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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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)

Lesson from Pacquiao and Marquez

READ: Psalm 147

Watching the Pacquiao versus Marquez third match yesterday made me a little anxious of Pacman being outsmarted. Just like almost everybody else watching from television, I thought Marquez was so good that he was landing real solid punches. Thanks to my hubby who knows better than I do when it comes to boxing. He was also more focused as we were watching, so he explained that our champion actually outpunched the Mexican challenger (as proven by the CompuBox stats).

marquezBut wait, there was Marquez raising his clenched fists at the end of the 12th round! Surprised smile  He simply looked like he was declaring his victory! How could he presume he just won without hearing the final decision of the judges? Isn’t it a boxing protocol to do your best on the ring and leave the results to the assigned pundits? Confused smile

On the opposite end of the ring was the humble Manny Pacquiao, probably nervous of the soon to be announced verdict. Aware of his limitations and mannypraysknowing that he had to wait for the announcement, he resorted to his habit of going to his corner to bow down and pray after each fight.

Some critics and viewers may justify that Juan Manuel displayed rightful confidence. In the spiritual realm, however, I saw two opposing spirits: Pride versus Humility. Pride exudes haughtiness, not being able to submit to authorities or accept defeat. Humility does have uncertainties . . . although trusting in the greater power of his Creator.

In the end Humility wins. He and his supporters do not even have to celebrate or defend themselves. . . . Pride and his camp continue ranting. With this, they go on to prove who the real losers are. . . . I hope you’re not one of them.

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” –Matthew 23:12