Taken from forbiddenriceblog.com. Credits to the photographer.
Have you ever made a decision in your life that seemed so right at the moment but turned out to be incredibly, unbelievably stupid that you’d think, “How could I have gotten it wrong?”
That’s right. We’ve all been there.
In fact, one of the characters in the Bible has been there, and I think he’s become quite famous for his obviously wrong decision. When you read his story, you’ll go, “Who does that? That’s so poorly conceived.” Do you know him? His name was Esau.
Esau was the firstborn of Isaac and Rebekah’s twins; Jacob was his brother. We know what happened to Jacob: the Lord gave him the name Israel, became the father of twelve sons who, in turn, fathered the twelve tribes of God’s chosen nation. Then again, Esau was the firstborn. In Jewish tradition, the firstborns are very special. They are heirs to thrones and to great blessings. When God asked for sacrifices, He asked for the firstborns of the livestock, the first fruits of the crop. The emphasis was always given to the ones who were first. But how come Esau’s story was cut short along the way?
This is my first time to write a short story (though this one’s not too short) on this blog, and I’m not quite sure where else to post this. I’m posting it anyway. 😛
I was an orphan.
I could still remember how I played with the other kids in the dirt. We were young, we felt silly, and honestly, we couldn’t care less. I tripped and got a lot of scrapes, and I cried a ton. I was clumsy, too. But even then I was fiercely hard-headed. I didn’t like it when the adults would pull me into a corner and comb my hair or make me blow my nose. I hate clean.
There were older kids. They weren’t really that mean, just older. Cranky. Bossing the small kids around. I didn’t care too much before, but I noticed how they seldom smiled. Especially those who the adults would call tsk tsk teenagers. In my little brain I associated adolescence with becoming boring, and decided that I would rather stay four years old and a midget than grow taller and lose all sense of my fun self.
The day I turned five was the day my life changed. In orphanage terms, I got adopted.
I get why some people think that Christians are worse than those who aren’t in church, because there is some truth in it. I have been in the presence of “good” and “bad” Christians, and I have experienced being both. But let me be in the defensive today, a position we seldom take. Here are 10 reasons why believers are the best people I know. (Disclaimer: This is not a blog post on how Christians are “better” than anyone. I’m not saying that only Christians can have these qualities either. This is just an expression of admiration and appreciation for the highly-imperfect yet wonderful people who comprise a large percentage of my social circle.) Continue reading →
By reading the title, you already have a good idea of what I’m about to say here. I could feel some eyebrows rising, and i think I know why. “Happy” sounds too diminishing, too… cute an adjective to describe the all-powerful Master of the infinite universe. Or maybe, you have encountered a number of Biblical description of God (holy, just, righteous, loving, mighty or even wrathful) but not once in your life have you ever imagined Him smiling.
Now I’m telling you that you should. This is because His joy– not just our joy in Him but the joyfulness in His character – is something that we must acknowledge as we grow in God. And probably, discovering this facet of Him will be the thing that would draw us even closer.
Ever heard a pastor or a friend from church tell you, “Look to Jesus”? Of course you have. It’s common Christianese. However, if you’re like me who’s good with remembering theories but weak with application, you’ll get lost on the “how” part.
Honestly, I’ve identified as a Christian my whole life without really understanding what it means. All this time, I’ve interpreted it the way I did with, “What Would Jesus Do”. It is having this mantra of reflecting on what Jesus could have done when faced with a certain situation. I found this helpful in making important decisions that will ultimately honor God, so much that I had it taped on the underside of my roommate’s top bunk. Unfortunately, I can’t always do what Jesus did. Also, there were some decisions that Jesus never got to make, like choosing between doing ministry and studying for an upcoming exam.
The hardest part was with sin management. This is where WWJD stopped becoming helpful and started becoming more like flaw-counting. I kept making mistakes, sometimes the same mistakes over and over. The guilt and the shame settled in, and sometimes I would feel like nothing has changed in me at all. The more I feel inadequate in my relationship with God, the more I want to run away and give up altogether.
I wasn’t aware that what I had been doing was looking AT Jesus, not looking TO Him. Good thing He woke me up.
I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it — it wasn’t a statement or an emotional thing. I just slipped it off my finger that day and, before tucking it away in a box, ran my finger around the words on the familiar gold band.
“True Love Waits.” Waits.
What’s it “waiting” for, anyway?
I had my reasons for deciding not to wear it anymore. Other people might have other reasons. It’s a graveyard of hearts, this place where single church girls crash into their late 20s and early 30s. Churches see the symptoms. They scramble to reach out to the ever-growing young adult singles crowd who feels alienated by family-oriented services.
Teenagers are walking buckets of hormones. I’m speaking from personal experience. We express emotions in an unrestrained fashion, as explicitly as possible. And while we never run out of emotions, we seem to crave more. We want to feel more. One of those things everyone wants to feel is being in love.
It’s funny. We’ve been loved from birth yet when we reach a certain age, nothing seems to suffice. We disengage from that “old”, “smothering” parental love that most of us never had to work for and seek something else we do need to work for: the thrill of romance.
But Christian teens often think that romance is, well, not for Christian teens. Or sometimes, we are made to believe that God is against love among minors, as if love comes from a bottle at the liquor store that you can’t get without a fake ID. Continue reading →
If you are someone like me who is in a relationship with Jesus, I figured you have, at least once in your life, tried sharing with family or friends about how you came to believe in Him. Why wouldn’t you? I mean, forgiveness, reconciliation with the Creator, and eternal life? That’s too good a news. It’s better than scientists finding a cure for cancer. It’s a cure for death beyond death.
I also figured that if you have tried to share the Gospel more than once, you have experienced rejection. I want to tell you that it is only a natural reaction from people who were not ready to receive Jesus Christ at the time. But has it ever crossed your mind to ask why you got rejected though you delivered the best news ever? What is with the Gospel that people find so hard to believe in?
I was five when I first heard the word “toxic.” I realized it meant poisonous or deadly. As a kid, I was taught that there were necessary poisons – bleach, insecticide spray, rat poison, and other household cleaners. My parents knew they could kill, yet we keep them at home. Somehow, we have become dependent on these poisons because they are convenient.
In life, we also accumulate poisons as we go. We retain them in our lifestyle because we have grown rather fond of using them. But just as ingesting bleach or hydrochloric acid can cost you more than a trip to the emergency room, there are habits that can permanently damage your life and your relationships if you don’t throw them out.
We all have our own fears. Some may seem small and childish, like fear of bugs or fear of the dark. But whenever they strike our hearts, they no longer seem small. In fact, they seem to enclose us, blocking everything until nothing else seems real but the pounding in our chests and the ringing in our ears. Fears can also be okay, because they give us a sense of danger. But when our fears close us in on all sides, is there any way out?