Category Archives: Musings on God

Excerpts from Olivia Temporal’s devotional journal which narrates her personal journey with God.

Nagsimula sa Wala

Walang tirahan…
Ipinaubaya ng mga magulang ang lupang pinag-aawayan.
Kung kaya’t minsa’y nakatira sa tabing dagat,
Minsan nama’y sa kabundukan,
At kung minsa’y sa *pinagpapaupahang lupa.

Walang pangkain…
Umiinom lamang ng mainit na tubig malam’nan lang ang t’yan bago pumasok sa eskwela.
Walang pambili ng kendi kung kaya’t namumulot na lamang ng balat nito upang gawing pera-perahan.
Nahulog na bunga ng sampaloc ang mirienda at minsa’y pasalubong sa mga kapatid.
Walang panghandang *suman sa Pasko at mga okasyon, kaya pinag-aari kung ano ang meron.

Walang salapi…
Binabagtas ang eskwelahan mula sa kabundukan nang nakatapak upang hindi madumihan ang tsinelas na gagamitin sa pagpasok.
Init ng araw sa paggamas ay ayaw nang maranasan kung kaya’t pursigido sa pagsusumikap na makapagtapos.
Hindi umasa o sinisi ang mga magulang na walang pangbayad sa matrikula, bagkus ay nagsumigasig na itaguyod ang sarili.

Nakipagsapalaran sa Maynila…
Nilisan ang probinsyang kinalakihan upang makahanap ng trabaho at makapag-aral sa kolehiyo.
Nagtrabaho sa lahat ng maaaring pasukan.
Mananahi sa umaga at estudyante sa gabi.
Araw-araw nilalabhan ang nag-iisang uniporme.
Nagtatago sa mga kaklase na nagyayayang kumain,
At lumalagi sa silid-aklatan kapag breaktime dahil walang pambili ng pagkain.
May ilang semestre na kinailangang tumigil upang mag-ipon ng pangmatrikula ngunit hindi kinalimutan ang layunin na makapagtapos.
Kahit inabot ng walong taon sa kolehiyo ay hindi alintana ang layo ng edad sa mga kaklase.

Sa kabila ng lahat…
Ang Diyos ay marunong.
Marahil ay hindi na lumuwas ng Maynila kung mayroon nang pagmamay-aring lupa sa probinsya.
Marahil ay hindi na nagpursiging makapagtapos kung hindi nangarap ng mas maalwang buhay.
Marahil ay hindi na nagsumikap at nagpunyagi kung hindi naranasan ang matinding hirap.

Jovita Fayen Recella-Perez; graduation picture, UST, University of Santo Tomas
Tanda ng naabot na pangarap.

Sa awa ng Diyos, nagbunga ang lahat ng pagtitiis, paghihirap at pagsusumikap.
Kung tutuusin ay hindi nagsimula sa wala, dahil simula’t sapul ay baon ang pangarap na makapagtapos ng pag-aaral at kalakip nito ang hindi matatawarang determinasyon, pagpupunyagi, sipag at tiyaga na hindi bumitiw sa adhikain.
Sa pagpapala ng Diyos, dininig ang mga panalangin at naabot ang mga pangarap.

*pinagpapaupahang lupa – lugar na pansamantalang pinagtatrabahuhan (hal. lupang sinasakahan)
*suman – ang pangunahing handa kapag may okasyon sa probinsya.

…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1b-3)

Proper Perspective: Seeing Things as They Are

Romans 8:28, everything work together for the good, love God, His purpose, God's purpose, anawangin cove, nagsasa cove, cove, beach, sea, blue sea, sand, white sand, mountain, mountain and sea, Zambales, Philippines, more fun in the philippines
Anawangin, Zambales, Philippines | April 2010

ref, refrigerator, fridge, kelvinator, white fridge, black fridge, small fridgeTuesday was the last time I saw this fridge in our house.  It will be shipped to Marinduque, my Mom’s province, in few a days and I guess I am feeling a bit sentimental about it.

This fridge had been a reminder for me of the time I lived independently. (Well, not totally independent because I was with my sister. I think my family couldn’t just let me live completely alone so my sister had to come with me and I also preferred it that way.) It evoked a lot of memories and realizations.

It was in February 2009 when I decided to live separately from my family. The event that led to that decision was a sibling conflict. I slept at my friend’s house for a week and finally decided that I was not yet ready to go back home. Looking back, it’s funny to think that at 24 I ran away from home. Not like a typical teenage runaway, huh?

My sister and I chose a newly constructed apartment two blocks away from my family’s. I knew I would miss them soon and hoped the tension would shortly subside. I also wanted my sister to see them anytime she wanted.

When we moved to that new place, I was so excited about buying stuff and checking the items on my shopping list that I didn’t notice I filled the apartment too quickly. We had all the essentials in less than two months and this fridge was one of those. When I received my card bill on the fourth month, I was surprised!

“I thought everything was at 0% installment?!” I asked looking at the total amount due.
“They were… and they all piled up…” I answered back as I reviewed the transactions.

I miscalculated my purchases. The accumulated installment amount for the succeeding months were more than I could handle and that’s not including rent and other expenses. But the Lord saw us through. I was able to pay the statement balance month-on-month just like before. How? The Lord made it possible.

This is one of the many occasions the Lord taught me that the last thing I should worry about is provision. In fact, He commanded us not to worry or be anxious about anything but in every situation – pray (Philippians 4:6-7; Matthew 6:25-34). He made me realize that we were able to make both ends meet not because my mom is resourceful or because I have a good paying job but only because He is our provider.

It was also during this time when the Lord opened my eyes and gave me a proper perspective about my brother. He seemed tough and stubborn on the outside. I thought he never listened and would deliberately do the opposite of what I said, and this always provoked me.

One night, when they visited us in our apartment, I noticed something I never knew before: a comment that was meant to be a constructive criticism disheartened him. I further observed and realized that he is in fact vulnerable to everything we say and do. This broke my heart. I was too harsh and unloving wanting to break what I thought to be his impenetrable shell not knowing that I was already crushing him. How could I be so blind?

As much as I want to undo the negative effects of all I did, I cannot change the past. I am just grateful that the Lord revealed this truth to correct me. I can only hope and pray that the Lord would eventually heal all the pain I have caused him, and that He will also call my whole family to Himself and enjoy Him forever.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Nothing Without You

John 15.5, vine and the branches, Jesus is the vine, remain in Christ, apart from Him we can do nothing, we can do nothing, remain, abide, bear much fruit, bear fruit, sunset, anawangin, zambales, philippines, sky, sea, mountain, sun, dark blue sky, orange sun, orange sky, beach, horizon, more fun in the philippines
Anawangin Cove, Zambales, Philipines | April 2010

I have been trying to write something for this week’s post but I cannot seem to come up with something substantial. Last week, I started to draft the continuation of my previous post – “God’s Battle (Part 2)”. Then I tried to edit and add something to it on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday but there’s nothing coming out. I tried to write a new draft and even a new topic but I still cannot complete it. I don’t think it’s because I am experiencing writer’s block or maybe I am but I have only been writing about my journey and there’s a lot to write plus I also have my journals to look at. It’s just not as fluid as before.

As I believe this is something the Lord prodded me to do, I have somehow committed to do this every week. I asked Him, “Do You really want me to do this? I cannot think of anything; if You really want me to do this then You have to help me.”

I also thought maybe I am just pressuring myself to be able to consistently do this every week. What if the Lord wants me to take a break for now? I am also preoccupied with a lot of more important things that need to be accomplished this week: work deadlines, study for the lesson on Friday, etc. Maybe I need to finish the lesson first. Maybe I can just share short devotionals on my Bible readings. Maybe I need to be able to adjust to the Lord’s leading and not just insist on my own scheduled routines. I don’t know, maybe I am just blabbering. 😛

Hence I would like this to be another reminder for myself. That everything I know and can do are all from Him. I am nothing and have nothing without the Lord. It is only because of His wisdom, knowledge, grace and strength that I am able to do anything.  Apart from Him I am nothing. (John 15:5) Apart from Him, I am not able to do anything that would bring Him glory and is of eternal value. I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” (Psalm 16:2)

A Birthday Tribute to the Only One

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“…I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine!” (Isaiah 53:1)

Who am I, Lord, that You are mindful of me; that You would show mercy on me and sanctify me for Yourself; that You would speak tenderly to me, call me by my name and tell me I am Yours? You who are the God and Creator of all the heavens and the earth; majestic, glorious and all-powerful would care for me? Only because of Your immeasurable love, mercy, and grace that I can stand before You and gaze at You. How great are You, Father? I am lost for words.

You are the only One who have seen every detail of my life and have been with me every moment. You are the only One I have that can never be taken away from me. I am Yours and thank You, Father, that I can also call You mine.

You have placed people in my life to be tangible expressions of Your love for me and I was overwhelmed by Your many surprises through them. Thank You, Father, for my family, relatives, spiritual family, and friends who showed their love, gave their time, made effort, used their skills and even showered me with gifts. May I also be a tangible expression of Your love for them. Thank You for the diversity of personalities, gifts and skills that You use for the edification of the Body. Thank You for their prayers, messages, kind words, encouragements and affirmations. You are the only One who can change us and I am left in awe at Your work. All glory be to Your Name for the sake of your steadfast love and faithfulness.

Thank You, Lord, for another year of life. Unworthy as I am, You have purposed to give me the privilege and joy to serve You and be used by You for Your glory and eternal purposes. May I be useful to You for Your Name’s sake. You are the only who can satisfy me. Enable me to always enjoy You and mold me into the character of Jesus Christ. Be glorified, Father.

Olive's Birthday Surprises, family, friends, birthday celebration, gifts, cakes, love, God's faithfulness

Grateful for the birthday surprises of: the Mabuhay kids with Holgado family; my CAC family and those who were with us in the outreach; my GCF Connect family and their overwhelming encouragements and affirmations; my family, relatives, Galela and Adoremos family who celebrated with me at home; Mommy, Miko and Malyn who sent me messages even though they are away; my friends, previous co-workers, former classmates who sent me messages. Thank You! I will always treasure these.

“What are You doing, Lord, and how do You want me to take part in it?”

GCF-Connect, Connect Agents of Change, Dr. Ronald Macam, CBAP
Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF) – Connect Agents of Change (CAC) Growth Group. With our speaker Dr. Ronald Macam of Conservative Baptist Association of the Philippines (CBAP).

The seemingly gentle reminder for us to have a Great Commission mindset became more than an encouragement for me. It was one of God’s ways of answering my apprehensions.

A long time ago, I asked the Lord how difficult was it for Abraham to leave his country, his people and his father’s household?

In Genesis 11:27-12:5, it may seem that the chronology of the story was:
11:31 Terah took Abraham, Sarah, and Lot to set out to Canaan but settled in Haran
11:32 Terah died
12:1 God said to Abraham to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and go to the land that the Lord will show him
12:4 Abraham went

But Acts 7:1-4 recounts the chronological sequence of events:

“The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living.”

When Abraham was commanded by the Lord to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and go to the land that He would show him, he did not go to that land right away. Abraham just passively went through the circumstances. When his father decided to set out to Canaan, he followed; when his father decided to settle in Haran instead, he settled. Finally, when his father died he obeyed the Lord but not completely because part of his father’s household was with him – Lot.

It was a gradual obedience on the part of Abraham but the Lord was patient and gracious in giving him time and preparing his heart until he finally completely obeyed the Lord. The Lord is faithful and His purpose for Abraham came to pass.

Then I asked: How difficult is it to leave your country, your people and your father’s household? To leave your family, relatives, friends, and all the people you love not knowing when you will see them again. How difficult is it to leave the security and comfort of familiar things and go to a foreign country you know nothing about? But then, I realized, how can I ask these things when other people even went through more difficult circumstances to leave alone and live alone?

All these questions and anxieties were overshadowed by this longing in my heart:
What are You doing, Lord, and how do You want me to take part in it?

Being reminded of the importance and urgency of not just evangelism but also cross-cultural missions has caused me to look forward to that foreign country.  Knowing that each of us is part of one Body and has a specific function, and realizing the need of other people make me forget the difficulty of leaving instead be joyful and find courage in the purposeful plan of the Lord.

***

Father, Your Word is true. You are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine and I can only stand in awe of You. Thank you for Your graciousness and faithfulness to me, for being patient with me and giving me time to be with my family, for helping me show them how much I love them, for fixing my relationship with them [which is still in progress], for assuring me that You will be the One to take care of them and not me, for how You have been faithful in their lives as well, for preparing me and my family, and for even answering all my petty questions and doubts. Sanctify me, Father, may I be useful to You and be prepared for every good work for Your glory. You are my God so may Your will be done exactly according to how You want it and in Your perfect time.

15.01.17

Remembering God’s Goodness and Faithfulness

clouds, sky, cottony clouds, horizon, blue sky, white sky, airplane window view

My mom flew to another country for a quick vacation and I posted a message on a social media site to encourage her, along with other family members, in remembering God’s goodness to our family [clan]. It was a quick summary of a few milestones and answered prayers of my mom.

Later that night, as I continued with my prayer time, I tried to recall where I left off and found that I was [again] worrying and complaining to the Lord. Now after being refreshed with God’s goodness and faithfulness, I saw these worries as insignificant / trivial / negligible. Then I suddenly realized that the Lord wanted me to also remember His goodness and faithfulness, to approach Him with thanksgiving, and enable me to see things in proper perspective. The Lord made me aware that I was again magnifying the concerns of the world and forgetting the truth that He is the almighty God who is in control. 

Such is the nature of man. We are forgetful and we need to be constantly reminded. Just like the Israelites who at one moment witnessed the majesty, power and glory of the Lord then the next moment were complaining and grumbling, anxious about their lives, forgetting everything He has done. Thus the Lord gave them instructions to help them remember His great and mighty wonders and revere Him. (Story in Exodus)

Remembering God’s goodness and faithfulness is a great weapon against all feelings of worry, anxiety, discouragement, disheartenment, frustration, hopelessness, or depression. It results in a grateful heart that sees what the Lord has done good and not what’s lacking or what’s not working out; a heart that sees that God is greater than all the worries, fears and problems of the world; a heart full of hope in the character of the Lord.

Entrusted to be Trustworthy

I feel like the task ahead of me is daunting and I hear myself making excuses just like Moses when the Lord commanded him to speak to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3-4):

“Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exod. 3:11)

“O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue”. (Exod. 4:10)

Entrusted Steward

These words were from the person who became the adopted son of the Pharaoh’s daughter (Exod. 2:10). He was a palace prince and had the privilege to be educated and trained in the best school in Egypt during his time. Acts 7:22 states that Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. Yet he said he was slow of speech and tongue?

In the same way, has not the Lord blessed me with so much? Just a few days ago, I was recounting the blessings of having hardworking parents who sent me and my siblings to good schools to give us the best education we can have and not let us experience the hardship they went through in funding their own education. Yet now I get intimidated with the enormous responsibility that will be given to me and say: “Lord, I do not know anything; I do not know what to do; I do not know how to speak;  I do not know what to say.” Does it mean that all the education and training the Lord gave me were useless?!

Trustworthy Steward

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48)

This teaches us to be faithful and wise managers of the things He has entrusted us [talents, skills, spiritual gifts, knowledge, time, wealth, etc]. Everything that we have been given should be used to serve and edify one another (1 Peter 4:10). It is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. (1 Cor. 4:2)

Going back to the story of Moses, after all the encouragement and assurance the Lord gave him, he said: “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (Exod. 4:13) He had fears that we may not know of and may not understand but the fact remains that God is greater than all of his fears combined. The work has to be done; who will do it?

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)

Everything is from Him and is about Him. It should never be confidence in the flesh instead it should be confidence in the Lord because it is His strength, His wisdom, His knowledge, His gift, His provision, His work, His timing. We have no excuse. Being available for ministry lifts our focus off of ourselves and enables us to see the needs of others; it pushes us to grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord by following His example of servanthood; it gives us joy in pursuing His purposes for us; it puts us in a place where we can witness God’s work and where we can see His glory.

03.01.17