Wednesday, March 17, 2021

ROMANS 8:28 - One year since lockdown



Isaiah 60:22

When the time is right, I the Lord will make it happen. 

Pandemic isn't a good word. Isn't it?


It brings fear, depression, hopelessness, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, and many more negative feelings we can think of.


For sure this word has brought us some sort of emotional stress that maybe only the Lord knew.


I remember when Covid 19 cases were rising here in the Philippines as our wedding day approaches, I was so anxious.

I am confused about whether I want to hasten time to the day of our wedding or to stop time to make the virus stop spreading.


Well, pause.


In this blog, I will not highlight the personal drama I have gone through during that period. 😄

I'm done with it, Praise God! 😊


I wanna highlight how really the Lord turned something negative into such praise-worthy things!


1. THE WEDDING

Our families on our wedding day

The wedding might be postponed but I got the chance to spent more time with my family - 6 more months with them.


Before getting married, I was so excited to be with my husband now.

We've been for 10 years together and for me, 10 years is more than enough of waiting for both of us.


But looking back I am so grateful God extended our waiting because I am missing my family from time to time.

I miss the life with my parents and my siblings though I am completely happy with my husband right now.

I realized that my life has really a new chapter now.

I'm absorbing the fact that I cannot go back to the time when I was still under my parents' ultimate care, - less freedom but less responsibility.

But yes, the postponed wedding is not ultimately a bad thing.

I treasure those postponed periods with my first love - my family.


2. CALLIGRAPHY AND PAINTING


Have you heard the word "ArTherapy"?

I was not so serious with calligraphy before. I just do it from time to time whenever my feeling calls me to.


But boredom strikes and I needed to do things that time to divert my attention not to stay from the emotional and mental stress I think I was going through.

That's when I started to join the #30daysofBibleLetteringChallenge where I will write bible verses for 30 days.

Day 1/30

This was the point where I got the chance to know some artists.

And as I was connecting with them, I was encouraged to explore art more - like painting florals, landscapes, coffees, bread, humans, and many more.


I almost painted every day until one day, God has impressed some people's hearts to appreciate it by giving me the chance to make art for them - and I'm getting paid for it!


My first ever orders!

Not only that, since I wasn't able to go outside to buy my journaling stuff for my quiet time.

I was pushed to make my own stickers, pure hand-made first but now we are printing it 😊


My first ever hand-made stickers!


Now from painted to printed :)

Have my own Lazada store now :)



I remember when He said to Come to Him and He will show great and mighty things which we do not know (Jeremiah 33:3)


After a year I can say that God has blessed the work of my hands more than I could think of.

It overwhelms me to think that He has brought me here where I am right now.

He has opened doors and still unwrapping things in store for us.


To conclude, 

Who would have thought there is beauty in ashes?


Leviticus 26:35

As long as the land lies in RUINS, it will ENJOY the rest you never allowed it to take...


Leviticus 26:43

For the land must be ABANDONED to ENJOY its years of Sabbath rest as it lies DESSERTED.


How ironic these verses are right?

Ruined, Abandoned, Desserted - who would enjoy such things as these?


But yes, with God - We can. We will.

We might not see it at the moment, but in time, we will understand.

We will appreciate all that He is doing.


Be encouraged.

To us who might be going through this tough season - Believe that God can turn things up.

We will not forever feel deserted or abandoned, there is a reason why God is allowing us to experience such things for a reason that we cannot comprehend right now.


Romans 8:28

And we KNOW that God causes all things to work together for GOOD to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2 CORINTHIANS 4:8-9 - Thank you God for 2020


Many will say that 2020 is not the best year or the best way to start a new decade.

Maybe I'm one of them too - at least in the beginning.


But ending the year...

With tears, I feel grateful.

God is really, really faithful.


I remember entering 2020 with full of excitement in me for my thought says, "this year will be different".

I wonder how it feels to have a new chapter in life with the only man I have ever prayed of.


But then COVID 19 happens and it crushed many things - well my dream wedding.


Yes, it seems that my dream wedding covers that "many things" at least for my perspective.

It's like our wedding is my "everything" for that year.

That having a good and wonderful wedding means a happy and perfect 2020 for me.


Not knowing God has in store something far better for me this year.


Early this year, I wrote a blog for valentines entitled "When God brought the woman to the man"

VALENTINE POST

I can say this is my biggest break so far as a writer.


Then when Covid 19 break out last March, it moved me to write my so-called "Covid 19 Series" which reached many people too.

COVID 19 - 1

COVID 19- 2

COVID 19- 3


In April of this year, I started to paint almost every day to cope with the feelings the lockdown has brought me.


I posted my artworks on social media and to my surprise God has sent people who have appreciated and liked them.

Some even asked me to paint for them and that's how I started to earn from it.


September came, who would have thought we will get married - not our way but His way.

WEDDING DAY


November, God has blessed my heart by giving me the opportunity to host an art workshop for the first time!


Then later this year, I have launched my own sticker sets!

- Not only stickers but also cards, tags, calendars, and other customized artsy things. 

I have not thought any of this will come true this year.





My focus is only on that dream wedding but God took my attention by some turn of events.


2020 might have brought me heartbreaks, disappointments, anxiety, doubts, fear, and many negative feelings but I'm still here.


By the grace of God, I'm still here in my faith.


2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not despairing; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed.


I realized, maybe we have had a lot of hardship this year and it feels this world is against us - well that is normal.

Jesus reminded us that if it feels that the world hates us, It hated him first (John 15:18)

And if we continue to read 2 Corinthians, in verse 10-11, it says,

Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.


We know Jesus did not live the life of pleasure this world defines.

He was betrayed, denied, mocked, scourged, nailed, and crucified - yet in all of these, He is victorious!

He has won the greatest enemy no one has ever defeated which is death.


So to us, Cheers!

God has accomplished all His good plans for us this year - His way, His time.


He is indeed not a man that He should lie for He cannot deny Himself.

God did not just give me the marriage He has promised but in His goodness and grace, He brought me blessing more than I have asked for this year.

2 Corinthians 2:14

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ and manifest through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

May this sweet aroma of Christ be upon you.

Happy almost New Year!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Isaiah 49:23, Our waiting continues

Isaiah 49:23
Those who hopefully wait for Me will never be put to shame.

Yes, we are here now at the moment we have waited for.

But I realized one thing - and that our waiting won't stop while living.

It just that each one of us has our own period of waiting.

When one ends, another will come.
From the simple waiting of dinner time to weekend rest then to the life-changing waiting period of a graduation day to employment day or engagement day to the wedding day, and so on.

Waiting seems to have no end.
But Why?

Because our hearts long for something - it keeps seeking.

Achieving something here on earth won't give us the full rest we long for.

It seems there's something in our hearts that no event nor things would fill.

Someone says, there is a God-shaped vacuum in our hearts that only God could fill.
And so we will keep on waiting for something - for someone until Christ Jesus returns again.

He is the One we ultimately wait for - the One who can only make us feel whole and complete, satisfied, and fulfilled.
And not until He comes back again, our life will go on waiting and waiting which means working and working.

So, are we doomed to despair because life is just a cycle of waiting and working like vanity as Solomon says in Ecclesiastes?

- Of course not.

Waiting and working creates a space or an avenue in us for hope, for faith, for belief.

It exercises our faith in God by keep believing that we always have hope in Him.
And this hope takes us to the future but it takes faith to see it.

Since life is like this, how can we wait wisely that is honorable and pleasant to God?

1. Wait and Pray
Praying allows us to learn His will, His way.
It is important for us to know that we are waiting for the right thing at the right time.
Like if we are waiting for love, let's say.
We have to discern "the when" of seeking it and "the how" of pursuing it.
Bible says to not awaken love until the time is right and that there is always a right time for every activity under heaven.

2. Wait and Work
God doesn't want us to be idle.
He wants us to act and be involved.
He loves to work with us - in and through us.
Working invites us to use the time, talents, and treasures God has entrusted us - and we honor Him if we do things with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength.

3. Wait and Rest
Maybe to most, this is the hardest part of waiting.
Because after doing the working, we need more power.
 - power to do nothing.
Resting in His words reveals our attitude to how we take His promises seriously.
It unveils the confidence we have to the One who said will do it.

Now, what if we get tired?
Despite doing all these praying, working, and resting, God seems nowhere to be found.
He seems silent and not working.

Well, believe it or not, the Lord expects us to be tired that's why He says to come to Him and take a rest.

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

It is never an option to quit - to turn our back from Him.

In the story of Job, he waited for God to intervene and save him.

He waited in pain and suffering for some period of time but he never turns away from God.
He might have questioned His love but he brought all his arguments and pleas to Him.
He expresses the steadfastness of his faith by keep reaching out his voice to God.

And we know in the end, Job wasn't disappointed.

Isaiah 40:31
Yet those who wait for the LORD
will gain new strength;
They will mount up on wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired.
They will walk and not become weary.

If we will turn our back from God then to whom else will we go?

Jeremiah 6:16
Ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it. 

To us, if we have found God, stay in Him.
He is our refuge and strong tower.
Our help, our only portion, and the strength of our hearts.

So let us not grow weary.
We may have a lot of waiting to go in life but one thing is for sure.
- Our life is not in vain.

And we can be sure that we are waiting for God's best for we know we have sought His will, did His will, and surrendered to His will.

The faith that we have will never put us to shame.

It will sustain us until the day we hear Him say good and faithful one and that will stop all the waitings we are waiting for.

Monday, September 28, 2020

ISAIAH 62:4, Your land will be married

 


Isaiah 42:9
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 
See I am doing a new thing.
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 

My version:
Do not call to mind the former things or ponder things from the past.
Do not cling to the events that happened.
For what He will be doing - in fact already doing.
And is now happening!
These are nothing compare to those things of old.

We got married last September 15, 2020, Tuesday.
Exactly one week after we received our marriage license - our renewed marriage license.

This is a date we did not choose nor planned.
There is nothing special with the number fifteen for both of us too.
Even more, Tuesday is an uneasy day of the week for us to have a celebration with.

Yet, God made it happen.


Our church set the wedding date; but a few days before it, we are told that it will not be pushed through for some reason.


By this time, we have adjusted with our church's chosen date twice already - filing our leaves twice including our families.

It became stressful for us knowing we are just a few days away from our set wedding date and we still have no concrete plans how will our wedding be like.


We got no pastor to officiate our wedding, our venue is now unknown and we are not sure of our witnesses' availability for we haven't asked them yet.


But God one by one, made a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.


September 9, Wednesday, God provided us a pastor to officiate our wedding then that same day, our venue confirmed it's availability including the number of guests they can accommodate with.


Lastly, some of our witnesses said yes to us.


It's like Tuesday we are problematic then Wednesday, God came to our rescue.


He really does hasten it in its time by sending His people's favor towards us - all compressed in just one day to bless us on our wedding day.


I remember asking God that Tuesday night,
"Is really marriage His will for me, for us?"
"Why is it so hard to get married?"
"Why did He impressed in my heart at the beginning of the year in Genesis 24:67 that Isaac and Rebekah got married in just one verse if this is what's happening to us now?"

The LORD, that same night answered me clearly in Isaiah 62:4.
... For the LORD delights in you, And to Him your land will be married.

What an exact word right?
What a personal God He is!

This word is what I need at that moment.
This is really what I want to hear from Him that we are pursuing the right thing.
That we are under His will.

I was currently reading Isaiah at that time and many verses have struck my heart, encouraging me to believe that it will happen.

I wrote all the verses that touched me believing in my head that God will make it happen anytime soon but my heart doesn't feel the same way.
My heart has full of disbelief and fear of disappointment.
I'm afraid that my hope might break me again.

How ironic right?
Bible defines hope as something that never disappoints but my deceitful heart is just so anxious and too careful not to expect something again.

I fought this feeling by keeping with myself the verse from Philippians 4:6 which says,
Do not be anxious but pray.

Yet my heart doesn't follow right away.
Every day, I have to teach my heart to trust, practicing my faith - my walk with Him.

This pandemic honestly has weakens my faith.
I am not the same person who I used to be.

My delight in His words has become lesser.
I am more inclined to doubting instead of trusting.

I have few people to share with for many of them are experiencing difficulties and challenges too.

Personally, I'm afraid that I would too add to their burdens and became one of them so I just chose to share what's going on in me.

I also saw fewer models of faith in my real life at the moment, in this season.
Personal communication is too far from the virtual one.
Updates virtually are really different from that skin to skin and eye to eye conversation. 

But yes, God is my portion forever and the strength of my heart.
He is really faithful!
Isn't He?


When I read that word from Isaiah 62:4 that night, I was moved to read the previous bible readings I wrote in my journal just this September. 

Here are some of them.


Isaiah 60:22
I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time.

Isaiah 55:12
You will go out with joy and be led forth with peace...

Isaiah 49:23
Those who hopefully wait for Me will never be put to shame.

Isaiah 46:10-11
My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure... Truly I have spoken; I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

Isaiah 44:8
Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?...

Isaiah 44:3
Do not fear for I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground.

Isaiah 43:16
The Lord makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters. 

Isaiah 40:26
Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars... 

Isaiah 38:5
I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears... 

Isaiah 35:4
Say to those with anxious heart "Take Courage, Fear not"...

Yes, I believe that God will still accomplish His good plans for me and for us even if I will not ask or confirmed His will through His words.

But I will miss one thing.
And that is my time spent with Him during those difficult times of my life.

I might not realize it during those hard times but when things get better I know to myself that He was with me - never really left me.
He is a God who is indeed faithful and true to His words - to His promises.

Those heartbreaks we felt, those questions we asked, the whys in our life doesn't matter anymore.

We might not exactly never know why things went that way, why COVID 19 happened but I surrender it to Him.

I still have some questions in my heart but since God is not giving me an answer or understanding for all of these, I guess, to Him, it's not important for me to know the whys.

What's important is that I know He knows what He is doing, believing that whatever He does, He creates it for His own glory - like the beast of the fields and seas.

The Crocodiles, Bears, Lions, Tigers, or Sharks.
No one of us would ever want to have a close encounter with these creatures nor would have cared if they never existed.
Yet, we find them magnificent and powerful.
It brings glory to God.

We might not know what these creatures have exactly had to do in this world.
Our heartbreaks and disappointments too - we don't know why.
But yes, through our pains and sufferings God can be glorified.

Like the pain and suffering of Christ in the cross, it pleased God, it Glorified God.
Isaiah 53:10
But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief...

But after all of these, we will be honored as a victorious one like our savior Jesus.

He said forget all those pains and disappointments that have happened.
Do not call to mind that stressful months.
God is about to renew everything.
In fact, He has already started working.
We can see it now, don't we?



Saturday, August 1, 2020

PSALM 73:23, He holds my hand


I don't have the courage to write these past weeks.
My July journal wasn't filled.
I missed my Bible.

Selah.

Yes, there's nothing new with this post, this is still a story of being down I guess.
This pandemic is so real.
It hits me.
I didn't feel like myself the last month.
It seems I am not me.
I was different for many days.

I felt guilty for not spending time with the Lord as I used to be.
I dealt with the everyday as if I am not minding Him.
He was just in my rearview and I didn't try to look closer at Him.

It seems I am so okay outside yet inside I know I am not.
Something is missing, something is falling.

Looks like, I almost lost my footing.
But why I am still here standing?

I guess it's because of His love - no, I know it's His lovingkindness that holds me.

Many things have failed these past months at least for my perspective.
My heart is having its own ups and downs.
Negativity keeps coming back.
Some are from of old, some are new.
Many times I am discouraged - and this month, I think, I gave in.

I miss the old normal.
I miss going out.
I miss the face to face interaction, conversation.
I am tired of the slow internet thing.
I miss touching my friends.
I miss walking freely.
I feel ugly inside our house.
My clothes aren't nice, my hair isn't fixed.
And sometimes, I think I overeat without getting enough movements.
I hate COVID!
It holds our wedding.
It ruined our plans.

These were the things popping on my mind.
I am so negative.
I didn't fight them using His words as my armor.

I know the Bible can answer everything I said, everything I thought.
But I don't know.
I get tired of encouraging myself, I guess.
I allowed other things to feed me just to forget these thoughts, these sentiments.

I decided to just do things that I feel like doing - calligraphy, painting, watching movies, and even chatting and chatting with friends.
I was busy doing these all day.
I had fun.

But at the end of it all, I am not full.
None of these filled me, satisfied me.
I made such good things bad for myself.

My heart isn't at peace.
I don't feel good.
I got to do something.
There's something inside me that is pulling me back to where I'm supposed to be.

And I gave in to that power - the Holy Spirit. 


Psalm 73:21-23
When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.

Yes, my heart was not right, what I did looks non-sense.
It seems ignorant before the Lord.
What I did was unpleasing before Him.
I looked like a beast - not beautiful before Him.
But though I was like that, He didn't give up on me.
He stayed with me and even more, He kept on holding me.
He has taken hold of my right hand just to keep me from falling, from slipping.

My feet came close to stumbling but the Lord keeps on adjusting.
He widened my steps under me.

Psalm 18:36
You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.

The Lord is the Sweetest, He is so Patient.
Truly, His kindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4) - It leads me to repentance and now I'm slowly coming back.

Psalm 94:18
If I should say "My foot has slipped" Your lovingkindness O Lord will hold me up.

I am getting well from the inside-out as my life verse became real once again.

Psalm 73:28
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.

Yes, apart from the Lord, nothing would I do would make me feel good nor can be considered good at all.

Hard times are real.
No one is exempted - even Job is included.

I realized it's easy to judge someone's action not realizing that each people have their own battle.
It might be little or simple for some - but to them, it might be the whole world.
If the Lord is so patient, why can't we?

In this world full of many, choose to be kind for some people might be going through something we might know nothing about.

Don't push someone harder.
Job's friends didn't say anything good, anything helpful.
They torment him with their speech, their words crush him (Job 19:2-3).

Believe it or not, prayer is enough.
I believe if someone belongs to the Lord, He Himself will pursue them.

Just be kind.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

PSALM 77, Pour - Process - Praise


Amazingly the Lord is so good in controlling my feelings these past weeks.
It seems like I was in a roller-coaster ride.
Sometimes I'm okay, sometimes I am not.
I feel emotional, I feel hyper, I feel nothing - I'm just moving.

I wouldn't say I am totally okay with what happened to us.
When some of my friends keep sending me successful wedding stories amidst this COVID 19 Pandemic - I can say, I'm not okay with it.
It made me sad.
I envy them - and yes, it made me cry again.
I am not encouraged though I know so well that they were really just concerned about me wanting to encourage me and give me some hope in such time as this.

I really appreciate them, I swear.
I love them.
I'm thankful for their effort in reaching me out and remembering me.
I just don't understand myself.
I really want to feel happy for those successful stories but I don't know why I found myself bitter coming back to God asking Him, "When Lord?" "How long?", "Have you forgotten me?", "Are you not faithful to me anymore?", "Is my faith becoming weak?", "Why us?", "Why now?" "Why not just stop this?".

As I was searching for some encouragement, I came across an article on a Christian website entitled "When my soul refused to be comforted."

I felt this is just me.

The verse says...

(v.2)  My soul refuse to be comforted.
(v.3)  When I remember God, I am disturbed.
(v.4)  I feel so trouble, I cannot speak.
(v.8)  Will I never be favorable again?
(v.9)  Has His promise come to an end forever?
(v.10) It is my grief that the right hand of God has changed.

This is what's really in my heart.
That's the voice within me.
I am disturbed by the thought that God will not keep His promises for me anymore.
Because at this very moment, the answer to my questions has appeared to have an emotional impact of yes.

COVID is not doing well here, our papers expired, no updates from our church's premarital department and the admin of our condominium are not permitting construction in the site yet.

Things around are not getting better at least for my perspective and it shakes my confidence with what God has said to me beforehand.

I'm searching the Lord for an answer to restore my confidence but I found nothing.
And my waiting is becoming harder for the Lord seems silent.

While I was in this roller-coaster emotions,
I appreciate how God's timeline is so good!
Amazingly, my Bible reading is about Job and I decided to take some deep study about it.

Job is a story of pain and suffering - not just suffering but the suffering of a godly man.

And this is the highlight of this book.
Maybe, Job's story will not be this known if perhaps he is a bad person in the sight of humanity.
We know that Job is not without sin because he too inherits the sins of Adam like all of us.
But God says, he is blameless and upright.
He has sins but in people's eyes, he is basically a good man.

At the end of this book, we can say that God doesn't explain to Job the reason for his pain and suffering instead, God shows how in His wisdom He has created the whole universe and everything in it.

This book never intended to answer the question of why pain, suffering, and evil exist but it wants to invite us to trust God's character and wisdom.
For our theology doesn't end that God is good and sovereign but that He is also wise and eternal.
He is outside time. He will never be late nor be too early. His timing will be just right - always.

The reason why Job cannot defend himself properly from the accusations of his friends is that he too really don't know why.

For our thoughts cannot reach God's thought. We cannot comprehend His ways.
They are way higher as Isaiah said.

Isaiah 55:8
For my thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways My ways.

So what now?
What to do while waiting and God seems silent?

Our senior pastor share with us some steps.
1. Pour
2. Process
3. Praise

Pour out your feelings to God.
It's okay to be emotional.
God will not judge you.
Like Job's story, God did not rush in to reprimands Job's drama.
He may seem silent but we know at the end of the chapter God is listening.

Then, Process your feelings and emotions together with God.
Be encouraged with some characters from the Bible who too waited in the Lord.

Abraham waited for a promised son,
Moses waited for a promised deliverance,
Joshua waited for a promised land,
David waited for a promised kingdom,
And many more others we can name of.

Like Asaph in this Psalm, let us be reminded of what history and the bible tells us - that God is always faithful to His promises.

(v.11) I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
(v.12) I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.

Lastly, Praise the Lord.
Praising the Lord in advance in times of waiting is the best way to demonstrate our faith to Him.
He might be working in different ways.
In things, we cannot understand like Job but everything He does is holy.
It might be hidden from our eyes but God never stops working.

(v.14) Your way, O God is holy...
(v.19) Your way was in the sea and Your paths in the mighty waters, And Your footprints may not be known.

Now, I'm learning that in our waiting, never stop seeking and just keep praying.
Believing that at the end of all of these, we will find out that finding Him is the ultimate comfort we can ever have.

@calligrafreeze

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