Saturday, February 14, 2015

Unfading, Steadfast Love

I did something different that day. Instead of settling myself on a couch in our kitchen corner to do my Scripture reading, I stepped out of the house and wore an earphone. I listened to an audio recording of Psalm 104 as I scanned the blue sky with white clouds of various shapes drifting by. Our neighbor's coconut trees tower above the other trees and added to the delightful view. The cool morning breeze was refreshing and so are the words I was hearing.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
    O Lord my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
  covering yourself with light as with a garment,
    stretching out the heavens like a tent. (verse 1 and 2)

I was busy the past days with writing assignments and other errands. Because of this, instead of meditating I hastily finished my daily Bible reading and just quickly uttered prayer requests to help me make it through the day. It was like saying "Hi!" and then "Good-bye" right away to an important person who longs to spend time with you.

I needed the quiet time to calm me, but more than that I needed to just be in the presence of my loving God. Hearing an audio recording of the Bible, I was reminded of God's beauty in creation, how He caused each flower and tree to grow, how He formed each mountain, how He caused plants to grow to serve as food for me. God even marked the day with sun and moon to let me know when to work and when to rest.

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures. (verse 24)

God made many wonderful things and often I overlook them. I fail to see how God surrounds me with love. When I take time to read His Word, or in this case, hear His Word, and look around, I realize how much He loves me and how much He desires to spend time with me. 

After standing for some minutes listening to the audio Bible and looking up, I sat down on the porch and fixed my gaze on the ground. A small, faint red spot caught my attention. I looked closely and realized it's not just a spot, but a familiar shape--it's a little heart. I scratched the surface to see if it is paper or other lightweight material, but no, it wasn't. Could it be a drip from a paint? We didn't paint anything red or pink these past weeks. What could it be? I didn't bother to find an explanation anymore on how that little heart got into the ground. I took it as a reminder from the God who created the sparkling stars and fluffy clouds to remind me that He loves me very much with an unfading, steadfast love. 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures foreverPsalm 136:1

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Heart and a Jar Filled with Gratitude

On the first day of this year, a friend on Facebook invited us to keep a Gratitude Jar for the rest of the year. The idea is to think daily about one thing you're grateful for, write it on a piece of paper, and toss it in a jar of your choice which will be aptly named as, yes, "Gratitude Jar".

My Gratitude Jar

I took on the challenge and found right away an empty, transparent, green bottle with a long neck. Perfect. I jotted down each day on a small strip of pink paper one thing that's worth thanking God for. For the past month, my heart has been spilling with gratitude for many things. Each day, I find reason, actually more than one reason, to be happy and thankful. 

My pen scribbled with joy when within the same month, I signed two contracts for a project. Remembering the law of sowing and reaping, I was thrilled when an opportunity was presented to me to donate to a worthy cause. It was just a few hundred pesos which I've been saving for a personal need, but the joy I received in return was priceless. That incident was recorded and kept in the jar. 

But there were also things that I wish didn't happen, still I found reason to be grateful. My son was hospitalized, but we were relieved that he recovered quickly. I had a flu soon after, but I was in bed for just a day. A software I was using was corrupted, but I didn't get cranky this time and stayed calm while downloading a replacement. Cool! 

Because God is in control and He is a reliable help in time of need, I can be thankful in any situation--good or bad, happy or sad. I may be bubbling over with excitement one day, or feeling blah the next time. Yet, when I remember that God loves me dearly and He has a purpose for everything, I train myself to pause, take up the pen, express my thanks, and toss it in my Gratitude Jar. 

At the end of the year, I will unroll each pieces of paper and read them one by one. I will relive God's goodness, thank Him once again, and praise Him for all that He has done. 

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."      
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Here's another story about a Gratitude Jar. 

If you're inspired to make your own Gratitude Jar, share it with us. Let your heart and jar be filled with gratitude to God!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wishing for a Golden Wedding Anniversary?

In the beginning of this year, in January, my husband officiated a ceremony for the renewal of vows of a couple celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. After the couple renewed their wedding vows, they danced cheek-to-cheek to the tune of their favorite song “God Knows How Much I Love You” by the Righteous Brothers.

Last June, my parents-in-law celebrated their golden wedding anniversary too. Both of them are already in their 70's and have not been separated from each other. So we celebrated their 50 years of togetherness with a simple lunch with close relatives and friends. We were reminded that married life is not all bliss. It has blisters too, but with Christ in the center of the relationship married couples can stick together and be happy.

Two weeks ago, in this last month of the year, a popular month for weddings, we were invited to another golden anniversary. Teary-eyed the couple renewed their covenant of love to each other. And yes, the elderly husband planted a kiss on the lips of his gray-haired but still beautiful wife. It was a sweet, tender moment and we the audience responded with cheers.

Don’t you wish for a golden wedding anniversary too? I do. In my book How to Keep Your Hubby Happy at Iba Pang Tips para kay Misis I revealed some of the secrets to a long and happy marriage shared by real-life couples who have decided to stay together through thick and thin. Get the scoop from the book available at Omf Literature Book Shops, National Book Store, PCBS, and other book stores.