Sunday, February 23, 2014

Remembering Exodus at Khao Yai National Park

Taken at the entrance gate wherein we paid 40thb each person.


After visiting Pakchong, Nakhon Ratchasima last October 2012, I promised myself to find some time to go back there. At last, I did! With my family and family friends we escaped from the busyness of Bangkok and drove into the jungle of Khao Yai National Park.

At the view point
I believe that this park is the Thailand's oldest and most visited nature reserve. It is situated in Nakhon Ratchasima Province but also includes some parts of Saraburi, Prachinburi and Nakhon Nayok provinces.

Inside Khao Yai Museum located at the Visitor's Center
 The Park's Visitors Center offered some activities such as night time wildlife spotlighting, caving, trekking, kayaking and rafting.

Anyway, back to our adventure, we were all excited to celebrate the '2014 new year' up there... away from the noise and smoke... something new for all of us.

The crowded campsite
As what travelers usually said "expect the unexpected". Before we went up the mountain, I was imagining how the campsite looked like. "Oh, yeah, it's going to be a serene day and night for me!" But then, when we arrived there, everyone of us was surprised! It was crowded! The site was surrounded by so many cars, that meant there were a lot of campers there! The tents were being pitched very close to each other. So we decided to look for another campground. We went farther... but the next site had been already full. The camp supervisors referred us to the first campsite that we had been. So, there, we found a better place, not far from the stores and portable toilets. 
Jed and friend Ray was pitching their own tent.

The adventure began... we pitched our tents and set up our cooking place. While we were doing these things, the Thai singers, (on the stage that was stationed by the camp admin) were entertaining us with their music. They were all ready for the new year countdown for the next day.

Foggy morning
Our first night had passed. Inside the tent, there were "brrrrrr" and "bbrrrrr" and "brrrr". I don't know what superlative word I could use to describe the coldness of the night. I believed it was 10 to 13 degree Celsius. The tents and ground were soggy with dew. The surroundings were blurred due to the heavy fog.  
Jed and Ray

Jed and his friend, Ray, were fascinated with the smoke coming from their mouths as they spoke. I wore a shirt, two sweatshirts and a thick jacket, two pants, three layers of socks, a pair of mittens and a hat. This kind of weather was a freakish for a person like me who was living in a hot, if not very hot temperature-city for 36 years.

I was not sure if I can still manage the coldness of the second night. It was even colder than our first night. But I did! Thanks to my husband, Alex, who had put up a fireplace close to our tent. He kept the fire going until I had gone to sleep.This feeling reminded me of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan, the promise land. (Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19-20; 40:36-38)

I'm sure they had experienced the extreme cold and hotness of the wilderness' weather during the 40 long years of their journey. But God was so compassionate enough that He provided them the pillar of fire to give them light at night and warm them during the cold- weather days. He provided them the pillar of clouds to shield them from the burning rays of the desert sun during the hot-weather days. Its  coolness and moisture was being a relief for them. God had also used these clouds and fire to protect them from the Egyptians who went after them. It was also being used  to guide them in the direction they should go. The great pillar slowly and steadily moved forward and the Israelites  followed. It was a signal if they had to stop and establish a camp or to move forward.

This story  helps me to grasp God's provision. I am so grateful every day, as I feel the safeguard that God provides me and my family from possible harms and dangers.

Every early morning, my prayer is for the protection for my son as he goes to school and for me and for my husband as we go to our respective work... as we ride the vehicles and as we cross the road. Every afternoon, our prayer of thanksgiving is being lifted to God's throne as we come home safely and soundly. 

From the exodus up to now, God's safeguard is unlimited. He is amazing! He is wonderful! Amen.

Here are more pictures in Khao Yai National Park.


The starting point of a 45-minute walk trail to Gong Gheo Waterfall
  


 
The so-called Waterfall... I can't see any... can you?

The disappointment... still manage to smile

 
S'MORE... this paid the disappointment :)


    

 








Saturday, January 4, 2014

An encounter with God at TAIC


It was a solemn church service. While one of the church elders was leading the Pastoral Prayer or sometimes we call it the Garden of Prayer, I also was conversing with God at my seat. This was the content of my prayer-

Dear God,
I am very sorry for being selfish today, but I want to pray only for myself... for myself alone. I want you to cleanse me for all the unrighteousness I had done during the past year. Cleanse my heart and my thought. If I thought negative against other people and gossip them, please forgive me. If you found me being insensitive to others' feelings please forgive me. Please help me to be a good person. Let the Holy Spirit works in me always. I need the Holy Spirit, Lord, to guide me. I need it to do Thy will. Help me to always choose the right thing. To decide only what is good. I commit myself unto Thee. Help me to feel that Jesus' coming is very near that I may prepare myself and my family. Help me to feel the warmth of this faith of being a Seventh-day Adventist. Please rescue me. Please save me Lord. I want to be saved. I want to be a part of that Heavenly Kingdom. Save me Lord! Save me! Show me Thy ways. Amen.

God replied me so quickly. He used the speaker of the Divine Hour of Worship to tell me His answer to my prayer. At that very moment, I was seeing the sweet, humble and loving eyes of Jesus through the speaker. I was hearing the tender, caring and loving voice of Him. He was telling me to always spend time with Him. He was telling me to change my lifestyle and change my priorities. He was telling me to have more time to meditate His words, to have more time to speak with Him and to have more quiet time to listen to Him.

Revelation  22:11 really struck my heart! 

I have realized how much time I spent on 'facebooking'. How much time I spent on the internet and doing non sense stuff.I regret the time I used on achieving earthly things. I regret the time I wasted. 


I was alarmed when I realized how far I am from Jesus. Being active in the church activities and going to church every Sabbath doesn't mean that I am close to God. No... I realized I was lack of personal encounter with Him. I was lack of personal meditation with Him. I felt that I miss Him so much. I felt that my heart was empty. At that moment I felt that I need Jesus! I need my Savior. I want to commit myself to Him.

Suddenly, I just found myself standing in front of the speaker giving myself to God. I did not think to do it, I just felt that something prompted me to stand up. I was sobbing so much. I didn't care about those people looking at me, maybe wondering why I did that. At that very moment I knew I had an encounter with God.

Oh! What a wonderful and peaceful feeling to give your life to Jesus. It is a wonderful feeling to commit yourself to God and let Him work in you.

I believe that through the Holy Spirit, TAIC, my church, has also a big part for me and for all its members to continue to be 'burning' in this faith. Let us all do right and continue to do right. Let us all be holy and continue to be holy.(Rev. 22:11) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.(Titus 2:11)

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Revelation 22: 12-13



          

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Heart's Desire

It is early Sunday morning. I suppose to be still in the bed sleeping for it is a rest day, I mean, no school, no work. But I cannot sleep anymore. I sit here at my computer table. I open my blog and click 'new post'. I feel like I really want to write but I don't know how to start. Right now I am in low mood...sensitive... emotional. I am thinking about my mother... who is ill... in our little hut... in the Philippines.


My last visit to them; December 2012; 
At this time she already had difficulty in walking. 
It started in June when she can't move her legs and feet anymore due to arthritis. She is suffering from severe pain. She even called her siblings, one day, for she thought she was going to die soon.(She didn't let me know and my two sisters about this, we just found out later) Her business has to stopped. My father has to look after her every single day for only two of them at home.

How could I help her? How could I take care of her? I can not do anything but just send an SMS (this is the cheapest way of communication) everyday to comfort her, send money, and pray. But you know, I am unsatisfied and unhappy. I want to do more than these for her. I 'very' badly want to be with her but it's not possible since I have my work here and I also have my own family here with me.

Hope... this is I only have. Hope that sooner she'll get well. 
Faith... this is my heart's desire, no matter how bad the situation is.
Believe...I believe that there is a time for healing as what 
                 Ecclesiastes 3:3 says.
               I believe that there is a lesson behind this condition.

Going to my workplace in the morning and coming back home on songtew or bus in the afternoon is my dull moments. It is the time that these problems come into my mind. It is the time I can not avoid to contemplate about it.  I got teary eyes when I think about these:

As a daughter, I want to give my 100% presence to my sick mother but I can't. I miss her and my father so much. I really want to hug them, to cook food for them, to wash their clothes for them... but I can't!

Being a mother of one son, of course, I want to give him the best... not only the basic needs but also his desires. He has some wishes. As much as I want to but  I can not give him this time.

Seeing him get wet going to school on rainy days hurt my feeling. I think to have our own car... but not possible this time.

My aspiration to see some other parts of the world before I get old  is still indistinct to come into reality.

My plan to renovate my parent's old and ruined (by termites, earthquake and flood) house is not my priority anymore. I have to attend to their health first.

Mulling over these things makes me feel sorry. And when I feel dreary I think I have to go back to my heart's desire... my faith... my shield... my strength... my God.

To ease this pain, I should feel that only God is my heart's desire... that my only longing is to worship Him...that I love Him so much more than anything.

The song "As The Deer" is the song that always comes into my mind when I feel slowed down. This song cheers me up really.


                         This video is not mine. I got it from you tube, by worshipvideo. 

Whatever your heart's desire is put God first. God bless everyone! 



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lessons from the Little at Chet Khot Nature and Ecotourism Study Center


It was a long journey for us who were still adventuring the way going to Chet Khot Nature Study Center, Saraburi, Thailand but I say it really worth it. 

It is located in the middle of the forest of Khao Yai, in a private setting. 

Wow! Amazing! As a nature lover, I roamed around and observed from the huge mountain to the tiny creatures. So I briskly grabbed my camera and took photos as much as I can. These little creatures had taught me something. The Bible is true. Job 12:7- 8 But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.

I want to show you the pictures that I took and share with you the lessons I have learned from them.



Looking at this butterfly reminds me of one of my favorite stories that I love to read to my K1 students- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl. From the stage of being a tiny caterpillar it transforms into a lovely and beautiful butterfly. 

LESSON:
Just like me... I was a sinner but then when I accepted Jesus Christ I became a new person. I left all my wrongdoings. My old life was gone my new life had begun.  

  2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in  Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

The spider, in spite of its tiny size, it weaves a beautiful web using the chemical from its body. Through its thin hand it seizes the prey that gets caught in the web. 

In fact, the Bible says in Proverbs 30:28  "The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings' palaces.


LESSON:
Nonetheless of the spider's unimpressive look, it lives in both  dry and fresh leaves; in both huts  and palaces. It shows its beauty and strength that comes from within to both poor and rich man's dwelling place.  
 

I may not look beautiful outside, I can still do a lot for God's kingdom. That is by serving my  fortunate and unfortunate fellow through  the strength that the Holy Spirit gives me.

The rooster. It is known for its habit of crowing at the dawning of each morning. Every time I see a rooster or hear it crows, I remember the Jesus' reminder for us to be always watchful for we do not know when is His coming back.

Mark 13:35 Watch therefore: for ye know not when the lord of the house comes, whether at even, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning.


LESSON:
During the middle ages, because of the rooster's crowing at dawn, Christians made its image as an emblem of their attitude of watchfulness and readiness for Jesus Christ's return. 

I also must be consistent in being watchful and ready for my Savior's return as the rooster being consistent in crowing every morning.


Bees must tap 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey. 
A hive of bees fly over 55,000 miles to bring you one pound of honey.


LESSON:
Do not pick up flowers in the garden. Leave them for the bees. Do not waste honey.


 Proverbs 6:6,8 "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food in harvest."



LESSON:
As the ants form anthill as they dig their underground nest to store their food during the summer, I should do so. I save money as   possible as I can so that  I have something to take when difficulty comes.


Psalms 104:24-28 - How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
  There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number - living things both large and small....
 These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time;
When you give it to them, they gather it up;

When you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.

 LESSON:
I should  not be worried for my God knows what I need. 
  But I seek first the Kingdom of God...
 
and all these things will be given to me.


More pictures at Chet Khot Nature and Ecotourism Study Center...










Let us all enjoy the beauty of God's creations. God bless everyone!











Saturday, August 10, 2013

Commitment to Prayer- adopted from Pastor Mark Finley's sermon 'Prayer Makes A Difference'

I was given a chance to speak at Trinity Adventist International Church, Bangkok, Thailand during Divine Hour of Worship. With the assigned topic "Prayer" I decided to adopt Pastor Mark Finley's sermon entitled 'Prayer Makes A Difference'. (You can watch it in YouTube) This sermon of Pastor Finley really moved me and touched me and inspired my prayer life. So I adopted his thoughts and integrated some of my personal experiences related to the topic.

 Here it goes...



What is 'prayer'?

Is prayer a method of getting from God whatever we desire? I remember the first time Alex and I introduced 'prayer' to Jed. We used to say, "Okay, Jed,  fold your hands and close your eyes. Say thank you to God and you can ask Him whatever you want. You can ask Him for a new toy. You can ask Him for good sleep and nice dreams. You can ask Him to heal your cough." As adults, this kind of prayer is very childlike and may I say it's a kind of 'selfish prayer'. We need to pray deeper than this. Now, learn with me the Principles of Prayer by Pastor Mark Finley.



PRINCIPLES OF PRAYER

1.   Have a time to pray
*Mark 1:35 says “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
* Luke 5:16 says “So Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. 

Jesus had a time to pray for communion with the Father. Jesus often had time to be alone and pray. He was connected to the Father. He had intimate relationship with the Father. Early in the morning He had find time to pray so that when He went out He could have the power and patience to face the Pharisees who did not believed in Him only  rebuked Him. Jesus had find time to pray so that when He went out He could have the power to heal sick people. Jesus had find time to pray so that when He went out He could have the wisdom to answer every question of every person He had met. Jesus was empowered by God.

Do you have a time to pray? A time that is set aside for you and for God alone? A  time that nothing interrupts?  While I was making this sermon, I was interrupted by so many things. First- my tab was busy- I got some messages on line that I needed to reply. I received a few calls. Then my son turned on the computer and watch El Presidente- in my ears I could hear the noise of the gun shots from the movie. Then a truck selling fruits passed by our place with its microphone. Yes, in the busyness of our society it’s hard to be alone. But Jesus calls us to quietness. Do you have a quiet time with God? We have 86,400 seconds in a day, how many seconds you spend in a day? – 13 seconds? 21 seconds? 30 seconds? Even 60 seconds prayer to God, you will not have the experience with Jesus to live through a crisis. Do you want to have a power and strength and wisdom as you face problems, trials and temptations? Set aside a time for you and for God alone.


2.Have a place to pray 
*Luke 11:1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of the disciples said to Him. “Lord teach us to pray.”  
 * Luke 5:16 says “So Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed."



Jesus was praying in a certain place. He was communicating to the Father in the wilderness. He had a private place in prayer. I was thinking where my private place in prayer is. I think by my bed. Every time I need God, every time I feel talking to God, I kneel by my bed. At school, every time I have a chance, I go to the toilet and pray. I make it as my reflective time. Have I been mean to the kids? Or Am I lacking patience? Then I ask God to provide me understanding and patience.

Do you set aside a place to pray? Is there a place that you can be proud of and say  at that place, God answered my prayer; by that bed, God visited me; by that chair, God spoke to me; in that bedroom God sent His angels and saved me. 

3.Pray out loud/Cry out loud to the Lord
 * Matt. 26: 39, 42, 44 
39He went a little farther and fell on His face and prayed, saying “Oh my Father if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.
42Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying          “Oh my Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done”
 44So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time saying the same words. 



I want you to take note the word “saying”. Here, Jesus prayed out loud. Has your mind ever wandered when you prayed silently? It happened to me many times, I was praying to God then unconsciously I was thinking of something else. Sometimes I even fell asleep. But when you pray aloud your brain processes the words you are saying. Secret prayer is not necessarily a silent prayer as what Pastor Mark Finley has always said. Many times in my prayer life, I knelt and cried out loud to God. When I got cysts both in my breast and ovary, I cried out to Him.  When one of the family members got sick I knelt down and prayed. When problems come- financial problem, family problem, relationship problem- I come to Him and cry. I believe that the emotion of my tears empowered my prayer. Crying out to the Lord brings you His mercy. Your tears trigger from His magnanimous heart an outpouring of His mercy to you.


What happens when we cry out?

- We can expect instant deliverance from a dangerous situation. Ps. 50:51

- We can receive healing Ps. 30:2

- We are led to understand a problem Ps. 119:169
- We find directions for a different course of action. Ex. 14:15
-We discover inner strength Ps. 138:3

- We increase knowledge in the ways of God. Proverbs 2:3-5
 
You know, I used to think this way- I don’t want to pray loud because Satan will hear me and plan against what I am praying for. According to Mrs. Ellen G. White in Testimonies  v.1 p. 345-346, “At the sound of earnest prayer Satan’s host trembles and fleece. When you pray God shut you with a circle of good angels who beat back the forces of hell. Try to pour  your heart loud to God and you will feel the difference.





4.Use the Bible as subject matter for prayer

   Psalm 1:1-2“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditate day and night.

 

Meditating is also like praying and talking to God, discussing about the things in the Bible, His laws, His promises, His teachings. What happens most of the time is we pray and tell the Lord what our shopping list is instead of seeking God Himself in prayer.

The central theme of Jesus’ prayer is to glorify God. Our prayers then must contain praises. Pray the word of God, use the scripture, and stand on His promises.
 

          5.Intercession
            In Luke 22: 31, 32, Jesus prayed for Peter.
 


In lesson 10 of Prayer Basics it says, It should no longer be a surprise to know that our intercession opens the way for God to act. In fact, one of the verses that intercessors may pray is Ps. 119:126 “It is time for you to act oh Lord. It is our privilege to trigger that action by our intercession.


Are you praying for your children? Are you praying for your husband or wife? Are you praying for your neighbors?One result of intercession is that we release angels to do God’s bidding. Once you kneel and pray for someone hurting, Once you kneel and pray for someone who is helpless, Once you kneel and pray for someone with heavy burden, Once you kneel and pray for someone who is in the midst of temptation, the angels of the Lord surrounds the throne of God and say “God, can I go? God Can I go? God, can I go?” and when God says “Yes” The angels immediately wing from the throne of God to beat back the angels of hell and save that person from troubles or from temptations.



6. Group Prayer/Prayer Band
   Read Matt 18:19,20


Why was it important that two or 3 people pray together?  Would not the prayer of one intercessor have been heard?  Praying with someone gives both people the opportunity to pray in agreement. Praying with someone also provides the opportunity to build unity. It is in the atmosphere of unity that prayers take flight and that God feels invited to descend.
 
Does your church have unity in prayer? What does your church is praying for? Do you have a prayer group bands? Remember when God’s people are on their knees praying, something happens that does not happen when we do not pray! 



There is a battle between Christ and Satan, between good and evil. We can not win that battle without the power of the Living God in our lives. Will you commit your lives for earnest intercession? Will you say “God I want to know you more. I want to know you in depth of my being. In each day I meet you at the time of prayer.

Amen.