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Someone approached me last Saturday at our Every Nation Building Phase 2 Event. I wasn’t sure at first why she wanted to speak to me but after listening to her, I was so delighted to have spoken to her.

Arlene attended Victory Fort years ago but moved to Singapore to work for Yahoo for about 6 years. She is now back in Manila on route to Canada.

She related her story regarding how she struggled with smoking. She knew she needed to quit. She understood the physiological and spiritual ramifications of her habit but couldn’t seem to shake it off.

She’s asked her small group leader, Joyce, to stand with her all this time to believe God for freedom from this habit. She appreciated her small group leader for not only praying with her but also for accepting her without condemnation.

Arlene said she came across my blog entitled “How About Smoking or Drinking” a few months ago that helped her build convictions to finally get rid of smoking. She’s been off it 4 months now and praises God for the victory.

Paul the apostle addresses the issue of those that are weak in the faith in Romans 14 and 15. He says that there are those who are weak in the faith that abstains from eating food sacrificed to idols. On the other hand, there are those who’s faith allows them to eat without guilt. The church was divided over this issue and Paul expressed that in the essentials, we are to be solidly united. But in the non-essentials, we can have liberty over certain issues.


“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” (Romans 14:1)

We have a tendency to major in the minors – from worship style to clothing to what type of instruments we can use in church.

“One person believes he may eat anything while the weak person eats only vegetables.” (Romans 14:2)

While we may have different preferences, opinions and styles, we can move forward as the church of Jesus but being solid on the non-negotiables – salvation by faith, the Triune God and the cross.


“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14:19)

We are called to build and not tear down. Paul warns the church to not cause anyone to stumble. Furthermore, he warns the believers to not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. It is not good to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. (Romans 14:20-21)

The question we need to ask ourselves is this: “What is the greater value?”

Our comfort or God’s kingdom?

Coolness factor or a soul saved for Christ?

Relevance or our relationship with Jesus?

Is Jesus our greatest value?

Romans 14:8 says that if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we died, we are the Lord’s.

Paul establishes the fact that we are no longer our own. Because we are not our own, our decisions are now determined by the One who does. We have been bought with a price. Our life is no longer ours alone.


“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” (Romans 15:10)

The goal is not uniformity but unity. We can have unity in the midst of diversity. We are called to appreciate it and even celebrate it.

Unity in diversity is a possibility as we aim to give God the glory.

If this is our goal – God’s glory – then we can move towards the same finish lines as long as He is our finish line.



Money has the potential to destroy both human and divine relationships.

I read an article last week about a research that says nearly 80% of couples in their 20’s divorce primarily because of money.

A few days after that, I read another article talking about a poll that was made that 1 out of 5 guys would rather have an iPhone 6 than a girlfriend.

Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) We don’t literally bow down before our resources, money and possessions but they do have the power to take the place of god in our lives.

Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24). It is interesting to note that He didn’t say “both God and the devil” or “both God and your boyfriend/girlfriend”. Somehow there’s an invisible string that connects our hearts to our wallets.

Right before entering the promised land, Moses reminds the people of God about 3 important things. Because we have a propensity to forget, reminders are critical especially before a major task.


God fed His people with manna, protected them from their enemies, delivered them from the Egyptians, took care of their physical needs like clothing among many other things.

Provision is a non-issue to God. What is more of an issue is our faith. The Israelites could’ve arrived at the promised land in 2 weeks coming from Egypt. But because of unbelief and disobedience, it took them 40 years to get to the promised land.

God is faithful. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He provided then. And if that is so, He can surely provide today.


God reminds His people through Moses to obey His commands. Obedience comes as a response to what God has done. It was clear that His love for His people was expressed through their deliverance from Egypt. As a result of this covenant of love, the people of God are called to respond in obedience.

We don’t obey to receive favor from God. We obey His commands because we already have been shown favor. Jesus sacrificed Himself on our behalf and because of that, we are empowered to respond in love by obeying His commands.


Moses reminded that people to only worship the Lord their God and not other gods. Worship is Worth-ship. It is ascribing worth and honor to God. He is worthy to be worshipped, not just for what He has done but more so for who He is.

Attached below is a video to explain in length the 3 reminders Moses gave to the people of God… and to us as well.


The object of your faith is greater than the reason for your fear.

I had lunch with a young man recently who wanted to pursue someone.

I asked him what was keeping him from laying down his intentions. They’ve been friends for sometime. They seem to get along well. They both have jobs. And most of all, they both love Jesus.

Was there an assurance that she will say yes to courtship? NONE.
I couldn’t give him one and he definitely had no idea if she was going to say yes or no.

But he was decided to go for it.

He said he’s prayed for it and believes that this is what God wants him to do. He is attracted to her physically, but more so spiritually because of her heart for God.

I gave him a firm handshake. I told him that I realize that he’s taking a risk but that’s all part of the adventure. I was actually proud of him.

Even in pursuing, faith is involved.

Fear can paralyze. But faith can galvanize.
Fear can debilitate. But faith can activate.
Fear desists. But faith persists.

Remember, the object of your faith (God) is greater than the reason for your fear.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1, NLT)


“Why do singles push marriage at a later age or push it away altogether?”

This was one of the questions of our volunteer leaders asked recently.

It can be one of three things: many are UNEASY, UNCERTAIN or UNCLEAR. (this list is by no means exhaustive)

Probably uneasy because of the many horror stories we’ve heard or even the bad experiences we personally have gone through. Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that there has been a 40% increase in annulments in the Philippines.

Uncertain because of what might the future hold. After all, financial stability is a major consideration for anyone who is going to get married.

Unclear would refer to the purpose of marriage.  It is possible that a wrong understanding of marriage can make a person terrified at making that big leap.


Because of these reasons, some have chosen cohabitation.  They move in together to ‘test-drive’ the relationship. (previous blog post here)

Now, test driving the relationship is not a good idea.

Number 1, your partner is not a car.

Number 2, the other person feels devalued and depreciated, particularly the ladies, if the relationship doesn’t work out because we all know that as soon as we drive a car out of the dealership, there’s an automatic 20% mark down it’s original price. Depreciation happens.

Number 3, it doesn’t work. How come? Research tells us that couples who cohabit before marriage have a higher rate of divorce than those who don’t.


The Bible says that “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 18:22)

Marriage is a good thing.

The Bible doesn’t just state that, but even health science supports it. (article here)

Here’s a short summary of the article:

* Men alive at 48 years old have a 90 percent chance of reaching 65 if they are married, but only a 60 to 70 percent chance if they are single.

*A married man with heart disease can expect to live, on average, nearly four years longer than an unmarried man with a healthy heart

*Unmarried people spend 2x as much time in hospitals as married people.

*Rates of major depression are 9x higher in unmarried men.

*Depression, and in particular dysphoria – a feeling of anxiety, depression, and unease – is higher in single women compared to married women.


It’s not just a good thing but also a God thing.

He invented marriage. He instituted it. It was His idea.

Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher was married for 86 years which was why they made it to Guinness World Records. They were asked what their secret was.

His answer? “No secrets. There isn’t any secret. It was only God that kept us together.”

Her answer? “We are both Christians and believe in God. Marriage is a commitment to the Lord. We pray with and for each other every day.”

Since marriage is God’s idea, it is He who will give grace to keep the 2 together.

PS. I like what Louise commented below. There are those who have been called to be single so that they can serve Jesus in this lifetime which I believe is a high calling.

Mr./Ms. RIGHT vs. Mr./Ms. RIGHT NOW

Because it’s Valentine season, the pressure is on.

You don’t have to be a love guru to notice. Just check the twitter feeds of people and you’ll understand what I mean.

If you’re not on twitter, just go to family reunions this month and listen to what the titos and titas ask. Besides “how are you” I’m sure you’ll get “o, hijo/hija, may boyfriend/girlfriend ka na ba?” (do you already have a boyfriend/girlfriend?)

I’m sure they’re well meaning and desire to start conversations with their nephews and nieces. But it truly becomes a pressure.


God works with seasons and timing.

People end up frustrated or forced if they don’t understand the seasons God’s allowed them to enjoy at the moment.

If you’re season is to focus on what God has put on your plate at the moment (school, career, spending time with family, starting a business), then have a blast! Be secure in the season God’s put you in and you’ll notice a change in perspective.

Being both single and married are gifts from God. And each gift comes with its own set of wonderful blessings.

In the meantime, continue to build godly friendships.

As what my friend Christian Flores says,
“Christ-centered friendship is the best foundation of a meaningful relationship.”


The right thing at the wrong time becomes the wrong thing.

Because of the pressure, emotions can become overwhelming. When this happens, we tend to make decisions on a whim without thinking of the consequences.

“Mr. Right” becomes a mere “Mr. Right Now.”

“Ms. Right” is replaced by “Ms. Right Now.”

Because you don’t have a significant other at the moment doesn’t make you incomplete.

If you have given your life to Christ and He is Master and Savior, then know that He alone is truly able to bring fulfillment and significance.

Remember, the 3 most important decisions you’ll make in your life:

  •  Who you will serve? (Master)
  •  How you will serve? (mission)
  •  With whom will you serve? (mate)

If you are looking for fulfillment and security in a romantic relationship, I can tell you now that you might end up disappointed.

Only One can fill all your needs – physical, spiritual and emotional… JESUS!



With all the opportunities to connect, there’s no way you can’t find a friend. Social networks have made it easy to do so.

Star Pulse news dubs her has the person who has the most “friends”. She has over 60M friends.


But while you and I can make lots of online connections, the depth and authenticity of these relationships will definitely have its misgivings.

We are all in search for authentic relationships. Some of us have been burned by inauthentic ones and desire genuine friendships.

The good news is that it is absolutely possible.

King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 4 gives us his perspective on friendships. He was a man who enjoyed wealth, pleasure and wisdom. And at the end of his life, he calls the pursuit of these ultimately is meaningless.

He adds friendlessness in the list.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

My thoughts…

1. Authentic friendships seek to contribute and not merely consume.

While there are definitely benefits to having friends and people to journey life with, trying to get something from the friendship and not add value to the other ultimately gets draining.

2. Authentic friendships help without expecting anything in return.

Living in a consumer society has trained us to ask WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). Authentic friendships seek to help without expecting anything in return.

3. Authentic friendships fan the flame of faith.

It’s hard enough to journey through life because the challenges it brings and doubly difficult to do it alone. There is a devil out there wanting to pull every Christ follower down. Do you have people who speak into your life and ask you the hard questions?

4. Authentic friendships protect even if it means sacrificing personal convenience.

“Why don’t people ask us about our hope? The answer is probably that we look as if we hope in the same things they do. Our lives don’t look like they are on the Calvary road, stripped down for sacrificial love, serving others with the sweet assurance that we don’t need to be rewarded in this life.” (John Piper)


I read an interesting article from Psychology Today last Saturday.

It tells us that though our ‘web connections’ have grown broader but shallower. Stephen Marche and his research team tells us that we are more isolated that ever before, and also more accessible than ever imagined.

This means  that while we have hundreds of friends in Facebook and scores of followers on Twitter, the relationships are actually shallow.

We can know what Lady Gaga ate for breakfast and what city One Direction is in today but there’s very little relationship if any.

Stephen Marche, in his article in The Atlantic says,

Loneliness and being alone are not the same thing, but both are on the rise. We meet fewer people. We gather less. And when we gather, our bonds are less meaningful and less easy. The decrease in confidants—that is, in quality social connections—has been dramatic over the past 25 years. In one survey, the mean size of networks of personal confidants decreased from 2.94 people in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004. Similarly, in 1985, only 10 percent of Americans said they had no one with whom to discuss important matters, and 15 percent said they had only one such good friend. By 2004, 25 percent had nobody to talk to, and 20 percent had only one confidant.

Hebrews 10:25 says, Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Let me encourage you to get into a small group, volunteer or continue to build meaningful relationships.


A story about unconditional love…

What do you do when the one you love can no longer reciprocate your love?

What if something happens before you get married and your partner no longer has the ability to love you the way s/he did right before marriage?

You gotta watch this.

Bring out some kleenex too.




A few years ago, I spoke to a couple who hit a bump in their relationship.  They’ve been together since college and have been dating for several years.  They’ve been both losing interest in each other and no longer know where to take it.

After hearing them out, we’ve realized that they’ve hit a lid in their relationship.  The time they’ve spent, the experiences they’ve shared, the ‘kilig’ they’ve felt has hit a lid.

They needed to make a decision – either bring it to the next level (marriage) or make a decision if this is really what they want.

Someone said indecision becomes a decision with time.

I don’t know exactly how long is long but being in a relationship too long may not exactly be the healthiest. Intimacy wise, you cannot bring it to where you’d like to since you’re not yet married.  And the temptation becomes even more intense.

Breaking up is difficult because of the ‘sayang’ factor.  You’ve been with together for years and then that’s it?

But staying in a relationship just because you’ve been together for a long time is not the best reason to stay.

WARNING: Unsolicited advice…. (Don’t continue to read if you might not like the next statement.)

Guys, if you’re in a long term relationship and the relationship is getting stale, I suggest you take it to the next level – either get married or break it up. Why? Because the lady you are in a relationship with may be stuck and for all you know God has someone else for her but you’ve held her captive in the relationship you’re in.

But if it’s a go, then get married. Trust God for provision. Believe God for the best. He will never leave nor forsake.

Ladies, don’t let anyone take you captive in a relationship. You do know that you can make the decision to move on. You’re not married yet. And if he is not ready to back up his claim with a ring, then he has no business asking you to give your all to him.

By the way, you may ask what happened to the couple I spoke to years ago? They did get married, eventually. Now they’re living life to the fullest, enjoying all that God had promised in a marriage submitted to His will.

Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? (Proverbs 20:6)


Just met with a guy who sincerely desired to grow his relationship with God. I thoroughly enjoyed our talk.

I loved his humility. He acknowledged He needed God in His life and was ready to do whatever it takes to get from point A to B.

He asked what are the steps to take.  I couldn’t give any.  Not that I didn’t have any in mind, but I didn’t want having a relationship with Jesus be reduced to a series of do’s and don’t’s.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), that’s the thing with relationships.  There are no formulas.

Sometimes, we ‘systematize’ relationships, reducing it to a series of steps.

If I tell my kids…

6pm, when I get home from the office, run to me and give me a hug.
7pm, tell me all that happened in your day
8:30pm, let’s read a bedtime story
8:45pm, give me a kiss goodnight.

They can do all that… mechanically.  But that’s not a relationship.

If they come to me 3:32 AM into our bed and gives me a hug in the middle of the night, now THAT’S relationship.  A pleasant surprise like that would make my day.

If my 2 year old, Joaquin, comes to me while I’m changing the light bulb in the bathroom and says, “I love you, Daddy” … now that’s a relationship.

Same with our relationship with Jesus.

We pray not because we have to but because we get to.
We read His Word not because we need to but because we want to.

I loved what “John” (not his real name) said, “I want to get to know Him not because of what I can get out of the relationship (the benefits, the blessings and what I can gain), but I want to know Him because I want to know Him.

That meeting made my day.

If I go home now, I would have had a full day already.

Oh, by the way, today, John just surrendered his life to Christ.
THAT never gets old.