Monday, March 30, 2015

Less is More

Image courtesy of shoptab.net
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication -- Leonardo da Vinci

In our world where people's mindset are inclined to acquire belongings because we think need it or we want it or we deserve it or just because we can afford it, its challenging to say "NO" to the appealing signage of mall sales having deliberate connivance with the convenience of credit cards.

Before we know it, we have accumulated seemingly significant things which eventually looses its value yet its never enough.

As I attempt to incorporate "Less is More" manifesto in my life, I am writing out loud everything I can think of where I can practice a minimalist lifestyle. Hopefully the list will grow MORE not LESS :)

LESS time with Facebook, MORE time with real books.
LESS stuff, MORE space.
LESS desires, MORE contentment.
LESS debt, MORE savings.
LESS talk, MORE action.
LESS complain, MORE compliment.
LESS distraction, MORE focus.
LESS fear, MORE hope.
LESS possession, MORE surrender.
LESS idle, MORE exercise.
LESS expenses, MORE investments.
LESS grumbling, MORE gratitude.
LESS time partying, MORE time for family bonding.
LESS social networking, MORE social life.
LESS meat, MORE vegetables.
LESS apathy, MORE love.
LESS gadget, MORE travel.
LESS TV time, MORE quiet time.
LESS chips, MORE fruits.
LESS of me, MORE of others.
LESS drama, MORE reality.
LESS bitterness, MORE happiness.

If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough. -- Vicki Robin 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

CCF: Romans - The Gospel of God’s Grace

Romans 3:9-31

By: Pastor Jay Jackson

Paul began by convincing us that we have no hope because we lived lives by our daily disobedience to God. He also made it clear to us that God expects us to be righteous but highlighted that we are not righteous no matter how hard we try. At the end of the passage Paul also encourages us that God has made us righteous through our faith in Jesus Christ.

This may sound strange and we have to wonder how this happens.

Paul mentions righteousness that comes to us APART from the works of the law and righteousness that is GIVEN TO US by God.

As Paul tries to explain Romans 3, there is a story from old testament that reinforces these passages. Genesis 14-15 is an account of how Abram rescued Lot and his people, then Melchizedek, king of Salem blessed him. Followed by the Lord's covenant to Abram of giving him numerous descendants.

Genesis tells us that Abraham was a good man, but also made mistakes in his life. Still God holds up Abraham as an example to us not because of the things he behaved but because of the way he believed.

Similarly in Romans 3, Paul lays out for us that we all failed to be righteous because of our disobedience. The moment we decide to disobey God, we are also deciding to be punished.

What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written:There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” --Romans 3:9-12

Romans reveals that no matter how hard we try not to sin but we sin anyways and that consequence is inevitable.

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. --Romans 3:19-20

God's law didn't make us better people but God's law made us guiltier. While it is true that God demanded that we become righteous, and then gave the Law to prove that we are not righteous, He also sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us that He could give us the righteousness he demanded.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement ... to be received by faith... he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. --Romans 3:21-26


God's righteousness is not something that we earned, God's righteousness is His gift to us because we believed. This truth will leave us nothing to boast about, but it will change our life forever.

Transcribed by:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cambodia: Temple Run

Our temple escapade started at 10:30AM when our cheerful tuktok driver picked us up from the hotel. I have to tell you this timing is not ideal, as the flame of the scourging sun is at its peak glaring your eyes and burning through your skin.

Nevertheless we manage to hurdle through the majestic temples and ruins, an evidence of Cambodia's ancient strength and ambition. It was a whole day safari of architecture, culture and wonders for me.

Bayon Temple






Grandiose entrance to Angkor Wat

One of the gates in Angkor Thom

Photo credits to Roselle Vergonia who had an eye that sees beyond the walls, ruins and the vast sky.

Afraid

Image courtesy of pbase.com
I am afraid I will not hear the birds chirping when I wake up in the morning because I am clouded by the fears I fabricated in my mind.

I am afraid I am just waiting in vain.

I am afraid of the unknown.

I am afraid others would blame me I didn't cared enough to share God's love to them.

I am afraid that my loved ones will get hurt.

I am afraid my heart will grow indifferent to others because I'm consumed with my selfish desires and earthly dreams.

I am afraid my prayers will not get heard and just linger at the ceilings of my room.

I am afraid I had given all my best energies and time, only to find out in the end I pursued the non essentials of life.

I am afraid to miss out the chance to show love to the people I met in this life.

I am afraid to find answers to some questions I am afraid to ask.

I am afraid to find out I have relied too much on myself.

I am afraid I will lose you without showing how important and special you are to me.

I am afraid I'm going circles without an end in mind and not reaching anywhere.

I am afraid that one day I run out of ideas and stop writing, even if most of the time I'm the only one reading my pieces.

How about you, what are the things that you are afraid of?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dear Graciel

As you bid goodbye to perky and exciting twenty something and enter stable thirties, expect great things cause its triple the fun and there is so much more to look forward to.

Remember Jesus was 30 when he began his ministry and was baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 3:23). Joseph was 30 when he entered the service of Pharaoh King of Egypt (Genesis 41:46). David was 30 when he became king of Israel (2 Samuel 5:4). So brace yourself, because amazing surprises and blessings are just around the corner.  

More than just a number, thirty is an expression of God's faithfulness in your life, an episode in your life that is worth celebrating.   

Remember that you are a princess, daughter of the King of kings. You are a royalty, a noble young lady who should exhibit gentleness, kind heart and integrity. Someone who humbly accepts her imperfections but carries herself with strong sense of responsibility and love for others. A woman of grace and confidence, with or without a tiara, because you are settled to what it really meant to be a princess of God.

Remember that you are blessed, with a loving, supportive and Godly family who accepts all of you, from bits to pieces.

Remember that you are set apart, to accomplish that purpose of becoming the person God wants you to be. An individual, specific purpose no one else can do, but only you can fulfill. 

Remember that you are wonderfully beautiful, inside. Of course, and out :) A woman of God reflecting His love through your lively spirit and warm accommodating personality.

Remember the people who stand by you, they are the ones who have seen you at your best and seen you at you worst but choose to stay.

Remember how God brought you here

Remember the times He provided and the same God faithfully providing for you until the end.

Remember the miracles of God in your life, no matter how small it is, they are worth holding on. 

Finally, you may forget everything I said but just remember how God redeemed you from darkness to His light through His Son Jesus Christ. The One true God who will never ever forget about you, even if it means forgetting about His life on the cross.

Sincerely,