Understanding a Young Professional

 

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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. 🙂

The Digital Age: Remote Work and Telework Defined

The Digital Age: Remote Work and Telework Defined

Hurrah to those who are planning to be stay-at-home Moms or are stay-at-home-Moms already! 😀

This is really good news to me too even though I am not a Mom yet but also transitioning from being a corporate/office employee to doing remote work or work-at-home setup.

I haven’t considered this thought of working at home until circumstances compelled me that working in an office or a classroom is not part of the option. Back in 2002, the concept of working remotely isn’t that unfamiliar anymore. But during that time, only a few companies promote the work-at-home setup to its employees.

Modern technology and its rapid advancements made all this sudden switch from the office to home possible. The increasing trend on social media marketing, for example, challenged businesses in their advertising strategies from print ads to what we call now as ‘digital marketing.’

I have conducted ‘extensive and intensive’ research about the options to work at home and a lot of websites are offering work-at-home opportunities which suit my qualifications, work experience, skills, my interests and more importantly, the working hours. I have highlighted in my previous blog post that the reason why I have decided to make the shift is partly because I intend to prioritize family time and health issues.

Praise God, after how many months of browsing and waiting for the right opportunity to come along, it did come. I was hired by a company and went through the normal hiring process by taking an exam and having an interview. I underwent training and currently in a probationary period.

I am a freelance writer for the first 1-2 months or until I finished 25 articles. Then I will be paid per article submitted but when I transition to staff writer (if I pass company’s standards), which is a full-time position, I’ll be receiving regular pay given every 15th and 30th of the month. The company also offers SLs and VLs for the employee but it still depends upon the work load. The work schedule is still 8 hours a day everyday or a total of 40 hours per week.

The Digital Age: Remote Work and Telework Defined

But before you decide on making that career shift to become a remote worker too, do read this article written by our Editorial Manager. It’s a very insightful read. 🙂

Making That Career Shift

So are you decided to make that career shift now? If yes, I’ll share these websites which are a great help in knowing what kind of remote work is best for you.

Most of these articles which I lifted from different websites were written starting year 2016 until now. Take note that this was the year wherein a lot of articles about home-based jobs were published. I actually would like to conduct even further research as to the cause behind the boom in remote jobs which, I am guessing, has a lot to do with not just the digitization of almost everything from books to learning but how businesses are making the general shift as well. I thought it would be nice to come up with an in depth explanation that will showcase the development and how they were all interrelated.

But it is going to be business marketing. I should take another course for that. lol I am actually interested to take a short business course but I just have one concern, is it possible to study business marketing, economics or finance without having to deal with numbers? Haha I think that is not possible. I love to learn the concepts and ideas but I am not sure if I’ll be able to do all the Math, if you know what I mean.

Lately, business marketing has expanded enormously in different arenas. Even the fields of education are mashed up with businesses and online marketing. Distance learning used to be just a simple video conference call among students and professors mimicking the traditional classroom setup but this time the opportunities became endless. Now, this teaching setup was transferred to homes and students are given the option to hire a professional online teacher who can assist him hands-on with the subject.

Ah yes, there are countless possibilities bound to happen in the years to come and who knows, sci-fi movies about everything being turned virtual are not far from becoming a reality.

So How Did I Explain This To My Family

The generation gap is harder to bridge than I thought. My now 72-year-old Mom who’s sharper in mind than ever and I, a 30 something young wife, find it hard to make these gaps meet career wise. The only technology that my Mom is adept in using is a regular cellphone, not the smartphone. 😉

My Mom doesn’t know anything about social media, digital marketing, etc. Every time she asks me why I did not take the traditional classroom teacher job though I have taken master’s degree units, I am a licensed professional teacher and started explaining about the work-at-home job opportunities, I know she is completely lost in translation. 😀

It is the social stigma attached to working at home which is less dignified, less professional, less fulfilling if you are a career-oriented person, etc. that ate among the few and common misconceptions towards any transitioning corporate employee to a remote worker. To make it short, these types of jobs were typically looked down as something inferior compared if you work in an office.

I guess the only way to clear these misconceptions is by stating the very definition of what remote work/telework/telecommute means. But I am just grateful though that when the right opportunity came, my family, including my husband, gave their full support in this endeavor. Ah yes, praise God indeed.

What is telework or remote work?

  1. It is synonymous to telecommuting and though their definitions may be closely related, there is still a difference between the two. Here are a couple of excerpts from Wikipedia’s definition of telecommuting but I suggest reading the entire article. I gained a lot of insight from it more so because this kind of working environment is also new to me.

“Telecommuting, also called remote work,[1] telework, or teleworking,[2] is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute or travel (e.g. by bus or car) to a central place of work, such as an office buildingwarehouse or store.

All types of technology-assisted work conducted outside of a centrally located work space (including work undertaken in the home, outside calls, etc.) are regarded as telework. Telecommuters often maintain a traditional office and usually work from an alternative work site from 1 to 3 days a week.[4]

As a broader concept than telecommuting, telework has four dimensions in its definitional framework: work location, that can be anywhere outside of a centralized organizational work place; usage of ICTs(information and communication technologies) as technical support for telework; time distribution, referring to the amount of time replaced in the traditional workplace; and the diversity of employment relationships between employer and employee, ranging from contract work to traditional full-time employment.[7]

Some organizations adopt telecommuting to improve workers’ quality of life, as teleworking typically reduces commuting time and time stuck in traffic jams. As well, teleworking may make it easier for workers to balance their work responsibilities with family roles (e.g., caring for children or elderly parents). Some organizations adopt teleworking for environmental reasons, as telework can reduce congestion and air pollution, as it can reduce the number of cars on the roads.

Telecommuting is also called “remote work”,[1] “telework”, or “teleworking”.[2] A person who telecommutes is known as a “telecommuter”, “teleworker”, and sometimes as a “home-sourced”, or “work-at-home” employee. A telecommuter is also called the “telecommuting specialist”, as a designation and in a professional context. Many telecommuters work from home, while others, sometimes called “nomad workers” work at coffee shops or other locations. The terms “telecommuting” and “telework” were coined by Jack Nilles in 1973.[11]

telework allows employees to better manage their work and family obligations and thus helps retain a more resilient Federal workforce better able to meet agency goals.

Telecommuting individuals, or more specifically those in “work from home” arrangements, may find that it improves work-life balance, reduces their carbon footprint and fuel usage, frees up the equivalent of 15 to 25 workdays a year (time they would have otherwise spent commuting), and saves thousands of dollars per year in travel and work-related costs.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommuting

Here are a couple more websites to help us understand better what telework encompasses and how different it is to freelancing/telecommuting. Although I do get the notion now that if you are a teleworker and still doing other jobs on the side, then you are a teleworker who is also a freelancer. 😀

Forbes magazine has this feature article on telecommuting as the future of work. Do you agree? Yes, I totally agree that it’s going to be for the betterment of every telecommuter/teleworker/nomad worker. 🙂

If you’ve been reading my previous articles, it’s been my constant prayer to God to lead and equip me in fulfilling His will and His plans. I always ask for His instructions over my life, my decisions, and my choices. I cannot boast about my “superwoman” abilities because it was all God from the very start. With the flexi time that remote work/telework offers, I can squeeze in errands for my family, help out friends, spend quality time with hubby, and do ministry work while earning at the same time.

Yup! You read it right. God answered my prayer this time in having a ministry to serve with through the communications team of Minkah Ministries Inc. I am just loving their advocacy which is all about reaching out to the communities (not the usual community we live in) and share about faith. Moreover, Minkah‘s founder Tita Beth also shared another good news – the organization has been now officially approved by the SEC as an NGO.

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w/ Minkah Ministries Inc. founder, Tita Beth and Communications Lead, Jam. 🙂

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Minkah Ministries Inc.

I’m like, “wow, Lord” indeed it is all you. I just can’t believe everything that’s happening right now wherein they’re all aligned perfectly just the way they should go. Yes, not a coincidence but all orchestrated by God for the fulfillment of His plans and His will. And yes too, all glory to God as always. ❤

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

“Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

Part of my research at work also brought me to watching these great videos of famous entrepreneurs and I was agreeing the whole time to what the speakers have shared. Please do find time to finish watching the videos, I am sure you’ll be inspired by the end of it. 🙂

 

Here’s Bill Gates‘ Harvard Commencement Address in 2007:

 

The video below is Mark Zuckerberg‘s Harvard Commencement Address in 2017:

 

So I will just end this article with this awesome two-liner from Mark Zuckerberg and a bible verse quoted by Bill Gates both in their Harvard Commencement Speeches.

“To create not progress but purpose – a sense of purpose….The greater successes come from the freedom to fail.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-Founder

“…When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” – Luke 12:48 (As shared by Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder)

P.S.

I will be writing in another article about the necessary things needed to process your change of employment status at the BIR, SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig should you also go for remote work or work-at-home setup. For the health card, hubby suggested that he’ll enroll me under his health card so I need not apply a new one.

That’s it for now. 🙂

*Feature Image Copyright: Shutterstock

Project Organic

Project Organic: Best Skin Care Essentials + Giveaway!

 

Project Organic

Project Organic

When a sister in Christ and friend asked me to check out Project Organic‘s products, I was more than glad to try them. Why? Because their products are all ORGANIC. It’s just perfect for my sensitive skin because I have eczema – the reason why I can’t be a beauty blogger. 😀

Project Organic

Face Serum

I was not just captivated by Project Organic’s products but by their advocacy too. Every time you buy their products, most of the proceeds will go to the funding of educational scholarships, in providing job opportunities, and in building a retreat place called Prayer Haven. 

Ah yes, God gives us the right opportunities and with the right people so His plans will take place in His right time. 😉

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Do read the article to find out more about Project Organic‘s products and how to join the contest. May you be blessed too! ❤ 🙂

http://www.wheninmanila.com/project-organic-theres-beauty-in-the-organic-with-these-skin-care-essentials-a-giveaway/

P.S.

I particularly loved this verse printed in their every product:

“Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously, and when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:11

Consumerism These Days

I am currently hooked on business practices and everything related to it and after I did a couple of research here and there, one thought got stuck all throughout which is the word ‘consumerism.’

Business Dictionary defines it as:

1. Organized-efforts by individuals, groups, and governments to help protect consumers from policies and practices that infringe consumer rights to fair business practices.
2. Doctrine that ever-increasing consumption of goods and services forms the basis of a sound economy.
3. Continual expansion of one’s wants and needs for goods and services.

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/consumerism.html

I’d like to explore items 2 and 3 but first, I’d like to raise a question:

“Is consumerism a negative thing?”

I primarily view this thought as somewhere in-between. I see consumerism as something good as it addresses our needs in order to make our lives convenient and easier (insert innovations in technology here as the forerunners). The downside of it though is accumulation or hoarding to the point of getting more than what is necessary, as far as materialism is concerned.

However, for as long as there is a consumer, there will always be a production of everything that a consumer will need and enjoy. Every one of us is a consumer from the clothing we wear to basically everything else we have. Businesses were put up for this very sole purpose. Just imagine if the production of diapers is put on hold and you have twin babies. That sounds like a whole lot of mess and hassle to deal with.  😀

I just can’t imagine myself living in the Stone Ages. Promise, I’d barely survive. Although the thought of how it all started with our ancestors sounds very intriguing. The Survivor game show just sparked my interest on this and other survival shows such as Man vs. WildMan, Woman, Wild; Naked and Afraid among others. These shows only portrayed how living can be like devoid of all the things that make living easier by reenacting how our ancestors have made it through from the vastness of the wild to civilization.

Consumerism emerged from these needs and eventually more and more innovations and products will come out in the following years as more ideas sprung up out of the need for a convenient lifestyle.

Let’s say for one, the computers. If you were born in a generation like my parents (The Baby Boomers), most likely you’ll view this with a slight contempt (love you Dad and Mom, I’ll teach you how to Facebook 😀). Demands during those times are far different from the demands of today’s generation. But for me who was born in a generation where I saw how it all started, I do get to appreciate how things are running now from how it was before computers got in the scene. Imagine typewriters (no errors, or else, you’d pretty much regret it), a huge waste on paper (let’s save trees!), everything stored manually (oh dusty library catalogs) and other traditional system disadvantages.

If, however, we decide to stick to what is ‘old,’ can we still go on living just like the old days? Yes, we may choose to not be at par with all these changes, but we must also consider how this will affect majority of how we do things from paying bills, buying stuff, etc. as every system will align itself to what is the common trend or what is more convenient.

But if you are to ask the older generations, the traditional methods of doing things helped them mostly in two things: endurance and patience. Does this mean though that today’s generation is more impatient, out of focus and unwilling to endure? Personally, I believe every generation has its own fair share of ups and downs and it is all just a matter of bridging those generation gaps. There are those who totally oppose and will continue to oppose these changes though and for sure they have their own valid reasons why. I am, on the other hand, always on the lookout for what is new out there to learn. These new ideas, innovations and discoveries were not meant for the destruction of mankind anyway.

Although I might have to add that in everything, striking the BALANCE is ALWAYS the key in making sure everything is getting and turning out to right where they should be. As they say, too much of everything is not just good for the holistic well-being of mankind. In the Christian context, the same can be applied. The bible has a lot to say about it actually. 🙂

P.S.

I am currently in a new season career wise and I am praying for sustenance, guidance and instruction in order to meet deadlines, work cooperatively with team mates and provide an excellent output that will honor my God and the organization I am affiliated with. ❤

Yes, we are all workaholics and we work hard but PRAY HARDER. Lastly, always KEEP THE FAITH. 😉

“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command:  If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

And to the man He said,

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree

    whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,

the ground is cursed because of you.

    All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.

It will grow thorns and thistles for you,

    though you will eat of its grains.

By the sweat of your brow

    will you have food to eat

until you return to the ground

    from which you were made.

For you were made from dust,

    and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:17-19

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” – Colossians 3:23

[Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.”] – Exodus 20: 8-11

3 Days to Know God

…on a deeper level. 🙂

Day 1

Though I am on complete social media hibernation, I still felt the need to record these thoughts over my phone’s notepad. But if you saw my Twitter account active during these days with posts from YouTube, that’s because I was browsing and listening to worship songs for my prayer and quiet time.

It is Day 1 of the Mid-Year Prayer and Fasting and after submitting an exam for a job application and before bedtime, hubby and I watched the movie John Q.

I was bothered how injustice and inequality can really make things look distorted. Thus, I had these questions in mind which were included in my prayers:

*Why are health services not free?

*What happened to EFA (Education For All) all throughout these years?

*Is life really unfair?

*Why should most things be about or are connected to money when money is the root of all evil? – Answer: We need money to survive but we also need self-control and discipline to have the right attitude in handling money matters and not be overtaken by greed and all sins related to money.

I haven’t received the answers for my other questions yet so I’ll just get on with how day 1 went. I was opting for a once-a-day meal but unfortunately after having an upset stomach with loose bowels for the past days, I need to eat regularly. But this time, I have decided to limit my rice intake to 1 cup per meal only. And no, I eat at least 2 cups of rice in every meal. I just don’t get fat and I don’t know why. 😀 Eating 1 cup of rice every meal though will send me to a major weight loss program towards anorexia. lol

Day 2

“Father, I come before you with a grumbling stomach…” 😀

I was browsing for recipes to cook for my husband’s dinner and I can hear my stomach grumbling its complaints. Imagine how hard it is to resist eating more than your usual food intake, but you had to RESIST the TEMPTATION.

It is lunch time but I’m still praying and having my devotion thus I blurted with a grumbling stomach and yet I had to CONCENTRATE. I had to wear earphones while I was about to start praying because the noise around, though very minimal, still distracted me.

But while I was browsing for instrumental praise songs, a recommended video/news about my favorite Korean actress Song Hye Kyo and Descendants of the Sun co-star Song Joong Ki getting married just popped up! An on-screen couple that turned to a real-life couple is just an amazing love story. So just imagine me beating those two, TEMPTATION and CONCENTRATION – the temptation not to log in on IG and all my social media accounts to share the news as I am on social media hibernation being part of my fasting and concentrate on finishing my devo. But if guided by the Spirit, you’ll know what to do – a rebuke will always be there. 🙂

I started eating my meal and I actually made a discovery. When you take time to appreciate every single item in the food before you eat it, it will give you that moment to savor every bite instead of gobbling all the food up. Appreciating every morsel and every ingredient from how God sent the rains to water the crops to the farmers who nurtured the crops, then the ones who transported it will help you resist man’s innate instinct of just consuming what its body desires. Our initial reaction when we see food is to eat it and consume right away.

On a side note, I also got news that I was scheduled for a job interview (a major career shift) and so I end the 2nd day with this and these running thoughts:

“Let the TRUTH be told in whatever season I am in, in whomever I become, in whatever I have.”

“More of you God and less of me.”

Day 3

“If love is so enormous in our lives, there’d be no space for hatred.”

I woke up with this thought in my head and just to give you a trivia, these are the thoughts that usually spark up an article. All my articles came from a single thought. But sometimes my thoughts can be so scattered. 😀

In another news, this day I was scheduled for yet another job interview for the next day which is Friday (today as of writing). This was part of my faith goals for this year and one of the things which I have been consistently praying for.

A thought also came during the praise and worship for the last day of fasting which was about praying for the community and I would just like to share the following experiences and musings regarding this.

I have made a discovery while I was browsing through new places around the neighborhood where hubby and I just recently transferred. I was a bit shocked and just a little bit dismayed that the community has been tagged as the “sex tourism” capital of the city. But upon seeing new establishments (and good ones they are) being built around the area from pretty nice restaurants to condominiums, I know and I am happy to know that God is going to do something great with this community.

The same thing happened to a situation wherein I almost passed up an opportunity because I saw something that I know will offend God. And yet if God brought me in these places and opportunities, I need not be worried, afraid nor doubtful about what I see on the outside. I need to see behind the enemy’s lies that this is corrupted and evil because in the eyes of God every single human being is beautiful, every one is given a chance, every thing has a GOOD purpose no matter how opposite the outside appearance or the first impression may look or seem.

I asked myself though, will this (being in a community/organization known to be corrupted) taint my reputation as a Christian?

The answer came just instantly: I was already made right in the eyes of God when I was saved, God already knows the condition of my heart I need not please the world. I will please Him if I accomplish what He has tasked me to do in this particular season, place and opportunity.

Reputation is something that this society is so concerned about and yet no one has the right to judge anyone except our God. This should not be an excuse though to sin and conform but to remain firm in the faith and become the “salt and light.”

“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 

I can never judge the community I am in nor that opportunity which came along. In the same way that Jesus socialized with the drunkards and what society tagged as the “outcasts,” we must also do the same by helping and serving them while remaining true to the faith. Jesus never thought of them as different, He sees them as ‘sick’ people needing ‘treatment’ and yet He waited for the opportune time when God will change these people’s hearts. He was sent here not to condemn this world but to do only what He was tasked to do – share who God is and what eternal salvation is all about.

Jesus saw in these people what our naked eyes couldn’t see, a beauty that is skin deep –  the soul. Whether someone is a drunkard or a prostitute, to God he/she is flesh and blood with a soul. He sees Himself in us because He created us. He sees the GOOD in every one of us no matter what ‘tags’ society has placed on us.

I am always fascinated by this quote ever since I stumbled upon it:

“It is easy to love a rose but it takes a great heart to include the thorns.”

God loves us COMPLETELY. It is this kind of LOVE that John says as NO GREATER LOVE than this. It was this kind of love that became a SACRIFICE and set all of us FREE from the sins of this world. And it is this very same LOVE that is working its way out through you and me each and every single day.

I can love a fellow Christian but I even have more love for those who are not because I saw my old self in them and I know that they, too, will experience this love that I have, they will be given a new LIFE and a new NAME.

If I speak of hope then they shall too. If I speak of life then they shall too. If I speak of love then they shall too. They will rise as I have risen in the same way Jesus have been raised from the dead. I have a GREAT HOPE that we will all rise with Him one day. Thus, we patiently wait. 🙂

P.S.

Great opportunities came along today too (7/7/17) career wise. And just to share, it was 8/8/08 when I got my first big blessing as a working professional. There really must be something with the numbers. 😉

Ah yes, the moments of His silence, my steady prayers and patience – the Lord is indeed FAITHFUL with His PROMISES in His RIGHT TIME. 🙂

What an awesome day today to break my Mid-Year Prayer and Fasting and the start of the last 2 quarters of this year. My last prayer is that may God continue to speak through our lives and may we continue to bring Him all the GLORY and HONOR that He deserves always. ❤

Oh and one very, very last thing in this postscript. (Promise!) 😀

A praying mantis visited our bedroom walls tonight. It’s a very rare sight for me living in the city half of my life. I only see them when I am in the province in Bicol where the air is clean and less polluted.

Well, it seems to me that it says of only one thing – if this praying mantis made it alive in the polluted, dirty and chaotic environment and still remained as pretty and as unblemished of a creation as it is, then I guess it speaks the same of us. If God can take care of this praying mantis, what more of us, His greatest creation. 🙂

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Paul, In Love

“We give advice by the bucket but take it by the grain.” – Tom Stoppard

It is easy to learn the theories but it takes EVERYTHING to practice them right. I consider Paul as the greatest love guru giving the most practical and sensible yet challenging advice about love. An advice on love and marriage is best lifted through the bible which is God-breathed. What the Word contains withstood time and remained relevant until now.

You might be wondering why I put up this blog and I did mention in my previous posts that this blog will serve as my “megaphone” for my faith. When I first started it, I actually have no idea how to run this blog, how it’ll turn out and what I will be writing about. It took some time before I finally got the instruction – trust the Spirit’s leading in whatever season you are in.

“And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” – 1 Corinthians 2:12

It is as synonymous as trusting God’s leading just like what happened to me and my husband one time. It did come to that point wherein we were financially tight that we were wondering where to get the money to provide for our needs without asking our families for help. My husband did think about borrowing money and as for me, I know I need not worry because God does not want me to worry for as long as I put my complete trust in Him. Neither do I want my husband to worry because of my worries too. I have faith that my God is bigger than anything and that He makes the impossible possible.

Days came wherein my husband and I were already dreading the worst days that we could possibly encounter from not having enough finances and I was tempted to count our cash on hand and worry how to fill it up but I thought again, I need not worry because God is with us. Lo and behold, on that same day where I got tempted to do my budgeting again but did not do it, my husband happily texted me from work that we are going to eat out.

I jokingly told him that will not be possible because of the financial constraints we were facing. On that day, I was reading bible verses and making these faith-based articles for posting while listening to worship songs. I was actually surprised to find myself feeling so “light” and happy not knowing yet what the good news is. Yes, hubby did not fill me in with all the details for his “happiness.” 😉

When he got home, he kissed me and took out his wallet and showed me something – paper bills more than enough to help us through the month. He got it from work along with the rest of his team mates from a boss whom I believe God used as an instrument of blessing to us at just exactly the right time.

At that time, these verses came to life for me on a deeper level simply because God has proven it to be true, out of His love for you and me. All He wanted to know is how far we are willing to put our faith, hope and trust in Him that He is God, that we have nothing to worry and to wait patiently in His timing. Always. 🙂

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” – Matthew 6:25

“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-8

“Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” – 1 Timothy 6:17

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” – James 1:12

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles 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

I actually consider every moment of waiting as some sort of fasting, a delayed gratification process. Contrary to what most people think about waiting as idle time, there is so much that goes on actually while waiting. It is a period wherein your soul wrestles with your sinful nature because you get and have enough time to contemplate internally and reflectively. There is a battle within between what this world asks of you and what God expects of you. It can be agonizing most of the time since it’ll reveal your deepest weaknesses and yet so much is being forged in the period of waiting because the battle happens within. Patience, discipline, trust, endurance, and most of all faith come into play. That is why I referred to it as fasting in a way because it is the Spirit who accompanies you in those moments of waiting. 

True enough I got the bigger picture of it all now. In the same way that the apostles like Paul have done in “recording” their testimonies about God and Jesus through their own tests of faith which is now the bible, the blog is the modern version of our testimonies about how to live with God in our generation. I interpreted it to be its main purpose.

I thought to myself that even if I die, for as long as WordPress exists, my website will be up. I am actually overjoyed to see that Facebook came up with the Legacy Contact in the Account Settings (check photo below). This allows any Facebook account holder to pass on his/her “legacy” by choosing someone to oversee his/her account when he/she dies. So I guess this even suggests greater responsibility on us social media users. We don’t want to pass on the bad/negative stuff to the next generation, do we? 😉

FB Legacy

For as long as these social media sites are running, our legacy will be up for the whole public to see or for our friends and mutual friends to see. The great question that we should ask ourselves is this – what kind of legacy/imprint are we leaving behind? Another follow up question would be this – what does your life say about you when people look at your social media accounts? And last but not the least – are you inspiring them to live life in wisdom towards the Truth?

I believe there is a Paul, a Peter, a Timothy, a Matthew, and all other disciples in each and every one of us. It is about time we do what God has called His disciples to do – out of His love for us, our love for Him and our love for others. Yes, it’always been about love. ☺

“Commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” – Deuteronomy 11:18-19

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

“And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” – 1 John 4:16

So I end this article with those questions which I did ask myself too and one of my favorite Christian songs of all time. ❤

(Featured photo: ilovehdwallpapers.com)

Looking Forward to Another Season: New Spiritual Family

Today I woke up feeling decided to join a new spiritual family – the clarity of instructions is there. Yes, hubby and I transferred cities and I allotted 3-4 months for us to comfortably settle and get acquainted with the place, in commuting, and with the entire community. I spent half of my life in Quezon City and when I got married, hubby and I thought it best we relocate to a place near his workplace which is in Makati City.

I was born-again and had my baby steps in faith in Victory GT Toyota but the Spirit moved in me first in Victory Fort when my brother invited me to attend one of the church services there. Victory Fort may be near our place now but Victory Pioneer is nearer. This will be my first time to attend church services here and I am looking forward to what God has called me out in this new spiritual family.

It actually doesn’t matter in which church God has called you but for me, I personally chose to grow spiritually in the church where He called me to serve first. My home church where I attend services every time I am in my home town in the province is United Church of Christ in the Philippines – Bulan Evangelical Church. I attended services here from childhood until high school along with my siblings, parents, grandma, and relatives.

When I came here in Manila to study in college, I honestly admit that I wasn’t part of any spiritual family and this most probably explained why college days for me were a sure ride of emotional roller coaster. Not until I graduated in college and still a bit later did I find myself taking heed of the Spirit’s calling.

Since 2012 until 2016, I have been growing spiritually with my Victory Quezon City family and this year, I am all set to grow with yet another spiritual family. I am just grateful the church offers these online services wherein volunteering in a ministry and joining a bible study/fellowship group are just a click away. Ah, praise God for technology, more and more ways to advance God’s kingdom are popping up alongside the advancements in technology too.

So I’ll wrap up this article with screenshots just to give you a glimpse of the early morning activity that transpired today along with these verses:

VictoryPioneerMinistry

Volunteering in a ministry. 🙂

VictoryGroupConnectPIONEER

Bible Study Group

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” – Romans 12:4-5

“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.” – Ephesians 4:4-6

My prayer to you, my dearest brothers and sisters, is that may you find joy in serving the Lord and others in whichever season and in whatever niche He has called you to serve out of love for the Father who gave us a new life and out of love for others. ❤

Throwback sa Buhay Kolehiyala sa Peyups: A Letter to the Graduates

Hindi man makabagbag damdamin ang aking karanasan sa kolehiyo bilang iskolar ng bayan, nais ko rin itong ibahagi nevertheless bilang pagpupugay sa mga magsisipagtapos ngayong darating na Linggo and because I went through a similar battle some 10 years ago. 🙂

It took me 2 years to finish my undergraduate thesis. Sabi ng iba mahirap daw makapasok ng UP at ‘di hamak na mas mahirap daw ang lumabas. Kasama na ako sa porsyento ng mga isko at iska na sumasangayon sa paniniwalang iyan. Ngunit ano pa mang karanasan ang danasin nyo sa unibersidad, alalahanin na the university was just there to prepare you for the outside world. In my case, muntik man akong naging dropout at na-delayed ng 2 years, naintindihan ko ngayon na will pa rin ng Dios na grumadweyt ako. Pero kung sakali mang hindi, alam ko rin na God has better plans for me na Sya lang ang nakakaalam – not my timeline but God’s; not my plans but His’.

Ika nga, “Many are the plans of man but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail.” – Proverbs 19:21

This is just one battle that God has used to test our faith and yet there will be more battles in which the world will ask you to conform to its patterns and standards and deviate from your faith. Your heart will be put to a test between what is right and what is wrong sa mata ng Panginoon, you will rise and fall along the way, your priorities will change as seasons shift, you will weigh opportunities that could’ve made you look great in the eyes of the world but with a corrupted soul and you will be torn between pleasing this world or pleasing the Lord your God.

If we were given wisdom, it is not for the sole purpose of just gaining knowledge. If we were given power and influence, it is not for the reason of proving how mighty and popular we can be. If we were given provisions, it is not so we can be secured with our future. They were not given so we can use them according to our ambitions and wants but they were given so we can glorify God’s name, His will and His plans.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” – James 3:13 

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.” – 1 Corinthians 3:18

“Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,
and humility comes before honor.” – Proverbs 15:33

UP, in all its diversified community and culture, has taught me the early doctrines of freedom by being a nonconformist and yet it is faith which molded me that it is God whom I should please by not conforming to the patterns of this world.

Thus, through the bittersweet memories with our UP Naming Mahal, I took an oath to serve God, serve my family and serve the country not through the standards of this world but of God’s. 🙂

Lastly, why God?

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit for APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” – John 15:5

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” – Matthew 16: 26

As you embark on yet another season in your life, may you not depart from the greatest wisdom of all time even greater than what the academe has taught you – His Word. 🙂

Praying with you in faith,

Christine Lailani G. Ginete-Rome ❤

GradPhoto

BA English Studies major in Literature, College of Arts and Letters, UP Diliman (04/28/2008)

Gifted: Extraordinary Trying To Be Ordinary

It is one thing to be great and yet it is another thing to be happy and fulfilled. Which of these two are you after? 🙂

Hubby and I watched the movie “Gifted” starring Captain America’s Chris Evans. I was captivated by the movie’s portrayal that not all individuals who have the potential to be “great” are subjected to society’s dictates that they be the next Albert Einstein or Bill Gates. It depicted how parents overlooked the fact that greatness is not equated to a life well-lived but only if the child be given the chance to live life by his/her own choosing – a great life or a life lived otherwise, simple and normal devoid of titles.

The story was set in a small town in Tampa, Florida and revolved around the life of 7-year old Mary Adler (McKenna Grace) who’s been living with her Uncle Frank (Chris Evans). Mary’s remarkable talent in Math was discovered by her 1st grade teacher and raised this concern with the school’s principal who then proposed to Frank that Mary be sent to a school for the gifted. However, this setup changed when a battle on custody between her uncle and grandmother took place. Mary’s grandmother intended on giving Mary full access on all resources to maximize her potential while her Uncle Frank, on the other hand, wanted to fulfill the request of his late sister (Mary’s mom) that Mary should experience a normal childhood. The story ended with the court’s decision that Frank be granted custody over Mary and Mary taking regular classes in a public grade school in the morning and taking high level college courses in the afternoon.

Special Education gave way in addressing these problems regarding special children or children with special needs. I was very curious regarding this branch of education back in 2008 when I worked as a communication assistant for the deaf and mute which then prompted me to pursue a graduate study in this field. My eldest sister graduated with a degree in Special Education also and I’ve heard her recount stories and experiences in dealing with special children.

Out of my curiosity to understand them better and the dire need to alleviate the challenges they go through, it led me to finding out that there are actually more of these children who are trying to live ‘normal’ lives out there. It is not only a constant challenge to these children but to their parents as well who try all the best they could to give them a normal life.

Nowadays, the idea of Special Education is not so new anymore in our society. For those who haven’t been truly exposed in what Special Education is all about, the general objective of it is good in all aspects. However, as practitioners of this branch of education, there are some challenges that Special Education still has to address in which researchers are currently exploring. This ranges from teacher competencies to the after-school support programs because education for these children doesn’t end in the four corners of the academe.

The demands are greater – demands for better understanding on a holistic sense i.e. emotional, social, biological, intellectual, behavioral, etc. Indeed, their education is referred to as “special” because they are not regular students who fit more or less in a standardized curriculum. With these children, however, the Individualized Educational Plan addresses their needs best, academically speaking. But there are other needs that should be met as well i.e. emotional, social, and behavioral development in which a Special Education school with special students alone may not be able to cater.

As with the case of Mary, she is intellectually gifted. But if we will focus on just unleashing her full potential just like what her grandmother wants, she truly may miss a lot most especially her childhood. It was portrayed in the movie that Mary’s mom committed suicide which, I assume, has something to do with her low emotional quotient though considered as a Math prodigy. This low EQ, I believe, has been sidetracked as the school for the gifted she attended focused more on improving the technical side of her intellectual giftedness not taking into consideration the other essential factors needed in order for her to function fully and normally as a human being.

This movie is an eye opener most especially to parents either of a special child or a normal one. Though we all have dreams for our children to have the best in life and give them the best opportunities around, what matters still is not the achievement nor success (worldly definition) they could have in this life but to live it according not to our standards as parents nor of this world’s but that of God’s. God knows His plans for our children. We just need to trust in Him that He will give us, parents, the right instructions to raise them well according to His plans.

And what does God say about gifts? My previous article will answer that. *wink* Or better yet, watch the entire movie. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer of the movie below. 🙂