Just My Thoughts

Me or You?

Forgiveness is a matter of Lordship. You forgive not because your offender deserves it. You forgive not because what your offender did is okay. You forgive not because you are the bigger person. You forgive not because it’s easy or comfortable. You choose to forgive because, by the grace of God, you choose Jesus over yourself. You choose to obey Jesus, rather than to obey your emotions.

There’s a song I love by Group 1 Crew, called Wake Me Up (Amnesia). Listen to it. It’s a cool song. One of my favorite lines is:

“So who will I choose? Me or You?”

This is the choice we must face each time we are angry or hurt, needing to forgive another. Many times it’s not because we can’t, but because we don’t want to let go. We want to keep holding on to the anger, maybe because we don’t want our offender to get away with hurting us. We want justice. We want to be understood. We want to be proven right. (More on forgiveness here.)

But we must always go back to the question, Who is Lord of my life? Do I continue to sit on the throne of my heart, do what I want, when I want? Or do I rightfully give up the throne and let Jesus rule my heart? Who will I choose — ME and my emotions? or the HONOR of JESUS?

Most of the time difficult. But by the grace of God, never impossible.

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 4:32

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

FEATURED

She shines like GOLD!

Before we get farther and farther away from July (I started writing this July 31st), I want to honor a friend of mine who recently celebrated her birthday. This woman shines like GOLD.

 

G – generous! She takes every opportunity to be generous. She shows her love through generosity. She welcomes us into her home. She loves to bless us with food! She’s an excellent cook and baker. She makes our birthdays and meetings extra special with her goodies. She is so thoughtful with gifts as well (she just gave me one the other day!). She’s generous with her children! She entrusts her young kids to me. Me, who often times feels like a kid, amidst the many wise women around me. I’m so thankful for this, not only that I can teach and minister to them, but that my kids and I can hang out with them. Heehee.

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#squad ❤

She’s generous with her wisdom and her talents. She teaches us, imparts to us, not only her love for the Lord and His people, but her love for her family. She sets the example of a servant leader, a loving and faithful wife, a hands-on and supportive mother, a creative and joyful home maker. She’s a blesser. In big ways and in small. Whether seen or unseen. Her heart is to be a blessing to others.

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We are all July celebrants. She made us each a “cookie cake” that year. It was her famous to-die-for chocolate chip cookie recipe. ❤ 

 

O – outstanding! She is an outstanding individual. She exudes excellence. She does not settle for “okay na yan” (though she is also not too uptight to say “okay lang yan” when necessary). She is a learner, a reader, and a writer — she loves wisdom. She is firm with her beliefs and strong in her convictions. She has a standard for what she does. In fact, it shows in the ingredients she chooses when she bakes. She does not compromise the quality of her work. Whatever she puts out there – teaching, training, tablescapes, food, writing, even pictures – she makes sure of quality. She is an excellent planner and she always comes prepared. But she is willing to learn, get ideas from others, in order to improve herself and/or her creations. She is also always so put together. One look at her eyebrows and you’ll agree with me, haha. Her home is always pristine, whether there are people coming to visit or not. Everything she does, she does with excellence. And not because she is haughty or proud, or because she is a “pastor’s wife,” but because she believes in giving her best to the Lord. Take out that title, and I believe she would still be the same person, loving and honoring God with everything she is and has. She does this out of the overflow of her heart, grateful for God’s love and His grace in her life.

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Our lovely hostess. She joyfully cooks and bakes EVERYTHING for her guests. ❤ 
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Like a mom, she enjoys seeing us enjoy. ❤ Look at the haaaaam. 🙂

L – loving leader. She genuinely loves us and cares for us. She shares in both our happy moments and sad. In our successes and in our struggles. She cares about our families, how we honor our husbands, how we raise our children. She encourages us and believes in us. She pushes us to be excellent, not in an overbearing or forceful way, but by example, in a way where we want to learn and follow. She has taught us so much about character and integrity, with the way she and Pastor Ariel live and lead. She is not perfect and she is not afraid to share her flaws. She is humble. She can laugh at herself. She can admit her faults. Because she understands the grace of the Lord and believes in the power of God to transform her. That’s where her compassion for people comes from as well.

We really look up to her and we want to learn from her. When she calls for a meeting, we go. Even when we know she’d understand if we couldn’t make it, we do our best to work our schedules so we can be there. But there are also times she “strongly encourages” us to be there, which means “be there,” haha. I think that’s testament to her kind of leadership. She has “earned” our respect and our loyalty because of her genuine love for us and for the church. Because of her passion to obey the Lord. Whatever it takes, for the sake of the call. She takes her platform as a pastor’s wife with humility, and she uses it with great respect and responsibility.

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This was during our recent training, which she led and organized for us pastors’ wives and campus missionaries. She baked for us too. ❤ 

D – designer. She has an eye for beauty. I believe anything she gets her hands on, she can make into something beautiful. She is an artist. Cakes, cookies, party set-ups, table settings, flowers, event set-ups. Give her leaves and she can make them pretty on a table! Give her a small room or an entire facility to design, and she’ll make it absolutely breathtaking. She pays heed to the little details AND the overall effect. She is just beyond creative. She has great taste. And I get so encouraged when she tells me that I’m creative. I’m nowhere near her talent, but I’ll take it, haha. Coming from her, wow. She inspired me in so many ways, Christmas most especially. So now I’m always on the lookout for Christmas stuff haha. Decorating our home and doing our Christmas traditions. Making it memorable and Jesus-centered every year. My family loves it.

 

 

Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
    Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
    Love her, and she will guard you.
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
    And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. Proverbs 4:5-7

Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do. Psalm 1:1-3

10 “But he knows where I am going.
    And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
11 For I have stayed on God’s paths;
    I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from his commands,
    but have treasured his words more than daily food. Job 23:10-12

Thank you, Shirley, for being you. Belated happy birthday! Stay ageless. Stay secure in your identity in Christ. Stay passionate about God and His call for your life. Stay passionate about your family. May the Lord grant you the deepest, secret desires of your heart. And may you grow more and more like Christ. I love and appreciate you. ❤

 

Family, Marriage

Golden!

My in-laws recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. First of all, 50 years together? Wow! What an amazing milestone!

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Growing up, I attended the golden wedding anniversary celebrations of my grandparents on both sides. I think I may even have played the piano at one of them. I love that my children will also remember celebrating their grandparents’ anniversary with family and a few friends. They will remember that they got to witness their Dad officiate his parents’ renewal of vows. They will remember the love and appreciation they the grandkids and others expressed for their grandparents. They will remember how their aunts and uncles honored their mom and dad with their messages. They will remember how loved we all made their Wowo Jun and Wowa Remy feel that night. They will remember their grandparents’ legacy of love, a strong marriage, strong family ties, and a committed relationship with God.

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10 grandkids! They sang I WILL as Wowo and Wowa had their anniversary dance. 3rd eldest granddaughter Yelly created and edited a video for them too. 🙂 

 

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With their 5th child and 3rd son King — pastor, officiant, DJ extraordinaire!

 

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My sister-in-law in the US, Leris, with her husband Diego, sent an audio of her message to honor their parents. Each of their children honored them with much love, touching words, and some tears. ❤ 

 

King and his siblings expressed some time last year that they wanted to do something nice for their parents this year. They kind of wanted a repeat of what King organized for their parents 3 years ago, which I was supportive of but absent for, due to a very difficult first trimester of pregnancy. Somebody also suggested a renewal of vows ceremony. To make the long story short, the idea was not at all forgotten, but we were all lacking in the planning department haha. Thank God King and I had some alone time one morning, on our way to a wake, and we had the opportunity to finally talk about the anniversary. It was literally a week away! Things moved pretty quickly from there. King suggested Neil’s Kitchen, we had lunch there and inquired right away. Our first choice, January 21 was booked, so we settled for the next best thing, January 22, a Sunday. We ran it by the siblings, two of whom were in California at that time, and they gave us the go signal. I basically became the very willing coordinator of the party. I guess the hosting skills naturally kicked in haha. Guest list, food, attire, motif were quickly decided. My sister-in-law residing in the US sent teddy bears and candies for our giveaways, through their eldest brother Ronald, who came home the Friday before the event. Thank God for internet. Communication and coordination would have been impossible without it. Good thing I’m married to the officiant too, haha.

 

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Function room of Neil’s Kitchen. By no means was it a grand celebration in terms of scale and cost, but it was a joyous, intimate gathering of family and a few friends, with lots of love, laughter, and encouraging words, good food and cool music.

 

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Prayers for Mommy and Daddy ❤

 

It’s funny because King kept telling me that he wanted a simple party. He didn’t want me to add anything to what was part of the package, basically because he didn’t want me to work and get stressed. Sweet, but no. I needed to personalize it, of course! And what I do is always minimal and always simple anyway, never over the top. But he does know how I lose sleep working on the little details, hehehe. But I insisted. My other sister-in-law also said she was making cut-outs of their parents’ initials. She and her husband are excellent in making decor and props like that.

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I cut out 50s using gold crepe paper and stuck them on the little chalk boards I had at home. I covered my votives with the same paper and tied jute string around them. I put ribbons on the base of little easels. And I bought boxes from a bakers’ supply store and cut the gold covers for the Bible verse print-outs.

 

 

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My other sister-in-law Lanie made the J and R! 🙂

 

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I placed couple shots of daddy and mommy through the years in each table, along with the teddy bear and candy giveaways.

 

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I propped the Bible verses up on the little easels. I put the candy giveaways in the votives. I asked some early bird family members to help cut out hearts from the gold box covers, write thank yous, and tie them around the teddy bears’ necks with jute string. We added some baby’s breath flowers as well. 

 

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The cake! Not the usual, formal anniversary cake, but delicious nonetheless. Can’t go wrong with Mango Bravo. 🙂 

 

To me, it became so much more meaningful when I realized this was something I would not be able to do for my own parents because my dad is no longer with us. My mom and dad can’t celebrate their golden anniversary anymore, though I am certain that they would be if he were alive today. My kids didn’t have the chance to see firsthand my parents’ marriage, how they love and take care of each other. I don’t have the privilege to do something for their 50th. This was my only other opportunity, and I’m so grateful.

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The children, from left to right. Ronald, the eldest. Rammil with his wife Lei on his right. Lanie and her husband Larry on her right. Jay, the youngest and tallest, with wife Weng (not in picture). King with me. Leris and husband Diego (also not in picture).

 

I’m grateful that my in-laws are alive AND are still together after 50 years! I’m grateful that we — especially me, my family, and all of King’s siblings and their families — did not miss or waste this opportunity to thank, honor, and rejoice with them. We all worked together to make the celebration possible. I’m grateful for everyone who tried to come and for those who actually came! Some came from as far as Bulacan. We made Daddy Jun and Mommy Remy very happy! So happy that Mommy Remy was overcome with emotion that she could not say what she wanted to say. She told me yesterday that there are so many stories behind their 50 years, and that one day she will tell them to me. I will wait for that day. King has told me amazing stories about his experiences and about his family. I have no doubt that when my parents-in-law share their stories with me, I will be amazed at God’s faithfulness in their lives.

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FAMILY ❤ 

 

Happy golden wedding anniversary Daddy and Mommy! Thank you for setting the bar high, for inspiring us to have strong, God-honoring marriages, for teaching us to love and prioritize our families. Thank you also for showing us that when we get to your age, we husbands and wives can still serve the Lord together. God bless you both so much. We love you! ❤

 

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Romans 13:7

 
Just My Thoughts, Parenting

I’m Sorry

Is it too late now to say sorry? I don’t particularly like the Biebs. I do like this song of his. But that’s not what I want to write about. 🙂

The other day, I was driving home from church with my daughters. It was after 5pm so traffic on Commerce Ave was building up. I was approaching the block where Jollibee and McDonald’s are, in front of Acacia Hotel. I don’t remember what we were talking about in the car, but I do know we were talking (you know how girls are) so I was not able to pay attention to the pedestrian lane in the middle of the road, not at a traffic light, that allows people to cross from the fastfood joints to I guess Commerce Center. Traffic suddenly halted, so I was right on the pedestrian lane. To my dismay, I saw a dad pushing a stroller while holding his toddler son by the hand. The stroller was empty, thank goodness. But the dad was not happy with me at all. He looked at my car, paused in front of it and scratched his head. He made sure to show me just how annoyed he was at me for making it hard for him and his son to cross the street, without really looking at me. I knew from his facial expression and body language that he was completely annoyed. I was blocking his way. Who knows, maybe he was stressed out. My blunder didn’t help. I’ve had those days, too, for sure.

As they emerged from the outermost lane (I was in the innermost), before the dad even saw my car, I noticed them already and I noticed where I was. Under my breath, I said “Oh no.” I knew I had made a mistake. I wanted to back up but there was a vehicle behind me. Danae asked me what was wrong but I couldn’t explain to her just yet. I was watching the father and son to make sure they were okay. As they clumsily made their way onto the island, which I doubt has a ramp, I found myself lowering my window and saying “I’m sorry.”

I don’t think he expected that. I didn’t expect that I would be quick to do that either. I hope he felt even a tad appeased by my apology. He did give me a glance and he did muster a tiny smile. I’m just grateful he didn’t hurl insults or yell at me for being a bad driver (ugh, I hate contributing to the bad rap women drivers get), even though he probably wanted to. I’m glad I apologized, audibly. I meant it.

I am also grateful for the opportunity to set an example for my kids. I hope that even when we’re not around to correct or remind them, they will take a position of humility when they make a mistake. I hope that they will not justify the wrong they do or blame others for it. I hope that even though they may feel and act defensive at first, they will not keep that wall of pride up. I hope that they will accept correction from others and seek forgiveness sincerely. I hope that they will care about people, and not be indifferent to their needs and their circumstances. I hope that they will look beyond the mess, so that they can see and appreciate the lesson. I hope for these now, not later. In their childhood, not to impress people or to prove something, but to honor God.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10

 

Humility is the fear of the Lord;
its wages are riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

 

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8

 

Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace. Psalm 144:12

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEATURED, Spiritual Family

Singles Getaway 2013

The last time I was at a Victory Alabang singles retreat was nine years ago in Tagaytay. It was my second ever. I was single, but already engaged to King. We were given the privilege to share our love story then. This year, King and I were given another privilege to impart and teach the singles of our church at our Singles Getaway in Dahilayan, Bukidnon. We had always wanted to join or help in the getaways, but of course my husband would be needed in church. So we thank God for letting us be part of this one!

GIVE HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE

King and I talking about putting Phil 4:8 in our friendships :)
King and I talking about putting Phil 4:8 in action, in our friendships. 🙂

I want to honor first my husband. Seeing you in action makes me admire you more, babe! You serve with a glad heart, and I see it on your face and in your body language. There may have been a few stressful moments, but you never let any of that get you down. Tiring as it was, I know you loved serving the singles. You were always willing to do what was asked of you. You went the extra mile even, all while making sure I and your kids were doing okay, and making sure we had something great to teach in our session. And you never forgot to have fun! You enjoyed the place, the amenities (rides, if you will), being with the participants, being with the committee, and being with your family. You had many hats on in those 3-4 days, but you never forgot to enjoy all of it. You’re the man, babe! Servant leadership at its finest! It gives me so much joy to see you do what you love to do. 🙂

Being with King is never a drag. :)
Being with King is never a drag. 🙂
King's joy and humor is infectious. :)
King’s joy and humor is infectious. 🙂
Ptr Chico and Maryanne Pena :)
Ptr Chico and Maryanne Pena 🙂

I also want to honor our family ministry pastor Ptr Chico and his wife Maryanne, for being such good friends to us. You always encourage us and support us in the things we do. Thank you for trusting King to help out with the singles. Thank you for trusting us to impart to the singles in one of the sessions. I see your humility and security, that the “singles ministry” is not about you. The singles are not yours, but they are the Lord’s. You are stewards, and great ones at that! Your desire to get personal is so admirable — you guys sitting with different victory groups every so often is just amazing to me. You don’t mind the work of meeting people in small, intimate settings. You make time for the singles, even with such busy schedules of parenting, counselling, doing marriage preparation programs, doing marriage journey programs, and officiating countless weddings! King and I look up to you guys, and we always appreciate what you teach us. And to make everything sweeter, we love all three of your kids! It was a joy for each one of us to be there with your family. 🙂

I want to honor our discipleship pastor Ptr John and his wife Joyce, who took care of the singles for four years! You have taken the

Ptr John and Joyce del Rosario :)
Ptr John and Joyce del Rosario 🙂

singles to Boracay and Bohol, two beautiful cities in our country. And just like our recent trip, I am sure they were also life-changing for the participants. I see your love for the singles, and your desire for them to be great men and women. I know you are excited to witness them enter the season of marriage too. You have made a great impact in so many lives with your knowledge, your passion and your faith, no matter how differently they are “packaged” in each of you. I am so proud of you Joyce, for the woman that you have become. I am so excited to see you as a mom as well! We’ve been travel buddies twice now, and I appreciate both your love for our girls. Thank you. 🙂

I want to honor the committee — Nathan, Maeriz, Ninoy, Mark, Joanne, Marvin, Ivin, and Janice!!! You were only a handful, but you guys did a great great job. There are no words to describe how amazed we are by your hard work and service. I may not have seen firsthand what each of you did, but I know each of your roles was essential to the success of the event. There were no big or small jobs, and I saw that all the more from each of you, because you were so humble and joyful. You had no air of entitlement or arrogance due to position or amount of responsibility. It was not perfect, as nothing ever is, but there was not a critical spirit in any of you that it was a joy to talk to and work with you. And I am so happy that even though you were working as volunteers, you were able to truly enjoy the retreat! The work was balanced by so much free time to play! Well-deserved too! Thank you all, for making the Singles Getaway what it was — enriching, relaxing, invigorating, fun, and life-changing! 🙂

The committee and the marshals :)
The committee and the marshals 🙂
Nathan and Mark :)
Nathan and Mark 🙂
Maeriz :)
Maeriz 🙂
Some of the committee and the early comers :)
Some of the committee and the early comers 🙂
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

Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY

Courtship and the Honorable Man

Courtship. It’s the stage in a man and woman’s life where they get to know each other better. The HONORABLE MAN lays down his intentions to the woman whom he has been praying for (take a hint, ladies: he has a relationship with God), and if the woman agrees (take a hint, gentlemen: it has to be mutual, she has to like you too), they go out on dates by themselves. And no, it is not the same as boyfriend-girlfriend relationships, nor “mutual understanding” between two people.

Courtship has a GOAL. The man and the woman SEEK THE LORD and learn more about each other, with MARRIAGE IN MIND. (Take a huge hint here and everywhere, gentlemen!) The honorable man doesn’t court a girl for the heck of it. He does so with much apprehension and fear of possible rejection, and at the same time with much boldness and conviction, sure that he wants to pursue the woman (another hint, ladies: the man pursues you) and possibly marry her.

The honorable man is emotionally ready and is spiritually mature. He does NOT let his emotions rule him. He seeks God first and he guards his heart AND actions. The honorable man has a PLAN! He clearly lays down his intentions to the woman. He does not mislead her by hanging around her often and not saying a word about what he’s doing. He courts her IN THE OPEN, not hiding behind “friendship.” And he lays down his intentions because he is READY TO BACK IT UP with a marriage proposal — ready for a lifetime commitment, ready to provide, ready to lay down his life for his wife just as Christ did for the church. (Take a huge hint here, ladies: If a man is spending way too much time with you, getting to know you without even stating his intentions, HE IS NOT HONORING YOU. Don’t allow any man to dishonor you, no matter how much you actually like him.)

Whether or not the two end up together, courtship will still be a success. It will accomplish its goal. The only time it is not successful is when the man and the woman cross the line, when they stop honoring each other. They cannot go back to friendship or even civility if they do not remain pure and holy before the Lord. They cannot go back to friendship if they do not maintain mutual respect for each other. They will have a difficult time healing from unnecessary heartache caused by broken promises. (Hint, ladies and gentlemen: courtship is not a license for you to let your guard down emotionally, physically and spiritually. Guard your words, guard your actions, guard your heart.)

I am inspired to write this because I am seeing this before my very eyes. Honor and nobility are not dead among our men! 🙂

But the noble make noble plans,

and by noble deeds they stand. Isaiah 32:8

Discipleship, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, YOUTH MINISTRY

H.O.N.O.R.

King and I were invited to speak to the youth of Muntinlupa in their leaders’ summit last year. I had the privilege to share about H.O.N.O.R. to the women. And believe me when I say, I preach to myself as well.

H.UMBLE.
A person who comes from a place of honor comes from a place of humility.
Philippians 2:3 says “do nothing out of selfish ambition, but in humility consider others better than yourself.” It does not mean low self-esteem, like putting ourselves down, thinking that we are worthless — that is NOT humility. It means putting our egos aside and treating others with high regard, so that we can listen to them and consider that we can learn from them.

Humility is knowing who we are in Christ and knowing the gifts God gave us, but KNOWING OUR PLACE. It’s not about us or our abilities. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about God, and the confidence we have in Him and through Him.

1 peter 5:5-6 says “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Humility is having a submissive spirit, giving an ear or taking heed to others’ thoughts, especially of those who are more mature and more experienced than us. It does not mean giving up your own ideas or beliefs, but taking into consideration that they may have a point and what they are saying might help you.

James 3:13 13 says “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

The more we seek and know God, the wiser we become. The wiser we become, the more humble we become, realizing that it is He who makes us wise, that it is He who enables us to love, that it is He who is in control. It brings us back to our place — WITHOUT GOD, WE ARE NOTHING.

O.PEN TO CORRECTION.
The more we grow and mature, the more open we should be to correction, not the other way around. Sometimes we think that because we are older or because we are in a certain position, we think we know better or we know it all. We are not beyond correction. In fact, we need to hear it all the more. It is critical as our territories expand, as our influence grows larger.

And correction may come from anybody. It’s easier (not easy at all sometimes, but easier) to receive correction from authority figures. But when a friend, peer or even someone younger corrects us, we get defensive. Let’s ASSESS ourselves instead. Let’s not be so quick to judge the person giving us correction. Focus on the plank in our own eye rather than on theirs. It goes back to humility, knowing our place, having a submissive spirit, so we can hear them out and receive the correction.

Proverbs 10:17 says “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”

We are not the only ones affected when we do not heed correction. Not only do others suffer from our mistakes, we also set a bad example to them.

Proverbs 12:1 says “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.”

Let’s not be stupid. 🙂

Proverbs 15:12 says “A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise.”

Let’s not just wait for correction. Let’s consult the wise. SEEK GODLY COUNSEL.

N.ON COMBATIVE, NON-COMPETITIVE.
In any relationship, it should not be about who is right or who is wrong. It’s not a competition of who is smarter or better. What is important is the relationship, the person, not our ego.

Prov 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Prov 25:15 says “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
and a gentle tongue can break a bone.”

Sometimes when we want to get our points across, we tend to be hard and harsh, but a gentle word and gentle tone is really more effective. LOVE IS MORE EFFECTIVE. Tough love, meaning not watering down God’s word and firmly sharing our stand, is necessary at times, but it does not have to be harsh and mean either.

Truth is good, but timing and tone must always be considered.

Ephesians 4:2-3 says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, PEACE. We give importance to these when we come from a place of honor.

Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death.”

When we come from a place of honor, we speak life, not death.

1 Peter 3:4 says “Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

God wants us ladies to have a quiet and gentle spirit. It does not mean that we who have strong personalities, have to change our personality. God created us each uniquely and I believe part of that is our personality. He is, however, concerned about our character — that with our strong personality, we know our place, we have a submissive spirit, we don’t need to be aggressive to be heard, but we quietly trust in the Lord.

O.THERS-CENTERED.
Servant leadership.
John 13:12-15 says “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.””

It shows us what kind of leader Jesus is. He is not proud, not lording it over his disciples, not demanding to be served. He is God and yet he washed his disciples’ feet. This is the example He set for us. Serve, rather than seek to be served.

We need to think beyond ourselves and what we want or what we think we should have. We need to think about others even if we’re the leader. In fact, we need to think about others ESPECIALLY BECAUSE WE ARE THE LEADER. Our position should not be a hindrance, but should be the MEANS for us to serve others.

Mark 15:33-39 says “At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!””

He is God yet He allowed Himself to be sacrificed so that our sins may be forgiven and we may have access to the Father. He is God, yet He became last so we could come first. Sometimes, as spouses, as parents, as children, as teachers, as leaders or whatever position we may be in in life, we need to be last so others can be first.

R.ESPECTFUL
1 Peter 2:17 says “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

Respect EVERYONE, whether they deserve it or not. Human to human. The way we would want to be treated.

Respect in speech and in action, whether behind their back or in front of them. No to gossip.

No to coarse joking. Be careful that we still show respect. Let us not over estimate our friend or loved one’s ability to take a joke. We may already be hurting them.

No to over familiarity. Even if they are our helpers at home, employees at work, or they are under us or they are younger than us, it does not give us the right to disrespect them. We need to treat them with respect all the more, given our position. We gain respect when we give respect.

Sometimes it’s hardest to show the proper respect to our family or closest friends because we think it’s fine, that they love us no matter what, that we don’t need to consider what they feel, that we don’t need to say sorry. Let us show them the proper respect, most especially because they are the people who love us unconditionally.

Notice that everything points to HUMILITY. It is what honoring others is all about. Couple it with INTEGRITY. Honor must not stay within church walls, among church people. It must be a LIFESTYLE.

PROVERBS 22:4 Nasb The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.
Proverbs 29:23 Nasb A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

GOD HONORS THOSE WHO HONOR OTHERS.

Another blog on HONOR – Manny Pacquiao: A Man of Honor

Other blogs on RESPECT – Overfamilarity and R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Another blog on CHARACTER VS PERSONALITY – I CHOOSE CONFLICT 2

LAUGH-A-MONDAYS, My Kids, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Overfamiliarity

About a month ago, Danae and I had this conversation.

Me: Nae, do you do this to your piano teacher? Do you whine and complain?
Danae: No.
Me: Why not?
Danae: Because I don’t want her to get mad.
Me: What about me?
Danae: You’re my mom. It’s okay.

I was telling King this, I found it really funny. On one hand, I understand that my children and I are extremely close, that they are comfortable with me. They are secure that I will love and accept them no matter what they do. That’s a good thing. But on the other hand, it’s just not okay to treat me with less respect than how they treat other people. I told Danae that of course.

This is a common thing for most of us. We are the least patient, the least nice, the least considerate to our immediate family when it should be the complete opposite. Because they are the most important to us, we should be kinder, more loving towards them. We should not take them for granted. We should not expect them to be accepting of our disrespectful behavior.

There’s something amiss when we can’t be nice to the very people who love us unconditionally.

Over familiarity. Being too familiar. Offensively presumptuous, an online dictionary says. Being inconsiderate of their time, effort, feelings. Expecting them to always understand. Thinking of what’s best only for you, not caring about what’s beneficial for all. If familiarity breeds contempt, think what OVER familiarity can do.

I think we are all guilty of this at times. It’s great to be very close to family and friends. To be familiar with them is a natural occurrence, but we should avoid over familiarity. We must maintain that level of respect, that honor between parent and child, between best friends, between leader and member, between siblings, between colleagues and peers, between husband and wife. Our relationships will not only be closer. They will be stronger.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10 (ESV)

Marriage, Spiritual Family

COUPLE’S GETAWAY!

I’ve been trying for two weeks to write about the recent Couple’s Getaway, but I could only get so far. It’s been overtaken by newer write-ups, and has been stuck in my drafts.  Just the other day, I realized that I have been going at it all wrong.

Instead of relaying what happened and how the theme U.N.I.T.Y. (understand, nurture, identify, treasure, yearn) was imparted and taught to us, I would like to use this post to honor the people behind the whole thing – Ptr Chico and Maryanne Peña. They have made a difference in many people’s and many couples’ lives because of their personal, intimate approach to imparting what they have learned as husband and wife in the past 20 + years.

Let me just tell you that before October, I had been really looking forward to the Couple’s Getaway because it was going to be our first time to spend the night alone without the kids since Danae was born. Our original plans fell through and we had to bring the girls with us. Thus our couple’s getaway became a family getaway haha. I was disappointed at first, but then I was still grateful that we were still going. And it turned out to be just as enjoyable, maybe even more! Not only were we able to participate in all the activities and attend all the sessions, we also did not have to stress and worry about the kids since they were just in our hotel room with our trusted helper. We were even a blessing to those few who brought their kids too, since they played with our kids in our room.

I’m so grateful for Ptr Chico and Maryanne. First of all, they are dear friends of ours. They’re so supportive of us, always encouraging us. But what stood out for me during the Couple’s Getaway was the Nurture part, where we were tasked to go on a 500-peso amazing lunch date after the first session. We had to feed our kids then, and since we were staff too, I wondered if we would be able to go on the date. We all walked to a restaurant with Ptr Chico, Maryanne, their 2 sons, and the volunteers. As we sat down, Maryanne quickly told us TO GO ON OUR DATE AND THAT SHE WILL TAKE CHARGE OF DANAE & NOELLE. I was floored!!!!! I couldn’t believe she was saying this to me, but of course we took up her offer. It just really showed me their genuine desire to help us spend time together alone. They know that we don’t get to do so as often as we’d like, since our kids are young and Noelle had just learned to stop breast feeding. Like I said, though we date almost regularly now, we haven’t spent a whole night alone for 5 YEARS. It was just such a generous thing for them to do, totally unexpected and totally heartwarming. Not everybody would be willing to do it for us. NOT EVERYBODY WOULD BE WILLING TO DO IT, PERIOD. We’re grateful to the volunteers who helped us out as well.

I believe Ptr Chico and Maryanne are the right couple to take care of and disciple the married and soon-to-be married couples, via Marriage Boosters and I Do. The best teachers are the most humble and down-to-earth ones, those who are perpetual students and especially those who talk the talk AND walk the walk. That’s Chico and Maryanne, not to mention relatable and funny too. They never claim to be experts and they don’t just give us a formula that we can follow to make our marriages work. They share with us what they have personally experienced and learned in their walk with God as individuals and as husband and wife, and they let us couples talk it out privately, since each couple is different, with different issues and different needs. They help us be better husbands and wives by giving us Biblical principles and practical things to think about, talk about, and do for each other. They are also open to any of us who need counsel. One of the most amazing testimonies given during the getaway was by this young couple who went through something so terrible that the wife was already ready to leave her husband. But because of Chico and Maryanne’s help, the time, advice, and prayer they sowed into this young couple, they are still together and their marriage is going in the right direction. That is the kind of work God is doing in the lives of our couples in church through Ptr Chico and Maryanne today.

It’s clear as well that their plan is not short-sighted. They do not want the Marriage Boosters or the Couple’s Getaway to be just a seminar, which we attend, possibly learn from and possibly apply to our lives. They want us to apply what we learn and teach it to other couples, so they can teach other couples, who will teach other couples and so on. They even entrusted to King and me, one session of teaching the engaged couples of I Do two weeks ago, which was really an honor for us to be part of. We’re so blessed to learn from and co-labor with such an exemplary pair.

SO, PTR CHICO AND MARYANNE, WE THANK YOU AND WE HONOR YOU. May the Lord bless the work of your hands, cause increase in every aspect of your married life, your family life, and your ministry. May you reap a hundred fold what you have sown and are sowing into countless people, individuals and couples alike. May you leave a lasting legacy of loving and honoring God to your children, your children’s children and the generations after them. We love you. 🙂