Discipleship, Spiritual Family

Great Faith

It’s prayer and fasting again! Nothing like starting the year right as a family. Using the kids’ manual, we talked about the great faith of Abraham and then Sarah last night.

When asked what could be keeping them from hearing God’s voice, perhaps distracting them during their quiet time, Danae and Noelle gave such honest answers. Funny that Noelle included Gianna in her list. Her little sister really is a distraction because they like to play with each other. 😂When asked what one step she can take to help her hear God better, she said that she would lock herself in the room when it’s time to read her Bible and pray. Great action plan.

Danae’s answer was funny too, but profound. She said that her own thoughts distracted her from hearing God. I found it funny because she does get sidetracked easily with things that pop in her head. Then for her one step, she said that she would focus more and WONDER about God’s word more. I thought at first that was a pretty vague answer, not much of an action plan. But when we started praying, I realized she was on point.

To wonder more means to be more curious, to be more interested. To want to know God more.

Wow. I say amen to that. I pray that wonder, that desire grows as they/we continue to read the Bible. We have also been talking about writing God’s word in the tablet of our heart, so I pray that that growing wonder will translate to unwavering faith, straight paths, and great love for the Lord. ❤️

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:19-21

Discipleship, Kids Church, Parenting

I thank God for VBC

Aaah, Vacation Bible Camp. Not something I have to do, but something I get to do. I thank God for the privilege to be part of a huge team of amazing volunteers. Their passion to serve, their love for God and for the children, their commitment and dedication to do things excellently, to push to the end, their effort to work as one team. If you could see the work that each team put in, how it all came together, you would just be in awe. And yes, they may be talented and skilled, but I believe it’s so much more than that. It’s that love that God has lavished on them, that they are able to also love others through what they do. That love and passion truly trickles down from the leadership of Ptr Carlo and Lea, and the Kids Church staff. Their impartation, and even the care they show us volunteers (shout out to Aubrey and Fely), inspires us to give our best to the kids as well.

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most of the VBC volunteers 🙂 photo grabbed from Aubrey

I thank God for the privilege to mentor the praise dance team! We were rarely complete during practices, some of us had trouble with our left and right, our number of praise dancers fluctuated until the very last week of practice hahaha. We played the stay quiet for 1 minute and then 2 minutes challenge, after which of course their noise doubled! But I would do it again next year. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to work with kids I already love and with new kids I have grown to love. Grateful for their parents as well, who entrusted their kids to us. I believe we all learned something from everything we went through. I am just so proud of the team for giving their best! Through hunger, sleepiness, tiredness, and sickness for some, they gave their best to the Lord for 3 straight days. The same passion and joy from day 1 to day 3. Talk about commitment! Talk about the power of the Holy Spirit in them! How wonderfully blessed the Lord was by His children. ❤

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the praise dance team! all except 1. 23 kids in all! 🙂 

I thank God for the privilege to serve with my girls. The first time I joined the praise dance team, Danae, while a participant, joined me. Then, Noelle, while a participant, and Gianna, the youngest volunteer (1 yr old), joined us. Now I don’t dance anymore. Only they do, with other kids aged 5 to 13. I think that fact alone is amazing! Danae and Noelle were participants first, then volunteers. But Gianna, a volunteer first, then a participant next year hahaha.

Somehow we have taught our daughters to give of themselves — their time, talent, and energy (though it is fun for them, they get tired too 🙂 ). To joyfully serve others, without thinking about getting anything in return (except maybe food because they get hungry easily 🙂 ). To love children. Well, we didn’t really teach them. I guess they naturally like little kids. To work with a team. It is not a show, and it is not about who’s the best dancer. It’s about being in sync, not only in their movements, but most especially in their hearts — the goal is to worship God and teach other kids to do the same. To worship God through their talents. Honestly, sometimes I don’t know because it is beyond what I can see. I see them having fun dancing and singing (sometimes too much fun 🙂 ), and I wonder if they get it. But I believe God sees. God knows. And God is doing something in their hearts, growing them into ladies who worship Him in spirit and in truth.

I thank God for the songs. They are full of truths about God that make you just feel loved and want to love God more. I pray that as they continue to sing and dance the songs at home, these truths will be ingrained in their hearts and minds. I highly encourage you to listen and sing them out loud. Dance, even. Here are the lyrics to one of our favorites…

The Maker (Maker Fun Factory)

I see You in the sunrise

I see You in the rain

I see You in the laughter

I feel You through the pain

Everything that You have made is beautiful

Oh, my God I can’t believe my eyes

But in all of this to think that You would think of me

Makes my heart come alive

Your love is like a mighty fire deep inside my bones

I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains all at once

And I never have to wonder if somebody cares for me

I love the Maker

And the Maker loves me

See if you can spot the littlest volunteer! Thank you for the video, Bless and Aliyah 🙂

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I thank God most of all for His abundant grace. None of it would have been possible, even the patience they tell me I have (which I don’t believe I do — ask people who know me hahahaha), if not for the abundant grace of God. All glory to Him!

❤ ❤ ❤

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Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2

 

 

 

 

 

Discipleship, My Kids

Rooted

We went up to Baguio last month and while on Kennon Road, one of our kids noticed that there were trees sticking out of the mountain, some almost horizontally. She wondered how those trees could do that. STRONG ROOTS, I told her.

Very much like in life. No matter how the world turns, if we are strongly rooted in the Word of God, we remain standing firm in our faith. No matter what the world throws at us. No matter what the world offers us. By the grace of God, we will be strong in our resolve to love, honor, and obey God.

 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:6-8

Discipleship, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting

3 Life Lessons from Cars 3

Even though I was standing for probably half the movie, because of course, Gianna and her desire to move struck again, I liked Cars 3. It spoke to me.

1. “Truth is always quicker, kid.”

I completely agree. We get to the heart of the issue if we just tell the truth. No mincing of words, no beating around the bush, no sugar-coating or trying to cushion the blow. Always with love, but clear and straight to the point. It will lead to better understanding.

Also, the quicker we hear the truth, the quicker we accept the truth, the quicker we deal with the truth, the quicker we heal, make changes, and move forward. Lightning didn’t like hearing that he was old, but the sooner he accepted it, the better he was able to train for the race. Denial, because of pride, just delays the inevitable. It’s counterproductive. It does not solve the issue. It may even make things worse. We should seek the truth with humility. Be open to correction and advice.

2. “My last chance to give you your first chance.”

Lightning McQueen prepared the way, showed the way, and though that wasn’t his plan, he got out of the way. In his pursuit to become faster and better, he taught his trainor, Cruz, to race. And in his last chance to win and continue his career in racing, he gave her the opportunity to shine. Even if it meant she would outshine him. Her youth, her speed, and her passion were an advantage. He even continued to coach her during the race. This ought to be our attitude in discipleship and parenting, but deliberately and with a goal. We lead, we teach, we let them grow, we tap their potential, and we let them soar. We take a chance on them, support them, root for them, believe in them. We celebrate when the “rookies” (our children, both biological and spiritual), turn out ten times better than us. We continue to be there to guide and mentor.

And like Lightning, we don’t quit. We don’t quit life. We don’t quit church. We don’t stop discipling others when our mentees outgrow and outshine us. We don’t stop because we’re getting old. We keep running the race with them. We make disciples together. Better and stronger, together.

3. “You got into his head.” “You’re a racer. Use that.”

Storm was a fast racer, but he played dirty. He fought dirty. Not with how he raced, but with his words. He would act all supportive and pleasant, but he was really speaking death to Lightning, implying retirement, the end of his career, the decline of his talent or skill. He used the same tactic on Cruz, when she was catching up to him during the race. He told her the lie that she did not belong there, that she did not have it in her to be a racer, that she was just a trainer/motivator. All while smiling and appearing to encourage her. Cruz almost believed him. But Lightning told her that the only reason Storm was trying to get into her head was because she had already gotten into his. He was afraid she would beat him. Satan is exactly like that. He is the expert at planting seeds of doubt, fear, hopelessness in our hearts. He does that because he is afraid of us. He is afraid of our potential to ruin his plans. He is afraid of our calling, which is to advance God’s kingdom. He is afraid of our design, which is to bring glory to God.

If Satan fights with lies, we fight with the truth. We must always remember and be secure of who we are in Christ. The power of Satan lies on our belief in his lies. When we are armed with the truth of who our God is, of who we are and whose we are, we can overcome. Cruz overcame when she believed in who she was. She was a racer. No amount of lying or berating Storm did, changed that. She did not let him go on “winning.” She did not cower in defeat. She did not give in to discouragement. She fought back and came out victorious.

 

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Eph 4:15

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:14-15

 

Discipleship, Funny Fridays

DC 2017

The Discipleship Conference 2017, entitled Engage, was a bunch of firsts for us. King was part of the team who handled the conference, so he had to be in MOA Arena a day ahead. That meant I needed my own ride going, which I don’t think I’ve done in terms of big church events, for the past 12 years. That also meant we would not be sitting together because he would be working during the event. Something I haven’t experienced in the past 12 years as well.

We’ve brought the girls to some conferences and convergences when they were younger, but this was a first for Danae, alone with me! We decided to bring her because she was going to be transitioning from Kids Church to Every Nation Campus (youth) soon, and we wanted her to get a vision of what God is doing in and through our movement. I’ve been casting the vision in our victory group (the girls and their friends), that our group is not just so we can learn more about God and grow as Christians, but so that they too can share Jesus to others and lead their own groups one day soon. This was the perfect time and opportunity to help open her eyes more. She was excited that Ptr Steve Murrell was preaching.

It was my first time to Uber! Haha, shallow I know, but I was pretty stoked. We rode with my friend, neighbor, inaanak, and Uber expert, Thine. We sat together as well in the event, along with Thine’s husband, Edrei, who is our (Every Nation Campus) South Hub Leader. I think the fact that they were our seat mates was just perfect.

In our Vios Uber….

Thine: Are you attending Unashamed (Every Nation Campus’ student conference)?

Danae: Yes.

Me: Yeah. But you can’t be alone yet. Either Daddy or Mommy will go with you.

Thine: Who do you want to go with you? Dad or Mom?

Danae: Mom! Coz Daddy will keep talking to people he knows.

Thine and me: Hahaha. (We totally got what she was saying! Our husbands almost always get held up by people who want to talk to them, and our husbands are basically always excited to see and talk to people.)

During the conference….

Edrei: How old are you?

Danae: says age.

Edrei/Thine: Where do you want to attend? Youth or Kids Church?

Danae: Kids Church (me, secretly: awwww, my baby is still a baby, yaaaaay!!! Haha, the struggle is real!)

But really, I love how they were encouraging her that she is an intern (future victory group leader), and that she will be helping them reach out to international students. I’m just being a needy mommy. 😉

A few days before Engage, I told Danae that she will share what she learns from Ptr Steve’s preaching to our victory group. She agreed and took down notes. With some help from me, she was able to download it to her victory group mates.

YOU – together, not alone, we.

ARE – not will be, might be, could be, should be. are. right now.

THE – no plan b. we are it.

SALT – lead others to Jesus. don’t lose your saltiness and cause others to stumble.

of the EARTH – your own community. the unreached in your community.

Jesus’ ministry was out of compassion and was extremely personal.

I can’t remember if this was before or during our victory group meeting that Sunday after Engage….

Noelle: Mom, why is ate (big sister) leading vg again?

Me: Training, love. You are also going to share the Word in vg.

Noelle: What? No!

Me: Yes, love. Remember, you are all going to be doing this one day with your own groups.

Noelle: But…. I don’t listen!

Hahahaha. Even if she’s distracted often, I know she picks up a lot.

What a privilege to witness how the Lord is working in and through our daughters. I pray that they will be as convinced as their Dad and I are of discipleship. That they be willing and eager to be discipled, and that they be willing and eager to make disciples. 🙂

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b]baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[e] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[f] Matthew 22:37-39

Discipleship, Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Relationships

You and Your Lists

It’s no secret that most singles want to get married. I hear women, not sure about the men, say that they have a list of qualities that they are praying for. Some of them have an actual list. It may sound absurd to some of you, but to be honest, I had a list when I was single too.

My list had physical attributes specified, as well as pretty specific character and personality traits. I wrote down that list to know what I myself wanted in a husband and as a prayer of the qualities I wanted in him, as opposed to just wanting to BE married and praying for ANY husband.

I realize, however, that we women can take this to a dangerous extreme. We have a strong tendency to be DEPENDENT on this list, to be stuck on this list. What if the man that God is already presenting to you does not fit your list? What if he misses the mark, misses YOUR mark, in terms of looks, personality, family background, financial status, or character?

Don’t get me wrong. Standards are great. They speak about the value that we put on ourselves. They help us stay on the right track, remember our priorities, and make the right choices. They help us set boundaries that prevent us from putting ourselves in compromising positions, positions that will lead us to sin against God. We need standards. High ones.

As daughters of the King of kings, we ought to have high standards as He placed such a high value on us when His Son died for us on the cross. But make sure your standards are high when it comes to character. Put a premium on character and the man’s growing relationship with God, and not so much on his looks, height, weight, job, ministry, money, or last name.

Yes, there are many considerations in choosing a husband. Of course you want one whom you will enjoy looking at and waking next to. I am quite forgiving when it comes to that, NOT to say that I am not happy with my husband’s looks! I love his eyes and his loving ways. He has grown more handsome because of his love and his character. That’s way more important to me. I’m just happy that he is taller than me! And I can’t do anything about weight, as that fluctuates haha, just as mine does.

You want a husband with a good family background, not just a nice family name. All families have issues, but what matters is how your man treats his family, because it is an indication of how he will treat you and your family. It matters also how his family treats you, though it shouldn’t be your deciding factor. It’s his loyalty to you that will matter when conflicts arise. I happen to love King’s family and my last name.

You want a financially responsible husband, whom you are willing to support and cheer so that he can achieve his dreams and goals. You want a man WITH dreams and goals. Honestly, I did not even consider my future husband’s occupation. I didn’t desire to be a pastor’s wife. In other words, whether or not King was a pastor or was going to be one, I would’ve still married him. I don’t think I even thought of that. My “concern” was my freedom to continue to serve in church, therefore I needed and wanted a man who loved God more than he loved me, and a man who would lead and provide for me and our family the way God calls a man to. King didn’t have to be a pastor to be such a man. It just so happened that he was called to be one.

You want a husband that jives with your personality. I know I wanted a man who made me laugh, but when my eyes were opened to King, I thought we didn’t have the same wave length. I really thought there was no way we would work because I love and am good at word games, while he was (not anymore) pretty slow haha. It initially didn’t make sense to me, though it made sense to our friends. Today, our personalities still clash sometimes, but our commitment to God and to each other is more important to us than our petty issues.

My favorite item on that list, though, is: THAT HE WOULD DANCE WITH ME. And you know, God is just wonderfully amazing that he gave me a husband who does. A small detail it is, but it all the more has shown me what an intimate, PERSONAL GOD He is. He truly knows my heart’s desires.

You may have more considerations, but don’t ever assume that your list is God’s will for you. Chances are, your list is already based on someone you are eyeing (I wrote mine before I met King though). Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. You may not get exactly what you want or expect. Don’t be blinded by your list either.  He may not match a couple of the items on your list, but he could be the best man for you. You have been given the free will to choose, but exercise wisdom and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you instead.

Better yet, STOP MAKING LISTS! Pray. Seek godly counsel. Get into the Word and let your mind get renewed by it, so you can see God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.  Have a grateful heart. Be grateful that you are single at the moment.  Be grateful that God has your future in His hands and He knows what and who is best for you. He knows more and better than you. Be grateful that His timing is perfect. Be grateful that you are not useless, not worthless, or have to be joyless while you are single. On the contrary, God saw you worthy of His Son’s bloodshed. He desires to use you in advancing His kingdom. Joy is from Him, not from marriage or a man or a relationship. You have God NOW. Love, grow, serve. And all these “things” will be given to you as well. 🙂

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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. Philippians 4:6-7

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

Discipleship, Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY

The Honorable Woman

Since I wrote about the honorable man and the courageous man, I think it is only fair to write about the HONORABLE WOMAN. If I was bold enough to write about “a few good men” and my husband,  I will have to start off with a disclaimer for this one haha.

Disclaimer: I was not always the honorable woman and I do not claim to be everything that is written. I am still learning too. I cite some of my experiences, but I also share what I’ve learned from wise men and women. 🙂

With courtship defined, what does an honorable woman do before that? She prays as she waits. When I was a single woman, at age 24, it was a struggle. As a new Christian, I struggled with my IDENTITY. Having a relationship with a man and even the thought of marriage was what made me happy and whole. I didn’t realize that relationships was my god, until God opened my eyes and I realized that NO ONE CAN COMPLETE ME EXCEPT JESUS. Even though, like King, I liked someone else in the beginning, I prayed. I prayed for GOD’S WILL for my life. I did not want to get into any relationship anymore until it was the one that God planned for me. I decided to WAIT. That was my faith.

What if you already have a hint about someone who likes you? Honestly, with the first Christian guy I liked, I was kept guessing. I was getting mixed signals, but I was never sure if he was sending me signals at all because he never said a word. That was annoying and hard, but it made me pray more. It taught me to NEVER ASSUME.

With King, I already knew he was “crushing” on me because our friends teased us individually, apart. Thankfully there came a point where they decided to stop. (take a hint, friends: stop teasing!) We would go out in groups, but because I learned to WANT WHAT GOD WANTED and I really did not want to make a mistake, I kept my DISTANCE. I would assess myself if I liked him too, and there were times I did and there were times I didn’t. The respect was there, for sure. And in terms of character, I had no issues. But there were just times that I didn’t think it was going to work, IF EVER. I thank God King did not text or call me, or ask me to even eat with him alone, as he was also TESTING HIS EMOTIONS on his end. (take a hint, ladies and men: texting/chatting and spending time with each other can stir your emotions. Test them first and seek counsel before you men initiate or before you ladies respond.)

I never rode his car because I was afraid, not because I didn’t trust him, but because I did not want to PUT MYSELF IN A COMPROMISING POSITION. I chose to use my own car. I have learned, however, that if in situations that a man and a woman have to ride a car alone, the woman sits at the back. I have seen my husband do this when he has to do funeral services and bring a female worship leader or musician with him. (take a hint, ladies and men!)

What if he seems to be really into you, doing things for you that he normally doesn’t do for other girls? I didn’t experience this myself, but I learned that if you are uncomfortable with it, you can actually confront the man. You can QUESTION HIS MOTIVES. His answer or silence will reveal much about him and his intentions. The danger there is if he tells you he does like you. Then what? If he is a man with PURE AND PURPOSEFUL INTENTIONS, he will be honest and he will pursue you. If he is a man who is not, I believe the honorable thing to do is put the distance between the two of you until he figures it out for himself. You ought to pray about your end too, most especially if you like him. Again, test your emotions. “Feels right” doesn’t necessarily equate to the right thing. “Feels good” doesn’t equate to the good either, let alone the best.

What if a man has been bold enough to tell you that he has been praying for you and he intends to pursue you? If you like him or want to give him a chance because there might be a possibility, say yes. Chances are, you’ve been praying about it (though not necessarily about him), too. As mentioned, courtship may or may not lead to marriage. The goal is to SEEK GOD and HONOR HIM in the process. Don’t be afraid, thinking you’ll be stuck. You are just going to allow the man to get to know you and allow yourself to get to know him.

Sometimes all it takes is one date to discover that it’s not going to work out. As an honorable woman, you can honestly and politely let the man know. No need to let it go on longer than it should. Just be honest AND polite.

If in the very beginning, you already know that it’s a No, maybe because you don’t believe it’s your season yet or you don’t like him period, then say so as well. The man is being honorable in pursuing or in trying to pursue you. The least you can do is face him. RESPOND WITH HONOR as well.

What if you’re in a relationship now? Your honor and character are not for me to judge just because you are in a relationship. You can be in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship and remain honorable. You can also be in a “friendship” and remain honorable. In the same way, people can hide behind courtship to look honorable even when they are already deep in sin. As long as you know that your HEART IS RIGHT BEFORE THE LORD and this relationship is not derailing you from your destiny and NOT DRAWING YOUR HEART AWAY FROM GOD, (although I honestly would prefer that you are a single professional, at least 21 years old — I would say the same to my daughters since I’ve been there and done that haha), then I cannot say anything against it. It really is BETWEEN YOU AND GOD.

So what on earth am I talking about, you say? As with everything I write, I am talking about my personal convictions, my stand. And I’m sharing it with anyone who wants to learn the easy way, what we have learned the hard way.

Bottom line is HONOR GOD in everything you do. No one is perfect, but your desire to do this especially when it comes to relationships, with the invaluable help of the Holy Spirit, will keep your own motives and actions in check.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Discipleship, Family, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting, Spiritual Family, THE BRAINY BUNCH, YOUTH MINISTRY

10X

10xOur new series in church is 10X, all about the next generation. While listening to the preaching yesterday, I was close to tears. Aside from Ptr Jonathan’s touching story about his brave teenage daughter KC who went through so much as a child, operations for her cleft palate and scoliosis, bullying and isolation because she looks and sounds different, I got reminded of my own daughter.

Danae has not gone through half of what KC has, but the preaching brought me back to my pregnancy and our first year as parents. You see, Daniel is my absolute favorite person in the Bible (Old Testament). We would have named our first born after him if he were a boy. But because we had a girl, we found a not-so-common name in a Baby Names book that was the same as Daniel — Danae. In Hebrew, both mean God is my judge, although apparently Danae is also a princess in Greek Mythology. I do not like her story there. Just saying, haha.

Anyway, I just remembered why I love Daniel so much and how we wanted Danae (and Noelle of course) to be ten times better than us, just like Daniel was in his generation. We were so passionate about praying and declaring this to Danae even while she (and Noelle) was in my womb.

This is truly our heart’s desire. We hope for our children to be ten times better than me or King — that at an early age, they will love God, hold fast and remain in Him. This is why we spend time with them, we teach them God’s word and about life, we homeschool them, we discipline them, we pray with them, we build memories with them, we talk to them. We love our children so much that we want more for them — not so they will be trapped in what we think is best for them, but so that they will seek the Lord, grow and walk in their God-given destiny.

This is why we step up as parents as well. What we teach our kids, they must see in us. It is completely unfair that we expect them to be ten times better, while we remain mediocre or indifferent or passive. If we want our children to be ten times better than us, we must be active in parenting them. We have gone ahead of them and we are continually learning. It is our responsibility to not only download it to them, but set the example for them. This way, we will be better, and our children will be ten times better. 🙂

The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. Daniel 1:19-20

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Discipleship, Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, YOUTH MINISTRY

Who are you?

About a month ago, I had the privilege to teach about Identity to the youth ladies of our church. As I was studying my notes and figuring out how to share my testimony, God reminded me about a tweet I posted: PURPOSE determines your priorities. In your IDENTITY lies your security. It was a nugget of truth I learned from a preaching by Ptr Bernhard Wewege of our New Zealand church.

Whatever or whoever it is that you identify with, you get your security from. Whatever it is that makes you feel secure OR insecure, is an indication of where you get your identity.

Do you feel very insecure when you don’t have make up on? Don’t feel pretty because you don’t have nice clothes, shoes, or bags? Can’t show yourself to anyone unless you are all dolled up? Can’t leave home without being all decked out? Do you look in the mirror every 5 seconds? Do you feel prettier or uglier, more accepted or less accepted, because of your skin tone? Do you feel good about yourself when people look at you and feel rejected when no one notices you? Your physical appearance may be a source of your security & identity.

Do you feel like a complete failure when you get one mistake in the quiz? Do you feel like you are a disappointment because you came second in the science quiz bee? Or if you didn’t get into the school or company you wanted? Do you have a difficult time moving on from a failure? Do you feel significant when you are recognized for your skill? Or insignificant when nobody recognizes your abilities? Your achievement, intelligence, or talents may be a source of your security & identity.

Do you feel insecure when you don’t have the things other people have — toys, gadgets, phones, cars, money, club memberships? Conversely, do you feel more secure, more complete having these things? If you have them, are you afraid of losing them? Will your world crumble if you lose one of them? Or are you at a loss at the mere thought of it? Your security may lie on material wealth and the comforts it brings.

Does one person make you deliriously happy? Do you feel lost when he or she is not with you? Does this person’s presence make you more confident in yourself? Or, does his or her absence leave you in despair? Do you feel empty when you are not in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship? Your security (and identity) may lie on one specific person (friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, parent) or on having a relationship.

Are you riveted by the fact that guys or girls look at you and want to be with you? Does it make you feel good to see that men or women still show interest in you, despite your age or unavailability? Does it make you feel good to know that you can get the “un-gettable,” unavailable man or woman? Does the chase excite you? Being desirable or desired may be a source of your security & identity.

Do you feel useless when you’re not doing anything? Do you feel the need to always serve or please people? Do you find significance in getting smiles and words of appreciation from people? Do you feel rejected when you are not appreciated, not recognized for your efforts? Maybe being needed is your source of security & identity.

The list goes on. Our identity, whether we know it or not, dictates how we live our lives. The question is, what IS our real identity?

We were made in God’s image and likeness — glorious, beautiful, pure, holy. Sin ruined that. Satan stole our identity and left us lost, but God made a way, more accurately the way, the only way to bring us back to our original identity — Jesus, who while 100% God allowed Himself to be 100% human at the same time, died on the cross so that He could exchange our unrighteousness with His righteousness, therefore giving us the ability to be reconciled to the Father and have direct access to Him, and lived on earth for 33 years so that we could identify with Him, and be led back to who we are and what our purpose is.

You are glorious, beautiful, pure, holy. That is who you are. That is how God made you. Your purpose is to be with God, in His presence daily, and because many are lost, your purpose is also to help them know the truth about Jesus and about who they are in Christ. Believe it. Once you view yourself according to how God views you, your actions and decisions will change. Once you view your life according to God’s purposes, your lifestyle will change.

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

For he chose us in him before the creation of the worldto be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship  through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace,which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Ephesians 1:4-6

Discipleship, Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Spiritual Family, YOUTH MINISTRY

S.T.O.P.

Youth, singles. Please. Just stop. STOP….

S.elling yourself. You are not an item, a thing, a possession. You are not a piece of meat. Do not degrade or belittle yourself. You are valuable. Precious. Worth waiting for. Blood-bought by no less than the King of kings. Loved. Accepted. There is no need to advertise, to sell, when you are secure in your identity in Christ.

S.elling yourself short. Raise your standards! Remember who you are. Remember whose child you are. Don’t settle for anything less than the Father’s best for you.

T.esting the waters. Don’t waste a person’s time just so you can have fun. Don’t play around with their feelings, just to see if there’s a possibility for a relationship. If you’re not sure (ladies) and if your pursuit is not pure or purposeful (gents), stop. Stop making excuses, saying you’re just making friends, when you know your motives are not necessarily pure. Stop saying that it’s not your fault because you’re not really doing anything, when you and I both know that doing nothing can mislead another. If you want to be honored, you’ve got to be honorable yourself.

T.easing. It can influence a person to see another person differently, good AND bad. We don’t want friendships to unnecessarily grow apart, and we don’t want relationships to develop at the wrong time. If you are a true, caring friend, stop teasing!

O.verthinking. Never assume that another person’s actions mean something more than what it is, unless of course, ladies, the man (yes, man — of age, single, working, financially responsible, spiritually mature or maturing, provided you yourself are of age, single, working, financially responsible, and spiritually mature or maturing) has specifically laid down his intentions. The same goes for you, MEN (yes, men, not boys). Never assume. The only way to know if she likes you too is by laying down your pure and purposeful intentions. It’s not for the faint of heart. Only a man, who is truly ready for commitment or rejection, can and should do this.

O.verestimating your own ability. Get real. Seek counsel if you don’t know or are not sure of what to do. If it’s something you realize you can’t handle or you don’t want to be part of, pull yourself out of the situation. Don’t pretend you’re okay when you’re not. There’s nothing wrong with “friendship,” you know the kind where one likes the other or both like each other, but if it derails you from your God-given purpose, then keep your distance. If anything disables you from guarding your heart, stop it. Put up those boundaries!

P.utting your best foot forward. Don’t perform. Don’t pretend to be better than you actually are. You won’t be able to sustain it. Chances are, people see right through you anyway. Be real. Be yourself. Be the person God is transforming you to be. Let people get to know who you are. You are flawed, but they will see and appreciate your humility.

P.laying “the game.” Whether you’re in a relationship or not, there should be no “game.” No playing cool, playing hard to get, playing coy. No sending mixed signals, no best foot forward, no testing the waters. Relationships are not a game, and they shouldn’t be treated as such. Sometimes we need to be strategic, sure, such as when we share some news or when we plan a surprise or when we want to motivate another, but that’s done out of love and honor. Playing “the game” or any game is the complete opposite, operating in deceit, dishonesty, pride. Find out what God’s will is in the season that you’re in, so you can make wise decisions. That is your best strategy now.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11