It’s Our 2nd! :-)

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

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

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

Here they are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Counterattack these lies with these TRUTHS instead:

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

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

Instead, THANK GOD EVERY DAY IN EVERY WAY.

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

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

P.S.

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

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

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

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

If You Do Not Have Love

heartlove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My challenge is this:

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

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

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

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

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

P.S.

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

Understanding a Young Professional

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Whole Armor of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

freelancer

Be Protected as a Freelancer

(Photo credit: StockSnap)

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Days to Know God

…on a deeper level. 🙂

Day 1

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

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

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

*Why are health services not free?

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

*Is life really unfair?

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

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

Day 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“More of you God and less of me.”

Day 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Paul, In Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” – James 1:2-4

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

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

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

FB Legacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Featured photo: ilovehdwallpapers.com)

Looking Forward to Another Season: New Spiritual Family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Volunteering in a ministry. 🙂

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Bible Study Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lastly, why God?

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

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

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

Praying with you in faith,

Christine Lailani G. Ginete-Rome ❤

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

Roasted Chicken A la Bicolana

I was supposed to write this article last December but the holiday rush, preparation and celebration with the family kept me from doing so.

This article though came in timely as my previous articles for this month were all about gifts (not your usual gift in a box with a ribbon) and the value of serving others through your gifts. I actually didn’t expect that last Sunday’s lecture will also be about that. Ah yes, it always is a wonder how things can be intertwined all because of God’s mysterious ways. 🙂

What is serving and how can we serve in a biblical sense?

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

“…and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:27-28

And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ – Matthew 25:40

I believe one way of honoring God and showing our thanks to Him is by sharing that love to others too. Let’s just say that you felt how much God loves you and it is just too wonderful to keep it to yourself that’s why you wanted to let others know and feel that kind of love as well.

In doing so, they might wonder what is it that’s been fueling your actions and though they might not understand it at first, this can be your perfect response – out of love.

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

In the aspect of serving, we do find ourselves doing that knowingly or unknowingly with our families first and foremost. So last Christmas, I thought about preparing this roasted chicken recipe which was the first in the family’s Christmas celebration tradition.

Do take note though that I am no chef. lol 😀

I was just inspired and taught by my 3 older sisters who are very good in the kitchen and have such superb cooking skills they can invent their own recipe. Yup, no kidding. They really are that good.

Being the youngest, I grew up being the dishwasher. Haha Yes, you won’t believe it but my brother and I take turns in washing the dishes when we were younger. We are the two youngest members in the family, by the way.

On a side note, I just love being in a big family. You might not get to see or talk to all of them at the same time, yet you’ll still have one sibling to bug about every week aside from your parents. 😀

Anyway, as for my roasted chicken recipe, let’s just say I combined all the roasted chicken recipes I could find over the internet and came up with a “hybrid” roasted chicken. 😉

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken A la Bicolana

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken

1 bunch of lemongrass

1 cup butter

½ cup tomato ketchup

1 cup soy sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons salt

5 cloves whole garlic

2 teaspoons slightly crushed black pepper

4 onions cut into 4 parts

Procedure:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except for butter.
  2. Place the onions, garlic and lemongrass inside the chicken and marinate overnight.
  3. Prepare the butter and remaining marinade for basting.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit and cook for about 1 hour or until the chicken is tender.
  5. Top it with garnishing, serve and enjoy!

I intend to make this a yearly tradition – out of love for God, love for family and joy in serving others. 🙂

P.S.

Oh and one mistake from the roasted chicken recipe – don’t prepare 1 roasted chicken ONLY especially when there are about 8 persons hoping to try it. lol 

I was expecting it to be served as an additional dish along with other meals but it became the main course – ooopps, my mistake. So yes, Mom wasn’t able to try it as she ate late and sadly, no roasted chicken leftover. I have this year to make up for it though. 😀

One thing more, the turbo broiler is a kitchen winner for me, nothing beats. ❤

Turbo Broiler

Turbo Broiler Moment

 

All The Way To Tagaytay

Another long overdue article here. 😀

I did mention in my previous articles I have quite a pile of article drafts for editing and publishing and I am in a rush to publish them all (hopefully) while I am in a period of waiting and time is still on my side.

The summer escapade for me and hubby along with his family for this year was in the cool breeze of Tagaytay. We just had to take advantage of the summer season before the rainy days start to fill the last quarters of our calendar. It was a short holiday break thus the rest of the family members were all free to have this short family time and get-together.

It always is a privilege to spend some quality time with the family despite the busy schedules and varying demands of priorities in life – something that is far too precious to waste. My parents are in Bicol which is a 17-hour land travel to get directly to our hometown. Now that is something that I don’t have the privilege to do. Going to my hometown meant allotting 1 day for travel time then another day to rest which, after doing the Math, requires at least a week if you want to make the most and the best out of your family get-together. Simply put, visiting my family in Bicol is synonymous to careful planning ahead of the scheduled visit.

But well, this is the part where I need to thank God for technology. Skype made the term “homesickness” just a term. Again, family time meant quality time and this requires we set aside time for this despite the busy schedules. If most of us have the same free time, my family and I are able to Skype with one another once a week. And Skype-ing in the family means this – the minimum talking time is 4 hours starting at around 9 or 10pm.

Wuhaaat?!?! 😀

Yep, you can already hear the rooster crowing and we’re still on our “high” conversing with one another. Well, that’s for us, women in the family. For the men, 2 hours is the maximum and they bid their “goodbyes” in the middle of our conversation. The ever popular difference of men and women, eh? 😀

Anyway, going back to the Tagaytay escapade, we tried the Pamana restaurant with its awesome overlooking view of the Taal Lake and the food was superb too. I only captured shots of some dishes though, the long trip sure made us all pretty hungry.

I also loved the interiors which exude the ambiance of an old Hispanic house. Indeed, the concept of the restaurant matched with its name “Pamana,” a Tagalog term for heirloom/inheritance.

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Captivating, isn’t it?

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We also scouted for anything new in the area which includes this food park called “StrEat.” We didn’t get to try the food stalls though as it’s flocked with a huge crowd when we got there. The next day, there was no plan where we will have our summer escapade. We’ve been traveling without a destination actually and we came to that point of giving up and just head back home because all the resorts we’ve inquired were fully booked. Well, it’s summer so we kind of expected that.

When we were on the verge of turning back, voila, God gave us one resort that’s not so jam packed with visitors but the place was nice (and budget friendly) enough to bond with the family. Hotel Monticello was indeed “heaven sent”  hubby and I actually thought it’d be perfect for a wedding reception too. We couldn’t spend overnight though as we’re only geared up for a day tour. When we arrived, we had all the pool to ourselves which means this – LOTS OF SELFIES! Hahaha 😀

Nope, don’t get me wrong, I seldom take selfies. You can actually check my Instagram account for that. I just choose moments best for selfies and those moments that are not. And I only take selfies when nobody’s around, not even my hubby. 😀

Hotel Monticello

Selfie moment. My ever seldom selfie moment. 

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But really, when it comes to moments, there are just those that a camera snap isn’t enough to capture them all. I guess that’s the reason why God created our memories, an infinite storage at the back of our heads where every single memory is captured and safely stored.

So this one article is up in the memory of my head, but in case I have amnesia days or years from now, I have WordPress to retell and rewind them for me. Ah yes, the joys and perks of blogging – your online journal indeed. 🙂

P.S.

WordPress, please don’t ever shut down. Like, EVER. 😀

Oh and check out this amusing video of my hubby and sister-in-law. Reminds me of my brother and I – siblings moment, they are. 😉