EMBRACE THE MUNDANE. LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS A CONSISTENT HIGHLIGHT.

I love watching the NBA. Since I was a young boy, I have enjoyed following some of my favorite teams like the Sixers, Lakers and Celtics.

But because of the limited time I have to day, I can only watch the highlights on YouTube. I love it because it will only take 9 minutes of my time to watch the highlights of the game. I skip the 39 minutes of errors, bad passes, missed shots and fouls. I only get to see the dunks, the three pointers and fancy passes. I only see 1/5 of what goes on the whole game.

In a day and age where we only see the highlights, we carry this over in our lives. When we scroll through our social media feeds, we will see, for the most part, highlights of people’s lives – their vacation, their outstanding OOTDs, their new gadgets, nice parts of their house, their laughter, their happy moments. When we begin to think that that should be much of what should be happening in our lives, we get sucked into the highlight culture.

In addition to this, we fall into the comparison trap. When we watch someone’s highlights, we can begin to think something’s wrong with our life because it’s not a consistent highlight.

It is an important discipline to embrace the mundane. In fact, it’s in the mundane that we see growth. It’s in the mundane that we develop perseverance. And it’s in the mundane that our character is built.

Here are a few things we can do to embrace the mundane.

1. Be thankful.

The apostle Paul commanded, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes. 5:18) We are told to give thanks not FOR all circumstances but IN all circumstances – both when you’re enjoying a highlight or when you are going through deep valleys.

2. Persevere in faith.

We are called to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

When we don’t see what’s up ahead, we can trust the One who sees it. He knows the way. He has been there way before I even get there.

3. Make the most of every opportunity.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (Eph. 5:15-16).

Each day is a gift from God. Each moment for that matter, is a wonderful gift from God. Make the most of every moment given. Stay present. Value relationships. Rather than scrolling through your feed when you’re having coffee or dinner with someone, put your phone down and enjoy the conversation.

In a boring and mundane day, take the opportunity to be quiet and rest your soul before God.
Be still and know that He is God.

Life is not always a consistent highlight. Embrace the mundane. After some time, you’ll realize how much you’ve grown and life will be more joyful for you’ve unburdened yourself of the unnecessary pressures we put on ourselves.

HOW CAN MY FAITH GROW?

 

The Niagara Falls is one of the wonders of the world. The Niagara river plummets 180 feet at the American and Horseshoe Falls which pours 681,750 gallons per second. But before the falls, you can still take a boat ride in the Welland River. Near it, there is a sign that is posted saying, “Do you have an anchor? Do you know how to use it?”

When rough waters come and the hurricane of life hits, that’s the question we all face – do you have an anchor and do you know how to use it?

We are told that we walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) The anchor we have is Christ and we connect to our anchor by our faith in Him.

How do we grow in this faith that’s been given to us by the Author and Finisher of our faith?

1. LOOK BACK

But recall the former days when, 
after you were enlightened, 
you endured a hard struggle with sufferings. (Hebrews 10:32)

The Hebrew believers were going through severe persecution at that time. Christians were being thrown into prison, fed to lions during Gladiator events and burned at the stake to light up the roads.

The author of Hebrews admonishes the believers to “recall the former days.” The New Living Translation puts it as “Don’t forget those early days when you first learned about Christ.”

Looking back means remembering His faithfulness.
If God has been faithful in the past, He certainly has the ability to be faithful in the future.

APPLICATION: List down 3 things every day and look back every so often and praise God for His faithfulness.

2. LOOK FORWARD.

For you had compassion on those in prison, 
and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, 
since you knew that you yourselves 
had a better possession and an abiding one. (Hebrews 10:34)

The Hebrew author was admonishing the believers to look forward to what God has in store for those who endure.

Eternity is a game changer. The way we look at the future will influence the way we live today.

Viktor Frankl, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, was an Austrian psychiatrist who spent time in the Nazi prison camps. As he spoke with the inmates, he observed that many have died not because of lack of food or medicine but due to a lack of hope. In his book, Frankl said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how.’”

APPLICATION: What is the hope that you hold on to? Knowing that this life isn’t all that there is will inspire us to persevere to keep our eyes on Christ.

3. LOOK WITHIN.

My righteous shall live by faith. (Hebrews 10:38)
We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:39)

To look within is to understand who God called us to be. We have been made righteous not by our own merit but by the atoning sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. Knowing who God called us to be and do will propel us to keep enduring even in the toughest of times.

First Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple 
of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. 
So glorify God in your body.”

Because we have been redeemed, our life is no longer our own. Thus, we now, in this life, glorify God in our body, no matter how difficult our circumstances become.

APPLICATION: Do you know who you are? Is your identity hinged on Christ? Where do you get value, significance and security?

 

 

FINISHING STRONG

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Finishing strong in the midst of troublesome circumstances is one of the major challenges we face in life.sub-buzz-4649-1470497808-1

Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima was no exception. In the recent Rio Olympics, he was chosen to ignite the cauldron during the opening ceremonies. De Lima, a distance runner, is best known for taking home bronze medal instead of gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics because he was pushed to the sidelines by a protester. (video here)

He was leading late in the run but his dream of getting gold was crushed because Cornellius Horan grabbed him and knocked him into the crowd.

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As a result, De Lima lost several seconds from his time causing him to finish 3rd instead of 1st. But De Lima remained positive, buoyant and unfazed. He crossed the finish line with a joyful attitude and a cheery smile. He had a choice to stay in the ground when he was pushed to the sidelines. Yet, he did not allow that set back to keep him on the ground.

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The author of Hebrews put it this way:

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

We can run the race with endurance because of these 3 reasons:

1. Jesus is the founder of our faith.

He started our faith. And what He starts, He will complete.

2. Jesus is the Perfecter of our faith.

He has the ability to strengthen and perfect our faith in the middle of the raise.

3. Jesus is our finish line.

It’s not the rewards we will receive in heaven that will keep us going. Jesus is the Finish Line. He is the goal. He is our prize.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the strength to endure the race, grace to keep going and joy to stay in the race in the midst of challenges. Thank You that this race is going to be all worth it for You called me to run it and I will stay in it because You are my finish line. Help me to consider it all joy when I face difficulties of various kinds because I know that the testing will produce perseverance so that at the end, I will finish and lacking no good thing. I commit to You all that I do. May my life be as worship unto you.
IN JESUS’ NAME. AMEN.

—–

PHOTO CREDIT:
Koji Sasahara / AP
Diether Endlicher / AP
Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

TUNAY NA BUHAY EPISODE

Helen Vela was allowed to go through what she went through, I believe, because her life became an encouragement and an inspiration, that though you go through what went through, your life can still be a blessing to many and ultimately bring glory to your Maker.

I am thankful for the opportunity to share my mom’s life story through GMA 7’s Tunay Na Buhay.

Here’s an excerpt of her episode.

 

FORGET THE PAST. LOOK FORWARD.

Have you ever tripped or bumped your head because you were walking forward but looking at someone or something behind you?

I have. Many times. And those were painful.

Bruise. Bukol. Bumps.

That’s how many of us end up in life when we walk forward looking backwards.

As the year comes to a close and a new one draws near, here’s a thought I’d like to leave with you.

“One thing I do: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3:13, NLT)

Paul’s one thing is a two-fold thing.

FORGET THE PAST.

This would include both the good and the bad part of your past.

The good? Yup, this includes the achievements, successes, accomplishments.

Imagine a basketball player talking about a buzzer beater shot he made to win the game
2 years ago but is currently playing in the finals game.
It’s great to remember the past, but living in the past is silly.
Reliving the past will not help you win the present.
There are new battles to face and new victories to be won.

Sometimes, the good that you accomplished in the past becomes the hindrance to the best that God has in store for your future.

The bad? Indeed.
I realize that it’s hard to forget certain things. Especially, the painful ones.
False accusations. Broken relationships. Sexual abuse. Business failure. Marriage separation.
However, Paul’s exhortation to forget the past implies to not get stuck.
Don’t get stuck in the past.

You’ve seen people live life playing the victim card.
It’s always someone else’s fault.
“The reason I am who I am today and the reason I am where I am today is because of this other person’s fault.”

Remember, It is difficult to drive forward if you are constantly looking through the rear view mirror.

LOOK FORWARD.

Heather Dorniden ran the NCAA Big Ten 600m race for University of Minnesota in 2008. Her coach would often tell her, ‘Sometimes you don’t know if you have a next year or even a tomorrow, so just go out there and run it the best that you can.’”

It was the final heat and when the trigger was pulled, she was doing well, until her feet got tangled up with another’s and tripped.
She had a choice at the moment.
She could’ve stayed on the ground and pulled out the victim card.
“It’s not my fault. That girl tripped me! I am losing the race because of her!”

She didn’t allow her self to get sucked into that.
She brushed the dirt off of her and picked herself up.
She started running again, kept looking forward and miracle of all miracles, ended up winning the race.

You have no control over what happens to you
but you have control over how you respond to what happens to you.

Forget the past. Look forward to what lies ahead.

Remember, with God, the best is always yet to come.

Happy New Year!