Undivided Heart

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness;
Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your Name.
Psalm 86:11 NIV

I haven’t been faithful lately.

Browsed my little verse card and this one hit me.

So I started reciting these verses silently.
Asking God to grab me from the stillness of my mundane life.
Pleading Him to move me from passivity to relentless action.
Commanding every muscle to do something.
Do something.

He is greater.
He is higher.
He knows all things.
And I cannot take the idea of Him watching me do–nothing.
And worse, am into the gutter of sin.
Of tasting it.
Of wandering my mind off into doing something that will satisfy this growing pleasure.
Of dipping my tongue to the chocolate coated poop hidden in the treasure box of my past life.

Undivided heart.
Fear of your Name.
Let me have it.
Give me the grace to hang on.
Fight and put the swords up.
The sword of your Word.
Hide me at the back of your glory.
I cannot fight this alone.

Psalm 86:11 NIV

I May Go Home

Okay, allow me to breathe and write my heart out.

Am now in the middle of uncertainties: uncertain if I will be able to continue working here or be sent home. Both possibilities are bittersweet.

I have a Labor Ban. It means I have to exit the country and cannot work here for at least one year. A Residence Visa under a new employer would not be possible.

There is a work around though. But getting a work permit is also unlikely. The new employer is checking other options. Until then, things are still uncertain.

The bottom line is: I may go back to my home country. It isn’t a bad thing, is it? I am actually day dreaming of being back home. But the thought of overlapping financial commitment makes me cringe. Ahh, this too shall pass.

I felt betrayed at first. I don’t deserve this, I thought. But what do I deserve? Ha!

Being in this situation makes me realize how gracious the Lord really is. It has been a year since the Ban has been imposed but I am still here, alive and kicking. If I haven’t accepted an offer to another company, I wouldn’t be able to know that the ban hasn’t been lifted yet. And with that, I am thankful it turned this way.

Without the grace of God, I wouldn’t survive a year full of drama and homesickness. I eat five times a day (oops!); enjoyed so many places; gained new friends (and they’re all awesome!); and recommitted my life to Christ. It just proves that He hold all things together and no matter how shattered my situation might seem now, He got me. And that’s all that matters.

Conflict And Steak

There will be conflict.
There will be chaos.
But there will be grace.
And the choice to stick together
through shortcomings and steak.
πŸ™ŠπŸ™ˆπŸ™‰πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


Last Friday, our team had our first ever conflict. Turned out that some of us (or just me?) are not fully into the game and laxing a bit (or more). Pat needed our help and we weren’t there. Glad that he had patience to handle the situation by himself. Β 

And then when we had our event (bowling) after the service where we thought we planned so well but still turned out to be chaotic. We have problems with team arrangement and the team member’s name got mixed up. It was so stressful but we have to top it off so we can think of ways to handle the situation. Some of the leaders stepped up and helped sort the situation with us. Thank God everyone enjoyed the day despite all the hurdle.Β 

Leaders And Intimidation

In the volunteer’s lounge where we eat some bread and drink some coffee, we get to be acquainted by one of our leaders who is quite intimidating, atleast from our perspective.

He joined our group and started a conversation.

PR: Hello.
Ji: Hello po.
PR: Kamusta? Hindi kita nakikita a. Nagbakasyon ka ba or something?
Ji: (Nervous. Trying to play cool and crack a joke.) Hindi po. Hindi niyo lang ako nakikita. Nagtatago po kasi ko senyo.
PR: Ah. Well, you’re not alone.
Group: Hahahaha Hahaha
Ji: Wants to die.

Uhm, I think the joke didn’t end well.

But it struck something in me.

I remember another leader who taught us to be mindful of our leaders. Pray for them and reach out to them also. Ask them how are they doing. Smile and give word of encouragement. He said that it is easy for us to go out and have fellowship together but have we ever thought of inviting our leader in those intimate get together? Maybe they’re busy. Maybe they don’t have time. But still: it’s the thought that counts, right?Β 

Why am I intimidated by him? Why are we all afraid to start a conversation with him? He is still human, ain’t he? I realized that my reaction, though in a form of a joke, is half meant. And his response, although he is smiling, also rings truth in it.

Shame Of My Youth

That thing in Facebook that reminds you of what happened or what you posted five or seven years ago. Sometimes it will show you a picture of a person that you don’t wish to see anymore. Most of the time it will remind you of happy memories and triggers a feeling of wanting to see those people in an instant.

A lot have been posted on this day but this poem stands out:

Sa tuwing pagsikat ng araw at paglubog nito,
Sa tuwing pagbuhos ng ulan at pagihip ng hangin,
Sa tuwing papagaspas ang dahon ng puno,
Sa tuwing makakarinig ng huni ng ibon…

Aking naalala ang mapait na kahapon,
Di na sana nais pang magpatuloy hanggang sa ngayon.
Ngunit bakit sa bawat hakbang, bawat galaw,
Tila umuulit ang masalimuot na kahapong tanglaw.

I realized that I’ve been lingering in hatred and shame for the longest time. Imagine, this was year 2010! Ha!

But because of God’s grace and overflowing love, the shame of my youth doesn’t drag me now like it used to. I learned to cast it off to the one who loves me most.

This is what I declare when the bitterness of the past is popping up in my mind:

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.”
Isaiah 54:4

If He, the God of heaven and earth, will forget the shame of my youth, how dare am I to keep remembering them with disgrace?

Do you despise what you did during your youth? If so, how are you dealing it?

PS: Not my wrist.

“It is finished.”

If You Think The Church Is Perfect, Think Again.Β 

My underlying belief is this:

Most (if not all) in the church and specially those I get to work within the ministry won’t ever hurt me (or at least not intentionally). They can all be trusted. They won’t stab me in the back. They won’t believe what other people say against their fellow believer unless verified.

But as I stay longer in the church, I see how idealistic my beliefs are.

For I see how carelessly we slander others. I see how we easily spread unverified information—passed along as prayer requests. To top it all, we refuse to confront each other and mend the relationship.

I see how we refuse to uphold unity whenever we avoid reconciliation. We refuse to look at the other side of the coin and understand where that person is coming from. We refuse to forgive.

I see how faulty we are. How crooked our beliefs until we allow God to mold us. I see how we are really in need of a Saviour. I see how we are like a sheep–dumb, stupid, no direction–and how a Shepherd would lay down His life just to save us from walking towardΒ a cliff.

I see how important Lordship is. That it is really a matter of the heart. That believing in Him is different from following Him.


Let me share a personal story.

In a trip, I shared a room with a friend. We call ourselves “Buddies.”

One day, I borrowed her laptop to practice a dance in the dining area. After practicing, I went straight to the wash room to fix myself because we have an event in the evening. I completely forgot her laptop lying in the table. I wasn’t able to fix it up. And I wasn’t aware that she was pissed off by it.

The day before that, I borrowed the sharpener of her eyebrowΒ pencil. When it’s her turn to use it, I can’t find it any longer.

Before the event started, I used the toys she donated and played with the youth. I forgot to place the toys back in its box after playing. I almost lost the box.

That’s when she confronted me.

And I didn’t like what I heard. I was really hurt. I am not really a fan of confrontation. Though I appreciate her honesty, I still take it as an offense.

From then on, I see all her actions as an attack. I felt like being stabbed in the back. I don’t appreciate her opinions anymore. For me, it all stinks.

How dare is she? I don’t fuss over her shortcomings and this is what I get? How can she make a big deal out of this? Can’t she just overlook things?

I can’t believe my thoughts.

I was hurt. I get that. But why can’t I just charge everything to experience and appreciate that she has been honest with what she felt?

I felt betrayed? Because she vented out and I didn’t? Isn’t it my choice to understand and overlook her shortcomings? So I expect her to keep everything to herself just because I did? I label my patience “selfless” and her honesty “selfish.”

I know something is wrong with my heart. I don’t want to face her the next morning still clinging to this offense. I don’t want to smile at her with a hurting heart. I don’t want to work with the team with unnecessary emotional baggage. She has been nothing but a trusted friend even before we started this trip. How can I believe that she is intentionally hurting me?

I cried to the Lord to help me. For on my own, I can’t. He showed me that I was nursing my pride and she hit it. My refusal to resolve our conflict means denial of a room for growth in our friendship. He reminded me of all the good things we’ve shared together–late night talk after group meetingsΒ and praying for each other before we call it a day. She’s one of the few peopleΒ thatΒ I can really be honest with. He let me appreciate her rebuke because instead of venting out to our team behind my back, she confronted me. He let me see that this is an act of love and not a betrayal.

“Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.”

I never could have forgiven her if I didn’t allow God to process my emotion. I was honest with the Lord with how I feel and He patiently reminded me of how to respond in humility.

Yes, we were hurt. Yes, trust has been broken. Yes, that’s unfair. But it can all be mended and healed–if we allow God to.

I hope we all fix our eyes on Jesus and overlook the offense from others. I hope we won’t cling to our grudge and choose to forgive. I hope we agree to disagree at some differences in preferences. I hope we don’t argue over minor things.

The appeal of Paul to the Church of God in Corinth still stands:

β€œI appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I now understand that the church is not perfect. Because we are human. We err. We make mistakes. We are selfish. We clash. We have various differences. That’s why the Lord commanded us to love one another. It is not a suggestion but a command.

β€œA new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35

Do You Have Trust Issues With God?

Lately, I do.

And the writer of Romans helped me rebuild a better foundation of my trust in God.

The writer talks about faith, salvation, Jews, Gentiles, mercy and grace then he cap it off with this doxology:

β€œOh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

β€œWho has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”


β€œWho has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”

For FROM Him and THROUGH Him and FOR Him are ALL things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”
‭‭
Romans‬ ‭11:33-36‬ ‭NIV‬‬ (emphasis mine)

ALL things are FROM Him.
ALL things are THROUGH Him.
ALL things are FOR Him.

He doesn’t owe me a single cent.
I am in no position to argue with Him. But I do most of the time.

We cannot limit God to our needs and wants alone. He is way more bigger than that. And because of that, we can trust that He can fulfill His promises and He will, but all for His glory.

  

How about you, do you also find it hard to trust God? Share me your thoughts!