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Lord, speak. I, listen.

We often make plans to have a better future. And oftenly, we pursue a career to further our horizon. And more often than not, we ask the Lord to bless our plans and desires. But how often do we ask the Lord what He desires for us to do?

Indeed there is nothing wrong with planning for our future or pursuing a career which would further our horizon. Let me say that again, there is nothing wrong when we plan to have a bright future. After all the Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 90:12, ’Teach us to number our days’, because life is simply fleeting.

However, what some or most of us fail to acknowledge or even ask is, ’Lord, what is it that You want me to do?’ Or better yet, ’Lord, how can I be of use to further Your Kingdom?

Rick Warren, Pastor and author of the Purpose Driven Life, once posted on Facebook this status message, ‘Do what God calls you to do with your life and you’ll succeed. Do what you think will prove your worth and you’ll fail miserably.’

God’s ministry is huge that there is enough room for anyone who desires to pitch in. God’s ministry is flexible, He does not require a college or a doctorate degree to fit in. Still, God’s ministry does not demand.  Rather, God’s ministry only needs a willing and submissive heart that cheerfully says, ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.’ (1 Samuel 3:10)

Do you want to succeed or fail miserably? The call is yours.

IreneA

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In Anything. In Everything.

Three days have passed and we still don’t have our cable connection back. Three agonizing days and we still didn’t get any assurance not even a response. We were given three contact numbers of our supposed personal concierge but all three are unreachable. To say it’s frustrating is an understatement.

I’ve exhausted all possible options, from basic troubleshooting to calling their hotline, the personal concierge and even visiting their office but to no avail.

I may have slightly ranted on FB and mostly got comments affirming the lousy service of this cable provider.  Bottom line is as I’ve exhausted all possible ways, I’m also getting exhausted from thinking but mostly from the frustrating scenario. However, I was struck and reminded with one of the comments.  And then I realized that I was actually left with one more option which is also the most important – to pray.

Indeed after uttering a short prayer and upon getting home we got a call from the cable. Then, a cable guy arrived and fixed our cable. Voila’ cable is back.

I am reminded of Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.”

More often than not, our first option in addressing minor or petty concern is to immediately respond in our own way, thinking that it is nothing crucial that needed to be prayed over. On the contrary, God wants us to call upon Him not just on anything but on everything and to thank Him on what He has done.

This is how God cares for us and loves us. He desires to be part not just in anything but in everything that we do, be it in a simple undertaking or a next to impossible situation. He wants us to rely in Him that in return He can empower and grant us wisdom when we call and acknowledge Him.

Lord,

Thank u for answering my prayer. And I ask for forgiveness Lord for not making You my first option, thinking that such concern wasn’t that critical. Lord thank You for reminding me that I should call and rely on You in anything and in everything. And I thank You for everything You have done.

In Jesus name, amen.
IreneA

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Forgive. Forget.

As the song goes…

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me – I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am…

Yes, we all want to have that happy ever after.  I mean who wouldn’t want to retire, grow old and just lounge around with the love of your life?  We all do, right?

Sadly though, the reality is for the past eleven years the number of marriage annulment/nullity cases filed is increasingly rising with an average of 28 couples seeking legal separation per day.  And to think it’s not just a relationship that has been broken.  Think about the effect it would have on the children who are placed to face the consequences of broken marriages.

Please don’t get me wrong on this. I’m not judging on whatever decision made or whatever prompted a couple to decide on going separate ways.  After all both David and I almost headed to “splitville” some 11 years ago.  Even so, thanks to a handful of concerned individuals who interceded and prayed for us.  All praises and glory to God who did not only give up on us.  Rather, He restored us and has been constantly fixing our marriage.

Our marriage is far from being perfect.  Yet as we allow God to mould us into becoming the husband and wife that He designed us to be,  He also impressed in us the 2 Fs – Forgive and Forget’; to forgive each other and to forget the hurt.  It’s quite impossible to forget the sad and bitter past.  But it is possible to forget the hurt, when we allow God to heal us.  Further, we ask Him to help us move on from the pain.

In marriage there is no “and they live happily ever after”.  Rather in marriage, there is “for better or for worse”.  In marriage there is no “always a bed of roses”.  Rather in marriage there is “in sickness and in health.”  In marriage there is no fairy god mother.

Yet in marriage, there is Jesus Christ who authored and drafted the blueprint of marriage.  And when we have Jesus in our marriage we can affirmatively say, ‘for better or for worse, in sickness and in health as long as Jesus is with us; we can be together ‘till death shall part us.

“Therefore What God Has Joined Together, Let No One Separate.” – Mark 10:9

IreneA

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The Ultimate “Go To” GUY

Last Friday, my daughter and I had an awesome bonding – cleaning and clearing our fridge of some holiday food/left-overs. And apart from the bonding, we also had a noteworthy reflection.

While cleaning we went a little extreme by unscrewing the vent and the fan, thinking of thoroughly cleaning the fridge. Although it was kinda tedious, we both enjoyed doing the task together. However the challenge (and the struggle) came when we tried to put back the vent and the fan. For the longest time, try as we might but to no avail. Initially, we hesitated to call my hubby for help. But then it seemed that there was no other way to solve it other than to ask. So we sent an ‘SOS’ to my hubby. Lo and behold what took us ages, only took a few minutes of my hubby’s time and skill. Voila! We now have a clean and much colder fridge.

Much like our relationship with God. More often, we tend to do things on our own. We tend to fix things on our own. But when things tend to be unmanageable, only then do we call upon the Lord. Only when things get out of control, do we remember to call and ask the Lord for help.

On the contrary, the Lord wants that we make Him our first and last option. Be it major or minor concern, He desires our total dependence on Him. He anticipates our prayer. God assures us in Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”

So go ahead, face the challenges of 2017 with confidence that the Ultimate ‘Go To’ Guy who is GOD Himself is ever waiting and ever willing to take on the lead and to help you in anything and in everything; for as long as you make Him the only option.

IreneA

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The Day I Met God’s Gift

It was a Sunday that I will never forget.  A Sunday that allowed me to rediscover God in a  guilt-striking way.  A Sunday that moved me to so much tears.  It was the Sunday I met God’s Gift.

May 1, 2016 was a first Sunday and a Communion Sunday as well, which I’m also tasked to serve the elements.   It was also the first day of my period.  Unlike most women I don’t usually get stomach cramps. But what I would usually get is this torturous migraine which oftentimes render me restless, nauseous and on some occassions I have a hard time focusing, severe pain that runs from my head down to my back.

During the first worship, my migraine was quite manageable. However during the second worship the migraine was beginning to get the worst of me – the pain started to get unbearable and I was getting nauseous.  It’s this time when I just wanted to stay home, go to bed and not a care in the world.

I also begun to be restless.  However for some reason my attention was drawn to a little boy wearing a cap and a surgical mask.  He seemed unmindful of the things around him. And he seemed to be having a good time.  I tried to veer away but my attention keeps going back to the little boy.

And so, after the benediction was sang I decided to approach his mom and ask about her son.  I learned that they are from out of town and the little boy is suffering from leukemia and undergoing chemotherapy.  His mother added that he was supposed to stay home since he just had a chemo session on that Friday prior.  However, the little boy insisted that he wanted to go to church.  His mom said he never wanted to miss Sunday school and Sunday worship.

To say I was stunned,  is an understatement.  Here I was more than ready to retreat with the onset of migraine.  And here’s a little boy who looks forward on every Sunday to worship and discover God, despite having leukemia and had just gone chemo session.

Before we parted ways, I offered a prayer for them especially for the child. As I was about to utter a prayer, I asked his name.  Lo and behold, his mom answered, ‘Gift. We named him Gift because he is God’s gift to us.’

As I prayed for Gift, I wasn’t able to stop my tears from streaming down. My tears rolled down because I felt how hard it must be for his mom to see her son suffer at a very tender age.  My tears rolled down because I was so deeply moved that a boy like Gift despite what he’s going through still looks forward in fellowshipping with and in worshipping God.  And yes my tears rolled down because God reminded me through Gift that when we are weary and burdened, God offers us rest when we come to Him.

IreneA

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Fateful Day. Faithful GOD.

It’s been a year and a week since that fateful day happened. 

In a blink of an eye. In a snap of a finger. Yes, anything can happen. A well planned event can turn into a mess. A sweet day into bitter.  A smooth ride into an unforeseen circumstance.

On a fair day at about 4pm, my hubby and I were driving back home.  Since it was one of those easy-breezy Thursday afternoon, Dave took extra time and was driving in a minimal speed (quite unusual, for him who is so used to fast pace).  We  were driving along a clear road for literally there was no other vehicle other than ours.  Then out of nowhere, I felt our vehicle was dragged to the right. Next thing I knew was a huge and thick metal hit the left side of our windshield.  That heavy metal was the tail-end of a 14-wheeler trailer truck. Right before my eyes, I saw the glass gradually cracked. I immediately looked at Dave and his respond was, ‘Baby, I’m sorry, I didn’t see it.’  I whispered a short prayer, ‘thank God, we’re fine.’ And I assured him, ‘Accident can happen anytime.’

It wasn’t until we got out of the car that I realized the extend of the damage and the worst part, one or both of us could have lost our lives.  Yet, through it all God has amazingly kept us safe in the palm of His hands.  We came out unscathed.  God even assured and comforted us through our churchmates Clifford and Yolly who responded immediately (help came in 30 minutes or less).  God showed His care for us as friends called instantaneously and asked if we’re fine. God even sent an unnamed angel disguised as a passerby who stood outside our vehicle, assured our safety and did not leave until the rescue unit as well as the traffic enforcer arrived.

In a blink of an eye I could have lost my partner.  Or in a snap of a finger, our daughter could have been an orphan.  Yet, God kept us safe in the palm of His hands and chose to save us. AMEN.

IreneA

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Joyfully Pushing It

Some people have it. And some people just don’t have it. Some would call it a talent or a knack for it. But I would rather call it a gift. And I happen to be one of those who doesn’t have it – a green thumb.

Growing up as a city girl, the close encounters I had with plants were those times when my mom would ask me to water them. Back then, for me it was just a task to be done. It was not something I look forward nor was it something I dreaded doing. In fact, I had my high moments with them during summertime when it’s so humid. As I water the plants, I would also drench my feet and arms, voila instant remedy for hot weather.

I used to have a love-hate relationship with plants. I love staring at plants – the greens are so refreshing and when they flower, they’re a sight to see. What I hated then was planting because I didn’t like getting my hands intimate with soil. The mere thought of it gave me goose bumps. I didn’t like the feel of soil on my hands. And definitely, I don’t like getting my hands dirty.

But those are things in the past. I mean a not so long ago past because just recently (I guess three months ago), I had a 180 degrees turn around where plants are concerned. Thanks heaps to our Church Pastors who made me see the life and true beauty of plants.

Before this new set of pastors came, our church office didn’t have plants and I didn’t mind at all. I didn’t think it would make a difference. However when the pastors took over the office, they made some minor changes but the transformation was astounding. They placed pots of Sansevieria inside the office. I could see and feel that the office began to breathe life. Suddenly the ambience is welcoming. And so that was the start of my conversion from a passive to a passionate plant lover.

I started repotting dwarf Sansevieria on some coffee mugs, just to get the feel of it. As my mugs of Sansevieria thrive, I began to have this craving of becoming a green thumb. I would scout for fotos in Pinterest of cacti and succulents. Before I knew it, I was already buying loads of them.

I am not yet there but I’m joyfully pushing it – becoming a green thumb. And I must say that finding pleasure in plants is truly therapeutic. When you selflessly give time in caring for them, the feeling is priceless when you see them flourish. It is probably nature’s way of saying, ‘thank you for taking care of us.’

And as I’m joyfully pushing to be a green thumb, God is also empowering me to pursue my good intention. On my own, I simply cannot make it. But with God I know I can do all things because He’s the one who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

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I am far from being a green thumb but God surrounded me with people who encourages me to carry on. I am thankful that my hubby is very supportive. I am thankful of friends who would give me a tip or two. I am thankful that God made all things wonderful. And most of all, I am thankful that with God all things are possible.

IreneA