Thursday, July 31, 2014

{Truth Thursday} When in pain...

I am just like any human being—I get hurt, I feel the pain of acts done to me, words spoken against me in my face and even those whispered behind my back. I cry in pain when I learn that I am being condemned without the opportunity of having myself heard. I am hurt when people bully me with my mistakes or failures in the past.

When I feel the pain, I can’t breathe. The pain becomes too physical to bear. 

When I feel the pain, I cannot think. The pain becomes a mental blank where I just want to feel numb and dumb. 

When I feel the pain, my heart just could not take it. The pain becomes a paralysis to my body and soul.  

I can’t get over the pain because no one has ever asked forgiveness for it.

Does this make me less of a Christian? Does this make me a failure in my Christian walk?

I am just too glad I found this over at (in)courage today. This is just what I needed and I just feel like God is talking to me. The timing could not have been so perfect. 

And as I end this post, my prayer is that the Lord will equip and enable me to manage this particular pain in my heart in a healthy, Godly way. Because the truth is, He wants us to come to Him in our brokenness and weaknesses. He wants to refine us until we reflect His glory. 

I believe the Lord is molding me in this area of my life--handling pain. Will you say a prayer for me in this current struggle of mine?

How about you--have you felt too much pain that paralyzes you? How did you handle the situation? I would definitely love to hear your tips! :))

Sunday, July 27, 2014

An Open Letter to All Single Ladies

Dear Beautiful Child of God,

You are loved. You are beautiful.

You probably have never heard these two truths and that is why I am telling you now.

Or, maybe, you have heard these carelessly thrown at you as a flattery to manipulate you to give up your very being that the words have lost their meaning. 

And that is why I am telling you this again, straight from my heart: 

You are loved. You don't have to do anything or to be anyone in order to be loved. 

You are beautiful. You don't have to have porcelain skin and shiny hair in order to be considered a beauty. You don't have to stand 5'6" tall or to have perfectly-aligned teeth to be beautiful. 

It is unfortunate that the world has given you wrong concepts of love and an unattainable standard of beauty. 

Romance novels and movies have distorted your idea that love is all about grand surprises, walks in the park while holding hands, and passionate kisses that lead you to his bed and give up your purity. There is more to love than satisfying your needs or being the satisfaction of someone else's. 

Likewise sad is the world's portrayal of beauty as depicted in glossy magazines with waif-thin supermodels made up and styled for hours by make-up artists and professional stylists. There is more to beauty than the physical body. There is more to beauty than the stylish clothes and accessories you wear. 

Of course, it is quite easy to succumb to these lies the world has thrown at you. You might not even think that the world is capable of lying to you. But trust me, it does. And how do i know this?

Because I was once like you. 

In my not so distant past, I was more than preoccupied of making myself physically attractive than anything else. I lost my confidence in high school when I found out that to my classmates and to the rest of the world, my misaligned teeth spelled out u-g-l-i-n-e-s-s. I dreamt of being loved and swept off my feet by my knight in a shining car and of spending every hour with him, just like in the movies and novels. I had crushes and I "loved" and was "loved" back only to be crushed by pain and to be discarded like an old toy. So, I browsed some more magazines and the Internet to search for what's hot and what's not in fashion to make myself cool. I colored my nails and had hair treatments and wore clothes which were considered in style. I shifted my thought system and allowed the world to shape me. But I never felt enough. I was happy but I felt empty. I was going around but lost. 

And then, in the midst of everything, God found me. I was wretched when He found me. I was at my lowest when He found me. I was at my worst when He found me. 

I have found love, acceptance, and forgiveness in Christ. I have found the true value of love in His eyes. I have learned that beauty is not about what can be seen, but what He can see in my heart. 

So, I want to tell you today, beautiful child of God, stop looking for love in a man. Instead, take this invitation to be loved by the Perfect Lover of all times. And let your eyes be opened to a new definition of beauty as He designed it to be. 

And if you already have Him in your heart, remember that you are precious. You are already beautiful in His eyes. Do not give away your pearls to the pigs and dogs. Rest in His love alone and let Him write your perfect love story. 

Trust Him. I trusted Him and He was faithful to His promises. I trusted Him and I am now living His perfect love story. 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Danger of Christianity

The danger of Christianity is when we become lax to accommodate relationships and when we try to twist, re-arrange, and interpret God's word to suit what tickles our ears. In short, the danger of Christianity is compromise in the guise of a sacrifice. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

{Truth Thursday} Feeling small?

Assisting and partnering with my husband in the Youth Ministry of our church has allowed me to meet many amazing and inspiring and I dare say, great, Christians. I am always blessed with their testimonies on how God is working in their lives and how faithful they have been, despite the difficulties. 

At the same time, observing my husband tackle his role as a youth worker in church has allowed me to see the many big tasks and challenges the Lord has placed and  allowed to be conquered by His grace. 

Very recently, we had a Youth Retreat for all young people in church (and some of their invited friends) and I was just amazed at how the Lord equipped my husband to make everything possible. Being a government employee from 8am-5pm, the only thing that I could actually do was to prepare my lecture on Submission to Authorities and relevant laws for the youth of today and to show up at the venue. Even the packing of our things has to be done by my dear husband. 

Because of this, I sometimes would feel too small of myself when it comes to the ministry. Because I have a deceitful and sinful heart very much prone to the enticements of the enemy, there were times that I would feel discouraged and I would even question my worth as a worker in God's Kingdom. 

I feel too small. Unimportant. Very much disposable. Insignificant. 

There are times that I would secretly wish I had the humor and wit of another so it would be easier for me to share the Gospel. At times, too, I'd feel bad about myself not being capable of doing great things for the Lord, not being able to lead a large group Bible study, not being able to treat young people to more expensive cafes and restos, not being able to be fashionably updated so I can relate more with them, etc. In short, I hated myself, the one God created me to be.  

Of course, as I have stated in the earlier paragraph, this problem stems in my heart. 

And I am so thankful that the Lord always knows the depths of my heart and His Truth (the Bible) is always there to heal my insecurities. 

I am currently re-reading the Book of Acts in my morning devotional and sometime last month, I was in Chapter 6 where the story of Stephen starts. I have always been fascinated by the life of Stephen and how the Bible describes him: a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Later, he is then described to have the face that looked like an angel. 

But who is Stephen by the way?

In Chapter 6, his name is mentioned as one of the seven men chosen by the 12 disciples for the daily distribution of foods among the believers. Because this concern on daily food distribution was entrusted to them, the disciples were able to devote themselves to prayer and ministry of the word and the word of God spread that even the high priests believed in Jesus Christ.

In the next verses, we learned that Stephen did amazing wonders and miracles because he was full of God's grace and power. This made some men oppose him and when they could not outdo Stephen's wisdom from the Spirit, they planned to have Stephen eliminated. Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 narrate Stephen's speech before the Sanhedrin and his death by stoning. 

What the New Living Translation (NLT) Life Application Bible mentions about Stephen is quite enlightening. What was highlighted in the Commentary/Notes is the fact that I have (and I believe most of us have) neglected many times--Stephen started serving the Lord in the daily distribution of food for all of the believers!

Yes, he, along with the other six men, distributed food among the believers on a day to day basis. Sounds boring, right? Insignificant? Small? A task too negligible to be appreciated? Without batting an eyelash, I would probably say yes to all. 

But Stephen was not chosen to do this seemingly "small" task because he was less important. In fact, he was chosen because he met the criteria: full of the Spirit and wisdom. 

Another thing that struck me here is the fact that Stephen did not complain when he was given that "small" task of distributing food. For my very limited human view, I would have considered such task too menial and too un-spiritual. But hey, if we look closely to the verses, the Gospel spread rapidly because the 12 disciples were able to devote to the word and the ministry of the word and this was because Stephen and the six men were faithful to their seemingly "small" and menial task of food distribution. 

Later on, we see Stephen's life being used greatly by God. He was the first to die for Jesus Christ and because of his death, the believers were scattered; thus, the Gospel spread throughout Judea and Samaria and around the world. His death profoundly impacted Saul, a staunch persecutor of the Christians, who was later on converted to the faith and became the amazing Paul. 

Such is the dynamics of the early church. God has placed every single soul for a purpose. There was no superstar complex nor did the believers compete with each other neither did they compare themselves with one another. There was no small or big task.

They simply did their job with so much love and faithfulness for Jesus Christ. 

Because the truth is, the Lord does not look at how big our task is or how great our performance of our ministry is. More than anything else, He cares at our faithfulness, even on things that might come as "small" to our limited human standards. 

So, whether we only wash dishes in church, or we are assigned with the distribution of giveaways, or we are merely the LCD projector operator during Sundays, (or even if we are not yet involved in the ministry but we merely pray and study the Word)--let's do it with so much love and faithfulness to our King! 

No task is ever too small to Him. And He knows when and how to promote those who are faithful.

I pray that today, if you are reading this, you will be blessed by the Word of God through the life of Stephen and that the next time you feel small, you will think of this truth: God does not care at the size of our ministry; He cares at our faithfulness. 

Happy {Truth Thursday}!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

God's Perfect Timing

We are eight months married. Eight months and nine days, to be exact.

Marriage is a risk and we took that risk four days after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked our province--proof that God's foundation standeth sure despite environmental unsureness. This is my first time to share a photo taken during our wedding day showing the Ring Ceremony with my fave nephew (then two years old) bringing our nest ring pillow. 
Since then, we've had our share of ups and downs, fights and challenges. We have known more of each other and most importantly, learned to bear with each other in God's love. Daily, we learn about God's amazing grace, love, and forgiveness.

We've shouted at each other, hurled insults, and made up. We learned to swallow our pride, by God's grace. I cried a whole lot. He cried a whole lot as well. And everyday, I see more and more glimpses of Jesus in my husband, and, hopefully, he sees Jesus in me as well. :))

I have a lot to share about our marriage and what the Lord has been teaching us both. Sadly though, most people are only concerned about one thing, commonly verbalized in these questions/statements: Are you pregnant yet? Are you not having a baby anytime soon? No baby yet? You should hurry up and double time! The best time to have a baby is now asap!

There are those who give pieces of their minds in the following manner: That's alright. Baby can come in later. You should save up first to better provide for a baby. Gotta build a house first before making babies. 

Please don't get me wrong. 

I do love babies and I love talking to these friends and hearing their advises. And I acknowledge the fact that all of them want the best for us as a couple. 

But, sometimes, it can get a whole lot stressful and confusing that I sometimes find myself wishing that they would talk to me about what God has been doing in our marriage, instead of pregnancy or baby-making. 

Because, honestly, because of what they say, I sometimes find myself wishing that I'd get pregnant as soon as possible or thinking about delaying the baby after everything is fine. 

But I am just thankful that every time I find myself wrestling with these thoughts, God would ever gently pull my focus back to Him and say: Don't listen to anyone but to Me alone. Look at me, alone! My timing is always perfect. 

So, the moment this pregnancy-having-a-baby concern comes to my mind, I find assurance that my God, my Lord and Savior is more than able to bring all things into our lives in His perfect timing. If He gives His only Son, Jesus Christ to save me from my sins, how can he not give us a child or children? 

If Jesus wills it, then if I'll ever get pregnant tomorrow or next week, He is more than enough to provide for our physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual needs. And if He decides to give us a baby or children later on, He is more than able to make it possible, despite our ages and physical limitations by then. 

And even if He does not, we will continue to praise Him, and love Him and call Him our Perfect Father.

As it is, it is all by God's grace and timing. :) 

All Photos are from our Engagement Session and Wedding Ceremony taken
from the amazing talents of Super Seven Studios.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every[a]event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die;

...11 He has made everything [b]appropriate in its time. 
                       ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 11 (NASB)

Monday, July 7, 2014

{Marriage Monday} What I Learned About Forgiveness... (Part 3)

Before couples can "kiss and make up," they need to forgive. Before they can forgive, someone must be humble enough to ask for it. 

And this is where my finale post on forgiveness comes in. Part 1 and Part 2 may be helpful. And as I end this series of lessons learned, I pray that we will continue to grow in loving and forgiving our partners the way Jesus loves and forgives us. I am not perfect as I am still under construction by the wonderful pruning and perfecting hands of my Lord and Savior. (In fact, I find myself always being tested almost every time I finish my {Marriage Monday} posts!) And so is my husband dear. So really, Jesus Christ is the hand that holds all marriages together. Let's always be mindful of His presence and if you want Him to be in your marriage,you have to have Him in your heart because He alone is the Perfect Lover.  


I certainly cannot forgive if I feel so perfect. My husband cannot forgive either if he thinks that he is the most upright man in this whole wide world. 

So, in order to forgive, I must know that, just like my husband, I am also bound to sin. I am a sinner and it is only by God's grace that I am saved forever, that just like him, I may commit the same blunder, may say something offensive or may do something stupid. Even if I may not commit the same mistakes as his, the fact still remains that I will commit mistakes and some may even be worse than his. 

On the other side of forgiveness is the ability to ask for it. And it also starts with humility. Say, if I say something that offended my husband, I may find myself justifying my words or actions with any reason, whether it be logical or emotional, but the fact will always remain that I have hurt him. I may have the cleanest of all intentions but if by my tone or approach, my husband was hurt, then, I still have to say sorry and ask him to forgive me. And I need humility in order to do that. 

This lesson, by far, is the hardest pill to swallow. When one of my spiritual mentors told me this, my logically controlling mind was screaming: WHHHAATT? I still need to say sorry even if I am right? 

But later on I learned that, in relationships (friendships included), we should know our priorities. Is being right more important to me than the preservation of my relationship with my husband? Of course not! So, even if I am right, and even if my intentions are for his good, if he feels hurt with what I say, I always ask the Holy Spirit to give me humility to say sorry. 

Perhaps this is quite unpopular with the world today because as I see it, the world tries to portray humility as sooo un-cool and sooo not in. With the rise of social media where flaunting ourselves and what we have is glorified, humility has taken the back seat. In the cut-throat corporate world, we are made to believe that it is better to be powerful than to be weak. And humility is always associated with being weak. 

But the Bible says otherwise. In fact, the greatest thing that ever happened to the human race began with the humility of Jesus Christ. In chapter 2, verses 5-11 of Paul's letter to the Philippians, we are given the most vivid picture of humility as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. 

In his deity and power, He allowed himself to be subjected to human weaknesses so He can understand our sinfulness. Yet, He never sinned. And though He is God Himself, He suffered the Cross and died for us. But He did not remain dead for He was raised again on the third day.  

Us! Who are we to have God die for us? We are filthy and useless sinners, yes! But He chose to die for us and our sins so we can live eternal life with Him. 

This, to me, is mind-blowing! By Jesus' death and resurrection, all my sins are forgiven. Yes, ALL my sins--even those that I hide from anyone else--THESE.ARE.FORGIVEN. Blotted out. Washed clean. 

And it humbles me so much. Let's be honest, it is only ourselves who know the secret things we do in the dark and if we are just to be honest with God, we know how sinful we are. Yet, He forgives us freely and provided His only Son ahead of us.

Practical Application: So, how do I apply this precious truth in my marriage? In conflicts, whether I am the one who needs to say sorry or the one who should forgive, I always look at Jesus, remember who HE is, remember who I was and still am, and remember how much He has forgiven me. It certainly not easy and there were many times that I looked at myself instead of Him, but I praise and thank God for His grace that continually convicts me and changes me to be more like Him! :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

{Marriage Monday} What I Learned About Forgiveness... (Part 2)

Last week, I was down with colds and a very high fever and I had to take a leave of absence for two days. That was my season of rest. Today, aside from my weird voice due to colds, I am fairly okay by God's amazing grace and faithfulness. And I praise my Lord and Savior for finally allowing me to break free from my Monday sickness! Yes, that's my new term for it since I have been weak and sickly almost every Monday. Perhaps, my body longs to have longer weekends? You bet! :)

Anyhow, I am writing this with a very overused brain as I have just finished making a pleading (Demurrer to Evidence, specifically) and entertaining clients, making Counter-Affidavits, etc. As to what are these terms, I hope and pray that I find time to be able to write about what I do and perhaps share some of the vital information in my profession. I am initially planning to call it Legally Aware and Simplified Saturdays. LASS, for short. Hahahaha. But I am not yet sure. I find LASS a bit much trying hard. :D

So, for today, here's Part 2 on What I Learned About Forgiveness. You can read Part 1 first or later. ;)


This is not something that is usually taught in psychology or guidance counselling but is always reiterated in the Bible. The Word of God repeats the same lesson/principle (not just for couples but for all of us)--Forgive just as I have forgiven you--and this only means one thing: Forgiveness must be so ingrained in our hearts and minds that it becomes innate in us. It becomes a way of life because that's how the Lord designed us to be--Christ-like. If He, the King of all kings and God of all gods, keeps on forgiving us of our sins, how can we not forgive the sins of others? 

This parable shared by Jesus Christ comes to mind and I am always overwhelmed at how the Lord values the true motives of our hearts than anything else. He wants us to be a revelation of who He is, specifically, His forgiving nature. He wants us to live forgiveness, not because we are good, but because He is good in our lives. Then, in another Gospel book, Jesus reiterates forgiveness and reconciliation.

Practical Application: So, how do we practice forgiveness as a way of life? In our relationship as husband and wife, we must be humble enough to ask for forgiveness once we sense we have hurt or offended the other and be able to give forgiveness when our partners ask us for one. It is inevitable that in our lifetime commitment to stay together that trials and misunderstandings will arise as we are two different individuals. But if we practice forgiveness as a way of life, there will still be misunderstandings and conflicts, but the load will be a whole lot easier. 

A concrete example will be this: If my husband hurts me (intentionally or unintentionally) and he later asks for forgiveness, we immediately tackle the issue. We do not let work or entertainment get in the way. We face the issue and be gracious with forgiveness. 

On my part, if I offend my husband, intentionally or unintentionally, and I sense that he is offended or when he tells me that he is, I might find a thousand reasons not to ask for forgiveness but I choose to eat my pride, acknowledge that I am wrong and that he is hurt and be humble to ask for forgiveness.. 

It is not easy but by the grace of God, this is very much doable. :))