Coming Clean

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Right above is a picture of me, literally buried in the tons of papers- college exam sheets, old notes, etc. I’ve collected through the years. Yes, I’m a garbage collector! But with divine help, I was able to let go many of them and finally throw them where they belong- the garbage can! With overcoming the sentimental value I attributed to some of them (or yes maybe it was most of them but I just couldn’t admit it), it felt like an achievement of a lifetime! Cleaning your room may be tiring but it sure brings you to many realizations for life!

(Laughs)

But seriously, the photo also symbolizes me. In all aspects of my life, I may have collected garbage which has trapped me in a rut. But praise God for He has rescued me time and time again. Through His precious blood, I am coming clean and I am made clean!

P.S. In line with this write-up, I would like to share my second video for my YouTube ministry which I shared in the post prior to this. Be blessed, dear reader now to become a dear viewer! πŸ™‚

General Cleaning Day: “Failure is not Fatal”

 

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Round and Round….. No More

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Let our constant speech be: “Lord, save me or I perish! I surrender all!”

Have you ever felt like your life is an endless cycle of mistakes and failures? You fall, dust off the dirt, you rise up; you stumble, you rise up again. And it’s with the same things you’ve been battling ever since: some formidable strongholds, darling sins or even secret weaknesses that have plagued you for too long. By and with God’s grace, you recover and experience a plethora of rich blessings and wonderful opportunities making you feel like you’re completely over the things that link you to the past; that you’d never do them again. But before you know it, you end up at the same place you never wanted to return to. With this heart-aching turn of events, the enemy of souls would cause you to think that there is no chance for you to come back to God, to change for the better. And now, you feel utterly hopeless and undoubtedly helpless. Too much for a description huh? Β But I guess that’s the way it is when you really experienced such. And if your answer to the question above is YES (a resounding but bitter one), welcome to the club, dear friend! (Here’s my comforting virtual hug!) Don’t get stuck up with these negative feelings though! There is always hope in our Redeemer, Savior and Friend Jesus Christ! And it is my utmost desire to briefly share some insights the Lord has provided me with to you!

I believe that everyone in the world has his/her own spiritual Waterloo. Well, some have become victorious in their battle! (Praise God for that!) But to those who are still on the rocks, we need to understand one important truth: we are wretched human beings, born as sinners and always having the propensity to sin.Β Paul got it right when he wrote in Romans 7:24- “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”Β (This verse actually has captured the essence of my personal spiritual experience.)Β Once we come to a full understanding of this, we see that whatever we do, we can’t stop something or change ourselves without divine aid. We are nothing on our own. We surely need the grace of God more than a strong will to overcome! Please echo with me in response to the said text, “No one can save me but Thee!”

But we later realize that God’s grace doesn’t win us all the time when it competes with our sins.It should because His grace is sufficient for us. (2 Corinthians 12:9) However, this is enough to say that something is still wrong or something is missing. You see, salvation is never a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It is a daily process of full surrender (where those things that kept you far from the Lord are not worth clinging to or they lose their power over you) and total commitment to what a ransomed life in Christ entails. What would it profit me if I am saved but I still do the same things that God is against? To add, it could be possible that we depend on feelings and think everything’s okay; only to find out in the end that there was no true conversion within us at all. Let us not forget that “true conversion means a changed life” as one of my favorite authors, Ellen G. White puts it. Or maybe we have been relying on ourselves too much that His grace is nothing more but just a lyric of a song.

Somehow, in assessment of myself, all those factors played a role on why I’m still struggling.But it’s not the end for me yet. I chose not to give up and get away from this mess. I am determined to make things right with the help of the Lord and now, I am humbled to say that I am 100% dependent upon His grace! Through faith, grace by which I stand, by which I am saved, by which I can change.

I don’t know about you but I’m sure tired of going around in circles!

P.S. Here’s a song to complete my post and to serve as a musical add-on!

IMAGE SOURCE:Β https://adventistmissionary.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/christ-hugging

The Narrow Road

The Christian life is not and has never been easy and Jesus clearly pointed that out in Matthew 7:14- “But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Personally speaking, I can attest to this Bible verse being true because I have my fair share of weaknesses and struggles.

You know, these circumstances are things we abhor; things we want to be gone in our lives. But these have, somehow, taught me many valuable lessons, increased my faith in God and caused me to grow closer to Calvary. Don’t get me wrong; being free from these things is what I really want. However, human as I am, it seems easier to stick to them rather than letting go! So I suffered from many slips and setbacks already. Yet it is during times like these, when you feel really broken (more than an egg which fell from the Eiffel Tower), when you’re completely a perfect mess (more than your room would ever be), that you see the need of Jesus. You realize that you have gone astray again and left the fold. You long to be reunited with the Good and Gentle Shepherd. You earnestly desire to be back where you truly belong and to be forgiven of your sins. You surely want to start over again and make things right!

And thank God, you can, I can, we can! This is the Christian life. We fall but God picks us up and wipes away the dust from ourselves! We fail but He provides us consolation and strength by telling us that we need to trust Him more! We forget but He lovingly reminds us that He is always there, ready to free us if we come to Him in repentance!

The difference, however, is that after confession, there should be a change of heart. It may be slow but as long as it is sure and sincere, we can see that God is working on us. And that’s something I like to happen to me! Everyday, growing in Jesus, becoming more like Him. Oh, it’s easier said than done! But it is possible! It is possible because with God nothing is impossible. (Luke 1:37)

So there it is before me, the narrow road. The only way leading to eternity, the passage that is mostly left out or forgotten, the path I choose to take. It is hard to stay on it but one thing is certain: Jesus will walk with me ’til I reach the pearly gates of heaven, my chains gone and my Β burdens lifted!

Family and All Things in Between

After dinner at Chicken Charlie. I love this wacky photo!!

After dinner at Chicken Charlie. I love this wacky photo!!

I felt the urge to write about this. I believe it was because of the many things that transpired recently with me and my family. After the tough times (not only the recent ones but considering even the past), I gained some precious insights on the essence of the basic unit of society and how things go. Let me share with you, dear reader what these are. It might be that you think the same way or you are still going to learn these valuable lessons.

1.Β No family is perfect. It may sound a bit cliche but I think everyone believes that’s the truth. It’s the reality of things because not only is the family composed of human beings but each member is different. Your father might be the tough disciplinarian, too stern and meticulous even with the smallest stuff or the complete opposite. Your mother- the loving and ‘got-it-covered’ type or the busy woman with no time for her kids. Your siblings- well, you can insert any adjective here to describe them. With different personalities, preferences and needs, there’s no doubt that misunderstandings and conflicts arise. This surely proves that in every family, any member can hurt another. Hurtful words can be spoken, violence may be seen so tears are shed and hearts are broken. No matter how perfect some may see one family, there’s always a part unknown and unseen that proves no one comes from a perfect family. Accepting how things go, I believe, really helps in making the family bond stronger. Instead of pretending to be all happy and living up to some fantasy, one can focus on helping each other with there weaknesses and improving their strengths. Despite the imperfections, a family can still work through any dilemma if they work together in cooperation and love. And you’ll understand that an imperfect family might be the happiest and best family to belong to.

2.Β Sometimes, you have to make the first move.Β Well, if conflict does arise,Β I learned in time, that even though it’s not your fault, you always have the choice to apologize first. It is very much contrary to human nature to do that. I mean who would want to apologize to someone who doesn’t even see his wrong and would not bother saying sorry? But I came to realize that when you think about God’s love and compassion, it hits you hard that you’re wasting time by waiting for the other person to apologize. Don’t get me wrong; there are moments when you really have to give silence its spotlight but if hatred is eating your heart up and revenge is sticking to your mind like glue, better let go of these feelings and pave the way for reconciliation. It always helps when you seek God’s help.

3.Β Respect is always a must.Β There are times when you argue with your parents and you feel like they don’t get where you’re coming from. Or worse, you got hurt by them and they don’t have a clue on what you’re feeling. Your perception of them changes and you think that the way you treat them must too.These are tough times and it feels like showing respect is the last thing you’ll ever do. But before you might regret it, never loose hold of respect for them. No matter what happens, they are still your parents and they deserve the same level of respect as before. It’s a very difficult situation to be in, provided that many things get in the way like your ego. But sorting things out with them in a spirit of lowliness, without any form of disrespect might be the road to healing- they would acknowledge their shortcomings and change. This doesn’t only to apply with parents but to anyone in the family older than you.

4. Unconditional love is the force that keeps the family going despite all circumstances.Β If respect is necessary, how much more love? Well, unconditional love that is. I pretty much don’t need to explicate on this one. I believe that almost everyone can agree that no matter what happens, love will reign supreme. And it is truly possible if God dwells in our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Well, there you have it. Just four simple truths that I acquired so far about the family which for me, is one of the greatest blessings from above. And to sum it all up, nothing can change the fact, despite the imperfections and trails, that family will always be family.

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Forever Changed: A Post Communion Service Renewal

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This Sabbath, I have to say that I really felt so blessed and empowered with all the things I’ve been through. Yes! It was a very special day because we had our Communion Service. As for those who have no idea what this is, this is a sacred ordinance held at the start of every quarter. It is a holy ceremony where we commemorate the great sacrifice Jesus did on the cross to save humanity from eternal damnation. It is where we partake of the symbols of His broken body, the bread and His precious blood, the wine. It is highly an important spiritual experience for me. because of the following reasons.which I more than love to share with you:

First and foremost, it is a time to ask God for forgiveness, grace and love to be once again part of your existence. Living in mortal bodies we are very much prone to sin any time. We have such a sinful nature as human beings that sin may sometimes feel coomon like breathing. We can’t deny it, we all are sinners and no matter how we try to not sin anymore, we end up making the same mistakes we did before or new ones which would later become our weaknesses. Either way, one thing is sure: we can always ask for God’s pardon and mercies to be granted on our wicked hearts and sinful souls. And with such a great opportunity in this service held this morning, I confessed everything to the One who is ever loving, kind and gracious even to the worst of sinners. I opened both my heart and mind to Him so that He can cleanse me from all unrighteousness and filthiness. I had such sweet succor after doing all these and what felt great was that you’re in a congregation of people who are also doing the same.Yet rest assured the Lord hears our cries for cleansing and pleas for restoration.

Secondly, it serves as a way for you to reconcile with your family members/loved ones whom you have hurt or have hurt you. It paves the ground for asking forgiveness to them and accepting your faults especially during the foot washing. Oh, how I love this part! Before Communion starts, you pair up with someone [husbands go with their wives, your friend can pair up with you as long as you belong to the same gender] and wash his/her feet with water just as Jesus did thousands of years ago to his disciples. I like the essence of this action: humility and servant-hood. You humble yourself before that person and take the form of a servant, willing to wash his feet in a way that our Savior did. It exemplifies the true character of Christ when it comes to others.

Last but not the least, this event allows me to give a thorough evaluation of myself. Or in the words of Pastor Rodrigo this morning, “give an inventory of myself.” It is the perfect time to have a personal reflection of who you are, what things you’ve done in life so far and what you need to do in order to become a better person. What happened for me was I got a realization that it was another high time for me to fully change and that I need to prioritize heaven as it is my primary goal in lifer.

So now, dear reader, all I wanna express is that this Sabbath morning, I was forever changed and I desire to keep it that way. My God in His abundant love and profound goodness for me has ransomed me from all my sins and granted me a new life to live. I will always be so grateful to Him and with exceeding joy in my heart, peace of mind and with a renewed soul, I ask you, “Come and join us in the next Lord’s supper!”Β