Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Wholehearted



This blog entry is based on a devotional guide.

We all know that God is the only one that we can trust, for He is faithful. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will fulfill all His promises, as He fulfilled His promise to Abraham.

But the big question is how to put our 100% of our trust on Him, rather on our own, limited, imperfect selves?

My devotional guide gives me three ways (which of course based on the Scriptures):

1. Take your concerns to God in prayer. This is just like telling your problems to a friend. Philippians 4:6-7 says. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

2. Be guided by the Scriptures. It is God's words. God speaks the truth through it. Let us obey it wholeheartedly despite our feelings and circumstances. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."


3. Listen to godly counsel. That is why it is important to surround ourselves with godly people. He / she may be friends, your spouse, your parent, your small group leader, or an elder in your church. God might speak through them.

I've experienced God's faithfulness in my own personal life a thousand times, even when I was still not a believer (Thank you Lord!) But many times, I cannot help myself in trusting again in my "pasaway" self. That's why this serves a perfect reminder and reinforcement to me that God is always by my side, always waiting for me, always ready to listen and always ready to give me comfort and answer my prayers (or should i say eager rather than ready?). My prayer is actually to help me further to put my 100% trust on Him in every thing that I do. Lord, let Your word in Proverbs 3:5-6 be done in my life - Trust in You with all my heart and lean not on my own, selfish understanding; in all my ways I may be able to acknowledge You, and Lord, You will make my paths straight.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello 2013!




2012 has not been a good year to me. Yes, there were good things that happened, and I am thankful for these things. But there were also things that I may say to myself, I could have done better.
My relationship to God is one thing.
Since I left Vietnam on July, my faith becomes shaky.
Few months ago, I was afraid to come back to Manila. I was afraid to come back to the place where I once soaked myself to immorality and godlessness. I was afraid that I am not ready yet.

And then it happened. I loosened my grip - giving in to some indulgences, letting myself eaten up by unimportant things, which slowly and deceitfully taking me away from God.

And now I am missing God. I am missing our connections, our conversations. I know He is telling me to go back home. Not necessary go back to Vietnam. True relationship with Him is not based on where I am. He is inviting me to rekindle my relationship to Him. No matter where I am.

Yes Lord. I am now ready to work with you, again, when you're ready.

 
I pray for a new year full of You. I pray for a deeper relationship with You. And that I may share it to the people around me. Hello 2013!



Monday, September 3, 2012

Like a mountaineer



Like a mountaineer, this is a new terrain to climb. I neither know how high nor how long the ascent will take, but I am up for it. I want to reach the peak.

Like a camper, this is a jungle full of unknown creatures dwelling inside. Creatures that I’ve never dealt before. But I am ready to discover.

Like a seafarer in his ship, this is a new ocean to cross. No matter how big the waves may be or how strong the storms come my way, I am prepared for it.

Like a spelunker at the entrance of the cave, I have no idea what lies ahead. But I am ready to enter and to find out.

Like a bag packer, this is a new nation to immerse myself into. This may be a foreign culture with different personalities, different languages and different ways of living, I am willing to experience and to learn.

Like a warrior, there are lots of battles to fight. Whatever size of the enemy’s battalion may be or whether they are armed with guns or canyons, I will believe to win.

Like a conqueror, there are untouched territories within me to unveil, to conquer and to own.

Thank you Lord for this adventure. I, having no certainty of what lies ahead, will be faithful that You will always be with me throughout this, delivering me from challenges to challenges. I just trust in You. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Desire Evolution




Have you ever asked yourself what was God thinking when He was creating you? What was the picture of YOU in His Mind during that time? a.k.a. “what is your purpose in life”?

I am sure everyone does.

This is an excerpt from the book I’m reading now, which inspired me to write this blog.
If you know what something is designed to do, then you know its purpose in life. A retriever loves the water; a lion loves the hunt; a hawk loves to soar. It’s what they’re made for. Desire reveals design, and design reveals destiny.

Yesterday, I found a perfect opportunity to think about this while waiting for an interview in Makati. I took out my pad and pen and started listing down all the desires of my heart since the earliest time I could remember.

(My earliest desires are very important, because these are the purest desires from my heart, without any limitations)

I arranged the desires in chronological order, the most accurate way I could do.
A Teacher. Yes, my very first desire (that I could remember) was to be a teacher. This was during my elementary days. I even made Lesson Plans in my head. Most of the time when I was in bed, waiting to fall asleep, I imagined myself in front of a class, doing the lesson that I previously planned. However, my mother had established to me implicitly that teachers don’t really earn good. So I crossed this out from my options. But then, nothing can stop me from imagining at night. 

Architect. With my Mongol pencil, ruler and bond papers, I did a lot of building designs before. Aside from the entirely new designs, I also redesigned our house and my schools which include the externals and the floor plan! From the smallest detail to the biggest. Recalling those designs, I couldn’t believe I was that amazed and devoted to building designs. I even searched images of buildings from our Encyclopedia before.

Photographer. I also imagined myself being a photographer before. Not the technical photography that I know now. But just the fact of going around and taking pictures, it excited me back then. I even had a poem for it.

Musical play. Neither a straight play nor a musical show in a theatrical setting. I want a Musical Play. My first ever musical play I’ve seen was entitled “Alikabok”. It was not as famous but it ignited this desire in my heart on this kind of shows. Ever since, it was my dream to join one, even as a Taongbayan (or just part of the chorus).

Song writing. During my high school years, I’ve written lots of poems and some songs. These usually happened when there was a burst of emotions, say when I was in love, or I was super depressed. However I was not able to keep them. And right now, I don’t think I can still write.   

Science. Yes, I was best in Science back in High School. I think, what I liked about science was the analysis involved. Even up to now, I love analyzing things within the sphere of my interests. One afternoon, I saw myself scrutinizing our can opener just to understand how it works. Another thing about science was that the analysis made sense to me. I mean, I appreciate every lesson because I could see it in my surroundings. I am a visual person. I need to visualize it in my mind to comprehend it. That is why, I could easily understand mathematical equations in a scientific setting. 

Events Management. During high school, I was involved in some school events. The most memorable one was the Filipino Month Celebration on August during my senior year. My love for events continued in college years. I was able to do a Quiz Bee and our college sports festival. I was very particular up to the smallest details when it comes to events (for other things, no). I want them to be perfect, to the point that I didn’t delegate tasks to committees. I wanted to do everything by myself. But of course now, now that I am working (which by the way, is related to events), it is impossible not to delegate tasks. I also love attending events and watching out for things for improvement and how to improve it. I love redoing the event in my mind (If I will take charge, how will it be?).

Photography. My love for photography continues up to now. Although now, instead of loving the fact of me just taking photographs of everything, my desire has zoomed in capturing emotions. I want to take images of people with genuine emotions on their face. I am not sure if I’m doing it excellently because I still don’t know the technicalities of photography. But I love it.

Teaching. Who would have thought that my desire for teaching is still here in my heart? Yes. I still desire to teach, but now, it is not necessarily a teacher or in an academic setting. I love teaching, whatever, whenever, wherever. I enjoyed our UPCAT Review in one of my college orgs. I felt so satisfied when I worked as a tutor as a sideline. I enjoyed coaching a colleague. I enjoyed leading our Life Group back in Vietnam (I still have no Life Group now). I enjoyed my One2One with Phuc. And imagine the pleasure I got when I was able to talk twice to E-club.

Learning. Aside from teaching, I also want to be taught. According to Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath, I have a strong “Learner” talent. According to this, I am always drawn to the process of learning, but the topic depends on my interests. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for me. I am energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. And true enough, I do. I love experiencing and learning new things. For example right now, I want to learn Muai Thai. I don’t really want to fight in a ring, nor use it as a defense mechanism, I actually don’t know why I would like to learn it, but the process of learning it, it makes me craves for it.

Travels and Adventures. I think linked to my desire to learn is this desire to discover. Discovering places. Immersing to different cultures. If I just have the luxury of money and time, I would be visiting places after places. Not like the regular tourists who spend just a week or less visiting the “tourist spots”. I want a deeper immersion of myself to the place, to the people and to the culture. The less “tourist” the experience is, the more I want it. The more exotic, the more I desire for it.    

I’ve notice that some of the desires I got when I was still a kid still persist here in my heart. And for some, a common denominator exists. Hmmm. But that’s for another round of meditation.

Friday, August 3, 2012

It Wasn’t Supposed To Be This Way




They hadn’t been to church for a while so I gave the husband a call.

“Hey Chuck, (not his name) how are you doing? Haven’t seen you guys for a while. Is everything okay?”

After a couple uncomfortable seconds, Chuck said, “we probably won’t be coming back to church.”

“Are you serious? Really? Why? Have I done something to offend you?”

“No. You see, Mark, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. We did everything we were supposed to do. We taught our children the Bible. We took them to church. We told them about Jesus. We prayed for them. And then my son winds up getting a girl pregnant and having to get married. It just wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

I felt really sad for Chuck and his family. And I felt really sad that Chuck had the expectations of God he did and that he’d obeyed God for the reasons he did.

God doesn’t promise us trial-free lives if we obey him.

God doesn’t promise that if we keep his commands he’ll reward us with cruises and country club memberships. Tim Keller, in Prodigal God, talks about how the prodigal son’s elder brother had expectations of his father which tripped him up:

We see that the elder brother “became angry.” All of his words are dripping with resentment. The first sign you have an elder-brother spirit is that when your life doesn’t go as you want, you aren’t just sorrowful but deeply angry and bitter. Elder brothers believe that if they live a good life they should get a good life, that God owes them a smooth road if they try very hard to live up to standards.

Not only does God not owe us easy lives, but he promises we’ll suffer:

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials… 1 Peter 1:6

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.  James 1:2

We should not be amazed that suffer; we should be amazed we don’t suffer more than we do.

It helps me to remember that not only do I deserve any thing bad that happens to me, I deserve far worse – I deserve to burn in hell for eternity for my sins. Of course I’d never tell anyone in their sadness or suffering you deserve to be in hell so buck up, but it helps me keep things in perspective for myself when I’m tempted to complain.

So when is it appropriate to say “It wasn’t supposed to be this way?” Whenever something good happens to us! Whenever we are blessed! It wasn’t supposed to be this way – I sinned and rebelled against God – yet look how he has blessed me!

So don’t obey God thinking he’ll owe you, for God owes no one a thing. Serve him out of gratitude for all he’s done for you and because you love him. Serve him for his glory.

No, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. And aren’t you glad?


***
This is another entry from theblazingcenter.com

Yesterday, I felt intense anger and bitterness.To God. Again. 
I got desperate and frustrated. 

God, why did you not give me this job?
God, I fasted and prayed. I did nightly devotions. I even shared your words through my blog. God, why did you not give me this job??! 

And now, again, I feel so stupid.

"...not only do I deserve any thing bad that happens to me, I deserve far worse – I deserve to burn in hell for eternity for my sins..."

Because of this big issue I am facing right now, I forgot Him. I forgot what He did to me. I forgot His unconditional and unfailing love for me. I forgot that He and His love is much much greater than my problems. 

"...don’t obey God thinking he’ll owe you, for God owes no one a thing."

This is exactly what I felt this previous week. I felt that by doing all these "good" thing, God would give me this job. I thought God owed me this one. But no. God does not owe me anything. Instead, I owe Him everything. And that's the reality I always forget during storms in my life. 


***
Dear Father God. Sorry. Sorry that I've sin. Sorry. I became frustrated and desperate. Sorry i thought of myself as deserving of your blessings. Sorry for thinking that You owe me this. Sorry for insisting my plans over Yours. Sorry my God. Lord, I am praying for restoration of my faith and my love to You. 
***





Why I Did NOT Eat at Chick-Fil-A Yesterday



An entry from: www.theblazingcenter.com/

Yesterday millions of conservative Christians went to Chick-Fil-A in support of the company’s stand against gay marriage. Now, if you got a chicken sandwich or three yesterday, this post isn’t to condemn in any way. But, I think it’s really important that we think about how our actions reflect upon the gospel. So think out loud with me.
I didn’t eat at Chick-Fil-A yesterday. Yes, I believe the Bible teaches that marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman. Yes, I believe that homosexuality is a sin. But yesterday’s mass show of support for Chick-Fil-A didn’t bring the gospel of grace and repentance to homosexuals. It simply erected another barrier. It didn’t display the glory of Christ, it simply demonstrated that we don’t like it when someone attacks our faith. It didn’t glorify the life-changing, sin-destroying power of Christ, it simply said, “We won’t stand for this.”
My biggest concern is that we may win the culture war on gay marriage and yet drive homosexuals away from Christ.
Instead of voicing our disapproval of homosexuality by buying chicken sandwiches, what if we followed Jesus’ example instead, and made friends with homosexuals? Hung out with them, ate with them, listened to them, heard their stories, and then shared the life-changing gospel with them? What if we asked them to tell us about their experiences with homosexuality, then showed them how the gospel meets them at every point in their lives? What if we told them about how Jesus has completely changed our lives?
Consider how Jesus led people to repentance. He hung out with the wino’s so much that people called him a drunkard! He asked the Samaritan woman (an “us” vs. “them” situation if there ever was one) at the well for a drink of water. He ate dinner with Zacchaeus. Jesus demonstrated a beautiful boldness and gentleness.
The cause of the gospel will lose if we ban gay marriage and yet at the same time create an “us” vs. “them” battle. Our ultimate goal should be to win homosexuals for Christ, not win a culture war.
If a homosexual comes into my church I want him to feel welcome. If everyone came into the church carrying Chick-Fil-A bags, I think that would create the opposite effect. It would make him feel very unwelcome. Excluded. Hated. Like no one wanted him around.
I don’t believe homosexuality is right, but if we’re going to effectively reach those in the gay community, we’ve got to find better ways to do it. The only people Jesus boycotted were the religious leaders. With everyone else, he entered into their world. Yes, he called them to repentance, and we need to do that. We can’t back down from what the Bible says about homosexuality. But we need to do it with the love, gentleness, and affection of Christ Jesus. Not with snarky Facebook comments and loud demonstrations.
Jesus was called a friend of sinners. I don’t think that buying chicken sandwiches puts us into that category.







Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Greatest Adventure Book






Some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.

 Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but as you’ll soon find out, most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean.

 No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything- to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life.

You see, the best thing about this story is – it’s true. There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling ONE BIG STORY. The story of how God loves His children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers His name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle – the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

My Flesh is Weak



These past few days God has lead me to verses on strengthening my spirit during my job-hunting season – seeking (Mathew 6:33) and trusting Him first (Proverbs 3:5-7). And yes it comforted me a lot, taking away most of my worries about my new job.

But last Sunday, He reminded me of something. This verse:

Haggai 1:5-7
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways...”

The bible just told tell me the continuation of His advice, which J.C. Ryle put into words in one of his articles – to stop and think, to consider and be wise – to give CAREFUL THOUGHT to my ways.

During this time, Israel was rebuilding God’s temple in Jerusalem. However, as the people neglected God’s business and busied themselves with their own agendas, their confused priorities produce poor results. Similarly, God is telling me to re-examine my ways (or the path I am planning to take), if they produce (or will produce) good results according to His purpose and if I am still considering my own personal (earthly) agenda in prioritizing things for Him. Give CAREFUL THOUGHT to my ways.

God also lead me to this verse:

Mathew 26:41
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Jesus told his disciples in the garden to watch and pray so no one will fall asleep. Take note. Not just pray, but WATCH AND PRAY.

Yes. Praying is good. Seeking His kingdom and righteousness first is fantastic. Unswerving faith and belief is great. No question. But He also expects me, so I will not fall into temptations, to KEEP WATCH – to use my senses, which (by the way) were provided also (by Him) for this purpose.  He wants me to use my own cognition to analyze and determine whether my ways are producing good results according to His will.

Honestly, after I’ve read the verses from Proverbs 3:5-7 and Mathew 6:33, I immediately jumped into the thought of Him doing all the work and making all the decisions for me. The thought of Him just dropping this so-called “perfect job” in front of me is so attractive and all I need to do is just get into it. I made these verses perfect excuses for me to avoid executing a judgement and making a decision. What I fail to realize is that God has already given me the ability through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to make the right decision and to stand by it (believing God leads you to this decision).

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

 God wants me to activate and trust my God-given senses and abilities to do their role arising to a decision which is rooted from Him and in the purpose of fulfilling His will.

God is calling me to strengthen not only my spirit but also my flesh.

***
Thank you Lord for establishing in me the importance of seeking You first and trusting You with all my heart especially in this situation. Thank you also Lord for reminding me that I also need to activate my God-given flesh, that is, to give a careful thought to my ways, whether the decision I will make is glorifying You or myself.  Thank You Lord. I love You.
***

Honor the Lord with your Wealth





And His reminders did not stop there.
He continued.

Proverbs 3:9-10
Honor the Lord with your wealth,
    with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
    and your vats will brim over with new wine.


He reminded me that when I already get His blessings, I must not forget Him. Yes, most of us, when we acquire the blessings, forget the Blesser. Remember what happened to the Israelites? After God miraculously provided them food to eat and water to drink in the desert, they forgot God and then turn their heads to their lifeless idols. Sad but true.

This is also a reinforcement of what He told in Proverbs 3:6, acknowledging Him in ALL my ways, even after the blessings have been given – honoring Him with the firstfruits of all my “crops”.

This is the essence of tithing.

***
Lord, thank you for Your everlasting blessings. Lord, oftentimes we forget to give thanks to you after we receive the blessings Lord. Forgive us Father and help us to give you honor and praise not only when we need you, but most especially during and after the time of Your help.  We love you our Father Almighty.
*** 

With All my Heart


Okay, I was not okay, earlier today.
Yesterday, I received the job offer from Company X, which happened to be lower than what I expected – both the salary and the benefits.
Today, I had two interviews. The first one interview, with Company Y, went well but it offered me a job that is a bit not what I am looking for right now. The second one with Company Z, offered me the perfect job but I am not satisfied with the way I handled the interview.
And on my way home, my spirit was so down and really, I was so depressed.

I was repeatedly saying this in my mind – ikaw na bahala Lord! (It’s now up to you Lord!)  

And then, there He went again – amazing me for the nth time.


As I opened my bible to do my QT, here is what I found.
(FYI, this is not random. This is really my assigned verse for tonight)

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,    and he will make your paths straight.


And my thoughts went deeper.

This verse is very similar to Mathew 6:33 which I just quoted from my last blog.
Notice that our part (“Trust in the Lord with all your heart”, “In all your ways acknowledge him” and “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness”) comes first before His part (“and He will make your paths straight” and “and all these things will be given to you as well”).

Not that God wants us to do our part just to gain His blessings.
But what these verses mean is as we do our part in the right way (with all our hearts) we will no longer mind the second part, which is His blessing.

Or in the case of Mathew 6:33, when we found His kingdom and His righteousness, we will no longer ask for any other blessings (because these alone are the most precious blessings of all).

So what God is telling me are two main things: 
1. Trust Him with all my heart [with confidence (Hebrews 4:16), unswervingly (Hebrews 10:23), without doubt (James 1:6)] that everything is according to His sovereign plan and that He is in control of the situation. And, 
2. Don’t forget to acknowledge Him in all my ways (ALL = 100%, especially during interviews and during the recruitment process, it must always acknowledge Him).

Just do these two things and He will take care of the rest.

And seriously, immersing myself in the thought of these things, I forgot all my worries and sadness, at an instant. (Great is His comforting power!)

***
Haay. Thank You God for just being there with me. You are truly an awesome God, who guides Your people to what is right and according to Your will. Help me Lord to trust in You with all my heart, with full of confidence and without any doubt. Remind me Lord to acknowledge You in all of the things that I do, from the smallest things to the greatest. Lord, You are my everything. I love you God.  
***

Job Temptations



“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
- Luke 16:13

My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.
- Proverbs 1:10


This is one of the guides I think God is teaching me during this job-hunting period of my life – DO NOT GIVE IN TO TEMPTATIONS FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE.

Honestly, these are my considerations in choosing among my applications:
1. Salary – should be high
2. Car – should have a car and gas allowance
3. Somebody I know within the company – so someone will guide me and accompany me during Lunch
4. Ease of work – of course! Who wants hardships?
5. Multinational company – prestigious!

And all these are pointing to my advantage (convenience), not His.
All these glorify not His name, but mine.

Honestly I am easily tempted by these things thinking that I deserve all these. I’ve been in the industry for five years! And I have an international experience. So I think it’s just time for me to have these things.

But I almost forgot that I have a mission to accomplish. I forgot that God is using me on His purpose. I forgot that my life is not mine anymore but His.    

According to Mathew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

God is warning me from looking at things from my perspective. He is reminding me that He has plans for me, “plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) and that I need to seek His plans first and aligning myself according to these plans, and then all these things will be given to me.

* * *
Forgive me Lord on having these criteria that will glorify myself, instead of You Lord. Now I am ready to listen to you oh Lord. Direct me Lord to the direction according to your will. During those times that I don’t hear your voice Lord or I intentionally ignore it, please please please, you are very welcome to slap my head and tell me, “Oi, wrong direction Noel”.  Thank you Lord. 
* * *

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Doodles


As my doodle shows, VISION refers to the destination. This answers the question "where do you want to go?" or "what do you want to be?"

"a rich man" 

MISSION refers to the path that you will follow to reach your vision. This answers the questions "how do you reach your vision?" or "what path are you taking to reach your vision?"

"be a rich man by being a successful business man!" 

GOALS are markers along the path that tells you, you are in progress towards your vision. These are your checklist that you have to watch out.

"start my own business. earnings of this much by year 3. have 10 branches by year 10..."


Since Chinese New Year is still happening next week, it is not yet late to finalize our goals for 2012. 
And my Life Group talked about yesterday, as Paul shared to us the diagram above, differentiating Vision, Mission and Goals and identifying the importance and the interdependence of each element to each other.

What we focus on is the GOALS part, which has to be SMART! 
S - specific - what? who? where? when? 
M - measurable - what are the criteria? 
A - actionable - what are the action plans?
R - realistic - is this realistic to you? 
T - timely - when is your deadline?

now, are you ready to set your goals this 2012? 
or in some case, you may check your goals if they are SMART! :) 





  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reason to LOVE



I just want to share this video which was shown to me during my victory weekend.
Ever since, this became a very effective reminder to me that whenever I feel lost and tempted, I'll just watch this to remind myself the greatness of God's LOVE to me (that made Him sent his one and only son to suffer and experience this cruelty, to regain my relationship with Him). Isn't that amazing??  


And remembering this LOVE always gives me the motivation and reason to LOVE Him back and LOVE others as well. 


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mission Accomplished!



Last year, I joined our team who went to a 10-day mission in Cambodia.

The mission is to be a blessing to the church, which by then, is just being started.
One of the activities is to go to the nearby University and look for students who we can plug in to the Life Class of the church and eventually to become a disciple.

I know that one my greatest weaknesses is my PR Skills. 
I'm not fond of talking and connecting to strangers.
I'm shy. I'm not confident.
So I was worried.  

I asked one of my teammates, "What if I have no students to bring to the Life Class??"
"Ano ka ba?", she answered me with questions, "Asan ang FAITH mo bro??"

And this really struck me.
That night, I prayed to God and asked Him to be with me during the University visit and to equip me, so that I speak the right words to convince the student to come with me.


I was reminded of this experience by the story of Moses.

Moses was given a task to set free the Israelites from Egypt.
This was not an easy task, as shown when Moses bargained his way out of the mission. 
He asked God what if his fellow Israelite don't listen to him, he also pointed out that the Pharaoh may not listen to him as well, and he reminded God that public speaking was not his forte.

Like me, Moses did not realize the power and the greatness of God - that HE IS ABLE to provide him what he needs to complete the mission. 

This is very important when God calls us to do something, whether it's just a small-scale or a big mission. Our weaknesses must not stop us from carrying out this assignment, because with this marching order from God come His strength, and assistance. 

We must always remember that the success of the mission does not depend on our SKILLS but on our FAITHFULNESS.

So as the story goes, God still chose Moses, despite his hesitations.
He gave Moses the strength and skills to deliver the Israelite out of Egypt.
And he was able to do this. 

And for me? God is so good that the next day after I prayed, He gave me not one, not two but THREE students! :)

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! 



Miracles



Miracles do come true, when you put Jesus at the center of your life :)




Monday, January 9, 2012

Collaboration



I was reading a John Maxwell book about being a good team player.

Chapter 2 talks about COLLABORATION.

Collaboration is working together aggressively.
Cooperation is working together agreeably.

According to it, becoming a collaborative team player requires a change in focus in 4 areas:
1. Perception - See teammates as COLLABORATORS, not as COMPETITORS.
2. Attitude - Be SUPPORTIVE, not SUSPICIOUS to team mates.
3. Focus - Concentrate on the TEAM, not on YOURSELF.
4. Result - Create VICTORIES through MULTIPLICATION.

This chapter really struck me, because of the following, which not everybody knows about me.
1. When I was working with a person that I don't enjoy being with, I am not that cooperative and supportive of his/her efforts.
2. I enjoy working alone, I think that my work become slower and less effective when others are involved.
3. I am a suspicious person in nature (sorry!). Sometimes, I can't help myself looking at the dark side.
4. Most of the time in making decisions, the "what's-in-it-for-me?" question is a consideration.

Thus, I am not a collaborative team player. Or am I even a team player?

This 2012, I promise myself that I will enhance this area of mine.

But how to do that?
The book also suggest some tips to become a collaborative team player.
1. Think win-win-win. I win, you win, the team wins!
2. Complement others. Work together with a person who has strengths in the area of my weakness.
3. Take myself out of the picture. Get in a habit of asking what's the best for the team, not whats convenient for me.

In summary, I have to be selfless, think more of others and always put in mind the bigger goals that has to be accomplished. 

God Blessed the Broken Road



I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Now I'm just rolling home
Into my lover's arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you


This song reminds me of how faithful our God is.

God bless the BROKEN road, that lead me straight to you.

I am sure that some of us can relate in its present context - relationships.
Top of mind scenario is that a girl who had a bad break-up with her boyfriend (or worse, fiance) and she was crying in a cafe then a good looking man who happened to be just passing by, saw him and lend her a handkerchief. And so on and so forth, and they lived happily ever after.

When God said he will give us our "THE ONE", surely, He will!
And in this case, God can use our past relationships to bring us to this "THE ONE".

But come to think of it, we can use it in other context.

One of my favorite example is the story of Joseph (yes, the dreamer). When Joseph was still a child, he was thrown into a hole in the ground by his envious brothers, he was sold as a slave, he was accused of rape by his boss's wife, and forgotten by the cupbearer that once promised him to mention his freedom to the Pharaoh. If anyone has to be angry about how things in his life turned out, it was him.

But years passed by, Joseph became the right hand of the Pharaoh and eventually saved Egypt from the famine. And also because of this, he was able to save his family from hunger.
You see? If Joseph's brother did not sell him as slave, the entire household probably died.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good...", according to Joseph.

God blessed the envy of his brothers, that lead Joseph to saving the entire Egypt and his family from the famine. And this paved way for the birth of Moses, and then David, and then Jesus!

Obviously, God knows what He was doing. He has a plan. He sees the big picture. We don't.
It's a matter of TRUST in Him, a complete submission of our life to Him and believing that He will never lead us to nothing.

It's all part of a GRANDER plan, that is coming true!

Can you imagine what's His GRAND plan in your life?
Why He allowed such not-so-good things to happen to you?


Guys, we have a faithful God, what He was 1 million years ago, is still what He is right now. What He promised 2 million years ago, He will fulfill!

God, give us the ability to remain faithful to You, as You are faithful to us.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tieday Holiday!

It is tie day today, folks!
And also a holiday.
Happy independence day, Vietnam! :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


saving this so that next time I go to salon, i will just show this. 

shopping day!





Next
next
next
next... 


functional heavens



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Saigon Rain



According to them, Saigon Rain is a when-it-rains-it-pours type of rain.
Truly it is! 


Took these shots while waiting for Henry.







-August17-

Monday, August 15, 2011

I traveled the world



Got a bit bored so I traveled the world.
Thanks to Google Maps! 


 First stop: Dubai! 
I swear, they have the most intricate and sophisticated landscape (urban planning) that i have ever seen in this trip!
Look at those big pools around Burj Khalifa (tallest building) or are those carved rivers? 

 

Burj Khalifa was fully booked that time so i went to nearby Burj Al Arab.
Good thing they have available rooms for me. 
I picked the cheapest - 4,491AED (1,200 USD). 
Very cheap! 

The next day, i got the earliest Air France flight to Paris.
Oh but of course, the Eiffel Tower, mademoisselle! 

I would like to stay for a night to see the lighted tower but I noticed that I'm running out of money and the last train trip to Wiltshire is at 5pm! So I hurried to the train station and grabbed a seat next to the window so i could see the nice green meadow in the countryside.

Arrived at Wiltshire 6am in the morning. And went straight to the Stonehenge. 
Very cosmic yet, stoney. (whut?)

And of course I would like to take my picture at the center of the circle. 
At the center, even before i took the shot, something was dropped from the sky on to my head. 
"What the h--"
And when i look inside the plastic...
OK so I now have money..move on with the trip. 


Egypt is my next stop.
So jabar hot! 
But i can't help myself staring at the great pyramids. 
They are so majestic...and gigantic! 
Fantastic! 

From Africa, to the US! 
Woohoo New York!! 
Who needs a visa? 

I visited my grandma in Mississippi...Ate Lola's original steak and squash soup and spent the night there...
Their house is located along the Mississippi River so I got a good view of one of the longest river in the world. 
 (I never expected Mississippi is a huge collage of art, very beautifool!)

Went also to see Liberty. 
It's been a long time since we saw each other. 
Hi Lib! (close?)


Before going back to Asia, I decided to passed by Sydney to watch a musical in the Sydney Opera house. 
Had my lunch by the bay while watching those yachts. 

After the meal, I feel that I wanted a bit of adventure so I also passed by North Korea. 
Hello there far relative of Sandara! 

 And for inner peace, I meditate for 5 minutes at the Shwedagon in Yangoon, Myanmar. 

 And then back home!


 oops...

I forgot...
Dito pala. 

My dear Saigon. 


And then my phone rang. 
uh-ow, my boss! 
I still need to finish a report. 

okbye! 


-August15-