and listen to the musical tweets of the birds in the morning)
Friday, January 31, 2014
(the bushfire remnants a day after)
I stand at the front door and I see a once lush greenery and home to many wildlife, now all burned up from the bushfire. Yes, my house almost got burned. The bushfire was too close for comfort, just 25 meters away!
The trail of destruction has left me, my family and our whole community reeling in shock and asking why on earth such a disaster should occur. And the thought these fires were caused by ‘arson’ evokes so much anger and frustration.
Those with a faith in God, myself included are in many ways facing the necessity to question God’s sovereignty over this particular life-threatening event. Many friends and family both here and overseas prayed that life and property would be spared. Yes, I am grateful that my house stands intact, but what if it wasn’t? It prompts me to question and doubt: Did God not have the strength to calm the flames? Or alternatively, I am forced to doubt God’s goodness, toying with the possibility that the all-powerful creator is at best distantly careless, hearing our prayers but wilfully choosing to let them slip by the wayside?
Just a week before this event, At least 50+ homes have been destroyed after a massive bushfire in the Perth Hills area and a man has been killed while preparing his home for a separate blaze in the area.
My homeland, the Philippines, has recently been struck by a super typhoon called ‘Haiyan’ causing massive destruction and countless deaths. It was an exceptionally powerful tropical cyclone that devastated portions of Southeast Asia. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6200+ people in the country alone. As of this writing, bodies are still being found as my countrymen continue to clean up the major city of Tacloban. My island was partly spared by a mere fraction. However, major parts of Tacloban had been wiped out. Days and hours before ‘Haiyan’ devoured the heart of the country, christians prayed for God to calm the storm. But the storm devoured so many lives, and homes and properties.
Again, it leaves me to question. Did the people of Tacloban not pray enough? How can I reconcile the many lives lost with an all powerful, all loving Father who seeks the best for his people?
The more I ponder deep, the more I am forced to stand in awe of the sheer magnitude of God. The more I study the life, teachings and work of Jesus, the more I am blown away by just how relevant He is to me today in all my circumstance.
You see, if we are working within a framework which asserts that our subjective experiences are the ultimate test for God’s power and goodness, then we are bound to be left flailing at the end of a misguided faith journey.
(the day after - smoke still in the horizon. I used to get into the bush
and listen to the musical tweets of the birds in the morning)
and listen to the musical tweets of the birds in the morning)
(the 'firies' - relentless, brave and my modern-day heroes!
They never left our street until all the fire has been put out)
If it is a fundamentally true statement that “God is good” as the Bible claims, then His goodness is true no matter what our personal circumstances may be. I believe that God’s goodness runs far deeper. I may be on the brink of losing a loved one, or losing all that I have, but God is still good. He is ALL GOOD!
(Gloria, our friend kangaroo, our regular friend
and visitor every night came back
with a limp and burnt tail)
And so this is where my mind comes to rest- not so much at questions of goodness or of power, but at questions of plan and of purpose. But right now, with my Bible open beside me and my thoughts on the things of God, I am not dissatisfied nor do I feel overwhelmed by what is ahead. Rather, I hope and pray that in all of this, God’s will might be done and I look forward to the chance to one day look back on these days and see what God’s plan was all along.
Always, God is good.
I have recently commissioned a friend to restore an old and rugged frame and turn it into something useful, a blackboard. This frame, once painted in gold, then in turquoise, now painted with ash white. It has been distressed and crackled. The turn out is amazing! Underneath the new paint of ash white, is turquoise and gold, to represent new beginnings, new discoveries, and the past memories --- both a treasure and irreplaceable!
Friday, November 22, 2013
I found this video on a friend’s timeline that talks about “Keys to Success” in life. It was interesting because what she shared were actually what Jesus taught us in the Holy Book.
successful people have “grit”, described as one with passion and perseverance for very long term goal….working really hard to make that future a reality….living life like it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Grit is never giving up…and the acceptance of failure. reiterates that
God invented “GRIT” and is taught to us as evidenced in the following scriptures:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Prov.14:23.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Heb 12:1
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Gal 6:9
“"Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up.: Prov. 24:16a
In Angela’s studies, some questions were raised, and to quote:
“How do I build “grit” and how do I get people motivated for the long run?”
“I don’t know!” was her honest answer.
But I know the answer to that.
Jesus. Our knowledge and faith on our Lord Jesus, our Saviour.
Jesus Himself is the main motivation to keep running. The main way to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” is, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (12:2-3)
You have to remember though that you can’t run the race if you’ve never entered it. If you’ve never put your faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, you aren’t even in the race. If you don’t enter the race and run with endurance, you wont’ get the prize.
Getting the prize is freedom! Finishing the race is success!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
from the word integer, which means ONE..
I have integrity when who I am at home is ONE with who I am outside of my home.. When it is not ONE (inside and outside the home) then I am living in pretense... Jesus calls it "hypocrisy".
I could have deep respect for people outside my home, but if I am unkind to my own family, that is hypocrisy.. It is not ONE.. It is not integrity... it is called hypocrisy. (Celebrate Recovery)
"If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." 1 Jn 4:20
Photo by CJ
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Redeem, Restore, Rebuild!
My heart cries out to see the devastation in areas greatly affected in my home country, the Philippines. So far, 10000 deaths found in Tacloban alone. The whole province is wiped out. I am grieving for my fellow countrymen. I thank God for Australia, my adopted country, for extending help financially. Filipinos here in Perth are pulling resources together to send relief goods to be shipped to the remote areas.
Countless have lost their homes and the humble possessions have been wiped out by the merciless, “Yolanda”. So many little children lost their parents, their families! Being so far away, I can only gather and put together as much resources as possible to send home.
Bim and I were contemplating about the turn of events last night. God allow these circumstances in our lives for a reason– just like the life experience of Job in the Bible. He lost everything that he had. When Job made a sacrifice in faith, at the end, the Lord turned Job’s captivity and gave him twice as much as he had before. Suffering had been an expansive, faith-demonstrating opportunity for Job. God had grown much bigger; Job had become smaller in his own eyes.
The Filipinos will come out of this with greater faith, to see God as much bigger than all the struggle and suffering!
My brothers and sisters in Christ, please continue to pray for those people in the Philippines greatly affected. Our ultimate help is in the name of the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth!
God will redeem, God will restore, God will rebuild! God save the Philippines!
Shot taken at Silay, Negros Occidental, July 2013
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Beautiful Sunday morning, whilst driving back home after church service:
Bim: “That was an awesome message, wasn’t it kids? I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Listen, what does ‘fearfully’ mean to you?”
We were all silent. I couldn’t think of anything to say.
Jed: “Hhhmm… I know the answer but I just can’t express it!”
CJ: “Yeah right, Jed!”
Bim: “Sure, we all know what ‘wonderfully’ means – it means unique, beautiful, different, striking, remarkable—outside of the power of human comprehension! But what about ‘fearfully’? It wasn’t explained very well at preaching today?”
Still and silence dominated the atmosphere.
Then Bim continued on, “Fearfully means: to stand in awe, deep reverence, respect, honor! God created us with awe, with reverence, with respect and with honor! And the best part is, God ‘fearfully and wonderfully’ created us in His image! Imagine that! Isn’t that amazing?” Then he continued on to explain further. I found myself taking notes!
May we be enthralled by this thought and encourage us that we were remarkably and uniquely created by the Creator in awe and reverence in His own image!
Wouldn't that blow your mind away? Praise be to God!
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
Monday, November 4, 2013
Immediately after the night shift was a side trip to the hardware store to buy some lights, a few more potted plants and a short picket fence to install around my herb garden.
Just when I was about to pay at the cashier, this lady said, “You’re a nurse, aren’t you?”
I quickly replied, “Yes?”
And then she continued, “And you just got out from work. How was the night shift?”
I said, “It was very busy. And how did you know I’m a nurse?”
She pointed to my ID. And just when I was about to say something, she interrupted by saying, “You nurses are a gem! You guys are beyond measure! You work very hard, oftentimes unappreciated. You save lives and you always wear a smile. Just like you now. Your eyes show you’re tired but the smile never left your face.”
I was left bewildered.
And then she said, “Because of that, this, this and this (pointing to some plants, the lights and other little things that I bought) is on me!”
I was shocked! She offered to pay half of my bill!
Wow, totally unexpected. I had so much joy in my heart way beyond measure! What a treat. Indeed, the joy of the Lord is my strength!
Thank you amazing God!
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Just as sweet as the flow’rs in bloom
of spring array’d
So is a smile, such lovely portrait
of a semblance portray’d.
Just as the mountains beamed
to gape on spring
So is a smile, as light as feather
refreshment it brings.
Just as fresh dewdrops glisten
like glass beads pearly spray
So is a smile, a glimpse
of heaven’s matchless display!
Just as lovely blossoms beam like
the morning sunshine
So is a smile, momentary troubles
Compel to unwind.
Just as the nightingale seranades
her lullaby by sunfall
So is a smile, of a little child’s
who hears its mother’s call.
Just as the bees kissing the soft
velvety petals of a rose
So is a smile, inequities are forgiven
and silences the opposed.
An ORANGE day at the backyard.
Enjoy and watch a favourite song of mine. I love, love this video! Trust me, you’ll be left grinning the whole day!
Blessings from Perth!
Friday, September 20, 2013
A friend once asked me, “When is that “ideal”, prince-charming coming into my life, Jenny?”
I had no answer to that query simply because I do not know the answer.
People desire so many things: a husband, a wife, a house, a car, a child, a university degree. But it stops there. A desire. It only sums up to a “desire”.
The Holy Scriptures say, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matt. 7:7
Ask. The main condition. Is it God’s will? Are you entrusting yourself to God’s loving authority, praying in line with God’s Word, and being led by His Spirit? Do you surrender to His precepts and discerning to misleading choices and deception? Is it God’s priority for you?
Seek. Do you ask the Holy Spirit to lead your steps, to direct your ways, and to guide you with your decisions? Do you go out of your way to find what God has in store for you?
Knock. Are you "persistent and bold" enough to walk in faith (Luke 11:5-8), willing to wait and persevere? Do you believe that God will provide what you desire and need? He may not answer right away but He notices you! Now, go and tag on His robe.
Our faith and prayer exposes our belief in our all-knowing, all answering God who gives good and perfect gifts to His children. The key is knowing our Heavenly Father and knowing we are His, He will not withhold anything from us.
In His perfect time….
It will be given you,
You shall find
It will be opened to you!
A beautiful weekend to one and all!
This is an old door knocker from my aunt. Thank you Tita Pynky! It’s now on our door!