Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts

#UNHURRIEDLIFE

What is that one thing that you like as a couple by which you think others can be inspired doing?

I was asked this question during our recent couples retreat and to be honest, I thought hard about it. Ano nga ba?  What practical things do we do together that can inspire other couples?  Then, I thought of the four letter word. I am not talking about love, but the most forgotten discipline - REST.

Over time, me and Bryan have learned to value, practice and see the result of rest.  I guess this has become a part of our lifestyle since we were single.  We live in the world of teachers wherein summer and Christmas vacations are a part of our year.  Therefore, we have enjoyed "slowing down" when the world is busy saying "work harder".  This also means pausing even before we are tired. Throughout the years, this has been our mantra.  If you would look closely in our lives, we would be the couple who sleeps at 8 hours minimum, the family who is complete at 5pm (Bryan gets off at work at 12noon or 3pm), the one that cherishes long vacations (we are scheduled to fly to Ilocos Dec 12 and be back here on Dec 29), in short, we do not mind skipping the possibilities of earning more in exchange of taking (long) breaks.




To begin, we realized that working long hours does not equate to working hard.  To add, staying busy does not also mean having more money.  We have learned to ask ourselves, "When I work long hours, what sacrifices are we making?  What have we lost?" IF it is rest and family time, then we had to pause and think.

Second, we came to a conclusion that "resting when we are tired", is false rest.  Now, we settle as a form of discipline not as to "I need it right now".  Me and Bryan came to a point and decided that sickness should not force us to stay in bed and do nothing. We want to rest now, while we actually enjoy it. There is joy in doing nothing.


Third, which may be a little surprising -- being on vacation may not always be equivalent to easing up.  We have to accept that returning from a holiday (especially when a trips become stressful) eats up our strength too.  Being away is a form of escape, but it does not guarantee that we are ready to go back to work.  Funny how we need another day to cope up from the travel that we did.  So, gauge trips and feel free to not do anything while on vacation.  Our favorite practical tip?  When doing out of town trips, opt for 4 minimum days :)  This is usually enough to be unhurried and have activities at the same time.


Lastly, me and Bryan rest because we want to obey God.  Yes, this is a commandment of God.  He asks us to take care of our bodies, prioritize Him, our spouses and kids.  What an assurance that we can rest because God is dependable!

Me and Bryan decided to value rest because we are assured that we can rely on God to take care of us and our finances.  That we do not need to work double so He will provide.  That when we do what He asks us to do (for now, this means homeschooling Risen, being in the ministry and not being stressed on growing our business), He will cover our needs and at times, wants.  That it is okay to slow down when the world is screaming work for more.



Wives, you can rest on the Lord, He is reliable. You can nap in the afternoons, do nothing and let the house messy.  You can request for time outs.  If you are working, your career should not define you.  Your position does equate to who you are.  You can rest. Now, to those who are saying, I can't rest because I need to feed my family.  My brave answer is this:  By all means, work. However, remember that you are not the main provider.  That Jesus just provides thru you.  That we are to seek the Provider and not the provision.  That you should allow God to make miracles in your finances.  By all means work, but, do not forget to trust. 

Let me leave you with questions to ponder:
1.  Is it possible that you are not resting because you think you need to work more to have more?
2. Do you worry too much that it leads you to working more?
3. How can Jesus unburden you with your work-sleep lifestyle?











WHY OUR TRIP TO THE US WAS MORE THAN AMAZING

You would not believe me when I tell you this trip to the US was totally unplanned. We applied for a visa first week of April (with the intention of not going this year), Bryan's research was approved for presentation in LA before June, (this all happened after we got our schedule for interview).  Our visas got approved.  And the rest as they say is history.

WHEW.

And why was it more than amazing?

1.  We did not push it at all - Yes, we wanted it  to happen but we allowed God and circumstances to move in our behalf. We did not get disappointed when our Visa Interview was scheduled 2 months after we applied nor when our itinerary did not happen, or when Risen had to use nebulizer on our first day in the States.  And did we mention that Bryan's gall bladder was removed a month before we left? Our perspective was, the fact that we have this opportunity, okay na.
After our VISA Interview





2.  The weather and timing was perfect - Confession time. Before this trip came up, I was frustrated that I did not have events in the months of July and August. As always, God has better plans. Fireworks welcomed us since we landed 4th of July. The weather was summer, but since it is hot here in the Philippines, it was perfect for us - a sweater weather for my family.

at San Diego; after shopping

Balboa Park


3. Our itinerary was not hurried - We had a lot of "let us just cherish this" moments!!  We knew one month would still not be enough so we decided to just have a little bit of everything (including rest).  We did not leave the house everyday, nor did we push our tired bodies to move. Yes, though everything was new and exciting, we still leaned towards our favorite travel tip -- no hurry! Hence the hashtag #unhurried life

Los Angeles

still in LA








 4.  We spent time with family and went to church - We placed down our phones and started talking and listening.  We were glad we spent and allotted quality time with friends and family. We also went to church every Sunday of our trip. Actually, this is what we really wanted why we left.  We looked forward to seeing Bryan's cousins and titas and family friends just to spend time with them.  Also, we wanted to see the life, both the christian and work life balance, of the people in the US. It was a good feeling to fellowship in different churches.

with my childhood bestie and neighbor

friend/officemate in Manila

DVBS

favorite neighbor

family :)


Seattle

Rest area (between Seattle and Oregon)

Oregon

5.  We saw Christ's ministry in the US - To begin, our trip was well provided by God.  We did not used up our credit cards, we did not loan or borrow money, lastly, we had money to pay for our bills and commitments when we got home. This happened not because we have tons of savings, it is just that, we knew what not to buy and Bry's family and friends in the US are super generous. Second, in Las Vegas, the sin city (what are the odds?!), we were able to share a gospel to a waiter thru a track and we had to chance to hear the testimony of our Lyft driver (Like Grab). Third, we met christian families whose lives are great in the US - they have work life balance, they have time for church and the ministry, their kids are brought up in the ways of the Lord (and the kids are serving the Lord too), and we sat down with a starting CCF dgroup in San Diego whose goal is to share Jesus and make disciples.  Wooohoooo!!!!!

God is working in the US. It does not mater where we are.  IF we are willing to obey God, He will work in us and He will take care of us.  Yes, it is very tempting to work doubly hard, possess all you want, BUT if you choose to honor God, even in Vegas, He will be alive in all that you do and He will be used by God.


My encouragement to those Christians in the US, or even if you are in the planning stage, do not go there for money or convenience.  Go there because God called you to be there. Once this is sure, then, go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).  After all, this is our main calling.  Pinas or Vegas.




GOD IS IN THE WAITING

"Wait..."

This has been a constant word in our home.  I command Risen to do this.  Bryan asks me to wait and Risen for the past months, in some occasions, replies with a "wait..."

I remember when I was not yet a christian , I am so entitled that I hated it when people or service centered offices ask me to wait.  If I hear this one word command, I needed to know how much long I will stay to get what I needed.  So funny how  God reminded me of my past when Risen gets impatient ;)

As a mother, waiting happens in two ways.  (1) Either I tell Risen that I will just do something WHILE I wait for him.  An example of this is when I tell him to go up to his room and dress up while I wait AND gather the clutter downstairs.  And another situation I wait for him is when I tell him (2) "I will stay here, watch you, and I will wait for you.." This happens when he asks me to put him to sleep, in our Writing lessons (I homeschool Risen), and  when he tells me "mommy, wait for me and stay here na din".

And do you know who else ask us to wait? Jesus.

There are countless of times He asked me (and He still has been asking me) to wait. And it is possible that you are also in the season of waiting.  I want to encourage you that Jesus is with you while You are waiting for Him.  He is not busy with something else.  When He asks you to wait, he is not abandoning you.  He is alongside you, rooting for you.  Encouraging you to stay strong in the season of waiting.

Waiting on God may not be an easy task, but if He clearly asked you to wait, know that it will be worth it.  Be secured that it will be worth the wait.






AN OPEN LETTER TO THOSE WHO GREW UP IN A CHRISTIAN CHURCH

For the longest time, I thought I have been a christian since I was in elementary, but in my recent study of God's Word (both from the pulpit and my own quiet time) I discovered that I have only been a real follower of Jesus when I was 27 years old...

Did you grow up in the church? 

If yes, you probably attended Sunday School, went to Daily Vacation Bible School every summer, volunteered in ministries and was present in camps and retreats.  You also might have known many things about the Lord and about the church.  How do I know?  I grew up inside the church too. I remember going alone or being with my parents.  Sometimes, I even tell people that "I have been a christian since birth", just because it felt that way.  So yes, I have been a "christian" for the longest time, and people around me also know that I have been a born-again christian and that I grew up inside the church.

HOWEVER, although I was always in church, looking back, my life did not reflect the God that I "follow".  I disobeyed my parents, lied, manipulated people, thinks highly of myself and often discontent. I also only read God's Word after camps and when needed (like before a church event, or when I am tasked to do "something big" in the ministry.)  I also plunged into sin and decided to stay there even though I knew it was wrong (I was in a promiscuous relationship for around 2 years).  If you place me in a group of people, no one would guess I have Jesus in my life. I was not different.  I do what people around me do.  If I was with Christians, you will find me praying and talking about the Lord.  If I am with my good friends who are in another faith, you would find me tolerating and glorifying sin.  In short, I was living a double life.  Holy in the church. Full of myself outside.

Then, there was this time in my life I remember so well. I was at the lowliest point of my life. I knelt down and in tears I just told God, "I am so tired of my life and that I wanted Him to take over".  The next day was different. I ended my relationship, made choices that glorifies the Lord and was serious about Jesus.  Now people thought it was Bryan who gave that change because that was also around that time I met him -- but no, it was God.


2 Corinthians 5:17 


This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!


For the longest time, I thought I have been a christian since I was in elementary, but in my recent study of God's Word (both from the pulpit and my own quiet time) I discovered that I have only been a real follower of Jesus when I was 27 years old (that night I cried to the Lord).  How did I know?  

1.  It is only after at 27 years old that I am so eager to share my faith. I want to mention Jesus in every conversation.  I also want others to see how He changed my life. I came to the point that every reunion, coffee time or a simple event is an opportunity to share who God is. In the past, I only think of sharing Jesus if I am in a camp or evangelistic event.  When I am in my usual day, I do not really care about sharing or talking about God.  

2.  I can't go on without reading the Bible anymore.  Before, I only read it one week after a camp or before a church event that I am leading.  Now, when I miss it, I feels terrible.  And, I could not go on with life if I have not read it for like 3 days.  AND, IT HAS BEEN LIKE THIS FOR THE PAST 5 OR MORE YEARS!  This is not an "effect of revival. retreat or camp" anymore, but of Jesus.  To add, I read the Bible not for scholarly reasons, but so I can get to know the Lord more and discover His beauty and wrath.

3.  And the sin issue?! I have never felt so bad after sinning.  But hey, I still sin, okay?.  But when I realized that I have sinned and wronged someone, I feel so guilty.  My stomach goes up and down and sometimes, I see myself in tears.  Also, to be honest, I do not scheme on how I can do things on my own way.  I used to be like this before.  Before too, "I will (intentionally) sin, then I will just ask the Lord to forgive me, anyway, I am saved already. and besides, God always forgives"

4.  In the past, my greatest concern was, what if things do not happen on how I wanted it to be?  Now, I am so scared of NOT being in the center of God's will.  I am so fearful of not obeying the Lord. Years back, when it would benefit me, I would certainly get it.  So at present, even though it will be "good" for me, but if it contradicts God's Word, with God's grace, I would run away from it. 

5.  Lastly, my life was transformed. Age, work, marriage and motherhood, can make us mature, BUT ONLY GOD CAN TRANSFORM.  To be honest, I do not know myself anymore.  My dreams and plans have changed.  Sometimes, I am like, "HOY MICO, WORK HARD SO YOU CAN TRAVEL HARDER", then the Holy Spirit in me, rebukes me.  Then suddenly, I am like. "I need to work harder so I can reach more and share the gospel to more".  To give an illustration, few weeks back, we went to Boracay.  In the past, I pray for blue skies and lots of sunshine for a good tan.  Now, I pray that I will be seated to people I can share the talk and gospel with.  This is not maturity, this is transformation.  Something that no amount of kids or age can give, but only God!  

But, hey, I am not an extremist :)  I still have wants and dreams, but I am so okay if I do not get it.  It is just that, my desires and purpose have changed. How? I do not know.  It became so natural and explainable.  I have to be honest, that now, in all my conversations, my aim is to point Jesus to Christ.  And that my insides grieve when I see people disobeying, or worse, having a miserable life because they do not follow God's Word.

Now, why am I blogging about this? because  (1)I do not want to you to fall into the trap of fake Christianity.    And second reason I am writing you is... (2) I do not want God to tell you..."I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws."


Matthew 7: 21-23

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 
Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 
22On judgment day many will say to me, 
Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name 
and performed many miracles in your name.’ 
23But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. 
Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Now, how did I know I was NOT a Christian and a follower of Christ?

1.   Because I knew I was sinning and I continued.  My excuse were either the ff: "I can't get rid of it", "I am not ready to give it up", "I will "enjoy" this first and ask for forgiveness after I do it."

PS. Again, I still sin but God convicts me hard, and I go back to Him as soon as I can.  I just can't keep on sinning!


1 John 3:9 

 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because
God's life is in them.
So they can't keep on sinning, because they are children of God

2.  I was not transformedI was the same Mico.  I just improved and matured.  But you know what guys, transformation is so different! I have experienced it.  You will really not be the same again.  You will long for God, His Words, and anything about God.  And your greatest fear would be sinning and not being in the center of God.  
2 Corinthians 5:1
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; 
behold, new things have come.

4.  In the past, I only have ministries, activities and church events.  Without all those things, if you would look closely in my like, I did not truly walk with God.
Ezekiel 36:25-27
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances


The truth is, there are results, when you TRULY surrender your self to Christ. And PEOPLE WOULD NOTICE THE CHANGE. You would even be persecuted. And lastly, the Holy Spirit will cause you to walk with God and His statutes ( Ezekiel 36:25-27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances).

Again, just because you grew up inside the church and you know the Gospel, it does not mean you are a follower of Jesus. To my fellow Sunday schoolers, attendees of DVBS and church camps, have a legit check please. Without the ministry, the activities and your church barkada, who are you? How are you and God? Have you surrendered everything to Him? Are you really a follower of Jesus? Again (and again and again), the TRUE GOSPEL LEADS TO REPENTANCE AND NEW LIFE.




BUILDING YOUR MARRIAGE ONE BRICK AT A TIME - JUST GIVE

**This post is a series.  The first brick that you have to lay is here.  Done reading? you may read along for the next brick.


GIVE AND TAKE.  This is one rule I have often heard given to married couples or to anyone in relationships.  And though this seem like a sound advice, I have realized that when you cut this in half, it becomes a better guideline.

When we think that we are to give and take, these things can happen:
1.  We become entitled because we have been giving but not receiving anything
2.  We tend to count the good deeds we have been doing
3.  We accuse our partners for being soooo good in taking

Or to make it more specific, IF we follow the "give and take" rule, we hear ourselves say the following:

1.  "ako nanaman?"  (me again?)
2.  "will I adjust again?"
3.   "Magaling lang asawa ko kumabig" (My husband/wife is so good in taking)
4.  "I am so tired of giving"

My unsolicited advice? Old rule out, new rule in:  JUST GIVE



When we focus on just giving, we stop ourselves from counting on how many we have done for the sake of our spouse.  We also lessen the Mathematics of who gave more.  Instead, we focus on the meaning of love.  This was actually modeled to us by God (the greatest lover ever) when He gave His son to us.  He did not say "Okay, I will allow my son to be die for you just be good to me!".  Jesus too did not ask for anything in return.  He just gave.

So the next time you are tempted to rant for your spouse not helping, not serving, not loving, not minding, just continue doing your part.  Imagine if a couple will have this mindset of just giving AND NOT taking?

So for this week, my challenge for you is to focus on serving and loving your partner.

Praying rooting for you! :) 

THE PRACTICAL WAYS OF SHOWING LOVE TO YOUR IN-LAWS

I know my last post (part 1 here, part 2 here) was kind of hardcore. So let me give you a follow-up post and enumerate a few ways on how we can practically show our love to our in-laws.

1.  Allow them to love (and spoil) your kids in their ways.  Their job in NOT to rear your kids, that is yours.  So just accept how they would lovingly "do this", and "give this" to their grandkids.  In our case, in my parents house, Risen is being fed with Pandesal with sugar as palaman (spread).  I know, your eyes will roll, but we let them be because it is their house. Their house, their rules.  So what do we do when we are in our own home?, we tell Risen "that is only allowed with lola and lolo, not with mom and dad".  This is also why I discourage couple to stay with in-laws.  It is challenging to rear kids with grandparents because, in any house, there could only be one queen mother.

2.  Bring your kids to them (assuming you do not leave with them).  They love their grand kids, and to be honest, it is okay for them not to see the parents!haha  So please, please, bring your kids to them!

3.  Initiate family lunches or dinners.  My favorite part is when I tell my in-laws we would eat out without Bryan knowing it! I feel it is extra special, when I, their daugther-in-law and not their son invites them out.  I also pay for it, of course! My husband on the other hand, would sometimes buy treats for my parents (without me knowing) just because.  

4.  Get to really really know them.  How often do you chika and intentionally get to know them?  Their lives, love story, work, childhood, growing up years? When you know a person really well, you get to understand their ways and means.  Sometimes, we are too judgmental because we can't get pass our biases.  Impressions do not have to last.  Remember how you cheer fellow women who got married, finally became pregnant, gave birth, breastfed, worked or resigned for the sake of their kids?  Guess what, your mom-in-law did all this too!

5.  Accept that your in-laws will never be perfect, and so are you

6.  If you are doing it differently, do not only explain, educate them.  I remember when I gave birth to Risen.  The Pedia told us that "bigkis" (cloth wrapped around the waste to protect belly button) is no longer accepted.  This came to a shock with the two lolas for in their time, it was allowed.  I had to sit down with them and not only say "the pedia said no".  I offered the disadvantages and carefully explained each of them.  There is definitely a gap, so try to fill in and adjust to that.

7.  Remember the goal is not to be BFFs.  You do not have to be bessies, but the goal is to have a harmonious relationship with them.  That you don't cringe every time you see her nor fret when she visits you at home.  However, if you can be bessies, why not?! :)

8.  Get up and love again in the morning.    Let us not be historians.  You and your in-laws probably took off at the wrong place at the wrong time.  It is okay.  It will be okay.  Tomorrow is a new day to serve and love.

image from here







DO WE REALLY HAVE TO LOVE OUR MOTHERS-IN-LAW? Part 2

BUT IT IS DIFFICULT TO LOVE MY IN-LAWS!!!

I know that some set-ups can be a bit crazier.  However, God allows "impossible situations" to let us know that we really cannot do it on our own Hopefully, the situation you are in will make us dependent on God and on His Word.  Remember that our "feelings" toward the person may not change over night, but our perspective and attitude towards him/her may be changed.  Just continue loving even if  it does not feel right.  Sounds fake?  If the intention is making it right, then you we not being plastic.  If we are certain  in the deepest of our hearts we want to have a very peaceful and harmonious relationship with our in-laws, I am sure that God will honor that and one day, emotions will follow.  Obviously, I do not believe in cutting off people in our lives. More so, in settling to be forever civil with the family members around us.  God is pro forgiveness and reconciliation.

This world would tell us to "do whatever works for you".  Sometimes, we bring this idea even with our in-laws, family members, friends and basically in our relationships.  I would like to challenge us to take the bolder and scarier way of dealing with them, and it is by choosing to intentionally loving them in difficult ways. Do this not because of your husband or your kids but because there is this "man" who died for you and who commands you to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR.

With God's help and the support of your spouse will be able to do it.  Consider this prayer at the end of my blog.


Dear God,

Thank you for the people you allowed me to be surrounded with.  I am sure you handpicked them from the very beginning.  I lift up to you the relationship I have with my in-laws.  I pray that you will work in my heart to forgive, be reconciled and have a harmonious relationship with them.  May it be that in the days to come, I will learn how to love and honor them.  Thank you for the help. 


 In Jesus name, Amen.

PAIL VS. POOL

It took us a lot of convincing before Risen agreed to leave the pail of water so we could drive to a swimming party.  He was so happy in his floaters that he even told us he do not want to swim in the pool because he was already swimming in the pail!  Crazy, right?  If he only knew how big and deep a real pool is, I am sure, he would excitedly get out of our old, rusty pail.


Image credit to owner

I don't know why, but this story of Risen got into me. In many occasions, I too have stayed in a pail of water rather than a 5 ft deep of water.  

How about you?  Are you also trying to float in a tiny tub?  Thinking that the place you are in is already God's best for you?

When I became a mother, I have understood God more.  That if I only obey and follow His rules, He will take me to places.  Just like in Risen's case, we had to argue with him and explain hard that swimming in a pail is nothing compared to being inside a pool. If he only listened and obeyed, we could have left early, hence a longer time for him to enjoy.

It may be a wrong relationship, a job that takes away your "life",  a debt that you have been carrying, a worry stuck in your head, a sin you are so afraid to let go. Let me tell you that if what you have now is against God's law, then that is not His best and will never be His best. Trust me, based on experience, the pool or even a beach is the right place to dive into.

Just let go of the pail.  God is waiting for you so he can bring you to the sea.


MY TYPHOON LAWIN STORY

We go to Bry's parents in Paoay, Ilocos Norte to rest, sleep and eat.  Every long holiday, like summer, Chirstmas or sem-break, we make sure we intentionally travel to the north to gather ourselves and prep for the nest leg of "work".  This sem-break was no different, except that we knew Typhoon Lawin will be there too.

While we were waiting for our bus to arrive, we received a text that the typhoon will be as strong as Yolanda.  Bryan and I had to think and pray if we should still take the bus or just go back to Carmona.  We do not know exactly why, but we decided to take that bus knowing the risks we will be facing.  It was a scary decision especially that Risen was in tow.  It would be a different scenario if it was just the two of us. We prayed and asked for wisdom.  We discerned God's will.  What we know at that time was 1.  Paoay does not get flooded easily 2.  Bry's home is well maintained and has a second floor (just in case it floods) 3. Their home is not under any trees that might fall  4. His parents who are both senior citizens  5.  His parents gave us a go signal to go 6.  My parents did not stop us from traveling

And so we did.

It was a long ride.  We left Manila at 8:15pm and arrived at 4:30 am.  I was awake the whole time.  My eyes were just closed but my mind has Yolanda in mind.  On how the filipinos suffered and died.  I would glance at Bryan, Risen and the window and ask God "Lord, if we made a terrible decision, stop us".  

When we arrived, I prepared our emergency bag, We decided to take a long afternoon nap just so we can observe the weather all night.  We had early dinner too and texted people to pray for us.  

We were in bed at 8pm and the lights were down at 11pm.  While in bed, we could hear the wind.  It was like the sound of the plane taking off.  It was not whistling, it was more of roaring.  I and Bryan could not sleep starting 2am because of the sound of Lawin and things that flew with it.  Merong sound ng yero, wood, roof, etc.  It was 80 percent wind and 20 percent rain.  However, there was peace that I could not explain.  I was not worried nor anxious.  I was actually trying to sleep pero maingay lang talaga so ang hirap matulog!

We and my in-laws gathered around the dining table at 6am.  We shared  our sleepless night and hoped that Lawin left already.  However, according to Bryan, the typhoon would pass by at 8am in Ilocos so the peace that we are having that early morning could be because we are under the "eye" of the storm.  At around 8am, things became different na.  Up until 3 - 4 in the afternoon, there was wind and rain then more wind and more rain.  It was the heaviest storm I have experienced!!

Nevertheless, there was a comfort in my heart.   Remember when I told you that we come to Ilocos to rest?  God answered us!  Because of typhoon Lawin we experienced the true meaning of rest.



Yes!    It was the prayers of our spiritual family and friends that comforted us. It was his mercy that kept us safe.  It was God who made us secured during Typhoon Lawin.   All glory to Him!  

You can also embrace the true meaning of rest once you decided to follow Him.  He can only satisfy.  There is this void in our hearts that only He can fill.  Let Him bring you peace.

My God is bigger than my Typhoon Lawin story.  He is bigger that your worries and concerns too.  


TOO AFRAID TO FAIL

Have you been too afraid to fail?  When I say too afraid, it means you either end up not trying at all or quit in the middle of it. 

You know what? Recently, I have been too afraid  that I thought of stopping mid-way.  I was bold and brave as I started but when the situation became shaky and my expectations were not met, I decided to stare instead of pushing myself to do more.  It was as if the obstacles I was facing was bigger than my “dream”.  One thing that added to my complacency was that I know that I am a contented stay-at-home wife and mother.  Since I am loving my life, I figured out, why do I need to subject myself to walking into unlighted paths when I am very much happy in my comfort zone? I mean, why do I need to push when I have already attained much (at least on my eyes) when I was single?

To my surprise, when I was on the verge of quitting and even I was not praying for my struggle, God made me read “Jesus Walks on Water”. 

I was like Peter who focused on his wobbly feet and stormy water instead of looking at Jesus who said “Don’t be afraid, it is I”.  Shame on me for trusting myself, looking at the negative factors, not trusting Jesus and quitting without trying and praying harder.  Nakakahiya!

I know Jesus wants me to still do brave things for His glory.  To learn from every situation I will be into.  And to be confident in Him though things will not go my way.  To be honest, I still do not know if my venture will be a success, but just like the cliché goes, I am rooting for the journey and not the destination.  As of now, it is still stormy and my feet can barely not step BUT this time, I will commit myself to not be afraid because he tells me “It is I”. 


Are you also scared to start something new?  Or too tired to continue?  May I suggest that you start acknowledging God in that dream of yours?  I have learned that God is not only interested in our spiritual affairs but also with our ambitions, bucket lists, shallow goals, and crazy wants.  As long as it does not contradict His word, I am sure He is very much interested to help you out get whatever that is!  Do not be too afraid to fail.  He got you!

PEN AND PAPER JOURNALING

I am back to pen and paper journaling!

It took me ages to pull myself together and make sure that my Bible reading ends up on my notebook. Thankfully, my husband modelled it to me (wuhooo for husbands who intentionally pray).  I saw his journal filled with his thoughts and I just can't help but be envious on how His talks with God ends up on paper.  I used to do this before but it got really difficult when I became a full time wife and mom.





If you also want to go back to journaling or to your Bible reading, I encourage you to just do it.  Actually, the most difficult part is the first day! Once you start, you would know the next one would be easier.  Aside from this, you may want to consider the following:


1.  Set a time and place.  If you need to set your alarm, do it.


2.  Prepare something that you can munch while reading your Bible.  Make this special by only having this cake or coffee or chips at this time.  For myself, I make sure I have brewed coffee and a slice of cake or Fudgee bar :)


3. Buy pens!! I got my different shades of ink from Craft Central at Greenbelt.  This costs 170 php.  





4.  Decide beforehand what you will study.  I am now on the Book of John.  I will blog on how I study it SOON!


5.  Ask someone to check up on you.  As for me, my d-group asks me from time to time if I have been reading and writing.  So effective.  I also "report" on my husband every day on what God has been teaching me.






6.  Remind yourself of this famous verse (it is a famous song too) 

Romans 16:19
"For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, 
but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil."

In order for us to be wise, we need to study and take note of the things we have been learning.Yes, just like how we did it in high school.  Remember how we read books and wrote down in our notebooks what heard and read?  This pretty much sums up what journaling is all about.  We take time to digest our verses from the Bible then write down in colorful pens what we learned.


Pen and paper journaling is a discipline and must be added in our daily routine.  It is like bathing (Who leaves the house here without taking a shower?).  More so, let us also make sure we leave our homes geared up for the troubles, blessings and situations we will face!  May God bless you!  Happy reading!

CCF MUNTINLUPA CHRONICLE: LOVING GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART

**Below is a summary of the message last February 7, 2016 at CCF Muntinlupa.  This also appeared in The Chronicle (weekly Newsletter of CCF Muntinlupa).   The text was written by Bryan Eli B. Sadorra.


This February, valentines is celebrated by the world which has a deceiving, destructive  and self-centered definition of love.

THE RIGHT KIND OF LOVE

The bible defines love as patient and kind. It does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (I Corinthians 13: 4-7) This love is demonstrated by the Lord through the cross. (Romans 5:8) And the only way we can love others and even God is by accepting and embracing the reality of God’s love for us and in us. He did not only love us but He also gave us love that gave us the ability to love.

With this, how do we do we show our love to God?

I AM WILLING TO GIVE AND GIVE UP

Love means willingness to give and give up. We are to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15) Also, our bodies are owned by God. We cannot do anything to them without His consent. Instead, we are to give them to be holy and acceptable unto God which is our spiritual service. (Romans 12:1)

I AM WILLING TO RECEIVE

Love means willingness to receive whatever is from God. No one deserves blessings but God enabled us, thus, we should thankfully receive. (I Timothy 6:17) His Word is for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, thus, we are to take it. (II Timothy 3:16) God may also give us trials which we need to endure but still praise the Lord for. (Job 1:21-22) God is treating us as His children and part of our legitimacy is discipline so that we may share in His holiness and for the production of a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:6-11)

I AM WILLING TO DO

Love means obeying God’s command. The Lord has a standard on who loves Him. He is serious with our relationship with Him and obedience to His Word is a manifestation of our love for Him. (John 14:15, John 14:21) A part of His instruction is to go and make disciples, so, our willingness to be a disciple and be trained to disciple is also a demonstration of our love for Him. (Matthew 28:19-20) Lastly, carrying each other’s burden is a way of fulfilling His law. (Galatians 6:2)

I AM WILLING TO BE

Love means setting apart or being sanctified for God. We need to be holy because God is holy. (I Peter 1:16) A part of being holy is pleasing Him. (II Corinthians 5:9) And as we allow ourselves to be holy, the Lord instructed us to be strong, be courageous, not to be frightened and not be dismayed for He promised that He shall be with us wherever we go. (Joshua 1:9)


We are loved by God. We have love from God. And we can love God. Are we willing to exercise this love by giving and giving up, by receiving, by doing and by being the person God wants us to be? Are we willing to love God with all our hearts?

NOT THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT

I was reading Genesis and answering the reflection questions found on the booklet Marriage, God's Design for Intimacy by James and Martha Reapsome when I came across these two verses.  

Genesis 2: 8-9
Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made.  The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

Genesis 3:6
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 

image not mine


Looking back, I saw two things:
1. God provided the physical needs of Adam and Eve by planting all sorts of trees
2. Eve "forgot" that God made all this when she was tempted by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit

REFLECTION:

I should never forget that God has provided and met all my needs.  As a wife and mother I have a tendency to worry, over think and dream of "better" things for me and my family.  This verses reminded me that God has given me the things that are enough.  Instead of clamoring and asking for more, I should see that a LOT of things were already provided so I should be more than thankful.  I know that the world has always something good to offer.  Our earthly life has always a better option, a grander alternative and unlimited opportunities, however, I should only take the options that God freely gives.  That as I live, there will be many offers (for me and my family) that "seems beautiful and delicious" (just like the forbidden fruit) but I should remember in my heart what is important, what is precious in God's sight, what is eternal and what will give Him the real glory.

Lord,

This is a painful rebuke.  In many occasions, I have taken the fruit that the world offers without remembering that You have already provided.  Help me to continously see You and what will bring honor to You.  Strip me away of my bragging rights, because I only have You.  I can only be proud because of You.