Listeners diary: This is not okay…not normal

I met and sat before a familiar face, perhaps my best memories of her is quiet, intelligent, kind, good hearted and beautiful. I listened to her story.

What is before me seemed to be drained of life. Devoid of joy, confused, lost and disoriented. Hungry for a place to fully express without being interrupted and judge.

In her five years of marriage, she has reap words so demeaning and deprecating she has lost her sense of value and intelligence. The words she received from her husband I never imagine would be uttered to her. The words are so verbally and mentally abusive. This is not okay, this is not normal in marriage specially for a husband who claims of faith in Christ and know the scripture.

Bible verses weaponize against her wife. This is not okay, and will never be okay.

Using God and faith to manipulate a wife, in order for his wishes to be fulfilled. This is not okay and never okay. This is not normal!

Not allowing your wife not to talk to pastors, people that can guide marriage and be part of a community. This is not okay.

Blaming the wife for his misfortunes is not okay. This guy is not taking ownership!

She wonders if this marriage is normal. I said, this is not okay and this is not normal.

The wife is a victim of an abusive relationship.

But here’s the thing, the husband was raised up by a single mom, who also weaponize the scriptures as he was raised up. This too was not and never okay.

The husband grew up in environment, that is very controlling, lacking of praise and filled with correction.

The husband is also a victim.

But this cycle has to stop, at least that’s what I think.

Thoughts from this:

The Bible is not meant to be weaponize to attack and manipulate others. This does not give glory to God and not reflective of His good character.

Sadly, not all who goes to church, nor who knows the bible and every verse does not necessarily equate with being intimate with God and a disciple.

While every believer is not expected to be perfect, our journey in faith is inescapable of gospel transformation. That changes our hearts and behavior reflective of Jesus Christ’s along the process.

What are your thoughts?

What The Past Year Taught Me

When life and circumstances seems crippling, cornered and no where to go, succumb to darkness of hopeless and grief; a time when emotions are high and overwhelming.

The days felt like days of mourning and grief, as if someone you dearly loved passed away. Moment of immense tears and sadness no words can ever describe. Such a despair I can only do but cry.

This was me a week before entering 2018, the last quarter of 2017 had a plotwist that brought much pain and challenge, a time when life and circumstances hit hard. I was overwhelmed with the circumstances that I have, combined my reflections with disappointments and discouragement for 2017 that surfaced on the very eve of Christmas to days that followed was filled with emotional pain.

I had an overwhelming number of family challenges going through back home, along with thoughts and reflections of shortcomings, failures and discouragements both personal and in ministry. All were overwhelming at the same time. I didn’t know how I would celebrate Christmas at that time, at a very special time to be with family. All I wanted was to be alone. Though my closest friend would invite, the grief within was overwhelming I deeply wanted to be alone.

I wandered how will I ever surpass this season. I cried to God almost every day, to remove this grief and mourning in my heart and restore my joy. I prayed for God to help me to hope again and restore the joy of my salvation.

As I waited, I felt God comforting the pain I am going through by sending my friends. It was a season I felt my heart was callous from hoping and joy. Deep within a still small voice saying never give up hoping, never stop believing, and above all never stop calling to God.

A year later, as I spent time with family for the Christmas season, as I look back my heart was filled with peace, and assurance that whatever 2019 and the years will bring, I can rest in his power. As He has sustained me and my family in 2018, how much more in the years to come. Truly apart from God’s goodness and faithfulness I didn’t know I could have survived. This only inspired me to be in faith all the more. The weight of challenge hasn’t lighten up, yet God’s presence through the storm breathes life and hope everyday.

We all have crosses to carry, the weight will never be easy. But as we take it, let’s continue to fix our eyes on Jesus. The cross he carried far more outweighs the ones we have. As we enter 2019, we can continue to rely on his unfailing character.

If we are in Christ then, so are our situations. Nothing escapes in His sovereignty and power. In christ, we rest in His capacity.

Moving on & New Beginnings

New year means new beginnings. While it is wonderful to ponder and write down things that we are thankful for the previous year, it would also be great to reflect on our failures, frustrations, pains and discouragements. We need to free ourselves from all the baggages that have been weighing us down. We can do this through honest reflections and acknowledgments that will lead us to humility before God and Him freeing us from such things. This way we can truly move forward to a year filled with hope and soar high.

Start fresh, back to zero.

We should start the year free from familiarity to face new challenges. Don’t hold on to your trophies, recognitions and achievements because our past successes may not help bring us to success this year. In other words, what got you here may not necessarily get you there. Let us desire to have a heart that is excited for new mountains to conquer – now with a greater dependence on God in being successful and not only from years of experience. Sometimes we rely on our past successes more than relying on God.

Let go.

In our previous journeys, we may have encountered frustrations, disappointments, discouragements and hurts. Today, it is time to let go. Let go and let God. God, being above all these things, is everlasting and powerful. And when we start to acknowledge that God is at the center and that He is the One who orchestrates all things, we will have peace knowing that He is perfectly in control. He knows better and He knows best. As we allow Him to rule in our hearts, He will give us peace, restoration, strength, healing, new direction, and He will also fill us with a new sense of hope.

Failures do not define us.

We won’t have success all the time. Human beings are limited and bound to fail one way or another. However, failures should never define you neither give you your identity. Rather, we can take them as learning curves to help us become a better person. We only truly fail when we fail to see the beauty and the lessons these shortcomings bring us. Only God has set your value and you are always priceless before Him.

As you start the year, be in faith for greater things. And as you journal your faith goals, dare to believe big, dream big, and expect big things. Hold on to God who rules, reigns and creator of all things. Rest in His promises with expectant hearts for the object of our faith is of incomparable greatness beyond measure.

… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead – Philippians 3:13

May you have a joyful new beginnings this year!


Last January, in one of the prayer and fasting lunch services at Victory Ortigas, a random lady approached me to offer prayer, which I gladly welcomed. The first part of her prayer came this way:

“Welcome Challenges this year”

I could not recall the rest of her prayers. But it indeed struck me, because it was clear to me that God was speaking through her.
Doing ministry is not easy, It can be very overwhelming and I have honestly come to a point of pleading to God to take it away, or at least, make it a bit easier. It was a breaking point. But every time I talk with God, He constantly reminds that it is He who orchestrates everything in my life, including the overwhelming challenges in the ministry. It is He who placed me here and that He did not make a mistake in assigning me that weight for the task.
Looking back at that time of prayer with the lady, I realize how God revealed to me my response (which is fear) to the potential challenges that will come my way this year. This made me ask myself, “so how should we welcome challenges?”

Pondering on this question, here are some of the points which came to mind:

1. Recognize that all challenges that come to you are allowed by God.

· Go direct to God above who entrust this to you. Seek Him with all your heart. Ask to give you wisdom and guidance on how to handle the challenge. Recognizing that all these challenges were allowed by God, will make you see that it is also God who can deliver you out of it. Take to heart that it is God−ordained.

2. Respond with the right heart.
· How we respond to challenges matters. We can either keep on complaining or take on the challenges and thank God. As God has entrusted the challenges, He will enable you to perform it. Heart check is crucial as we respond in this journey. God is maturing our faith and relationship with Him.

3. Be courageous and strong. 
· God’s Word to Joshua, as he took on the new leadership role was “Be very strong and courageous in all your challenges.” Remembering that God is with you in every step of the way will encourage you to be strong and courageous. Do not be intimated with what will come your way, for the Lord your God is with you.

   4. Be excited for what God will teach you through your challenges. 
· Keep in mind that this faith journey comes with amazing learnings and revelations, no matter how difficult and impossible it may be. One of the benefits of facing challenges is breaking of wrong mindsets. Most of the time I find myself limiting an unlimited God, then I repent and realize how God is expanding my faith.

We are just in the first quarter of 2017 and I find myself delightfully excited to what comes my way. Do not close doors yet for challenges, for God is mighty in your life and He will deliver you through it.

Overcoming Christmas stress? 

Feeling tossed between tidal waves in the middle of the ocean since my return to Manila a week ago -that’s how I can describe myself, at least in the past few days. Christmas time is an awesome, wonderful time to celebrate and reunite with good old friends, colleagues, and family. However, this “awesome, wonderful time” can also cost us with a lot of things and inconveniences. If we are not watchful, we will unknowingly grow hearts of complaints and grudges because of the many things that are happening around us. And this is not the way it should be!

Below are some points on how we can avoid and overcome this:


Stress can be both good and bad. But what is causing the stress within us? When stress begins to surface, it’s important to identify what triggers it by asking ourselves honest questions like:

  • Am I stressed because things are not happening my way?
  • Am I stressed because my travel time went beyond what I expected?
  • Am I stressed because I have so many expenses for all the Christmas parties I need to go to?
  • Am I stressed because I’m not getting the things I want?

And there are a lot of other questions that we can ask ourselves whenever we start getting stressed!

As we examine what triggers stress in us, let us also examine the way we respond to these triggers. Our response reveals a lot about the condition of our hearts before God. It takes humility to be honest before God with how we feel about ourselves and our situation, and to surrender everything unto Him.


Christmas parties! From officemates, to friends, neighborhood, community, family reunions, volunteer group, churchmates, discipleship group and a lot more depending on your involvement. There are just so many parties to go to that sometimes, we come to a point that one party becomes “just another activity.” This is the point when I start thanking God for each group and party, and for the fruitful relationships I have this people. But honestly, I’ve had to let go of some parties, especially those with conflict in schedule and location.

Having a thankful heart for all the people and relationships in this season will help us go above feeling overwhelmed with all the parties and events.


Celebrating this season means going through many inconveniences – from heavy traffic jam, to crowded malls, to so much things to buy. Most of the time, exchange gifts are set to a range of amount and parties have prescribed outfits or costumes. When budget starts to run low, expense stress also starts. We have to think smart and organize when it comes to spending. Come to think of it, almost everyone is giving away something this season, both time and gifts. Expense is temporary, but the relationships being built through the time spent and appreciation given to people go a long way. When we start to see people as expenses, we should start checking and recalibrating our hearts also. Examine why we have come to this point.

On the other hand, when we start to magnify God’s goodness, kindness and generosity, and fully understand the expense of our forgiveness and redemption, I am sure the sure our hearts response is gratitude and rejoicing. The expenses we have at this time are nothing compared to God’s expense when He sent His Son to us – the Reason why we are supposed to celebrate (and not fret over) this season.


Let us always go back to the reason of the season. It is not the sale going on the malls, nor the presents we give and get, nor the Christmas parties and bazaars we go to. Neither is it about you and me! Christmas season is always about our LORD JESUS CHRIST, nothing more, nothing less.

Whatever stresses and frustrates you, don’t miss out the very reason for the season, our Lord Jesus. The greatest gift we can have for ourselves is accepting Jesus in our hearts as Lord and Savior.

The greatest gift we can also give to our friends, colleagues, and families, is letting them know the saving knowledge of receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, trusting in His finished work on the cross for our Salvation and forgiveness of our sins. He has accomplished what we can never accomplish on our own and that is more than enough to keep us rejoicing and celebrating this season.

Have a joyful, stress-free and merry Christmas!

Honoring Leaders | Lynn Nawata


Today, I want to honor and give thanks to one of the people who made an impact to my life and perhaps, to many more, Ms. Lynn Nawata. She served as the Real Life Foundation Director for the past 8 years. REAL LIFE FOUNDATION is a scholarship program that helps the deserving underprivileged youth to finish college degree for a better future.

As she journeys to the next season of her career, it brings both sadness and joy. But joyful for her as she continues to faithfully serve God to where she is called.

Ms. Lyn, your compassion for helping the poor is so contagious. Everytime we would hear you speak about helping others, it never fails to move people for it has always come to us in a voice of a woman filled with so much passion.

Ms. Lyn, one of the things I will never forget is the line “What is your sobrang happy thought?” Thank you for the #SobrangHappyThoughts. This line always reminds me to recall God’s goodness and faithfulness in my life. When things are rough and difficult, recalling this line puts me back to a heart of gratitude and makes me appreciate every small detail of God’s loving grace , provision and gift of life.

I like what Pastor Steve Murell said during the Metro Manila Staff Meeting that for most of the Real Life scholars and for us alumni you are a “Nanay” (mom). Thank you for the impact you made into the lives of many.


You bring sobrang happy thoughts into our hearts and we are excited as you bring crossroads to more people across Asia and the world. As you have touched our hearts, surely, you will touch thousands more around the globe.


Leadership caught than taugh

We were invited by our senior pastor for an evening of dinner and fellowship at their place. I came early together with 3 more fellow campus missionaries. While we waited for the married once to come, we had one of the most empowering and liberating conversations with our senior pastor. He asked a question about our status, whether if we are single or in a relationship, we responded that we are all single at the time, with the vision of marriage. He then continued to share his testimony, He got married at the age of 32 and was able to travel different places and nations before getting married. 

His liberating words was, enjoy your season you have all the time now, because when your married you wouldn’t be able to do the things like you were  single. He said go and enjoy the ministry, travel to places you’ve never been. 

While he was speaking, I just felt so encourage that I have the best time now, and the joy in my heart to hear a very empowering words from him, this was a liberating moment. No pressure just enjoy your season, take your time, that was wow moment. 

Then the conversation shifted to savings , investments and insurance. It was a vision casting in preparation for greater things to come, have an emergency fund, have savings for travel, save for your marriage, believe for a car, travel abroad. When that moment comes you’ll buy that ring , or when you’ll get married you’ll easily be able to provide. 

3 things I realize about this… 

  • Leaders values your season
  • Leaders empowers you to maximize your season
  • Leaders communicates vision towards season

I thought to myself….

  • Do I speak of value of the different seasons of the people that surrounds me and to those that has been entrusted to me?
  • Do I encourage and empower them to maximize their season to the full?
  • Do I communicate vision more than communicating the current status?
  • Do I impart financial stewarship?

More than what was communicated about enjoying the season, I learned a leadership characteristic worth emulating. 

Captivated by the surprise giver.

Everyday we wake up looking forward for a better day. By faith we live in expectation of good things and bigger things to come.

As for me I rely on Him who is my provider. My strength giver. Waiting expectantly on how He will move and orchestrate. I am expectant of His surprise.

Indeed He did surprise me today, I was celebrating, receiving a great news of what I received. My prayer partners was rejoicing at the great news.  As I went on with the day. A call came in asking apology that there was a mistake and this blessing should be going to another person. I just responded, just do the necessary corrections and its fine with me. Oh He did surprised me on that one too. Well I said to myself I’ll wait again.

As the day ends. He did surprised me again. And He did replace almost twice what I received earlier.

Throughout the day I was thinking I can either have faith on things can go wrong and live by that lie or have faith in the truth. That God is more than able to provide abundantly more I can ask or imagine. That’s more mind blowing than the hopeless lie.

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! We can be so caught up and captivated by life’s surprises that It may determine our emotions. But I was so captivated with the surprise giver, How He orchestrated every single detail. That gave me joy that He was there in everything. He was looking at my heart with how I would respond if He takes back, what He has given.

He wants to be involved in all things we do. He is so mindful of us, He is so crazy loving each of us. In every way He wants to communicate He is in love with each of us. That He is so willing to forget our past and gave us the identity of His son, Jesus Christ. That He may have that intimacy with us. His crazy Loving us.

On other hand made me reflect: What if bad things keep on happening? Will I still see His Love? Will I still recognized His orchestration? Can I still say He is in control?

May we go deeper into that intimacy with our heavenly Father through Jesus,That our trust in His sovereignty may go deeper. That when lie’s like accusations and deception hits us. We can say to it I know my God personally and I refuse that lie.

Just a thought for the day…

Poverty mindset Vs. identity in Christ mindset

We all go through the different  season of life,  I remember  a time when I literally have nothing on my resources, a time when fasting  seems to be a fad for me , sometimes having nothing to eat for days, when having a meal a day was my most awaited.

It was a season of walking from home to school, from school to church, from church to home. And all I can remember I was doing only two things, first singing praise and worship songs , Second talking to God, At the start of that season while walking I found myself battling with him on why I’ve have to go through it. I was mad with the situation, the hardship, the hunger and demanding his breakthrough, provision and deliverance.

Challenging times  like  it will either make you or break. When the situation is saying give up and leave your dream, you’ll never be able to achieve this with your circumstances. You don’t have anything.

But the voice of truth was far more powerful than all  of those through running on my head. One thing God was pointing so clear so powerful, I am your father, you are my son! your are  co-heir with Christ, you are royal, holy, chosen, destined to do good things, I have all His good promises in the bible.

Faith is recognizing the facts, but holding on to the words of God. Its resolving to trust in him completely, holding on to the identity He said who I am and His mighty promises.

Identity: Salt and Light


Who are you? and who do you think you are?

Our generation is face with the challenge of identity crisis, it is beyond sexual orientation brought about the influence of media, the internet, freedom of expression and so soon.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.