Friday, July 31, 2009

Daily Digest #331

If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. —Galatians 1:9

There are so many inspirational and motivational books available everywhere. They are usually geared towards improving one's life. I am a fan of inspirational books as well. Whenever I go to the bookstore, I always spend at least an hour browsing through some of these books. The only question is, where are these books based?

When I started building the habit of reading the Scriptures, I began to be curious where my other reading materials were coming from. I have a small collection of books at my place, and I found that most of them were actually written by advocates of new age beliefs. I have always admired great writings -- those that help me become a better person. But sometimes, books have different objectives -- those that alter the truth, those that deny the existence of God. And as believers, we ought to be cautious of what we read. We are vulnerable human beings who are most frail when our core beliefs are shaken. Even the words we hear from our dearest families, closest friends or even the people at church can be tampered by un-Godly ideas. I do not mean to sound self-righteous , but this battle is indeed happening within each of us. Everyday, we learn, un-learn and re-learn the good and the bad. We are all in search of spirituality that we either look for it in various religions or just on our own. But the Bible is here, and no matter how culture, religion, society or modernity have altered God's Words, it IS and will forever be the absolute truth. If our core beliefs are not based on God's truth, what on earth are we trying to prove? I believe that it is always wise to think that we are mere humans who do not know everything, and cannot do everything on our own.

Most of the time, when people are encouraged to read the Bible, they think they are being recruited to join a sect or a cult :D But I say read, and see for yourself. The Bible is the story of our lives. Every problem, every personal issue, every victory is found there. And no matter how others have read it, the meaning may be unique for each of us at a given time, because the message is so personal that we are left in awe, and our lives are changed. It is not for spiritual highs either. Knowledge only becomes wisdom when we practice what we learned in our lives. And I believe that is much better than a "spiritual high".

Like you, I am a work in progress. I have so much to change in my habits, in my way of thinking, in myself. But to know the truth that God is here, guiding me through His Words, gives me courage that I will be a much better person someday.

For this, let us pray. Heavenly Father, thank You for sending us Your Word. Thank You for the lessons we learn everyday. Thank You for giving us hope, and chance to make a fresh start. Thank You for your patience in us. Forgive us for our impatience with ourselves, with others and with You. May Your will be done on us always. Amen.

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Daily Digest #330

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion. —Psalm 111:4

I have a confession to make. I have been harboring anger towards people who have been nothing but selfish and arrogant. I cannot garner the strength to show a bit of care towards these people because they never cared about anyone (well, if there's something in you that might benefit them, then they are absolutely there). And this hinders me from exhibiting love towards them, only kindness (which is sometimes still so hard to give). I have judged them for their actions and their words, and this in fact makes me worse than them. I was reminded of "The World is Your Mirror" and realized maybe I'm the selfish and arrogant one. I struggle most when the people involved are those I know personally. This makes me wonder, maybe the relationship/ friendship was not genuine after all. Because genuine relationships do not just share bountiful times, they also stick with each other in rough moments. I wish I could have been more transparent, but I guess being myself causes others to duck and flee. It is sad how very few people have the courage to confront for the sake of friendship (myself included). My experiences taught me a very valuable lesson, which I posted the other day. Let me share it again....

Friends Are Like Balloons

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don't.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy.
They just promised it would be worth it.

Friends are like balloons.
Once you let them go, you can't get them back.
So I'm gonna tie you to my heart so I never lose you....

This has struck me so much. I know in my heart that I am a good friend, and I would be willing to be with a friend not because it's the right thing to do, but because I simply want to be there. I am attached to my friendships because I believe they should last forever. We would both be responsible for each other, and would be willing to listen and be sensitive about each others' weaknesses. But no matter how hard things get, we would NEVER give up on each other.... Eventually, I learned to divert my love and attention to others who need them more, like those who love me back, or even strangers who have been nothing but kind. I know that my family and real friends love me. And God loves me. I guess that's more than I could ever ask for. Sometimes, we just have to accept that there's a reason, a season or a lifetime for a certain thing.

This heals me somehow :D I know some of you share the same sentiments/experiences, and I also pray for your healing. I still believe God sends His angels in the form of family and friends so we could build real relationships with them. Let us pray: Lord, thank you for our genuine relationships. Thank you for sending people to love, and for having them love us in return. Thank You for the lessons we learn. Lord, we ask for healing for the hurt and broken-hearted. Please forgive us for our shortcomings, for striking back, for choosing hate over love. Please bless us with a heart of compassion and peace. May we learn to love unconditionally, as You have. We trust in You. Amen.

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Daily Digest #329

You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. —Psalm 73:24

I was watching Michael Jackson's Bucharest concert last night. It was overwhelming to watch such a legend. And I was again filled with grief to know that we have lost one. But the best part about all these is that He is finally HOME :D There would be no more pain and heartache for him. As I listened to his songs, I realized how beautiful the words are (i am usually after the melody more than the lyrics, so it felt like the first time hearing his songs) -- about love, peace, unity, equality -- all the things we could ever pray for this troubled world. I honor his work, for being an ambassador of Christ in what he did. Somehow, I do see Christ in him. His entire life had been dedicated for others, no matter how hard. Like pharisees, the press and other people from different industries, including the music industry, made a mockery out of his life. His work has been overlooked because the flaws seemed more appealing, and profitable. It is truly a shame if we have made profit out of another person's suffering... . I am not specifically a Micheal Jackson fan, but I have always admired people with passion and purpose.

I read some of his quotes, and I would like to share some that inspired me the most. This is my way of paying tribute to a man who had been misunderstood and criticized, even after his death:

I'm a visionary and a creative person. God blessed me with certain talents. I hate to use an analogy, but Walt Disney was creative but not good with business. His brother Roy handled the books. He loved creating family-oriented entertainment and so do I. I feel that was a gift and I have that gift also. I'm very honored to have been chosen.

Success definitely brings on loneliness. People think you're lucky, that you have everything. They think you can go anywhere and do anything, but that's not the point. One hungers for the basic stuff.

I've been in the entertainment industry since I was six-years-old ... As Charles Dickens says, 'It's been the best of times, the worst of times.' But I would not change my career ... While some have made deliberate attempts to hurt me, I take it in stride because I have a loving family, a strong faith and wonderful friends and fans who have, and continue, to support me.

[on refuting persistent rumors of skin surgery or bleaching] If I had a chance to talk to Michelangelo, I would ask him what inspired him to become who he is, the anatomy of his craftsmanship, not about who he dated last night or why he decided to sit out in the sun so long.

I'm still fascinated by clouds and the sunset. I was making wishes on the rainbow yesterday. I saw the meteor shower. I made a wish every time I saw a shooting star.

I have confidence in my abilities. I have real perseverance. Nothing can stop me when I put my mind to it.

I never think about themes. I let the music create itself. I like it to be a potpourri of all kinds of sounds, all kinds of colors, something for everybody, from the farmer in Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem.

Music has been my outlet, my gift to all of the lovers in this world. Through it, my music, I know I will live forever.

If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.

May this serve as a reminder to us who are still living and breathing. We all have a purpose to fulfill and passions to pursue. May we do our utmost with hope, faith and love, as we wait for the time when we will be once again with our Brother and Heavenly Father. Let us pray for each other -- that we may live a full life, counting our blessings, learning the lessons, and becoming better each time. May we give glory to God's name in everything that we do. May His will be done on us always. Amen.

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Daily Digest #328

Jonathan . . . loved [David] as he loved his own soul. —1 Samuel 20:17

True friends are a real treasure :D For me, true friends are my other selves. They are the ones who are there not only when everything's nice and easy but also during my down times. They laugh and cry with me. They're not afraid to show me who they really are, what they think, and what they feel. They are never afraid to point out my mistakes. They never give up on me no matter how stubborn I get, just as I would never give up on them. They look forward to sharing their time with me, not because they need to, but because they simply love to be there. I can draw hope and strength from them, just as they can draw hope and strength from me. Time and distance can never separate us for we are in each other's prayer, and memories.

What about you? What is a "true friend" to you?

All my closest friends know that I love reading and collecting quotes. I would like to share 2 pages of my personal friendship quotes collection. I dedicate them to my true friends (you know who you are hehe, including Mama and Joie, of course). Thank you for everything (time, effort, prayers, thoughtfulness, etc etc), and I love you, too! *hugs* ....If we haven't reached that level of friendship yet, I sure hope we do someday, too :D

Friendship is like standing on wet cement… the longer you stay, the harder it is to leave and you can never go without leaving your footprints.

The greatest gift you can give to someone is your friendship, because you are giving them a portion of your life that you will never get back.

Friends are like pieces of a puzzle. If you lose one, it will never be complete again.

To love without condition, to give without intention, to care without expectation is the sign of true friendship.

One of the best moments of life is to meet an old friend after years and feel that things haven’t changed and you realize how much you have missed having him around.

A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked. -- Bernard Meltzer

A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway. -- Fr. Jerome Cummings

Remember, the greatest gift is not found in a store nor under a tree, but in the hearts of true friends. -- Cindy Lew

Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure. -- Jewish Saying

Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you. -- Elbert Hubbard

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. -- Aristotle

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.-- Albert Camus

The only way to have a friend is to be one. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend. -- Abraham Lincoln

Hold a true friend with both your hands. -- Nigerian Proverb

A faithful friend is the medicine of life. -- Apocrypha

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.—Anonymous

Friends are like melons; shall I tell you why? To find one good, you must one hundred try. -- Claude Mermet

Friendship multiplies the good of life and divides the evil. -- Baltasar Gracian (1647)

Friendship needs no words... -- Dag Hammarskjold

Friends are the sunshine of life. -- John Hay (1871)

The best mirror is an old friend. -- George Herbert

One who looks for a friend without faults will have none. -- Hasidic Saying

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. -- Walter Winchell

Friends are needed both for joy and for sorrow. -- Samuel Paterson

Friendship is the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.-- John Evelyn

Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief. -- Swedish proverb

A friend hears the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.—Anonymous

Count your age with friends but not with years. -- Anonymous

Plant a seed of friendship; reap a bouquet of happiness. -- Lois L. Kaufman

I keep my friends as misers do their treasure, because, of all the things granted us by wisdom, none is greater or better than friendship. -- Pietro Aretino (1537)

There is nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends. -- Hillaire Belloc

Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit. -- Aristotle (4th century B.C.)

Friendship is essentially a partnership. -- Aristotle (4th century B.C.)

Your friend is your needs answered. -- Kahlil Gibran

Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. -- Kahlil Gibran.

Let your best be for your friend... -- Kahlil Gibran

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. -- Kahil Gibran

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return of their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" -- The Bible: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

"A friend loves at all times." -- The Bible: Proverbs 17, 17

Let us honor and pray for our friends.... Thank You, Lord, for blessing us with these profound relationships. Thank You for sending us these angels who watch over us, and love us unconditionally. Lord, please bless our friends. Please bless their plans, their health, their careers and their choices. May you keep them away from harm. May we also be real friends to them at all times. These we ask through Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.

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Daily Digest #327

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. —Revelation 3:19

Allow me to share this article from the Purpose Driven Life online:

“Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15 GWT).

While you were given a brand new nature at the moment of conversion, you still have old habits, patterns, and practices that need to be removed and replaced.

We are afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves. I have already pointed out that the truth will set us free but it often makes us miserable first.

The fear of what we might discover if we honestly faced our character defects keeps us living in the prison of denial. Yet, we often build our identities around our defects. We say, “It’s just like me to be” and “It’s just the way I am.” The unconscious worry is that if I let go of my habit, my hurt, or my hang-up, who will I be? This fear can definitely slow down your growth.

Only as God is allowed to shine the light of his truth on our faults, failures, and hang-ups can we begin to work on them. This is why you cannot grow without a humble, teachable attitude.

Godly habits take time to develop. Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits. You can’t claim to be kind unless you are habitually kind—you show kindness without even thinking about it. You can’t claim to have integrity unless it is your habit to always be honest. A husband who is faithful to his wife most of the time is not faithful at all!

Your habits define your character. There is only one way to develop the habits of Christlike character: You must practice them—and that takes time! There are no instant habits. Paul urged Timothy, “Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15 GWT).

If you practice something over time, you get good at it. Repetition is the mother of character and skill. These character-building habits are often called “spiritual disciplines,” and they include such things as meditation, prayer, fasting, Bible study, simplicity, stewardship, solitude, submission, service, and evangelism.

We all long for the day when there will be no pain, no war, no hate, no disappointment and no sin. We live in a world of temptation and instant satisfaction. And there may be times in our lives when we just want to give up on our hopes and dreams because nothing ever changes, and no one really cares. But what I learned from this is that God is teaching us to divert our attention to Him rather than everything else. We depend on others when we should be depending on Him. And this not only causes us to hate others eventually, but ourselves as well. And sometimes we even repeat our mistakes over and over. The good news is, God always gives us the chance to head for a different direction. Every day, we are given the chance to change and become better. Today is brand new, and yesterday is history -- we only have lessons and good memories to take with us. And our future depends on the choices we make today. Let us ask ourselves: will I allow today's circumstances to help me grow? will I pray today? will I make time to assess myself, my choices and my actions today? will I use this day for love?

Let us pray. Lord, thank You for giving us the choice, and the chance to come back to You every single day. We are sorry for the times when we choose other things over You. We pray that we remain focused in You, and please You in everything that we do. May Your will be done always. Amen.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Daily Digest #326

Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. —1 Timothy 4:12

I posted something in my Facebook account about having everyone comment with a memory of him/her and me (the list is starting to get long hehe). What caught my attention was this comment: "u hv a gentle spirit.... i c Christ in u.... u wanna obey Him n walk in His ways... in every way u can..." Honestly, I felt sooooo ashamed of myself. Though I may appear strong and faithful to others, I have my set of weaknesses that would definitely turn you off hehehe. I have personal issues I have yet to overcome. I have emotions that I still cannot control. I have a knack for making people feel unworthy and inexistent. I still take matters into my own hands sometimes that I oversee what God is trying to teach me. Just last night, as I was having a quick stroll, I thought about how much I wanted things, and if it was ok for me to even want them. If someone is doing God's will, what is it to want? Isn't He more than enough already? And I tried to remember how Jesus only got angry when people insulted His Father, and not himself. I realize how much I've taken things personally sometimes, how I've reacted badly towards others only because I wasn't comfortable, or someone has hurt my ego. When someone strikes hard, I tend to strike harder sometimes. But I trust that God is also allowing me to heal and grow out of my scars, and I couldn't thank Him more for the time He's given me. There's forgiveness yet to be asked and given.

I am a grave sinner, but what keeps me hoping of becoming better is my belief that Jesus has indeed saved me and that I will be turned into His likeness someday. I still feel blessed that others see Christ in me despite of my imperfections. God has His ways of manifesting His glory through people, and it's always an honor to be used as His instrument, willingly or unwillingly.

For this, join me in prayer. Lord, thank You for the humbling moments. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who lives within each of us -- pointing us towards Your direction. Lord, forgive us when we choose our own will over Yours. Forgive us when we choose to hate than to love. Forgive us for not calling on You in moments of weakness and fear. Lord, we trust that in Your will and time, we will be turned into Your Son's likeness. May we use the time You have given us for Your purpose and glory. Please bless all our relationships, our homes and our workplaces. We ask these through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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Daily Digest #325

The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save . . . . [But] your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. —Isaiah 59:1-2

I believe there's no such thing as an unanswered prayer. God hears our prayers. The only problem is how we perceive His answers, or if we even choose to perceive it. We know that the answer to our prayers can either be yes, no, or wait. Sometimes we can't tell because we lack faith. And sometimes we can't accept because we want things to go our way. We are too impatient to wait. We want things to happen now. We are even too stubborn to do our part. And when things happen immediately, we forget that we prayed for them to happen and forget God for answering our prayers. Sometimes, just when we think we know what's best for us, we're very much mistaken. God always knows what's best for us.... if only we believe, and trust. God always has answers, and He always has a purpose.

I found other articles about "unanswered" prayers, or when God says no. When you have the time, I hope you get to visit these: http://www.heartlig feature_970625_ sezno.html and http://ncvolunteer. wordpress. com/2008/ 01/21/when- god-says- no/. I hope we all get to be enlightened today, and believe that there are no unanswered prayers.

For this, let us pray. Lord, thank You for always listening to our prayers. Thank You for all the times that You humbled us with answers that are so much better than our own. Lord, we are easily weakened by our little faith. Please help us with our unbelief. May we learn to trust Your ways. Please bless our prayer times -- may they always be intimate and truthful. May we grow a patient heart. In Jesus' name, we ask. Amen.

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The World Is Your Mirror

The world is your mirror.
The good you find in others, is in you too.
The faults you find in others, are your faults as well.
After all, to recognize something, you must know it.

The possibilities you see in others, are possible for you as well.
The beauty you see around you, is your beauty.
The world around you is a reflection, a mirror showing you the person you are.

To change your world, you must change yourself.

See the best in others, and you will be your best.
Give to others, and you will give to yourself.
Appreciate beauty, and you will be beautiful.
Admire creativity, and you will be creative.
Love, and you will be loved.
Seek to understand, and you will be understood.
Listen, and your voice will be heard.
Teach, and you will learn.


Daily Digest #324

He has put eternity in their hearts. —Ecclesiastes 3:11

Ecclesiastes 3:9-17

9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. 15 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. [a] 16 And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there. 17 I thought in my heart, "God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed."

I also received an inspiring email earlier with a quote and a prayer. Read below:

"Positive pictures come out from negatives developed in a darkroom. So if you find yourself lonely and in the dark, understand that -- Life is working on a beautiful picture for you."

We know, Lord, that throughout our lives
each of us will experience problems and difficulties.
Give us courage and strength at those times
and prevent us then from looking only at ourselves.
Keep our vision wide so that, even in times of difficulty,
we may still be of help to others.
Help us not to be bitter towards people or situations,
but empower us to take the initiative
and break the cycle of hatred, bitterness, and evil actions.
Help us to transform the difficulties that come our way
into opportunities for personal growth and service of others.

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Daily Digest #323

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. —Ephesians 4:23

I just read a very timely reading last night from My Utmost for His Highest. Allow me to share it with you:

The Submission of the Believer
You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am —John 13:13

Our Lord never insists on having authority over us. He never says, "You will submit to me." No, He leaves us perfectly free to choose— so free, in fact, that we can spit in His face or we can put Him to death, as others have done; and yet He will never say a word. But once His life has been created in me through His redemption, I instantly recognize His right to absolute authority over me. It is a complete and effective domination, in which I acknowledge that "You areworthy, O Lord . . ." ( Revelation 4:11 ). It is simply the unworthiness within me that refuses to bow down or to submit to one who is worthy. When I meet someone who is more holy than myself, and I don’t recognize his worthiness, nor obey his instructions for me, it is a sign of my own unworthiness being revealed. God teaches us by using these people who are a little better than we are; not better intellectually, but more holy. And He continues to do so until we willingly submit. Then the whole attitude of our life is one of obedience to Him.

If our Lord insisted on our obedience, He would simply become a taskmaster and cease to have any real authority. He never insists on obedience, but when we truly see Him we will instantly obey Him. Then He is easily Lord of our life, and we live in adoration of Him from morning till night. The level of my growth in grace is revealed by the way I look at obedience. We should have a much higher view of the word obedience, rescuing it from the mire of the world. Obedience is only possible between people who are equals in their relationship to each other; like the relationship between father and son, not that between master and servant. Jesus showed this relationship by saying, "I and My Father are one" ( John 10:30 ). ". . . though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered" ( Hebrews 5:8 ). The Son was obedient as our Redeemer, because He was the Son, not in order to become God’s Son.

For this, let us pray. Heavenly Father, thank You for the love You gave us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for Your Word, for teaching us how to lead our lives with passion and gratefulness. Thank You for making us Your children, and for providing us all our needs. Lord, we know each of us is a work in progress. May we grow a patient and faithful heart. We ask for guidance in everything that we think, say and do. Lord, we pray for the wounded, the helpless, and the blind among us. May you bless, comfort and enlighten us. Please teach us to forgive just as You have forgiven. May our scars give glory to Your name. And may we continue to build a stronger relationship with You. Amen.

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Daily Digest #322

In my distress, I called upon the Lord. —Psalm 18:6

I just had a rough week. I was bothered by many things lately, and all I did was sleep. But the numerous symbolic dreams left me exhausted the next waking day. Good thing I was able to talk to my sister and mom, who made me see things differently. My closest friends also shared words of wisdom (through their stories and songs and quotes) that I really needed at that moment. I guess through His instruments, God was stirring me back to Him all along. I was too preoccupied with my worries that I forgot to focus on Him alone. I looked for peace and comfort in the wrong places when He had always been waiting for me to come back to Him. I had to re-learn to lift all my burdens to Him, and sincerely pray.

I realize that whenever I start feeling tired and helpless, God is telling me to stop and look up. He asked me, "Why are you worrying? Don't you trust Me enough? Where is your faith? Why do you doubt? Why do you carry your burdens on your own? Why don't you lift your concerns to me?"

For this, please join me in prayer.... Lord, thank You for Your faith in me. Thank You for never giving up on me. Thank You for giving me another chance to hope and to love. Thank You for making me a witness of Your love and glory. Thank You for letting me cling to You in moments of weakness and defeat. Please give me strength to face the day with passion and purpose. Please give me the heart to show how Jesus lives in me. Please give me the courage to follow Your will even when the ground shakes. Amen.

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Daily Digest #321

Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. —1 Corinthians 15:5

When I finished college and went to work, I had a level of pride that seemed to demand acknowledgment and recognition from others all the time. I expected everyone to respect me for the work that I do. I wanted them to realize that I was very much competent in my job, and that I came from a very reputable institution. But being away from home taught me how character matters the most. My initial intention made my life so dull that I didn't really value anything from what I could accomplish. I was too focused on myself that I struggled making friends and gaining respect from my students.

But I realize how God had been watching me all those times. He humbles my heart through the lessons he reveals to me each day. He wants me to become selfless enough to think about the difference I can make, in my own little way. And THAT He sees. He gives me courage to see what needs to be done, and strength to do it. He makes me realize how others depend on the things I do -- how a single soul counts. It makes a huge difference to do things passionately for God rather than one's self.

We all have this yearning to be noticed, either by everybody or somebody who matters to us. Somehow we believe that being noticed by people validates our existence. But what we usually forget is that no amount of human recognition can match what God sees and hears. He sees every move we make, and hears every thought in our minds. We sometimes complain about being unnoticed when we ourselves do not even notice others around us. God sees our intension. He knows when we are being selfish or sly. He knows when we think ill of our neighbors. He knows everything.

For this, let us pray. Lord, You see everything, You know everything. Thank You for guiding our steps and for keeping us closer to You. Thank You for the moments when You humble our hearts, when You give us a different perspective, and when You give us inner peace and happiness at the end of the day. Lord, You are more than enough, please remind us everyday. May we give glory to Your name in the things that we say and do. May we serve You with all our hearts. Amen.

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Daily Digest #320

Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. —1 Corinthians 13:13

In the past, I learned how love hurts and scars. It came to a point when I didn't know what love is anymore. I have loved people who didn't love me back. This got me into thinking, maybe I wasn't lovable enough :D Or maybe I simply trusted people or expected too much from them more than God. Sometimes, when I think that someone is heaven-sent, I tend to give my all to that person rather than the One who gave him/her to me. I lose focus, and forget that there's a purpose why we met in the first place. I forget how people come and go, while God's presence stays forever. I forget to pray and rely completely in God for the choices I make. When I do pray, I usually ask Him to make my will His rather than the other way around. I even complain how He knows my innermost desires yet makes them very difficult or too complicated to attain. I also realize that I find it difficult to accept His "NO" answers to my prayers sometimes.

The reading today reminds us of God's love. It is the kind of love that never fails. It never gives up. It never abandons. It always forgives. His love is more than enough. It stops us from searching for love in the wrong places. His love teaches us to love others unconditionally. His love gives us undying hope and faith. His love gives us courage to trust. His love makes us pray. His love not only overwhelms in a very profound way but also makes us want to be a better person.

For this, let us pray. Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love. Thank You for the lessons You teach us everyday. Thank You for reminding us what love is all about. Please bless our relationships -- may You always stay in between. We pray for the lost, the hopeless, the bitter, the hurt and the lonely. May we witness and testify of Your love in our lives. Amen.

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Daily Digest #319

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. —Matthew 10:31

I was reminded of one song while I was reading the passage above. I'm pasting the words below. I am thankful that God watches me all the time. He knows my joys, my fears, my pains and my dreams. He has His ways of comforting me at times of grief or loneliness, and He rejoices with me for every answered prayer. He makes me feel loved when no one else does, and He opens my eyes to all that is unseen. He replaces my doubts with faith, and my losses with hope. He's my best friend, my brother, my ally, my all. And I want to be reminded every waking day that He is, especially when I am too preoccupied with my own concerns.

For this, please join me in prayer. Lord, thank You for loving me. Thank You for taking care of me, for providing all my needs and answering my prayers. Thank You for giving me people who truly love me, and for giving me the opportunity to love them back. Lord, sorry for the times when I choose not to be patient enough, when I choose to hate, or to follow my will rather than Yours. Please guide my thoughts, words and actions. Please cleanse my heart. Please teach me to forgive. Please teach me to count my blessings all the time. And most of all, please teach me to love just as You have loved. I pray for all the special people in my life -- my family and my friends -- and those I encounter everyday/every week -- my co-workers, my kids, my neighbors, my classmates, my teachers, my household and my community. May I learn to value what is truly important -- my relationship with You, and with others. These I ask through Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.

He's Watching Over You
by Michelle Tumes

As you lavish in the quiet,
and you find the peace of silence,
He's watching over you.

As you labor in the daylight,
and you find the joy of sunshine,
He's watching over, over you.
He's watching over you.

As you gaze upon his splendour,
Speak the praises that you render,
He's watching over you.

As you weep the tears of sorrow,
and you find hope for tomorrow,
He's watching over, over you.
He's watching over you.

Feel the wind,
the breath of Jesus' grace.
See the smile
shining from His face.

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Daily Digest #318

Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? —Job 2:10

It is usually difficult for us to accept when something or someone we have held so close for a long time suddenly disappears or goes away. What first came as a blessing eventually creates an attachment that may be sometimes hard to let go when the time comes for us to detach ourselves. I am a person of tremendous attachment especially to my relationships with friends and family. And nothing hurts me more than good byes. But God is constantly reminding us that there is a time for everything. A difficult ending can also mark the beginning of something new and exciting. God wants us to experience the fullness of life, only if we're willing to see and let Him lead the way. There may be moments when He may ask us to leave a job we love, or end a friendship to build a stronger and much better one, or leave our comfort zones to open new doors for us that would make us a better person. I guess it always helps to remember that things always happen for the best. All we can do is manage the time and resources that were given to us and do our utmost while they're there -- not for selfish reasons, but for God's purpose -- and to ask for His guidance in every choice that we make.

For this, let us pray. Lord, thank You for all the blessings you have poured upon us. Thank You for providing us our needs, and for teaching that what matters most in our lives is our relationship with You and with others. Lord, may we always trust that we have everything that we will ever need, and that You will always make a way to give us what is necessary. May we cling onto You instead of worldly things. May we trust that You have everything planned for us, and remember Jeremiah 19:11 -- "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." May we count our blessings instead of our misfortunes. These we pray in the name of Jesus, Your Son. Amen.

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Daily Digest #317

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. —Isaiah 40:5

Sometimes the more we plan and struggle to achieve "success" in our lives, the more messed up we become. In my weekend class, we discussed about the meaning of success. Some said it's being at the top of one's career. Some said, it's when a life-long dream is achieved, like having one's own family, finding the love of one's life, or having kids. Some said it's a day-to-day thing which, at the end of the day, gives him peace of mind.

I agree with the day-to-day meaning of success. Every day has its moment of failure and victory. It all matters on the choices we make. We get into different situations and we encounter different people, whether we like it or not. Our path is clouded by uncertainty, and our character is tested. How do we react to the slightest nuisance? How do we treat others? Do we show kindness and love and mercy? Do we work honestly and effectively? Do we pray for others more than we pray for ourselves?

When we are guided by God's Word and wisdom, we will make sound decisions that lead us where He wants us to go, which is always the best way. We may argue that our way is better, but we're just wasting our time and energy. For someone who has gone through loops like me, I know that I am always drawn back to Him -- if I have the will to lay down my pride, surrender myself to Him and follow His voice.

Most of us do not realize that the answers to all our life's questions are revealed in the Bible. God is urging us to know Him to be able to truly love Him. For this, let us pray. Lord, thank You for your Word. Thank You for your love and for your patience in us. Thank You for making us a part of Your family, and for giving us hope that one day, we will become like Your son, Jesus Christ. Lord, please bless our Bible-reading and prayer times. Please guide our thoughts as we begin to have more doubts and questions about life. We ask for strength to fight evil everyday. Please protect us from all harm. We pray for our brothers and sisters, especially those who are struggling to renew their faith, the misguided, and the lonely. May we find success in You. Amen.

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Daily Digest #316

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” —Isaiah 6:8

Allow me to share excerpts of the attached reading ("How Can I Know What God Wants Me To Do", p. 32) about following God's will:

God's Will and My Will

Your answers to the following questions should help you evaluate your ability to make a God-honoring decision when faced with difficult choices:

- Have I asked for God's help?

- Do I show that I trust God in every area in my life, not merely in this decision?

- Do I obey God's clearly revealed will?

- Am I operating on the basis of good reasons rather than changing my feelings?

- Am I filling my mind with God's Word so that my mind is being transformed?

- Are there biblical commands or principles that apply to my specific situation?

- What are the alternatives and consequences of each possible option? How do these fare when evaluated by what the Bible says?

- Do my abilities and weaknesses have a bearing on the decision? How?

- What decision will glorify God, build me up spiritually, and edify others?

- Have I sought out worthy advisors?

- Have I carefully evaluated the advice, not merely accepted or rejected it?

- Is this decision a matter of my own freedom?

- Do I have peace that my decision is right?

- Would wanting be profitable or detrimental?

- Am I determined to obey and please God?

For this, let us pray. May we grow an obedient and faithful heart to follow God's will. May we have ears to listen and eyes to see what or where He's trying to lead us. May we have the courage to obey. Pray always. God bless!

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Daily Digest #315

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. —Luke 19:10

God's grace and forgiveness has always been evident in my life. He always gives me peace of mind after a prayer, and hope so I can start fresh and clean. The more I realize it, the more He opens my eyes to see the opportunities to do the same for others. The only thing that stops me from doing so is when I choose my own comfort above all else -- when I start to think more for myself. But I realize how unhappy and discontented this makes me. I guess that's God's way of telling me how I am here for a purpose, and not just for myself.

To admit our sinful nature is hard, especially when we have pride in our hearts. But I believe He truly forgives those who repent. And we also ought to forgive others as we have been forgiven. I guess through little acts of kindness and mercy, we give others a glimpse of heaven on earth. We make them witnesses of God's love, just as we have been made witnesses to others.

For this, let us pray. Lord, thank You for saving us from our sins, and for welcoming us into Your family. We praise and worship You for giving us life, and opportunities to serve You every waking day. Lord, we ask for courage and strength to draw others closer to You. Thank You for sending us angels and blessings to rekindle the flame in our hearts. May we be a light to those whose hearts have grown dim and weary. May we always trust You, and pray to You. May Your will be done on us always. Amen.

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Daily Digest #314

Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. . . . Your judgments have been manifested. —Revelation 15:4

I often forget to count my blessings, the reason why I also remind myself in writing, especially when I am too focused on my life's flaws and misfortunes. And the more I sin, the more discouraged I am to come to Him and the less hope I have for myself. But God is merciful and gracious. It took a looooooong time for me to really understand this because I was, and am still sometimes, too preoccupied with my own concerns. And this has stirred my focus away from God. I could have used my time to worship and honor him instead of complain and ask for what I do not have. I learned how my justice is much too different from His. He taught me how to listen, and how to pray. And this gave me a new perspective in dealing with different situations, good or bad.

God's love is beyond measure. His love has given me the courage to write today even though I know in my heart that I am a sinner, because He has forgiven me, and is watching over me. I guess we are all reminded of this, especially when we feel or think the whole world is against us. His love is more than enough. His love makes us become a better person until each of us is made into His Son's likeness. Our God is great indeed. May we sing praises to Him today.

For this, let us pray. Lord, we praise You for Your greatness, love and mercy. We worship You for Your power over our lives, and over our sins. Lord, we know we are not perfect, and so we ask that our hearts be purified. Please give us the heart to forgive and love, just as You have loved and forgiven us. We pray for our families, our friends, our co-workers, our subordinates, our neighbors, our community, and our enemies. May the desires of our hearts be according to Your will. We ask these through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Daily Digest #313

If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us. —Numbers 14:8

I've been reading about sin in Oswald Chamber's My Utmost For His Highest for several nights now. Allow me to share entries from these past few days (read below):

He is . . . a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief —Isaiah 53:3

We are not "acquainted with grief" in the same way our Lord was acquainted with it. We endure it and live through it, but we do not become intimate with it. At the beginning of our lives we do not bring ourselves to the point of dealing with the reality of sin. We look at life through the eyes of reason and say that if a person will control his instincts, and educate himself, he can produce a life that will slowly evolve into the life of God. But as we continue on through life, we find the presence of something which we have not yet taken into account, namely, sin— and it upsets all of our thinking and our plans. Sin has made the foundation of our thinking unpredictable, uncontrollable, and irrational.

We have to recognize that
sin is a fact of life, not just a shortcoming. Sin is blatant mutiny against God, and either sin or God must die in my life. The New Testament brings us right down to this one issue— if sin rules in me, God’s life in me will be killed; if God rules in me, sin in me will be killed. There is nothing more fundamental than that. The culmination of sin was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and what was true in the history of God on earth will also be true in your history and in mine— that is, sin will kill the life of God in us. We must mentally bring ourselves to terms with this fact of sin. It is the only explanation why Jesus Christ came to earth, and it is the explanation of the grief and sorrow of life.

This is your hour, and the power of darkness —Luke 22:53

Not being reconciled to the fact of sin— not recognizing it and refusing to deal with it— produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the lofty virtues of human nature, but there is something in human nature that will mockingly laugh in the face of every principle you have. If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is wickedness and selfishness, something downright hateful and wrong, in human beings, when it attacks your life, instead of reconciling yourself to it, you will compromise with it and say that it is of no use to battle against it. Have you taken this "hour, and the power of darkness" into account, or do you have a view of yourself which includes no recognition of sin whatsoever? In your human relationships and friendships, have you reconciled yourself to the fact of sin? If not, just around the next corner you will find yourself trapped and you will compromise with it. But if you will reconcile yourself to the fact of sin, you will realize the danger immediately and say, "Yes, I see what this sin would mean." The recognition of sin does not destroy the basis of friendship— it simply establishes a mutual respect for the fact that the basis of sinful life is disastrous. Always beware of any assessment of life which does not recognize the fact that there is sin.

Jesus Christ never trusted human nature, yet He was never cynical nor suspicious, because He had absolute trust in what He could do for human nature. The pure man or woman is the one who is shielded from harm, not the innocent person. The so-called innocent man or woman is never safe. Men and women have no business trying to be innocent; God demands that they be pure and virtuous. Innocence is the characteristic of a child. Any person is deserving of blame if he is unwilling to reconcile himself to the fact of sin.

. . . what shall I say? ’Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. ’Father, glorify Your name’ —John 12:27-28

As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself, accepting His position and realizing His purpose, in the midst of the fire of sorrow. He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.

We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to accept and receive ourselves in its fires. If we try to evade sorrow, refusing to deal with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life, and there is no use in saying it should not be. Sin, sorrow, and suffering
are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.

Sorrow removes a great deal of a person’s shallowness, but it does not always make that person better. Suffering either gives me to myself or it destroys me. You cannot find or receive yourself through success, because you lose your head over pride. And you cannot receive yourself through the monotony of your daily life, because you give in to complaining. The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be this way is immaterial. The fact is that it is true in the Scriptures and in human experience. You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you. But if a person has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, having no respect or time for you, only turning you away. If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.

Let us pray for enlightenment and wisdom.... May we grow in faith and love. Pray always. God bless!

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