Monday, December 31, 2012

Memorial Stones

Okay, so I used my charms and little bit of manipulation (plus 16 years worth of bestfriendship) but when I invited my high school best friend Chrys to service today, I used my upcoming birthday as leverage. "Early birthday gift mo na sakin to." How could she refuse, hehe?

She made it just in time for the Word and the preaching. I praise God for his timely message today. We were both blessed by Pastor Jon's sermon. One of the first things Chrys told me after the service was, "Uy naka-relate ako dun ha." 

Our series break tonight was, of course, related to New Year. 'Tis that time of the year when most people are consumed with New Year's resolutions, senti-mode about the what-happened's and what-if's of the outgoing year, and -depending on one's current situation - either optimistic or pessimistic about the coming year.

In Joshua chapter 4, the twelve Israelites led by Joshua miraculously passed the Jordan river when God dried it up, and commanded for them to take 12 stones from the bottom of the river as a memorial of this favor from Him. It was a physical testament that would show other people of what God had done, and what else He is capable of doing. I urge you to read the whole chapter. :)

Look back and look forward. We have to be good at both. I look back at 2012 and is just blown away by the many blessings and miracles God has given me. One of them was happening right at that moment - me sitting with my "evil twin" at church (that's what we called each other back in HS because we were the magkakuntsaba in all sorts of misbehavior). I keep saying over and over throughout this year, if a year ago someone had told me I'd be where I am right now in my life, I would've laughed my head off. But here I am, walking with God and getting favors after favors from Him. It's no accident I'm here. 

God never makes any mistakes; instead he used (and still uses) my mistakes to shape me into the strong, faithful person He designed me to be. Just like the stones God asked the Israelites to pick up from the bottom of the Jordan river, our past victories and even our previous sins should serve as reminders, souvenirs of how God has bestowed those blessings to us, and how he used our struggles to show us His mercy and power to pull us through. We cannot have these "stones" without His help. And without these stones, sometimes it's easy to forget God. Empowered with this knowledge and faith in His infinite grace, we can have the confidence to look forward, to claim that our future is secured if we have Christ Jesus in us.

I know sometimes, we're guilty of being doubtful or fearful. Keri pa ba ni God ibigay ulit yung pinagpe-pray ko, e na-bless na nya ko dati? Baka marindi na si God sa petitions ko. Baka magsawa na Siya? Wow, I sure am glad my God is not like that. As mentioned before, we should be good at both. If we only  look back, then we may get stuck in the past, basking only in previous glory, and afraid to step forward. On the other hand, if we set our eyes only in the future, we might become too expectant, feel entitled and lose our gratitude for God. Look back AND look forward. 

In John 3:16, we look back on what God has already done - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" and look forward to His promise to us - "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

What are the stones in your life you have picked up this year? How can you use it to look back at God's past faithfulness in your life, and get you ready for the future?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lost Keys SOS

A little after lunch, I took my daughter, Ging to Robinson's for some last-minute shopping. We parked in the basement, all the while talking about where and when to meet up after, and me issuing last minute reminders about pickpockets and stuff. We parted near the escalators - Ging heading up to the department store and me to the supermarket.

I finished my shopping quickly and went out the mall to browse the nearby tiangges. I reached into my bag for my sunglasses when I suddenly realized... Where are my motorbike keys?! A few minutes of frantic search into my handbag, pockets, shopping bags and wallet turned up no key. 


I had this same scenario a couple of months back. I was going home from work, and when I reached the bike rack where I had mine chained, I found out I lost my keys. I had to call my brother-in-law so he can tow me using their scooter. Very McGyverish pa nga since he didn't have any rope to pull me so he tied two hoodies together and use them to pull me home. I called Mang Ador, a locksmith who used to live beside us, to dismantle my ubox lock and duplicate the key from there. My spare was also lost a long time ago. Ever the procrastinator, I put off getting the key duplicated and forgot all about it.

Until today.

Hay naku, sabaw talaga! I retraced all my steps back to the shops I visited, went back to the parking lot and circled my bike twice, thrice, but still no keys. Mang Ador wasn't answering my call so I went to pick him up from his shop. I was in panicking na, pretty sure I locked it inside the compartment, but still fearing if I did drop it somewhere, then someone might have picked it up and is already driving off  to some chop shop in my beloved apple-green bike. 

On the way back to Rob, after grilling me if I had looked for the key everywhere, he relayed:

Mang Ador: "Meron din akong kostomer dati, taga-Pepsi naman, nawala din susi ng motor. E di pinuntahan ko at pinipick ko na yung lock. Maya-maya, napatingin ako sa baba. ayun, nasa damuhan yung susi. E di imbes na singilin ko sya ng 300 pagpapagawa at 150 sa duplicate, ayun nakatipid pa siya. Niloko ko na lang kung magkano ibabayad nya sakin pag nakita ko susi, sabi niya kahit magkano!"

We both laughed and I assured him this time, I'm pretty sure I locked my keys in the ubox. When we got back to the mall, he promptly got down to business picking my bike's lock. After ten minutes (and several people looking at us suspiciously, perhaps thinking we were stealing the bike), he lifted my bike's seat to reveal the inside of the ubox: NO KEYS.

Dejected at the thought of shelling out another 500 bucks for his services (like I did the last time), I went back inside to try to ask around if somebody happened to find my keys. Mang Ador did the same and the first guard he approached produced the key. It turned out I had dropped it in the parking lot and I NEVER THOUGHT TO ASK THE PARKING LOT GUARDS FIRST. Brilliant, Jaz, genius work indeed. 

So there I was, frantic and sweaty because I assumed the worst right away, I even dragged a locksmith from his afternoon siesta to a crowded mall. I thank God we found it, but I did want to sink on the floor right then and there as the guards and Mang Ador looked at me while all I could do was say sorry and thank them with a sheepish smile. Hay naku ulit! Sabaw talaga!

This is a perfect instance for me, of the answer being right in front of me, but I missed it because I immediately went into panic-mode. Oftentimes, the simplest solutions work best and can save me further aggravation - and cost! 

Moral of the story: When in doubt, always ask first and never assume right away.

Hey wait, that lesson sounds familiar... but that's another story nyaha. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

SMP? Not!

I came across this post while looking for an article about parenting (naks, but true!). It resonated with me because a lot of the author's points hit right at home, especially about the daddy and beauty issues, and the one on guarding one's heart. This also got me thinking about a friend who just broke up with her long-time boyfriend, and another close friend who is fed up with dating and looking for men.

I think it was a post somewhere in Twitter, but the gist was, if you don't love yourself while still single, being in a relationship or marriage isn't going to change that. Truedat! Being single is the best time to see and love ourselves as God does.

It's an article titled, "For the Gals: 8 Principles for Dating". I was blessed by this article and hope you will be, too, whether you're single, attached or swearing off dating for now - or forever. :)

I am indeed loved by God, am beautiful because of this, so much favored by Him that His Son died for my sins, will wait patiently upon His will and will not put anything nor anyone above Him.

Don't be disheartened. Hindi totoong malamig ang Pasko mo!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Revisiting the Room

I know I've come across this article, "The Room" a few years ago when it was forwarded to me in my email. Back then, I thought it was just a pretty nice post, then promptly forgot all about it. 

My office monita gifted me with a book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Joshua Harris. I first read his second book, "Boy Meets Girl" and found it amazingly insightful and though-provoking. I liked the frank manner he approached even sensitive topics like love and sexuality, and his refreshing honesty in sharing his own experiences and the Word of God. 

I hadn't really made the connection until yesterday, when, half-way through the book, I saw the same article and realized it was authored by the same writer. I vaguely remembered having read it a long time ago. But now -whether it was because I'm now a Christian, or I can relate to what he was relaying in his dream - every word, every point in it, pricked me like a needle. Yeah, Lord, I guess I needed that. 

So I'm re-blogging it here. Hope it doesn't just touch you in a aww-that's-nice kinda way, but makes you really ponder about where Jesus is in your life right now. 

* * *

The Room by Joshua Harris

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.
An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.
I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?
Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."
I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
* * *
By Joshua Harris. Orginally published in New Attitude Magazine. Copyright New Attitude, 1995. You have permission to reprint this in any form. We only ask that you include the appropriate copyright byline and do not alter the content.
If you wish to read more, visit his site

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One P-day


Started my day devo-ing on this Word. The guide's author, Charles Stanley, observes our common preoccupation of trying and trying - through our own accord and strength - if things don't go as planned. He says, "When you become a Christian, you naturally tend to integrate this attitude into your walk with Christ. If you fail to conquer certain habits, you keep trying. If you fall short in obeying key Scripture verses, you buckle down and try again... Failure can be the catalyst that leads you from mere understanding  to trusting... acknowledging that you can do nothing apart from Christ."

Again, I marvel at his perfectly-timed chastise. Too often I want to do something because I have to obey, but I realized before my actions can manifest genuine obedience, He must first change my heart. If at first we don't succeed, try again - this time, with God.


Went to the bank, paid bills and watched the dwindling 13th month pay go to those pesky adult concerns called responsibilities. Yewww. 


At least, I managed to get a mani-pedi right at the comforts of my own house. Mama discovered our next-door neighbor's katiwala is a skilled manicurista, and can take out even the most stubborn ingrown in less than half an hour. Yey! All for forty (cleaning only) to fifty bucks (with polish).


As I posted in my FB  status,I've been kinda making karir this little Jeremy Renner crush, nyaha! In the last couple weeks, I rented "Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol" and watched it for the third time and not because I like Tom Cruise, excuse me. I made do with a low-quality bootleg DVD of "Bourne Legacy" just because I wasn't able to catch it in a movie theater and I wanted to see the jeepneys do drifting in the finale car/motorbike/jeepney chase. Today I rented "The Hurt Locker," the critically-acclaimed film Renner starred in before he became more prominent as that bow-and-arrow Marvel hero. Bonus, I didn't know Anthony Mackie was in the film too. I liked him in "The Adjustment Bureau," which starred Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, another fast-paced, action thriller with a clever twist.

Pastor Jon.

Started reading and following our senior pastor's blog (I'm from Victory Los Banos). Great read. And he also offers links to other useful posts too. Pastor Adrian is another good writer and preacher I started following few weeks back. His blog's here. Check out Pastor Jon's blog. One of my fave posts is "Wrong Theologies." Read it here here.


Well, I wouldn't exactly call it pigging out, because although I ate a lot today, most were also healthy stuff: chestnuts, kiwi and mangosteen that I found at Divi yesterday; grapes from the vegetable bin; cassava cake, tikoy and espasol from our Mauban, Quezon getaway last weekend. Also had the usual junk food: pancit canton for lunch, Tortillos and Tostillas, a strawberry-banana blizzard; a piece of pancake Ate Jean brought home from work; merlion-shaped macadamia chocolates from a coworker. For meals I had pork hamonado, daing na bangus and Maggi noodles I dressed up with scrambled eggs and pechay Baguio. I capped off the day with a tall glass of Megamass. I. Need. To. Get. FAT. Asap.

Pangarap Lang Kita, and others.

LSS-ing on Parokya Ni Edgar's "Pangarap Lang Kita," Goyte's "Somebody That I Used To Know," Hillsong's "The Difference" and Gary V's "Take Me Out Of The Dark." The first two I heard on a Divi-bound FX yesterday, and they stuck. Nice lyrics. As a result, bought another pair of earphones just so I can do my sound-trips better. I couldn't wait nay longer the office kris kringle to find out if one of my "babies" got me earphones, which I put in my wish list. In keeping up with the P-theme, I bought Philipps. My old one (which I got on sale for PHP 495, orig price was PHP 2800) was Pioneer and it broke in less than three months. Boo. Watch the video here.


Helped Ging with her assignments, printed out numerous reports and visual aids (the Philippine Senate seal, among others). Also scanned a pic for a friend with her B and uploaded it to FB. 


I was on vacay for two days, but I still wasn't able to catch up on sleep. DVD marathons and constantly being online do nothing for my beauty sleep plans. Plus, I had to wake up early to help Ging prep for school in the morning.

Speaking of puyat, gotta go to sleep now. Tomorrow, back to regular programming. Bleah. But hope everyone had a great midweek!