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)

Good Stewards of God’s Gift

This is a very quick article as I’ll be preparing for an exam and I am looking forward to busier days with (prayerfully) writing and teaching. In whatever case, all glory to God as always and may His will be done over all my plans. 🙂

To set the right tone for this article, allow me to share this bible verse first:

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

I consider writing and teaching as gifts wherein God has called me to serve Him and fulfill the mission He has tasked me to do. It has always been my all-time prayer that if God will give me a professional career, it will cater both the fields I am passionate about – writing and teaching.

I may not know how it will come about but my constant question too is how I could glorify His name in these fields. This blog supports my passion for writing and contains my testimonies about faith and been ‘teaching’ about it one way or the other.

But it also contains all the things that I am passionate about from hobbies, advocacy, quality time with people I love, movies, literature, cooking, etc. I am pretty sure you’re familiar with the term “hobby hoarder”  and I must confirm being guilty of that. 😀

However, it is not my intent to be a “jack of all trades, master of none” but it is out of my passion for learning too that’s why I became interested in learning these crafts. Some of them I may have acquired as a skill, some as a talent, and some out of diligence in being able to create something for someone.

The latter, I believe, is what 1 Peter 4:10 is all about. It’s never about the many things you can do and never a matter of glorifying self but how can you help others with what you have or what God has given you. Think of Albert Einstein or Bill Gates and other “gifted” inventors who contributed so much for the convenience and betterment of the human race and society. Though their achievements were recognized, I believe the “geniuses” in them aren’t just about being born lucky with it but that it has already been predestined by someone more genius than anyone else He created the entire universe with all its intricacies. But even if gifted with such great talent, it still depends entirely on how God will use that talent according to His plans.

In my previous article, I mentioned that it was my brother who inspired me to play the guitar as a hobby. He got the inspiration from my Mom most likely and out of his passion to learn the craft, he has learned the art of music by playing the guitar good enough to inspire someone like me.

I got influenced and had the same willingness to acquire the skill so he passed on the trade by giving me my first guitar and allowed God to teach me what I needed to learn along the way. Now married, it was my husband who showed his interest in learning the craft through me and so came the birth of his very first guitar. *wink* 😉

I believe it is a question of who do we serve with the gifts/talents that God gave us with.

NEVER should the talents be used to glorify self nor fulfill our own desires because it will root in on pride, selfishness, greed and discontentment. Pursuing ambition by means of talent can never be the case as well. Again, if God’s gifts were used solely to satisfy our own selfish needs, then we are not maximizing what God originally intended those gifts for – for the benefit of all.

For it was written,

John 3:30 “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”

Luke 9:24-25 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”

Luke 9:23 [Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”]

Denying ourselves pleasures that only us will benefit makes us obedient to the calling that God has called us out. For it is only in the act of doing things out of love to our gift-giver can our talents and skills have complete meaning by aligning them to their purposes and roles according to God’s plans.

These two sketches are a request from hubby for his family which I was very hesitant to do at first as I feel inadequate in meeting their expectations. But I finally had the courage to do it because of God’s grace, my husband’s encouragement and my life verse which is, “For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13.”

Honestly, I hate to part with each of my art work as I feel a part of me has been embedded in every piece. lol Yes, I believe I really am that sentimental.

BUT it is of greater joy and complete happiness knowing that you are using what God gave you not for your glory but for His glory being good stewards of His grace – again, 1 Peter 4:10. 🙂

P.S.

I believe everyone has been gifted by God with something and it is not only through the hobbies in which one can serve the other.

If you are unsure what God may have given you and where He is calling you to serve Him and others, I encourage you to volunteer in one of the church ministries. The ministry may not be exactly what you had in mind as the avenue for you to completely use your gift in serving others but it might serve as the instrument in knowing completely where God wants to put you.

Of course, prayers mean a lot. I did mention in one of my previous articles that I was asking for God’s guidance and clarity in what He wanted me to do with the gifts He has given me.

I am praying you’ll find the right turf where you can serve others too may it be at home, at work, in school, abroad or in your homeland. 🙂

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Bro-in-law (9″ x 12″ Pencil Sketch)

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Parents-in-law (12″ x 18″ Pencil Sketch)

Strumming w/ Acoustic and Classical Guitars

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His, acoustic; mine, classical.

I have noticed that classical guitar strings easily break compared to acoustic guitar strings. The quality of both strings are different and acoustic guitars have metal strings while classical guitars have nylon strings. I had my first guitar as a college graduation gift from my brother. Starting from the day I got it until now, I think I replaced the strings for about 5 times already though I seldom play it like thrice a week to once every 2 months depending upon the availability of my schedule.

Brother bought me a classical guitar because I have been playing Mom’s guitar in our hometown in Bicol when I was in high school. But when I got here in Manila back in college, I have been messing around with brother’s guitar which he doesn’t usually approve of, by the way, because it’s always out of tune after I’m done playing. Hahaha Sorry brother dear, but thanks for lending me your guitar anyway, anyhow. 😉

But I had these broken strings to be grateful for – I learned to tune the guitar without the help of any tuning device. I always play by ear so it was easier for me to recognize if a string is slightly off-key. It was also this playing by ear that made it easier for me to replace the chords of a song if the music sheet isn’t reliable or the notes are too low and I don’t want to use the capo.

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Strike a pose before strumming.

If you are asking me why I have two guitars in my possession and you might think I am too greedy or in the habit of collecting guitars, well, my answer is no, I am neither of those. It was my hubby’s request to buy a new guitar and become my apprentice. I thought I’ll choose metal strings for him because it’s usually recommended for beginners. But if you are to ask me which one sounds better, I think that is one tough question because personally, I love both. Each of the two has its own unique sound quality depending upon the type of song you wish to play.

If, for example, you love that “stringy” and clear-sounding guitar music, choose an acoustic guitar especially if you’ll be doing a lot of plucking. But if on the one hand you prefer a more solid guitar sound which is achieved in full strumming, I suggest go for the classical guitar.

Brother chose the classical guitar for me because of its nylon strings. It’s less painful to the fingers especially if you’ll be strumming for longer periods of time but ironically, I am enjoying the metal strings of the acoustic guitar for now because it sounds more clear. 😀

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Awesome eye candies at Benjie’s Music Store. 😍

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Got these and the guitar case as freebies! God is good all the time, eh? 😀

Going back to me and hubby, let’s just say, my “me” time at home includes playing the guitar while my hubby is having his “me” time too and I think he got inspired while listening to my belting. lol Seriously though, he usually sings along while I am playing but what I hate about this is that he usually gets, you guessed that right, LSS-ed for yup, you guessed that right again (or not), let’s just say…a week.

A week?!?!?!

Yeah, yeah, I know you are squealing with laughter right now. Just imagine how irritated I am for the entire week as I listen to him singing usually one part of the song over and over again more than the national anthem during flag raising every day. 😀

But well, you know my husband, he usually does this to tease me. *sigh*

But now, it’s a good thing that he gets to play with me. Oh, but I forgot to tell you and this will be a secret between us – (whispers) he sometimes sings off-key. lol 😀

But he is a very willing student and I am a teacher by passion and by profession. 

So….

Three “buts” in a row are no good for an article thus I am ending this with my husband as a willing apprentice and I am more than glad to inspire and teach as always. 🙂

P.S.

For our duet performance, uhm, I believe it’s going to happen in about 10 years from now. *insert chuckles here* Practice makes perfect, as they say. Oh, and my favorite musical pieces? It’s none other than worship songs, of course. ❤

My Kind of Summer Swimwear: Nonconformist

So you must be wondering why I am oh-so-fueled with energy to write more than 1 post for this month. 😀

Answer: I am making the most of my idle and waiting time lest I become busy the following months – again. We can never tell so I am letting those ideas out in the open. Oh and yes, before I forget them. 🙂

Anyway, this is a late post since summer is already over and the rainy season has welcomed its way already here in the metro and some provinces. Last summer getaway with my husband and his family, I was thinking about what to wear for my swimwear. I sure have a lot of two-piece swimsuits but I am not sure if I could wear them and swim without nothing on top.

While the rest of the world during summer is revealing too much skin with its very daring two-piece swimsuits (praying for a change), I can only be grateful to God for fashion designers who opted to create a swimwear that will preserve the dignity of women and not be treated as sex objects with their skimpy outfits by coming up with a comfortable and yet fashionably elegant outfit.

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I personally LOVED these swimsuits because they are made from a swimming material so they easily dry up, they are light-weight, securely padded, have an undershorts/bikini attached underneath, and they’re made of silky fabric that glides and never sticks on the skin even when sweating.

Of course, who likes to change outfits often right after swimming if you don’t like to walk around in your two-piece swimsuit?

I can wear this around comfortably, no cover-up needed, which can serve as a dress for a lunch date too at the resort without the whistles, the catcalls and the “heavy” stares. If you know what I mean. Oh and yes, it’s very convenient too if you want to travel light for your summer getaway – a swimsuit and a dress in one, no shorts and no cover up as added extras in your baggage. 🙂

P.S.

I purchased these swimsuits at SM Department Store and Farmer’s Plaza (Cubao) flea market at almost the same price (a reasonable one) – 500 php. I saw similar swimsuits being sold online and they tag them as three-piece swimsuits.

[Paul said,] “I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” – 1 Timothy 2:9

It Was His Birthday: Part 2

Brian Rome

“Birthday Boy” (9″ x 12″ Pencil Sketch)

This isn’t a yearly habit for me but I intended to make it so from now on – sketching him on his birthday. 🙂

It was my hubby’s birthday last May 4 and when he was just my boyfriend, it was my first birthday gift to him – a sketch. Last year I wasn’t able to make one as we were out of town for his birthday celebration. This year though, time allowed I make him another one. I have been eyeing one of the photos I took of him as my sketch guide – this time from a different angle.

I promised I will do another sketch of him and though I was hesitant to draw as it’s been more than a year since I got hold of a pencil and did some sketches, God gave me the grace to finish it in less than an hour – I was busy preparing for his favorite dinner too. Multitasking, it is. Yes, the duties of Mrs. Wifey. 😀

So I teased my husband, “Honey, I already did a front and side angle of you, should I also sketch your back?” lol

What do you think?  About sketching his back, I mean. *just kidding* 😀

Angel, Did You?

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Angel, did you…? 

Did you graze upon our home and left this proof of your presence? 😀

Okay, now this belongs to a bird, a small one, which frequents my little garden at the back of our apartment to get bits of a pot made from coconut husk to build for its nest.

But for angels, it oftentimes occurred to me that they do exist with us except that they are not the ones which we commonly imagine or how angels are portrayed in children’s books – with wings of fluffy feathers as white as snow and with silken, long white robe.

I have read in the book of Revelation  that angels are actually very huge beings which do not take the form of a human. They usually come in a bright light which, I believe, is where the “white figure”  idea of an angel came from.

I know angels can also be spirits and yet there is only one Spirit that lives in all of us – that which is of Jesus Christ, the one He sent to be with us when it was time for Him to physically take leave of this world and be with His Father in Heaven.

But then again, childhood memories are not easy to erase. Though I believe in the Spirit and acknowledge His presence in my life everyday, I will still stick with my bright, feathery angel and this photo I’ve randomly taken will remind me of that. 😉 ❤

“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” – Psalms 34:7 

P.S.

I don’t have any formal training in photography and I just shoot when I want with what I want on who I want. But I guess you don’t have to travel far and be in grand and new places to enhance your photography skills. Same thing with writing. I was trained to write scholarly and academic papers back in college and even now in my graduate study and the jargon is totally different to that of feature writing like this one which has a very casual tone.

But in life, faith in God and experiences taught me more than the technicalities of photography and writing per se for they taught me more about one thing – appreciation. It was actually my faith followed by my transformation/salvation that brought this blog to life, not to impress readers nor gain followers and likes but to express my thoughts and honor my God.

I was then urged to make the mundane interesting by appreciating what is already in front of me a.k.a. what I can make out of what I already have – God’s love. This is what I call the by-product of “eyes being opened.”

Then, everything becomes worth capturing – they all now have a story to tell. All we have to do is take on the Spirit’s leading in His ways and in His time when to share them. 🙂

Mid Year Prayer and Fasting 2016: July is Enthusiasm

JulyEnthusiasm

For this year’s mid year prayer and fasting in our Victory church, it fell on the month of July same as the Muslim’s end of “Ramadan” and my Paulo Coehlo planner has “enthusiasm”  as the BIG word for this month. I intended to lessen my social media interaction during this period to lessen distractions and temptations. Compared to my previous testimonies during prayer and fasting which were day by day accounts, I thought about summarizing experiences for this mid year’s prayer and fasting.

Fasting, for me, actually happens every single day. Fasting is denying yourself the desires of your heart which is most oftentimes can be associated to worldly pleasures to be more in tune with the Spirit. In other words, fasting means having self-control and discipline. My definition of self-control means controlling my desire to get any opportunity to try all great food out there in big volumes (gluttony); controlling my desire to get all the new gadgets in the market and other material possessions (greed); controlling my desire to avail all cosmetics, plastic surgery or other beauty enhancements (vanity); controlling myself in acquiring every opportunity to earn titles and be well accomplished in terms of business, career or in academics (pride) and a whole lot more of desires that need to be controlled.

The prayer and fasting that our church has which takes place during the mid year and the start of the year are ways for me to present to God the even bigger “giants”  that I need to overcome not just for myself but for those around me too. These “giants”  could be prayer requests that have not yet been answered and yet proved to be quite burdensome and the circumstances that I have no control over. Thus, I make sure my testimony for the prayer and fasting will be documented and here it is. 🙂

Let’s start with Day 1 (Faith to Speak).

True enough to the word “enthusiasm,”  day 1 has a BIG revelation already. Before I even started my devotion for day 1, I already received a text message, a follow up about something I am sincerely praying for over familial matters. It was followed by a prayer from me and I cried upon seeing it because it only meant one thing: God answered my prayers just to give us hope although more prayers are needed and yet the assurance that He is with us in this ordeal that we are going through is more than enough. It brought back memories of me 3 years back before I got saved and what I also went through. Then, the bell of a nearby church rang, it signified the holy hour of the day – 12 noon. Ahhh yes, the LOVE OF GOD manifests everywhere. 🙂

I shared to my hubby what happened and he told me that I really am dedicated in doing things that are not even required of me. I told him that yes, I am doing it out of love – sharing the love that God gave me. If it wasn’t for Him, I wouldn’t be where I am now. It is the love of God that saved me from the repercussions of my sin and past mistakes and eventually saved me from death – salvation through the Cross.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

I continued that I am able to share this love that God has given me to others because I know how it felt to be on the losing end, alone, empty, afraid and unsure of everything because of the total darkness around me and yet God gave me hope, He gave me peace and lastly, He gave me security. All because He loves me. True it is when the bible said that,

“We love because He loved us first.” – 1 John 4:19

I want to share this love to others so that they, too, might know who God is and how it feels to be saved by GRACE out of His undying FORGIVENESS and faithful LOVE to us.

It was in this moment that I realized what my brother told me that I was selected for the task, for this mission, being the one who has a flexible schedule because of my masteral thesis and I have no work. So my prayer went like this as I ended my prayer and fasting devotion for day 1:

“Dear Father,

Though I may shed tears as I humbly pray to you now, it is because I am  overwhelmed by Your presence that I am feeling now. You have, once again, through miracles, shown Yourself and how great Your love is for us. You never left me and my family. Through the times that we have to cope with grief, loss, pain and suffering, You gave us patience, courage and strength to endure it all. This goes out to other nations as well and their people who are going through the same thing.

This prayer is not a prayer of requests but of gratitude. I have made my heart known to You and all the needs and the burden that I have to carry and yet I find myself at peace every single day, not worrying about anything (which is unusual) and enjoying a content moment with my spouse. We are savoring these simple but precious moments that we are experiencing now and we never fail to thank You of that every day as we come before You and pray.

Indeed, You are my footprints in the sand, the only footprint visible because You carried me all the way. Thank You for the protection, for shielding us from the attacks of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy, for guiding us in our decisions, for instructing us what to do and showering us with the warmth of Your love.

I know, Father, that You have prepared me and prepared all of us in every circumstance and in every season that we will go through in this life. Thank You, lastly but not the least, for sending to us the Spirit who will remind us, guide us, intervene for us and lead our every moment in our lives. We know that You are preparing us for the second coming of our Savior.

I am lifting up Your Name as I continue to trust in You and claim the beautiful promises that You set before us in every battle that we will go through in this world. We are all victoriously saved through the One and Only Son whom You sent to save us from the perils of this world and take away all our pain, sorrow and suffering once and for all. 

I love others because of You and because I LOVE YOU…I am EXTREMELY GLAD and GRATEFUL that I have come to know You and I will FOLLOW and OBEY what You command me to do through the Mighty Name of Your Son, JESUS,

AMEN.

Your loving daughter,

Tin”

Then, heavy rain poured (I love rain). Was it Your assurance God that You heard me? I bet it is. *insert enthusiasm here*  😀

On with Day 2 (Faith to Fight).

Because miracles do happen, I believe this testimony will attest to that – MORE GOOD NEWS! Though I cannot share the specifics for confidentiality purposes, I know my Father God sees it all and the enthusiasm I have for Him and all His goodness. Ah Lord, You are our Great Healer and Deliverer indeed. Thank You for all You have done. 🙂

This verse indeed came to life for me:

“The Lord will fight for you, and you only have to be silent.” Exodus 14:14

Without even thinking who to encourage as part of the “Respond”  activity for today’s devotion, God already gave the opportunity who I should encourage when it comes to faith. I only realized it some time after I sent the message to these people – God gave the need.

Today was all about fighting for faith and the enemy will never give up without a fight too, will he? I committed to a no-rice, smaller intake of meals fasting being a heavy rice-eater. Oh boy, my neighbor now started cooking deliciously-smelling viands and the aroma is just filling the entire house and I can hear my stomach grumbling its complaints. 😀

Then there went my internet connection unusually going off for some time, which rarely happens, exactly when I am about to share about faith in my social media accounts. Well, the enemy can try but he has found the greatest adversary ever in me – God. Try as he might, I am also determined to do what I was tasked. 🙂

I also had to go to the mall to buy some stuff and hubby and I decided to eat dinner at the mall’s food court. I ordered pita bread while he ordered 2-piece fried chicken with rice. I told my husband while eating, “Honey, you know how enviously you are making me feel with every spoonful you take with that rice.”

He laughed and offered me a piece of chicken skin (my favorite). Then I told him too, “You know that chicken skin too is sinfully delicious. It contains too much allergens and high in cholesterol, I should also avoid that.”

I went on that controlling my desires and avoiding temptations will make me happy because it will make my Father in Heaven happy too when He sees what I did. So now my hubby resolved to have a no-rice fasting too so he could empathize with me and not tempt me. 😀

Though I did not encourage him to do this because he needs all the energy he can get commuting every day to work for 2 hours in every trip and the demands at work. So I told him to eat just the way he would but just be with me in faith and in prayer. 🙂

My prayer for this day went like this:

“Father in Heaven,

You have, once again, tremendously shown that we need not worry and be anxious about everything for it is You who are fighting in our behalf. You have, once again, given opportunities to show how faithful You are to our needs. Indeed, I only need to be silent and let You do what You needed to do. 

I will never stop in fighting the good fight of faith to honor You and Your commandments. Though the enemy may strike everywhere and anytime, I have faith that You will give me the armor that I need to defeat him. 

May You continue to give me the strength and the courage to pursue in living what is good and what is right according to Your standards. I am inviting You in my every fight for faith through the Mighty Name of Your Son, Jesus, AMEN.

Lovingly Yours,

Tin”

Last but not the least, Day 3 (Faith to Overcome).

Today was also another beautiful day receiving a personal message from someone whom we have been praying for – a text of gratitude. It made me cry tears of joy, out of gratitude too. Darkness was overcome and there is now light, a resurrection, a redemption and a new beginning.

Ahh, we have such a loving God. If only more and more people could see it. If only more could experience it. 🙂

I believe the following statement from today’s prayer and fasting devotion will answer this:

“We must have faith to hear from God and do what He says, regardless of how unconventional or illogical the instructions may be.”

I know that faith is the only way to overcome every challenge, setback, trial and suffering – claim the victory that has already been made for us through what Jesus did on the Cross for us. We were already made victorious by His blood shed on the Cross – we just need to CLAIM it. Most probably why the word PROCLAIM. 🙂

We are to proclaim that Jesus has saved us and granted us victory over our sinful lives i.e. bad habits, past mistakes, wrong decisions, lust, greed, pride, wealth, possessions, etc. and over this sinful world i.e. death, crime, murder, sickness, corruption, etc. There is victory to those who believe that He has overcome the world once and for all and all we need to do is to live out this thought in every portion of our lives.

We have to proclaim that God, through His Son Jesus, is the ruler of our lives and the ruler of this world – ONLY Him. 🙂

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” – 1 John 5:4

So I’d like to end this article with this worship song that I encountered while having my worship time first day of the mid year prayer and fasting. Honestly, my worship time at home means jumping, dancing and singing out loud because I can’t do it in church lest my flailing arms might hit fellow worshipers. 😀

I was singing this at the top of my lungs and…..hubby just got LSS (last song syndrome)-ed by this song! hahaha He and I are humming and singing this song since then every time.

Well, this song reminds me of what true worship should be: the FAITH to SPEAK, the FAITH to FIGHT and the FAITH to OVERCOME….all with ENTHUSIASM. 😉

Thus, for my prayer, I have this:

“Dearest Father in Heaven,

Thank You for giving me two great partners in this world – the Spirit and my husband. 

Thank You for the Spirit who intervenes in all that I do and I thank You for my husband who shares in my every tear and my every laughter through the bad news and the good news, the failures and the triumphs.

We love You so much, Lord, for being with us ALL THE WAY. We are looking forward to claiming life in eternity with You and Your Son. With You nothing is impossible for You have overcome the world.

Thank You most of all for the overflowing love which gives me, in turn, overflowing happiness, peace and security. Thank You for giving me a reason to live life ENTHUSIASTICALLY.

In Jesus’ Mighty Name, AMEN.

Forever Yours,

Tin”

May everyone raise their hands to the sky and give God the praise, the glory and the honor that He deserves. ❤

And may God bless you, dear sister/brother, who is reading this. 🙂

A Father’s Day Special: Courageous

This movie review is a Father’s Day tribute to honor the roles of the father in the family and in society. If you are wondering why I don’t have a Mother’s Day tribute here in my blog for this year, hubby and I went home to my province and celebrated it with my 69-year old Mom and 91-year old grandma – two great matriarchs in my family.

Time has it that I can’t visit my hometown again and celebrate Father’s Day this June 19 with my 76-year old Dad. I thought about honoring my Dad here instead. Since he is not updated with the technology-driven world, he’d probably joke around saying what I wrote about him over social media will already “expire”  before it reaches him. Yup, funny, my Dad is. 😉

Even funnier when you see this photo of us around year 2011. 😀

Before I proceed with the movie review, I’d like to share some snippets on who my Dad is. My brother wrote an essay about him 11 years ago which was selected as one of the articles read at the graduation rites of my brother’s class (Sanlingan 2005)  in the Philippine Military Academy. When the announcer started reading Kuya’s essay during the ceremony, there came the gushing and shedding of tears – our tears. It did bring us all to tears because my brother was right, our Dad is “The Unsung Hero” and yet loved and respected by all.

Taken inside the cockpit of the Cessna aircraft during Kuya’s Naval Aviation Group Graduation year 2010.

Our Dad is a man of few words and yet he cracks the silliest of jokes. He is seldom the disciplinarian and yet when discipline comes from him, we all remembered this need to hide as his discipline would mean leaving a mark for the rest of your life. He seldom gets angry but when he does, it is the kind of anger that you would not want to see.

I am grateful though to my Dad for this thing called “discipline.”  If it wasn’t for this, our lives might be in a total mess right now, without direction. Now that I am a believer, I have learned that discipline in a family is very important not to show who’s the boss in the household but for parents to guide their children in the right way and in the right things only because they love them and only wanted the best for them. Just like how God disciplines and rebukes us, a Father to His sons and daughters, so we could live fruitful and better lives.

My Mom is never the stage mom type and when I was in grade school, I was always invited to participate in dance numbers, presentations, oral declamations, etc. So you’ve probably guessed who was with me most of the time in those instances – my Dad. 😀

It is a #FlashbackFriday today so please allow me to backtrack a little bit further to when I was in grade school just to share some photos of moi and the extra curricular activities I have mentioned:

Sitting in with the Grade 1 class as I am still a year younger.

Preparing for an ati-atihan folk dance number when I was 6 years old. That’s me second to the right.

Before there was Walking Dead, there was zombie dance. lol Seriously, this is a Hawaiian dance number.

Before Walking Dead, there was zombie dance. lol Seriously, this is a Hawaiian dance number.

Grade 3, Star Scout Camping. There’s another star scouter wanting to have her photo taken with me before our dance number – except that she became a photo bomber. Tsk, too late. 😀

Loving my childhood because of Girl Scout Camping. This was during our hiking and swimming at Obou Falls.

Loving my childhood because of Girl Scout Camping. This was during our hiking and swimming at Obou Falls with childhood friends and classmates. That’s me in the middle wearing a white shirt.

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Playing the role of a bridesmaid.

Competed with other schools in the folk dance category during the Literary & Musical Contest.

Competed with other schools in the folk dance category during the Literary & Musical Contest.

School play during my last year in grade school and played the role Thisbe in the Greek story "Pyramus and Thisbe."

School play during my last year in grade school and played the role of Thisbe in one of the stories in Greek mythology, “Pyramus and Thisbe.”

I’d just like to give credit to my Dad for being our all-time photographer – these photos and memories wouldn’t have been made possible. Nope, I am not a Daddy’s girl and I do not consider myself as one. I never experienced being so absolutely clingy to my Dad but at some point I did feel a deeper connection with him more than my Mom when I was in high school. But when I got into college, I felt that both my parents did so well in raising us all and they never had any favoritism on any of us five siblings.

I believe one thing that I am forever grateful to God is the fact that I grew up with both my parents present through every milestone that we went through. Though we all had to leave home when we all went to college, we always look forward to the days wherein we will all come home together and both our parents are there to welcome us.

As for my Dad, I admired him for being a civil engineer by weekdays and farmer by weekends (tending farms is difficult)  just to make sure we have enough for all our expenses as a family while Mom was a grade school teacher on weekdays and stayed at home cleaning, gardening, cooking and doing take-home work on weekends. But this kind of setup didn’t mean Dad had no time for us at home. It was, on the other hand, quite the opposite. Despite juggling through a lot of responsibilities at work and at home, my Dad made sure all our needs (not just material things)  were well provided for including emotional support, bonding time, etc.

Dad, the civil engineer, fresh from oath taking during his late 20s.

Dad, the civil engineer, fresh from oath taking during his late 20s.

Dad, the farmer, and me, the farm girl. I mean, the photographer. ;-)

Dad, the farmer, and me, the farm girl. I mean, the photographer. 😉

I’d like to share at this point a little trivia on me – I was Daddy’s little maid. We all are actually but I believe it is more of a “youngest”  thing. *wink*  Yes, every time he is cutting grass in the garden with the lawn mower and he was all sweaty, here goes him calling out to his “errand girl”:

“Nen (my nickname which is short for Nene)! Please get me a glass of cold water and towelette and wipe my back dry from sweat.” 

Then after a hard day’s work at the farm, here comes Daddy calling me out to give him a back massage while he is resting. When I was little, back massages for my Dad means I am to do my “cat walk”  on his back while he’s lying face down. Well, that was before I was skinny and little. When I grew older, it became the regular back massage.

It was only when I was in college and the only child in the family still studying that my parents were able to gather enough funds for our house to have it completely constructed – the product of all their hard work, patience and persistence. But it is more than just constructing a house that they have built for they have actually built something greater in us over the years.

Reminiscing our younger moments spent with our parents, we saw and we were taught how to value hard work over riches and accumulation of possessions, quality time with loved ones than splurging and being with a lot of people on grand occasions, and being content with whatever we have. They didn’t particularly instruct us with bible verses on how to live our lives but now that I am slowly learning the bible day by day, I realized that my parents brought us up according to the Scripture – live life simply with fear in the Lord.

To end this part, I’d like to share this text message that my Dad texted me about a current challenge that I am going through. This was in the vernacular (Bicol), so I’d just translate it for you:

“As long as you trust in yourself, you trust in God and if it is meant for you, it will and it will come.”

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Of course, Mom also has something similar regarding another event which I informed her yesterday:

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Never mind the exclamation point because my Mom wasn’t angry nor excited, she just wanted to emphasize the last statement. That is how my Mom texts – stressed words in capital letters accompanied by exclamation points at the end a.k.a. generation gap. lol I’m just kidding. It’s a good thing my Mom doesn’t read this. But if she does, errrr, love you Mom! 😀

Another thing, praise God for Skype – long distance relationships now have been made easier to deal with. My Dad, through me, might sound like such a perfect man to anyone reading this. But honestly, like any Dad in this world, he is not perfect either. Well, let’s just say he’s just close to being perfect. I chose to see him that way despite his imperfections. He is our hero, anyway.

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12

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Year 2012 portrait of Mom and Dad. 🙂

Now on to the movie review. This is by far one of the best movies I have watched with the main focus on fathers. If I have to commend the Kendricks brothers for producing such great Christian films, that is for the reason that majority of the scenes portrayed all depict real-life situations. Although we can say that some were tweaked to fit the entire theme of the movie, I wouldn’t give it much of a consideration actually. Moreover, if all the scenes were to happen in real life, some may take quite some time to take place and not according to how the movie scenes have been sequenced and yet what is important is the lesson behind it according to the Christian faith.

Not all relationships and marriages are the same. It always is a case to case basis and yet watching it now made me know what to expect and what to do if time comes I’m walking on similar shoes with that of the movie characters. I highly encourage all the young men out there, fathers, and soon-to-be fathers to watch this film and I am praying they, too, will step up to the place that God has called them to be – to be Godly leaders or future leaders of their homes. My husband and I watched it together and what he blurted to me after watching was this,

“Honey, can you look up on the internet for more movies like that?” 

Ah yes, that’s an affirmation, a positive response. I was just glad that was the kind of response that the movie elicited from him. I wasn’t expecting anything at all regarding my husband’s reaction though I did my research what the movie was all about prior to watching. I just thought we’ll view it like any regular “chill time”  movie that we come across and watch during rest days.

Praise God for sending the Spirit and the guidance (preparing the hearts, minds and souls) how to take the movie in. I only recommend movies if I rated it with 5 stars (very good)  meaning it made such a life-changing impact on me i.e. how I view things, my perspective and reactions on certain things, my lifestyle, attitude and character, etc. No second thoughts, no hesitations, I am definitely recommending this.

Hubby and I watched it a couple of weeks ago and we both agreed this is such a perfect movie to watch on Father’s Day. Thus, I’ll cut this short for now and let you watch it but first, don’t forget to shower your Dad with much love and appreciation on his special day as a father. 🙂

The Ginete family at Dad’s ancestral house circa 1993 and my favorite sheepish, no-teeth smile which I never seem to outgrow. 😀

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE FATHERS and most especially to my ONE, GREAT FATHER from up above, FATHER GOD! ❤

RESOLUTION

“…I now believe that God desires for EVERY father to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. But more than just being there providing for them, he is to walk with them through their young lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their father in heaven.

A father should love his children, and seek to win their hearts. He should protect them, discipline them, and teach them about God. He should model how to walk with integrity and treat others with respect, and should call out his children to become responsible men and women, who live their lives for what matters in eternity.

Some men will hear this, and mock it. Or ignore it. But I tell you that as a father, you are accountable to God for the position of influence He has given you. You can’t fall asleep at the wheel, only to wake up one day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value, but the souls of your children do.

Some men will hear this and agree with it, but have no resolve to live it out. Instead, they will live for themselves, and waste the opportunity to leave a godly legacy for the next generation.

But there are some men, who regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did NOT do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same.

And whenever possible to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives, but who desperately need help and direction. And we are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous, to join us in this resolution.

In my home, the decision has already been made. You don’t have to ask who will guide my family, because by God’s grace, I will. You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ, because I will.

Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? I will. Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will. Who will pray for, and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? I am their father. I will.

I accept this responsibility and it is my privilege to embrace it. I want the favor of God and His blessing on my home. Any good man does. So where are you men of courage? Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord? It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you and to say I will. I will. I will!”

– Adam Mitchell, COURAGEOUS

Courage: The Brighter Side

If there is one thing that faith, the church, our family and the spiritual family all point to, that would be to look at the brighter side of things. 🙂

The first few months of this year have been a struggle for me and my husband which includes everything about life in general i.e. careers, aspirations, adjustments, financial breakthroughs, settling differences, goals, etc. More trials turned up for the month of March which drove me to devote full time to gospel reading, bible study devotion and quiet times.

There were a lot of times that I asked God for guidance, courage and strength to withstand them all as there are times more often too that I felt like everything is a mess, in chaos, uncertain of what the future holds, and all I ever did/was doing was a mistake. Little did I know that God has everything planned out for me already – all I have to do is to be still.

In times of extreme trials, it is the Word that I turn to and it is prayers that held me through. I tried to find snippets of things that would give me hope and I just smiled when I realized how could I be so blind or how could I let my problems blind me from the Truth.

How could I not trust God at all? How could I speak so much about my faith when I can’t even rely on God’s power and greatness which rule this world and beyond?

Yes, as I have said in my previous articles, when it comes to faith you really have to make an affirmation each and every single day. Life is all about God, faith, and nothing else. As my brother would always tell me, “Life has always been a battle of faith.”

Speaking of my brother, God used him as the instrument for me to know what faith is all about, introduced me to a spiritual family which then helped me get out of the pit I was in and finally led me to my salvation. As our church leaders would instruct us, salvation is just the start of your spiritual journey. As much as you have been renewed, being a born again Christian does not exempt you from the perils and sorrows of this world – faith has only made you and your life storm-proof.

It was all God’s plans. As you begin to understand that every single day of your life comprises the millions of routes in God’s blueprints will you realize that it was God who brought you where you are now. But because most of the time our human selves do not have the capacity to explain our circumstances, we rely on them as what they seem to be.

Yet being the all-knowing God, He knows that too. This is probably the reason why He has already prepared us and what we will be needing through the next course of our lives here in this world. Going back to my brother, he and my sister-in-law have been the constant givers of my Paulo Coehlo planner since 2013, the year I got saved, as a Christmas gift – something that I am always grateful for.

Not that I am advertising but I believe God has aligned it to be this way – why I should get hold of this certain planner. This planner, aside from this blog, holds my day-to-day scribbling in my spiritual walk. It contains the verses of the day, my bible study devotion, my Our Daily Bread quotation, my prayer requests, my gratitude note, my problems and my breakthroughs.

What I love about this planner is that each month there is a value/character trait assigned to it and it just fascinates me that these character traits as well as the quotations in the pages depict so much of what I  have been going through.

There is no coincidence in God, something which I have learned since I got saved. I see this character trait as the one trait that I know God wanted me to have at that particular month/time of the year. It is just that I have to wait at what particular day of the month will I be needing this particular character trait.

For the month of March, this is the character trait: SURRENDER. 🙂

 

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How timely, how accurate, how helpful – amazing our God is, isn’t He? He knows everything. The general quotation for this month also reveals much of what I needed in my marriage.

The first blog post I wrote for this year was entitled “An Appreciative 2016” simply because I felt that this year will be full of trials and yet we needed to see the beauty of them all. One of my experiences that helped me see things in the Light was after completing a crucial life-changing event which was a test of patience and endurance. After the event, this was what I received from my Mom using my Dad’s number (my Dad always replies in the vernacular):

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My Mom is the authoritative type of parent. We don’t have the warm and cuddly mother and daughter relationship. YET, I have so many things that I should be thankful for when it comes to my Mom. For though we are so far away from each other and all my other siblings have their own priorities too in life and I used to live alone, my Mom just nailed it when she stressed out what I should be appreciating – the gift that God has given me which is a partner in life through a husband.

I smiled when I read it and of course, I can’t help but cry. Yes, I seldom receive text messages from my Mom because they are busy managing our house in the province and our farm, but when she does text, it is always something special – meaningful. Just that single text jolted me back to not see the negative things in my marriage but look at the brighter side of it.

I know I am not alone because I have learned to rely on God completely for the first two years of my life since I became a born-again Christian and I was living alone. I have devoted those two years in establishing a deeper and more personal relationship with God. God knows I needed that so when great trouble comes in the later years of my life, I know how to go back to Him.

Because I already know the Way, the Truth and the Life.

It is just that God reminded me that He gave me a husband for a reason and that once again, when troubles become overwhelming, SURRENDER. Just like how I surrendered 3 years ago. And after my “dark moments”  post on Facebook, I received a text message from an unidentified number. I am guessing the person is one of my sisters or brothers in Christ who have been touched by God to fulfill the role of being part of those “reminders.”  My extreme gratitude for this person whose heart belongs indeed to God. Praise God for your life my dear brother/sister.

And this was the text:

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Our spiritual leaders in church, at home or anywhere else in our society have been called by God to receive the gift of prophecy. My Mom is not a devoted Christian but she believes in God and the bible and if there is one trait that I would like to learn from her, that is having a foresight. As a kid, she would always refer it to us as ESP (Extrasensory Perception)  or being able to determine what a person will do next or knowing what will happen next. It is “sixth sense”  to some and foresight to many. As a born-again Christian now, I see it as having the gift of prophecy. She told us that we should learn it and cultivate it for it will become very handy in our future plans and how we do things. Yup, practical my Mom really is. *wink*

My brother’s foresight is now almost similar to my Mom and we sometimes tell him that maybe he is the one who got it all from Mom. I am guessing it is this foresight that made him give the Paulo Coehlo planner to me in the first place and the significance it’ll bring in my spiritual journey. If I am to compare my Mom and my brother, they have one thing in common – they see things differently than all the rest of us. To me, I see all darkness and blur and yet to them, they see the beauty of it all, the goodness of the darkness and the events that will follow after.

Now if I am to compare it with faith, it says the same thing – train ourselves to see the Light. You can only see the Light when you see things in a Godly perspective. That is, allowing God to take over in driving the path of your life. Again, SURRENDER.

During the bad times, I oftentimes try to take control in solving things out. During the bad times, I see my spouse so differently and very much in the dark. But my Mom, the text message, and the monthly character traits, they all point towards the Light.

I have maintained my calm even if I do not understand all things. I have accepted things for how they should be. I have to be content in patiently waiting for the beautiful promises of the Lord. I know the Lord remains faithful to those who surrender to Him and walk in obedience to His ways.

As I end this article, I just want to share that indeed, God has mysterious ways in changing your mindset about a lot of things. Negative things can really replace the good memories, the good times, the good qualities you have if you will allow them to. God cannot allow it even if you persist to think things that way. The way that He gave me hope is the assurance that things right now are never final, they are only temporary in contrast to what is to come.

I woke up today feeling still very sleepy. My husband asked me if we are ready to pray and I just nodded half awake, half asleep. Through the sleepiness in me, there was one word, just one word that woke up my spirit in full blast through his prayer – REFLECT. I never prayed about the coming Lenten Season. Here is my husband though praying about it and how we should spend it together – REFLECT.

This is the perfect word on how we all should commemorate what Jesus did on the Cross for us -an act of SURRENDER, to surrender out of His Father’s and His love for us. It is this love that is keeping this marriage together, it is this love that is changing me and my spouse as a person, and it is this love that is changing our lives every single day.

It is by God’s love that I have been saved, that my husband will be saved including our families and loving another person through a marriage is where God wants us to learn the basics of what love is. When God’s love is in our hearts completely, we can say with utmost boldness that nothing can ever compare to God’s love and who God really is.

“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

God knows that 2016 will be full of trials that’s why God reminded me of that at the start of the year. The character trait for this year in my planner and what I will be needing most is this: COURAGE.

This is the courage to be bold in defying the challenges, courage to seek the Light amid the darkness, courage to stand true to my faith whatever the odds and the courage to proclaim my faith all the more despite my imperfections and setbacks. 🙂

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