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Friday, March 21, 2014

Jesus Take The Wheel (Salvation for 'Dummies')

"Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this on my own

I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on
Jesus, take the wheel!"

                                                         Carrie Underwood - Jesus, Take The Wheel 

I have shared with you the most quotable quotes from the movie, "Flywheel", in my previous blog post. I have also shared with you what a flywheel was and divulged to you that I could not distinguish it from any other spare car part, to save my life! :P

As per the movie, a flywheel was crucial to a vehicle in order for it to move. Without it, no matter how beautiful your car may be, it just won't get you anywhere. It will remain inert.

Comparing it to life, without Jesus, everything just seems senseless. Life has no meaning and no direction. You may be, from the outset "beautiful" and "successful", the way the world defines them, but without God in your life, you will still feel empty. Because it is only through, with, and in Christ, do we find our most authentic selves. It is only in submitting our lives to Him do we experience true peace and fulfillment.

I may not be able to identify what a flywheel is, but I do know how to drive. :) I was taught by our family driver, Mang Ramon, how to drive, when I was just 17. I used to be this sort of "reckless" and offensive driver who cut buses in their tracks and who enjoyed speeding up. However, after having children, I have now become this careful and defensive driver who sticks to her lane as much as possible, and already considers it "fast" when her speedometer goes a little above 60 kph! 

Since we are already on the subject of wheels, I would like to share with you a remarkable metaphor done by my sister in Christ, April Cassidy, the Peaceful Wife, on what it was like before she fully submitted to our Sovereign God, and after that, to her husband, Greg. She wrote about it in this post, on a fellow sister's journey with Christ 

"I shared in yesterday’s post about how at the beginning of this journey, I felt like I was pushing a car. That was me operating in my own strength. It was EXHAUSTING!!!  It took a long time for me to get into the car. I didn’t trust God at first. “God, how is this car ever going to move if I am not behind it pushing it?” Yes, I was THAT clueless! It took me a long time to get in and to sit down and to begin to have any understanding what the wheel and pedals and instruments were for. I am sure there are many instruments I still don’t know how to use! I have much to learn! To me, thinking about being tempted to disrespect Greg would be a lot like me being tempted to get out of the car and start pushing again instead of driving and allowing the car’s engine and fuel to do the real work. Not very tempting at this point. But it WAS tempting to get out and push earlier when I didn’t know how to use the gas pedal!! I sat still for a LONG, LONG time! I don’t usually even think the disrespectful things or hear the disrespectful things anymore in my head. God has been and is continuing to transform my mind. But when I do hear that voice of accusation against Greg, lights and alarms start going off to remind me not to go back to my old ways but to quickly repent. There are different temptations now, like I talked about yesterday. I pray that God might empower me to live in obedience to Him in ALL things! He is my hope!"    - April Cassidy

"April, the car metaphor was very good. I don’t know too what made me think that pushing the car could lead me anywhere. First of all, I was not that strong. Secondly, it didn’t make much sense, because the car was fully functional and all we needed to do was drive it, not push it! Just to take the metaphor further, since we are on the subject of metaphors… :)

In the past we have foolishly been pushing a state-of-the-art, fully-automated, full-tanked car to get it going; when all along what we should have done was to just get in the Car, buckle up, sit still in the passenger seat, let Jesus take the wheel and enjoy the Ride. He is our Driver. He is our Navigator. His Vehicle never runs out of gas. He never gets lost. He will always keep us safe. And most importantly, He knows how to bring us to the Ultimate Destination (Heaven) in a Way nobody ever could." :) --                                                                                                                                  Nikka Alejar

YES! Being regenerated through God’s Spirit is the key!
I think that if we have never really seen a car running properly and all we have seen is people trying to push cars around – it seems normal to push our car. We don’t realize the capability and purpose of the car, so we continue trying to push it in our own strength.
I like how you continued the car metaphor.
          SO THANKFUL for all that Jesus gives to us. It is scary for us, we think at first, when we give all of ourselves and our resources fully to Him. But then, He gives all of Himself and His resources fully to us! There is no better place to be!"

I believe most of you would agree with me that at one time or another, you also did what April and I did -- that is, to "push cars around". Or to "carry the world on your shoulders". In Tagalog, "pinasan niyo ang daigdig". Life must have been soooooo hard for you then, or maybe life is soooooooooo tiring for you NOW. :(

Sometimes, I surprise myself with God's Wisdom speaking through and to me (at best, my own "wisdom" is still foolish) and I realize how the Spirit is really moving in my own life, ever since I gave up my life to Him last year. I just now "get" it. Things have fallen into place and what was hidden from me before, has now been revealed to me now, by no merits of my own. It's all a God Thing, not a Nikka thing. I was blind for so long, but now I can "see".

I will share with you what I wrote as a comment, in one of April's posts, this time on "My Demons."  This summarizes my own walk with Christ up to this point....

"This journey is really a constant struggle, but for me, though my demon is still noisy and annoying, he is not nearly as powerful nor welcome anymore in my heart and spirit, ever since I became regenerated in Christ in September 2013. :)

The enemy’s voice is still louder than God’s Whispers but his lies are easier to detect now, so it is easier to hold things captive for Christ, the moment the enemy taunts and provokes me to sin or to be worldly again. Sort of like a metal detector in the airports… He tells a lie and my spiritual alarm goes off.What is notable is that the devil’s voice is really easier to hear anytime, every time, wherever, whenever — in the middle of watching TV, while blogging, while driving, while using the toilet (!), even while praying — but God’s Voice is not nearly as “audible” as the enemy’s.

God’s Voice could only be heard CLEARLY when we are still, when we are silent, when we are not caught up with ourselves, and with our million and one chores… God’s Voice is also very much evident in the Scriptures and through other people and events in our lives… But, He also talks to us in that soft, loving Voice of His. However, we have to be aligned to His Frequency to hear Him.

John 10:27

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

When it comes to TALKING and HEARING voices, the Enemy is waaaay more talkative than God. He is relentless!!! He doesn’t care if we are “busy”; he butts in all the time! He has no manners whatsover! But our God is a Gentleman. He will not force you to listen to Him unless you are ready to do so.

Before, when the world was still so much in me, and I “loved” it so much even though I professed to love the Lord, the devil could easily and without much effort piggy-back on all my daily struggles and issues — my obsession with weight, my obsession with career, my obsession with people’s approval — and I would easily fall into depression and despair. I was so easily oppressed! :(

Nowadays, after I have died to myself and constantly die every minute and second if need be, the journey though still not a walk in the park, is no longer a seemingly insurmountable task.

Philippians 4:13

13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

And whereas before when I felt as though the world was on my shoulders and life was such a drag, a chore and even a curse, now I have realized and experienced for myself that it is beautiful, a joy, and a blessing. :)Yes, this road that we tread is never easy and will never be easy in the worldly sense of the word, but it becomes so when we only carry burdens that the Lord had intended for us to carry. When I told the Lord that I would submit to Him then to my husband, I relinquished all forms and desires of control in all aspects on my life… and it has freed me and removed me from bondage! Bondages that have chained me for 37 years of my life!!! Praise God!!!!!I now understand what the Lord meant when he said in Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

It never is really easy, in the “Wow, I could do this with my eyes closed” sort of way. :) But, it is “easy’ in the “God’s grace is sufficient” way. Every suffering, every trial, every temptation is tailor-made just for us. We can overcome it; we can survive it and thrive in it; we can resist it. It’s custom-fit just right to make us more like Christ as we share in His Sufferings. :)

* * *

Are you tired of being constantly afraid, anxious, worried, angry, depressed, envious, jealous, bitter, and all those other adjectives that just prove how much the "world" still resides in your soul?

Are you tired of controlling everything and everyone around you and still not "achieving" results? Do you find yourself feeling very frustrated, as though nothing is going right? Do you want things to change or to make yourself change but feel overwhelmed and even hopeless? Is your spirit willing; but your flesh, weak?  :(
Me, as an eternally depressed and sometimes suicidal teenager

Do not despair! (Psalm 27:14) When we are weak, then we are strong. (2 Cor 12:10)  We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us! (Phil 4:13)  Our sacrifices are broken spirits, because humble and contrite hearts, God does not despise. (Psalms 51:17)

When we are broken, at the end of our ropes, and have fallen flat to our faces, that is when the Lord is nearest us. In our brokenness, the Lord finds the chance to carry us in His Loving Arms. Just when things seem to be out of control is when the Lord comes in to take control, and save us.

But you have got to answer His Call. (Jn 6:44)
You have got to let Him in your heart. (Col 3:15)
Christ wants YOU to choose Him. (Deut 10:12-13)
He will not enter your heart uninvited. (Rev 3:20) 

This question then begs to be answered:

Are you ready to accept Jesus in your heart, sister? Are you willing to let Jesus take the wheel? 

After experiencing the following in 2013:

- shaking of my Catholic faith because of perceived and real religious persecution
- resignation from my broadcasting job and eventual standstill of my career
- being pregnant (at first an "unwanted" pregnancy) and eventually giving birth to our 4th child
- selling and disposing of the only left inheritance I had of my parents (property)
- being tired of leading the family and feeling fearful of the future all the time
- rifts with certain family members

and a whole lot more...

I felt that everything I believed in, found comfort and familiarity in, held on to, or that was in any way associated with my identity, was shattered or taken away from me -- religion, career, my "sexy" body, last memento of my parents, marriage views and obsession with control, family relations --  I felt "naked" and "helpless". It was just God Who could comfort me. I was so broken. I was forced to face myself, and get into my very core.

I was forced to ask myself,

"What am I on earth for?" 
"What is my purpose?" 
"Is this all there is to life?"

It was only then, in my broken state did the Lord find the tiny opening to call me again by name, and this time around, "naked" and "defenseless", I answered Him.  And life has never been the same again. You could not pay me a million dollars to go back to my former self. I would rather physically die than go back to my old prideful self!

John 6:44-45
 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[a] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me."

Here are some tips on how to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and on how to let Him take over.  I am sure every experience of ours is unique and there are really no set rules or steps to it. What I will cite then are based on my own spiritual conversion.
so to speak. Here it goes:

1. Talk to Jesus with all honesty and sincerity.

You don't need to say memorized prayers. You don't need a lengthy speech with hifalutin words.  All you need to have is humility and total honesty. The Lord opposes the proud and is angered by hypocrites. In talking to Jesus, all you need is something as simple, short and heartfelt as:

 "Lord, I cannot go on like this anymore. I am tired. I feel hopeless. I need You. Help me please."

"Lord, I am tired of feeling scared all the time. I do not want to be scared anymore."

"Lord, I give up. I do not want to control things and people anymore. It is all an illusion. I do not want to feel angry, frustrated and bitter every single day. I do not think I can continue for another day being this negative!"

Actually even before you think the thought, even before you utter the word, even before you do the deed, the Lord already knows what is in your mind, your tongue and your heart, but that does not change the fact that He still wants you to say it and He wants you to show it. God desires for you to communicate to Him what is truly in your heart. 
If there is One Person we cannot fool, it is God.

Psalm 139 part

1O LORD, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD.
5You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
7I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!  

2. Ask God to convict you for your sins.

Before you ask God to show you your sins, you must first humble yourself before Him. You also have to want for Him to show you every one of your sins, faults and weaknesses. This was for me, not only humbling, but humiliating. :( But, by that time, I was ready to "see" myself for what and who I really was, -- a great sinner. 

I remember telling God, "Lord, please search my heart. Show me what I am doing wrong. Help me to look within myself and not put the blame on anyone. Help me to change. I cannot do this on my own. I need Your Spirit to do it. I cannot love people on my own. Help me to love them. I cannot forgive people on my own. Help me to forgive."

It was then that the Lord, little by little, and then all at once, showed me the enormity of my sins. And my, they were so many!!!!  :( All along I thought I was "good" and "kind" and "righteous"! Imagine, how I felt when He opened my spiritual eyes for me to "see" what I really was inside -- a self-righteous, prideful, envious, judgmental person -- who was in great need of His Mercy! I thought I have nailed being a "good Christian"! I prayed a lot and was "positive" at most times. I even was generous with my money and had no vices whatsoever -- did not drink, did not smoke, of course, did not do drugs. Heavens, I did not even shop! I was so thrifty

But, when the Lord convicted me of my sins, I saw that my heart was full of filth which were already rotting and stinky. I was not "holy" at all! I was sinful and yucky!!! :(

Jeremiah 17:10

But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve."

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

3. Ask God for forgiveness and mercy.

After the Lord's Conviction, I was dumbfounded and couldn't speak for days. I was crying from shame. I was appalled by my years of wrongful thinking, my malicious and slanderous speech, and my prideful behavior. :( I asked the Lord for His Forgiveness, and meant every word. (Note: I am a Catholic and we are encouraged to confess our sins to a priest, but in this particular instance, when I asked for forgiveness in September 2013 after the Lord showed me my sins, I just basically cried out to the Lord, straight from my heart, in the comfort of my room.)

Hebrew 4:16
Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

It was so shameful that I would sometimes stop to say out of the blue wherever it "hit" me:            "Oh my. I should make reparation! I should apologize to people I have wronged!" It was so humiliating. :(

I then asked for forgiveness from a LOT of people, starting with my husband. I was doing things so wrong and yet all that time, I felt so in the right! Yikes. :(

I am still in the process of asking for forgiveness from people I have misled or hurt, repairing relationships and forgiving those who have wronged me. It was excruciating in the beginning, but it is not as difficult now; although I still need God's Grace every minute of the day, because there is still a LOT of forgiving and asking for forgiveness to be done. I have sinned GREATLY against God. :(  I have grieved His Heart for so long. :(

But I am strengthened by His Love for me, and I know He came for sinners like me, and not the righteous. In fact, He died for me.

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 5:8

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

 4. Allow God to enter your heart.

After talking to God, being convicted of your sins and asking for forgiveness for them, it is now time to open your heart to the Lord.

By this, I mean, minus all the filthy sins in it, your heart will now be a "clean" place for the Lord to reside in. So, this is the time to tell God that He can now enter your heart and hold His Throne in it. Make room for God. Invite Him in.  Remember He is a Gentleman, He won't come in uninvited.

Isn't it that when we have house visitors, we clean the house beforehand? We make sure there are no scattered litter around, we kill the pests or rodents, we even buy new furnishings if the guests are really important to us!

How much more so with God?

We cannot invite Him into our hearts when there is still so much "trash" lying around, in the form of sins. Of course, nobody is really sinless, for only Christ Jesus did not sin, but nevertheless, we should do our best to make our hearts as immaculate as possible! It is no excuse to just let the filth stink just because by our fallen nature, we are stinky anyway!

Bitterness? Throw that away. Envy? Dispose of it. Anger? No can do. Pride? Disgusting! Burn it. Self-righteousness?  Bury it. Unforgiveness? Eeew..Nasty! Incinerate it.... Till none is left but humility, heart-felt grief over offending and grieving God's Heart, the desire to please God, and love for Him.

1 Corinthians 6:20

20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Psalm 51:17
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Just as we find out beforehand what our visitors like or dislike -- loves soft pillows, is allergic to peanuts, likes scents and perfumes, etc. -- in order to make their stay pleasant; so too should we find out What the One Who is going to not only visit, but reside in our hearts, likes or loves, by getting to know Him through His Word -- the Bible. Surely, we do not want to offend our Eternal Resident!

Before I became convicted by Christ and turned over a new leaf, I only glanced at my daily Bible verses, which were in a book -- (Didache or Daily Bread or The Word). I liked reading the stories accompanying them, than the Bible verses themselves. I was used to hearing the Words of God at Mass, as a form of worship. I even was/am part of the Holy Spirit Associates, a lay ministry of the SSpS Community founded by Father Arnold Janssen, but for some reason, His Word still failed to transform me. :( But when Christ resided in my heart in September 1, 2013, it was the start of a hunger and thirst for His Word, that I have never experienced before! It was like I couldn't get enough of it! I kept on asking for more! 

I started devouring every book from the Bible, and the more I read it, the more I got to know God. The more I got to know God, the more I got to know myself. The more, I got to know myself, the more I realized how distorted and wimpy my picture was of God! (I fit Him in my tiny pea-sized brain. No wonder I was very controlling and negative! I did not know Who He was -- sovereign and mighty. I acted like I was "more knowing" of what to do with my life and that I was "in control", and He was not. Yikes!) The more I got to know myself, the more I was blown away by how loving and amazing our God really is! I am nothing! And yet, He loves me! WOW!

Psalm 8:4
"What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?"

Again, you need not say very lengthy prayers or memorized ones. Just a simple,
"Lord, enter my heart now. I accept you as my Lord and my Savior. Reside in my heart, o Lord." will do.

5. Let go and let God rule your life.

So, you have told God what your innermost thoughts and feelings are; you have asked Him to make you "see" your sins; you have grieved over them and have asked for forgiveness; you have opened your heart to Him; so it is now time for the true TEST of your faith.

It is time to let go and let God. 

This was something I liken to jumping off a very, very high cliff. It was really a leap of faith. I was terrified. I was scared to my wits. I was going into unchartered territory!!! I was going out of my comfort zone, the one wherein I "controlled" everything and everyone around me!!! And yet, looking at what I was leaving behind -- the debilitating fear of the future, all the depressive episodes and the hyper-ventilating anxiety, all the pride and envy, etc -- I felt that they were not much to keep me from taking the leap. I HATED what I went through daily. I HATED being scared and anxious and worried and bitter and condescending and self-righteous nearly all the time. I would rather DIE than continue living that kind of life and being that kind of person!!! Waaaaaaah!!!!!

And so, I JUMPED.

And, guess what?

I am still alive!!!! :D
To my godly mentor in this journey, my Titus 2 elder, April Cassidy,
Happy birthday, sis! :) We love you. God bless you more!
May 19, 2014

Actually, I have never felt more alive, than now. :) I was spiritually DEAD all those years. Okay, maybe not all the time, for there were glimpses of LIFE every now and then. But for most of my 37 years, I have been so chained to the world and to my bondages, that God had a difficult time getting through to me. I was very "busy" being a zombie. 

But now, after my conversion, I have experienced for myself, FREEDOM and LIBERATION from my sinful flesh and the oppressions of the enemy!!! Who would have thought that to be even possible?! Not me!!! I thought I was doomed to be depressed and scared FOREVER! 

John 8:34-36

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

I am also in the process of  finding my most authentic self.  Minus my bondages, I am now peaceful, joyful, and hopeful... almost 24/7.  The Lord strengthens me daily, as "we" champion against the world, the flesh, and the devil. I still get tempted, I still sin, but I no longer dwell in the sin. I rise again and again. Whereas before, I would have stayed fallen. Nowadays, I hold every thought captive for Christ! 

Feeling sad over another's good fortune? Gotcha, envy! Feeling scared over finances? Gotcha, senseless worry! Wanting to gloat over being so "holy"? Gotcha, pride! Feeling disappointed over other people's seeming lack of faith in God (by one's standards)? Gotcha self-righteousness! No way are those pesky "flies" gonna take root now in my soul. I have to always remember, I no longer rule it. It is now God Who resides in it. My old self has been evicted; there's a new landLord now.  So, they better stay away because "we" have no room for them! "Shoo fly! Don't bother me! For I belong to Somebody!"

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

Once you have let go and let God rule in every area of my life, make sure that you mean it. You have turned over the key. Act like you mean it; and mean it like you said it. He is the BOSS now. Not you, not your ambitions. Not your pleasures. Not your fears. And certainly not satan!

Family picture at Holy Spirit convent
March 16, 2014
* * *

Rest now and cast your cares to the Lord; He has got you covered. Jesus has now taken the wheel. Do not wrestle it again from Him, because the results of that would be disastrous! Stay in the passenger seat. Rest and relax. The Road ahead may not be smooth; it may even be a bit bumpy or dangerous, but with Jesus as your Driver, you have nothing to fear. You are safe. He knows Where you are going and how to bring you There. Isn't it, that He said, that He is "the Way"?  You can never get lost. You will never lose your Way, as long as you trust in Him fully. So, sit back, buckle up and enjoy the Ride. I promise you, it is a thrill of a lifetime! This Journey is both exciting and glorious! On His mark, get set, go! Hope and pray to see you at the Destination! :)

"Si Hesus ang Tsuper ng buhay
Dito ka sumakay
Gasolina'y pang-habambuhay
Biyahe mo ay sulit
Pagka't patungong Langit
Hindi pwede ang sumabit!"

                                           - Papuri Singers

Roughly Translated:

He is the Driver of our Lives
Ride here (in His Vehicle)
Gasoline never runs out
The Ride is worth it
Because it goes straight to Heaven
But you cannot ride without *"paying"! 

(Note: * One cannot be a freeloader. You have got to be either in it, or not. You cannot sit on the fence. And you cannot just "hitch" a ride! ;)


  1. WOW! LOVE THIS. Thank you so much for sharing, Nikka!!!!

    1. Thank you for allowing me to quote you, April! Thank you for your godly mentoring and friendship! :)




Feel free to comment. I would love to discuss things with you. :)