Reposted from Ezine: I Kissed Dating Goodbye

As I looked at its cover, I was dumbfounded. I felt something special that lured me to discover what it has to say. It seemed as if I have felt the similar urge to read its pages, as I have felt with the cover of Rose Madder. Back then, I remembered I was as well cold-stricken with the view of a lady looking afar. The lady was gazing towards a horizon, where an old tree stood at the heart of the picture. I saw hope and I felt pain, and these were the few feelings that I recall drove me to look into its covers.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye caught my attention in a similar gravity but of different perspective. I found myself enticed with the picture of a man physically composed yet emotionally reserved. The title suggested something about dating but it kept me wondering about the ironic feeling of reservation it suggested through its cover picture – a squatting man, looking down, face covered with a hat and sleeves uncovered. At the back cover, I had a different impression. The book shared a feeling of awe, a feeling that has given me the slightest clue of what it has to say. Then on, I grabbed a copy and tossed it to the basket for purchase.

At the preface, I read an initial attest of a guy namedSam Torode. I do not know him and I have not heard his name among the league of writers; but I read on and gave him a chance to involve me more. Surprisingly, it did.

So I gave Joshua Harris a chance and started the first chapter of the book. From then, I was more amazed to have found my fingers flipping from one page to another; until I earnestly discovered what it had to say. It was not just about dating but kissing dating goodbye. The word goodbye seemed to have just been another oxymoron to us but Joshua’s goodbyewas far-fetched to mean as God be with ye, as gotten from the old much-preferred contraction of the word. Then again, I was more astonished. His words expressed the simplest idea that a Christian could ever conceive, but he revealed choices that are far-opted by most people. Perhaps this is the reason whyJoshua has been tagged as an extremist. However, he took the wind out of my sails. It must have taken him more than a sack of brevity and more than a week of prayers to point out to the world that –

“True love isn’t just expressed in passionately whispered words or an intimate kiss or an embrace before two people are married, love is expressed in self-control, patience, even words left unsaid.”

That in our world where passion is a battleground, as Elizabeth Elliot would put it; our hearts tend to find selfish fulfillment and satisfaction everywhere with unruly affections. In the end, we just find it nowhere without God.

Joshua decided based on what is pure and blameless. He refined his love not just by posting a sticker of I am worth waiting for on the cover of his bible or by following his little relationship principle of The joy of intimacy is the reward of commitment; but with strengthening his passion after Christ’s heart. (Matthew 16:24) That through Christ he knew, every meaning of love has been said and done. There is no greater love than this. It sacrifices, it gives and it dies to its own needs. (John 15:13)

As I closed the book to its very end, a noble perspective begins to work loose. It was not just about the thought of dating during my first impression; but the reservation and awe when one engages into a relationship in His sublime keeping and guidance. That though kissing dating goodbye is to counterculture romance, it proposes pure love with romance done on a clean slate.

References:

1) New International Version (NIV) Bible
2) “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris, Multnoma Publishers, 2003.
3) “Passion and Purity” by Elizabeth Elliot, Published by Fleming H. Revell, 1984.
4) “The Maven’s Word of the Day” by Randomhouse, http://www.randomhouse.com, retrieved: January 28, 2010.

It is indeed a freaky day! My hamster Jigger was found dead in his cage. What’s more freaky is that his pal, playmate and friend Muffin (another hamster) was found nibbling on his face while Jigger laid dead. Cannibalism was the last thing that I could have thought of my sweet Muffin. She was playful and was endearingly nice to people. Yet, far from expected, this nightmare happened between two hamster friends.

I cannot judge Muffin for doing so. There were a number of possibilities why she committed cannibalism. One of which is the assumption that Jigger died first and then after she just felt the urge to taste his meat. Another is the possibility that she fought with the smaller Jigger, won over him and took her victory by tasting the flavor of her friend’s face. Either assumptions, would lead to the fact that Muffin was able to nibble on Jigger dead or alive.

Ian, a friend, even commented, “That’s life. Either you eat, or you get eaten…sometimes alive!” Knowing the nature of hamsters, I could have agreed. It would only be practical to accept things as they are. They are naturally-born carnivores and they can actually feed on their own flesh. No buts and no ifs – it’s just their nature! However, I knew that despite their nature, there is still something far more than just being what nature dictates them to be. Muffin’s fondness with people and her playfulness exhibited emotions that are far humane compared to the hamsters in the wild. She was able to feel like how babies feel whenever they please old folks around. From being wild, she almost turned into a completely domesticated pet until this incident.

So as much as I would love to agree with Ian’s practical perspective, I could not. I simply retorted, “Cannibalism isn’t life. It is the end of life!” My point of view must have been understated but then knowing his wit, I knew he understood what I meant.

Our life today is similar to the hamsters in the wild. They are born to survive and to simply be who they are by nature. Humans as well have the same fate. We are born to survive and to be who we are as nature compels us to be. The world we live in today has showcased much of the common principle of Survival of the fittest. Even Science attests to this vicious cycle from lessons on Darwin’s finches to the infamous World Trade Center bombing. So what makes us different from the other species of this planet? Who ever said that man is of superior intelligence when we have become more than just cannibals?

Of course, literally we do not feed on the meat of our brethren. We just bomb them like Al Qaeda and ruthlessly consider human lives like money that can just go down the drain anytime we want. Selfishly, we rob the wild of their homes as we expand our terrains of Nukes and high-powered firearms. We are too proud to say that we are not cannibals, yet in fact, we have become more than just that.

The world that we live in today is a large view of how cannibals we are today. Indeed, this is our life today – either we eat or we get eaten. We are all Muffins driven by the force of our nature; and like Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis), our bondage has given us a reason to be just like any other cannibal.

So what makes us different from Muffin? I have had a hard thought on this. If I were to ask you, what makes you different you may answer that you have the brain, the heart and the soul. Some scholars would even say that they are different from the rest of the animal kingdom because of their choice. Others would even remark that it is their intelligence or wit. However, let us be reminded that the rest of the beings on earth have brains and hearts. Dogs must have the soul to love his master. Dolphins have brains to learn basic communication signals. Hamsters have the heart to feel that people are pleased by their playfulness. Monkeys have some intelligence and wit, and they even get the choice to which monkeys to mate. How confident are we that these are the factors that differs us from the other living things on earth?

Sad to say, I am no different from them since I have cannibalized others as much as Muffin did. This is one sign that I, as well, do not have soul. I have sinned as much as others have sinned, and this signify that my heart is not clean and my intelligence as a man is far from being superior. But then, my heart is free of bondage. I am not caged like Muffin and I am not bonded to who my nature compels me to be since I am a Christian. I do not have to conform to the foolishness of the world because grace has been endowed to me even before my time…

Dear Lord,

I thank this day that you have reminded me of my difference from the rest of the world – I have You in my arms that I have always felt comforted, I have the Holy Spirit in my heart that I have always been guided, I have Jesus in me that I have always felt free from my sinful nature. Let this grace be the first mark of my difference as I share your glory to the rest of the world.

Thank you for taking me out of the wild and giving me a shelter. I am forever grateful for the new life that you have given me; that out of reverence for you, I would take my yoke to follow you…

Sometime December of 2009, I was filled with a feeling of frustration as I looked at a price list of cheap Outreach Bibles. I had this big desire of sharing low-cost bible to the children of my outreach but I was not prepared financially. My budget was all tight since I just transferred to my new company and I already had plans for my pay. It was a sad moment for me to let go of the desire but I had this hope that someday, I would make use of such information. In my heart, I kept the desire as I told God that it would be a great joy for me if He would give me the opportunity. Months have passed and I have almost forgotten my wish from God. I was almost convinced that my desire was not His will. I just thought that maybe, He has got another plan.

Then came that chance during the Young Adults Ministry planning. I was cold-stricken to have heard an idea from our Young Adult Pastor Ariel that awakened my old desire. “This is it!,” I silently told myself. “This is the chance that God has promised me.” So I eagerly volunteered. I knew that the chance was mine to take and I would never let it pass no matter what the consequences are.

Similarly, we often  tell God our great desires. We charmingly and sweetly ask Him to grant our wishes like how a daughter does to a father. If our wishes are timely like what fathers do, He would grant them in the most heartwarming way. However, there are times that God only chooses to listen for the moment to our pleas. This often leads us to thinking all sorts of assumptions like “Maybe it is not mine to take” or “Maybe God said NO“. Of course, we do not know His plans but somehow to keep us from thinking too much, we still end up letting go of our desires. Sometimes we even forget that when God listens, He truly lends the Father’s ears. We only need to wait and be patient.

It is like the story of a young boy who once asked his father for a wooden toy house. His father was a carpenter but he had no money to buy all the materials for the toy; but he still listened to his son’s request. He allowed his heart to keep such request to inspire him to work hard.

There were times that the boy would pursue his request by asking his father to just steal materials from his work. His father, with eyes full of tears, would only hug him to let him know that he heard his wish.

Years passed and the boy have grown. The boy was already about to graduate in College. He took up Architecture. As he marched his way to the stage to get his diploma, he saw his father in the crowd waving while holding a big box. He was touched that his father got him a graduation gift that after the rites, he hastily approached and hugged him. “Thank you,” the son said. The father replied in his stern voice, “I did not forget.” Then his father gave him the large box wrapped under his arm.

As the son unopened the present, he was surprised to see a beautifully handcrafted wooden house. His father smiled and said, “This is the house that I promised you when you were a kid. I thought, it would be handy now that you would need a model for your own house. ”

The son already forgot his father’s promise. His heart sank that all those years he thought that his father never listened. He thought that his desire was never his to take; but in the end, he learned that his father only wanted him to wait for the right time. His father did not forget. He simply wanted him to have the toy only at the time that he needs to have a bigger dream to realize.

God, our Father, is like the carpenter. He grants wishes and He works on a completely different scale. However, we need to wait and be confident that He is going to act in His perfect time…

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” – Psalm 27:14

I only have fifteen minutes of devotion before eight this morning and I have to be office-bound. My eyes are still swelling from burning the midnight oil. Then a thought came to me… I drink at most 3 cups of coffee usually due to sleepiness. Each drink would always cost me at most 15 minutes of break. There are times that I had to eat a few snacks while working to keep me awake for the day’s work. My sleepiness even got me into a frequent habit of randomizing and listening to mp3 songs from my notebook. All of these things may be done with multitasking but they still take much of my day’s hours. Visibly, the habit of sleeping late has controlled my lifestyle and it has been controlling my day more than my prayer habit. How could this be?

Unlike most Christians in my church who practices a 5AM Devotion, I spend my time of devotion at night and before going to work. Comparing my practice to theirs must be frustrating on my part. They have better self-control and discipline in terms of setting times for devotion. That though I do it regularly, I do not have a specific time for devotion.

Sometimes I wonder, “Do I really have to pray, reflect and communicate with God during specific times? Am I really short in that part?” I searched my heart to see if I am feeling something wrong about this habit and it seemed to have been saying “yes” and “no.” “Yes” because setting a specific time to talk with Him would mean that He is my priority for the day.  This is important since scheduled priorities utilize most of my hours at day like my writing habit at night. It is similar to listening to a song first thing in the morning and getting the last-song-syndrome until the end of the day. Such is a must-have habit that could serve as an important component to hasten my transformation as a Christian. It is so beneficial that it even saved me from making wrong decisions.

I also heard my heart said “No.” Perhaps it is due to the fact that time is not a matter to God. Whatever time of day would always be a perfect time for Him to communicate even at our most restless state. This reminds me of a time when I almost lost my patience at work and I found myself bending my head on my table to pray. I was surprised at my gesture since I have never talked to Him in years. Thanks to a regular habit that my heart has gotten the knack of being happy and thanks to God for the faithfulness despite my troubled nature.

In my heart, it said “Yes” and “No.” In my mind it asked, “Time is not a matter to Him but should you let this be the reason for Him not to matter?”

I know God is too forgiving. He knows that time is one of the most difficult things to manage. I feel that He is always waiting, that whichever time I call, He always hears my words. My experience have always assured me that He is always at my back. For whichever time I desire to talk to Him, I always find my heart filled with His grace. It has never been a deal for Him to be a part of my tight schedule, yet with just one word He would always seem to have freed His schedule for me. I must have been unfair. The VIP ticket to His schedule has always been so easy for me when He is irregularly included in my daily regimen. I am unfair!

Dear Lord, I am sorry for the days when I overlooked your patience. I have been too busy with my daily work that I often forget to put you in my list of priorities. Thank you for your patience and grace. Please help me with my prayer habit, especially that I desire to endeavor  forming a regular habit with you. Let me grow with a regular dose of your Word to let me live in your presence. Let it be more than just five minutes of my time, as I succumb to Your greatness.

Days have passed that I have been too bothered about my feelings of fondness towards a sweet guy. I know that everything was too fast; and I even considered myself a “certified flirt” for having entertained his fondness towards me. I thought it was totally immature!

Nevertheless, everything started from my desires of reaching out to a heartbroken guy knowing that I’ve been to a similar painstaking situation. My initial intention was to extend feelings of care to a guy whose heart has been ripped apart by love circumstances; and the sweet man he is, he reciprocated the feelings for me. Actually, it might have been more than friends.

I have been rebuked after then. For a few days, I could not stop thinking of my oath to God not to cross the line to avoid hurting people and wronging His gift of purity out of my heart. I enjoyed the affection and I even played along. I was allowing others to giggle and shudder as we continued showing more than friendly deeds in our January fling. The thing was not a love affair, but a special fondness that only God knew why I had to feel.

So I confessed my confusions to a friend Boo, after a few nights of prayers. It was unexpected for her to understand that I really had second thoughts at first. However, things went pretty well. She insisted that I am single and that I could really show likeness; but she reminded me to be very careful with my heart.

“Guard your heart, most of all,” she told me after giggling at my situation. Her words were sincere that her reminders have kept ringing like a tiny bell in my head. I had to recall a similar passage from the bible –

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23

As I reread the passage, I have been reminded not only to guard my heart but to remember that it is where God resides. I was lead to discern my heart because I knew my affections could mislead me.

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ…” – Philippians 1:9-10

I knew then that as a Christian, I have so much love to give in my heart but they come in different packages like fondness, likeness, attraction, true love. Most of them have been packaged for my family, brethren, friends and even enemies yet only one is meant to be shared to a special person. I can not afford to be hasty and immature or I might give less to the person God has set for me. All I can do for now is to sail the course, entrust God my heart and let Him take me to His will.


It is my brother’s birthday today. I still do not have any idea of what should I give him. At first I thought, money would be very handy. It would be more practical than giving him a birthday cake. However then I thought, he is much more worthy for me than just money; but of course I cannot afford to give him all the luxury he wants. So I bent on my knees to pray. I prayed hard and offered him the sweetest gift a Christian could give even though he knew nothing about it. I asked God and I felt contented. It seemed to me that every word mattered to me and in my heart I knew God would give him the best birthday present that no one else could ever give…

Like many other Christians who would always fall on their knees when wishing great things for their loved ones, I also believe in the power of prayer. I have seen it move mountains like how he granted compensation and bonuses on time to roughly around 200 employees of a declining company. That company was my previous company and as one of the managers, I knew back then that compensation and bonuses were too impossible to give. Yet, with God’s working hands, it did. All we did was pray.

I have seen hearts heal through prayers. My heart for one is a living example. I used to have a heart as hard as stone that I rarely cried since I shed my tears when I left home. Anger was all written in my heart that in its tablet, I have even grown close to God. During those times, I have forgotten how to pray. I never bothered talking to him despite me knowing God exists. I considered Him just another wild imagination of men. Nevertheless, I received His saving grace. Through prayers my heart little by little vanquished hate in my heart along with the pain that I have kept inside. I learned to forgive – not just by word but to the very bosom of my heart. My eyes once again learned to cry and I learned it first when I bent on my knees for hours in a prayer mountain.

Similarly, Elijah was just an ordinary man but through his earnest prayers he was able to control the rains. He prayed earnestly for the rains not to come and it did for three and a half years. Elijah asked God to give rain so that the earth could produce crops and once again, it did. (James 5:16-18)

Even Jesus prayed constantly despite the fact that He is the Son of God. He talked to God so frequent even though He knew of His sacrifice for mankind. (Hebrews 5:6-8)

My prayer, Elijah’s and Jesus’ have one in common – all of us have faith. Even though my faith is as small as a mustard seed, if I would pray as Jesus taught, nothing is impossible. It would move mountains and it would give me a stride over my seemingly never-ending endeavors in life.

“…Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20



Someone once commented, “I envy you. You do not  seem to have any problem at all.”

I did not know how to react so I simply smiled. Then, a few moments passed and I realized that I have passed up a chance. It could have been a good testimony of God’s grace in my life. I thought, “How couldn’t I let the overflow of my heart speak out during the right times? How come I’ve allowed such wonderful chance to pass?”

It was indeed a lesson. As I little by little remove the chains of the world bound around my neck, I should start moving my head forward to let God’s grace overflow not only in my heart but as well as in my mouth. I should let things out while my walls are starting to break and my masks are beginning to uncover. It should overflow like how I feel the beat of my praise unto Him whenever I listen to worship songs. My hands should freely open wide as I remove myself from the material world I am in. For I am a Christian and I have been freed from my burdens no matter how unworthy I was.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” – Ephesians 1:4-6

Since I long to praise and adore Him for all the great blessings that unfold in my once-desolate life, my old self should not hinder my heart’s wishes. I should not have second thoughts in testifying about His greatness. For, He has given me not just a happy heart but a heart after Him. I should not hesitate speaking out the awesome things that He has done to me because it all took His priciest treasure to simply give my lot today. It also took Him more than a thousandfold of patience, before I realized I went astray. That while my hands were tied and my eyes were shut; His glorious ways, opened the door of my cold heart to rekindle its beat once again. With all these miracles in my life, I had been reborn. These things, I owe unto Him and it would be a shame not to raise my arms for praise, not to speak my heart out of love, not to sing the tunes out of my soul and not to show deeds of gratitude when I can do just so little to please Him.

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” – Psalm 63:1-8

So Lord, let me thank you with my simple ways. Let me be delighted to serve you and to utilize this heart after you. Let me be bold as Paul, Stephen and the rest of the saints who serve you. This is my great desire – the very overflow of my heart.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29

I am weak, so I creep to the arms that strengthens me.
I am unwise, that I bend on my knees to ease my trembling.
I am stupid, yet I struggle to move on forward with hope and faith.
I am angry, that I brace others to fill my heart with love.
I believe in Your promise, as I see the rainbow every after each rain…

Let me start this diary with matters on love for this is the first issue that I have faced this year.

I am, what most people call a bachelorette – single and unmarried.  To my father this word means doom. For in this state he thinks, he is unable to have grandchildren. I am not so sure why he has been pushing me to marry when in fact I am not the only unmarried child in the family. Perhaps,  it has something to do with the fact that I am the only child in the family who is able to conceive.

I am also not sure why I do not have any boyfriend since I broke up with my last. It has been more than two years that I have not fallen in love and the clock is still ticking. I have no answers as to why not so many guys have asked me out. It must have been my preferences and my priorities in life. Or perhaps, I always looked like a difficult snob especially at first glance.

A lot of people have already wondered why I don’t have a boyfriend. Few of them have been worried. Even my brother got bothered  that once he remarked, “You must be heartbroken! You always go to church.” I simply smiled at him. He was right that the first reason why I went to church is that I was heartbroken. I renewed my faith because I was weak, unwise, stupid and angry with the world. However, he was also wrong to have thought that I am still heartbroken.

I cannot deny that I approached God only during the times that I wanted to give up. It was unfair for Him but He still received me with loving arms. He endowed me with so much love that I have forgotten what was like to be alone. I have never felt that I was not blessed; that months went by like days and years passed by like any other happy day in my heart. The troubles in my heart have been turned into hopes that is why I never bothered spending so much time dating or dreaming.

Actually, I did not kiss dating goodbye but I simply figured that the next guy in my life would be my last. He is the man that God has sent for me so I do not need to look for love. It would find me.

As my churchmate Hezron once said, true love is always worth waiting for.

“Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time?” – Psalm 77:8

“…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”- 2Corinthians5:19-20

Though it is 12 days past the first day of the year, my 2010 has just begun. Happiness filled my heart in the past 12 days that I haven’t noticed the days passed by so quickly. Everything seemed so fast-paced and totally different that I am even surprised to have been looking at my flight tickets to Singapore this July. My decision to have a fine vacation in Singapore wasn’t planned at all, but with God’s guidance, I know all things would fall in its perfect place.

I used to plan everything in the past but at the end of 2009, I realized that no matter how well I plan things, it would always be His will. I’m not saying this because I fear God’s will but I am proudly stating a fact that “well” is never fine for His children. I have figured that things have been doing more than “well” for me with God’s work; and this beautiful life of mine is my 2010’s first page.

2009 was a year of happiness and bliss for me. I have been saved from a problematic company. I have accomplished promising articles for my writing career. I have rekindled relationships with numerous friends. I have experienced sparkling moments in my love affairs. Finally, I have lessened my family’s negative opinions over my religious belief. These are just a few of the blessings that I have received from God. I have a lot more in my heart that I am forever grateful in Him.

Thus, if I haven’t embraced God’s loving arms, I must have been sober today; and if I haven’t believed in Him, I must have been lost until now. If I haven’t reconciled with Him, I must still be in the league of troublemakers. For I know in my heart and I feel that in His presence, I am once again living a life – a life meant to be shared by pen! This is the life that I have always desired and I hope it would make a difference to others.

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his very soul?” - Mark 8:36

Categories

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1 other follower

Blog Stats

  • 92 hits