Timothy

You can’t swim in shallow water
Your can’t fly above the ground
You have to fan the flame to fire
Don’t settle for the easy round

Who will go with you to deeper waters
Or are there those that wait beyond?
Who will brave with you to higher places
They must let go of safety’s sound

Don’t hang around with heavy travelers
Who hate the burning heat of sun
Who say but, “Hush don’t start a fire.”
“Mellow down, please mellow down!”

You don’t belong to shores
But down the ocean
Where waters roar and spirits soar
You have to fuel fire and be burning
Let it burn, don’t let the vision drown

stock-photo-girl-surfers-waves-cliffs-101520739.jpg

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How I Was Set Free from 6 Lies I Struggled With as a Child

(I know that “6” is not a “nice” number but let’s just stick to it.)

When we were born, we were full of hunger and excitement to breathe in and partake of an unlimited adventure upon popping out of a safe, comfortable, but dark world inside mom’s womb. All of a sudden out of water and darkness in our mommy’s tummy, we burst out into a world of sun, colors, shapes, textures, faces—shocked, smiling, or amazed, and 1001 flavors of ice cream. We come out believing that as long as our stomachs are well fed, we can do anything. We were superheroes in our play places, conquering giant pillows and traversing mountains of toys.

Then came fear, because our parents had to protect us from bugs. Then came pressure, because our teachers had to protect our future. Then came rejection, because people had to protect themselves from us. We grow out of childhood innocence into a complicated, self-automated protective default we sometimes called wisdom, or so we think it is.

Growing up is not all that bad though. But despite the good things we learn, we also learn some bad things, things we find ourselves trying to unlearn the rest of our lives. Then again, it doesn’t have to take that long.

Today is my birthday and I want to say “Thank you God for freedom from lies.” Here are the ones I’ve said goodbye to. And believe I will uproot more lies as I go further in my walk. To 33 years and beyond!

1. The vampire is out to get me.

I don’t remember who first introduced me to the “vampires.” Sesame Street’s Count Dracula does not seem harmful but for some reason I grew up dreading nightmares and encountering vampires in my dreams. (They were not yet the romantic protagonists we have now. They were villains during my time and I believe they still are.) I used to pray each and every night before I go to bed specifically asking God to not let any bad dream come in, especially vampire thoughts. I would sleep with lights switched on and made sure my palms were facing downward because of the scary TV episode I watched where something really bad happened to the hands of the characters and their palms were faced upward when that happened. Every prayer worked even though most of them were neurotic prayers.

I prayed neurotic prayers for a long time. But then, a shift came when I asked God to take away the spirit of fear in my life. Soon, I could stay brave in the middle of a bad dream. I can walk alone in the dark. I sleep with the lights switched off now.

2. I am ugly especially if I put headband on.

negative self image?

“Self Image”

When I was around 7 years old, I tried a headband on in front of the mirror and thought it made me look worse instead of better, not like the way it made other girls pretty. Then, I realized whatever I did with my hair, I still look ugly. Then, I realized it’s because I’m ugly and there isn’t much that can be done!!!

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher went around the room to complement each student with one adjective each. I was expecting she’d say I was pretty but she said it to some other girl instead. She said I was “intelligent.” I didn’t know what “intelligent” meant so I was disappointed.

when I was in 3rd grade - around 10 years old. i still wore the headband after all!

“When I Was 9”

When I was in seventh grade, I was nominated to represent our class in our school’s beauty contest because all the pretty girls had represented their previous class already years before. I felt some hope that even though I’m just the nth choice, I still made it to the options list. But it was not what others thought that changed the way I see myself. You see, no matter what people say, I saw the same ugly face in the mirror. But this changed when God began to heal my self rejection problem. One day, it was as if I no longer saw the “ugly face” and saw something different… it’s the same face but this time the girl looks pretty. I realized it was my vision that had to change, not the face, but my belief.

3. I can’t sing beautifully. I sing out of tune and that’s how it will remain.

I grew up with people saying I can’t sing, that out of six cousins, I was one of the two who should recite poems instead. And so, during summer workshop, I joined a reading workshop instead of music or acting or those things I liked. I got so bored reading.

Then one time while I was in a worship-prayer gathering, I felt God burn a passionate desire in my heart to write songs. I thought myself, “I’M SCREWED.”

Rick Warren’s book “Purpose Driven Life” became very popular around that time. The book said something like (and I might be harshly paraphrasing this due to the extreme effect it had on me when I read it), “…forget about pursuing something that is in your “heart” only but you have no “hands” to do.” It said that it has to be both “hands” and “heart” and not just one of those two. “Hands” represented capability, talent, ability, skill… I hated that paragraph and I didn’t finish the book because of that chapter. I told God, “If this dream is from you, you better make it clear and make it work because I don’t know how it’s gonna happen and I’m gonna die of frustration if I burn with this desire without pursuing it.”

Now, I can sing. I have written a few songs. And if I were Rick Warren’s editor, I’d ask him to revise that part of the book. There is something more powerful than “skill” and it is “love.” Music, for me is an expression of my love for God and nothing can keep me from giving him the songs he deserves. Even lack of skill or talent can be overcome for the sake of love.

let's jump to freedom.“Let’s Jump to Freedom”

Aside from these three, there are a handful of other things…

4. Like that belief that theater and communication arts is only for extroverts. I am an introvert and I took a scary risk when I joined a drama class in college. Until now, it is still my most enjoyed class throughout college, next to Great Books which talked about classics like Dante’s Inferno.

5. Then there’s the lie that I can’t get into Computer Science because I’m not techie or geeky. I realized later than ANYTHING, absolutely anything can be learned if you want to.

6. And there’s the lie that God cannot fill the void in my heart and match the intensity of emotion I feel — something that comes out as an obsession with thought of falling in love. Hah! He did. And looking back, it LOOKED really impossible that time but what can I say, miracles happen.

Right now, a big challenge that is in front of me is starting a ____. (It’s still a big secret.) Oh yes, let me tell you about the conventional beliefs we are trying to break right now by taking this leap of faith. But that will be for another blog post.

Today, I want to thank God for freedom. The freedom to be 33 and thankful.

Newborn

When I was desperately sick and striving to comfort myself on my bed, at times I’d look at my newborn niece’s photo. And though the photo was dimly lit, it brough so much comfort. Looking at her chubby face that was without a care in the world, without anxiety or criticism or burden, but full of simple trust that there will be milk to feed her whenever the need arises but for now she can peacefully sleep in the cradle of a safe world that loves her — it was like applying a healing balm on my soul. I would look at her dimly lit camera photo and I would gasp for breath as if all of a sudden there’s oxygen again. What is it in a child’s face that when we look at them, we feel the heart of heaven and we breathe a hope we’ve lost?

image
Auntie and Baby Kari (photo credits: Jason Chan)

 

The War and The Full Armor

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)

I put on the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

I put on TRUTH. I gird my loins with truth.

I recognize God’s logos and rhema word as the only authority over my life and destiny. I expose every lie of the devil and I refuse to believe them or allow them to have any influence on me.

I put on the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS,

which is Christ by His blood that covers me. I know that I am a sinner and that my ‘righteousness’ is like filthy rags. My righteousness is a free gift from Christ. I refuse to be lured to depend on my own ability to desire, will and do good. I refuse to base my joy on how well I have adhered to God’s law, or how successful I am in my walk. But my joy is based on what Jesus has done for me! I AM THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST and this righteousness is by faith through grace. I walk and bust of anointing because of Christ in me. My heart will stay in love, therefore, as I revel in this truth.

I shod my feet with the GOSPEL OF PEACE.

I will not leave Christ’s message at home or in my locker. Nor will I keep it to myself. I will set my FEET to walk shod with it. It is the message that gives my WALK, purpose. It is the reason that I still breath and am not yet in heaven. I will walk in readiness to live out that purpose to speak up and not shrink back. I choose to be ready and discerning and sensitive to others’ need and hunger for an encounter with Christ.

I have trained and I will keep on training my muscles to carry this armor. I will train my e arms to lift up the shield of FAITH.

I will raise the shield of FAITH. I will recognize when the arrows are flying towards me. I will use truths of God’s word to counter every lie. I will search out for scriptures to use as defense against these arrows. My faith is based on God’s Word. And it is based on my trust in God’s faithfulness. When the devil says “No,” I say my God says “Yes!” I will refuse t be moved by doubt, by hesitation, by what I see, by dependence on my intellect and understanding, by timidity or fear. I refuse to delay my obedience. Instead I choose to step out in faith!

I put on the helmet of SALVATION.

My future is secured in eternity. I know that the deceiver will try to instill thoughts that will make me doubt my salvation, my future in God’s arms, and in the mansion He has prepared for me. My brain is wrapped up and soaked up in this revelation. o bullet of death shall hinder or halt my journey. It shall not touch my head because God has marked me to be preserved until His coming.

I raise up GOD’S WORD, the Sword of the Spirit.

Physical eyes may not see it, the unshakeable truths of God’s word, the unbeatable power of a double-edged weapon. It cuts through my soul and spirit, reveals my intentions and desires. It hits the enemy hard.

When I speak it, foundations are either shaken or established. Light comes forth when it is heard or uttered. Darkness flees when it is shouted out. Hearts are pierced at its firing, even the heart of the enemy is struck. Enemy blood spilled. Thousands put to flight at the faith-filled waving of this sword. It cuts through the sky and breaks clouds to send rain. It cuts, it severs, it kills, it destroys these obstacles, mockers and demons. It brings to life, resuscitates, revives, releases glory, breaks out, baptizes, unshackles, untangles, deciphers, soaks, waters, infiltrates, enlivens, pumps blood, resurrects…

I pray even more. Even more, I will pray… I am a warrior and my armor is full and equipped. I am not alone, but complete in my provision. I am part of an army. And I am the Beloved of the King, the Commander of this army.

I wrote this a couple of months ago during an intense season in my walk. At work, we are taught to daily “put on God’s Full Armor” in Ephesians 6:10-18. But I haven’t really pondered on what each piece means and how I can put it on each day. So I wrote this declaration for myself to recite every day.  But I have forgotten to continue this ritual before it could become a habit. Recently, I feel like I’m entering again another season of intense warfare and attacks and so was reminded that I have forgotten to use God’s Word as a powerful weapons through daily declarations and decrees over my life, family and workplace.

The daily battles that we face is no laughing matter. I believe that God’s grace has the ability to rescue us but God did not leave us without instructions, either, on how to wage our daily war for His Kingdom to come and for His glory to cover the earth. My prayer is that I would learn to always put on this armor, live and breath in the power of God’s word and presence. Hopefully, you will too. May we walk victorious lives, mighty in love and the wisdom of God. 🙂

God’s [Unmatched] Humility

How does one become humble?

I know for sure that I struggle with Pride. It doesn’t always come out of my mouth or my actions (although sometimes it does) but my mind knows it. (I know so because it’s quite often?) I can’t exactly stop opinion from crossing my head. At least, not those thoughts that flow out of the abundance of Pride in my heart. Oh God, change my mind about myself and others!

I knew for sure that God’s word is alive and powerful (Heb. 4:12), useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). So I ran to His word, it is my (and our) only hope for true and lasting transformation.

Jesus, teach me through Philippians 2, the chapter on ‘Imitating Christ’s Humility.’ I read it over and over. Prayed and prayed it over myself. Make it real. Make it pierce through. Break me through it. Change me through it. Amen.

Nothing happened in an instant. But I believed right away that God had heard and thus He started working out something. Months passed. Then I found myself reading the same Scripture during our office devotions last week. This time, it hit me in a different way.

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage…

…rather, he made himself nothing

Here was the King whose footstool is the earth, choosing to live 33 years on earth as somebody prestigious? Quite the contrary! He didn’t go down ‘just a bit lower’ than His universe-Creator kingly state. He made sure that He came as a Nobody.

Well, is a Jewish carpenter a nobody? Perhaps, not really compared to all of us, because we are also humans. But compared to God’s omnipotence, to come as man, really was to make Himself ‘nothing.’ And that’s God. Took an earthly and finite form when He need not take human form. He is Spirit, why must He limit Himself inside a human body? Then he entrusted Himself to human parents. Why? Surely, in heaven He does not need anyone to take care of Him. And as He walked the earth, He never boasted about how low He had stooped down. Instead, He endured man’s rejection patiently to death.

And He was no myth of a god who sat in the heavens. He is not a folk tale or a parable or theory or an unproven historical account. He is real. And His Humility had been demonstrated fully by this act.

Now, who am I?

I am an intelligent woman who graduated from a prestigious university where only 15% of my high school batchmates were given the opportunity to enroll without waiting for a slot to open. I am a Spirit-filled Christian who sincerely loves Jesus. I strive to be diligent and excellent. I work with all my heart. I try to give more than what is asked of me. The experiences God had allowed me to go through have blessed me with a unique mix of abilities and knowledge. I was born God’s masterpiece and more so now that He has worked deeply in my life.

I was taught that a worker deserves his wages and that a skilled and experienced one must be entitled with wages that are commensurate to his contribution. This is true but it is not always beneficial when one is being ‘humbled’ by God,

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage…

…rather, he made himself nothing

If God were not humble, I wonder what He has to say about taking human form. He has every right to complain.

And I… compared to God has nothing to boast. But to think of that I deserve to be treated in a certain way — something that God was never concerned about, at least for Himself — is a shame! Jesus did not consider equality with God. But I am always striving for equality of some kind. (I am not talking about human rights being violated. I am simply talking about blessings that we think we deserve.)

All Jesus cared about was the Kingdom and seeking and saving the lost. The more I become less concerned about equality, the more I can be concerned about the Kingdom of God. Honestly, days ago, God told me, “Riza I placed you there so that you would have a taste of Philippians 2 even as you have asked me for it. And to think, that that humbling is not even close to anything what Jesus did.” It’s just a notch down and it’s crushing my pride as if I were God becoming man. It’s crazy when you write it down and put it beside that Scripture!

How about you? Do you struggle with pride too? Lay your complaints beside Philippians 2:1-11 and ask God to show you His Humility.

Forgive me Abba for being too proud. And thank you Abba for teaching my heart to bend at your Word.

And buffets shall follow me…

It’s a good declaration. But better yet, it’s a good experience.

I love food. I tend to miss meals though. When the schedule gets hectic, I accidentally forget to eat. I’ve lost a lot of weight lately especially after my swimming lessons. I was so embarrassed to see my own photo one time that then and there I was propelled to say with real resolve, “Magpapataba na talaga ako!

Well… God must have been pleased with my decision. After that, free buffets seem to follow me around.

First was last Wednesday when we met Carl at Dad’s Restaurant Glorietta. His family offered to treat us to a buffet dinner at Dad’s. It’s a resto famous for its buffet. Unfortunately, I had to turn it down because I had lost my appetite! (Nalipasan ng gutom dahil sa traffic!)

Two days later, I found myself in Sambo Kojin Eastwood City overwhelmed by the delicious Japanese food buffet treat by April for her 30th birthday. I was so thrilled because I had been craving sushi that whole week! But I was in a bit of a daze that night that I hesitated going back to the buffet table for the sushi… and more bacon-wrapped rolls thingie….Boooooo!

[If you want to see how much food there is at Sambo Kojin, check out this link.]

Then one week later (or today), I found myself doing some volunteer work for the Empowered 21 launching. There was also a lunch buffet afterwards, which I missed because my Dad wanted to have a lunch birthday celeb at Contis. Owki.

Next week, Saturday, another friend will be treating me to a Shabu-shabu buffet. But for the first time, it won’t be a surprise! I can prepare for it. Yes!!

God must have taken my pledge to gain weight so seriously. At the same time, He is also reminding me of a prophetic word I received years ago: that He has already prepared a table for me and all I have to do is sit and eat! Wow!

I honestly had some regrets during the Sambo Kojin treat because I wasn’t able to eat well. I hesitated to go for the sushi and to go back for some of the yummy rolls! I know! Weird right? Maybe it’s because my companions where running for dessert already and I got carried away by the “crowd.” I know, duh…

Anyhow, I honestly think that God might be preparing me for the fulfillment of that promise that He gave me. The first buffet, I missed because I ‘lost my appetite.’ The second, I somewhat missed because I was not prepared to dig in (I had a rice meal –tapsilog – right before I went to the Sambo Kojin buffet.) The last, I missed because I chose to eat somewhere else. 🙂

I guess we can have different reasons for missing God’s buffet dinner for us. But perhaps one thing is certain, we can prepare for it and anticipate it so that when it comes, we can make the most out of it. I believe the season is coming and is already here, when God will be saying, “Okay kids, go ahead and DIG IN. Buffet’s on me.”

Shabu-shabu buffet, HUMANDA KA!

the 176 of 119 : “you just call”

Note: New International Version was used.

The 119th Psalm. For the longest time, I understood it as a Psalmist’s expression of his love for the Word of God. That is why I would usually turn to it whenever I find my hunger for God’s Word starting to diminish. One time, it saved me from the downward spiral of practically losing my faith in God. That time, I wrestled with almost every word in it until it broke through the hardness of my heart…

For the longest time, I have always thought of it as that benchmark that I could never seem to reach. Here speaks a man who is crazy and addicted to God and His Word. While here writes a woman barely making it through 10 chapters of the Bible every day, hardly meeting the standards she has set for herself, hardly demonstrating the power of God’s Kingdom in her life.

But look what I found today. I did not find a man trying to rebuke me for my lack of discipline. I found a man just like me, crying out to God, Oh God please help me! Apart from You, I cannot obey Your commands!

119:5  Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!

Oh that my ways were too! Oh how we wish! Oh how the Psalmist had asked it over and over. Here was a man not boasting how well a he had followed God but someone who is saying, “God You know that I love you. Help me love you more! Help me!” Continue reading “the 176 of 119 : “you just call””

On faith and its attributes…(part 1)

This one is a re-post from my friend’s facebook note. My response (comment) to this was:

i had a d’vine appt w/ ds entry. sipd every word like d cofi m havng now. we wer jus praying prayrs of faith kanina. Haha. I agree, oh dat he would stretch r capacity! Oh dat he would stretch r FAITH! Tnx 4 d tag.ü

Some five years ago, God gave me the word FAITH. Since then, I had asked, sought, read, tried to study… what the huge word meant. The past months, I am experiencing some kind of a release of that word’s revelation in my life. Years back I thought I was striving to understand in futility. But I realized now that through those years, God was growing faith inside me. I want more of that fruit in my life. But I am thankful now for the impossible things that God has given me the courage to believe for. It’s a crazy thing, but when you believe it, you just do, and you’re sure that you do. That’s why it’s called NOW FAITH (Heb. 1). Thanks Jim for this post. It’s so refreshing to read!

On faith and its attributes…(part 1)
by Jim Leandro Cano on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 2:48am

I have embarked on the journey of seeking what faith really is. Hebrews 11 is a very meaty chapter that deals with the subject-matter. I read Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke’s commentaries, but I find Matthew Henry’s insights very stunning and striking. Most, if not all, of which will be quoted are excerpts from Henry’s Commentary aside from the Bible. 

The first verse is powerful. It not only shows what our faith should be, but shows the type of faith that Christ has that makes Him deserving of the name FAITHFUL.

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (NIV)

“Now faith is the assurance of things  hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (NASU)

I thought this was just something for myself. My faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not/cannot see; the assurance/substance of that which I hope for, the conviction of things not seen. But we’ll understand more when we see it from God’s perspective. HE IS SURE of what we hope for, even in the times when doubt clouds our mind, HE IS CERTAIN of what we cannot see, like what He has called us to be! Continue reading “On faith and its attributes…(part 1)”