Sunday, January 30, 2011

Praise God for Our Parents

I grew up going to church almost every Sunday to attend mass and prayer meetings on Saturdays...
with my mom forcing me through her litany of reasons of why I should go plus giving me the most scary and uncomfortable stare that I could think of. I remember thinking about the hopeful treats that I can get after the ceremonies just so I can push myself to dress up even though I knew my mom would say that we should go straight home after the mass so the blessings will go directly in our house instead of it being poured at the mall. Yes, I grew up thinking that malls are full of clothes and things and the cashier with money because of the churchgoers who goes there instead of going home after mass. Oh the excuses of my creative mother to discretely say that we don't have extra money.

In contrast to what people think and say back home in the Philippines, my family is really not wealthy. However, I just didn't feel the lack of material things when I was a child nor did I wished for more than what I have because I have always seen my parents, especially my mom, thank God for everything. She praises Him for even the smallest blessing that you could ever think of and so I grew up knowing that the Lord has always been good to us.

I remember the story of Job; Satan argued about his motives of staying loyal to God. Satan said that Job sees God as a meal ticket and if he weren’t getting what he wanted, he would be cursing Him rather than praying. Honestly, Satan got a point; sometimes we seek God because we know that it is only Him who can give us what we desire, sometimes we pray having the wrong motives. I am at times guilty of this. I pray because I am asking for something. Sometimes, I am like a child who only speaks to her parents just to get an allowance. James 4:3 says, "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures". I enjoy talking to Him, telling Him about my hopes and dreams and about how my day went but really, sometimes I have prayers like "LORD I AM PRAYING, WHY WON'T YOU GIVE THIS ALREADY" hehe...

I thank God for giving me the kind of parents that I have; They stand as a good example for me. If it weren't for their light shining and guiding me, I think I wouldn't be able to find the strength to glorify God amidst my trials. I think parents are the good example when God said "Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." in Matthew 5:16. If it weren't for who they are and what I see in them, I think my ways won't be corrected. Cindy Hess Kasper, in Our Daily Bread devotional for January 30, 2011 entitled Looking and Learning, said that the best way to set a good example for children is (for parents) to live out their faith in front of them. While they’re looking—they’re learning about what matters most.

Job said to God in Job 42:2-3, "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know". This is one of the lessons that my parents had instilled to me: He can do all things. There is nothing that He can't do for me, and unanswered prayer doesn't mean that He's not listening or answering me; “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:15)

Children may not inherit their parents’ talent,
but they will absorb their values.


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Monday, January 10, 2011

Contentment

“As a rule, man’s a fool. When it’s hot, he wants it cool.
And when it’s cool, he wants it hot. Always wanting what is not.”

One of the many things that I've learned from my mom is to be contented and thank God for everything. If we complain about the weather, I'm using that as an example because it's winter and honestly I kinda *sigh* dislike it, she tells us to thank and praise God for it.

"Thank You Lord for the cool air and for giving us the opportunity to see and experience snow", says my mother a couple of times looking out the window while I repeatedly mutter about how cold it is and how the weather makes me lazy.

If it's summer and it's too hot, she tells us to think cool and she'll start saying "Thank You Lord for the sun and the warmth" out loud with all smiles, eyes closed, head facing the sky and sometimes spreading her arms wide as she feels the rays of the sun hit her skin; Her gratefulness to the Lord is so contagious and/or her spirit is just too happy for me to continue murmuring my complains about the burning weather that I end up doing what she does and end up feeling good.

My mom always use the weather to start her sermon about how people are most of the time dissatisfied and hard to please.

We, people, often upgrade our desires and goals whenever we reach one thing; It's actually not bad but what makes it bad is when our hearts become clouded with unhappy thoughts and when we start to have restless days because of our desires to reach those goals. It's bad when we start to feel helpless, insecure, the feeling of wanting to push and to step on people just to be on top and the unhealthy craving of wanting more.

The "I will have it by hook or by crook" or "I am getting there no matter what" statements, though they sound daring and driven is actually dangerous. I think that those words are from a person who forgets to check God's plan. We often see only our immediate circumstances and as a human nature, we automatically work on an action and we strive harder to get going to reach that somewhere we want our selves to be without even consulting Him.

I know it's hard to be patient especially when obstacles block our vision. I know it's too tempting to step higher, to walk further, to accomplish and have more but we must remind ourselves, I must keep in mind, that there is a time for everything. We may not understand everything and God may conceal the purpose of His ways, but we should remember that His ways are not without purpose.

We should learn how to be content in whatever circumstances. We should be, I pray that I will always be, able to say with confidence that "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength". (Philippians 4:12-13)

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