Hope and Healing (a playlist)

“Hope and Healing” by HarmonyHannah on 8tracks.com

Last November 8, 2013, one of the strongest storms in recorded history made landfall on the islands of the Philippines. The damage is unimaginable and irreversible. Lost lives, lost homes, lost means of living.

Yet there’s a reason why God allows certain calamities to happen. We may seem to be in darkness, but there will always be light. For in the darkest of night we learn to appreciate even the faintest of light.

Because of Typhoon Haiyan, we see the willingness of others to help and give whatever they can. We see the love for strangers we normally wouldn’t give our time to. There is hope, there is love.

We will rise again. God never left us – and never will.

Advertisements

Awesome by Pastor Charles Jenkins

No matter what happens, God is still awesome.

Recently, our country the Philippines has been hit by one of the strongest typhoons in recorded history.

Super Typhoon Haiyan (international)/ Yolanda (Philippine codename) made landfall last November 8, Friday Philippine time. In its path were some of the islands in Visayas. As what I’ve heard from the news, the damage the typhoon caused is devastating – loss of so many lives, destruction of houses and buildings, etc.

It is heartbreaking, but there’s always a reason why God allows overwhelming things to take place. God is not punishing anyone. He has a greater plan, though we may not see it. Hold on, everyone. Keep holding on.

My prayers go out to everyone – whether directly hit by the typhoon or worrying about friends and loved ones in the devastated areas.

Help is on the way.

“”The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” Isaiah 41:17

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

If you would like to help the victims of Haiyan/Yolanda, here is a link leading to a list of ways of how you could help. http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/disasters/43300-reliefph-victims-typhoon-yolanda-help

Pieces by Meredith Andrews

Some of the song’s lyrics that struck me and made this song fit for what I’m going through right now:

“It’s a complex puzzle you call your life
It’s an uphill climb, it’s a constant fight
And it wears you down” – verse

“When you give Him your wounds, your bruised and broken pieces
All your questions, all your secrets
You don’t have to hide who you are
You belong to someone greater
Than all your past mistakes and failures
Rested who He is
He knows how to make your pieces fit” Chorus

This is what I’ve been feeling – confused, betrayed, broken, sad. It’s not about something I did. It’s something about family, well, not my immediate family. We’re well. It’s about the people around us who I thought we trusted. But no one’s perfect. And God doesn’t let things happen for no reason. So I’m just holding on. I trust God will know what to do with the jigsaw pieces that I’m in.

When You Believe (There Can Be Miracles)

This song had been popularized by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Some may also know this song in one of David Archuleta’s performances during his American Idol days. But where was the song first heard?

The video clip above is an excerpt from the movie ‘The Prince of Egypt’. Here we follow the life of Moses and his leading of the Israelites to freedom from Egypt. We can see that in the video above, the song “When You Believe” is being performed. It’s such a moving scene.

“Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill…”

Now what’s the relevance of this song to our country – the Philippines – situation? Well, in three days time we’ll be having our midterm elections. Registered voters will be voting for their preferred candidates for the Senate and local government units.

And so?

In case you haven’t noticed, the public officials seated in office have been around for quite some time now. If not themselves, their relatives or family members have been. They’ve been around supposedly “serving” the Filipino people “for the greater good” but political change hasn’t been progressing. Yes, there are small but not useless changes, but the citizens still feel that they’re hopeless. Same officials around, same issues still not addressed.

Earlier today I was with my classmates for a group project. We talked about high school memories and other funny stuff until we ended up with the coming elections. One of my classmates has a father working for the Commission on Elections (COMELE), another classmate is a Political Science major. My friend with the COMELEC employee father admitted that there are still unresolved issues regarding the voting system. Then the PolSci major chimed in that she used to believe in clean and honest elections. But her hopes died down once she saw how the politics in our country is messed up. Me, on the other hand, just sat there and listened.

“Who knows what miracles you can achieve when you believe?”

Despite all that I’ve heard, I still have this hope and faith in me that the Lord’s will shall prevail. Just like the song, there can be miracles when we believe. Put fear and doubt aside. Hold on to God. Pray and pray and pray.

Moses was a former prince of Egypt turned shepherd when God called Him to liberate the Israelites. He was just one man called to go against a great nation to free the entire Israel. One man against one powerful and oppressive nation. Probability says that the odds are not in his favor. But this one man was backed up by the One True God.

We are not unlike Moses. We are under the rule of an unwell government. We are given the task to change the way our country is run. We have a big God backing us up. We are the ‘Moses-es’ of this generation. Miracles happened during Moses’ time, why can’t those miracles happen in our lifetime? The God we serve is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. Why limit His power to what’s been done before when He can do greater things?

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

Dear God,

Though it may seem that the coming elections would be a fail, I have faith it won’t. People may say that change in the Philippines will never happen, but I believe otherwise. The circumstances may point to failure, people may believe things won’t work out, but that’s where faith kicks in. Lord, you have great plans for the Philippines! I declare your power over any principality! Nobody is beyond redemption. No country is beyond salvation. The Philippines is for Christ!

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Alabaster Jar

 

Have you ever had that moment while worshiping where you just had a lost for words? When you just felt the gravity on your knees, and found yourself face to face with the ground? That moment when you felt that what you offer to the Lord is not just enough? That moment when you just want to lay down all you have at God’s feet?

Last night was the first overnight Prayer and Praise Celebration our church had for the year 2013. It was divided into to sessions, 8 in the evening to 12 midnight and 1 to 5 in the morning. I helped with the Tech/Media team during the first session, and I was a member of the worship team for the second session.

During the praise and worship of our team our line up had a sudden change. It was to be expected since during this kind of celebrations, at the time when things are supposed to be quiet, spiritual warfare is very much likely to happen. We had no concrete idea what songs our worship leader would sing next so it was a practice of faith. And as the Spirit lead, we had a glorious flow of worship.

As we sung the songs that were impressed to our worship leader, I felt how glorious and majestic our God is. I felt how holy He was and how unworthy I was of His love and attention. Whatever I was offering Him felt like it was insufficient compared to His glory. So I knelt and bowed down. I know I am unworthy and yet He had said that the best we can offer to Him is our whole being, our whole selves, our everything. We must lose ourselves for Him to shine through – the art of losing ourselves in bringing Him praise.

That was a first for me. It was the first time that I was onstage that I knelt before my King and dropped everything for Him. I dropped my gaze, I dropped my knees, I dropped my body, I dropped my mic. In that moment it was just me and the Lord. It was just me offering my life to the Lord, a living sacrifice.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1

Yes, my life is committed to the Lord. But do I act like it in everyday life? Or has my pride taken over? Bowing down to God is a symbol of how great God is and how little we are compared to Him. We are giving reverence to Him when we do so. It’s a biblical act of worship (“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;” Psalm 95:6). And it’s also a demonstration of our love to the Lord (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5). By bowing, we are humbling ourselves to the Lord, and we are showing our undivided love. We’re laying at His feet all that is us.

Everyday we need to be reminded that it’s not through our own efforts that we have achieved wherever we are today. It was only through God’s grace that we are saved. Everyday we need to be that sinful woman who wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair and tears. She was not worthy to be in the presence of Jesus but because she has humbled herself and that she had faith, she was forgiven for her sins.

“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”… “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:26-38, 47, 50

She has lowered herself to a position where others think of as pitiful. Other people see themselves as not belonging to to her place. We should not be those kind of people. We should not think of ourselves higher than anyone else. That’s pride. And God detests pride.

In a battlefield, who are the ones that are killed more easily? It’s the ones who are exposed. They’re usually the ones who are above or in high places, over the fort. They arrogantly show-off their weapons and how they can take on anyone, yet they die. The ones who are taunted as cowards who stay hidden in their forts are the ones who survive and live to see the victory. It’s no different with our life with Christ. Those who raise themselves up are easy targets of the enemy. But if we humbly kneel down at the feet of the Lord, we are secured.

At the lowest place at God’s feet is the highest and safest place one could ever be.