Whenever we talk of great opportunities or a big break, we feel like it can only happen for a selected few. We look at what others have and say, “Ang swerte nila.” May it be a promotion, a provision for your dream house, an award, a happy marriage, a dream job, etc. etc., we tend to think that it is beyond our reach and it can only be achieved elsewhere.
We get easily distracted with our news feed on FB or posts from Instagram or other social media sites of others, and may feel depressed or envious. This paralyzes us from moving and cultivating what has already been given to us. We end up missing out on the joys and treasures of today while looking to our left and our right comparing ourselves to others.
The truth is, you already have what you need to fulfill your destiny.
And this same God who takes care of me will supply ALL YOUR NEEDS from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. – Phil 4:19 (NLT)
That big break, provision, pambihirang pagkakataon is not impossible to achieve. All the things necessary to reach your destiny has been provided for. The question is, will you use it? Are you cultivating it? Add faith, patience, humility and PERSEVERANCE in the equation to reach it. You can walk humbly but victoriously because you know that your confidence is in God who gives you strength. You acknowledge that it is He who supplied you with what you need.
When God made you, He already provided what you needed to do what you are called to do. He even said that we are to be a blessing to others. That means it is expected of us to be living on a surplus. We do not live just to survive but we live to overflow to become a blessing to others. This is not just about money, but in every aspect of our lives.
We are like a seed that is planted and burried deeply on the ground. Inside that seed is all the potential and the capabilities it needs to grow and flourish and be a blessing as it bears fruit.
When the seed is planted, it still doesn’t have roots, but inside that seed is a provision for it to grow its roots. There just needs to be a breaking of that shell. It has to die and be burried first. It has to be broken to have roots. Just like us, we need to die on our selfishness. Our pride and arrogance needs to be broken and be chipped away. As our character is being built up, and as we cultivate our talents, skills, relationships, standing in the Word of God, we will have roots and we won’t easily be swayed or tumble down when a storm hits us. Even if we couldn’t see the roots, the time will surely come when that seed will grow, the roots grounded deep, and in its season the entire tree will bear fruit.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)
What do you have that God has given you? List it down. Talents? Skills? Relationships?
What are you doing to cultivate or nurture your talents and skills?
Sharing with you a song I wrote. I will truly appreciate if you share it also Thanks!
New year. New Plans. I know it’s good to be expectant, but how will you respond if your plans didn’t push through this year?
2016 taught me a simple yet challenging lesson – TRUST GOD.
This maybe a cliché statement but it’s actually sensible. Let me share with you my 2016 story.
I wrote and prayed for my plans for that year and they were all set!
The plan was simple enough: I would have a book tour to promote my very first book entitled, “WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?” and a major concert.
I met with a marketing consultant who would help me promote my book and the strategy was all set in place. At the beginning of the year, my manager tita Angeli Pangilinan – Valenciano also spoke with me about plans for me to have a concert with two of my favourite contemporary singer-songwriters. It would be a follow-up to the favorable response of our production number from my concert 20th-anniversary concert in 2015 (ACEL@20).
Just two solid and exciting plans for the year, but both of them didn’t push through.
Who would have thought that I’ll get pregnant in 2016?
Pregnancy was not within my plan, but it happened. It was a sensitive pregnancy that made me decide not to push through with the book tour.
Yet who would have thought that the concert idea would push-through … just without me? Turns out, the idea was never original in the first place. Somebody else had thought of that exact same idea.
As someone with my personality who wants everything to happen the way I planned it, I could have chosen to well-up in my disappointment.. and to be honest, I was really bummed out.
It is never easy to be side-lined.
But choosing to look at the whole situation in a different perspective, looking at it through the lens of God’s nature, which is love, wisdom, and perfection.. I end up in awe! Truly, HE is all-knowing! A good Father who always acts in love.
GOD’S PLANS ARE GREATER
I didn’t plan to be pregnant in 2016. Compared to my small and short-term career plans, God has given me this greater opportunity and privilege to build, not a small career, but a whole new generation through my sons.
What an amazing gift to be entrusted with life.
My husband and I are given the privilege to nurture, mold, and train a whole new generation! It is unbelievable. Wherever God will take my sons, I am grateful that God has entrusted me to prepare, chasten, stretch, and through the years, release my children to their God-given destiny.
GOD’S WAYS ARE GREATER
Considering I’m doing homeschool with my kids, I had a simple 5-5-5 plan.
I was really just planning to have a small book event to some 5 campuses, 5 coffee shops, and 5 churches… with audience numbers of no more than a couple of hundred. But looking back to 2016, I am still so truly grateful for the invitation to a number of conferences (I never knew existed or would take place).
I thank God for the new friends I have made in 2016 with the privilege and opportunity to share God’s message through my simple stories and simple songs to, literally, thousands of young people across the Philippines. I am still so blown away with that fact.
You know me, and I’m not big with numbers. The aim was never even to “sell” my books. So at the tail-end of the year when I recapped the invitations I received, and realized how many people I was actually standing in front of, my jaw just dropped.
4000! – National Youth Congress (Alliance Youth) held at Gen San with 4,000 youth participants who came from different parts of our country. The bonus is, my books that I brought with me were sold out.
3000! – Negros Island Youth Convergence held at SMX Bacolod with 2000-3000 youth participants from Visayas.
1000 – 2000 – Love Goals Conference held in Taytay, and Kwentong Midweek Break at His Life Pampanga
800! – Worship Festival held at Union Church Manila with participants from multiple church denominations in Metro Manila
Now you can see how His way is sooo much better than my silly 5-5-5 plan
* I didn’t even have to plan it. I just had to show up and speak (and sing)!
* Disclaimer: This really is never about the numbers. Never was. Never will be. I’m just sharing this to explain that God’s ways are always GREATER!
GOD’S TIME FRAME IS DIFFERENT THAN OURS
Who would have thought, that a musical project I helped work on some ten years ago, would win “Best Musical Scoring” at the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival!!!
It was ten yars ago, I forget exactly when, that I was asked to do the musical scoring for the animated movie, SAVING SALLY.
It was my first time to do that kind of thing, but I accepted the challenge and worked on a couple of compositions for the movie with my little CASIO piano.
I submitted my work but didn’t hear back. Several years went by, I heard there were other musicians who took over the project. I actually thought they wouldn’t use the original music that I worked on, perhaps the quality wasn’t great or maybe the files were lost or something. They had to re-shoot the whole movie as well…. And so this year was such a beautiful surprise!
They finally finished the movie and it was given a slot at the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival. The best part of it all, was that I could hear parts of the same music that I’d worked on!!!
The award given to SAVING SALLY for “Best Musical Scoring” for the year’s MMFF was such a bonus. It also taught me the value of collaboration and hats off to Pablo Pico, Diego Mapa, Gupit Binata X and Mikey Amistoso for making the music sound so much better in the finale.
Another lesson I got from this was that “we are all just part of a bigger picture”. I’m only one of the many musical contributors in this movie, but together with the work of others, it resulted to a beautiful masterpiece.
OUR STORY IS JUST PART OF A BIGGER STORY
Just like my experience as one of the contributors in the movie SAVING SALLY, each one of us has been given a part to play to complete a bigger picture.
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21
God sees the bigger picture and His plans works for HIS purposes. He is the author of life. It is HIS story and not ours.
And you know what? Even if all those wonderful, unexpected invitations did not happen and I ended up sitting at home all day with my baby in my belly, I have learned to TRUST GOD… and I know that it’s never about me.
So here we are looking forward to 2017 and the new year.
The next time you feel bummed out that your plans didn’t push through, we know that in “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
“Pag-Ibig, ‘pag nasok sa puso nino man, hahamakin ang lahat masunod ka lamang.” -#floranteatlaura
Here are some of my notes and things to ponder that I shared from the #lovegoals conference last week.
Madami na tayong nadale ng pag-ibig…kala mo totoo pero pag nawala na ang kilig nawala na rin sya. I learned the hardway, and I’m so grateful that God has saved me from a cycle of heartaches due to wrong mindset about love.
1. Know God’s Word about love
God is the author of Love and that’s why it is important to know what He says about Love. Love goes beyond feelings. Love is laying down your life for that person. (John 15:13)
Are you ready to lay down your life for that person? Will you think of his/her best interest first before yours? o iniisip mo lang what you can get more than what you can give?
2. Assess yourself and your heart.
Are you at the right season of your life to enter into a relationship? You can give true love than demand love when you are connected to the author of love (Jesus) kasi puno ka ng pag-ibig. This will give you the strength to sacrificially love. If you are still a student, focus on your studies kasi yun ang season mo. Pag puberty stage grabe umatake ang hormones kaya the more you need to guard yourself, focus on God and your studies. Enjoy your friendships and your season of being single. Have a vision. Have a direction sa buhay mo. Love is not a game. The goal of entering a relationship is always marriage.
3. Look beyond his/ her features or appearance.
Is he the man you see that you will submit to in terms of leadership in the home? Will he be a great father to your children? How does he treat women, children and elderly? You will know a lot about the person’s character in how they relate with other people. For the guys, will you truly love that woman kung tumaba na sya o tumanda na? Will she be a good mother to your children? How does she relate with other people? Can you see yourself growing old with her?
Gaano man ka gwapo or kaganda nya, pumapangit din pag pangit ugali
If I can just have a promotion, then I wouldn’t struggle with my debts. If I can just be more beautiful, then maybe my “one” would take notice of me. If I can just.. (insert your statement) .. then all our problems would be solved. Many of us have this mindset. But let’s see what we can learn from the story of The Bleeding Woman.
A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
Mark 5:25-29 (NLT)
Here’s a woman who has done everything and spent all that she had to be well, but nothing happened.
Are you in that same hopeless situation? You’ve exhausted all that you have and all that you know, but nothing seemed to work.
In verse 28, the woman kept saying, “If I can just touch his robe”, I shall be restored to health.
She put her hope in Jesus. She pressed on to touch Jesus despite of the great crowd gathered around Jesus. She knew that she is not allowed to touch anyone due to her state. A woman who has her menstrual period is considered ceremonially unclean, and is not allowed to touch anyone. And so this woman has been isolated and marked as unclean for 12 years because of her condition. But she knew that Jesus is her only hope. In faith she drew nearer to Jesus and touched him. Immediately, she was healed.
How about you? Where do you put your hope? When everything fails, where do you run to?
We may not be bleeding literally like that woman, but the sins in our lives cause this continuous bleeding in our souls. All of us need to be healed by Jesus. How desperate are you to be healed and to be free from the cycle of sin in your life? Through Him, we can be healed.
If there’s an obstacle that hinders you from drawing near to Jesus, will you muster all your strength to come near Him? Will you let go of all those functional messiahs in your life where you put all your hopes?
May we learn from the bleeding woman. May all of us see and realize that Jesus is The Hope that we need.
Let’s draw near to Jesus and touch Him.
Jesus is moved not by need but by faith.
He is pleased with your faith.
Are you in suffering or in pain? Does your situation seem hopeless? Let Jesus help you.
Kaharian Mo (Your Kingdom) – I wrote this song based on the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:10 that says, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”
I contemplated on these words. What does it really mean to say, “Thy Kingdom come and Thy will be done”?
When we think about the word “Kingdom”, we see an image of a king, a castle, and his subjects. During the time of Jesus, the Jews wanted him to be an earthly king, but Jesus said that his kingdom is not of this world. The Jews didn’t understand that an earthly king wouldn’t be able to save their nation.
You see, Jesus was not just thinking about one nation. Jesus was thinking about all of us. He came to save the whole world. Jesus was not just thinking about temporary relief of oppression, but Jesus was thinking about our eternal salvation. God knows that even the most wise and the most good hearted king couldn’t sustain and produce a peaceful, joyful, grateful, loving society or nation. This is because we are all tainted with sin. It will need a savior to take away all our sins to save us. The savior had to take the punishment of sin to free us from its power. The savior needed to shed His blood on the cross as a ransom for us all, for without the shedding of the blood, there will be no forgiveness of sins. If we allow the savior of the world to be King of our hearts, then His kingdom has come upon us. His rulership of our hearts will transform us internally and its fruit will manifest externally. It is not religion, not traditions and rituals, nor rules and good advice that can transform and save us, but only the KINGSHIP (LORDSHIP) of Jesus in our lives.
We all need Jesus, the Savior King!
JESUS Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:6-11
Here’s the lyrics of my song KAHARIAN MO
Diyos ng Pag-ibig
Hari ng mga hari
Lumikha ng langit at lupa
Sa Iyong kamay ako’y tinadhanaBumaba sa lupa
Inako ang aking sala
Nang dahil sa pag-ibig
Ako ngayon ay malayaAng kaharian mo ang nais ko
Dito sa lupa para nang sa langit
Ang kalooban mo ang nais ko
Maghari ka sa aking pusoNgayon ako’y Iyo
Ang kaharian mo’y dadalhin ko
Saan man mapunta
Pag-ibig mo ang siyang sigaw
Sa buhay ko
Pag-ibig at kapatawaran
Buhay na pinagpala,
Kagalakan, kalayaan at
Ang kaharian mo ang nais ko
Dito sa lupa para nang sa langit
Ang kalooban mo ang nais ko
Maghari ka sa aking puso
Maghari ka sa aking puso
Accusations can come to all of us and need not be something grand like murder, theft, etc., it can be something like, being accused of gossiping, or being proud, vain or irresponsible etc. How would you feel if you were misjudged? That would certainly make you feel either sad or angry. It’s unfair and it’s unjust. It’s funny that we can be so defensive when people misinterpret or misjudge us, but most of the time, we hurl accusations at people we know. These accusations are in our heads, and we believe it to be true even if they have not been proven. In our hearts and in our minds, we have already judged the person. In our own judgement, we exclude that person and put a big “x” mark on his/her face.
What if the accusation were true? How will you react if you – the offender – have been forgiven?
This is what happened to the woman who was caught in adultery. The pharisees and the scribes brought her to Jesus in the middle of the temple court, and put the case before him.
They said to Jesus in John 8: 4-10 “Teacher this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The Law of Moses commands us that such women shall be stoned to death. But what do you say?” Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. When they persisted with their question, Jesus raised himself up and said, ” Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger. And then they began leaving, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman. When Jesus raised himself up, he said to her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?” She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more.”
In this story, the woman was found guilty, for she was caught in the very act of adultery. In their law, it is legal to stone such a woman to death. But what happened? Jesus extended the grace of God towards her though she deserved death. Jesus’ grace saved her and gave her a second chance.
Jesus sees our hearts. All of us are utterly sinful, and that’s why He came.
Point 1. Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save the world.
This doesn’t mean that he came to abolish the law, but he actually came to fulfill the law.
Jesus was wrongly accused. He did not do anything wrong, yet He took all our accusations, all our guilt and shame. He took that stone that should be thrown to us — death that we deserve because of our sin. He took all of it so we can be free and be justified from the punishment that is rightfully ours.
Point 2. The Cross is the picture of Justice and Grace.
This holy week as we remember the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection, let us remember that Jesus fulfilled the law and justice of God by taking all our sins and putting it on Himself. The law can’t save us. It just shows how depraved we all are. It shows our need for a savior. The wrath of God towards sin was seen on the cross. Jesus had to suffer and endure the excruciating pain of being flogged, scourged and nailed to the cross. The cross is also a picture of His grace for He died on our behalf and paid the penalty of our sins. But it didn’t end there, for Jesus rose again! He defeated death. Death couldn’t hold him down for He is sinless.
Point 3. Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can save us – the Lamb of God – the ultimate sacrifice that can take away the sins of the world and its power (death, apathy, poverty, sickness, curse, unfaithfulness, pride, promiscuity, greed, unforgiveness, selfishness, drunkenness, addictions, perversion etc. ) Now, whoever believes in him will have eternal life. A life of knowing Him, a life of love, peace, joy, forgiveness, gratefulness, contenment – a full life. Free and enabled to live a life that would honor God.
A woman with an unpleasant past came to Jesus carrying a bottle of an expensive perfume. And standing behind Jesus at his feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet and anointed them with the perfume…it was probably the most precious thing she had.
The Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw it, he said to himself, if this Man were a prophet, He would surely know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him.
But Jesus replied with an illustration about a certain lender of money who had two debtors. They had no means of paying the lender, but the lender forgave them both. Jesus pointed out that the one who owed a bigger amount will love the lender more. Jesus said that the woman’s sins are forgiven because she has loved much. (v.47) But he who is forgiven little loves little.
When I think about how God loves me despite of my stubbornness, all I can do is love him back and offer my life. He forgave all the wrong things I did, He took my sin, my shame, my curse, and the punishment that is for me, through His death on the cross so that I can have life and true freedom. My heart is filled with gratefulness that leads me to kneel down, and worship Him. That’s what happened to that woman. When she encountered Jesus, she bowed down, wept and worshipped Him.
Do you remember that time when you first received Jesus in your life?
The reason I lift up my hands whenever I sing songs of praise and worship in church, the reason I laugh and cry (at the same time) sometimes during worship, the reason why I was able to leave my previous band at the peek of my career, and the reason why I can obey and trust God even in the road of the unknown, is all because I’ve encountered Him, His love and His grace.
When we look to the cross and come to the understanding of what the gospel is, the result is a heart filled with joy and thankfulness, empowered to follow and obey Him. May our lives be like that perfume that released a pleasant aroma. May Jesus be honored and glorified through our lives.
A woman is not an object nor a toy but a precious, beautiful human being. Women need to know their value and their true worth. Not knowing it will get us into trouble. Ladies, don’t believe in the deception that you can find your true worth through wrong relationships, material possessions, money, shoes, bags, brands, manipulation, power (over men) or any other way the world will try to affirm your worth. You don’t even need to show much of your skin andyour curves just to shout out you are beautiful and worthy of love. Because you are already beautiful.
Ladies, you are valuable. You are a woman—made in the image and likeness of God. Any violation, abuse, and mistreat- ment of who you are physically and emotionally is like marring the image of God Himself.
Know who you belong to—you belong to Christ. This truth would then help you have healthy, fruitful, and meaningful relationships, and would even lead you to that man who would value you the same way how God values you.
We are made priceless because the blood of Jesus was spilled on the cross to pay for our redemption. Because we have been redeemed by Christ, our bodies are not our own. Our bodies belong to the Lord.
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
(Excerpt from the book: Who Would Have Thought? by Acel)
With all the many things that we need to do daily, it seems like 24 hours is not enough. If you’re a mom, definitely you can relate with me. From taking care of the household, to taking care of the kids, and finding your own time to do your own work…being a mother and a wife is really challenging.
We can learn from the story of Mary and Martha, and what Jesus said about that ONE thing that is needed..
verse 41-42 But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.
Martha is anxious and troubled about many things, but only ONE thing is needed and Mary chose the better one.
To work is not wrong. Work is a blessing, and we need to work to provide for our needs and to bless others. Serving others is not wrong as well. In fact, the Bible says that we have to use our talents to serve others, but in this text, Jesus commended Mary for choosing the better one – the one thing that is needed. And what is that thing that Mary chose? It says in the verse that, Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.
That one thing that should be our top priority is our time with Jesus – reading His word and communing with Him.
Do you still listen to Jesus? Or are you so distracted with the busyness of your day to day schedule, busy working for your family, serving others, going to church, and doing all kinds of ministry? Again, doing all of these things are not wrong, but if we neglect our time to commune with the Lord, then we are missing the most important thing in this life and the whole point of why we are doing what we’re doing. Start the day reading His Word and worshipping Him, I’m sure you’ll be refreshed and empowered to do greater things in His name.
Being busy is different from being fruitful. I believe that when we prioritize our time to listen to Jesus, then our schedules and our workload will be meaningful and would leave a greater impact to the people around us.
Let us not allow our busyness to drown the voice of Jesus. Let us not allow distractions to keep us away from that one thing – the only thing that we needevery day – our fellowship with Jesus, the living Word.
The standard that we follow sets the direction of our lives. Emotions are erratic and that is why it is important to have a standard in how we want to live our lives.
What standard are you following? Consciously or subconsciously, the law of exposure says that what we read, listen, watch and the ideals of who we hang out with, influence our standards and our manner of living.
In Romans 12:1-2, it says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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.”
As a follower of Christ, I decide to pattern my life with God’s Word. I know it will not be easy, but with His grace, He will enable me to truly live it.
Quote from the book: Who Would Have Thought? Finding Identity, Love, and Purpose in Unexpected Moments by Acel Bisa van Ommen
Photo by ClaraJPhotography
Lay out by Dro Pagado