Knowing Your Purpose: Are You a Godpreneur?

Disclaimer: This is a pretty long message but you’ll enjoy reading the rest of it (I think or I think not). 😀 If you do feel sleepy in the middle though, you may skip the boring ones and just get on to the next pile of stories. 😉

“Are you a Godpreneur?”

Yes, I am a Godpreneur…..in the making. That is, for me and my siblings. 😀

But first, thanks be to God for restoring our landline and wi-fi connection from super slow to nothing last week to just right fast now. Just in time for me to prepare for this article yesterday, write, and post it today. Btw, 1mb for me is fast enough. lol 😀 If you are wondering too if I have no work assigned today, yep, God allowed it my Thursday and Friday be free for this week so I could research and prepare for this article.

So what is a Godpreneur? This might be the first time you’ve heard of it. If you have read my post entitled An Ode to My Grandpa: Memoirs, that was the first time I mentioned the term “Godpreneur.”

AboutGodpreneur

This is the website where I encountered the term first: http://www.dailygodpreneur.com/. When I checked it out, I can only say that indeed, this is what I need for this season. I’d like to reiterate what the owner of Daily Godpreneur said regarding the importance of reading your bible on a daily basis every morning. I do that every day too since I got saved in 2013. It is such a vital process if you want to know what God’s will is for you and in knowing your calling. Here’s how my journal/planner looks like – a combination of daily bible verses, daily devotionals, and prayers:

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Try writing in cursive, it is becoming rare nowadays. 🙂

But before I went to that website, I first got a glimpse of it through IG in its random Search feed where it collates similar photos based on your likes. Most of my liked photos are about bible verses so I thought maybe it got integrated with it. It captured my attention (God’s plan for sure) and I checked out the IG profile. At that time, I just came back from my hometown where hubby and I spent our Christmas vacation.

HowtoBecomeAGodpreneur

You may download his e-book for free: “How to Become a Godpreneur and Let God Be Your CEO.” 😍

After the prayer and fasting, this became one of the topics that the Spirit prompted me to write about – An Ode to My Grandpa: Memoirs. I wrote the article, shared it on Facebook, and tagged my siblings. I did mention in the article I have no idea how to utilize the land without the finances to back it up. The next thing that happened, we were all making serious plans about it. Literally serious plans. 🙂

When I wrote that article I guess I was praying to God that if this is His will over me and my family, may He lead the way and prepare us all for the tasks beforehand. Now, when I look back to the decisions I made, the sacrifices my husband and I had to go through, it seems the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place though the entire picture is nowhere near completion.

Everything made sense.

All you need to do is just let go and let God, again and again and again. 🙂 Part of the sacrifices and hard decisions I mentioned is letting go of an opportunity to be promoted to a Managing Editor and earn 30-40k which could’ve brought me and my husband to such great relief financially. But when I prayed to God about it, the question He asked was this, “What is your motivation, Tin, for getting the promotion?”

Don’t get me wrong though, I absolutely love my job now as a freelance content writer. I never enjoyed any work I did in my previous jobs than how I do now. I love how my work demanded versatility as a writer with all the different clients and specific demands we have to deal with. But my reason is mainly that I didn’t feel it in my heart to take on the responsibility. If my motivation is the high salary, we all know it is the wrong motivation. I may be ready to take on editing roles, however, managing people is my waterloo. I wasn’t prepared so to speak and I felt it isn’t God’s perfect time either.

But hear ye, hear ye. God hears prayers even those little voices that our hearts tend to whisper because we are unaware we’re praying for them already. This article (http://www.dailygodpreneur.com/disciplining-employees/) yet again from Daily Godpreneur came just in time along with so many articles that I can totally relate now. I can’t help sharing them with my siblings too. In one instance, my brother mentioned in one of our meetings that if we are to venture into this business, it is not going to be for profit. We all agreed to it.

I also suggested we can use parts of the land as a retreat area and for the vacation home, God already gave us ideas how it should look like. For example, I got this idea of putting tables with bible verses on top of it when we ate at Mary Grace restaurant. Nothing is more spiritually rejuvenating during your retreat than being surrounded by the exact Words of God while communing with nature which is God’s creation at its best, right? 🙂

IMG_20180130_233641_882I was also hooked on this survival game called Ocean is Home. I loved it because the setting is on a deserted island (nature). But the good thing is that you get to design and build your own house just like a real architect’s AutoCAD. I know you’re going to laugh at me if I tell you that I actually made a floor plan for the game like what real architects do. lol 😀

 

Just to share though, this is common in the family. When I was young, I always see my Mom making floor plans. Both Mom (grade school teacher) and Dad (civil engineer) designed our ancestral house. I also have a cousin (mother side) who’s an architect and yet another cousin (father’s side) who’s a talented painter and artist. So I guess sketching and floor plans are quite a normal thing to do in the fam either by profession or as a hobby. 😉

Back to the game, I took screenshots of it after how many days of building it. Then suddenly an idea popped into my head and blurted it out to my hubby: “Hon, do you think it’ll be a great idea if I show this to my siblings as one suggestion for the design of the vacation home?” What do you think? 😀 I highly recommend this game if you’re into building stuff.

 

My eldest sister also suggested the idea of using our business to provide a livelihood in our community. The farmers and their families living near the property which we plan to utilize have work depending on the planting and harvest season only. This means they need to look for other jobs to sustain their families during the times they have no farm work. These farmers and their families have been serving our families for decades since we were young and even way before that when it was my late grandpa who was managing the farm.

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We would like to pay it forward by serving them and their needs too. I did mention in my previous articles that God placed a desire in my heart to put up my own school someday and a foundation that will help students without the financial capability to have a good education. This is actually the reason why I pursued a master’s degree in Special Education altho halfway through my grad study, I did let the opportunity go because God led me to a different path. If it is still God’s will for me to put up a school, this could still materialize how many years or decades from now in the property which we plan to utilize.

I was born a people-pleaser. My Mom once told me it isn’t a good thing. But thinking about it in a Christian context, I believe being a people-pleaser is actually good. Only this time the one I am pleasing is not people but God. How? By serving others not to earn my way to Heaven or receive a reward from God but to fulfill His tasks and to share what He has given me.

My siblings and I have been gifted with skills and resources despite some setbacks and I know they are for a purpose and never for self-gain. All of us, I believe, have been gifted with certain talents and skills because we all compose the body of Christ – everyone has a specific role to play. Just like how 5 of us, siblings, have a special part to fulfill to make our project work. But then again, use it never for self-gain. If God gifted you with so many talents and skills, then He has greater work for you to do.

One of the famous entrepreneurs in history and Microsoft founder Bill Gates also said the same thing:

Bill Gates

Biblically speaking, it can be found in this verse:

“…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

Speaking of skills, you’ll never know when God will use them for His purposes. It doesn’t mean you have to go through the same experiences others did so you’d “activate” them. But it is all between you and God. He will use circumstances only designed for you and you alone because that is part of His blueprint when He designed you to fulfill a certain task – your calling. Do not try to copy how others lived and what they pursued because that is God’s calling for their lives. If we will always follow what others are doing WITHOUT consulting God FIRST, we are wasting away what God has prepared for us which, as we all know, is always the best. ❤

You may want to check this one out too. Every time I write my Friday article or even articles at work, I listen to worship songs. I sometimes play my guitar and my husband’s guitar as my icebreaker away from any screen (mobile phone or laptop).

So I browsed the internet one time for chords and lyrics of some worship songs I heard during a Sunday service. Voila, I stumbled upon this awesome website and it’s just the perfect site I was looking for. You’ll find most worship songs here with chords, lyrics, and tabs along with music videos and interviews with the composers and songwriters themselves. I am pretty sure they, too, have their own set of testimonials which led them to pursue God’s calling for them.

http://worshiptogether.com/songs/broken-vessels-amazing-grace/

Yes, they are all using their gifts, talents, and skills to fulfill God’s calling for them. Just like our very own Filipina composer, musician, and singer (a beautiful lady too), sis Moira Dela Torre. Here’s her original composition entitled Safe now featured in Victory Worship’s new album. Can you guess what the title of the album is? You guessed that right, “For Your Purpose.” Amazing, isn’t it? 😀

You may watch her acoustic version in the video below:

Going back to God’s purpose, my husband and I are going to relocate yet again to a new place soon which, I am sure, is part of God’s plans too. We have a lot of people to be grateful for in this season and I just can’t help thanking God for them every single day. Along with it also came great opportunities. I already have hints how the plans will play out but I can’t say it is exactly what will happen. Simply because I am not God and “His ways are higher than mine and so are His thoughts higher than my thoughts.” 😀

So finding out what my hints are is something for you to look forward to. I’ll share if my instincts, guesses, foresight, prophecy, ESP, whatever term you may call it, are correct. So stay tuned for my next Friday article. 😀

Also, yesterday a bible verse for the day popped up from my screen courtesy of BibleScreen.com which ignited something that I have been trying to figure out but at a loss what was it. The word came out – prosperity of the wicked. I decided to type it into Google search and ended up reading bible study websites which pointed me to Psalm 37. Upon reading it, Psalm 37 encapsulated what I think now is God’s way of preparing us – how to deal with the money and success through God’s way since we are going to put up a business which, as we all know, is greatly involved with money. Money is the root of all evil, that is a given too. So God made a step ahead to guard our hearts against finding the wrong motive.

For now, I know I am in towards a whole new set of different seasons and I am feeling scary ( no, I should not be) but I have these verses to equip the journey ahead. Yes, God will pave the way too and I need not worry. 🙂

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12

“You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.” – Deuteronomy 5:33

“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

“You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” – Proverbs 19:21

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” – Proverbs 16:3

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

“The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:6

P.S.

I hope these verses gave you the armor you needed too in whatever quest or crusade you’re set to journey on. The same goes when it comes to discovering the purpose that God has set for you to fulfill. Let’s all pray for God’s leading, our Master in everything, and claim the beautiful promises that He has for you, for me, and for the rest.

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

From God’s journeyman with love,

Tin ❤

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The Journeyman’s Moments: Becoming

Hello there, beloved reader! Yep, hello Friday too! 🙂 So here’s the post for this week’s installment. I was saving it for my blog site’s 6th year anniversary in October. But I just felt like posting it today so here it is. 😀

I am pretty sure most of you are interested to find out why I named this blog as “The Journeyman’s Moments.” I never really thought much about the name of my personal blog when I started to put it up back in 2012. I didn’t even intend on being a consistent blogger. 😉

I just thought I need to have my own space too in the blogosphere and share snippets of what I do. Little did I know God has a purpose behind it all – my blog as a megaphone for my faith. So back to the “journeyman,” I was thinking what will describe my blog which is all about my lifelong learning and my day-to-day journey here in this world. I started doing my research and caught a glimpse of the word “journeyman.” I made a quick research about it then I thought it’ll be good enough for now, I can change it any time anyway.

BUT little did I know too that this word will mean so much more. God never makes things happen for no reason. It is always the other way around and always to satisfy His purpose. As of writing (1/25/2018), I made an in-depth study of the word and it all dawned on me now why it has to be “journeyman.” Here’s the link to Wikipedia’s definition of it so you’d get the context: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journeyman.

If you will notice, I described my blog with this:

“The musings of a wandergeselle about faith, literature, music, dancing, culture, food, travels, art, fashion, photography, life experiences and everything in between from journée to journée.”

A “wandergeselle“ is a wandering journeyman – someone who is always in different places to learn something new. I have been in different seasons and places (locally) since I started this blog. It brought me to new people, new experiences, and new learnings which all made me who I am now. I am still learning, I am a true-blue journeyman in my profession, I have other obligations outside work which require me to be a journeyman too, and through it all, I submit to one Master who teaches me everything that I needed to know – GOD. 🙂

I also never thought about the background photo or the logo for my blog except for my photoshopped picture of a road and my randomly chosen bible verse closer to my life verse:

“I am confident that the good work that God has begun in me will be perfected.” – Philippians 1:6

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Reading it now made me realize that this verse also speaks about being on a journey with my Maker and my Master. It is indeed true that when you let go and let God take charge of your life when you surrendered to Him, He will and He will be the orchestrator of your new life – the One behind the steering wheel. We may not understand His ways at first, but our obedience is a sign of our love and our faith in God. So when the Spirit tells your heart something, always, always take heed and act on it – right away. 🙂

An Ode to My Grandpa: Memoirs

Finally! Thank You, Lord, for giving me the grace to finish my work earlier so I could post this. As promised, it is going to be in Filipino. But I’m keeping titles in English. 😉

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Biniro ko minsan si Brian na if he wanted to be a farmer, he will be going home with soiled clothes and feet from the mud every day. 😃

When we visited the farm at mga Japanese tunnels noong World War II doon, hindi lang damit ang naputikan kay Brian kundi pati ang ulo. Sa tanong na paano ito napunta doon, lahat kami ay walang maisagot. 😁

Masaya sariwain ang kabataan ko dito na para sa aming magkakapatid at magpipinsan ay isang napakalaking playground. My late grandfather taught us all about the history of the place. Naalala ko, madalas syang magkwento noon habang iniikot kaming mga apo sa bukid nang nakapaa sya. He’s never used to wearing slippers. Yup, a true-blue farmer. 😃

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My family along with my maternal grandparents (seated) and that’s 7-year old me in between them. 🙂

My maternal grandpa was also one great historian. Napakahilig nyang magbasa ng history books. He’s a great storyteller too and a devout Protestant. Sa kanya ko actually unang nakita paano maglahad ng faith with all fire and fervor every Sunday’s bible study.

My 94-year old grandma reminded us last holidays na kung ano mang meron kami ngayon, dahil ‘yun sa sakripisyo at effort ng lolo ko. When she said that, this bible verse came to mind:

“I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” – Genesis 17:8

At naalala ko na oo nga pala, sabi ni Mommy sa akin noon na noong bata pa sila madami silang tinirhan. Palipat-lipat ika nga ng tirahan bago nag-settle sa hometown namin ngayon. Nasambit ko sa aking sarili na it was my grandpa’s faith in the Lord and the Lord’s promise to him which brought my parents to where they are now and where we are now, his grandchildren.

Currently, masasabi kong I am at a loss how to utilize the land. My siblings and I have plans about it. Pero nananalaytay sa aming mga puso how to utilize it na mape-preserve exactly kung ano nakita namin noong una kaming dinala ng mga magulang namin doon when we were just kids.

Pero para maging productive ang lupaing ito, kailangan ng malaking pondo – still praying to God for this. Nothing is impossible with Him, kaya alam ko rin na kung kasama ito sa will and plans Nya for us, He will lead the way and provide the means.

Siguro kasama na rin sa mga plano ni God kung bakit na-assign ako sa mga business websites in my current job as a content writer. At first it was a definite struggle sa akin dahil wala akong background sa entrepreneurship, investing, finance, and everything related to money. But right now, with all the research that I am doing for my articles, natututo ako unti-unti. Sabi ko nga sa hubby ko, hindi ko na kailangan mag-aral ng MBA or MBM. Dahil sa ginagawa ko pa lang ngayon, para na akong nage-MBA. 😀

Regarding sa pag-aaral ng MBA or Business Management, minsan sumagi na rin ito sa aking isipan. At nabanggit ko rin sa aking asawa. Kasi sabi ko wala akong alam how to manage properties para gawing business. Hindi ako marunong humawak ng mga tao at wala din akong alam sa accounting. I mentioned this in my previous article na I asked my Dad about this dilemma and his answer was that we will learn in time.

As of writing, the thought is pretty daunting and scary for me – being an entrepreneur for real. But I am pretty sure God will prepare us along the way. Who knows, 10,000 years from now this is where another of God’s temple will be built. 😉

Ah yes, everything in God’s time indeed. This verse reminded me also why God made promises that are fulfilled in His own time:

“An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.” – Proverbs 20:21

It’s just amazing that I also stumbled upon this IG account while I was browsing in my newsfeed and it’s exactly what I am looking for – how to be a Godpreneur. 😉

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Yes, there are so many things I don’t know and so many questions I want to ask. But I can only thank God for the lives of my grandparents on both sides of my parents. We are who we are because of them and because of God. What I have now I will forever cherish including my memories of them which are always a priceless treasure. 🙂

P.S.

This quotation today from my planner also came just in time, as always. This is not really related to the post but it’s related to today’s events. 🙂

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Make Praying Your Daily Habit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Christian Professional: How Do You Respond?

Photo courtesy: StockSnap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have the Attitude of Christ

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

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

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

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

 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

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

Shine Brightly for Christ

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

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

– Philippians 2:1-18

P.S.

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

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

 

Hope for the Young Generation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If You Do Not Have Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My challenge is this:

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

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

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

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

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

P.S.

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

Understanding a Young Professional

 

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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:

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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Year 2017: Everything Made New

Vindicated is the world’s term for it, redeemed is how faith coins it.

This article was sitting as a draft since November. But I only had the urge to finish writing it today because a lot more happened after November. So for the month of December I didn’t publish any article – a moment of solitude and immersion in faith. 🙂

There’s social unrest in the decision of current president of the Philippines, President Duterte, and the supreme court to allow the remains of a dictator and former President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani or be given a hero’s burial. It was an unfair decision to most considering all the human rights violation committed, plunder and social injustice in all forms when the country was placed under martial law during the Marcos regime.

It doesn’t seem such a reasonable, sensitive and acceptable answer by comforting the victims of martial law and their families by the statement “forgive and move on.” If you are to ask my side, I chose to settle it with God instead – not my terms but His.

I went thru a similar situation myself about two months ago, so please bear with me if this part will be a bit sensitive and emotional. It was just one of those heated disagreements between me and hubby. Through this challenging situation, it was heartbreaking to hear your spouse renounce his faith and even curse God which made me speak against my faith too. Yes, it was a very sad moment between us which turned into something worse that our families needed to meddle to stop the damage from getting bigger. Hubby and I decided we live separately for the meantime for our own safety and for the sake of saving our marriage.

When I went to the province, I was given the wrong ticket for the first time in my entire 15 years of traveling back and forth going home. Can you guess what was the wrong ticket amount?  It’s 888. 😀 Yes, I interpreted it as an assurance that the Lord, our God, is indeed with us we need not worry.

20170131_214536.pngHow ironic it is though that my husband’s surname is Rome. Jesus’ number one persecutor is none other than the Romans. 🙂 They tried to gain control over Jesus but in the end they were the ones defeated when He overcame death. Jesus symbolizes the church, if not, He is the church. In a marriage, the wife is the church.

This clearly illustrates how man tried to separate from God/church/wife because of the sins and that only Jesus can bridge this gap so the relationship between man and God will be restored. This is just like when Israel rebelled against God and how God tried to make them turn to Him.

What happened was this, God made my relationship something to learn from and yet just like the martial law victims whose rights were violated, God will be the only one with the authority and the power to judge anyone.

They say that when you are deeply hurting, God is creating something wonderful in you and He is veering you away from possible destruction. Yet, it always starts with humility and forgiveness. Just like in this quote from my Our Daily Bread daily devotion, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. – C.S. Lewis”

For the two months that we have been apart, I persevered in assuring my husband that tho I have agreed we live separately for the time being, it doesn’t mean I am giving up on him and our marriage. It is indeed true that for all that we have been through, not once did I give up on our relationship and our marriage and I never will. The first thing that came to my mind during this season was the “love dare” from one of the greatest Christian films I have watched about marriages which is Fireproof.

Just like in the movie, I too am extremely grateful right now that God gave me a family whom I deeply appreciate being mentors in this ordeal who lead me to God and towards the right path. It was difficult to hear and choose from a lot of different prespectives but they did help a lot in widening my mindset about a lot of things through the Spirit’s guidance.

It wasn’t God’s goal that He’ll give you the perfect spouse because your husband/wife will fail you in the entire course of your marriage. This is not because God wants to see us suffer but He wanted to see how we will honor our commitment to Him and to our spouse, how will we continue fighting for our faith towards the beautiful promises that He has and last but not the least, to love unconditionally in the same way that He has loved us. We were born sinners, we are imperfect and we have been saved only by GRACE – something that we did not deserve but was given as a gift out of His great love for us.

I remembered a few years back when a male colleague actually confronted me with a startling confession, “Tin, no guy will ever be a match for you. You are talented, beautiful, almost everything.” I couldn’t give him a fair answer except that I wasn’t created by God to be someone’s or anybody’s rival. I was made as a man’s partner, as equal and as unique as everyone else.  I, as a woman, do not have high standards or maybe I do but it doesn’t matter because what matters is that we have a God who has REALLY high standards and these are the standards that we ought to meet – not mine, not yours, but His.

So for two months I can say a lot have happened. But for the general feel of those two months, I can describe it as very painful and yet it was life-changing. As expected, I got a new Paulo Coehlo planner during the start of the year. This is my brother and sister-in-law’s consistent Christmas gift for me which, I must say, I appreciate a lot as my spiritual journey won’t be complete without it. This planner and I shared a lot of memories and it records all of my prayers, requests, letters of gratitude, revelations and daily bible verses from YouVersion and Our Daily Bread apps.

We also have a prayer and fasting in church at the start of the year and I must say too it was during this time that I had the greatest revelation from yes, the book of Revelation itself. 🙂

At first I did find it funny. I mean, even before, God’s ways are always amazing. He is so full of surprises. Most often these surprises will make you cry in awe – I always do. But it also made me humble – humble enough to acknowledge how could I have questioned God’s plans. It’s as if I am hearing Jesus when He said to His disciples, “you who have such little faith.”   Well, when prayer time comes and I do get to talk with God, I feel all too guilty of this. However, His love and grace remain steadfast and true – it sets you free and it gives you a new chance in life always.

I shared this testimony exactly after the prayer and fasting ended. When I went home to my province last December, no one was left to tend my little garden. I just have faith that God will take good care of them for me in the same way He takes care of the wild forests. When I came back in January, true enough, my plants were flourishing except for one – the oldest plant I have since 2005 which is a calamansi plant. It doesn’t bear any fruit probably because there’s no other calamansi plant around that can pollinate it.

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All the leaves of my calamansi plant were curled and dried up. My sister was the one who noticed it first and asked me what happened. We both could not explain as the rest of my plants were thriving. So she said maybe a fungus attacked the roots and I thought that it could very well be the reason. She suggested I throw the plant away. I thought it best too as it’ll be absurd keeping a dead plant in your garden. 😀

But on second thoughts, I have decided to keep it. I did water it for a day or two after we got back but when I saw that the leaves are really all dried up and they were starting to fall off one by one, I stopped watering it for about 2 weeks except for the occasional rainshowers but still chose to keep it. I just don’t know why I still kept it. 🙂

Anyway, for the month of November the character trait in my planner was patience, December was determination and January 2017 is tolerance. Nope, it is not an irony these traits are exactly what I needed to learn in the season I was in but I believe they’re all part of His plans. I have remained hopeful and faithful for the time when my husband will be saved and for the time when we will be together again. Ah yes, those grueling two months of being apart and you felt that your life was in shambles and what you have with you is nothing else but faith.

I asked God for forgiveness, that He would change me and yet I asked Him for strength and courage too. I know God is changing my hubby too. It is always between God and the person and that the people around are used only as vessels for God to allow that change to take place. I was claiming that the year 2017 will be the start of a lot of positive changes for all even if we seem to have lost everything. I am believing too that more unbelieving spouses will rise in the calling that God has for them to be Godly husbands and wives and Godly parents to their children. I am praying that the generations to come will learn from the generational curses that have been set and passed on to them by their ancestors and they will break free from them through the Cross.

As much as I’d want to share every single detail of those two months that I can say God was purifying me thus made me choose a white dress for Christmas day (see photo below), I would like to share the following bible verses, quotations in my daily devotion, articles I came across and questions I have asked God wherein I have felt much of the Spirit’s presence in what I was and am going through until now. I hope you will be blessed by them too in whatever season you are in. These verses came one by one consistently everyday. 🙂

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P.S.

Don’t forget to read the last part – I have good news to tell. 😉

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..” – Proverbs 3:5

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

“Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” – Psalm 55:2

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” – John 15:4

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” – Hebrews 12:2

Lord, teach me how to carry my own cross and how to carry it well.

“This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.”- 1 Peter 3:3‭-‬6 

“God is at work to make us who He intends us to be.” – Our Daily Bread

“Hear the word of the Lord.” – Jeremiah 7: 2

“I am making everything new.” – Revelation 21:5

“The word of the Lord never fails.” – Luke 1:3

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and live righteously and He will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:33

“Only Jesus can give us new life.”  (John 14:19)

“Christ will never leave His wife. Ever. There may be times of painful distance and tragic backsliding on our part. But Christ keeps His covenant forever. Marriage is a display of that! That is the most ultimate thing we can say about it.”

– http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/staying-married-is-not-about-staying-in-love-part-1

A display of His greatness.

I often wonder if my life was patterned after every devotion I am using – every bible verse, every Godly wisdom shared, I felt applying them all for real for they were all timely in every event that I am going through.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor.” – 1 Peter 5:6

Why choose me, Lord?

Who am I to question God and His ways?

“Let others see your testimony as well as hear it.” – Our Daily Bread (2 Corinthians 4:7)

For I prefer Lord for my faith to be tested like iron is being forged in fire. For I do not intend to be lukewarm in my faith.

“There is no risk in abandoning ourselves to God.” (Romans 12:1)

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. – C.S. Lewis”  (Romans 7:14)

“But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:3

“Christ holds all things together.” (Colossians 1:17)

Now we’re on to the last part of this article which I was referring to previously. So what’s the good news? Well, God’s grace made it possible for our marriage to be restored and we are on to an absolutely new chapter of our lives as a married couple. A new chapter indeed because we are finally deciding to relocate to a place near his work, I am going back to the work force and I just felt real change within me and my spouse. At first I was apprehensive about this change but if God brought us here, then He will help us go through it all as well.

As my husband put it (yes, my husband. 😀 ), God is good. 🙂

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Oh and yes, remember the plant that died which I still kept? After 2 weeks, this is how it looks now – new leaves. It’s alive!  “The old is gone and the new has come and I am making everything new” indeed as what the Lord says. All it took was FAITH. 😀

To end this article, I’ll share this bible verse which was from my laptop’s screensaver yesterday (it displays a different bible verse everyday). Yet another revelation from the book of Revelation:

“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.” – Revelation 3:10

Oh how I love my God. ❤ *insert wide smile here* 

Continue fighting the good fight of faith my dear brothers and sisters. 🙂