52-Week Challenge (and Delight)

The opening of this brand new year has been exhilarating! For one, I could already see the summer of 2012 fast approaching because that’s the time I’d get to be re-united with most of my family. I said “most” because my older sister, Emily, won’t come home here in Manila due to very important reasons. I’m sad about it (which is inevitable) but I definitely understand. I’m sure that the Lord would grant us an opportunity to see each other in the future (Lord willing, in the near future!).

Another reason why I’m rejoicing is because I’ve been receiving some personal messages from around the globe who have been taking time to read my blogs and, much more, to know how God has been speaking to a number of individuals through those blog entries. Surely, this is the Lord on the move!

I have to be honest that I’ve never imagined things to go this far. All I desired to do at the very onset is to somehow chronicle what He’s been doing in my life and in the lives of people I’m surrounded with — just like any typical virtual journal.  But who am I to put the Lord in a “box”? Who am I to limit what He can and would do?  He will utilize whatever means (people, things, events, etc.) to have the Gospel preached to every tongue and nation! And I’m humbled by God for using these writings to reach those I never thought of reaching. (All glory and honor to You, o Lord!)

In reflection to these recent happenings, I’d to share a portion of Psalm 1 (check verses 1-4) to you.  This is what the psalmist mentioned there:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.”

I wanted to share this because I’m fully aware that I can only write about God if I delight in Him, day after day.  If not, everything else would just be… forced.  I don’t want to live life out of mere compulsion. Moreover, I wouldn’t want to view things like a long checklist of duties to fulfill.  That’s exhausting!  That’s stress-inducing!  I’m quite sure most of you would say the same thing, and feel the same way!

However, if I’d be compelled to do something, may I do so (like the apostle Paul) because the love of Christ compels me. May my life be a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him. (cf. Romans 12:1-2) That’s the right kind of motivation! That’s the right response!  In the same way, may the blogs I’m writing now (and will eventually be writing), and the things I’m called to do in the present, be considered acts of worship unto Him; and not merely a part of a to-do list.

During my recent personal retreat, I wrote down a commitment to write at least one entry per week. My flesh calls this a “52-week challenge” since I struggle with writing; but my heart says it’s “52-week delight”. I’m not an adept writer, but my aim is to be used by the Lord for His glory regardless how He’d do it. He calls the shots! All I need to do is delight in Him, dig deep into His Word, and run the God-ordained race He’s set before me for 2012 and the years to come!

My prayer for you is that you would delight in the Lord as well. May You find His grace so sufficient, regardless what you may be going through. And may you start removing the dust off your bibles, and begin digging deep into the riches of God’s Word! He longs to have a nice and intimate chat with You, I assure you that.

THINK before you TALK. THINK before you CLICK.

Social media, the news, and sites that host decent videos are undeniably packed. This has been their “Golden Age”, indeed. I have always been a pro for freedom of expression, and I generally like the progress of these stuff over the years. Technology has been helpful in countless ways.

On a different note however, there will certainly be a group of individuals who’d tend to abuse such liberty.

This isn’t to blog about the latest “showbiz” issues as to regarding why Celebrity A broke up with Celebrity B, nor is this to scrutinize on our executive and judicial systems. (Though it can be quite tempting, I must admit. Haha!) Instead, this is a call for us to be more responsible about this right of self-expression.

One Saturday morning, my attention was caught by a tagline from a TV network which says “Think Before You Click”.  It left me thinking about how we can get so caught up about sending messages over the world-wide-web, and hardly think about its implications. This, too, reminded me of a passage in Scripture that talks much about taming our tongues, and here, James used vivid images as to how our opinions, thoughts, comments, etc. could adversely affect others. This is what it says there:

“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

— James 3:2-10 ESV

You may be a church-goer or not, but this is some chunk of truth, right? We need to tame our tongues!  This means whatever we express verbally, or indirectly over the internet, have corresponding effects. Positive or negative, I do not know. But I hope you’d always strive for the former.

And tonight, I shall close this simple (but serious call) call with a challenge for you to really think before you click and to think before you talk. There’s too much pain and chaos in this world already; so begin making a difference by using your words to build up other people.