Oswald & Holmes

“Reader, I married him.” – Jane Eyre

I decided to write this piece to let “some” lovely people know how I fell in love, what made me fall in love, and who I fell in love with. At first I had second thoughts about this piece. It felt like people really won’t be that interested with how I fell in love, what made me fall in love, even more so, who I fell in love with, but then I realised that’s not exactly true. For some reason, people seem to be most interested with stories of love, and I think what’s more interesting about this piece is my declaration of a couple of men that I fell in love with: One is dead for over a hundred years, the other one is a “written” man. So maybe some lovely people will appreciate this post.

I wrote Jane Eyre’s words at the beginning of this blog because my story really starts with her. Reading her encouraged me in a lot of ways, and even more so to love. Let me mention though that I am not married. I am very much single.

I had just finished reading Jane Eyre when I met the first guy I fell in love with. His name’s Oswald.

Meeting Oswald

Judy: “You should read him. I know this thing you’re going through with your mom is not easy. It’s very complicated. I support you. As young as you are, you have a good grasp of the reality that you are in, and you love your mom. I think this guy can help you. He’s very intelligent. You have his way of thinking, I think. You can learn a lot from him.”

Ate Judy is a single woman. She’s more than 15 years older than me. (Ate is a Filipino polite way of calling an older woman or older sister.) She’s one of our elders at church. She heads the prayer team of the church. She’s one of the coolest people at our very traditional church.

“So you can help me? Let’s see then. I would like to find out how intelligent you are.” My thoughts when I first saw Oswald wearing a moss green shirt with some gold words in it.

“If we obey God,” he started, “it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the pain begins.”

In my head: “My goodness, it’s like this guy is reading my mind.” Then I finally said, “What exactly do you mean? I thought obedience to Christ is only going to cost me. Cost a lot. Cost ME a lot. What are you saying?”

“Angela, if we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything – it is a delight. But to those who do not love Him, our obedience does cost a great deal.” He explained. “If we obey God, it will mean other people’s plans are upset. They will ridicule us as if to say, ‘You call this Christianity?’ We could prevent the suffering, but not if we are obedient to God. We must let the cost be paid.”

Those words made me quiet. I have so many questions in my mind: Who is this guy? Why did he suddenly talk about obedience? Do I really love God?How much do I love Him? Is that how God really planned it? That when we obey, it not only costs us, it costs others too? Do I really love God? How much do I love Him? Am I ready to see my mom “suffer” because of my obedience to God? What does that look like? Should I believe this guy?

“Angela…”

I thought I heard my name called to interrupt my thoughts.

I looked up. He then said, “We have no right to think that the type of relationships we have with others should be any different from those the Lord Himself had (see Luke 8:1-3). A lack of progress in our spiritual life results when we try to bear all the costs ourselves.”

“You’re kidding,” was my confused reply.

I thought I heard him sigh and then said, “And actually, we cannot [bear all the costs of obedience]. Because we are so involved in the universal purposes of God, others are immediately affected by our obedience to Him.”

I couldn’t speak. I hear Jane’s words ringing in my ears: “Millions are condemned to stiller doom… millions are in silent revolt against their lot… Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel… they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation… It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”

Some traditional Filipino parents see their children as investments. In that mindset, children are obligated to provide for their family, their parents until the day they die. That came from the “slavery mentality” we inherited from the Spanish colonizers. My mom believes I am obligated to give her all my money, and to provide for the entire family even if she has a husband. My mom believes my entire life is to serve her & her family. I’m the illegitimate daughter. I am the outsider in the family. I am suppose to be obedient to her & her only. My mom is a Christian but she doesn’t go to church. She doesn’t believe in “God’s calling.” Her belief is based on Roman Catholic belief that you can only be considered “good” if you know how to submit to your “superiors” without question. You’re “good” if you know how to do good works to others no matter how bad you treat your family. She doesn’t like me going to church.

She would always say, “This is how you treat your mother? You disobey my commands. God said to honor your father & mother. You call yourself a worship leader? You are disobedient to your mother.”

I was talking to Ate Judy about this struggle. I know my mom was wrong, but I have been trying so hard in so many different ways to explain this to my mother. She’s resolute. I’m just her daughter. She doesn’t need to listen to me. And I have been asking God why He still wants me to stay & keep talking to my mom about these things. I’ve been asking God why do I still need to keep helping them if my mother thinks I’m just a commodity. Now this guy gives me all these things.

“We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation, but it will grieve our Lord.” He quietly said.

This type of conversation with Oswald went on & on & on. He made me think about a lot of things. He would always say I have a choice. He said that God would respect my choices. He made me question how much I really do love my Lord? He made me think what loving God meant. He talked to me about obedience over & over again.

I realised, at that point, that I’ve never met a man like him before.

Understanding Holmes

I met him back in high school. He was a young man with a reputation. Weird reputation. He seemed to be the wisest guy at school, but has always been weird around girls. Girls adore him though, but he just seems completely oblivious of the fact. I heard he has a penchant for mystery. He seemed interesting to me. Plus his accent’s beautiful.

Love: “You can take a look at my shelf. It should be on top of the books, second row.”

Love is my cousin. She was giving me instructions about the CD of worship songs. That’s when I saw it and exclaimed, “Hey, you have this!” as I reached for one of the books in the shelf. “I had no idea you knew Sherlock.”

She said, “And you do?”

“Yes. I knew him in high school. Are you done with this? Can I borrow it? I mean, I heard a lot about him. Watched him. He always seemed interesting to me. I think he maybe my type of guy.”

Love laughed and said, “Well, you can have him. He’s all yours. He’s really good but I didn’t really enjoy him,” as she gave me a wink.

“See the value of imagination…” he said one night at a coffee shop before I went to work. “We imagined what might have happened, acted upon the supposition, and find ourselves justified.”

“That’s your situation not mine,” I replied.

“See the value of imagination.” I keep hearing his words in my head.

I discovered he is funnier than I imagined him to be. His words have always been so good & beautiful. He has a way of making me remember his words. But if I’m being honest, I think half the time I really don’t understand what he’s saying. It’s just that his accent is so intoxicating that I feel so good even if I’m really not understanding him. It’s incredible how that works.

“It is more than possible; it is probable.”

“You would confer a great favour upon me by coming. And I think that your time will not be misspent, for there are points about the case which promise to make it an absolutely unique one.”

“We can’t command our love, but we can our actions.”

“You can see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see. You are too timid in drawing your inferences.”

“Your reasoning is certainly plausible.”

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

He would always commend my thoughts. When I’m doubting myself, he reassures me that I am doing alright. He’s always curious about me, my thoughts. He’d always ask for my opinion.

Oh dear romantic reader (Jane Eyre), I fell in love with these men. They captured my heart in ways I never thought I would fall for. Oswald Chambers died in 1917. His wife compiled his thoughts, lectures and turned them to a book in 1927. It is called, My Utmost for His Highest. Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle back in 1887. He is a work of fiction.

The third Man I fell in love and still love so much is Someone who gave His life for me, to redeem me from my sins, and came back to life so He can love me more. His name is Jesus Christ.

There’s a fourth. I can’t tell you much about him yet but I can tell you this, he is Oswald & Holmes in the flesh. And he loves Jesus Christ too.

I hope sooner than later I can declare Jane’s words above for real. For now, I will borrow some of her words still, “In spirit, I believe, we must have met.”

The Case for Worship Songs

Photo from Google

Any song that claims to be a “praise and worship” song but does not mention the name of Jesus or magnify God, not from the Bible, and is just the emotional outburst of the songwriter is not fit to be called a praise & worship song. It is simply a song. We need the distinction. And really, if it’s just a song, there’s no issue there.

Any supposedly “worship songs” that don’t declare or magnify Jesus is worshipping something or someone else.

This is my case for worship songs.

This is a big deal for me because I have been singing since I was seven and even then, I knew that there were songs that are for God and there are songs that aren’t.

A praise and worship song is a type of song that is distinctly, uniquely & especially made for God alone – something God gave us the privilege of creating.

So let’s talk about how music works.

This is something we already know actually. Beethoven. Bach. Musicians of history and even today, all know how music works. But as far as terminilogies go these days, neurological studies have been conducted to show us how music works in our brain and concludes the effects of music in our bodies, even in our lives.

There’s a long version of all the pathways music goes to in our brains. I can just copy/paste the things I’ve read about it but plagiarism is no fun. So let me just give you the short one.

Short version: When music enters your ears, it goes through almost your entire brain – the four major lobes – does things there that includes sharing of information back & forth, analyzing data received, works on our emotions, evokes memories, commands your body to tap your feet, and works in our imagination which I’d like to think is what Beyonce claimed as “seeing music.” Yes, “seeing music” is something you and I experience when we listen to music. And yes, that has solid neurological basis, if that’s important for you to know.

So now we know that music gives our brains a picture of what we hear. Shorter version of the short version.

So worship songs…

For Christians, followers/believers of Jesus, we know that the brain is the battlefield.

So from here we see the strategy of the enemy.

If the ‘worship songs’ we are singing does not declare Jesus, does not magnify God, is not from the Word of God, or is just an emotional outburst of the songwriter, what picture exactly does that give our brains, you think?

If our mind is the battlefield, then Satan works in what you hear for you not to see the name of Jesus, the name above every name, in your brain when you sing “praise & worship songs” that do not declare Jesus.

If our mind is the battlefield, then Satan works in what you hear for you not to see the Cross of Calvary in your mind.

If our mind is the battlefield, then Satan works in what you hear to distract you and make you see something else other than Jesus.

Satan works in your brain as he whispers in your ears. And as he works in your brain, his real target is your heart. He knows that if he can convince your mind, your heart follows.

Christians, we know how Satan works. We know how Satan replaces God with everything else. That has always been his game. We are not ignorant of this.

The only weapon we have on earth against the deception of the enemy is the name of Jesus.

If the praise and worship songs we are singing at church does not give us a good picture of the Lamb of God, who is it really our hearts are worshipping?

Be careful with all these gray and vague worship songs.

Conclusion

Praise and worship songs should never be shy to declare Jesus. Praise and worship songs should never be a distraction for you not to see the Cross of Calvary. Praise and worship songs should be bold to declare who Jesus is and what He has done.

If these ‘praise and worship’ songs bring you somewhere else – a boat in the middle of a storm, standing in the middle of thunder and lightning, sitting beside a dying person, seeing yourself pumping your fist up in the air, standing in the middle of chaos, seeing yourself yelling your heart out, being side by side with the one you love – all these things are distractions of the enemy. Don’t you dare believe it.

But you don’t have to worry either because the earth won’t open up to swallow you whole from where you sit or stand in worship. Don’t think God will be angry because your mind’s wandering. You just have to be aware that it’s wandering. So then you rebuke the enemy. Ask God for forgiveness and you get your mind back to focus on Jesus.

Praise and worship songs should bring your heart, mind, body, spirit, soul at the foot of the Cross, seeing Jesus & nowhere else.