Storms

Much has happened last week, and I haven’t written about them because my dorm’s internet connection wasn’t exactly connected to the world wide web. It was due to some reason I couldn’t figure out, and even if it were connected, I still wouldn’t find the time—I had lots of things to finish and to study. In a way, internet deprivation was something to be thankful for: it restored my focus.

Anyway, the Lord has just taught me a lot of things. For that, and for everything, I’m forever grateful. While I was having my quiet moment with him, I asked Him many things concerning the anxieties that dulled my vision and the concerns that troubled me. I was so overwhelmed when He directed me to Psalm 107 22 – 31. These are a few things He has taught me:

1. Be humble.

It occurs to me that humans are desperately proud. We think we can do anything with our lives, that with enough skill and perseverance—and a little rain of luck—we can become successful. But that’s not how it is in real life. The real score is that our lives are in the direct control of God’s sovereign hand. No wonder why God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

2. Storms do come in our lives.

And what causes them? Sometimes, other people cause them (Acts 27). Sometimes, it is God who sends them to test and increase our faith in Him (Matthew 14). Through our disobedience, we can cause storms in our lives, too—like Jonah who ran away from God. The only way God could bring Him back was through a storm.

3. The greatest storm that ever happened was at Calvary.

To complain about the storms that happen to us is stupid because this kind of complaint reflects downright ignorance (and forgetfulness) with regards to what Christ Jesus has accomplished on the Cross for us.

There’s no reason to complain after all. He made me see how painful it was for Jesus to hang there on the Cross—the pain He experienced wasn’t only physical but also spiritual because for the first time, the Father turned His back on Him, a perfect relationship was broken, and the Son was forsaken. But why did Jesus have to undergo such a tribulation?

I saw Him, while I closed my eyes in prayer, on the Cross, crying out to God, “Why have you forsaken me?” and for the first time in many months, I remembered that it was I, and the rest of the sinners of this world, that He was thinking of.

On my way to the exam room

Lord, help me as I answer each question. Remind me, Lord, that I can do nothing without Your help. Teach me to trust in You alone, especially in times when I don't know what to do. I know that You are sovereign and all-knowing; that even while being in control of the entire universe, You too are still in control of my daily affairs, no matter how minute they may seem. I do not ask that You give me high scores or high grades, but I do ask that You accomplish whatever it is that You know is best for me and for Your glory. Even as I get out of that room, I pray that You grant me words of thanksgiving and praise for Your goodness.

May I glorify You, and not myself, as I humbly submit to Your will and purpose for me. Thy will be done! Amen.

My lab instructor read my blog

I took the hundred-point quiz, got confused, popped a question in mid-air, "Are you asking about an old or young dicot root?"and got a surprisingly shocking answer.

"It's supposed to be old root," Ma'am Sumugat said; she then wrote something on the blackboard, went back to her desk, and then added, with a wide, mysterious grin directed at me, "O, and I read your blog."

"You did?" I croaked, then gulped whatever it was that my salivary glands could produce at that moment. I asked myself, "Did I write something awful about her?"

Ma'am, if you're reading this, I say, "Hello!"

Post-Sunday-service meditations

Believers of Jesus Christ are the sons of God. This, in a shortened form, is the meaning of the Doctrine of the Sonship of the Believers.

We note that in Galatians 4:6, Paul distinctly mentions the three Divine Persons in the Godhead and each of Their special modes of operation. The Father caused us to be reborn (1 Pet. 1:3); the Son died for us to accomplish this rebirth (Rom 6: 3 – 8); the Holy Spirit sanctifies, preserves, and assures us that we are indeed the children of God.

This truth—so powerful and deep—must be treated with complete reverence. Acknowledging this should cause us to fall prostrate in thanksgiving and worship.

How do we become children of God? To answer this question, we should note that the phrase, “children of God,” has two connotations—the first one is that all men are His children in the sense that He created them; the second is that some men are His children in a spiritual sense. Not all the men He created are His spiritual children—only some of them. And so we rephrase the question to be, “How do we become God’s spiritual children?’

The answer is the Cross, and all the meaning it represents. Christ died for us that we may become the children of God. Our adoption is indeed marvelous (Jn 14:18). The sonship of a Christian is a gift of grace through faith (Gal 3:6).

What are our privileges as sons of God?

The first is justification and acceptance (Gal 3:24). We note the word tutor in verse 24. This word, in its Greek sense, is taken to be a slave employed by the Greeks to supervise young boys in behalf of their parents: this parallels the law. We are not saved by the law, but we are guided by it to seek the One who saves. Therefore, we say that a Christian is no longer under law but under grace (Rom 6:14). God has no sons who are not justified by faith in Jesus Christ.

The second is the promise of a joint inheritance with Jesus Christ (Gal 4:7). Romans 8: 17 puts it succinctly, we are heirs of God.

And so, as Christians, we may enjoy the recognition of the comings of Jesus Christ. Christ is always present, yet He comes. He comes when we need Him most. He pays surprise visits, and His footsteps are noiseless. We should therefore endeavor to tread on the paths He frequently takes so we may see Him: the paths of self-denial, of love and of holiness.

We may also enjoy the recognition of Christ’s presence. This should humble and strengthen us.

Lastly, we may enjoy the recognition of the living God (Jn 11:25). We live by his life, in his life, and we live because He lives.

After six days, I still get the shivers

Now I'm calmer, more collected, and it seems like logic has creeped into my senses again—though I presume it's not going to be this way for a long time. It's been almost a week—six days, to be exact—since I had last written about my going to SM (it's where the cinema is) to watch The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. And I needed six days to process everything: the movie has reeled into my head like crazy, and the scenes in my mind don't stop playing until I immerse myself in other thought-provoking activities, like studying.

I'm not going to give a detailed review of the movie. To do so would require that one should have watched a million movies already so as to give a good tongue-lashing (it's common to see people thinking of good reviews as rants) and to be able to compare this and that movie with all the other movies that one has watched. I must say that my movie-watching habit is limited to the CDs my brother buys or those shown on HBO or those recommended by friends (and I do not necessarily watch what they recommend unless they say something like, "The world will end, Lance, if you don't watch it!", which, of course, rarely ever happens) and those I download from my dorm's network.

After Church, Manong Ralph and I headed straight to SM, as planned. I was taken aback when I saw the humongous crowd of people queuing at the ticket booths. I was then reminded of how prolific Filipinos have become through the years, and so it's not a wonder to see our population booming explonentially like it has for the past years.

By God's grace, we had managed to buy our ticket, after minutes of lining up. We figured that the show wouldn't start again until 3, so we went to the grocery to buy things. It was only 1:00pm (I think), so we had all our time. We headed back to the cinema 15 minutes before the scheduled time of showing it again: who would want to spoil a movie that one has been looking forward to by coming in late?

When we entered, the entire movie house was jampacked. There were no longer any seats available, so we stood for 15 minutes, then found a great spot where we sat on the floor.

And so I will talk about the movie. Do I like it? Do I?

Of course, I like it! No, like is a light term. I bloody love it. The movie is, to my estimation, a faithful rendering of the book, though some details have been added, some removed. But these are small ones, anyway, and TLTWTW would still stand as it is without them--the details, I mean.

I was teary-eyed the whole time, especially during the Aslan-will-die scenes. I wanted to exclaim, "That's salvation! That's what the Lord did to me. I am Edmund (though more handsome than him), a wretched liar and traitor! But look at Him! He died for me!"

I must also say that the movie also gave me shivers. I cannot explain it in detail, really, but it's something one feels when he is witnessing something he has been looking forward to seeing for a long time. Tumindig ang balahibo ko.

That's why I can't fully understand why some people think it's boring, or that it's for children, or that it's only for those who've read the book. I think the movie is universal, in as much as its message is: that we, sinners, are loved by a holy God whom we have grieved, and to prove such love, God died for us.

I must confess, though: even after six, long days, I still get the shivers.

Dear brother wants to start his blog

"Lance, I'm really going to start a blog now."

"But I thought you hated blogs?"

"Well...."

"Just don't use Blogger. There are so many of us already. Use Modblog or Blogdrive or Livejournal intead. I hear they're user-friendly."

"But I want Blogger."

"You really lack originality, Manong."

"Of course not! Know what? I even have a name for my blog."

"What is it? Make sure it's short and catchy and absolutely not corny. And don't ever think of using mine."

"Glassed. It's going to be named glassed. And the tagline: Better than bottles."

And so the Lion roars, and I will watch him


I've been postponing the writing of this entry. I guess the most difficult things to write about are those which happen to us rarely, and thus leave defined imprints in our memory. But here I am, writing this one, hoping that someday, years from now, I would still feel this excitement, undiminished by time.

I'm going to watch The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe today, for the first time in my life, since it's really the first time it will be shown in Manila theatres. Unless you've been secluded from the real world, hiding in dark, moist caves in an isolated island, you should know that it's a movie based on the children story series by C. S. Lewis, one of my favorite writers of all time.

I began reading the first book, The Magician's Nephew, almost a year ago. The books were borrowed from the Church's library: I applied for a card primarily to do that. My roommate, Jason, knows very well how often I would exclaim, often in lucid intervals, about how Lewis writes so magnificently (simply yet profoundly), how the story is so meaningful, etc. It is a book--and perhaps all the books in the series are, too--that one cannot simply put down, because it casts a spell very unlike that which the Harry Potter book series casts because it draws one to timeless Biblical truths. Harry Potter shrinks in comparison with the Narnia series. But this is a personal opinion.

And so I proceeded reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe immediately after The Magician's Nephew. I noticed that the stories are not exactly continuations of each other, though they bear familiar relations with the previous books. Lewis often makes mention of the events that have transpired in the previous book, telling the reader, "How could you have proceeded without reading my books in order! I am sooooo hurt!" But I'm just joking.

TLTWTW, by far, the most dramatic and moral-packed story among all the others, crashed my age-old notions of what children's stories should be like: naive and, to a degree, stupid, had it not been for the colorful illustrations. The second book is, after all, about the best story in the world: that which saved man and connected him with a holy God once again after his fall.

I particularly liked Lucy, the youngest of the Pevensies, but I've always told everyone that I am Peter, the High King of Narnia, and my brother, the traitor Edmund (Manong will protest when he hears this!). Jadis is also a unique character because she portrays how sin can entirely ruin one's life, and if one's life is, in fact ruined, a ruined life will ruin more lives, especially those it has contact with.

But my favorite character is Aslan, the majestic lion whose character is unblemished, whose presence is both loved and feared. He is Jesus in this story because he died for his supposed enemy, Edmund the wretched traitor and he loved all of Narnians to the end. Lewis wrote something like (and these are not the exact words) you wanted to stroke his mane but you are afraid to do so... He is the character that made this story what it is: not merely something about doing-good-to-others, but rather of the sinfulness of man and his great, urgent need for a Savior.

And so I read books in the series. I must confess, though, that I still haven't even started reading The Last Battle, the seventh one. I want to prolong my agony, if not my anticipation, as to the details of how the story will end. Friends tell me that it's the "best" book, and I really do hope so. A series that begins with bang must end with a nuclear bomb.

After Church, I shall be off to the nearest moviehouse, my hands drenched with sweat, my lips muttering, "Please, let the movie be good! Let me not be disappointed!"

But the moviemakers must have made sure that everything should go on nicely. After all, if that doesn't happen, they will bear the scorn of the Narnian readers. I'm joking, of course.

Brain exercise

Like a beast whose cage has been unlocked, he finds his way out excitedly. Somewhere must be hope. He wanted to start things anew; and yet, he is not too sure if he could because his dark, brutal past haunts him: in his dreams, in the faces of the people he bumps into, in the TV shows he watches nightly, in the voices that echo in his mind when he is alone.

Wala lang. I just wanted to exercise the other part of my brain...you know, just to see if it still functions.

You may also notice that I've replaced the encoded subheaders at the sidebar with my own personal handwriting. I did these during my free time, right after my exam. I was supposed to go to the Church's Youth prayer retreat, but I wasn't able to. It's a long story.

Thank God, the supposed creative part of my brain still functions after all--after all those calculations!

Bumenta s'akin

Picture this scene that happened this afternoon: Chem 26.1 lab disusssion, Sir Greg talking about Le Chatelier's Principle, equilibrium and methyl orange indicators, everyone at the brink of sleep.

"Have you discussed buffers?" He asked us.

The class's answer was unanimous, "Not yet."

"But I do know that Thailand became a buffer state," I told my seatmates.

"Buffer... buffer the vampire slayer," I heard Juanchi said, out of the blue, like he always does.

"Buffer, the bumper sticker," I muttered to myself.

Tucked in bed while the world rocked in celebration

While the rest of the living world celebrated the dawning of the New Year, while the rest of the Filipino nation lighted fireworks, exploded firecrackers (and destroyed their extremities by so doing), made deafening noise, and listened to fortune-tellers who only talked nonsense, I was inside my boat cabin, asleep. That’s how I almost always welcome the New Year: in dreams.

The slow, lulling movements of the ship was soporific: it was impossible not to have heavy, watery eyes as I sat on my bed. It was only nine o’ clock when I drifted to dreamland. When I woke up, it was a brand new year altogether.

And then thoughts came rushing through me. Thoughts of the past years, the things that have happened to me, the lessons I’ve learned, the growth that I’ve gone through. My devotion that day was centered on Psalm 103—truly one of my favorite psalms in the Bible—and it made me wonder how long I could talk to the Lord without asking for anything. Psalm 103 has no requests; it is nothing but praise.

My point is this, and I share this with David, the writer of such a psalm—our souls should bless the Lord not merely because He has blessed us. We ascribe adoration to Him because of who He is. We also praise Him not for only what He has done, but for what He hasn’t done as well—like throwing us to the pits of hell when we sinned or leaving us to wallow in our ungodliness.

Psalm 103: 1,2

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that it within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”


Read Psalm 103 and meditate on it prayerfully. If you do know the Lord personally, it will bring you to buckets of tears….

So here it is. It’s January again, and we’ll be needing new calendars now. Happy New Year.