The Unheard Music

God, as I lay me down to sleep,

You still hold the moon and stars in place

While silence’s what I want to keep

You create all songs with sweet embrace/

As I close my eyes to find rest

There echo words of serenity

And the universe does its best

To orchestrate its harmony/

What beauty and splendor I find

In music sung by all existence

Most loving, comforting and kind

Are His ways covered with His presence/

Now, as I drown in quietness

All I hear are unheard songs of old

The stars, moon and the universe

All conspire for glory to be told//

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“You memorize me.”

Three words. But still, a 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 took 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

Cast Your Cares on the One Who Cares

How is it to really trust God? How is it to have peace that is beyond any understanding?

This morning, as I prayed about my concerns, from the mundane to the greater and bigger things in my life, God reminded me to put my full trust and dependence on Him. It is easier said than done, though. But through the years in my Christian life, I can attest to the truth that God has never failed me. Not once. Thus, who am I to complain or doubt His powerful might and good nature as my heavenly Father?

There have been times when we doubt and ask Him why certain things happen in the world around us. At times I am brought to a disposition of wondering how come God can stand seeing all these injustices, immoralities, lies, abominations, wars, chaos, pain, and killings. But today, God reminded me that He works through people and that He is waiting for His faithful ones to do something and stand or speak for Him in order to change the world (Bible Daily Devotional). The question is, do we, God’s children, really do our part in this Kingdom work?

Sometimes I cannot stand the evil things that happen before me. And so I am left with the agitation that God must do something for this to stop. And sometimes I forget that God also has His own ways, timing, and plan for such things. By acknowledging that He has His own decree, then I give all my stresses and doubts to Him, knowing that He is able, He is just and faithful, and He will never let evil overcome the good.

I have also been reminded of His word in John 16:33,

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

That’s Jesus Himself who said those words. Jesus has already overcome the world and everything that is in it. I just need to understand that eventhough there are evil things happening around us, I can rest and find peace in the fact that God is not blind nor deaf and He will bring justice to the oppressed, fooled, persecuted, or killed. These temporary predicaments are nothing compared to the glory that is to be revealed in due time.

Finally, here is one thing from a pastor that brought a reminder to me yesterday:

We can never have security unless we place ourselves in the hands of the One who is in control of all things.

The Lord is in control of all things, small or great. That’s why we can rest assure that everything in our lives- our concerns, pleas, prayers, and requests are being heard and are actually being answered, not on our own timetable and understanding, but according to God’s all-knowing wisdom and sovereignty. Trust in His ways and timing. Who knows, He might also be using you to bring to light His glorious plans today.

In the Name of Justice and Truth

Since I was young, I have been a firm believer of truth, justice, and fairness. It is as if they are intertwined with my DNA. Throughout my life, I have not been able to tolerate or approve of something that’s not true, or fair. Especially if it involves and affects not only my life, but also the lives of people who are very important to me.

I didn’t know then why I had such strong belief in these virtues. As a child, all I knew was that I would not want to say something that is literally not true, or pretend that I am someone who I really am not, or hide something  that’s supposed to be known by the people around me. The only thing is, as I grew older and held firmly to this belief, I noticed that there are people who misinterpret me for doing so– and I am left with disbelief that some people just hate the truth.

So at one point I questioned my so-called virtues. Is it wrong to be truthful? Is it abominable to stand for what is just and fair? Is it condemning to tell the truth and abhor lies? Why do people love having two faces? Why do they seem to find favor in foolishness and pretensions? Why do they choose falsehood over truth?

Those questions lingered in my mind. They still do. I have always been thinking how come people manage to live in lies for the sake of fulfilling their own selfish desires. That’s it, my own words gave me away- it’s because of selfishness.

But don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to be hypocritical. I am also not perfect and I have my own flaws. I have my own downsides and ugliness within. It is said in the Bible in Romans 3:23 that,

Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Truthfully, no one is exempted in falling short of the standards of God, for He is perfect. We all have sinned against Him, for He is the only one who’s righteous.

But this does not mean that we can continue sinning just because we know we aren’t perfect. We cannot simply justify our wrongdoings for the sake of gratifying our selfish desires.

God has given us the freedom to live by granting us our free will, but freedom is rather a responsibility. All too often, we misunderstand the freedom as a license to do anything and everything we want. But the truth is, God has given us the freedom from sin, not the freedom to sin. Jesus Christ died for us to atone our sins and save us from eternal damnation- all because God loves us that much and He never wants us to perish. In 2 Peter 3:9, this truth is being demonstrated:

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

When you have the love of God within you, you cannot and will not be able to stand sinning against Him, for love is greater than wickedness. When you have truly made Jesus as Lord over your life, your heart will be automatically changed, your perspective will broaden and your faith will grow. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, another precious truth is written:

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

In the same way, those who continue to walk with the Lord would always seek to do what pleases Him because their hearts belong to Him.

Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. (1 John 3:6)

God knows our hearts and its motives. He knows its every desire and dream. It is best to stay honest and open to Him because He knows what we want to say before we even say it (Matthew 6:8).

What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their evil deeds in the dark! ‘The LORD can’t see us,’ they say. ‘He doesn’t know what’s going on!’ How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, ‘He didn’t make me’? Does a jar ever say, ‘The potter who made me is stupid’? (Isaiah 29:15-16)

 

When you know who really God is in your life, you would only seek to glorify Him in all you do because His love can change hearts and His words can change lives in ways that only He can do. God is a God of truth and justice. He commands us to live in the light and not in darkness, because He is light (1 John 1:5).

Let us all be careful in choosing our own path. We do not live for ourselves only. As a wise old woman told us once, “(You) don’t tell lies. It is better to tell the truth right from the start to avoid pain in the end. That’s what I always told my children.”

Sure enough, our Heavenly Father desires the same. Or should I say, He desires what’s good for us more greatly than anyone does. He wants us to live a life full of love, freedom, justice, and peace. And yes, that is the truth.

The Golden Sound

Then there was silence. It’s as if the whole world conspired to just watch… for a fleeting moment. It was a moment of change, a turning point. While the world was busy and unrelenting, I, the rather relentless one, was beginning to enter another opened door that leads to my destiny.

The perpetuity of changes in life is a proof that one is maturing and attaining triumph. Each step that he takes is a big leap of growth and strength. Another vision is being realized, another dream is made come true, and a new path is being laid out. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing oneself advancing not in years, but in wisdom beyond his years.

True enough, the distance between life-changing moments and the mundane, depthless things is just… a time of silence.

Silence for grieving. For hurting. For encouraging oneself. For hoping. For believing. For falling down. For standing up once again. Silence for hearing the truth. For listening. For understanding. For being a coward. For being brave. For following the light. Silence for love. For seeing the truth all over the face of one’s love. For courageousness. For dreaming. For not giving up. For living… And continuing to overcome.

One can hear a lot more in silence than when there are sounds, or words. It is in quietness that one can hear a heartbeat, a whisper. And there, in the land that was promised, a still, small Voice is calling out… And only in serenity and stillness of the soul that one can hear it.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak… – ‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-7‬