The Heart To Worship

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How often do we worship God? Now I want you to recall the last time you worshiped at the top of your lungs, crying, and begging God to let you experience Him.

 

More often than not, we only see ourselves worshiping along with the loud band and flickering spotlights. I can never blame you for looking forward to an excellent worship experience with complete technical setups and sound system.

 

But is this really the worship God desires to receive from us?

 

I am forever grateful for the opportunity that God has graciously blessed me with to lead people into worship every week. We would rehearse for at least two hours to carefully plan on how the praise and worship would flow for 20 minutes in the techscript.

 

And I entered a season in my life when I started questioning my self, AM I WORSHIPING GOD THE SAME AS WHEN I AM UP ON STAGE AND WHEN I AM ON MY SEAT IN THE CONGREGATION AND WHEN I AM ALONE?

 

We often misunderstand that worship only happens every Sunday. But the truth is, God desires us to worship even in the simplest things that we do.

 

There are a lot of ways we can worship God; in the morning when we thank Him with a grateful heart for waking us up to another day; in the evening when we look back on how favored our day had been; on our way to work or school when we listen to worship songs with our earphones on; when we look at the vast skies to realise how worthy the Creator of all of it is for our praise.

 

Our ability to worship is not limited to three-minute songs. What do you love doing? Because you can bring worship to God by painting the wonders of nature He has created. You can worship by writing about His goodness and faithfulness for other people to be inspired. You can vlog about how great life is when lived with God. You can bring worship to God when you serve your family and friends.

 

The truth is God is not after thousands of voices singing for Him altogether, but He is after every individual’s heart that cries out of the desire to experience and honor and glorify Him.

 

You cannot sing? It does not matter to God.

 

Worship Him with all that you are; with all that you have; because that is all He is after — your heart; not your voice; not the full band; not the heart-felt lyrics. He is after the unheard cry of your heart together with all the prayers you cannot put into words.

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An Open Letter (2)

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I don’t want to remember you as someone who hurt me.

I don’t want to remember you as someone who could not return the love I have always been selflessly giving.

I don’t want to remember you as someone who left without farewell.

I don’t want to remember you as someone I did not end up with.

 

I want to remember you as one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I want to remember you as someone who made me feel a love that is genuine and real.

I want to remember you as someone who taught me how to love God more than anything and anyone.

I want to remember you as someone who always believed that everything is possible.

 

I was being honest when I told you that you were one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. My heart rejoiced when it felt the love for you. You helped me realise a lot of things I did not believe in before. It was beautiful how you taught me to believe that real love can also be found in a person, not just in God alone. You showed me what true faith is. I will never forget the feeling I had when I was witnessing you chasing after your dreams and everything God desires for you. It was fulfilling. It was pure joy.

 

I never wanted to see us in this situation – apart and pursuing different roads. But it is still beautiful how I can still feel the love even from a distance. I can still see you resting in the peace God gives. It is still comforting to know how faithful you still are in every season that we are apart. I can still rejoice, knowing that all this time that we are not together is a season of us continuing to abide in obedience to God while constantly depending on His grace to make us grow individually while waiting to get to the road that will lead us to where we are destined to be.

 

I do not regret leaving you – if it means walking on the path towards the will of God.

I do not regret losing you – if it means we will be able to meet again soon, in the right season.

I do not regret listening to God before my heart – if it means going through life with the confidence that He orchestrates everything to work together for our good.

These Walls I Built

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I never really admitted that I was hurting. I never really told myself that I am in pain. I have always been telling myself that I am strong, and I can get through anything. I used to hide behind the context that God is always with me so I do not have any reason to be weak. I always show the world about my strengths and the things I have gone through because of God’s grace, until I started asking myself, “When was the last time you honestly admitted that you are hurting? When was the last time you straightforwardly told yourself that you are in pain?”

 

            I spiritually grew with the motivation to not go back to my hopeless wounded self, and so I tried to do everything to prevent myself from getting hurt, especially by people, to the extent that I have already built up such a wall that is almost impossible to tear down.

 

I built walls because I was afraid.

 

            Having experienced all the rejections and betrayals in the past that left scars in my innermost self, I figured it would be better to carefully handpick few people I will allow to go through my walls. I became really careful until even those people who must have had good intentions were refrained from fully entering my life. I got too afraid that I started isolating myself from everyone because I thought it was better to have no one at all than take the risk of letting anyone into my life and end up being broken by them over and over again.

 

I was too afraid to give anyone the opportunity to break down the walls I have been building for the longest time.

 

            It is embarrassing to fully admit that these walls are mostly made up of fears. Together with all the rejections and invalidations, the walls stood so high and strong that people can easily misinterpret it into hatred.

 

            I have not hated anyone but my self.

 

            I hated myself for not being strong enough when I badly needed her to stand for her convictions. I hated myself for not seeing her worth, and for letting other people break into her heart and life. I blamed myself for always being so weak and afraid to say “no”.

 

And I especially hate her for not having the courage to tell anyone about her quiet cries every night.

 

            These are the reasons for these walls. I have always been afraid that people would be scared to care for and love me because of the weaknesses and unspoken hurts behind these walls. I am afraid to show them to people because of the fear of being invalidated and rejected.

 

And so I put on the façade of being strong and now I do not know how to be weak in front of people and not get judged.

 

Behind these walls is my fragile and weak self that waits for every morning to get strength and enough will to face each day.

Behind these walls is the truth that the only One who sees and knows all my pain is God, who endlessly loves and cares for me no matter how lowly I think of myself.

Behind these walls is a tinge of hope that day-by-day, as I continue to surrender myself into sanctification, I will learn how to fully get out of these walls and boldly face all the fears and insecurities that await.

 

I acknowledge that I am still carrying bits of hurt and pain from the past, but God says that this is the first step to complete healing.

 

For when I am weak, He is then strong in me.

Obedience Over Sacrifice

Many times have I asked God, “Why am I here?”, in places I never imagined my self to be. I would often question if He has mistakenly led me there, and maybe He got confused of all the people He has been leading to different places.

Many times have I looked up, holding the tears of regret and resentment, because I was completely uncomfortable in where I am.

We have all experienced moments in our lives as if we were accidentally placed somewhere we know we do not deserve to be.

But the truth is that we do not deserve anything, in the first place.

Having been redeemed from eternal death, receiving unconditional grace and unending love, and even in being provided for everyday — we do not deserve anything at all; yet He makes us experience His goodness and grace in every moment of our lives, despite our disobedience and rebellion.

Another thing I have learned these past months when I have not had the time to write, is that we are never accidentally led to wherever we are.

No matter what your passion is, or where you have always wanted to be, or how carefully you have already planned your future, if God has called you to go to somewhere He is planning to bless you (or even use you to bless people), it is always and will always be the best thing for you, and even for the people around you.

It may not be completely comfortable at first, but know that God desires you to leave your comfort zone and increase your faith by stepping into the unknown — places you did not expect to go to, people whom you are not familiar with, things you have not done before, and you will see how great God’s grace is to sustain you and bless you with resources you did not imagine to have.

God knows you have such a great potential in you, because He was the One who planted it there.

You will never know to what extent your self can go if you will not answer God’s call for you to go.

We sometimes question His ways and plans and forget that our obedience is always greater than our sacrifices. [Psalm 40:6]

Sold-out obedience to God is a display of our faith in Him that no matter what the outcome may be, knowing that He was the One who said GO, things will work together for our good.

God delights in our obedience, and He is much honoured and pleased when He sees us completely trusting in His plans for us more than our own plans for our selves.

Our total dependence and reliance on His ability more than on ours is a display of the intimacy and level of our relationship with and faith in Him.

So GO even if you are afraid.

GO even if you are in doubt.

GO even if it seems too hard for you.

GO even if the result is still unseen and incomprehensible.

GO even if you do not want to.

GO because He says so.

For all the Battles she Hopes to Conquer

I admire her for every battle scar she decides to show off like medals of achievement and trophies of victory. She is not afraid to surge a life of different faces, seasons, and certainties. Many people look at her as if she does not need any sort of helping hand for they know how many battles she has already overcome, but no one knows what great of a battle she endlessly tries to win every day; every night.

People come to her for hope, because she has been a light to places she set her feet upon. They stare at her success and assume she has a concrete blueprint of how she graced all the things that pushed her on the verge of defeat, but there is none.

She did not know how she did it all.

She is a young woman who repeatedly fights a battle inside her head – a battle of thoughts.

Many times has she deprived her self of peace when she cannot refrain to think of all the moments she has been invalidated. She was surrounded by thoughts of not being good enough, and she could not seem to escape its cloud.

Many times has she locked her self up because life seemed to be crawling out of her despite her desire to get up from fainting. She deserted her self from the world because the belongingness and validation she expected were deprived from her by people she expected to lean on in times of defeat.

She lost her hope that people would see her for who she really is. She got tired of expecting that there are people who will graciously embrace her weaknesses and flaws despite the scars on her facáde.

They see her for what great of a warrior she has been, but not for a weak young woman who is desperately in need of grace.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Life-changing exploits happen in her life every day.

When moments of inner battles occur, her Superior comes whispering, “My grace is sufficient for you”.

Regardless of how rattling her surroundings and even her thoughts may be, grace unfailingly covers her mind and heart each time.

She lost her hope that people would see her for who she really is, but she knows Someone who embraces every aching part of her and He lovingly recalibrates her mind that she is destined for greatness; that she is destined to conquer battles.

With all the battle scars and wounds, she is reminded by them of how faithful her Superior has been though all her conquered battles.

With this grace that she is holding on to, she has hope.

She Thought of the End

No one knew those nights that seemed to be unending when she lied facing the wall for no one to see her bloodshot eyes full of sorrows.

No one heard the rants and shouts of agony that did not find their way out of her mind and heart.

No one dared to look at her eyes to see the deep well of despair where she fell unconsciously.

She had days that were so carefree that things must be floating everywhere around her, but guilt always came along with those “happy days” because she always felt like she was indebted to the world of all the happiness she experienced and she had to pay them back with the following days of heaviness and downfalls.

She did not know how, why, and where it came from. She did not even open the door for it. It just went in and stayed with her for a couple of days, pinning her down without any hint of ways to escape.

Not sure with what would have caused it, but she remembered the things that happened even long time ago, and the words of discouragement and curses that kept on coming back to scratch the seemingly healing scars inside out. Maybe they were the reasons, she thought.

Not getting to find the exact reason why, all she knew was it always prevented her from continuing to do the things she used to love. It fastened her to the lie that she could never keep it away from her. No escape. Never-ending.

She thought about the end. As badly as she wanted to brush it away, she could not think of anything but to end everything that could possibly hold it still.

She could feel the tiredness inside her, but she knew she could not do anything for it to go away. It was just there, keeping her away from every person who tried to give her a hand and some words of possible hope.

It took her days, if not, months, before she could grasp a fibre of hope to get out of drowning. She saw people who still wanted to see her tomorrow and the days to follow. She fought with all her might, even with all her weapons down.

She fought because she remembered that Someone fought for her too, and He’s still fighting for and with her now.

She remembered that Someone knew those nights that seemed to be unending when she lied facing the wall for no one to see her bloodshot eyes full of sorrows, because He’s the One wiping them.

She remembered that Someone heard the rants and shouts of agony that did not find their way out of her mind and heart, because He’s the One holding it.

She remembered that Someone dared to look at her eyes to see the deep well of despair where she fell unconsciously, and caught her in His arms of comfort and love.

She might not get rid the thing that keeps on pinning her down for more than two years now, but she will never forget to remember that Someone is always willing to remind her of a perfect love that casts out fear.

She has Someone who laid down His crown, surrendered His throne, conquered the grave and found her.

She has Someone who can let her get out of scarce serotonin and dopamine, the same way He lets her move mountains.

She has Someone who renews her hope everyday that she can and she will get through it.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

She now knows that she’s an overcomer because she is with the One who has overcome the world and everything.

She thought about ending everything but now all she thinks about is ending the days of despair and hopelessness, and fight a good fight of faith with the hope that comes from the One who fights her battles with her.

Retreat Turned Into Team-Building

Life has been giving us expectations but not all of them are sure to be met. Our retreat in Batangas is one example of an expectation quite not met, because it exceeded the things I pictured in my mind before we departed from our town and province.

Shercon Resort and Ecology Park, I must say, is a great choice for us to create some of our last memories before we leave our alma mater grounds. Our retreat-turned-into-team building is a great experience. I expected the same old boring stroke of continuous spiritual sessions during mainstream retreats like what happened when I was in grade 10, but I can say that what happened last week was far way better than what I expected. I learned new things. I am not an adventurous person. I am not into tiring physical activities, but I engaged into new activities like ziplining and rappeling. It was a breath-taking experience. I was really anxious at first because the whole thing was new to me, but at the end of it all, it was worth the try. I stared in awe at God’s wonderful works when I was on the zipline. Just looking at the vast wonders of God’s creation made me appreciate the beauty of His masterpieces even more, and that includes humanity. When I tried the zipline for the second time the next day, I was teary-eyed in the middle of the ride because I cannot fully comprehend why I was given the chance to enjoy all the beauties God has provided the world with.

I also learned to appreciate team work. Indeed, we are always “better together”. Almost all of the activities required individual participation and effort, and the joy in triumph after every completed work is even better knowing that everyone has a fair share of role in the task.

The values formation session did not take much time but it was enough for us to look back on the things that we were missing as we walk towards the path of a new season in our lives. We were enlightened of our purpose, and, truly, there are always these people who should be given the credits and appreciation for every achievement that we are receiving: our friends, teachers, and parents. Nevertheless, my greatest take-home from the team-building/retreat did not come from the values formation session, but from the view I got to set my eyes on when we went to see the Taal Lake. It was indescribable. I stood in awe of the majesty of God’s work lying in front of me. It made me realize that more than the people who helped me stand in my faith as I surge through the endeavors of life, it has always been God, in the first place, who makes every impossible thing possible in my life.

Who I am now, who I became, and what I achieved are all because of the grace of God. I cannot do this on my own ability, because I acknowledge that I am weak and of no purpose without His grace. The same power that made the wondrous works I witnessed in Batangas is the same power that keeps on fuelling me everyday to pursue my dreams and purposes.

An Open Letter for my Love


Dear, I want to have your heart back.

I’ve been waiting for you to talk to Me again the way you used to do before; before the world took you away from Me.

I am not resentful on how you chose the world over Me, but please let me remind you of My love for you.
I hope you know that My love is still here for you.

No matter how many times you allow your self to be carried away by the things that this world offers; no matter how many times you choose to get hurt by the same reason over and over again (even when you know that in Me, you will never get hurt); no matter how many times you run away from Me, My love for you will always be here.

And I promise that I will always be patient.

I will never get tired of waiting for you to come back.

I will never get tired of waiting for you to remember how loved you were when you were with Me; when the relationship that you have with Me was the only thing that you hold on to.
Dear, I’ve always wanted your heart.

No matter how broken it is, I just want your heart.

Give me all the broken pieces and I will make it whole again.

Tell me how the world has been hurting you and I will tell you how willing I am to heal you.
Dear, in Me, you don’t have to pretend.

You don’t have to display a happy facade when you’re with Me because I can see everything through your eyes.

I have seen all your pain and tears.

I have felt all your hurt, and believe Me when I say that you don’t deserve all these things that you are settling with, but also know that these things cannot make you forgotten in my heart because you have always been and you will always be a part of it.
Please do not hesitate to come back when the time comes that you realize that life was very much better when you were in My love.

I just want you to seek that happiness wherever you think you can find it, so I let you decide for your self, but please know that when you run out of possible ways to satisfy your self with love and happiness, My love is always here.

It will never change.

It will never stop.

It will never get tired.

It will never wear out.
I hope you don’t listen to the words that the world is telling you.

All those lies that you don’t deserve to be loved; that you are not beautiful; that you are a failure.

Because, believe Me, I always look at you exactly the opposite of how the world wants you to think about your self.
In me, you are loved, you are the most beautiful, and you are worthy to die for.

Remember what I did on that hill?

It was all for you, My love.
As much as I am willing to give My life up for you, I am also eager to see you living your life to the fullest in My presence; here in My arms; here in My love.
I do not keep a count of those times that you turned away from Me.

I do not and I will never hate you for the things that you did against Me.

Because I love you.

I love you with an everlasting love.

Just come back.

No matter how far you’ve gone astray, just come back.
If they cannot the love you the way you expect them to do, then I will.

What Kind of Year 2017 Was

A lot of things can happen, change, begin, and end within a year. Bunches of opportunities have come and gone. I am glad I took some of them.

It was a long year; with different sets of highs and lows. There were those days of pure insouciace when I could just let my self embrace all the great things from life, but there were also those inconsolable days when the world just seemed to be torn and I could feel it right inside of me; carrying me together with its brokenness.

12 months, and I couldn’t be any more grateful that God has sustained me with everything I needed to live through. It was not easy. The year really required a lot of faith and prayers, but I was secured that God has promised triumph and victory at the end of every trial and testing that He gave me. It strengthened me; a lot. Looking back to who I was in 2016, I am convinced that God really heals and develops things and areas in my life from one glory to another.

It was a year of reconciliation. It was the year when I learned how to forgive heartily. It was a relief to finally live a life free from the grudges and resentments I used to embrace. I tore down a row of wall between my self and some people and took a courageous step of humility and forgiveness.

It was a year of patience. There is, indeed, beauty in waiting. I do not mind placing my complete faith, trust, and hope in God anymore because He constantly proves how satisfying it really is to enjoy everything in their right season. I found my security and identity in Christ and 2017 has been a witness on how God continues to fill me with His love everyday, despite His silence and stillness when it comes to answering the things I’ve been praying for. I learned how to be content and grateful, but still hopeful and expectant.


It was a year of nurturing. I saw the value of the things and people under my care and leadership, and the urgency of taking the step to saturate my campus in prayers and preaching the gospel, and last year God has really been giving me every opportunity to illustrate the image and the kind of leadership that Jesus has to the people around me. I might not have done everything perfectly but I learned a lot of things to improve; and this year is a great opportunity to develop my self in Christ even more.

It was a year of continuations. Some of the things that I lost in 2016 were restored in 2017. I found home in the lives of my co-ministers and teammates. I am forever grateful that God did not allow my delays and setbacks to take place for so long, but long enough for me to break so He could make me whole again.

I have a lot of things to rejoice about. God continues to give me more reasons to celebrate and be grateful.

More than the breakthroughs and blessings that I received last year, it was also about the sacrifices and services that I heartily offered and gave to God.

I am secured and confident that He is able to exceed the things He blessed me with in the year 2017.

This year is another chapter yet to be unfolded. Here lies the greater, better, and more beautiful extraordinary wonders God is able to do in my life. And I am looking forward to unveiling the things God has in store for me this 2018.

Even When It Hurts

Take this fainted heart.

The world is pulling me down again. My heart is in chaos. It is overwhelmed by so many things that the world is throwing. So harsh. So discouraging. The tiniest hope is being taken away and my heart is close to giving up.

Take these tainted hands.

Look at what’s left in me. Came the moments of endless fights with setbacks and trials, and my hands are now tired of reaching out; waiting for hope; looking for a lifeline.

Wash me in Your love. Come like grace again.

In the midst of my fight, I saw You. I felt Your love. It washes over me. It suddenly covers my scars and conceals my pain. Every bit of hurt is being healed by Your grace. I remember how it never fails to save me from my distress. Your love and grace. So vast. So wonderful.

Even when my strength is lost, I’ll praise You.

My heart will still find rest in Your presence. My hands, though they are weary, will always be stretched out towards heaven. My flesh obeys my soul’s desire to worship You despite the hardships and trials.

Even when I have no song, I’ll praise You.

You hear and understand my groanings. You see through my smiles. You feel my pain in every tear. And though I do not have the voice to sing my psalms of praise to You anymore, I will still praise You with all that I am.

Even when it’s hard to find the words, louder then I’ll sing Your praise.

I often run out of words to shout in prayers. I often just cry silently for all the endured hurt. But You look at me and You remind me that You have my heart and You feel all its pain. I cannot comprehend the perfect words to describe Your love and faithfulness, but my heart’s passionate desire to worship You shall express everything that is contained in it.

Take this mountain weight.

The burden seems too heavy for me to carry. My knees are trembling because of long moments of endurance. I stand in surrender, acknowledging that I cannot carry it all alone.

Take these ocean tears.

Every night, when no one’s around, when it’s just You and me, You see how I cry my heart out and how I vent my feelings out. All the kept emotions that I always try to hide from the world, You see them all. You see how vulnerable I am when I’m alone with You.

Hold me through the trial.

You did not let go. I know you never will. You stay the same. You will never leave me even when the world seems to drift away from me. You are here not just during my highs, but also during my lows when I especially need You.

Come like hope again.

You promise a beautiful rainbow after my storms. You give me the assurance that life is always worth living. You give me the encouragement to joyfully look forward to every tomorrow.

Even when the fight seems lost, I’ll praise You.

When everything seems to be failing and getting out of control, that is when I learn how to trust in You even more. When it seems like I am so close to being defeated, You still give me lots of reasons to rejoice in You and praise You.

Even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise You.

The world always finds ways to tear me down and crush my faith in You, and it hurts. It gets tiring to continuously fight in a war I did not prepare for. But despite hearing every word of discouragement, I can still rejoice and be glad because You always remind me of the victory that You have promised.

Even when it makes no sense to sing, louder then I’ll sing Your praise.

When things do not seem to change, I admit that I doubt sometimes. There were moments when I thought You were not listening and looking because my situation does not seem to progress. But you embarass my fears by proving that You work mightily in my life and that I have no reason to doubt because Your faithfulness to me in the past is enough proof that You are able to get me through every situation.

And my heart burns only for You. You’re all… You’re all I want.

You are the reason for my everything. Your love is the reason why my heart is beating. I cannot think of any reason not to praise You because Your Name is all my soul desires to worship forever.

And my soul waits only for You, and I will sing ’til the moment has come.

I am always looking forward to that moment when I am finally with You. I am excited to be in Your arms and enjoy Your love and grace forever and until eternity.

Even when the moment comes, I’ll praise You.

When everything is already in place, and when my heart has nothing else but Your peace, I will still continue to praise You.

Even when the fight is won, I’ll praise You.

You promised victory, and as I conquer the battles, I will still praise You with thanksgiving because I am forever grateful.

Even when my time on earth is done, louder then I’ll sing Your praise.

I will always sing Your praise.