Right Place at the Wrong Time

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” — 1Peter 5:6

How many of you have gone to the place of your dreams only to find out that the timing was not so favorable? It must have felt like having a glass full of ice-cold water poured on your warm head. Frustration and worries obviously tried to steal my joy when it happened to me about two years ago.

While I marveled at the favor of renewing my passport via the DFA courtesy lane and seeing it stamped with a multiple entry visa at the U.S. Embassy, my 2016 U.S. trip did not exactly come out as an opportune breakthrough. Yes, I made it to the land flowing with milk and honey! I enjoyed the clean air, the warmth of the American culture and the luxury of their Thanksgiving celebration. But the discomfort of the coming winter season was too much for my system to manage. And so, it dawned on me that maybe I was in the right place at the wrong season.

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The conference venue in Grand Prairie looks amazingly spacious, but the multicultural environment only reminds me of a YWAM conference.

It was not an issue to come back home to the Philippines in about a month had I met my expectation of being able to promote my book to thousands of audience. Unfortunately, the conference my former pastor (with two other church leaders) and I attended only had a few hundred participants. Our pastor was supposed to speak, but he did not even make it to share his testimony. So why even bother to insist on my book promotion?

I would have come back home financially blessed had I been brave enough to extend my stay and accept a job offer to serve as a home care worker in Michigan or simply assist my sister in Texas for a month or two. Honestly, though, I wasn’t that brave or self-sacrificing for an adventure that others wouldn’t mind stepping into for the sake of their families.

My elder sister was also too protective to release me to go to other places other than back home. Although she was generous enough to tour me around and fund my shopping spree, I just felt like I was stuck in their house. I wasn’t able to do what I thought would have compensated my unmet expectations.

Was it a consequence of some unwise decisions? Maybe pride had crept in from the start as I was looking to prove my worth. Maybe I had placed things in my hands and not under the mighty hand of God. Despite all these maybes, I found encouragement from the timely preaching of the senior pastor of New Beginnings in Bedford. It wasn’t an accident that we made it to that church. He said, “Just when you think God is not at work or it seems He is not moving, He’s really doing something.”

The pastor expounded on the second chapter of the book of Joel. Verses 21-25 specifically spoke to me:

“Do not be afraid, land of Judah; be glad and rejoice. Surely the Lord has done great things! Do not be afraid, you wild animals, for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches. Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you.”

Now as I reflect on what has gone wrong, the Lord has given me this assurance that in due time, and as I learn to humble myself under His mighty hand, I will be in the right place at the right time for the right reasons. The opportune moment is coming because our God is a God of second chances. He can intervene with His abounding grace to bring forth vindication and restoration!

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“Happy Lang….”

READ: Psalm 139:13-16 (TLB)

How many of you have watched this TV series entitled “Little Nanay” on GMA-7? If you have done done so, I’m sure you do miss Tinay and her favorite expression, “Happy lang….”. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Kudos to GMA-7 for such a wonderful Teleserye concept! For those who do not know, Tinay’s character (portrayed by Kris Bernal) is a mom with intellectual disability. Carefree as she is, she was not spared from the ordeal of being ridiculed and rejected even by her loved ones (so-called superhero Archie and daughter Chie-Chie) a few times. Her family (Loloy, Lolay, Bruce, Peter and Gpap), however, has consistently shown their love and support from the start until the final episode (aired on March 23, 2016).

Parents, siblings and relatives of PIDs (Persons with Intellectual Disabilities) should have watched this. The last part is so touching—you’ll shed tears even if you don’t have a family member with disability.

“We may not be street smart or highly intelligent, but we can still do a lot of things…. We deserve love and respect from everyone, much more from our family.” — Tinay (paraphrased speech)

The entire video reminds me of the message of my book and of our negative attitude when we are not secure and content with what we are blessed with physically and intellectually. That steals our happiness. With our critical spirit, we see what’s wrong and lacking with this and that person. We have so much to learn from a simpleminded mom like Tinay. To her, “Happy lang….” means to be happy is our only choice. It does mean we refuse to give room to worries and sour graping, but we choose to be thankful for what we have—no matter the situation.

Happy lang surely includes being appreciative of each one’s uniqueness as God’s creation. While intellectual pride manifests itself in looking down on others who may not have the same intelligence or professional status, such pride is out of place or inappropriate for someone as grateful as a special child and the Psalmist.

We may not have wished we were special. But just how happy are we these days?

🙂 🙂 🙂

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit them together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
It is amazing to think about.
Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.”

Psalm 139: 13-14 (TLB)

Our Spiritual Eyes

eyes

READ: Philippians 4:8-9

As an OC, I get irritated at times with mess, and I grow tired of too much unwholesome talks. Thank God that by His grace, He has given me eyes which dwell on the positive.

Whenever I see unpleasant or unfavorable situations, I normally get disappointed in a moment, but not after “wearing the eyes” that cool me down and bring me back to my normal adrenalin level. Thanks that these eyes are available whenever I need them.

The problem, though, is that sometimes I turn to be too independent. I forget those eyes, and I depend credulously on my own defective eyesight. The result—my surroundings and I repel, because both of us are “negatively charged.” I see somebody’s irresponsibility, and I get impatient. A brother or sister seems careless and unreasonable, and I become cynical. I glean through an unfulfilled dream, and I get bitter and depressed. Someone is in trouble, and I am too insensitive. Here come discouragement and disappointments.

Either an interpersonal or an intrapersonal conflict is present, simply because the God-given eyes are forgotten and left somewhere else. I have suffered a number of times the consequences of my neglect of these eyes. I treasure the lessons I’ve learned as I am still in the process of learning.

But God is not pleased when we keep on using our own eyes that center on ourselves—what we want and what we expect. Conflicts will be here and there if we won’t make use of the gift God has imparted.

Every Christian is just gifted with spiritual eyes. These eyes, which transcend superficiality and every form of facade, enable us to look not only to our own interests but also to the interest of others (Phil. 2:4).

Are we often caught grumbling as if we were carrying the whole world on our shoulders? Are we quick to detect imperfections, shortcomings and inconsistencies? Do we feel so discouraged and disappointed?

Perhaps we must learn the habit of “wearing our spiritual eyes.” These eyes focus on the positive side of everything and make us thankful under whatever circumstances. They represent the eyes of the Father. Do we look and see with His eyes?

“… Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

– Philippians 4:8

The Real Winner

READ: Psalm 37

A severe headache attacked late Friday night. I thought I wouldn’t make it to the 4:00 a.m. Dawn Prayer in our church. But after a short good night rest and deep sleep, I woke up Saturday at 3:30 a.m. feeling pretty well with an utterly vivid dream I just couldn’t forget. . . .

In my dream was the Pound for Pound King, Manny Pacquiao. He won the fight against Bradley, but he did not get what he should have gotten—something that’s supposed to be his!

Knowing that God sometimes gives revelations and warnings through dreams (in accordance with His Word), I told my husband confidently that Manny would win. While watching the Pacquiao-Bradley match, I even declared to my hubby and daughter the interpretation of my dream: that it’s a “sure win” except that Manny wouldn’t get Bradley knocked out.

After the 12th round, when everyone of us including our boxing hero was confident of the result, the announcement of the winner brought a big shock and disbelief. Bradley won (115-113) with the judges’ split decision. One sports commentator exclaimed, “Whew! It’s unbelievable! I am flabbergasted.” Manny Pacquiao himself voiced it out, “I respect the decision, but one  hundred percent I believe that I won the fight. . . . I don’t know what happened.”

The whole world (only in exception of Bradley and the two judges) has been so upset. I myself was fretting over a completely disgusting result, until the accurate interpretation of my dream surfaced:

Manny Pacquiao actually won. That something he was deprived of–that’s supposed to be his–stands for the Welterweight Champion’s belt. It belongs to him. For some reason that the two judges succumbed to, the belt was instead given to the undeserving Timothy Bradley.

Who is not smart enough to smell deceit or detect an outright questionable decision? We can go on with endless sighs and grumbling. But at the end of the day, we need to go back to our Sovereign God who is a God of purpose.

When the moment of truth gets shaded with lies and deception, it’s time to ask, “What does the Word of God say? What does God want us to do?”

Thank God that the winner knows how to respond. He’s indeed shaped for victory as depicted in the second to the last chapter of my first educational and inspirational book, Rediscovering Your Intelligence.

A winning attitude makes a real winner. A timely reminder from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (TEV) goes, “Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.”

“… Do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. A little while and the wicked will be no more, though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.”

–Psalm 37:7,10-13

Please feel free to review my book “Rediscovering Your Intelligence” on askDavid.com

No Room for Selfishness

READ: Isaiah 49

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Motherhood unveils the best that resides in each of our hearts—that of our selfless, compassionate nature. As a young new wife working among an indigent community, I experienced serving snacks for mothers and children visiting in our house. One time I saw a five-year-old boy who got his mother’s portion and the extra ones on the plate. Instead of scolding him or refusing to give in, the mother willingly gave her share plus the extra pieces of cake.

Hmmm… maybe she needed some tips on discipline. What caught my attention, though, at that moment was the simple sacrifice of the mother for her child.

Now that I myself am a mother, I can understand better that poor mom’s sacrifice. Although I try to restrain my child’s appetite by teaching her to be satisfied with her share, there are times that I still give her that last bite of chocolates or chicken nuggets, or last scoop of ice cream, or whatever it is that’s really her favorite. Yes, even if it’s also mom’s favorite.

While we hear of hurting mothers who neglect their children, leaving them to the care of someone else, or much worse, mothers physically abusing their sons or daughters—I believe there are more heroic moms out there who will give up almost everything for their kids. I know of a friend who has given up her career for her to take care of her children. One mom featured in the Reader’s Digest had opted to lose one breast through mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy, in order for her to save the life of the baby in her womb. The list can go on and on….

What about you? What are you willing to give up for your children?

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?” — Isaiah 49:15a

His Mighty Servant

READ: James 3:13-18

MH900230766She has been one of our most awaited guest speakers in our Family Ministry School (FMS) in Baguio and Taipei for the last few years. God has been using her in the area of healing and prophetic ministries. She’s a rather soft spoken lady with her British accent and probably in her 50’s.

Serving as speaker for the week, Diane joined in one of our FMS staff meetings in Taipei in 2006, for her to minister to each of us staff members. As she started to pray and speak prophetic words for each one, I must admit that I was guilty of not being quite awestruck. Perhaps I had just gotten used to hearing “anointed prophets” who would come on so strong with their prophecies that you could right away fall spellbound with their sharpness and accuracy.

With Diane, I felt what she was speaking to each one (at that time in Taipei) was far too generalized. . . . I had to repent for my bias, though, when my turn came. As I closed my eyes and raised my hands, it surprised me to hear something different. What I had expected to sound imprecise—simply came too specific and sharp!

We were not able to voice-record the prophecies. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t forget these words that brought me to tears:

You have dreams. . . . God gave you dreams. . . . People may have asked, “Who are you?” But the Lord says, “Keep on dreaming . . . Going through various tests doesn’t mean you’re not on the right track. . . . Others think you’re not, but you cannot please everybody. . . . Seek to please God, not people. . . .”

Being in Taipei for a few months sort of marked the end (or long delay) of a dream to officially publish my book, Rediscovering Your Intelligence. Despite the very good feedback on a number of copies we had printed out through desktop publishing, I felt helpless and discouraged with my laptop that crashed without remedy and files that couldn’t be retrieved.

At the height of enjoying a new culture and environment during our Taiwan FMS, I was at the back of my mind grieving the loss of a big dream. There were times when I thought, “If only I could have my book published. . . . But what am I doing in this expensive city of Taipei?” A little depression crept in as I listened to the voice of disappointment. All the while, I was moving on with my responsibilities in the school, despite my struggles.

Thank God that He met me at the point of my need through the low-profile yet spiritually remarkable woman prophet named Diane Pearce! Along with her timely prophetic words, Diane also prayed for the joy of my salvation to be restored.

It was such a valuable lesson that I should be humble enough to receive and not quick to judge. While Diane is well-known in Australia and Korea, God doesn’t speak only through people with big names or those with big eloquent voices. He can speak through the soft-spoken Diane Pearce, the forceful Cindy Jacobs, Billy Graham and the like–or anyone He chooses to meet us at the greatest point of our need.

“But there will be glory, honor, and peace for every person who does what is good. . . . God does not play favorites.” – Romans 2:10-12 (GW)

Love to the Next Level

READ: 1 John 4:7-21

MC900444883[1]Who wouldn’t be interested when we talk about love? Love makes it as the trending topic this week among the leading social networks and search engines online.

If you are a young adult or already in your 30’s or 40’s like me, I’m sure that at some point in your life, you’ve experienced how it is to fall in love.

It’s a wonderful feeling to love someone and be loved in return. There you get nervous and start to blush…. You stammer and you couldn’t speak a word…. You feel like you would melt as that special someone fixes his or her eyes on you…. It’s crazy…. You find it awkward, and yet, it’s a dreamlike moment…. Those mixed emotions simply take your breath away until you find yourself floating on Cloud 9.

Then, what’s next? How long will the pleasant emotional mode last? For a week? A few months? Or several years?

Unfortunately, human love is neither permanent nor long lasting.That’s why we hear of sentimental love songs depicting heartaches and painful separation. A popular song I used to abhor and recoil from goes, “Please release me, let me go…. For I don’t love you anymore.”

Why such momentary highs and sad endings?

Well, maybe because feelings change as you wake up to reality and see a close-up view of the other person’s flaws. You discover you can’t tolerate mistakes and differences. Now you look around and you get to know someone better. There you see somebody more good-looking, wittier, dependable.

Here is where relationships and marriages break up. You hear a story of relational problems and divorce everywhere. It happens to adults—whether young or old, rich or poor. All because they are human beings with emotions—with hang-ups, prejudices, lusts and idiosyncrasies.

No one  is perfect. Each one of us has his own weaknesses. Everybody is bound to fail. But those who have received the unconditional love of God will be able to extend the love that lasts a lifetime.This God kind of love is a decision, a choice and not based on feelings. I may not constantly feel like loving my husband, as at times he disappoints me and gets into my nerves. A “bed of roses with thorns” invites in our room, as we disagree and clash…. But we can always choose to stay sober. We can choose to be patient and kind…. We can always decide to protect, trust, hope and persevere (1 Corinthians 13:4,7).

The love of God that’s in us and working through us transcends personality differences; language, cultural, intellectual and educational barriers; shortcomings and imperfections…. 

Who could resist this kind of love? 

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.” — Jeremiah 31:3

Pacman is a Fertile Soil

READ: Matthew 13:1-23

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Who doesn’t know Manny Pacquiao (aka Pacman)? Not only that he’s every Filipino’s pride, even Hollywood celebrities and NBA stars would take a break just to meet the World’s Greatest Boxer.

I am not exactly a big fan of boxing, but I see Manny’s life as an inspiration. My book Rediscovering Your Intelligence highlights in Chapter 6, “The Real Thing that Counts”:

. . . There’s something about the phenomenal boxing champion that really draws my attention. . . .

When asked how he managed to come out victorious in 2008 over another boxing legend, Oscar dela Hoya, Pacquiao shared one thing he had learned that applies to everyday life: “Don’t tell God how big is your problem. Instead, tell your problem how big is your God.”

Although it sounds like the boxer got the quote from a Christian book, a preacher or a spiritual adviser, the statement goes to unveil his heart. Making it a point to pray before and after every fight and to acknowledge God on worldwide television for every victory—is more than just being religious. I believe Manny Pacquiao has a heart that seeks and reveres his God.

When a pastor had left this comment (on my post “Lesson from Pacquiao and Marquez”) that Manny is the humblest boxer he’s ever known, even though he doesn’t share the “same faith” with him, I replied: “I believe it won’t be long and he will soon be one of us.” Although honestly speaking, I was inclined to assume then that he was already a believer. But thank God that while I was wrong with my presumption, my words that he will soon become a Christian have been fulfilled! Online news and social media updates reveal that the Pound for Pound King has just recently met the King of All Kings.

The boxing icon is not someone who could forever be overwhelmed with what the world has to offer. While some extremely popular and wealthy personalities do not see their need for God, Pacman now confesses, “Without Christ, I am nothing.” A video circulating through Facebook even speaks of the champ quitting his vices and now getting addicted to Bible studies.

Fame and the deceitfulness of wealth are still out to choke anyone to death and destruction. A genuine seeker of the truth, nonetheless, will be free from those thorns.

“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they  hear. . . . But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

– Matthew 13:16, 23

  Please feel free to review my book “Rediscovering Your Intelligence” on askDavid.com