The Siblings To Keep

My siblings are my treasures. I often fight with them or scold them but I love them all. My sickness brought me to the understanding that although we have our differences, it’s really is a “blood thicker than water” no matter what.

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Just imagine my older sister whose kids I love the most. She might have some lapses and mistakes in her past but she’s been doing all stuff to provide and take care of the four kids. Strong-willed but caring,even to me when my mom was away is something worth sharing. Regardless of her past, I love the only princess in our home, she’s one gift I’ll never give away.

My younger brother is one to stick around. The 3 of us still calls him “gang”,an endearment since he was a kid. He sometimes becomes rebellious but not to the point of no turning back. He took care of me when I got sick. He cooked for my meals even without sleep and carried me around going up or down the stairs, pulled my wheelchair and even cleaned me up when I couldn’t do it myself. I saw his immaturity but I also experienced his love for me when he became a kuya at one point in time.

My other sibling is my twin brother. We’ve been the closest friend ever since high school. He loves me, no questions asked. He’s also the only person I listen to when scolded. There was a time where I cried because he didn’t visit me at home. I texted him and told him I cried in the bathroom for an hour. It didn’t take an hour for me to see him with an ice cream on hand. He took care of me, carried me and even fed me when I can’t hold a spoon steadily. He sticks closer than any friend and accepts me for who I am.

I’m sharing these things to honor their lives. It’s never too late to say “thank you” through this. And yes, I did say it to them more than once.

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Choosing Rightly For A Bright Future

Luke 9:61-62: Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Looking forward to a year of breakthrough? We first need to have the will to let go of our past – mistakes, failures and misgivings. We also need to let go of our achievements, goals and experiences. It’s hard,huh?

Like a farmer’s plow,it has to be steered by focusing on where it is going. The driver of the plow pushes itself forward to cultivate the land. The same goes with our relationship with the Lord, we need to move forward to and correct our steps to grow in him.

We then decide to toil for a better future by starting it right with God. We need to focus on Jesus and His words through the bible to grow, move forward and experience a fruitful life.

Our experiences determines where we are but can never determine where our future is heading. Where do you want to go from here? What do you want to accomplish? What do you need to let go to move forward?

These are beneficial questions for us as we start 2014 right and my prayer, we answer correctly and act on it as if it’s the end of the year and we can hear Jesus’ words “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Through Thick & Thin

Manila was hit by flood, Visayas was struck by an earthquake and Mindanao experiences war and rumors of wars. What does this tell you? Well, aside from the fact that these are signs of the end times, natural calamities (& those that are man-made) will be part of life until Christ’s return. The Apostle Paul was right when he wrote it to the Romans one time –

Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

How then do we respond to all of these?

When calamity, chaos and panic stirs the earth from time to time, I often ask the question on how I should respond and not on the “why” or “what” of life. And yes, God is good because with all these inner struggles and questions, I was given a good reminder for my situation.

The verse God placed in my heart in this season became clear by reading through a couple of verses down the same chapter in Romans:

Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life (affected by the calamity), neither angels nor demons (who are sent to do these things), neither the present nor the future (after the calamity), nor any powers (natural disasters), neither height (of flood) nor depth (of quake) , nor anything else in all creation (wars and rumors of it), will be able to separate us from the love of God (that protects, bring favor and made us stand strong) that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (with His work on the cross).

Therefore, I find rest and assurance in God’s purpose and promises. God is and will always be in control – through thick and thin.

 
How about you? What has God been telling you lately about the current issues of this world? I hope it’s drawing you closer to our Creator, King and Savior and not the other way around.
 
God bless!

Of Dreams, Teachings and Parables

I heard two sermons today. One was based on a parable that Jesus shared about the vast vineyard owned by a rich man, while the second was all about dreams – how to accomplish it and how God paves our way for the fulfillment of this abundant life He intended us to have.

I love it when God speaks to my heart. It makes me intentionally listen to his audible voice – a rebuke and “wisdom for the moment” kind of thing you’d always expect from a loving father. I even ended up thinking through the entire sermon on how I became the negotiator of a dream and a promise that could be bigger than what I want or expected it to be.

The parable of the vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16 was themed “God Honors Faithfulness” which speaks about uncommon favor. And to quote Pastor Edman:

“Uncommon favor is an attitude of goodness towards you,not an exchange or payment for something you have done. Uncommon favor is only guaranteed to those who qualify through acts of obedience.”

Surely, God is not yet done with me yet. It is God’s uncommon favor that allows me to walk by faith, to live in the promises of His words and move forward only through His grace. I posted this the other day on Facebook which I believe speaks about my learning these days:

“I am not a perfect masterpiece but a work in progress through God’s perfect grace.”

“I live to fulfill a dream far bigger than my own but it’s not through my own will or acts that it can be accomplished. This is probably my “uncommon favor” of which God has given me.”

So,what now?

At the age they call the “mid-life” crisis cries out the desire to continue desiring God and his dreams for me. I’m focusing on the vine-dresser, the author and perfecter of my faith to accomplish what he alone intends to do through me. But more importantly, I’ll be playing on his terms, his moves and intentions and not on my own anymore.

Can life be better?

Yes, it was and it is but I know I’m still in for a brighter future because the ONE who has called me is old faithful. But in an eternal perspective, God’s plan will always prevail even in my own mishaps.

If you are in the same situation as I am, entrust your plans and dreams unto our Father in heaven. He can and will perfect our moves to fulfill His purposes and plans for our lives. He can turn your situations into the good and make his promises in your life as well. 😉

God’s Faithfulness On My Limitations

Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

God continues to remain faithful in our lives, even at times we fail to see his hands in our own situations. It might be a cliche example but He is like a sun in the sky, even when dark clouds and nightfall appears, it is still glowing.

Today, I am reminded to praise him because of this truth – He remains faithful and true to his word and promises. I am amazed and energized to continue living and enjoy life that is brought by challenges but of an inner result of change and of being grateful.

Also, last Sunday’s message was a great reminder that as believers, we are not exempted to trials and tribulations. It is for our growth and refining that we continue to believe in God’s promises and for us to reach that eternal reward, that is in heaven.

And that Jesus has overcome the world, so shall we in the end of time. 

It is my prayer that your day be vibrant and remain a joyous journey of understanding who God is! Keep in mind that even in the darkness of the night there is this new morning which gives us new strength and joy to move on, only because HE IS FAITHFUL.

Ruth’s Faith In The Eyes of Naomi

The book of Ruth is one of my favorites. It speaks of a lot things about love, family, God’s plan and the Jewish culture. It greatly speaks of the redeeming factor about God’s love and provision and how people at their time sees it.

The characters are well-known in the Jewish history, their plot is quite eccentric and the culture and timeline far-fetched from the 20th century factor but the lessons it entails far reaches the very core of the generation of today.

Join me as I study Ruth’s life and how God worked mightily in their situation that brought honor and favor in a Moabite’s life. I’ve themed this study:

Ruth’s Faith in the Eyes of Naomi

Ruth 1 shares this story:

In the days when the judges ruled,[a] there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.  The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem,Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons.  They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

To be honest about it, Ruth had a bad start with her journey. Ruth had her share of dilemma, she is married to a lad from a weird people being feared by most Canaanites . She lived with her in-laws for quite sometime before losing her husband after 10 years. It was not the future Ruth had hoped for when she said “yes” to a Jewish man far away from home.

Future was bleak for her, Orpah and Naomi included. It was hard living in meager terms especially that they are all widows in a land filled with drought.

Add to the situation was the reality that there was no man in the house to provide for them.

 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.  With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

But in a bleak situation comes the opportunity to show God’s perfect timing. It’s amazing how the author clearly specified that the Lord came to Israel’s aid by providing food.

This was great news! In the Jewish culture, the house and land of a family is an inheritance and can never be bought even after ten years!  Naomi, as the head of the family decided to set off on the journey back to Judah. It’s their only hope for survival, better yet, it’s her only hope for survival.

On the next few verses, Naomi gave her blessing to her daughter-in-laws to return to their families and find another husband among their people.

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?  Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up?Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

Simply put, Naomi knew the   situation – she has no son or close relative in mind that can marry any of them and knows the challenge of a Moabite woman being in a new place.

At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”  When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

Orpah was convinced to what Naomi had shared that she decided to go back home but Ruth decided to go with Naomi. Consider her first statement –

“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.”

I strongly believe that Ruth knew the situation and what probably can transpire when she arrives in Judah but her concern for Naomi is stronger. Naomi was old, in despair and will travel for days or even months from Moab to Judah.

Ruth found something else –

Your people will be my people and your God my God.Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.

Ruth found faith in the household of Naomi.

She probably learned to pray, listen to great stories of her husbands being told every night on who Jehovah is in the lives of his chosen people. But more importantly, Ruth experienced the goodness of God in the life of Naomi. Can you just imagine her clinging to Naomi’s shoulders and expressing her faith by declaring she’s willing to let go of her identity and become part of God’s chosen people.

She personally witnessed how Naomi and her family honored the Lord even in the midst of great tribulation. Her declaration is also a consideration that she was also expressing her faith to God as she declared her turning away from the gods of the Moabites, her own people.

Lastly, Ruth has made her choice to never return again in the land she grew up.

I’ve read and studied this story a couple of times and it always bring fresh and new understanding. I personally learned that wherever we are in our christian life, our journey never promised a safe and smooth sail but He promised to never leave us nor forsake us.

Naomi and Ruth were hopeful of a better future in Moab but the Lord had other plans. Although Naomi lost her husband and sons, God gave her Ruth. God will always bring someone to lift us up and help us go through the situation.

Another lesson here is that it was through the family of Naomi and Elimelech that Ruth found out about this God they serve. Her strong conviction to go with Naomi in Judah clearly speaks of her faith and her determination to help Naomi and live a new life.

How about you? Are you in a tight and difficult situation? How do you see God’s hand in this time of your life?

Whether you’re in Naomi’s shoes in need of help and in despair or Ruth who has open hands to help you through the pain. God has a reason for your dilemma and He always has a lesson tagged along with it.

Always remember, He is God and in control. If God was able to bring provision in Israel at a crucial time in Naomi’s life, He can also turn the bad tides into an opportunity to witness God working mightily in the situation and in our character.

Be blessed!

God is in CONTROL

I believe that God is in control in my situation. He is preparing something good for you and me. He holds our future and plans in his hands and protects and prunes it to perfection. Let the message of the song inspire all of us to understand and take hold of God’s unfailing promises in his word. Let us stand firm to the hope we profess and see what God has done in the past, our present and for our future!

If you are in a tight situation right now and thinks that everything is in chaos, bear in mind all that He had promised for you. He will not forsake it, He will not forget YOU.

So, take HEART! Believe and have the faith like the rest of us!

The Crazy Idea of Building Up The Movement – Part 1

It was last year that some NYMC’2k6 Core Leaders thought of pursuing another missions congress in Bacolod. A good discussion right after a mini-reunion at Ate Leah Aguirre’s place stirred up the group to share what happened after the last congress. We were all excited about the crazy idea and looking at how everyone have grown (spiritually & in size), we believe it’s something worth to pray for and try doing after five years of the “dessert years”.
2012 comes and the congress didn’t happen. 
Everyone became busy and the excitement died down. I have to agree at one point that there were only a few of us who continued on praying and sought the Lord’s direction for the congress. It was at that juncture that I prayed and sought the Lord’s will for the congress and NYMM as a movement, it led me to say “YES” to help out plan for the congress and with whatever I can do for the movement.
A long discussion with Ate Leah, Ate Joy and some other close friends led me to think about “missions stuff” once more after 3 years. I personally looked at the idea as a stepping stone for something deeper for the movement. Deeper, in a sense, that for the movement to reach the younger generation, a congress is not enough to deeply impact our cause. There has to be more than just workshops, plenary sessions and exposures.
 
We have to do something solid, gradual and surefire. 
The think-tank meeting in PMA last April taught me a lot of things about mobilization. For one, mobilizing churches is both fun and challenging at the same time. And that there were only a handful of young recruits for the past few years. The movement’s focus should not only be to establish a strong connection of networks but also to fully support these networks by working together in training, supporting and mobilizing fellow youth for intentional crosss-cultural missions.
Also, it dawned on the group the reality that reviving the youth movement is something we can do if we want to but will also be a challenge specially that the movement has been silent for quite some time.
Lastly, a movement like NYMM would need to start somewhere and it needs to start with the youth.
The intention here is not just to raise up new missionaries but also push the youth to capture God’s vision and pursue their destiny to the next level.
With this in mind, I’d like to invite and perhaps challenge you to think where you are right now with your personal walk with the Lord. I pray that God will also open your spiritual senses and join us as we once again establish a movement for the NOW Generation. Let’s try to build once again the Youth Missions Movement and work together in “raising generations of Filipino Youth for cross-cultural missions”.
 
That is why National Youth Missions Movement was born, and I guess the same reason why even after how many years of silence, the reality of God’s faithfulness to use the youth for HIS GLORY has remain true to this day.
Thank you for reading and be blessed!

 

 

 

Small Group Thoughts, Leadership and My Fears

It’s been years when I handled a small group, specifically a small group about discipleship and training. It’s a fresh start after being stagnant for awhile. The Lord has been gracious to place some young professionals in my small group. We have different backgrounds and professions but one thing’s for sure, we all love the Lord and we want to be used for His purpose and glory.

We’ve been meeting for a couple of months now discussing about personality development, leadership potential and qualities a person needs to have and how our own experiences can be used to further God’s kingdom work in the marketplace. It’s also exciting to hear fellow believers share and learn from their assignments.

Actually it’s hard trying to find time juggling my work in the corporate world, my personal challenges and discipling fellow believers but it’s also exciting seeing God works in the life of these faithful ones. The Lord has been faithful, especially on thinking out of the box on how I will be able to share  things I’ve learned through the years.

Looking at the things we’ve discussed made me realize that I’m still growing as a leader. I’m not perfect in everything we’ve discussed and I still have fears in my life even when I know the Lord is calling me into ministry. Yes, it’s the first time to be honest about it and it’s exciting to learn how God is doing something good even in the midst of my fears and situation.

Believing that GOD is in control in my life and future, I rest in his promises of the opportunities to touch my generation for such a time as this. With this reality, let me end this blog post with a statement I learned ten years ago that kept me going – “If the Lord puts you in a particular task, you become the BEST person for it.”

 

 

 

My November’s Busy Schedule

I thought my November will not be hectic as October was and here comes my 2nd weekend for the month full of twists and surprises. There are a lot of things going on in my “busy” life in the City of Smiles that I entirely forgot to post something good after the last two topics about the VBS and VBA.

For updates, here are a few “important” stints this November:

First of, our Young Adults group at Church will host this Sunday’s morning and afternoon worship service. I’ll be joining the Praise and Worship team for both services. More specifically, I’ll be leading the praise and worship in the afternoon.

Second, the Philippine Blog Awards 2011 – Visayas is all set at 1:00pm on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at Silay City. It will be held at Sen. Jose C. Locsin Cultural and Civic Center in the famous heritage town. It will be my first time to set foot in Silay City after one and a half years working in Bacolod City.

Third, I’m grabbing the opportunity to take part in the 2nd Visayas Blogging Summit in Cebu. I’m pretty sure this is one good venue to network and learn more about blogging. Although I’m really not into the “business deals” on blogging, it’s better to know some news and updates nowadays. I wonder who among the Negros Bloggers are up for a land trip travel going to Cebu for the event. 🙂

Fourth, I have to prepare my slides for the Katuwang group, a non-profit organization. They have been bugging me to do a talk about personality development and how we can use our experiences to better communicate and strategize in helping the less fortunate.

Fifth, I have 3 local jobfairs that I (or my team) need to join. The challenge is that the 3 events are in different towns in Negros Occidental and is scheduled back to back on three straight days. Imagine that, I’m back to traveling again.

Sixth, I was informed that there are already inquiries about missions and mobilizations from the different youth and young adults group in Bacolod. I have to set my schedule straight to help out in mobilizing the churches for missions! Bring it ON NYMM!


Seventh, I need to relax. J And I think, that’s the most important activity I need to do this November!

Old Melankoliko Site, Hacked and Gone for Good

Some of you might probably wonder whatever happened to my favorite template and why this unfamiliar blog becomes the Melankoliko home. My blog was hacked over the weekend and I can’t do anything about it.

If you try checking my old link at Melankoliko , you’ll notice that the link will lead you to somewhere else. Anyway, good thing I was able to export my blog and even though 3 blog posts from October was lost, the rest were saved.

In lieu to what happened, I’m reactivating my blog – The Alter Ego Project only this time, I’ve combined the blog calling it Melankoliko: The Alter-Ego Project 101. This time, the blog will share not just about melancholy but also about life and enjoying every bit of it.

You’ll also notice that some of the pictures on my blog posts are gone and tags from the previous blog is no longer visible. This is something that I don’t have any idea how to retrieve and might have to live with it.

The blog will also share about other blogs and yes, will continue the series like The Pinoy Worship Challenge and the Blog Features. Hopefully, everything will be alright after this experience.

The “UNDAS” Holiday

I still remember my younger years when I play around the cemetery every November 1. I used to play hide and seek and jump around the tombs with my cousins and friends. It was definitely a good memory.

I also remembered doing business out of the melted candles by filling up a tin can and then selling it for a good price (for a kid,P 15.00 was okay!).

Trying to relive those memories let me understand that sometimes our holidays are not to celebrate (or in this case) remember important people in our lives but just to relax and unwind from the busyness of life and skipping diets.

After two blogs about work, it’s time to let go of the bitterness of toxicity and embrace the challenges by placing it in the right hands – God’s.

Church yesterday was also a good experience after a month of not being able to go for Sunday service because of work. I fully understand the reason why God really rested on the 7th day.

For the rest and the Undas holiday,surely this is a great experience!