Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SUCCESS--WHAT IT IS to me

SUCCESS, to me, is being the wholeheartedly OBEDIENT daughter that GOD, my heavenly FATHER, desires me to be. "If you love Me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

i honestly love GOD's will, for it is ALL-ways good, ALL-ways perfect, ALL-ways accomplished in LOVE, ALL-ways wise. And i love His Word. i am not speaking figuratively or in exaggeration when i say that i "love" His will and His Word. i literally LOVE His will and i literally LOVE His Word. They are bread and water--real nourishment--to my spirit, to my soul, to my body... to my very life. And i am glad to obey GOD's Holy SPIRIT when He speaks in His still, quiet voice. The issue is not not wanting to obey; the issue is my dullness of hearing--am i hearing HIS voice or mine? Am i listening with the attentive ears of a SPIRIT-led heart, or am i distracted with my oftentimes unruly monkey mind?

That's why i pray this prayer of SURRENDER to my heavenly FATHER: "FATHER, today i abandon myself into Your hands, do with me what YOU will. Whatever You may do, i thank You. i am ready for ALL, i accept ALL. Let only YOUR will be done in and through me, and in all Your creatures. i wish no more than this, O LORD." (by Charles de Foucald)

SUCCESS, to me, is being loving and being at rest in the midst of turmoil or deep valleys--of being JOY-full even in seeming drudgery. Success is having peace of mind, whatever the outcome of ANYthing--WHATever tomorrow may bring. Success is trusting GOD in ALL the details of my life, trusting Him in ALL ways, always -- "It matters not what GOD does, it matters only WHO He IS!" (Oswald Chambers)

SUCCESS, to me, is not having an earthly goal in sight, nor an imagined happily-ever-after-fairytale-ending. Success is being IN the process of becoming CHRIST-like and realizing that the process itself is GOD's plan...the process of becoming more and more intimate with JESUS. "Don't store up treasures here on earth...store your treasures in heaven. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (Matthew 6:19-21, NLT)

SUCCESS, to me, is resting at ease in GOD's will. "As JESUS is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)

SUCCESS, to me, is being content with whatever i have, wherever i am,.."for i have learned how to be content with whatever i have. i know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. i have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For i can do everything through CHRIST, who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13)

(Taveuni, Fiji)
(London, England)
(Castillejos, Philippines)
(Moorea, Tahiti)
SUCCESS, to me, is dancing the tango of Life with the SPIRIT of GOD and seamlessly following His lead. It is being 100% surrendered with a JOY-full heart to the One who owns EVERYthing anyway. "For as many as are led by the SPIRIT of GOD, these are sons of GOD." (Romans 8:14, NKJV)

SUCCESS, to me, is BE-ing love--no longer acting nor behaving in a loving manner, but BE-ing love itself.

Success, to me, is having my LORD JESUS greet me with "Well done, my beloved rLn!" (Matthew 25:21)


Saturday, July 25, 2009

FOR AS HE THINKS IN HIS HEART, SO IS HE

As a child, growing up in a small town in the Philippines, i felt loved, even though my siblings and i were with one parent most of the time.

When i was about 10 years old, we immigrated to San Diego, we were united with our in-the-Navy father...we had both parents at last. But it was quite a sterile environment...we were sheltered, clothed and fed (for which i am very grateful), but not with much real loving affection to nurture our souls.

In this new environment, i grew up an introvert, thinking (therefore, acting on what i thought) that i was a nobody--not special in any way. Then as an adult, as i discovered hidden talents and new aspects of myself through foreign travel, i began to think (and act according to these thoughts) that i was someone special...i became puffed up, deluding myself into thinking i had much to offer.

Then i got saved (received CHRIST as my Messiah and Redeemer) and thought (and therefore acted on these new beliefs) that i was indeed special, taking pride in being a child of GOD. Yes, i was (and am) indeed His child, but i didn't know Him yet as my Father.

Then GOD, the Good Father that He is, began the purifying process of burning off contaminants which adulterated His end product--the true child of GOD He had always intended me to be. And during this process (which continue even as i type this blog), i was convicted so that i knew that i was indeed a nothing, a nobody, just a lot of hot air.

And that's when GOD made me a somebody--His somebody!

i'm His artist, His ambassador, His instrument so that He may bless others, His hands and feet to do and go where He wills.

When i am being a nobody, then He makes me His somebody. Then i am special in His sight, and i become the apple of His eye (never mind if i'm a worm in the apple in others' eyes). Then i can dance the walk (LifeWalk 101 In CHRIST)--not just walk the walk, but walking the walk with such joy that i just do it with a bounce in my steps, turning LifeWalk 101 into a joyfilled jig.

Then i can rest in the midst of my busy-ness (a balancing act between being a Martha and being a Mary, doing what needs to be done, yet sitting at JESUS' feet in rapt attention). i stand firm and at ease within GOD's will for i think and believe, and therefore act accordingly, that GOD is indeed in control.

Before when i didn't know GOD and thought i knew much but didn't really know anything at all of lasting value, i talked the talk...an intellectual spewing out a lot of spiritual junk.

When i got saved, i talked the walk. i eagerly learned the new lingo, and i tried my best to put into practice what i crammed in my head. In my impatience, in my perfectionist attitude, i was like a new student trying to earn that A+ from my LORD. (i had good grades in school, why not in LifeWalk 101?)

But GOD in His mercy didn't just leave me alone to stumble through with my hit and miss m.o. He knew that i was serious about my salvation. He knew i loved His Son. He knew i wanted to grow as His child. He knew me through and through because He knew me even before i was born. (He created me...of course He knows me!)

So He caused (made!) me, through His Holy SPIRIT abiding in me, to walk the walk. He taught me to pray. He strengthened my faith in Him--through some hard knocks, through some lengthy Valley of the Shadow of Death, through some soul-searing emptiness--by being with me all throughout these trials that tested me.

Today, i am dancing the walk. i'm living the walk, but not so heavy handedly, not so seriously (don't get me wrong--i am deadly serious about my salvation, about the Cross of JESUS--what it took Him to gift me this free, undeserved full pardon).

Today, doing the walk is a joy because i am truly loving (loving!) GOD's will. i know who He is--He is the Source of all existence, including mine. He created everything seen and unseen. He upholds and sustains the heavens. He is the all mighty Almighty GOD--so utterly powerful and righteous, yet so infinitely tenderhearted, compassionate, gracious and loving.

And He is my Father! Thinking, believing and acting on this truth gives me peace of mind, allows me to rest from all my striving, energizes me to enjoy this LifeWalk 101--this tango with the Holy SPIRIT--where He leads and i simply follow..."fear"fully, willingly and joyfully.

Thanks and praises and hallelujahs and all honor to GOD, my Father, whose SPIRIT has caused me to change how i think, and therefore how i act. But most of all, thank You, JESUS, my Beloved, for living out Your Passion that i may dance the walk today.

Friday, July 17, 2009

JISU SA RAUTI AU

JBZ2! Prayer and Fellowship...

The ultimate purpose of it all is to arrive at a deeper intimacy with JESUS. For me, fervent prayer and committed journaling of GOD's goodness and abundant blessings lead the way to strengthened faith, to closer relationship with the One who provides all our needs.

As i became more fully aware of GOD's presence in my life through countless blessings and even miracles (i.e., once upon a time, a palm tree fell on me -- yet not a hair on my head was touched. The tree landed like it was slam-dunked, but GOD tripped me into a hole as i tried to get out of the way so that the trunk of the tree slammed just 1/2" across the back of my thighs, pinning me down, yet leaving me unscathed) -- my faith in His faithfulness and gracious love was strengthened and solidified.

My JBZ2! journals are the physical reminders and proofs of GOD's mercy and love towards me. The pages testify of GOD answering my prayers, according to His methods and perfect timing. The written records remind and encourage me to wait and watch -- and to keep on praying...to persevere until i get an answer.

The JBZ2! 's mission is to glorify GOD and its purpose is to realize the Source of the blessings -- to love the Giver of blessings and not the blessings themselves.

JESUS said, "The truth is, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you saw the miraculous sign." (John 6:26 -- NLT)

So the ultimate purpose of JBZ2! is to get to that spiritual realization that blessings or no blessings -- fed or not fed -- JISU sa rauti au...Fijian for JESUS is enough for me.

JESUS, the miraculous sign from GOD Himself, is the blessing -- He, Himself, is the greatest, highest, ultimate blessing ever given by GOD.

When i act upon this realization, i walk on air...i have joy everlasting in the today -- no matter the daily gunk that try to muddy up this living joy.

When i make real through constant practice that JISU sa rauti au, i am fulfilling my destiny -- GOD's will that i be one with His Son, that there be no other besides JESUS in my heart.

When i am totally surrendered to CHRIST, with no more rights to call my own...
When i am just moving to His tune...
Then i am rln!
Then i really live,
Then i really love,
Then i can really laugh
With abandon...
Then i am truly unbound, truly free --
in the now
Living each ordinary day as extraordinary --
to the fullest
as if with an exclamation point.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

JESUS WAS HOMELESS, TOO.

In Matthew 5:46, JESUS said, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”

JESUS Himself ate and dined, consorted even, with tax collectors, a prostitute, cowards, uneducated fishermen, the very rich, the poor and needy, the sick in body and weak in faith…JESUS had no set personal preference--He didn’t play favorites or join cliques…He came to save the lost and poor in spirit…He championed the orphans and widows. He loved the unlovables.

A true CHRISTian is not like the rest of the world...s/he is different. There’s a decided difference...nonconformity to worldly standards, worldly activities, worldly ways. The true CHRISTian goes beyond what others would do...s/he would go that extra mile, carry those “band-aids” to minister to those who’ve stumbled and blooded up a knee, bring “chicken soup” for someone’s aching soul. Truly devoted followers of CHRIST do not shy away from getting a little dirty in the process of helping someone who’s trying to get out of a muddy pit.

Sometimes, it feels uncomfortable befriending people who’s not like us...they are culturally different or just not our type of people--we don’t have much in common with them. Yet as CHRISTians, it’s our job to get out of our comfort zones and go beyond what’s expected, to go that extra mile...for JESUS’ sake.

In the church, we are to put into practice what CHRIST taught: that we are all part of the family of GOD...though we are different members, we belong to one body--His. No member is more important than another--the foot is not more or less important than the eye or the hand. We all have different functions, yet each part acts in concert with the whole that the body may be nourished in harmony. We are all different, but not separate, for the same blood flows through all members--the blood of JESUS.

If the foot stubs its toe, wouldn’t the rest of the body be affected with an “ouch!” and wouldn’t the body attend to that little stubbed toe by giving it attention, a band-aid if necessary, or a rub to assuage the pain? Or if the stomach got that empty feeling and was hungering for bread, wouldn’t the hand cooperate and put food in the mouth so that the stomach may be satisfied?

It’s sad but true--there are cliques in most churches...we hang out with whom we have similar tastes, backgrounds and hobbies. We fellowship with those we are most comfortable. We create sub-families within the church family. It’s the norm...but is it the Way of JESUS? It’s easy, but did JESUS promise ease on earth? It’s comfortable and satisfying, doing our chosen good works, but where does CHRIST fit in these good works?

CHRIST JESUS, during His ministry, chose to be homeless. (Matthew 8:20) (Actually, JESUS' true home was always with the Father, in His heavenly Kingdom.) He didn’t have a 9-5 job with the corresponding income, had dusty feet from all that walking, didn’t have designer jeans or a bulging money belt or an i-pod or Blackberry.

If you and i saw a bedraggled JESUS at a 7-11, thirsting for a Big Gulp, would we buy Him one? If we saw Him standing at the corner of Palm Avenue and Saturn Boulevard with a megaphone, saying “Repent--the time is NOW!”--would we stop and listen, or mumble under our breaths, “uh oh, not another one of those eccentric eclectics!”

If you and i saw a worn out, sweaty, disheveled JESUS at our front doorstep, would you or i invite Him in and offer Him a drink?

Will you or i even recognize Him?

Friday, July 10, 2009

GATHER UP THE FRAGMENTS

When they were filled, JESUS said unto his disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” (John 6:12)

Most of us CHRISTians know the feeding of the 5,000 with the five barley loaves and two fish, but did we take much notice that there were 12 baskets of fragments that were gathered? JESUS did not waste anything at that feast, nor does our Father-GOD allow anything in our lives to be good for nothing.

As written in Romans 8:28, “GOD causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him.” Many people, including myself, led fragmented lives before receiving CHRIST as Savior…broken bits and pieces scattered here and there--our sinful nature wreaking havoc not only in our own lives, but spattering our gunk on those closest to us. Or sometimes we encounter trials in our lives that are indeed no bed of roses, but a walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. These events sometime leave us crippled people…emotionally and mentally scarred, seemingly beyond repair. Often we’ll make this cliché a reality: “Hurt people, hurt people.”

But GOD, in His abundant mercy and infinite wisdom, will use these bits and pieces of jagged-edged life traumas to paint a multi-dimensional work of art. He will use the pitch blacks, muddy browns, moody blues and ho-hum grays, and mix them with the sunshine yellows, pretty pinks, and new-grass greens, with all the other shades and nuances of His rainbowed palette.

GOD will use all He has allowed in our lives for His Grand Design…He purposed all the Life colors before our earthly birth--that He may create that work of art that is the true child of GOD, full orbed to do His perfect will and good purpose. GOD will pick up those fragments that remain--our remaining strongholds, whatever they may be. Through the Holy SPIRIT abiding in each genuine, born again CHRISTian, He will faithfully persevere in establishing Himself as King, making even the stubborn baggage that hangs on part of His domain.

GOD does not waste any thing. And as true children of GOD, not one of us will be lost--not one fragment of our fragmented lives will be wasted. Somehow, someway, He will cause all things to work out together for good…because of our loving devotion to JESUS, His Son.


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