[COVID 19 Diary] Be Healthy

One of the things I’ve been asking these days just being at home, “What would the new normal be?”

It’s hard to say. It’s very uncertain. No one really knows right now.

But I’d like to prepare for what that new normal might be. One of the most practical preparations is to BE HEALTHY. What does this mean? Not just the physical body but overall.

This time has really helped me to do a detox not just with the food I eat but in all aspects of my life. Before this COVID pandemic happened, I went through burnt out, stress, anxiety – whatever you want to call it. It was a battle I had to fight and deal with for several months. And the moment I decided to quit my job was when this COVID started to become an outbreak.

I neglected to make time to process thoughts in my mind, take care of my body, cook & eat healthy food, exercise and rest my mind.  When I work, I really work hard that I become hard on myself also. I’m grateful that I can do this right now. Not everyone has the luxury to do this. So, I will use the time I have right now to be better so that I can also be a better influence and be usable for the community of what’s ahead.

What have I been doing for the past days?

  1. I’ve been a gym member for years now but I never get to maximize my membership. So now, I’m catching up with exercise at home. I found this really good YouTube channel called – Faithful Workouts. I like the workouts because encouragements & devotions are part of it. It’s body & soul workout.
  2. I enjoy cooking especially for people but when you are cooking for 1, sometimes, it’s better to just buy cooked food. But, because I neglected healthy eating last year and really ruined my diet, I now have to cook and try to eat healthy. It was difficult in the first 2 weeks because I overate. And with so much “quarantine” food, you can’t help but just keep eating. Now, I have adjusted and I’ve cut down on my meals already. I do a one full meal for brunch then a light meal late afternoon.

Some easy ways to make sure you have nutrients in your meals:

    • Oven Roasted Veggies are healthy and so easy to prepare (bell pepper, carrots, onions, broccoli, squash, yams, etc.)
    • Turmeric Tea – it helps boost immune system. I always make a batch and I try to drink a cup a day.

3. Do one chore at a time. As I don’t work, I have a lot of time to clean up. So, I don’t  rush into finishing everything all in one day. I take my time in cleaning. I’m so used to multi tasking that I’m really learning now to do things one at a time. It’s really hard to unlearn and it takes a lot of discipline.

Some examples:

    • I organized our bathroom cabinets on a day. I organized our kitchen cabinet that stores all our food containers on a different day. I cleaned my bedroom cabinets on another day.
    • I wash dishes once a day, I just pile up all I’ve used for the day then do one washing.
    • I take my time doing laundry – coz this is not really my favorite thing to do. So I take my time! LOL

4. Detox the mind. During the start of the outbreak, I was watching news like crazy. I would be on the news for almost the whole day. I would be on social media reading all related posts to COVID. I decided I had to put a stop on it. It wasn’t doing me any good anymore especially that I feel so limited not being able to really do something, it became frustrating for me.

Here are the things I’ve been doing:

    • I watch the news only every night – I watch the recap of Global News for Canada and government updates for Philippines.
    • I deactivated back my Facebook account.
    • I read my devotion book daily.
    • I read Book of Psalms for my quiet time.
    • I’m doing the Daniel prophecy series from Bible Youversion app and do some deep dive.
    • I listen to a lot of Christian songs when I do chores.
    • I watch video messages & listen to podcasts of Tim Keller & Ravi Zacharias.
    • I read book & articles with Biblical principles.
    • I rest my mind – looking out to my window, looking at nature.
    • I pray – talk, whisper, pour out my heart to God.

5.Get connected. Always talk to someone – family, friends. Pray for or with people. Encourage people. Be a listener. Just stay connected. Be part of a support group like for us, we have our discipleship group.

Hopefully, I will start doing online classes & training so that I will also grow and learn more in my line of work. This is something I need to work on as I’m not really a fan of online classes.

How about you? What practical ways have you done to be a healthier you?

If you’ve read this and you need prayers or just need someone to talk to, feel free to comment and I can definitely pray for you or talk to you.

Let’s use this time to become a better version of us! And always remember, God loves you so much!!

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[COVID 19 Diary] Genuinely Grateful

Before writing this, I was sitting on the carpeted floor of my room, facing my window with some sunlight coming in and reading a book, while an instrumental music is playing on the background. Then, it dawned on me.  How blessed I am that I can just be in so much comfort and peace even if the world is going in chaos.

I have nothing to feel but be very grateful because not everyone can have this comfort. There are some people who as much as they want to stay home, do not have homes to stay. There are some who may have homes but they could not even do social distancing because they only have one room. There are some who would want to be home with families but are risking their lives out there helping those who are sick and dying.

Before this pandemic happened, I went through my own “pandemic” in life also for some months. That taught me to take care of my self just like what all health organizations are telling us right now – stay home & be healthy. I’m grateful that God allowed me to go through that because it helped in renewing my mind.

It’s so hard these days not to fear & worry, not to complain & be angry. There are moments in my day that those would try to creep in, but then I always remind myself of who God is and who I am. He is GOD – powerful, all knowing, sovereign, in control. I am weak – will always need God.

All I can do today is to choose to be thankful of every little blessing I have in my life right now. I try to live one day at a time, pray for what’s needed today, do what I can for today. From a message I watched this week, it was a reminder that the mercy God gives to us for the day is only enough for the day. That’s why His mercies are new every morning. He will give based on what’s needed for our day. And so, I should learn to live my day that way also, trusting that His provision is sufficient for my day.

This historical event will leave a mark in my life until the end. The one thing that God has been using this difficult time is to teach me to really be grateful. At some point, I’ve forgotten how to genuinely be grateful. It should be a default in one’s heart. Because a thankful heart delights the Lord.

I’m so glad that in God’s kingdom, status is not required – no rich or poor. God’s love is extended to everyone. And that’s really what I am truly grateful for. And so I pray that even those who are not in comfort right now, those who are suffering that they will know the Lord, experience His Love and receive Jesus in their lives.

Thank you Abba Father.

 

 

[COVID 19 Diary] I wept.

It’s been heartbreaking. I can’t help but cry with what’s going on in the world.

I can’t believe how a “mere” virus can shake the whole world.

There are greater problems than this – poverty, sex slave, child abuse, non-treatable diseases, unemployment, etc. These are real problems that are temporarily forgotten because of fighting a virus.

It’s unfathomable how we all got into this place that seems to be uncontrollable, and the only way to stop the transmission is a shutdown of the world.

And it could get pretty scary thinking about this because when I go back to God’s Word – Jesus said these are just beginning of sorrows.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.All these are the beginning of sorrows.     – Matthew 24:6-8

And Jesus said, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt 24:21) There will be days worst than this. 

Just watching the news reminds me that our resources are limited, no matter how rich our country is, supplies will eventually run out. It reminds me also of how our wisdom is finite, how our strength will eventually fail.  After all, even our government leaders or even the brightest in the medical field are just human.

With all these thoughts, I always find myself asking again – “Is this all to life?”

Will a mere virus possibly end my life?

Then, I see Jesus. The gospel makes sense again. That’s why Jesus had to die because our life is not just for this lifetime.

God created me not for this temporal world. He created me for eternity. I can’t just accept that my life is – I live, I fight a virus, I die. Then what? That sucks. What’s the point of living then?

Today, I have to remind myself again that my life is beyond this. Just like you, fear & worry would sometimes creep in. That’s why I need to re-align my self again with God and His Word. There’s eternal life in the presence of God.

That’s what I would rather look forward to. I’m glad that I have Jesus in my life. That my messy, imperfect life is anchored to the only Savior of this world – Jesus Christ.

So, I can hope. I can live without fear. I can trust. I can live by faith. And yes, I can continue to weep for the world, praying that everyone will see the true Hope & Light in the midst of this darkness. Realizing that we can never rely on our own resources, that we have to start calling on the name of the LORD. Jesus is the true Healer. He did that already 2000+ years ago.

My thoughts here are what I wrote in my journal today. I just thought I should share and hopefully reminded you that we can hope.

I want to end this with one of my favorite verses in the Bible – this is the most famous that will never run old.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) should not perish but have everlasting life.

Because He is…

“We underestimate the power of our own will.”

That’s what struck me from a sermon I just finished listening few minutes ago. It is somehow a good intro of what I want to share on how my 2019 turned out to be.

I must say 2019 was a continuation of my 2018 journey.  Though really, our journey is not bounded by end or start of a year. It just keeps going.

2019 was a very humbling year for me. God helped me discover things about myself that I didn’t know were happening to me. What I went through during the later part of the year is hard to explain. It’s really true that only God knows the deepest of our heart. When I share it to people, it would seem petty and just really a normal struggle anyone can go through. But from my end, it was a battle. I struggled with anxiety and deep fear that paralyzed my faith, took away my joy and shattered my peace. No matter how hard I fought it, I would find myself back into the pit. It’s like quicksand.

As a child of God, the only way to overcome the battle was to continue reading God’s Word even if it was hard holding on to it. I kept asking myself what was really the cause of all of it. I thought it was my stressful work. I thought it was certain circumstances that didn’t go the way I wanted it to be. God eventually made it clear for me. He showed me that I’m weak. Not that I didn’t know I am weak. I for sure am aware that I am weak – on certain areas in my life. But God showed to me the kind of weakness that I wasn’t aware has slowly been crawling into my life.

I am weak in allowing myself to be slowly swayed into the comfort and “good” of the world without being aware of it. I am weak that I was becoming self-entitled and demanding in a very subtle way without being aware of it. I am weak that I was becoming ungrateful when things didn’t turn out the way I thought it would be. I am weak in thinking that when God provides, it will always be smooth and easy. I am weak when my focus was starting to be about myself and what I want and what I deserve. I am weak that even just little difficulties, I would just want to give up.

It is so true that most of the time we underestimate the power of our will. We don’t realize the little things we feed into our mind will eventually change the way we think and the way we believe. I’m still in that battlefield, letting God continue to renew my mind and transform my heart. Fear & anxiety would try to creep in from time to time, but Jesus helps me overcome. His peace is undefeated.

People who know me might think that I am always okay. When people see me at church, they would probably think I am doing well with my walk with God. That those I mentioned above never manifested when they see me or when I serve. All I can say, despite my weakness, God’s work will continue to move. And that’s what amazes me. In the midst of my struggles, His work doesn’t stop.

The biggest blessing for me in the midst of this struggling time is to experience God’s presence and to see how He can continue His work through a season of brokenness. Every time I would find myself going to church, being at work, serving in ministry, meeting my discipleship group or cleaning my room – I know that it was all Him. My own will would just be in a depressed state, in my bed and just be thoughtless. But His grace was working during the time my own will just couldn’t. 

In my almost 15 years as a follower of Christ, I was never in this state of deep anxiety and fear. And somehow, I have understood how those people who really struggled with depression, on how hard must it be for them especially if they don’t know Jesus. What’s the source of their hope? What are they holding on to keep going?

Please include me in your prayers and pray for your loved ones who are probably going through difficult times right now.

If there’s one thing I would like you to take from this is that to remember that we have a sovereign and powerful God. Because He is who He says He is,  even if I am weak, His work will prevail. I may be defeated, but Jesus is not defeated. And that’s the truth that I am holding on. That even if there were days that I have failed, Jesus has already overcome it for me.

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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. – Ephesians 6:10-13

 

[Sermon/Podcast] Midst of Suffering

All of us go through suffering on different times of our life. I was reminded today that it is not about how to escape suffering but how we can be ready when suffering happens in our life. And it is really a question of what is the foundation of our life? Is it a strong foundation or is it something that will sink when trials come?

Hope this sermon will give you hope and help you stand on a foundation that will sustain you on times of suffering & pain.

Click here to listen to the sermon.