Sorry Is All It Takes

One day, God and Satan were having a conversation…

Satan: God, you’re really so unfair!

God: And why is that?

Satan: Look at these people. Everyday they sin against you. They hurt you each and every time. But once they’ve said sorry, you are quick to forgive them.

God: So what?

Satan: I only disobeyed and hurt you once. Just once! And yet you didn’t forgive me. That’s unfair!

God: Why? Did you ask me for forgiveness?

———————–

Just like in the Parable of the Lost/Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), as soon as the Son asked his Father for forgiveness, the Father instantly forgave his Son. Actually the Father already forgave his Son even before the Son spoke to his Father. Going home was the Son’s way of admitting he was wrong so as soon as the Father saw his Son, the Father forgave him at that very moment.

The Son probably knew that his Father will quickly forgive him once he comes home. The Son probably knew that he was already forgiven the moment his Father hugged and kissed him. Still, the Son decided to SAY he is sorry by admitting he has “sinned against heaven and against you”. He didn’t have to say he was sorry but he did anyway.

It’s not enough that we realized that we did something wrong. We should also admit by confessing that we did something wrong. It’s a way of humbling ourselves, putting ourselves at the mercy of other people, and allowing people to judge us. And if we are forgiven and accepted still even after the wrong things we have done, that means we are truly loved, for true love is unconditional. Being forgiven is like getting “I love you too” after you said “I love you”.

To end this blog, here is a song about The Prodigal Son entitled When God Ran by Phillips, Craig and Dean.

God’s Authority

“Do not grow discouraged if a situation exceeds your competence & resources. At issue is your belief. Do you trust that Christ is able & willing to use your life to accomplish His work? When God sets an assignment before you, what you do next reveals what you believe about Him.”

April 11, Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby

Be The Miracle

God: The wonderful thing–no matter how filthy something gets, you could always clean it right up.

Bruce: There were so many. I just gave them all what they wanted.

God: Yeah. But since when does anyone have a clue about what they want?

Bruce: So what do I do?

God: Parting your suit is not a miracle, Bruce. That’s a magic trick. A single mom who’s working two jobs and still finds time to take her kids to soccer practice, that’s a miracle. A teenager who says no to drugs and yes to education, that’s a miracle. People want me to do everything for them. What they don’t realize is they have the power. You wanna see a miracle, son? Be the miracle.

Bruce: Wait. Are you leaving?God: Yeah. I figure you can handle things now.

Bruce: What if I need you? What if I have questions?

God: That’s your problem, Bruce. That’s everybody’s problem. You keep looking up!

[from the movie Bruce Almighty (2003)]

Blink of An Eye

March 11, 2012
Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 19:8-11, 1 Corinthians 1:22-25, John 2:13-25

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” – John 2:19

This verse got me thinking: If it only took Jesus three days to come back to life, how long would it take Him to do things that are much simpler? I related death to change, because death is probably the greatest and most permanent change. But what if we wanted to change our personality, our lifestyle, our habits, how long would it take us to do it?

I forgot where I got this but it says, “Every second is a chance to change and choose.” We don’t need a day, a month, or a year to change. We don’t need to wait for New Year to change. For us Catholics, we can change even before we have our confession. We don’t do confession because it marks the beginning of the change will go through. Rather, we go to confession because we already started that change and, through confession, we want to get rid of all that is not good, things that would not benefit us during that change.

If it only took Jesus three days to come raise from the dead, it would take Him probably a blink of an eye if He wanted to change something in Himself. I even think that a blink of an eye is still too long for Him. By the way, it takes about 150 milliseconds to blink. But we don’t need to be like Jesus to be able to change that fast. We don’t need to be a God to be capable of change. Jesus was more of a man than a God, to show us that we, as man, are also capable of such feats. We can also change that quickly…if we really desire it.

I guess what takes so long is thinking about changing. We are afraid of what might happen if we change. We worry about the things that we would be letting go of. For some, they’re afraid of the whole idea of change. But as soon as we learn to accept all of those, as soon as we’ve really decided that we desire (not just want or need) change, change will come naturally and it happens very fast. And if we made the right choice and the right kind of change, we need not wait long to get our “rewards”. It also happens in a blink of an eye.

So if you desire change right now, don’t wait for a sign, don’t wait for a new year, don’t wait for something bad to happen first before you make that change. You can do it NOW! Change is often good! And to end this blog, I will quote the tweet that inspired the title and idea of this entry:

“Funny how things can just change in the blink of an eye.” – Chlara Magtultol

Home Again

March 10, 2012
Micah 7:14-20, Psalm 103:1-12, Luke 15 15:1-32

The Gospel talked about the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the Prodigal Son. It tells how the heavens rejoice over one sinner repenting and changing for the better than over many righteous persons who do not need to repent (Luke 15:7). I’ve been a Prodigal Son quite a few times and every time I want to come back to the Lord, it becomes a lot harder. He expects a lot from me but to fail Him time and time again, I just feel so ashamed. I’m asking Him for forgiveness but I can’t look Him in the eyes. But before I could say anything, He’ll hug me so tight and whisper to me the words, “You don’t need to say anything. I’m just happy you came back.” Now I’m in tears. I tell Him I don’t deserve this but He tells me otherwise. I keep on saying “I’m sorry..” but He just keeps on saying “Hush, my child. I already forgave you the moment you tried to leave.” God’s love for us is infinite and never-ending. It doesn’t matter what we did and how much we’ve hurt Him. As soon as we repent and turn to Him again, it’s as if nothing happened, He would welcome us back with open arms. He’s just glad that we’ve come home.

I leave you with this song entitled Home by Gary Valenciano. One of my favorite Gary V. songs. I hope you guys like it. Be blessed! =)

Lyrics:

Verse 1:
Bright stars fill the evening sky
As I sit and wonder what I’m missing
I feel so all alone in a crowded room
There’s something that my heart’s been searching

Pre-chorus:
Coz when the shadows come
There’s nowhere to go
And my one last hope
God only knows
In Him I’ll find what I’ve been searching
Now I’m on my way
Back to a place where I can hear His voice
And see His face
As I’m on my way, I see Him running

Chorus:
Before I take my second step
He sees me coming back
And He comes running to me
And He comes running
Takes me in His arms
Closer to His heart
Saying He’ll be loving me
Cuz He’s never stopped loving me

Verse 2:
I don’t know why
Why did I ever doubt You
Thought I could live without You with me
All my fears disappear
Right before my eyes
Just to know Your love is with me
Bridge:
So I stop and say, “Forgive me lord
For walking out that door”
But before I could say anything more
He says hush
I’m just glad to know that you’ve come home
Back in my arms
Where you’re safe from harm
I’m just glad to know you’re home
Where I made you to be
Right here with me
Lord I’m glad to be home

The Rewards of Discipline

The March 9 entry, in the devotional entitled Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby, is entitled The Rewards of Discipline. The devotional told about the discipline of athletes where discipline is their training. If they train hard enough, they will be reward with success. After all, nothing worth having is easy to get.

I’m no athlete but I sure know how it feels to be rewarded because of my discipline. A few days ago, I wrote this entry entitled “My Fault” where I had this week full of bad luck and punishments from God because I failed Him. Right after I talked to God, admitted my mistakes and asked for His forgiveness, everything got better. I prayed every night, thanked Him for everything, and my faith got stronger. I was able to have self-control. With that, I was able to make the “Right Choice“. So I thanked God even more, prayed even more. That’s why He gave me today this thing I’ve been praying for the past few days, and He even gave me more than what I expected. Isn’t that great?! It was my reward. I’m so thankful and happy that I can’t even stop smiling until now. I even almost did that Flintstones tapping-of-heels-while-jumping move. Seriously. =)

Following God will give us more rewards…and problems. But the way I see it, they’re both rewards (“Problems: It’s a Good Thing“). With problems, you get better training and more lessons. With success, you get rewards, a little less lessons compared what you get from problems, and you desire to aim for something more challenging. It doesn’t matter what our goal is or what reward we want to get. Just keep in mind that we have to work hard to get those things. Like I said, nothing worth having is easy to get. Just stick with God, keep the faith, stay strong, and you’ll have all the training you’ll ever need. Pretty soon, victory will be in your hands. =)

PS.

Here’s a thought: “T” is the middle letter of the word “victory”. And look! The small “T” looks like a Cross. Coincidence? =)

My Name is My Purpose

My reflection/sharing is sort based on the March 8 entry in the devotional entitled Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby where it mentioned Jesus’ other name Emmanuel.

Nowadays, most parents pretty much name their babies whatever they want. But many, many years ago, like during the Biblical times, parents name their babies according to their would-be purpose in life or perhaps a characteristic they want their babies to possess. Sometimes, even if they are already adults, they change their names that would best describe their purpose in life. For example, Simon who was later on named Peter or Cephas meaning The Rock (John 1:42).

I was born on December 27, two days after Christmas which is the birth of Christ. Since Emmanuel is one of Jesus’ names, my parents gave me the name Emmanuel. Emmanuel means God is with us (Matthew 1:23).

I really didn’t care much about my name or its meaning. I actually didn’t know about the meaning of my name until high school when our English teacher told me what it meant and how she loves my name. I also felt envious of my brothers because they have longer names: one is Rafael Andrew and the other is Angelo Miguel. But when college came and after I joined my ministry, I started taking my name a bit seriously. I’m not God. I’m no saint. I’m not perfect. But I want to be someone God could use to help other people, to show that God really exists. Just like what I’ve said in my previous blog, we already have the qualities that God and Jesus have. If we ask God for a miracle and nothing happens, it means it is up to us to make that miracle come true. We should “be the miracle” just like Bruce said in the movie Bruce Almighty (2003). Being named Emmanuel, I wanted to be someone’s miracle.

I always want to help. I always want to know the problems of other people and help in anyway I can. I feel useless if I can’t help them. Sometimes, this desire to help often got me into trouble. My friends would get annoyed because I will keep on asking them what the problems because they don’t want to tell me. Some problems are also not my concern. I’ve learned that, sometimes, the best way to help is to not help at all. But there are also those times when I’d get “lucky”, that someone would need my help and my advice. Sometimes, God will bring me to that person or He will bring that person to me. Actually, I’m not that capable or skilled to help others, and I sometimes give crappy advice. I’ve learned that I am much more help and give better advice when I have a better relationship with God. These skills and wisdom are gifts from Him after all. Just like any gift or “power”, it needs a source of energy and God is my source and He also has the switch that turns on those powers.

When those lucky days do come and after I am able to help someone, I always thank God for letting me help them. I know I couldn’t have done it without Him. It makes me happy to see other people happy. Sometimes, even when I have my own problems, I’d rather share other people’s problems instead and help them solve it so I could forget about my problems. And I need not worry about these getting into my head. I think that me having self-esteem issues is a my choice. My self-esteem issues keeps me from being proud and overconfident.

Anyway, this is how I see myself and how I am fulfilling my purpose for being named Emmanuel. I hope this gives people an idea of who I am and why I am doing this blog–to help and inspire people. So if you need help, you can always ask me. I’m no Jesus Christ but I’ll try my best to help you in any way I can. I could try to be your miracle. You should try to be someone’s too, even if your name is not Emmanuel. It doesn’t have to be anyway. =)

PS.

This is a song from Hillsong’s Live Praise & Worship album Your Are My World (2001). This song is entitled Emmanuel. An oldie but goodie. Hope you guys enjoy it. =)

The Hand Prayer

In today’s reading in Henry & Richard Blackaby’s Discovering God’s Daily Agenda, it talks about the importance of Prayer or Praying and that we should make it a priority. Kinda funny really because I thought of not making an entry today because I’m too sleepy already.

To me, this blog site is sort of a prayer, my prayer. It obligates me to make an entry and because of that, I get to reflect and learn something. I maybe just forcing myself to reflect but the end justifies the means–I get to reflect and pray. To my surprise, a lot of good things happened to me this past few days since this blog started but i’m sure that pretty soon, I’ll be tested and it won’t be all just fun anymore. I will be lazy, I will be busy, I will be tired, I will be discouraged. Even so, I hope that those reasons won’t be enough to stop me from praying.

B.U.S.Y.  -  Being Under Satan’s Yoke

God knows the desires of our heart. For most of use,w e pray because we want something from God. But if the first statement is true, why do we have to pray? There are a lot of reasons and one of them is Intercession–we pray in behalf and for others. We show our love by caring for others, by wanting to know their concerns, and by praying for them. That is the reason why in The Hand Prayer, we pray for others first and ourselves last.

The Hand Prayer is a guide we use in our ministry. Here’s how the guide works. First, join your hands, as if you are praying, but don’t interlock your fingers. Now, place your hands near your chest. You can see that it is your thumbs that are closest to your chest, next your pointing fingers, then your middle fingers, followed by the ring fingers, and lastly, the pinky. Each finger represents a group of people that we should pray for, namely:

  • Thumbs – they are the people closest to your heart. For example, your families and friends.
  • Pointing Fingers –  our enemies, who point out our mistakes and flaws. It could also be our teachers and bosses (not saying that they should be our enemies or are our enemies) .
  • Middle Fingers – Our elders and leaders, the people we greatly respect and follow.
  • Ring Fingers – are said to be the weakest fingers. They represent the fortunate, the sick, and dying. It could mean people who are sick and dying, not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
  • Pinky Fingers – being the last, it represents yourself, putting others before yourself. Even though God knows what we desire, He wants to hear ti directly from us, telling Him what we want. Telling Him shows our great desire for those prayers to be heard and answered.

So next time you pray, you might want to use this guide. The more you care for others, the more likely God will reward or bless you by answering your prayers, or maybe giving you something better than what you prayed for. So why don’t you stop for a while and pray.

Or are you too B.U.S.Y.?

Devil May Try

Filled, Led, and Protected — Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit…was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. (February 24, Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby)

The first thing that came into mind, while reading this scripture, was the time I was baptized in the Holy Spirit at our ministry’s Life in the Spirit Seminar Proper back in the summer of 2004.

I can’t seem to remember any part of the proper except for the baptism and exhortation parts. During the baptism, when I was prayed over by my shepherd, I can still remember how cold it was in the room. It was raining outside with howling winds same as how the apostles experienced it during the Pentecost. Amidst the loud voices of other shepherds around, I can hear the quiet and calm voice of my shepherd, reminding me to give it all up to God, telling me to say Hallelujah over and over again to prompt the gift of tongues, and reminding me to ask for the Gifts that I asked God for. Little did I notice, I was falling into this relaxed state, as if I were in a quiet room, slowly drifting away. I never felt so peaceful and relaxed. I don’t even remember falling backwards. That’s how I felt being filled with the spirit. I became conscious of my surroundings a few minutes later. I could hear people speaking in tongues, people praying in loud voices, people singing in front. Later on, we were asked to stand up and join in on the worship.

Matthew 12:44-45 – Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Before LSS Proper, my shepherd warned me that after the baptism, we would be attacked by the evil ones, trying to convince us that we didn’t receive the empowerment of the Spirit. I found that to be true during the exhortation. I had a hard time focusing on the worship. I wondered why I wasn’t able to speak in tongues like my co-lambs. That thought bothered me till I got home. Later that night, I texted my shepherd that something’s troubling me and then he called me on the phone. He comforted me and  reminded me of the warning he gave before the Proper. So we prayed on the phone and I was able to rest peacefully somehow that night. The gift of tongues manifested 2 years later, just before I was called to be an under-shepherd.

The devil will try everything to make us feel unworthy, that we are not capable of great things, that we aren’t lucky or blessed, that we can’t change, that we can’t be good or we’re not good. The devil trying is not the problem but the moment that we succumb to him is. We have to remember the promises of God, that He will never leave us, that He won’t let anything bad happen to us as long us we put our trust and faith in Him. We should make God our foundation because He is firm and solid. If God is with us, who can be against us? But in case we give in, know that God is very forgiving. But let us not use that as an excuse to easily give in and sin. The devil may try to tempt us but we could also try to be better Christians–strong Christians.