Archive for the ‘Biblical Insights’ category

Rest, have fun, pray, give..

October 14, 2010

So since when has been it been since I blogged here? A long time ago, for sure. But lots of things happened between then and now, and I still have to somehow little by little unload everything.

I know most of my prayer partners still come to this blog and know where I am at, what I am doing and what’s going on here in the land of smiles.

Well, to start with, Module 4 is officially over. Thank God… and moving on to Module 5 tomorrow. I survived it. I did not ace it, but I think I did great in my module check. I got an excellent rating, just a little improvement with my “O” and “)” sound (ops, sorry there is no equivalent character here in my keyboard for that phonetic symbol.. Well, it is always hard to describe things in English when we talk about Thai. One thing that is very impressive about thai characters? It is especially, tailor-made for the language. It is hard to even spell words in english, or vice versa. Anyway, since there is no internet in our new house, I find that I am so at a loss of what to do to de-stress, as blogging and fb-ing has always been my main outlets. So guess what? I find myself studying, and studying some more. As many of my friends know, I am a late night person so I study ’til late. I dream about Thai, I am bothered about spellings, pronunciations, etc.. etc. There were even times that I opt to open my book rather than my bible before I close my eyes to sleep. I study in school, I study at home. As soon as I was at the end of the module (about a month) I was exhausted. I was spiritually, mentally, physically drained. I spent nights just crying for no reason. I was depressed and felt so alone.

When my co-learners learned about this (it is as clear as daylight), they were concerned and took Joey and me to the gym where for the first time, I was able to use the treadmill and all those gym equipment. I never thought that exercising would be that fun and would have such a positive effect on me. Not satisfied, someone treated us for dinner at zon cafe and played cards after. It was fun, fun, fun!

I vowed not to open my book that weekend, although my module check was close at hand. I took time to pray, to just worship the Lord in the quiet and just be still in His presence. We took care of our financial stress by giving financially. Our lack did not become reason not to give, and give some more. We gave to two missionaries serving in the Philippines, and a couple of ministries here. The more we did that, the more we were liberated from the bondage of financial lack. As of now I am just grateful for friends from different parts of the world who are upholding us in prayers, and for friends here in language school who had to drag us to have fun. All in all, rest is good… very much needed, indeed. Jesus himself commanded us to “come” to him if we are tired. Not doing so would mean disobedience.

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Spiritual Accountability

July 14, 2010

It’s week 5 in Nations course and we have learned soooo much! Week after week I had to summarize briefly the things that I retained, or I found really interesting and very real. I hope to do some evaluations every now and then too, later when I get to apply some principles in the field.

Joey and I really made very good friends with a lot of people, different nationalities from different mission fields. It’s interesting to learn cultures, and just to develop more prayer partners from other parts of the world as well.

The lesson this morning on “Spirituality for the Long Haul”, a Personal Development subject really got into me. It is something that I consider to be a great need for now– Spiritual accountability. Whether I like it or not, and whether missionaries like it or not, life goes on for our local churches back home– without us. For us who are in the field, sometimes everything comes to an instant halt. From busy schedules back home to practically nothing. Where do we start? How do we say this and that? Would this be culturally acceptable? Is this the right time to do this? would be the questions we would often ask.

And often these things are really foreign to the people back home. Who would understand? would be another question. So my leaders back home are thinking that since I have another team here, they would not ask me the accountability questions they used to ask us back home.

So what exactly are these questions? Our teacher gave us this:
On a Scale of 1~10

1. On a scale of 1~10 how is the quality of your private time with the Lord?
2. How would you rate your present personal relationship with the Lord?
3. Have you given adequate time to your wife and family?
4. Are you taking adequate and appropriate leisure /stress management time?
5. Have you been faithful to your commission of Christian service?
6. Have you been with anyone or anywhere that would appear as compromising?
7. Have you entertained any inappropriate fantasies in your thought life?
8. Have you viewed or read any sexually explicit material?
9. Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity?
10. Have you just lied to me?

I wrote on my notebook… Oh, how I long to find someone who would ask me these questions… someone I could just confide with, someone whom I can give authority to speak to my life.

I do have great friends who are in the field, J who is in Malaysia and L who is working in South Thailand– they are such great friends and all this time I cannot imagine not having them to chat or fb with. Their presence, though just in cyberspace meant that Joey and I are not alone in this battle.

As our teacher went on with his lecture, I have been thinking a lot of our pastor’s wife back home. I just feel that there is no other person who is definitely older who could rebuke me if needed, and someone I could just be totally honest with, with everything. We were that way when I was still back home, and with all my heart, I would have wanted that kind of relationship to continue. Since these questions are not just limited to my being my missionary, I believe my pastor’s wife would do a good job at being my confidant and accountability partner. Plus, I do not have to worry about how to express what I would mean when I say things, since I could just speak to her in Cebuano.

Having spiritual accountability does not mean we are weak and we are not trusting God to take care of us. Nor does it suggest that we need not be honest to our spouses. For me it means that I want to be guarded. I want to remain in a position of need. That I cannot do everything. That many times, in my journey, I stumble.. I fall… I grow faint– but all throughout these things, someone lifts, someone is there, alongside me, through the entire trip. It also means that although I am directly accountable to God, I am that serious in my personal walk with Him, that I would come to a point of transparency and trust in my co-laborer in the Lord.

Oh well, I hope for two things: that she would say “yes”, and that I would start as soon as possible. Meantime, I am looking for a good time to give her a call.

Joseph the Dreamer

July 13, 2010

Somehow the life of Joseph fascinates me. I preached about him just before we flew to Thailand. I preached the same message in Lampang the other weekend. And now he is a star in one of our lessons in PDW-Nations.

Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. (Genesis 49:22)

In this little journey (or should I say long?) with Joseph, I imagined him– growing up in a family that prayed every meal, a father who was in a covenant relationship with the Almighty God… I would say Joseph, if he was born in our times, he was a fine Christian boy. Then of course we know the story.. he had a dream, his brothers sold him, he was brought in to someplace that was not only unknown, but a place where the God he believed in was not worshiped at all.

If Joseph was born in our times, he would not have access to the latest Hillsong DVD. He had no facebook account where he could chat and get in touch with friends. He had no email, no snail mail even. He could not download preachings. He had no access to seminars and teachings. He had no cellgroup or cell leader. He had no Bible. He did not have the Egyptian language. He did not have Christian friends. What he had was a dream, given by his God.

Joseph was like a vine in the sense that he was a survivor. He stayed fresh, stayed pure, stayed strong. He climbed walls. He went beyond the ordinary. He had knowledge of who gave him that dream, and had that confidence that He will fulfill it, in His own time and way.

Joseph did not sin and would have blamed his circumstances for it. In fact, he saw all sin as a sin against God (Gen 39:9).

We could not turn our hearts against God and have many reasons for doing so. No Bible? go buy one. No church? Go find one, or make one. No Christian literature? Well surely if you are reading this, then you must have access to the internet, don’t you? No cell group? No cell leader? No one watching? No accountability? Why not stop fixing the blame on someone and start to thrive– not just survive… like this Joseph we know?