In my English class today, we read Philippians 4 (not because it’s one of my favorite chapters in the New Testament but because it follows Philippians 3).:-) Everyday for months now I read a chapter from the Bible with them as part of our daily devotional. I firmly believe that God is the Giver of wisdom therefore it is best that we seek Him first above all things. 🙂 So, after reading we discuss our favorite verses from the chapter and they write a reflection about their chosen Bible verse.
Here are my favorite verses from this chapter:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What is there to worry about when our Loving Father is also the Creator of this vast universe? I know it’s easier than done but try listing down everything that He’s done for you–as in everything. I don’t think a pad of paper can contain all those things. I can attest to God’s goodness. He’s been there since Day 1 of my life. He has guided me through the ups and downs and He’s still guiding me in every step of the way. Yes, there are times that I may talk to Him really quickly because I stayed up late and woke up late and is running late for work or perhaps I am so engrossed reading a book or talking to people or maybe I am feeling too guilty because I hurt some people but He never abandoned me. He’s always there. Literally there. I constantly feel His presence in my life and I thank Him so much for it. There were occasions that sin enveloped my being, that I felt like giving up, that I was too embarrassed to face the world, yet He never condemned me. He never ever allowed me to feel unimportant. He continually sustained me with my needs, protected me, and even blessed me. Where would I be without Him? That’s why my heart is rejoicing! My heart is always rejoicing because I know that He’s always there for me. He’s like a Father turned Best Friend. I come to Him in prayer. I talk to Him about everything under the sun. As a song says, “I tell Him all my sorrows, I tell Him all my joys, I tell Him all that pleases, I tell Him what annoys.” He’s the First and the Last Person I talk to everyday. I talk to Him every waking moment of my life.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Verse 8 is one of those many verses that helped me through the difficult times of my life especially last year. It’s still fresh and it feels a bit odd thinking and talking about it. 🙂 But yes, I have reached the point in my life where I have become more conscious about anything in my life. That includes my dietary, clothing, activities, etc. preferences. God’s love for me is so immense that I cannot afford to keep nailing Him on the Cross of Calvary each time I sin. I am well-aware that I am sinner, a sinner saved by grace. And that makes me special. That makes you special. Yes, we are born to sinful parents in this sinful world but the great news is, God sent His son to redeem us from the penalty of sin. Besides, keeping this verse in mind helps me to live a stress-free life.:-)
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Feeling contented completely amazes me!
It was a couple of years back when I was in South Korea serving God as a missionary in an SDA elementary school when I blurted out to a friend that I was contented. I was contented with my life. I was twenty-two years old then, I guess, but I already felt contented. I was happy with my life. Yes, I am using that word “happy” in its full glory.
a) I was grateful for my job. Every single day I looked forward to teaching my students. I can’t forget the “aha” moment on my students’ faces whenever they understand the lesson. Oh! What a joy it was teaching jolly phonics! I can still teach it with my eyes closed. 🙂
b) I was happy despite of the hurtful breakup with a man I loved for many years. Was there a remedy to a broken heart? Yes, ice cream and lots of sappy movies. Hahaha. But seriously, God helped me through. Time healed my wounds and restore my faith in humanity especially in men. (*wink*) I still believe that God has something better in mind for causing our break-up to happen. Yes, he’s still one of the best things that happened in my life but it’s all over now. I have moved on, he has moved on and it’s all clear waters between us now. We had a great time together and forgive me future love if one day I bring it up to our grandkids. Hahaha. With your permission, of course. But yes, I was happy.
c) I was happy though I was miles and miles away from my dearest family for I knew that my Great God was keeping them safe, healthy, and happy.
I was happy. And because I was happy, I knew I was contented. There was nothing I could ask for.
Please don’t get me wrong. Life in Korea was not all about four seasons, fabulous fashion, fast Internet, and fantastic people. There were ups and downs, too. A lot. But growing up in a broken home helped me value life more. There’s more to life than all the currencies in the world combined, than all the countries travelled, than all the gorgeous photos taken and posted on Facebook and Instagram. Our perception towards life, our passion towards God’s ministry define who we truly are, deep down in our hearts.
Now you ask me, “Are you still happy and contented with your life now, Shiela (since you’ve been using WAS repeatedly earlier)?”
I am happy.
I am contented.
I am grateful for being so patient with me. I thank Him for all the trials especially 2012 and 2013 trials for without those I wouldn’t know how strong I am and how trusting I can be of my Saviour. Whew! Two worth-scraping-from-the-calendar-years! But those years made me tougher yet gentler at the same time. I have learned to value my life more, forgive (even if I didn’t want to), control my patience, and put others first. I have learned to fully submit my life to Him–as in everything. My prayer now always has “Not my will, but Thy will be done.”
Yes, I am twenty-nine and still happily single. There maybe times when I crave for someone to talk to about my day or dine with or share a book or movie together or go to places together or maybe go to church together or simply pray together but I’m good. I am good because I know that until that day He sends me the man He prepared for me, He will keep me company. He will send me friends to hang out with. He will always be there for me. And when Mr.-for-Ms. Valenzuela comes, He will still be there. He will keep talk with us, dine with us, and keep us company.
See! What a great joy to have God in our lives!The psalmist, King David, was right when he said in Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Indeed in God, we can find true happiness and contentment. There is nothing in this world that can keep us away from Him, nothing. Romans 8:35-39,
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We can do everything through Jesus Christ who gives us strength!
I can do this! Even if this cough and colds are making me weak and lethargic all the time, I can still do this by God’s grace.
And I was able to play cello at a beach with my chums during a baptism. Praise God for those souls! Praise God for this opportunity to serve and praise Him through music!
Did I mention “beach” like my favorite place here on earth, uhmm, next to the library? Hahaha. IDK, which comes first, all I know is I love being in those places.