Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Happened in October

I prayed hard that God would give me the time to write this post. Thank God this is happening. 

My October was stuffed. Stuffed in a good kind of way.  Way back, I had imagined that October would be my busiest month. I just didn't know to what degree. Today is the 3rd of November. I had known.

I had anticipated that I would be directing two productions so somehow, I have mentally planned my schedule and mapped out a plan on how two juggle these two. However, there was an interruption. Or, was it really what I think it is?

My grandfather got sick early in October. No, not just sick. HOSPITALIZED. And since I was the only person with a freer schedule, the lot fell on me. I stayed with him for more than a week in the hospital. My grandfather is 84, active, mentally fit and stubborn . In other words, a difficult patient. He had Pneumonia so he had to be hospitalized.  I will stop right here and just say that during the time that I was with him, I recited over and over again "For the trying of your faith worketh out patience but let patience have its perfect work in you tha tyou may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." Patience was a priceless commodity. God faithfully supplied in great measures.

Asian Center for Mission in Western Visayas celebrated its 16th Anniversary last October 21-23. I was privileged to direct the musical production that showcased the talents of Kairos Graduates from different churches and missionaries who are now at home. It was a story of the expansion of world missions. God's presence filled up the place. People were moved. Glory was God's. It was so spectacular that right after the show, a dedicated Christian who is of prominence in the city, invited us to do the show again at a bigger venue and promised to bring a bigger crowd. The next show would be on December 4th.
That's me carrying the Ugandan flag. Me with  Garicel, a missionary to China
then there's us who joined the missions manifesto signing

TOP: The Missions Cupcakes.
Bottom: Scenes from the Musical Production

My previous boss, Haw Tiu, invited me to assist the school in the celebration of its 35th Founding Anniversary. The closing program was a talent show that was meant to be a Tribute to the Creator. Not only did she ask me to direct the show, but also to be its host. As I am writing this, it still blows my mind how we were able to pull that show off. God was generous of His favors. We couldnt have had a blast if it were not for His promise " I would never leave you..." 

I wish I had taken some pictures. I was too busy to have not had the time. I am now scouring the Facebook walls of those people present in these events to see if there are any I could grab and share.

(By the way, let me just set it straight. I did not take Theatre classes in college. I just learned the craft through experience and training. Another reason why I keep saying " Nothing on my own...nothing on my own". There has to be a Higher force who enables me.)

In between practices and panics, I traveled back and forth to attend the invitations to speak. I was graciously asked by Ikthus Bacolod, an inspiringly growing church, to help equip their ushers. I spoke about Effective Communication for Ushers. Also, I was invited to speak to public school teachers in my hometown about the use of public speaking and its importance to teachers. I am glad I have these opportunities to grow as I help others grow.

My most favorite part, if not the best, was when I was invited to speak at a morning devotion during the 1st CPBC Missions Congress on the 26th. It was an unspeakable feeling to be a part of that historic event. I challenged them through the word of God to respond to God's call. What was awesome was it was attended by pastors, ministers and theologians and God used me, an ordinary, non-seminarian, curly haired young woman with red nails to deliver God's message to them. I was literally hearing myself speak. I was speaking words I didnt plan and they saw beyond my youth. God got the glory.

A wedding took place on the 29th. You guessed it, I was the emcee.

October closed with Family Matters. My Aunt and Uncle arrived from the states to attend the awaited family wedding which will be in 9 days. Nothing beats the joy of having a loving family. Looking forward to more of that in the days to come.

I came to know God in a deeper lever this month. Tonight, at church, I spoke about how God described Moses in Numbers 12 "With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. " I long for God to say the same about me.

Here I am waiting for November to set in. It is my favorite month of the year. All the more now that my best cousin-friend is getting married on the 11th. Expecting a blast!!!

I am grateful for the prayers that sustained me. Thank you for granting me a spot in your list. I am thankful also for my offline friends who take the time to tell me they read this blog. I am blessed beyond measure!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

No, I Am Not Employed

I used to work 8-5, sometimes beyond 5, and called myself an employee. That’s because I got paid for my hours, although, what I was doing was something I love: Be with children everyday. After leaving that job, to go full-time in ministry (please allow me to use the word full-time on these terms), I find myself busier than when I was employed. No, my job is no longer 8-5. Its FULL-TIME.

If by employee, you mean, you work with a boss, you work for an institution, and you get paid, then I can call myself one. I work with THE Boss. I work for THE Kingdom. And I get paid MORE than what I deserve. (not necessarily on a flat-rate, twice-a-month basis)

While waiting for my deployment, to Only-God-Knows-Where (and I seriously mean that), I see to it that I keep myself busy. And busy is what I am. I pride myself that I am busy with ministry, doing this and that ‘for the Lord’. Volunteering in church, taking every opportunity to equip other Christians, tell stories to kids, all in the name of Ministry. I get a certain kind of adrenalin when I am ‘booked’.

I felt good about myself.

Not until God dealt with me. The conference I attended was a Divine Appointment.  As I mentioned, going to Singapore never crossed my mind. I never heard of the IDMC conference until the day my friend told me about it. But when we were there, I knew, God wanted us to be there. (I was even more convinced when, a few minutes after the promotion for the next year’s conference, the slots were ALL booked. That’s how ‘hot’ it was…and how impossible to get a ticket. How we got the tickets this year is a long story that can be summarized in one word: Miracle)

God spoke to me about my intimacy with Him. How, in my efforts to get busy, I am no longer aligned to Him. No wonder, sometimes, the work gets tiring, the labor is fruitless.  I forgot what David’s sole desire was:

Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 

David just wanted to seek God’s presence, to be in His presence, to enjoy looking at Him and to inquire what He has in mind. It’s all about HIM. No wonder, David is called, a man after God’s own heart.

Activity replaced my Affection. Routine overshadowed the Reason. Guilty.

God also convicted me of my mindset. You see, when people ask me what I do, I tell them “Oh, I volunteer at church, I do this and that…” I give them an array of all these seemingly ‘good’ things I do. Little did I know that deep within my heart is a motive : To let them know I am ACTUALLY Doing something.  See, I made what I do now a replacement of what I used to do.

No, that shouldn’t be. What I do now is supposed to be a response to God’s call. God’s specific call for me to fulfill His specific purpose for me. We are all called to a purpose. That purpose is to Glorify Him . And our purpose does not necessarily require a ‘doing’. Our purpose requires a ‘being’. Take for example Lazarus. He didn’t have to do anything, He just had to be dead!!!

I realized it is not what we do that constitutes God’s purpose for us. It is what we are that reveals whether we are being obedient to Him or not. 

Intimacy precedes Ministry. ‘Being’ precedes ‘Doing’.

So, are you going to ask me what I am doing now?

No, I am not employed.

Here are two of my favorite songs from Avalon. They sing a whole lot about what is in my heart.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

SG: Singapore Grace

A few months ago, I got a call from a friend telling me about the "Intentional Discipleship Making Conference 2011" in Singapore. She asked if I wanted to go. Before I could even answer, she volunteered to sponsor the whole trip.

Singapore is not on top of my 'Places-I-Want-To-Go-To' List. I could not afford even just a one-way ticket to Singapore. But, God wanted me to go so there I was, last September 1-4, strutting cruising the railways of this first world country. 

Considering that I come from a third world country, not to mention that I live in a third class city, I grew wide-eyed at almost everything. Not that I have never seen tall buildings. I have. I just had this sense of wonder at things. 

The Conference was amazing. It was a blessing to hear Rev. Edmund Chan. The anointing was evident. God's glory overflowed. It was a great time of introspection and re-aligning of our inner lives. It was awesome to witness God rain down His truth to us, rebuking and restoring us at the same time. 

As I mentioned, I couldnt afford this trip, I never had plans of visiting, but I so wanted to eat Indian Cuisine,  my best cousin-friend, Sherl, happens to work there, and God wanted to SHOW me SOMETHING. Thus, I call this trip, Singapore Grace.

Taking the Scenic Route

A Date with My Gravity ( Sherl )

Gastronomic Delights: African Read Tea, Spicy Sting Ray, Eggs Benedict,
La Mian with  Minced Chicken and the $1 Ice Cream. 
Pratta and Mutton. I ate it for THREE straight days! hahaha!

Covenant Evangelical Free Church and my Conference companions,
Emily, Gervilyn, Isis and Fred

Traversing the Streets..and the MTR

Icing on the cake:  Lion King Experience. Awesome, Awesome show!!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Responsible Parenthood?!

RESPONSIBLE Parenthood?!

I think there is redundancy in that phrase. I believe that you can not be called a parent if you are not responsible. However, in this generation, I have witnessed painted pains because some people just enjoyed the baby-making part and didn't want to have anything to do with child-rearing.

Lately, I conducted a workshop on Storytelling to Compassion teachers and volunteers. I've always been passionate about Storytelling and I make it my mission to spread the secrets of the craft, tell unforgettable stories and make other people yearn to be storytellers themselves. That's my answer to the call in Romans 10:17 "So then faith comes by hearing...". This way we can saturate this world with the wonderful story of salvation. That is my main goal.

In addition to that, I see that by storytelling we train our kids to be responsible. See, storytelling (with minimal or no props)  gets their minds working; they imagine, analyze, decide. That is how we want our kids to be when they grow up - men and women who will be creative enough to find solutions, to analyze situations and then decide and take ownership of the decision. When we raise them that way, that's responsible parenthood.

I am not a parent but I desire to be one someday. I don't have kids but i have worked with kids for many years. I discovered that parenthood, though it is a lot of work, is actually just mastering the simple stuff that make up the bigger stuff. Like, if I want my kids to grow up organized, I just need to let them be comfortable with following systems and procedures.

When coming in from school, (1) take off your shoes (2) put them on the rack (3) put soiled socks in the bin. A three-step system is not complicated but once they mastered it, you can build on it the 'big' chunks of your daily work that usually stresses you. That is why again, I have considered storytelling as essential. It is a fun, no stress activity, yet the benefits are long term. That's IF, you take your storytelling session seriously.

Our parents :)
Maybe I'm idealistic. Or maybe, I have just been around people who sunk at parenthood. Or maybe, I just appreciated very much the way our parents raised us (3 girls). No, we didnt always have a clean living room, or bedroom. Yes, we did pressure our parents to 'save' us because we needed to submit a dollhouse project the NEXT DAY!!! But, NO, we never tiptoed around the house, we never mixed fresh school uniforms with sweaty PE shirts and we never heard our parents sigh when we asked them questions. Yes, my mother is a worrier and complains a lot but in all her complaining, not one bit did we hint that it was about raising us, THREE Girls. No, not even a hint of worry that we'd come home pregnant! (By God's grace no one has and will remain that way!)

And here's what I think are the essentials to parenthood:

1. A deep commitment to Christ - No order is possible without Him at the center
2. A deep commitment to each other - No one should bail out
3. A deep commitment to joy - No one should say it is missing

Those three things are core to parenthood. The rest just stems from them. Being a parent is a gift. I don't think we cannot refuse that gift when given to us. So, "Let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

*Note: I recently am on the 30-Day Blogging Challenge with my other blog A November Miracle. Ha!!! this is my second day and I was to write about something I feel strongly about. Here's the first thing that came to mind. I thought I'd share it with the readers of this blog.

Friday, August 12, 2011

When We Wait

Thank you for waiting. Finally, a post! *big smile*

Waiting is a theme that is hard to write about. Scratch that. It is easy to write about but hard to live through. It’s an active – passive activity that requires a lot of patience. In fact, to make waiting legitimate, PATIENCE is the only requirement. If your fuse burns, you stop. Then, waiting is terminated.

If you wait, however, you get the reward for waiting. What’s the reward? The exact thing you’ve stood in the line waiting for!!!

The coffee needs a few minutes to brew. Instant coffee never, never tastes like the freshest brew.
The caterpillar needs to cocoon before it becomes a butterfly. Butterflies look better than cocoons.
A mother waits for 9 months to birth a baby. Nothing is more beautiful than a new born baby.

Recently, I had an experience of waiting for two and a half hours outside of YakiMix, a restaurant, to be seated. Why, it served the best Japanese Eat-All-You-Can in the country!!! There were of course some restaurants nearby, but my companions and I waited. I tell you, I had the most unforgettable sushi experience that night! Imagine if we walked away after seeing that we were 32nd on the list of reservations?

A photo I took of them last week :)
Last week, I had a great time with my cousin, Sherl and her fiancĂ©. They were beautiful to watch.  Sherl is a happy woman. A few years back, she started cross stitching a design on a cloth, which to us meant that she was happily resolved to being single. (You know, that "sewing-on-a-rocking-chair-with-a cat-by-her-foot" scenario!) And then HE came! She told me, she has no reservations about splurging for her honeymoon because she waited…THEY waited. In November, everyone in the family is coming home to witness their union. Imagine if she whined when she was single, or ran off with the first guy who was ready to prey on her singleness?

I only have one hobby I am having a hard time controlling – rummaging through second-hand book stores! I failed again yesterday. Well, almost! I’d like to believe buying THAT book was the right thing to do. You see, ten years ago, there was one book I visited very often at the bookstore and never had the chance nor the money to get it. It costed more than a student could afford. At least, the student that I was. It was DC Talk’s Jesus Freaks. I was also then, very much of a DC Talk fan, thus, the desire for the book.  Yesterday, it laid on the corner of the bookstore, about 90% cheaper than its original price!!! Second thinking was not my option. I bought it, with a very wide grin at the cashier! Same words, same power, same stories…just at the right time! Imagine, if I insisted on getting it at that particular time ten years ago?
Jesus Freaks!!! Ayomide Akinkugbe will hate me for posting this! haha!

Waiting outside Yakimix with an angry stomach and the lure of the Indian Resto beside was not enjoyable. For Sherl, cross stitching and waiting on God to send her man was slow paced. The "rocking chair" kept her moving but got her nowhere. Well, waiting for the book was not that of a big deal…I never even thought I’d come across it again!

But, if we walked away from YakiMix, if Sherl pitied herself, if I got the book despite my finances, then this post would not be here. ( God knew I’d be writing this…I see Him laughing in amusement now! )

When we wait for the things we can hardly wait for, we build the appreciation for their worth and the capacity to have them for a very long time.

Yeah, I ate Maki for what felt like 2 hours!
The YakiMix Smiles. That's Mark, Eirene and I :)

I suggest Francesca Battistelli's "Hundred More Years". Kinda like what I am saying. Enjoying at at the moment :)

p.s. Thanks for the encouragement Sir LDP!!! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A BLESSed Affair

This is long due post but I'm posting the pictures anyway! God worked miraculously in the lives of the 9 children we had at our center for 6 months. They are now enrolled in public elementary schools. May God continue to make them shine.

Our graduation was last May 14, 2011. I know, this is a very very late post. But hey, God's goodness should be retold. God's goodness is always good never become late news. Enjoy the photos. Thank you for your support, prayers. I continue to be encouraged!

Wonderful Smiles, arent they? The blue shirts are from my friend, Jumoke :)

Add caption

Zoren gave them a reading :)

Above: With Ma'am Arlene  and Gladys, my Assistant; Below, with Church Elders

Above: With their happy parents; Below, with the volunteers and Church Elders

Praise God for His work and for the JOY it brought to everyone who took part in the ministry. We are starting a new batch in November. Praying again for God's hand on it. 
Soli Deo Gloria!!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Untitled: A Love Letter to a Friend

(These hands are REALLY mine.. hehehe)

In the privacy of this note
I pour into you my heart
So no one would see
And suspect this is just another art

I hold the candle
That will light both our ways
whichever the paths lead
let’s tread

to the unseen tomorrow
to future fights
to our sweet moments
to the merging of our likes
to loving each other’s “loves”
to breaking each other’s hearts
to charting each other’s place
to someday touching each other’s face
to singing same songs
to writing pointless poems
to celebrating lives
to weeping days
to surviving disappointments
to finding true love
to passing on to generations
            the story of us
to a friendship made beautiful
            by color, by age, by language, by space

I hold the candle you have placed in my hand
As we wander this forever changing land
Our Master-Igniter, promising fire all throughout
We will stay lighted without a doubt

I will be your life-long friend
I promise to trust you until we reach our end
If not on this earth, then in heaven we will meet
be blinded by His glory, while we sit at His feet.

-March 2, 2009

*Note: This was a private poem I wrote to my friend. I decided to Put it up because I recently went through 'friendship tests' with those people around me i call friends. This is also a proof that friendships aren't perfect, that we make vows we can't keep, but we still love anyway.

 I faltered as a friend in so may ways. But, because we are both in the same 'Kingdom', we will always find each other at the the King's feet. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To Feel Right

The Lord knows how many times I have written and re-written this post. I know you know how it feels to want to put out something for people to read, and then, when it is done, you have this tugging conviction that it isn't exactly what the Lord wants you to write. 

There were personal struggles that the lord help me fought with recently. But I guess, no struggle is too hard to fight as that of the struggle to FEEL RIGHT. By that I mean, wanting to have the right emotions for and about circumstances and people. 

I came to a point when I asked God to explain to me why such things were happening. I questioned Him about the necessity of such experiences. Pain is something you can not dismiss as normal. Most times, this is what God uses to call our attention.And in moments of pain, there happens a battle between the Spirit and the flesh.

Pride indeed, goes before destruction. When you begin to think about yourself, how much pain you go through and how much of this pain you think you don't need, that's when the flesh twitches, hungry for revenge. And we all know, when the flesh operates, you struggle in vain.

Forgiveness is from the Spirit. The flesh on the other hand tells you you don't need to forgive, just forget about it. So,you struggle to forget.

Love is of the Spirit. The flesh on the other hand tells you there's no need for love, just be indifferent. So, you struggle to not care.

Joy is of the Spirit. The flesh on the other hand tells you there's no need for joy, just feel good. So, you struggle to not be sad.

To bless the source of your pain can be done only through the Spirit. The flesh on the other hand tells you there's no need for it, you just need to be OK with it. So, you struggle to feel OK about it. 

And just like the song that goes "Just the time I feel that I've been caught in the mire of 
self", God's word came to me through a woman named Joni Eareckson Tada.

I read Joni Eareckson's story on Guidepost when I was 11 or 12. My father made me read it.She met an accident at 17 and became quadriplegic since. Her stories made me wonder 
about how it would feel like to not move. Back then, it was her capacity to survive that I 

Finding her testimonies again on You Tube now that she's old and grey gave me a different insight. It is no longer her survival that awed me. It is her capacity to look at misery with 
joy. That, i say, is something that is only done through the Spirit. And she quoted an oh-so-familiar verse that she said was the first verse that spoke to her after the accident : 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will for you in Christ Jesus"

I knew right then, that was my Word. Then she went on to sing an old song that says: 

"Farther along we'll know all about it. 
Farther along we'll understand why 
Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine
We'll understand it, oh, by and by"

So, I no longer ask why, but i keep giving thanks.Amazingly, I no longer struggle to feel right.

I think right.

Praise the name of Jesus!!!

P.S. Updates of the BLESS Program next week. Graduation is this Saturday, please keep us in your prayers. Also, my visa application was delayed due to the unrest in BF. Will process next week, can you help me pray? Thanks :D

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gravediggers We Have Become

we gave names to our dead
no, not names
codes, numbers
to represent our blunders

we planted daisies by the plot
to cover the dreadful
remembrance of the dead
an embarrassment to the living

we engraved lines on stones
dirges, odes and poems
and passers-by notice
only the craftsmanship

by day we ride our horses to town
telling stories of those we buried
and the crowds shed tears
only of laughter

(we have successfully spun
tragedy into comedy)

But by nightfall…

we found pleasure in digging up graves
pits we dug ourselves
to bury what was meant for the soil
and the worms to feast upon

Gravediggers we have become
With a pen for a spade and a sad song
Bringing above ground
The rotting silent corpses

(And each night
They grew smaller
and less pungent)

But by each daybreak
when our bodies are tired of the digging
we surrender to sleep
the dirt, our easy beds

(and when the sun is high
we ride to town again
and by nightfall
we dig some more)


if only we saw the crosses
we sculpted on each grave
we wouldn’t have grown old
sleeping on dirt, and with calloused hands

Photo not mine. taken from here

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Turning Thirty

I turned THIRTY over the week-end! I testify of God's marvelous work. 3 decades and counting!!! I wrote a piece about it titled Turning Thirty: Brewed, Brushed, Bolder...and Older which you can read here.

@ 10. It isnt clear but i had Hilarious Hair! Seriously!
@20. With college friends on a trip.

Waking up to 30! The real me...sans trouble!

UPDATES: Burkina Faso is getting near! My papers are starting to move. I praise God for how He orchestrates everything. More news when the DATES are stamped! :D Whew!! Exciting!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

God Shapes Our Memories: Physical Reminders (Part 2)

God commanded Joshua to tell the officers of each tribe, 12 of them to take one stone each from the bedrock of Jordan to take with them. In verse 5-7  it says: 

“Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites,  to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’  tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

The stones are for them to NOT forget God’s faithfulness. More than that, it is also for the UNBORN generations to also KNOW of such faithfulness.

Stones. Memorials. People build mausoleums. Just look at the Taj Majal…one of the greatest wonders of this world. A memorial of love.

We keep memorials, medals, ribbons I for one, kept the newspaper page on which a special friend’s name was published. I keep journals that bear the inscription of God’s faithfulness in my life. Today, I spent time with my Aunt and she showed me a page from her journal that she wrote when she first met her husband. They will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary by the end of the month. My father has been keeping our hospital bracelet when we were born. Memorials tell stories.

God was telling the Israelites to make physical reminders.

In acts2: 42 , the first Christians also took hold of a memorial, the reminder that Jesus had left for us: the breaking of the bread. 

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

That is why we approach the table with reverence because it is a MEMORIAL of Jesus’ work on the cross.

Reading this verse affirmed to me the importance of going to church. Of course, I can worship God wherever I am. But here, the early believers had to come together to ‘remind’ themselves of Jesus. They chose to ‘break bread’ together in fellowship because that breaking of bread reminds them of Jesus and what He did on the cross. That was the worship service they had back then.

So today, let us not neglect coming to church. No, not just on Lord’s Supper Sunday. Coming together as a body of Christ  is an act that serves as memorial stone, the reminder that Jesus left us, to remind us that HE DIED FOR OUR SINS.

Jesus wanted us to keep physical reminders.

Paul wrote in Acts 17:24 
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.  From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.  God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

God chose our color, our race, our sexuality, where were going to live, which family to be born in that He is so imbedded in our DNA. The inscription of God is carved in our DNA.

Books are now written on the intricate and complex study of this DNA that is in each of us. Maggie Scarf, a psychologist who wrote a book called Lies, Secrets and Betrayals, explores the idea that our body has a unique memory storage system than stores up memories of may it be joy, fear or secrets.

Ravi thinks its makes sense because how then do you explain that when you're afraid (take for example..of a dog) one side of your brain reacts and the emotions are too strong and then the other side of the brain looses its blood that you cannot have speech.. how then does that single emotional incident get imbedded in you that the next time you see a dog, you react the same way? It is stored in your DNA.

It also makes sense to me now, when, you have certain preferences, they will say: "Oh, you're really like your mom". And even children who are separated from parents since birth find out after finding each other that there are so many similarities in their preferences. Memories and preferences are are imbedded in the DNA.

If this DNA is what is passed on by parents to children…does it make sense then why the BIBLE calls us sinners though sin only started with one man?

The structure of our DNA itself calls for a need to be BORN AGAIN.

God, in his infinite wisdom has imbedded in us a physical reminder of who He is, what He has done for us and what we need to do with it.

Here are some of the few things that remind me of God's faithfulness in my life:

My youngest sister painted this when she was 9. This is supposed to be a portrait of us.

This was my school ID when was in 5th grade. 

My sister, Jem, made this card for me when she was 10, i guess.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

God Shapes Our Memories (Part 1)

Memories are part of God’s Divine plan. Do you believe that? And if memories are part of God’s plan…then to REMEMBER is not an option, it is a must.

You may disagree and say that some memories are better forgotten because they are too painful for us to remember. I will ask you this: If God had not included in the BIBLE the most painful act that had happened in History.. that of His own, blameless son dying on the cross for ours sins, then the BIBLE becomes just another ordinary book, and what would happen to us, ordinary people?

Yes, sometimes we choose to forget…but sometimes, we also JUST forget.

I know you experienced doing something and while you’re at it you remembered you need to get something from your room. So you went back to get that something… then, while you’re there, you completely forget what it was that you were going to get. So what do you do? You try to pace back and forth trying to remember what that thing was.

Yes, we can blame old age for memory loss but.. more often than not, it is our lack of discipline to remember things that make us forget. Watch this narration of Joshua 4.

In the story, God was building Israel’s memory. The crossing of the Jordan was the LANDMARK MEMORY of the Israelites' crossing from one leadership to another; from wilderness to the promised land. And God… wanted them to NOT FORGET IT.

And how did God make sure they don’t forget it?

1. God established and preserved leaders

In Joshua 1, God just commanded Joshua to lead the Israelites after Moses had died. Not only that but God made a clear command in verse 8:

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God’s instructions were clear: I am putting you on post so  stick to the book. God was brewing victories for ISRAEL but the key player here was Joshua. His obedience to the Law greatly affected the memories that God had in store for the whole nation.

In our history as a Filipino people, we see how tour nation is shaped by the kind of leader we had. We’ve seen good leaders and the worst of their kind too. In school, we are told to NOT FORGET the more than 300 years of oppression by the Spaniards. 

In January our BLESS kids had a fieldtrip. We brought them to the city park, and we had our picture taken in front of Jose Rizal’s statue where he was portrayed as being held by a woman, whom we all refer to as Inang Bayan. It was hard to explain to the kids why a man who appears to be lame and dying is actually one of the most important men of our country. And he became so because HE STOOD UP among the crowd and  lead us out of oppression. And you know what, he was one who understood and acknowledge the power and the Supreme authority of God.

In a letter he wrote to Pastells while exiled in Dapitan, he wrote: We are entirely in accord in admitting the existence of God. How can I doubt his when I am convinced of mine… the God that I foreknow is far more grand, far more good: What books can better reveal to us the goodness of God, his love, his providence, his eternity, his glory, his wisdom? 'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork'."

So today, we sing our own national anthem, we fly our own flag, we call Philippines our own country, we do not fear for our children’s future knowing that freedom is theirs to pursue their dreams in this land we now claim our own…and it all started with a man who submitted himself under the glory of God.

God has assigned authority over us. Our government officials are our authorities. Our bosses are our authorities. Our parents are our authorities. Our pastors are our authorities. Remember, God shapes our memories through them. It is then our responsibility to always, always, raise them up in our prayers to the Lord.

*Reflections on Ravi Zacharias' sermon "God and Remembrance"