The Second Crossroad

It’s amazing how much you can learn in a day. Even when there are ordinary days or days that simply try to give you a reminder, there are still more days when you would learn something new. You would either learn a new skill, new knowledge, or simply something that you’ve never noticed about yourself. For me, today was a mixture of just about everything.

Today I’ve proven to myself that I really do consult God first in everything that I do. I don’t do it because I want to boast to people; but I simply do it out of my fear of Him. I fear that I might not be doing what He wants. I fear that these good things are just fronts. I also fear that a particular situation might be trying to make me spend less time with Him, as if I was being taken away from Him little by little. I found myself asking for the nth time, “Am I being tested again?”

A thought has been crossing my mind for months now but I can’t seem to find a way to get started with it. I’ve been trying to get other people to do it but to no avail. So I guess I just sort of left the idea alone for a while. But then for some reason, I made an odd decision. Like what they say, when you want change to take place, you have to do something new. But I’d have to say I surprised myself because I made the decision without really thinking much.

I kept looking for loopholes and signs that would help me decide that I made the wrong decision simply because my mind was battling with my heart. My heart felt at ease while my mind was struggling to be the pessimist. I kept looking at every angle yet it seemed as if all signs were telling me that everything was going to be fine. This is a very new challenge for me. It’s a new kind of risk. It’s the risk that have been trying to breakdown my protective walls. It’s the risk that I’ve never taken. And since I’m the kind of person who’s quite stubborn, I can never be convinced until I get a deeper meaning into what I am about to undertake.

Now I pray that I will be able to make the right decision. I pray for the gift of discernment.

Mark 10:21 “Go, sell what you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me.”

REFLECTION:

“It is not a matter of quitting everything for the sake of it; it is actually quitting to abandon oneself into Jesus’ hands and it is abandoning oneself because that is the genuine expression of one’s loving.” – Fr. Joaquim PETIT Llimona, L.C. (Barcelona, Spain)

Sunday

Dear Lord,

Thank you very much for this wonderful day. Thank you for letting me enjoy this day at the comfort of my own home. I can’t seem to remember when I last stayed home to watch TV with my family because I’ve always been out and about on weekends. Even when I stayed home, I usually locked myself up in my room jotting down schedules on my planner or reading something serious. Today, not only did I get to watch TV with my family, we also laughed together and enjoyed every minute of what we were doing. Instead of just hearing them laugh, today I laughed with them.

I was planning to go to the mall today and just hang out at a coffee shop because that’s what I’ve always done when I wanted to relax. But Lord, thank you for making me lazy and for letting me experience how enjoyable it is to just stay at home and spend time with my family. It has been a while since I’ve ever had any quality time with them.

I’m sorry Lord for burning myself out. I’m sorry for being too caught up with all the things that I have to do and forgetting the people in the background. I wish I could do this more often. Lord, if I become too stubborn to rest again, please don’t get tired of kicking me out of my responsibilities. I love you Lord God. 🙂

Amen.

Genesis 2:2 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”

The 24-hour Challenge

I went to bed quite early last night and had forgotten that I had plugged my phone for charging. Waking up around 3am, I hurriedly unplugged my over-charged phone and turned it off. Why? Because the day before, I had decided to have my cellular phone turned off for the whole of Saturday.

I had been really busy since last week and I can say that it had stressed me out physically, mentally and emotionally. Although I’m the type of person who LOVES to be busy, this time it just became too much. Yes, nothing went wrong with my priorities. At work I was doing my job properly. Thankfully, my commitment to this blog did not fail me. I never missed a day of writing. There were a few things that I wasn’t able to do but it wasn’t as important as my job and this blog. Yet something about this week really bothered me.

I was not my usual self. I was really grumpy and I felt so tired. I felt like I had to drag myself from one task to another. You know the feeling when you have so many things running around your mind and you feel like you just want to get them all done in one day but you can’t? I woke up feeling as if my list of things to do never ran out. Because of this, I was even less motivated because I felt as if I was not accomplishing anything. I was so tired to the point of being very, and I mean VERY irritable. If I could wear a shirt or hang a sign in front of my bedroom door it would say, “LEAVE ME ALONE!” To cut the long story short, I was BURNED OUT. My heart was just not into the things that I was doing.

I also faced another dilemma. I was supposed to be writing an inspirational post everyday yet I was going through a tough time. Honestly, it was a struggle for me creating posts for this week. The struggle was not so much with the content because I definitely had a lot to write about.  It was more on my attitude while I was writing. I was so distracted. There have been other times when I was struggling with the content of the post because I really had to start from scratch. But during those days, I found myself really inspired. I didn’t mind if I had to start from scratch because I trusted God that He will tell me what to write about. Yet this week, I did not feel that way. I just couldn’t wait until the week was over.

So on Friday afternoon, on my way home from work, I thought about how I would spend my weekend. I came up with some things I wanted to do that were not work-related or organization-related. In short, I wanted to keep away from responsibilities. But suddenly, this idea came to mind. What if I just turn off my phone for the whole day?

It wasn’t the first time that I didn’t have access to my phone. When I was not in the country, I could somehow ignore my phone even if it was on roaming because replying would be too expensive anyway. On an ordinary day, if I was too busy with work, it would take me a while to reply to any message that was personal. But this time, I guess it was more challenging because I really had to turn it off. It meant being unaware if someone had sent me a message or not when I know I have easy access. It was making a very conscious decision to detach myself from “the world”.

In the beginning of the day, I was quite uncomfortable. Every morning, the first thing I  would do when I woke up was to look at the time and access Facebook on my phone. Today I couldn’t do it. I was also used to bringing my phone everywhere I went. But today, I didn’t have it with me when I went out. I kept thinking what if someone sent me a very important and urgent message? At the same time I also had to keep reminding myself that today was “detachment” day. It was a higher level of “ME” time. After lunch, things got easier because I became a bit busy. I went to my doctor’s appointment and when I got home, I watched a few episodes of one of my favorite TV shows. In the evening I went to choir practice. Before I knew it, there was only 1 hour to go before I could turn on my phone.

After a day of not using my cellular phone and getting the rest I wanted, I also learned a very valuable lesson. No matter how busy you are with what you do, even if they are important and service-related, God doesn’t want you to be burned out. Sometimes you just need to take a complete rest. Complete rest means taking care of yourself and letting go of ALL your responsibilities sometimes. Resting doesn’t need to be expensive. You don’t need to go out of town to have a really nice vacation. All you have to do is shut down the things that occupy the majority of your time and mind. And even if we exist in this generation where gadgets like mobile phones have become a necessity, believe it or not, we can still live without it. If you have a job that needs you 24/7 and you’re exhausted, do not be afraid to take a rest.

So what am I doing writing this REALLY long blog when I’m supposed to be resting? Well let’s just say that I have restored my inspiration. And as I write this, I can say that I am halfway back to my normal self. Tomorrow is still a weekend and I’m not yet done with my “resting period”. I am still enjoying this peaceful time not having to worry about any responsibility. But now I am assured that I will start this new week refreshed. 🙂

Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I STAND

Ephesians 6: 13-17 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to  stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,  with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet  fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In  addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can  extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of  salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

The 3-day event was indeed a success. Bringing home with me the  experience and all the learnings, I know that I have gained a greater  responsibility. My mission does not end here. It is just the beginning.

 

Ephesians 6:10

“FINALLY, BE STRONG IN THE LORD AND IN HIS MIGHT POWER.”

Yes to God!

MISSION

In order to fight the enemy, we cannot just go and attack without preparation. We need to know who exactly the enemy is and what he is capable of doing. Lucifer, Satan, the Devil are a few of the names he goes by. He does not just exist as this ugly creature with wings and horns, but he lurks around the corner, waiting for us to make a mistake and targets our weaknesses. He thrives on delay, doubt, deception, lies, false promises, crimes, apathy, and the list goes on. There are times when his attacks are so subtle that we mistake it for something so desirable and attractive. So do not be deceived. Carefully evaluate yourself and those things around you. If we want to make a change, we must first look within ourselves.

After knowing the enemy, we need weapons and tactics. Here are some of the things that we can do to counter the devil’s traps:
1. Pray

2. Rebuke the devil

3. Recall Words of the Lord from Scripture

4. Fast

5. Flee from the occasion of sin

6. Seek counsel and help

Always keep in mind, that we are more than capable of defeating this enemy. Because he is a defeated warrior. He is alone. He has nothing.

 

As a soldier in the army of God, what are you to do?

Are you ready to swear allegiance to Him? Are you ready to carry His cross? The same cross that He carried for you?

Are you ready to fight the battle?

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE THE STAND?

Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

 

Call to Arms

Before we arrived at Camsur, an email was sent saying that we had to be in an army attire on the first day. I thought the theme was really cool. Little did I know that the mission God had for me was “literally” a mission. On our first night, the talk was entitled: “Call to Arms”.

When we hear the word ‘war’, we often think of a country fighting against another country, soldiers in uniforms with their weapons, war vehicles, people being killed, etc. But believe it or not, there is a more subtle kind of war. It is the kind of war which is so silent that you won’t even notice that you’re already in it. It is the war between good and evil. In every situation where we need to make a decision is an opportunity for the devil to strike us – targeting our minds, bodies, hearts and souls. It is the war that exists everywhere: at home, school, the workplace, in the society and in our very own church.

I believe that we were all born with an instinct to do good. It is because of our free will as well as external influences that make us do otherwise. We have created a world full of norms that are most of the time not in accordance to God’s word. Those who stand up for what is righteous are constantly tempted by their peers to commit sins or are pushed aside and ignored because they are not “cool”. Those who know what should be done but are afraid to show what they believe in end up being lukewarm. They neither sin nor stand up for what is right. Or they may commit sins and think later on that they just tried it for the sake of being “in”. Still, there are others who have completely succumbed to the materialistic standards of this world because they think it is just “normal”.

After the talk, there were three people who shared their experiences on how they fought and are still fighting the battle against the evil forces in the workplace, society, and even of the occult. Living in this world, it is easy to be discouraged in standing up for what is right. However, these three people have proven that though difficult and risky, the right way is worth fighting for. These people have proven to me that there is still hope. There are still several, if not, thousands or millions of people out there who are fighting the battle against evil. They have inspired me to not be afraid in proclaiming what I believe in, which is my faith in God and obedience to His word. They inspired me into thinking that being different may not be normal or popular, rather, it is special. We who strive to fight the everyday battle are special.

God has spoken to me. He wants me to be prepared for a greater battle. He wants me to be His soldier.

Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

Lessons on HOPE

Wanting to come up with a unique definition of the word “hope”, it took me quite a while before I wrote something down. Aside from the quotes that were posted or hanged inside the barracks, there were also some pictures that were very appealing to me as well as the success stories of some well-known people.

Here is one that struck me the most:

“Hope is a treasure full of surprises.”

The reason why I defined hope this way is because in hoping, we never really know what’s going to happen. Are we going to get exactly what we asked for? Or are we going to get something entirely different? Could it be that we deserve the exact opposite of what we wished for? Maybe we’re going to get something even better than what we wanted in the first place. Whatever it is that we get and whenever it is that we actually receive these blessings, only God knows. But to NEVER lose hope in our Almighty God despite the fact that we have no idea what’s about to happen, I believe this is a gift. Hope is a treasure that no one can take away from us unless we let them.

Sometimes I find myself confused between hoping for what I want and praying for the strength to do what the Lord wants. In the past, there have been several times when I prayed for something and ended up getting frustrated because I didn’t get what I want. I felt like I had wasted my time hoping for something that wasn’t meant to happen. Now that I’ve become more obedient to God, I get confused. I end up wishing that what I’m hoping for is the same as what God
wants for me. There were some instances that I got it right and those would be the same instances where everything ran smoothly. But right now, there is something that I’m hoping for but have not received any answer. Should I continue hoping? Or should I just let the idea go? Was the answer already given but I chose to ignore it? Or do I still have to wait?

I must admit that this is very difficult and I cannot give a specific answer. But again, I am reminded that in God’s time, everything will turn out well. If I am confused right now, it’s probably because there are still several things that I need to learn before I can be ready to face the answer. The answer which is the TRUTH. God is continuously teaching me to be patient this time because the answer is probably not in the near future. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with hoping for something that isn’t exactly the same with God’s will. What’s more important is to be prepared to accept the consequences.

 

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