Monday, January 23, 2017

Heart Test

I accompanied my father to the examination room for his 2D echo test three days ago. It was my first time to see a sonogram of the heart. I could hardly remember all the parts of our central organ, but as I saw the images of my father’s heart and heard its beat as it pumps rhythmically, I was struck with awe.

A provoking line from Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love came to my mind. The majority of us take for granted our kidneys, liver, lungs, and other internal organs that we’re dependent upon to continue living. We know our kidneys are inside our bodies, our heart is in our chest. But it’s not until we experience a sharp pain in the back or difficulty in breathing that we become concerned. Chan was right. On the average day, we forget that our life is truly a vapor. We could die any moment.

In the same vein, we don’t consider God very much most of the time. We’re either struggling to survive, or just the opposite, succeeding steadily that we leave God in the sidelines. Some might object. I pray to Him first thing in the morning. I attend church on Sundays. When I have time, I volunteer. I give a portion of my income to support the work of the church. But is that enough? Or should we rather ask:  Is that the only way we are to view our devotion to God?

Jesus commanded His followers, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). The other day, I stumbled upon an article by Jason DeRouchie titled "Love God with Your Everything" where he expounded on the said verse. I think he captured what it means to love God with all our hearts and soul when he said, “We are to love God with our passions, hungers, perceptions, and thoughts. But we are also to love him with how we talk, and what we do with our hands, and how we utilize our talents, and how we react to challenges — our entire being is to display that we love God.”

From time to time it’s good to submit our hearts for a spiritual test. Let’s allow God to search our hearts and show us what really makes our hearts beat, what makes them sick, why they wander far from Him.  Let us allow God, the One who made our hearts and keeps them beating, to impress upon us what pleases Him. From time to time, let’s check if our hearts are still in sync with Him.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sweet Love

Lunch for that day was the usual steamed rice, fried milkfish, and a vegetable mix of squash, stringbeans, malunggay (moringa) leaves boiled in water with chopped onion, tomato and flavored with fish sauce. It was a satisfying meal that made my tummy happy. But just when I finished my meal, I felt a craving for some sweets. Without hesitation, I expressed my desire aloud, "LORD, I want a dessert." No, it was not a demand, but a request made known in a way a little child would confidently ask something from her father or mother.

Probably no more than five minutes had passed when a couple knocked on our door. My husband and I were expecting them to visit that day to deliver their wedding invitation, but it never crossed our minds that they would bring something else--a box tied with green ribbon. And inside the box was, well, a round mango cheesecake!

I was tickled pink not only with how quickly God answered my request for dessert, but with how this incident is also an answer to another prayer that morning. You see, I was reading a verse that goes like this: "There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine punishment so the one who is afraid [of God's judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God's love]."*

The verse is talking about the love of God and how God's love for us removes all our fears. Though I have moments of victory over negative thoughts, I admit sometimes I still feel afraid and I'm distracted by thoughts about the past and future. How can this perfect love of God drive out all my fears? I was drawn to the last few words of the verse: The one who is afraid has not yet grown into a sufficient understanding of God's love.

I realized I may never fully grasp the dimension of God's love for me, and for that matter, for any man. But as God enables, I can at least gain a sufficient understanding of His love, enough to cause a positive change in me. Knowing God is a lifelong process, and everyday is an opportunity to know Him and experience His love. So I began that day with a prayer. "LORD, please open my eyes and let me see how you love me."

When the dessert arrived swiftly than I expected, I thought that God was showing me that He is aware not only of my needs, but even of my wants, and that He is willing to provide for them. On the other hand, I accept that He also demonstrates His love when he withholds a request that will not be good for me. But this time, this precious time, I'm free to savor this demonstration of the sweet love of God my Father in heaven.

“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:9-11

*1 John 4:18, Amplified Bible

You can have a relationship with God today. Read this article to find out how.
Did you know that God has adopted us as His own children? If you have some minutes, learn more about it from this video message.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Hungry Like Kopiko and Copycat

Our cats Kopiko and Copycat

Our cats, Kopiko and Copycat, are always waiting outside our kitchen door for my husband to feed them. In the morning, once we open the door, they scramble and meow, expressing their need for food. And as my husband prepares their daily fare of sardines, they run quickly and cry even louder. They're hungry and they're excited to be fed.

Psalm 130:5 says, "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and with hope I wait for his word". The psalmist is also hungry for food for his soul and he knows what can satisfy him and how he could get it. He knows that only God can feed his soul with His satisfying words. And so he waits on God till He receives a message of hope.

Jesus said that we are to live not on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Fortunately for us today, God's word has been neatly put together in a book form--the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, the importance of hearing, or in our case, reading the Word of God is always emphasized. The Bible is not just a guide for life, but it is food for our soul. As a human father nourishes his children with food that will make them healthy and strong, our Heavenly Father also offers us spiritual feast for our growth and contentment. His Word encourages, enlightens, invigorates, infuses us with hope, calms our fears, and fills our heart with peace. But like our cats, we are to come regularly, humbly, and with expectation to our Father's table so He can feed us with fresh manna from heaven.

If you would like to start each day with a reading of a Bible verse, visit  BibleGateway. This site also offers various devotionals, Bible study guides, and various translations of the Bible. 

OMF Literature also has a physical and online bookstore where you can purchase Bibles that will suit your need. 

The Philippine Bible Society also publishes and distributes Bibles in different dialects spoken in the country.