Stillwaters Blog

How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

-How Many Kings, Downwhere

Years ago, the Christmas spirit meant the December breeze, the smell of roasted ham, and the twinkling lights at home. It felt good, sentimental, and peaceful.

But this year, I find that the Christmas spirit descended like an intense, awestruck feeling upon the realization of the Savior’s birth. The reality of the first Christmas was not a warm home, a full belly, and new gifts by midnight. Instead, it was a cold, bloody, and smelly scene. Perhaps even the grittiest Nativity figures of today would appear too clean and too pretty!

Mary had to travel pregnant…

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Stillwaters Blog

marathon runners

We all have that experience when we try so hard to remember what happened at one particular moment in our week. We scramble, flipping our minds inside out just to recount one precious memory. It is hard to remember things that have happened a month ago, it is even harder if it was a year ago, rewind, flashback to ten years ago.

Can we even remember what we ate for lunch on our 15th birthday? I guess not. Not unless we documented it, took a picture of the smoke as it touched your baby brother’s/sister’s face right after you blew your candles, framed and frozen in time. After doing so, we can then live our lives normally, forgetting what happened (intentionally or unintentionally) until the day comes when we visit our old albums and again, try to remember what happened.

Something did occur long ago that historians, theologians and…

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Well there was this one picture which I’ve been in love with ever since I discovered it. ❤

It was during my fourth year in high school when I first discovered this picture. I used it as the front cover of my journal for my Christian Living subject.

When I first saw this picture, I went teary-eyed… I suddenly felt so weak, so frail, uncared for, unloved, so unclean… So undeserving…

Those were really true.. I am as weak as a nearly dying animal. I am as frail as a lamb. I am unclean. I am undeserving. If my friends ever see me strong, firm, clean or deserving, it is not I who they see; it is my God, working in me.

Since then, whenever I see that picture, I always feel a heart-warming feeling. It felt like I was found… because I was lost.

Since then, since I acknowledged my impurities, since my Shepherd found me and opened my eyes to the bigger picture, I saw how God loves me so much.

Loved. Cared for. Safe. Happy. That’s how I feel now. 🙂

I am weak yet Jesus loves me. I am frail so He hugged me. I am unclean yet Jesus doesn’t care; He still loves me. I am undeserving yet He gave up His life for me. </3

I AM A SINNER and STILL AM but JESUS LOVES ME EVEN MORE.

This picture summarizes all those statements. This picture always remind me how loved I am and that there is not a single reason to be sad. 🙂

I am a sinful human but I am embraced by a sinless God!

Jesus Carrying A Lost Lamb

 

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” – Isaiah 40:11

“When Jesus said on that cross, “…my God my God, why have you forsaken me?” I believe He said so, so that none of us should ever have to say it again.”

Stillwaters Blog

Loved, but don’t feel it?

The hardest thing for a Christian is to know how loved he is and yet not feel it. In my few short years of ministry, perhaps the most gut-wrenching discussions I’ve ever had is to not feel God’s love and presence in that moment.

The Gospel promises a lot of things to the believer and perhaps none so more important than the promise of a true relation with God. Therefore, it is uncompromisingly clear why this has to be the most difficult burden for a Christian. When times are tough, do you see God’s hand in it? When you are facing the waves on the shore, do you feel that God is there to carry you?

As Christmas looms large, this is magnified. When the whole world is screaming “Merry Christmas!”, how shall one respond when in the depths of his being he is not…

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Real, genuine Christmas be with you. ❤

Stillwaters Blog

Christian tradition holds the third Sunday of advent as the Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete of course comes from Latin, which means, ‘rejoice’, or for the sake of being more imperative, ‘experience joy’. As a young boy listening to the preacher, I said to myself, “Hmm… that ought to be easy!”

As a kid, joy was a rather simple concept. Joy was having a cone of my favorite ice cream, or going downstairs to find the toy I’ve been eyeing for weeks now sitting on our dining table as a reward for good grades. Joy was sitting inside the cinema to watch my heroes save the day. It was the bite of caramelized popcorn. It was seeing my red cape swoosh through the air as I jump from a flight of stairs. It was being given the honor, among a hundred nursery kids, to hold up the tip of the flag during…

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Comfort

He is therefor you… In so many ways…

“Abi, ang sakit talaga ng persecution. :(“

Just a while ago, a churchmate messaged me this. I can’t help but feel sad too though the sadness I felt was not the overwhelming type; it’s rather the empathetic type.

As a Christian (and a Catholic too), persecutions and sufferings are indeed a part of our life. It is inevitable. It is planned. It is constructive. And most of all, it is from Him. Well, a normal person would be confused to have read that. ‘Why would we want a God who lets His people suffer?’ But a Christian knows and understands. It is because our fellow Christians have said,

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5, NIV)

But He does not only promise this. There are a lot more. And it takes a lot of experiences and reading and praying to discover the others.

And here enters also our role as Christians. As Christians who are Churches too, we exist to glorify Him through sharing to our fellow suffering and persecuted Christians the comfort we have received from the promises God has revealed to us. And that’s how I find suffering beautiful; because suffering gave birth to a support system Christians have built through the foundations of God’s love. No matter how much you’ve suffered, no matter how much you’ve been persecuted, no matter how long you’ve waited, no matter to whom you’re struggling, a Christian will always understand you, speak the truth in love with you, comfort you, share to you their experiences and empathize with you, which in an amalgamated form, is loving God and glorifying Him. 

It’s very touching to think how God has answered my prayers… Even those that seemed to be unimportant and just a necessity. 😀

I remember I was praying two semesters ago for a car ride. BUT a car ride with a friend as the one driving the car. Yes. Petty isn’t it? But still, it really was one of my dreams. It really was my dream to ride in a car and have a friend driving it.

This semester, and actually, also last semester, my prayer was answered.

I got to ride 3 different cars from 3 different friends for a total of 7 times already.

God, how can You be this generous to me. ❤

When He answers, He does it in a way you’d be really surprised, touched and awed. :3 Surely. :3

(Thank You God for Jarev, Yna and my classmate. <3) 

Hello. 🙂

Gusto kong i-share sa’yo ‘tong story na ‘to na talagang nakapagpabago ng buhay ko. ❤ 🙂

                 I want to tell you the story that’s changed the lives of millions around the world. Some of this story will be familiar, some of it will be unfamiliar. But the good thing about this story is that it really happened. I didn’t make this up. It’s the story of the Most High God. He is more powerful than governments, economies, philosophies and natural forces.

         He made everything we see and everything we don’t see. He made everything we don’t see like angels, demons and spirits. He made everything we see like the sky, the sea, trees, animals, the earth and all that is in it. Finally He made man and woman and put them in a beautiful garden.

         He told the man and woman, “You can eat of any fruit of any tree in this garden, it’s all yours, except for this one tree. If you eat from that tree, you will die.” And they had a good friendship with God.

              But remember I told you that God created angels? Well there was this one angel who was very beautiful and powerful. He became proud and wanted to be the Most High God. But God said, “There can only be one Most High God, and that’s Me.” So God took this angel and threw him out of heaven, along with one-third of the angels who were with him. This beautiful angel is now known as the Devil and the angels with him are known as demons.

             The Devil went to the woman and tempted her to eat of the tree. The woman took some of the fruit and ate. She gave some to her husband, and he ate too.

              They disobeyed God’s command; they sinned. There were major consequences to this. God cast the man and the woman out of the garden, and their relationship with God was cut. This is where all the problems of man started. Disrespect, misunderstandings, “away-away”, disease, disaster, etc.

     Also, man could no longer live forever. Everyone would die once, and then the eternal punishment for sin.

         They offended the infinite justice and holiness of God. And so now, only infinite forgiveness could ever save us.

         Time passed and the people multiplied. Then God told His people, “I give you now ten sacred rules. These good rules will teach you how to relate to God and to people. Obey them.” The rules included things like “Honor your father and mother,” etc.

              But even though there were only ten rules, the people could not do them. They still sinned. But God loved them anyway. So He said, “Here’s something you can do. Take the blood of a perfect animal and spill it. If you spill the blood of a perfect animal, you will be forgiven. Because without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin.”

        So the people agreed and they did that. But over time, it became an empty ritual or repetitive religion to them. So God was angry and said, “Do you think that religion can get you infinite forgiveness? I’ve had enough of your sacrifices!”

            But God loved them anyway. So at just the right time, God sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus was a great man. Everybody loved Jesus.

         He was very wise. He taught the people exactly how to get infinite forgiveness. No one ever taught like Jesus.

        He was also very powerful. He did countless miracles. It was especially powerful when He gave infinite forgiveness to people.

         One time, a large crowd gathered around Him. There was a certain politician who wanted to see Jesus. Let me ask you, do you like corrupt politicians? Of course not! Well, the people hated this certain politician because he was corrupt. Also, he was very short, so he could not look over the crowd to see Jesus. So this man ran ahead of the crowd and climbed up a tree. Jesus saw the man and said, “You there, in the tree! Come down. Let’s eat together, I want to be your friend.” The man couldn’t believe it. He hurried down and prepared a meal for Jesus. During the meal, the man stood up and said, “I can’t believe that You and I are friends now. I am so happy! Look, I give half of my goods to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will return it fourfold.” Jesus said, “That’s infinite forgiveness inside you, My friend.”

          Another time, some men brought a paralytic on a bed to Jesus. But the crowd was so large that they could not enter the house that Jesus was teaching in. So they got up on the roof and removed the tiles. The men lowered their paralytic friend down to Jesus. When Jesus saw this, He looked at the man and said, “Your sins are forgiven, now and forever.” The people were shocked and asked Jesus, “Can You really forgive sins?” Jesus answered, “Yes I can. I have the right to give infinite forgiveness. Let me show you.” Then He told the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” The paralytic stood up, took his bed and went home. Everybody was amazed by what they saw.

           There was another time that one of Jesus’ friends died. This made Jesus very sad. He went to his friend’s tomb and the people were mourning. Jesus said to the family, “I can give infinite forgiveness, so that you don’t have to die anymore.” He had the tomb opened and said, “Friend! Come out!” Then the man who had been dead, came out alive!

         So everybody loved Jesus. But some people were jealous of Jesus. These were the religious leaders. They hatched a plan to arrest Jesus and crucify Him. They succeeded. So they arrested Him, beat Him and then crucified Him: which is when you take two planks of wood and nail a man to it.

             There on the cross, Jesus’ perfect blood was spilled. And when God saw that, He said, “That is the sacrifice. That is what will get infinite forgiveness.”

         And this infinite forgiveness is very effective. In fact, there were two robbers crucified alongside Jesus. One of them told Him, “If You’re the great Hero, save Yourself and save us as well.” But the other robber said, “What are you saying? We are here because we have sinned, but this Man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me when you enter into Your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “Your sins are forgiven, now and forever. Today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

         They all died. Jesus’ friends buried Him in a tomb. Then after three days, something amazing happened. Jesus rose from the dead! Proving that everything He said was true. Proving that He could really give infinite forgiveness. And this same Jesus said that He would be coming back! He said He would soon judge the world and make all things right.

             So like the people in the stories: please get infinite forgiveness. Hold on to it, enjoy it, love it! Because when the time comes for Jesus’ return, infinite forgiveness will save your life. Not only that, but infinite forgiveness has many wonderful implications for life right now. Just think of the people in the stories, and how they were blessed.

         Do you want infinite forgiveness? Jesus said that infinite forgiveness is a gift.

 Here, I have a gift for you. Take it. How much effort did you place into receiving that gift? None?Ok, now is it yours? Can you enjoy it? Use it? Play with it? Yes of course.

         Ok, let’s do it this way. Here, I have a gift for you, but you don’t take it. For whatever reason.

   Nahihiya ka.

     You think you can buy that on your own.

     You’re too busy to care.

     You don’t know it was a free gift.

         For whatever reason, you don’t take it. Would this be yours? No, right? It’s the same with infinite forgiveness.

                    Now, you can’t receive a gift if your hands are full. Some of us have our hands so full of guilt that we can’t receive the gift. It’s required to drop that guilt. Some of us don’t value the gift enough, so we’re busy playing with lesser pleasures like family, studies, career, or friends. These are legitimate and good, but the value of infinite forgiveness is far greater.

I can say that ever since I received this gift, I am not afraid of death anymore because I know that even if I die now, I will go to heaven, even if I sin again and again.

Ikaw rin, you can go to Heaven. Just pray now and ask for your infinite forgiveness. 🙂

Surely, infinite happiness comes after. 🙂 ❤

I have shared the gospel before.

But with someone; with a friend or churchmate.

So far, I have not encountered a direct rejection from the ones we’ve shared to.

And these people are random people from my university.

To think that they are random and that you don’t know them personally, it seems more relaxing to do the sharing since you might not see them after sharing.

But what about your family? Your own family. Can you also share to them the gospel the way you were able to share it to other people?

Well I was able to. God enabled me to. I prayed to Him for so long, asked Him to save my family because I also want them to be in Heaven

And so He first answered my prayer last August.

I was able to share the gospel to my two younger sisters and they received Him. ❤

His second answer was this November.

I was able to share the gospel to my younger brother. And he loved the gospel. ❤

His third was today.

This time, it was with my Mommy that I was able to share the gospel with.

But this time, although she told me she accepts Jesus as her Savior, it just seems not.

I don’t know if it’s because I was contradicted the whole time that made me think she did not receive Him wholeheartedly.

Yes, I was contradicted. Why? She was strictly a Catholic. And the thing I was sharing to her was from a non-Catholic stance. And she made sure she took notice of that. So she kept on ‘correcting’ me about the purgatory, how important confession is as a sacrament and the difference between a Christian’s and a Catholic’s Bible.

I was hurt. Deeply hurt. Why? It felt like she doesn’t want to believe in what I am saying. It felt like she was repulsive to anything I was about to say. Her words made me feel that I’m leaving my religion (Catholic) for this Christian beliefs.

So what if that is the case? Yes, religion doesn’t matter that much to me now because it’s all about the faith. But my mother won’t or doesn’t want to understand this.

At that point, I felt discouraged to share the gospel. It was my first time to get such bombarding questions. But I must not forget to say this: He provided the answers.

Yes, He was with me. All throughout that time. I was supported. I was supplied with answers. He did that because “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

With this experience, I have felt my first-ever discouragement in my own personal interpretation. But this was not enough to make me feel that I should stop spreading His love, and saving people through God’s words.

A year ago, I was one of those who viewed those who speak and share the word of God as weird, uncool people. Indeed I was one. And I avoided them as much as possible.

I am a Catholic. They are Christians. I grew up viewing them negatively different. That’s how I was fostered.

Until the time came when two girls approached me in my college’s lobby and asked a little of my time. I agreed to them and gave them my time. They asked me questions. Questions which I never imagined to lead me to the life I was dreaming of my whole life. They told me of a group. A church actually called Stillwaters. They asked me if I could meet them throughout the sem. I think I said yes because I did meet them.

It took me one whole year before I got convinced. It took me one whole year before I left my old self and accepted Him the way I do now. It took me one whole year to really get to know Him better.

It was just last semester that my life started to change.

I do not know if it’s because I cannot see my buddy for lunch since our schedules are in conflict that I decided to be with the people who approached me a year ago. But now I know it was His plan. It was because of Him.

That semester, I got involved in a lot of things I never knew I’d be involved in: I started attending services in our ‘housechurch,’ started hanging out with the people from that ‘church,’ and a lot more.

At this point, I am clueless to the essence of a ‘housechurch’ or even a ‘church.’ Still I continued to see and meet them. I started to gain friends and confidants in that church. I started to feel attached to them. I started to feel ‘clingy‘ towards them. I started to seek and know them more.

It was this event in my life that I think made me realize how much I have grown fond of that church. It was then that I knew they were people of love and peace. Most of all, that they are people of God.

I tired to join a sorority. Joining it half-heartedly was just unbelievable on my part. I still can’t believe I really did. But I know it was part of His plan. Being a neophyte for two weeks made me vulnerable to crying every time (literally) and pessimistic thoughts. It made me weak and hopeless. It made me feel tired always. It made me feel imprisoned.

But throughout this time period, people from that church always checked on me. If I feel fine or if there is something in me that hurts. They cared for me.

That’s what made me going.

Throughout those two weeks, I learned to pray seriously. I learned to talk to Him sincerely. I learned to hold on to Him more intently. I learned to rely on Him more than I ever did in my 18 years.

In the end, He saved me. He aided me throughout the challenge He gave me. He did. He proved to me how special and important I am to Him though I am too much undeserving. He is just a Great God. A Great Lover. A Great Father. I cannot contend to that. 

After that storm in my life, I was renewed. Or maybe more appropriate, I started getting renewed. I grew fonder of Him. I was always thirsty of His presence. I was always hungry for His love.

Ever since that event, I have strived harder to know Him better, to make Him more relevant in my life. And now, with all that He has done in my life, I just cannot keep to myself how God has worked in my life. Indeed it just cannot be unspeakable. It is too precious to be hidden. It is too great to be unknown. And now, I was able to understand those people who share the love of God, and not just His words but also His love. I now understand how they feel and what they want. Because I am one of them now.

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The cradle of my heart and a miniature of my soul. Everything lifted to the One above. Created to share to the world an unbounded Love. A thousand words unspoken but hundreds of emotions never left unwritten. To the beating of His heart, i wish to march with glee. To the revolutions of His Spirit, i pray that i will dwell. Keeping all our moments together, locked in my heart. All that I have is His. Without, I have none.

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