Friday, December 12, 2014

need a new heart

2014… my most challenging year so far.

a heart right now that is ungrateful,
filled with anger, drowning in misery;
hating the world and everything around it.
wrong decisions, should have been avoidable mistakes,
lack of thinking, no planning, lack of prayers.
Drifted away from the Spirit,
Right motives, but wrong ways.
end result?  an angry heart, a dry spirit.

how does this get fixed? 
how does one forgive oneself?
how does one make a wrong right?

Prayers really do get answered!  Maybe not in ways you thought it should be, but in ways where and when God puts you to a test.  I have prayed that the walls of my home be protected, from the snares of the enemy, from any temptations thereof.   I have always prayed that my heart be safe guarded from evil and satan's attacks, and little did I know that I allowed an opening for my home to an attack.  In the financial side, in the emotional side, in the spiritual side.  I found out how weak my walls are against the attacks of the enemy.  I wasn't kept aware, I was side tracked.

I gave room for anger.   I feel like the weight of the world is upon my shoulder.  My thought is clouded by irritants like self pity, that if I do not find ways and means to earn, then bills will not get paid because I don't get any other financial assistance.  Self reliance, thinking I got it all, but really, I don't!  My emotions are soaring high and diving low, (thanks menopause, hormonal imbalance!) and I am going crazy how I can tackle this and beat it!  I get so annoyed so easily, I get provoked constantly and sadly, by the people closest to me.  I became fearful, worried to death and not trusted. My worries are up to the heavens even if I say I'm not.  What a denial.  I'm into this blame game, myself mostly.  After all the wrong decisions i have made this year and the past, i reap the bad results of it.  I basically decide on major things just to please people, or thinking of how we can be prepared for our aging years.  Bad mistake.  Isn't that a shame?  And because of all these roller coaster negative emotions, my spirit went super dry.  Because I drifted away from the Lord.   I was consumed by busyness.  To the point I was tempted to think that I am not worth the attention of my Heavenly Father.  I wonder where He is and if He even is really mindful of me just as what He says He does.  Really? But in reality, it's me, my failures and my shortcomings and mistakes.   I didn't give Him the time, not Him giving me time.   I didn't even understand myself! I myself, have this difficulty understanding me.  I have been saying this for the longest time and to date, and I'm struggling.

But wait, wait... I know why!  It's just that I don't want to deal with it.  I know that God is revealing things to me, teaching me things,  making me think well, changing my character and making me grow, not just emotionally but mindfully.  Making me stronger, making me more decisive and be a thoughtful planner, and above all, to be more reliant on Him, and not myself!  I have forgotten how to be thankful at all times.  The truth is that because of my weakness, satan saw an opportunity in me, to break me, to screw me up.

So, 2015, I will desire to grow more mature, in God's ways.  Not my ways, because it's faulty.  I will ask the Lord Jesus to forgive me because I have not been an ideal daughter, mother, wife, co-worker, friend, aunt, cousin etc.,   I will pray that God will help me release the anger that accumulated in my heart, my unforgiving spirit, to release all negative in me, my ways, my thoughts.  I will ask that He humbly make me whole once again, to help me stand up once more.  I will ask that He guides me back His path. (Prov.3:5-6)

And this is when that line goes into my head, footprints in the sands..."my child, that one set of feet in the sand is when I am carrying you."  I'm tired of being angry Lord.  I am  just tired.  Can you please help me get me out of this pit?  Get me out of this miserable life and spirit.  Help me release the negative people in my life because it breaks me apart.  Breath new life in me.  Change my heart of stone into a heart of flesh once again.  Give me back the joy of my salvation once more. Fill me again with your love and your spirit. (Ps:51)

Ezekiel 36:26New International Version (NIV)
"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."

Seek forgiveness, and receive it.
Renew my mind and revert to hope.
Find courage and strength not in me.
Rest, be at peace, and wait upon the Lord.

"Thank you Lord Jesus, for many chances.  Not just 2nd chances, but many, many chances.  Because I need that many.  Please help me, as this year closes, to remain to stay with YOU as 2015 begins.  I know that I can't do it on my own, I NEED YOU!  Widen my perspective of learning how it is to wait upon You.  Help me in my impatience, in my unbelief, my unkindness, my un-forgiveness.  Work my heart, hold my life, control my mind.  Own me, use me, and be with me as You promised, that til the end of age, you will be with me (Matt28:20b).  Be the light unto my path (Ps.119:105).  Help me leave the past 3 years, to just look back at it and remember the great lessons i needed to learn, and to move forward with renewed hope.  Let me live for today, and chose not to worry about tomorrow so that I can do what You ask of me as You reveal it day to day.  Let my tomorrow be aimed at that glorious moment of surrender, that moment of meeting you when the time comes.  In your sweet and precious, Powerful Name. Amen."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Oh Em Gee..where did time go???

Indeed, where did time go?  Almost after 3quarters of the year is gone...and many things have happened already.  From early vacation travel to PI and returning to the norm of US living...I have been faced with a lot of trials, moments when things does not even seem to get better.  But the grace of God covers us, covers me and keeps us going.  Sometimes, I say, if not for Jesus living in me, I am not alive.  Many verses have struck me the past few months after several trying times.  My body does not react well with stress.  The very reason why I always say, "life is but simple", and it is how I want to live it.  However, certain factors affect it, either by choice or by compulsion because you want to please people, which is a weakness of me.  Slowly, am just learning to learn how to say "no" and not act upon compulsive decisions, which in the end, I suffer the consequences or, rather, the consequences fall into my lap.  My health has been suffering (again!) because my body is very tired, and yeah, my mind goes along with it...another bad habit of absorbing other's responsibilities and not saying anything about it.  I have such so much learning to do, even at 55! Can you believe it? And in the physiology of this, is going through menopause and this hormonal ups and downs are hard to deal with.  It creates havoc in my whole body, adding to the hardship of dealing with everyday living.

As I was going through all these struggles, I keep asking God for guidance and wisdom . Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP) " Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge
 Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths."  I even sing it!  I asked that He audibly talk to me, but alas, I am too busy to listen to His still, very tiny voice...I just went on.
As I fight my fears, I keep meditating and reciting  Isaiah 41:10Amplified Bible (AMP) Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.soak in my heart and mind.   Because in the weariness and tiredness of my mind and body, and neglecting my fellowship with God, putting the restaurant business in priority, I suffered.  The good Lord reminded me where my shortcomings fell.  My fear surmounted, almost drowning me and allowing it to creep my heart, I suffered total separation, total fear and it gave the enemy an opening to corrupt me, once again. it attacked my body, I was so weak physically.  I think I went through anxiety attacks, palpitations, sleepless nights, difficulty in breathing and many others I can't even deal with, and not showing it, but again, my body did. Bad allergies that resulted to medications that caused posterior nose bleeding.  One of the traumatic experiences I've had and pain, talk about pain, awful physical pain on my face.  I had to suffer just to realized I can't take so much more anymore.  Behind the traumatic medical experience are days of quiet rest and reflections.  It is in subtle moments when you hear God speaks.  Through love ones, friends, reading materials, but above all is when I read his Word.  I cried, (I continue to cry), I throw a fit and tantrums, I scream in my drive telling Him how frustrated, how tired I am, days when I'm in silence as act of my rebellion. (like it would hurt my Heavenly Father huh?).  I try hard to grasp His concept of "grace" because my fiend told me that I my knowledge of grace is just in my head and not in my heart. Quite offensive, if I must say, but I try to get the true essence of that statement, the message and not the messenger. I am indeed stubborn child.  I insist on what I want, I'm a spoiled brat!

But God's Word stands forever... He remains very patient with me. He disciplines and corrects me and I am just so thankful that He gives me that "grace" for me to be humble enough and accepting enough of my mistakes and shortcomings, even in my daily sins! My ever complaining and whining spirit.  And yet,  He forgives me and never fails not to.  And that's how awesome He is.  He teaches me how to fight the enemy, not to attack it in my own ability, but in His Power!  Yes, His POWER because there is Power in Jesus' Name, Amen!

Now, all through all these, several verses stands out. One that particularly struck me when fear was starting to surmount again was  Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest."
This is when I am at a very low after a bad posterior nose bleeding incident, not to mention biopsy scares and other health issues.  Home front relationships turning awful, resulting to anger and inner rage.  Came along with it were problems at the restaurant.  Money issues, labor issues.  Need I say, the need for a more permanent job? I couldn't deal with it. In my own capacity and ability, there is no way I can win this, even compete with it because I have no strength for such.  But in His goodness again, He sent a helper, through this brother in Christ (Bro. Paul Gonzales, our accountant).  He is heaven sent.  All I can do for him is to keep him in my prayers daily, for all he needs and all of God's blessings to all he does for us.  The time that I'm at the verge of a breakdown, help comes.  Where does my help come from? The Lord God, maker and ruler of all.  This verse just covered me with peace, and I was able to rest at peace.  Yes, rest at peace, not rest in peace okay?  God's Word simply has that power and strength that fills one up whenever needed.  Thank you Jesus!
Another is this promise of God.  I just stand amazed at how the Lord speaks. I realized in this verse and the devotional where I found this that I am a prisoner of despair, of negativity and fear.  A prisoner of my ugly past, of not being able to let go of the past and the very reason why I can't go forward!  Zechariah 9:12(AMP)  "Return to the stronghold of security and prosperity, you prisoners
of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you."
I am trying not to look at prosperity in monetary form, but I would like for it to be part of the prosperity the Lord is talking about.  But if and when that time happens, my prayer is that my heart is very cleansed from all unrighteousness and pride, so that I can be a good steward of His so defined prosperity.  I have to be released from all hopelessness, negativity and fears.  I know he will help me, because I am not asking for my glory but for His to shine in my life instead.

Last but not the least (for this moment at least), to carry the hope forever in my heart and to tarry.  To wait, to be patient [duhh, my #1 weakness) to endure and to be develop trust and activate that faith even further and more. Keep that confidence in Him, and not my own.  Steadfast, to get a better grasp of that character God is trying to change in me.  As in John, how can God fill me up if I am so full of myself?  That why I need to decrease, so Jesus can increase in me. 
Hebrews 10:35-36(AMP) " Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.  For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised."  

I still yet need to experience this fullness God is talking about and I want to experience it.  So I will wait, I will Pray, I will endure and be patient (but He really has to help me in this area of need) and most of all, to practice my faith, activate more my trust in Him and not doubt.  To be strong-er and be firm-er.  For Jesus to be with me all the days of my life.

Until my last breathe, my aim is to be of use to Him, to spread His gospel of salvation  to those in need.  During these last days, I should just trust Him and do the work I need to do as it says in
Acts 20:24,   "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."   Be more concern NOT of me, but of Him who loved me and died for me.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-3

2013 has been challenging for us and yet everything that is in God’s Word stands true. We have walked days of rough and tough testing, but we have set our hearts and mind to His promise.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid ;
 do not be discouraged.”

A New Adventure
We have spent the last half of the year in a joint venture with my cousins in opening a restaurant, Plaza Rizal. It’s been both a source of joy and trial. It is a test of patience, hard work and commitment, definitely a life-changing experience. We stand hopeful that we’ll surpass the trials that goes with it. Again, it is God’s Word that is solely sustaining us in our days at the restaurant, its future rest at His hands, because what seems impossible to us is always possible to Him. 
On a lighter note, it’s been a year of love with weddings for many couples dear to us: Nikki & Chris, Nowie & Jun, TJ & Courtney, Maria & Ray, Manuel & Rachel. There were also pregnancy announcements in the family: Uby & Jopet, Chelle & Richard, Sookie & Cezar. It’s the year of birthday milestones too, Joey turning 50, Rico turning 60 and our dearest Mom, turning the Big 80! And lastly, a pleasant visit from Chelle who we’ve enjoyed having with us.

Whatever may be in store for us in 2014, we place our hope in our dear Lord Jesus…to trust in Him, despite the unknown. One can only desire that 2014 bring in new opportunities, better health, deeper faith and great wisdom that comes from above. In closing, Psalm 37 creates a deep well of renewed hope that if we remain in Him, He will remain in us and fight for us and give us His unfailing promise.

Our Vacations 
Our only family vacation was sometime in the summer going kayaking in the Russian River. Though Lola couldn’t come with us on the canoe, she had a good time staying at the timeshare. Ria and I spent a few days on a mother-daughter trip to Chicago for a wedding, and as a family in Monterey for Maria & Ray’s wedding. But we are looking forward to our trip to the Philippines in just a few short weeks!
Plans for the New YearAs we all know, the future in not in our hands, but our God Almighty. But His word declared that we ought to ask, so we can receive. So, for 2014, we hope to have success in the restaurant business, to find new jobs, to travel more and spend more time as a family and above all, to keep praying and seeking God at all times.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-14

From us all, to you and yours,
Merry Christmas and a Happy, Hopeful 2014

Love and prayers always,
Ray, Avine, Ria, Andrew, Lola/Tita Coring and Alex