Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Go and make things right, then come back to God. #dailysoulfood

This scripture was the scripture that God used when He told me to go and forgive my abusers. This was the same scripture He used when He told me to forgive the father of my child, who left me the day I was pregnant. This is the same scripture He uses time and time again when I run into occasional relational problems with family, friends, co-workers.....

"This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God." Matthew 5:23-25 msg

Im not one to sweep things under the rug or back away from healthy confrontation, especially when it's about trying to fix relationships. I will try to go the extra mile to "talk about and talk through the issues at hand" in order to choose friendships and relationships over petty circumstances and emotional drama.

Throughout the years I've maintained years of friendship and relationship with friends and family, and yes even with the people who abused me, even if it was a hard decision to make. It's not always easy to do this because sometimes its not reciprocated. But I try anyway. And for the most part, almost all relationships have been redeemed. Except for my son's father, coz he chose to not want to be part of his son's life and a couple of others, just because they are choosing not to restore the relationship for the moment (I'm still hoping that one day they will though).

So when i share about the testimony of forgiveness, especially forgiving my abusers... people ask me "why would i do such a thing?" Well i definitely know it's not because I want to.... At least not initially.... coz knowing me and my pre-christian ways and the evil that lurks in my heart.... I would do ALL I can to press people's buttons to make them even more mad or sad. I would stop talking to them, I would get angry, I would fight, I would cuss, I would turn any story you have and use it against you to make you look really bad. and i could choose to still do all that now.. real housewives ratchet style....

Or I could choose to follow God. And I could choose to live in grace. And forgiveness. And mercy. And be kind. And give to others what God has so lavishly given to me.

Some Christians think fixing relationships and having to confront others is not needed in God's Kingdom. Especially if they have valid reasons of being hurt. They always use Paul's example of not seeing eye to eye with Mark about something and going separate ways, sweeping things under the rug and never talking to each other again. That way, forgiveness is never talked about. The issue is never dealt with. Reconciliation never happens. Heart transformation and the power of the gospel is never seen.

I've seen Christians leave churches, ministries, friendship, families and they never talk to people they were once in relationship with ever again and use this example repetitively.

Can I just say that THAT is a WRONG example to justify sin? (Yes... i called it out... unforgiveness is a sin). First of all, Paul and Mark did reconcile (2 Timothy 4:11) so to use this scripture as an example of "going separate ways and not talking" is very unbiblical. Second, even Jesus, who was hurt and denied by his closest friend Peter, had to have a healthy confrontation and talked to Peter about the issue in his heart and his love for Jesus after Peter had denied Jesus and left Him hanging (literally and figuratively) when He was dying. And their relationship was restored. And not only was His relationship with Peter restored, but the other 10 who also left and hurt him were also reconciled to Him as well. Jesus had healthy confrontations and resolved to fix relationships, yes... even with Judas, His betrayer. He still washed Judas' feet....He still tried to love to the end.

So if this is the example our Lord made for us, then that example should be our standard. And we should do no less.

So when people (especially Christians... most especially mature christian leaders) choose to not fix relationships and would rather ignore others, especially their christians brothers or sisters... choosing to ignore and stop talking to them and not fixing the issues at hand... being too "proud" to say sorry when they've hurt others... Or choosing to gossip and fight and slander and say mean thing about each other... aaaaaaand even acting worst than teenagers and blocking people off your social media site or not returning texts and calls rather than choosing to fix the problem... When adults choose to do that... it's such a damn shame.

Coz we are quick to teach little children who fight with their siblings or their friends to make amends and forgive. we tell them to "go say sorry and make it right...no matter who was right and who was wrong". And children, who have absolutely pure hearts, listen to us. they really do forgive and become friends and play once again with the other child who was their enemy seconds ago. They are quick to fix things and forgive and love.

I don't fight for reconciliation because I HAVE to. Obeying God is a choice. It's not always easy... And yes, sometimes it's painful because it won't always be reciprocated.. But I still choose to do that... And I teach my son and tell my husband to do same. Keep on forgiving. Keep on trying to reach out. Keep on trying to mend. Keep on praying. Keep on believing and hoping for the best. Keep on trying to make things right. Because ultimately we live to please our God and God commanded us to "go and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God" so we should follow.

It's a principle i live by. because to me... relationships are more important than feelings. and it's more important than opinions. I choose to fight for relationships because it's out of the overflow of the gratitude in my heart that I choose to give to others what I have freely received. And I've been given

A second and third and fourth chance.

Freely i have been given... So i must freely give. (matthew 10:8)

Give freely. Forgive freely. Fight for relationships. It will allow you to see a facet of God's heart and life becomes even more beautiful when we live our lives free from the poison of bitterness and unforgiveness. Choose to live and love.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

P is for.....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

good leader VS great leader #dailysoulfood

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to DO and to TEACH (Acts1:1) 

Good leaders do either one of two things: they do all the big ministry work themselves and they are so busy doing that they dont have time to train or empower others... or all they do is teach and not do any work (nor do their lives lead by example).

Great leaders do what needs to be done and they teach others the "how to's" so that others can learn and even do greater things than what the leader has done.

Daily Soul Food: It's not about being the superstar teacher / rabbi / preacher / pastor / boss. It's really all about working with others and building a strong enough foundation on what God has called you to do so your ceiling can be the floor that others can build on.

That's what Jesus did for His disciples... He taught them, then walked them through the process and then He told them something crazy - He said "you will do even greater things".

Jesus wasn't afraid to teach His disciples everything He knew. By teaching and doing... He built strong foundations in their lives and empowered them to do the same. That's how we should do it as well. Aim to be a great leader and not just a good one. Good leaders make it about themselves. Great leaders make it about their team and other people.

Do and Teach. And don't be afraid to let others shine. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

testimonies of your most painful processes become powerful promises ::sharing my heart on single parenting, experiencing abuse and livinglife as an illegal immigrant

"the testimonies of your most painful processes become powerful promises to the people you were born to minister to" - Jim Laffoon

THIS. QUOTE. RIGHT. HERE. this is the reason why i am in ministry. this is why i am a missionary. this is why i chose to hold on hard to God's promises in my life even when life threw me lemons that were covered with sh*t manure. coz if the experiences that God has allowed me to go through can help others find the power of the gospel and the love of Christ, then i will continue to share my story to show to the world that the God i worship is indeed who He says He is.

He has healed my heart from painful scars. some of the painful processes that this journey of life has taken me through in the past 30+ years are:
  • the cold blooded murder of my grandfather.
  • the death of  my baby brother.
  • the divorce of my parents... and another divorce of my mom and step dad.
  • seeing the consequences of abuse and adultery and how it can rip relationships apart.
  • growing up and seeing a rampant display of incest, adultery, cheating, drugs, unforgiveness and watching family fight over money and power.
  • being sexually, physically, emotionally and verbally abused and molested as a little girl till i was a teenager. and having it allowed to happen because people were paralyzed by their own situations.
  • growing up masking the pain by drowning myself in drinking, smoking, drugs, cutting, sex, pornography, food, and whatever else i could use to numb the pain i felt as a teenager.
  • being rejected as a 20 year old, left to raise a child on my own the same day the guy found out i was pregnant.
  • getting dengue fever twice and being told i was supposed to die. twice.
  • wanting to follow hard after God - and seeing churches and ministries rise and crumble right before my very eyes and seeing people and leaders fall away from God because the church became a very hurtful place to be instead of being the place of refuge God created it to be.
  • to continue to serve in church and meet and disciple women and challenge them to walk through the good times with God but also through the hard times with God, telling them about His love and faithfulness in our lives, even if there were times when i would go home and cry and question God if He would ever do the things He promised He would.
  • having all my childhood memories and personal belongings burn to ashes as our house burned down in the philippines.
  • living as an illegal immigrant single mother in this country because there was no "home" to go back to. living in constant fear of being caught and deported and being separated from my son or my family.
  • choosing to follow hard after God and keep my integrity to wait on Him knowing that money, provision and even our basic necessities as mother and son would not be met had it not been for His hand of blessing.
  • my mom getting a cancer scare.
  • seeing my son go through the painful experience of sleeping on floors and sleeping bags and not having money for food for that day because we were poor.
  • to continue to hold on to the dreams God has planted in my heart, even when there were people around me questioned me and my motives and didn't believe that it could ever happen.
  • to leave my family 2500 miles away to live out God's call in my life to build His kingdom... and in the process of doing so...experiencing one of the greatest years of joys of my life... but also having to have experienced homesickness, a tearing of relationships with friends and with in-laws and having to cling to God once again to open doors of breakthroughs. 

in each of those processes, there was extreme pain. there were countless tears sowed. there were many sleepless nights. the people that have walked with me for years at a time know the journey it took for me to get to where i was to where i am now. they also know the tenacious faith and white knuckled grip it took for me to hold on to God's will for my life instead of giving up and taking the easy way out. 

this is why ruth is my favorite book in the bible. her life started out real bad...yet God was able to redeem her story and she was blessed with family, with friends, with a husband, with a child, and she became Jesus' great great great great great great (10x) grandmother. what a legacy. all because a gentile woman decided to believe in a God who said He loved her. in her story, His story was told.

i live my life in a glass bowl. i am not afraid and unashamed of the process and the journey that God has taken me through and is taking me through. i am bold enough to share the good, the bad, and the ugly, because just like Jim Laffoon said...."the testimonies of my most painful processes become powerful promises to the people you were born to minister to."

in each of those painful times in my life there have been breakthrough. God has turned each of those situations around and caused good to happen. yes, in EACH AND EVERY ONE of those situations. (romans 8:28)

ALL THESE EXPERIENCES that God had allowed me to go through just means that there are people that God has brought or will bring into my life that need to hear about this journey of mine because they are going through something similar themselves. God has allowed for me to experience these things so i can share to others about this GOD that i worship that has allowed me to overcome. A GOD WHO KNOWS. A GOD WHO HEALS. A GOD WHO PROVIDES. A GOD WHO ANSWERS. A GOD WHO FORGIVES. A GOD WHO SEES. A KING WHO SAVES. A FATHER WHO LOVES.

the testimonies of your most painful processes become powerful promises to the people you were born to minister to if you allow God to work through you and in you during the process and allow Him to tell His story through yours. share your story for His glory.

and now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you - Genesis 45:5

you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives - Genesis 50:20

Thursday, October 18, 2012

hey mom... step aside and make some room =D

hi. i am baby c. watch me grow on my mommy's blog.

here i am at week 6.

here i am at 11 weeks. 

ultrasound at 11 weeks. 
this is my kuya. 
if you mess with me, 
my kuya will kick your @*$ butt coz i am his...

...little princess.
 week 18


it is a vajayjay for now. unless something miraculously grows there in the next 5 months. 
my mom needs to step aside and make some room...a new warrior princess is coming to town. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

THIS. RIGHT. HERE. #thetruthaboutskinnyjeans

Monday, October 8, 2012

on remaining faithful, rocking foundations, promotion, and being a very proud wifey #oneword365 #oneword

Yesterday, Pastor Gregg Brenes officially introduced our little clan to the whole church. He introduced Christian as the card magician, and he introduced me as the small group intern, and the babybump was introduced as well as he/she made his/her first stage appearance.

I was most proud though, was when Pastor Greg introduced John as the Music Director, who will be working alongside my friend Anna to help develop and build the Grace Honolulu's Worship Team. I stood there and smiled as I listened to John introduce himself. As he was speaking, these verses came to mind:  
  • "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'" (Matthew 25:23)
  • "For promotion comes neither from the east, nor west, nor south but from God (Psalm 75:6 &7)"
Those that know John know how faithful and loyal he is as a family, as a friend and as a son of God. No one can question his character with faithfulness and loyalty. He is so extremely loyal that he has gone to the same person who has been cutting his hair for 15 years. He stayed in the same church for 16 years and served in different capacities, all voluntarily. He worked at a private school as a band director for 9 years and then moved to a different school, now serving there his 4th year. He made the decision in college to serve God and promised to wait for God to bring him a wife before he would have sex and he waited for 35 years and fulfilled his promise to God. When this guy makes up his mind, He is committed and sticks to his commitment for a long time. 

So when God began to rock his world in the beginning of the year to challenge and call him out of the comfortable in order to seek out the NEW and believe God for more, his foundations were pretty much shaken. His loyalty was tested. He was given a choice to stick with God and move in the unknown, not knowing where God was leading him or to follow what was comfortable and easy and please men/family/friends... 

Needless to say, he chose to follow God, no matter the consequence. And boy were there consequences. Relationships were torn and he has felt pain in tearing of relationships that he never thought he would ever feel. In fact, he even got a prophetic word from a prophet confirming the pain in his heart as the prophet mentioned seeing a cave in in relationships and how it felt like for him to have empty promises given to him. These past few months have been extremely hard on his heart and his foundations were tested. 

But as loyal as John is, God is even more loyal and He is faithful to His Word.... And because John chose to follow God and not man, God opened doors for him in ways that only He could. John got a couple of offers from different churches to be music/worship director or to be a music consultant, he was able to network with different pastors around the island and meet different worship leaders and eventually after much prayer and attending different churches around the island, God led us to this church.

God not only allowed him to do what he loves to do (which is to arrange music), but he also gets to lead and develop people to a greater level of being a musician and being a worshiper of Christ. Because He is first and foremost a worshiper before he is a leader. And if that wasn't enough... i also get to be part of the staff and do what i absolutely love to do - which is to raise disciples for Christ and build small groups. Aaaaand Christian loves his victory club and has made really wonderful friends with other kids his age.

So when he was officially introduced yesterday, I could not help but beam like the proud wife that I am. I have seen God work in his heart these past few months in such an in intimate way. I've seen my husband pained through the process yet grow in His maturity and walk with God in unbelievable ways. And because of that I want to honor him. Though some people didn't understand and at some point we didn't even understand what the hell was going on.... God knew. He knew the hows and whys and He has and is continuing to make it all work out. And this circumstance only reassures us that not only has God called us to fulfill my #oneword for 2012 - NEW but also John's #oneword  - PROSPERITY.  

God is so faithful. He sees the lonely and sets them into family. He has set the three of us in family and has made us prosperous in every way (spiritual, relational, emotional, etc).  And it's only appropriate that God would choose this church and this ministry for us to call home. I have been part of the EN spiritual family for 12 years now and John was saved 17 years ago via the campus ministry under this same spiritual family. (our executive pastor was actually the one who led him to the Lord) Our roots were formed and developed in this family and now God is having us bloom where we were originally planted. Things have come full circle! 

That which was lost this past year was poured back into our lap in an unbelievable measure. And though there was pain in the night while going through the process, joy has indeed come. I cannot help but be grateful and thankful and humbled and driven to worship this Awesome God who has opened doors and turned things around for us. And 3 more months before 2012 ends, He is already showing us that He has and is continuing to bring us into a NEW and PROSPEROUS season. 

Be faithful in a little, He will indeed promote you in due time.