Understanding a Young Professional

 

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Indeed, August is understanding – understanding the will of God, understanding yourself and others. ๐Ÿ™‚

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,โ€ฆ” – 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). ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

โค

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

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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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 Bayaniย 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.”ย 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? ย It’s 888. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 exceptย 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.ย  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 sayย too it was during this time that I had the greatest revelation from yes, the book of Revelation itself. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.” ย  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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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P.S.

Don’t forget to read the last part – I have good news to tell. ๐Ÿ˜‰

“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 3:3โ€ญ-โ€ฌ6ย 

“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.” ย (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.”

–ย 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” ย (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. ๐Ÿ˜€ ), God is good. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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! ย “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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. โค *insert wide smile here*ย 

Continue fighting the good fight of faith my dear brothers and sisters. ๐Ÿ™‚

1st Year Wedding Anniversary Special: The Celebration

Hola, my dear beloved readers! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’d like to start this very LONG article with a note of gratitude to God for making things possible from provisions, clear weather, safe travel everywhere and everything else in between. I’d like to thank my dear husband as well for every small and great thing he did for us. I do not intend though to share every wedding anniversary celebration that hubby and I have as there are some moments that make it to social media and there are those which do not. But I thought I’d give credit to our first year wedding anniversary considering that the first year for newlywed couples is the hardest when it comes to adjustment and settling of differences.

Thus, this article will be a testimony on how the grace of God manifested in our first year as a married couple but most especially how God made our 1st year wedding anniversary celebration extra special.

As it is written,

Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.” – 1 Corinthians 1:31

Amazing it is when a couple makes a really big and extra effort in putting God at the center of their marriage even though circumstances and schedules permit otherwise. If you are to ask me what are they, I’d give a few instances. One would be temptations. Numerous situations will tempt you and your hubby to behave in a manner that is not right with God. This does not just pertain to temptations of the flesh like lust but other temptations like fits of rage, harsh words, doubts, impatience and a whole lot more.

Another would be priorities. I believe most of us are guilty of this: prioritizing those that shouldn’t be. One example was when hubby and I were so engrossed watching movies or checking out social media stuff and then when it was time to hit the hay, we’re both too sleepy to pray. Or that moment when we’re supposed to go to church but we kind of miscalculated our schedules, we ended up doing household chores first.

For us, these were mistakes and/or realizations on how to put God at the center. Going to church is not enough. In fact, we learned that putting God at the center of our lives meant every single thing that we do whether at home, or in work or in school whether we are with each other or with other people, God should always be included. It has to be Him whom we should think about first and consider whether it would be pleasing and honorable to God or whether it is in accordance to God’s will.

I have shared in my first article regarding our 1st year wedding anniversary (1st Year Wedding Anniversary Special: Mister and Missus) the nitty gritty details of our lives as a husband and a wife. But in this article, it’ll be more of the “greater learning”  that Brian and I have gathered in the 1st year of our experiences together. I haven’t mentioned yet the really not-so-good-stuff that he and I went through although I thought I’ll just give an overview on how most of them went – never good, always bad and sometimes worst.

The worst so far is something that you could think of as unbearable. Not just for us but for those who loved us too which made them intervene so it wouldn’t turn out to be THE worst. I am referring to our parents and our families. They are our mentors in this season. They’ve been there with us since the first day that Brian and I got married.

I couldn’t imagine my life as a wife and we wouldn’t be where we are now after multiple attempts of separating if it wasn’t for God sending these mentors and for all the advice, the encouragement and words of wisdom that our families have shared especially on my side. I felt I had to share some of the tough times that Brian and I went through with them to seek for counsel right away lest I become too emotional over matters and I would overlook important and necessary things.

It has always been my belief to seek wisdom in a matter of different perspectives and never one sided only. Relying on one’s own interpretation of situations could lead to a clouded judgment and in decision making, it is crucial that we get to see the bigger picture of what really goes on. Being a woman, my emotions tend to get in the way thus accountability partners are very much well appreciated on my part.

If there’s one prayer that I have for now, it is that God would continue to protect our marriage and continue to prepare me and Brian and provide all that we needed holistically so that we would be ready in any given circumstance when the enemy strikes. We always remind each other during a heated discussion that it is not one another that we are against but the forces of evil in this world.

I can only love and thank God that through our very trying times being married, God answered our call for help. All those desperate and hopeless times felt like there’s no better way to go through them but to quit and yet God never fails, His love never fails – He always remained faithful and true to His promises and His reminders are always there.

Thinking back of those times when we thought we were the cruelest, most selfish of people going through the most challenging situations ever did God teach us all about humility and submission. Forgiveness makes a whole lot of difference most especially if it is accompanied with sincere apologies and sincere actions of change.

Ahhh yes, those days were over. If they do come back, we know how to deal with it. We may not deal with it completely as perfect as how we should deal with it, but I know and I am positive there will be changes. This is God’s way of perfecting our faith in us. There will be more to come, but looking back, all I ever saw was one set of footprints and that is enough assurance that I have such a powerful God who can lift me up in whatever circumstance I am going through.

Now on to the testimony of our 1st year wedding anniversary celebration, I just don’t know how to express my gratitude and my happiness on how the Lord our God moved in behalf of us. AMAZING. Though this is not enough to describe it, that is the only word from my human vocabulary that I could think of to describe what transpired over that weekend.

August 17 was our anniversary date. It fell on a Wednesday. Brian and I planned our celebration the 1st weekend after that date. I was the one who made all the arrangements as Brian was busy at work and I, on the other hand, had an ample time to spare to inquire about this and that. I was also in charge with the budgeting and it is only Brian’s income that we’re relying on so I need to make sure we won’t go over the budget. So there was me searching all kinds of great but budget-friendly options.

The plan: have a dinner cruise in the evening, then an overnight-stay at the hotel. So there were only 2 items in our itinerary. Then came the cancellation of the dinner cruise as yacht was under maintenance so we were given options to choose among the dates they have offered and August 28 was the nearest from our wedding anniversary though it’s already 2 weeks away from the actual date.But I thought it wouldn’t matter anyway as it still falls on our anniversary month. I am not really particular about dates I even forget them, the special ones included. *wink*

So came August 17, and I thought we’re gonna treat it as a regular day since we’re going to celebrate it anyway. But lo and behold, to my surprise, Hubby arrived home from work braving the heavy rains and all the traffic with something in his hand – a bouquet of assorted flowers. Okay, now he and I had an agreement that I will only receive one flower from him in our entire lifetime together and that will be the first and the last as I will be preserving it – a memorabilia on preserving our love together as a couple. This was the rose that he gave me on our first Valentine’s day date back when we were still dating.

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When I saw the bouquet of course I smiled my widest, gave him a tight hug and a sweet kiss and then told him that he doesn’t have to. His answer was that he knew I will like them. So I teased him that now I have so many flowers to preserve and I am running out of glass canisters to put them. lol

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Well, I guess both of us knew what each of us wanted because I also made him a video which was a compilation of our wacky shots since we first met up to now. I showed it to him that night as well when he gave me the bouquet.

So now came the week before our final schedule for the celebration. That week had a pretty rough weather we were really running out of hopes that we’ll be celebrating the anniversary with a clear weather which means our plans will be ruined or we’ll make do of what we can. I never thought about canceling our plans but Brian wanted to move it to a later date.

Unfortunately we have limited options in doing so so I assured him to have faith, be patient, trust in the Lord and that we’ll continue praying. Come Thursday Brian was having pressing moments at work. I was sure he will really appreciate being able to do some adventurous stuff knowing the sporty person that he is. So I thought about coming up with another item in our itinerary – go to Rizal and have some nature and adventure fun in Daranak Falls. It was so out of the original plan but I checked the budget, we’ll still make it. I suggested the idea and he approved, excitedly approved actually.

I checked out reviews and blogs about the place and we came up with an itinerary. A few hours before we left, heavy rains still poured every now and then that my husband had dampened spirits too. I cheered him up when we woke up in the morning and saw the sun peering out. But hubby still told me it might rain hard for the rest of the day. We’re going to be doing a lot of road traveling and sight seeing and doing it on a rainy weather is a no-no as roads are slippery and we won’t enjoy the view anyway.

I once again comforted him that God has already answered our prayer request for a clear weather which we’ve been praying for how many nights in a row already. I told him that we should never give up along the way as my mentors would always remind me to look at the bigger picture, never on the road block or the problem that’s blocking the road or the view and to continue focusing on the goal and not on the journey. Our goal was to enjoy our wedding anniversary celebration in whatever circumstance.

So we ate an early breakfast and started heading out. Indeed, the Lord was faithful. For the rest of our first day/part 1 celeb, we’ve been given a clear weather. We’ve enjoyed nature at its best on a sunny weather. Just right because the falls were cool. If it was raining that day, we wouldn’t be able to withstand the cold water for long. But since it was a sunny day, hubby and I just had the best time having a hydro massage at the mini falls across the huge one.

Usually the place is flocked every weekend since it is just an hour ride away from the metro. But I guess since nobody expected for the weather to clear up right away on that day, there was only a small crowd (about 10-15 people) who was enjoying the resort with us. You could choose to roam around downstream, the huge falls, the river bed, the two smaller falls and you’ll still get a space for a nice shot without a photobomber. *wink*

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The splendor of Mother Nature.

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A very beautiful specie of butterfly fluttering around me while trying to take a good shot of her – the first of its kind.

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Here goes hubby’s epic jump!

 

Here’s a short video of our escapade there (do watch it at 480p):

God is good all the time, eh? But wait, that’s just the beginning of our itinerary. Because the 2 events we originally listed became 8. Well, I couldn’t count exactly because it all just happened out of the blue. We’re like going along the flow whichever God would want us to do and want us to have.

So we got to visit the windmills farm, the parola beside the lake (which I thought was a sea growing up in a coastal area), checked out the old historical church nearby and tried some local cuisine for snacks.

Everything went perfectly well even with how we managed the time (and expenses) and no traffic! Ha! Hubby was sure glad to drive with ease the whole time being surrounded with all the greenery. The car we used was Brian and his brother’s as they have another one for the family car. They share in using it but I told Bri to let his brother use it as they already have a baby and commuting with a toddler is tad difficult. Told him we will just borrow when there is a pressing need like this anniv celeb which happens only once a year. So praise God that the car was good to go as well for this event. ๐Ÿ˜€

When hubby and I got home, we started preparing for the part 2 of our celeb the next day which fell on a Sunday. Of course, Sundays are meant for God so if there is an itinerary, ggoing to church should be the first priority or if not, it should be included. We planned to stay at a hotel around Ortigas area after our dinner cruise so I suggested we attend church nearby or along the way to Manila bay.

Searched the Victory church website and found one at Robinsons Galleria mall. It has always been a habit for me and Brian to find a church nearby if we have activities lined up on Sunday. It was our first time at Victory Ortigas and every Victory church has their own communion schedule if I am not mistaken. We missed having one in our home church at Victory Katipunan for the month of August. But to our surprise, on that Sunday, it was communion day for Victory Ortigas. Yaaaay! Oh, the goodness of the Lord just goes on and on. A blessed Sunday it was as the events lined up on that day was also the “meat”  of the celebration.

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Early birds at Victory Ortigas.

After church, hubby and I decided to go directly to Manila bay for our dinner cruise. Guess what too, the new yacht assigned to us caters only a small group of people meaning it will give the guests a more exclusive experience. The yacht looked great too. We were supposed to be served a full-course plated meal with iced tea but since the yacht was small, they changed the caterer and the sea was expected to be rough these months too so they served them in bento boxes. But I preferred it this way because I don’t like my food spilling over my plate when the yacht changed courses or worse, spilling them over my dress. That is my worst nightmare during a date. lol BUT the best part which was not included in the package was a complimentary refillable glass of wine being offered to guests. Yaaay again!

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Welcome aboard!

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Aboard M/Y Selina.

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God is so full of surprises, ain’t He? So hubby and I were enjoying our dinner cruise moment and 1 hour was just not enough especially if you’re gonna take photos around the yacht, eat and drink. Or maybe we were having so much fun we totally lost track of the time. *wink*

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The view of the bay from the yacht.

So final verdict? We’re definitely going to relive the experience but on a summer night AND when there is a pyromusical event at SM Mall of Asia. Now that gives you an idea how you could spend a romantic date with your special someone too. Let’s share the love, shall we? We say, cheers to that! ๐Ÿ™‚

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After dinner we went to SM Mall of Asia to catch pokemons. lol But nope, I am no pokemon go player. My husband tried it out of curiosity thus tried to catch some while we’re still in the area and ordered our favorite fraps at Starbucks located along the boulevard. Now it was late already when we got to Richmonde hotel where we will spend the night away.

Entering this classy hotel will make you lost in translation. I was totally loving the hotel’s elegant interiors probably because I like earth tones when it comes to color choices and gold never fails to magnify the sophistication of every item like black. It was actually the color motif of hubby and I for our dinner date – yellow/gold and black.

We went inside our room which was very cozy by the way and it matched the elegance of the hotel’s lobby. Since we were dead tired because of the previous events especially hubby who was diving and swimming his heart out in Daranak falls, we’ve thought about having a massage. We tried the 90-minute Swedish aromatherapy massage at Nuat Thai near the hotel and I found myself giggling, not because of the massage, but the snoring client beside my room. lol

Well, I couldn’t blame him. The massage was so good, so therapeutic and relaxing it’ll really make you doze off. I am not really a massage lover but I appreciated it so much in a way that it made me so calm and relaxed after the session. Hubby said that he, too, fell asleep. Hmmmm, was he the one who snored?! lol ๐Ÿ˜€

I didn’t know massages can make you go hungry. *wink*  So afterwards, we went ahead and had a tapsilog meal at Rufo’s. When we got back to the hotel we were just so drowsy and we understood why, it’s already 1am! Okay, it’s really time for taps.

The next day/part 3 of the celeb we had our sumptuous and delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel’s cafe. We had no photos as we don’t want to break the sophisticated atmosphere with us taking selfies everywhere. We felt like it’s inappropriate especially when expats were eating beside your table. *wink*  We then decided to take a swim at the hotel’s heated pool and we couldn’t capture a pretty decent shot lest some of the guests might be irritated if they’d find out their faces were included in the photo without their permission. I happen to have one taken but a lady just made it in time as a photobomber. lol No offense though, it oftentimes happens. *wink*

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His signature squint, my signature pout. ๐Ÿ˜‰

By the time we finished our morning dip at the pool we headed back to our room and prepared for the check out. We decided to have the car washed, loaded up and went on our way home sweet home. Then, it began to rain. ๐Ÿ˜€

Alas, we’re now finally at the comfort of our quaint little home. This home of ours was a little apartment that my siblings and I shared starting when we were all studying in college. When my eldest sister and brother got married, my second sister worked in Norway and my third sister went to our home province to be with our parents, I was left alone. So now my hubby and I are occupying this place.

I always tell my husband that it is such a privilege for us to live in this minimalist and simple home. We had nothing to worry about the stuff that we needed and my siblings and I used to take turns in doing a house makeover every now and then. So many memories are in here thus it is always a reminder for us to take good care of this humble abode. I used to hate cleaning but I love it now especially when I see the aftermath. We do have plans of getting our own house but we’ll have to wait and trust God and His right time with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

The events during the weekend went on smoothly and we’re still right on track with our budget. The provisions of God do overflow when you share what you need to give and you have faith that only God is the sole provider of everything. Besides, it’s better to give than to receive anyway. *big smiles there*  Everything was planned out perfectly because God planned it that way. I am just extremely thankful for everything. We just have a great God, haven’t we?

I couldn’t imagine how Brian and I managed to celebrate it with so much ease, no worries and no hassle knowing we were relying on his income alone for our expenses; secondly, his schedule at work was difficult to arrange and lastly, the weather didn’t go well a couple of weeks prior to the celeb. It was a combined celebration of simplicity and elegance, adventure and sophistication, nature and man-made – the perfect balance.

It actually doesn’t matter what are the particulars when it comes to celebrating special moments with a loved one. The good and bad memories that you and your spouse build every single day are enough to remind you of the love that you have for each other which is more important than any celebration in every marriage. Love rules, love wins, and love is all that matters. (I think I heard myself singing that. lol)

But the truth of the matter is that a marriage requires this – FAITH. When it comes to faith, I only have these two to think about:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – Hebrews 11:1

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 12:22

Keep the faith ALWAYS too, my dear brothers and sisters! โค

Much love,

Tin and Bri

God’s Not Dead 2: Who’s Watching It and Who Watched It?

My husband and I were sort of contemplating what Christian-themed movie to watch and it suddenly crossed my mind that God’s Not Dead 2 was already released in some countries last April of this year. It hasn’t been shown here in the Philippines yet if I am not mistaken so I found myself watching the trailer. When I saw the stats, there were 15k who liked it and 14k who disliked it (as of viewing).

BUT this should not be a cause of alarm nor disappointment for believers who widely support Christian films. As a believer we should take it as a sign of hope. The 14k who disliked the movie meant that they watched the trailer until the end making them decide that they dislike it – the planting of the seed (please refer to 1 Corinthians 3:6). It is just the beginning and God will make it grow regardless on who planted or who watered it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Many are still in disbelief. This is a fact.

I believe movies such as God’s Not Dead were made to serve only one purpose – glorify God, which is the sole purpose of man in this world. The truth will be made known whether we like it or not, whether we try to suppress it or not. It will remain as the truth and a fact – Jesus lives, Jesus is the Son of Man and Son of God and there is a God.

It is part of history and we can never ever erase history. I’ll cite for one where our calendars are patterned from – A.D. and B.C. If we do erase history then all foundations of civil society now will be futile and senseless – it will become an endless pursuit of the “hows”  and the “whys”  which can become chaos.

Chaos. Without civilization, everything will be in chaos. What keeps a society in order is the system and the system is the foundation. The foundation is what history is all about. Imagine a society wherein you will be starting from scratch – that’s a whole lot to work on. So should we also not use our calendars since Christ doesn’t exist thus, B.C.(Before Christ) will be considered null? Then, we should not be counting days or years or celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, etc. or even plan our schedules.

Let’s say Science. Is Science a fact? Is it part of history?  It is. So much of what Science covers are truths. BUT Science, like History, is not God. It doesn’t contain the wisdom that God has. God only wanted to be revealed in these branches of study and shed light on some of what He is capable of doing but never to undermine the work He has first created and established.

I shared in my previous article before this that I used to be overwhelmed by “why”  questions pertaining to the existence of things and this world. I was in pursuit of worldly knowledge so to speak.

Have you ever heard a 6-year old ask you questions that for adults seem to be very absurd and yet in actuality, they speak so much of reality – innocently true? Take these questions as an example:

“Why are our skulls created to be spherical and not triangular?”

“Why are our eyes positioned to be parallel with each other horizontally and not vertically or why not put one eye at the front and one at the back?”

Or better yet,

“Why do we only have two eyes and why not make four situated one in front, one at the back and one on each side (this will be awesome because you see everything around you literally – no “blind” sides. lol)?”

I have a 6-year old nephew and while attending to him one time, he started asking me similar questions and I saw myself in him when I was his age. I just smiled and can only utter a prayer, “Lord, you have given a mind that is inquisitive, who is hungry for knowledge, please guide him along the way.”

Going back to those questions, adults will dismiss them – man does not have an answer for them. Science can define their functionalities but Science can never answer why we have two eyes only and the likes.

This is not to dismiss the branch of Science though. I believe God created scientists for a purpose and why they’d be gifted with such skill and knowledge in exploring and discovering what this world is composed of and what’s it all about – it makes it easier for man to understand how one correlates with the other. In the same way that History was created for the very purpose of enlightening man.

In the same way that God sent Jesus in this world in the form of a human being so that He would be able to deliver the message in a manner that humanity will understand and relate to God. God allowed the field of Science to be created so man would understand how God created this world. That was His way of explaining to the human race in a way that we can all relate – a message through man.

Would we be able to understand what salvation is and what God wanted for us to do if He didn’t send His Son Jesus in this world or if God sent Jesus in the form of let’s say, a dove? Would we be able to understand that feet are for walking or hands are for holding and grasping things, that incisors are for cutting and molars are for chewing food, that menses are for reproducing, etc. if Science didn’t explain it?

I still have that thirst for knowledge. But this time, it is a different kind of hunger for learning – something that is not of this world but spiritual. I do not know everything because it is God’s role to know everything. I may be bombarded back then by questions that seem to have no answers and yet FAITH has taught me this:

“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

It simply means to respect God for who He is – our great, magnificent and supreme God. There are some things that we are to know and yet there are some things that we shouldn’t ought to know. We have to learn the boundaries and limitations between God and man – the supreme being and the ordinary being, the perfect and the imperfect. Most of us may have questions similar to what I’ve posted above or questions pertaining to faith, God and Jesus and yet we can be assured that in God’s perfect time, we’ll be given answers.

But do take note that they do not come via “Eureka moment”  out of the blue without any preemptive means but they can only be found in the very tangible proof of God’s Word that came from God, Himself, through Jesus – the bible.

The bible does not contain specific answers as to why we have two eyes only and yet it will teach us in a manner that God only knows how through the Spirit of Christ in you, in me and in all of us. We need not go looking for answers but by reading the bible, all of these things around and within us make sense – our source of contentment. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do You Have A War Room?

For I certainly need one. ๐Ÿ™‚

First, my apologies. I promised to write this after the “tugging” article and yet another article came before this and another one more.

God’s plan – additional relevant info came in along with the recent events which will be discussed at the latter part of this article.

So I thought it better there’d be a “war room”ย  in churches. If Muslims have a mosque, Catholics have a confessional, I believe born-again Christians should also have a “war room.”ย  We are all united by one God and we all serve one God. If I am not mistaken, we have been called as “The Prayer Nation” too.

This “war room” ย will offer 3 options to believers whichever they are most inclined to do:

1. Pray in the war room alone if a quiet, personal time with God is needed and yet a war room is not available at home, at work or in school during the midweek.
2. Beside a war room there is a prayer box in case they felt the need for more members of the spiritual family to pray for them and yet do not have the courage to meet them personally.
3. Beside the prayer box is an instruction what to do and who to contact when a dire need is there to talk to a spiritual leader regarding a very urgent and pressing concern i.e. life and death, demonic possessions, safety, hopeless cases, etc.

I have envisioned “war rooms” placed in every city which would be similar to the garden that Jesus went to before the crucial moments of His arrest. I thought it better that every church in every city would build what I call a “A Place of Serenity” where it’ll give peace and solitude to those who desperately seek it.

I got this idea from Sagada in the Mountain Province in the northern part of the Philippines wherein it is flocked by visitors who needed to break away from their busy lives and busy environments and I personally call it as “The Prayer Mountains”ย  based from the experiences of friends who’ve had their “enlightenment”ย  there.

Unfortunately, it is a 6-hour drive from the metro – something that not everyone have the privilege to do on a regular basis. I thought why not create something like it within the metro but as compared to Jesus’ garden and Sagada, this place of serenity within the metro will be built adjusted accordingly to the demands of the city lifestyle – crowded, busy and noisy.

It could be a small parcel of land, turned into a garden i.e. landscaped and surrounded by trees and at the center will be a building or any structure that holds cubicles built in the same way as recording studios (sound proof) with nothing else inside it but a chair, a table, a pen, a paper and a bible.

Why these 5 things only?

First, God will give His instructions as prompted by the Spirit through the Holy Scripture. Second, a chair and a table are another option if one does not want to kneel while praying, there is a physical disability or an elderly. Lastly, a pen and a paper will be needed for documentation if one needs to write a specific bible verse that the Spirit has prompted or if there is a need to write down his/her prayer requests so more members of the spiritual family can pray over them. This can be dropped in a prayer box which I have mentioned in item 2 above.

This idea of a “war room”ย  came after watching none other than one of the best Christian films I have watched so far which is War Room: Prayer Is A Powerful Weapon.ย ย It is also because I am in need of one being situated beside a very busy street and neighborhood wherein you hear all sort of sounds and noise any time of the day and night. Our living quarters too come in the form of a small apartment wherein there is use for every nook of the place that does not elicit solitude. So I wondered where would I go if I wanted to seek for serenity within the metro so I could hear God’s instructions clearly.

After our volunteer work at the home for the aged, one of the outreach coordinators asked us who would be willing to volunteer as intercessors to that “special ward”ย  which I referred in the article. Three of us volunteered and they are my church mates,ย my sisters in Christ and my former bible study group mates. I just thought I’d totally appreciate finding a place that I can call a “war room”ย  as being an intercessor would mean I need to have a more quiet and personal time with God so I could present all these prayer requests, be more in tune with the Spirit and discern His instructions – I have so many to pray for in every area of my life and in everything and everyone around me.

In case you haven’t watched the movie War Room: Prayer Is A Powerful Weapon yet, I highly encourage you to watch it for it’s message is just so powerful, it is so real and yet tells so much of the Truth. ๐Ÿ™‚

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, โ€œO My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.โ€ – Matthew 26:39 (The Prayer in the Garden, Jesus Prays in Gethsemane)

“But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6ย (The Lord’s Prayer)

In case you have been called by the Spirit to intercede for someone or something, this article might help in preparing for the work:

http://www1.cbn.com/questions/what-is-intercessory-prayer

“Lord, we need an army of believers. Lord, call us to battle. Raise them up, Lord. Raise them up.”

Breaking My Silence: Elections 2016

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If I can make just this one final comment regarding the elections, it would be this: lack of respect. Lack of respect for the freedom to express and the freedom to choose and vote among candidates and followers.

If our leaders will continue bashing one another, then we should expect that in the Senate or the Congress or any government institution, decisions will be divided. They will instigate an atmosphere of unrest among their respective followers instead of instigating PEACE.

A true leader unifies and never diversifies regardless of the differences. If we want a team to work well and produce excellent performances, unity is important. How do we attain it? Respect their skills, their choices, their potentials and lastly give our support as long as its aims and goals is to build the team up.

We are not in the position to know the deepest and real intentions of the hearts of our electoral candidates. ONLY God knows. Only God knows the TRUTH for He is the one sole LEADER of this world and beyond. We all know that God always has better plans.

If we believe in the supremacy and sovereignty of a superior being above all mankind and all creations, we will RESPECT the notion that it is He who makes things work according to His purposes including the authorities that He chooses to govern the kingdoms a.k.a. countries.

Does that mean we don’t have a choice? We do. That is our God-given free will. So how do we know who to vote?

PRAY. The only way we can align ourselves to God’s plans is when we seek Him and His instructions through the one and only way we connect with Him – praying. Pray for DISCERNMENT and WISDOM that the deception and lies will be revealed and the truth will prevail.

PRAY now. PRAY even when you are seconds away before the actual voting and you are still undecided. PRAY that God will open the hearts and the minds of many whoever will sit as the new government officials.

And lastly, TRUST in Him.

RESPECT. PRAY. TRUST.

#Goal

 

Dahil kahit sira ang aking laptop, wala pa ring nakapigil sa akin na mag-sulat sa blog lalo na’t ilang araw na akong natengga sa pagsusulat ayan na’t puro drafts sila at kahit pa tinatyaga ko ang mabagal na pag-type nito sa aking phone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Madalas kong maalala ang nabasa ko sa libro ni Pr. Joey patungkol sa buhay mag-asawa sa libro nyang pinamagatang “The One Thing That Saved My Marriage.”ย  This was what he shared about remembering an incident where he learned that one lesson that changed their lives as a couple:

We were visiting a church in snow-covered Washington, DC. Though it happened in 1988, I can still remember the moment vividly in my mind. The pastor said, “At the end of your life, you will find yourself in a hospital bed somewhere and the people surrounding your bed will not be your business partners and associates; they will be your wife and children. The saddest day of your life is when you look into her eyes and both of you realize that you did not love her and your children the way you should have.”

Kung interesado kayong mabasa ito, married or not, you can download this sa website nya (joeybonifacio.com) and you just have to subscribe and look for the book in the e-books bar section.

Parang tulad din ng sinabi ni Pr. Dennis sa seminar on careers sa Singles’ Getaway noong 2012 kung saan ako nagkaroon ng altar call. This was about his wife noong ito ay nagbabalak i-pursue ang pagme-medisina para maging doktor at pinapili nya kung buhay may asawa o pagdo-doktor pipiliin nya. He told his wife na kaya ba syang damayan ng kanyang medical career sa mga gabing naiiyak o nalulungkot sya dahil sa isang problema. His wife chose to prioritize him and the family.

I met my husband nasa katapusan na ako ng masteral ko. Ngunit pinili kong unahin ang pag-aasawa thus we got married kahit ‘di ko pa tapos MA ko. Now I jokingly asked my husband, “Hon kung matapos ko MA ko and pursue my PhD, papayagan mo ba ako?”

He seriously answered/asked: “Wala ka na panahon ‘nun sa amin ng mga anak mo. May gusto ka bang patunayan sa sarili mo, Hon?”

And I was silent. Smiled. Then laughed. It was really a joke.

Oo, tama sya. Para saan pa nga ba ang pag-pursue of “greater” things when God wanted us to be content with what we have taking into consideration things that really matter – if you are married, it is your spouse and family. When we claim for greater things then it also means greater responsibilities which as we all know requires these – more time, more effort, and more resources. I guess we never really can have the best of both worlds thus we have to choose and prioritize. Ngunit sa mata ng Dios, what comes after Him if you are married is not your career but your spouse.

Tama sila Pastor na sa pagtanda mo o kapag ikaw ay naaksidente o nasa ospital, it is not going to be your co-workers, your friends or your boss who will be there to stay with you 24/7. Lahat ng iyong kaibigan ay magkakaroon din ng mga sarili nilang pamilya ganun din mga kapatid at kamaganak at ang mga ka-close mo sa trabaho ay magre-resign din ‘di kalaunan.

Though it is nice to get achievements, it will become of no use when you get home and you have nobody to share it with who is there with you cheering you all the way from start to finish. There is a possibility though that your spouse will leave this world sooner which would prove that indeed, things of this world are only temporary.

Yet this will prove too that because life is short and everything is temporary, it is a must we give the necessary kind of love to the significant other that God has appointed to us if it is our calling to be married.

Maybe the best question we should ask ourselves now is to whom or to what are we investing most of our time now here on Earth? Are we using it to forge meaningful relationships living out the greatest commandment of God which is loving someone with a Christ-like attitude and preparing for life in eternity or we are just living the life within this world and conforming to its patterns?

Isa sa mga goals ko ang mabuhay ng simple, working to live and not living to work. I need money for survival and yet I rely on God for the rest of my needs. If we are getting everything we need and want thru our own efforts then we would become lukewarm in our faith thinking we don’t need Him to supply our needs.

Now this is contrary to what God wants from us dahil ang gusto lang Nya is for us to seek Him with all our hearts. ‘Yun at ‘yun lang kung tutuusin ang only goal natin in this world dapat.

With this in mind, I contemplated about not finishing my masteral. I prayed real hard about it and got an instruction from God to finish it in His perfect time. Plano kong mag-shift ng courses noong college at itong Special Education na course sana lilipatan ko. But I was advised na ituloy ko na lang undergraduate course ko and i-pursue na lang as master’s degree ang Special Education kung plano ko mag-aral ulit.

Matagal na panahon na ang lumipas pero hindi pa rin ako makausad sa masteral thesis ko to the point na tinanong na ako ng Kuya ko kung ito ba talaga gusto ko. Sabi ko oo, dahil gusto ko tumulong sa mga batang may kapansanan o special needs. Nararamdaman ko na dun malapit ang puso ko. Kung ‘yun daw ang purpose ko ‘di na kailangan ng master’s degree dahil marami namang paraan para tulungan sila.

Sagot ko naman hindi lang kasi ‘yun. Plano ko magtayo ng isang Special Education school at magiging maganda credibility ng school na ito kung alam ng mga magulang na ang may-ari ng school ay may alam sa Special Education. Plano ko rin maging hands on sa school na ito kaya dapat may alam ako sa Special Education, training at experience nang sa gayon masubaybayan at magabayan ko rin ang mga SpEd teachers na magtuturo sa aking school.

At hindi lang dito nagtatapos ang layunin ko dahil kasabay ng school ay plano ko magtayo ng isang foundation/therapy center na mangangalaga ng libre sa mga batang may kapansanan ngunit kapos para makakuha ng sapat na serbisyo sa kanilang mga needs doon muna sa aking hometown sa Bulan, Sorsogon sa Bicol region. Alam ko na sa mga plano na ito, malaking effort, mahabang panahon at malaking pondo kailangan kong bunuin.

Ito ay isa lamang sa mga long-term goals ko kahit pa ngayong ako’y may asawa na. At palagay ko magpapatuloy ito hanggang sa pagtanda ko. Alam ko malapit ang puso ng Dios sa mga bata at alam ko rin na ang Special Education ay isa sa mga paraan ng Dios para matulungan ang mga batang nabuhay ng may kapansanan. I know the Lord sees the challenges, the frustration and the pain that these kids, who are innocent, go through pati ng mga magulang nila. Ngunit sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, ito rin naging reminder ko:

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

Sa ngayon patuloy akong nananalangin for the Lord’s instructions, guidance and provision. And yet I have faith na saan man ako dalhin ng Dios kahit pa sobrang kabaligtaran sa mga plano at pinapangarap ko ang mangyari, buo tiwala ko na it is for my own good at ‘di lang para sa akin, kundi para na rin sa asawa ko at sa mga magiging anak namin. Nagtitiwala ako na hindi man matupad itong pangarap ko in my lifetime, I have hope na nariyan ang opportunity na ang magiging anak ko ang posibleng mag-sakatuparan at tumupad ng mga pangarap na ito kung ito ay alinsunod sa will ng Panginoon at kung ito rin ang kanyang calling o misyon.

Sa ngayon, binigay sa akin ng Dios ang asawa ko. This means that whatever happens, sya ang pangalawa sa priority ko after ni God.

Ikaw kapatid, anong mga plano mo sa buhay ang inaalay mo sa Dios na bigyan ka ng gabay? Continue praying, God hears and answers. ๐Ÿ™‚

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Changes: April It Is

Changes

Once again, my planner never fell short in conveying messages and character traits that I need to learn or will about to take place. For the month of April, it is about CHANGES.

How timely, how accurate and how helpful โ€“ same phrase as what I wrote in my previous article regarding COURAGE. If not for courage though, I wouldnโ€™t be able to defend my faith when the need arises. This need came in the form of a conflict at my husbandโ€™s work place wherein worldly suggestions as well as worldly interpretations of things were given to him โ€“ I expected the worst. Yet I believe God intended it to be and I believe too that God has already prepared us beforehand.

With this kind of scenario, I would have felt fear and indignation at the maximum and yet, I found myself correcting how I should react and take everything in a Godly perspective right away. I am grateful to God as well and this is the reason why I can attest that God knew this will all happen, because contrary to what I was expecting as my spouseโ€™s response to this kind of situation in the past, which is also worldly, he handled the matter this time according to what we talked about as the right way โ€“ Godโ€™s way. This gratitude extends even further because by doing so, by obeying God, my fear that I will lose my husband if he favors his workmates over me thus resulting to a broken marriage didnโ€™t happen.

Our marriage was intact, God protected it from those who wanted to ruin it. In fact, I know God is with His people and He is with us for He showed to my spouse the mistakes of his coworkers that involved gossiping, meddling with the husband and wife affairs and broken confidentiality with a โ€œtrustedโ€ย  coworker. My husband and I chose to pray for them instead. We know that these are also trials of faith to them as it is to us. It is not for a born-again Christian to quarrel but choose rather to do things peacefully.

This situation proved to my husband that indeed, it is the wife and the husband who should work as a team against the attacks of the enemy. It is only this team work of the husband and the wife that will save the covenant and the Holy Matrimony. My husband and I got to talk things out last night regarding this and afterwards when he got up, I told him something: โ€œHoney, God loves you.โ€ย  He answered back with an โ€œI know, Hon.โ€ย ย A tight hug culminated it. Okay, I am not supposed to include this. ๐Ÿ˜€

Yes, I have nothing to fear, we have nothing to fear. It is God who will always fight the battle for us. Problems might be too big and too overwhelming that it could cloud our vision of God beside us, and yet faithful as He is, He will make His presence felt. For all the rest of the day that my husband is at work, I was at home doing a lot of things and praying that God would give him strength to get through the challenges, the attacks and temptations of the enemy that he will be facing at work. God knows those are my only worries as a wife because I am not physically with my husband and he is facing these temptations on his own. I always pray to God that my husbandโ€™s spirit will be strengthened deeply in all of these trials. I know that it is only by prayers and in spirit that I can be with him whenever he is not with me.

But through all these worries, once again God assured me so many times through His word that He will never leave our side. The Spirit prodded me to read chapters and verses in the bible that are enough to give me the courage to face the enemy with boldness and support my husband in his ordeals. But I also prayed for discernment still for the enemy could use the Scripture against me.

And yet, I choose to have faith. I told my husband to keep the faith even when the enemy will use any of us against each other. I have to remind ourselves that we have to look at the end goal, our destiny, which is to claim victory over all challenges by upholding to the covenant that we made with each other as a husband and a wife in front of the Lord and emerge victorious, as a couple, until death do us part.

All these pain and suffering and the rebuke I share to him, I know I have to explain to my husband so heโ€™d be encouraged through the Scripture and know the Light:

โ€œNo discipline is enjoyable while it is happening โ€“ itโ€™s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.โ€ โ€“ Hebrews 12:11

โ€œAs you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its Father?โ€ โ€“ Hebrews 12:7

โ€œThink about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.โ€ โ€“ Deuteronomy 8:5

โ€œI know, O Lord, that your regulations are fair; You disciplined me because I needed it.โ€ – Psalm 119:75

As much as I want to keep quiet and just show my husband how a Christ-like living and attitude go, I know I still need to answer and remind him when he asks me directly certain questions pertaining to faith. I have to thank God though for allowing these changes and I can only pray that more changes, for the better, will take place not just between me and my husband but with all the people around us.

I always tell him that our life story as a couple and our marriage will be our testimony of Godโ€™s grace, His love and faithfulness through the good, the best, the bad and the worst times. We just have to TRUST and OBEY Him at ALL times.

True it is when they say,

โ€œThe only thing that is constant in this world is CHANGE.โ€

And yet true it is also that,

“Change is a lifetime process.”

 

Courage: The Brighter Side

If there is one thing that faith, the church, our family and the spiritual family all point to, that would be to look at the brighter side of things. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the month of March, this is the character trait: SURRENDER. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this was the text:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the courage to be bold in defying the challenges, courage to seek the Light amid the darkness, courage to stand true to my faith whatever the odds and the courage to proclaim my faith all the more despite my imperfections and setbacks. ๐Ÿ™‚

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