There Is No Christmas Without Christ

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Merry Christmas and let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas. Family reunions and parties are the ways we celebrate it but those are not the essence of this special day. Christmas is not merely about exchanging presents, togetherness and eating good food. It is a season to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Some say Christmas is only for kids but the real essence of Christmas is about Jesus. The eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing Creator came to earth in the flesh. He was born as an infant, lived and suffered with us and even died for us. Why would a God humble Himself greatly for our sake? Because His love for us is so great. I do believe that the spirit of this season is love because God first demonstrated love by coming down from heaven to save the world. We love because He first loved us.

The Birth of Jesus

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

-Luke 2:2-20 NLT


Mystery Blogger Award


I would like to thank Aysa of aysabaw and Jessica of Looking for Jessy for nominating me for this kind of award.

What is Mystery Blogger Award?

Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
Okoto Enigma


  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

  1. I am a registered nurse in the Philippines and also in Qatar.
  2. I can play the intro of Fur Elise by Beethoven without knowing the notes (because I don’t know how to read notes but I love the sound of piano).
  3. I am a bookworm. I read the whole El Filibusterismo when I was in grade four and my favorite author was Jose Rizal back then.

Aysa’s Questions:

  1. If you are to choose between Alien Invasion and Zombie Apocalypse, which one would you prefer and why? Alien Invasion. I think there are humane aliens. Lol.
  2. What animal best represents you and why? A dog because I can be a good friend to those who can accept and adore me for who I am.
  3. If you could live forever, how would you spend eternity? I would spend it loving God and loved ones.
  4. If you could only take three things with you on a deserted island, what would they be? Comforter, knife and extra clothes.
  5. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it? A superpower to induce anyone to love others. I would use it to everyone to promote world peace, unity and equality.

Jessica’s Questions:

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? 25.
  2. If you had the chance to go back in time and change one thing, what would you change? I would have forbidden Eve to eat the fruit of good and evil.
  3. If your life was a movie, what would be the title? Life of Karen. Lol.
  4. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? I love this question. I will help the needy and feed the hungry.
  5. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? Lose all of old memories because I want to make more memories better than the old ones.

My Best Post or (I should say) My Favorite Post:

On the Mind of a Self-proclaimed Ugly

Though this post has only least number of views and comments, this blog entry took a year to finish. It had been on my draft for months, adding few sentences whenever I felt like writing. Thinking I was so ugly and undeserving of real love, I wrote all my misery and insecurity in that post. I finished it when I finally realized my true identity in the Lord. If you feel ugly, always bear in mind that you are beautiful in the eyes of God because He created you in His image. This post is the beginning of writing about Christ.

I would like to nominate the following bloggers.


The Hardy Kid


My Five Questions:

  1. What do you think is the purpose of your life?
  2. Who inspired or influenced you the most and why?
  3. What is the best movie or book that you ever watched or read?
  4. When is the happiest moment of your life?
  5. What motivates you to blog?

Have fun and God bless you.

“A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.” -Proverbs 15:13 ESV

Three Reasons Why I’m Not Religious

picsart_12-08-08-21-10My secondary school teacher once said that being religious is different from being godly. There were two old women, she said, going to Catholic church, a little boy stumbled down and accidentally pushed the religious woman who was aiming to dip her finger into the holy water. Because of interrupting the religious woman cursed the boy. The godly woman in the other hand, helped the little boy to stand up before entering the church.

Dictionary defines religion as a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Yes, it sounds Christianity but Christianity is much more than set of rules and beliefs used to worship God. I have been hurt by religious people masquerading as Christians. I have been disappointed by religious people who claim that their religion is the only religion acceptable to God so they hate those who have dissimilar beliefs. Religion teaches indifference. Jesus teaches love. Religion is man centered. Jesus is God-centered. Religion is fueled by fear and punishment. Jesus is fueled by love and mercy. Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is about Jesus who loves us with everlasting love and wants to be our father and friend, our Lord and savior. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus. I am not religious and there are three reasons why.

1. I go to church not because it is compulsory.

The main reason why I regularly attend church every Friday (Friday is the rest day here in the desert instead of Sunday) is because I want to feel the presence of God and in His presence I feel most elated and content. Nothing in this world can give me such delight and satisfaction. Winning in a contest or successful career or having a beautiful face can’t offer infinite mirth that I can only feel in the presence of the Lord. A father’s presence overwhelms his child. His embrace warms his child. His promises give hope and courage to his child and his love keeps his child alive. I am a child of God and He is my father for eternity.

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” -John 1:12-13 NLT

Worshiping God is not an obligation for me. It’s my happiness. Listening to His words is not a law for me that needs to be obeyed. It’s my life. Going to church for me is not merely a commandment that can’t be broken or a religious ritual that must be done. I am not driven by rules and laws of religion. I am driven by my love for God who loves me more than I love myself. Attending church services can make us religious but having a relationship with the Lord is what makes us a Christian.

2. I want to be a good person not because I want to be saved from hell.

Being a good person will not save you from eternal punishment because each of us has committed sins. Nobody can boast that he or she didn’t or will not ever commit sins. “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” -1 John 1:8 NLT. But because of Jesus our sins are forgiven if we have accepted Him as our Lord and savior. Doing good deeds does not save us from hell but Jesus does. Salvation is not by works. It is by grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

Given that I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior, it doesn’t mean that I have a license to sin. God calls His children to be like Him, righteous and blameless. As children of the Lord, we should resemble Jesus. I want to be a good person not because I’m terrified of going to hell but because Jesus Christ bought me with His blood. He was hanged in the cross instead of me. He was cursed and punished instead of me. He paid the price that I should pay. He did it all because He loves humanity.

“Christ bought us with His blood and made us free from the Law. In that way, the Law could not punish us. Christ did this by carrying the load and by being punished instead of us. It is written, “Anyone who hangs on a cross is hated and punished.” Because of the price Christ Jesus paid, the good things that came to Abraham might come to the people who are not Jews. And by putting our trust in Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit He has promised.” –Galatians 3:13-15 (NLV)

He loves us that He gave up His life for us. No other person can do that except Jesus. His kindness leads us to repentance. I am not compelled by religion but I am captured by His love. I am not saying that I am faultless but His grace is sufficient for me. Being a good person can make us religious but having a relationship with Jesus is what makes us a Christian.

3. I read the Bible not because church tells me to.

Religion encourages us to read the Bible even without understanding its context. Religion tells us to memorize and recite prayers repeatedly even without emotion. Religion obliges us to do religious things even without love. I read the Bible because it is where I find wisdom. Religion obliges us to read the Bible but having a relationship with Jesus opens our hearts and mind to comprehend His words written in the holy book. Reading the Bible can make us religious but having a relationship with Jesus is what makes us a Christian.

Like parents and their children, husband and wife, friends and their friends, there is no relationship without love that binds them together. I am not religious and because of Jesus’ love for me I have known love.

Red and White: The Two Kinds of People

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I decided to write this post after reading a certain blog about atheism. I stumbled upon that particular blog while I was googling about religion for I was planning to write a blog entry about reasons why I am not religious (which will be my next essay after this). In response to the blog post entitled ‘10 Reasons Why I’m Not a Christian‘, I would like to post an opposite version of the aforesaid blog entry.

There are two kinds of people, introvert and extrovert, humble and proud, gentle and harsh, good and bad, optimistic and pessimistic, big and small, fat and thin, two opposing hues, red and white (I don’t want to sound racist so I changed black to red and I’m not literally pertaining to colors). There may be almost in between of those characteristics but there must be a larger portion that best classifies their kind. It has to be either cold or hot and it’s up to us if we decide to be lukewarm almost hot or lukewarm almost cool. We have given the freedom to choose. Are you a believer or unbeliever? Red

10 Reasons Why I’m Not a Christian (This is an excerpt. Read the rest of his blog.)

  1. A creator is not required for the universe to exist as it is. Religion offers no evidence but hypothesizes about the origins of the earth and human beings. According to science, the existence of a god is not needed for our universe to exist, nor is it needed for us to exist.
  2. The Bible is not convincing. There are many reasons why it is unconvincing. First there are the contradictions. The Bible was clearly written by a number of authors who disagreed on various things. There is also the fact that miracles and personal interactions with God don’t really happen any more. If they happened for 2000 years, why would they just suddenly stop?
  3. I have never seen any miracles. I have never personally witnessed a miracle and every miracle I heard about has a very natural explanation.
  4. Christians disagree with each other over almost all aspects of their religion. How do I know that you’re right and he’s wrong when you’re both giving me the same lack of evidence to support your version of the story?
  5. I don’t need God to be good.  Christianity is not the basis of morality and Christians are not the only ones with morals. I do in fact have morals. I get them from my parents, my teachers, my friends, etc. But I also get them from philosophy. It is philosophy that convinced me that abortion and euthanasia are not immoral and can, in fact, be moral.
  6. Even if the Bible was convincing, the Christian God isn’t worth worshiping. This is a God responsible for genocides. This is a God who ordered a man to kill his son to prove his loyalty, a God who killed their own son because they couldn’t figure out any other way to forgive humanity. This God even threatens to torture people for eternity simply because they can’t believe in him. Why would I worship this God?
  7. Of all the religions that exist, I see no reason why the Christian religion is more likely to be true than the rest of them. What’s more, all religions seem to be supported by the same lack of evidence. So why would I accept Christianity over all of the rest?
  8. Too many churches teach hate and encourage their congregants to view themselves as superior to all other humans. Why would I want to hang out with people who believe I’m less than them simply because I disagree with them?
  9. I don’t believe anyone deserves an infinite punishment for a finite crime. Am I deserving of hell for saying something about something I don’t believe in? Why isn’t imprisonment enough of a punishment?
  10. I see nothing wrong with not knowing the answer. It seems like a lot of people accept God’s existence because they believe it’s better to have any answer, even a wrong one, than having no answer.


10 Reasons Why I Am a Christian

  1. A creator is required for the universe to exist as it is. Science is the evidence of the Bible and I’ve read a lot of articles to explain this. I believe that we are not a product of mere coincidences. A computer will not form itself without a person who will assemble its tiniest details to make it work. I am not an accident in this world, neither are you because we are here for a purpose.
  2. The Bible is convincing. There are proofs that the Bible is true and studying and reading the Bible in day-to-day basis enlighten me. The word of God strengthens me whenever I feel weak, gives me hope when I’m hopeless.”He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:29-31.
  3. I see miracles everyday. I’ve heard a lot of stories of dying people miraculously healed and victims of tragedies that survived. The fact that I am still breathing at this very moment without knowing when and how we’re going to die is a miracle. Isn’t it a miracle that once a skeptic like me, now a believer blogging about her faith?
  4. Christians agree with each other over almost all aspects of their religion. Reading and meditating on the Bible are essential factors to grow and mature as a Christian because the Bible should be the only basis of Christian belief. If a Christian doesn’t agree with another Christian’s belief, check whether his/her creed is just manmade or from God.
  5. I need God to be good. Human beings are naturally sinful and though morals can be taught in school, morality in the absence of God is just human convention and wholly subjective. If God exists, objective moral values exist or something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. Read this article.
  6. God is worth worshiping. God became one of us, a human being. “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of humanity.” -Philippians 2:6,7. Why? God wanted to reveal God to humanity by His words and deeds. He became a man but hadn’t committed sins. He came to die for the sins of the world. He sacrificed Himself in the cross. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” -Matthew 20:28. We are unrighteous but by His blood we became righteous. I can’t simply tell you how deep and great His love for us. You have to experience it. I experience it and nothing can stop me from worshiping God.
  7. Of all the religions that exist, I see reason why Christianity is more likely to be true than the rest of them. Some believe in multiple number of gods and goddesses. Some worship curved images made of wood or metal or gold. Bible is more ancient than any other books written. I don’t want to compare but Christianity, I think, is not a religion that obliges people to follow certain traditions and rituals to be saved from eternal damnation. Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus.
  8. Christ taught and demonstrated love and encouraged us to do the same. Simply because He is love. He loves the ugliest in us and forgives the unforgivable in us. He taught us to love our enemies and forgive them. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” -1 John 4:8
  9. I believe in an infinite punishment. Because God is a God of justice. I used to question the idea of hell because the notion of everlasting torment was very difficult to grasp. Can all people be forgiven and loved by God? The truth is we all forgiven and loved by God if we accepted Him as our Lord and savior and repent. But sadly, not all people can accept it because God has given us free will. You have the choice and God is calling you now to choose Him. I’ve unintentionally watched a bestiality video for the first time and I was horrified by how a human being with higher intelligence than animals will ruin their bodies for lust. It opened my mind how vicious humans are getting. Even dogs understand that they aren’t supposed to have sex with cats but humans are having sexual intercourse with dogs. If I was dismayed how much more disappointed God was. God hates wickedness so He wants us to repent.
  10. The truth will set us free. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:32

Are you either red or white? Choose.

When is a Time to Hate and a Time to Love?

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8 NIV

I thought it was a mistake when I reaquote-i-hate-you-i-love-you.jpgd it for the first time. In the Bible I wasn’t expecting to read something that induces us to hate. Isn’t God commanding us to love our neighbor? The Lord has wonderful ways to teach us.

There was a period in my life when I battled between hate and love. I felt was I was drifting away from God because my heart was darkened and poisoned by hatred that I thought has vanished but I just unknowingly hid and by slightest trigger it was provoked. I let the evil win again, I thought and disheartened. I wasn’t doing what I’ve written. I had always followed my heart full of filth. Then I began to realize that this is really me, flawed, weak and imperfect, just like all of us. This is who we are. We’re not hypocrites. We are human with real emotions and struggles.

Hate is a natural human emotion.

If I would list down all things I dislike I would write a 500-pages book. I detest people who look down on others and treat them unequally based on physical traits and financial status. I hate those who regard themselves as highly superior and others are unimportant. I don’t like those who befriend others just for the benefit they can gain. I loathe narcissistic who often babble about themselves and cut off others while they’re speaking because they aren’t interested. I hate being compared. I hate being talked about behind my back and keep their mouth shut when in front of me. I hate gossips and rumors about me spreading by someone I’ve trusted but doesn’t understand my feelings or unwillingly tried to understand. I hate being judged. I abhor those who also abhor me. I detest those who hate the ones I adore. I hate those who are overly concerned about their image and what others think of them. There’s more to life than conforming to the world’s standard. I loathe those who can’t appreciate small things. Gratefulness is the key to contentment. I despise those who are insensitive to others’ feelings, so full of themselves, arrogant and self-centered.

Everyone hates being treated badly and unfairly and so do I. We aren’t robot that if a person disrespects or humiliates us we will not be angered. If a person threw stones at you that caused your head to bleed, our first reaction is not to laud that person. Our first idea is to get even. We wish to throw larger stones so his or her head will crack and bleed even more and feel the excruciating pain that we’re feeling. We long for justice. We want to treat him or her the way he or she treats us or much worse. We want vengeance. Even an animal has a natural reaction to fight back when threatened. How arduous for us to offer also the other cheek when they slapped us on the right cheek! We tend to turn away from the ones who hurt us and rage and hurt aren’t like little flames that can be extinguished right away. How can we kill a tornado inside of us? How can we stop the blazing aversion caused by the agonizing pain they inflicted on us?

Do you know that the Lord also hates? He also wants justice. God doesn’t tolerate evil. He has mercy on abandoned children, rape victims, the orphan, the oppressed and the poor. God abhors sin and wickedness.

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” -Proverbs 6:16-19

He knows our hearts and understand our pain and brokenness because He also hates evil things of the world. We loathe depravity as well as He does.

“For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” -Psalm 5:4-6 ESV

God Is Just

So if God hates depravity then why does He allow injustice, crime, inequity and corruption to happen? If He has mercy on us then why does He permit all kinds of evil things to exist? Many are turning their back out of confusion, bitterness, apathy and disinterest. Many people are questioning God’s existence because they can’t see and feel Him. If they only knew and understood God’s promises to us, they could find comfort and refuge in Him amidst sorrow and misery. God will punish the wicked in due time. The Lord will repay.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. -Romans 12:19 NIV

God has given us freedom to make choices and He will judge us in the final judgment based on those choices that we made.

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” -Romans 2:5 NLT

But do you know that God is a God of second chances, third chances, fourth chances and many chances? Many are anticipating the coming of the Lord but He is patient and forgiving. He’s waiting for us to change and to become a person that He wants us to be. He’s waiting for us to find Him because we belong to God. He hates sin but He doesn’t hate us. God loves humanity.

When is a Time to Love?

If our decisions, actions and motives are affected by the hate that occupies our heart, we become a slave of it. We can become a slave of our dark emotions and the only way to be free from it is to forgive, to understand, empathize, to ignore our own hurt which opens door for acceptance of each other’s flaws and mistakes, to get rid of pride and to humbly admit our own shortcomings, to be selfless, to love.

It is always easier said than done. How can we forgive others that aren’t sorry? How can we empathize for those who aren’t empathetic as well but cruel? How can we understand others when we also long to be understood? How can we ignore our own hurt when it is disabling us? How can we be selfless when it seems that nobody cares enough but our own self? How can we love when we don’t feel loved? Thus, we nurture that hate. We harden our hearts with such rage and bitterness. It may take time. We can shed tears night and day or plot a massive revenge but in the end of the day, does it make us really happy and content?

I will be truly jubilant when I start to let go of all the negative emotions and let God take over. I know, Lord, I’m imperfect so teach me how to accept other’s imperfections. I am not a good person but He always forgives me every time I ask for His forgiveness, then why can’t I forgive other people who have hurt me? I’ve always hurt Him by constantly committing sins but His mercy and grace never cease. His love is so great that even a murderer, a rapist, a thief or an adulterer will repent and ask for forgiveness, they will surely be forgiven. He loves everyone including those who aren’t deserving like how He let the rain pour and sun rise on all kinds of people.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Matthew 5:44-45 NIV

So when is a time to love? As soon as we remember that God first loved us even though we are unloving. He suffered and died in cross for the sake of our eternal life. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8 NIV.

“We love because He first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” -1 John 4:19-21 NIV

I love you not because you deserve my love but because God loves me even though I don’t deserve to be loved.

Why We Shouldn’t Follow Our Hearts

I thank God for this man.

Follow your heart. We’ve heard it from famous people, websites, social media quotes, songs, movies and books. It’s a belief that our heart is our guide to complete bliss. It sounds really tempting and liberating but as a person who sometimes uncontrollably obey her heart’s commands, I would like to share with you why our heart can be a trap leading us to complete destruction.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” -Proverbs 4:23 NLT

The heart has sinful tendencies.

I always assess my heart and I could find the most sickening things the human mind can ever conceive. Whenever I am filled with rage, my pulse races, my heart pounds and our heart urges us to pour out our anger to the person who hurt us. Hurt him back! Slap her on the face! Destroy her! Make his life miserable! The heart has sociopathic tendencies. The heart tells us to do things based on our selfish inclinations without proper judgment. Our heart is egocentric by nature and it doesn’t favor those who disapprove of us.

I honestly don’t trust my heart when I’m extremely infuriated because I know I can regret the things I might uncontrollably say or do. I might kill or blabber hurtful words more painful than killing. Once spoken, it can never be taken back. Though we can forgive, the damaging words can’t be forgotten. I don’t trust my heart when I’m hurt because I tend to care less than I used to and betrayal might replace sincerity and hate might replace love. In grocery shopping, I don’t trust my heart when I’m starved because I have a tendency to buy more edible stuff than I ought to. The heart is irrational and wicked because human beings are naturally sinful. You’re lying if you claim that you have never thought evil in your heart.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” -Matthew 15:19 NIV

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” -Jeremiah 17:9 NIV

The heart is not a leader to be followed but a servant that should be tamed and led. Because to obey every impulse of the heart is to be enslaved by it and though difficult, it isn’t impossible to control our vicious drive. Self-control can be taught.

The heart must be changed.

God knows the secrets of our hearts (Psalm 44:21) and He knows exactly its depravity and weaknesses. He doesn’t tell us to follow our sinful passions but He wants our hearts to be made new. Knowing that our heart is filthy, God wants to give us a brand-new heart.

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” -Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)

But how can God change our hearts? As we submit to His sovereignty, we humble ourselves before Him and we let Him turn our broken heart into a whole heart. We allow Him to change our polluted heart into Christ-like heart which is pure and purposeful. Is it possible that God can transform a completely evil heart and make it clean? If you’ve read my ancient blog which I deleted all the contents, you’ve known me as a self-absorbed whiner. I honestly created another anonymous blog where I blatantly raved about my bitterness and angst and cusses added spice to my suicidal write-ups. Old fellow bloggers and readers will likely to give a second look at this site and think that I’m entirely different person. God has put a new heart and a new spirit in me and I’m jubilant to know what kind of person I turned out to be: a blogger who has a heart which is after God’s heart and encourages others to draw close to Him and not the old one who had succumbed to her egocentric temperament and rarely wrote about happiness because she was downcast.

But we aren’t as perfect as Jesus. We still forget that God has already made our heart new whenever we let evil conquer us. But the changed heart will keep on following the heart of Jesus. I remember a song ‘From the Inside Out’, thousand times I’ve failed , still Your mercy remains. Should I stumble again, still I’m caught in your grace. As long as we keep on seeking His heart, He doesn’t count our mistakes.

Follow the heart of Jesus.

A brand-new heart that has changed by God is a heart that follows the heart of Christ. How well do we know Jesus? As a kid, I was taught that He is holy and I grew up celebrating His birth every 25th of December, though no one knows His exact birth date. But we shouldn’t stop there. To fully get to know Jesus is to be overwhelmed by his sufferings for the sake of our eternal life. The more I understand His great love for me, the more I love Him. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). He wants to have a relationship with you, like a merciful father to his rebellious son and like a best friend that listens and understands. But when I was a child, I was looking for His physical presence, and thinking, ‘how can I speak to Him when I can’t hear Him answer back? How can He comfort me when I can’t feel His warm hug? Where is Jesus?’

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20

Jesus Christ is in us and His is spirit dwells in us when we surrender our selfish desires to the perfect will of the Lord. So whenever I want to feel Jesus, I let His spirit manifest in me and His heart be my heart. I know it isn’t easy but like a playboy who fell in love with a girl who also loves him dearly, his love for her changed him to become a better man.

This song is my personal message for Jesus who loves us more than we can imagine.

4 Things I’ve Learned From My Unanswered Prayers

religionprayerhandsjpgI was taught to pray in every circumstance as a child. I have a clear recollection of my mother holding my hands, eyes closed, heads bowed down while she uttered her thanksgiving and requests to God when I was young. I was told that prayer was as powerful as a rainfall that inhibits little kids to play outside their dwellings until it subsides. I grew up believing that a prayer can do miracles because God hears and He is sovereign. I prayed for a new toy. I prayed that my buried dead dog would rise up from grave and be alive again. I prayed that our teacher would be absent. I prayed for good grades. I prayed for healing, success, wealth, peace, love, bliss and everything.

There were times when I was thinking that perhaps I wasn’t praying the right way or God didn’t listen because I committed sins. I became skeptic as my prayers went unanswered. My unanswered prayers increased my cynicism and shook my faith. I prayed for the healing of my father but he suddenly passed away. I prayed for the wellness of my sibling but he also unexpectedly died. I prayed for the success of my exam but I failed. I prayed for good weather but it terribly rained. What’s the difference between praying and not praying when both have the same result? To answer that question I would like to share with you things God put in my heart.

1. God is not a genie.

When I was a kid, I saw God as a magical fairy that would grant all our wishes if I behaved well. I’ve read a quote in social media saying, ‘Why wish upon the stars when you can pray to God?’ The scriptures also tell,

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” -Matthew 21:22 NIV

“And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.” -1 John 3:22 NLT

God definitely hears us and He answers either yes or no or even wait. When I prayed for the cure of my parent who died He answered a firm no. Grief was excruciating but it serves as a reminder that our days are numbered. “Teach us how short our life is so that we may become wise.” -Psalm 90:12 (GNT). We never know when and how but we’ll all wither and die in this world. Even though the Bible declares that we will receive anything that we ask for in prayer it doesn’t mean that He will always say yes in everything. I can imagine myself extremely ancient and brittle and my grandchildren and their grand kids are overly old as well but persistently praying for good health and strength of our loved ones forever while every ten minutes ten babies are born alive because parents are praying indeed until the whole earth is covered with undying people who diligently pray. I’ve learned that we will receive whatever we ask for if it is according to His will.

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.” -1 John 5:14 ESV

I assess my heart each time I have a conversation with God. Lord, if this is Your will for me then let it be done. I let God control my life and not control God by asking for things that are against His will. God’s will for His children is way better than what we think is good. (Romans 12:2)

“God is not genie in a bottle, and your wish is not His command. His command better be your wish.” -Mark Batterson

2. Life is a test of faith.

“The greatest test of  faith is when you don’t get what you want but you are able to say, thank you Lord!” -unknown

The life of Job in the old testament in the Bible never ceases to inspire me as a Christian. Job may be the richest man at the time but God allowed Satan to test his faith. He lost all his wealth and family except his wife who told him to “curse God and die” but he worshiped God regardless of his sufferings.

I examine my heart when I experience struggles and prayers seem useless. Instead of drifting away from God I choose to draw close to Him. God has given us freedom to choose like how Satan chooses to rebel rather than to obey. When everything goes opposite of what I prayed and hoped for I ask myself, how big is my faith?

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

3. Sometimes we pray for the wrong things.

Surely, God wants us to bring it all to Him. He wants us to seek His presence with hands wide open and lifted up and confess all the things that matter to us. I am not saying that it’s wrong to pray for prosperity, handsome husband or high-paying job because He cares about all our desires but I’ve learned that God is more concerned with our eternal welfare than our worldly or temporary cravings. As our Creator, He already knows what we need even before we speak but sometimes what we want is not always what is essential.

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” -James 4:3 NIV

God is also concern with our hearts, thoughts, motives and attitude. Rick Warren also says, ‘God is more interested in shaping our character than answering our prayers.’ God wants us to renew our minds and change our perspectives so that we bring our prayers in line with His will. Our prayer might change from, “Lord, help me get a raise,” to, “Lord, help me manage my finances wisely so I have enough to share with others.”

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2 NIV

4. God knows the right timing.

God also answers wait, be patient, it’s not yet the proper time. I applied tons of jobs three years ago only to be frustrated repeatedly. I had been searching for work abroad since I had passed the board exam but I only made it after three years. I’ve learned that the Lord didn’t allow me to work in foreign land without any knowledge and skills of my profession. Trust His timing. I understand this by heart.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV