Friday, August 29, 2008

Daily Digest #131

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. —1 Timothy 6:11

Spiritual dryness is much too common in every Christian's journey of faith. There are times when the foundations of our faith are shaken by trials, or simply by idleness. Our focus is stirred from its once ideal and profound vision to something else. Sometimes we confuse faith with feeling. We take it as spiritual dryness when we don't feel moved by our prayers anymore. We forget that we are building a relationship with God, instead of counting our good works or asking for mercy or blessing.

As the article below implies, there is always something to do. Everyday is an opportunity to act on our faith. Picking up the Bible and reading is a start, or reading a chapter or a few verses to reflect on. We need to develop a habit of renewing our faith every day, may it be Scripture-reading, lending an ear or a hand, helping those in need, smiling at people we meet, or simply acting out of love.

Faith is active. It's not passive. It's a commitment. Look at your lifestyle and see what kind of actions follow as a result of it. If you've got the real stuff, faith can be demonstrated. Faith is proven by how we live. (taken from a Purpose Driven Life article Faith the Facts! dated 2008/07/02)

For this, let us pray. May we develop a humble servant's heart as we walk in this journey of faith. May we open our heart, mind and eyes to every opportunity that we meet along the way to be a Christian. May we constantly seek His will and not ours. Pray always.

Feelings Are Fickle – Faith Is Forever


Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? James 2:15-16 (NIV)

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Faith is more than something you just feel. Many people confuse emotions and feelings with faith. They come to church and they are moved emotionally, they're inspired, and they're stimulated. They get a quiver in their liver and say, "Oh, man! I'm moved!"

In the book of James, we get a brief glimpse at hollow sentimentality. James minces no words. He's saying, "You go out on the street and you see some homeless person who's destitute and simply say, "Cheer up," or "Don't worry, be happy!" "Feel good!" "Put on a happy face." "Smile, smile, smile!" For God's sake, do something!

Faith is practical. It gets involved in people's hurts. And when you see a need, you do something about it. James says faith is something you do. You don't just feel it. You have responsibilities.

One by one. Great opportunities to serve God seldom come, but small opportunities surround us daily. You need to look for those little opportunities because faith is not just something you say, and it's not just something you feel.

The Next Step:

Give your faith feet. Many Christians practice faith within the confines of their climate controlled cathedrals. Find a way out! Serve your community outside the walls of the local church.

Discover the needs. Put your faith feelers out and find out where the need is greatest in your community; then begin to work on a way you can make a difference.

Go global. What could the church do to change conditions half a world away? Plenty! Find a way to join the move toward stopping extreme poverty and the hopelessness of starvation and disease.

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Daily Digest #130

Whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. —Romans 15:4

We all have sources of temporary comfort and happiness at extreme situations -- either when too depressed or too ecstatic, too bored or too busy. Oftentimes, simply to ignore reality. I, for instance, have developed a feeling of comfort in food. Food trips have always been a kind of bonding within the family since I was young. However, when I started living on my own, I noticed how I craved for more. It came to a point when nothing's ever enough. And the more I ate, the more I became depressed. When I felt this heavy thumping in my chest a few years back, it really scared me. At the same time, a real-life story was aired on TV about a 26-year old woman who died of a heart attack caused by fat in her bloodstream which clogged on her knees and flowed straight to her heart. So in a span of 6 months, I was able to lose 33lbs (maybe not so obvious but yes, i already lost some before :p ). Though I have been inconsistent with my weight loss, I constantly pray that I overcome my weakness, diverting my thoughts to meaningful things like helping people, or reading and learning more.

Let me share this article to you from the Purpose Driven Life online. As we reflect on our weaknesses, may we pray that we find comfort in God, where it is eternal. May we seek wisdom, courage and strength so we may be at peace with the world. Pray always.

We Move toward Our Focus

Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right. 2 Timothy 2:22 (LB)

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Have you ever watched a food advertisement on television and suddenly felt you were hungry? Have you ever heard someone cough and immediately felt the need to clear your throat? Ever watched someone release a big yawn and felt the urge to yawn yourself?

That is the power of suggestion. We naturally move toward whatever we focus our attention on. The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you.

That is why repeating "I must stop eating too much . . . or stop smoking . . . or stop lusting" is a self-defeating strategy. It keeps you focused on what you don't want. It's like announcing, "I'm never going to do what my mom did." You are setting yourself up to repeat it.

Most diets don't work because they keep you thinking about food all the time, guaranteeing that you'll be hungry. In the same way, a speaker who keeps repeating to herself, "Don't be nervous!" sets herself up to be nervous! Instead she should focus on anything except her feelings – on God, on the importance of her speech, or on the needs of those listening.

Temptation begins by capturing your attention. What gets your attention arouses your emotions. Then your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you felt. The more you focus on "I don't want to do this," the stronger it draws you into its web.

Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don't argue with it, just hang up!

Sometimes this means physically leaving a tempting situation. This is one time it is okay to run away. Get up and turn off the television set. Walk away from a group that is gossiping. Leave the theater in the middle of the movie. To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees.

Do whatever is necessary to turn your attention to something else.

Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God's Word and other good thoughts. You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better. This is the principle of replacement. You overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

Satan can't get your attention when your mind is preoccupied with something else. That's why the Bible repeatedly tells us to keep our minds focused: "Fix your thoughts on Jesus" (Hebrews 3:1 NIV).

"Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable" (Philippians 4:8 TEV).

If you're serious about defeating temptation you must manage your mind and monitor your media intake. The wisest man who ever lived warned, "Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts" (Proverbs 4:23 TEV).

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Daily Digest #129

[Jesus] made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant. —Philippians 2:7

I'll just share this reading about prayer, as instructed by Jesus Christ, taken from My Utmost for His Highest. I think private prayer is the 1st step in walking the Christian life. For this, may we develop a prayerful lifestyle. May we build a closer relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ. God bless everyone!

Prayer— Battle in "The Secret Place"

When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly —Matthew 6:6

Jesus did not say, "Dream about your Father who is in the secret place," but He said, ". . . pray to your Father who is in the secret place. . . ." Prayer is an effort of the will. After we have entered our secret place and shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray. We cannot seem to get our minds into good working order, and the first thing we have to fight is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is overcoming this problem of our idle and wandering thinking. We have to learn to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful, deliberate prayer.

We must have a specially selected place for prayer, but once we get there this plague of wandering thoughts begins, as we begin to think to ourselves, "This needs to be done, and I have to do that today." Jesus says to "shut your door." Having a secret stillness before God means deliberately shutting the door on our emotions and remembering Him. God is in secret, and He sees us from "the secret place"— He does not see us as other people do, or as we see ourselves. When we truly live in "the secret place," it becomes impossible for us to doubt God. We become more sure of Him than of anyone or anything else. Enter into "the secret place," and you will find that God was right in the middle of your everyday circumstances all the time. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless you learn to open the door of your life completely and let God in from your first waking moment of each new day, you will be working on the wrong level throughout the day. But if you will swing the door of your life fully open and "pray to your Father who is in the secret place," every public thing in your life will be marked with the lasting imprint of the presence of God.

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Daily Digest #128

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. —John 13:35

We show our love in many ways. We hug, we kiss, we smile at each other. We send out thoughtful gestures to show how much we care. We say I love you. But let us ask ourselves: How often do we mean every gesture, every uttered "i love you"? Is our love dependent on feelings alone? What if the feeling goes away?

When we truly love, we see it through our actions. We are kinder. We are more generous of our time. We listen more. We forgive more. We don't give up on each other. We do not waste our time on grudge or envy or gossip. We uplift each other. We mean everything we say or do out of love. Though we may not realize it, we bring each other closer to God by loving one another.

Pitiful is a person who only shows it to look good or righteous in front of others. For one is not only fooling another, but one's self. As the Bible says: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor 13:1-3)

For this, let us pray. May God teach us to love as He has loved. May we make it a point that we express real love each day. May we make the most of the time given to us in love and prayer. Have a wonderful day! Pray always.

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Daily Digest #127

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother. —Psalm 131:2

There's nothing greater than a heart rooted in God. It is through Him that we are able to love and trust other people, and not the other way around. We often seek completeness in others, when it is He who truly fills the missing piece in our hearts. We are oftentimes disillusioned by fantasy, or quick remedy that we tend to indulge on things, shallow company/relationship or induced feeling that we end up feeling more hollow inside. Even in Christian communities, if we make God our least priority, the purpose of joining would be nonsense. A partnership or a group is created for a cause. To have a different purpose or a misconception about the goal would either result to an uncommitted relationship, or eventually, withdrawal from the partnership or a group. In some cases, when one has powerful influence, the purpose can even be stirred to a different course. But if the purpose is for God and God alone, it would surely create a bond stronger than any other, because the ties are not created by mere human efforts but by God.

For this, let us pray. May our faith, hope and love be rooted in God. May we seek Him always. May we learn to trust His ways. May we not hesitate to call on Him in times of trouble, doubt or despair. May we build a strong foundation in God and with God. May we develop a deeper relationship with Him, praying more and thanking Him more for all the blessings. Pray always.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Daily Digest #126

[Jesus] poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet. —John 13:5

As described in the scene of Jesus' foot-washing, we realize how much He has humbled himself. He showed us a profound example of how one should serve others. He taught us that social status or any other worldly standards do not matter. If He -- the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and the Son of God -- could do it, why can't we?

Pride is one of the most difficult things to get rid of. Even in the most common circumstances, we deal with pride. It is the root of other sinful ways. If we take a closer look, we would realize that WITHOUT pride, we wouldn't be selfish. We wouldn't be impolite. We wouldn't be inconsiderate. We wouldn't be insensitive. We wouldn't be tightfisted. Pride hinders us to love and be used by God completely for His purposes.

For this, let us pray. May we ask God to take away our pride. As He answers us with "pride-trials" from time to time, may we remember what we prayed for and learn from every encounter. May we take our battles and struggles at the foot of His cross and take comfort in Him. May we learn to surrender to God completely. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #125

O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! —Psalm 8:1

I was fortunate enough to enjoy the beauty of nature early this year. First, in Sangkhlaburi -- a province in the western border; then, Koh Phangan -- an island in the south. Getting in touch with nature has helped me renew my faith and has given me much hope as I spent days contemplating on my life. I had found a profound sense of peace, completely detaching myself from the busy city life and several life's crises. As I took a glance at His marvelous creations -- the seas, lakes, rivers, mountains, and the skies -- every single moment allowed me to slow down and enjoy His works, and focus on the things that really matter in my life. Indeed, God's glory can be seen in all of His creation. It's just that sometimes we focus too much on human ways and errors that we neglect God's blessings.

I realize that at times when we doubt where He's been or if He had been listening to our prayers, all we need to do is look around, and we will surely see His presence there. Just as how God vaguely explained His creations to Job, He is always reminding us that He is in control of EVERYTHING, and that we need not tell Him what to do. We ask questions and seek favorable answers, but He always comes up with an extraordinary response, oftentimes different and much better than we hoped for. One would truly say "how great is our God!"

For this, let us pray. May we see God's glory in ALL of His creations. May we learn to appreciate and give thanks for all the blessings that we receive, counting each experience as a grace or a lesson. May we learn to see the goodness in everyone, seeing Christ in each other's faces. Have a great day! Pray always.

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Daily Digest #124

The Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. —1 Chronicles 28:9

"Who's side is God on?" This is a very common confusion among us Christians. We often believe that our desires are in line with God's simply because we "feel" strongly about them. We even debate with Him, or get all smart, basing our defenses on the Scriptures while our understanding is tainted with selfishness and pride. It is truly dangerous to mistake our wishes for God's will. Thing is, we realize our mistakes after the damage has been done. That's why it is important to grow a humble heart. It is only through a humble servant's heart is God's voice heard, or sought for. We ought to pray to Him in moments of confusion or doubt, especially when making a decision. We cannot simply conclude that God is on our side. We have to assess our motives. Is it based on the truth, and not just what we think is right? Do we glorify God in what we are about to say or do, and not ourselves?

For this, let us pray. May we grow a humble heart. May we seek the Lord in moments of doubt. May we develop a prayerful lifestyle, constantly asking His guidance. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #123

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. —Joshua 24:15

We are a part of a modern generation. We have grown to be more stylish and carefree, compared to the lifestyle our parents, grandparents and great grandparents have been accustomed to. We get to enjoy the comforts and enjoyment the world has to offer -- electronic gadgets, amusement parks, 3D cinemas, designer/fake wardrobes and accessories, drink/dance-till-we-drop parties, cigarettes, quarter-pound burgers and steaks, super-sized drinks and fries, real-life TV shows and pranks, to name a few. Nothing is more exciting than to try new stuff and reach new heights. But if we take a closer look, we can see how we usually tend to divulge on things that can only bring us quick and temporary pleasure/satisfaction. Some for relaxation, some for diversion, and some to escape from reality. Now, let's ask ourselves: do I give it a much higher importance than any other person or relationship in my life? Am I growing as a person with the things that I have or do not have? Do these things bring me closer or farther away from God?

For this, let us pray. May we know the difference between temporal and eternal. May we remember that what we will be tomorrow depends on the choices we make today. May we learn to look up to God and ask Him for guidance. May our choices please and give glory to His name, and draw us closer to Him. May we build a closer relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #122

[You] have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. —Colossians 3:10

We are always concerned about dealing with forgiveness, especially when someone has wronged us. We feel angry and hurt, which sometimes leads us to completely turn away just to avoid getting hurt again. But what if we were on the other side? What if we were the ones at fault? Some would say, "oh, i would NEVER do that thing he/she did to me!" with conviction, because we are aware about the consequences of such actions at that certain time. But there are times when we hurt or offend people without our knowledge. There are times when we forget to be kind. There are times when we put our own comforts first rather than lend a hand to those in need. There are times when we try to get even, causing more damage than intended. These small things usually pile up especially when not dealt with right away, until such time when the other person just blows up.

We usually demand for an apology to those who have caused us pain, but how often do we ask for forgiveness to those we have hurt? I guess before we truly repent on something, we have to admit our faults, our shortcomings, our sins, at least to ourselves and to God. He will show us mercy for what we have done and make us learn a valuable lesson. God does not intend for us to sulk on our guilt. God loves us so much that He forgives no matter how big or small our sins are, if only we ask.Then He will give us the courage and strength to say sorry sincerely to the person concerned, and also forgive ourselves.

For this, let us pray. May we allow God to mold us until we are made perfect in His eyes. May we learn from our past faults and experiences. May we learn to repent, and trust that God forgives. May we believe that God means for us to be better than we were before. May we also build a closer relationship with His son, Jesus Christ, so our choices, words and actions are always guided. Pray always.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Daily Digest #121

Through love serve one another. —Galatians 5:13

For the first time in many months, I feel like running away from where I am now. Everything seems so boring and familiar. It feels like the world has gotten smaller, and I am confined in a place where there are no choices. I started the day with a blank face and haven't uttered a word except "...'morning". Pretty dull huh?

Then upon reading today's passage, God has made me realize that it's okay to be tired sometimes. It's what one does with tiredness that matters. I could only thank Him for not making me resort to further grumpiness. This has also reminded me to smile a little. Sometimes, a smile can change one's mood, and could make one feel lighter inside. And sometimes, our smile could be the only thing another person needs. Truly, service cannot simply be measured by the weight of its vigorousness. We all have a role to play everyday, no matter how big or small. Each of us is placed where we are for a reason, so we should always make the best out of the time given to us.

For this, let us pray. May we learn to smile no matter what. May we lift our heavy hearts to God and let Him take care of the rest. May we believe and trust that He will always make things better than we ever imagined. May He bless us with love and kindness. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #120

Do you love Me? . . . Feed My sheep. —John 21:17

What hinders us most in doing good for others is thinking or knowing that we might not get anything in return, or the person might even react ungratefully that helping actually turns us off. It is when we think that our friends wouldn't listen to or follow our good advice that we refrain from talking to them any further. It is when we give alms and end up being robbed. It is when we give our time to others, and end up wishing we were somewhere or with someone else. Looking at these familiar instances, we'll realize how much more concerned we are with what we can get rather than what we can give. When Jesus spoke to Peter, He wanted to instill in him the love that God has intended it to be: patient, kind, not jealous, not proud. not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Jesus wanted Peter to learn that for one to claim that he/she loves God is not enough without truly loving others. But we tend to have misconceptions about this, counting our good works and expecting a reward each time.... I guess this is why God gave us the power to choose -- to love Him or not. Because loving does not expect anything in return. It is unconditional that one leaves everything to faith, and it never stops. It is only when we truly love God that we are able to risk loving others. And with this, we will be more concerned in pleasing God than pleasing ourselves or others.

For this, let us pray. May we ask God to teach us to love. May we learn more about Him so that wisdom may lay upon us. May we pray constantly, and build a closer relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #119

He cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. —Exodus 15:25

The reading makes us reflect on our past struggles and how we got through each of them. After every instance, have we learned to call out to Him rather than rely on our own abilities? Have we learned to assess our decisions, if they are leading us closer, or away from Him? Have we finally recognized His works in our lives? Are we lukewarm Christians who only remember God at troubled times, and ignore Him when we think things are going our way? Do we only look forward to the extraordinary occurances in our lives in order to praise and worship Him, and blame Him when things go wrong? Do we still think that there are unanswered prayers? Let us reflect on these questions and hear what our hearts truly say.

For this, let us pray. May we humble our hearts and learn to cling to God at all times. May we believe that He is always with us. May we remember that we can endure and get through anything If we only keep our focus on Him. May we always count our blessings and praise Him for His grace and mercy. May we repent for our sins. May we develop a desire to grow a heart like Jesus Christ. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #118

The Lord Himself will descend from heaven . . . . Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up. —1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

May we not base our faith solely on modern sightings or miraculous works that stir our feelings alone. May we be reminded that faith is not merely a feeling. It is deeply rooted in one's heart, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Faith stirs up love and good works. For this, let us pray. May God renew our hearts, so we may strengthen our faith. May we learn to truly love God with all our heart and mind, and our neighbors as we love ourselves. May we live by the moment, so when the time comes that we meet Jesus face to face, we are ready. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #117

They [train] to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. —1 Corinthians 9:25

The passage and reflection today is very timely; an answered prayer. Yesterday has been very frustrating for some of us. In a Christian community where people are believed to be working as a team, giving their best efforts to give glory to God, I guess it's natural to be baffled by certain words and actions that are contrary to what the community is teaching. But the point is not to personally attack the people at fault, but to make them aware, only hoping to correct constructively. Open communication is encouraged in every relationship so as to prevent misconceptions or misunderstandings. And for this case, discussing and settling the matter as early as possible is highly advisable, especially when the people concerned are completely unaware of their behavior.

Even in our own families, our primary concern is the welfare of each other. Rarely does a family step on each other for personal gain. Like what our parents do, we are sometimes scolded for our faults, but still loved and cared for. We are all part of a team geared towards a common goal. Sometimes a regular reminder helps. Now I understand why most offices have their mission, vision and goals posted on their office walls.

For this let us pray. May we grow in love and unity. May we have courage to correct when necessary. May we keep looking up to Him so our words, thoughts and actions are always guided. May we remember that in God's team, we will always win. Pray always.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Daily Digest #116

Love never fails. —1 Corinthians 13:8

I can testify how powerful love is in my life. With love, I was able to look into the brighter side of things over the flaws and the weaknesses. I was able to forgive, which leads me to believe that love really heals faster than time. With love, I was able to choose to be kind rather than be right. It had made me believe in myself, able to step into a higher level when all along I thought I could never exceed my personal limit. I have come to trust that everything done in the name of love can always succeed. But of course, it depends on how one defines love. If we would only see it in a romantic sense or as an obligation, we would have set conditions and expectations, which contradicts what God really intended it to be. Real love is unconditional; it does not give up or walk away when things get rough; and it will always get us through no matter how impossible things may seem. To love is to take risks of getting hurt, but knowing that the goal is worth it -- which is towards God. God knows a heart that's pure, and He will make sure that it would never run out of love.

For this, let us pray. May we see love, not as how we want it to be, but as how God intended as stated in 1 Corinthians 13. May we pray for a loving heart -- only in this way can we truly obey and serve Him. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #115

[We are] heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him. —Romans 8:17

Have you ever noticed, whenever you try to be good, something happens that makes you think or do otherwise? Just recently, I tried so hard to cleanse my heart and my thoughts to make myself credible in delivering a certain task. But ironically, I was bombarded by temptations to sin, left and right. The more I prayed, the more visible those negative things became. Then it occurred to me how we are always being tested -- to see how faithful and truthful we are to our intension. God always gives us a choice -- to give up, or to go on. It came a point where I almost gave up, and was so tempted to hurt back other people. But with God's help and guidance, I didn't. I realize how important it is to consider what makes God happy, instead of what makes me happy. When we know that His Spirit is living inside us and we listen to what He is saying, we are assured that we are headed towards His direction, despite of the circumstances that we might think is hurtful or unjust.

For this, let us pray. May we keep looking up to God, asking Him to guide us in everything we think, say or do. May He bless us with a faithful and courageous heart, so we may withstand any trial that comes our way. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #114

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. —Joshua 1:5

Most of the greatest leaders of families, government, communities are also great followers. But in practical terms, we ourselves could be leaders of even a single person. How? By setting as an example; knowing in our hearts that whatever we teach, we also do. As the verse goes, "the blind cannot lead another blind". We all have our share of experiences in sharing wisdom or giving advice, but do we ever ask ourselves if it was generated by our hearts, or merely our heads, simply because we know it is right? Let us look into our hearts, our thoughts, our ways.... What do we see?

I think each of us is born a leader. In our families, our parents might not even realize it, but every word they say has an impact on their child's life. They are leaders in their own ways, and to use this privilege like Moses and Joshua did, would guarantee a guided and confident parenthood. Having a child witness this would also mold him/her into a good follower, and eventually a good leader. Between siblings and friends, we tend to correct one another to show how much we care. For me this also shows leadership, not to lead the other to what one thinks is the right way, but towards God.

For this, let us pray. May we ask God to purify our hearts, that He may guide our every action, word and thought. May we allow Him to mold us into good followers, until such time when we are made leaders like nothing we have ever imagined. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #113

Lord, why do You cast off my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me? —Psalm 88:14

I find prayer a very therapeutic way for me at times of anxiety and depression. I am able to release all negative emotions, as if talking in front of my best friend, or my mom, or my sister. And I feel a calming presence, as if lifting all my burdens as I open up little by little. I was chatting with my mom the other day, just reminiscing about the past about our family. She suddenly mentioned how she always ran to church whenever she needed to release something building up inside of her, and she couldn't think of any better way than to pray. The same with a friend I chatted with last night, who testified how much prayer has done in her marriage and family, counting her blessings more and more each day. I realize what great testimonies these are about the power of prayer. Sometimes, when we're on the verge of giving up on someone or on ourselves, or we're too ecstatic about something, prayer is all we need. These are the times when He's actually trying to talk to us... if only we choose to see or hear Him.

For this, let us pray. May we develop a prayerful lifestyle. May we learn to cling on Him in moments of trouble, and rejoice with and for Him, for making us endure, for getting us through, and for showering us with so much blessings. May we build a closer relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #112

No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 3:11

I was given an opportunity to share God's love in my life yesterday, and I found the much needed and prayed for friendliness and encouragement in the faces of the audience. I only asked Him to use me as an instrument to send out His message, and I ended up learning more from what have been coming out of my own mouth. I can only praise Him for giving me the wisdom, courage and strength to do what had to be done, and it has truly given me more joy than I expected. Only God knows how much of those people's lives have been truly touched, but nothing could have made me more glad than to serve Him with all my heart and mind that afternoon.

In my talk, I shared how much my "neighbors" have been an image of Jesus Christ in many ways. If it weren't for the love and support of the people around me, I wouldn't learn about faith, hope and love. They laughed and cried with me, lent a hand or an ear when I needed one, hugged, kissed and prayed for me unceasingly. I can only hope to reciprocate all the love and kindness they have shown me, so they can also see God's work in my life.... I realize how God sends "angels" to help us endure and get through different circumstances, each leading us closer to Him. He always makes a way to show us that we are truly loved. And to know that we are loved that much gives us the security of risking loving and trusting others.

For this, let us pray. May we build a closer relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ. May we learn how to pray, not only for our own, but also for others. May we keep looking up to Him, and learn to walk by faith and not bu sight. Pray always.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Prayer in Time of Decision

Lord God, King of heaven and earth, I am facing a difficult decision in my life, and I do not know what road to take. You have given me the awesome power to choose freely as well as the intelligence to choose wisely.
Inspire me to make the right decision no matter what it may be.
Let me carefully weigh the reasons on all sides from a human point of view,
and then rely on your grace for divine help. When the decision has been reached, let me not look back, in the firm knowledge that I have done my part and have made a right decision in your eyes. Amen.


Soul Searching Prayer

Does my life please You as I live each day?
Do I glorify You, Lord, in everything I say?
Do I show others Your love in all that I do?
When others see me do they also see You?

Are my motives pure-- I know that You see?
Would I want other Christians to be just like me?
You understand my thoughts-- You're the only One Who can.
When I'm all by myself am I a God pleasing man?

I don't mean am I perfect, for without Christ I know I'm not,
But am I doing doubtful things hoping that I won't be caught?
Are there any hidden issues in the depths of my heart
That, as a born again Christian, I should bid to depart?

If there's any thought or action that's bringing You shame,
Help me to surrender it in Jesus' blessed Name.
I don't want to continue anything that displeases You,
And I want to do everything that You would have me do.

Dear God, in Your wisdom, You know how to keep me straight,
If You ever see me straying correct me before it's too late.
By Your grace You have saved me and forgiven all my sin,
I love You, I thank You, and I praise You. Amen.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Daily Digest #111

The wind blows where it wishes . . . . So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. —John 3:8

We often take credit for all our good works, or for wisdom, when in fact it is all the work of the Holy Spirit living inside us. Our bodies are mere vessels, used as instruments of God, so we may spread the Good News through words and actions. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us the nudge when we feel guilty about something, or when we believe we ought to take initiative. The Holy Spirit opens our hearts to wisdom -- see what others do not see, and hear what they do not hear. The Holy Spirit is a gift from God, connecting each of us to Him, urging us to pray, and renew ourselves until we are like God's son, Jesus Christ. It is indeed the Christian's source of power.

For me, to recognize the works of the Holy Spirit in our lives is one of the first major steps in walking by faith. It humbles us, making us realize that mere human efforts are simply not enough. For this, let us pray. May we awaken the Holy Spirit living inside us, praying constantly and listening to what It has to say. May we develop a more prayerful lifestyle -- giving thanks to every blessing, praising and worshiping God, repenting for our sins, and asking Him to bless our neighbors. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #110

Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. —Hebrews 4:7

Honestly, I'm not ready. And should He come and get me soon, I really, really hope my heart is completely cleansed, every single sin repented. But what strikes me more from the verse is how God calls us every day. Lately, I've been ignoring A LOT of his calls, and it has brought me nothing but anxiety and bitterness. I've never seen another person so ugly -- and that IS a very bad sign. God has told us over and over how we should look at the good in others, and stop judging for each other's differences. He has just made me realize how much bigger the world is, and how greater others' problems/issues are compared to my own. He has made me look back at the moments when I reached out, especially to those in dire need, and it gave me much joy and content -- which was just what i needed.

I guess being ready is a matter of one's own purity and faith. God knows all things, and He will be the judge of every single soul. For this, let us pray. May we ask God to cleanse our hearts and strengthen our faith. When weakness overcomes us, may our prayers never cease, until our weakness becomes His strength. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #109

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. —Psalm 90:12

When all the pictures of our life are laid on the table, they will reveal our recurring words and actions. What story will they tell? For me, the picture of our lives is revealed by the relationships we make in our lifetime. What kind of son/daughter are we to our parents? What kind of friend to those near and far? Husband/wife? Father/mother? What kind of employee are we to our bosses, or to our co-workers, or subordinates? What kind of neighbor are we to other building tenants/home owners? How do we treat strangers, or people of other races? How do we treat our enemies, or the less fortunate? Do we only pray for our own sake, or for others as well?

Honestly, our lives are very limited, but God wants us to learn the things that truly matter -- things that bring us closer to Him. I just read a forwarded email a few days ago, about how we're in a hurry to grow up, then wish we were younger when we grow old. I guess it's because we often fail to make our lives meaningful for the time given to us. Each day counts. Every minute of every day.

For this, let us pray. May we not count how long we live, but how we live our lives. May God teach us to love, and value each relationship that comes our way. May we learn to cast away selfishness and pride, so we may offer ourselves fully to God, and our neighbors. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #108

Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill. —Philippians 1:15

The essence of praise, worship and service to God really comes from one's own heart. Anything that is done otherwise is plain hypocrisy. Nonetheless, no matter what our intension is, the good news is always preached, and the love of God is spread somehow. We often base our beliefs in what we perceive in others, and most of the time we are quickly discouraged by what we think are un-Godly. We are so quick to judge, finding it easier to see the flaws of others, when we ourselves fail to realize our own.

For this, let us pray. May we learn to see the good in others. May we be instruments for spreading God's Words by allowing Jesus Christ's love and grace to reflect in our lives. In which way, we can also see the works of God in others' lives. May we lead each other closer to God. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #107

When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. —Deuteronomy 18:9

We can be so anxious when it comes to knowing our future. Yesterday, I just shared a small revelation to a number of people, how I used to fear tomorrow. Not in a phobic kind of way, but something that has to do with frustration or disappointment -- how things I yearn for might not come to reality. Then it occurred to me how little faith I have. I was struck by what my sister told me a few days ago. She said "God never fails a heart that is pure. He knows that you are waiting for something, so He will surely give it to you, in His way and in His time." I've never felt so relieved. And I've never regained so much hope until those words were spoken to me. That definitely answered the question I had been trying to construct inside my head.

Fear is a natural thing. We all have various kinds. But how we handle our fears makes the biggest difference of all. We may choose to be cowards, or become disillusioned that we have everything under control. Or we may choose to take courage to face our fears, seeking God's help to overcome them, and trusting that He will get us through.

For this, let us pray. May we learn to lift up all our fears to God and trust that He will take care of the rest. May we live by the day, never missing each blessing in our lives, and thanking Him for it. May we see clearly that the only thing that matters is NOW, and not yesterday or tomorrow. Pray always.

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