There’s a storm, after the rainbow

Storm and Rainbow

I know what you may be thinking. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around, “There’s a rainbow, after the storm?” Allow me to explain where I am coming from.

Life is filled with ups and downs. The Christian walk is always a battle.  There are cases where we are defeated. There are cases where we are victorious. And when we are victorious, the more that we should be on guard, else we fall. I’ve realized in my Christian walk that temptations and problems normally come after a moment of victory.

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt I was victorious. I preached for 4 services yesterday. Speaking for 4 times is not an easy task. That’s why we really need to value and appreciate our pastors who have been doing that for years already. It was a moment of joy for me to know that I was able to speak for 4 services, without losing my voice and strength. It was a time of joy for me, most especially because I know deep within my heart I was able to depend on God all throughout the day. Lots of people approached me after each service to let me know they were blessed with the message. Hearing their feedback was not a moment for me to boost my ego, but to merely be encouraged that indeed the Lord is working through me and I am just his vessel. Every preacher should desire that their message would always point to Jesus and not to themselves. So I was in a position to go through the day with joy in my heart and sleep soundly after a very tiring day.

I know yesterday was the moment of victory. So today I should be vigilant, and careful not to put my guard down, else I fall into temptation. Indeed, just as expected you cannot be complacent – the battle continues.

My girlfriend and I intended to watch a movie today so I can relax. She said that she was willing to watch whatever movie I wanted. I was willing to watch either “The Intern” or the “The Martian,” whatever has a good schedule and location. If you know me, the only thing that I really want when a watch a movie (aside from the actual movie) is good popcorn. So we were driving around Makati, and Power Plant was the only mall we saw that was still showing “The Intern.” My girlfriend really wanted to watch this movie and I was good either way as long as there’s popcorn. Nonetheless, she told me that the popcorn there wasn’t that good so I decided that we watch “The Martian” in Greenbelt instead. Plus, my favorite popcorn can be bought there. After I mentioned this, she expressed her sadness towards my decision. This made me a little bit (just a little bit, hehe) frustrated; I thought she wanted to watch what I wanted, but here she is, expressing her discontent towards my decision. To make the long story short, as small as the issue seems for some of you, it led to an argument.

There was a moment where we were both quiet. While I was thinking, I know God was already talking to my heart asking me to ask for forgiveness for how I reacted. However my pride was still there. I wanted her to realize her mistake so I was really planning to cancel our plan to watch a movie and just go home. But God was still there, speaking in my heart not to let this petty argument grow bigger. I know I need to ask for forgiveness. I know I need to humble myself. I still drove to Greenbelt and parked the car so we can talk.

In the parking area, I told her why I got so frustrated. I told her that I was frustrated because she mentioned that she was willing to watch whatever movie I wanted. Then she told me that her moment of sadness was just to express what she felt but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t want to go to Greenbelt and watch another movie instead. I guess this is really the part where we say, “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus.” I asked for forgiveness and she did the same. Later on, we prayed and everything was fine again.

What’s my point? You have to always be on your guard. Whenever there are moments of victory you should praise God, but never put your guard down. Never be complacent. Keep watch and pray.

1 Peter 5:8 - Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

 

Whenever there is a moment of victory or joy, the more that you should pray and the more that you should be on your guard, else you fall. It’s not easy. Sometimes we would like to think when would the battle end. It will not. As long as we are in our flesh, there will always be temptations and we need to keep fighting. The battle goes on, but remember the war is already over.

Keep walking in the spirit and keep abiding in Christ. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. That’s why I praise God that he was speaking in my heart and he did not allow me to make our argument blow into proportions.

Keep fighting the good fight my friend. Let’s run the race well and finish strong. It’s going to be a long marathon, but the Lord has promised us that will He will never leave us, nor forsake us.

—————————————-

P.S. By the way, we still watched “The Martian” and it was a good movie. We enjoyed our time together even though we had an argument. This is just one of those moments where we need learn from our mistake and move on. Indeed we have, which led to us enjoy our time together, and thanking God for his goodness and grace.

Gentleman’s Club

What is a gentleman? I tried searching for this in the internet and the results are outstanding.

Why is it outstanding? It’s just funny to realize that we need to educate ourselves how to be a gentleman because society has embrace a different view on how men should act towards women.

This message is specifically geared to men but there is also something to be learned for women. Most especially what you should look for in a man.

In today’s society, women are viewed, presented, talked about, and sung about like a commodity. One famous boxer said:

When it comes to females … even though you can’t drive 10 cars at one time, but … you got people that got 10 cars. So, you’re able to keep maintenance up on 10 cars. So, I feel that, as far as when it comes to females, that same thing should apply. If you’re able to take care of 20, then you should have 20.

 

That statement is just so twisted and far from the truth. If we would look at the biblical view of women before in the Old Testament, the primary position of the woman was within the context of family life. The father/husband exercised primary responsibility for the female members of the family which included slaves. The most important function of women in primitive society was childbearing. Childlessness was looked upon as a curse from God and a diminishing of a woman’s station in life. This was their primary role that why women were often uneducated and untrained. Women relied on their fathers, brothers, and husbands for provision and protection.

Those who were unmarried were often subjected to prostitution and slavery. Because of significant difference between the number of men and women, many women can be left in an undesirable situation. That’s why during that time people were polygamous. Polygamous meaning having more than one wife. A man would take multiple wives and serve as the provider and protector of all of them. This was not the ideal situation but living in a polygamist household was far better than for women to be in prostitution, slavery, or starvation. Aside from the protection/provision factor, polygamy enabled a much faster expansion of humanity, fulfilling God’s command to “be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth”

In the new testament, Jesus gives a new commandment: Love one another.

1 Peter 3:7 – You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

 

Jesus gave no exceptions. We are commanded to love all: man, woman, & child. Paul also commanded men to love their wives as Jesus loved the church and gave himself for her. Plus we would also see in the New Testament that it is commanded that a husband is to be a head of the wife not the head of different wives.

Ephesians 5:23 – For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.

 

This seemed like a shift of perspective in terms of marriage but actually nothing has changed as all. Even in the beginning of time, the design of God is for one man and one woman to be joined together. God permitting pologamy in the Old Testament because of cultural implications haven’t really changed how God wanted it in the beginning. So the New Testaments was just hammering and realigning the design of marriage to how it really should be.

That’s why men should learn to love their wives and be faithful to one alone. Even if we are not yet married, we should practice faithfulness in our relationships. This is a character that we want to bring to our future marriage someday if we are single. If men really want to learn how to act appropriate among women and how to treat them with respect, here are 2 practical things for guys to do:

1) Renew your mind to think differently.

It starts with the mind. You will act according to what you know. Your behaviour will be affected according to what you put in your mind. If you know about gravity then you will not jumping off a building, right? That’s why is important for us to guard our minds and heart and renew your thinking not to conform to the pattern of this world.

Romans 12:1-2 – Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

This is saying that because of what God has done for you, offering your body to him. He has justified you. He has made you righteousness because of Jesus Christ. He has freedom you from sin and He has given you ife in the Power of the Holy Spirit. He has shown you mercy. And because of these things offering your bodies. Your “bodies” does not mean just your hands, or just your eyes or just your feet. It is reffering to everything you are. Everything includes your heart and mind. When you offer yourself, you become that living sacrifice – something that is seen in action and something that people can relate to. You are being the light of the world.

Do not be conformed, but be transformed in the renewing of your mind, which is not a single event but a process. It is daily renewing of your mind. It is daily pondering of God’s truth

So stop filling your mind with dirt. If your playlist has songs that calls women “bitches or whores” it needs to be deleted immediately. It’s offensive to women and treats them as a commodity. Women should be mad if their man is listening to this type of music.

If you are filling your mind with pornography, slowly your mind is being taught that a real body isn’t good enough or one body isn’t good enough. Eventually it will lead you to be convince that your wife’s body isn’t good enough. Pornography deadens a man’s appetite for a real woman.

Renew your mind to think different. Renew it through spending time in God’s word.

2) Make up your mind to behave differently.

This is now where you decide that you want to make up your mind to think differently. You need to be the person you are looking, for is looking for. What does that mean? If you have qualities that you want in a certain partner, ensure that is you as well. That you would mean, rather than looking for a partner, prepare to be the best partner someday. Show love to people close to you. Do random acts of kindness. Treat your family members right and practice unconditional love to them. Learn how to develop the right kind of people through them

Make up your mind to think different. Decide right now to develop yourself to be the ideal partner for someone someday and fill your mind with the word of God

Again, this is not just an message for men but there are also two practical things woman can do to help men treat them well and not a commodity.

1) Dress moderately

Women, men needs your help on this. If you do not want to be treated as a commodity then show yourself as someone that should be treated with love and respect.

1 Timothy 2:9 – Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,

 

2) Find contentment in God

Don’t go looking for a relationship by luring men. If you have develop yourself as someone who is attractive inside and out, naturally the opposite sex will notice you. But do not make it a pursuit of your life. Find your all in God first.

In the End, you don’t have to search the world or the internet to know who to act towards the opposite sex. All you need to know is what God is saying in his world. You cannot do what you do not know. If we want to remove all those wrong ideas, belief and thinking which leads to wrong actions, we need to continuously meditate and read God’s word. If we constantly read and meditate on God’s word, eventually our mind will clear-up just like this dirty water which eventually turned clear, as water continuously was poured into it.

Note from the author: This message was adopted from Northpoint Community Church, which is the church Pastored by Andy Stanley. Most of the content is from Andy Stanley’s material.

The Truth About Finding “The One”

Singles, we have a problem! I like how this meme (jokingly) captures that essence of our problem.

One does not merely find the one

We look for the one. That one person that will make us happy. That one person that we can look at all day. But the problem is, one does not simply find the one.

I hope we can shift our perspective and learn a better principle we need to live by – search inside not outside. Let me clarify that as I discuss, and debunk the “Right Person” Myth.

MYTH #1 – If I marry the right person, everything will be alright.

This is one of the right person myths that we buy into. If I marry the right person, everything will be all right – no more problems, all butterflies and rainbows, in love – forever.

That’s why we want to meet the right one. Another version of the myth goes like this, “when I meet the right person, everything will be alright.”

MYTH #1 (revised) – If I meet the right person, everything will be alright

You cannot put all your hope in that one person because finding the “right person” does not mean that automatically everything is going to be happily-ever-after because each individual has their individual problems. Let’s look at this math equation:

One single person with problems + one single person with problems = High probability of a relationship/marital problems:

One single person with problems + one single person = Medium probability of a relationship/marital problems

One single person + one single person = Low probability of a relationship/marital problems

That’s why we have to think about it this way: the present will be your past which will be present in your future.

For example, how you perform today will affect tomorrow. If you have unfinished work you will be loaded with that unfinished work tomorrow. Your present, will be present in the future

If you are single and you are dealing with commitment issues, anger management or dishonestly, this will all be seen in the future or in your marriage. Or if you are single and you have learned how to love unconditionally, how to be patient and live a life of integrity, this will all be seen in the future or in your marriage as well.

Married people thought that when they get married, it’s going to be a new beginning, a brand new day, and indeed it usually feels that way when you get married. It feel like the past is gone, a brand new thing is coming, we’re moving on and we’re cutting all our ties from the past. That’s what they thought. What they didn’t know is this that their present, became their past, which will show up in their future. That’s why everything will not be totally be alright.

Also, people don’t get that saying “I do” does not mean it magically teachs you how to love, commit, respect and all the other good virtues a marriage needs. That doesn’t not make me un-romantic – it’s just common sense. Promising someone that you will speak Mandarin does not mean you can magically speak Mandarin.

The good things will also be brought into married but the bad things will be brought into as well so not everything will be alright. That’s why meeting the right person, will not necessarily mean everything will be alright.

MYTH #2 – Chemistry is Important in finding the One

They say, to know if she/he is the one there should be chemistry. And when there is so much chemistry, they’re convinced that they’ve met the right person.

So these people get together and they say, “You know you never buy a car without driving it first and you never buy shoes with trying them first.” They get into this intimacy thing going and the physical thing going and the sex thing going, and it feels like it’s the greatest thing in the world. When they’re together, they just stare at each other and go out to eat, drink and have fun. They believe they were made for each other – soul mates. They really believed, that it’s this one of a kind; no one can match this love.

They’re so convinced of their chemistry, so they get together, and they get married. They’re convinced that they’ve met the right person. And since I’ve met the right person, everything’s going to be alright.

But chemistry does not make a relationship work or last.

The problem is, all they had was chemistry. They knew nothing about relationships. The wrong mentality is this: when they meet the right person, I don’t have to be good at relationships because they’re going to be good at relationships, that’s why they’re the right person. I don’t have to be patient because she’s not going to do anything that will make me have to be patient. I don’t have to learn how to love unconditionally because I should not have a hard time loving him/her. I don’t have to get mad because she/he will always try to make me happy

There is a big difference between chemistry and commitment. Commitment deals with character and proper character is need for a relationship to work out. When they have problems. Guess what kind of problems they have? It’s not chemistry problems, they have relationship problems because they’re in a relationship.

But they didn’t do anything to prepare for the relationship because they taught chemistry is needed. They just believed this song in heart – love will keep us alive

Because they thought, it’s the right person myth, if I meet the right person and there is chemistry, everything’s going to be alright. Here is the sad part after all of the problems, they realize “I know what’s wrong with my marriage! I married the wrong person!” That why most 2nd marriages have a higher failure rate than 1st marriages because they do the very same thing again expecting different results. It becomes a cycle.

So instead of spending all your time and energy trying to find the “right person,” intentionally work on becoming the right person. Prepare for your future “right person.”

The Bible doesn’t tell us too much on how to find Mr or Mrs Right, but it does have lots of principles on how to prepare for a relationship. After all, we were created for a relationship but it doesn’t happen accidentally or magically – it takes work, intentionality, research, time, and effort

This is the new rule – Become the person you are looking for, is looking for?

If you want to prepare for a relationship learn how to love the right way and the Bible is super clear on what it means to love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour 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, and always perseveres.

Love isn’t a word, it’s a decision that shows into action. Love here means agape – it is a sacrificial and unconditional love

  • Patient
    • Forbearing or long suffering (picture of self-restraint)
    • Never pressures the other person (willing to wait)
    • How patient are you?
  • Kind
    • To show oneself useful
    • To act benevolently
    • Are you caring to the people you are with?
  • Does not envy
    • Does not covet
    • Not Jealous over
    • Do you have a Crab Mentality?
  • Does not boast; not Proud:
    • Not Boastful
    • You don’t always have to be right
    • Learn to admit when you are wrong.
    • Men, learn how to say “sorry!”
  • Does Not Dishonour:
    • Does not behave unseemly
    • Not engaging any person in ungodly activity
    • Doesn’t not start any unwholesome activity
  • It is not self-seeking
    • Considers the interest of others
    • Men, when was the last time you opened the door for someone?
    • Sometimes we neglect the simple things we need to practice
    • Practice selflessness
  • It is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrong
    • Do not count the mistakes of others
    • Learn how to forgive – forgive and let go.
    • Relationships gets burned by counting faults
  • Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
    • Never delighting in another person’s unrighteous behaviour, nor join it’s expression
    • Finding great joy when truth prevails in another person’s life
    • Express unshakeable confidence and trust in others
    • Outlast every assault of Satan to break up relationships

These are principles that must be developed and learned over time. Practice these characteristics in every relationship (family, friends, co-workers, and strangers) so that by the time the “right person” shows up in your life, it will be natural for you to do these things.

Best people to practice this is your family. How you treat your family might also be how you treat your family in the future. Practice and prepare. Show love to them. Learn how to develop the right kind of people through them Remember – the present will be your past which will be present in your future.
Stop looking, start preparing.

I know sometimes it’s hard to love and our capability to love can only be strong once we learn how much God loves you. The bible says that God is Love and we love because He first loved us. Immerse yourself in the love of God and allow it to change you. Only through the love of God will be have the capability to love others.

Don’t get hung up on looking for the right one. Be right first. Are you the person you are looking for, is looking for?

Note from the author: This message was adopted from Northpoint Community Church, which is the church Pastored by Andy Stanley. Most of the content is from Andy Stanley’s material.

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