To Keep You Close

At this point in my life where I’m still building up my own family and career, there are many challenges and uncertainties that I face and still have to face.

Will I be able to provide all my wife’s and future children’s needs?
If something bad happens in the future, will our resources be enough?
Can I still go to post-grad to enhance my knowledge?
Will I end up retiring as a successful CFO?
Will I be able to handle all mishaps that could come my family’s way?

Truth be told, I cringe whenever I ask myself these questions. Fears settle in. If only I could take a sneak peek of my future and know that things will be stable so as to calm all my fears. But God’s way of taking away my fear is different.

Isaiah 41:10 says:
“Fear not for I am with you, I will strengthen you and uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Fear not.. for I am with you. It did not say, ‘fear not, for I will reveal to you all the things that I am going to do’. He only said ‘for I am with you’, period.

I asked God, “Wouldn’t it be better if you would also reveal your detailed roadmap for my life? That would calm me more.” And God said, “This is all you need to know, I am with you, and my presence is enough.”

God then convinced me that concealing what the future holds, allowing uncertainty is the most loving thing He could do by giving me this vision:

“Imagine you are a toddler on a field trip. Because you are scared of being lost, you hold on tightly to your teacher or your parent. You always keep a close distance. That’s how it is with Me, I want to keep you close. I am not like a commander who briefs you with a detailed mission blueprint in this life then leaves you on your own. For me, that’s not love.”

phot not mine. taken from fotolia.com

phot not mine. taken from fotolia.com

“Keeping you close to me is my definition of love. Leaving you with a detailed roadmap and all the power to do it will make you self-sufficient. I don’t want that. I want you to seek me everyday. Because I love you, I want you to give you what will completely and eternally satisfy you, and that is……………………….………… Me.”

There’s no question that God is able, and there’s no shadow of doubt about His love for you because He even died for you. But talking to Him, getting to know Him, you seeing His glory, you experiencing His loving presence, these are the things that He wants you to have more in your life. These are more valuable than our daily/physical concerns.

I do believe God’s call to live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7) is out of His love for us. To live by sight (to live with all certainty and self-sufficiency) is to lose sight of Him. God knows How much we need Him, He wants us to seek Him, so that in finding him we’ll find real love, real joy, real peace, real satisfaction, real life.

So draw close.. always.. the God who loves you so much awaits…

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Without You Jesus..

Without you Jesus..

I would not have been created, but because of You I came to be…  “For by[a] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities” -Colossians 1:16

My sin still has a crimson red stain and it won’t go away, but because of You I am washed white as snow…  “Come now, let us reason[a] together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.” –Isaiah 1:18

I am bound to perish, but you gave me eternal life…  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23

I will desire the wrong things and enter worthless pursuits, so I cannot bear any fruit, when I remain in you I bear fruits I thought I could not… “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” -John 15:5

The wrong choices I made in the past will only make me suffer the consequences, period. But because I am with You, You turn it for my good… “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

I have someone who knows the ugliest of ugliest in me yet lavishes me with an everlasting love…I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” –Jeremiah 31:3

Oh how I need you…

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What is your One Thing?

“In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.” -Romans 8:28

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” -Matthew 6:33

“In all things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.” -Romans 8:37

One common phrase in the above verses is “all things”. I love the word all, its very encompassing. It’s God saying to me that I got it all covered, I got you covered. Worry not because I can add to you all the things you are worried about, do not be disappointed because in all things I work for the good, and in every struggle I am more than a conqueror through him who loved me. If it doesn’t make you jump out of your seat and shout for joy, it should make you merry in the quiet at the least because you are blessed by this assurance. God’s assurance is greater than any insurance offered by this world. An insurance is either, either life, health, car etc. but when He says all, He means all!

God covers us because He knows that worries and fears are what will keep us from seeking and following Him. Aside from sin, there are two things he tells us not to do: to worry and to fear. While it is true that us Christians are not exempt from thinking about the cares of this world, we should always let go of the urge to think about it too much and try to make sense of everything. We cannot do that, we are not meant to do that and that is beyond our capacity. We are also not meant to be afraid of stepping out and live a predictable, safe life either. I am guilty of the many hours I have spent on worrying instead of praying, the many times I hesitated to reach out because I fear I don’t have something to give, many times that I thought I have nothing to give to others, because I myself have many things to worry about. Clearly, fear and worry cripples you, it’s time and attention wasted as well.

God wants to make you know today that He has covered everything, so He can be your One Thing. The One Thing that you seek, the One Thing that you follow. Instead of worrying out of the urge to understand and to make sense of everything, He wants you to grasp how wide, long and deep His love is (Ephesians 3:18). Instead of following the ways of the world out of wanting to meet all your needs, He wants you to follow His commands to show that His will for you is good, pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2).

God wants to be the only one that you lean on. The proverbs say “Trust in the Lord, with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding”. Leaning is where you put the weight of your life to rest and whats peculiar about leaning is you can only do it on One Thing. Where are you leaning on today? Are you leaning on someone, or on your plans? What if God interrupts your plans? What happens? If you are leaning on God, trusting His goodness and unfailing love, you will not be shaken, knowing that He is good.

You cannot chase after many ‘one things’, you cannot put your trust many things. It’s too dangerous that it can discombobulate you, even destroy you. It’s not the way you were made. Further, if God said I will add unto you all things so that you will seek me, or if He said that He will give you the desires of our heart, so that you will delight yourself in Him. Do you think it will work? I think it will be very chaotic. You will not be able to get a full hold of everything, let alone make you forget to seek and love the Provider. Seek and trust your One Thing today. Only this One Thing who loves you and who can hold everything together. It will not only get you the answer to all your cares, it will also give you everything, even the maturity, the faith, a greater measure of His love, wisdom and many other fruits that goes along with it.

If God will grant you one wish everyday, what will it be?

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” -Psalm 27:4

I hope we choose to seek, trust and follow Jesus, our One Thing, everyday. Choose this and you chose well, because everything else will follow. 🙂

photo is not mine. taken from www.inboundsales.net

photo is not mine. taken from http://www.inboundsales.net

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I got KO’d by my Girlfriend

Last night was one of the most intense conversations Angela and I had. To give you a background, it was an aftermath of the fight we had and she was pointing all my shortcomings and immaturities one after the other. She’s on attack-mode and I was on the defensive side trying to escape but to no avail. Here’s a blow-by-blow recap of what happened:

Round 1
She began the bout by saying that there’s something missing in our relationship, that we’re not ok, we were just going with the flow. I tried to counter by saying that we only had one struggle in our relationship but aside from it, I think we’re doing good. She then responded with a flurry of other struggles that we’re dealing with and I was caught off-guard (as couples we all have struggles right? So i prefer not to divulge ours here). She’s right. I was stunned and I could not recover. Round 1: Angela

Round 2
She continued with hooks and jabs of how immature I am and these are solid blows to my pride. She’s pointing out that I prefer corrective actions rather than preventive actions because I want the easy way out, I want comfort. I don’t want serious talks, I only want happy talks rather than real talks. I only want pleasurable moments instead of brainstorming moments. I want the recess but not the subject.

In the middle of our conversation I was laughing because she was ridiculously right. But deep inside I’m asking “How could I miss those points out? How come that I’m the man but she’s the one instructing me?”. But I guess it just goes to show how prideful I am. I’m on the rope and I couldn’t escape. Luckily I was saved by the bell. Round 2 goes to her as well.

Round 3
I’m gasping for air and I’m just waiting for the bout to end. I know I could not block her jabs with my pride anymore because it has already been exposed. In any moment she could knock me out with a big uppercut. Luckily she didn’t and so we go to the decision.

The Decision
Obviously, she’s the hands-down winner of the night. But what she said is something that I would remember for the rest of my life. Even though she has every right to brag, she said this to me, “I don’t want to be right, I want you to be right.” As her leader, she wants me to be right. She wants me to stand up for her and be matured. It only reveals her motivation for the fight, she was not fighting with me, she was fighting for me.
She only wants the best for me and she wants to share the victory with me! What a fight, we both ended up as winners!

Thank you Angela for mirroring God’s grace in our relationship. Thank you for your open rebukes coupled with the patience that endures. I lost but I’m still the winner. All the more that I should act like a champ, fight like a champ, stand-up like a champ. Especially for a girl who lives like you do. Your love doesn’t knock me out, it knocks me off of my feet.

To all the men out there, face your relationship issues head-on. Fight for her and not fight with her (be gentle in your words). Don’t fight to be right, fight to make each other right. Let love move you to fight the right way. Stop bickering, a nice, good and clean fight is all you need. 🙂

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My Tips for CPA Board Exams

My advice for the board exam takers tomorrow would be “Be C.P.A.”  :

1. Be Comfortable

It’s important to be comfortable while taking the exams. Wear comfortable clothes, rest well before the day of exams and eat a full breakfast during exams day. Take plenty of water because going to the CR is allowed naman. During my time I brought chocolates with me to keep me relaxed while taking the exam.

The key to a successful exam is focus, and I’m sure you can’t focus if you’re not comfortable. 

2. Pray

Pwede ring P for Prepare but right now last minute reviews won’t work. Just relax. You have prepared naman na for five months for this and it’s not about being able to answer all the handouts from all review schools.

Don’t be pressured. Just give it your best shot, as in your best. In every question, give it your best. Walang hula-hula, piga lang ng piga. Don’t be hesitant and say to yourself na di ko kaya ang question. If you find a question hard to answer, dont dwell on it dahil it will eat your time. You can answer that question, it’s just that it’s hard so just skip it first para ‘di maubos ang time.

Before the exam and in case of panic, just pray. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:7

3.  Attribute all glory to God

During the review season I set it a goal to top the exam because I want God to be glorified in my life.  It kept me confident and it kept me going up to the last day of the exams.

My advice is not for all of you to set the same goal. I knew in my heart that it’s the goal that God wants me to set and He was able to fulfill it. My advice is for you to acknowledge this simple truth.. that everything that you have, your skills, your abilities comes from God and He’s the one who’s able to make it grow and multiply. Don’t compare with your co-reviewees, don’t think of the school that they came from, the amount of handouts they have covered, not even their ranks during pre-board exams. During my time, I was 51st in the CPAR final pre-board and I got a little disheartened whether the dream that God has put in my heart will come true. But God is faithful and it really is all about Him. He made me place 7th during the actual board exam. What a God that we have!  

With God on your side, every knowledge, every skill that you have, would be sufficient for you to be victorious in the boards. He is the source of everything and all glory belongs to Him.

Claim the dream God has put in your hearts and God bless you all in the exams! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Fake It ‘Til You Make It

One thing I have been learning lately in my walk with God is the concept of Fake It ‘Til You Make It. It means doing something even if you’re not really emotionally positive towards doing it.

I may not feel like reading the Bible, but I have to fake it ’til I make it.

I may not feel like doing paper works in the office, but I have to fake it ’til I make it.

I may not feel like raising my hands during worship, but I will fake it ’til I make it.

I may not feel like pursuing Angela when we quarrel and I’m right, but guys, our girl is always right so we have to fake it ’til we make it.

Does it mean that my love for God is fake? Not exactly.

There came a point that I tried to equate my love for God with emotions, and it really didn’t work. I would spend hours listening to worship songs first before reading my Bible, but I just couldn’t find the emotion I’m searching for and would end up not reading my Bible at all. I would search for that emotion everyday, and in disappointment would not find it. It has been a vicious cycle and I know that I’m not growing in my walk.  It’s exasperating, and not helpful at all..

John 14:15 simply says that “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

Eureka! I got it! My love is as organic as it can be in my obedience. God didn’t say that if you love Me,  you will have that burning and passionate emotion towards Me.

Ahhhhh! Poor me! My Bible is so plain and simple but I tend to complicate it. God simply tells me to obey but I tend to “overspiritualize” things.

Walking with God is simply seeking God and obeying God. I guess I’m in that season right now, where God is teaching me to obey, period. As I practice “obedience.. period” I know I am maturing in loving Him and loving others. And I just know too that whatever it is that He is teaching me now, I’m going to need it for the next seasons of my life. What a loving God He is!

Knowing this captivates me once again. It’s really true, seek not the emotion first, but seek God first. Obey God. And when God opens Your eyes into what He is doing and has been doing, you will be captivated by Him again in the midst of your obedience. But.. if you’re in a situation right now wherein you’re obeying without the emotion, keep it up!

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying that it’s all about good works and no loving relationship is necessary. I’m no ‘pusong-bato’. I’m just encouraging you to fake it ’til He captivates you once again.  Fake it ’til you are able to see a clear picture of His great plan and it becomes easier for you to obey again. You’re not being a fake. You are just desperately seeking God in your obedience.. because you love God. 🙂

Rephrasing what my friend told me the other night, if God loves you and you love God, it’s unfair to say that you’re in a ‘plateau’. You are in a season and God is teaching you something. God is always at work in every seasons of our lives. But for now, just keep faking it.. til you make it!

 

“When my heart has grown cold,

There your love will unfold,

As you open my eyes to the work of Your hands..”

-Oceans Will Part, Hillsong

 

 

 

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The Change That We Need

Overheard this conversation few weeks ago in the office..

Officemate1: Yung pamangkin ko nagiinvite sa church.
Officemate2: Saang church yan?
Officemate1: Sa victory, Christian un, mag accept ka lang daw kay Jesus saved ka na, ano kaya un kung di ka naman nagbabago?

It’s hard for us to change, to be blameless, to try to keep up with God’s holiness. There’s always that gap, God is holy and we are not, God is perfect and we are sinners. That’s why some wouldn’t go to church because they think they would melt. All because of that infinite gap between man and God. We try to count our good works so that it remains greater than our bad works, but at the end of the day, we still do the math because we keep on sinning. We are selfish in nature, rotten to the very core of our hearts, that’s why it’s very hard for us to change.

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The gospel: Christ dying for our sins is good news. It’s not a good advice, it does not list out 10 ways to become a better you. What the gospel says is that while we are still sinners, Christ loved us and died for us. While we are rebellious and ugly, He chose to die on the cross to reconcile us to Him, so that we may belong to Him and have a relationship with Him.

God is inviting us to a have a relationship with Him. So that “accept ka lang daw kay Jesus” part is not a one time ceremonial event. It’s entering into a loving relationship with Jesus. Ceremonies, rituals, good works won’t change a person. But knowing that you are loved despite being rotten and ugly to the core makes you fall in love with Jesus and produces a real change in you. It’s more like falling in love than getting into a religion. It’s more like being consumed by a relationship than being governed by rules. Getting into relationship with Jesus means you’re not of your own, you belong to Him and you abhor sin because it is what He died for. But because you love Him, you will keep His commandments not because you’re obliged to, but because you want to. That’s how seamlessly it will work. Instead of compliance, it becomes a romance.

I pray that we get to realize how much of a sinner we are and how much God loved us despite being such. I pray that we all fall in love with Jesus, accept His invitation to have a relationship with Him, so that relationship will replace the rules. Rules on stone tablets won’t produce change in us, rituals won’t make us any better as well, good works outweighing your bad works won’t get us out of our sin. But being loved by Jesus and loving Jesus is the change in itself that we need, becoming a better version of yourself is just the fruit of having it.

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