My Heart’s Desire

There was once a very rich man who thinks he has everything except the “kingdom of God”, so he asked Jesus how can he have it. Jesus reminded the man of God’s commandments and he replied, yes he keeps these commandments since he was a child. Then Jesus challenged the man to sell all his riches give it to the poor and then follow Him. This made the man very sad.

And you can guess the end of the story for the man. He chose his great weath over the kingdom of God.

I have read this story many times before. And I thought it doesn’t have to do with me because I’m not a rich man in terms of material wealth. And I always thought this story is the best excuse for not becoming a millionaire. But Jesus can see right through our motives. Jesus can see what is in the man’s heart. The man’s love for riches. If the man has a pure heart, if the man has a heart for the kingdom of heaven, regardless of his big wealth, Jesus would not have asked him any further. Jesus might just have said, “Come and follow me.”

That is why today, it is as if Jesus is asking me to do the same thing, asking me the same question – but on a very personal level. Jesus is asking me “What are you holding on to? What do you consider is the most important thing in your life over the kingdom of God? What kind of sin are you still doing even though you know it is a sin and it is preventing you from entering the kingdom of heaven? Stop it. Give it up. And come follow me.”

There are some things in our lives that we keep on holding to. When God tells us to give them up, we feel sad. That’s the surest thing to show God what is the most important thing in our lives. And we choose them over His kingdom, His heaven, His love, His grace.

There are God’s commandments that we sure can easily follow. But there is always that one aspect in our lives where we refuse God’s kingdom. That thing always gives us security, comfort, pleasure. That thing is always there available when we want it. That addiction… dependence… secret sin.

Jesus, I want God’s kingdom more than anything else. There is one thing in my life that keeps me from having it, and I beg you, Lord, to help me give it up. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, help me get rid of this sin in my life because I have proven that alone, I am powerless when faced with the temptation. But with you, Oh Lord, Jesus Christ, I can do all things because you strengthen me. I pray this in your name, Amen.

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Obedience – The Right Response To Love

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It is a natural desire for us human to love and to feel loved. It is necessary for us to experience love in our lives. Life without love is empty, hollow, meaningless. But some of us fell in love with the wrong persons. We found love in the wrong places. And this kind of love brought us great pain in the end. It hurt so much that we asked God why He allowed us to be in that situation in the first place. We only meant well. Why do we have to be hurt in love even when we have good intentions?

When you love someone, you want what is best for him. You make sure everything he needs is being provided. You see to it that he is always safe.  You will protect him at all times. So when you think that someone or something is not good for him, you try to steer him away from these things.  You tell him to avoid these things.  You ask him to stay away from the things that you think will not do any good to him.  This kind of love is best exemplified by parents.  Parents love their children so much that any threat to their children’s well-being, they are disposed to do everything in their capacity to remove these threat.  The only way to respond to this kind of love is through obedience. 

The opposite of obedience is rebellion.  And rebelling against someone who loves us means we don’t want his love. We refuse to accept his love. And eventually, they will stop loving us. Imagine if God stops loving us. But the good news is, God’s love is everlasting. We, humans, when we are being constantly opposed by persons we love, we stop caring for them. When we don’t receive the obedient response to our love, we stop loving and start hating.  But unlike us, God loves unconditionally.

God allows us to experience love and its consequence. He wants us to fully understand the true meaning of love. He wants us to be in his shoes. Because even before we were born, God loves us already. Our painful experiences with loving other people is the way God teaches us how to respond to His love. We fall then fail in love because of the wrong response of the persons we gave our love to. God is telling us, “I have loved you. I will always love you.  When will I get the right response from you. When are you going to obey me?”

Let us think about God and how much He loves us. God wants what is best for us. He wants us to be the best that we can ever be.  He has great things in store for us.  All we have to do is to respond to His love through obedience. 

Let us examine our lives and think of the persons and things that are preventing us from responding to God’s love.  These are persons or things in this world that we are strongly attached… emotionally. And they are the reasons why we disobey God and His commandments.  It can be our bad habits or vices, wrong persons we have relations with, obsessions and addictions… whatever they are, they are the things that God wants us to steer and stay away from because God knows they are preventing us from becoming the best person that He wants us to be.

The Greatness of God

there’s a verse in the Bible that says God will never allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist it – 1 Corinthians 10:13…. life in Christ is a continuous struggle, the more you want to please God, the more temptations will come… I am on this difficult journey too, I know I can survive this through persevering and to not rely on my own strength but on God’s abundant grace and mercy, my prayers for you, for me, and all those brothers and sisters taking this same journey

Wrestling with Faith - Dancing with Jesus

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To continue without fear and to keep going despite the forces of evil, feels like an impossible task to undertake.

The father of lies will tell me: “you’ll never make it”, “sadness will never go away” or he will use the more cunning one; The temptation to “give up and give in”!

I’m inclined to make a bold statement here and I know some may disagree, but I’m going to say it anyway, because I believe that I as well as my child and surely others too, have fallen prey to the evil one’s lie when he says “”you must keep going and not doubt“. Because it sounds very biblical I easily believe it.

stress-depression-girl-full.jpgBut I have found that it’s used to cause stress and anxiety. Those are not from the Lord!! – so if you encounter that or something similar, please run it by the Book before you keep going!

Lies are easily believed…

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The Start of My Journey to a Righteous Life

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After living a sinful life – the kind of life I chose for the sole purpose of “becoming happy” – I found myself “not happy” at all. It felt like I’m drowning in an amalgam of negative emotions that are the exact opposite of “being happy”. I felt remorse, insecurity, hatred, depression, misery, self-pity, uncertainty and hopelessness. I admit the sinful life had its high moments of pleasure. I got lost in total abandonment to wordly pleasure and licentious pursuits. I got caught up in the despicable game where another person was considered not as another human being but a flesh with a tag price. A game where people are used, and material things are loved.

Then the time came when the pleasure was replaced by pain. I suddenly found myself in the dark – alone, helpless and hopeless. Desperation gnawed at my heart like cancer, sending sharp pains emanating from the core of my being to every tip of my nerves. But in that desolate place, I heard a voice telling me there is still hope for me. That despite of my sinfulness, I am still loved. That His mercy is greater than any sin I can possibly commit. The voice of God.

God told me that even before I was born He has a great plan for me. I am destined to be the best person I can possibly become. I need to always respect and value myself. I am a worthy person because He loves me. God loves me so much “He gave His only begotten Son as sacrifice to give me salvation.”. Jesus died on the cross so that I can become a new person. I felt a great shame. A sinner like me doesn’t deserve such things. But God told me all I have to do is accept Jesus in my life. Embrace his gift of salvation. Having Jesus in my life meant becoming a new creation. Starting a new life on a clean slate. I need to leave behind my sinful past and walk along the path of righteousness towards the light. God loves me so much He will never give up on me. Prodigal son I was, when I came knocking at the door of my father’s house, he welcomed me with arms wide open. He accepted me back and once again lived in the full embrace of His great love.

Dear Jesus, Help Me

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One day, I found myself writing this letter to Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

I need your help.

I really need your help. I will not dwell on telling you why I found myself in this situation because I know that you know everything that happened in my life. Forgive me, Jesus. I’m so sorry. I have no one to turn to right now but you, Jesus.

Jesus, please help me free myself from the bondage of sexual sin. There is not a day in my life that an occasion will arouse the urge to commit this sin again and again. It relentlessly tempts me, taunts me, until I give in. I know I am weak. But I believe that your healing hands can do miracles, please reach out and touch my heart. Crush and destroy all the lustful desires in there. I want to stop responding to this evil voice inside me. Help me, Jesus, help me please.

I believe that there is a way to erase my sinful past and all the bitter memories of it. And that is through your saving power Jesus. You died on the cross and with your death, the power of my sins died too.

There’s no joy like the joy that comes from God. There is no peace like the peace that comes from trusting God. My heart desires for these things now, Jesus. Help me obtain them. You are the only way, the only truth, and the only life. I want to love you more than anything else in this world. Allow me, Jesus, to love you as much as I can do. I want you to be the Lord of my life.

Teach me, Jesus, to love those who need my love. Teach me to love unconditionally. Teach me to love others because I see you in them. Teach me to love without expecting I would be loved in return. Because God’s love for me is more than enough.

Make me an instrument of your peace, Lord. Teach me to guard my tongue. May I not utter a word that will offend others. If nothing good will come out of my mouth, may I have the grace not to speak at all.

Jesus, help me with my daily struggle against temptation. Give me strength to resist anything that leads to sin. May I always have the courage to say “NO to the devil!” and always “YES to God!”. Indecision, procrastination, duplicity — these give opportunitity to the devil so I must not allow them to overcome me in any way. Make me more sensitive and attune to God’s will for my life. Help me to always discern God’s plan in everything that’s happening in my life. Help me, Jesus.

Jesus, help me to see the beauty of life everyday. God wants me to have a good life. God wants me to be happy. God wants me to enjoy His countless blessings. God is a loving God, a kind God, a generous God, a merciful God, a powerful God…. and God loves me. What more can I ask for in this life?

Jesus, help me carry my cross gracefully. Teach me to walk the difficult path with gladness in my heart. Fill my heart with hope. Teach me to embrace the sufferings that come with living righteously in the midst of this sinful world. May my life inspire others to have you as their savior and lord, too.

Jesus, teach me your ways and how to lead a life that pleases the Father. Allow me to learn through your words all the righteousness that comes from obeying God. I want to imitate your ways – your complete surrender to the will of the Father. Open my mind and my heart so that I can fulfill God’s plan for my life.

Do You Really Love God?

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Have you ever professed, “I Love God!”? Have you ever uttered, “Lord, I Love You!”?

Maybe you did especially during those times when you obtained what you have been yearning for. Those times when all your prayers have been answered by God. You even shouted or let your mind scream with gladness, “Yes Lord! I Love You!”

If you have really experienced being in love with someone, you can honestly answer these questions. How does it feel to be in love? How happy can you be if you are with someone you love and he or she would do everything you want him or her to do?

If you have truly loved, you will also know the answers to these questions. How would you feel if you learn that the one you love is in love with somebody else and he or she love this somebody more than you? How painful is it everytime your loved one sin against you by doing something you don’t like?

Have you ever thought maybe God wants us to experience these things – be in love and be hurt – because God wants us to feel how it is to be in His place? That everytime we receive His blessings and graces we profess that we love Him, but we still continue to do things He doesn’t want us to do? God loves us so much! That’s the reason why we are still alive today, breathing, strong and able to earn a living, been sick but healed, lost something but something far better came along to replace it, been hurt but it made us stronger, oppressed but given a chance to persist and be victorious in the end! How many instances in our lives prove that God really loves us? Can you count it since the day you were born in this world? Then why do we keep on offending God by telling Him we love Him but we don’t follow what He wants us to do?

Do you really love God?

Sin is sin. Something wrong will never be right. The devil distorts our mind. The devil uses our feelings. The devil knows our weaknesses and he will do everything to make us betray God. The devil wants to prove that we really don’t love God. That’s why he never stops ensnaring us to drive us to commit sins. He will use events, things or other people that we find hard to resist. And for every sin that we commit, we only prove that we don’t love God!

How many times have we given in to temptations? How many times have we sinned? We ignored God countless times! But God loves us so much He keeps on giving us another chance everytime we confess our sins and ask for His forgiveness. Did God gave us only a single chance? Have you counted the second chances God gave you? If you read this it’s because you are still alive! And this moment is another second chance that you will add up to the countless chances God gave you!

Sometimes we think that commiting sin is part of God’s will in our lives. We are so wrong! That’s what Satan wants us to think! We have the ability to choose between what is right and what is wrong. God gives us freedom to decide for ourselves! Most of what happened in our lives are consequences of the choices and decisions we made.

If we love God we will follow His commandments. God should be the center of our lives, He must reside deep within our hearts. God must be our number one priority! Before we do something we should always ask ourselves first, will this prove my love for God?

Heavenly Father, I owe my life to you. You love me so much that’s why I’m here in this world, with all your other creations. Thank you so much for this life you gave me. And for the daily blessings you bestowed me even though I sinned against you countless times.

Forgive me, Father, for all the sins I have commited against you. If I have loved things or people more than you, forgive me, Father. I’m here because you gave me another chance to realize this mistake. My God, give me strength, clear mind and courage so that I can can win over everything that will test my love for you. I can not do this alone but I have faith that in your great power, love and mercy, I can do all these things.

Beloved Father, God in heaven, teach me how to love like you do, like the love that your Son, Jesus, also gives us . I hope that this kind of love will forever stay in my heart. Love that brings joy and not pain, blesses and not destroy, beneficent and not tempting…. love for my fellowmen that will eventually bring them to your great love, My Lord, because you are the God of Love.

In the mighty name of your holy Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, we sincerely pray to you, Father. Amen.

Mother’s Precious Legacy

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My mother couldn’t speak for months. She was lying in her bed paralyzed, waiting to die. It was her most helpless state in life. She had a fatal falling accident that caused damage to her head and left leg.  It was further made worst by her cancer.

It was the only night that I have to take care of her alone. And I had a fitful sleep. Mother would make a sudden loud gurgling sound and jerkily heaved her chest. Then abruptly she would stop.  This happened three or four times during the night.  And all the time it woke me up and made my heart beat fast.  I thought she’s going to die that night while I was alone with her.

Morning came and I was feeling heady.  Mama woke ahead of me.  I lit up the candles and told her we should pray.

Later that day, mother was able to speak. And she spoke very clearly again. It was a miracle.

And we had a talk. And I thanked God for that day! Because I was praying for this opportunity.

I was able to tell my mother the most important thing I thanked her for. And it made us both cry.

I told her… “Mama, I realized that it was not the education that you strived to provide  us that I am most thankful of you. It was how you taught us about God. That we should not rely on anything but God. Because that was what made us very strong during these times. We drew strength from that faith.”

The moment mama got sick and the day she died was the darkest days of my life. But those days made me realized that God sometimes placed us in a very dark place for us to appreciate the light.

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