Saturday, October 1, 2016

What it is like to live with us: Appreciating Christ’s Work inside Our Home and Our Hearts


Oct01.2016/sat

9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.-- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12
This is a testimony-tribute for my beloved sisters, who show their love for Christ in countless ways within our relationship of love and sisterhood in Him.
There are people in my life, that when I think of them, I am fully convinced that I really truly love and delight in. They are two of those people who warm my heart so well when thoughts of them come to me.
This post, I believe, is nothing but appropriate and timely since we are celebrating the 2nd year of living together as housemates this October 20. Another reason to that is because of what had transpired last night. I went to bed, praising and worshipping the Lord for having placed me in this home with these sisters. (But because my present personal dealings from the Lord is not the focus here, reasons for my gratefulness to the Lord for having these sisters beside me would be discussed in a general manner as you hang on with me til the end of this post, hopefully.)

Living together with my sisters is God’s sweet blessing to me at this season in life. There are countless of reasons why, but there are also pretty evident ones which are, only by God’s grace and enabling power, seen regularly.
1. One-anothering
You know this! There are so many one-anothering verses in the Bible! And living with fellow believers, boy, we have a lot of opportunities to apply them! *wink* Honestly, we fail in many ways (and aren’t proud of it), but there are also a lot of the fulfillment of God’s Word going on at home. For this we are grateful... and we are humbled and glad to see them. This is our joy in the Lord even as we continue on. 
Praying for one another, rebuking one another, loving one another, showing kindness to one another, extending generosity to one another, encouraging one another, correcting, exhorting, comforting, teaching, looking after, carrying burdens, enjoying, discipling one another....... and the list of one-anothering continues!
2. Growing together
We are sisters in the Lord and we also belong in the same local church-family. (I like to call it church-family or faith-family, because it really is that -- FAMILY of people whose lives are hidden in Christ! Col.3:3)
We learned how to depend on God for our relationship at home. When we pray together, we frequently acknowledge that only God is able to hold our frienship intact. We admit that apart from God’s help, we wouldn’t be able to keep our relationship at home in a way that honors God because of our sinfulness. We pray that God will be the one to protect our friendship and keep us in loving harmony at home to the glory of His Name!
Over the days, weeks, months, years we spent, we grew in being more and more cautious about pleasing our Rock and Redeemer with the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts (Psalm 19:14). Especially in the times that we just spend time together and talk about different things.
We attend one discipleship group together with other ladies in the church, and are enrolled in the International Bible Institute (IBI) diploma program on Biblical Studies. We thank God for the opportunities to grow deeper in His word and in obedience. 
We desire to see the character of Christ be more clearly seen in each one’s life as we journey together in the present season of our lives.

*****I am thrilled in witnessing God mature me, and then also mature you in His different dealings in our lives. I’m learning a lot from how He is also moving in your lives, beloved housemates. Praise Him. :)
3. Prayer and Accountability
The Lord knows that in our limited capacity, we need human agents to help us obey God and pursue His original design in creation. It is here where the fellow believers enter.
We open up things to each other especially the struggles that we have and the things we desire for each other to look after each one. Our weaknesses, our resolve, our sinful tendencies/ patterns, sins we repented of, things that the Lord is currently dealing with us, areas that we need to obey, responses we are to develop, character we have to strengthen, fruit of the Spirit which is not very evident in our lives, etc. Then we help each other obey the Lord by constant updates about the Lord’s specific instruction to us.
My sisters had been a great provision of God’s help to me. It is a blessing (although difficult for each one) to be in confrontation -- both the confront-er & the confront-ee (if there’s such a thing.haha). But anyway, the one confronting and the one being confronted. [Just a word with this, we really can’t avoid confrontation. So we might as well be good at it by practicing!] And true enough, as part of growing together too, we have matured a step further in handling loving confrontations. Upholding the Word and character of Jesus as we exhort and rebuke one another in different aspects. Some are quite formal ones, some are informal ones. But the Lord had truly been our Ebenezer [stone of help] as we obeyed Him in this. 
We would check on each other and remind one another about the truths of Scripture along the way, and how we can well apply it in the present circumstance.
I remember times when both of my sisters had to help me obey Jesus in the area of guarding my heart, waiting upon the Lord, and being prayerful along the way. Yet at another time when they pointed me to Christ and how I may become like Him in my responses. They did not tell me what my flesh wanted to hear/ do, they’re faithfulness to Christ had been their wisdom in giving me a counsel that is clearly God’s truth and is to my greater good in my journey to Christlikeness.

*****Even as you read this, my beloved sisters, thank you. I worship the Lord with the remembrance of your love for Him that flows to me abundantly. The Lord’s comfort is true in my heart right now because of the two of you. I have new strength to continue in obeying Him.
5Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. 
6Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. 

--Proverbs 27:5-6 
4. Serving together
I have the distinct privilege to be together with my sisters in the same ministries I serve in (one sister in Choir & the other in MM). Sometimes, they also serve together, like when they had to organize a wedding for our other siblings in faith, etc.
There are times, like in the featured photo here, we serve together!
Home ministry
We sometimes invite people and cook for them, and fellowship with them. My sisters are really gifted with kitchen skills! (I hope to be like them and as they tell me -to add my own personal touch in the dishes I make-, but as for now, I am their apprentice cook.) We really love this ministry. We enjoy planning on who to invite, what to cook for them, consider their health as we plan, budget, etc.

Praying
We love praying for each other and we also love burdening one another to pray for other concerns. When we hear a news about another person that we need to pray for, or when we have the freedom to share another burden. We serve together through prayers. We pray for missions work, some urgent news, randomly, and during our own personal quiet times with the Lord.
Discipleship
We thank the Lord that He had been guiding us even as we disciple other ladies, and continue to abide in Him in this calling which He has given to each and every believer. *wink wink*
Special opportunities
Like in the picture, we were able to serve together in our backyard ministry for a DVBS. Or the funny moment when we got involved in the program committee of our 20th Church Anniversary Program last July. And we’re looking forward to more opportunities!
*****My heart rejoices with the different opportunities where I can serve with both of you. :)
5. Sweetness & fun
We all have a sweet tooth and we can’t get enough of each other’s sweetness. hahaha. My sisters are sweet. Surprises happen at home. Generosity is all over the place. Loving hugs are my favorite. Laughter is a priceless indulgence. Sharing tears is definitely liberating.
*****No matter how busy we can get at times, our hot coco/ matcha/ tea/ coffee/ juice/ cakes/ snacks/ meal times together are times of rest and comfort. I am thankful to the Lord for the times we can enjoy board games/ karaoke/ late visits to 7 eleven/ watching Korean TV series, etc. while watching over each other, making sure to keep things at bay (or in our terms “hindi dapat maging idol”), so that we may honor and enjoy Christ above all in our hearts.
---
For Everything A Time
There are so many wonderful things and there are some dull times too. There are quiet moments. There are bits of misunderstanding at times. There are times when we sin against the Lord and against each other. There are times when we gather or when we part. Times when we are encouraged and discouraged by the things of life. Times when we honor the Lord and then times that we fail. There are many times of unfaithfulness to the Lord, a stumbling and standing up again. Times of laughter and tears.

In all of this, our Lord remained the same.
He never stopped being faithful.
His love? Steadfast. Perfect.
His commitment to our sanctification remained.


I dedicate this to Him as a matter of testimony, praise, worship and appreciation of His blessing...
To Him who ever lives and intercedes for us that our faith may not fail.. (Heb. 7:25; Luke 22:32)
To Him who is and who was and who is to come.. (Rev. 1:8
To Him who is our light, life, and salvation..
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished in His glorious presence, with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all time, and now, and for all eternity. Amen.
--Jude 24-25
If you may, dear reader, pray for us when you remember us. That we will continue to grow in obedience to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission which covers all things above. God bless you.

And to my beloved housemate-sisters, Happy 2nd Anniversary! :D
I love you! <3

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It's our nature to desire, and to give our best for the ones we love.

And it includes service to the God who loved us first and gave Himself up for us. (1John 4:19; Galatians 2:20)
The quality of our service, whether we like it or not, shows our regard for the high, and exalted, holy holy holy King of glory. (Isaiah 6:3)
Let’s allow the Lord to search our hearts and lives...
How do we, personally, serve the sovereign LORD of Hosts?
Is there love and honor... reflected in it?
If yes... how much?
God looks at our hearts,
"2 I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love." (Revelation 2:2-4)
May Jesus not say the same for us,
"This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8)

And as the Lord Jesus said,
"You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16 a)

God loved, and we know that He gave His best.
In fact, His only begotten Son. (John 3:16)

May we reflect the greatness of the love of our Lord: in our loving Him foremost, then in loving our neighbors.
Not only in lip service, but in evident deeds. All of which, just flowing from what is happening inside the heart.

Friday, August 14, 2015

4th Year Anniversary: Benefits of Teaching English Online! ^_^



Aug13.2015/Thu


4th year anniversary!


This is God's grace to me manifested! ♥


The first day I started teaching English online was August 13, 2011.


It feels like only a few months ago since I started. hihi. ;)


I'm not really a teacher, so staying in the same job for 4years (and to continue enjoying it) is absolutely just God's grace to me!


There are some downsides in home-based teaching too, but I would focus on the benefits (at least in my case):


1. Cross-cultural ministry

My mission field every workday, opportunities for evangelism & intercession, sharing God's Word, and helping them move one step closer to God, etc.

2. Flexible time

I can easily juggle schedules for ministry & discipleships, also for dates & fellowships with beloved people in my life. (I used to abuse this by saying "yes" to all possible other schedules outside work because I really can, but the Lord is teaching me proper balance, praise Him!)

3. Home-based

I can wear pajamas as my best office attire/ can easily lie down when I feel tired after some lessons (hihi)/ can eat anytime I don't have lessons/ can sometimes work even without brushing my teeth first (I didn't have to admit this, right? hahaha!)/ I don't have to travel to a workplace when raining, and not.

4. Learn culture

I can learn soooo much about...
*Japanese culture:
--yukata, hanabi, hanami, gogatsu byou, nengajo, giri choco, burakku kigyo, geisha, maiko-san, seiji no hi, yurukyara ichi-go-san, shinkansen, nominication, bon odori, omotenashi, cram schools, golden week, otoshidama, kabuki, rakugo, kayabuki, etc.

*food:

--yukimi daifuku!!, taiyaki, kushikatsu, okinomiyaki, tonkotsu ramen, yakitori, yakiniku, misokatsu, wagashi, onigiri, kakigori, kanimiso, shoyu ramen, osechi, kamaboko, kaiten zushi, oden, chirashi zushi, kurikinton, kazunoko, etc.

*geography/ prefectural spots:

I don't think it's a good thing, but here's a secret, I know Japan's geography much more than my own country's, especially the location of prefectures/ regions.
--little desert in Totori, Itsukushima shrine in Hiroshima, Shirakawago in Gifu, Beppu hot springs Oita, Aokigahara Jukai in Yamanashi, Sakurajimasan in Kagoshima, Furano lavender farm in Hokkaido, Skytree in Asakusa-Tokyo, etc.

*history

--Edo Era, Meiji Era, Samurai, shogun, Kyoto being the old capital of Japan, tenno purposes, etc.

*social issues/ politics

--population decline - aging society, increase in number of career women, Abenomics, pending TPP, low voting percentage during elections, Senkaku islands dispute with Ch*na, hikikomori, otaku, problems on energy sources, 8% consumption tax, etc.

*distinct people groups

--Ainu people in Hokkaido, and Ryukyu people in Kyushu;

*language

Just a little Nihongo! I use expressions helpful in my lessons, especially for beginners, since I don't want them to feel anxious and nervous about the lesson.

There are just soooo many things I learn! I didn't mention the common ones above anymore. :)

[Please forgive wrong Romaji spellings, if there are any.]

5. Promote Philippines' tourism

I learned more about our tourist spots, food, culture, way of living since some of my other students are asking about it too;
Seeing our culture in my students' eyes, I also had a fresh perspective of our culture in a way that makes me see our own as unique & interesting.
Trust me, I'm a Philippines-tourism-secret-indirect-ambassadress!! *wink, wink, wink, and another wink!* (^_~)

6. Opportunity for friendships

I love my students and although not all of them are close to me, some are close enough for me to know what's going on in their lives. In fact, I've known some since my first year of teaching. For some, I already know their family members in a whole lot of different circumstances.
Some ask for advice (and some, actually follow them), thank God!;
I praise God to have opportunities to influence lives not basing on my own opinions but basing on God's design in His Word... ♥

7. Sanctification

Ha! I almost forgot this.
Wow, really... in a lot of ways! Thank You, Lord! :)
There are so many instances that my heart gets revealed in both negative and positive ways. This doesn't only happen during the lesson proper, but even in the background.

Like, how I respond when there is a sudden internet connection cut or a sudden blackout.

Or maybe when a student is quite provocative.
Or when a student praises me as a tutor.
Or when there is opportunity to share truth about God.
Or when I make a mistake as a tutor.
There are even instances when I want to let out an irritated tone of voice, but after a quick reminder from the Holy Spirit to exhibit a life set apart for the Lord, I suddenly let out a sweet one. (Hahaha! I laugh at myself!)
You know how we respond, not only in words/actions, but inside our hearts? That's important to Him... .. He sees that.
God is just THE master Teacher. ♥


There are even circumstances too many to count that the timing of God is just perfect!

His help? It's ever-present!
His guidance, never fails!
His wisdom, He freely gives!
His provision, sufficient for my needs!
When I lack the provision from my job, God never failed to provide outside of my job... His reminders that my job is not my provider is always so timely.
I've grown more in my practical knowledge of the Lord in my four years of teaching.
And for that? I am grateful to my Shepherd.

Nothing is wasted in the four years of teaching ministry. I thank the Lord for the testings I've passed, and those that I've failed too. He just changes me more and more. All are just precious parts of my journey.



Dear reader, see God in your workplaces, know Him through His Word and see Him every moment! Don't think that He can only speak during devotion and prayer times. He is everywhere and He is always instructing us. This God, although high and exalted and majestic in all His ways, is also a personal God. Not to everyone! But only to those who, in their hearts, truly believe in Jesus Christ not only as their Savior, but also their Lord (Master), and have turned their backs from their sinful lives, and asked for God's forgiveness.

All that I have am is because of God's grace at work.

For all of these wonderful blessings, I praise my Lord who loved me and gave Himself up for me. His is the honor, His is the glory for all the things He does.

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

To Him be the glory forever. Amen." 
--Romans 11:36

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Joy of Being Able to Play a Challenging Piano Piece

August 19, 2014 - Tuesday, 12:25 PM

As I have mentioned in a previous post last month, I restarted playing the piano again. This time, with fresh enthusiasm and love for it.

Since that time, I started:
  1. reviewing some pieces I already played in the past;
  2. finishing pieces which I got started but never finished; and
  3. learning new ones.
The Lord had allowed me to learn and finish "The Splendor of His Holiness" last month and from that time, the Lord had allowed me to finally press on to finish two pieces I've been trying to play in the past, I got them from movie sountracks but never finished them. Just as I mentioned in my post last month, I kept on repeating the easy parts and somehow got contented with those, and never really worked on the most challenging parts of the piece.

Those pieces are as follows:

Bella's Lullaby* from the movie "Twilight"...
image

Romantic Flight from the movie "How to Train Your Dragon"...
image

With this piece -- Romantic Flight, I was able to finish this just yesterday and my mom saw me as I almost cried with joy in finishing this! (Nope, no tears!) ;) Just an overwhelmed feeling and really almost produced a tear or two. The thing is, I really had a hard time learning the piece. The difficutly level is higher than my current skill. This is why even if I finished learning this piece (finally!!), I have a lot of parts to polish within it (transitions, hand positions, speed, timing, etc).

It felt really good to finally complete it. Definitely took a lot of patience, practice, and desire to finish and commit to the piece. I thank my Lord and give Him all the glory for this! I started learning both of the pieces above for more than about 3 years already, but never really committed myself to finishing these. I just plainly enjoyed the fun of playing the easy parts. Then I got tired of playing since I can't really finish them (and I already set in my mind that I can't)... But the Lord, I believe, wanted me to be a finisher even in the little things such as these.

So then, only by His enabling grace and strength, could I finally finish both pieces within just a month. (I can't believe it myself, believe me.) :) My Heavenly Lord gives the desire and the strength to pursue! <3 What I've accomplished belongs to Him!

Now, the Lord helps me in the polishing process.. Especially the Romantic Flight. Bella's Lullaby has a different level of difficulty but it's definitely easier to play than the other..

Then, I started learning a new piece.. :)
Her Most Beautiful Smile from the anime "Rurouni Kenshin"...image
I appreciate the sweet melody of this piece. :)

Soooooo...... what I'm doing is giving an update about the pieces I'm playing, right? :) Yeah.. I'd probably do this more often just to keep record of what the Lord is allowing me to play from now on. And I pray that He'd sustain it for until it gives Him glory and praise. :)

"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor.10:31)
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Help & Heart notes:
*Bella's Lullaby is the piano piece that Edward played for Bella in the Twilight movie.
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