Thursday, October 15, 2009


When I arrived in Pearland, TX on August 21 for a time of refreshing I prayed to God to lead me to a church that will help me do just that. He brought me to First Baptist Church in Pearland and has been ministering to me since the first Sunday I attended fellowship. But little did I know that God had already laid out a beautiful schedule of "refreshing" for me on October 11-14. 

I have always acknowledged God's hand as He made ways for me and Ryan to relocate to the Houston area. I've prayed believing that God will allow us to start anew in this place. All this time I thought that God will help us start anew with our family life and our chasing after our dreams. But it wasn't until we sat in church listening to the Life Action Team minister to us that God made it so clear that it was our spiritual life that he wanted to renew!

In one of my quiet times before I even learned about the conference, God led my soul to Psalm 42 as it was exactly where I found myself in. I felt so parched and so thirsty for God's presence that every single waking moment I really felt what psalm 42 had described. Just as the deer pants for streams of water, my soul was also panting and longing and thirsting for the living God. It was exactly where I was, like when the psalmist in verse 4 mentioned that he remembers how he used to go with the multitude with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. I was missing that so much, just praising in fellowship with joy and thanksgiving in my heart. Not that I wasn't attending church, for I was diligently in church on Sundays but my heart was just consumed with other stuff. I wasn't experiencing full joy and thanksgiving in my heart! My soul was so downcast.

Our situation wasn't easy even when Ryan arrived from the Philippines. The kids are still there, we both were jobless at the time and only had $50 left to use until God knows when, we didn't have our own car to use since it was still left in California, we were staying with my uncle's family and can't chip in some money to help out with bills, our financial debt was huge, the car payment was 3 months late already, and so much more. Our circumstances left us even more desperate and empty and uncertain. We felt like the storm will never end. Our souls felt oppressed by the enemy. We were agonizing through our daily struggle to start anew in this place. Everything seemed too difficult and unsettled... until God called for us to be still.

Two weeks before the Thirst Conference started, God has already given us a miracle. I started with my new job and was able to put in hours enough to receive a paycheck. We were able to tithe again! (Praise the Lord!) God made possible the shipment of our car from CA to TX. He even went beyond what we've expected as He made it possible for us to have enough money to get a new set of tires and to get a needed oil change for less than what it should be (God led us to stores that offered huge discounts). On top of that, we were able to chip in a little money to help my uncle out with the bills and we were able to put down a deposit for the apartment we were going to move in to. God works in marvelous ways! Even more wonderful is how He takes care of His children, even the wayward, rebellious and most especially the THIRSTY ones.

The conference was scheduled on October 11-14, 2009 in First Baptist Church in Pearland, TX. This was the first ever Life Action Team conference I've ever attended and it was something God has really prepared for me. As much as I thirst for God's presence and moving in my life again, that is how much He's met with me during the conference and even more! 

God has made me realize how much I needed to REMEMBER that He created me for HIS purpose and HIS glory, not mine. God opened up my eyes so that I remembered that my life's dreams here on earth - for myself and my family, are worthless. Our dreams have taken us so far away from our first love - GOD. It was shameful to stand before God with all our plans for this and that when all of it will be worthless in the end! I found myself hoarding treasures on earth and realizing that my heart has followed after the wrong treasures.

But God is a loving Father who always makes a way for us to be reconciled with Him. God has allowed me to REPENT for being unfaithful to Him. He has given me the chance to realize that I needed repentance for all the sins I've committed while I was going my own way. I had to repent for my selfishness, for my lack of love, for my pride most of all. 

Malachi 3:7 was one verse I hold dear now that I've attended the conference. 

"Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord Almighty.

God has truly convicted my heart of how I haven't kept His decrees. But His invitation to RETURN to Him is the sweetest call of grace and mercy. I have never really realized until now that I have forgotten how loved I am by God. His ways are truly higher. And He has equipped His children with the kind of grace that brings His power into our lives! The saving grace He's given is also a sustaining grace that will allow us to not only RETURN to Him but also REMAIN in Him until He comes again. 

This life we live is but a vapor and everything is futile. Our question should not be "What is God's will in MY LIFE?" but instead "What is God's will?" period. It's never about us... it's all about HIM. 

I honestly thought that this Thirst Conference will leave me feeling quenched, but it left me feeling otherwise. It has instead left me THIRSTY with a different kind of thirst. Come to think of it, I'm left much more thirsty than I first was on the first day of the conference. This time, though, it has left me THIRSTY for MY GOD.  The conference was not there to help me quench some thirst I have in my soul, but instead it stirred a deeper form of thirst that longs for higher things and holier things. The kind of thirst that will keep me running over and over and over again after my living Almighty Father's glory. 

The conference has truly changed me. God has truly changed my perspective. I continue to pray and be confident in the grace He has supplied for me. I will continue to live for the desires He has given in my heart during this conference. A deeper desire to serve and not be served; to love and not be loved; to glorify God instead of seeking to be glorified by men; to focus on heavenly treasures that moth and rust could never destroy; to truly offer my life as a living sacrifice; to make giving of myself a personal matter where I will be willing to be made materially poor in order that I and others might be made spiritually rich!

"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:3-8) KJV

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 1:24-25) KJV

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lamps for Life's Journey

We are all very familiar with Psalm 119:105 which says "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." It has always been one of our favorite verses and one of the top memorized verses of all time. I personally believe that this is also one of the most taken-for-granted verses that we have in life. I know I've kept this verse memorized for years even before I professed my faith in Jesus Christ, but it wasn't until I read over Proverbs 21 that I became convicted of how often I've taken Psalm 119 for granted and that I needed to get my wires straight in my heart! There is a need for us to be sure of what lamp we use to light our path.

When I read through Proverbs 21, the 4th verse caught my attention as it also mentioned of a lamp that may be used in life. Listen to what it says. "Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin." It is interesting to know that there is another kind of lamp that we tend to use in this life to light our paths and that is the "lamp of the wicked" as the bible calls it.

I had to search up the word "haughty" online to delve deeper into what it means because I just had to make sure my heart is aware of this kind of lamp so that I will NOT be using it at all in lighting up my way. Google comes up with a lot of links to the definition of haughty but for this blog's sake, I'm going to use the one from the Online Free Dictionary. Haughty is defined as having or showing arrogant superiority to and disdain of those one views as unworthy. I guess this is why the bible mentioned  having "Haughty EYES" because it has something to do with our view of others. This is the lamp that may be used by those God considered wicked. In fact, He made sure we know they are SIN. (And if you read it closely you can find that haughty eyes and a Proud Heart goes hand in hand for they're only considered singularly as a lamp and not two separate lamps.)
Most of the time we tend to lean into using this lamp in our life. We tend to consider ourselves superior than others -- knowing all things and being right always. We sometimes reach a point in life where we think of ourselves so highly that we no longer view other people as worthy of our consideration, our time, our understanding. Most often we feel that our opinions and thoughts and feelings are ALL that matters and anybody else's is not worth the time listening to. We have gotten ourselves so involved in a world that views SELF so highly that we no longer believe in "laying down one's life for someone else." We are so consumed by the pride of self that even if we profess to be followers of Christ, our actions speak louder than our words. We most oftentimes forget that God has given us a clear instruction as to what kind of lamp to use to light and guide our way, and that is His WORD. And his Word speaks of Love, of Patience, of Perseverance, of Self-Denial, of Kindness, of Submission to one another and most especially to God.

We ought to really check our lamps from time to time to make sure that we're holding the correct light to our path. Is it God's Word that you're holding up with your hand right now? Or do you feel that your path is so clear because you are, all this time, holding up the lamp of the wicked? We should be careful to make sure we are not holding the lamp of Haughty Eyes and a Proud Heart!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Wish for Radical Parenting

If there is one thing my heart grows heavy of each and every single day, it is being away from our children. Each waking moment in the morning stabs a conviction in my heart that I have sinned by not having them with us. It was a decision we made when we focused on what we can achieve in this life. We had to sacrifice time with the children just so we can work and earn enough money for the many dreams we have for the family. All this led to having to decide to leave the kids with my parents in the Philippines while me and my hubby work for some time here in the states. As parents we thought that if we could both have decent jobs and earn a good income, we could easily take care of all our family's financial problems. And since the kids become an obstacle to getting to our goal in a short time, we decided to sacrifice them for now and leave them to be cared for by others. Not that I don't have the gratitude towards my parents who lovingly opened up their home to accommodate the kids, but I was just crushed with the conviction that it is MY duty to take care of them.

In Deuteronomy chapters 6 & 11, parents have clearly been commanded to TEACH & IMPRESS the commandments God has given us. We parents are to talk about them when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up. All these are clear commands to teach our children in the way they should go. It is our responsibility (and accountability to God) as parents to lead our children in the teachings and ways of the Lord. The bible tells us to TRAIN them in the way they should go so that when they are old they shall not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

How then can such be the case when children are separated from their parents because of work and careers? A lot of people may consider me radical, but this is my view of parenting. Every day I'm away from my children I sin against God for not teaching them and impressing them and training them in Godly ways. 

I guess the world's offer of security is so great of an enticement to us that if we do not become careful of our walk, we will succumb eventually to its power. I hope and pray that one day my family will come to the point where our only security is God, so I do hope and pray that families will one day heed this commandment for parents to be there for their children to teach them and train them.I pray for parents to one day realize that the only thing that matters in the end is the investment we put in for somebody else's life, most especially for our children's lives!   God have mercy on parents like me who sacrificed time and the children themselves in order to run after security in this world. May God open up the eyes of our hearts so that we may see that HE alone is the source of our everything.

The world and everything in it has led men and women into thinking that it is a MUST to have both parents work and to prioritize security above all else. We have allowed ourselves to be drowned by the ideals of feminism of empowering women to become successful in their careers because stay-at-home moms just aren't the right thing anymore. I guess that is why we also see the greatest decline in our society these days because most of us have failed to train up our children in ways that they should go.

If there's one career I would want to see myself succeed in, it would be as a Christian mom to our children. This is all I wish for... my own radical parenting.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Times When God Leaves Us

I have just been dealing with a week from hell. All the circumstances that surrounded us was just something too big for us to handle, eventually leaving me feeling so exhausted and weary. My husband and I were hoping and praying to start over in Houston, TX. All this time we have been accumulating problems and debts as we travelled from one place to another the entire 3 years we were in the states. Having passed his NCLEX-RN, we thought that everything would be a lot easier now that there will be two of us working. We were at least looking forward to paying all our debts and settling down in a place where we can raise up our kids.

I have always believed that God shapes our circumstances and that His sovereignty never fails in ALL the situations we face in this life. Our faith, though, comes face to face with fire to test the very heart of us. This is exactly what happened in my first couple of months in Houston. Having relocated to TX without our car was one tough situation to be in. It was never easy getting started with a job without having your own transportation. I was so blessed to have an uncle who was willing enough to lend his car (after allowing me to stay with them) for me to use to work for now. But it wasn't easy to have to work at a clinic that's about 25 miles away from where we are. It takes 50 miles back and forth for me to get to and from work. On top of that, we also needed to use my uncle's car for Ryan's drug screening and interviews and all. It was too much travel for my uncle's car to go through and I really understood his concern when he saw we've put in about 700 miles already in just a few weeks. My uncle's car is an oldie and it's his only reliable transportation to work. He has been saving mileage to make sure it would last until the time he can really afford to get a new one.

All this time we were trying to find ways to get a transportation of our own, but every single way we take leaves us hanging and empty in the end. There was no way we could get even a second-hand car because of our credit scores, nor can we rent one. (We've been trying to stretch our last $50 before I get my first salary this coming friday!) The pressure of not being able to work because of not having a reliable transportation left us feeling so helpless. Not to mention the kids are so far away from us and our baby girl was sick (again) and that their nanny's going to leave for good and --- !!!! We're standing between a rock and a hard place!

It wasn't until I heard the sermon last Sunday that God had made the reasons clear as to why He's allowed us to experience all this. Pastor Sonny of First Baptist Church in Pearland, TX talked about Isaiah 40:3-5. It wasn't until he said that all these shall come to pass before the glory of God be manifested in our lives that every dust settled. I knew all along that God was in control, but my faith was stale and waning away that I doubted and panicked if He was really going to see us through. I knew He was bigger than our circumstances but my heart was filled with a lot of worries that His sovereignty was no longer my only priority.

The sermon last Sunday talked about leveling our lives... Preparing a highway for the Lord. Making low all the mountains and high places, straightening crooked ways and smoothing rough edges. I have all that. I was surrounded by mountains of bitterness and anger and frustrations and pride. I had so many crooked paths in my life that I still tend to use a a detour when problems arise. My very heart was still so rough around the edges that God needs to smoothen it out before his glory (and grace) be seen in my life!

The passage I read this morning from John MacArthur's Truth for Today was hitting the nail on the head. 2 Chronicles 32:31 was the time when the bible tells us that God LEFT King Hezekiah alone to deal with some Babylonian rulers. After all his success in every aspect in life, this time God decided to leave him alone in order to TEST HIS HEART. I believe this is what God has been doing all this time to me. Testing my heart. Not that He doesn't know what's in it, because he is omniscient, He knows the very core of me already. But He does all this to let ME see the very heart of me. Unless I will let myself be pruned and molded and unless I will humbly look into my very own heart and acknowledge what's in there, God can never do any revival in it, nor can I ever see his glory manifest in me.

It wasn't until I heard Him through all His words that it made sense why we had to go through all the trials and tests. God is sovereign and He is the one who gives and takes away. His name is to be blessed ALWAYS! Not just in happy, full days but in trying and empty days as well. God is still sovereign. He has been all this time. And I praise Him for times when He leaves us to test us... I love it when He works mysteriously in our lives to WEAN US FROM THE WORLD. He always redirects our focus to Him, making sure we wean ourselves off of wrong priorities. Blessed be the name of the LORD!!!


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