Open Your Bible -- Wrap Up!

If you are like me in the past, this is the way I read my Bible: Randomly open a page. Mini-mini-minimo a verse. Read the verse where my finger lands and think of how I can relate it to myself. If I can't relate it to my current situation, I close it, and try again tomorrow! I know many of you can relate! Well, there were days when the verse that pops up was just exactly what I needed, but I found out that reading the Bible this way is not always advisable, in fact, it's dangerous because of the risk of (mis)interpreting the verses out of context (I've done it many times!). I am so thankful for online resources that helped me grow in the way I read and study the Word of God!

This is what you will see when you open the first page of my Bible. I wrote this sometime ago after watching Beth Moore's teaching entitled: "Approaching God's Word". This video has been a huge help to me! Beth helped me realize that much of the dryness or fruitfulness of my quiet time and Bible reading depends in the way I approach the Word of God. I wrote it in my Bible, and I refer to it everytime I open it.

Two weeks ago, #SheReadsTruth started a plan entitled: Open Your Bible. This is like the more detailed version of what I've learned from Beth Moore's video. We just finished the study today and I couldn't be more thankful to the SRT team for all their efforts to help women like us to fall in love with God through reading, studying, and meditating His Word -- everyday. I am sharing my journal pages as a reference to other women who were not able to join us during the 14-day study (you can still do so if you like, click here).

Hope these help you change the way you read and study God's Word, so you can also experience the incredible presence of God in your Bible reading times! Let the Word God sink into your heart, and I promise, your life will never be the same again! :)







 ...if “she reads Truth” in the morning, the rest of her day can be lived in freedom as a thirst-quenched daughter who is fresh from an encounter with her God—with the God of the Universe. -- #SheReadsTruth

When You're Tired of Always Doing What is Right

This was me before I met Christ: I was selfish and proud. I say what I want to say without thinking about how other people would feel. I only want my own comfort. Most of the time, I want to be alone so I don't have to be nice when I don't feel like it, so I don't have to serve others, so I can freely choose what I want to do. Last night, these ugly attitudes surfaced, and I hated that I had to feel sorry for feeling this way.

Tired of always thinking the right thoughts, saying the right words, reacting the right way, and always choosing to do the right thing -- that's how I felt last night. I cried out to Jesus telling Him that it's unfair that I always have to consider what others would feel before my own feelings. It's unfair that I have to say the right words or make the right facial expressions instead of snapping, frowning, or saying harsh words when I'm hurt... when I have to keep quiet even when I feel like talking back to my husband to defend my point, to express my thoughts... to just be myself!

I am thankful that I can come to God just as I am. I am thankful that He doesn't condemn me when I feel this way, instead, He listens to my tantrums. I am thankful that God can handle even our worst emotions and ugliest attitude. I cried in His arms until I fell asleep.

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When I woke up this morning, I was reminded that I've been preoccupied with so many things lately and I haven't been spending some quality time with God during the last three days. During my devotion and quiet time (as I was reading the Jesus Calling Devotional), God spoke to me, and with a gentle tone, this is what He said:
"My precious Misce, I know you intimately far better than you know yourself. When you choose to do the right thing, say the right words, or react the right way, it does not negate who you are, it actually makes you more fully yourself. I created you in my own image (good, loving, kind, humble, selfless), but sin distorted my original design for you... and now, I am restoring, and transforming you back into the person that I designed you to be. You feel worn out and tired, because you are trying to do it on your own effort... You will always feel disappointed of yourself when you do that because I designed you to be completely dependent on Me. Stay close to me, never leave my side, because it is My Holy Spirit who will give you the Power to be all that I want you to be..."
When I feel worn out and tired of doing the right thing, it is because I am trying to do it on my own! What a great reminder! When I am filled with the Holy Spirit, choosing to say, think, and do what is right, choosing to serve and love others no matter how inconvenient it sometimes feels, is a delight that overflows from my love for God... it is not easy, but it is a delight, not a burden. Today, God once again reminded me, that apart from Him, I can do nothing.

"For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord -- who is the Spirit -- makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image." 
- 2 Corinthians 3: 17-18 [NLT]

"But the Holy Spirit produces thins kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." 
- Galatians 5:22-23 [NLT]

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." 
- John 15:5 [NLT]

Radical Love

Today, we are wrapping up with the #SheReadsTruth Study on the book of Hosea, (my first time to really dig in to this Old Testament book) and I have to say, there were so many days during this study when I was just left speechless and overwhelmed by God's relentless, radical love to His unfaithful people!

I remember how I've been deceived by the enemy during my younger years, thinking that God's way is too restrictive, that it's okay to sin (everyone else is doing it anyway!), that I can get away with it and just enjoy the pleasure of doing things my way, after all, what's important is that I am happy. But as I have read the Book of Hosea, I saw the heart of God. He was there all my life, shouting... more like pleading for me to return to Him...

"Return to me Misce! So I can heal you, forgive you, protect you, love you freely, flourish you! Stay close to Me, never leave my side because I will make you stand firm, I will care for you, I will show you the joy of walking in my ways, I will make you realize that there is more to life than the temporary pleasures that you have been chasing! ... And I will use your life to influence others to come to me, so they may also be set free! It is only through Me that you can have a fruitful life!"   [Hosea 14:4-9 My Own Paraphrase]

Sharing some of my Hosea Journal Notes. :)
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It's very timely that the Lord led me to this song by Victory Worship, this is my response song to God as I finish the book of Hosea and as I relate this book with my own journey with God. :)

Radical Love by Victory Worship

You found me in my darkest hour
You gave me hope and gave me life
You gave a love that's greater, 
You lead me out of darkness, and into Your light.

I was blind but now I see
Your mercy, it has set me free
Your favor's all around me,
Your radical love has found me
And now I sing...

Take my heart Lord it is Yours,
Oh it is Yours, Oh it is Yours...
Take my life Lord it is Yours,
Oh it is Yours, Oh it is Yours...

No one else can save my soul
No one else can make me whole
Jesus you have won me,
Your radical love surrounds me
And now I sing...

Take my heart Lord it is Yours,
Oh it is Yours, Oh it is Yours...
Take my life Lord it is Yours,
Oh it is Yours, Oh it is Yours...

I'm giving up my own,
for You and You alone
For Your sacrifice, I'm laying down my life

The price You paid, the life You gave
The Cross and the grave
My sin now erased

Through Bright Sunshine & Hard Rains (God Speaks!)

Last weekend, my sweet husband took me out on an unplanned date. He brought me to this beautiful place he calls, "His Secret Place". It was a one and a half drive along the mountain slopes of Rizal province. It was a bright and sunny day, a perfect weather  to go to such a perfect place. As we were traveling, I whispered a prayer and asked God to show us His glory when we arrive to this secret place. I didn't want it to be just a date with my husband, I wanted God to be with us and enjoy some quiet fellowship with Him.

We reached the place around 4:00 pm. I was very excited to explore the place when it suddenly started to drizzle. We decided to go inside the restaurant and eat our merienda while waiting for the drizzle to stop. I was a bit upset and disappointed thinking that the drizzle might not stop and we wouldn't have the chance to roam around and enjoy the place. I prayed for the food before we ate, and I asked God if He could please stop the drizzle so we can enjoy our date.

Right after I finished praying, the rain poured even harder! Mike and I didn't expect that kind of heavy rain because the sun was brightly shining during the entire time that we were traveling. I became more upset, this time, I was actually worried. It was almost 5:00 pm and it was still raining very hard. I was afraid for Mike to drive our way down the dark, slippery mountain slopes with the rain heavily pouring (the road is prone to landslides). I started making plans in my head and even planned to ask Mike if we could just stay there for the night.

A few minutes later, to our surprise, the heavy rain suddenly stopped. Like an unveiling curtain, the sun showed up, and shone brightly again! I was amazed when I saw the fogs forming and smelled the sweet scent of the earth after the rain... it was such a wonderful experience!

I realized that I have experienced so many "bright sunshine and hard rains" moments in my life. With a sincere heart, I ask God to reveal Himself more to me, to let me experience His Glory. Then He sends hard rains and my immediate response is to get upset, to worry, and to start making my own plans. That day, He made me realize that He has His own way of revealing His Glory -- sometimes through bright sunshine, but most of the time, through hard rains... times when it seems very dark and cloudy, times when the situation seems hopeless... until He unveils the curtains, commands the rain to stop and for the sun to show up again! It may not always be the way that I had prayed for or hoped to happen, but in the end, it will be in a way that He will be most glorified! And as I look around, all I can see are traces of His presence -- like the fogs, the rays of sun through the clouds, the droplets of water in the leaves, the smell of the earth after the rain... All I can see are traces of His love -- the provisions, the lessons, His hand of discipline that leads us to His path of righteous living... He was there all along, through bright sunshine and hard rains.