Monday, January 18, 2021

SHAPABLE, MOLDABLE

 

Image credits: San Miguel Yamamura Glass

"Bote!" "Garapa!" "Dyaryo!"

Shouted by a cart-pushing Chinaman going around our Manila neighborhood, these words woke me up most mornings when I was a kid—bagong-saltang probinsyana (fresh from the province, Sampaloc, Quezon) getting used to life in Manila. 

This was how migrants from mainland China started their fortunes in Manila back then. They collected bottles, old newspapers and metal scraps, set up sari-sari stores, or sold shoes from house to house. 

Their persistence surely paid off. From humble rickety shops, their children in the long run woke up to mornings in posh residential villages. The saga of Shoemart (SM) magnate Henry Sy is just one of those inspiring stories. But this blog is not about him. 

This is about how one rises from brokenness to wholeness. 

Let's revisit bote, garapa collected by cart-pushing Ching. Bottles by themselves are a pretty interesting topic. [I wrote loads of promo materials on them when I was in SMC's Packaging Division.]

I find them pretty amazing, actually. A great metaphor for brokenness, and wholeness. 

Psalm 34:18 "The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."

You see, those collected bottles are really destined for breaking. So when you break a bottle, wonder not, they'd be resurrected. Brought back to a bottle manufacturing facility, these broken bottles are then mixed with other ingredients like silica sand, soda ash and limestone; then burned, not to crisps, but to flowing liquid. 

Whoah, shapeable? Indeed. 

Because they're impermeable rock-solid objects, these broken bottles must be transformed to molten glass at approximately 1500 degree centigrade. (Makes you wonder how hot hell is. Maybe hotter?!)

Then as molten lava-like wonders, they spurt out as shooting glowing embers which are then molded and cooled off into bottles. 

Brand new! Shards no more! Soon displayed in supermarket shelves with their pricey contents inside.

Been broken yourself? Went through the fire yourself? And while you're at it, did you feel you could not get back up and collect your shattered parts? 

I have good news for you. 

God is in the business of collecting and putting together the shards of our broken lives, not to glue them back together, but to transform us into brand new glowing containers of His glory. 

Yes, we need to be fired, but fired precious, for His wonderful purpose for our lives. Memories of our old shattered, dysfunctional lives may still sneak in, but in Christ, we can become new. 

I've experienced it myself. Once me-centered Yay does not live here anymore. (Well, once in a while, she tries to sneak in but new-me catches her in due time.) 

Ezekiel 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." 

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold the new has come." 

Transformed to contain His glory, brand-new you can now shine your bright light for those around you. No longer afraid and cowering in fear and insecurity, but displayed—yet humbly—for the Master's use.

Prayer: Break me and make me brand new, Lord. Change my heart of stone that I may hear from you. Jesus, I repent and confess: You are my Savior and my Lord. Do with me as you please. 



Saturday, January 16, 2021

WHATEVERING

What's your go-to word when you want to say something but run out of words? 

Mine? "Whatever."

The Bible offers a whatevering alternative:

Philippians 4:8 "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

So when your mind gets blank or dark or confused or harassed, go on auto-shift mode to truth or whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable.

Excellent and praiseworthy thinks you surely won't run out of: First and foremost, God's love. Jesus' saving grace. Our daily ration of strength, good health, protection, nutrition. And yes, the caring of our loved ones. Endless good thoughts, don't you think?

Add to these the parade of God's promises which He has time and again fulfilled. And why not? He's our mighty God who's worthy of all the praises we can utter or sing.

Shift to this whatevering mode and feel your mind sifting your thought-debris and pulling all those impending slanders, criticisms and complaining to the trash bin. Yes, even your propensity to digest fake news! All because the Holy Spirit has shifted your focus from lies to truth. 

But first things first. Be on Christ-mode. 

1 Corinthians 2:16 "Who has the mind of the Lord as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." 

Prayer: Lord, Jesus, teach me to think as you would. Holy Spirit, counsel me and guide me. May my thoughts or words or actions speak loudly of Your presence in me. Amen. 




WORDY 2

The Word was made flesh. (John 1:14)

Jesus—the Word—took on human form to bridge the yawning gap between God and man after Adam sinned and brought humanity along with him to the mire. Jesus walked and spoke as a man would, breaking down God's saving grace for us in soundbites. 

God-speak to human-speak. So we won't miss His point. 

And what is His point really? That He loves us. 

That He won't let us crash-land without giving us a chance to fly. Really fly! 

He set us free from the shackles of sin. Jesus went all the way to the cross so that we who once lived in darkness may be transferred to His kingdom of light. 

If that's not enough, God left us His instruction manual—the Bible, so we won't be entagled in our day-by-day soap opera. 

Jesus, the Word, is really all we need! 

Jeremiah 1:12—"I am watching my Word to perform it." 

He who promised is faithful!

Friday, January 8, 2021

WORDY

Mind-boggling! Just 26 letters in the English alphabet. Yet piles and piles of books and manuscripts have been written since time began. 

With just these 26, infinite number of words and ideas have seen light. Not even the most prolific thinker among us could use all those words in our lifetime. Whatever language people speak or think with—ethnic, tribal, English, Chinese, etc.—we can all agree that our lives are continuously getting better because of all those words and ideas concretized through inventions, concepts, philosophies, music. 

A crazy cool thought: Let's build new continents out of those printed books! Now hold that thought. 

The Bible says that when God went about creating, He spoke the Word and whatever He spoke came to be. John 1:1/3—"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through Him." 

Jesus is The Word. All the creative and most profound words you could ever imagine—or not imagine—are in Him. We are the nanoest  proof of that. We got our creative powers from Him. 

With man's ability to use words and ideas to create tangible results, why do many people deny God the credit  of having created the universe? 

But let's be clear about it before we get all prideful and cynical: He alone—being the mighty God—has the power to create something out of nothing. 

Meanwhile, let's use our words wisely!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

FAKERY


Fakes. They abound.

They used to be just false teeth, breasts, derrieres, designer brands.

They've now been overtaken by fake news—fake claims, fake accusations, fake heroisms, fake testimonies, fake impeachment cases.
What's made it worse? Social media—with their algorithm gobbledegook. My puny mind can’t make sense of it but a recent documentary explained it plainly—the more you consume fake news, the more you’re fed fake news. Much like a virus rapidly mutating in a weak immune system.

That’s the nature of the beast. So now, we don’t wonder why certain personalities who have proven themselves to be so abominable, are still the darlings of their supporters.
But social media are by themselves neutral entities.

The issue lies in men’s hearts. 2 Timothy 3:13 says that in the last days, evil people will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Verses 4:3/4—there will come a time when people will not endure sound teaching... and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

The burden is both on the faker and the fooled.
So how can we know truth from lie? Pretty simple. The Holy Spirit can be our teacher.

With Jesus as our Wonderful Counselor and the Holy Spirit as our teacher, how can we go wrong?

Comments

 

Friday, January 1, 2021

NUMBER OUR DAYS

All it took was a tick of the clock. Year 2020 is over; 2021, here goes. Happy new year!                                                    

Yet, it's really just a new day.

It's intriguing how one tick can click us into a new year. Or how with one breath, one can cross over from life to the grave eternal life with Christ or apart from Him.

That's why Moses in Psalms 90:11 prayed, "Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."

God does not expect from us a list of resolutions which we break anyway when push comes to shove.  It's hard enough to tackle a day without getting entangled in sticky or yucky situations.

So why not be concerned about getting God's applause today.

Will you decide to be kinder today? Will you be a bit more gentle? Will you zip it and not let those critical or complaining words escape your mouth? Will you tell the truth when asked about your age? Will you be more patient with your wife or husband?

Will you resolve to abide in Him today? Yes! Today!

Moses asked God this (Psalm 90:14): "Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days."

Twenty-twenty-one is one big stretch. Quite a blur as far as my puny mind can comprehend. The Bible speaks of perilous times ahead as the end times draw near. A scary prospect if you ask me. I may not even have tomorrow. This senior is sooo aware!

Yet, all the more will I remind myself every time I awake: His love is steadfast. He will never leave me or forsake me. If God be for me, who can be against me?

And I will pray as Moses prayed. "If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here." (Exodus 33:15) 

Plan if you must but never go empty. Stock up on life support musts. His Word. Pray. Do as Jesus did.

His glory is all you need. That's His presencethe weight and power of heaven, the authority of the King of kings, and the saving grace of His shed bloodgiving you victory as you yield to His leading.

Prayer: Jesus, give me wisdom as I face the challenges of this new year. Be my rock of refuge, protect me from any kind of sickness or harm. I confess you as my Savior and Lord.

 

 

 

Friday, December 18, 2020

F A I T H

Faith. It's the scariest of thoughts. The weightiest of weights. To exercise it or not spells either life or death. No wonder most of us choose to suspend belief. So we just coast along, doing life our way. "My life, my rules." 

What's funny is, we exercise faith daily. You ride your car trusting it will take you to your destination. You step out of your house confident that you can cross the street safely. You wake up expecting to make it through the day. Itty-bitty trusts. Tiny believings. 

Yet many withhold their matter-of-life-and-death trust from The One who made them! The Only One who could save them from hell. The Only One who could change them. Their very hearts! Their boring, crazy, dysfunctional lives! 

The Mighty One who by the Word of His mouth created the heavens and the earth, gorgeous dust you and me included. 

Galatians 3:11b—The righteous shall live by faith. That's why God commands, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!" 

Isn't Your Maker trustworthy enough? If He is, then put your faith in The Word who became flesh so that you and I could thrive within His power and grace. Millions of changed lives all over the earth can testify to that. He came that first Christmas day. 

His name is Jesus. Savior. Lord. Name above all names!