“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

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

Get Rid of those Remnants

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.Bonfire

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


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).

What Really Matters

forblog

READ: Romans 9:14-18

 

Who do you think you are? A brilliant scientist? A multi-awarded teacher or researcher? A popular pastor and speaker? A successful businessman or a self-made entrepreneur?

As for me, I am nobody to the world. But the truth is—in the eyes of my Father–I’m not a nameless, insignificant person with an equally insignificant message.

Even as I’m trying to promote my first book as a newly published author, there are friends and acquaintances who are happy for me. I’m grateful to them for being there to cheer and share the joy of attaining the first step to a big dream. I feel honored that they wouldn’t mind spending a few minutes to take a look at my book page, click LIKE or even write some encouraging notes.

I also thank God for those friends and acquaintances who simply shrugged off their shoulders or even raised their brows…. That’s part of life. You can’t please everyone and you can’t expect one and all to share in your joy, or much more, support your endeavor.

While I am not hurt or offended by those who ignore my book campaign, I just couldn’t help but wonder what’s causing their indifference…. Maybe people change. They are too busy…. They have their own lives to live. I could be right or wrong with the answers I have in mind….

I am only sure of this: I am His daughter. My joy and success do not depend on the approval of men. What is most important in every pursuit I take is the endorsement and favor of my Father God, the King of All Kings. I can hear him say, “Your hard work is meaningless…. Everything is useless if I AM not with you, more so if I AM not for you.”

So then, everything depends, not on what we humans want or do, but only on God’s mercy. For the scripture says to the king of Egypt, “I made you king in order to use you to show my power and to spread my fame over the whole world.”

Romans 9:16-17 (GNB)

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?

Where Do We Stand?

READ: Ephesians 4:20-32

Politics has invaded our Christian life. Some so called brothers and sisters in Christ do not get along well with one another because of personality differences. Brother A does not talk to Sister A due to a conflict that has not been resolved. Sister A leaves the church or the organization still with bitterness in her heart. She talks to Brother B and Sisters B and C about the problem with Brother A and his allies. Another coalition has emerged.

The cycle goes on and on. . . . Who is in charge? We have yet to meet the heroes, Brother C and Sister D, who actually know it all. They will tell you what has gone wrong. They can even pinpoint who has this and that failure and character flaw. They will pray and hear God for you. They can plan and run your life if you want them to.

Can we identify who we are in the midst of this cycle? As for me, at one point or two in my life, to a certain extent, maybe I became Sister A, B, C and D.

Sometimes it’s tempting not to speak to others and just be good in front of them and in the next moment, speak behind their back. It’s too easy to set aside a hurt or a conflict and pretend that everything is all right, much more to decide for those who are under us even if we are not supposed to lord it over them. After all, politics is all about falsehood and control.

Again it’s sad, but the dysfunctional cycle is unbroken and real. . . . A new cycle only begins to break in when we vote for grace and truth. That is, when we let Jesus become the center of our every relationship. He came to get rid of politics. Didn’t He?

“What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense.
Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected
to each other, after all…”

–Ephesian 4:25 (MSG)