Tag Archives: family

Not Alone

Do you feel that you are ALONE all the time? I believe no one wants to live alone. God has designed all of us to be with someone. Most of the time with our families. If not, with our friends or in a certain community we are part of.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

However, not all of us are blessed with good relationships. Some of us experienced being abandoned or being left by the people whom we thought would never give up on us. Or, some are just too busy that they could not make time anymore.

If you are one of those who feels like no one cares for you or no one loves you, I hope that today you will be assured that there is the GREATEST LOVE that is always available for you. EVEN BEFORE GOD CREATED YOU, HE ALREADY LOVED YOU. And that never changed. God will also bring you to relationships that are good for you if you are willing to trust Him on that. So, take heart!!! God’s love never runs out on you!

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Attend, Serve, Hear – Then What?

Just this Sunday, I went home to Bacolod to spend time with my family before I leave the country.  It was very timely also as we celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday. Days before that, she requested us if we can have a Bible study at home when I arrive. I was okay with it as I took it as an opportunity also.

Few days before I went home, I had the privilege to volunteer and help for the “Unshakable” Conference which was held in Christ’s Commission Fellowship. The speakers were Krish Dhanam, Nabeel Qureshi and Ravi Zacharias. There were also other guests who came who are part of the RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries).

Being part of the speakers’ care team, I had the chance to pick up some of the guests from RZIM at the airport and had conversations with them, knowing a bit about them – what they do, where they’re from, etc.  I must say, it was an interesting and meaningful experience. I could see how God uses ordinary people to do His work.

On the event day, while still helping out in the care team, I was blessed that I could still attend and hear the messages of all speakers. And I’m really glad that I did. I believed God wanted me to have the right perspective and heart as I respond to what He would require from me.

What do I mean by that?

My mom joined a religious group which became known because of a t.v. program wherein their leader answers all questions of the viewers by quoting different verses in the Bible. That Bible study I mentioned was conducted by a worker from that group . I agreed with it because I wanted to know first-hand what they believe in and what they teach.  It was a tempting opportunity to debate and argue but just like what I learned from the conference, we must do everything in LOVE.

During the Bible study, I made some notes on the verses they share and the words they speak. I also asked questions just to probe and get more understanding on what they believe in. While listening, my heart really broke and is still breaking. I am saddened of what I heard. I realized how much they truly need to experience the love and grace of God.

I remembered the very words of Dr. Ravi, “If you want to defend your faith, you have to work hard.” For me to be able to share to my mom the truth of God’s Word, I have to do my own homework as well. I have to be more diligent in studying God’s Word, be more prayerful and to just continue showing love.

Paul’s instruction is also an encouragement knowing that only God can truly change the hearts of people.

Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. (2 Timothy 2:23-26)

After that Bible study, my eyes were more widely opened on the so-called “urgency”. The devil is working double time in deceiving a lot of people to confuse them by twisting the truth. I realize I just can’t sit and stay sad for them. I must also put a lot of effort to double time in prayer and in sharing God’s love and His Word to others.

This is when the “Then What?” comes in. God does not want us to remain the same after attending series of events or conferences about Him. It’s not just an additional experience or another check in our bucket list. I was suppose to go home on the 17th of May but because the flight was more expensive than the 18th, I took the next day flight. I would have missed the conference but God knew I needed to hear His message.  I know I wasn’t just there to merely hear and feel good and be blessed. God wanted me to hear and apply what I learned.

At the last part of Dr. Ravi’s message, he asked to come forward those who wanted to make a commitment in responding to God’s cause. I just stayed in my place and when Ptr. Peter started praying, I cried. God reminded me that everything that will happen in my future will never be about me. I cried because I got scared that I might fail God. What if I won’t be able to do what He will ask me to do?

I can only pray that God will make me “usable”. Just like what one of the speakers said, that instead of praying that God would use us, pray that God would make us usable. I know I can never accomplish anything until I let God make me the person that He could use for His work.

These are my take home points during the conference. These points reminded me that we don’t live just for ourselves, we live for God and His cause.

– Steer away from things that don’t matter.

– Keep the main thing the main thing.

– You are needed where God puts you.

– Bring into the light your shameful past and see how God will use it.

– A calling is a convergence of your capabilities, convictions, affirmations and opportunities.

– Be careful in choosing your role models.

– If you are a prayerful Christian, your faith will carry you. If not, you will have to carry your faith.

– As you know the truth, take time to know also the worldview on things.

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Speakers’ Care Team

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“If you love me, keep my commands.” – Jesus (John 14:15)

 

[Giving it All] Day 2: Your Priorities

Reading: Matthew 26:8-12

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.

Reflection:

What’s wrong with the disciples? Was it wrong to give the money to the poor to help them? The problem here is that they missed the point of why the woman poured out the expensive perfume on Jesus’ head (Matt 26: 6-7).

We are like the disciples at times. We sometimes miss the point of why God allows things to happen in our lives. We sometimes fail to see things in God’s perspective. We tend to get angry with God without even seeking Him.

What the disciples saw as a waste, Jesus described it as “beautiful”.  The woman acknowledged who Jesus was and without having second thoughts offered her perfume to Him. She knew that  Jesus was very much worthy of the expensive perfume.

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Is Jesus worthy of your precious time? Is He worthy of your resources and services? Putting God first in your life is never a waste. In fact, it is the most worthy thing you can do in your life. Your life will never be the same once you have set your priorities right, with God being the first.

Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind”  This is the great and  foremost commandment. The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

How do we put God first?

  • Making time for God. Have a quality time with God by reading the Bible and prayer.  When Jesus was on earth, He always wakes up early in the morning and even avoids the crowd when He needs to spend time with the Heavenly Father.  ( In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Mark 1:35)
  • Acknowledging God and His Word as your authority in life. The values and principle we live by should always be aligned with what is in the Bible. In our day to day, we will always face trials and temptations that is why it is important that we know what is right in God’s eyes through the Bible.  The standard of this world especially today is very immoral. We need to have a clear stand of what standards do we follow – the world’s or God’s. (And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2)
  • Choosing God in all circumstances. Compromise is very dangerous in our spiritual walk. When we start giving in little by little to the wrong things, we will eventually find ourselves justifying the wrong and making it look right. God does not allow temptations that we can’t handle. Temptation is not a sin but when we stop choosing God and gave in, then that’s when it becomes an act of rebellion against God – aka sin. But God does not let us overcome temptation on our own. He will always sustain us. ( No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13)

With God being the first on your priority list, loving our neighbors is the second most important. Who are these?

  1. Family – next to God should be our families. In the 10 commandments (Exodus 20), the first 4 talks about our relationship with God. The 5th commandment talks about family – “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
  2. Ministry, Work – our ministry in church and/or work should never take priority before our family. When we fix our weekly schedule, there should always be an allotted quality time with family. Work takes us most of the hours in our week that’s why other activities should be properly planned. Ministry is also important as this is our service to God and other people. But if this takes up more time than spending alone time with God and quality time with our family, then, we need to drop it. God first, Family second.

If you want God to help you set your priorities right, you can say this prayer.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you dear God for reminding me today of how important it is to put You first in everything that I do. Thank you for Your Son, Jesus who taught us how to live a life that honors You.  Lord, help me to make my priorities right. Give me strength and teach me discipline that I will be able to spend more time with you in my day to day. Guide me also that I may be able to spend more quality time with my family. Teach me to properly plan my week so that the other things that I need to do will not take the time I should be spending with You. This I pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him,  and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-7

Song:

Forever by Hillsong

All HIS Leadership Conference

Every third week of January, the congregation (Christ’s Commission Fellowship) holds a leadership conference for all leaders of the church – these are not just the pastors, elders, ministry heads but also small group leaders as well as those who want to start their own small groups.

Last January 24-25, it was a privilege to be able to participate in the leadership conference entitled, “All HIS”. This is also the theme of the church for the year reminding us that everything we have belongs to God and we must be good stewards of what He has entrusted to us.

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There were so many good things to take in and apply during the conference and I want to share some of the points which really spoke to me.

  • The evidence that you love God is when you do your best for Him.
  • God doesn’t need me to exist but God decided to need me to “co-exist”.
  • We were created to be in partnership with God for His work.
  • Our unbelief limits God to accomplish things through us because we are in partnership with Him.
  • Leave your goals, ambitions, dreams in that workplace for God to be able to use you. (Because of our own personal dreams, we do things for ourselves only that we hinder God to use us where He has placed us.)
  • There’s a reality that we “stereotype” people whom we can share the gospel with. (We think that there are people who are gospel-ready and there are those who are not. When the truth is, everyone should come to know Jesus.)
  • Organize your finances: 1) Get out of debt 2)Don’t manipulate (how much you need) 3)Give
  • Tithing is not giving; it is returning what belongs to God in the first place. (In the Bible, “give” tithe was never used. It’s always been using the word “bring”.)
  • Giving is what is over and beyond your tithe.
  • Mistakes: 1) Haven’t rested enough 2) Haven’t prayed enough 3) Haven’t studied the Bible enough 4) Haven’t trained enough 5) Haven’t lead my family enough
  • About resting – If you don’t keep commandments 1-3, 5-10 – there are consequences. What made you think that by not keeping commandment 4 – Keep holy the Sabbath, there won’t be consequences?
  • For leaders: walk – character, work – ministry
  • If you focus on people, you will stumble. Focus on God.
  • I am a “slave” of Christ. (owned, no rights, absolute obedience)
  • Serve – We can serve without loving God but we can’t love God without serving others.
  • The Principle of First – Return to God what belongs to Him.
  • We are stewards of:  Time, Talent, Treasure, Title, Influence, Relationships, Opportunities
  • We are also stewards of God’s Truth. We are responsible to share the gospel.

My action points for this conference are:

–          To be a good steward of God’s truth – share God’s love and the gospel to as many as possible

–          To be a good steward of my time, talent, influence and finances – maximize my time for the Lord and to organize my finances

–          To share God more to my family – in love, in truth, in words and actions

–          To be a better small group leader – deeper study of God’s Word, evangelism and multiplication

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”― John Wesley

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ – Matthew 25:23

cross Every color represents specific aspect in life that you want to surrender to God. At the end of the conference, all the boards with stickers were put together and formed into a cross

collageAttended the conference with my disciple, Anne

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“I am all HIS!” – Pepay

Imagine 32

When I was in high school, I used to imagine what my life would be after college. Asking myself, what my life would be when I turn 30? Will I even reach the age of 30? Did you ever have such thoughts when you were younger?

Tomorrow, my sister Amity turns 32. I’m just wondering how Ate would turn out to be. She could be one of the coolest and bubbliest teachers for special children. Or, she could be in a different part of the world living a fulfilling life. Or, she could be married (do you think?) to a Jewish-American, engineer-businessman with a little girl or boy and just be a house wife. 🙂

But one thing is for sure, she is definitely living life to the fullest and with a purpose. My sister never did things for no reason at all. There’s always a goal in mind, not wasting any time for unnecessary things.

And as I think about this, it also makes me wonder what my life would be when I reach that age. As I reach my 30’s soon, it really confirms how swift time has been as my imaginations during high school are still very fresh in my memory. It’s nice to dream about certain things that could motivate us to strive better. But it’s still important to always go back to what’s real and making sure it’s always aligned to God’s plan for our life.

Indeed, we will never know when our last breath would be. But what’s important is that we always leave a good legacy that when people remember us, it will bring them good memories of us. My sister could have left different impressions or marks to different people. But I hope that the important qualities they will never forget about her (well, aside from her very hearty laughter) are her love for God & family, strength, determination, and generosity.

Let each day of our life be always lived as if it is the last.

“Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Just some trivia about my sister…  🙂

Do you know what the name Amity means? It means friendly. My parents wanted to give us unique names that my father had to look into the dictionary.

My sister’s nickname was “Onsing”  because she was born on the day that a typhoon hit Cebu having such name. Well, just good that it wasn’t her real name. Hehe…

Happy Birthday Ate! Enjoy the party UP there! 🙂

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Quality Time

As I try to think why I enjoy trips and travels, I realized that since when I was young and my family still lived in Cebu, my parents would take us to different trips. We would go to Bacolod and visit our relatives through bus and ferry. We would go to Cebu City with our neighbors for tours.

When we moved to Bacolod and all of us started going to school, we barely had trips unless our relatives from the US would come home. It was something we haven’t done together as a family until my siblings and I started working. We had our own trips but not as a family

Every time I go to some nice place, I always wish that my family is with me and that I could share such memory with them. That’s why every time I go home to Bacolod, I always make sure that we go out of town and just enjoy family time. Sometimes, it’s not really the place anymore. It’s really being with them.

Early this year, my sister and I planned for a CDO trip. We booked the whole family for a flight to Cagayan de Oro last August without telling Papa and Mama first.  We wanted to give them a treat at the same time be able to visit relatives of Papa’s side. And I must say, it was really worth all the expenses! 🙂 One of the best trips I had.

We all don’t know when we can really have the time with our families unless we want to be intentional about it. Because I live far from my family, I really make sure time with them is time well-spent. I’m looking forward for next year’s trip, maybe, when my brother comes home. Maybe visit Cebu and relatives of Mama’s side.

I’m thankful that God allows us to enjoy life to its fullest with people that we love the most. 🙂

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Made for Relationships

When I moved to Manila to work, I didn’t have any immediate family with me nor friends that I can live with. I was basically on my own at the start. It wasn’t an easy move and I can still clearly remember that I wanted to go home to Bacolod during my first week of stay. I got so homesick as it was my first time to really be away from family.

Eventually, I made a lot of friends from my work, from where I used to stay and from church. As months went by, I realized how important to have people who would continue to guide you and even become accountable for you. That’s when I decided to join in a small group. And being part of it really helped me in my continuous stay here in Manila.

The small group became my spiritual family. It is composed of people who show genuine love and concern towards each other. In the group, we share our victories and trials to one another to be able to encourage each other. We pray for each other and help each other in our walk with the Lord. There is nothing so extraordinary in a small group except the common factor why we meet together – Jesus Christ.

I’m glad that I made that decision to be part of a small group. It’s not just about meeting together, talking about our lives, doing fun stuff together, a small group is more than that. It’s a privilege to be a blessing to different people. It’s a privilege of knowing God through other people who share the same passion for the Lord.

Indeed, we are all created for relationships. We are not meant to be alone. If right now, you feel like you don’t have friends, or you’re too far away from your family or you just really feel alone, and you’ve been invited to be part of something like this, give it a chance. It’s more than an invitation, it’s a privilege.

In small groups, we don’t just gain friends, we grow with friends.

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

 

These are the different small groups I’ve been with and still with. It’s just amazing growing old with such beautiful women, some have gotten married already, one had kid, some had left the city, some had returned, some still stayed single :), but despite of the changes, the journey of encouraging, praying for each other and lifting up one another never changes.

Truth is, our lives together go beyond the small circle of group. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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