Nowadays, exchange of pleasantries and courtesy is mostly unheard of in public. People are becoming more self-entitled. I undersrand that services are rendered as a person’s job on the other end, but it doesn’t hurt saying ‘thanks’ especially when favor is rendered.
There’s an instance when me and with my wife are walking towards a mall in town then the guy ahead of us dropped his work ID. I picked it up and called his attention. He casually took the ID without making an eye contact and went his way. I just whispered “you’re welcome.” Not to sounds sarcastic, but courtesy is in the brink of extinction 😉. It’s just a classic example.
What I admire among English guys in general. They are courteous. They will greet you, say thanks, offer their help. They might not sincere always, but the culture of courtesy and being grateful and offering assistance are still alive and kicking.
My plea is for us to be grateful. It feels good, trust me.
This is the third week, praise God we made it! By this time, the urge of hunger for food decreases. Everytime we feel the hunger, we meditate on the Word and enjoy fellowship with God. In workplace where it’s practically impossible to have a quiet time with the Lord, I’m reading morning devotion over and over again. Then reflecting with my life.
We scheduled a juice fast (consumption of fruit juice and water only) on 18th and 19th day. The aim is to prepare our digestive system for water fast on 20th (consumption of water only), followed by full fast (no water or food) on 21st.
When I thought that I’m getting used on fasting, then my body told me I was wrong. I struggled on juice fast because I drank only orange juice. At the end of the day, my stomach turned sour. I had stomach upset all night of 19th day.
On 20th night, as I took 3 gulps of water, I felt my stomach acids climbing up like volcanic magma. I threw up. This made me feel comfortable afterwards – those who are experiencing migraine attacks will fully relate to my ordeal.
After a full-fast on 21st, we broke our fast with water and soft foods preferably hot soup. We gathered together in church to seal the 21-day fast with anointing of oil by our beloved pastors. Trust me, Holy Spirit moved mightily! As our pastors anoint oils to each brethren, we’re being slain in the spirit.
When it’s my turn, I received somewhat surprising declaration from our pastor. By the way, I’m not supposed to share this as everything that were uttered while the elder lay his/her hand to you is between you and God. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 214 NIV
I’m being convicted to share. The Holy Spirit thru our elder spoke to me, saying, “Don’t be afraid..” When you’re in the Spirit, you just receive the word. Praise God for the word. At first I thought God is encouraging me to share the gospel – not to chicken out in front of my friends.
Today, I started sharing again the good news to my colleagues. It feels good as always. But there’s a hole in my heart. I knew God is impressing me something about the word I received – not to be afraid.
This evening, while I’m cooking my then charred chicken adobo (God will speak with you whatever you are doing!), I’ve been reminded of a major concert our local church had in the Philippines five years ago. That concert is very significant to me. We invested our time, talent and treasure for this event. Did some soaking in the spirit for 2 days, hired state of the art audio-visual equipment, attended technical workshops, and prepared months ahead for the concert. Throughout the prepping, there’s one message that stood out:
Their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.
1 Corinthians 3:13 NIV
Surely, when you invested something for the Lord, it will create an impact. We witnessed how that concert reached people of all ages. It’s the talk of the town for weeks. We even considered having 2 services, we can’t accommodate people coming to church.
It doesn’t took long before the stage of testing came to pass. We kept reminding our brethren to take courage and have heart, be watchful so they stand the test. I will not go into further details as my heart still aches remembering our beloved. All who stood/ministered on the concert had our lives turned upside down, and it’s by God’s grace that we can still (barely) stand after the shaking.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Corinthians 10:12
Newsflash: pastors experienced shaking the most. How? Everytime he/she sees a member struggles/falls into temptations and sins, it shakes the pastor. What hurts the pastor more is whenever a member chose to isolate and refuse to talk about it. Believe me, pastors knew and they just want to help you with your struggle.
Somehow in one corner of my heart lies the fear of aftermath of shaking. There’s no shortcut. As one of our pastors said that night: “…so be it!” I love that conviction. Whatever we have to face for God’s glory, so be it.
I’ve been reminded of Holy Ground (Passion) lyrics:
Chains fall, Fear bow
Jesus, You change everything
Lives healed, Hope found
Jesus, You change everything
Holy Ground (Passion)
As we continue to walk in obedience before the Lord, we pray for God’s love, grace and mercy – as our theme for this month February 2020 truly is significant. I pray that we will grow together in faith as we fulfill His mandate designed for us to accomplish.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
As we dig deeper in our commitment to honor God thru prayer and fasting, His marvelous works start to unfold right before our eyes.
Allow me to share some points that struck me hard.
It’s no longer a struggle to set aside physical urge such as eating, sleeping, or watching, when it’s time to pray. We become more sensitive of the Spirit. We’re stirring something in the heavenlies, something great is happening! If you have a spare time, I wish to share one of the JCLG music team (headed by bro. Edwin) bible study way back 2012 (we were young back then 😉) entitled Building in the Spirit.
God is leading us to fulfill our purpose designed by Him, as explained in 9th Day of fasting. As I weep and asking God to break me, He impressed me the heart of Moses saying:
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.
What once was a stronghold of the enemies is crumbling down as God breaks me. What once was a strong push to sin is now a far pathetic cry of the enemy. We have confidence to approach the Throne because we are no longer blinded by deceptions of the enemy. All the name and principalities will bow down before the name of Jesus!
I’ve been reminded of our relationship with our family. We have to be receptive of how they see us. As explained in our Day 10 of fasting. Conflicts among family members/relatives are common especially we’re away from home. It’s a sweet reminder to deal with such conflicts in a Christian way.
We have to be wise and humble at the same time, as instructed by Jesus to his followers as He sends them off for ministry. Wisdom and discernment are tackled in Day 14. We don’t want to caught off-guard with the scheme of the enemies.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
The more we immerse ourselves with God’s presence, the more sensitive we will be of His heart. As we desire more of Him, we are being humbled knowing that we will go nowhere without Him. Entrusting everyday decision with Him is a no-brainer. We just have to trust the process.
I’m excited for the final week – 3rd trimester so to speak. Something fresh is giving birth, and I’m grateful and thankful being part of this travailing process. His name be magnified.
In the midst of novelCorona virus scare, I noticed lots of people wearing masks in public – be it clothes, surgical, or a high-end N95 mask. It seems to be a bit of an overkill to some. Well, we all have our reasons.
I wear cloth mask for few reasons:
To filter air quality. When you’re in public transportation (bus, train, jeep (only in the Phils. 😁), you will sit (mostly stand) next to different people with varying scent (I’m trying to be polite here). Having a cloth mask is equivocal with putting a hanky into your mouth. Discretion plays a key factor, so not to offend the (stinky) person next to me. If they sneeze, then I don’t have to cover my mouth (instead of them doing that, as a rule of ethics). Moreover, it filters strong and at times somewhat strange perfumes and a faint smell of olive oil essence – which I can detect with my uncovered nose.
To prevent drying of my lips. Lim balm does little to prevent my lips from drying during winter. Wearing a mask will protect my lips from exposure preventing lip drying in the process.
I’m getting paranoid when I’m not wearing those.
A comfort zone for an introvert like me. Wearing a mask hides my face, and limits the chance of having a small talk with a stranger. I can even meditate, pray, or catch a nap in the public. Such perks outweighs the discomfort of wearing the mask.
Our church in Qatar embarked on a 21-day Fasting this month. This is an effort to begin this year with focus to God and be immersed in His presence. We sought inspiration from prophet Daniel, as he fasted and prayed for 3 weeks.
I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
Daniel 10:3 NIV
We are guided by the anointed Minister Jentezen Franklin who is a well-known advocate of this 21-day fasting.
Below are what I learned so far in my 1-week journey.
1. Fasting is not a diet.
Since Daniel fasting is similar to Vegan style of foods, there’s a tendency to focus on it having a goal of losing weight alongside with soaking in God’s presence. For me, it’s as simple as crossing out certain foods in my grocery list and cook the rest. I made good soups, and made just soups (where I can consume only half of the meal). I’m having more trips to the bathroom than booking my Uber ride. I had headaches on the first few days, subsided eventually. Such body reactions tend to sway us in our focus. Our goal is to have deep fellowship in the Lord through intimate worship, catching His vision on our church for this year. The comparison between fasting and diet seems light and dismissive, but when you are in the height of fasting and worshipping in the spirit, you’ll know that thinking fasting as a form of diet will grieve your spirit.
2. Fasting is about Building and Defending Simultaneously
In the book of Nehemiah, when they’re rebuilding the ruins, they have unique strategy to build the walls and prevent attackers from destroying these.
who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other,
We are building the foundation of God’s word in our lives, at the same time guarding these from all the sins and attacks of the enemy. It appears like the attacks are frequent and strong, however I would like to think that it’s when we’re in the spirit of fasting and prayer that our spirit are more conscious with all the works of the enemies. The warfare is in the air, we are fighting a spiritual battle.
3. Let go of the past
This hits me hard. It’s not about your rapport, stature, accomplishments, failures, etc. It’s not about your past. Learn to let go and embrace the calling God is giving us today!
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
Philippians 3:13 NIV
4. Daniel Fasting is like Pregnancy (my humble opinion)
Come to think of it. First week is like the first trimester. We encounter headaches, cravings (always coming back to food :)), mood swings, etc.. Then pregnant woman is getting used in the 2nd up to the 3rd trimester, but there’s still a risk of miscarriage. As we pray and fast, we are carrying God’s Word. We knew something good is going to happen. In a biblical term, often refers to as ‘travailing’. We have to be careful in the following weeks to carry the word.
5. Intimate Worship
Fasting and praying provide more opportunities to be in God’s presence. There, our priorities are redefined, we quickly shake our excuses away. For there we reflect how precious intimate worship is that nowhere we would want to be otherwise.
6. There’s power in numbers
Come to think of one person genuinely seeking God in spirit and in truth. Imagine the impact that person is capable of. How much more if more persons wholeheartedly seek God? That’s congregational worship, standing in the gap between God and His people.
7. Praying is becoming more of a desire rather than a routine
The power of praying and fasting is that we are being humbled before the Lord. So humble that I can admit that sometimes praying throughout the day is becoming a routine to me, i.e. on waking up, before eating, and before sleeping. While fasting, praying is becoming a second-nature to me. I’m conscious of the devotion I read the morning, and it’s at the back of my mind the entire day. Sure enough, throughout the day, something will happen that will either confirm or challenge what I read the morning. That triggers my attitude to pray.
If you can read this, then I haven’t bored you (yet). 🙂
I have compassion with families dealing with battle of deppression. I even commit myself to pray for them. I feel them. Never was I’m aware that my family will join the statistics.
Today I lost my nephew, jumped in a shopping mall.
No words, just plain sadness.
Please, I’m begging anyone who is in the brink of committing suicide. Please don’t. Please seek comfort, find someone to speak with. Pray, it can move mountains. It can move your issues, too.
I’m appealing to everyone to be kind always. We are fighting each own battle each day. Listen to their gestures, attend to their cues. They usually don’t just appear one day and declare to take their own lives – at times they do, and if that can’t move you, I can’t think what can. Sometimes, you’ll never know until it’s too late.
Ever watched “13 Reasons Why” in Netflix? I did, and I feel Hannah. Now that our family is grieving, it’s not just the empathy that’s involved. It’s a life of someone you watched since his first breath, then be caught off-guard with tragic news.
At the end of the day, when all the reasons fade into shadow, he will stand out. He who once filled our hearts with gladness like a flowee in the morning, to be withered by sunset. No blame, no anger, just mix emotions.. of regrets, sadness, confusions, and lots of why??
He fought, and fought well. He just want to rest, and chose to, in his own way.
The downside of being genuinely happy, and bubbly at some extent, is that you can’t afford to appear as genuinely lonely. I’m getting uncomfy just by thinking to be lonely, then got bored, then uplift myself again.
It’s not hypocricy. I’m not trying to be pretentious about it. Surely, we’ve got bad days, seen better days, a bit bland sometimes. At the end of the day, no one wants to talk how complicated life is. I can’t even figure out where to start. I saw in facebook newsfeed once, an introvert said “Please don’t push to understand me, I can’t even understand myself.” Very well said, i guess.
I may hang on this state for a while, I’ve got company. I can feel I’m not alone on this space. We are many, but we can’t reach to each other – beats the purpose. We respect each other’s privacy, that’s what introverts do. And we’re fine with it.
To the batcave, little fella. We have lot of noise to deal with when the sun rise up tomorrow. For now, enjoy this solitude.
I could start by asking “How could you?” but you have your own reasons so I just yield.
Few days ago, I’m struggling with attending a ‘flag raising ceremony’ in our school. You guys are smart and surely you understand the introvertness in me, I’m expecting you understand. I’ve got impressions that you don’t.
My teacher told mom that I excel in school, I’m starting to get along with my classmates (that’s improvement), and that I just need to attend in flag raising ceremony then I’ll be great! I reckon that she let me overhear your conversation for a purpose.
Believe me dad, I’m pushing myself to comply. It’s just that I’m not ready yet. I felt overwhelmed when I’m on the spot. At home, all is well. I think I can handle it, but when I arrive in the spot I felt the anxiety inside of me. That awkward moment, so I have to find my way out. I pretend to throw up for no reason. It’s getting on my mom’s nerve. I’m sorry, I really do. I just can’t, for now.
Then I’m being subjected into punishment, oh boy I should’ve saw it coming. The first disciplinary action is to put away my iPad! Inasmuch as I protest and I don’t understand how you guys be so mean, it’s unthinkable! My cousins are not around the rest of the day and mom usually go out to do some errands. I’m being left with iPad to play with. Now I just cried bitterly. I obeyed fully, behaved and shown no attitude. I deserved it.
On Saturday night, I sincerely requested to be allowed to play/watch with my iPad. You both are compassionate and I expected positive answer but you replied icily: “You’re grounded, right?” And mom started to lecture me about the consequences of my actions and how this [being grounded] will teach me to learn. It’s beyond my comprehension, I just nodded, pain in my heart, and sulked in silently to my sleep.
As I accepted my fate that my punishment will be lifted up on Tuesday, mom greeted me on Sunday morning that I can use my iPad again. I jumped on my bed with excitement! There’s a clear warning though that I should keep my promises to attend a flag raising ceremony (I was punished by breaking my promise for the first place, so I understand now that it’s not about the act, but it’s about being true with my promises).
Dad, I have to admit that being grounded sucks, but it helped me to focus and realize that you guys are dead serious about it. I love you both, but I hated you for a moment.
NB: after we imposed disciplinary action, I barely slept that night. It hurts me as a parent to deprive my son of his happiness. I cried bitterly, but that’s parenting.