I've been silent for a while.
Silence. I wish I knew more of the subject.
I desire to harness it as even a fool can and be deemed wise.
Remain silent when my tongue becomes sharp in anger.
Remain silent when I strongly disagree.
Remain silent when faced with injustice.
Remain silent when tempted to murmur.
Remain silent when thinking self-righteously.

It's funny how Satan works.
I remember once hearing a pastor say that Satan could not hear our thoughts. I can't say I have any Bible reference for this, but then again right now I only recall the Bible saying that God knows our hearts and that's it. Satan knows how and where to attack us because, being always around, he knows us. And I might get on some theological discussion here because Satan is not omnipresent like God, and so we would have to wonder if it is him personally who knows us or has demons personally assign for us. Wow, I really got into some theology there. Anyways, that is not the point of the post (though feel free to comment on it).
The thing I know for sure is that the Bible says this:
Ephesians 6

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

That verse in itself has tons of theology to discuss on the subject. But back to the story.
I began to pray in silence because I didn't want Satan to hear my thoughts and my cries to God. This wasn't very effective because I don't like to pray in silence or else I fall asleep. Also, I would journal my heart out to God and I'm not supposing the Devil can't read, hehehe. I've notice a trend, however. When I pray for patience, I find myself being more impatient. When I pray for self-control, I find myself being easily angered. And when I pray for submission and respect for my husband, my mouth runs away with me. Sigh!
Seriously, I should be praying for the opposite and try some reverse psychology on myself or my devil attackers, :P. (In case you didn't get the :P, I'm joking).

I pondered on this subject and made myself two questions:
1. Is God answering my prayers by trying me harder?
2. Is the Devil taking advantage of my sinful weaknesses to make me fall harder on the very thing I just prayed for to disprove me before God?
And I've even made a third question:
3. Is it just that I am incapable to grow or change?
This third question discourages me from time to time, but then I remember my spiritual growth has nothing to do with me. It is God who is doing the completion of the work He began in me.
So I'm guessing my answer is in either one of the first two questions or both.
In answer to question 1, I find myself reminding my heart of James 1
"Consider it PURE JOY when faced with many trials."
In asnwer to question 2, I go back to that ephesians verse.
" Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world." Maybe I should get into some theology discussion afterall. The struggle is not against any being of the dark world; it's agains the rulers, authorities, and powers of the dark world! My battle is pretty much against the strongest combatants the dark world has to offer!

Why pondering on this subject, you might ask?
Precisely the reason for my silence.
If I am grateful, I'm bombarded with more struggle and pain than when I'm not.
If I'm watchful of my attitudes, I fail more than when I'm not.
Sometimes all my meditating on being silent, respectful, praying for a quiet and gentle spirit, I throw out the window, especially after I share about it or pray it to God.
It reminds me of how it was very common for us to fight in the car with a family member on the ride home back from church. And someone (even I) would actually say: "We just came from hearing from God and this is how you're gonna act?"
Here's the little confession of why I've been absent and quiet.
Is silence the best policy?
If I never tell anyone I want to be better, they'll never realize I don't. And I'm not thinking about people here. I'm thinking God and the Devil.
I won't give God prayers to try me and the Devil less reasons to disprove me.
And here is where I'm seriously mistaken.

What is so wrong about failing? Keeping up with appearances? With other's expectations of how I should be? With my own expectations?
I remember being so preoccupied with letting my sister fail, I'd always be there correcting and guiding her to make sure she didn't make my same mistakes, or mistakes of her own for that matter.  
Now that she is grown up and on her own, I see she is ill-prepared for some of the hardships of life. Is it my fault for protecting her so? Did she need more failures to learn from to face this life in this selfish world? And now she'll have to make them. Now when life is harder and mom and dad (or big sister) aren't there.
"Pure joy when faced with many trials...."
After my last post, I was faced with many trials. Many, many trials! It lasted for days and I thought it would have no end. The words "pure joy" crossed my mind and I laugh inside sarcastically.
It wasn't untill I finally faced my trials biblically that I saw the good in the ugly trials.
As some relationships became stronger, some issues addressed, some changes and corrections started, the Spirit brought back those words: "pure joy".
Probably none of the good things that came from the trial would have happened without it.
Was I left with the need to repent and ask forgiveness? You bet.
Did it actually make me a better person? Definitely.
Does it mean I won't fail again? Absolutely not.
Must I be afraid? of what!

God knows who I am and who I've become through the blood of His Son.
The Devil knows where to attack me and where I am weak.
God says He'll be strong when I am weak.
I'm not perfect and I don't intend on pretending I am.
I can say, though, I considered it pure joy when faced with many trials.

So much I must learn of true silence.
I will seek it and learn from it.
One thing I won't use it for anymore though, be silent of all you've done for me and in me:

Psalms 138:8

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands
Psalms 66:5
Come and see what God has done, 
 his awesome deeds for mankind!


Freedom of Speech

I've been having a hard time writing lately. Mainly because I needed time in silence.
During that time I pondered on the next question: is freedom of speech Biblical?
I think christians are the most opinionated folks there can be and I've been pondering on this as well.
I'm having a hard time organizing my thoughts to convey what's in my heart, but I'll give it a try.

My mouth runs away with me. James explains how a little organ takes over the big ship that is ourselves.
Oh, how I wish I could control it.
But the mouth speaks of what is in the heart. Solomon explains how the heart is deceitful.
The wretchedness takes over me again!
To be trapped in this sinful body!

Why was I pondering upon freedom of speech?
Because my fellow christians always voice their opinions on what comes out of me.
I began to feel jealous of the none-christian.
I see them say what is in their hearts without being bombarded with judgments and opinions.
In short words, enjoying their "right" to freedom of speech.
And when I realized I was envying those without Christ, I turned to analyze if freedom of speech was Biblical.
No, no it isn't!
The Bible says that even the fool is considered wise if he shuts his mouth.
The Bible asks us to consider that what comes out of our mouths should be for the edification of the listener and no corrupted words come out of it.
I was feeling very disturb for something I should be grateful for.

However, I think this consideration of what comes out of your mouth should also be applied when voicing your opinions to others.
My heart (pride) was so uncomfortable I was even considering leaving the church band.
The last time I sang at church a lady came to "admonish" me because I had scratched my ear on the stage and it looked unsightly. U_U
Public places come with such responsibilities!
I'm glad this quiet time has ordered the storm of thoughts in my head.
It's good that I've been taught that when in doubt: the Bible.
I can't be envying what the world has.
If my mouth that feels restrained by my fellow christians still runs away with me, what would be of me without such restrains?
It is good for my soul. It shakes and irritates my flesh.

But I was pondering on this "care."
Feeling restrained because I want to avoid their opinions and comments doesn't really do much to change my deceitful heart.
It just makes me better at not voicing what's in it.
And my heart really needs care.
Christians work so hard at the I-have-it-all-together look they are hard to relate to.
It happened to me alot during my highschool and college years. As many know, I used to be a legalist.
I would make sure my true self wouldn't show that others where embarassed to confide in me because "I didn't go" through the same temptations, weaknesses or sins.
This look I had mastered even made my leaders think I didn't need checking.
My Bible always at hand, the pastors words always my advice, my long hours in church service, no one knew of the weaknesses of my heart.
I decided I would never again hide my true self.
Yet my last post spoke of the wretchedness I felt because of my true self.
Battling with anger, bad words, bad attitudes, my true self I would like to hide indeed.
I began thinking of what the true christian care of our hearts and mouths should be.

For me it is summed in one word: accountability.
How I miss my accountable partners: Xenia and Lillian.
Xenia was one of our pastor's wife whom I would visit once a week.
She would make sure I told her what was in my heart so we could address it with what was in the Bible and what she had learned in her personal walk with Christ.
Lillian is my sister. We were recently living in different countries and, since I'm married, now living apart.
Lillian and I were accountable partners and we would share our innermost selves together and advice each other. 
I hope the youth in church knows the riches of accountability.
You weren't checked because you wanted to avoid judgment and opinions. You were checked because you chose to be checked.
This is the only cure for a deceitful heart: check it.
The Bible says the Lord examines our hearts. Shouldn't we too?

As I reminisced in the treasures of accountability and why I was missing it so much, I received a revelation: I'm not being accountable with my husband.
Sunday night my husband came back from the last church service (we both had band service this weekend, but I stayed home ill), he told he was feeling burdened.
As he opened his heart to me and I was able to console and encourage him, it was clear to me I wasn't giving him the same chance.
He should be my accountability partner.
He should know of the storm of thoughts in my head.
It is hard because he is a man with no sisters and I often snap with the "you don't understand me" response.
I have to work harder at letting him know and understand me better.
I must seek him to check my heart for he is the head of my family.
He is what God has provided for the maturity of this green, hard heart of mine.

I pray christians learn the proper way of caring for their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
It must be done in love and understanding; not in judgment and comments.
If you really haven't been part of someone's life, you really don't have the right to go up to him/her and voice your opinions on his/her actions!
That doesn't help at all and it only pushes away.
Still, take in consideration one of the greatest advices in the Bible:
Romans 12:9
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
If something good is in their opinions and comments, take it with you.
It's all good because it helps break this prideful heart.

And this heart has been prideful. It has been so confronted it was unwilling to be grateful.
Not anymore!

*390 the Spirit making the heart desire to be checked and guarded.
*391 the accountable partner given by God, my husband
*392 my sister spending lots of time with me on this sick weekend
*393 my mother being able to come home for my aunt's wedding and spend Saturday with us.
*394 my aunt getting married to her Italian prince
*395 a lovely wedding lunch with my sis, mom, and hubby
*396 losing weight because of the illness. Yay!
*397 being more responsible and serviceable at my job.
*398 Pit getting her first job
*400 the little victories Pit got in her stretching!
*401 the hubby's skin complexion improving
*402 a broken car and repair bills
*403 trouble getting the loan for the new car (grateful for the bad)
*404 my hubby's week test over
*405 hopeful for a child
*406 changes in my mind caused by being more involved in church again
*407 brothers and sisters in Christ who truly take care of me, my heart, and my mouth.
*408 the dogs to be my company when home alone.
*409 new and fast lunch ideas and recipes the hubby enjoys
*410 finding my toils under the sun easier and more enjoyable.

Dear God,
Thank You for Your Word. Where would I be desiring what the world has, when what You give is so much better?
Continue breaking this heart, mind, and will of mine. Baptize my mind and make this seed die to give birth to life for Your glory.
Teach us, Father, Your ways and that we might follow.

I love You. 


Oh joyous wretchedness

I'm stricken with indignity.
Is everything pointless?
Why read? Why study? Why pray? Why preach?
It always ends up the same; I always end up the same.
My tongue runs me over. My anger takes control. My pride resurges. I seek my own!
Is it just me without hope?
Can You change me?
Why haven't You?

Could this have been the way Paul felt when he said in Romans 7:18:
 "18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[d] a slave to the law of sin."

Wretched I am indeed.
My eyes overflow with tears for this helpless being I am.
The evils in my heart and mind the Lord must search and examine.
What will my reward be according to my conduct? (Jer. 17:10)
Enslaved I am.

Romans 8
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."

"If indeed the Spirit of God lives in you..."
I ponder on this words.
Am I of You, Lord? For the misdeeds of my body are not put to death!
That which I wish not to do, I do.
The more I try, pray, search, and study the more vulnerable to this death and sin I become.
I feel it's useless!
"If indeed we share in his suffering..."
How so? Father. How can I? Am I?
I desire it.
I wish to be bound to You and Your Spirit, and not this earthly desires.
I wish to be consumed for Your Kingdom, and not my daily toils.
I wish to live by the Spirit, and not this flesh that is overtaking me.

Romans 8
"23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."

And still I must learn to be still?

Romans 8
" 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Am I again looking at myself and forgetting Who You are?
Do I still trust myself and my strength to do that which only You can?
Oh joyous wretchedness that I might see who I am and I may trust Who You are and all You do!
That I might kneel in heart and soul before the gracious God Who did not spare His son for me to be justified.

I pray for desire.
I pray for death to sin and life by the Spirit.
I pray as though believing I will receive what I asked.
I consider it pure joy to be in many trials.
Might I be a faithful servant to You with nothing to be ashamed of.

On a side prayer, I wish to pray for my friends and family and the losses they have suffered.
For my mom and her family losing a beloved cousin and son.
For your faithful servant Dennis losing his dear brother.
For my sweet friends Johnny and Meli losing her cheerished Mimoris.
Confort them, Father, for the heart wonders "why" and the soul grieves with impotence and injustice.
Blessed are those who mourn, for God, King of kings, conforts them.