[COVID 19 Diary] I wept.

It’s been heartbreaking. I can’t help but cry with what’s going on in the world.

I can’t believe how a “mere” virus can shake the whole world.

There are greater problems than this – poverty, sex slave, child abuse, non-treatable diseases, unemployment, etc. These are real problems that are temporarily forgotten because of fighting a virus.

It’s unfathomable how we all got into this place that seems to be uncontrollable, and the only way to stop the transmission is a shutdown of the world.

And it could get pretty scary thinking about this because when I go back to God’s Word – Jesus said these are just beginning of sorrows.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.All these are the beginning of sorrows.     – Matthew 24:6-8

And Jesus said, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt 24:21) There will be days worst than this. 

Just watching the news reminds me that our resources are limited, no matter how rich our country is, supplies will eventually run out. It reminds me also of how our wisdom is finite, how our strength will eventually fail.  After all, even our government leaders or even the brightest in the medical field are just human.

With all these thoughts, I always find myself asking again – “Is this all to life?”

Will a mere virus possibly end my life?

Then, I see Jesus. The gospel makes sense again. That’s why Jesus had to die because our life is not just for this lifetime.

God created me not for this temporal world. He created me for eternity. I can’t just accept that my life is – I live, I fight a virus, I die. Then what? That sucks. What’s the point of living then?

Today, I have to remind myself again that my life is beyond this. Just like you, fear & worry would sometimes creep in. That’s why I need to re-align my self again with God and His Word. There’s eternal life in the presence of God.

That’s what I would rather look forward to. I’m glad that I have Jesus in my life. That my messy, imperfect life is anchored to the only Savior of this world – Jesus Christ.

So, I can hope. I can live without fear. I can trust. I can live by faith. And yes, I can continue to weep for the world, praying that everyone will see the true Hope & Light in the midst of this darkness. Realizing that we can never rely on our own resources, that we have to start calling on the name of the LORD. Jesus is the true Healer. He did that already 2000+ years ago.

My thoughts here are what I wrote in my journal today. I just thought I should share and hopefully reminded you that we can hope.

I want to end this with one of my favorite verses in the Bible – this is the most famous that will never run old.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) should not perish but have everlasting life.

Gratitude Attitude

I just finished watching the CCF Sunday Message through Livestream and the message hit me big time.

I don’t know when it started but I had again a phase of grumbling and complaining at work. Things at work are mostly really busy for me. If I can eat lunch with my colleagues on time and consistent in a week, that is already a huge break for me.  And, I really think that God allows it to happen to reveal what is in my heart and to test my character.  You see, being busy at work is not really the problem. It’s not even like I bring work at home. However, because I am overwhelmed with work that I expect other people to work in same pace and provide results as I do. That’s when the grumbling and complaining happens.

The message I just listened talked about “Entitlement”. And how to avoid it is to always have a gratitude attitude. And this really hit me. I feel like I complained too much that I already lose sight of the true important things. Things that I should learn to count and be grateful for. I also forgot that I myself is a recipient of grace. In God’s standard, I will never be good. But because of His grace through Jesus, He is able to forgive me of my misses and failures. I am reminded that I should be the same to other people. I have to stop easily judging people and see them  as how God sees them.

I used to have reminder at my desk at work, “Increase Appreciation, Lower Expectation”. I should really put that back to remind me to always learn to see the good on people. It is very hard especially when you expect people to perform based on their status and position. By God’s grace, I’m praying that I will really learn to lower my expectation and even more surrender those to God as He is the one who is really in control.

The cause of my busyness was a big project I was part of that just got implemented recently. It’s a good accomplishment and it was successful. But, in all honesty, I feel that I failed the test God gave me. I ended up grumbling so much instead of rejoicing more. I became loud inside instead of allowing peace to work in my heart. I forgot to be grateful of the blessing of work and blessing of relationship. I lose sight of what truly matters for eternity.

I know that God will always bring me to circumstances that  will prune and mold me as God’s purpose for us has always been Christ-likeness. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I pray that I will be better next time.

I want to end this by thanking God for a lifetime of grace that is overflowing for me and for you that we may always be reminded of what truly matters and to always be grateful.

———-o———-

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:3-8

be grateful!

I want to say something also…

It’s interesting to read and see ongoing reaction of people about Manny Pacquiao‘s statement few days ago about homosexuality. It’s comment after comment on different social media posts. I can’t even wait to talk about this  with my family on our Saturday night video call (Something we can talk about aside from the upcoming Philippines election!).

I’ve been thinking, should I also say my piece about it? Well, it’s not like anyone would read or care about what I say. And, I’m dead tired from work today that I just want to stop my brain thinking about work. So, why not express myself, kill my boredom tonight and write something.

I’m not going to talk about homosexuality or same-sex marriage. I’ve said my piece about that one already months before – (Not Keeping Silent in Love). What really caught my interest and made me realize as I was reading the different views of people is on how we are a bunch of people with so much contradictions in life. We are so contradicting in the belief we try to uphold just to fight for the things we think we deserve.

“Life is not fair.” It is not just a cliche but a reality. A reality that all of us can never accept that is why there are so many laws passed about having equal rights, if possible equal rights in all aspects of life. And I believe that’s our human nature. We want to be treated fairly in wherever we go or whatever we aspire and do. I, myself have my own personal sentiments about it.

However, we fail to realize that what we are fighting for sometimes contradicts the standard that we claim we believe in and stand for. I remembered what our senior pastor said of what are the two types of people in this world. One who believes in God- the Creator, the Author of Life, the Author of the Bible and the other one who does not believe in God at all.

If we believe in God, the basis of the kind of life we want to pursue is what He commanded us to do in the Bible. If I consider someone an enemy, I just can’t ask to pass a law that any person I consider as an enemy even if that person is not doing anything to me, must not go near me within this distance just because I don’t want to see that person. This contradicts to what God said that I should love my enemy. It’s not love. It’s being mean to the person.

We can’t say we believe in Him but consciously accept and do the things that He does not approve of. There is a huge difference between compromising and overcoming sin. Compromising is you know that God does not approve of such act but you still do it and has no intention to repent. Overcoming sin is having the desire to turn away from it but you struggle and fail at times but you allow God to help you overcome until you totally turn away from it.

If we do not believe in God, then, we can choose what ever standard we want to base our life on. A life without God has really no distinction of what is acceptable and not, of what is good and not. A life without God is a life without laws. We can fight for whatever equality we want as nothing can contradict what we are fighting for.We get to choose how we want to live our life based on our own standards – which is based on what? I really don’t know.

So what am I really trying to say? That in this lifetime, we will always have that desire to fight for what we think is right and fair in our own standards even if it contradicts to God’s standards. To compromise is never okay with God. God’s truth is a truth that we can never dispute and argue with Him. We can all argue about it in social media or in our conversations with other people. But it will never change  God’s mind about it. It’s a done deal. We will be judged according to His standards  when the time comes.

But despite of, what is still amazing is God’s standard of equality and fairness.  There is love. There is grace. There is mercy. There is forgiveness. Because He knows that no matter how much He shortens the greatest commandments from ten to just two, we will still fail Him.  That’s our nature. We just want to follow the easy commandments and break the other ones. And because we are bunch of contradicting people who can never save our self from His judgment someday, and because He is a gracious and just God, He gave us a chance to be able to meet His standard. He sent Jesus  who alone can satisfy the standard of righteousness we can never meet. If we believe and love and follow Jesus with all of our being, we just don’t get to meet God’s standard, we also get a bonus of a transformed life. We can never have Jesus in our life and not be changed. He is just too amazing not to be able to do that.

 

 All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness.” Romans 3:23

” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

“When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new!” 1 Corinthians 5:17

 

I didn’t expect this to be a long writing. I hope you didn’t get bored reading.  I just hope that as you finish reading this, you will appreciate more the goodness and grace of God. I pray that you will see that the love God is giving to you is in all fairness and equality. In Him, there is no favoritism, nothing less, nothing more. His love is just enough. Hope you meet Jesus today!

Have a great night!

Sending love,

Stifany (Princess Pepay) ❤ ❤ ❤

Power Outage

It’s 8:39 PM of August 29th. My apartment is in complete darkness. Having no electricity, the only things I can do are to eat and sleep. Reading is not an option anymore. And just waking up from an afternoon nap, I just don’t want to sleep again yet. With a little power left in my laptop’s battery, thus the writing.

Sitting at my desk right now, seeing the lights of the high rise buildings beside my apartment turned on, I feel nothing but envy. I am in total darkness…literally.

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See, this is not my first time to experience power outage. In the Philippines, we always have this. This is not even my first time to witness damages due to storm. I am so used to this back home. However, this is my first to experience it here. And it made me realize that even in  a first world country, there are times that restoration would really take longer than you expect. I thought that if there is power outage, in just few hours, electricity will be restored immediately. Well, I’m dead wrong. The wind storm hit pretty hard that some people here might even find it overwhelming. I’m just hoping that tomorrow will be much a better day. The transition of our weather is just so extreme, from drought to a storm.

However, with all of these happening, I’m still grateful. This outage makes me appreciate the comforts that I have been enjoying – especially the hot shower and oven toaster. 🙂 It also allowed me to rest from online activities. After months of buying my doodle & design book, I was once again able to do some coloring stuff (not that I’m an artist or something – just doing something creative).  

 And I am able to write, like right now which I haven’t done in so many months. And I was able to spend time with God. And I was able to have a complete rest after a full packed summer. Honestly, this is my first Saturday since summer started that I totally rested. And it is really good.
And this darkness reminds me that I may be in a dark place right now, but my life is not. I am connected to a High Power that will never have an outage. As long as I am connected to the Source, I will never have a life outage. There will always be light that will shine in and through my life. These are temporary catastrophes and maybe tomorrow or in the next two days, all will be back to normal. However, there is a permanent darkness that we can never escape once we are there already. And that is the judgment of God when the time comes. The only solution not to be in that permanent darkness is to be connected to Jesus Christ who is the only Source of Light. It is only through Him that we will forever stay in the Light.

Just imagine yourself being in complete darkness right now, then, think that to be eternal, then add to that endless weeping, endless burning, endless thirst. If we complain with little drought or hot weather, just imagine that eternal life apart from God. It’s an endless pain.

Don’t stay in the dark. God gives us the freedom to stay in the Light. Make that decision today.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

FOCUS on 2015

Before 2014 ended, God impressed in my heart what should my focus be for 2015. And it’s really amazing how He confirmed it during the prayer and fasting week of CCF at the start of this year. It really assured me that it’s what God wants me to press on more this year.

What am I talking about? If I tell you, you might say that as believers we should be doing that all the time. It’s not just something you focus on for a specific year but on your day to day. And I would totally agree with you. It’s just that for the past years, I haven’t really been consistently preparing and even very intentional about it. And that’s why I believe God put it in my heart for me to really work on it as He enables me.

So, what am I talking about? I’m talking about “Evangelism”. As I’ve been reading the book of Bill Hybels entitled, “Just Walk Across the Room”, I realized I haven’t really been doing my part in the aspect of evangelism. I always pray to God to give me opportunities to share the gospel to people who haven’t heard about Him but I haven’t really been intentional in preparing for that opportunity. Even more, I don’t even depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit.

My biggest question to God was HOW? How do I share His Word in a country that has so much freedom and respect for each other’s belief? A country that values diversity of religion, culture and standards. HOW?

As I was going through the different stories in the Bible of how God used the apostles to share the gospel, I was reminded that the HOW should not be my concern. God will make it happen just like when God brought Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch for him to share the gospel (Acts 8:26-40). The only thing that God would require is “Obedience”. How far will I go? How willing will I obey? How immediate will I respond?

And to be honest, it’s easier said than done. With a lot of things going on, I can so easily be distracted that my focus on what God wants me to do will become blur until it will become a least priority. And that’s why my very reminder for this year are these verses in Colossians 3:1-2, Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

There is a lot of harvest in this country that would really need the body of Christ to be very intentional not just in sharing the Word of God but importantly in living out His teachings. Evangelism will never be effective if even your own life was never changed by the power of the gospel.

Pray with me that we will never lose sight of the thing that really matters to the very heart of God. May we have the boldness to make Jesus known, that people may experience Jesus to the fullest, so that when our Heavenly Father looks unto us He will say, “Kamukha niya ang ANAK ko (Christ-likeness).”

What is God telling you to focus this year?

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