FOCUS on 2015

Before 2014 ended, God impressed in my heart what should my focus be for 2015. And it’s really amazing how He confirmed it during the prayer and fasting week of CCF at the start of this year. It really assured me that it’s what God wants me to press on more this year.

What am I talking about? If I tell you, you might say that as believers we should be doing that all the time. It’s not just something you focus on for a specific year but on your day to day. And I would totally agree with you. It’s just that for the past years, I haven’t really been consistently preparing and even very intentional about it. And that’s why I believe God put it in my heart for me to really work on it as He enables me.

So, what am I talking about? I’m talking about “Evangelism”. As I’ve been reading the book of Bill Hybels entitled, “Just Walk Across the Room”, I realized I haven’t really been doing my part in the aspect of evangelism. I always pray to God to give me opportunities to share the gospel to people who haven’t heard about Him but I haven’t really been intentional in preparing for that opportunity. Even more, I don’t even depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit.

My biggest question to God was HOW? How do I share His Word in a country that has so much freedom and respect for each other’s belief? A country that values diversity of religion, culture and standards. HOW?

As I was going through the different stories in the Bible of how God used the apostles to share the gospel, I was reminded that the HOW should not be my concern. God will make it happen just like when God brought Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch for him to share the gospel (Acts 8:26-40). The only thing that God would require is “Obedience”. How far will I go? How willing will I obey? How immediate will I respond?

And to be honest, it’s easier said than done. With a lot of things going on, I can so easily be distracted that my focus on what God wants me to do will become blur until it will become a least priority. And that’s why my very reminder for this year are these verses in Colossians 3:1-2, Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

There is a lot of harvest in this country that would really need the body of Christ to be very intentional not just in sharing the Word of God but importantly in living out His teachings. Evangelism will never be effective if even your own life was never changed by the power of the gospel.

Pray with me that we will never lose sight of the thing that really matters to the very heart of God. May we have the boldness to make Jesus known, that people may experience Jesus to the fullest, so that when our Heavenly Father looks unto us He will say, “Kamukha niya ang ANAK ko (Christ-likeness).”

What is God telling you to focus this year?

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The Great Unknown –  My “Awesome” 2014

Who would have thought that I will be part of a church-planting movement in Vancouver?

Who would have thought that I will start a discipleship group in this side of the world?

Who would have thought that I will work for a big retail company this year?

Who would have thought that I will meet more people from different countries and make new friends?

Who would have thought that I will be sitting here in my room, watching snow falling from my window as I look back about my 2014?

God knew. Even before all these things happened, God knew already. Nothing comes as a surprise to Him.

Those are only few of the tangible things that I never thought would be part of my 2014.

As I wrote in my journal  at the start of 2014, I was totally clueless of how things will be.

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God made me leave my job but He did not open any new doors for me right after, as I thought He would.

You know, that confidence that you feel like everything will fall into place just as you expect them to be?

I thought that I will work full time in a ministry in 2014. But, God had a different plan.  Much bigger plan.

You might not know, but I really wept when God shut all doors for my ministry application. I could not understand why when my desire was to serve Him full time.

And that question still remains half-unanswered until now. Half- answered was because He wanted me to move here.

Still, I believe that’s not just it. It’s something I look forward to be answered in the coming years.

Anyway, so 2014 turned out to be a big surprise for me. That’s what God is so good about – making us in awe of Him.

For the first 5 months, I had no job. Then, God made me move to another country after 5 months of no job. Thus, no sufficient funds for it.

But God said so, so I just had to obey. Those 5 months were life changing.  It was a very special walk with God. I had nothing but only Him.

Most difficult part was when you feel you can do something but God just keeps telling you, “Sit down, stay put, be still.”

God really did a perfect job of sustaining me. Apart from Him, I would have gone a different way.

The second part of my 2014 was the overflow. See, God had to prepare me first before He blessed me.

It wasn’t an easy journey at the beginning. Again, I wept in desperation as I was looking for a job.

As I didn’t have enough funds, I was praying so hard that I can find a job after a month since I arrived here.

Slowly, I saw how God had been preparing things for me here. Right time, right place.

What’s also amazing was that when I learned my visa got approved, my home church also announced that a church will be planted in Vancouver.

I got really excited! Right time, right place.

I may not have worked full time but God opened doors for me to be able to serve Him in this side of the world.

I can never take credit for all the things that had happened to me last year.

God’s faithfulness in my life overflows not just in me but also through me that I can share the blessings to others. Such a privilege!

If I summarize my 2014, I can do it in 2 parts – preparation and overflow. God had to mold my character first, before He reveals His great plan.

God is sovereign. He was in control. He is truly amazing!

My 2014 theme verse truly spoke how my year turned out. A time of surrender and loss for the sake of knowing, obeying and following Christ.

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TO GOD be all the GLORY for my awesome 2014!!!! Thank You Lord!

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Daily Thoughts

Wednesday

In the bus, on my way to Richmond tonight, I saw a man in the street proclaiming about God. I don’t know what he really believes in but I really admire his courage to go out to the street and tell people about God. Inside the bus, there were these three teenagers who made a comment about what religion the guy could be in. Then, one of them said a statement which really pinched my heart. They were discussing about the end of the world and then one said, “I’ll just accept whatever my fate is.”

In my mind, I was thinking if that person truly understood the weight of those words. These encounters remind me how much Jesus need to be made known to people.

Thursday

There’s a typhoon again that made a land fall in Northern Luzon. This is old news already. Every year, there’s always this season that the country experience terrible loss, destruction and flood due to typhoon. But recently, it makes me ask why God would allow our country to experience such yearly? He can stop these typhoons, but in my mind, God allows these calamities for reasons. Whyis He allowing this in our country? What does God wants us to learn and realize? I believe it’s really time that as a nation we start seeking God and asking for mercy. It’s time that as a so-called “Christian” nation, we live it out.

Stewardship vs Materialism

 

When I was packing my things for my big move here in Canada, it was only then I realized how much clothes I haven’t worn anymore, some I did not even remember I had. And even when I was giving away so much already, I still had so much left to give away.

Funny, when I arrived here, I realized I left so much that I only have like three t-shirts I can wear for summer. But yeah, I survived! Coming here with only two pieces of luggage was a challenge. But it is slowly teaching me to be content with what I have.

When you go to malls here or outlet stores, mark downs and promotions are just crazy. You will really be tempted to check out each store and see if there’s something you can buy at a very low price. And this is really a challenge for me. I love to shop during these periods – when items on clearance are buy 1, take 1; or, some items have triple discounts. Big sales!! Just crazy! Who would not love to shop?!

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gotcha!! years ago when I was so happy doing retail activity 🙂

One of the things that I really keep praying to God is that I would not go back to that “old me” wherein I feel like I owe myself a treat that I would just buy anything because I deserve it and it’s really a good sale. I want to be a much, much, much better steward this time. There are a lot of temptations here but I really pray that God would always remind me of what is important to Him.

One thing I got reminded in yesterday’s Sunday message was that the most effective way of overcoming materialism is through tithing. Tithing is not about giving to the Lord. What we have belongs to God. We are just stewards of everything that we have right now. Tithing is bringing to God what belongs to Him – the best of our crop.

As for me, tithing reminds me that what I have is not for me to just spend and enjoy but for me to make sure it is put to good use also.  There is nothing wrong with spending on things that we like or enjoy as long as we are not consumed by those things. That is when materialism comes into our life.

I’m excited on how God will continue to change me to become a better steward of the resources He has given and will give to me. Indeed, to be able to give is a privilege because it is only through God’s provision that we are able to do so.

As of today, I only have two pieces of luggage with me. And I intend to keep it that way. I’m really challenging myself on this and I hope that I would really be able to overcome being a “big sale” enthusiast! Also, I hope I would learn to let go of things when I have to. It was hard for me to give away my stuff before I left but that had helped me somehow not to hold on to things tightly.

Challenge is on!

“Because Your Love is better than life…” Psalm 63:3

 

Waiting Over

 

Yes, I’m back! I’m an employee again. 🙂

It’s been an amazing journey with the Lord as I entrusted to Him the work that He has prepared for me. I really prayed that I would be able to find a job within the first month that I arrived here in Vancouver. However, I never wanted to settle for just any job. I just had to trust that God would honor my desire to work for a role that I really wanted.

It had been in the third week of June and I still didn’t have possible job offers. All I got were initial interviews and emails. Then, no more follow ups. Until the right time came. I re-connected with a former colleague here in Canada and just mentioned that I was looking for a job. After that conversation, everything happened so fast. He spoke to his manager that I was looking for a BA role which they needed in their team because someone just left. I submitted my resume and went for an interview the next day. Then the week after, I got the job offer. The best part, they gave me a senior role and a pay which was more than I asked for.

However, these things were not really a surprise to me. I always knew that God would always do something amazing. He always does. Even if some people would tell me that a month is too short to find a job, I just trusted that God would provide within the month. As I reflected on this journey, I realized that my faith was much deeper during this time as I waited on God’s provision.  At some point in my life, I became very disobedient and I know that I have missed out a lot of blessings because of that. I’m just grateful that God is so gracious and loving that He gave me so many chances to become better. God showed to me the result of my obedience and that is His best plan for me.  I became more expectant in faith than I was before.  This journey was more of seeing how much I’ve grown in faith as I continue to experience God’s best.

Such faith excites me each day as to what could God possibly do. Experiencing God through obedience may always not be an easy path to take. However, taking a path that is outside of God’s plan for us will be more difficult in the long run. God’s way is always, always, always worth to take.

I’m looking forward to another journey of something that I’ve really been praying for. Waiting is over, another waiting starts.

To God be all the glory!

 

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Never settle for LESS

 

I have failed for so many times, turning to the wrong choices and making impulsive decisions.  I would say to myself I won’t do it again, but still,  there are times that I would fail again. The wrong decisions I made were sometimes caused by being impatient, lack of prayers, and failure to seek God’s will.  These were the times that I only settled for less. I missed out on God’s best for me.

But then, there were times also that I learned to wait and trust on God and I really experienced the fullness of God’s blessing.

One good example was when I graduated from college and entered the job hunting journey. I’ve shared this story to different people already but I don’t mind sharing it again. 🙂

After graduation, I immediately moved to Cebu to apply for my first job. It was a very tough journey. I cried in buckets because of frustration and desperation. My classmates made it to interviews when I submitted also my application to the same companies. With this, I applied to companies which are not related to my field and the job is not the job I wanted. I was trying to settle for what’s easy that time, thinking that it’s just a first job anyway and I didn’t have any experience. So, I can’t be really choosy. However, God did something to wake me up from that lie.  In one of those companies, I was going through the application process and in the last phase of the process, I got lost in what I needed to do. While sitting at the front of the computer, I told myself, “This is not the job that I want to do.” From then on, I told God that I will not settle for just anything. I will only settle for what He has for me.

I reached to the point of surrender that I just let God took control moving forward. I laid out to God what I desired for my job – the position, the salary, the location. And indeed God never failed me. He is always faithful. He gave me the best job. It was the job I really wanted and the salary was what I prayed for.  However, His thoughts and ways are never the same as mine. I asked a job in Cebu but God moved me to Manila.  And where I am now, it’s because of the opportunities and experiences brought by that first job I had.

I never saw the big picture. I never saw the doors that would open. But God has plans. He makes things happen for a reason. He ALWAYS KNOWS what is BEST.

This is just one of my stories showing how truly worthy it is to wait on God’s best.

And now, as I am on my job hunting journey again for my second job, I realized that God’s best doesn’t have to happen in a surprising or spectacular way all the time. It just need to be in God’s perfect timing.

If you are in a point of your life right now that you are desperate and would just want to settle for just anything that will come, I hope that you would consider letting God bring to you to His best plan for you.

That’s what God desires for you. You just have to seek Him that you may know His will for you. God knows what you are going through and He cares for you. It’s up to you if you will let God. And I hope that you’ll do.

Never settle for anything less. Choose God and He will give you what’s best.

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 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

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I did it, not you.

 

Joshua 24:12-14 “You did not do it with your own sword and bow. So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant. Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness.”

When I read those verses in Joshua 24, I was like, “Whew!” It was a loving slap to my face. I got reminded. I can hear God telling me, “Everything you have, you did not do it with your own abilities. I gave it all to you. And so, why keep on worrying?”

When God gave the land to the Israelites, it wasn’t a barren, empty land. As stated, it was fertile and very much growing in plants. God did not let them do the toil.

I got reminded of who God is as a giver. Indeed, He doesn’t bless us like we feel it’s not enough. He always satisfies us and even more. In our own language, it is not “bitin“.  That’s just who God is. He gives what He knows is best for us. Never lacks.

As I continue to look for a job, God reminded me that where I am now, it wasn’t because of what I did but because of what He did. And when I just trust Him and allow Him to do things His way and not mine, He will provide for the job that He knows is best for me.

It’s a struggle not to get ahead of God when fear and worry start to crawl in. That’s why God has to keep on reminding me that He got this. HE GOT THIS!

What I only need to do, “Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness”.

 

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