Under the Fig Tree

 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 

It is noteworthy that Nathanael could have found shelter from the tremendous heat of the sun under the fig tree which was common in Israel, being called the land of the vines and fig trees. Perhaps to Nathanael and many others like me, to be under the shade of the tree is refreshing. I can smell the scent of the tree, see the leaves sway when winds move in different directions and perhaps occasionally see birds perched on branches, humming their songs. Picture that, and you can doze off easily to dreamland!  Such is the comfort under the shade of the tree. When Jesus told Nathanael he has seen him under the tree, it’s like telling him, ” You’d get a far better shade than that, my friend Nat. Not only will your unbelief be removed, you’d see far greater things, for you have Me!”

We may not understand what we’re feeling but God knows far more than what we desire or our deepest longing. We may be going to many places, running to people, looking for a shade of comfort , but He knows exactly where we have been, what we’re going through and the things that are about to happen in our lives.

Times when we are weary, we know that we can go to Him and draw Living water from the well. He is the Rock that provides safety – even the shadow of His mighty wings will be our refuge! What a powerful God we have!

Weary human, He even said,  ” Come to me and I will give you rest.” What an assurance. We don’t need to go to our own “fig trees” and seek temporary shelter. We have Jesus, who forever is our shelter.

Blessed Sunday, friends!

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photo via commons.wikimedia.org

 

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“We Have Seen Amazing Things Today”

Amazing – (adjective) – Defined by Merriam-Webster as:

  1. Causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing.
  2. Startlingly impressive.

My husband is an NBA fan. I do watch with him occasionally when the iconic Lakers are playing. To NBA fans, we know NBA owns that tagline “where amazing things happen” but little do we know that amazing things also happened some thousand years ago, not in a basketball arena but in Galilee and Judea.

The story goes that wherever Jesus of Nazareth went, preaching the Good News and healing the sick, everyone who watched were awestruck by such power and authority (read all accounts in the Gospels). In fact, “they praised God, saying over and over again, “We have seen amazing things today.” (Luke 5:26b)

Fast forward to modern times, here’s my encouragement for all of us. Let it be that not a day passes us by without us seeing the power of the Living God in our lives. It can be provision for school’s allowance for our children this week, a cab to bring us to our important meeting because the car broke down in the middle of the road, healing and provision for medical expenses for a sick family member, or simply a conversation with a friend to lift up one’s weary soul. Amazing things can be found in the grandest or the most mundane of things.

Tonight, I pray as we go to sleep, we can look back at what happened and we can say ,

“We have seen amazing things today!”

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photo via wordpress

C-H-A-N-G-E

Because we have been through a lot of changes, I am beginning to love change.  It brings out the best in me and exposes those that are not desirable at all. Oftentimes,  my patience is being tested,  like this new look in my blog. I have been checking out a new theme that best  defines who I am in a way that I write in my blog. I want it to be something that at least, speaks  about me at first glance.  I am in despair because those that I like are Premium themes, which are not for free!  But at least, this Adelle theme is the closest to what I love.  “With a chic white and black design accented with soft pinks and greys, Adelle brings sophistication and elegance to any blog.” True enough,  I am beginning to love this!

In life, I thought of coining the acronym for  CHANGE. Some truths that I can look back to remind me why change is also important.

C – Christ-centered.  No matter how the outside circumstances move you out of your comfort zone, it is always Christ Jesus who brings comfort and direction in any change.  I cannot think of anything else. If I go by my will, chances are , I will be headed for destruction. The good thing is , his grace and mercy will always put us back into His path of righteousness, only if we ask. The outside constantly changes but He does not change (Malachi 3:6).

H – happiness in any change.  Women tend to be very emotional on anything that requires change. After all, we have that “nesting “habit ( check out my previous post on this). However, we also have that ability to smile even when times are tough!  Continue to wear that smile and put it in your heart.

A – bility. As I said earlier, change brings out the best in me. When put out of comfort zone, that’s the moment we realize that we are able to do so much more than we can even imagine!  I remember as a young wife and mother, moving to different places and creating homes several times can be intimidating AND tiring! But those were the times that enhanced my thoroughness in certain things. Add to that, my ability of packing and unpacking has immensely increased (complete with tagging)!   Ability to adjust to new things, environment, people brought by change is a commendable trait.

N – est only for a while.  No wonder Jesus said , “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?’’ (Matthew 6:26).  Birds nest only for a while. They only do so to make sure their young are being fed and secured but at a proper time, the nest goes empty when they fly away as adults. In the same manner that we, as travelers on earth, know that we can nest only in our earthly tents up until our Heavenly Father calls us back to be home with Him. “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2Cor5:1)

G-et ready for the BEST thing! If you are reading this and been going through a lot of changes in your life, know that He will bring you from glory to glory! Picture this, what you’re going through right now is just a grand rehearsal of the next best thing in your life!

E – njoy the current season. Isn’t it true that we only find the meaning of anything , good or bad, when we have surpassed it? So why worry on what tomorrow brings? It will not give a bonus hour in our lives! “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? (Luke 12:25)”.

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CHANGE is inevitable, just as death is. We may encounter a lot of sign posts in our spiritual highways – several times at crossroads. But like this one above, there are warning signs that guide us along the way. If we keep our eyes on the author and finisher of the faith that we profess, who is Jesus Christ, then we are on the right track. We don’t need to turn right nor left. We just have to cruise along. After all, He is the One on the wheel. Enjoy the “change” ride!

 

 

photosource: reachingcampus.com

Choose to Think of the Good!

How to counter bad thoughts? Bad memories that try to pop up? By thinking of the good ones! This morning has truly been a wonderful walk with the Lord – literally. Told by the doctor to put off running until May (a 6-month break is what I needed) , the best exercise I can do is to walk. And so this morning, I did – past through neighborhood houses, view of the forest ,with nature’s music of the chirping of the birds. Thank you, Lord for this wonderful experience! Gratefulness is beyond words, but I remember what the psalmist said ,

” I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts, I cannot stop thinking about them.” (Psalm77:11)

Next time when the temptation to think of the bad is strong, remember ALL the good things the Lord has done. And yes, the psalmist was right, they will be forever in our thoughts. Today, start thanking God of the wonders He has displayed in your life. That even after some occasional hurts or deep sorrows, He will always put back the joy. And, you will look lovely from the inside,out!  🙂

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(photo credit: quotablelife.com)

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ” – Philippians 4:8

Boj at 7!

A new discovery – February is also a Birth Month!  Most of  our family friends had new additions to their “growing” family this month.  A baby is always a blessing and we celebrate with them as they welcome the bundle of joy in their homes.

Flashback 7 years ago, I can still remember the mixed emotions we all had when our “then” baby Boj came into our lives.  Boj is a miracle boy- we prayed for him earnestly and our 11 yr old daughter would always ask specifically for the baby to be a boy.  And true enough, God did not disappoint us! But that was just the other half of the story.  In a few days, our little boy was admitted back to the hospital for abnormal bilirubin count.  simply put – my blood doesn’t match pretty well with my husband’s.  Opposites attract?  exactly, literally!  But God is faithful , Boj had a series of clinical tests and that each single moment spent  in the hospital was heart-tormenting, to say the least.  Sometimes we enjoy  the mountain-top experiences (who wouldnt, anyway?) then forget that He will still be with us even as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).  I cried out Abraham’s prayer when he offered Isaac and it was answered!  The whole week we spent in the hospital 2nd wk of Feb 2005 was not only a celebration of  a new life – a physical birth that we so joyfully received. It was also a spiritual rebirth – that indeed the faith that we confess to have is real and always, I say always,  hope does not disappoint us…Just look at the miracle boy, now 🙂

 

 

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

On my knees, at His feet

It has been a long while. Admittedly, I missed blogging. I keep a long-hand journal ( I love it this way as I write down my thoughts carefully, my thoughts not “overtaking” each one, which is not the same as typing my thoughts away in the keyboard! ), but I also missed the clicking sound of the keys! And so this next chapter goes …

As this blog is aptly titled, life has its ups and downs, whirlwinds and stopovers and whatever else that make it ever-challenging but always remarkably beautiful. I had a series of those in these past months. Summer break’s over, adjusting to a new school environment for my two adorable graders, hubby off to grad studies armed with a rekindled passion for a long-time calling, a close relative and a dear friend battling the now, highly curable C (knowing these 2 beautiful people –inside and out – it’s not as deadly as it may sound! I realized, there are a whole lot more decays in our thoughts than what consumes our weak bodies!), new top management in the workplace, family business challenges going uphill … whew! No mighty man ( or woman in my case  ) can ever survive those! AND that’s when GRACE steps in – and we do not fret because God’s grace operates 24/7!

Whenever I am in this “fretful” situation, I am always reminded that my life is just His single breath ( or what I described to my 6-yo son ; only a “HA”! moment with God) and I am finite with only 24 hours each day, relying on an infinite source of strength . With these truths, I am deeply convinced that to be able to overcome these temporary ups and downs, whirlwinds and stopovers, I should always be on my knees, offering everything at Jesus’ feet…

“ He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might. No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love. “ Psalm 147: 10-11 (NLT)