From Death into Life

holding hands

Last month, after coming home from a memorial service, I came home with a feeling in between melancholy and hope. It reminded me a lot of things about death  . . . and life.

Truly, death is the greatest equalizer. It is what keeps every man – young or old alike, rich or poor – to grasp the brevity of this life.

In this lifetime, we try to make things last through creating memories, which tie us all into something quite fleeting yet powerful enough to change and to make us look back and be grateful, no matter how short-lived or how enduring it may be.

Memories, no matter how poignant or how simple they are, create a lasting impact. 

As I write this, the recollection of that memorial service gives me such glimpse of God’s grace thru the bereaved family’s stories. Somehow, I realized, to be able to smile and to still thanks the LORD in spite of grief is a showcase of His love, grace and mercy. It is the outpouring of His love that enables someone to truly recognize that in times of sorrow, one can still be grateful of the LORD.

Honestly, what moved me into tears was when my friend retold the story of how she clung on to her late husband’s hand (even after the doctors pronounced him dead). To cling on to the warmth of a love one’s hand even after he or she is gone is…intangible. I guess, there are moments which submerge one’s soul into speechlessness. Or perhaps, it is another proof of how God also reached out to us in terms of our vulnerability and mortality.

In a sense, I realized, God holds on to us even after we are, spiritually, dead. From the beginning, God knows that to be freed from spiritual death itself, a sacrifice has to be made. In His abhorrence of sin, God the Father demands that it must be justified through death, through a perfect sacrifice. Yet, in the illogical manner that set such sacrifice withstanding, God the Father send His begotten Son, Jesus, to die for the sins He did not commit and to pay the penalty that should have been ours.

It was Jesus Christ who atoned for mankind’s sins and was imputed the punishment and the curse that should have been ours. In this great exchange, Christ’s righteousness became ours. Jesus Christ bore our shame through his death on the Cross.

Is it finished?

Yes.

Mankind’s salvation is a freely given gift — one that died for our freedom and broke the chains of our inquities and our unworthiness. It begins when we only trust Jesus Christ ALONE for our salvation. Nothing else. What a gift it is, indeed!

I guess, real life begins when we understand its brevity and the greatest act of God’s love. How ironic, though, when one Man’s death actually commences new life — a life that is hope-filled and secured. It is a life which can still thank the LORD despite the pains because no matter how quick our life span be, our greatest hope is anchored to the One who gave us everything — Jesus Christ.

Free Scripture Verse 1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

 

 

Advertisements

A Paper’s Tale

Crumpled paper

A piece of paper was cut out into a smaller bit. What a joyous day it was – to be used by your owner into something. SOMETHING! “I could be made into a card,” he thought, “to cheer up somebody’s heart.” Then he added, “Or a gift wrapper…or a notepad to remind my owner of her tasks! I could be everything or anything!”, he said.

Excited though he was, his owner wasn’t sure if she made the right cut. “Uh, oh!”, she said. “I think this paper was a little bit smaller for what I need.” and threw out the poor piece of paper.

Down went the paper into the trash bin – desolate…alone.

“It’s cold in here…why did she throw me out?”, the paper – now quite smaller than what he used to be – cried bitterly. “I could be of use! I could be anything!”, he sobbed.

A few minutes later, someone picked him up.

“Hmmm….I could use this. Better to have some piece of paper to jot down notes during the meeting.”

“Victory!”, he cried out. “I’ll be of use, at last!”

But during the meeting, a lot of misunderstood scribbles were drawn on him, in addition to the coffee stains he now bore.

“This would be useless,” said his new owner and crumpled the poor piece of paper. With the perfect angle, he was thrown back to the trash bin – desolate and alone…again.

And the poor piece of paper sat down in the trash bin, crying bitterly, feeling a sense of no purpose…

But behold! Wasn’t he the “star” of this story?

* * * * * * * *

desolate

Sometimes, in our lives, we allow others to “make” something out of us – anybody or anything – as long as we will also benefit from it. Too often than not, we want people’s approval and attention, as if those two things could really compensate who we really are.

But then, there are also people who can abuse our kindness or even our love; thus, leaving us desolate and alone into nowhere. We thought, most of the times, that once we have given our best for somebody and he or she – who have already thought you might be a wrong choice and have “finished business” with you – decided to bid goodbye, we find ourselves forsaken and for a moment, alone…

cross

Yet, how great is the grace that God has lavished on us that, in spite of our brokenness, of our misgivings and of our sins, He chose to love us and to forgive us of our iniquities. How awesome and unfathomable it is that even if we do not deserve it, His grace abounds.

Moreover, isn’t it quizzical how great is His love for us that we are called His children? For God, we are not nothing. We are given His identity, the right more so, to be called HIS CHILDREN!

Even if you feel desolate, alone or forsaken, He promised with such faithfulness that He won’t leave us nor forsake us. True to His Word, GOD NEVER FAILS.

If we feel hurt or “used” by others, His grace and loving forgiveness enables us to also forgive, to love in the same way that God has loved both you and I.

In God’s eyes, YOU ARE VALUABLE – no matter what you did, even if you feel useless. YOU ARE LOVED even if others wouldn’t or couldn’t love you back. YOU ARE FORGIVEN, saved by the grace He has showered you. YOU ARE HIS…

The world declares “love” in numerous ways – through words of endearments, gifts, celebrations, etcetera – but it is Jesus Christ who proved that love goes beyond any words or gifts. When Jesus said “I LOVE YOU”, He DID it. He allowed Himself be crucified on the cross, giving His life for you and I – even if we do not deserve it – because He chooses to and He loves you even unto death..

The Wedding Vow

4“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. 6For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. 7For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. 8In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.  - Isaiah 54:4-8, ESV -
4 “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5 For your Maker is your husband,
the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
6 For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God. 7 For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you. 8 In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD, your Redeemer.
– Isaiah 54:4-8, English Standard Version –

Continue reading “The Wedding Vow”

Dear You

Coffeefor2

Today, at exactly 3:22 in the morning, I had quite a weird (but vivid) dream. In my dream, you were helplessly mad because I brought a friend in a family gathering of ours. You were telling me how unfair I was because we already had a conversation before to wait, yet I was allowing somebody to be with me (talk about the feeling of “parang binabakuran”, hehe!). In my dream, I wanted to tell you that it wasn’t what you think about and that, the male friend I had with me was simply just a friend. When I asked you why you were reacting that way, you quieted for a while then told me, “Can’t you understand? Can’t action speaks louder than words?”

It was quite funny. I woke up then checked my phone beside me. When it read it was just past three in the morning, I slept back. I was hoping against hope that, somehow, my dream would be continued into another time. It wasn’t. I woke up today at past ten with quite a hopeful yet disappointed heart  (what an irony!) Perhaps, I just miss you. Or maybe, there is some hidden thoughts inside the sub-conscious state of my mind that it became visually enhanced in my dreams. Somehow, I know that my heart, perhaps, just want to hear those same words, those same actions. Nevertheless, it is a dream for what it is: the hidden notions, sighs, whims, hopes and hope-nots that I cannot simply divulge in the open. Maybe, those are my hidden thoughts about you…or about us – one that my conscious mind can “control” but my sleeping self cannot. I guess, that was also the time I decided to keep silent about it.

As you know, it has been two quarters since a lot has changed. The proximity. The time used to be spent with each other. The endless chats over cups of coffee. The movies we both watched together. The conversations in between our long walks together. The surprises we discovered.  Our “battles” together as friends. The joys and the pains of this friendship. The discovery, that somehow, there is someone out there who can appreciate you for who you are in spite of, despite of, no buts nor ifs. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I could have said “nagtatampo na ako!” I could have asked you for the umpteenth time, knowing that I would receive the same answers. I could have cried (because I did) again every night – asking myself, then asking God with my constant droning of “why?”.

But then again, I also decided that I would not sulk on this forever. I decided that the best way to move forward was – and still is – to choose to be joyful about every circumstances, whether good or bad. This, I said, would be one of the worst, most painful yet one of my best moments, too.

I chose to be joyful. I chose to be happy – even if it means just seeing you from afar or conversing with you for a few minutes. Those quick snapshots of our moments together could somehow make my heart beats so wildly that only another thought can “distract” it.

I want to write something to you, but I do not have the courage yet…

How ironic when even if you have known me to be quite outspoken, I can always allow myself to be bolder in thoughts while deep inside, I am but a coward to really voice them out. I guess, there are times when silence can really fill in the gaps or when it is merely an avenue for somebody to “speak” out what one has to say…

Because I miss you so much…

The Anguish Of A Waiting Parent

Your parents – have you ever thought about them?

Photo not mine. Source: google.com

When you think of your parents, do you see them as authoritarian or someone who cares for you? Do you see their “sermons”  as an act of love or as something to intrude your daily activities? Our parents may love us in one way or another and they can show it in thousands of ways. They may sometimes do not understand you or the other way around. But think of it this way, if you are on their shoes, what would you do?

Maybe we do not understand it right now but once parents worry, they seem to move heaven and earth searching for you. Perhaps, you are asking: “why do may parents overact when I’m just a minute or two late? O.A talaga?!” or “how come my parents are so strict when my friends’ parents are not?” or “bakit yung ibang friends ko allowed na sila to be in a relationship? I’m 16. I think I can handle a relationship.”

Sometimes, I liken parents into shepherds. They will search everything and everywhere just to find you. That is why, there’s the anguish and that “over reaction” when you don’t go home as expected. I am not a parent myself and I could say, I am not “Miss Little Good Shoes” either, but I know how my parents suffer when I or my siblings was late from school. My parents are not that  demonstrative (physically) but I still thank them for raising us up. Though not perfect, I believe that they are still the best parents around.

The Bible is right when it says: “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. – Deuterenomy 5:16

Honoring your parents, I believe, starts when we understand the brevity of the life that we have here on earth. It begins when we acknowledge the fact that at some point of our lives, we may lose them unknowingly. Every moment with our parents count, and those moments must always be cherished. Yes, our parents may be overreacting or nagging at times, but always think – THEY JUST WANT THE BEST FOR YOU. It’s building trust to the people (in this case, your parents) who know far better than you. Forget about generation gap or this-is-a-different-world-now reason, but with all honesty, YOUR PARENTS KNOW WHAT’S THE BEST FOR YOU. 

Our relationship with our parents it seems is like a “shadow” (for lack of a good word to use) of our relationship with God. You may say, “God is all sovereign” or “Iba naman si God; iba rin yung parents ko.”, but come to think of it – there are times when we do not understand how God works in our lives yet we learn to trust Him. We  often wonder why about the way God moves in our daily lives, but we also know that “…in all things God works for the good of those who live him…” (Romans 8:28, NIV). How about our parents? Whose parents will favor bad things over their children? Don’t they, like our Father God, want good things (if not, the BEST) for us?

I do not come from a well-to-do family but I simply appreciate the fact that even though my parents’ background were not as good as others, they passed on to us the principles and the good values that I grew up with – values that I know, I can also pass on to my future children.

A parent waiting for a child to come home. Ask any parent about the stress or the anguish they feel whenever a child does not come home on time. Try to feel and be in their shoes.

Perhaps, if all of us would understand how short this life is, we will value, love, obey, trust, and understand them more than we dismiss their nagging or their “sermon” at times you miss going home early.

If you are reading this,  I hope you will show your parents how much you love them. It’s not too late, either.