Quiet Strength {Dealing with Hurt}

I have just been in a situation that has greatly grieved me. All my attempts at a peaceful resolution and restoration of love had failed and in return, I was verbally attacked. The words were harsh and devoid of respect (that kind which should have been due to a much older person who has been constantly helpful and supportive through the years) and seemed final. Such was the venom vented by a heart and mind controlled not by the Holy Spirit. I rested my case; I stopped replying, and with my husband’s firm advice, turned off my cellphone and removed my sim. I would change my number; I would not fight back (it will be absolutely futile). I would be unreached.

dealing with hurt

And with that final act, I murmured, “Forgive, for they know not what they do.”

I crawled into the Lord’s secret place and drenched the succeeding hours with frenetic prayers. There was a moment that I asked in my heart amid unshed tears, “Why do they easily hurl attacking words like that, Lord? Why do they hate?”

The Lord answered me, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated Me before it hated you…They hated me without a cause” (John 15:18, 25).

The Lord Jesus who was pure and sinless and who did nothing but goodness, teaching and healing wherever He went, was hated and mocked and spat upon.

I was somewhat comforted, but the heaviness and sadness remained. I prayed a lot more until I was exhausted – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Then I put the matter to rest and rested in the Lord’s love, mercy, and embrace. I recited Psalm 91:1 in my mind over and over:

[She] that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

And so, that’s what I did. I took cover in the Lord’s light and loving embrace where the arrows of the wicked one (through people he uses) couldn’t touch me. Jesus is my refuge and my fortress.

In 2014, I published my second book, Quiet Strength: And Learning from Women of the Bible Who Had ItI have found out that quiet strength amid life’s storms is both inherent to our blessedness and a spiritual practice. It is both the work of the Holy Spirit within us and an intentional effort to follow His voice and pursue peace and power through worship, prayer, God’s Word and meditation on it.

Quiet strength may not always appear triumphant, courageous, and unshakeable. It could also look sad, heavy laden, unsure, scared, and confused. These are processes it may go through as it gathers sense and meaning about things and circumstances, why they happen. With indestructible quiet strength residing in the depths of our being through the power of the Holy Spirit (sometimes it makes itself known during painfully difficult times), we understand that these are only temporary and should bring us to the Savior’s feet – spent but still throbbing with life and hope.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

That is the spirit and backbone of quiet strength. It draws its very life from the Fountain of Life Himself. A branch to the Vine. Quiet strength is strength that flows from the cross (our redemption) and from the everlasting life and love of Jesus. Without Him in our life, we would all be spiritually dead. Without hope and peace.

Quiet strength is choosing to dwell in humility and not to rise up in revenge. It is a readiness to forgive and relinquish all judgment to God. It is letting the Word and the Spirit be in control over all negative emotions that may ensue from the enemy’s attacks. It aligns itself with God’s Word in obtaining some kind of understanding, and in places where there is obscurity, in trusting that God is in control. He has a perfect plan and His purposes will stand.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Rom. 12:19)

It is surrendering everything to God in prayer – every negative, crippling emotion, every unfruitful thought, every burden – and letting Him reign over every area of our life and our situation. It is putting Philippians 4:6-7 into practice:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I almost tremble in fear as I think of the possible retaliations I could concoct when someone has unjustly attacked me and I had not known the love and mercy of the Savior. I know my ruthless potential. I know I could be downright ugly and dark in the heart and soul. Maybe I would lose hours and hours of sleep as I burn with rage, evil will, and plans of revenge. It is a suffering of the lowest, cruelest kind. For it involves the very soul.

But what quiet strength is not is it is never ugly. On the contrary, it is a portrayal of an incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God (1 Pet. 3:4).

So I thank God that I am under grace! I am treading on grace, moment by moment, day by day. I’ve been redeemed from the bondage of sin and will no longer do the lusts of the devil (John 8:44). Because of Jesus.

Because of Him whose mercy has been real in my life, I can feel and release mercy even when attacked. I remain whole even when the enemy’s arrows had poked holes around my peace and joy. I am learning to truly practice the Lord’s teaching:

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Mat. 5:44-45)

I am doing the praying for those who hate you part diligently, but I still need tons of prayers and conversations with God and listening to His voice to be able to do the rest from the heart. If we have to love our enemies – those who have unjustly and hurtfully attacked us – we need to do it with the heart. What does that look like? How does it feel like? I’m not sure. But perhaps an outpouring of prayers towards that person, prayers for his/her redemption and salvation, is a kind of agape love which the Lord requires of us? Maybe that is one facet of love?

However this love may look like or take its form, it should bring us peace and strength. Quiet strength is relying on God and His truth to shed light on our doubts and uncertainties. It is leaning on God’s wisdom and not on our own capacities.

Learning to love those who hate us should not undo us or make us vulnerable. In fact, it is a sign of strength, not of weakness. That is, strength only in Christ (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, remember?). For this is our assurance, that whatever the world does to us, however we are hated and attacked, however we are mocked and insulted, however we are rejected and despised, nothing and no one shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39).

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Living for Eternity

Before I found my way to putting up my own chemicals company 18 years ago, I had to work through the maze of odd jobs. The last two trained me rigorously in sales and marketing (the last one, being a combination of my ChE profession and marketing, put me exactly at the heart of my fervent dreams and shaped my future in business). I believe I was born an entrepreneur (I had been doing business since grade school 😀 ). One of the slogans I learned in those rigid seminars and trainings in sales and marketing was to “dress the part.” Later on, as my company soared to great heights of success, I didn’t only dress the part, but also learned to play the part of a young, successful business-and-careerwoman. And did it in style as I acquired worldly wealth, which a successful career woman must possess. This I learned in the world I lived in.

living_for_eternity

There is this unwritten code of proving one’s success and showing it off to the world by the things we do and possess. Golds, pearls, and diamonds must adorn us. We get obsessed with signature fashion. There is a higher standard (often really painful to the pockets) we put into the brands we wear and patronize. There must be a trip or two abroad every year and vacations on holidays. A sedan isn’t good enough (unless it’s a BMW), it must be an SUV. The kids must go to a prestigious private school. Ateneo or La Salle wouldn’t disappoint when mentioned to friends. And so on as success rolls in and competition heats up.

Playing the part. That’s what people of the world learn and do.

Even the average Filipino family would want to sport the latest Apple product. IT’S A STATEMENT.

It’s not a bad thing to want to improve one’s standing in life – good education and financial and material prosperity and stability – and attain it through hardwork and diligence and belief in God and oneself. I myself advocate these things. But we do it to bring some measure of security, comfort, contentment, and happiness to our lives, not to be enslaved by any of it or a source of pride.

For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. (1 John 2:16)

In the world, the wanting and attaining and competing never seem to have an end. Such was my life before Jesus. But when I gave my life to Him, everything changed. The words of Apostle Paul have become true for me: …It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal. 2:20).

All the golds, pearls, and diamonds had to go. Our Church, Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry, bans the wearing of jewelries. Others may say this is legalism, but for me, it’s liberation from covetousness. If you have the means and there is no teaching against wearing of jewelries, you can’t seem to stop accumulating. I had felt the “high” it brought and even at the peak of my worldliness, I knew it wasn’t right and I felt guilty as sin. The Bible says that covetousness (or greed) is idolatry. I’m thankful that there is actually a teaching on this matter which our Church upholds (see 1 Tim. 2:9-10).

So I lost that glitzy and glamorous lifestyle and Apostle Paul’s words became my own:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him… (Phil. 3:7-9). 

As is proper among saints, therefore, we must not be consumed with worldly desires and possessions but be continually enriched by the Word. I can say for myself that my life is richer because of the Word.

Living the life that impacts eternity requires being centered on the spirit and not on the flesh and its desires. It is the spirit that dwells in the realm of God’s kingdom. We can only “worship God in spirit and in truth”, never outside of it. The apostle Paul says it best:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. (Rom. 8:5-7 ESV)

To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. In another place, we are taught to set our mind on things above, not on things on the earth… (Col. 3:2). For the things above are eternal. This should be our compass whenever we face the temptation to desire material things and pleasures that are outside of our grasp and God’s will.

But I know that there are Christians who still struggle seriously in this regard (I still do with a few things). They still have a bit of the worldly mindset or are influenced by it especially via Facebook, harboring deep desires for the things the rest of the world enjoys. If they won’t have them, they feel like they are being left behind.

Facebook brings all these objects of desire together effortlessly and makes it easier for those who have to compare and continue to compete, and for those who have not, to wallow in envy and discontent.

If we really consider it, if we really go down to what is essential: Does standing beside the Eiffel Tower really bring us lasting happiness? I mean, what of it, if only ANOTHER STATEMENT? It’s okay if God blesses us with such travels. But if not, we should not be too desirous of them (note: preaching to self :) ).

How about grand parties? I was already a born-again Christian when I saw the grand debut of the daughter of a rich and famous local celebrity and I thought, “These things aren’t for us anymore.” I instinctively thought that the life of a Christian should be in moderation [temperance or self-control – a fruit of the Holy Spirit], that they should walk in simplicity and modesty [freedom from vanity]. And they should! But I have seen Christians throwing lavish parties.

Others (especially those who can’t afford) may see them and will desire to have them, too. Then we have influenced our brother or sister in Christ to covet worldly things. We have become an offense [a cause of transgression or stumbling] to them. The Lord has warned us that offenses will come, “but woe to him through whom they do come!” (Luke 17:1). (A constant reminder to self).

Jesus wouldn’t choose to be born in a manger if modesty wasn’t one of the main lessons He wants us to learn. He always teaches by example.

Vain things, which are of the world and not of God, must not be the desires of a Christian.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17 ESV). 

This new year, may we begin to live a life that constantly and intentionally chooses what matters most to God and His kingdom and impacts eternity.

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The Principle of True Freedom

In the latter part of Luke 9, the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples entered a village of the Samaritans, but they did not receive Him because He was set to journey to Jerusalem. Because of this, His disciples, James an John said, “’Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.'” (Luke 9:54-55)

When I read this recently, I knew it wasn’t only for James and John. I felt myself being sharply rebuked, too. Indeed, we do not know what manner of spirit we are of sometimes. Just because Jesus and His disciples weren’t received in a certain village, it was enough reason for the two disciples to want to command fire from heaven and consume them. That is rather extreme, don’t you think so? I got to thinking – sometimes in life, we get so offended that our initial (could be unconscious) reaction is an ill will (wish or desire) against the offender. When we are hurt, we want to hurt back. Sometimes, deep inside our hearts, we want to take revenge against those who have deeply hurt us. We know the Lord’s teachings but we can’t seem to find peace because of the anger that seems to overpower us.

While meditating on the Lord’s rebuke to James and John, it dawned on me that, in truth, all of Jesus’ teachings point toward our true liberation. This was an awesome epiphany. The most common, yet I believe the most powerful, things that can take us captive are anger and fear. When we’re consumed with anger we can’t get ourselves to forgive. The same dark imprisonment is offered by crippling fear.

When we finally realize Jesus’ teachings for what they truly are, it’s amazing how they work for our true freedom. Sometimes we feel burdened by His commandments, thinking that they are outrageously hard to follow and carry out. But, oh — when we see what the Holy Spirit has wanted us to see all along, they are what we really need to experience a kind of life-giving, peace-keeping, joy-multiplying FREEDOM!

When the Bible says, do not take revenge, God is freeing us from the misery anger brings! Look at what Apostle Paul says:

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Rom. 12:19)

God is commanding us not to avenge ourselves for He will do it for us!

When the Lord commands us to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”, He isn’t doing it to favor our enemies (or those who have hurt us or treated us badly). He is commanding us to do it for our own good! Always for our own good. You see, if we satisfy our desires upon our enemies to the full – we hate, we curse, we wish ill will – the negative emotions become our own poison! It’s like cancer that poisons our cells or a wound that festers. So, when the Lord commands us to love our enemies (forgive them, pray for them, bless them , do good to them), He is actually giving us a way to be free! To live in peace and joy!

Sometimes, we insist our own way. We want to stay in anger, self-pity, ill will, hurts, wanting to believe that we are giving our emotions release, and that, the Lord’s commandments are just too much to swallow, let alone do. But true release of all that imprisons us is His Word, His commandments! In the Lord Jesus Christ we find true freedom. He is the One who lays before us the primordial principle of becoming truly free.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

Amen and Amen!

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He Has Done All Things Well

The two things I love doing everyday are sing praises and worship while remembering the mercies of God. Sometimes, there are other things that pull my mind and heart away, and I do get tempted to trade spiritual high to a sensual one. But I know that worshiping God and recalling all His wonderful works in my life are the ones that really fill my soul and enrich my life. And also, they are the ones that truly matter eternally.

While reading through the Gospels recently, this phrase made me stop and think. I had to reach for my journal and note it down.

…“He has done all things well… ” (Mark 7:37)

If I could sum up everything that the Lord Jesus Christ has done in my life into just one phrase, this would be it. Without a doubt and with a heart full of praise and thanksgiving, I say, “He has done all things well for me.”

I love reading the Gospels, especially the words and teachings of Jesus. They are so different from what we know of the world, from what we have been taught of the world even. They are high and hard to attain, if not for the Holy Spirit that transforms us into new creations and empowers us to live them out. And that’s the reason why I love them: they’re so opposite our natural tendencies. If we are humbly led by the Holy Spirit, we would want to study and embrace Jesus’s teachings. It is always a good spiritual challenge.

From Matthew to Revelation, we can know the heart and mind of Jesus. Throughout the Gospels, if we are thrilled to walk with Him from the manger to the tomb, we would know how merciful, gracious, loving, forgiving, giving, compassionate, spiritually strong, bold and courageous, meek and humble, He is. He taught (my favorite is Sermon on the Mount), He healed (everywhere), He listened (to those who asked for His mercy), He encouraged (remember Jairus and his dying daughter, how He assured him, “Be not afraid, only believe”?), He admonished (Martha, for example), He noticed (Mary’s washing of His feet with her tears and hair). He rebuked the Pharisees and scribes because He couldn’t stand hypocrisy.

He gave (feeding the multitude) and He gave time (healed Malchus’ ear though He was surrounded with soldiers ready to arrest Him). (I am already on the verge of tears recalling all these. Do you know Him that well?).

He was too meek and humble to not be provoked when He was spit upon and insulted. He remained calm and unmoved when He stood before Pontius Pilate (He is forever my hero!). He did not grovel before him to be freed, because He knew the truth that Pontius Pilate did not. And what was the truth that Pontius Pilate wanted to know? That Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Savior of the world!

He was brave and courageous. The bravest man I know who had lived on earth. He endured the scourgings. As the nails were driven through His hands and feet – He gave and gave and gave! Up to His last breath. To save the world.

Let all the world know — HE HAS DONE ALL THINSG WELL!!!  {Tears}

He has done all things well for me. When I was deep in sin and didn’t have the strength to rise from the mire, to get out of the quicksand of a depraved life – He came and took me out and put my feet on the Rock. By giving His Spirit, He gave me a new life. He changed me, had mercy on me, and blessed me. He listens to my prayers. Why? Because He wants to spend eternity with me. And He will do the same thing for you.

Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to me. To us. He has done all things well. And I love Him so.

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A House Divided Against Itself

Sometimes I feel like “a house divided against itself” for all the things that I let into my heart and mind, vying for my attention. I know that there are things that can veer me away and dilute my fervent fellowship with God, but in my weak moments, I just let them. What I’m fussing about may not be as important to others, but if you have experienced a life of intimate walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, you know when your love is ebbing and your “first works” are gradually set aside. Until they are completely forgotten.

The Lord warned that a house divided against itself will not stand (see Matthew 12:25). It will not have peace. It will not know how to hold joy. Its faith will be fickle and weak. Its love will not endure. This is the “house” that takes in both the world and Jesus; the mind that insists to be spiritual, but is at times carnal. The mind divided against itself, oscillating like a pendulum between carnal and spiritual, will not stand. The Bible says,

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Rom. 8:6)

In the Gospels, the Lord Jesus talks of a strong man whose house can be plundered by another by binding him first. Reading this recently, it spoke to me that, sometimes, I am that “strong man”. I let another, that is, the enemy, bind me so he can plunder me. Have you realized that? Although in this passage, the Lord was talking about the stronghold of Satan being plundered by another stronger force – that is, Jesus – the situation can very well be reversed if in the first place, we are divided against ourselves. Satan can come, bind us, and plunder our goods. But this is not what the Lord wants to happen to us. He said He has overcome the world. And because He has, we can, too. He has given us the power “over all the power of the enemy” (see Luke 10:19). Only that we easily give it away in a moment of weakness. It’s like handing Satan the key to our “house”.

Often, we claim that our “house’, that is, ourselves, are built upon the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ. But the Lord said that it is only when we hear and do His teachings that we are considered wise to have built ourselves on Him.

Hear then do. Not hearers only, but doers also.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. (James 1:21-24)

But at the end of the day, or in that moment when we know the plunderer tries to bind us, Jesus calls us to Himself. He wants to offer us rest from the battle. He wants to whisper that only in and through His strength, we can overcome. This is the song of my heart:

…When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Ps. 61:2)

The Rock that is higher than our weaknesses, failures, mistakes, and bad choices.

If you have been blessed by your visit here, please like Our Healing Moments on Facebook and connect with me there. Thank you!

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs and Still Saturday and Coffee for Your Heart.

Journey with Jesus,