This Is Why I Proposed

Hey guys! I’m taking the backseat for this post as my now fiancé, Coco, is going to be taking over. As many already know, we got engaged last February and it was such a memorable day for us. And after almost 3 months, here he is sharing to you all his thoughts.qqq

Hey there! This is Coco and I finally proposed to Charm after 1 year and 7 months of being together. You might ask, “Isn’t that a little too fast?” Well, it looks like it but I can give you three out of the many reasons on why I finally decided to pop the question to my then girlfriend now fiancée.

Actually, there are several reasons including my love and admiration for her. But what I want to share right now are not just mere reasons but lessons I’ve learned along the way as a man pursuing a woman. For starters, proposing to Charm has a lot to do with how I see my parent’s relationship. 

 Growing up, I’ve seen the love and affection my parents shared with each other and for me that’s a blessing that I will always be thankful for. Maybe at times, like any other couple, they also have misunderstandings, but primarily, I have seen their relationship being strong. In fact, they just recently celebrated their 27th anniversary! For that reason, one of my “#relationshipgoals” is to have a relationship with my future wife somewhat same as theirs.

And so, packed with inspiration from my parents and of course, right timing and a confirmation from God, I knelt down on one knee to ask Charm to marry me because:

I want a relationship with a purpose. Guys, if you are now in a relationship or if you are still pursuing a girl, ask yourself this question, “Why am I dating or pursuing her?” Maybe some of you would answer “I’m just in love” or “I am bored being single” or “for curiosity’s sake.” Some might even just date to try out as many girls as they can. But real men do not do that, only immature boys do. Real men protect the dignity of women.

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I’m not saying I’m clean and perfect in this area. I had my share of  pursuing with a wrong heart and a wrong purpose during my boyhood. At some point, we all had the wrong intentions in the past. But the good news is that we can still change to be the real man that God wants us to be. If we’re dating already, then it means that we are no longer young boys!

2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

God wants us to be real men, and real men pursue a woman with the intent of getting married. If marriage is not the goal, then there is no sense in getting into a relationship. Real men have a relationship goal to marry and not just play games with her.

To all the ladies out there, if someone is pursuing you or you are dating someone, make sure to ask him, “Why are you pursuing me?” “What direction are we going to?” If the purpose is shallow, you know what to do.

I’ve found a wonderful woman. Men, we all want it, right? A wonderful woman to spend the rest of our lives with. But how do we really define a wonderful woman? Some may define it as Liza Soberano while some may say Pia Wurtzbach. Well, whoever they define it as, I define it as Charmaine Montes. Yihee! (haha)

Ladies, you are all wonderful (read Psalm 139:14). But nothing is more wonderful than a woman who is secured in Jesus. A wonderful woman is someone who  does not define herself with what others see on her–make-up, body, clothes, etc. She does not let her past define her and she doesn’t take self-pity because she knows that she is made and loved by a King. Also, a wonderful woman for me is someone who is still secure without a man because she knows her worth.

Men, I know, I know. We hope of marrying a woman who has the physical beauty and all but honestly, that’s actually just a bonus. The main deal is when you know her heart is set for Jesus first. My encouragement is that as men, have a relationship goal of finding a wonderful woman who seeks her identity from Christ rather than from the opinion of others. Where to find her? Pray for it, bro.

We’re on the same page. Being on the same page together–sharing the same values, beliefs, goals and principles in life–was a real deal for me. I knew that if I’m going to marry someone, it would have to be someone whom I can walk with along a journey with Jesus at the center. I believe that if the couple has an intimate relationship with Jesus, all the ultimate relationship goals will just follow.

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A relationship with Jesus as the foundation may sound too “churchy” but nothing beats a God-centered union. When two people both understand the love of Jesus, loving each other would be easier. I’m not saying that it’s going to be perfect but Mark 10:9 says, “What God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Actually, without Jesus at the center of our lives, none of the ideal relationships that we could think of would be possible.

 

 

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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.

Women With Vision

It’s finally 2016! Hooray for the new year! I know many are excited by this time with what’s ahead or what’s in store. Some are probably planning already or listing down goals to achieve. Perhaps others have visions of what to do in the next 12 months.

If you are one of those people, that’s good! But if you haven’t even thought of doing such, it’s not too late yet!

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“Do I really need to have goals or visions in my life?”

I say yes! Don’t worry if you answered “no.” I used to think that way too. I’ve never been so particular about achieving goals or envisioning my future because I’m a very steady person. But now that I’m a bit older and I know bigger responsibilities will pile up soon, I realized that I need to change–from being a “just go with the flow” to “woman with vision.”

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To inspire us to start our year right, we gathered over coffee to talk about the power of vision. It says in Proverbs 29:11 (KJV), “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” 

Vision plays an important role in determining our future. Sometimes we base our decisions on it and take steps because of it. But while we have our hearts and minds set on things already, it’s essential not to forget that our vision is defined by God.

He is the one who gives us a clear picture of what He wants us to be and how He wants us to get there.  And with the right vision, we will:

  • Know our purpose in life
  • Set our focus on the goals
  • Ignite our passion
  •  Know our priorities
  • Remain on the right track
  • Overcome any obstacles or trials

It’s not easy to think about the future especially since we have no idea how things will turn out for us. It’s exciting but at the same time scary. But may we never forget that the future is bright already because of what Jesus did on the cross for us.

So ladies, get your pen and paper and start being a woman with vision!

When we have a clear vision from God, we will also see that God has given us every resource we need to accomplish the task.

If we have a vision, we will remain clear on our priorities and keep ourselves on the right track.

Vision fuels our passion, creates momentum, and keeps us focused on the goal.

We can only know our purpose when we know our God and receive His vision for us.

 

 

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!)

 

Who Will Protect Us?

“Somebody got kidnapped again.”

“What? Is that real?”

“Yes.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was only a week ago when a 17-year old girl got abducted and then raped in a scandalous motel. And then the other week, I heard about a Medicine student kidnapped and rumors said that she was also raped. In another week, my friend’s dad got
killed with gunshots while the last month, the daughter of our church member got abducted (and thankfully, safely returned). Not to mention the many modus operandi of stealing, fraud, scam and deceiving people.

With all these heinous crimes happening, everyone is being extra vigilant, careful and even suspicious. It seems like there’s just no telling when a danger can happen, when a crime can take place or worst, when a life can
end. It’s like we can no longer wear our backpacks peacefully in fear of someone going through it while you’re walking or maybe go for a run alone because someone just might pull off a  “Taken” moves on you.

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The depth of understanding why people do such horrible things to others is so deep and incomprehensible. I for one wonder so much why they need
to do it. But reality hits me that we live in a world where good and evil coexists.

“We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19

But here’s one important thing that we need to remember: Our heavenly Father looks out for us and protects us from danger far more than we realize. But then it’s something that we should not take for granted. It’s something we must pray often.

“Part of being protected by God has something to do with obeying Him and living in His will. When we don’t do either of those things, we come out from under the umbrella of His covering.” (Power of A Praying Woman, Stormie Omartian)

I can still vividly remember those days when we were still young and my mom would drive us to school. Before we make our travel, she would lead us in prayer for protection. She specifically taught us this short prayer:

 Lord, cover us with Your precious blood. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Even until now, I still pray the same prayer, believing God’s hand protecting me wherever I may go or whenever I feel afraid.

There is power in the name of Jesus

One time, I was watching this TV program showing real-life videos caught on camera or CCTV. There was this one particular video that really amazed me. It was a video of an old woman tending a convenient store. She was alone at the counter that time when suddenly a masked man approached and pointed a gun (or a knife, can’t remember) at her. Of course, the old lady was petrified. But in her fear, she stood still and shouted the name of Jesus at the man. “In Jesus’ name! In Jesus’ name!” You wouldn’t believe what the man did next. It looked like he was scared and ran off with nothing!

Amazing isn’t it? It wasn’t magic but power of personal faith, hope and love.

“And behold, they shrieked and screamed, What have You to do with us, Jesus, Son of God? Have You come to torment us before the appointed time?” Matthew 8:29 (AMP)

The devils trembled at the presence of Jesus. They still tremble at the name of Jesus. The power is not in saying the words, but it’s in comprehending and believing, that Jesus is the finished work on the cross, which fulfilled God’s plan of redemption and salvation which has brought victory over sin, death and defeated all principalities and power. (Philippians 2:9-10)

Whenever you feel scared or you are in danger, call out the name of Jesus. Call unto him in faith.

We need to keep on praying

In hazardous moments, when your future is hanging in the balance, you want the confidence of knowing you have been communicating with
your heavenly Father all along and He has His eyes on you. Such moments entail instant answered prayers. But in order to be certain that takes place, you must be praying every day. Surely, God is your place of safety you can run to, but it helps if you are running to Him on a daily basis.

When we have our eyes on God, He keeps an eye on us.

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VGroup Series: The Good, Pleasing and Perfect Will

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Last Thursday, my plan of leading a Victory Group among some Psychology graduates that I know finally pushed through. What a joy and privilege to be able to share to them about our topic that day—the nature of God’s will. Oftentimes, we speak so much about the will of God in our lives to take place. When we go on a job interview or when we have to make big decisions, we pray that God’s will be done. But when things don’t go our way, do we still continue to submit to His will? Or are we the type that easily gets disheartened and just ditch the “Your kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?

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I’ve always wanted to be a flight attendant. I don’t know why but I guess it has a lot to do with my fondness of going places. I really thought that was God’s will in my life. I thought it was a dream He had planted in my heart so I was confident that maybe if I apply, I’ll get in.

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 Last 2013, I flew all the way to Manila for a dual purpose—to attend the youth conference Ignite 2013 and try my chances of working as a flight attendant. I was pretty excited and prayed to God for favor. Unfortunately, I think you know how this story ends. I didn’t get it, obviously, as I’m nowhere near flying every day. The will that I thought was for me was not for me! I was a bit bummed out but at the same time, just thankful for what God was telling in my heart instead.

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 You see, the youth conference that I joined revealed so much to me about what I want to do. I was excited to go back to my city and do what he has called each and everyone of us to do. Sure, I didn’t get my dream career but I wanted to trust God more than my rejections. I want to lean on to His promise of a “good, pleasing and perfect will” for me.

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The rejection I received could have turned me into fearful, unbelieving person. I could have turned a bitter heart on God for not giving me what I want but I have to remember that He has the right and authority to invoke His will here on hearth.

Because we are not God, we do not have the right or authority to demand our will be done. We are here to pray and work so that His will is established here on earth as in heaven. When we fully understand the nature of God’s will in our lives, we will no longer be afraid to submit to His will. Remember this: the GOOD, PLEASING, AND PERFECT
will.

 

(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!) 

Why Won’t God Answer My Prayers?

Prayer is powerful. Prayer is effective. Prayer is a lifestyle. But how often do you do it? I have to admit it, if there’s one thing that I’d like to grow more in me, my answer would be my prayer life. Sometimes, I go into my room, close the door and indulge in the presence of God by praying and worshiping for about an hour or so. Then there would be those times that I barely even say a word to God because I get caught up by things that make me “busy” or I feel like God isn’t even answering me. How many of you can relate to that? You just stop praying because nothing’s working.

Well, guess what? It’s not God. It’s you.

“What? What did I do?”

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I had the same question too and I’m glad I’ve found some probable answers. A month ago, I stumbled upon this book written by Bill Hybels called “Too Busy Not To Pray”. I sure learned a lot about prayer and what it really is but most of all, the chapter that struck me the most was the “Prayer Busters”.

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The Prayer Busters

While we shout in thanksgiving for prayers that God answers, we also tend to get upset when God doesn’t. It’s as if no matter how fervently you prayed, it just doesn’t make any difference. And nothing is more devitalizing than a rope of unanswered prayers.

Now the book mentions about three possible hindrances to each unanswered prayer. The two major reasons are: the request may be inappropriate and the timing may be off. But if you have a long list of unanswered prayers, you might want to consider the third category: there may be a problem in the life of the person who is praying. In the book, Bill Hybels called these reasons as the “prayer busters”. Here is an overview of some of the important ones:

 

Prayerlessness

This is basically the most common cause of unanswered prayers. As James 4:2 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” I’m pretty guilty of this. I have a long list of things (talk about faith goals) that I want to ask for from God but if I think about it, I hardly even pray about it at all! So, why isn’t God answering your prayer? Because you haven’t prayed purposefully, fervently, or expectantly.

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 Unconfessed sin

One thing that cuts off your communication with God is an unconfessed sin. It says in Isaiah 59:2, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that
he will not hear.”
I find it similar to when you get upset with someone because that person committed sin against you. Unless that person approaches you with a sincere heart, says sorry and asks for forgiveness, you will never talk to that person, let alone grant any of his/her requests. Right? As Hybels wrote:

“God expects us to maintain a strict personal integrity…If you’re tolerating sin in your life, don’t waste your breath praying unless it’s a prayer of confession. Receive the Lord’s forgiveness, and then He will listen when you pour out your heart to Him.”

 

 Unresolved relational conflict

Matthew 5:23-24 says, “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be
reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
This verse alone was enough of an explanation. Sometimes, we forget how much God value relationships. He is after all a very relational God. He wants us to be in close, personal relationship with him and he wants us to carry our relationship with him into our relationships with others. There’s no point in trying to pray if you are still tied up in ongoing conflict with a family member, a coworker, a neighbor, or a friend.

 

Selfishness

Out from the selfishness in the heart, we unthinkingly come up with inappropriate requests. James 3:4 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend
what you get on your pleasures.”
Think about it, if your prayers were to be publicized, how would you feel about it? “I want to get rich more than my friend”, “I want to get super famous”, “I want all the attention”, “I want to succeed above all others”. Sounds pretty selfish, huh?

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Uncaring attitudes

Proverbs 21:13 says, “If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard” (NRSV). God wants us to become people who will reflect his character in the world—caring and compassionate to the afflicted. If your ear is open to the suffering, God will keep his ear open to you.

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 Inadequate Faith

I can’t imagine having a prayer life without having faith. If you don’t believe that God is able, then there is indeed no use of praying. Have the faith that God will answer you. It may be a no, a yes or a wait. And regardless of his answer, he is sovereign and his plans are far better than what we have for ourselves. So the next time you start praying, plan on seeing a mighty demonstration from God. Mark 11:23 says, “TrulyI tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” Now, that is faith.

Everything I have written down is just a summary version of what’s in the book. So, I highly suggest you grab a copy of it if you can and remember, God hears. Hope you learned something!