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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What Can’t You Go Without?

Image credit: WorldNetworkofPrayer.com

Warning: This is a post for me and my Christian brothers and sisters. You may or may not understand parts of it if you have not yet surrendered your life to Christ.

Can you go a day without coffee? Can you go a day without tea? I know there was a time when I can’t. When not drinking a cup of tea seriously messed up my internal balance and I had to drink at least a cup or else I experienced the following:

Continue reading “What Can’t You Go Without?”

Today, I Have A Choice

Today, I have a choice between accomplishing what I can on my own strength and doing what I am capable of only through the power or God and by the grace I have because of Christ. The first one can impact the world; the second one can make a mark in eternity. But the world is in so much need, what I am capable of on my own strength will not suffice, but what God can do through me, that is what the world needs — to experience God’s dunamis power and relentless love. Today I can dream about heaven and the things I want to do with my life, or I can bring heaven to earth, the thing that God wants to do.

God help me choose the latter.

Why Positivity and Good Vibes Fail

I would like to propose that there is something more powerful than positive thoughts, positive words, and all kinds of positivity you could ever infuse in your routine.

By the way, (if we have not been introduced yet,) my name is Riza and I’m a freelance writer. I write all kinds of marketing content for my clients, and since online marketing plays a big role nowadays in a business’ marketing mix, a big chunk of my work includes writing online content.

Like… motivational blogs. I love this kind of writing. But they are also extremely challenging to do for secular businesses that do not exactly teach what I believe is, “more powerful than positivity.”

Most motivational blogs today encourages you to “believe in yourself,” “to replace bad habits with good ones,” and “to dream big.” These things are all good and all recommendable. Sure, do all these, if you can. However, the problem with trying to do these out of thin air, out of sheer will, and even through inspiration coming from one’s family, is that we will all come to a certain point in our lives when no amount of these “strategies to keep on going” will suffice. Our strength is not infinite. Neither is our source of inspiration and motivation. Our loved ones are not perfect. They will fail us at some point. Our determination is flawed. It has its limits. If we anchor our faith on “positivism” and a “source” somewhere out there, then we have anchored our lives on thin air. Don’t wonder why if some point you feel like you’re slipping away from the shore.

Our faith needs an anchor that is sure. Not some lingering cloud of good vibes floating above us. Our lives must be anchored onto something that we know is stronger than ourselves. Something real. Not imagined. Something powerful. Not pumped up. Something alive. Not something that gives way when we let go. Because we all will come to a point when we will want to let go.

That said, I would like to propose that there is something more powerful than positive thoughts, positive words, and all kinds of positivity we could ever infuse in our lives. And that is God and His words (as we read in the Bible).

~ Months ago, I wrote on a piece of note a verse from the Bible which I started praying for my family. It was a verse about restoration. I said to God, this is in your Word so you should fulfill it. I expect you to fulfill it. I prayed with tears. The atmosphere at home changed. I took a new set of verses and did the same. Something happens every time. You see the problem with positivity is you have to pull strength from yourself. With faith in God and his word, you pull strength from a person’s love for you.

scripture declarations

~ Months ago, I started meeting a friend who had been diagnosed with a mental /psychological disorder. We studied the word of God together. God’s word about healing. About her identity. About the purpose of lives, which is to glorify God. She is excited to meet up every weekend. She says the meetings are healing her.

Many mornings, I would wake up disoriented. As if I have forgotten why on earth I’m here. I open my eyes, see the notes stuck on my cabinet doors, and remember that a living God has created me for a purpose and a future that is good. Jeremiah 29:11. I don’t know how people are able to survive on “good vibes” alone coming from some cosmos they do not know intimately. During the lowest point in my life, I survived because the love of God held me together. If you and I will choose to have a relationship with Jesus, that ONE THING missing will finally find it’s place in our hearts, and for the first time we’ll know that something right is falling into place. Instead of falling apart.

Do you believe in God? What does faith mean to you? Have you ever felt like there is a god who wants to teach you how to pull your life together? 🙂

GOD'S WORD

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.

David Under Pressure

“My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.”

Psalm 119:20
What in the world was David feeling when he wrote this? I mean, I understand longing for the “presence” of God and longing for love or security or refreshing, but longing for His “rules at all times,” that blows me away.

What kind of man would “long” for “rules”? Then I thought of David as king. He must have so many crucial decisions to make, a kingdom with many enemies to protect it from. Hmmm… this must be a good reason for him to long for God’s rules — the commands, the ways, the principles, the proceedings for implementing God’s justice and promulgating peace.

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Then I read the verses after this:
v. 21 You rebuke the insolent… who wander from your commandments
v. 23 Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes

Wait. Wait a minute. David’s enemies were plotting against him and instead of preparing for a counter attack or defensive strategy, he meditated on God’s statutes?

Then it dawned on me… David was not under very little pressure that he had much time to sit down and ponder on God’s words. In fact, he was under tremendous pressure. But unlike most of us who would tend to work (our flesh out and cut back on our time with God) when pressure arises, David tend to cling to (God) the solution to his pressing needs.

Could it be that David longed for God’s rules at ALL times because he was under tremendous pressure at ALL times too? And he perfectly understood that God’s wisdom is the only thing that can save him from his adversaries. Thus, he did not long (in the same intensity that he longed for God) for a human counsellor, a mate to comfort, a businessman to give financial support, a fan to make him feel appreciated or an army to make him feel secure. He longed for God’s RULES! He longed to know the MIND of GOD! More than anything, he longed for the ONE THING that really mattered. Although that thing that mattered doesn’t always seem like it one’s best option in times of pressure. But David knew. He knew God too well. 🙂

5 Pillars of Womanhood

Some of you must have read the blog post 5 Pillars of Manhood by Jaeson Ma. (If not, do check that one out at jaesonma.com.) This one was written in response to that blockbuster blog entry. I mean, if the men should have such guide posts, why shouldn’t the women right? 🙂
And for the ladies

Note that I spoke with my mother (an amazing woman of God, teacher, and mother of 6!) who provided the majority of this material and scripture references as an older woman instructing younger women (per Titus 2:3).  When you read this, hear her voice coming through. Let’s go!
1) WorshipLuke 7:36-50, John 5:15-20, John 12:1-11, Luke 2:36-38, Exodus 38:8
God is seeking women after his own heart.  He is passionately in love with you and wants you to be passionately in love with him.  All of our lives (men and women) are an act of worship, but women are especially seen as lavish worshippers in the Bible.  The sinful woman washing Jesus’ feet with her tears.  The Samaritan woman at the well seeking a place of worship.  Mary breaking her alabaster vial.  And Anna’s life of continual prayer and fasting modeled after the Old Testament women who ministered to the Lord at the entrance to his Presence, the tabernacle.  A woman’s passion should be to please her Lord through a life centered around the extravagant worship of Him. Single woman have a unique opportunity to be single-mindedly devoted to God.  Fight being distracted by trying to find mister right or getting ensnared in wordly pursuits.  Your creativity, devotion, love, and emotions are all meant to be used as expressions of worship and praise to God.  He loves to minister to you and loves when you minister back to Him.  You were created for worship and relationship. Continue reading “5 Pillars of Womanhood”