Sitting Pretty and Healthy

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If you spend most of your day in a chair, may posibilidad na ang postura mo ay hindi maganda. Wala kasi sa tamang alignment ang iyong spinal column (o backbone) kapag ikaw ay nakaupo. Pag nagpatuloy ang hindi magandang postura—nakaupo man o nakatayo—ay maaaring magresulta sa masakit na likod, fatigue, at panlalambot ng iyong mga muscles. Para maiwasan ang ganitong habit, subukan ang mga tips na ito at bantayan ang sarili kung ganito:

  1. Umupo nang tuwid na kung saan magkakalinya ang hita, balikat, at tainga.
  2. Siguraduhing nakalapat ang iyong lower back sa upuan at iyong shoulder blades ay nakapalabas.
  3. Itaas ang iyong dibdib.
  4. Panatiliing nakalapat ang paa sa sahig.

– from Today’s Christian Woman November/December 2001, p.14.

Year-End Thoughts: Disappointments

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I can say truthfully that I was never disappointed with God. Knowing the Scriptures, I can make sense most of the time what he is doing with my life and others. When there are times that I can’t make sense of things, I simply trust Him that He is in control of everything.

But with men, I can say truthfully that they are prone to disappoint. Especially this year.

The ones I brought to the Lord. By this, I mean those whom I’ve shared the gospel with, or at least brought to church, and through that have accepted Christ as Savior. The moment they did that, my joy was indescribable. Years later, for them I feel terrible sadness. The children I won before who are now in their teenage years, are spending their lives not serving God but serving themselves. They are always reminded at church, but the reminders seem to fall on deaf ears.

The other one left the church for a job he got at a five-star hotel. He has actually just returned from backsliding but because of this job opportunity, he chose to miss church. I couldn’t help myself but weep for him. The ones he brought to the Lord, with him not at their side and guidance, said malicious words against the pastor, and left the church. They have said offensive things to us, and though I was angered at what they said and done, ultimately I was filled with sorrow for them. As a church which follows God’s words, we have sent them letters of notice of their inactivity and was hoping they would return before the end of the year, but they did not. Because of that, by the entrance of 2015, they will be non-members, and I know that it will be a terrible loss for them.

I was saddened by how they should have known God enough, but didn’t. Had they known Him better, they will not be doing things they are doing now. I am disappointed with them.

The people I know to be Christians. Just this month, I learned of Christians and pastors who’ve done terrible misdeeds. I would not elaborate here, but two of them decided to cheat another Christian about some property. Until now, I am wagging my head at what they have done. When they were confronted, they were the ones who had the guts to say malicious things, adding to their sin. Another blurted offensive words at another Christian, interfering with something she should not meddle with. I expected them to be mature and I expected them to do the right thing and say the right thing, but they didn’t. I am disappointed with them.

I know as a Christian I should not be expecting something from people, and Jesus did just that (John 2:24, 25). But I did in these instances. I learned that disappointments will really happen when you expect from people.

In 2015 I know I could still experience disappointments, nevertheless, I will strive to “not commit myself to them,” as Jesus did.

Three Unspoken Words

Key Bible Verse: “… and [Joseph] presented himself unto [Jacob his father]; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.” – Genesis 46:29

Marami sa ating mga ama ang pinalaki sa panahong hindi panlalaki ang pagsabi ng “I love you” sa kanilang mga anak.

Si A.J. Foyt, ang four-time winner ng Indianapolis 500, ay may amang nagngangalang si Tony, at ito mismo ay isang magaling na midget car driver, at isa sa mga naging mekaniko ni A.J. Sila ay isang team, magkasamang gumagawa sa Gasoline Alley. Pero hindi magawang masabi ni Tony na siya ay proud sa mga na-accomplish ng kanyang anak,. Ni hindi niya nasabi na mahal niya ito, ayon sa isang feature story ng Sports Illustrated.

Bago mamatay si Tony noong 1983, sina A.J. at ang kanyang pamilya ay nasa gilid ng kanyang higaan. Sabi ng doctor, “Kung meron pa kayong sasabihin sa isa’t-isa, dapat niyo na iyong sabihin. Maghihintay ako sa labas.” Pagkaalis ng doctor, halos hindi makapagsalita si A.J. “Ah, Dad, hindi talaga nangyayari ang mga bagay ayon sa pinlano natin.”

“Alam ko iyon,” sabi ni Tony.

“May gusto ka bang pag-usapan natin?”

“Wala, wala naman.”

“Gagawin ko ang makakaya ko para magpatuloy.”

“Alam ko,” sabi ni Tony. “Wag kang mag-alala sa mga bagay-bagay.”

Sigurado ka bang wala ka nang sasabihin, Dad?”

“Wala,” sabi niya. “Nasabi ko na ang lahat.”

– Greg Johson & Mike Yorkey in Daddy’s Home, obtained from Men of Integrity July-August 2005.

My Response: Sino ang nangangailangan ng pagsasabi ng pag-ibig mula sa akin?

Thoughts to Apply: Every act of love is a risk of the self.—Eugene Peterson (Writer, Bible Translator)

Year-End Thoughts: Compassion for Others

tears in eyesThis year I found myself crying for several people.

For the unregenerate/unsaved. I’ve shared the gospel and the Word of God to several people this year, and all I desired and prayed for them was that they would be saved. But after months and months of teaching the Bible to them, they still haven’t responded. My uncle also who gave his time and spent his money for buying things for me when I was a child still couldn’t trust Jesus as his Savior and Lord. They must have been thinking that not believing God and what I said was my loss, but nothing could be more untrue. In reality, they are the ones who lose. I cry every time I bring them to God in prayer. Even at this moment, I feel myself at the verge of crying.

For two special people. One time I went to a far province in the country, and met two young men of a church there with whom I became burdened to disciple. With all my heart I taught them truths of Scripture and challenged them to live for God, and they responded positively. I left that province and returned home, praying that these two people would continue.

But now at this time I received news that they are once again struggling. It’s because their father, who was a professing Christian and member of that church, was still backsliding and drinking. Their mother was better, but they saw her not being faithful to church. Their older sister went to another province and was now involved with some foreigner guy they didn’t know. They seemed to so ashamed of their family that they were so ashamed of attending the church themselves. Every time I think of what happened to them, I couldn’t help but cry.

I was asking God, “Why are these things happening to them? Why couldn’t they be near to You as I am, experiencing this contented life with You?” But then I realized Jesus said something similar to these words, proving that He also experienced the same pain for others.

And it’s because of compassion. If I don’t have love for these people, I wouldn’t experience pain for what’s happening to them. That makes me pray for them continually, hoping that things will get better for them.

And that is one of the things I will not want to lose as this year ends and as the next year comes–compassion for others.

Giving: Does It Make Me Less? Changing the Human Mindset to Godly Mindset

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Ligtas na ba tayo? Anak na ba tayo ng Diyos? Isang matamis na “Oo” ang malamang na isasagot natin. Pero kahit tayo’y ligtas na, may mga bagay na naiwan sa atin ng dati nating katauhan—ang old sinful nature at siyempre, principles of this world. Bagaman mga anak na ng Diyos ay may nananatili pa rin sa ating mga bagay na hindi kaaya-aya sa Kanyang paningin—at isa sa mga pinakamahirap tanggalin ay ang mentalidad natin tungkol sa ating pag-aari—lalo na sa pera. Pero sabi nga ng Bible, we “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth” us. (Philippians 4:13)

Ang mentalidad ng Diyos at mentalidad ng tao ay malayung-malayo sa isa’t-isa lalo na’t nabahiran tayo ng kasalanan.

The Human Mindset

Ang isip ng tao para magkaroon ay ang pinakamabilis na paraan—ang kumuha at tumanggap—”Get all you can!” kung baga. Mainipin kasi tayong mga tao kaya gusto nating magkaroon nang agad-agad. Kaya maraming sumasali sa lotto, sa ’pyramid’ businesses, promos, at game shows ay dahil gusto nila magkaroon kaagad.

The Godly Mindset

Ang sabi ng Bibliya sa Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Ngayong tayo’y mga anak na ng Diyos, nararapat lamang na ang human mindset natin ay mapalitan ng godly mindset. Ang utak ng Diyos na kung gusto natin tumanggap ay magbigay tayo. “Give, and it shall be given unto you.” (Luke 6:38) Let take God as the ultimate Example. Bakit ba tayo lumapit at nanumbalik sa Diyos mula sa kasalanan? Dahil ibinigay Niya ang Kanyang Anak na si Jesus sa atin. Kung hindi nagbigay ang Diyos sa atin, hindi Siya makakatanggap ng ating pagsamba at pagpuri.

Kaya kung ganoon ang prinsipiyo ng Diyos, hindi ba dapat gayundin tayong mga anak niya? Huwag tayong matakot na magbigay sa Panginoon. Kung hindi ka pa nakapagko-commit sa bagay na ito ay gawin mo na ngayon. Kung naniniwala ka sa Bibliya ay maniniwala ka sa sinasabi ng mga talatang iyong nabasa.

Isa pa, wala rin tayong pag-aari kung tutuusin. Lahat ay bigay Niya kaya karapat-dapat din Siyang tumanggap mula sa atin ng ating tithes and offerings.

Year-End Thoughts: Second Chances

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This Sunday, we had a whole day service dedicated to prayer and fasting. The first prayer time was individual, so I had the time of coming to God alone. And I laid down myself before Him, one thing dawned on me. After that time of prayer, there was the sentences recitation, congregational singing, offering, choir, message, then rest, then singing, and giving of praise testimonies. After that another time for prayer, and this time it was by group. I led the Young Men’s group and as we prayed, one thing dawned on me.

Second chances.

I am thinking of that even as of this moment. I have done a terrible thing in God’s sight and have done terrible things in His sight in the past, and every time I could only cry and beat my chest and bow my head in shame before Him. I remember my sins, my shortcomings, and all I could do is ask forgiveness and mercy, because I think I couldn’t continue on.

But then there was this moment. This moment that after prayer, you’re still existing. I’m still existing. Despite the “death-worthy” deed done (Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death”), I’m still here, typing these words. Living. Continuing on.

Second chances.

I’ve done good things this year. I’ve done terrible things this year, also. And however I wanted to, I couldn’t erase those. But as I think that God is still giving me the coming year 2015 to continue on, I realize that He is giving me a second chance. I don’t believe the quote that “man deserves a second chance.” No. We don’t deserve it, sinful and rebellious and skeptical creatures that we are. But I believe we need it.

And thank God He gives us a second chance. And a third. And a fourth.

Lord, help me not to abuse the second chances you give me. By Your grace. By Your power.

Time for a marriage tune-up?

Take a couple days away and ask these questions.

QUESTIONS TO ASK EACH OTHER:

  • How do we feel we’re doing in expressing our personal faith [in Christ] as a living reality in front of our kids?
  • Are we sometimes allowing our children to play one of us against each other? If so, what adjustments can we make to avoid that?
  • Are we praying for children’s future and for the mates God is preparing for them?
  • Do our children understand that our marriage relationship is a top priority in our family?
  • How are we each doing individually and together as a couple on building our spiritual lives?
  • Is the atmosphere of our home one that’s filled with joy and positive expectation? If not, what adjustments do we need to make?
  • What are we doing to make sure we’re growing together, as opposed to growing apart?

Adapted from Beneath the Surface by Bob Reccord ©2002.

Taken from Marriage Partnership Fall 2002 Issue, page 14.

Marriage: The Things You Argue About

According to Bernice Canners’ Are You Normal?

These are things that you… ARGUE ABOUT:

1) Money/Partner’s spending habits

2) Which TV Shows to watch

3) Too little time spent together

4) How to discipline the children

5) How the house is kept

6) Leisure plans

7) How to spend vacations

8) Which friends to see

From Marriage Partnership Fall 2002

The ATM Money (A Story)

Tina went to a telling machine near their home to withdraw cash her aunt sent from the U.S. She was happy because at last she will get money again for school needs. Her parents can’t support her schooling so her Aunt Jane volunteered to. Her Aunt supports her every month with $200, enough to be used in paying for projects, transportation, food, dorm fees, and everything related to her schooling activities. She used to subtract her tithe, love offering, and missions since her first and second year in college and now she’s on her third year. The exchange rate of dollar to peso last two years was big in amount, making her to do it conveniently. But now that the dollar value has gotten low, she was thinking if she would still give the same amount.

The money has come out from the machine and she took her card back to her bag. As she went away from the teller she was in a thinking. If I will give the same amount, I wouldn’t have enough. Will I still give this?

She was still pondering at the matter when she reached home. “What’s bothering you, Tina?” her Mom asked.

She hesitated at first. “Ah… I’m thinking if I should still give my tithe, love offering, and faith promise to the church.” She continued as she saw her Mom not speaking. “You know… the exchange rates, and I think it would not be enough anymore if I give this…”

Her Mom sat beside her in the couch. “You know, I would advise you to continue doing it, besides, I would like that you give more! You know why? Because the Bible says, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ‘Give, and it shall be given unto you.’ It says that the more we give, the more we receive. And especially remember, you’re giving to the Lord and not to men.”

Tina’s eyes began to brighten up. “You know Mom, you’re right, just as the Bible is right. You know because of what you reminded me, I would give more. I’ll just have to trust God for the rest.”

The coming Sunday she gave more than usual. She gave with joy, and with the assurance of God’s Word that God would bless her giving. “Lord, starting now, I will never worry about my needs, because I know You will provide those. Just trust in you, and give, and You take care of the rest.”

Different Types of Treasure Stewardship

The Bible shows us three categories of stewardship of treasure: the first giving, second giving and the third giving.

The First Giving—Tests our obedience to God

The tithe. This is the first level of giving, though technically tithing is not really “giving,” but “returning.” Tithing is returning the 10% of all our blessings from the Lord. It is commanded in Malachi 3:10 (“Bring ye all the tithes”) and is confirmed in Matthew 23:23 (“these things ought ye to have done”). This talks not just about the salary we receive, but all the blessings we receive freely. Many people think tithing is enough, but it only tests our obedience—if we will follow God’s command or not.

The firstfruits. This is also a command, yet it’s based upon what’s your commitment. But technically, firstfruits is somewhat as your first salary in the year, or first blessing you received in a particular year. Most churches prefer to complete the amount every December for the year and is used for Church projects, but biblically the pastor can use this for his own and his family.

The Second Giving—Tests our love for God

The offering. This level begins the true sense of giving. Our love for God is tested by the amount and by the way we give it. Our thinking now about offering is that it is not important; most of the time we give what’s left on our pocket. But God does bless us even more when we give our love offering. (Luke 6:38) In tithing God provides our basic needs; in our offering God gives the good desires of our heart.

The Third Giving—Tests our trust in God

The faith promise. This is giving support to missionaries—whether local or foreign. We do this by committing a certain amount and give it on a regular basis. By this we sublimely obey the command, “Go ye into all the world …” (Mark 16:15) Yet this is not compulsory, though it is not also optional.

The sacrifice. This is giving support to a certain need in the Church that can cost a chunk in your income and yet you trust God to sustain your needs; and truly, He will.

As many say, “A person rises or falls on money,” God also tests our character in how we will be giving. Remember, as you go through a higher level, the more will God bless you.