How Do I Love Thee?

I do not intend to tell the world about the second coming of Jesus in a way that most people know i. e. placards with those words written on it, preaching about how sinful men are, that our time is short, etc. for back when I was still a non believer, I used to treat them all nonchalantly with a little bit of contempt, cynicism and scorn. I may have received it that way but I didn’t know that the seed was already being implanted.

I believe those who preached the Good News this way in the past were God’s disciples called to do exactly that at that time. Now, I believe, God has a different set of tasks to the newly saved believers to continue the mission that those before us have left in our charge now. There was no social media at that time. 🙂

I don’t need to tell people anymore of what they already know – Jesus’ second coming is near. What I intend to do, on the other hand, is to share to people how it is to prepare for that second coming and the things that most people clearly do not understand. These are the things that are far too basic, far too common and yet most commonly misunderstood and oftentimes disregarded.

Which leads me to the concept of this very simple word: LOVE.

Love is the overused word in the dictionary that permeates with everything. It goes on with a lot of definitions, given in a whole lot of different contexts and manifested in a whole lot of different actions.

So why this word?

I may not understand how everything is interrelated in the following series of events that I will discuss but all I know is that they all centered on one common theme which is LOVE and I have to share them all because the Spirit has prodded me to.

Scenario 1

I lead a small bible study group in church of young, single, female professionals.

Scenario 2

I am in a relationship now and engaged to a fellow Christian. 

Scenario 3

Dreams, signs and wonders.

For Scenario 1, it started through my coaching group when our coaching leader assigned chapters of The Purpose Driven Life to each one of us to discuss. It was my first time to read the book. I believe God intended I read it just now. It is this book that spearheaded my passion in fulfilling the mission that Christ has left for us to do. I used the chapters on missions as our discussion platform for my small group. Which led me to buying my own copy of the book but I ended up buying a different but somehow similar book also by Pastor Rick Warren called “Better Together: What on Earth Are We Here For?“.

Tin Ginete

Better Together by Ptr. Rick Warren

And it was also through this book especially with the first few chapters that led me to the concept of LOVE and what it means in God’s eyes which I am now discussing with my bible study group. To quote some passages:

“Life is all about love and developing relationships – with God and with other people. You may succeed in many areas, but if you fail to love God and love others, you’ll have missed the reason God created you and placed you in this planet.”

“Real love is placing the needs of others before your own. It is making your problem, my problem…It is giving to another without any guarantee of getting anything back. It is giving others what they need, not what they deserve. Although love can create feelings, love is not a feeling. It is a choice, an action, a way of behaving, a commitment. Love is sacrificing for others.”

I remembered a few days back, I saw one status update on my Facebook news feed that really touched me. I wanted to share it at that time but something held me back so I just saved the link. I didn’t know that I would be needing it now to emphasize more of the passages I have written above. It is a short film entitled “Blind Devotion.”

And this will lead us to my Scenario 2, my relationship with my fiance. He is not as devoted as I am, but I can feel that the seed is already there. God gave him to me at a time that both of us did not expect. I was a patient due for eye surgery and he was the nurse. Our love story started there and the rest was history. But as times passed by, we went through what every couple would go through – conflicts, happiness, rage, patience, forgiveness, hurt, pain, joy, laughter…every emotion, every situation – we went through them as a couple. We have been together as a couple for only a year but we have learned so much about each other, how to value a relationship and having God in it except for this: LOVE as how God would define it.

Then came a point I wanted to give him up, he wanted to give up too. We talked but still ended up together. Then he asked me this question, “What is it that makes you stay with me though I have hurt you so many times, you have suffered so much for me, I have made so many mistakes, I keep on failing you and yet you always forgive me? I want to know why.”

I was silent for a time and this thought came to me and I explained why I am like that to him is because of God and my love for Him. God loved us so much He gave us His only son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins though we do not deserve it. I told him I want to honor my God that is why I want to honor the commitment and honor him by learning the art of God’s love expounded in 1 Corinthians 13.

This happened just yesterday and when I woke up today, I read my devotion of the day in Our Daily Bread and I broke into tears, because it was an affirmation that I said the right thing to my fiance. This was the bible verse:

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – Matthew 18: 21-22

Tin Ginete

March 6 Devotion: ODB

God has forgiven us. So we, too, should forgive those who sinned against us. To quote yet again passages from “Better Together”:

“Jesus says we are to be to one another what He is to us. The love of Christ is self-less, sacrificial, and submitted to the Father’s will. His standard of love is personal – reaching out to the undeserving, looking past their faults and into the desperate needs of their hearts.”

This kind of love now leads us to Scenario 3 – dreams, signs and wonders. I have been having dreams about me and my fiance the past several days which are bad dreams that dealt with my fears of him doing what he is not supposed to do and yet I felt they were all too real in those dreams. I always wake up with a heavy feeling until this morning.

My dream was about my fiance and I and we were supposed to board a bus headed for Baguio City but we got separated because of the huge crowd of commuters. I hopped in on a van instead and was surprised to see my ex boyfriend inside. We chatted for a while but then I noticed the destination name plate of the van and it was headed for Laguna (both my ex and my fiance now reside there). I asked the driver to stop then hurriedly went down the van and waited beside the road for a bus to come along headed towards Baguio City.

Then came a group of women who looked familiar walking towards me but I haven’t seen them yet in real life. Found out they were also headed for Baguio City so we waited for a bus then when one came, we boarded the bus, which was like a 12-seater, and there were only a few of us inside. Then that’s the time I woke up.

The night before, one of the verses in my devotion was Matthew 13:36. I read it but was too sleepy I didn’t understand it clearly. When I woke up today, I felt the urge to reread the verse but I forgot the verse so I randomly chose Matthew 13:3 which led me to the parables. It was all about the harvest and almost the entire chapter are highlighted in red which I don’t normally see in the bible app that I am using. So it means, the chapter I am reading is very significant.

Tin Ginete

The Parable of the Farmer

It is not a coincidence that my Discipleship 2015 training in church tomorrow has a key verse which is all about the harvest and the ministry that I volunteer in, which is a community outreach ministry, has a training on Urban Farming come this Sunday.

Neither it is a coincidence that after my devotion when I woke up today and checked my phone, I got a notification from a friend of mine regarding a video that she shared with me on Twitter. Here it is:

I cried after watching it. Because I now know the significance of it all. Everything is now crystal clear to me. It is indeed near. And what God was telling me the past days about love is that it is this kind of love that we need to exert to bring more people closer to Him despite of the conflicts and the differences.

“God says we must DECIDE to love one another. We’re to love other believers regardless of how we feel about them or how unlovable they may appear. No matter how difficult it may seem, we’re to actively, consistently, and deeply love the believers God brings into our lives, our congregations – and our small group.” – Better Together

“As members of God’s family, we must choose to love, not who to love.” – Better Together

And I believe this is the message that God wanted for us to understand now. The second coming is near, the more that we have to exemplify what Jesus did extending His love not just to His disciples but to those who are least likely to be loved. Just like the way that God is using my relationship with my fiance to master having that kind of love that is of God’s and not our worldly definition of it. I have been stumbling upon random verses from different books in the bible that have his name in it since last week, which is Joseph. I even joked my fiance our first baby boy will be named Zaphen derived from Zaphenath – Paneah which is the Egyptian name that the Pharaoh gave to Joseph when he appointed him as leader of his officials. This was one of the bible stories I read just a couple of days ago.

Tin Ginete

The story of Joseph, the dream interpreter.

I now understand why God gave him to me – I am being prepared for a mission and as my mate, he too is being prepared by God because the time is near for the harvesters to harvest this land. My interpretation of my dream today was very overwhelming, I wept. I wept because I know what it means – the message is very clear.

My fiance and I are due for a road trip with his childhood friend and his girlfriend to Baguio City over the weekend. I have visited the place countless of times and it was during one of my hikes at La Trinidad in Benguet, a province in Baguio City, that I was completely amazed by God’s bountiful and beautiful creations at its best. I was on top of a very high mountain after a treacherous hike and what I saw in front me was what I called in my previous article as “heaven here on Earth” because you see nothing else but a sea of clouds. And for me, it was very symbolic of my faith. The treacherous hike, wherein I almost fell off a cliff, was a matter of pain, suffering, life and death. But if you were able to overcome it all, the Kingdom of Heaven is waiting for you above, on top of it and no amount of words could describe how it feels to be there.

You can refer to this article for my hiking experience: https://chinginete.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/benguet-the-trip-up-north/

Last 3/3 marked my 3rd year since I got saved as a Christian last 3/3/13. The movie Son of God was released on that date too. And this coming 3/13, which falls on a Friday, I have a great feeling it is going to be a significant date as well. The verse regarding the parables can be found in Matthew 13:3 too. Most of my daily verses that I encounter came from the Gospel of Matthew. I did my research and the Gospel of Matthew is considered by scholars as the summary of Jesus’ ministry. It tells of Jesus sending His disciples to preach His Gospel to the whole world. It is also one of the four canonical gospels and it connects the old and the new testament. (wikipedia.org) I know for a non believer you will say it is all coincidence. But I say, as a believer, they are all signs from the Spirit.

Which led me to wonder on these passages written in that chapter:

“That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear but they don’t really listen or understand.” – Matthew 13:13

After these revelations, I only wept. And in between sobs, this was all I could utter in prayer:

“Lord help me to make them understand. Teach me to love them like how You have loved us.”

My brother is one of my spiritual mentors. He was the one who introduced me to the church and eventually to my faith. I know God appointed him to be that and I can attest through the role that my brother is playing in my life right now. He gave me a planner last year by Paulo Coehlo which contains quotations on life and faith. Each month has a designated character trait and last Christmas, he gave me the same planner. And now I know why. For this month, the character trait is this: COURAGE.

Tin Ginete

March: COURAGE

And this is the quotation for today:

“The only sin is a lack of LOVE. Be brave, be capable of LOVE, even if LOVE seems a treacherous, terrible thing. Take pleasure in LOVE. Take pleasure in VICTORY.”

Tin Ginete

The Valkyries by Paulo Coehlo

This may be the longest post I have written here on WordPress but I know every word here is all God’s plan because the mission for us all is starting to get clearer and He requires us to act on that mission. 🙂

Tin Ginete

Paulo Coehlo Planner 2015, The Holy Bible, Our Daily Bread, Better Together – my daily meal. 🙂

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