Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

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

The Christian Lifestyle: Learning to Strike a Balance

Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them. (Ecclesiastes 7:16-18)

In other words my Christian friends learn to strike a balance.

Though our minds and hearts are more aware of the morality issues of this generation, let’s not forget that we live in the same world as those who are not believers. How are we to attract people to the Cross if we are so self-righteous in our walk that we neglect natural human connections?

I have met numerous people whose walk have been ‘blameless’ and with this, I have only admiration for them. However, one’s walk is different from another’s. One’s circumstances are also different from another’s. We cannot impose our beliefs. We can only show the kind of lifestyle we choose to lead.

The Christian lifestyle is more often than not, caught than taught. However, as human beings, we are extremely flawed.

It is not difficult to live a Christian life, it is IMPOSSIBLE.  So, again, why ruin yourself?

Personally, I have learned and unless a person asks me ‘What is your peace all about? What is your comfort all about? Where do you get your love? Where do you get your talents?’ that is the only opportune time for me to say (without blinking), Jesus Christ.

My Priviledge, My Responsibility

I recently came from a conference and I was astounded by the number of individuals who said they read my work at MissTolentino.com.

You could just imagine the happiness and uneasiness I felt when they began discussing with me their thoughts on specific subjects I wrote.

As I began to ransack my brain of what I wrote on a particular topic, deep inside I was quivering and hoping that ‘Lord, I hope it glorifies you…’ and that I didn’t publish anything offensive or what not.

To be able to write is a privilege. I always tell myself that not everyone can express themselves through words. I am thankful for this gift, however, I am also held responsible for the words that come out of me.

But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart,and those defile the man.

Matthew 15:18

As more and more people read my website, the more I am careful of the content I publish in it.

Also, with the audience that I am reaching, the age range vary from as young as 16 to 50 years of age, it’s those 16 and below that I am very careful of.

I have nieces, younger cousins and God-daughters who go through my wall, rummage through my photos and read my posts. If they see anything provocative, or behavior unbecoming of a mature servant of the Lord, I won’t have the opportunity to explain or correct whatever it is that I posted. My opportunity to reach them is forever lost.

With this website, I am twice as accountable for the things published here. This is why I always re-examine the content, to make sure that it passes His exact standards.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

– Philippians 4:8

I put my name here as my testimony that a real person is behind this website; thinking, creating, writing.

It is indeed a privilege but I have come to fully understand that it is also a responsibility: to be mindful, to be encouraging and to be careful of the words that precede my heart.

Playing It Safe

Why are people constantly playing it safe when it comes to vocalizing their spirituality?

Some give excuses like ‘a man’s faith is his own’ or ‘never discuss politics, money or religion’, etc.

Please stop covering for yourself. He can see right through those hearts.

Don’t you know that simply avoiding the opportunity to talk about Him and the Gospel translates to you actually denying Him?

Can you please answer me another thing:

Why is it that people are so opinionated in law, feminism, human rights, etc. but cannot be more vocal on their religious stand?

Most are learned individuals of the letter, sciences and numbers, but when it comes to talking about Jesus Christ, they avoid Him like the plague?

Why do we constantly compromise to the moral standards of the world?  Why?

In this life, there maybe a price for vocalizing our spiritual beliefs but to compromise them will cost us more.

“But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 10:33

The Gospel is beautiful, has a lot of inspiring stories to tell and sends a distinct message. It gives hope and encouragement to those who read it.

What’s so bad about that?