Do I really love You, Lord?

“I love You, Lord

And I lift my voice to worship You

Oh, my soul rejoice

Take joy, my King, in what You hear

Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ears.”

 

This song is probably one of the best known Christian songs out there. Although there’s already a lot of good Christian music now being used at churches, I would always be brought to tears whenever I hear or sing this song. I love how this song, simple as it is, speaks so much of a worshiper’s desire to really worship God. It doesn’t even need complicated chords, riveting riffs or spectacular and powerful vocals for it to impact many. The simple message it has is more than enough to do that.

 

This morning, when I was listening to this song as I was preparing for the message I’ll be sharing later at a group, it took on a whole new meaning for me.

 

“I love You, Lord and I lift my voice to worship You…”

 

When we are filled with God’s love we can’t help but lift our voice and worship God, right? But earlier I had to ask myself, do I really lift my voice to worship God? What does it really mean when I say “and I lift my voice to worship You”? I realized it’s not just pertaining to when we sing songs to Him but also when we speak, act or think.

 

Worship is not just the singing of songs during worship times at church or during your quiet time. Worship is what we do when we are at home and our parents asked us to do something. Worship is how we do our tasks at work. Worship is how we talk to our friends and the things we talk about. Worship is what’s on our mind (even what you post) when you are in the comment section on Facebook. Worship is what I do when I’m all alone in my room.

 

What I am trying to say is that our life is our worship to God. When we say we worship God, we say “Lord, I surrender everything to You. My life is now my worship to You.” So the way we live our life, the things we do, say or think reflects the kind of worship we give God. I’m not saying we should be perfect and that if we really love God, we won’t fail at all. Because we will. We are weak and it is only by His grace and strength that we can really live a life that is for Him. His forgiveness is always ready and available and all we have to do is ask Him for it whenever we do fail and end up sinning. We can offer our life to Him as our worship because of what Jesus did on the cross for us. He paid for our sins and rose again so that we may be made clean once again and be reunited with our Father once more.

 

I hope that the next time we do, say or think of something, we ask ourselves first these questions: will He really take joy in whatever He would hear come out of my mouth when I talk? Am I really rejoicing in Him every day even in the midst of difficulties? Are the things I say, do and think a sweet sight and sound to God? Do I really lift up my life to Him in surrender?

 

I pray that starting today, our lives would now really say, “I love You, Lord.” And if it’s not yet, it’s not too late. God is just waiting for You to accept the love He has for you and surrender everything to Him.

 

Have a great day!

 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

 

 

Cessa ❤

 

Random Realization #1: Selfless Love

I really love how He can speak to us at random times. I find it really sweet that even in the most mundane tasks and moments, He find ways to speak to us. Parang BDO lang (Just like BDO). Hahaha. Corny joke there.

Kidding aside. I thought it’ll be awesome to record these “realizations”, as I fondly call it, and share it here. At least, most of them. So without further ado, here’s Random Realization #1.

——————–

All of us make mistakes. Therefore, we are not in the position to judge others by what they’ve done. We won’t always understand their reasons and the situation they are in, neither will they of ours.

But here’s the thing, we all made mistakes but Jesus chose to love us still. So much so that He willingly died for our mistakes, for our sins. And it doesn’t even end there. After three days, He rose again so that our salvation would be made complete. So that we can come to Him again, be forgiven from our sins and be able to enjoy Him for eternity.

That’s how great His love is. Despite all our imperfections and wrongdoing He still loved us. Knowing and experiencing all of that, shouldn’t we extend the same kind of love to others? Love that doesn’t judge. Love that keeps no record of wrongs. Love that doesn’t hold grudges. Easier said than done, I know. But then again, His love for us is a great reminder and motivation for us to love others just as How he loved us every time we forget and find it hard to do so.

Princess ♥

I see no stain on you, my child.

“I see no stain on you my child. – God

Love that erases all sins, mend broken lives and make something tragic into something so beautiful, that’s who You are Lord. :’) #forevergrateful #lovelikenoother”

That was my Facebook status after watching the testimony of Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza and listening to Kari Jobe’s My Beloved. And oh, how true that statement is in my life. More than it being a Facebook status, it speaks greatly of what God’s love is. Of who God is. I know so not only because I’ve read it in the Bible or because it was taught to me at church by the pastors and my mentors. I know so because I’ve experienced it countless times.

If asked of an instance when I experienced first hand God’s love, I could probably tell you a lot. But today I choose to tell a story not many know. A story I’ve tried to hide for a while. And it’s about time I tell this one.

It all happened year 2012. I was still reeling from the impact of something that happened to me the previous year. I was depressed and lost. I distanced myself from my family, spiritual family and friends. I felt that I was the black sheep of the family. My self-esteem hit rock bottom. I isolated myself yet I yearned for attention from other people. Prior to this period of my life, I already have been rebelling quietly. I have been exploring sexually. And during this time it only got worse. My family, my spiritual family and my friends didn’t have any idea of what I have been doing.

And so I met a guy. We talked and I thought he was okay. I was led to believe we were friends and that he wouldn’t do me any harm. I thought he was different. At that time, I was really longing for attention from others and that’s what he gave me. Then came a time when I needed something really bad and I turned to him for help. He was so kind and willing to help me at first. But then as time passed, he started to ask something from me in exchange of his help. He asked me for pictures of me naked. I didn’t think twice and said yes immediately. I thought, “What difference could it make? I have been doing the same with other guys as well and even did some things worse than that.”

And so I obliged and gave him what he wanted. But he didn’t stop there. He then started to ask me for specific pictures of myself.  I started hesitating but still gave him what he wanted. Slowly though, I’ve been regretting sending him those pictures. And as days passed by, I was so full of guilt and remorse because of what I did. I started feeling dirty. So I told him I don’t need his help anymore and that we should stop what we are doing. He said okay. Just like that.

I thought that was the end of it. I was wrong. Days after, he started to ask me again. This time for videos. He want me to send him videos of myself. I said no. But he started using the pictures I sent him as leverage. He blackmailed me and told me he would send those pictures to my family. And who would want that to happen? So again, I obliged. And it became a cycle. I would say no every time but he would always threaten me. If I felt dirty before, I felt even dirtier. I felt so filthy, not worthy of love or any kindness. I felt that I deserved to go to hell. I became so desperate that I started seeking God again and again and again. But I felt so far from Him and thought that He didn’t hear my cries. I thought that was it.

I couldn’t bear it anymore and so I decided to end it all. I took my scalpel from my dissecting kit when I was still taking up Biology and tried to slit my wrists using that. I could have done it easily but a nagging voice in my head stopped me from doing so. Right there and then, I broke down and cried like I’ve never did before. I tried crying out to God once more and at that moment, I felt His embrace wrapped around me. His presence then was so tangible that I couldn’t deny it was Him. I spent that time talking to Him and just asking for His forgiveness over and over again.

After that, I made the decision to tell my parents everything that happened which wasn’t easy at all. I had to do it through a letter. I haven’t fully grasped and accepted that God has already forgiven what I’ve done so I was still ashamed and couldn’t face my parents. I was expecting them to be mad and scold me but their response melted my walls and all. They cried for me like I’ve never seen them do before. They responded with so much love and that completely shattered my heart and broke what remaining reservations I had. The love that they have shown reminded me of God’s love. He still chose to forgave our sins and even replaced us on the cross and died the death that should have been ours.

Of course, some measures have to be taken. I tried to research if there’s any law regarding what I just experienced but I saw slim chances. So all I can do at that time was go and block him from my social media accounts and from my family’s as well. My parents asked me to not use my online accounts for a few months to let the matter lie down. I had to drastically cut off any connections with that guy with the risk of him still spreading indecent pictures and videos of me.

For months, I was so afraid. What if he comes back to haunt me? What if he really had shared those pictures and videos? I would occasionally break down and think of the worst. I’d think I’m not worthy enough of someone’s love but over and over God would remind me that He loves me regardless of what I’ve done before. That I don’t have to be afraid and just be still and know that He is God. All I need to do is accept fully the new start He have given me already and to trust in Him completely. Slowly, healing started and He made me new as if I’ve never gone through all those things.

A lot has changed since then. He started molding me to be the person that I am now and is continually molding me to be the person He has intended me to be. He’s been using me in places and circumstances I never imagined I would be in. He’s now using me in advancing His Kingdom. And it’s all because of His grace. Not by my own works but by His grace and power alone.

I used to think I was alone. But now I know for sure that I’m not. I have Him with me always, whenever and wherever. I have my family, friends and mentors who loves me, who are always more than willing to celebrate with me my achievements, encourage and comfort me, rebuke and correct me (with love) when they saw something that needs to be corrected, guide me along my walk with God and comfort me in the midst of challenges.

Before, I would always ask myself why I did all of those things that led me to trouble. I know there is no justification to what I did wrong. It was wrong. It is only by God’s grace that I was able to start all over again. But I didn’t understand then. But I now know why I had to go through it. It happened so that I can come back to my first love which is Him. It happened so that His greatness can be made evident in my life. It all happened so that I can be an encouragement to those people who have have been violated sexually. It happened so that I can be an encouragement to those undergoing the same struggles that I had. It happened so that I would have a story to tell them and the others. A story of God’s redeeming and unconditional love. A story of God’s amazing grace. A story of how God can turn something so messy and ugly into something so beautiful.

“Come now, let’s settle this.” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them white as wool.

Isaiah 1:16, NLT

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 

Colossians 2:13-14, NLT

Princess ♥

On criticisms

Photo from Tom Fishburne: Marketoonist
Photo from KnowledgeTrain

Receiving criticisms

Oftentimes, there would be people who would offer give unsolicited advice and criticisms. Earlier this morning, while I was having my quiet time, I encountered this question: When that happens, how do we respond?  Personally, there would be times when in my mind I’d say, “Whoever gave this person permission to butt in my life?” And most of us, whether we admit it or not, would think that these people are minding other people’s business instead of minding theirs or we try to be sport, take their criticisms and learn from it. The latter would be the best thing to do, right?

While the latter is more recommended than the former, we shouldn’t just accept criticisms right away. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should act defensively whenever we get criticisms. What I am trying to say is we should also learn to discern which criticism is valid. What do I mean when I say valid? Not all criticisms are truth. The enemy can use these criticisms to feed you lies about yourself. (Proverbs 15:14) When Jesus was praying before He was captured, He asked God to “…protect them from the evil one… Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:15, 16) because Jesus knew that the enemy would do anything to keep us away from the truth.

That’s why we should always ask God to expose to us which is true and which are lies. That’s why we should always consult His Word for it is the truth. And after we know which is true, we should treasure it, ask God to help us change what we need to change and then act upon what needs improvement in us. The enemy wants us to either believe those lies or be defensive towards the one who gave the criticism and cause a rift between the two of you. But the Bible telling us to do the opposite. It is actually telling us to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)

Giving criticisms

On the other hand, just as how we should be careful when receiving criticisms so should we be careful also when giving out criticisms.

1. Check your motives

Why are you giving out criticisms? Is it because you can’t handle such imperfection? Is it because you want everything to be perfect and to be where and what it should be? Or are you doing it because you love that person and you want them to improve for the better?

“How painful are honest words! But what do your arguments prove?” (Job 6:25)
Indeed, what are you trying to prove when you are giving out your criticisms?

2. Do it out of love and with love

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I am nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a)

You might have heard of 1 Corinthians 13 over and over already but this verse is really useful (well nothing in the Bible is useless, but you know what I mean). Whatever we do and say, if it is without love then it is nothing.

When doing something, are we doing it out of love? How about with love? Are we doing it with love? Thing is, we can do something out of love but without love. Am I confusing you now? Let’s say, for example, you want to give a criticism to someone because you want them to improve and you are doing this out of your love for that person. But the way you do it is without love. Meaning, you do it in a way that will really hurt them. Tough love is different from just being mean and “tough” to make a point. Remember, Jesus didn’t have to shout  or to be mean to His disciples or to anyone when He is teaching them something. Our aim is to be Christlike. And if Jesus Christ did things with love when He was here on earth, then so should we.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)

3. Ask for consent

It wouldn’t hurt to ask someone if you can share your opinion, right? Especially when it is something about them? That way it wouldn’t feel like we are trying to tell them how to live their lives.

“Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you out of love… I did not want to do anything without your consent…” (Philemon 8, 9 & 14a)

In the passage above, Paul is asking Philemon to do something. And even if he had the authority to order Philemon what he ought to do, he didn’t. He chose to appeal out of love. He chose to ask for Philemon’s consent. Paul chose to humble down and appeal to Philemon. And he did it in a gentle way. And that’s what God’s Word is telling us to do. (Ephesians 4:2)

Even if we have the authority to give out criticisms or corrections doesn’t mean we have to and that it’s the only way. More often than not, when we are ordered to do something, we have the tendency to feel forced upon doing it. Our hearts are not into it. And it ends up with result that are only half good. When in fact, if we have done it wholeheartedly, the result would have been excellent and not just satisfactory. And we want that. Not only the half good results.
Which leads me to my next point…

4. Motivate them.

Even if we are giving criticisms, we can also motivate them at the same time. This I know from experience. How is that possible, you might be asking.

My parents, my mentors and leaders in the ministry and in church and my trainers when I was in training for the job that I have now have all been that way to me. They focus first on what I did great. And then they tell me the would be better’s. And then they wrapped it up by reminding that despite of what I need to improve, they are still happy with what I did. At the end of each mentoring, I didn’t feel condemned at all or that I wasn’t good enough. I actually feel appreciated. And that motivates me to improve more on what I need to improve.

See? It is possible. It’s not really sugar coating things and sparing one’s feelings. Of course, everything we say should be the truth. If you really think they did great, then we should say they did great. Don’t say you love it when you don’t just for the sake of saying something good. And what if that is the case? Nothing is entirely bad. If we know how to look then we would find something good about something. Remember, we are sinful yet God still loves us and finds us worthy enough for Him to send His only Son to die for our sins. Doesn’t that motivate you to do the same with others?

I hope you all learn something from this. This is purely based on what I learned in my quiet time, first-hand experiences and realizations in situations I have been in. Let’s be critical and careful with the criticisms we receive and at the same time, criticize carefully, out of love and with love.

Princess ♥

Hello 2014!

First of all… HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! How was everyone’s Christmas and New Year? Personally, I definitely had fun. This might be the best holiday season in my entire life…so far. Haha.

 
But before I go on and proceed with what I am planning to say in this post, I would like to say sorry because I haven’t been able to post anything here for more than a year. If you noticed (those who regularly visit my blog, of course. Thanks btw!), the last post I had for this blog is way back 2012. I had one post for 2013, but I had to delete it for some personal reasons. Anyway, like what I was trying to say. I’m very sorry. 2013 has been a wonderful year for me. And I just had to focus on some things offline. Good news is, I’m back! Yey!
 
So updates, updates. What has been going on my life for the past months? And what will be happening in the near future?
 
Update #1
 
I’m now a working girl! Officially, that is. Late 2013, I was able to snag a job as customer service associate or what others commonly know as call center agent. Funny thing is, this is a job I swore not to apply for before and yet now I’m actually enjoying it. But more on that some other time. So yeah, pretty much takes up most of my time in a day.
 
Update #2
 
I’m going somewhere this year. And I’m really, really excited. This is something I have been praying for for years and now it’s going to happen. More details on posts to come!
 
Update #3
 
I’ve done some major changes to this blog if you notice. The layout, the posts. Almost everything. I had to delete some posts that I think is not benefiting to my readers. Although this is more of a journal for me, I still had the responsibility over my readers. If what I would be posting or have posted will not be or has not been a good influence to my readers, then it is my duty to take it off this site. Thus, why some posts have been deleted or some posts has been edited. I’m not done yet with editing the contents of this site yet. So bear with me, please. 🙂
 
Expect for more posts to be put up in this blog. I’m committing to this blog this year. Weeeeeeeeh. Haha. But seriously, I will be doing not trying my best to put up contents here for everyone to read. If you have any topics you would want me to talk about, feel free to message me at the email address provided somewhere at the side bar. 🙂
 
Anyway, I think that’s it for now. I have to go and prepare for rehearsal and work. Bye everyone! Have a great day. God bless!
 
 
Princess ♥

On playing the keyboards.


Recently, I’ve been wondering endlessly why I was always asked to play the keyboards even if it is not really my forte. I mean I’m not good at it so why me? Bakit naman isasama pa ako sa mga magagaling nang mga musikero? Nakakahiya lang kasi nga napaka-unti lang ng skills ko sa pagtugtog compared to them. (Why let me, a petty musician, join excellent ones? It’s kind of embarrassing since my skills are very little compared to them.)


But just now, I realized that God allowed those things to happen for a purpose. I forgot that in everything that God allows to happen, there is a story/reason behind it that at first, only He knows. As I contemplate on this matter the past few days, God allowed me to come to the following realization:


1. These experiences teach me what humility really is.


And by humility, I mean true humility. Not the “hindi-naman-ako-magaling” (I am not good at all) kind of humility. We shouldn’t have that kind of “humility” because this kind of thinking does not honor God. God gave us the skills and talents that we have now and we shouldn’t belittle these gifts. Instead, we should strive to improve these gifts, which is my second point. But I’ll discuss more of that later.


So what is true humility? True humility, at least how I understood it, is recognizing that without God, we can do nothing. It is saying that “all of my skills and talents are nothing if I don’t have God with me”. It is allowing ourselves to be vulnerable before Him and allowing Him to use us for His glory whatever the way may be. Even if it gets too uncomfortable for us.


In my case, playing the keyboards is not very comfortable for me. I love playing it but not with other people. I have the tendency to be shy and embarrassed when I’m with other people. Nervousness would start to envelop me if other people see me play, even if they are just my band mates. There are times I would ask God, “Why would you put me here when you know I am better off singing?”


But then I realized that God is teaching me to humble down by removing me from my comfort zone which is singing and put me into a place where I’m uncomfortable. He did this so that I’ll stop relying on my own and let Him take the lead in everything. You see, we really need to learn obedience and put it into practice.


Obedience = Humility


2. I need to enrich the gifts that God gave me.


Like what I was saying earlier, we must remove from our system the “hindi-naman-ako-magaling” (I am not good at all) mentality. This does not honor God. What we should do is improve these gifts that God has given us. Those excellent musicians? They became very good with their crafts because they looked for ways on how they can improve their talents and did whatever might help them to do so.


You see, we all came from nothing. And it’s up to us what we would do with that nothing. God will sure help you do that, yes. But the initiative had to come from us. God won’t force us to do something we don’t want to do. That’s how He is. He gave us freedom to choose. Let us use that freedom to choose wisely. Choose to improve on what you got. Don’t look for things that are not there. Sometimes it’s okay to desire what we do not have and try to gain it. But try to focus first on the things that are right in front of you.


Another dilemma I have before is that I don’t have time to take formal lessons. I like to but I simply don’t have the time and money to do so. But then I was rebuked with that thought and realized I don’t need to have formal lessons just so I can improve. There are many ways available for me to be a better musician. My generation have the world at their fingertips. There’s the World Wide Web, books, magazines, instructional videos and many other modes of learning.


Lesson is, we must not let these factors prevent us from being better at what we do. Sabi nga nila, “Kapag gusto , may paraan. Kapag ayaw, maraming dahilan.” (Just like what they say, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”)

3. It’s not about me. It’s all about Him.

He made me remember why I joined the ministry in the first place. I joined the ministry because of the overflow of His love, because I love Him and because I want to be able to worship Him through the ministry I am in. And we worship him not only when we are at our best moments but in every single moment of our lives.


——


So yes, I’m still a bit nervous about playing the keyboards and sometimes I might feel inferior. But whenever I do, I’ll look back to this and remember what God has revealed to me this day. And yes, I’ll strive to improve these gifts that God has given me no matter what it takes. 🙂

Princess ♥

 

Jesus, be the center. It’s all about You.

I’ve been quiet here for a very long time the reason being the same as always. I get some idea for me to make a post about and when I finally try putting everything into words, it’ll all just disappear like a bubble. Just like that. And I haven’t been online the past few weeks. Yes, unbelievable but true. But this post, I just have to make this  one. Not for me but for Him. I always struggle in making posts and often times end up posting nothing. But if it’s about Him and His goodness, no matter how hard it is, I try my best to post it here because anything about Him is worth posting for. Plus, He gives me strength to do so.

Anyway, if anyone’s wondering how I’ve been, I’ve gone through life’s roller coaster. I’ve had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve been broken over and over again. To the point that I even thought of the idea of ending it all. (Don’t worry, those are just thoughts. I can never see myself doing that. God is good.) I’ve sinned frequently and extracted myself away from God and from what little relationship I was starting to have again with God. And even my secret sin which I have denounced before was beginning to become evident in my life again. I felt impure, dirty, and worthless. I felt so helpless that I even began to rely on strangers. And worse of all, I know I was being a hypocrite. I was standing in front of the people at church every Sunday and every church activity when I’m a wreck deep inside. What little self-esteem I have was diminishing slowly. In short, I was going on a downward spiral. Round and round ’til I reach the bottom.


But because God is so good, even before I reach the bottom, He already picked me up and started pulling me up again toward Him. And that He always did in amazing ways. A conversation with a friend (who happens to be an atheist/agnostic. Not really sure which of the two he is) and two songs I heard at a concert I went to made me realize that how I’ve been thinking and living my life was not right. I’ve been busy focusing on my issues that I’ve forgotten to make Him the center of my life. I’ve made all of my struggles, my situation, my problems and my feelings take control and be the center of my life. I was reminded to make Him the center of my everything, of every part of my life, no matter how small or big it is. I was so busy questioning everything that I have overlooked the fact that it all happened because I haven’t let Him take control of my life. I was blinded by my own actions. But because He loves me, He reminded me of what He already did for me and what He is constantly doing in my life. He have reminded me that He have already won my battle for me. That He have won the victory for me. Because He loves me. Because I am His child. Because I am His princess. And no child of His will be abandoned nor forsaken by Him. And all I have to do is let Him lead me where He wants me to go.


You might get tired of reading posts like this from me, but I’ll never stop because I know God will never stop working on me. He will allow me again to experience moments like this so that whenever I become broken, He would be able to fix me and made into an even better person. I’ll never stop because His love for me never stopped flowing. I’ll never stop because He deserves all the glory and honor and praise. And that to Him I now bring. :’)

P.S. I posted videos of the songs I was talking about in this post. Take time to reflect and meditate on the lyrics of the songs. God bless you all!



The Anthem by Planetshakers

Hallelujah,
You have won the victory.
Hallelujah,
You have won it all for me!

Death could not hold you down,
You are the risen king,
Seated in majesty,
You are the risen king!

Jesus Be The Center by Israel Houghton
Jesus at the center of it all
Jesus at the center of it all
From beginning to the end, it will always be
It’s always been You Jesus, Jesus
Nothing else matters, nothing in this world will do
Jesus You’re the center, everything revolves around You
Jesus You (at the center of it all)
Jesus be the center of my life
Jesus be the center of my life
From beginning to the end, it will always be
It’s always been You Jesus, Jesus
From my heart to the heavens, Jesus be the center
It’s all about You, yes it’s all about You
Jesus be the center of Your church
Jesus be the center of Your church
And every knee will bow

And every tongue shall confess You Jesus, Jesus





– Princess HCR. ♥