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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Life is A Temporary Assignment

This is my Reflection on Chapter 6 of the "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren


"I am here on earth for just a little while" - Psalm 119:19


Who's not afraid of dying, I myself is afraid of dying too, maybe because there are so many things I want to do before I die, before God call me home. What will happen to the people I love when I am gone?. Time runs fast, I am now 32 years old and soon I'll be old,..I'll be gone, but the big question is "Am I able to do my assignment?'

We're just here on earth for just a little while, temporarily. In school, assignments were given to students, students need to focus and give time to this assignment so that it could be done correctly. God give us an assignment, that is to spread God's word and create more love. The bible says that we are Christ's Ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20) but sometimes I acted differently, I betrayed God because of sins, because of how I treat other people. I sometimes create hatred instead of love, ah! my temper is my worst
enemy. I hope I could create more love each moment...each day.


Compared To Eternity, Life Is Extremely Brief

Life is extremely brief. Time really runs fast, with all the changes in this world, busy streets, busy people and busy life. Ah!, we are all busy with many things to secure our future and to survive each day of our life. I am sometimes guilty of being busy with things which is not important, life is too short, I realized that I have to live daily as if it would be my last, that I have to love my family as far as I can, that I have to serve God with all my heart and strength, that I have to give love to others and not hatred.

I love watching movie, sometimes I am disappointed with the ending, or with the movie itself. but whether the movie is good or not, whether we like it or not, whether it is disappointing or not..it must end. Life is like a movie, sometimes we don't like the things that happens to us, sometimes we enjoy and sometimes we stumble or experience victory...but it will end sooner than we think. The only difference is the Lord is our audience, He watch each and everyone of us. I hope He is not disappointed with what He is watching,


Earth Is Only A Temporary Assignment

Earth is just our temporary home, heaven is our permanent home. God put us here with a purpose, wherever we are or whatever we do is just a temporary assignment. Jobs, School, community services and anything we think of is just a temporary assignment or possession.

I may be too comfortable with my life right now, with where I am now, but I know there is more to see than life on earth. Death is not leaving our home it is going home, going to our Heavenly Father, be with Him eternally, without sadness, without sorrow and without despair. There will come a time in my life that I will be in sorrow, in despair or in sadness, but I now that God is my comforter, my joy and my hope. I am just glad that I knew our God at a tender age of 13, I experience many things but things seems to be easier with Him.

A few days ago, we transferred to our new office, it's a merger of our company and our client (so to speak). I was comfortable with our previous office, I don't need to wake up early or to experience the traffic of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue. I don't know if I will be able to adjust with the new set up with more traffic and higher expenses. I know this is just temporary and I hope in the near future I'll be back to were I belong, to where I called it home.

I am serving as a guitarist at The Feast (A weekly religious gathering), for 3 years I was able to do my assignment and mission. A few years back, I only ask the Lord to give me a chance be part of the ministry for just one day, but God gave me more, Ah!, there are so many things that happened in that span of time. I won in a songwriting contest and one by one my composition is being heard by hundreds of people. There is a thought in my mind that my role as a guitarist will end, I don't know when...but I will just serve until God gives me another assignment. Changes hurts but if it's the only way to fulfill God's plan for me then I will abide with what he is asking for. If God want to assign me to another service?, I am more than willing to accept it, even if it will hurt me... even if it will mean giving up the things I love doing... because everything I do is for the pleasure of my God and the King of my life.

In the meantime, I will just do my best to fulfill my assignment and my mission and to cherish those people whom God have entrusted to me, so that when the time comes that the Lord will finally call me home, God will say to me, "Well done my faithful servant".

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Seeing Life from God's View

This is my Reflection on Chapter 5 of the "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren


"The way you see your life shapes your life. How do you define life determines your destiny. Your perspective will influence how you invest your time, spend your money, use your talent and value your relationship"

-Rick Warren

When I was young, my only goal is to finished my studies and have a decent job to sustain my family's needs. As I am serving the Lord, He molds me to be a person with purpose and direction. Looking back from were I am now, I just realized how the Lord reveled His purpose and plan for my life through trials and problems and He teach me on trusting in Him and Him alone.

LIFE ON EARTH IS A TEST

God allows to test us so that we will be a person of character, faith, obedience, love, integrity and loyalty. I never realized that there are so many times God tests my faith.

I was tested by undeserved criticism

My family was long been criticized by our relatives, I never knew how it started or what is the reason. I saw my parents how the endure the pain of being criticized. We were treated as if we are not their relatives. I am looking for reasons but I never found any answer. My father died without seeing any changes in our situation, all he wanted was for all of us to have a harmonious relationship.

I was tested by tragedies
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My father died in 1995 and his death affects me a lot, I lost my sense of direction. My studies suffered, for six years I mourned for my fathers death.
My wife suffered from miscarriage 6 months ago, supposedly our first baby, It is painful and I can't explain why it happened, the only thing I know is God has a purpose and reason.

I am tested by unanswered prayer and delayed promises

It's been six months since my wife had a miscarriage, after all the prayers asking God to give us our first born baby, still God did not answer... six months of frustrations and pain of the lost of our child. I hope this is just a test...I hope that sooner God will answer and grant my prayer...in His time...

Sometimes I felt that God draws back, that God put away is eyes on me but I know that I am just tested because God wants me to deepen my character, to demonstrate love and to depend on Him. Through all these tests, I was mold by God to be a better person, it seems like every test is another opportunity for me to grow, for me to strengthen my faith in God.

LIFE ON EARTH IS A TRUST

I have so many dreams for myself, for my family and for my ministry, I have plans on how to fulfill these but sometimes things went wrong and things happened which I did not expect... I realized that it is a complete trust in God, that whatever happen God will surely took care of everything.
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Trials is a responsibility given by God, the more He gave us trials the more He trusted us. Each day we encounter a test, sometimes we struggle, sometimes we fail but for every test we encounter we draw nearer to God.
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One by one, I was able to conquer all of my trials, those prayers were not really unanswered. Those criticisms made me a better person and those tragedies made me stronger and more faithful to God. I know more trials will come but I will not be shaken, for the Lord is with me in this journey.
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God gave me my life, my family, my wife, my job and my ministry. They were entrusted to me, I hope I am able to took care of them. I hope I am able to bring them closer to God, I hope that I am able to spread His Words through the gifts He entrusted to me.
I hope that when time comes, God will say to me "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Made to Last Forever

This is my Reflection on Chapter 4 of the "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren


A few months ago, me and my wife joined a mountaineering club. I am not that physically active and I never try in my life this kind of physical activity. Except for basketball and patintero, I am more interested in solving puzzles, watching movies and listening to music.

Believe me, It's not easy for a first timer to climb a mountain, especially if one is not physically active and prepared. We climbed Mt. Maculot, (a level 1 Fun Climb) at 8pm, it's raining, the trail is muddy and slippery and with a 45 degree slope, not to mention the weight we carry on our back, what an ordeal I faced. There were times that I have to crawl, that I have to stop and catch my breath. It seems the road is endless.


Life's Journey is Like Climbing a Mountain

That climb thought me many lessons in life, specially in my spiritual journey that life may be difficult, so many crossroads, so many obstacles. Like climbing a mountain, we faced many problems and difficulties in life, sometimes we got lost or confused and sometimes we are about to give up.

We may choose to go on our own and never reach our destination or we could ask for help, for a guide to show us the way, for a companion to accompany as in our journey. We may never reached the summit of Mt. Maculot on our own straights, thanks to our co-mountaineers, the climb is much easier. We were focused on reaching the summit even if there were difficulties along the way, I had leaf cuts, weakening ankle and heavy loads but I was determined to reached the top whatever it takes.

A few months ago, my wife suffered from miscarriage, we might dealt it differently if we don't have a relationship with God, He made it easier for us to bear the pain. Truly, life is much easier with God. He will help us in times of trouble, He will embrace us in times of fear and despair and He will be our light when all lights fade.

We reached the summit with so much joy in our hearts, the scenery is amazing, wow!, what a great God is our God. Life is like climbing a mountain, we faced problems, we faced troubles and frustration but one thing is for sure we will reach the summit of God's kingdom if we only entrusted our lives to Him, if we focus ourselves on our goal, that is to be reunited with God in His paradise.

Made To Last Forever

When all else fades God will remain. When all hopes were gone, God is our hope. I was broken and now I am healed. God picked up all the pieces of my life and rebuild it. I may have plans but God has better plans for me. I may face difficulties and sufferings but this will not be a hindrance for me to continue my journey, whatever it takes, whatever problems I might have, I'll stay focused. All of these things is just part of molding my character.. part of my journey towards God, towards eternity. All of the trials I encounter seems so trivial, seems so irrelevant, yes, it is sometimes painful and unbearable but God is beside me, I have nothing to worry and I have nothing to fear because God is with me.

One day my journey and your journey will end. When we faced Our Creator, what we are and who we are doesn't matters to God...it only matters on how we spent our life here on earth, on how we live our life towards God. We are given the free will to choose, to choose were we want to go and God offers a life full of hope and joy, a life without pain and sufferings and a life that will last forever.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What Drives Your Life?

This is my Reflection on Chapter 3 of the "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren


If you will ask me this question "What Drives Your Life?" a few years back, I will answer differently. I had a painful past when I was in my teen years, it haunted me for several years before I was able to conquer it.

I was driven by guilt

My father and I had a good relationship, I might say that I am a daddy's boy. During my younger days, I always ride in his bicycle, we were going to Loyola (a memorial park in Marikina) and during Lenten season, we followed every single processions in our Parish, I had so many memories with his bike. The relationship continued even if he was sick, we watched VHS almost every night, he waited for me until I got home from school, he did it for 5 long years until he died in 1995.

Before he was brought to the hospital. He was complaining of abdominal pain, instead of saying something else, I told him in a loud voice "Tay!, wag na kayong umarte (Dad, stopped! acting that way, you're scaring us all) ". I said it not because that I wanted to but I was just afraid that it could be the last day of my father. A few days back, I had premonitions of his death. He died on the same day. It was very painful to me and for 6 long years I mourned for my dad's death and I felt guilty for what I had done, for what I had said.


I was driven by fear, resentment and anger

When I was 16 years old, I was molested, it happened one afternoon when I was at my leader's house, he blindfolded and brought me in a room. He said that someone will come, after a few minutes that man came, he closed the door and started kissing my tummy and touched my private part. He went on top of me, after which he left the room. I could have prevented it from happening. At that age I could have done something, I could have fought, but I was dumb and afraid. I started to hate myself for allowing it to happen, I started to hate that man who violated me... and fear resulted to anger.

My leader told me not to tell anybody of what had just happened, but I figured it out that the person who violated me is the same person I trusted...my leader. A few years back, there were so many rumors which I heard that our leader is gay, that we should be careful in dealing with him...I ignored it...but I guess they were right. I decided to leave the group and our parish, I know it's the best thing to do to prevent it from happening again. It was a dark secret which only a few knew that it happened.


I was driven by the need for approval

I was worried by what others might think, I was trying to please everyone. Before I do something, I had to ask the opinions of others.I thought I could please everyone but I was wrong. For so many years I'm too careful for every action I made...and so I failed, I failed in many aspect.


A purpose driven life

In 2001, I attended a retreat for single men, this retreat was not the first one that I attended but it is one of the most unforgettable retreat I ever had. On the night of the Ministry time, I felt the loving presence of God, I felt his embrace, I felt His love. I was able to forgive myself, I was able to let go of the past and start a better life. Through a vision, I was able to say goodbye to my father and asked for his forgiveness and I was able to forgive the person who molested me. I realized that my past will not define my future.


Now, "What drives my life?"

After that retreat, I became a better person, I was able to rediscover myself, my potentials and my purpose in life. What I had experienced was just a thing of the past, God allowed it to happened for me to understand those people who experienced the same thing.

I was an altar server when I was 11 years old, became a choir member in another parish when I was 20 years old and eventually became the head of that choir, I learned to read musical notes and started composing songs. God prepared me for my mission and the purpose of my existence. Music became my passion...my core gift. I am now driven by that passion, the passion to serve God and spread His good news through my music and through my compositions. It gives meaning to my life.

I don't need those approvals, I don't need to please other people, because I know whenever I serve God, He smiles at me in pleasure. The Lord also, gave me a wife who will support me in my endeavors, who will love me as I am, and who will encourage me to continue what I am doing for the Lord.

I am currently the guitarist in our community, and continue playing good music, on composing songs for the Lord, songs of praises and of thanksgiving. I even won in a songwriting contest, a reward from the Lord, which I will treasure for the rest of my life.

I will remain focused on my vision in life. To spread God's Love as widely as effectively as possible through my music and through my songs. I will let God drive my life to wherever he wants to take me, wherever He leads me.

Monday, November 5, 2007

You Are Not An Accident

This is my Reflection on Chapter 2 of the "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren
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"I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born." - Isaiah 44:2a (CEV)
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I've seen or heard many stories about unwanted pregnancies and unwanted child, many ends up having an abortion and mothers usually carry all the guilt after the procedure. Others abandoned their child out of poverty. Do these children really deserves to suffer the mistakes of their parents and live a cruel life (if they were even born)?, I hope not. Many children's life were cut short even before they are born. How do these children who survived from abortion or who were abandoned feels about their parents?
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You are alive because God wanted to create you
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I almost lost the chance of seeing the world and live the kind of life I have right now. My mother thought of having an abortion when I was still in her womb. I only knew this when I was growing, I really don't even know the reason why she had to do it, maybe because of poverty but it isn't important anymore.
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She thought that the medicine given to her was an abortion pill, she didn't know that the medicine given to her was actually a vitamins for a healthy pregnancy. After a while she withdrew the idea and I was born.
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God really wanted to create me after all. He sent all the angels to protect me from any harm.
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God never does anything accidentally and He never makes mistakes
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It was not an accident why God does not allow the worst thing to happen on me. He planned everything, from the midwife who gave my mother the vitamins instead of abortion pills, my gender my birth date and my parents is all well planned to fulfill His purpose on me.
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Does it affect my relationship with my mom after I knew the abortion attempt?, NO, because God prepared for the right time and moment for me to know it. He molds my character and my relationship with Him. I love my mom even more and even better because of the courage of telling me the truth. I am always be grateful with the life given to me.
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There is a God who made you for a reason
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Rick Warren said "We discover that meaning and purpose only when we make God the reference point of our lives."
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I was made because God wants me to spread His word and His love to all. I discovered the purpose of God for me, the unique gift He gave to me to use for his glory and in fulfilling my purpose. I write songs for His glory. I have a wonderful life because of God.
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God have more plans for me and He let me discover it one by one. Financially, I am more stable for me to help my mother and other people as well. My experience help in spreading the Good news of our Lord. The reason why God created me is so amazing and I am enjoying it to the fullest.
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An excerpt from the poem by Russell Kelfer which is also found in The Purpose Driven Life is so true and it said:
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No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into His likeness you'd grow.
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I accept every single things I had experience with a trusting heart because I know it is not an accident, God allow it to happened for a reason.
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"God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things He made." - James 1:18 (NCV)
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Sunday, November 4, 2007

It All Starts With God

This is my Reflection on Chapter 1 of the "Purpose Driven Life" by Ricky Warren
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“For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,...everything got started in Him and find it's purpose in Him.” - Colossians 1:16 (Msg)

I remember joining this songwriting contest in 2002 sponsored by a big television network. It was my first time to join a contest and I knew that I had a slim chance of winning since the contest is open to all composers, professional and amateur. It was really hard for me to make my composition since I have a little background in doing it, thanks to some friends ho helped me to finished it.

As expected, my entry did not meet the standards of the judges. At first it was very devastating , after all the efforts and prayers, my effort went in vain. I lost my focus, I stopped writing songs because in my own judgment, I don't have the gift of writing songs, so I thought.
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I discover my identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ

I've been serving the Lord since 1988, throughout my service I slowly discovered my purpose in life, on what God wants me to do to Glorify His Name. If I don't have a relationship with Jesus, I'm certainly sure, my life won't have any purpose. In 1996, I became a member of the music ministry and discover my gift and my purpose, writing songs of worship and praise for the Lord.
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God was thinking of me long before I ever thought about Him

Have you ever felt that everything that happens in your life is because God want us to discover our purpose in life?, I do. I was just a little boy when God called me to serve Him. It was not very significant service but that service let me having a relationship with God even in just a tender age. As I was growing, I experienced hardship, trials and failures. Why it happened to me?, because God is thinking of me, of what I will be when I grow up
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It's not about me

Going back to my experience in joining a songwriting contest, I realized that it was wrong for me to think that songwriting is not my gift. I have the right gift but wrong intention. My intention before is to win and became a famous songwriter. God corrected me and mold me throughout my journey in life.

I focused myself in what God wants me to do, to write songs for Him, Glorify His Name And spread His love through my music.

In 2004, I joined another songwriting contest. It was harder for me to write songs than the first time I joined a contest because the song should be a song of worship and praise to God. People in my community knew that I am a composer so it doubled my struggle to focus on the Lord and not on my talent.

There was a time that I want to give up and withdraw my desire to join the contest. A week before the deadline, I talked to the Lord, I said to Him, “Lord if you want me to join this contest, help me write the song, the song that will glorify you more, not me Lord, cleansed me and my intentions, I just wanted to worship You”.

I was able to submit my entry. My entry was chosen as one of the 10 finalist and during the finals night, we played my entry and I've seen many people worship the Lord, I was able to touched people's lives that night.

Even if I did not won the grand prize, I was so fulfilled in doing what God wanted me to do from the very beginning. It is not about winning, it is about doing my purpose in life. It is not because of me on why I was able to write songs, it is all because of God.
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"For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." - Act 17:28

Monday, October 22, 2007

Remembering Gab

October 2007, the month Gab would have been born, I should have been a father, but last April my wife suffered from miscarriage, she was four months pregnant.

Although, we accepted what had just happened, still the pain is there. Sometimes, my wife and I cried in the midst of the night, thinking about Gab, thinking of what he/she would become. We imagined how our house will be field with his/her laughter. The memory of Gab remains in our hearts.

Last Monday, my wife texted me, she was crying, she thinks about Gab. I tried to call her on the phone but she's out for lunch. All I want is to comfort her the best way I can and tell her how much I love her, even if I myself is crying. Sometimes it leads to frustration, but I always believe that God has a purpose, that through this experience, other people will be touched by the loving hands of God, on how He comforts us through this difficult times of our lives.

The lost of our baby is painful, but through this pain, we feel God's comfort , We feel His warm embrace, we feel closer to Him whenever we are sad, whenever we think of our baby Gab.
Time will come that the Lord will finally give us another chance to have a child, a child we will love and cherish, but Gab will remain in our hearts...

Gab will always be remembered...


"Thank you Lord, for allowing us to have Gab, even for just a short while, You know our desire to have a baby, please prepare us for that gift of life you will give us. We will wait for the perfect answer to our prayer. Comfort us, embrace us in times of sadness. Amen.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Questions

A few days ago My wife and I read an article in Kerygma Magazine (No. 1 Catholic Magazine in the Philippines) It was written by Carlo Cruz husband of Liezel who died in the October 2007 Glorietta 2 bombing. It is a very touching story. Honestly, I really admire him, on how much he loves her wife, on how Liezel touched his life,... sadly, it ended so soon.

There are still questions unanswered, like "Am I the person you always deserve?" and "Did I love you enough?" questions I also ask my wife every now and then, and I am glad that I always hear those answers directly from my wife, answers which makes me jump for joy... which makes me smile.

I'm glad I am that person...

To My Wife:

Thanks for being my partner, my wife and my best friend...I always wanted to grow old with you, thanks for being there always for me, for loving me more than I should love you. Just a thought of you each day makes me feel happy, makes me feel stronger and makes me feel very special.

I love you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We Lost Our Baby

My wife was pregnant for about 3 ½ months when she had a miscarriage last April 19, 2007; it was the longest day in our lives…

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It happened at around 2:30 am, I was awakened by my wife’s call, “Pa!, lumabas si baby.” I couldn't believe what I’ve heard… maybe I am just dreaming… I hoped. I rushed her in the nearby hospital. I waited at the hallway while she’s in the operating room; every minute seems to be endless…

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Around 4:30 am, Her Doctor called me and gave my unborn child, I held my lifeless child in my arms, let him/her feel my embrace, my heartbeat, my love and all my pain. I told my child, “I love you, baby, sorry if we were not able to take good care of you.” I cried and turned to God and asked, “Can I still worship you after what had happened?’, and the answer is clear in my heart, and it is a “Yes”. Despite of what had happened, I’m still grateful, I’m still thankful and I still believe in God. I worshipped Him, Sing Him praises and composed a song for Him…

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“Even if I am hurting inside,
Even if my heart is broken,
I want to worship You…

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I waited for another 2 hours for my wife, All I wanted that time is to see her that she’s okay. I saw in her eyes how sorry she was, I told her that it’s not her fault…

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Words of comfort and sympathy poured through text messages, thanks to our loving friends in the community (Light of Jesus Community), it’s easier to bare the pain with them.

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We baptized our child (it was also baptized by a priest), we named him/her “Gab”, It could have been, Rwen Gabrielle (if Girl) or Rwin Gabriel (if boy), I used my tears to baptized Gab and told him/her how sorry we are for what had happened. We both prayed and thanked Him for crying with us and for embracing us in our moment of sorrow and grief.

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Yesterday morning is a brand new day for me and my wife, a time to reflect and to move on and face the coming days, with tears, I sung…

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Basta’t tayo’y magkasama,
Laging mayro’ng umagang kay ganda,
Bawat sikat ng araw, may dalang liwanag,
Ang ating pangarap,
Haharapin natin.

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She smiled… we embraced…

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It happened with a purpose and we know that God have plans for us. In the Bible, Job lost everything but God returned it to him, sevenfold and I know that God will do the same to us.

 

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