Favorite Songs of 2011

Here are my favorite songs this 2011. Just wanted to share them to you guys.

Healing Begins – the song is about forgiving others, forgiving yourself – where healing
begins. and breaking down the walls that we build up, thinking we’re okay, when we’re absolutely not, and only by forgiving and admitting our faults can we be truly healed…

Strong Enough to Save – the song is about God and salvation. Tenth’s message with this song is that God is strong and loving, and he’s strong enough to save us through the ups and downs and he remains faithful despite of who we are.

They Just Believe – this song is very inspiring. I know it shows what’s inside a lot of people’s hearts right now, and this song has encouraged me during difficult times, and when my faith isn’t in a good condition.

Savior, Please – another song by Josh Wilson that is such an inspiration. I know I’m one of those persons who can’t seem to live on their own, who can’t keep myself up and I need someone to depend on, and this song just shows that prayer in my heart during those times.

Something’s Gotta Change -this song about Josh Wilson is such a great song. Made me realize a lot of things, and I know will, too! The message behind the song is what I believe, too, in this world we live in…

When I’m Alone – “Who am I when I’m alone?” Well, this is one of the songs I listen to when I feel a bit emotional, though, it’s not really advisable, but still this song has been one of my favorites this year.

Look What You’ve Done – this song’s pretty complicated, and this has hit my heart a lot, and I know I could relate to the message behind it. Well, yeah.


Old Ramblings

There came this one day when I was looking back to my older files: text files, documents, ramblings, stuff from way back–and then I found this file written with my thoughts. I saw the date and it was modified way back in May 26, 2009, when I was 15. That’s more than 2 years ago.

So here are its contents:

It’s really an awesome thing to write down everything that happens to your life. But when you think about how lame and bland your life is, nothing comes in your mind when you write. Giving up slowly, wasting time with things.
I should change now. Be like the guys out there who just have fun, unminding every situation happening in their lives at the moment—how poor they are, how they’re out of money and just take their time on playing basketball and playing worthless outdoor games.
But really, it’s hard to change your life; it’s hard to change your mind to things that you want.
What I really want? To have fun. I’m wasting my teenage life.
But when I try to have fun, I end up being sad instead. So who to knock on? Which door?
Yes, God. That guy I failed. He loves me, yet I’m so confused and so tired to love him back.
I know what He’s going to do, I know His plans—a long time ago at that, but changing your thoughts, or simply renewing your mind is difficult.
Yes, you understand that. You’re some effeminate guy who’s struggling to be what you want, but what you aren’t and you try to seek God and have a hard time because you’re trying to be…what you are not.
The truth sucks.
It sucks badly.
I want to be like every guy. I want to have fun, I want to hang out (in a decent manner, for your info) in streets and by houses, having the best time of my life—while there’s still time.
I can’t.
I want to be free.
So damn. I wanna be a better version of me, so I can finally seek You. ‘Coz right now, I can’t. I’m shot down to the floor, and I can’t get up.

End of .doc file.

At that time, I was really pressuring myself. I felt sooo damn pressured by my own insecurities and the people around me. That’s why I wanted to have fun and ignore that pressure. But…I couldn’t. I just couldn’t seem to be happy. I couldn’t be like every other teenager, who I thought once had what they needed (confidence, appeal, etc).
The church, the family, the voices in my head keeps saying that I’m not good enough, that I’m never better, and that my struggles can’t get me qualified to approach God. And I fail Him that time. I was ignoring Him, I wasn’t praying, I was procrastinating and being complacent.
I remember that one time, when I was 13, when one preacher got me to flooding tears because of how hurting, condemning and downright “challenging” his words on the pulpit were. So, his words weren’t directly being said to me, but they hurt so much because I know it’s me. I know it’s me who’s not good enough. I know it’s me who’s not in the capability to be what he was telling the church to be. What did I feel? I felt pity for myself. I wasn’t meeting the requirements.
And that’s when I decided to just ignore God since I wasn’t “qualified enough to be Christian”.
And you know… that just might be what a lot of those who couldn’t come to God are thinking of right now. That they don’t seem to be “qualified” at all.
Months and years pass, and it’s all me, enthralling myself in a computer game, developing a game as well, ignoring God and just letting myself go with the flow, but still keeping myself seem good at the same time.
It was April of 2010 when I decided to recommit myself to God, but I was still pressured. I still didn’t feel at ease. Recommitting myself didn’t seem to work out, and looking at the outcome of churches these days, that doesn’t seem to be the point either.
I was desperately trying to find my way back again. I was straying far from God, and then I would go back to Him, vice versa. I thought He’d smite me whenever I make a mistake, or He’d even blot my name out. My image of Him had been distorted. The struggle to obtain God’s approval didn’t seem to end.

And only until now (of recent), have I realized, that we are already approved.
That, we are already found. We are already made new.
That…it’s Jesus’ blood who’s finished it all for us who believe.
And only until now have I realized how Christianity is so twisted and far from the FREEDOM and GRACE that Christ offers.
I look around and I hear messages like “go and be better”, “renew your commitment”, “prove yourself”, and “do good works”. None of it I could associate with the word FREEDOM.
But we are already free. It is Christ who did all the qualifying for us.
Christ is the Hope, Hope, that God is a loving God, and a God who keeps us wrapped in His arms, and never ever has any intentions of letting us go.
But, I’m still trying to grasp that, entirely. I’m still trying to break from the pressures I have from my mind saying “I still ain’t in the right direction.”, “I still have to qualify.”, That “I’m still such a sinful miscreant.”
But those are lies…Lies that I still seem to believe.
Still, it is Jesus’ blood that keeps us. We don’t have to prove a thing. We need to truly believe, to live by faith in Him and what He has accomplished for us.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20

I know those thoughts I had in 2009 are still in my mind right now at some point. My journey seems like a weird, confusing, and one filled with doubts and fear….I want them to just go away. But, we’ll see what happens. God is still in control.

You Are Loved

We’re trying to find love. We’re searching for something more…something that will fill us and satisfy us each day. We want to feel significant and appreciated. That’s why when we don’t, we look elsewhere. We look for it in different places. Sometimes we do get to that significance. We do get to that point where we are loved. Sometimes we’ll only find ourselves more wounded than before. But, then, the truth is, we’re not getting the answers. We’re only being misled into the ways of this fallen world…we’re still empty.

Relationships. Promotions. Fame.
Wanting to leave a legacy in this world.
Success. Fortune. Sex. Drugs.
Ministry. Work.
All these are about looking for love, to me.
We want to be loved, that’s why we seek. We’re searching. And we keep on searching. But then, in the wrong places.
It’s not working.
If you’d truly be honest, you’ll know it’s not working.

But the truth remains. God loves us.
God loves us so much.
God loves us so much, that He gave His Son, that takes away our sins, and forgives us,
That we may find the life we need.
“Here we go again…all this God thing that never really worked for me.”
I know what you feel. Well, It didn’t really work for me, too.
That’s because, once, I thought it was all about serving God.
I thought it’s about ignoring our heart and emotions.
I thought by serving Him, I could earn His approval.
“It isn’t?”
Our church has somewhat related to us, discreetly, that God’s love is to be earned through our actions…through our life.
But, that’s a lie.
We can’t earn God’s love.
In our mind, and inside our hearts, we just know that we can’t lay down our life for Him unless we believe that He truly loves us.
Because He truly loves us.
He is love. Real love.
He loves you so much for who you are.
“I can’t seem to believe that.”
You’re right…we can’t seem to believe it.
We can’t seem to believe it… because the people around us make it seem as if its untrue.
Those are lies.
God loves you, even if we don’t feel it.
He loves you, even if we don’t see it.
He loves you, even if we don’t realize it.
We just have to take off the lie in our hearts that says, “God doesn’t love me.”
No matter who you are and no matter what you’ve done, He loves you.
And unless we believe it, and experience that love from God in our hearts, then,
We’ll only get back to searching for love…all in the wrong places.
The love of God for us is immeasurable.

Let’s open our eyes. Let’s run back to the God, who’ll run towards us, accept us, embrace us, and never let go of us.

Related posts:
No Matter What
The Cycle of Being Better
A Thinking Story

Sleeping In

Nevertheless is one of my favorite bands. Their music could just relate to me. One of their songs I could relate to is entitled ‘Sleeping In’. Here are the lyrics:

I’ve been sleeping in for days,
‘Cause when I am awake,
I will have to face my life.
And I’m hoping it’s a phase.
The walls that I create
Can only make it seem alright.
And I get carried away like I’m the only one
Who’s ever felt the way that I do,
But I can hear You say, “You’re not the only one.
Everybody hopes to get through.”

And it’s got me sleeping in.
Everyday, God, it’s the same thing.
Yeah, you caught me sleeping in.
I’m still hiding; I’m still waiting.
I need you here with me to face the world outside
‘Cause I’m tired of sleeping in.

I’ve been waking up with fear,
‘Cause all that I can hear
Is the ringing of alarms downtown.
It’s been going on for years,
But you have made it clear
That I am not alone in this crowd.
And I get carried away like I’m the only one
Who’s ever felt the way that I do,
But I can hear you say, “You’re not the only one.
Everybody hopes to get through.”

Open up my eyes.
I’m tired of sleeping in
In a world that’s dying to wake up.

My Comments: Sometimes, for me, life is quite difficult and pressuring. At times, I just want to sleep in, ignore everything, keep it all in…I feel so weak and I couldn’t face life because of how unprepared I seem to be.  I am hiding a lot of things – lies, truth, stuff like that. The walls that I create, can only make it seem alright.

It’s as if I’m the only one who’s feeling like this. It’s as if I’m the only one who’s not alright, and everyone else is feeling fine. They look fine to me. They live and breathe nice to me. They seem to put up their acts well, but that’s not the case for me.

“You’re not the only one, everybody hopes to get through.”

I’m not alone with these thought. I’m not alone in this crowd.

But it’s all so hard… I need God. So I can face the world outside. I need His help.

Painted by Lionel Penrose

The Endless Staircase

I remember a time in my life when I was innocent. When I was a child, I grew up far from the truth and reality of this world. Now I never knew how to cope up. Reality slowly dawns into me. The reality of our differences, the reality of life’s difficulties and all the questions and the darkness that was present that as a child I never really knew.

As a child, life seemed easier, everything so light, and nothing really mattered. I got all I wanted, and all that I needed, and I was pretty much happy. I loved the box I was in. But as I grew up, I found that life is more than those four corners alone. Life is complicated. At times, it can be hard on you. It was very uncomfortable coming out of the box and into the reality of the world.

It is a dog-eat-dog world. I found that life is a battle. A strife. For excellence, for success, for recognition. I found that there were a lot of teenagers who were better, smarter, and more reflexive. Teens who were more mature and strong than I was. I can compare life to a staircase– some at the top, some trying hard to get there, some helping others to reach that end.

            But where was I in that staircase? For some, they think of me as the person ahead of them; thinking that I know where I’m heading and they admire me for it.

            This is the world’s thinking of life. It’s about getting somewhere and reaching something.think of me as someone in the bottom, not really understanding life yet that much and not excelling the way I should. I couldn’t rank myself where I am in that staircase. At times, I think I’m at the top, at times, at the bottom.

I, however, did not go along this belief in life. I questioned myself, and didn’t really want to climb or reach anything. For me, it didn’t matter. I had dreams, I had goals and wants, but I questioned those, too. I figured I never really wanted it, since it wouldn’t matter if I couldn’t please the people around me with it. I wanted to make a statement about myself, but I couldn’t . I always followed what the others did, and so now…

I don’t know what I want.

When every teenager out there are firm in themselves, what they wanted and what they believed in, I, on the other hand, am not. I wanted to be like them – carefree and letting themselves flow with the river. But, I couldn’t do that.

I climb the stairs, not to prove myself, but to be loved and understood  and shaped to be the man that I haven’t become yet.

I wanted others to hear me out, to be interested in me, and to value me as somebody dear to them.

Time goes by. No one truly did those things for me. There were a few, but there were things like betrayal, disconnection, and selfishness that got in the way.

No one stepped out so that they could shape me and carry me. I still feel like a misguided child.

Then, one day, I just learned and told myself, “Why not just stop climbing?”. Why not just stop tiring yourself out for things that wouldn’t even really matter at all in the end?

Painted by Lionel Penrose  If I may find that I reach the top of the stairs – I’ll find that the stairs are actually endless.

And so at this moment, I am in no mood to climb or just do anything at all, for I know I’m not strong enough.

You may not understand me or what I think.Well, I guess I prefer that, rather than be generic like everyone else. You might tell me to just dismiss all these thoughts about myself and just be who I am. You might tell me that God is with me and He loves me, that I truly know, but I don’t think He intervenes and makes a step in an instant.

Please do share your thoughts about this. Thanks.

Dreams and Aspirations

It’s not at all bad to dream. I don’t really have any drive to keep up my own ones, but here are a few dreams I have that I wanted to accomplish:

1.) Direct/produce a short film/music video. With casts consisting of peoples that I know of – my friends. That would be such a great fulfillment and such an awesome thing to make right now. I’d love to produce one while I’m young, since I clearly have the resources, but it would be difficult to get the willingness from my friends. But, just a 3-minute short film/music video could be well.

2.) Learn how to dance and present one. Oh, man, this has been a dream. I have danced a few times (group presentations), but I’m not really that good. I want to learn, but I’m not really close friends with anyone who knows how to dance. The dance genre I would prefer would be a hiphop/interpretative. Well…I participated in a group hiphop dance to Ryan Leslie’s “Gibberish” once, too bad there’s no video of it. ^_^

3.) Create a video game. Something that many would love and something simple. I have made a few once, (a WC3 map named “Panda Wars” and Fire Emblem rom hacks) but it was indeed time-consuming. I almost had my claim to fame with Panda Wars, but my partner and I didn’t really do well with it and so I trashed the whole map, unfortunately. Well, everything happened for a purpose, still.

4.) Meet an artist in person. Not really on top of my list, but if I get the chance, I’d love to meet some of my favorite artists in person. Let’s see, I want to meet my favorite singers – Mike Donehey (Tenth Avenue North), AJ Cheek (Nevertheless), and Matthew Thiessen (Relient K). Josh Wilson, Brandon Heath and Ryan Key (Yellowcard). I don’t know if I’d get that chance, though. ^_^

5.) Finish a novel/comics/story. I never really get the inspiration, though. I want to start one, but it’s just not yet flowing through at the moment. Well, I wanted to meet someone who could collaborate with me, but apparently, there’s none yet.

6.) Eat! I want to travel to different restaurants and get to taste different dishes. I don’t have the money yet, but this is one of my aspirations. Hopefully, I’ll gain weight then.

So those are all of it, I guess.

* Oh, I went back to my documents in early 2009 and found that I’ve written something like this before, and 7 of those have already been fulfilled now. That’s great!

I’m learning to not fear what might happen in my future, and I’m learning to not trust in what my hands do to gain that good future. It’s all God. He’ll never let go of me. So I’ll just go ahead and dream. Some dreams may not come true, but still, it’s alright. :)

Acts 17:24-25

“The God who made the world and all things in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, neither is He served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself gives to all life and breath, and all things.” – Acts 17:24-25

First heard about these verses from Tenth’s Mike Donehey, and they’re never quoted or never really focused on by most preachers out here, so back then, I didn’t know about these. But, its message has become my favorite.

So… it clearly points out that God doesn’t need anything.

 He doesn’t need me, or you, or anyone in particular. “He is not served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything.”

To say that God needs you is probably the most prideful thing for you to say.

But come to think of it, we grew up thinking as if God needs our skills, or gifts, or talents. We grew up thinking that we were wired to serve God as if He needs us.

But, lo and behold, He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need you or me.

It’s the other way around. We need Him.

“He gives to all life, breath and all things.”

The problem I see with the intention of serving God as our main purpose is that, at some point, we come to a spot where we kind of trust in what we do for God, the works of our hands, instead of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

It somewhat takes the life out of Christianity when we are motivated to serve God – out of fear, or out of rewards – rather than out of our response to what Jesus has done. And that’s probably why a lot of Christians still don’t get this whole Jesus thing.

So, this is a blow to our pride. God doesn’t need anything. With Jesus, this has all become possible. We are given life, we are given blessings, we are given peace and righteousness. And it’s about our response to Him, not us making the first step.

So, write it in your heart: “God doesn’t need me. I’m the one who needs Him. And I can’t save myself. Only He can do that for me.”