30 Years. 30 Lessons.

Years back I was teasing one of my big brothers in the ministry about him reaching 30 when he said, ” You’ll get here soon,” with a smirk in his face. Guess what, I have arrived. 30 years. That’s 10 950 days, 262 800 hours, 15 768 000 minutes, 946 048 000 seconds of existence on the face of this earth.

Although on a deeper level, personal growth and maturity do not exclusively come with age, personally, my way of thinking is quite different now compared to when I was 20. After failures upon failures, there are more things that I understand better now and at the same time I see with more clarity that there are still more that I can and must learn.

On a lighter note, depending on how you lived your 20’s, your 30’s will now serve as a salvage period for everything that you may have missed before. The saying 30 is the new 20 may be so true for some, and that includes me. The next decade will be literally a new chapter for those who’ll just rather move on and not wallow in the past that is irrevocable.

I now embark on this fresh journey with renewed hope and faith, believing that God’s promises hold true to those who are humble enough to commit themselves to an Almighty, good God who is more than willing to walk with us every step of the way. I look back with a sense of gratefulness and awe as to how God orchestrated the events in my life leading me to a better   understanding of Him. No, I do not speak like I already know God but I know He’s taking me from faith to faith and from glory to glory. Just like Paul, I press on to finish the race that is set before me.

I now leave you with 30 lessons that I have learned and will take in my journey through my 30’s and beyond.

1. God has to be there in the equation of life.

I cannot emphasize this enough. For believers, the importance of putting Him first is not optional, and I am not going to say mandatory because it is weak and somewhat dishonoring to God, but it is the essence of the believer’s life in Christ. When God said He knows the plan He has for us, He truly means it. It’s either we go our own way or we follow His blueprint for us.

2. Relationships are very important. 

We don’t live our life alone. Our relationships with our family and true friends must be nurtured well. The lure of the so-called success and love for temporal things can put a dint on our most precious relationships. Handle with care as they say. If we talk about good investments, you can bet that it is one of the best and most rewarding.

3. Reality of pain, suffering and death.

My lolo passed away just recently and having grown up with him together with my siblings, I can’t really describe the sense of loss I felt. It’s like a part of you was taken away. I also have my own share of other personal hurts. These undeniable realities must be acknowledged now before they catch you unprepared.

4. Reality of faith, hope and love.

God didn’t leave us without anything to hold on to in facing pain, suffering and death. These three forces are our shield and weapon in combating the negative forces that come against us. Rest assured that we are going to win if we carry these things with us.

5. Life is short. 

I’m sure everyone in the my age bracket can attest to this- time seems a lot faster now than when we were kids. I remember the good old days when we would play everything we could in the streets and the starry nights seemed to have gone on forever. But now sometimes you wish there’s 46 hours in a day to cover all that you need to do. We need to make sure that we don’t deal with petty and trivial things that will only hinder our progress because life is really short.

6. Forgiveness liberates. 

People will fail and hurt us and we will do so as well. Forgiveness is a powerful force that breaks the shackles of anger and bitterness. You don’t want to go through life carrying the whole world on your shoulders. That’s how it feels when you carry grudges in your heart. Release forgiveness to those who hurt you and seek forgiveness as well to those you hurt.

7. Personal development.

Since life is progressive, we must continually develop our skills and competencies so we can do our tasks in the highest form of excellence. Whether you’re in the corporate world, government, academe or sports, there’s a sense of satisfaction when we always outdo ourselves.

8. Health is wealth.

I’ve never been health conscious but now I realize that good health will help us achieve the things that God has placed in our hearts. Our body is the vessel through which we carry out the works of our hands. So it will pay great dividends if we take good care of our body.

9. There is a room for everybody.

When we talk about vocation or calling, one can easily be intimidated by the mere thought that others can do it better than you. But when it really comes down to it, it’s really not a question of who does it better, but who responds to the call given to him. One pastor said, and I para-phrase, ” even when others are doing it, and doing it better than me, I will continue to speak because I was called to do so. ”

10. Your lifetime companions will be filtered by your struggles.

I talked about relationships earlier but I want to zoom in on the people outside your family. People will come and go. But the true people in your life will stay. The good thing about it is that God handpicked these precious friends to be with you not only in good times but also in tough times.

11. Passion can be buried, but it won’t die.

Your passion will always be there. Maybe at some point, you’ve stopped doing those things you love because of failures, pain, disappointments, or probably because of the amount of responsibilities you carry, but if you will just look deep enough, you’ll find it there, waiting for you to wake her out of slumber.

12. Every type of self is a big no no. 

Self-centeredness, self-pity and other selfish mindset are a curse in one’s life. They don’t deserve a place in our being. They impede growth and hurt ourselves and other people as well.

13. Solitude vs. Isolation

I knew that I needed a period of time alone to process my thoughts and to hear better from God. But during that time as well  I started struggling with depression. Solitude became isolation. I can’t think of a worse emotional torture than that.

14. Worry is pointless.

Regardless of how big you think your problem is, worrying is simply useless. It doesn’t change the fact that there is a struggle and it doesn’t change the situation at all. If anything, it only saps every aspect of your life. Jesus said not to worry.

15. In your anger, do not sin.

When you reach your boiling point, it’s very hard not to get driven by anger. Once you lose control of your emotions, it will surge like a river. Depending on God’s grace is a key to overcoming anger.

16. Make a stand.

Every time you make a stand against sin, you strengthen your inner life. Every time you fall into temptation, you diminish that spiritual authority in your life. I see that the times that I was at my best was when I knew I was doing God’s will and making a stand for righteousness even when I was alone.

17. To pull back from a fight is not necessarily a loss cause.

In chess, you don’t always attack. There are positional moves that you have to play in order to set yourself up for a bigger finishSometimes, walking away from a fight is the right thing to do. Maybe God wants to prune you first or probably He want to show you that it’s not worth fighting for.

18. Break away.

I find this amazing. In basketball, Nowitzki and Nash were good playing together in Dallas. But then Nash moved to Phoenix and went on to win the MVP award in back to back seasons. Not to be outdone, Nowitzki bagged the award on the third season after they parted ways. If the “place” has become too small for you, maybe it’s high time to leave the shores and explore the vast ocean in front of you.

19.  Set realistic expectations.

Whether on you or on others, it will do you good if your expectations are not through the stratosphere. The higher the expectation, the bigger the disappointment is.

20. Don’t rush.

Most of my mistakes were caused by my blitz mindset. I’d always feel that I must do something now and end up in a tight situation. It’s really a test of character to step back when logic dictates that something must be done. But if there’s doubt, if there’s a foggy mind, the best way is to slow down. A clear mind is a good breeding ground for wise decisions.

21. Success is really relative. 

There’s not an absolute definition of the word success. I personally believe that we should not be too obsessed with this success thing as the world normally defines it. If you know your highest priorities, like relationship with God and family, you don’t have to pattern your life after things that will only lead to emptiness.

22. Being precedes doing.

The bible says God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His son. God will not mind sending us into obscurity if only He can break and mold us. Bottom line, it is still for our good.

23. Be thankful.

Yes, life is difficult but personally when I look back on my life, I’ve always been blessed. I am really amazed how God has shown me grace, mercy and favor all throughout. There is always something to be thankful for.

24. Remember and forget. 

Always remember the good things that happened in your life because of God’s favor and forget the past, in the sense that you don’t allow it to influence your present in a negative way.

25. Help when you are in a position to do so.

Showing that you care has a more lasting impact on somebody’s life than a million words would do.

26. Always rejoice.

This is a biblical principle that deserves our attention. We have a hope that won’t be quenched. He who promised is faithful. He can be trusted in  everything.  In our deepest pains and disappointments, we can look up and rejoice knowing that God knows, God sees, and He will come for you in your darkest hours.

27. Always sow seeds of good works.

Another timeless principle. You reap what you sow. Giving yourself fully to the work of the Lord even when you feel low and alone , is something that God won’t overlook. He will surely reward you.

28. Let God be God. 

If you sin, let God be your merciful judge. If you are wronged, let God be your vindicator. In everything, let Christ be.

29. Ponder eternity. 

What is this lifetime compared to eternity with God? What are our sufferings in this life compared to the glory that He will share with us in heaven? Streets of gold. Ain’t that cool?

30. Live.  

No matter where you are, what your situation is, until God calls us home, He wants us to live on. Jesus died not just for the forgiveness of our sins but also that we may experience life, and to have it more abundantly.

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Yearly Verses

I just checked my old journals because I wanted to see some old notes that I have.  I also got curious as to what were my verses for each of the previous years since 2000.

Sadly, I couldn’t find some of my notebooks, particularly for years 2003 and 2004. I was able to get though years 2000-2002 and 2005-2011.

Here are my yearly verses.

NOTE:  I think I didn’t have any for 2008 😦

2000

” Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. “

                                                                                 —–  Deutoronomy 7:9 (NLT)

2001

” But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children,to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them. “

                                                                                —–   Psalm 103: 17-18 (NASB)

2002

” If you make the LORD your refuge,if you make the Most High your shelter,no evil will conquer you;no plague will come near your home. “

                                                                               —– Psalm 91: 9-10 (NLT)

2003

” But the LORD is with me like a dread champion;therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed, with an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten. “

                                                                             —- Jeremiah 20:11 (NASB)

2004

” Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you. “

                                                                           —- Isaiah 46:4 (NASB)

2005

” For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace;the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up,and it will be a memorial to the LORD,for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off. ”

—- Isaiah 55:12-13 (NASB)

2006

I will not die, but live, and tell of the works of the LORD.

                                                                         —- Psalm 118:17 (NASB)

2007

” Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. “

                                                                          —- Isaiah 54:4 (NASB)

2008

—————

2009

” You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,but you will restore me to life agai and lift me up from the depths of the earth.You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. “

                                                                       —- Psalm 71:20-21 (NLT)

2010

” Rather, the land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain— a land that the LORD your God cares for.He watches over it through each season of the year! “

                                                                    —- Deutoronomy 11:11-12 (NLT)

2011

” And Nehemiah continued, Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength! ”

—- Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)

2012

” This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

                                                                          —- Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

Fellowship of the Unashamed

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. My past has been redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, top, recognized, praised, regarded or  rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till I know and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me ——

MY BANNER WILL BE CLEAR!

On Process and Purpose

**Originally posted on my Facebook

The process is more important than the outcome. This was and still is one of my favorite sayings that I used to share to other young people I talk to. But there was a long period of time in my life when I have somehow forgotten its meaning, especially when I needed to remember it the most. The struggle itself that I went through was already hard but the worse part was that I didn’t see any point as to why I had to experience it. Going through something and not having the right perspective on your situation will really put you in a tight spot. You’ll go in circles without getting anywhere. Sooner or later you become frustrated, you become angry and bitter, until you get to the point where you are so numb that you just don’t care anymore. Then, you feel like hope has given up on you. You feel like giving up. Finally, you hit rock bottom.

There’s always a process to follow in everything. In school, if you’re going to enroll. In different government agencies, if you’re going to renew your passport, apply for your driver’s license, get your NBI clearance etc., you’re going to see signages telling you to do this first, go there, so on and so forth. Equally true, in life experiences you’ll discover that the process is also evident though not everything has to be in order. It could be in overlapping manner. Sometimes, you would jump from step 3 then go back to step 2. It really depends on your circumstance. The point is, there’s a pattern or if I may, a process, that we follow and sometimes, without any awareness of it.

I find this true in my life. I’ve seen myself in the middle of a struggle trying to fight my way out, pretending that I was okay and impatiently insisting on going to the next step without accepting the fact that there was something that I needed to deal with and/or do something first before I could go on. Because of that, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way- trying to go against the pattern that you’re supposed to follow would impede your growth, stall your learning and waste your time.

The important thing to remember is that there is a purpose behind the process. I personally believe that ultimately, the development of character is that overriding purpose. So, if this is the case, there are times, and not all the time, that time is irrelevant so long as the purpose is achieved. In this kind of situation, patience is needed. You don’t have to rush things. Try to absorb every bit of learning that you can while you’re still going through it. Those learnings will strengthen your character. There are also instances where the situation calls for getting through it as fast as you can otherwise you’ll miss your lesson. The key is to acknowledge that there is a design in everything that happens in and to you. Don’t stray away. It will only hurt you.

I believe that an understanding of this process and the purpose behind it is the thing that can redeem you of your past regrets. Years of your life that have been wasted because of wrong decisions, opportunities that slipped by because of indecisions and any other thing that gives you that ‘what if’ thoughts are causes of regrets. But if we apply the process and purpose principle, we can look at it differently. Wasted years can be taken as years of preparation. Wasted opportunities can be dealt with as stepping stones for much better open doors. So you see, it can be a liberating lesson for us. You can say that nothing is really wasted then because you understand now that there is a purpose behind what happened to you, that you just needed to go through a certain process to give you that learning, give you that open door, give you that experience to strengthen you and make you a more complete person. Ain’t that cool?? Group hug everyone!!! Yey!!!

Anyways, I’m already sleepy so it’s time to post this entry. ^_^

Dancing Beyond Borders

I first posted this on the Triunemovers’ multiply site dated 09 Oct 2007 :: triunemovers.multiply.com

A REFLECTION by Kuya Peewee

I myself am a witness of this steady increase of dancers bannering the name of the Lord through their respective crews here at least in the Philippines. It’s very inspiring for them to see standing up for a MESSAGE that transcends all religious beliefs, political ideologies, language barriers and even geographical limitations. Dancing has established itself as one of the forefronts in God’s ministry in terms of sharing the good news indirectly. This art has become an integral part of evangelistic works that in almost every Christian gathering, you’ll see ministers dancing during praise and worship. Indeed, it is an avenue that we can use to advance a cause that concerns the eternal destiny of those who have yet to come to the cross.

Nothing is constant in this world except for change. From the way we dress to the technologies that we use for our pleasure, everything changes. Even the language that we speak changes. That’s why its very important for us to be flexible when it comes to finding ways on how we can win more souls to Christ. Praise God for this medium, dancing, we can go out there and capture the interest of the young people. We all know how passionate our Filipino youths are about dancing. Everywhere you go, you’ll see dance competitions in barangays and even in schools. So, it is just right for us to use this gift for the advancement of His purposes in our generation.

It is interesting to know that this gift can be classified as amoral. It is neither moral nor immoral. That means we can use it for something that will edify or something that will destroy. It all depends on the person who will exercise the gift of dancing. So this serves as a trumpet call to all who have been endowed by this very powerful instrument of expression. We must use this as a channel of blessing to other people. I believe  that if we will let God sanctify our bodies and let our hearts be saturated by His Word, the Lord will use us to illuminate the minds of the unbelievers and thus bring them into a better understanding of what God can do in their lives.

I want to emphasize this very important truth: Dancing is an avenue, a channel, but it is not the source of our power in ministering. The anointing only comes from the Holy Spirit. If we ever want to see change, then we must solely rely on the Spirit of the Lord. Remember, it is very possible to be admired by people and be a laughingstock of the devil at the same time. My point is we have to realize that BEYOND dancing is another dimension called the spiritual realm. Here, our faith will have an important role to play. We can dance all day in front of thousands of people with no power in our lives. We can receive compliments, admirations but with no effectiveness for the Kingdom. Scary, but true. As ministers, we must always bear in mind that “… our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” ( Ephesians 6:12). If we allow this truth sink into the very depths of our hearts, I promise all of you that it will forever change your lives. You will never look for the applause of man, you will never seek the approbation of the people, you will never long for the recognition of the crowd because you will understand that when you’re serving in the ministry, it’s not about your talents and gifts, its not about you and me, but it’s all about JESUS!

The Message remains the same! Beyond this art is a proclamation of the greatest revelation ever revealed to mankind–that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us..and yes, we have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only… full of grace and truth. We must never water down the truth. This world needs Jesus! This is what sets us apart my brothers and sisters – we know the truth. We stand upon the truth. We proclaim the truth. We go out there because we have a message to tell and for no other reason. Not for fame, not for popularity but for the reality of Jesus. We don’t go out there searching for our identities, because the true servants of the Lord already know who they are–and we do. We know who we are, we know where we stand, we know where we are going because we know whom we are serving! We stand on the podium, we face the crowd with our hearts gazed towards the heaven, and together we say, in You we move and have our being! Let every man be made low and let Your Name be lifted up! We dance beyond the impression of the world, beyond the definition of man and beyond what is natural…and may we have more people who are willing to go dancing beyond borders!