Personal · Thoughts&Reflection

On becoming First Choice

“Do I deserve to be a second choice?” We all have seen this question before and maybe even you already asked this question while re-affirming your worth.

I then remember one preaching about Ruth. It struck my heart because the pastor regarded her leaning on leftover grains as ‘getting leftover love’. And then he asked, “Have you ever felt like you are picking a leftover love or significance from your parents, friends, or other relationships?” And all I know is that I have been there but I don’t want to feel that way anymore. I am so done.

We love because he first loved us.   -1 John 4:19 ESV

See, even God gave us his FIRST so why are we settling in second place? He also gave his best and all for us. Remember that the greatest public display of affection was done on the cross. This even convinced me that we don’t deserve to be a second choice.

But the question also bounced back to me?

Does God deserve to be the second place in my heart? I choked. That struck me even more. This reminded me then of a commandment from the Lord.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. -Matthew 6:33 ESV

Seeking the kingdom is seeking the King. Where will the King be anyway? Remembering this, I evaluated myself, did I make the King first in everything I do?

As a single young professional, I want to establish a good long-lasting career so I always make the extra mile to excel. That’s not bad but I saw myself being too busy taking care of my job, making everything else second in my priority lane. I felt so guilty.

The Bible wants to remind us this:

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  – Hebrews 12:2

He must increase, but I must decrease. – John 3:30

I am thankful for God’s wonderful reminder of really seeing Him more than seeing myself, making Him my top priority every day. And I realized that I will never be the top priority because He should be that one. And I will always be happy to be the second knowing He is the first choice. And it will be enough that I am God’s first choice over being somebody else’s first choice.

Reading · Thoughts&Reflection

Stretch Out

Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. – Matthew 12:13

According to Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of stretch is, “to make (something) wider or longer by pulling it”.

In this verse, God commanded the man to stretch out his hand and when he obeyed, restoration came. I believe that as we obey God in stretching out our patience, humility, or love, we restore many things like relationships, friendships, and other important things in our lives.

I pray that today as we choose to obey Him, we see His hands restore many things in our lives.

Encouragements · Reading · Thoughts&Reflection

The Art of Continuation

10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison11 and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus. 13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matthew 14:10-14

Has there been a day in your life that you are very sad and you just want to be alone? Same here. I have those days too. Those days that I just want to be in my room and don’t want to talk to anyone. And you know what, Jesus has the same experience.

It happened when John the Baptist died. The disciples let Jesus know what happened and as per verse 13, you can see what he did, he went somewhere else alone. The word used was withdrew so I can imagine Him walking out from so many people because He felt the heaviness inside. At this point, since He was a man, He also felt the hurt, that depressing feeling when He lost someone important to Him. Remember, John was a relative and at the same time someone who baptize Him on water. They built a certain connection. But just like everybody else’s day, it will not stop there. Time will not stop when you are sad. If you have a job to do you will still need to get up and show up at work. Well, that’s what happened to Him. Despite the bad day, people still followed Him. And the good thing about Him, He had compassion on them. He saw their need of Him even in His trying time so He still healed them.

What I learned in this passage is one, Jesus also took time to recognize how He felt. He still responded by trying to be alone. He didn’t ignore His feelings He still took time to process it. Two, despite all the pain, He still continued healing people. You see, this is not a simple pain. Someone important to Him died. And can you imagine how much pain He was bearing at that time but still manage to continue?

I actually wonder since it’s not written on the scripture. What did He do during that time alone. How come He could continue with compassion? As I read most of the times Jesus was alone, He was always praying or talking to the Father. And I think, during His quick time alone, that’s what He did and that’s where He got the courage to continue and have compassion in serving people.

This is a good illustration, don’t you think? As we always aim to be like Jesus, we can also see the similarity of our situations with Him. This is giving us hope to continue and be more like Him.

Thoughts&Reflection

Learning from Queen Esther

Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women—

Esther 2:12 (ESV)

In this particular verse, I am reminded of the preparation I am in before meeting my future husband. This preparation is not just readying the beautification of the outside appearance but also the relationship readiness, character well-being, and even spiritual strength. In the verse, we will see that there was a process and it was very long. It was not something that they cut short, no. It was because they know that the preparation is important. Another thing, the future husband here was not just someone, but a king. I’m not saying that we should marry someone very rich but what I’m trying to say is that, we are preparing for someone God will give us. So, most probably, he’s someone worth of our preparation. 

Ladies, let us remind ourselves: “Don’t settle for less.”

Thoughts&Reflection

Waiting is not an Assurance

Many people waited for something they were so determined to have. Maybe some are waiting for their chances at work, for someone or maybe in life. Remember, waiting is not a guarantee that you will have what you are waiting for. Maybe this is a time you should start working on it, praying for it or walking out of it. Sometimes we are just too persistent, thinking when we wait for it, we’ll surely have it. Assurance needs an affirmation, an answer that promises you that you will get it. Waiting is not like that. It doesn’t give you an affirmation but it gives you hope.

Do not misunderstand waiting. It is but a choice. If ever you made one, make sure that you will not use it as an I.D. that makes you qualified right away, or something you are holding on, giving you a guarantee that you will get whatever it is in the end. It’s not like that. This is not to discourage you but to give you a bit of reality. Waiting is a decision that even though you are not sure of it, you’re going to do it because you believe on it. But be ready to the answer when the waiting is over, it may be yes, no or even wait a little more. 

HOME · Movie / Series Lines · Thoughts&Reflection

Appreciation

Photo from Korean Series “Oh My Baby”

Have you ever felt unappreciated, and unrecognized? We all do at some point whether it’s at work, or with our relationships. We all need words of affirmation to be reminded that we did something good. It will also give us an encouragement to continue in our daily lives.

I remember being hugged and told, “You are a blessing.” My heart melted and felt so special.

Action plan: Can we send an appreciation or compliment to someone today?

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. -Proverbs 11:25

HOME · Thoughts&Reflection

The Secret of Joy

This is not a promotion.

If you’re the dishwasher for the day, you might know this! Aren’t you curious why is it named Joy? This could be named something else that could be synonymous to clean because that is what it is for but they still called it Joy.

I did not research why, honestly but I just have a good thought about it.

Dish washing is a routine and I want to emphasize that. It’s a chore we repeatedly do. There’s not a day that we don’t do this. We have to or it’s a mess!

I am not a fan of routine. I can easily get bored when things became a routine. Then a sudden realization came to me, is it the reason why the owner of it called it ‘Joy’? Is it to remind us that as we do our daily routines, we will remember to carry joy with us?

In this time of pandemic, many of us stayed at home, even I! And have you seen yourself doing the same thing every single day? (Wakes up in the morning – Eat breakfast – Read – Eat lunch – Do household chores – Watch series, play games or scroll on your social media platforms – Eat dinner – Beauty routine / movie watching – Sleep at night.) That’s just an example and you know how that could be boring! I actually tried a lot of things just to make my lock down moments a little more exciting. I tried learning how to draw, I bought a book to read online, I tried learning sewing and creating DIY shirts, I started a blog, and etc. But I know, at the end of the day, you will still do some basic routines such as waking up, eating, dish washing, laundry, work (if you’re working home), open your social media accounts and etc. And at times you can feel this frustration inside hoping you can do something else. This is not only applied at home and during this pandemic but also in everything we do in life. Like at work, this happens when we feel that we’re just doing the same thing over and over again, in our relationships when we feel like we’ve been doing the same things together for years and there’s nothing new and you know your story, I am sure you can think of one that you can relate to.

We all know that when joy is gone it’s hard to continue. You just want to stop and look for something else. But is having something new the only resolution? How about reigniting the fire and joy and remembering how it all started?

I hope that we carry joy always as we do things habitually, and as we wait for “something new”. I hope that we can be faithful and joyful in doing our routines so when the new things come, it will be dancing and rejoicing.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

James 1:2-3

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51:12

HOME · Thoughts&Reflection

Covid-19, What Did You Do to Us?

Covid-19 has been very known to everyone today. It is called “pandemic” because it is widespread all over the world. It even caused lock down of cities and countries.

But does this just give us virus, sickness or deaths?

When this was brought to our attention, we knew that this originated from China. It started racial discrimination. A lot of people blamed it to Chinese people or think every Chinese has Covid-19. Later on, not just Chinese people are affected but Asians generally. It also brought shame to us. I remember one of the patients who resulted positive ran away from the hospital, feeling so ashamed of her situation. She thought of what people might think instead of thinking how she will be able to recover. Fear also dominated people. Fear of having the virus, fear of dying, fear of the possibility that the virus might mutate, fear of the extension of lock down, fear of lacking, fear of joblessness and fear of the future itself. We fear that this might cause us damages that we cannot bear. Who wouldn’t be afraid anyway? This is worldwide problem right now. And in the Philippines, (or maybe in other countries too), it created political divisions, debates of better governance, strikes to oust the president and other government issues.

But do you really think this is just about Covid-19? NO. This is about the issues of our hearts. What are you thinking? Are you anxious about the future or the virus, are you angry to the government or to Chinese people? This is not about them, this is about you and how you responded to this crisis. Are you posting online about your political views, racism, fears and doubts? How you responded to all these issues, answers what did Covid-19 did to you. How you responded declares what’s the very issues of your heart. Is it anxiety, racism, shame, death or panic?

I encourage everyone to stop and reflect. Stop posting online and listen carefully. Stop and pray. Do you know why this quarantine is essential? Because it gives us time to pause. Time to pause from being busy about everything. It’s time to stop and appreciate. Stop and realize.

Can’t you see, this also brought us something good? The environment is recuperating while on lock down — less pollution, you were able to enjoy time with your family and attend things at home, and you were able to spend time with yourself and find out new things to do.

I know, this is a difficult time. And that’s the reason why we don’t need any division. This is the time for us to help each other. Let us not bring each other down but bring each other up. Let us encourage one another to ease the anxiety and fear. Let us cooperate with the government so that the lock down will not extend. Let us calm our hearts to respond with peace, love, gratefulness and courage. This is how we fight Covid-19.

And remember, this too shall pass. Nothing is permanent in this world. Even pandemic.

Rise up courageous warriors. ❤️

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. — Isaiah 43:2

(Photos are not mine. They are from google. Credits to the photo owner)