TOP 10 THOUGHTS ON BUILDING FAITH IN YOUR MARRIAGE

Last week, our pastors from Victory Fort, Victory Makati, and Victory Malate had a couples’ retreat. Allow me to share my top 10 takeaways from day 2 from Bishop Juray and Deah Mora’s session. (Thoughts from day one here.)

1. We are told that we are to be willing to pay the price to be successful. But we have to remember that we are not the only one paying the price when it comes to time. It includes our family as well.

2. When God put man and woman together, love was not mentioned in the equation in Genesis 2:20. We have over-romanticised love. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was right –

“It’s not your love that sustains the marriage but it’s the marriage that sustains the love.”You have the marriage. Therefore, work on the love.

3. Marriage will make you better, stronger as you allow it to. It causes you to do greater things than you can ask or imagine.

4. Children are a blessing from the Lord. We’ve found out that as the kids kept coming, God kept blessing. God sets us up for greater blessing, not greater burden.

5. Our differences in marriage were intended by God. Our goal in our marriage is not to find the differences but to work with them to grow us through them.

6. When sin comes in, it eventually destroys exclusivity. God’s intention for marriage was to make it special and exclusive.

7. We are called to trust God and to trust each other in our marriage. We are to trust God in our spouse and trust that God is at work in and through our spouse. We may not understand each other completely but God is at work whether we see it or not.

8. We trust God for our decisions. And after we’ve prayed, sought counsel and considered God’s Word and eventually still make a mistake, He has the ability to cause all things to work together for our good. (Romans 8:28) Remember, God can rescue us from our mistakes. God is bigger than our mistakes.

9. The goal in marriage is not comfort and peace but faith. Peace and security will only come as we have faith in God. It’s not the size of our savings. Peace is not found in our retirement plan or insurance policy. Peace comes as we have faith in God.

10. At 20, the Bible is true. Even at 70, the Bible is still true. And it says, “the just shall live by faith.” A family budget helps us see where we are. But budgets should not set our limitations. God dictates our finances. He is the Ultimate Provider. Move in faith, not in fear.

PRIORITIES IN MARRIAGE

Today is the first day of our couples’ retreat for our pastors for our Fort Hub (Makati, Malate and Fort Bonifacio).

Allow me to share a few quick takeaways from today’s session with Pastor Juray and Deah Mora.

– “More than having a Christian president, one of the greatest contributions we can give to this nation is a marriage that works at home.”

– Our devotion to God is our topmost priority. As He takes the #1 spot, He alone has the right to dictate on which ones will be number 2, 3, 4 and 5. That now eliminates anything that is not according to His will like for example a second or third wife.

– Your values will dictate your priorities. And your values are dictated by your highest value – God. If God’s purpose is for you to be in the Philippines with your family, then migrating to another country won’t be an option no matter how huge the salary may be.

– The saying, “Sacrifice today so you can enjoy tomorrow” only works with money but not with relationships. Whoever is sacrificed is always the one that is of lesser value no matter how beautifully we articulate it. Relationships suffer when we sacrifice no matter how good the reasons may be.

– Priorities reflect what we value.

18 THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT JANINA


How did you turn 18 just like that? Time didn’t fly fast. It zoomed.
But as you celebrate your 18th birthday today, allow us to thank God for your life and list down 18 things we love about you.
1. The moment you came, we knew that you were God’s gracious gift to us. Your name, Janina, is precisely that – God is gracious. Thank you for being that, exemplifying that and exuding that grace in and through your life.

2. You’ve always loved dressing up as a princess. You did when you were a little girl. But more than dressing up like a princess as a little girl, you are one – in the family and in God’s eyes.

3. You are fearless. You try new things and are not afraid to do things that are unfamiliar to you. I remember you trying out the Supreme Scream in Knottsberry Farm. You didn’t go on another free fall ride since (and I remember you being in tears after that ride), but that didn’t stop you from trying out other rides and other things in life that required courage. Janina, you are brave.

4. You find fun in the small things. You and your siblings enjoy life together. Your mom and I are grateful for that simple yet fun loving spirit.


5. You are sensitive to God’s leading in your life. I remember when storm surge “Yolanda” hit Tacloban, before we left to help in the relief operations, you felt God was telling you to give your most favorite doll to a little girl who needed encouragement. I remember you took quite some time to look around when we got there and found the perfect one who needed the most precious thing to you at that time. You are very thoughtful and compassionate.


6. You are adventurous. I remember when we went biking and you fell. You kept a great attitude in spite of getting dirty and muddy. That has become your positive trait – the reality of falling doesn’t stop you from picking yourself up and still having an amazing day.

7. You’ve always been a vlogger since you were a child. We remember you doing a room tour when room tours weren’t even popular then. haha.

8. You’ve loved dancing since forever. By the way, on your debut party, I was proudly watching you. Buti na lang, nagmana ka sa nanay mo. hehe


9. Talking about dancing, you were such a perfectionist. You knew all the steps. And when someone misses it, you would ‘direct’ them and choreograph while you were performing. Your excellent spirit is a great trait. Don’t ever lose that.

10. You made funny videos. To this day, we don’t understand why you made some of them.

11. You were a super bibo kid. You had fun with songs, words and life in general. Never lose that. Life is too short not to have fun.


12. Craziness is your strong suit. Again, just like your mom, you come up with insane ideas and you find yourself in peculiar situations. But you end up laughing. You don’t take life too seriously. And that’s a good thing.


13. You are determined. When you set your heart onto doing a task, you never give up. I remember when we had Vanilla, our black labrador, you painstakingly trained her even though you had lots of scratches along the way. Don’t ever trade hard work for the easy way out.

14. You’ve always enjoyed performing. You’re desire then was to express your God-given talents but also coupled with the aspiration to be famous. You asked mom when you were 12, “Mom, when will I be famous?” But God changed that after a few months. You came back to your mom to tell her that wasn’t you’re no.1 goal in life any lonager. And when you had a heart change, that’s when God opened up your YOUTUBE CHANNEL for you and gave you a platform to add value and bring a positive voice into cyberspace.


15. You’ve helped us build great memories. Thank you for always participating in the photos, especially the one in Lake Tahoe. I can’t post that though when we stopped by the road and you jumped in the river without anything on. Haha

16. Thanks for making mom you’re best friend, shopping partner,car seat (like when you sit on her lap in the front to this day), mommy-ger, companion and kwentuhan partner. She’s always wanted to have a daughter that she can have fun with, laugh with and enjoy life with. You’ve been all that and more!

17. You’ve always felt a deep sense of purpose for your life. While you’re not the classic cross-cultural missionary, you have crossed geographical, cultural, ethnological, national, generational boundaries and used your platform to add value and bring significant impact in the lives of other people. All these at age 18. We couldn’t be more proud of you.

18. You’ve learned that God loved you way before you even loved Him back. Never forget that. In the times of highs and especially in the lows, an understanding of “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love” will carry you through.

Growing up, you were insanely crazy like your mom. That meant life was to be an expedition to trek, a journey to enjoy and an adventure too short not to have fun. And you had fun. And you still do to this day.
Don’t lose that.
Your smile brings joy to others, your insanity is contagious and your buffoonery is communicable. But underneath that craziness is a young lady that is tender hearted, kind and thoughtful.
Don’t change that.
Your loyalty is unmatchable. To your family. To your friends. To the people you that are dear to you. If this means sacrificing your own comforts to demonstrate your loyalty and love, you don’t think twice to let go of personal benefit.
Don’t alter that.
You are talented like your mom, smart like Nathan, active like Ryan, funny like Joaquin. Unfortunately, all you got from me is good looks. 😂
But as you turn 18, you are transitioning to a very significant season in your life. your mom and I have done our best to get you to where you are today by the grace of God. But as you will discover and are discovering, you will have highs and lows. And there’s nothing more important we can pass on to you than our faith.
Education is critical. Life skills are substantial. But what will get you through the hardest and darkest moments is your relationship with Jesus. The great thing is, you’ve grown in your relationship this past couple of years as we have observed. There’s no greater joy for a parent than to see his or her child walk with God.
Money won’t satisfy.
Fame can’t fulfill.
Even relationships won’t bring ultimate meaning.
Rapunzel is fearless, self-reliant, determined and adventurous. I now know why you like her. You are her.
But you just not her. You are more.
This discovery of who God designed you to be will unfold in the coming days. Get ready for it. You will see that what you have seen now is nothing compared to what He has in store for the future.
The best is yet to come.
I love you.
Happy birthday, Feener.

FINDING SOME FAMILY TIME

 

It really gets busy during Christmas time for our family. I’m guessing that it would be for your as well. But there are times when we would need to unplug, get out of the city and have a simple, good, quality time with family.

Here’s a quick video to explain what I mean.

 

 

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF PARENTING?

 

 

What is our goal in parenting?

Many books, experts and seminar speakers give us varied objectives. But allow me to propose one vital goal we need to have as parents as we train our children to become fully functioning adults. Hope this video helps.

YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER

blog-banners-001(Snippets from Carol Mkize’s message at the Every Nation World Conference 2016 Day 3)

Ukunqoba is a word that means overcomer.
You are an overcomer because God abides in you.
Intimacy with God will drive you to continue when you are no longer with other people.
You will overcome because God’s word abides in you.
Chaos is fertile ground for Christians.
Everything we learned we can now apply in the campus.
1 Samuel 17:38-40: Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
To (Spiritual) Fathers:  
What God used for you to overcome, it might be time to put it down.
The armor you used may not be the armor the next generation will use.
To the Next Generation.
Try it on first.
Don’t deny it right away.
Obedience and submission are not out of the question.
Don’t assume first that it will not work.
We have to walk with this God our fathers walked with.

DRONE PARENTING

blog-banners-001Drones are very popular these days, especially in taking photos and videos during weddings. They’re cool, fun and take amazing shots.

But when it comes to parenting, it can become uncool, not fun and unamazing when done in the wrong way.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-15-39-pmDrone parenting is hovering around your kids and staying with them as much as you can so that you know their every move and hear their every conversation.

Just to let you know, when your kids are infants, toddlers and grade school, you have to hover over them. They need you to guide, lead and point them to the right direction.

However, when they get older, it won’t be as feasible and practical.

Drone parenting is when…

– You go to every high school party they attend.
– You listen to every conversation they have with their friends.
– You try to read every tweet, sms, Instagram comment, telegraph app message and the like.
– You watch every viral video that they watch on Facebook or You Tube.
– You filter every reading material they come across with.

To be clear, I am not saying to detach yourself from being involved in your children’s life and leave them to figure things out for themselves. But at the same breath, we have to know that we can’t hover over them 24/7.

From 0-6 years old, our kids are in the telling stage.
We tell them what they should do most of the time.
“Brush your teeth.”
“Time to sleep.”
“Eat your vegetables.”

From 7-12 years old, our kids are in the teaching stage.
We teach them to start making small decisions on their own.
“Blue shirt or red shirt?”
“Batman or Superman?”
“Cheese fries or Barbecue fries?”
But obviously in major things, we still have huge inputs.

From 13-18 years old, they are now in the training stage.
We train them to become more and more independent.
“Just take Uber going to your friends house.”
“Study for your exams on your own.”
“Determine how much you’ll save and how much you’ll spend.”

From 19-adulthood, they are in the coaching stage.
Our role as parents is to just coach them when the have a question.
But since they’re adults, they have to be empowered to make their own decisions.

The older our kids get, the less dependent they will be on us.
However, our goal is for them to be more dependent on God.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-00-23-pmAllow me to pray for all the parents reading this.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the honor of raising, training and discipling the next generation right in our home. We don’t always get it right and we end up doing dumb things. But, Lord, in our hearts, we desire the best for our children. Teach us to be sensitive to Your leading, obedient to Your Word and teachable in our moments of inexperience. By Your grace, we will be the best parents for our kids and by faith, we will see a generation rise up that will please You with their lives.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

LESSONS FROM BIKING AND HIKING TO MT. FUJI

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Our third child, Ryan, recently turned 13. And for some reason, he had the crazy idea of cycling from Tokyo to the foot of Mount Fuji and then hike up to the summit. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It was his passage into becoming a man and my passage of officially realizing that I’m old.

Biking 110 kilometers through several hills and a couple of mountains was not fun. I had to ask myself, “Why am I doing this again?”

This question came up again as we were hiking up to the summit of Mt. Fuji (3,776 m). We would stop and rest. And when we would, I would end up literally asleep for a few moments. When I would wake up, I would literally think I was in a bad dream… a nightmare, actually.

Because we had a lot of time to think and talk, we came up with a few life lessons along the way. Allow me to share them with you.

1. When you fall, just pick yourself up and move on.

At the summit, the winds were strong. They were as strong as 50 kph. Everyone had to stay low and duck many times as the strong winds would come by.

Walking was even a challenge. So there were times we would be swept by the wind and fall. We can choose to stay on the ground or just pick ourselves up and continue. We continued.

Life’s like that. We get hit and fall. The choice is ours. Will we stay knocked out or pick ourselves up and keep moving forward?

2. Don’t miss on what is happening now because you’re in a hurry to see what will happen next.

As we were climbing down from the summit, we were just so excited to go Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 4.45.22 PM
back to base camp and rest. But because we were in such a hurry, we were missing a lot of the stunning view.

Life offers too many beautiful events and experiences. When we are in such a hurry, we miss out on the lessons, messages and the simple joys life has to offer.

3. Preparing is hard work but being ill-prepared is harder.

We trained. We prepared. We got ready.
I read up on a lot of those that did what we did.
But somehow, we weren’t as prepared for what we were going to go through. And boy it was tough.

Preparation is hard work. But it’s harder if we are ill-prepared.

4. Keep your eye on the goal.

While biking, as long as we could see Mt. Fuji from afar, we were encouraged to
Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 7.54.24 AM
keep going.

We will be discouraged, exhausted and tempted to quit. But as we keep our eyes on the goal, we will eventually get there – one step at a time.
Keeping your eyes on the goal will keep you from quitting.

5. Trust the GPS.

As we cycled from Tokyo to Fuji, I had my Google maps on. I would tell Ryan to turn left when we needed to or turn right as necessary. But there were times he had his earphones on and we would miss a turn because he couldn’t hear me say “turn left.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 7.51.15 AMGod knows which way is the best. He knows the GPS well because He planned it. But because we have too many voices in our ears, we get distracted. Thus, we miss our turn and end up in a place where we didn’t want to be in.

But thank God that, by His grace, He is able to cause all things to work together for our good. As we listen to His voice, He reroutes and gets us back on track.

6. We will face uphill challenges along the way, but in the end, it’s all worth it.

This was what we were trying to convince ourselves about the whole time we were trekking for a total of 8 hours to the summit.

“This will be worth it.”
And it was
The view of the sun rising from the summit was more than amazing.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 8.14.43 AMLife will throw us a few curveballs and get us through uphill climbs. But if we are convinced that this is where God has placed us this season, then when we get to our destination, we will realize that it was all worth it.

7. Don’t just look forward to the destination; enjoy the journey as well.

We so badly wanted to reach the summit that we didn’t even talk to each IMG_0934other. Our legs were hurting and our eyes were shutting due to lack of sleep.

But managing to chat, interact, reminisce, and reflect on these lessons also became a highlight in the end.

 

To watch snippets of our adventure, I’ve posted 2 videos below of our bike trip and our hike up to the summit of Mt. Fuji.

VIDEO 1: CYCLING FROM TOKYO TO MT. FUJI

 

VIDEO 2: HIKING TO MT. FUJI SUMMIT