I woke up from a dream. And in that dream is sugar. A tablespoon of sugar.
Even while dreaming I knew what it was telling me. I had been self-indulgent the past years, giving in to pleasures that satisfy my being. And yes, while these pleasures satisfy, they also dull the senses.
Benjamin Franklin wrote of thirteen virtues that he keeps tabs on everyday. The first is temperance or the control of urges to overindulge. Admittedly, this should also be the first on my list–to eat not to dullness, to drink not to elevation, and to satisfy not to ecstasy.
Sugar is sweet, and it’s very good. Yet it has to be enjoyed with something else, and at appropriate portions. No matter how sweet and nice it is, no one eats sugar by itself and too much sugar would actually make one cringe. Instead, sugar is sprinkled on things that would go better with it. And you’re not just enjoying the sugar, but the whole blend of sugary-goodness in that sweet palette.
And so it goes in a lot of things in this life.
Food is sugar. We enjoy food because it gives our mornings that energy kick. We enjoy feasting on parties because it fills our stomachs as much as our spirits are filled when friends and families surround us on celebration days.
Sex is sugar. We enjoy sex because it allows us to intimately connect with our parters. It’s not enjoyed by oneself only, but with a covenant partner and the experience is both sweet and satisfying.
This is a lesson on moderation and propriety. To exercise restraint. To seek satisfaction only as it is so designed.
Finally, sugar is sweet. The climax of its sweetness is when it lends itself to others. When we sprinkle God’s sweetness wherever we are, we sweeten up the place and let others taste and see God’s goodness. (Psalm 34:8) It’s not for us to take a whole tablespoon of sugar. It’s for us to take a dash and make a bland world a sweeter place to be in.
It was a God-sponsored event. And I didn’t even realize it until I was actually there.
God knew I had wanted to organize field trips for public school students. I even went as far as writing a proposal letter for a crowdfunding group to help me in this endeavor. Though that didn’t push through, God surprised me that He can make things happen.
Yesterday, all nine of us were able to enter Cultural Center of the Philippines and Metropolitan Museum for 155 pesos! We were able to catch some folk dance shows, looked at classic paintings, touched sculpture, played with modern art, and listened to a live spoken word performance with interpretative dancing and accompanying ukelele.
How this happened, I can only say is God’s master orchestration. It was the yearly Pasinaya or the cultural event of the country and it’s an open house of some sort to most forms of art. The night before, I sent a message to the mothers asking if they have other things planned in the afternoon after Sunday School. I then proposed the activity and before I knew it, all six children were present (usually just three). Lunch was sponsored by my dad who had a Jollibee fastfood card which had credit beyond enough to buy us lunch, some water, and an ice cream.
Indeed, when God wants something done, He makes a way for it to happen. And for us, we can only stand in awe and respond in excitement. Praise God! Indeed, God provides us with privilege to enjoy so much more than what we wish for!
God’s mercy is forever, hung in the chains of His love for us.
Song choruses repeat certain lines at most three or four times, so you get the point that it’s the main message of the lyrics, or perhaps it just rhymes.
Psalm 136 repeats a line 26 times, on every verse. I skipped some lines because it’s exactly the same…then I realized that more than just being a good rhyme ending, “For His mercy endures forever” is a conclusion of many subject roles.
For the first verse “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!” to the ninth “The moon and stars to rule by night” it’s a rhetoric. From the 10th to the 22nd verses, it’s a thanksgiving in remembrance of His guiding hand in the exodus of Israel. The 23rd verse to the last is a declaration of hope on who God is and will be, because He has proven Himself to be merciful throughout all time.
I have this victim mentality and sometimes I feel like danger is coming any second. I’m afraid on what the strangers around me can possible do against my own, especially now that I moved back to my third-world home country after five years of being away. Reading through this passage is comforting and empowering, knowing that there is no need to fear. If my God remembers me in my lowly state, then He remembers me all the time. He will rescue me when the enemies come. He will provide not just for me, but for the others who would steal or cause harm because of need in their own. All of these He will do because His mercy encompasses to all and it endures forever.
“Who remembered us in our lowly state,
For His mercy endures forever;
And rescued us from our enemies,
For His mercy endures forever;
Who gives food to all flesh,
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven!
For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:12-16
I’m going to write a book and it will be about the One.
I’m always here and there. I don’t concentrate. I check one website then jump into another. I start a book and by the fifth page, I pull out another one from the shelves. I went to nine churches in three years, moved six times in four years, . I go all around, sometimes or more like oftentimes round and round. I’m the ultimate “bee” as my friend commented, alluring on my pseudo-surname which happens to be what my Chinese name sounds. But I’m tired of flitting. I’m tired of not knowing where my place is. So yesterday, another random thought rushed through my mind: I’m going to write a book! That should keep me seated for hours on a study. And I’m sure I’ll regret I ever started one.
Out of all the topic ideas that raced around, one finished the whole track of my logorrhea. And it’s: ONE.
I’m going to write about One Thing That’s Needed, One Thing I Know, One Thing…more on this!!! At least I’ve found something to do!! Yay!
God is aggressively pursuing us so that our hearts may be inclined to his.
In Leviticus, he gets into all these details of setting up a tabernacle so he may dwell with his people. But gone are the days where he carves on stone tablets. Now he goes straight to our hearts, etching his own cause into our hearts so that we may respond to him. He even goes to the extent of circumcising our hearts so that we may love him with all our heart and soul (Deuteronomy 30:6). God will cause us to incline to love him. Didn’t He say, “I will put my law within them?”
A sermon I had heard online had elaborated on this attribute of God as a chaser. He said that God is troubleshooting this troubled creation. He wasn’t just hoping or wishing or begging, but He is aggressively out there. He even went to the extent of not just sending a prophet, but His own son so that He can be our God and we can be His people.
It’s simply baffling to think that this assertive, unrelenting, persistent God pursues us with His grace, opens our eyes and ears, reaches down and grabs our calloused hearts, forces, enables, and removes it so that He can give us a new heart. It’s not a wimpy grace, it’s a robust grace. It’s intentional!
Last year, I first heard of this verse from my Korean teacher who had encouraged me of God’s renewing grace. And it has since become my grip when I doubt that I can ever be restored. Ezekiel 36:25-27, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” Hosea 2:14
Yes God, chase me, captivate me.
Because life deserves a typist to record moments of joy, spurts of doubt, seas of confusion, strings of unchained melody, stamps of assurance, pebbles of revelations, whispers of memories…