“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.
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!
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)
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
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.”
Please feel free to review my book “Rediscovering Your Intelligence” on askDavid.com
She 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)
READ: Matthew 13:1-23
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
READ: Jeremiah 29:11-13
Becoming a stay-at-home mom for about two years seems to be the longest and most difficult stage I have gone through. Don’t get me wrong. Being a full-time mom is a wonderful 24/7 job. What made me struggle was the absence of my husband (who worked abroad during those years) and my “leave of absence” from work or ministry.
I am not a plain housewife material, but I survived doing household chores by myself (except for marketing and cooking which were my eldest sister’s work duty). My life was still convenient with an automatic washing machine and an electric sterilizer. No amount of technology, however, could ease the depression that was slowly creeping in. How I missed those times when my family was complete and we were active in mission work.
We went out of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), hoping to embrace a new role as a sender or financial supporter to missionary friends. But I guess no transition stage is easy. And here is where people either move forward or retreat.
Whatever happened to God-given gifts and dreams?
I moved backwards by starting a habit of recalling the place and season where I was most dynamic and effective. If only I could relive those moments. . . . If only . . . but all I could do was go back to the past until a still small voice put me off. It gently whispered, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” In the spur of the moment, the all-too-familiar Jeremiah 29:11 resonated a special promise.
The well-known verse has brought a new revelation that enabled me to stop a counter-productive habit. It spoke to my heart and lifted up my downcast spirit.
Maybe your present situation has been flooded with disappointment after disappointment. . . . You need not be tempted to dwell in the past. . . . God knows what He’s doing. He has greater plans for you and me.
“I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering. You will turn back to me and ask for help and I will answer your prayers.” –Jeremiah 29:11-12 (CEV)
READ: Zephaniah 3:14-20
My first formal book launch on Friday afternoon (December 2nd) in a technological college made me a bit anxious. The librarian who coordinated the event with us reminded that the school could only provide the venue and that the program should run for an hour and extend for another 30 minutes for a question and answer portion and book-signing.
With all the preparations and details to be finalized, my heart pounded and my mind started entertaining these thoughts: “What if no one will show up? What if only five or ten students will make it to attend the launching program?”
All I could do was ask, “Wait Lord, did I make a mistake here?” I knew it that God normally answers through His Word when our minds are flooded with questions or doubts. So I grabbed my devotional guide and Bible. The passage for that day goes: “He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful about you” (Zephaniah 3:17). The verse simply came to life and silenced all anxieties. It assured me that while the number of my audience may not reach 100, I have One who is more than enough. My Facebook page fans (or likes) may not increase dramatically, but I can take joy from the Greatest Cheer Leader one could ever have. He is worth more than a million fans. His commendation is priceless!
Turn to the sidelines; that’s God cheering your run. Look past the finish line; that’s God applauding your steps. Listen for him in the bleachers, shouting your name. Too tired to continue? He’ll carry you. Too discouraged to fight? He’s picking you up. God is for you. –Max Lucado
READ: Isaiah 43:18-19
Every intimate and serious involvement with another person creates soul ties that cannot be easily broken by time, distance or mere physical separation. My previous post entitled “Moving On” brought up this issue on soul ties. But just what are soul ties and how are they formed?
Stephen Gola, in his site Divorce Hope, describes that soul ties are like connections or bridges in relationships; they are formed many different ways as by willing or forced sexual relations, by speaking words of commitment or vows like “I will always love you,” “I will never forget,” and by accepting things that may be symbols of a covenant, commitment or a love relationship.
Speaking confessions and prayers from the heart are not the only essential steps in breaking soul ties. The same site above stresses the need to get rid of the things that remind you of the person and the broken relationship. While I had already returned (fourteen years ago) the engagement ring from my ex-fiancé only a week after our breakup, I must admit that several months back when I wrote my previous post, I still had a few small things kept somewhere.
So I resolved to take off a few leaves (with written notes related to my ex) from an old notebook…. I also pulled out a leftover picture from an old photo album…. What else? Some more post cards…. They all deserved to vanish, so I threw them into the fireplace. They are “to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt” (Deut. 13:16). The emotions they tried to rekindle have been ushered to death, never to resurrect or bother once again.
Moving on necessitates a symbolic and decisive act. Isn’t it a lot easier to move on without any visible baggage from the past?
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” — Isaiah 43:18, 19a