Category Archives: Prayer

Through Heaven’s Eyes

During the Holy Week, I was able to catch the movie “Prince of Egypt” on cable.  It’s been awhile since I last saw this film, but it always brought back fond memories.  The film is a wonderful combination of creativity, music and love.

A single thread in a tapestry, though its color brightly shine, can never see its purpose in a pattern of the grand design.

How can you see what your life is worth? Or where your value lies?

You can never see through the eyes of man.

You must look at your life through heaven’s eyes.

Whoah! Did you get that? A single thread in the tapestry of the pattern of the grand design. I am floored. Beautiful.

Aside from watching the movie, I also highly encourage you to see this live version of my favorite song in the film “Through Heaven’s Eyes” sung by Brian Stokes Mitchell together with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

He’s absolutely lovely here, especially as he sings with the choir!

Enjoy folks…

And remember to always look at your life through heaven’s eyes 😉

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Don’t Forget About Me

I had dinner with a few friends a couple of days ago. The conversation moved from American politics, to alternative history then eventually, religion.

It makes me cringe that friends think I am a ‘religious’ person. I am not. In fact, I believe religion is the very reason that disconnects people from one another.

In that same dinner party, I was harmlessly put on the spot by our host.

After careful thought, he asked everyone “If Jesus Christ suddenly popped in this room, what would you say to him?”

I was taken aback. I have never been asked that question by my friends from Church, let alone in the midst of those who don’t know Jesus Christ that well.

He asked each and everyone of his guests. Most were statements and questions like “Why are you homophobic, God?”, or “If your God, why do you allow suffering?” or “I don’t understand the concept of celibacy of priests and nuns. Can you explain that, Jesus?”

Then eventually he turned his attention to me. I couldn’t speak. I was literally sinking in my seat.

“Paula, maybe you’de like to share your thoughts?”

I told him almost embarassingly, “Not me. Please don’t put me on the spot”.

“But have you thought about it? Do you have a question to ask Jesus?”

“Yes, I do. But it’s not a question.”

“But you don’t want to share it?”

Beaten, “No, not right now. I can’t. I’m sorry.”

When I got home that night, it took all my strength not to cry.

I felt like a failure. That was the best opportunity to share Him. To let Him be known. But I was too embarrassed and scared of what they would say and think of me and my “beliefs”.

Not being able to courageously talk about Him has the same weight as to deny Him.

“Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him,“Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”And he went out and wept bitterly. “- Luke 22:54-62

I only get the chance to share Him with people who I know I will get approval from or who can“understand”. In other words, I have resorted to preaching to the choir solely because of the fact that during the course of my Christian life, I have met individuals who actually make fun of, scorn, insult and mock His name.

I am so tired of having to meet insult after insult from such individuals and trying to answer their list of questions that, I have to admit, I am not equipped to answer. It can get draining sometimes. It is so hard to share Him in a world that laughs and jeers at His very name.

There are times that I just want to throw in the towel. It makes me question, maybe I am not equipped for this or I don’t have what it takes to really go out there and be the woman He designed me to be.

Then He shakes me up. He brings a particular person in my life who needs Him. He presents me special circumstances that say, “Don’t give up now. You are doing a good job, my child”.

And then I am me again. I can’t give up. Not now. Not after all the things He has done in my life and the lives of others. And though I fail Him so many times, I am hopeful in His love and promise: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Back to the dinner party, our host asked a very profound question. If Jesus did indeed show up that night, I would have told Him this:

“My Lord, please don’t forget about me”.


One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:39-43

 

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How does one heal a broken heart?

How does one get over a loss? How can life be any sweeter than before? Moving on, easier said than done. Some take it one day at a time. Others defer to self help books. While others plan. Plan a life ahead, planning for the unknown. Or some start getting busy. Busy for no one and nothing in particular. Will any of these make any difference?

What once was a picture perfectly painted in your head was simply a dream. You feel alone in this struggle. Unable to look people straight in the eyes. You no longer find delight in what once was a happy memory for you or life for that matter. Despite the smile, there is deep aching sadness in those eyes. Simply because behind those eyes is a human being. Made up of desires, hope and dreams. Risking and giving their hearts to fellow flawed human beings who don’t know how to take care of such fragile and pure hearts.

My dear, you have got to understand, some just can’t simply handle such responsibility.

Now, picking up the pieces or maybe what was left of you. Bruised. Torn. Shaken. Forever scarred. It’s amazing how some can smile despite so much pain.

It is never wise to pin your hopes on man. Man is fickle. The Lord, enduring.

How can you give comfort to those who have lost a child? Or lost who they thought was the love of their life? How can words be any comfort, if it is any at all?

How does one heal a broken heart?

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:15-18


May the link below also bring you comfort as I have found it to be:
God’s Pathway to Brokenness

Expecting the Unexpected for Year 2014

Tomorrow I will be leaving with a friend for a hiking trip.

It will be a first for me and I am nervous to the core. I have to admit, I am not much of an “outdoor person”. When I say “outdoor”, I mean camping/hiking/mountain trekking. Though I thrive on biking, running, and swimming; mountain trekking and camping, to put it subtly, is not my cup of tea.

I did camping once in high school and I never did it again. I couldn’t sleep because of the mosquitoes, the uncomfortable little rocks hitting my back when I slept, and the bad food. I remember vividly that we had to cook a crudely opened can of corned beef that was supposed to suffice as dinner! We also had to share a commode which was not exactly the best experience for a cleanliness obsessed young girl. I hated camping and I still secretly do. It brought back memories of aching joints, holding back pee, and morning breath.

But there were other ways of entertaining oneself, and camping, thankfully, was just a shadow of the past (or so I thought). I prefer the leisurely and comfortable way of seeing the world: Hotels, concrete itineraries, warm beds, nice showers, a functioning toilet, creature comforts — things that camping or hiking will never offer.

So why the change of heart? It got me thinking that maybe I am not fully embracing God‘s abundant provisions in my life because I am constantly stopping or limiting myself. To add more to this enlightenment, I got this in my email today – God has no shortage of resources. In terms of receiving God’s provision, I sometimes have to remind myself to expect the unexpected.”

To expect the unexpected. I didn’t like it one bit. Obviously, I am not a fan of surprises. I like routine, structure, plans, and ofcourse, my delicious addiction – a sense of being in control.

Just a little after Christmas, I reminded myself to make a 2014 plan. What I wanted to achieve in the year to come on a per month and per quarter basis (told you I was a freak).When I pulled out my excel sheet, I just stared at it. I didn’t have anything substantial to put in. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have a plan. What is wrong with me? (Must be the chicken from Christmas eve dinner).

Usually, when I do my planning, numbers was a great way to start. Putting in actual figures gave a sense of control, of targets, of something achievable. But now my brain drew blanks.

Don’t get me wrong, the year 2013 was a great year for me. My annual planning was effective, but I didn’t achieve everything to the letter. And the best parts of my year was thanks to the little unexpected surprises that sneaked their way in. Odd isn’t it?

This year, I am going to do something radical. For 2014, it’s going to be different: I will not lead me, the Lord will. I am letting Jesus Christ take the reins from here on. Whatever His will, I will accept it, and be thankful for them regardless of the circumstances. No more of me. This time, this year, He will be in control. The question is: do I have the courage to fully embrace it?

It may be a tall order for an obsessive-compulsive, controlling, neat freak such as myself but with God’s grace, it’s a humble start. I am offering all my plans, hopes and dreams to Him because He promised that if I trust and obey, He will follow through. For this year, I will brazenly challenge that promise. I know the Lord will forgive me for going this extreme in my faith but I don’t think He’ll mind. I am, after all, His child.

And this is in great hopes that my trip will be the first of many adventures to a new and improved Miss Tolentino for 2014.

Have a wonderful New Year everyone! 

Finding Solace on Christmas Day

It’s only a couple of hours before Christmas day, and right now, the house is a complete standstill. Everyone’s in their rooms resting in preparation for tonight’s festivities.

And this is just the opportune time for me to think thoroughly why we are celebrating this occasion. The company of family is heartwarming, parties with friends are good as well, gifts are nice to receive and give. Everything feels good right now. But there are some people I know who will be celebrating alone. Right now, this very instant, alone on Christmas eve.

My friend, this post is for you.You are not alone. You never have been.

Christmas offers many truths, but surely this is one: You are of great worth to God.

Taking these cues, I bring you a prayer and a blessing:

To all who’ve been dismissed or tossed aside;

To all who, made bitter by the cracks in your story, now tremble or seethe at the mention of ”love”;

To every weary-boned parent saddled with regret or loss or despair;

To every child, grown yet still yearning for tenderness and acceptance;

To every one of us who compulsively judge our reflection in the mirror or replay conversations over and over or carry every criticism to a dark, dark place;

To each of us who are ashamed of our fears and our machinations and who hide the fact that in our own sophisticated ways we still have to leave the light on at night.

I pray that you will know, these beautiful days, the profound worth of your soul, the sturdy weight of your being. There is an astounding splendor in you—and I know this because the God of all beauty and power has called you into existence. And God delights in the sheer presence that is you. – Winn Collier

The Lord is closest to the struggling, the empty and especially the broken. Today, rejoice. You are not alone. You don’t have to be. Jesus’ very birth is the reason why those who are in their darkest can find solace and comfort in the fact that He was born to us.

Smile my friend. Our Saviour is born.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a  manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  - Luke 2
And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
– Luke 2