Make Praying Your Daily Habit

At home, my husband and I made it a habit to take turns in praying before bedtime and before mealtime. This is regardless if we are going through tough times or good times. We intend our future kids to do the same for the following reasons:

1. They learn how to pray regardless of their ages. The little one (early grade schooler) can say a line or a 3-line prayer while for the older one (pre-teens), 5 sentences (so precise, Tin. lol) can be enough. 😉

2. You teach them responsibility and accountability at an early age. This will give them the confidence to take on leadership roles in the future and be accountable for it. They will have to choose what to pray for.

If they ask, “Mom/Dad, I don’t know what to pray for.” You can simply say, “Listen carefully when Dad or Mom prays. You may pray the same things but when you are older, pray from your heart and what your heart is telling you.”

3. They learn to address us, parents, as spiritual leaders of the household. We are the mentors, we guide them, we set the examples. They will copy what they observe, thus, it is best to leave a legacy behind that is worth following/copying.

4. They learn to say grace, to extend grace, and to receive grace from God who provides all – a great opportunity to introduce and build faith in the family.

If you and your family don’t pray together, make it a habit now. Remember, it is also our responsibility as parents to lead them well while they are still young. 🙂

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” – Proverbs 22:6

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Saturday Reflection

*Ibinahagi ko ito sa Facebook at naisipan kong maganda ring ibahagi ko sya dito since nagsisilbing online journal din naman itong blog na ito.

Noong nagsimula kaming bumukod ni Brian at nangupahan ng sarili naming apartment dito sa Makati sa simula ng taong ito, masasabi kong isa ito sa pinaka-challenging na pinagdaanan namin. Nag-decide akong bitawan na ang MA ko para maghanap ng trabaho at makatulong kay Brian kumita ng pera. Wala kaming gaanong ipon. Sa tanong na bakit biglaan ang paglipat, dahil hiningi na ito ng pagkakataon. Commuting from Cubao to Makati ay isang pahirap kay Brian bawat araw. Kung maghahanap din ako ng trabaho, kailangan sa malapit na rin sa pinagtatrabahuan nya.

Ang paglipat namin ay maituturing kong isang napakalaking suntok sa buwan. Literal na start from scratch kami. Pati pang-downpayment inutang pa namin sa mga magulang at kapatid ko. Wala din kaming mga gamit sa bahay dahil sabi ko kay Brian, kailangan naming matuto tumayo sa sarili naming mga paa. Hindi kami hihingi ng buong tulong sa pamilya namin hindi dahil sa pride kundi dahil kung hangga’t kaya namin magtiis at maka-survive, ‘yun at ‘yun ang gagawin namin. Sariling sikap kumbaga at tiwala sa Dios na Sya ang magpo-provide sa lahat ng kailangan at gastusin namin.

Ayan na’t naranasan namin ang kumain na walang table at upuan at naka-Japanese style kami. Nariyan na din ang sobrang pagtitipid sa pagkain gaya ng mga de lata at turo-turo na nirarasyon namin para mapagkasya sa isang buwan. Natulog din kami sa sleeping bag ng ilang buwan dahil wala pa kaming pambili ng kama. Our families offered to help pero sabi ko kay Brian, mabuti nang matuto tayong hindi sa kanila umasa lagi kapag nagigipit kung kaya naman nating magawan ng paraan. Matututo din tayong maging resilient at mag-endure ng anumang klaseng paghihirap. Lahat din ng produkto ng pagsisikap natin at sakripisyo ay mabibigyan natin ng malalim na pagpapahalaga at matututo tayong humawak ng pera at mga responsibilidad sa tamang paraan.

Marami pa kung tutuusin ang natutunan namin sa mga panahong iyon. At sa ngayon, masasabi kong hindi pa kami totally settled sa lahat ng aspeto. Nakaahon na pero may mga bagay pang kailangang i-settle.

One sweldo day naisambit ko ito kay Brian,

“Hon, ganito pala pakiramdam ng maraming binabayaran mula rent, bills, expenses sa bahay, at utang. Para bang dumaraan lang sa palad ko ang sweldo. Lagi tayong binabalik to step 1.

Siguro way ito ni Lord para sa Kanya tayo kumapit ng buong-buo sa lahat ng mga pangangailangan natin.” ;-)

And yet masasabi kong anumang paghihirap ang dumating sa mga darating na araw, kampante kaming malalagpasan namin iyon dahil nagawa naming malagpasan itong mahirap na sitwasyon.

Ganito rin naman nagsimula ang mga magulang namin. Dios lang ang kinapitan namin sa mga oras na ‘yun at encouragement and moral support galing sa mga pamilya namin. At masasabi kong ang Dios ay hindi kami binigo dahil inalalayan Nya kami all throughout. Trials refine a person’s character ika nga nila. Pinagtitibay nito ang pananampalataya mo sa Panginoon.

Kung dumaraan din kayo sa ganitong sitwasyon, manalig lang at manalangin palagi sa Dios. Gagabayan din Nya kayo para makaraos sa mahirap na sitwasyong iyong kinakaharap.Walang imposible sa Dios at alalahanin nyo rin itong life verse ko:

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

And lastly,

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

– James 1:2‭-‬4

☺ ❤

The Christian Professional: How Do You Respond?

Photo courtesy: StockSnap

I originally thought about putting the word “react” in the title. But based on what I’ve learned in our bible study group, there’s a difference between “respond” and “react.” In a situation, when you choose to react, emotions come into play first. Whereas with responding, you think and analyze first what is the situation on hand then that’s when you act. The former is usually regarded as negative and the latter as positive.

Too often we neglect responding when driven towards tight and tense situations. I must admit there are times wherein I reacted with anger and we all know what happened next – more consequences came along with it. Yes, reacting ends with regretting.

When I became a Christian, I have learned so much about self-control and discipline. It applies on all – the way I speak, the way I think, the way I act, and even with the way I decide. I cannot say I’ve done it perfectly now but it was a long grueling process of transformation. I am not sure if you’ll believe me when I say that before I got saved I am a cynic. Sarcasm’s my favorite language.

A person from my past once told me, “Tin, you don’t need a knife or any weapon to kill someone. Your words are enough.” At that time, I glorified in it. Yes, it gives me that sense of power when you crush someone’s ego and pride.

But my sarcasm ended there when part of my spiritual transformation involved I, myself, experience how it feels to be on the other end – the recipient of that sarcasm. That’s how I learned that God indeed punishes as part of His disciplinary actions as a Father to make His children better. So I’ve learned how painful it is. Only then did I realize I needed to change it completely.

Changing is hard if you’re doing it alone. You cannot change if you don’t know why you need to change and what is it that needs changing. When I was starting to immerse myself in the Bible back in 2013, I have found everything I needed to help me with the transformation – letting go of the old self and ushering in the new one.

You will find in the bible everything about forgiveness, about unconditional love, patience, understanding, gentleness, about not retaliating and so much more. So I got to say to myself that indeed, these are what it takes to learn them.

I am at this age (31) where I have been in different work settings since I started as a working professional back in 2008. I have seen the different work cultures and the diverse people I have worked with. I have also heard stories upon stories about their ordeal in the workplace and the struggle of having to live with those challenges day by day.

I have observed how crab mentality, favoritism, abuse of authority, wrong accusations, taking the blame for someone else’s mistake, bullying, and persecution are all present in every workplace. The workplace showcases the complexities of the human behavior which we have no control over and why there is a need for Christians to be the “salt and light” and set Christlike examples.

If we are to react in all the situations I have given, these are what will come out – irritability, anger, bitterness, hatred, and retaliation. I am sure you will agree with me there. That’s perfectly understandable – part of our fallen nature as a man is being corrupted with sinfulness such as greed, envy, jealousy, hunger for power, discontentment, rage, and all other sins. These are the same reasons why Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden.

And yet, those sins are part of what the Cross is for which is also part of our own crosses that we have to carry each day. But because Jesus already paid a price for those sins, we should claim free and uncorrupted lives.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

So what does God require of us now? Instead of retaliating, leave it all to God. I have long learned that we do not have the power to change people. In the same way that it was only God who helped me change, the same goes for others. Instead, what He instructed us to do is to lord it over to Him all these things and pray for others.

Instead of letting bitterness and anger take the best out of you and make your life miserable, choose to forgive. This way you’ll also learn to empathize with people. You’ll learn to understand why they have so much anger on you, why they are behaving that way or why they’ve done this to you.

Maybe they went through the same thing and their anger made them into the person that they hated. Maybe they are having relational problems at home. Maybe they are depressed. We really don’t know the reason why but only God sees the hearts of each and every one of us. He knows and sees everything so take heart in that too. Do not fear these people even. As God says,

“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” – Proverbs 29:25

Don’t take it personally either. Why? If they haven’t been saved, we all know they are still under the stronghold of the enemy. They don’t know anything yet about the loving grace of God and how great His love is. So maybe that is the reason why God put us there so we could show them that.

Forgive and do not retaliate….answer with gentleness…submit to authority…follow without grumbling…and so on and so forth.

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” – Philippians 2: 14-16

I have seen numerous cases wherein when you leave everything to God, God always acts and would do something about it. He is the ultimate judge so to speak and has the ultimate power to do everything. In the same way that I have been disciplined for my wrongdoings, the same goes for those who have wronged others. I do not glorify in it because I also felt how painful it was when God disciplined me. However, I am grateful because I know this will be the start of a new chance for a new life for them too.

For the record, I am grateful to God I am working with a great team. Yes, it is not a perfect team but I appreciate all my supervisors’ work and the effort of the rest of the team members to work cooperatively despite our different backgrounds. I have no assurance it will stay this way forever but as always, it is in my prayers.

But for those who are going through the opposite right now, always believe in your heart God did not put you there for no reason. He has a very good reason why you have to be exactly where you are now. It might be painful but the best way to respond to it is to pray and ask God this:

“Father, what do you want me to learn from this adversity/season/trial?”

Then ask Him to lead you and your ways so you won’t go astray, you won’t be tempted, and you won’t fall to committing any sin and face the consequences.

I will end this article with a bible passage and I hope it will encourage you to fight the good fight of faith may it be in the workplace or anywhere else that He has called you to be.

Lastly, always pray not just for yourself but for the people around you too. ❤

Have the Attitude of Christ

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

 Though he was God,[a]
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges[b];
    he took the humble position of a slave[c]
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,[d]
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

    and gave him the name above all other names,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Shine Brightly for Christ

Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.”

– Philippians 2:1-18

P.S.

If after seeking for God’s help God has told you to leave a toxic company and all the negativity around it, it is best to take heed. Remember, it is not your boss who gave you your job, he was just used by God as an instrument for you to get that job. Bottomline is that, if God takes away that job from you, most likely He’ll give you another one according to His plans in His right time. 🙂

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

 

Hope for the Young Generation

This is an excerpt from my previous article but I added this part a bit later after the article was published. I thought it would be best if I share it separately in another blog post. 🙂

“I cannot do all those if I lack in finances. Volunteering, for me, can only do so much. I want to help in a way that I can see these people slowly reach their dreams and see them aim towards better opportunities in life.

The recent killings of juvenile delinquents here in the Philippines are very alarming. Not only that. These juveniles are rising by the number and are becoming more aggressive. If only the spiritual family can reach out to them before another young life becomes a collateral damage again, the better opportunities for these kids to have another chance in life. Poverty is not reason enough why these kids should resort to crime, robbery, and drugs and vice versa.

Poverty has an end. Education can be a tool for that – financial education, family planning education, livelihood education, and regular schooling. Faith makes it all happen.

If money is the problem, there are foundations willing to provide scholarships to students as long as students meet a certain criteria and fulfill a set of obligations. Just to mention a few, we have in church the Real Life Foundation. World Vision and Operation Blessing also provide that. These kids don’t actually need a one-time outreach event. What they need is serious mentoring making sure they’ve been given the right opportunities toward a better life through empowerment.

I am never a fan of spoon-feeding when it comes to succeeding in life in general. Just the way my parents have taught me, it is all about personal effort which contains persistence, patience, and resilience. And yet faith has taught me too that it is only God who provides EVERYTHING we need and that we should trust in Him alone.”

These kids need faith. They don’t need money per se but who they really need is God in their lives. I know more opportunities will arise in the following years – game changers, radicals, advocates, catalysts of social change, the academe, and businesses will unite toward one common goal with God at the center.

I am believing there is nothing impossible with God. That’s why I am claiming it as early as now and doing the best I can in my own little way to fulfill God’s will not just for my life but for the rest of the world.

Because this is what it really means to be the salt and light in the world and that is our mission here in this world as sons and daughters of God – preach the Gospel and share the love of God.

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” – James 2:17

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:33

A Day in the Life of a Writer

A Day in the Life of a Writer

(Featured image credit: StockSnap)

And so I’m back. ☺ Hi there beloved reader of this post!

As promised, my next article will be about my “remote working feels.” God gave me the grace to have just a few hours to squeeze this in. 

To those who will be reading this for the first time, this is a “sequel article” to my previous articles about remote working, freelancing, telecommuting, and the likes. It was a total career shift for me from the field of education to my first love which is writing. If you will ask me why the shift from being a teacher to a writer, let’s just say classroom management is my waterloo. But I do love teaching. Yet, I love writing more. It was actually one of my prayers to God to give me a career opportunity where I can pursue both my passion for teaching and writing.

The answer? GOD MADE IT POSSIBLE. (Yay!)

How did it happen? I’ll explain later. 😀

This will be my first-hand experience on remote working and if you are already a remote worker like me, maybe you can relate. But if you’re still considering the option to work remotely, this might give you a heads up.

So, how do I go about my day being a writer/remote worker?

1. Start with a routine.

When I wake up, I do my devo first, do household chores, take a bath, then have my breakfast. I sometimes start working on my articles while eating breakfast. Or sometimes, I don’t eat breakfast and start working right away. 

2. Weigh your tasks.

This will mean prioritizing what you are going to do for the day. If I need to do errands on that day, for example, I have to assess if that errand will consume more time. If yes, I would need to finish my pending articles first. But if the errand has a time deadline too i.e. banks, bills payments, etc., then I would prepare everything I needed for the article the night before so I wouldn’t have to cram in finishing it the next day.

3. Create a deadline for yourself.

This is, by far, the most difficult. Because if there’s one challenge that any remote worker faces every day, it would be this – procrastination. So yes, beat yourself to that deadline and practice discipline at all times. Even if that bed looks so comfy and the weather is all gloomy and pretty much a bed weather, never forsake work over comfort. 😉

4. Check your productivity.

This will make it possible for you to keep track of your work’s progress. Always make sure you’re getting towards your goals and not falling behind.

5. Always look for online crash courses which could help you advance your skills in your area of expertise.

Ah yes, this, I totally love. And I just discovered this with LinkedIn. Yup! They offer a “free” trial period of their online courses and I haven’t used mine yet. 😀 Let’s just say I am still waiting for that right online course. 

6. Continue to challenge yourself to do not just the given tasks but be proactive in what else can you do to help in the betterment of your team’s performance.

Let’s admit it. Your team leader and the rest of your teammates are balancing priorities left and right too. So, it’s not just about getting things done but making sure you are also contributing to your team’s progress.

#1 and #2 are interchangeable depending upon your current needs. For example, in my case, I am currently juggling two jobs as a remote worker. Yes, the answer to my prayers. ☺

But before I get on with the how, the when, and the what, I just want to mention that before I finally got what I prayed for, it required me to seek first and foremost God’s wisdom over my plans. Honestly, I went through several job rejections too. I had a hard time balancing my priorities. I also had to give up my master’s degree. And a whole lot more of struggles left and right.

There were also things which I insisted I will do and I so wanted to have for as long as I put my 100% effort and will-power and yet, God closed those doors a thousand times too. So I finally got it that that door is not the one that God intended for me no matter how much effort and sacrifices I make just to have it. This verse reminded me of that:

“Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:6

So I came to those moments of placidity – a moment of idleness. Those moments where I had my “serious” heart-to-heart talk with my Father.

“What do you want me to do? Where do you want me to go?”

Answers did not come as fast as I’d expected. The enemy played a part in it too by deceiving and tempting me with other opportunities. Sometimes the temptation comes in the form of my own motives.

But it’s a good thing the Scripture is around and the Spirit is greater than he who is in this world. So, God won, of course. 😉

You may read another similar article/testimony here in this link: “Is God Wasting My Life?”

I waited patiently. Always keep in mind that when you seek God’s will in your life, it requires patience. Why patience? Because patience is required for you to have faith. And faith is believing in the things that you do not see. If you aren’t “seeing” any outcome and you don’t have patience, your prayers, sad to say, are useless. Because most likely, you’ll easily give up and move on to your next prayer request.

As they say, believe in the power of your prayers, seek for God’s wisdom and His will over your plans, and lastly, be patient. This, I guess, is the formula in making sure in everything you do, you are assured that you are honoring God with everything.

So let’s now proceed to the job opportunities and I will lay them down one by one according to how each one has played a role in my decision-making.

First, I have a high tolerance for traffic congestion, long lines in the jeepney and taxi stands or walking far just to get to work and to get home. For me, they all require will power. As they say, “if there’s a will, then, there’s a way.” Unfortunately, my body can’t keep up. 😦

The first time I tried going back to the corporate world, my first week at work welcomed me with a cough and flu which went on for about several weeks and I had to take antibiotics for a week because it became severe and it just won’t go away. Another thing, I am a possible candidate for breast cancer. Yup, you can read more about that here in this link: https://chinginete.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/the-borrowed-life/.

Last Friday, my husband and I went to this mall in Makati’s business district to buy birthday gifts. When we were about to go home, heavy rains poured, and as expected, the traffic jam was a killer. It was also around rush hour so our usual 15-minute travel coming home was extended to an hour and a half. Pretty saddening, right? Oh, and so exhausting too. While inside the jeepney, I was staring at all the corporate employees and all their haggard, tired, and sullen faces and I was praying silently to God for more options to us working and commuting people.

Better options.

I cannot speak for all as we all have our own reasons why we work, why we chose that kind of work as well as our goals and dreams. We’re all different but for me, my decision to be a writer and work remotely certainly falls for only one reason: health.

I am not really the pro-promotion kind of employee as I am aware that promotions are most often equated to heavier responsibilities which require more of your time and more of your effort. It requires you make your career as your #1 priority. However, there are those who were really called to be in higher positions at work. But personally, I do not see myself as one of them. It is not even my main reason why I pursued a master’s degree.

My goal as to why I work is to earn money to provide for our needs and to use the extra money to help those in need also. Now, the latter is part of the reason why I can say that one of my jobs right now answers this. I am a content writer for the Emerging Business team of an e-commerce company. I have never thought about writing business articles or anything related to business.

But I am very eager to learn some business concepts even before I started this job. I have this feeling God is leading me towards this field from opportunities to interests. I cannot see clearly now what His plans are for me in this area, and yet I trust Him that I am right where He wanted me to be. 🙂

I have one guess why it has to be in the field of business. When we say “business,” oftentimes it has something to do with money. Yes, money is the root of all evil, as they say. And yet, it will only be regarded as such if you have the wrong reasons for having it. But if you are using the money to honor, glorify, and expand God’s kingdom, then money, in that sense, cannot be regarded as something evil.

I want to sponsor one or even more scholars in the Real Life Foundation in our church; I want to help send missionaries all over the world; I want to take part in every community outreach/medical mission event; I want to put up my own SpEd school which will cater the needs of Special Education students here in the Philippines; I want to put up a foundation for all the children with special needs who cannot afford to have the therapies; and a whole lot more of other advocacy.

I cannot do all those if I lack in finances. Volunteering, for me, can only do so much. I want to help in a way that I can see these people slowly reach their dreams and see them aim towards better opportunities in life.

The recent killings of juvenile delinquents here in the Philippines are very alarming. If only the spiritual family can reach out to them before another young life becomes a collateral damage again, the better opportunities for these kids to have another chance in life. Poverty is not reason enough why these kids should resort to crime, robbery, and drugs and vice versa. Poverty has an end. Education can be a tool for that – financial education, family planning education, livelihood education, and regular schooling. Faith makes it all happen.

If money is the problem, there are foundations willing to provide scholarships to students as long as students meet a certain criteria and fulfill a set of obligations. Just to mention a few, we have in church the Real Life Foundation. World Vision and Operation Blessing also provide that. These kids don’t actually need a one-time volunteering outreach event. What they need is serious mentoring making sure they’ve been given the right opportunities towards a better life through empowerment.

I am never a fan of spoon-feeding when it comes to succeeding in life in general. Just the way my parents have taught me, it is all about personal effort which consists of persistence, patience, and resilience. And yet faith has taught me too that it is only God who provides EVERYTHING we need and to trust in God alone.

So this, I am guessing, is one of the reasons why I am learning a lot from all my research in business, finances, and entrepreneurship. As much as I hate money when it becomes the root of all evil, I also know I needed it that much to help others. I did tell my husband a few months back that I wanted to take up a business management course. He told me that we are not financially capable for that. So he asked me why. I told him that one day I might have to take over our family business in Bicol along with my other siblings.

My guess again is that this job sort of hit two birds with one stone: I get to do what I love and I get to learn all about business and finances for free from all my research. 

So I did mention that I love teaching. I love literature. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in this field and I have the passion to share knowledge or pass it on to anyone who is willing to learn. The next job opportunity came in the form of an English content specialist for an e-learning platform. This job is project-based and it gives me the opportunity to impart what I learned from the academe to the younger generations and help them achieve their goals as a student through additional learning supplements in the form of lesson plans. Teachers also get to benefit from these lesson plans (calling fellow teachers out there to check it out). 🙂

Now isn’t God amazing? All it took was persistence in prayers, more personal time with Him, more immersion in the Scripture, and complete trust in His leading alongside disappointments, failures, and sacrifices. 

As this verse goes on to say:

“Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

Those were the good opportunities. The not-so-good ones came, for example, in the form of a teaching opportunity abroad. I am not saying that working abroad is a bad opportunity. But let’s just say that it isn’t for everyone. I, for one, can’t see myself working abroad if my husband will be left here all alone. I will be going against my marriage oath and commitment to God to be with my spouse AT ALL TIMES. The compensation is far greater than what I’d be earning here but I am also thinking about the collateral damages and the consequences.

This now brings us to priorities. As a wife, the mandate from God when it comes to priorities is God first, second is the spouse, third is family, fourth is the career, and last is the ministry. One of my prayers to God during the whole decision-making process is to help me align my priorities right and balance everything making sure each priority is getting its intended attention, time, and effort. The article below is a favorite of mine as it shares how women can both be successful in their careers and their family lives.

Forbes: “Five Ways Working Women Really Can Have It All” by Candice Lu

That is now my current prayer – to be able to balance all my priorities well as a wife, as a content writer, as a content specialist, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a sister-in-Christ, including weighing of tasks and managing of time. I know God has brought me in this certain season for a purpose which includes serving Him and others and though I may have a few doubts and worries, He will lead the way for sure. 🙂

As God has promised:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

And as my life verse says:

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4: 13

P.S.

My special thanks to my family for all the support and to my sisters in Christ for all the prayers. ❤

 

 

Liliw Tsinelas Store: Sole-ly Fit for Your Feet

“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3

Hi, everyone! 🙂 It’s been a while since I’ve written here (details why will be shared in the next article) and good thing I still have some remaining time (before prepping dinner) to compose a “quick” article.

A brother in Christ/friend of mine and I had this business collaboration and I was more than glad to help and do a review of their products. Well, when it comes to shoes and sandals, no girl can ever resist, right? 😉

Liliw Tsinelas Store

So he asked me to do an OOTD-sort-of-theme for the sandals and all I promised was photos of the shoes and no whole-body shots (except for one). lol Well, I am getting older and let’s just say the fashionista in me has shifted too to more simple outfits peg. Being a remote worker has a say in it too. This will be explained more in my next article. 🙂

Anyway, I’ll keep this short so you can go ahead and read more about what Liliw Tsinelas Store has in store for you by clicking the link below. ❤

http://www.wheninmanila.com/love-local-with-liliw-tsinelas-comfort-and-style-for-an-affordable-price/

Liliw Tsinelas Store

P.S.

Thanks to my awesome hubby for being my photographer and thank you, When in Manila, for the feature in your Fb page! ❤

Liliw Tsinelas Store

It’s Our 2nd! :-)

Ha! I’m the first one to do the goofy pose this time (for a change). lol 😀

I am squeezing in this article despite my pending tasks for today as part of our 2nd year wedding anniversary celebration. Yes, 2 years down the marriage lane and by God’s grace, I can thankfully say we are getting better, stronger, and deeper with our relationship with God and with one another. (Awww Tin, sniff, sniff.) 😀

Seriously though, I am also sharing two awesome articles which I found over Fb news feed shared by a friend and the other was advertised. One is about grace and the other one is about how to keep your marriage intact. These articles are a huge help to all those who are married and even to those who are single but are planning to enter the married couples department.

Here they are:

In contrast to the article I have written for our first year wedding anniversary, I won’t delve into nitty gritty details about our year as a married couple for 2017. The start of this year has been more like the ‘calm after the storm.’ If you’ve been reading my blog posts since the start of this year, you’ll know why. 🙂

I told hubby dear that I don’t want to celebrate this year’s wedding anniversary with lavish dates and extravagant gifts because first, receiving gifts is not my love language and second, we are saving financially (I can be very kuripot too fyi. lol). The fact that we’re still together after all that we’ve been through is enough gift for me. In fact, it is the best gift that I always thank God for every single day. ❤

Ah yes, to the single sisters and brothers in Christ reading this, you’ll understand when you get married and go through yourself the chapters of the married life. But for the married couples, I know they all agree (including me) to what our pastors in church would always reiterate – “marriage is hard work.”

I told hubby that our first year wedding anniversary deserves that much of an emphasis because it’s the most crucial year for any newlyweds. It’s that year when you’re starting to get to know each other in an extremely deeper level like what ticks him off when he’s at home, what are my routines, etc., and adjusting to living together under one roof.

For the first few months after our first year wedding anniversary, we’re still experiencing ripples of that adjustment period and honestly, even now, we are still adjusting to one another. My Mom actually advised me that it indeed takes a lifetime to know your spouse. She added that she and my Dad (both in their 70s now) are still making those adjustments even after 44 years of being married.

But don’t interpret this in a way that the married life is far too burdensome. Although I might have to add that at some point in your married life you would feel that way, I assure you that for the greater part, it is an awesome journey holistically. It will nourish every aspect of your life and every aspect of who you are.

Personally, being married made us grow deeper in our walk with God. I must admit that our faith was extremely challenged to the point wherein we felt like we’re too exhausted to fight it out, and yet, by the grace of God, you will “indeed soar with wings like an eagle” and fly like never before.

To put it in another way, this article has no meaning if I won’t say that it was all God who made our marriage the way it is now. Our own efforts are useless – if and only if they are the only things that we hold on to every time challenges of all sort come our way. It was all about God, all about our prayers every single night, all about finding ways to attend and listen to the Sunday preaching, all about hearing out from spiritual mentors, and all about our trust in Him every single day, in every decision, in every thought, in every action, just literally everything.

Everything is about God and that is the bottom line of it all. Remove God in the husband and wife equation and it sure will fail. No amount of human effort can save a failing marriage except by the loving grace of God. 

Believe me, I have been through very tough circumstances but I never gave up on my husband because I know God will never give up on us for as long as we keep the commitment – our marriage vows. I know that my husband is not perfect and neither am I that’s why it is a given that we will both fail each other through the entire course of our marriage. But it is not in ourselves that we rely on for hope, instead, we put it in God.

Well honestly, I can’t help but cry a tear or two (yes, I counted them. lol) while typing this and I looked back at every single moment that my husband and I went through. Through the good and the bad times, God was always there. I felt Him, I heard Him but it took me my COMPLETE trust in Him as well.

There were moments wherein imagining now, I know my husband and I wouldn’t be able to make it through, and you may indeed call it as the worst of the worst. But I held on to my faith. I trusted blindly to the point that I just surrendered everything to God.

Yes, our human frailties will require we REALLY let go of some things. Instead, let God take over, let God fix what needs to be fixed, ask God to give you wisdom, clarity, and instructions – HE WILL NEVER FAIL YOU.

If I cry now while I type this, that’s because I am overwhelmed by the fact that all three of us made it all through – God, Brian, and me. If you are reading this and you’re going through the toughest times in your marriage, I encourage you to NEVER GIVE UP. Never give up on your spouse and most definitely, never give up on God. HOLD ON TO HIS BEAUTIFUL PROMISES.

Pray that God will soften hearts; pray that God will heal gaping wounds; pray for restoration; pray for reconciliation; pray for forgiveness; pray for a change in you and a change in your spouse; and most of all, LISTEN TO WHAT GOD HAS TO SAY.

Never let your emotions drown the voice of God. Calm yourself and calm your spirit by immersing in the BIBLE day and night. Your bible will be your guide, it will be your weapon when the enemy starts to fill in your thoughts and your heart with lies.

What are these lies? Let me just share a couple of them and they are the usual thoughts:

  • your husband/wife doesn’t love you anymore
  • you are not worthy of love
  • you will not change
  • your spouse will not change
  • there is no hope for both of us
  • the damage has already been done
  • the damage is far too great
  • he/she will be happy with someone else
  • he/she is not the right one for me
  • I am a failure

Counterattack these lies with these TRUTHS instead:

  • my husband/wife will always love me no matter what
  • I am worthy of the greatest love Jesus died for me on the Cross
  • I will change by God’s grace in God’s time according to His plans
  • my spouse will change by God’s grace in God’s time according to His plans
  • there is ALWAYS HOPE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR SAVIOR
  • we all make mistakes BUT we are also given CHANCES
  • NOTHING is too damaged or too broken for God to heal and restore
  • I can make my spouse happy
  • my spouse is God’s best for me (claim it in Jesus’ Name)
  • I am a work in progress and God will see to it that “whatever work He’s started in me will be brought to completion in His perfect time”

Lastly, claim God’s beautiful promises for you and your spouse and fight for your marriage. Look at the bigger picture and don’t be too absorbed by the small things or the stumbling blocks in front of you.

Instead, THANK GOD EVERY DAY IN EVERY WAY.

And always look at your end goal as a married couple by keeping these vows you made in front of God latched in your heart safe and secure:

“Through thick and thin, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part…” 

P.S.

I’d like to thank my spouse for keeping the faith, for not giving up, for redirecting me to God during the times that I felt so weak, for praying with me always, for the many chances to change, and last but not the least, for loving me beyond my imperfections. ❤

Oh and also, for being so patient with me like in the photo above during one of our photo stints last Sunday for a project. 😀

I love God and I love my husband. Nope, it’s an understatement – I LOVE BOTH OF THEM SO MUCH – God first, my husband next. 🙂

To cap off this cheesiness, do watch this awesome cover of “Say You Won’t Let Go” by Moira dela Torre. 😉

If You Do Not Have Love

heartlove

This is a morning thought that’s been itching to get out and I just need to write it fast before I get on with today’s tasks and busy schedule. Yes, my priority is God first. So this first before anything else. 🙂

However, I do not have the extra time (maybe later) to look up the exact biblical references (bible verses) for some of my quoted statements. You know I am never good in memorizing numbers but I can memorize a thought. But you can go the extra mile by typing them over Google search, it might show you other verses too that the Holy Spirit may be speaking to you in whatever season you’re in.

So what’s this morning thought I was saying? It’s this – as believers, may we not fall into the sin of having the superiority complex and the exclusivity of Christians mingling with fellow Christians or on-the-road-to-being-a-Christian alone. Remember that “we ALL have fallen short of the glory of God” and salvation is not reserved for the privileged few but it’s FREE FOR ALL.

That’s regardless if someone used to be/or currently a drug addict, a rapist, a robber, a criminal, an adulterer, an abortionist, etc., CHRISTIAN OR NOT. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ because we have ONE FATHER, ONE CREATOR.

Even pastors and ministers sin by saying the wrong word, by making the wrong decision, by being tempted with anger, etc. for they are as human as we all are and to sin is part of our fallen nature. Yet when we were given a new life when we got saved, we commit to a life of righteousness.

That is why the greatest way to show our love back to the Father who gave us this opportunity to a new life is to extend the GRACE that He has given us even if we all DO NOT DESERVE IT. We are all a work in progress in our spiritual journey, it is best to develop a character that ENCOURAGES, that gives HOPE, rather than a character that condemns and criticizes.

The core of Christianity was never just about faith nor discipleship but most importantly, about LOVE. The greatest commandment is this, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Jesus came here not to condemn this world but to give HOPE out of His Father’s LOVE FOR US. That is why even “if we speak in tongues,…but DO NOT HAVE LOVE, we are only a resounding gong. And for anyone who doesn’t know how to love doesn’t have the love of the Father in them.”

And lastly, “faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.”

What do you know about love? Read 1 Corinthians 13. I got to know all about it and apply what I learned from the bible when I got married.

Yes, my seasons changed and it was a total paradigm shift from knowing the theories alone (when I was single) to applying them for real (when I got married). And yet I am more than glad to God for giving me this opportunity. 🙂

My challenge is this:

If you can overlook an offense no matter how grave it is even to the point of life and death, then you know how it is to love. You know without a doubt the Father’s love for you and me. It was when Jesus died for our sins – the greatest sacrifice and form of love ever done.

For one, try to reach out and LOVE that person under the stronghold of drugs and massacred an innocent family. Pray for a new life to begin with God at the center of his life, then maybe that love you have given will radiate in him and him to others until it becomes a domino effect.

How do you change the world? Be that change by starting with one person at a time. That is our responsibility, leave the government to carry on with its own and other affairs.

Again, do you have the love of the Father in you? If yes, then we should love others as to how He loved us. Start it with someone you know whom you thought is impossible to love. You might be startled by the fact that it did not only change that person but it also changed you.

Indeed, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” 🙂

P.S.

This is the intro for my next article – the 2nd year wedding anniversary special. Pretty long, eh? 😀

Understanding a Young Professional

 

2017-08-01-14-52-07.jpg

Indeed, August is understanding – understanding the will of God, understanding yourself and others. 🙂

At my age of 31, I can say I have been through all seasons when it comes to job opportunities in search for the one that God says as “the right one.” These decisions aren’t easy to make because I also need to value what my spouse thinks on what is best for us both.

These seasons brought me to short term employments, some even lasted for just a week, some brought me to a standstill for a long while and some lasted for a couple of years. I always seek God’s counsel on these matters because let’s admit it, giving up a job and hopping on to the next is crucial.

We all need money to survive. Getting rich, however, is a different story and something I do not fully support. Money is the root of all evil if it becomes your god and your life revolves around it. This includes anything that makes you “great” as well. It will destroy this hierarchy of priorities mandated by God:

  1. GOD
  2. Spouse
  3. Children/Family
  4. Career
  5. Ministry

How? When we don’t find the right answers to these questions:

  • When was the last time you opened and read your bible consistently?
  • When was the last time you took a quiet time, prayed, and made it a habit?
  • Do you have enough time for your spouse on a regular basis?
  • How about for your children?
  • When did you last visit your parents or talked to them?
  • How about your siblings? When did you last check up on them?
  • When was the last time you attended church? 

We’ve always been reminded to never place any idols before God and that anyone who disobeys will face the consequences:

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,…” – Exodus 20:3-5

Are our possessions our god? Are our finances our god? Are our careers our god? Are our achievements our god? Are our children our god? Is our ministry our god?

If we fail in even one of the things I have mentioned above, we know that we are guilty. We always have to be on our guard because the enemy is always in the corner prowling around looking for that next victim to deceive. Everything may seem to be smooth sailing but little did we know that we are already heading towards destruction. If everything is going smoothly in our lives, we should already wonder.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

There may not be any external atrocities happening on the outside but the enemy is already going for the most vulnerable spot inside you – your heart and your soul.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23

As the adage goes, “A river that is quiet usually has looming falls at the end of it.”

Your heart and your soul may have remained placid but they were not given the opportunity to build a shield which is the armor of God and strengthen your faith.

The Whole Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” – Ephesians 6:10-18

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

Don’t be tempted to get that next promotion or for that next “big thing” to add to your resume or attach at the end of your name right away. Don’t be tempted to sign that 6-digit salary or the millions that you’re being asked to take without confirming the responsibilities attached to it. Don’t be tempted to say “yes” to any promise of a better life other than the gift of salvation.

No, don’t be tempted with these things. That next promotion might be a temptation to spend less time with your spouse and family or a temptation to sacrifice your own health and wellness. That 6-digit salary might tempt you to drown yourself in the physical pleasures of this world which equate to even more worldly temptation. That promise of a better life might be masked in the form of easy money and the black market.

Review your priorities instead (single or married), ask for God’s leading, seek His counsel, and pray for discernment towards the right path.

If you will ask me why, then consider the following:

  1. Why is quality time with God important? The Scripture will guard your heart against any temptation. This will prepare you for any trial you’ll go through. Thus, it is the #1 priority.
  2. Why is quality time with the spouse important? Marriage is a holy matrimony, it is also a room for the enemy to attack you or your spouse with temptations. Communication is important between a married couple. If you are too tired to even ask what went on in your spouse’s day, it might be too late when you realize your spouse is drifting away from you and eventually leads to a divorce.
  3. Why is it important to spend time with your kids? Your kids will only be young once. They will appreciate the time you’ve spent with them more than the toys or gadgets you gifted them when they grow older. The percentage of depressed teens are getting higher every year. You don’t want them to end up growing up a teenage rebel or being with the wrong group of friends just because their parents are always “absent.” It is as important to your child that you become his/her first best friend other than just being a parent.
  4. Why should you not place money as the top priority? Money is the root of all evil. It sparks jealousy, greed, selfishness, death, among all other negative things.

I am not a licensed counselor but I have learned these nuggets of wisdom from mentors who went through the same thing and shared their experiences, combined with my own personal experience as well as knowledge lifted from my graduate study which is special education.

You might add that they are all a case-to-case basis but consider this verse:

“What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.” -Ecclesiastes 3:15

If you are to ask me why, this might suffice as an answer:

“And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear Him.” – Ecclesiastes 3:14

Going back to all those career shifts, I can say that I have met wonderful people who have touched my life. I’ve learned a great deal of wisdom from them and formed a special bond through the memories and experiences we’ve shared which I am forever grateful.

On the one hand, I have touched their lives as well one way or the other and continue to influence as they add me on social media, check out my profiles or read my blog articles (oh, it’s you). 😀

I never viewed it as a waste of time, this shifting of careers, though it brought me to a slight and temporary instability in my priorities, marriage, finances, etc. as seasons change.

But no, I remained steadfast because I am clinging to a Rock and I know I have a God who is forever faithful. I viewed these instead as a time of GREAT TESTING.

How? It is only in times of drought and famine that your faith in God is truly tested. It will answer the question “how far are you willing to trust God with your whole life?”

So much of this testing didn’t test my character alone but it also built the foundations of my marriage and refined the characters of the people around me too. They, too, have learned to rely on God along the way.

I have always relied in the TRUTH that God is the ONLY ONE who provides for all our needs from finances to material things; who gives us a career; who provides our salaries; who closes one door of opportunity and opens another; who keeps things steady though everything may be shaky; who keeps my marriage intact; who binds the relationships I have with others; and who reminds me of my priorities.

What matters is we stayed obedient to His instructions, obeyed His laws, and pursued His will and plans for our lives all throughout.

As I write this journal entry, all I can ever see are the lives of those great people recounted in the bible who withstood all trials because of their unwavering faith even to the point of death: Daniel; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; David; Joseph; Job; among many others.

They say it takes fire to yield a beautiful sword ready for battle. Without fire, the sword will be blunt – ineffective and of no use. Yet it also takes the time to forge a sword. It takes effort and a great force to yield it. On the other hand, too much heat will cause it to melt.

As a young professional, you’ll receive so much of this fire which could either destroy you or mold you. Choose, however, to consult God’s plans over your life more than being dissuaded by what this world expects and wants from you.

Do not break away from the vine, cling to it. Let God use the fire to mold you for a better purpose. But never let the enemy use it to consume you and head for destruction.

In the end, it is important to keep in mind that even when you have to close a hundred doors and open a thousand, it still is God who decides what is the best door to keep open. You’ll never really know in which seasons will God forge you to become one of His mightiest swords. But, learn to trust Him instead. 🙂

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As my spiritual mentor and Victory group leader said with her life verse and God’s promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

For this article, here’s a video from Hillsong that’s one of my all-time favorite Christian songs:

freelancer

Be Protected as a Freelancer

(Photo credit: StockSnap)

Since I have given you opportunities about doing remote work, teleworking, telecommuting including freelancing, I believe it is also my responsibility to provide a list of websites from my research on how to protect yourself should you decide to be a freelancer aside from having your full-time job.

I found these articles very helpful. But just in case I encounter similar problems in one of my (future) freelancing stints, I believe I would need to sit-in in one of the Torts and Damages classes of my brother-in-law who is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines (Diliman) College of Law. 😀 He used to work as a company lawyer for Baker and Mckenzie, a multi-national law firm, and it would indeed be a privilege to learn from him given the opportunity. 🙂

The following are the articles which you could read if you are a freelancer or just planning to become one:

However, if you’ve already experienced any drawback from your freelancing stint though you did the right thing, took the necessary steps, and followed the agreement, don’t be discouraged but take this verse by heart:

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.” – Hebrews 4:13

Just pray, let go, and let God take the lead from there. The battle is not yours anymore but His to take. Be fearful of God and not of men – let God be the judge and be the one to give justice. 🙂