Monday, February 7, 2011

Give with a Happy Heart!

"Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver."

- 2 Cor 9:7

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

slowly, steadily, surely

"These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will sure come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" Habakkuk 2:3 (LB)

these days, there are two main things that occupy the space between my ears--love and dreams.  nary a day goes by that i do not fret about either one of these.  i am approximately twenty two years, 9 months, 14 days, and 18 hours old as of this writing, yet i feel as if a better person could have managed to travel farther down the road had she been in my stead.  sometimes i wonder if the blame may be placed on me and my human inadequacies.  perhaps i am not nearly as lovable as the rest of them; the combination of my character, my history, my environment does not make for a desirable lass.  or perhaps i am much more asinine than i think myself to be, and the mistakes that i make as a consequence of such prevent me from landing my rear end on greener pastures or in the arms of Prince Charming or even the hind legs of the Frog Prince, at the very least.  perhaps i am overreaching and think too much of myself and my capabilities, when i really have no proof of my talents, no commendation of any sort.  maybe i am schizophrenic, and what i perceive to be God's plan and mission for me are, in truth, just delusions of grandeur.  and so i walk in unease; i despair.

but this verse gives me hope.  not just hope that i am not a lunatic, but hope that God's promise will come true for each and every one of us, including myself.  hope and faith that everything is exactly where it ought be, and i am, even now amidst the confusion and difficulties, in the place where i am meant to be for the moment.  and i believe that, slowly, steadily, surely, His plans and promises for me will come to pass.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

humility and empowerment

i chanced upon a friend's blog a while ago and this verse greeted me:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." --Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)

he was recalling a specific talk in an event two years ago (the post was also written at that time), and it made me realize how i should really learn to be grateful everyday for what i have and who i am and what i can and can't do. many times, there is a tendency to try to take matters into my own hands (which is not wholly a bad thing) and getting carried away in the process. i forget that, in my 22 years of life, not once has doing so incredibly altered my life or that of others for good. if i have ever done anything worthwhile in my time, it is only because of Him who willed it, He who gave me both the opportunity and the ability to carry it out, however undeserving i am.

the past months, i have been largely preoccupied with career issues and chasing down my dreams of glory and immortality. not really for money or fame or admiration--no, not anymore. i just wanted to accomplish something in this lifetime, you know? to have been of some good use during my time on earth. this longing has consumed me, but not in an entirely positive manner. i feel that, at times, i have been oblivious to the people and things and events around me, those that truly matter although might not necessarily be directly instrumental in achieving the big dreams and plans i have for saving the world. i fret too much and fear that, when i pass away, i would have done no one any good. but now i realize that i have been worrying ceaselessly about things that are beyond my control. i must not demand nor expect that my frail body, my vacuous mind, and my flawed heart will change the world. i can only hope and try my best to do what good i can, bearing in mind that whatever little or plenty is accomplished is done so with His grace.

"Before I made you in your mother's womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work." --Jeremiah 1:5

the first verse will serve to ground in humility, the second to empower.

Friday, October 1, 2010

the issue of romance

i was talking with a good friend yesterday, and the issue of romance and service came up.  i think it's no secret that, in YFC, romantic relationships have been somewhat discouraged in generations past--remember the time when everybody kept saying true love waits, or whenever they would say having a girl/boyfriend was sablay?  anyway, it seems that the philosophy is slowly evolving (thankfully), and everybody is now more open and amenable to the idea that having a romantic relationship CAN also be pleasing to the Lord.  in fact, it should be, although it is not really the norm.  that is no longer the issue, really.  but the question is HOW?  this is one of those things wherein i only have my theories and speculations but have almost zero personal and empirical evidence to present.  so i am turning over the keyboard to my fellow HH-mates who can, to answer this question. 

How can your lovelife be a form of (instead of a detriment to your) service to the Lord?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

how much do i desire thee?

so much that i'd write about it three times in a day! hahahaha.

today, what i want more than anything is to run away and just escape from it all--the worries, the pressures, the insecurities, uncertainties, frustrations.  everything.  then this is what i will do:

Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne in BrightStar

i yearn to spend an entire day doing nothing but lie on a beautiful, wide field of flowers, with a canopy of trees above my head, the cool air caressing my skin, the warm sun in my eyes. yes, i would love that very much. i would just like some peace right now, and time to breathe and rest and think and pray and appreciate the beauty of this world and all the blessings in my life. 
if only i could find a place like this in the country (better if in Luzon or even Metro Manila). i'd settle for a different kind of field, as long as it has the same feel and i won't be bothered by strange dogs or men or whatever.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Five Things I Love About Country Music

(This article was submitted by Oasis)

Mainstream music in the Philippines doesn't really include American country, that's why it might be unusual for you that a Filipino can be a fan of this genre. I have to admit, I cared less about this type of music especially that I used to equate it with boring Kenny Rogers karaoke music which I heard one too many times sung in barrio fiestas. No offense to Rogers' fans, but for me, my appreciation for contry music came after the phase in my life when I thought R and B music was everything that good about music (think about R Kelly's "Thoia Toing" or "Ignition" or Maroon 5).

Fast forward to late college when I began hearing Christian lyrics in "Jesus Take the Wheel" or songs that hit home with "Don't Forget to Remember Me", both by Carrie Underwood. I cared less about country, but these songs made a huge country fan of me right now. I am a Christian and as much as possible I wanted to be fed with Christian, if not positive lyrics - luxuries that you don't usually hear in Top 40 radio typically fogged by Lady Gaga or Fifty Cent. It is for this reason that I made a deliberate decision only to include positive music in my MP3 players - and country music easily fit this mold.

Let me share about you the aspects of country music that I like:
1. First and foremost, it sings about being positive and down-to-earth. Country artists usually came from the part of America where farms and fields abound – well the country. Where people are surrounded and bound by the simplicities of life - away from the bustling metropolis but civilized enough for people to have good quality of life. Therefore, you might not be surpised that some country songs talk about faith in God. To illustrate, think about Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton's, "When I Get Where I'm Going"; Underwood's "Jesus...", "So Small", "Temporary Home" and a host of secular inspirational songs, Rascal Flatt's "God Bless the Broken Road", Lady Antebellum's "Hello World", Martina McBride's "Anyway", Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" and a lot lot more. Country music really scores home base with songs that feature human positivity and the incredible faith in the Almighty. That's why I love this music, because it is mainstream, yet it allows its artists to sing about God. Genius, right?

2. Second, it has poignant songs about home. This I truly treasure about this genre because it is fit for empowered adults who are and who try to be successful in life, but are rooted in the internal values formed from ones childhood. Kind of like myself. It is easy for me to relate to music about nostalgic childhood memories like in Miranda Lambert's "The House that Built Me", of bygone childhood carefree days like in Brad Paisley's "Letter to Me", or the longing for the simplicity of the good ole country-side life such as in Flatt's "Mayberry" and Underwood's "I Ain't in Checotah Anymore". Being someone who spent countless childhood summers in the country-side and having practically lived in a small town, these pieces are very easy to relate to and somehow uplifting.

3. Next, country music offers the most sincere love songs ever written. This music is well known as a music wherein the artist narrates a story. And what greater story to tell but a nice, heartwarming love story. I am not a fan of Taylor Swift's format, but I appreciate her writing shops and good use of instrumentation in her album, but I'm not just talking about her "Love Story" to prove my point. Even heartbreak songs here are so poignant and good, you could feel your chest heavying to the heartbreaking story even when you're lovelife is flourishing e.g. "Like We Never Loved at All" by Tim Mcgraw and Faith Hill; and "Someday When I Stop Loving You" by Carrie. And the sincerity of real love waits are captured in the following love songs, "History in the Making" by black country artist Darius Rucker, "Then" and "Everything" by Brad Paisley which are excellent serenade pieces, "Here" by Rascal Flatts which thanks the Lord for allowing the universe to conspire for two people to share love; even about real, passionate, heartfelt love-making in Flatt's "Melt". Of course, who would forget George Strait's "Run", Faith Hill's "Breathe" and (sige na nga) Swift's "You Belong with Me".

4. If Christian positivity is not enough, there are sincere motivational songs that are really, well moving: "Stand", "I'm Moving On" and "Unstoppable" by Rascall Flatts; "Lessons Learned" and "Play On" by Carrie Underwood; and a host of other songs.

5. I love the instrumentation of country music. The rifts of the fiddle, the guitar strumming, string instrument plucks are simply astounding accompanied by the twang in country artists' voice which they are characteristically famous for.

From the songs mentioned, you bet I could make a compendium album already. I can go on listing songs and rationalizing why I appreciate them, but this might bore you already. The abovementioned themes might be covered by the other genres, even candy-coated in synth pop or auto-tune, but by far, only country music captures the sincerity and heart of life issues that pull a number of heart strings. I will be redundant if I say, that after so much glorification as above, this music is the best genre there is, or at least one of the best products of imperial America. But even that is an understatement.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ephesians 3:18-19

And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.