woman trying to say that everything is meaningless?

Am I not invalidating the toils and sweat and tears of those who struggle to make a living? Or, am I not discrediting all the good deeds of my fellowmen with kindred spirits throughout history?

For goodness’ sake, no.

But for King Solomon, he had all the guts (and glory) to proclaim that everything on earth is completely and utterly meaningless!

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”

What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now. (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11)

The melancholic mood of Ecclesiastes is so great and articulate that when one gets to read this account of King Solomon, there may either be wonder, confusion, or curiosity lingering in our minds. If King Solomon really had “everything” then- unparalleled wisdom, great wealth, and fame- then what made him come to the conclusion that everything is actually meaningless?

For starters, King Solomon, amidst all the splendors of worldly pleasures and possessions, was saying that all things in this world are just temporary and fleeting. All things, i.e., material possessions, money, beauty, popularity, career, achievements, and trials, difficulties, hardships, pain, suffering, and misery alike, will all soon fade. Even life itself will pass away (Matthew 24:35, Psalm 103:15). He presents that reality that we are mortals and all that is on earth will soon vanish. Hence, “meaningless”, like a chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

He is asserting mortals’ need for something or someone who is imperishable or relentless. One that is persisting and enduring throughout the ages. Solomon is pertaining to the One who has an endless existence and essence. Every part of his Ecclesiastes account portrays the stark contrast between the mortality, limitation, and helplessness of man and the endlessness, power, and greatness of God.

I, for one, have spoken these for a few number of times, “Bakit paulit-ulit na lang? Wala nang katapusan. Para tayong mundo, paikot-ikot lang.” (“Why does this happen again and again? It seems to be never-ending. We’re like earth on its orbit, going round in circles with no end.”). When I heard myself crying out in consternation, I remembered the king of Israel. I concede to his words.

History merely repeats itself. I believe that I am not the only one in the boat, many of us are in the same boat. We go through a great deal of trials and heartaches and difficulties, and they are inevitable. Our forefathers themselves also experienced the circumstances we are facing today. Ever since time began, human beings all have felt happiness and sadness alike, peacefulness and anger, or fulfillment and frustration. Nothing is really new.

Now, who am I really to complain about the pursuit of human life? Even the wise King Solomon was not spared from the mundaneness and “senselessness” of earthly existence. Thousands of years have gone by since he reigned in Israel, and here I am, seeing these temporal circumstances as nothing more than ordinary and repetitive.

Nevertheless, I am more greatly filled with gratitude and content that in the midst of these tedious life processes, there is Someone who never ceases to give me a new heart each time I am weary. God’s grace for me is new everyday and His love for me never changes. I know that there is an end to these seemingly perpetual worldly undertakings, and, when that time comes, one thing is for sure will never end- my praise and worship before His revealed glory.

Love and Nonexistence

Yesterday, you were shedding tears for them.
Today, you are shedding tears for yourself.
Does love come back
to the one who shares it?

I don’t believe in unrequited love.
It is love or no love at all.
It is never in part or in some quantity.
It is absolute.

If love does not return,
Then it does not exist.
Because love goes around.
It never departs.
It never gets tired.

Now I don’t believe in senseless love.
It has meaning or it is nothing.
It is implacable, purposive, real.
It is not empty.

There is no such thing as loveless.
You are either alive or dead.
And even the dead is loved
And never forgotten.

You see, I still cannot fully grasp it.
It is vast.
It has no measure.
It is endless.

But still, I love.
I am alive.
I exist.
I am infinite.

On Idolatry: Who is Your God?


There’s this story I read tonight about a mother who is so passionate about writing her own book. Little did she know that she was slowly veering away from her duties and responsibilities for her family… all because of her utter obsession with her ambition. Then one day, a friend truthfully told her that her writing was not ‘that good’ and that it needs a lot of work. That struck her so hard that she realized she’s forgetting the real important things in life- her motherhood, her marriage, and most of all, her devotion to God.

 
I love how God simply describes idolatry. Idols don’t just come in carved little statues or beautifully painted images or faces. They can also be money, fame, vanity, physical beauty, profession, job, accomplishments, talents, intelligence, your ideals, your car, big house, your lover, your happiness, your calling, or even yourself. Basically anything or anyone you’re so obsessed with, and anything or anyone you put before God is an idol (Exodus 20:3). An idol is something that you want more than God. And it is as surprising as it is hard to accept that we all have had an idol at least once in our lives.

Like the woman in the scenario, I also dreamed of writing my own book. But time and time again, God reminds me of His most perfect timing for my dreams to materialize. He is most carefully laying out His plans before me, one by one.

 
Now that I am a married woman, living as an expatriate in a foreign land together with my husband, I know that God, in all His wisdom and love, will put us in such a place where we will declare His glory and praise. He is a righteous and a gracious God who puts beautiful dreams and truth in our hearts. He is a God who banishes all idols from our lives, only when we put our full trust and dependence on Him. He is a God of perfect timing, when everything happens as He pleases and as He knows. He is a God of wait-and-see and a God who never disappoints. He is the God who put Jesus in our midst to remind us that there is hope, always. And, unlike our once-idols, He is a God who speaks, sees, hears, and breathes… Like when He breathed the breath of LIFE into us… And when He breathed the stars and all that is within our universe.

 
He is my God, and He will always be, forever. 

“You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.” Exodus‬ ‭20:5