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A Love Story

There are so many love stories

Some are featured in movies,

Others are written, read, and admired

While others aren’t even desired,


Some stories have tragic beginnings

But have happy endings,

Others have a beautiful start

But have a painful depart,


Love stories have different characters

Some have rich and poor lovers,

Others are best of friends

Who turns lovers in the end,


My love story was not like Sleeping Beauty’s

Who  fell in love  as she was save with a kiss,

It wasn’t like Cinderella’s who lost her shoe

And found a love that was true,


Our love story is not written in publications

But it is a masterpiece in Gods’ creations,

Ours was not just a simple love  story

For God wrote it for His greater glory,


My prince and I were  once strangers

But we are both faithful characters,

To a story that started with our friendship

That grows and endures in His Lordship,


This is a love story that to the world I can scream

That happy endings doesn’t just happen in dreams,

It exist as I obeyed my father, the King

Who send His prince to give my finger the ring,


God prepares our hearts to be the best

Characters that are faithful and finest,

 In His love story that hasn’t started yet

For my prince and I  haven’t met.


This poem was written on May 10, 2009. Inspired by my  crush whom I haven’t met personally, I just saw him worshiping with me in Cebu last April 2009.  I’m so glad to recover this poem for it reminded me that I used to be a poet. I already throw all  the poems I have written since my childhood for some reasons, but I’m happy that my old laptop saved some; and this one gives me the carbon dioxide to resuscitate the almost-dead poet in me.

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Feel – Fill- Full

Allow me to create my own Powerful Points to share an overwhelming half-day Summit with the Grounded Leaders. I don’t have the time to take notes during this event yet I believe the lessons shared is still stock in my mind and inscribed in my heart.

Lessons I learned from the Grounded Leaders Summit 8-18-12: 

Be Observant! 

When Pastor King demonstrated our dance steps I wasn’t focused that when the time comes that we have to dance in order for us to meet our group mates, I was lost and couldn’t find my group. Look at me in the photo below, I’m so lost right?

 Lesson Learned: When someone gives instructions, listen and observed carefully. 

 

Boys will be Boys!

When Pastor Edrei informed every one that there will be a separate session for the boys and girls, this thought came to mind, “Boys are created differently- anatomically and genetically that’s why their thoughts and actions are different from girls.” Girls don’t think the way boys think, and girls don’t act the way the boys do. Having this thought in mind, I know that being surrounded with girls makes me feel more comfortable because I know they will understand me, my acts, my words, and even just my stare – boys can never decode that. We will always have that time that we want to know more about the opposite sex, but I believe the best way to learn that is by being surrounded with your same sex friends. Because when you know who you are, what you are, and what you do, you will never lose that identity when you mingle with the opposites.

  

Lesson Learned: We can never fully understand the opposite sex, but we can make them better by becoming better with our own.

 

Feel right to be Filled righteously!

We are so blessed to be with Ms. Phoebe that day, and here are the things I learned  On Senses and Influence:

  • The song that we sing or hear creates a memory, an emotion, and actions. When we listen to a song, it somehow creates a thought or reminds us of someone or somethings or events. When you hear a love song, will you feel bitter or kilig? A song could create an emotion. When it’s raining, what would we listen to? A rock, hardcore music, a senti or a bossa nova? When the music is on a fast beat? Won’t we just feel the beat to dance? What we hear dictates our emotions; the bad news is, it happens unconsciously. So listen to what is good that will make you think and do good and not just feel good.
  • The taste, when the food presented to us is sweet or something we like, won’t we crave for more? When a food is unpleasant to the taste, will we finish eating it or just throw up? I didn’t know that my first taste of Starbucks coffee would make me a coffee addict (see my confessions here),  yet my addiction started on my first taste as the cravings succeeded over me. I love the line that says, “Watch what you eat, don’t eat what you watch” but it hurts to hear the line that says, “You are what you eat”. It hurts because I’m an unhealthy eater, the Bible says, “our bodies is the temple of the Holy Spirit”. Our taste dictates our appetite, our appetite drives us to eat. What we feed our body is a gift to the One who dwells in it. Taste what is right to eat right.
  • Sight! I’m a reader, a book lover, a traveler, and a researcher. My eyes have seen wonders and beautiful sights already.  My prayer to God is this, “Lord, of all my senses and body parts please spare my 20/20 vision.”  I protect my eyes because in all the things I do, my eyes are essential. But more than protecting my eyes physically, I tend to forget that my eyes are also the window to my inner being. I haven’t protected my eyes from the emotional and the unseen danger, I read matured books, adult films, and seen pornographic materials. What entered my eyes enters my heart as well. When I called Christ as my Lord, I surrendered everything to Him that when I say, I offer my body as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to Him, it doesn’t mean that my eyes are exempted. So I guard my eyes by reading books and watching movies that won’t compromise the holiness and the righteousness of the blood of Jesus that covers me. And here’s another prayer for my eyes, “Lord, help me not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.”

Lesson Learned: Our hearts doesn’t have a brain, it doesn’t know how to think, it beats as dictated by the perceptions of our brains, what our brains perceived is acted on by our heart. So before we say we guard our hearts, we must first guard our thoughts and our senses. For what we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel fills us.

 

Push don’t just Pull!

Don’t just be on the defense side, know how to attack! The world may throw us a lot of things, but being secured and grounded in His love and words, we will never be shaken. We know the word, we absorbed it, we fill our hearts with it, but what happens when someone attacks and steal those words and worth in us? Shall we allow those snatchers? Or we fight back?  Scripture says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Fight with love! We don’t fight to make them losers instead we win them for God.

Lesson Learned: No one wins in basketball by just guarding their  home courts, players win because they go to the opponents court side to shoot and make a score. 

 

It will NEVER be about YOU!

After our separate sessions, we did have our brainstorming/ case studies about modesty, conduct, relationship between boys to girls, dealing with fellow youth, etc. Some questions are hard to answer, but in the end I believe we are all humans, we have shortcomings, we are saved not by our own efforts, we are all work in progress, and we are able to love others because we can feel the love of God. We can love those who wear short shorts, those who are suicidal, clingy, infatuated, childish etc., because we have been loved unconditionally. And as young as we are, we  must equip ourselves to be better leaders and influence to our fellow youth.

 

Lesson Learned: How we live our lives is a testament on how we live the fullness of life that Christ has offered.  Our lives will never be about us, but it will always be about Him. 

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FORTIFIED

Bimby Yap in this TV Ad said, “Mama, you’re my number ONE.”

Last Saturday when I had a chance to talk to one of the GROUNDED girls in Church who shares the same group with me, I also said this line to her saying, “Bea, you’re my number ONE.” After saying this, I told her there is no number 2, no ranking, for all of the girls entrusted to me are my number ones.

The milk product endorsed by the TV Ad gives nourishment, growth, and strength hence its called FORTIFIED. 

And because I care and I love my number ones, I need to be fortified as well. Day and night, I pray that God will  nourish and fill me so that my cup will overflow and that I can nourish others too, I pray for my self so that I may give my self. But the scripture said…

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.” – 1 Timothy 4:6

… therefore as I share what I have to my number ones, I am also nourished. But more than sharing of our lives to each other, at the end of the day, it will never be about me or us, it will always points back to God, the one who sustains and nourishes our relationships and faith.

I read my Bible every day; and every Saturday, I would encourage the girls to do the same. There are times that I felt like resting, read other books, or just sleep instead of devoting a time to God then God will just remind me of these girls, my number ones. God just simply tells me “Practice what you preach”, so I read for my own growth and I also read and listen to God’s words for my number ones growth as well. A pastor once said in one of his preachings, “I read the Bible for my own, and I read it separately for my ministry.”  

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” – 1 Peter 2:2-3

I believe the best thing about sharing lives is the sharing of learning and wisdom, growing from experiences and in Jesus through His words.

Last Saturday in GROUNDED, one of our Campus Ministers, Kuya Francis Villanueva said, “We are NOT SUPER CHRISTIANS.” No one is perfect, no one is strong or wise enough to take care of the flock of the shepherd.  Each mentor, friend, and leader has flaws and weaknesses. We are humans, and we need Jesus to be strong.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

But being strong in Christ doesn’t mean I must live a life alone – facing challenges all  by myself, reading my Bible alone, and going to Church without company. I must share this strength and gain more strength from the strength of others. As an “ate” (older sister) in the Youth Ministry, I believe, I must use my strength wisely and won’t just be like Samson instead be like Jesus – the God who shares His power when He heals, His wisdom as He preached,  His love as He died, and His kingdom as He live again. My body may feel tired every Saturday from class then Grounded and life group, but still I find myself when I reached home fulfilled for I know the strength and the time I spent with every number ones was worth it.

I’m not a one tough “ATE” of my number ones; I cry when they cry, I got disappointed when they are disappointed, I giggle when they giggle, and I laugh when they laugh.

I pray for them, and I know they pray for me too. I may fail them, and they may fail me too. But one thing will never change, my love for them like my own sisters in Christ.

And just like Ms. Kris Aquino who wants NOTHING BUT THE BEST for her kids, I also want what’s best for my number ones. So I remain Grounded and Fortified in Christ Jesus.

Bea,

Because you never fail to inspire me to be the best, for you my baby Bea, NOTHING BUT THE BEST fortified “Ate”  in me. I love you.

“You’re my number one.”

                                                               -Ate Ram

More of my Baby Bea here.

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Why and Why Not? Because I am not the same anymore.

I had battled my emotions last week, my faith was somehow shaken and tested, and I keep on asking God a lot of Why and Why Not.

Here are some of my Why Lord? questions:

  1. Why do innocent people gets accused for the wrongs they haven’t done?
  2. Why do we have to ask for forgiveness for the wrongs that we haven’t done?
  3. Why do we have to be humble?
  4. Why continue to love those who have hurt us?

and here are my Why Not Lord? questions:

  1. Why should I not be confronting?
  2. Why not tell all my feelings?
  3. Why not hate them?

I have a lot of questions right? But God answered me just once, He points me to the cross, and all the answers are there – Jesus.

Whys?

  1. Because an innocent man was crucified not for His sins (Matthew 27:32-44). Jesus was innocent, yet He was accused. Did He justified Himself? Did He reasoned out that He was not guilty? No, He didn’t.
  2. Because even though the people condemned Him, He asked God to forgive them, saying “Forgive them father for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
  3. Because He is a God yet for my sins He became a man, to save me and rescue me. He humbled Himself. (Philippians 2:8)
  4. Because He endured the cross for my sins for He loves me and that I love Him too, and He said, “If you love me keep my commands.” (John 4:15) His command was to love your enemies (Luke 6:27), and so I must obey.

Why Not?

  1. Because Jesus too remained silent. Jesus could have reasoned out to Herod yet He remained silent. (Luke 23:9)
  2. Because as the prophet Jeremiah said it “I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.”(Jeremiah 10:23), and so I let God lead my decisions and actions, and lean not own my understanding and feelings.
  3. Because Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Come Tuesday last week, I had my T4V class and a privilege to talk to my mentor, Ate Rina, she reminds me that Jesus humbled Himself for me, and as a Christian I must also live the way Jesus live. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. (1 Peter 2:21). Pastor John, our teacher for last Tuesday session, said “If you have experienced true forgiveness then it will be easy for you to forgive without effort.” And my classmate and VG sister, Jeanette, reminded me of “Be slow to anger and be quick to forgive.”

Looking back in my past life, the word SORRY was out of my dictionary, but then now, sorry came out of my heart naturally when I found out that I have hurt someone without me knowing why and how.

If I am still living in my past life, I wouldn’t say sorry then I am sure I could have hurt more and that I am still hurt. Pride could have eat me inside and consumes me little by little that anger could grow and overflow in my heart.

But I thank the Lord (and will be forever grateful) that I have been saved and forgiven in Jesus; and because of that forgiveness, I could forgive easily “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). My heart was and is still free of pain, anger, and hurt. “For if the son sets you free, you are free indeed” (John 8:36).

I must forgive because I have been forgiven.

Pride and bitterness may knock at my door a thousand times, but Jesus is in me and with Him and like Him, I will ask for forgiveness, pray for those who have hurt me, and love those who hate me.

God didn’t said that as I follow Him I will become lovable and there will be no enemies along the way. Its the same as saying we will live a storm free life in Christ, but God didn’t promised that kind of life. However, He equipped us with the blood of Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2), and in Him, we will be storm proof. Life with Jesus will not be easy, but it is worth it.

I am not the same anymore, in Jesus I am a new creation. My old unforgiving, greedy, and pride-full life is gone, I may look back it, but God called me to fix my eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and remember what He has done for me on the cross. With this thing that happened to me last week, indeed, all I could say is that the old me was gone and the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I am grateful for this change of heart, attitude, and actions, but above all, I’m glad that God never fails to let me feel loved despite there are times just like last week when my faith in Him was shaken. In times like this, prayers, His words, and Godly people that surrounds me is all that I need to stand firm and be reminded that I am not the same old me, but I am new.

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Like A Sheep

A personal reflection on Psalm 23

We all know the character of a shepherd, someone selflessly provides his flock, someone who spends his entire thinking nothing but his sheep, someone who is willing to risk his life just to protects his flock.

I just wondered what’s with a sheep, why does it need a shepherd. As per my research, the characteristics of a sheep are:

1. They are foolish and slow to learn. In fact, what Google says about sheep is that they only know one thing – to eat grass.

2. A sheep is unattractive. They are dirty, smelly, and ugly for they can’t groom on their own. They lack agility and they don’t have a sense of dignity.

3. They are demanding and dependent. – They cry too much for their shepherd to be with them. They can’t live a day without someone looking after them.

4. A sheep is stubborn. One of the testimonies of someone who looks after animals says, “moving an elephant is easier than moving a sheep”.

5. They are unpredictable, and copycats. At times they want to be the grass then suddenly they would cross the streets like nomads. When one sheep cries, the other cries, and so on, and so forth.

6. A sheep is restless. They only have few hours of sleep. They wake up early and sleep late.

7. They are same anywhere. Dogs are variable in every state and country, even cows have a variety. But the sheep are the same everywhere.

8. They are straying. They easily get lost even if the only thing they have to do is to simply follow the shepherd and his flock, still some get lost.

Because God has been compared to a shepherd, I conclude that we, humans, are sheep!

Apart from God, we are foolish, unattractive, unpredictable, copycats, restless, and lost. Look at the sheep at the picture below, it can’t stand up on its own.

We are like that sheep, but Jesus saw us and He had compassion on us that he sees as a sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).

Like a sheep, we can’t live without our shepherd. We all need God, our shepherd; and with Him, we will never be in want (Psalm 23:1) and surely goodness and love will follow us,  all the days of our life (Psalm 23:6).

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Like A Tree

Psalm 1

A personal reflection.

That person is like a tree 

planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season and

whose leaf does not wither

whatever they do prospers.


Streams of water is like never ending blessings, abundance, and life.  The Psalmist is saying here that those who delight in the law of the Lord will be like a tree that never loses its abundance. Isn’t it amazing to know that as we delight in God we are also blessed? We are sure to live a life of abundance. A life of fullness through Christ.

Yields fruit in season but not for all the seasons.  God has something for us to wait and receive, all we just have to do is to wait while rejoicing patiently for His promises.

Leaf that does not wither for me means that as we are in the streams of water, we will never be dry, and we will never lack in anything. The leaves may be far from the roots, but as long as our roots are in good grounds (grounded in His words, laws, and love), we will be sustained.

Whatever they do prospers!  This is the best part; God said that in all  things we will be prosperous. BUT the Psalmist says, “they”. He didn’t said, “all men will prosper”. Who are they that the Psalmist is talking about?

The Psalmist says,

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked  2but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

                 

There are so many promises of God in His words and some of us just tend to keep on waiting for those promises overlooking what God wants us to be before He gives those promises.

When the storms of life came, will our tree surpass and remain standing or we easily fall down? When we feel that we are not prosperous and our leaves have dried, will we ask someone to water us or we just look at our roots and see that we are planted in a stream of water?

All plants did survive because their roots are planted right and they are sustained.

Where do we need to plant our roots? The Psalmist simply says, In His laws that person is like a tree planted in a stream of water.”  Let us root our lives in His laws, delight in His words, meditate on it  day and night; so in whatever we do, we prosper.

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The Manager, The Rich, and My Questions

Chapter 16

The story of the not-so-good Manager

Allow me to cut this story into pieces and the way it reaches me.

“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.

“Dealing with our own kind” this for me means treating others the way we want to be treated. Jesus once said, “the measure you used will be the measured to be  use on you.” This is why I keep on asking God  why do I cry every time I see injustice and inhumane treatment? God always reminds me that I cry because I care and because I love; and because He Himself, a God, treats us equally. As humans, we must also treat each other equally as well, but do we?

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?

Are we worth the trust? All of us have been given, all of us have received, big or small as we see it, we are blessed. We are not worthy  to receive these blessings, yet we are still blessed. The question is, Are we trustworthy of what has been given to us? The world is a wealthy place and God entrusted us with a lot of things, How do we handle our riches here on earth?

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

Two lines did hit me  here 1.) Hate the one and love the other 2.) what people value highly is detestable to God

I believe Jesus is asking here, what do we love? The things pleasing to every one, which is detestable to His sight? or Him, the one who was detested by men?

The Rich Man

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

This scares me, honestly. Why? Because I have live a life of comfort. I have a family, which is not perfect but at least I have them; I have a home, which is not a mansion but at least I’m safe and comfortable; I eat three times a day, which is not a feast every meal but at least I’m satisfied and full – these are just few of my comforts and good things here on earth but then I saw this line from Abraham, I asked myself, “Will he say the same words to me?”

I believe what this message means is that, How do we live our lives of comfort? How do we share it with our fellows, those who live an uncomfortable life? The prisoners, the sick, the poor, the orphan, the homeless, and the food less? Do we just let them live outside our mansions?

I believe all of us are like Lazarus – filthy, poor, and beggars but Jesus came out of His comfort zone just to offer us the fullness of life in His Kingdom. The question now is, Can we do what Jesus did to our neighbors?

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

That was Abraham’s answer to the rich man, when the rich man said that his family will only repent if they see someone who was raised from the dead. Many people know that Jesus died and was risen from the dead for even death couldn’t hold him down, yet why are still so many people who have an unrepenting heart? Many people knows the cause of His death and resurrection but why still their hearts aren’t changed?