This sign

 

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When I look at this, I’m constantly reminded. I’m reminded that there’s enough reason to face another day with so much optimism, motivation and renewed hope; that I can put my trust completely on my Saviour.

I’m reminded that there’s someone who will look after what I am not capable of handling or changing.

That if my human abilities fail, His grace and faithfulness won’t.

That if my plans and dreams don’t succeed, His plan and purpose will take over.

That if I’m filled with fear and doubt, His promises will be my hope.

That if everyone has turned their backs, His comfort and His peace will be there to remind me I’m safe and valued.

That if the waiting time gets frustrating, His Word will constantly reassure me of His perfect timing.

That if I get lost, or refuse to find my way back, He will be waiting for me to come home.

And He will remain the same.

And He will remind me of these things again in case I’ve forgotten.

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R.

Anástasis

Easter season. It’s that time of the year again that we remember the death and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross for the salvation of humankind from sin. However, oftentimes, many of us forget how the story’s ended. Luke 24:1-8 recounts,

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered His words.

The rest of the chapter talks about how Jesus, after abandoning the tomb, has appeared to some people including His own disciples. I can imagine Him entering his homies’ hub with a huge smile and His trademark hailing, “Peace be with you” (verse 36).

So the story ended with Christ ALIVE. Off the cross and away from the tomb. My God is back to life and has ascended to heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19). My Redeemer lives and reigns forevermore, and because of Him we are set free (Galatians 5:1)–we live under God’s grace (Romans 6:14); we’re ransomed from sin and reconciled with the Father (Romans 3:23-24, 2 Corinthians 5:18). We are able to obtain and experience salvation because of what Jesus has done, and by believing in the power of the cross and that Jesus is truly Lord (Romans 10:9).

He is the reason why we can celebrate and be thankful for being justified, free, saved and loved.

We may not fully understand why or how this all took place, or what it really means for us. But I choose to believe in what the Scriptures say. I choose to feel gratitude by reflecting on God’s goodness and grace–by recognising that I’m a sinner and I need a Saviour; that I am nothing without God; that everything is in vain if I don’t make God a part of it.

I choose to believe in God’s promises and what’s written in His Word as we wait for His return. I choose to celebrate His love and share that with others to the best of my ability, however challenging it may be. I choose to continue to seek Him and get to know Him better and deeper.

Let us not forget that Jesus did not only die for us; He also rose again to live and reign, to justify and to save us, to find us and direct our ways. He LIVES. His love saves.

It’s all about Jesus, it’s all about His love.

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

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Rie Manaloto

R.

Valentine’s Day?

Well, yes, it is Valentine’s Day. This day is certainly not for me. But no, I ain’t sad nor bitter over the irrelevance of this occasion in my life ever since I realised what February 14th is for.

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Simple Valentine’s day present I gave to my parents wrapped in recycled paper (You wouldn’t wanna know what it was or where it came from), cards are handcrafted (a much better term than ‘recycled card cut-outs’). Personally, I believe that I still can’t afford to have a GF right now, so what the heck.

Still and all, what makes this day special for the love hungry milieu in general would be the treats that pretty much marshal what this day is for: chocolates, sweets, cakes; schmaltzy love songs and tear-jerking romantic movies lovers and the loveless can all relate to. Simply classic. Anyway, I wouldn’t even wanna go to that sphere of things.

On a personal note, I see it as a day to celebrate and reflect on the concept of love. Look, I am not gonna go define what love is, as though I’m a love guru, a preacher or some psychologist. Everyone has his and her definition and interpretation of this emotion and/or phenomenon.

Yet, maybe we can all agree that love is the greatest, most special, most wonderful feeling in the human emotional system. Although, sometimes we will just realise that it can be the hardest task to ever do, or to be good at, or to be consistent with, or perhaps, to give.

But one thing is for sure: We all know love, and can love because He first loved us. That’s what the Bible teaches us as written in 1 John 4. God is the author, the pioneer, the spear-header and the absolute personification of love. We can never fully understand or even practice love if we never try to grasp or think about who He is and how the Lord has lavished His love upon us. And I think that’s the most important thing to do today.

We all heard the Jesus-died-on-the-cross-and-rose-again story, right? Well, that’s a good start. We probably should find a way to acquire more depth or meaning from what that episode is about.

But really, hope we can all take a moment to reflect on God’s love and see how it has unfolded in your personal life. Do not focus on the lack or the absence of the things you wish you have but turn your eyes on the ones you do have. Seek Him, His Word, His righteousness on a daily basis.

Wallow in the richness and the glory of His love, and realise that love is beyond the superficial–beyond the chocolates, the movie dates and all the commercialism. Love comes from God and is defined by God and must be given back to God by serving Him and by loving one another. And, we get to know how to really love because indeed, He first loved and continues to love us.

I might not make sense to some, or you might think that I just fudged this post but the He-first-loved-us bit is truth, it’s inescapable and is not gonna change. It’s in your favour anyway.

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This simple sketch is called “Three Cupcakes”, my attempt on mimimal-inspired repeated drawings. You could tell that the caption completely has nothing to do with it. But I think I’ve made a point in the writing bit. Ha-ha!