sundaysbest

My social life was front and center this week. I’m slowly gaining back my social skills that took a break last year. It’s probably my subsconscious telling me that I’ve finally adjusted to where I am right now. Besides enjoying the company of the people around me, here’s how my week went.

The best

15,40 km with a 6:37 running pace. Every week is a surprise! I’m getting the proper mileage and my next step is to work on my running pace. Hopefully the weather cooperates ’cause I think I can do better when it’s warmer.

The worst

Sprains and knee pains. I said this last week and I’m saying it again : I got to get a proper gear. Tomorrow I’m going to a running specialist to check my form and the appropriate running shoes.

The best help

Running videos on Youtube. I’ve been running on my own accord and since my runs are becoming longer, being more aware of the overall principle is a must. I learned that I should be running atleast 25-30 miles (around 40 kms) per week and inject two days of strength training—-which I’m not very successful at. I also got to pinpoint the reason why my knees/legs hurt all the time especially after a long run and I only got myself to blame. Next step is to deliberately work on these extra but necessary workouts. Time, however, is going to be a problem.

The weirdest

My increase in appetite. Everyday has been a cheat day. I can use the carbo-loading excuse but who am I kidding?

The most interesting

Movie night courtesy of my language course. My language school holds a monthly movie event and last Wednesday, we watched a film based on a German fairytale, Das Kalte Herz. Before going to the theater, we had dinner together with our teacher. It was indeed a good way to relax after a torturing yourself with German grammar and vocabulary, plus the fact that I can have a school-free conversation with my cool teacher. The movie, on the other hand, was better than what we watched the last time. It was easier to understand too, or it could mean that my comprehension skills are getting better (I want to assume it’s the second reason, hopefully). That was a fun night, overall. I’m glad I came to join and did not listen to my tired body telling me to go home after class.

The most rewarding

My visit to the foreigner’s office. Last thursday, I went to the Auslanderbehorde to ask for questions regarding school and travelling. The last time I went there was 3-4 months ago and I remembered feeling  very anxious because back then, my German was very limited. I had to prepare sentences in advance and waited a minute before responding to the questions. Fast forward to Thursday, I went there and left as normal as possible. I was already sitting comfortable on the train when I thought to myself, “Wow. That was a breeze. I talked in German naturally.”  Looks like all the brain exercises are worth it. I’m in no way a good speaker but I’ll get there. Baby steps!

Playlist of the Week

This is Phoenix! I am a creature of habit and it shows to the artists I’m listening. I really should explore other bands and songs but it’s in my being to stick to what I’ve gotten used to. Thus, Phoenix.

Series of the Week

A series of unfortunate events. I’ve only started yesterday (Saturday) and I plan to finish it this week. I already counted three Meta references in three episodes. I hope it stops ’cause Meta only works once. I also could not get the image of Barney Stinson out of my head ’cause duh obviously.. Other than the fact that Robin (Colbie Smulders) is in it too. It’s entertaining, nonetheless. I heard they were picked up for another season!

Top app of the week

Facebook Messenger : Video Conference. I spent half of my Saturday talking to my friends and family back home using the Messenger’s new feature. Technology is amazing. I also told my friend, “This is why some long distance relationships work. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on things” I miss them everyday, no question, but I’m glad we have these digital ways.

Person of the Week

My Kuya’s new girlfriend. Kuya brought her today to meet my parents but only for a short while since she’s just here for a quick stopover before flying back to Norwary. I’m putting her in the spot because it’s interesting to meet a new person in my Kuya’s life. I don’t know if she’s going to stay longer. Guess we have to find out.

Best day of the Week

Friday. A lot happened this day and I’ll try to be as concise as possible.

First, my classmate from Pakistan showed a presentation about where he came from and it was an eye-opening experience. His village, Shimshal, gave me a different perspective from what I only know of Pakistan. I cannot exactly put into words how I felt after he finished his presentation but this : I’m grateful to be in a place where I get to learn different cultures first-hand and just right at the comforts of my seat. It’s like travelling free.

Next, my classmate from Chile had a going-away party but started late in the evening. I went with another classmate to have dinner before going together to the party. He cooked, I brought wine, and three hours later,we were lazy to go. After talking ourselves out, we got up, left, witnessed a brewing fight on the train, and took the wrong train. That’s why in the end, we became a shame to the German community and arrived at the party one hour late.

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Still we were there and it was really a pleasant night. I felt like myself again…when it comes to hanging out with friends and just having a good, undrunk time.  I’m enjoying my classes more because we’re becoming friendlier with one another. Looks like we’ve adjusted as a group as well!

There were, however, annoying things that happened this week but the good outweighs the bad. See you next Sunday!

Sunday’s best

week

I’m in the mood to make everything new so now, I’m starting a different weekly format featuring the superlatives of my week. Let’s see how well I’m going to fare in this category.

Most interesting

Meeting a stranger and having a great time.

Most shocking

A death of a lead character in Sherlock Season 4. I can see a trend happening and they’re all taking master tips from GRR Martin.

The cutest

My two classmates. I’m playing Matchmaker between the two and hopefully next week will bring results.

Best German word

Der Regisseur. I like how it rolls off my tongue

Best German sentence

Das ist Schnee von gestern. A friend translated it for me and it meant, all water under the bridge. It’s peculiar how it was translated but it’s German, what’s more to expect.

The craziest

The weather this weekend in Hamburg. It was hard to walk and I’m glad I stayed at home.

Most played song

Alanis Morisette’s Ironic. I must have played it for more

The longest

13, 12 km running distance. I’m finally getting my running endurance back and exceeded my personal expectations. However, I think I should be getting a new and proper running shoes (the whole getup) because otherwise, my body will give up on me. Important factor to consider : the weather.

The most unexpected

Saying Yes to something I would normally say No to.

The best

A sunday-morning talk with my Mom. I am appreciating more and more all the times I’m spending alone with my mother. The women in the family should always stick together.

Lent Reflections : Easter Sunday

Lent Reflections

Read

1 Corinthians 15

Reflect

Two years ago, I got a text message from my uncle telling me that my grandmother passed away. I knew it was coming since my Lola had a tough battle with cancer but still, it was indescribable when the inevitable meets you straight in the face. I was home alone that dawn; I remembered I couldn’t think straight.I walked out of my room and sat outside with the security guard. I guess at that time, I desperately needed a companion. Not that I talked to the guard, I just want to see someone other than the dark. I was carrying my bible at that  moment and I prayed to God these words, “Lord, did my Lola surrender to You? Where is she now?” God answered my question with 1 Corinthians 15. It was very comforting and reassuring. Death had no power over my Lola, God had and has. As you can see, 1 Corinthians 15 holds a special place in my heart because of this event. Now, imagine how emotional I got when the Pastor preached 1 Corinthians 15 this afternoon.

If we don’t believe in the power of resurrection, then our faith is futile. Now, what does it mean to truly believe in the resurrection? 

To believe in the power of resurrection is to live victoriously and free from the sin that so easily entangles, to break free from its bondage. It is putting our sins to death and being made alive in Christ. It is never fearing death for death is inevitable but eternal life is imperishable. One day, I’m going to meet my Creator just as my Lola did and thinking about it now scares me but thank God for His perfect love for driving out this fear. Believing in the resurrection gives us the gift of eternal life and that small minute of fearing for death is incomparable to what’s coming ahead. Our time here on earth is just a short stop compared to the eternity Jesus has prepared for us.

Jesus is no longer in the tomb, He has risen! Until now, we can feel His presence in the million of lives which goes to show that the God we serve is not a dead god, but A LIVING GOD. He is alive in us!

Respond

Thank you, Abba Father, for giving us your one and only son, Jesus Christ. Thank you, Jesus Christ, for the gift of salvation and eternal life. One day I’m going to meet you face to face and I hope I’ll hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. But until then, I will decide everyday to choose You more than anything else; to remind myself of your sacrifice, to obey your commands, to love you, and to believe in the power of resurrection. Through you, Jesus, I am no longer dead to my sins. Because of you, I am victorious conqueror. Thank you Jesus for making all things new. Today I honor and give all the praise to a living God. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

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PS:

Thank you very much for visiting my Lent Devotionals this week. I’m glad to be able to share Jesus with you and know yours as well. God bless you 🙂

Lent Reflections : Black Saturday

Smith & Sons

Read

Mark 14, 15, 16

Reflect

The woman broke her jar of a very expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ head. The jar was broken into pieces, with no possibility of reusing or replacing the perfume. A few verses later, Jesus broke the bread, His body, into pieces and offered it to us just so we could live an eternal life; free from the bondage of our sins.

The woman gave us an image of what a life surrendered to Jesus Christ looks like. We give our all, leaving nothing behind. We don’t keep anything for safety measures. The world may equate surrendering to defeat but in God’s eyes, surrendering means victory. Jesus giving up his life on the cross is the greatest victory mankind has ever experienced. Admittedly, I am in a process of laying  my everything to Jesus Christ; my control, my desires, my future plans. It won’t be hard as long as I keep my eyes focused on Jesus Christ and remind myself daily that He gave his life for me.

Let me end my reflection with this question, “Are we willing to break down our personal jars and offer it to Jesus Christ?”

Respond

Lord Jesus Christ, you surrendered your life to us so we can have an eternal life with You. Allow us to do the same for you. Give us the grace to surrender our all; the strength to break down our personal jars and offer it to you. We want to surrender to You because we love you. We want to surrender because we want to know You. We want to surrender because we want to give you all the control. Be the King in my life, Jesus Christ. Take control. To You, I surrender. Amen.

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Lent Reflections : Good Friday

LENT REFLECTIONS

Read

Luke 21-22

Reflect

Jesus Christ knew he was going to die an extremely painful death and his response was very simple, to pray to the Father. Before being taken away by the guards in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus commanded his disciples to pray, so that they (you) will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:40). Jesus’ parting words to his disciples that night is an image to what our prayer life should be like. When I became a Christian, my prayer life went from nothing to everything. However, there are also times when I haven’t been praying enough—meaning, I wasn’t praying sincerely as I should be. I was praying like a pagan. I thank the Holy Spirit for the conviction because I can immediately get back up, repent, and pray to my Father in Heaven.

Luke 22:40 is a great reminder that we should always be on our guard and pray. The enemy is waiting for every open opportunity that we fall into temptation and we will not let the enemy get his way. During his darkest days, Jesus Christ prayed and let this be our inspiration to never let a day pass without praying to the Father. As we bow our knees in prayer, we get a glimpse of Heaven. As we humble ourselves and pray, we see our Lord Jesus Christ.

Response

Thank you Jesus for teaching us how to pray and the importance of prayer. May I always be on my guard and remain standing firm on the faith you have given me. Lord Jesus Christ, today Your image of praying on the garden hours before your suffering will give me the strength and the motivation to persevere and to keep on walking. I pray today with my whole being; I bow my knees and look to You. In your mighty name. Amen.

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Lent Reflections: Maundy Thursday

LENT REFLECTIONS

Read

John 18, 19, 20 & 21

Reflect

I am a big fan of  US series. Every now and then, I go on a binge-watch especially the ones on Netflix (i.e Narcos, House of Cards) or if I have to catch up (i.e Mr. Robot, Sherlock). I’m a pretty responsive viewer, might I add. The way I watch my television series transcends to my Bible-reading habit. I catch myself saying, “OH NO!” “WHAT!” “WHAAAAAT?!” and “AWWWWs” each time I read exciting stories in the Bible—the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ is one of them. What separates the Bible from my TV series is of course, the Bible is my identity. My history is recorded in those pages.

When I think of what happened to Jesus two thousand years ago, I sometimes imagine myself being in the shoes of his disciple. What could I have done if I was in there position? Would I have deny Him, too? Would I hide? Would I be strong enough to stand up for Jesus? Would I believe when Jesus said He would rise in three days? I don’t know what I could have done but I always take comfort in the fact that Jesus did all these things so I wouldn’t do anything more. 

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have seen and yet have believed.” (John 20: 29) I may not be there to witness what happened two thousand years ago but I have the Bible; it’s my only passage to the event that changed history and my life’s story. Some may question the authenticity of the Bible but I am a proof, along with the billions of people around the world. We are His witnesses. We have not seen, we have read, we have felt and we believe. What a great story. 

Respond

Jesus, thank you for sharing your story. Yours is the greatest one ever told. Allow us to be Your witnesses here on Earth. Help us to be bold enough to share the wonderful message of the Gospel. May we not live in fear and in doubt but move in truth, in love, and in faith. Amen.

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Lent Reflections : Holy Wednesday

LENT REFLECTIONS

Read 

John 17

Reflect

Ever heard of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot? Simply put, Earth is just a tiny, lonely, blue dot in the vast universe. We are considered mere specks living in this dot. But that’s Carl Sagan. For Jesus, we are much more than a dot. We are too important that He even died in our place.

During Jesus’ last days on Earth, He prayed to the Father on our behalf. His prayer is a mirror to how Jesus sees us. We belong to the Father (John 17:6), we have been chosen to be His witnesses for God’s glory (John 17:21), and we are one with Him (John 17:23). If the world thinks that we are just a speck, Jesus sees us as His everything. He is thinking of us all the time, even to the point of death. When I was starting to have a relationship with Jesus, I used to question my identity. What am I here for? What is my purpose? Who am I? Why me, Lord? The answers I’ve been looking for were right in front of me. I look around and all I can see are His creations. The sky, the food, the house, the animals, the air.. me. I belong to Christ. My identity is in Christ. The reason why I can enjoy this life I have is because someone died on the cross thousands of years ago… and that changes everything. We are more than a speck in this tiny blue dot. We belong to a big God who made this same vast universe so to consider ourselves as a speck is an insult to His greatness. We are His.

Respond

Jesus, my mind cannot fathom your greatness and your love for us… me, a sinner. During your last days on Earth, you thought of me. You interceded for us. Thank you Jesus for showing and teaching me who I really am. My identity is in You. You are my God, my Savior, and everything that I am is in You. Amen.

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Lent Reflections : Holy Monday

2009

Read

John 13

Reflect

“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end”. What a great opening statement. Not to beat around the bush, Jesus reminds us that he loves us…to the end. Period. I could even end this devotion right here because this is just it : Jesus love us. 

But of course, I would want to expound and honor His sacrifice through my words.

So listen, I am not a fan of spontaneity. I like knowing where to go, what to do, or at least know beforehand what’s coming. In that way, I can figure out a Plan B if Plan A didn’t push through. It sounds boring but at least for me, it is safe. If I know what’s coming ahead, I could think of possible scenarios in my head and probably alter my actions in advance. Now I am imagining that I am in Jesus’ shoes: I could’ve back out the minute I knew of this plan or I would’ve talk my way through and gather as much as I can to lessen the verdict. But I am not Jesus. I am the reason why He did what He had to do. 

Jesus knew of his impending crucifixion and the agony  but He chose to still follow His Father’s plan. His reason for doing so is astounding : He, again, just simply loves us. He loves us to the end. 

Respond

Jesus, thank you for loving me/us to the end. You were about to leave the earth but not without the promise of us being there with You in eternity. Thank for this amazing love that only You can offer. Today I offer you my devotion, my praise and my love. All honor and glory are yours in your mighty name. Amen.

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