Do The Things We Do Make Us Holy?

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During ‘Holy Week’, most of our kababayans would use this time to remember what Jesus did on the cross. Most would feel compelled to do religious acts like going to distant churches on foot, praying lofty prayers, and some would even go to the extreme of crucifying themselves. Some do this to make amends for their sins, clearing the guilt that is in their hearts. Others do some of these religious acts as “panata”- a promise to God in return for a favor.

But would all of these religious acts make us holy and clean? What does being ‘holy’ mean anyway?

Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules and traditions they have been taught.

I believe that most people who do religious acts and rituals are sincere and that they want to love God. But the amazing thing about our God is that He was the one who made a way to reach us.  He already paid it full. The debt is paid.  He is actually hurting to see us hurting ourselves.  We don’t need to hurt ourselves, or crucify ourselves literally – Jesus already did it for us.

The sad fact is that after this holy week, most of us would go to our old ways unchanged by the truth and power of the cross. What a tragic thing it would be if we just know the story of the cross, yet fail to understand and experience the power of it.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

So what is the message of the cross that makes it powerful?

1. The cross says that all of us have sinned and all of us deserve the punishment of death- eternal separation from God. Without the shedding of the blood there is no forgiveness of sin. (Romans 3:23, Hebrews 9:22)

2. The cross says that God loves you so much and that he is willing to take the punishment that we deserve by becoming man and laying upon him all our iniquities, so that we can be forgiven.  (Isaiah 53:5)

3. The cross says that your debt has been paid in full. (John 19:30, Revelation 5:4,9)

4. The cross says that you are holy and clean because of the blood that covered your sin. (1 John 1:7)

5. The cross says that you are no longer under a curse. You are now blessed. (Galatians 3:13)

6. The cross says that by his wounds, we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

7. The cross says that you are free from the power of sin, and now have the power to live a life that would honor God. (Romans 7:7, Romans 8:2)

8. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus says that death has been defeated and you can now have eternal life in Him. (Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 15:57, Revelation 1:18)

9. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is shouting a message that we now have HOPE! And that we can start anew. We have a chance of truly living and not just existing. We can have a RIGHT START. (Romans 5:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

10. The cross says that we don’t have to do ‘holy’ and religious acts to be holy.. But because of the death and the resurrection of Jesus, we Become ‘holy’ – set apart for God’s purpose. And because we are ‘holy’, we naturally would do acts that would honor God.  (1Peter 2:9, 1Peter 1:16)

I know there is more to this list, but this blog would be long if I write all of it.  But the end result of the power of the cross is a changed life. This loving kindness, unconditional and powerful love displayed on the cross leads us to repentance.

My prayer is that after the holy week, we can experience the power of the cross resulting to a life that shouts glory and honor to his name.

Read my other blog entitled “It is done!

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Climbing your mountains

Acel on horseback

This was me in Nepal in 2006 climbing the Himalayan mountains. First time on a Tibetan horse.

It’s so easy to say that we love God and that we have faith in Him when everything is great. But what if you’re going through a hard time, and you don’t have a single clue what your future will be like.  All you have is God’s word.  Will that be enough to sustain you?

Abraham and Isaac

When Abraham went up the mountain to offer Isaac as sacrifice. The angel stopped him. God tested his faith. Read Genesis 22

I think it’s during the tough times and difficult times in our lives that we can truly assess our hearts if we really have put all our trust in Him. It is when things do not happen the way we planned it, and when we don’t even understand why we have to go through it. It is during hardships and pain that our faith in God is shown. Will we  keep on believing in Him and his promises even if we don’t see it coming to pass? That instead of asking God “why?” we resolved to pray for strength to go through the trying times, continuously loving God, walking in him and obeying him despite of it all.

It is during those times of sadness, that we decide to focus on the joy of His salvation; It is during the times of need that we confess that we are content knowing that God is our portion forever. It is when dreams are shattered in front of us, but we keep on moving and sowing – being faithful to what is in our hands. It is when our own desires seem unreachable while we see other people succeed in reaching their desires, yet we rejoice and celebrate with their success. It is during those times when all our service and hard work were not appreciated, still we continue to serve and give our all wholeheartedly. It is when people we love betray us and forget us, but we choose to pray for them and continue to serve them when they come to us for help. It is when we give all of our hearts and pour out everything we have, and yet it is still not good enough for others, but we continue to believe and declare that all things work together for good to those who love God and called according to his purpose.. It is when we decide to walk and climb that mountain with love while bleeding –this is when we can truly say we have faith.

And in the end, we have that assurance that God will take us to the other side complete and whole, knowing that He is and was with us all throughout our journey. He is the goal.  It is about Him. He is our destination – the author and perfecter of our faith.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (NIV)

Hebrews 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain

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It is Done!

I want to share with you the script I wrote to a video for the opening of the “Hello To Heaven” night of worship two years ago. It summarizes who God is, and how much He loves you :) Thanks again to my friend Onin Pilotin for putting this video together. Watch it on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coBI1v_1KDQ

AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

In the beginning the earth was formless and empty
darkness covered the deep waters and the spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters
Then God said, “Let there be light.” and there was light*

This is the God who created the heavens and the Earth
The God who created more than 350 billion galaxies- the star breather.*

 He is the same God who created the detailed and intricate complexities of our DNA. 

A God who planned your existence. A God who knows what you think and what’s in your heart.  

Yet most of the time we forget how great, all-knowing, holy, powerful and glorious He is. With all the troubles that we face, the pain and the hardships we have experienced, and the dissatisfaction of life due to the things we don’t have – we forget the goodness of God and His plan.

He is the word that became flesh and dwelt among us * The God who left the comforts of His throne to become man. 

The flesh who was crucified to pay the penalty of our sins, sacrificed Himself to wash away our sins and to defeat death so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life *

To all who believe in Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God 

In Him, we become a new creation *
Joy, peace, love, wisdom, freedom now becomes available
Strength in times of weakness, victory over hardships, and a selfless heart to a cold world
Power through the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus to destroy the works of the enemy
and to do the works of the Kingdom

As we are ought to pray to our Abba Father, our Papa ..
May His Kingdom come and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

(*Reference: Genesis 1:1-3, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, John 1:14, John 3:16, John 1:12, 2 Cor 5:17)

Here in the Philippines, it is common for us to see so many people walking from distant places to different churches during the ‘Holy Week’. Some would even go to the extreme of crucifying themselves, carrying the cross or hurting themselves just to make amends for their sins.   Some would say they do this as “panata” – a promise that they made to God in return for a favor.

Growing up I would consider all of these as noble, until I encountered the gospel — the good news that Jesus came so that He can pay the penalty of our sins.  A son of God who became man to die and said, “it is done”.  The Bible says that His death on the cross was sufficient to pay all of our sins.  He became sin so we can become His righteousness.  After 3 days he rose again – He defeated death for us.  He now offers forgiveness and salvation for those who will turn to Him and receive Him as Lord and Savior.

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God did all of those because of His LOVE.  He wants to walk with us and live in us.  He wants to offer us a life that is free from sin and its power. He wants to give us joy, peace and freedom so that we can also freely give love to the people around us.

Knowing this truth, how do you think God would feel if we reject His sacrifice by being religious?

I believe that most people who do religious acts and rituals are sincere, and that they want to love God. But the amazing thing about our God is that He was the one who made a way to reach us.  He already paid it full. The debt is paid.  He is actually hurting to see us hurting ourselves.  We don’t need to hurt ourselves, or crucify ourselves literally – Jesus already did it for us. All we have to do is love him, by living a life that would honor Him.  All that He requires us to do is to love Him with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength; and to love others.  Loving Him is shown in our obedience to Him. He desire an obedient heart more than our sacrifice.

How we live our lives is affected by our view of who God is. Does God really need us to bargain with him so that he can bless us? Is he a kind of God that delights seeing us hurt ourselves? Isn’t his sacrifice on the cross enough to show how much He loves us?

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Waiting for Love (Part 2)

Here’s the second installment of my talk from LOVESTRUCK CONVERGENCE last February 15, 2014

I had a privilege to share my thoughts about “Waiting for Love” in that conference.  The first point that I discussed previous to this blog was this:   Waiting is an act of LOVE

20140215_14123120140215_134400Now here is the second part:

2. Waiting is an act of FAITH

I believe fear is one of the reasons why it’s hard to wait on God when it comes to having a relationship.  We become fearful when we don’t know what’s ahead of us. We have a hard time believing that there is something better coming for us.

Hebrews 11:1    Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Waiting in faith doesn’t mean you just sit around and do nothing. But it’s about being faithful where you are now, secured in knowing that your future is in God’s hands.

In a musical sheet, you would find a musical rest symbol that shows an interval of silence. If you are a musician, that means you have to stop playing your musical instrument.  Each rest symbol corresponds with a particular note value, and each rest symbol corresponds to a particular duration or length of rest.  This means that the musician have to be counting and reading the notes while waiting for his turn. He has to be watchful in order to know his turn to play the instrument again.

 rest

Waiting means being watchful. Being watchful means getting ready for something.

Are we preparing to enter that new season of our lives?

Know what season you are in now

My husband and I were invited to an engagement party that was held in a very fancy French restaurant.  It was my first time to experience that kind of a sit-down classy 7-course French cuisine dinner.  Every change of plate, makes me excited to see what’s next and how it would taste.  The presentation was amazing.  The serving looks small, yet when you taste it, it’s so rich.  Now imagine if all the food was put in my plate together with the salad, soup and dessert.  The taste would be different, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy every dish. I would also end up in the toilet.

The point is, let’s savor the season we are in because everything is beautiful in God’s time.

If you are still studying, let’s be honest and ask ourselves:  Is it wise to enter into a relationship now? Am I ready for a long time commitment at this time?  Is this relationship robbing both of us the season of growing and maturing through making more friends, and learning from more people? Is this relationship a distraction to my studies?

In every season, God reveals something new to us.  I hope you won’t skip your season, rather embrace it and enjoy it.

When we go ahead of God, we end up delaying what He wants to do in our lives.

To all the young professionals who are entering that season of being in a relationship:  What should be our attitude while waiting?

Are we going to be like the Israelites who were grumbling and complaining on their way to the promise land?

( Exodus 14-17)  (Exodus 32 – they made an idol because Moses was taking so long in coming down from the mountain)

Because of their attitude and lack of faith, the few days of journey from Egypt to the promise land took the Israelites 40 years to travel.

There’s another story in the Bible that displayed a different kind of attitude.  Rebekah who was single and a virgin was just being faithful in doing what she was supposed to do when she was led to meet her husband. (Genesis 24)  She drew water from the well and even served Abraham’s servant by drawing water for his camels as well. She was busy doing her work and serving, not realizing that God has a surprise waiting for her.  By being at the right place at the right time, God has led her to her future husband through Abraham’s servant.

Rebekah was not busy looking for a husband. She displayed a woman who is secure and has a life.  She was faithfully working and serving, not realizing that God will make her into a great nation through Isaac.

The intention of an exclusive relationship is marriage.  Outside that intention, the relationship will lead to fear, mistrust, and lust. We settle for something that is less than what God has for us, when we are just focused on filling our own needs. We are actually setting ourselves to more heart breaks when we enter a relationship without a commitment.

Isaiah 1:19  If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;

God wants to bless us.  He gave us wisdom and His word to guide us in everything. He gave us some parameters and boundaries not because he is power tripping, but because he loves us.

1 Corinthians 2:9

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–

 

If you believe that God loves you, then you can trust Him to move in that area of your life?

All of us get hungry, but if we try to fill ourselves with what does not satisfy, like relationships, money, fame, significance, then we will only end up frustrated.  Those things cannot truly satisfy us.  It is only in Jesus we can be filled and be satisfied.  When we have Jesus to fill us, then we can give true love to others.  We can only give what we have received.

 Don’t settle for junk foods. Aim for the true bread of life and the fountain of life, which is Jesus.

 

Isaiah 55: 1- 2 Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Do you want what God wants for you?

He is inviting you to come to Him. :)

Colossians 2:10      .. and in Christ you have been brought to fullness

 

YOU CAN WAIT BECAUSE YOU ARE ALREADY COMPLETE IN CHRIST

 

Here is the link of a video that captured the songs I shared in my talk during the LOVESTRUCK CONVERGENCE at Cuneta Astrodome last February 15, 2014.

 

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Liliwanag ka!

It started with a cry in our hearts .. conceived in prayers and was birthed in God’s grace, with people committed to love and serve the needy.

Naniniwala ako na tayo ay pwedeng lumiwanag, kung ibabahagi natin kung ano ang nasa ating mga kamay, at ito ay ibigay sa mga nangangailangan.  Tayong lahat ay may kapasidad na magbigay ng pag-asa sa isang nilalang, lalong lalo na kung tayo ay may Panginoon na buhay sa ating mga puso.  Ito ang nangyari kung bakit nabuo naming magkakaibigan ang organisasyong “Right Start”. Nais naming magbigay ng oportunidad sa mga batang walang gumgabay at di alam kung pano magsimula at maging masaya bilang isang bata. 

Right Start is a non profit organization that helps underprivileged Filipino children (4-14 years old) have a right start in life. We provide a learning environment – a safe place where they can be nurtured, fed, taught different skills, molded to have good moral values, and enjoy being a kid. We provide them opportunities that would develop their God-given talents, to be creative and productive.

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Arlene Sy, me, Sale Mallari, Anabel Yu ( Founders of Right Start)

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With Right Start Board of Directors and volunteers .( Atty. Gladys Palarca, Kat Lo, Our Finance Officer-Rachel Go, Our chairman- Larry Uy :) , Dr. Karren Carnero, Natalie Yip, Rizza Ko)

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Our dedicated staff: Pauline, Jhenn, Clara, ate Ruby, Geraldine

We believe that it is important to reach out to children during their formative years, so they can grow up trained to be a responsible, productive, respectful individual. Specially in an environment of lack, children are the most helpless and are of greater risk of different kinds of abuse. Right Start acts to protect the rights of a child.

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our dedicated volunteer Gina Sobrevega playing with kids using educational toys that would ignite the child’s creativity

 

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Our japanese volunteer, Yuto teaching the kids how to play drums

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Rachel is one of our volunteers. Despite of her busy schedule, she would still allot a time to volunteer at Right Start.

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We are grateful with God’s faithfulness for the 3 fruitful years He has given us.

Last Saturday (February 22, 2014) we celebrated our anniversary with a benefit dinner.  Our partners, future partners, friends, family, and volunteers came to celebrate with us.

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Ate Elsie, John and Cong (our staff from Right Start CDO) doing an acapella number

Our friend Maricar Reyes who is also a volunteer of Right Start hosted the event together with a very dear friend and partner of our organization – Pastor Dennis Sy.

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During dinner, our  junior kids from Right Start did an amazing dance number with the song “We Are” by Kari Jobe.  Then I sang my song “Liliwanag” while our older kids (9-13 yr old) interpreted it with a powerful dance performance.

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One of our partners, Coney Reyes inspired us with her talk about being rich in giving.  We are all called to be channels of blessings.

We are called to lead people to Christ, and as we help them and love them unconditionally, they’ll meet Christ in us even if we haven’t preached the gospel to them.

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“Kung gutom ang isang tao, hindi niya maiintindihan kung ano ang sinasabi mo” -Coney Reyes sharing about RICH GENEROSITY.

We would like to thank all our friends, our partners, our staff, and the volunteers who passionately give their time to love the children of Right Start. It really takes a village to raise up a child.

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All of us need each other so we can help  more people in need. Children needs to be nurtured and trained in the way they should go. Kailangan natin ang bawa’t isa. Magtulungan tayo!

Build with us! Pray for us. Give.Volunteer. Tell people about us.

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Transformed life will impact a family.. a community… a nation.

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Jesus said, “ Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” – Mark 9:37

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Salamat!

To know more about Right Start: www.rightstart.ph

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our staff and some volunteers…sila talaga ang tunay na mga super heroes ng Right Start

 

Here is the link of the music video of  Liliwanag:

 

ringback tone poster

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Waiting (Part 1)

I have two friends who used to be a chef of a restaurant, and I am amazed how they can cook a simple dish into something grand.  Unlike me who just cook to eat, a chef loves everything about food and cooking.  They are willing to wait for the right time until the meat and the ingredients are mixed and cooked into perfection.  They know the right way to cook a particular dish, with the right amount of ingredients.

Unlike a hungry person who just wants to eat, a chef is willing to wait for the food to be cooked right, and presented right.  He is willing to wait, not only because it will cost him his job :) hehe but because he LOVES everything about it. From the process to the right ingredients, the right time, to the exact moment to actually taste and enjoy it.

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1.  Waiting is an act of LOVE

It may sound weird that I’m using this as an illustration about love and waiting, but I think the principle behind this illustration can picture how we are with regards to love and waiting.

I believe all of us are hungry.  We are all hungry for love, affection, affirmation, and significance.  This hunger urges us to look for something and someone to fill it.

I used to be so hungry for this, and so I looked for relationship to fill me and satisfy me.

I was like the hungry person who just cooked the food so I can eat it. Without even knowing what love really is, I jumped from one relationship to another to fill that void in me.  I end up more empty, broken and hungry.

Unlike the chef, I didn’t wait for the right time to enter into an exclusive relationship.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  -   1Corinthians 13:4-7

If waiting is LOVE, then how does LOVE look like?

In 1 John 4:8 (NIV) , it says there that God is love.

       Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

And how did God showed what love is?

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. – 1 John 3:16 (NIV)

 Love is therefore, dying to self, thinking and doing what is best for the other person.

If we say that we love the person, then we should think of what’s best for him and her.  Love is not a game.  It involves everything about you and the other person – your emotions, your mind, your body, your spirit, your time, your dreams, and even your future offspring and the generation after you.  We shouldn’t take it lightly. Everything we do today will affect our future. I’m sure all of us wouldn’t like to carry a baggage of mistrust, guilt, shame, images of the past relationships, and unfaithfulness in our marriage.

We check our hearts and honestly ask ourselves:  Am I ready to enter into a relationship? Can I truly commit myself to love this person for the rest of my life? Is this the right time for him/her to be in a relationship? Will this relationship be a blessing to us and to the people around us? Will this honor God?

WAITING is not just about abstaining the act of sex.  You can still be impure even if you are not doing it.

You may not be doing the actual act of pre marital sex but God looks at our hearts.  Our motives and intentions are the things that make something impure even if it looks good from the external.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

God has showed us what true love is.  And as we love others as He loved us, we will always be thinking of what is best for the other person.

*  WE CAN WAIT BECAUSE WE KNOW WHAT TRUE LOVE IS

I was one of those who were hungry for love and acceptance and tried to get that from a relationship.  Because of that I ended up feeling used.  I became more insecure and felt unloved.

But I was not a victim in that situation, because I could say NO and I could GET OUT of the situation.

  2 Timothy 1:7 says

“For God has not given you a spirit of fear and timidity, but of POWER, LOVE and SELF-DISCIPLINE” (self control)  

God’s grace enables us to wait on HIM and say  NO to ungodliness.

11For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age… - Titus 2:11-12

  • WE CAN WAIT BECAUSE THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS ALIVE IN US

When you know the VALUE of something, you take care of it, and you don’t misuse it.

Do you know how valuable you are?

You were bought with a price.  It cost the precious blood of Christ. He redeemed you and purified you and called you HIS very own.

You are PRICELESS.  Christ died for you

You are REDEEMED

You are SET APART (Holy).  You belong to God

13while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.– Titus 2:13-14

 That’s how valuable you are and the other person you like or you are praying for.

Let us look at each other how God sees us.  Let us not rob each other from what God has for us.

HINDI KA LANG LAMAN NG TIYAN.. AT HINDI LANG SIYA LAMAN NG TIYAN. You are both valuable and precious.  You are both made in the image and likeness of God.  You can think and you have self control. Hindi ka hayop na puro instinct lang. Treat each other with love and respect.

  • WE CAN WAIT BECAUSE WE KNOW EACH ONE’S VALUE. WE BELONG TO GOD.

 All of us are hungry but relationships and even marriage can’t fill and satisfy us.  The void in our hearts will only be satisfied with a relationship with Christ alone. And as we tap on His overflowing love and grace, we can truly give love to our future spouse/ our spouse.

If you are single, you can start to be faithful to your future spouse, by preparing and by preserving yourself only to him/her. Waiting for that special day that God has appointed for 2 people becoming 1.  Sex is the most beautiful thing that God has made for a man and a woman when done in the bounds of marriage.  But it is the most destructive thing when done outside what God has ordained.

  • WE CAN WAIT BECAUSE WE ARE ALREADY COMPLETE IN CHRIST

Instead of being hungry for relationships which doesn’t satisfy, hunger for God and you will be filled.  And when you are filled by Him, you can truly give a genuine and agape kind of love.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”- Matt 5:6

in Christ you have been brought to fullness — Colossians 2:10 

 

Here is the link of a video that captured the songs I shared in my talk during the LOVESTRUCK CONVERGENCE at Cuneta Astrodome last February 15, 2014.

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A different night of Christmas Caroling

When I was 8 or 10 years old, my friends and I would go caroling in our village to receive some money so we could buy candies and snacks. I thought caroling was just for children, and so I never thought I would do caroling again.

Few days before Christmas this year, I was invited to go caroling with some of my artist friends.  This was not an ordinary time of caroling. We went to the houses with the purpose of giving the opportunity for others to be a blessing.  It was fabulous that the funds we raised up was given to Operation Blessing to help out those who were affected by typhoon Yolanda.

It was so nice that I get to be a part of this meaningful night of Christmas caroling together with Gary V., Paolo V., Jericho, Julianne, Yeng, Gab Ramos, Carla G., Ryan G., Fitree, and other artist friends.

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Paolo Valenciano and Jericho Rosales were the ones who thought of this great idea. To make it more meaningful, they directed us  to serenade specifically to the house helpers of their friends. You see, many of the house helpers have relatives in the Visayas that were affected by the typhoon.

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We used the huge “It’s more fun in the Philippines” jeepney.  It was fun going around the Dasmarinas village in that jeepney.  We did a bit of videoke inside it while it zoomed from one house to the next house. We felt like kids all over again.

1509304_10152049216924000_1352462802_nOne of the highlights of that night was when Gary V sang “Pasko na Sinta ko”. It was so gripping you could see our audience do their best to wipe off their tears as we sang along. It was an emotional moment knowing that all of them would celebrate Christmas far from their loved ones in the Visayas.  It left all of us pretty teary-eyed too.

 

In every house we went to we opened with the song “Joy to the world”.  This song helps us remember that we can still celebrate Christmas and be joyful about it, because our savior Jesus Christ was born.  Because of the His birth, we have hope.

We also sang “O Holy Night” and we ended each round of caroling with “Amazing Grace” to acknowledge that everything we have and that everything that we do and can do is only by God’s grace towards us.

We are all undeserving of His love and mercy, and yet Jesus came to earth, born to die so that we can receive forgiveness for all our sins.  His death and His resurrection gives us hope so that we can live in the fullness of God’s purposes.

Calamities, death and tragedies choose no one, but those who put their hope in Jesus will renew their strength.  Because of Jesus who defeated death on the cross and rose from the dead, we can have hope and a life that is eternal.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. “- Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

 

 

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My 2013

Here’s a video to summarize my 2013 :)  

Aside from documenting what you have accomplish the past year, blogging your highlights for the year documents wonderful memories that you would want to remember  when you get older and when your memory starts to malfunction. Making this also leaves me in a posture of worship while looking back and seeing God’s grace and faithfulness in my life and my family throughout the year.  To make it more vivid, I made the video of what my 2013 looks like.

The future might be bleak, but if we have LOVE and FAITH, we can face change and uncertainties with a bright hope for tomorrow.  As long as we stay connected to the one who is bigger than us, we can stay strong.  Our times are in His hands.  Though we are unfaithful, He still is faithful.  Thank you God for your grace.

Here it is! Enjoy!

2013 for me was a time of..

1. Reunion…

-       My sister Teresa visited us from North England after 10 years

(Ate Tere and Mikmik)

-       My brother in law Jonny from the Netherlands visited us too

-       Papa Bert who was working from Bangladesh visited us out of the blue

-       Premy came all the way from London to greet Danny Happy Birthday!

2. Adventure

Holidays/Vacations

-       Baler

-       Cabanatuan

-       Puerto Galera

-       Taal Volcano Adventure

-       Boracay

3. Firsts

-       First time to be a maid of honor

-       Snorkeling with the boys

-       Invited as a couple to speak and minister in Cabanatuan

-       First time at Manila Ocean Park

-       Homeschool Tashi

 

4. Growth and Learning

-       Staff Development Class for Worship Leaders

-       EN music Philippines Core Team

-       My single “Liliwanag”  was  nominated as Best Inspirational song 2013 Awit Awards

-       SESA album “Kaharian Mo”

-       Victory Group

 

5. Opportunities

To inspire through speaking and singing

-       Radio and TV guestings

-       Family and Baby Expo

-       Ateneo de Naga

-       Lifebox at Sta. Rosa Laguna

-       Real Life Scholars Conference

-       Inspire Church

-       JIL Paranaque

-       Word for the World

-       Church of Nazarene Youth

-       Biblica event for Comvalley Children

-       Unleash Event in Mandaluyong

To Equip

-       Worship ministers Victory Greenhills,

-       Worship ministers in Victory Los Banos

-       Worship Festival held in Makati

To serve

-       With Right Start : more children served

more volunteers willing to serve

-       I was part of the worship team for the Discipleship Convergence 2013

-       700 Club Telethon for Yolanda Relief

-       Caroling with other artists for Yolanda (Gary V., Paolo Valenciano, Yeng, Julianne, Ryan G., Gab Ramos, Carla G., etc)

To partner

-       You Version

-       Certified Positive

5. Stronger relationships with my family and my spiritual family.

Happy New year to all!

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! Psalm 31:24

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To the Pink-Haired Birthday Girl

Kahit iba na ang kulay ng buhok mo, for me you are still  the quirky, funny, radical, passionate, humble and sweet friend that I know.

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Bihira ako makahanap ng talagang malapit na kaibigan..lalong lalo na kung kaibigang babae, most of my friends are guys..Dati, akala ko there’s something wrong with me, kasi most of the time di ako ma ka relate sa iba..until I met you..hahah..di pala ako nag-iisa. Nakahanap din ako ng same specie :) hehe

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“Hello To Heaven” victory party.

Ikaw lang yata ang  kaibigan ko na nakapag pa tawa sa akin ng matindi at nakapag pa iyak din sa akin ng matindi..heheh :) halo halong emotion..hahah .. Madami na tayong pinag daanan..parang roller coaster lang…may action, drama, comedy at  mayroon ding horror (dun sa house sa qc). hehe:)

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Nung bago palang tayong magkakilala, I was amazed how you would really make time and go all the way to my place to hear God’s word and learn.  I admire your humility and your teachable heart.. I admire your passion for God and your openness to share your life with me.

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At Tacloban

From then, masasabi ko na naging bahagi ka na talaga ng buhay ko.  Salamat!

I can truly say that those times when you stayed with us at our place was one of the most fun times that Danny and I had…kahit minsan di mo ko pinapatulog :) … Dinagdagan mo ng saya yung bahay namin.  I remember yung mga kwentuhan till morning haggang sa bumili na tayo ng pandesal sa umaga.

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Danny, Tashi, Me and Yeng at our Flying House in QC first quarter 2010

 

Andun ka simula nung baby si Tashi and even sa delivery room when I gave birth to Yeshi hahah..pati sa labor room pinuntahan mo ko para mapatawa mo ko at makalimutan ko sakit ng tyan ko..and you put make up on me pa so that I can look nice on the video hehe

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Yeng taking the video when I gave birth to Yeshi

I really appreciate those times na nandun ka for me to encourage me and to just push me to continue writing songs and making music kahit minsan ayaw ko na… Naalala ko nung ginawa natin yung music video ng LILIWANAG..how you produced it, and even carried the electric fan during the shoot para hanginin yung buhok ko..hahah.. Salamat for pushing me to do the “Hello to Heaven” worship night last year. ..and even to the point of sponsoring it.

You made Tashi so happy nung pumunta tayo ng Hongkong last year  :) First time ko sa Hongkong nun..salamat

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Thank you din sa times na makikinig ka lang sa akin pag may kwento ako or kung may pinagdadaanan ako..I am truly blessed with your friendship.  I’m overwhelmed how you would support me.. and would even honor me to so many people.

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You always say that I’m your mentor, but more than that, I consider you like a sister and a friend.  Your friendship is truly one of the best gifts that God gave me :)

Walang tuldukan at x mark..hahah kahit pareho tayong ganun..ngayon, binago na tayo ng Panginoon :)   sabi nga ni  Danny.. “Unity is something we fight for” hahah and whatever season that may come our way, andito lang ako for you..

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  I love you Yeng! Words are not enough to express how I’m blessed with your friendship.  Thank you!  Happy Birthday!!!

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Liza — My Hero in Highschool

This is my friend Liza!!! :)  Her friends now call her Rhia…but I call her “mommydoodles“!

Today, she is celebrating her birthday all the way in London.

liza n acel

Back in my highschool days, she would call me “babydoodles” and I would call her “mommydoodles” (corny no??) hahah.. Well we did this because she acted like a mommy to me.

She may not know this, but I am still so tremendously grateful for how she would fight for me and be “my voice” whenever somebody would make fun of me in any way. She stood up for me all the time.

You see, during my highschool years, I was this skinny, shy, low profile kinda gal with such an extremely low self-esteem.  Because of my scoliosis, I was so insecure with how I saw myself especially with having to wear that body brace inside my uniform every single day of my highschool life. I was “bionic woman” remember?

Liza, on the other hand, is my total opposite.  She dresses really well, is tall, beautiful, and very headstrong.  Liza is very smart, charming, and a great people person. I think she looks like Rachel Ann Go with a British flare sometimes :)

She was one of the most popular girls in highschool and yet she would act like a big sister and a mommy to someone like me, someone not that popular at all.  She would encourage me, share stuff and do so many fun things together.

I especially appreciate the sleep-overs we had.

I don’t know the status of the highschool girls in this generation, but I do hope that there will be more girls like Liza who would be sensitive, kind and bold enough to be the voice of the kids in school with their low self-esteems. Someone who would stand-up against the bullies and defend the weak.

A couple of years ago she went to London and has been living there with her husband Vince and her two beautiful daughters Rachel and Reese ever since.

liza acel kids

Liza with her 2 daughters and me with my 2 boys at Disneyland Paris

In 2011, when Liza learned that Danny and I and the boys would go to Europe, she immediately messaged me and invited us to join them in their holiday in Paris! I wanted to scream after that!!! Wow!!  An entire week in Paris!!! All we had to do was hop on a train from Holland to meet her. We didn’t even have to think about our itinerary.  She already booked a villa at Marriott right next to Disneyland!

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Liza with her husband Vince and their girls Rachel & Reese with my Tashi and Yeshi

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In front of the Marriott villa where we stayed in Paris

view marriot villa

Marriott villas



It was like the good old days again. She prepared everything just like a “Mommy” :) .. She did groceries… and so we had pinoy food in Paris!!! hahahha  Tortang Talong, Adobo, Menudo, etc …  Lovely French cuisine! :)

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Pinoy food in Paris

Knowing how hard it is to travel with babies, she packed all sorts of baby things for us and even brought water proof swimming diapers because she was thinking about Yeshi (eight months at the time).

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Yeshi with his water-proof diapers ready to go swimming!

 

After all those years, she hadn’t changed a bit :) Beautiful as ever! She was still looking after me like a mommy :)

The week after Paris we joined them in London as we went off to meet Danny’s family.

I could see that her success and fruitful life as a wife and a working mom in London did not change how she valued our friendship.  I wasn’t able to offer her anything much but she remained as generous as ever and loving towards me and my family.

I’m so blessed to have a friend like her.

Liza is God’s gift to me — my hero when I was in highschool. Liza, until now, you are still my mommydoodles!!!

Happy Birthday Liza mommydoodles!! Love you always :)

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Liza directing/ shooting our guerilla music video for PAMBIHIRANG PAGKAKATAON..haha I haven’t edited it yet ..2 years na pambihira! :)

 

liza and me paris

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
- Proverbs 17:17

 

 

 

 

 

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