Everything Is Meaningless

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Thanks for my model and my love, Marlon. You are an ornament on my blog.
I couldn’t remember how many pages of books I tried to memorize and summarize, how many cent I tried not to spend so I could give compulsory contribution for school projects and how many sleepless nights and hectic days I spent cramming for test and recitations. Passing all the requirements and examinations to be able to graduate on time is the ultimate goal of a student. When I was a studying I was dreaming of graduating and having a high-paying job to earn money so that I could buy all the luxuries I was deprived of. As a teenager I was so excited yet anxious about the future had to offer because I was looking forward to achieving all my ambitions that I knew could make me utterly happy and content. I couldn’t wait to finish school because studying was so much stressful and I couldn’t stand being a burden to my parents anymore. When I graduated college I dreamed of passing the board exam for nurses after a month of preparation. After I passed the exam I dreamed of a good job in abroad so I applied tirelessly in different agencies. After tears and sweat I got hired and flew to Qatar. My journey in this foreign land is another story. Life never ends after you completed certain goals because there will be another objectives after another which urge us to wake up every morning despite reluctance.

Clock is ticking and I can still remember the moment when I looked at my reflection in the mirror and I saw a timid and malnourished gal with sadness in her eyes because she had no budget to buy a new pair of sneakers she was drooling over for so long. She thought that getting that dream shoes would give her such happiness that she would forget how it feels like to be miserable again. Now, approximately five years passed I sleep with multiple pairs of sneakers sitting under my bed and the bliss I had right after purchasing the commodities was like everything else in this planet, expires. Felicity dies so our insatiable heart longs for bigger things to attain which will surely satisfy us more. Why should we settle for a pair of shoes when we can afford a department store? My eyes sparkle in merriment whenever I imagine myself dwelling in a house of my dream with enormous parking space for my polished black sports car. But there were moments when I felt like I could barely keep up the pace of life. My reflection in the mirror scares me now. I see things which aren’t there before, the fine lines in my forehead and under my eyes, constant eye bags and dry skin that scream how fast I have aged. Is working half of our lives to reach our ambitions enough to make us really fulfilled in life? I praise the Lord I got to encounter Him because if I don’t, perhaps I am still searching for the meaning of life. I may wander aimlessly to find real happiness only to find out that happiness the world brings is all temporary. Perhaps I can achieve my biggest dreams but still feel empty because at the end of the day, all the wealth of the Earth doesn’t matter. We will all return to dust and if I haven’t known God I was terrified of death because without Him, death is darkness but understanding His Word, death is going home. Rick Warren says ‘at death we won’t leave home, we’ll go home. In Philippians 1:21 says “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Perhaps if I don’t know God, my life is driven by selfish inclination and I may end up with depression because everything in this world is pointless.

Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. -Ecclesiastes 3:19 – 20 NIV

Ecclesiates is written by King Solomon in his old age. If we read the book of Ecclesiates we will discern his depression that resulted from seeking happiness from temporary things. He was like most of us, seeking meaning of life in every worldly pleasure but none has given him sense of meaning.

So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. -Ecclesiastes 2:17-18

Then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it. -Ecclesiastes 8:17 NIV

Solomon was a king of Israel who was very wise and very rich but despite all those things that God had given him he had hated life. He had everything but he said that everything had no meaning. In conclusion he had written these:

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. -Ecclesiates 12:13-14 NIV

In conclusion, without God in our lives everything has no significance. We are born to study, work, get married and have kids, work and work some more until we cripple and die. There’s no huge difference between human beings and animals because both have same destiny: eternal oblivion, death. But with the presence of God we see things differently. God is telling us that we are more special than any living creature because we have soul and spirit. When I lost my loved ones I asked myself, why is it very hard to move on and accept that we will no longer see the person who died? Then I understand that God put eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) because we are created to spend eternity with Him. We are created to live forever but sin separated us from God (It is in the book of Genesis) but not anymore now because Jesus saved us from condemnation (Romans 5:9). Everything in this world is meaningless because everything in here is perishable but as children of the Lord, we are created with a purpose and a value. Our physical bodies rot but our souls will go back to where we belong.

and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. -Ecclesiastes 12:7 NIV

Let’s end this with a music.

There Is No Christmas Without Christ

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Photo credit: keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

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

Why We Shouldn’t Follow Our Hearts

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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.

Meaningful Conversations

UntitledI am always after deep conversations. Small talk for me seems pointless and superficial. I often run out of words to say during social encounters. Awkward silence is too much to bear and to exit immediately is a relief. Because as an introvert, or as a person, merely talking about events and certain people don’t interest me that much. I am looking for ideas in everything. Isn’t it nicer if someone would walk into the room and would ask, “What makes you smile?” instead of “How are you?”

I love to listen before speaking and I listen very cautiously, seek meanings beyond every word spoken and pay attention to gestures, tone of voice, mannerism and choice of words. I’ve spoken to different kinds of people of different races with different cultures and languages. If anyone likes or dislikes talking to me, I can detect the reluctance or the excitement in one’s movement and chosen words even though he or she conceals it. Plato said that you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation. But for me, it depends upon what you want to discover. The way we speak and the chosen topic we prefer give hint of what’s our hearts content because anything goes out of our mouth comes from our hearts which defiles us (Matthew 15:18).

I talked to a kind of person who is really fond of explaining and describing his point of views. He’s good at selecting exact words that convey his exact feelings and he could vividly narrate his justifications. I listened to his series of stories and I waited for him to give way to my response and reactions being the one conversed with that is supposed to interact with him. He enjoyed expressing himself in speech that I forgot what I wanted to say because he kept on talking about his tale regardless of my obvious gesture to say something. So I remained quiet then he spoke again some more of his personal concerns. I figure that those kind of persons are just yearning for ears and are so-called narcissistic conversationalist. If we want to be heard we should take time to listen.

However, I still love conversing with interesting people with pleasing personalities. I can learn a lot from them as well as they can learn something from me. It’s therapeutic and beneficial. I would like to share with you some meaningful conversations I had with good people, mostly about spirituality and religion. I regularly read the Bible and we have weekly Bible studies so I believe that I have a good amount of knowledge to share about my faith. I attended several churches and tried to understand their beliefs based on how they interpret the Bible. I probed the source of their faith and doubt. I read too much; I ask too much and I think too much especially about humanity and spirituality. These are not made up. I tried my best to type down every word we chatted as far as I can remember. They are few minimal alterations which aren’t significant.

Conversation #1 with an atheist

Me: Do you fear death?

A: Yeah. (nodding)

Me: Why?

A: Because I enjoy and love life. Nobody knows what’s gonna happen after life.

Me: We never know when and how we’ll die so we must always be ready. My father was afraid of death but he died at 50 and my brother died at 24. Some died younger or older but we will all die. Nobody lives forever.

A: I want to live longer. Just enjoy life, love and be happy.

Me: But you and I, all of us will die. Maybe tomorrow or the next or the next, next day. We never know. (I was smiling, teasing him.)

(I was waiting for him to speak. He was silent so I went on.)

Me: Me, I am not afraid to die. I’m always ready anytime because I believe that something is bound to happen after life. I don’t have anxieties about death.

A: Nobody knows about after life. No dead person came back and reassured us about after life.

Me: There were written… (But he wasn’t listening so I didn’t continue to talk about the story of Lazarus and the rich man in the Bible.) Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1, but I didn’t mention the verse to him.)

A: (He was laughing.) Please don’t speak like Mother Theresa. (laughs)

Me: Of course I don’t. Why? (I smiled.)

(He went away laughing.)

Conversation #2 with a Muslim

M: Quran has the same prophets mentioned in the Bible.

Me: Bible and Quran have many similarities because Quran contains the old testament of the Bible. But Christians believe that Jesus is God and Muslims don’t.

M: We believe that Jesus was only a prophet. He was only a human. Do you have a Bible?

(I was delighted to show him my Bible sitting on my desc.)

Me: I believe that Jesus is the Son of God as written in John 3:16. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.

M: (He looked bored and unamused.) God has no son. He has no wife. He has no body like humans.

Me: We have different beliefs because I believe in the Bible and you believe in Quran.

M: Who wrote the Bible?

Me: The prophets and the disciples of Jesus.

M: The Bible wrote by human but the Quran wrote by God.

Me: But the Quran wrote by Mohammad.

M: (He is shaking his head in disapproval.) No, Quran is written by God. The Bible has too many versions.

Me: The Bible is originally written in Hebrew and translated in various of languages all over the world so that the whole world can understand God’s Word. King James translation is the closest to original Hebrew Bible but it’s too deep and some words can hardly comprehend. I think it’s important to read different translations so we can understand better as long as the meanings are not altered. Does Quran have translation?

M: Yes.

Me: That’s good.

M: Bible came first and after 300 years Quran came out as last revelation from God.

Me: Oh. (First time to hear that fact.) Then why did they disbelieve the Bible?

M: There is more knowledgeable person who can explain this to you very well.

Conversation #3 with an ex-Christian turned Muslim

E: Muslim believes in Jesus. I believe in the Bible.

Me: But you don’t believe that Jesus is God and it’s written in the Bible.

E: Because there’s only one God. Allah. Jesus, the prophet, never said that He is God. Mention a verse in the Bible that He said He is God.

Me: He says, ‘I and the Father are One.’ John 10:30.

E: He meant God and he have similar goals and vision.

(I creased my forehead in objection.)

E: Even Jesus himself stated that there’s only one God – Allah.

Me: Yes, there’s only one God, but in three different persona – God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

E: It’s very impossible to believe that there are three gods.

Me: I told you, one God but in three persona.

(He creased his forehead in objection.)

E: Jesus never died in the cross. It was a different person. God would not allow, as you claim, His Son to suffer and die. He went up in heaven without suffering and dying.

Me: Jesus died in the cross for our sins but after three days He rose up again.

E: Is it possible for God to die? (The tone of his voice indicated that he was mocking the death of Jesus.)

Me: Jesus died for us to be saved and have eternal life. He is God but He made Himself nothing, in human likeness, just for us, for whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Isn’t it marvelous? (He was now looking uninterested and disgusted and ready to escape.)

E: When I was a Christian before, I went to church and then went home as if nothing happened.

Me: There are a lot of Christians like that, even Muslims. They go to church but they don’t have God in their hearts.

E: When I entered Islam, I found myself. Before I was lost and completely broken but when I got to know God, that He is always there us for, guiding us. I found my purpose in life through Islam.

Me: I understand what you felt. When I was new here in abroad, I struggled a lot but God’s presence never fails to renew my strength being a Christian.

(He cringed in distaste for what I told. We had so many series of conversations about Islam and Christianity. We were opposing magnets that can’t succumb to each other’s beliefs. I often apologized if I unintentionally offended him by my brazen remarks and he apologized too. There was a time when he came to me with troubled face and teary eyes and spoke to me about his love for his religion because it changed him for the better.)

Me: I understand you. I’ve talked to other people with different religions. I’m not telling these to convert you again to Christianity. I’m just sharing with you my beliefs like how you share yours. I’m interested to know others’ faith because I like to learn from it. What I would like you to understand is that don’t build a barrier in your mind thinking that your religion is the only right thing that prevents you to listen to other beliefs because you think they are all fraud.

I attended some churches such as Roman Catholic, Iglesia ni Cristo, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist, Methodist and figured out their differences. I researched about Islam and Hinduism weighing every belief. My grandfather is a pastor, a minister and I grew up going to church but that didn’t hinder me to open my mind to comprehend other religions. I’ve also become bitter, doubtful and hateful to Christianity before.

Again, I’m not trying to convert you and also don’t try to convert me. But knowing first before rejecting is the wisest thing to do. Assess yourself on how well you understand Christianity.

Conversation #4 with a Roman Catholic

R: Karen, you told me about Exodus 20:4 that God forbade people to make images of any kind. Because of that I researched why Catholics have images and statues in the chapel and I found out why. God commanded Moses concerning the statues on it: And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. Exodus 25:18–19. (He was reading his Bible.)

Me: Cherubs served as ornamentation for the temple that time.

R: -which means God doesn’t prohibit creating images in any form because he commanded Moses to do it.

Me: -as a form of decoration. God doesn’t want us to make a graven image to be worshiped and bowed down. Exodus 20:4 to 6 says ‘You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.’ (I was reading my Bible.)

R: We don’t bow down and worship images. It’s just a representation.

Me: I’m sorry but I saw them bowing down to the images of Jesus, Mary and many other prophets.

R: Father *** was always reminding us that those images are just images that should not be worshiped. But should be at least respected because those are images of the saints and Jesus himself.

Me: How about during fiestas? They bring out the images and devotees are displaying excess fanaticism like the frantic devotees of the Black Nazarene.

R: They should be corrected.

Conversation #5 with an Iglesia ni Cristo

I: We believe that Jesus is just human.

Me: The same with Islam but their prophet is Mohammad and your messenger is Felix Manalo.

I: Jesus didn’t say He’s God.

Me: Do you still call Him Lord Jesus though you don’t believe He’s God?

I: Yes.

Me: I think it’s very essential to read the Bible in regular basis and not just to listen. Reading is confirming what is heard.

I: Yes, I read after the congregation because it will be very disorganized if all of us will read simultaneously. Listen, then read at home.

Me: Do you read daily?

I: Yes.

Me: Do you remember John 3:16?

I: No.

Me: (I was taken aback by his answer. John 3:16 is the very first memory verse I memorized as a child.) It says that God loves us so much that He gave His Son who is Jesus Christ that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

I: I invite you to come to our church and observe. Ask your queries and they will explain to you.

Me: I have nothing to ask. I understand your religion.

I: I can see that you have tons of questions and doubts in your mind. Come to our church and see. Don’t worry you will not be converted right away.

Me: I will go to your church if you will also come to our church. That’s a deal.

I: I was a Roman Catholic before so I know the beliefs and I don’t want to go back.

Me: I am not a Roman Catholic.

I: Your religion also believes in trinity which is similar to Catholic.

Me: I am willing to go to your church if you are also willing to come to our church.

I: I told you, I don’t want to go back.

Me: Then I can’t come.

(They are not allowed to attend another churches because if they would, INC would excommunicate [ititiwalag] them.)

I (We) Must Remember

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

–I Corinthians 13 :1-13

Of Christ and Christians

“I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” –Mahatma Gandhi

I do not believe that atheist do exist. I rather believe that people who abhor God and people who become bitter and rebellious towards God are everywhere. I do believe that majority of the population is somehow living a meaningless life merely aiming for fulfillment of personal dreams and going after shallow happiness that only comes from narcissistic inclinations. Sometimes I am one of them. The other day I am not. The next day, I don’t know. I don’t exactly know what other individuals feel but for me temporary mirth brought by latest gadgets, expensive luxuries and superficial beauty that fade away by time doesn’t fill the empty holes of our being. The genuine zest can only be felt when we believe that we are created out of God’s love and we are bound for something more grand and majestic and eternal because we are not sheer coincidence and accident of Milky Way’s natural phenomena. So we choose to pray and trust in God’s promises written in the holy book but along the way, we painfully fail several times in our lives and have our hearts broken and of all the sinful persons in this universe, why is it us who get crippled with disabling illnesses we can hardly endure while unfaithful ones are well and sound? Life in this world is indeed unfair. Two different Christians vary in attitude thereafter. The other looks upon God in hatred and displeasure and bitterness and ends up miserable and the other strengthens his relationship with the Lord more because he knows God more and he understands that life is a test of faith.

I Like Your Christ.

In my teenage years I often became doubtful and skeptic about religion and Christ itself. I was sent to school to study science that describes nature of things, how things form, how living things influence living things and how living things adapt to its habitat. Theories and experiments were good. There was no magic. Only science. Science wasn’t magic. Bible had magic. Were we fooled? Confused and my little brain knew nothing but cynicism and skepticism and unhappiness. Until I grew a little old, I wasn’t getting to anywhere. My doubts were paralyzing but the comfort and solace of God’s words being fed to me during spiritual encounter at schools and occasional during church service were remarkably soothing. On a religious seminar at university I remembered I wept while someone, a pastor, had put his hand over my head as he vented out prayers I couldn’t barely hear because I was struggling to suppress my sob. But the amazing thing was it turned out that every one of us that day cried unexplainably. The spirit of God fell in that place and His overwhelming presence was unbearable we couldn’t help shedding tears of glee. We were elated. (As I write this I can’t help humming the song Consuming Fire by Hillsong United) You wouldn’t understand me if you weren’t a Christian by heart and soul. Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” As I get maturer by experience, shattered pieces and fragments deliberately fall in its right place to complete its picture in my mind to wash off all my doubts I always conceived within. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” I remember on my college days in my Sociology and Anthropology class, our teacher assigned us to write explanation how Bible contradicts science. Instead I explained how Bible was the evidence of science. My write-up was long and certain. And the next day, our professor changed the topic of discussion. She discussed why the Bible didn’t contradict science. That was amusing. Ignorance can confuse you.

People spend the rest of their lives finding perfect joy and meaning of their lives through exploring the universe, achieving and winning and pursuing great things this world has to offer but we always missing the real treat. Robert Fulghum says in his book All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, “But me, I think old God is Sardine player. And will be found the same way everybody gets found in Sardines-by the sound of laughter of those heaped together at the end.” I like the Sardine game and I understand why he says that. I understand why a lot of reverend I know have wonderful testimonies that inspire and their hope is unceasing and their eyes are always as if twinkling in delight. They are happy people. Psalms 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”

I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.

Long time ago I stopped attending church. You couldn’t tell the difference between people praying at churches and people drinking and smoking and swearing at bars in terms of traits. They were all the same. But I rather relish those people enjoying their wasted life with hard liquor and warm cigars, at least they are being true to themselves. They say and do what they want, not dare mentioning bible verses to sound holy. Speak up your mind, say bullshit if you feel like it and you’ll feel better. Those people could also be good pals either greatest foes. They would say lies and goofy rumors behind your back and laugh with you at your stupid jokes. People at churches are similar to them in different way. People at churches clothe in wholesome attire, would shake your hands and smile warmly at your presence but belittle you and look down on you like your some kind of a turd. They spread gossips of you, detest you and preach to you holy stuff they don’t actually practice. That’s what I hate. Plenty of church people stay in church for 2 hours and go home committing sins for the remaining 77777 hours.

Having faith with the Lord doesn’t stop by just having faith. James 2:14, 24 “Can faith save without obedience? No, that is a dead faith.” God commands us to be like Him. Leviticus 11:44 “I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground.” But humans are sinful by nature and strictly following the scriptures is tough. I ponder on that but how could you exert effort doing good deeds when people preaching before you resemble Lucifer? How could you obey their sermons when they do not do it themselves. Talk about hypocrisy.

Yeah, now I still go to church and listen to anyone who speaks whether I feel discouraged by worldliness and temptations. I am not holy but I always make sure that my faith in God is alive and burning. That faith refuels me; I’m a rusty machine slowly deteriorating every second by every day hardships. If you hold back your foot on the sabbath from following your own pursuits on my holy day; If you call the sabbath a delight, and the Lord’s day honorable; If you honor it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice–Then you shall delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 58:13-14. We go to church not for people but for Christ.

There is no perfect church, no perfect people, no perfect world but let Christ’s perfection cast all those flaws that hinder us to be what and who He wants us to be. We do not want to be like those hypocrites. We don’t like to occur nice and good when our minds are scheming wickedness. We do not want to be like those defiant Christians who know nothing of real significance. We aim to be like God because we are His children.