Thursday, December 5, 2013

Others and Praise-Centered

I was carrying a heavy bag of groceries at my right side, two paper bags on each hand, and my purse at my left. Upon heading to the street I live on, I saw a mother with two kids begging for food. I was quickened to give what I had, but I made excuses thinking, "It's too crowded here. My things are heavy. I want to keep going." 

Then came that rebuke, "Ginj, c'mon, you are struggling to carry your stuff... RICH PROBLEMS! But here is a family struggling to stay alive. Turn back. 'It is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.' You said you wanted this month to be all about praise and others. Go back." Simultaneously, these thoughts sped through my mind. So I walked back and grabbed something for them to eat. When I handed them food, I wanted to cry. Thinking about Leyte and other Yolanda stricken parts, I was humbled and rebuked.  It is indeed more blessed to give than to receive. 

Before this month started, I thought about how I would like my year to end. I thought to make it OTHERS AND PRAISE-CENTERED. I have 26 more days to go and I hope that everyday, I will be a blessing!

2 Corinthians 8:5,7 "And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves FIRST to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. But just as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us - see that you also excel in this grace of giving."

Bless someone today!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

This Profession

So yesterday, while eating lunch with my advisory class, I zoned out for a minute or two thinking about how this profession has made me kind of apathetic to certain things and absolutely keen to almost every move. My heightened senses seem to hear everything and feel everything all at the same time: kids rushing to me - using me as their "Force Field" or "Shield", me feeling bumps at my sides, kids whining "Teacher, teacher", kids asking me which color is better, me asking why one is not eating, and me monitoring someone who has not finished her worksheet. (What an amazing multi-tasker I have become!) Then there are times when I choose to appear rather apathetic towards certain incidences that I know are opportunities for the kids to learn and grow from. A kid looking at me with puppy eyes because he didn't do his homework and bring his materials can't be a time to respond with a, "Aww, you little cutie, come. Teacher is here."  

As I think about my day-to-day encounters, I praise God for bringing me to a place where I can push myself to be better. Being constantly aware of the need to be selfless drives me to depend on God's grace because I know, without Him,  I would always think about my comfort. Of course, there are times when I simply want to just sit down and not mind those who need help. But when I think about this calling, my conviction, and how God is putting this opportunity in front of me for me to be better,  I want to heed to the still small voice saying, "Just do it."  And by that, I remember this verse, James 4:17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. (NLT) We ask, "Lord, make me patient. Change me." But are we doing something about what's already in front of us? That's the thing. 


So whether a kid reports a wound thats smaller than a grain of rice and asks for bandaid, or when 6 students are asking questions all at the same time, or when I'd have to repeatedly say, "Out of your nose! Out of your nose!" while holding a semi-glaring look, I smile, extend myself, and say, "Lord, thank you because you are changing me!"


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

That Need...

I saw that phone... I need that...
I saw that bag... I need that...
I saw that top... I need that...

I'm a girl. Of course, that's the kind of conversation I have with myself when I go shopping or (mostly) window shopping. The constant battle of need vs. want is probably what every shopping lady presents before their own jury. I love nice things and I appreciate looking nice, too. Nothing wrong, right? Nothing at all. It's only the heart issue that we all have to be wary of. Left unchecked and ungaurded, we will all fall prey of what we think satisfies us to the brim. When I am about to feel the weight of the world's standards on my shoulders as I foresee a minor panic attack while holding onto tops that are up for a debate, I pause and buzz myself, "Ginj, you're crazy. Do you even need this?"

I need this because I want to feel accepted. 
I need this because I want to look a certain way.. 
I need this because I think I will turn heads...

crap.

I once watched this show about women who deal with major spending problems. There was this girl who bought things that she didn't even realize she already had and would rather spend on clothes than pay rent. She then went to this store and had some sort of nervous breakdown cause she really wanted to buy a dress, but she knew she had to step it up and walk away. The concerned clerk rushed to her side then asked why. She said, "I just really want this. I just want to have pretty things." To which he replied, "Oh sweetie. (Hugs her). It's just a dress. It's not world peace."

This may not resonate with you if you don't even think world peace is a better counterpart to a Valentino or Vera Wang dress that you really want. Whatever choice you think is better, it speaks a principle here: Material things will never complete you. It means it can never hold you to make you feel loved. It means it can never speak life to you to make you feel worth it. It means it can never hug you to to secure every inch of your inner and outer needs. It doesn't complete you. At the end of the day, your P 10,000 pantsuit or P 85,000 Celine bag is not going to sustain a joyful spirit in your lifetime. 

Let's make it clear. I have no issues with the desire to dress beautifully. Fix your hair, get your nails done, treat yourself to a shopping spree... GO! You deserve it! It's the attitude behind every desire to buy or be a certain way that must be constantly checked and alighed with God's Truth of His love for you.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.
Colossians 2:6-8

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

That One Answer

Had been musing over certain things lately, observing how we function as empty vessels. How social media has become a driving force or meter by which we feel either good or crappy and how these days, people live for likes and posts. Through the waves of hype and trend, we seem to move along with the direction that the current takes us, leaving us wanting more or feeling even more inferior. With whatever result this leaves us, we fail to remember Truths buried underneath superficiality. Who am I really living for. God? People? Facebook? Hmmm, not sure?

There is a sense of competitiveness in all of us that will drive us to be better in anything. Photos are not photos anymore... There's a motive somewhere, hoping that we receive favor. And of course, I'm no stranger to this idea. I'm not writing post because I'm about to do some protest with a banner on hand that says, "No to Selfies" or "Band Facebook!" But what I'm thinking is, where does this come from? What must I do to stay anchored?

Andy Stanley drove it home when he did the series, The Comparison Trap. He said that since the fall of man, our broken relationship with God has created a gap in all of us that this life will never satisfy. Because God is perfect and He's everything we're not, this unattached connection has made us incomplete.

The pursuit to stay on top will always be there until we fully recognize that the applause of man is never going to fill in the gap that only a Divine can fill. It will be a constant, exhausting, and bleak activity because we chase after idols whose role was never designed to do the job that only a Savior can do.

If you're a Christian, you know what's next.

Jesus.

Like any kind of story, it only makes sense that there be a protagonist to this whole tragedy. There must be ONE thing that "works" or fits well in the picture; one piece that completes the picture. And Jesus is the answer that mends the broken design that was meant to be before sin corrupted us. He is what we don't have and what this life can never give. I don't want to sound mystical or Christianese. But with every math problem, a formula must be followed to arrive at an answer. It's black and white. No shades of gray, yellow or blue. The answer will always be the same no matter what kind of technique you apply to solve it. Jesus is the "formula" and beyond. Only when we believe and see the significance of His act on the cross, will we realize that He really is the answer to this life's questions and problems. 

... And I am good with that. Such a complex world with a simple answer. Jesus is the answer I choose and I want to be where He is as I have tasted and seen that who He is to me is incomparable to what this life will ever offer me.