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

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Moving On

READ: Philippians 3:12-16

Marrying your first boyfriend or girlfriend is quite romantic. Having an ex, though, or a number of them gives you experiences to learn from.

To think and say that “Past is past…” sounds appropriate. But believe me, sometimes it’s nothing more than a cliché—overused and abused—while it doesn’t really speak of the truth inside your heart. If you have an ex, chances are, you might have had a few recurring dreams about the unforgettable guy or lady from your past. You may have wondered how it would feel to see him or her again, now that you are happily married.

Guess what…. The real test whether you have moved on or not doesn’t actually lie on having a new partner or a spouse. An unplanned personal encounter will reveal the real score.

Six years ago, I happened to meet my Korean ex-boyfriend in Baguio City where my family and I were supposed to attend a three-month training school. He was not one of our fellow students, but unfortunately, he served as interpreter for a Korean couple who were our classmates. Somehow, I knew it that I would see him there, but I wasn’t expecting he would be a part of the school.

My husband was even teasing me as to how my reaction and feelings would be. We had gotten married a year after the breakup. My ex did three or four years later…. I was just curious how it would feel, since our relationship was ended only through a series of communication by phone calls and letters. As far as my knowledge, I had completely released forgiveness and let bygones be bygones despite the lack of a formal breakup.

The first time I saw him in eight years, I just couldn’t explain how awkward and uncomfortable it was. I must admit having mixed feelings…. Angry? Yes, for finally seeing the coward—the man who did not have the guts to break up with me in person. Ecstatic? Yes, sort of, because there was still a soft spot in my heart for him.

Thank God that my hubby has been blessed with security and understanding! He knew it that I struggled for days and weeks with my mixed emotions. There were also times when I would get to see the wife of my ex. With a bit of jealousy, I thought, “Good for them! They want to have a baby, but until now they are childless….” All the while I was so proud then of having a lovely four-year-old daughter.

Guilty of all my negative thoughts, I consulted a professional counselor who was also our speaker in the school during that week. I went on with my confession about my ex … that it was a relationship that was hoped to end up in marriage eight years ago…. The third party was no one but God … and that I couldn’t help but still be resentful … and yet at the same time it’s crazy that I would often catch myself secretly staring at him….

The counselor smiled and assured me that what I was going through was normal, considering the lack of a proper closure in my previous relationship. Also, it became clear to me that every intimate and serious involvement with the opposite sex creates soul ties that cannot be easily broken by time, distance or mere physical separation.

So we did cut off my soul ties with my ex verbally and spiritually in prayer. I wanted to settle things out with a formal heart to heart talk and tell him right on his face, “I’m releasing you…. I’m moving on with my life… I speak blessings to you and your wife….” I was told, however, that it was unnecessary. But even if I wasn’t able to do things as I wanted, I thank God that He has brought real healing in my heart through bumping into the man who caused my heartbreak.

I can only look back and smile at the past for all the precious lessons it has blessed me with. With no bitterness and regrets, I can say that I have moved on. Like the Apostle Paul I declare, the one thing I do…is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead (Phil. 3:13).

All About Grace

Peter came up to the Lord and asked, “How many times should I forgive someone….?” Jesus answered: “Not just seven times, but 77 times.” – Matthew 18:21-22 (CEV)

marriage

“Enough. I give up.” This was all I could think of, while I was on a bus on the way to my church’s Sunday worship service. My husband and I couldn’t settle some differences and I was really offended, upset and on the brink of quitting on my marriage.

Seven years were too much. I made up my mind and I was already thinking of an annulment. I didn’t have the money for it, but at least, I thought I might as well strive to make things legal. It was as though I had reached a certain level of emotional stability that I would no longer feel hurt no matter what happens.

As I started to consider some options on what I am going to do with my then five-year-old daughter, I still managed to pray and ask God to intervene in our situation.

It was time to get off from the bus. Alone by myself, I walked in to our worship service. The church bulletin was handed to me by one of the ushers. I couldn’t believe what I just read—that Sunday’s preaching topic was on “Holiness.” I quietly said to myself, “How appropriate for my husband…. He should have been here with me.”

After a series of songs by the worship team, our pastor came up the stage and welcomed everyone. He proceeded with his preaching, “…I was actually supposed to preach on ‘Holiness’ this morning, but the Lord impressed on me earlier to speak on ‘Grace’ instead…” He went on to articulate, “Grace is about forgiving…77 times…it is limitless…. It is about peace-making…. Grace is about not giving up….”

The message, which I thought should have been for my husband, turned out to be absolutely for me. It stabbed and softened my stubborn heart. Dumbfounded on my seat, I had no choice but to cry and repent of my legalism and self-righteousness.

I went home humbled and ready for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Well, the rest is history. Until now I couldn’t help but be amazed with how God’s has intervened in my marriage relationship. He has erased words such as I give upenough… and annulment from my vocabulary.

The lesson I learned: God is able to save and restore our marriage to the extent that we allow Him to be the center of our relationship. Above all, our God is a gracious God. We are able to receive and extend His grace only for as long as we let Him reign in our hearts.

Who dominates your heart and marriage relationship?