Stuck in the Net

The past weeks were filled with so much discontent, weeping & sadness in my heart.

If you will know the reason why, you would say – “Really?”, “That’s it?”

And I know, I really don’t have a reason to be. I’m always in this roller coaster cycle of ups and lows when it comes to work. This is not something new. And the root of the problem is my heart. Selfishness, pride, discontent, ungratefulness. All of those ate me up.

I got stuck. I chose to stay drowning into all of those. I just wanted to keep weeping and maybe God will have mercy on me and just give me what I want. I was being a brat.

In all of those, God remained patient and merciful. The only way up is to really go back to Him – repent and obey. It was a struggle to do that but He waited.

I’m still not that okay. God is still working at my heart. It needs another surgery. But my prayer is as He does that, I will see Him. I will keep my eyes on Him. That’s all I could do.

If you are on same boat as I am, I hope that this will encourage you a bit. I thank God for being so gracious. Indeed, I can’t do it on my own.

Dear God,  “Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭25:16-18‬

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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) ❤ ❤ ❤

Throwing Off What Hinders (Giving Up TV)

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I am currently doing a year-long fast on TV series and movies.

It took a long time for me to acknowledge that I’m addicted. I need to take back control.

I actually do not watch TV at all. But sometimes, if I find a series that I really like, I get hooked. I would watch a whole season in one seating. I would do this until I finish all other seasons. After finishing the series, I would return to my normal life. Be responsible again, be faithful in my quiet time, and be a “good Christian.” Some time would pass before another good series will come out so I did not think much of it early on.

Eventually, God showed me the cycle. I identified that at the beginning of every period of discouragement or time of coldness towards God was a movie marathon. Watching TV series was Satan’s “beachhead” in my life. On one hand I thank God that it was something “small” like entertainment, yet this seemingly subtle form kept me from calling it sin.

“Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.” (Susanna Wesley)

I knew it was harming my relationship with the Lord. That was clear enough. I also felt that God wanted me to give it up. But I could not imagine doing that. I felt that it was too extreme. To do so is to stop being a normal person. Maybe I did not want to seem “too radical.”

Maybe I just need to limit my media exposure, I thought. So I limit myself to 1 movie per week. It worked for a while. However, as I have discovered, it is not a good idea to expose a recovering addict to the things they’re addicted to. I had the right intention, but my partial obedience did not help me.

God used a recent event to tell me loud and clear that if I do not shape up, I risk missing out on His plans for me. My “God’s best”- the life God wants for each of His children. When I finally surrendered my “favorite sin,” I felt His presence more, heard His voice clearer. I had not realized that I had been grieving the Holy Spirit that whole time.

Today is the 20th day since I made my commitment. It already feels like it’s the best decision I have made. Haha! It does not even feel like I gave up anything. I have become more productive and I perform better at work. I have time to help my cousin with his school work. Most of all, I know I am at the triangle of God’s blessing. I know I am obeying Him.

Come to think of it, TV shows, movies (& other forms of entertainment) are made to distract. And they are a welcome distraction from the stress of work or the boredom of life.

However, if I know my purpose, if I’m in a crucial mission (for which I’ll be greatly rewarded), and if I know Him who asked me to do it, DO I REALLY WANT TO BE DISTRACTED?

 

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” -2 Timothy 2:4

Thanks Ann San Pedro for sharing this story. A struggle that most of us are also going through. Such an encouragement!