YOUR GOD IS YOUR DAD

The beautiful noonday sun shone brightly that day as I lazily stretched out under the overarching canopy of trees along the mesmerizing Boracay shoreline. Ahhh! What an incredible sight! Jeng, my wife, was enjoying her swim. I was enjoying well… just doing nothing.

Then my thoughts turned to the profound. 

I asked myself, “How can a missionary couple like Jeng and myself enjoy such pleasures in life?”

Without expecting it, I received an answer. In the deepest recesses of my heart came a soothing and all-loving voice, “Because I am your Dad.”

DAD. That word carries with it an avalanche of consoling truths and comforting emotions.

Dad means strength.
Dad means consolation.
Dad means security.
Dad means assurance.
Dad means safety.
Dad means comfort.
Dad means honor.
Dad means love.

No wonder a not-so-rich missionary like myself is treated to such royalty vacations and above-average luxuries.

My God is my Dad.

The Bible says:

“But my God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:19)

The one who truly owns, not just the Boracay seas, but the entire universe is looking after me. He knows I need to rest. He knows I need recuperation. He knows I need to recharge.

Ever wonder if you can make it through your week with your tight budget? Or find the strength to recover from your illness? Or overcome that sin? Or win over that stressful situation?

Think about your Dad.

He is not asleep. He is not having a day-off. He is in control. 

And He will supply your needs according to his riches in glory.

Yes, even as you relax by the Boracay seas!

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LIVING FOR NOW

We love to dream.

For that new car.
For that career breakthrough.
For that prosperous business.
For that ideal partner.

But in our desire to get our “tomorrow”, we might forget to live for “today”.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great thing to have a good vision of yourself for the future but never at the expense of appreciating and enjoying the good in the present.

You can’t live tomorrow, today. Live today for today. Appreciate the here and now.

Work for that nice house but thank God that you have an apartment to stay in.
Anticipate that promotion but until then, give your best in the task that you have.
Expect that God will give you the best partner in life, but while your single, live your life to the full.

The Bible says:

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.” (Matthew 6:34)

Live for now. For while blessings await your tomorrow, today is a blessing in itself.

Have a blessed week ahead to you, my friend!

LIFE MAPS

A person traveling from the Philippines to the Himalayas cannot possibly compare his journey with the person traveling from Singapore to the Caribbean. They have two different origins as well as destinations, and so naturally, they will have different experiences in the journey.

In a similar way, you cannot compare your life with that of another because you follow different maps. Your journey will naturally be different from the other. You have a different background and different goals in life; a different personality; a different set of experiences; a different set of values and priorities. 

Hence, if we cannot compare our journey to the journey of others, then it is best to measure your journey against your own map. How well have you followed the “life map” that God has given you? How well did you travel using this map? How faithful were you to the directions indicated in God’s map for you?

Your standard is not how well the other has traveled. Your standard is how well you have traveled using God’s “map” for you.

But how do you know God’s map for you? That’s a whole seminar in itself.

But I have a tip for you: All of God’s maps will have many stopovers but will eventually lead only to one final destination: HEAVEN.

If the map you follow now is leading you away from heaven, then you can be sure that it’s not God’s map for you.

So stop comparing and start living. Focus on your “map”!

YOUR “WHY?”

I heard this story about a greyhound race where the mechanical rabbit which the dogs were chasing suddenly malfunctioned and exploded. What happened next was weird. One dog started chasing its own tail. Another dog ran into a brick wall. The other dogs began to run wildly all over the place. What happened here?

Simple: The dogs lost their reason for the chase. With the rabbit gone, they no longer had any reason to keep running.

We are not so different.

We run after our dreams, our ambitions and aspirations. We tirelessly work hard to to get them. We try hard to make that business venture take off. Or get that promotion. Or achieve that goal. And then, like a thief in the night, they come.

FRUSTRATION. DISAPPOINTMENT. EXASPERATION.

Like a crashing and crushing water fall, it douses your fire. It snuffs out your flame. It reduces the remaining embers of your hope into ashes.

It may have been a promising deal gone bad. Or sharp and hurtful words from your boss. Or an exciting relationship cut short.

For some reason, the fire is gone. And what was once a burning and reachable dream is now a flimsy wish right out of a fairy tale book.

It happened to me recently.

For some reason, I found myself losing my passion to preach. It may have been my grief for my father’s death or some bad turn in my ministry or a struggling prayer time. But one thing for sure: I have grown cold towards my mission.

Believe me, I did what I can to keep the fire burning. But no matter what I did, what was once a blaze was slowly being reduced to a mere flicker.

And then it happened. 

In one of my prayer times, my eyes caught a glimpse of the cross of Christ. I gazed at it with bated breath while my thoughts turned to a timeless truth: Here was a man-God who loved me unconditionally, and was crazy enough to die for someone like me. Not only that, he rescued me from a life of sin and gave me a life of blessing. He brought me out of darkness and took me into His marvelous light.

He is my REASON. He is why I do what I do today. He is why I preach. He is why I serve. He is why I chose this missionary life.

Then I realized the secret of the “greyhound race” is also a secret in life.

We must not lose sight of our “why”. Why do we run? Why do we chase that dream? Why do we work so hard? Why do we give so much?

The hardworking father can look to his children and say: They are my “why”.
The honest government official can look at the poor in the slums and say: They are my “why”.
The sacrificing single mom can look at her only child and say: He is my “why”.
The struggling priest can stand in front of his congregation every Sunday and say in his heart: They are my “why”.

How about you, my friend?

If you want to keep burning for your dream, don’t forget the secret of the “greyhound race”.

Keep your “why” in sight. 

And before you know it, you will realize with unexplained relief: you have won the race of life!

PASSION

My mom is a relatively shy woman. But give her a microphone and musical accompaniment and voila! She will take the stage by storm and revert to her other self, her other identity, the professional singer who once upon a time, in a not so distant past, had a singing tour around Asia. 

That’s what passion does. 

When a person is passionate about something, her heart beats a little faster, inhibition and protocol often set aside, the inconceivable done, and the impossible achieved.

No wonder I do what I do today.

My passion is my wife.

My passion are my children.

My passion is public speaking.

My passion is inspirational writing.

Then I came before God in prayer this morning. He reminded me of my definition of “passion” as described above.

Then I shed a tear when it dawned on me so convincingly…

His PASSION has always been ME!

P.S.

What is true of me is likewise so much true of you, my friend!

“…For he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye…” (Zechariah 2:8)

Growing Up and Growing Old

The other night, my daughter Robelle, in a moment of unguarded sentimentality, cried to me saying, “Papang, I don’t want to grow up.”

“Why?”, I queried.

“Because that would mean you and Mama growing old.”, she replied.

I embraced her and whispered, “That’s life, anak. Children grow up. Parents grow old. What matters most is that we live life to the full while we are still here.”

Somebody once said that what matters more is not how many years you have in your life but how much life you have in your years.

After I prayed over her, Robelle went to sleep peacefully with a smile on her face…in my arms.