How Well Do You Know Your Lover?

Many don’t know this one but Coco and I had known known each other since were 13. We met at a common friend’s birthday party. But apart from his name, I knew nothing about him. We were barely friends.

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Fast forward to the day he first asked me out, I looked at him with so much curiosity. Who is this guy? What’s his personality? What are his likes (aside from me…hehe)? What are his passions and interests? What does he hate? What makes him mad?

There were so much to learn and know about him. Until now, I’m discovering new things about him every day, whether we are apart or together. Some things about him surprise me while some make me mad. Some make me happy, others make me think twice. No, just kidding. Each day that goes by allows me to know him better than yesterday.

It somehow reminds me with my relationship with God for the last five years. You see, I also met Him when I was still young. I can’t remember what age specifically but growing up in a Christian home, it’s impossible not to know Him. However, it was pretty superficial on my side. I knew Him alright but I did not have a relationship with Him and there’s a notable difference between the two.

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It was only until 2012 that I decided to jump off my own boat and plunge into the waters to pursue on a new life that is led by Him. I started involving myself with people who can help me grow in my faith. It wasn’t an easy one though because there were times that I failed. But as I kept going and continued reading His word, the more I got know who God really is.

I learned a more intimate perspective of His personality like how loving and kind He is. Yeah, everyone knows that. But if you soak yourself with His word, you will see it differently. His love will not merely be just a knowledge but an intimate understanding—a marker of your personal relationship with Him.

One time I was feeling down and unloved, I came upon this verse in Isaiah 54: 10.

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I was blown away! Who could love like such? I tell you, that’s not the only verse declaring God’s love for you! (Go ahead, be excited and open that bible!)

Every single day, every situation, every moment, every circumstance—bad or good—I learn something new about who God is. His hates, dislikes, passion (just so you know, YOU are His passion). And His promises! Oh men! You seriously got to check out His promises! I learned the kind of father that He is, how He is as a best friend, and most of all, who He is as a lover.

So, how well do you know your Lover? It’s not too late to come to know God in a more personal way.

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What Are You Believing For?

The most wonderful time of the year is here and I’m pretty sure everyone is going through the holiday rush. Some of you might even be gastronomically prepared already for the festivities. If you are, then I hope you enjoy eating up. It is the no-shape December month after all! No need to be guilty.

Kidding aside, I think we’re all aware that a few days from now, year 2015 will close and people will have to gear up for the coming year 2016. It sounds exciting but at the same time, there’s also that uncertainty of the things that are yet to come.

Many of us hope that this coming new year will be better than ever or will be more amazing and wonderful. Fortunately, we can have that kind of year. We can believe that bigger, better and greater things can happen in the coming months.

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Yes, challenges and setbacks will probably be still there but if we understand the will of God in our lives, we know that we can have a great future ahead of us. Just as He has said in Jeremiah 29:11:

“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.”

So, this coming 2016, what are you believing for?

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Are you believing for an increase in finances? A new home? A new job? A new car? Or maybe, you’re believing for salvation in your family? Excellent grades? Healing? Restoration? Times of refreshment? More business opportunities? More travels? Graduation day? Are you believing for joy? For more love and peace? Maybe the heart to forgive or ask for forgiveness?

 

Some of you might even be believing for Mr. or Ms. Right. Well, whatever it is that you are believing for, know that God says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

He even says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

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All we need to have is the faith. Sometimes it’s hard to believe for these things especially if the situation you are in right now is so opposite to what you are hoping for. But that’s the thing about faith—it’s being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).

Begin to ask today and see how God will work in your life. And by the way, brace yourself because it’s going to be a one big adventure ride, but it’s all going to be worth it.

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The Joy of Being a Servant

It’s already December! Time flew by so fast. Just a month ago, I was trying to think of what costume to wear for Victory Iligan’s yearly Leaders and Volunteers’ Appreciation Night, which is actually an event purposefully prepared for the leaders and ministry volunteers in appreciation for their hard work, persistence and dedication.

With the theme Disneyland, it was quite mind-grinding which character to go for. I badly wanted to go as Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” but since my stomach bulge isn’t going to turn into six-pack abs anytime soon, I scratched the idea off. Fortunately, Coco and I found costumes of Belle and the Beast from the classic movie “Beauty and the Beast.”

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The night of the event came and everyone was so dashing and creative with their costumes. I was amazed at how everyone put a lot of effort just to pull off their Disney character look. Everyone was a winner to me!

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It was a fun and memorable night indeed and I’m thankful for the privilege to be part of that event. Being a leader and ministry volunteer is hard work. I for one find it daunting and challenging.

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Sometimes you have to go out of your own way just to meet up with One2One or organize a Vgroup.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice a day so that you could practice for Sunday’s service or prepare for Kids’ Church lesson.

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Sometimes you have to do things alone just to set-up the chairs and clean up the worship hall.

Sometimes you have to juggle up your responsibilities and tasks just to bring the people together.

But despite of it all, there is this joy unspeakable that won’t go away when serving the Lord. Some may not understand it but those who do knows how fulfilling it is to hustle for God. It doesn’t come as a burden because the things they do is a reflection of their love, gratitude and honor for Him.

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The thing is, even Jesus himself served others. Though he is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords, he demonstrated what it’s like to humble down and give service to the people.

Matthew 20: 28

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

There’s also a reward when we offer our talents and skills to serve the Lord for the advancement of His kingdom. It says in 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

But more than that, Jesus is the best thing that we could ever have. If you are working for the Lord right now, rejoice! Enjoy the moment and receive the joy in serving Him.

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Confessions of a Miss No Perfect

It’s been a while since I last wrote something for this blog. The last one posted wasn’t even authored by me so you can tell how much I’ve been slacking off in this whole writing thing. Anyway, I’m back for now and I have nothing but a confession to make. I’ve been wanting to share this one for some time already but I just never got around to doing it. But I’m here now and well, here it goes:

I’m not perfect.

Okay, fine. That’s nothing new because everyone knows that no human being is perfect. The Word even says, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (James 3:2)

But the past few months had me thinking so much of what it means to be “not perfect.”

First of all, being imperfect is not an excuse to keep on failing or sinning.

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 6:1,2)

Sometimes we have this thinking that being imperfect means we’ll never be able to get things right in our life so why make an effort? If I fail, God’s grace will be there. But grace isn’t a license to sin. It’s supposed to move us to remember what Jesus did on the cross for us.

Being imperfect means having a humble heart.

We usually say sorry when we do something wrong against someone. But sometimes it’s not easy, right? It’s because it takes a humble heart to ask for forgiveness. It takes letting go of pride and admitting our mistakes.

I’ve had some failures in my life and sometimes I tend to just keep it to myself rather than laying it down before God. But I realized that it was pride that was holding me back to repent. To ask for forgiveness is to humble down and recognize my need of Jesus my Savior every single day.

Being imperfect strips us the right to judge or look down on others.

I think many can relate with me on this. Oftentimes, we are so quick to pick on the imperfections of others that we forget we are no better. It’s true that we need to check the speck in our own eye first before checking others (Matthew 7:5). Small or big sin, we are all a bunch of sinners looking at the same Cross. Let’s extend to others the same kind of love and grace that God has given us no matter who they are and what they have done.

Being imperfect means I will make mistakes.

I go to church on Sunday. I serve two ministries, Kids Church and Tech. I do discipleship and small groups. I read my bible. I pray. I am a Christian, a follower of Christ, but I’m not perfect at all. At some point, I fail. In certain circumstances, I fall short. It’s not easy, that’s why I rely on the grace that God has given—the amazing grace that saved a wretched like me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that
Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Yes, I am not perfect. But here’s the truth though: Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross so that we may be made perfect before God. “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

 Christ’s people are perfected now in the sense that God puts away all our sin (9:26), forgives them, and never brings them to mind again as a ground of condemnation. In this sense we stand before him perfect. When he looks on us he does not impute any of our sins against us, past, present or future. He does not count our sins against us. (Desiring God)

And so, this is where I will end.

I am perfect, not because of what I do, but because of what Jesus did for me.

5 Truths That Single Moms Should Know

Being a mother is hard, but being a single mother must be harder. Actually, I have no idea what it’s like to be in a single mom’s shoes but I’m certain that there are some truths out there that they essentially need to know especially since the world view of single motherhood almost always has a negative attachment to it. So, to help me out on this one, I asked my good friend Demi, who is also my sister in Christ, to share on some of the truths that every single mom should know.

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Hey there! This is Demi and I’m single mom to an adorable and lovely 4-year old girl. Before I could even get started on things that you should know, I’d just like to share a little bit about myself. I was 19 when I got pregnant out of wedlock. During those times, I was really confused, doubtful and scared—scared of how people would see me, how my family would react, the judgments that I may get. It was a very rough stage of my life. People were surprised, critical, and it seemed like all the hate and negativity in this world—ALL OF IT—were pushing me to the ground.

These negative things made me bitter towards my situation. I yearned to escape from my reality. I went out with my “barkada”, spent many nights binge drinking, and even wasted my time hanging out when I could have spent them with my daughter. I cannot deny that I had temporary happiness with these things, but that’s what they are, TEMPORARY. Then I noticed problems were piling up and I didn’t know where they came from because I was focused on the wrong things. I was lost. My relationships were damaged.

But before things got even messier, God sent me a blessing through a friend who I used to share vices with before.  I learned she became a follower of Christ and that’s when she started sharing the Good News to me. She reminded me how God loves me that He sent His One and Only Son to die for me. I began to feel God’s presence in my life when I started going back to church, hearing His Word and wholeheartedly seeking Him in my quiet times. Slowly, my views in life brightened.

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When I surrendered my life to Jesus, my perspective on motherhood changed. The hardest trial that I thought was became the biggest blessing in my life. But don’t get me wrong, I still have my challenges. But with Christ, I gained a new life. I gained confidence that no matter what comes up in my life, I know that through Jesus I can handle it and I am not alone on this parenting thing.

Anyway, single mommies, here are five things that I learned in my motherhood season and I thought should share some of them to you:

1. There is forgiveness.

I needed God’s forgiveness. Just like any other relationships, when we wrong someone, in order for the relationship to be restored we should seek their forgiveness. Forgiveness of our sins is always available if we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We can’t earn it, we can’t pay for it, and all we can do is receive it. Sometimes we have doubts on whether God’s grace is as simple as that.

These doubts are product of our shame, we are so ashamed of our doings that it’s hard to accept the simplicity of God’s forgiveness. I started declaring by faith that I am redeemed from sin, guilt and condemnation. I am free to love God and myself. I believe we must get these truths into our spirit before we will experience them. Faith comes first and then manifestation. 🙂 Our shame may be great, but God is always greater. God is loving and merciful to forgive us of our sins.

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2. We have a new identity in Christ.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When condemnation creeps in, I always think about this verse as a reminder that God has already redeemed me. Yes, I can’t change my past, but my God is a God of second chances. My past does not and will not define me. We can’t erase our mistakes but we can be redeemed through Jesus Christ. We can stop believing the lie that what other people think matters. I used to listen to the lies of the enemy and other people’s criticism and I end up being in bondage.

But the truth of God’s Word made me free when I started to believe it. In Isaiah 53:3 it says there that Jesus was also despised and rejected, but He never seemed to let it bother Him. I am sure He felt pain too when He was rejected, but He did not let it prevent Him from fulfilling His purpose.

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Remember that no one can define us, but our Father in heaven. Listen only to what God says about you! 🙂

3. We can have a clean slate.

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

I like this verse because it shows God’s grace and mercy. It tells us about the love that He has for us, that no matter how stained we think we are or how the world sees our sins, Jesus paid for it all. Every sexual sin we’ve ever committed was charged to Jesus. Jesus died so we could be free. But His grace is not an excuse to sin. Sin still offends God. When we surrender our life to Jesus wholeheartedly, we are no longer a slave to sin. CONFESS and REPENT, then we can be again as white as snow and wool in His eyes. God will pardon all that is in your past and look upon you with the same grace and favor as if you had never displeased Him.

4. What you are doing as a Mama matters.

It’s so easy to get discouraged and feel defeated with our situation. I get it, I know the feeling. Sometimes you feel you wish you had someone else’s life, you feel that what you’re doing doesn’t matter or you’re not making any progress. You’re stuck, you get frustrated that you wish you can just escape reality. Yes, I have those moments too. That’s why I need to be intentional with my quiet time with Jesus. When the stress and insecurities creep in, I find rest in God. Only by God’s grace that I get to embrace this season.

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Motherhood is precious and you have to cherish your time with your kids. You will never be more loved and needed as you are right now. Your child needs you and he/she is looking at you. I find joy whenever Amber gets good grades in her class or when learns something new. It makes me feel proud that my being a mom to her played a part in that. But of course, I only get to do this single parenting thing with God’s grace. Find joy in your situation! 🙂

5. We need to go back to our first Love.

Before you fall in love again, you have to fall in love with Jesus first. I used to seek love and attention in all the wrong places. At first, it felt really good but in the long run I still end up getting hurt and empty. I remember what our Pastor said before, “If we don’t find God as our ultimate pleasure, then you are going to look for it from something else.”

You see, when we put our dependence and expectations to people, you give them the power to control your emotions, your happiness and your decisions. And when the time comes that he disappoints you or lets you down, it will hurt you really, really bad.

No person can ever meet the kind of love we want. Human love has limits, God’s does not. You know that longing in your heart that you can’t put into words? That is your soul’s desire for God’s love. 🙂 And the good news is that, God is just waiting for you. He longs to give you the love that changes everything.

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I can now claim His wonderful and undeserving promises, not just for me but for my daughter as well. Unlike people, God does not lie and disappoints, He is a Man of His Words and He has promised that anybody who believes and loves Him, He will provide and be faithful. I am a single Mom. It’s the season of life that I am in. God is working on me and it’s not the end of my story. It’s just a part of my journey and my testimony. 🙂

When It’s Your BFF’s Birthday

After what seemed like a long dragging week of adjusting to my new job (and still one more day to go), I finally had the chance to get out of the house and what better way to de-stress than to meet up with the best friend to celebrate her 24th birthday last 5th of August!

 I’ve missed this perky girl so much! We live in the same city but busyness seems to put a long distance between us. We’ve been so busy with work and everything in between that we barely see each other. 

Nonetheless, the friendship we share remains the same even after 11 years. And I couldn’t be more thankful to God for blessing me a friend like her–funny, sweet, kind, perky, bubbly, and most of all, a woman of faith. Thinking about all of these things reminds me of that verse in Proverbs.

It’s true when they say that we should choose our friends wisely because they can either build us up or bring us to ruin. And of course, we want the former! One serving of a desirable kind of friend please! 

Stormie Omartian describes in her book “The Power of a Praying Woman” what it means to be a “desirable friend”:

1. A desirable friend tells you the truth in love.

Proverbs 27:6 “

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” 

2. A desirable friend gives you sound advice.

Proverbs 27:9 “

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”

3. A desirable friend refines you.

Proverbs 27:17 “

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

4. A desirable friend helps you grow in wisdom.

Proverbs 13:20 “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”

5. A desirable friend stays close to you

Proverbs 18:24 “

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

6. A desirable friend is a help in time of trouble.

Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.“

So, are you the desirable friend? If you’re thinking not really, then you can always pray about it. Do you have a desirable friend? If that’s a nod, then rejoice! But if that’s a no right there, ask God today to send one your way. 

Don’t worry though, you’ve got that one best Friend who will love you and be there for you every single moment of your life–and his name is Jesus. ❤

Vgroup Series: Why Toni G Is Attracting The Young Ladies (The Marks of a Real Disciple)

I love leading a Victory group with students. Their youthful disposition makes me feel like I’m of the same age with them. Anyway, three weeks ago, we met up at McDo just to talk about our topic that day which was “The Marks of a Real Disciple”. Before we started, I asked them a relevant question:

“If there is one celebrity or famous person whose life you’d like to live, who would it be?”

While I answered Kate Middleton (for no significant reason except she’s a royalty), the girls shared the same answer which was Toni Gonzaga.

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Her wedding day was quite viral that time (watch their official wedding video here) and their reasons for choosing her was quite reasonable. They said she was a woman of faith who is so admirable in her own ways. Her strong conviction about purity was something attractive and worth following. Toni may not be perfect but I couldn’t agree more with them.

She really lived up to the standards of God of how a woman should be in the matters of preserving her body for her future husband only. Young girls are really attracted to Toni’s story in the hopes of also finding a man who will respect her, honor her, love her and wait for her until the right time comes.

Jesus is also something like that. The difference is that he did more than just attract crowds. He made disciples. His display of genuine love for others really attracted people to follow Him. In fact, when He said “Follow
me”, fishermen immediately stopped at what they were doing and followed Jesus.

Moreover, He commanded His disciples to make disciples, not just in Israel, but in all the earth. Jesus taught them exactly how to make disciples: by baptizing and teaching full obedience to God’s Word. As a disciple of Jesus, are you living the life that marks you a real one?

Here are three things that will tell you so:

  • A disciple obey God’s Word.
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The first mark of a real disciple is obedience to God’s Words, or the teachings of Christ.

  • A disciple loves others.
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The second proof of discipleship is love.

  • A disciple bears much fruit.
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We’re not talking about oranges and apples here. We’re talking about the fruits of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23). When we bear these kind of fruits, it will show in how we live our lives in every aspect. For example, if you used to be so impatient about everything, being a disciple of Jesus teaches you to be patient.

May we constantly ask God to help us obey His Word, love others sincerely and plant the fruits of the Spirit into our hearts so that we may please Him all the days of our life and be called into His Kingdom as a real disciple of Jesus.

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(Hey there! If you want to be part of a Victory Group, you are more than welcome. And no, you don’t necessarily need to be a Victory attendee to join. You know where to reach me!)