Resolution or Revolution

Resolution or Revolution

At True Love Waits our goal is to connect you with God’s plan for absolute purity. We’ve defined for you two ideas that we want you to consider both beginning with the letter “R” which may bring the beautiful change that you’re longing for.

RESOLUTION can be a decision to pursue positive habits or flee negative thoughts. It can be resolve to let go of the past. Sometimes, not necessarily forgetting everything because there are some pieces of the past that reminds us not to repeat it.  Have you ever made a resolution? Perhaps this is the time.

REVOLUTION has multiple meanings, but in the context of facing something new, our revolution is not war but it is actually love and you can find it hidden in the word rEVOLution. This Love Revolution begins with a decision to let God connect you with his power so that you can move on, even if it’s painful because you know something has to change. It may be your plans, dreams and wants. A love revolution will trim down your life to its simplest state—so you can clearly see how beautiful your life is because it is given by and given for something more.

True Life is not only about career, lifestyle, achievements, travel goals or the lack of all these things.

Someone Perfect and Holy breathed life into you, cleansed you from sin, and gave you a life that doesn’t end when you’ve accomplished all of your resolutions. God’s revolution is believing that you need JESUS–the Perfect and Holy ONE–in your life. A revolution is not you changing yourself. But Him changing you from the inside out. God’s word tells us that anyone that is in Christ, is a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

DEFINING MOMENT

RESOLUTIONJust You + what you want = new life = a heart that is not satisfied

REVOLUTION: Christ + You = a new heart = new life = contentment = eternal life

Now, where would you start your change?

In you and your resolution or in Christ and His rEVOLution?

 

 


Carmela Ann Santos, TLW volunteer
Mel is a lover of written words, kids, and education. She values her faith, family, and her personal time. She dreams of writing a book, doing an interview with Mike Shinoda, and building her bookstore someday. Her favorite topics are faith, love, and others. She finds happiness seeing her loved ones happy. She wants to retire as a mobile teacher and spend the remaining days of her life in Batanes. Read more about her Writing Life at http://carmelameyla.wordpress.com

 

 

 

What To Do When Your Heart Aches

What To Do When Your Heart Aches

POTTER MOMENTS

 

We all experience heartbreaks. At varying levels, every painful, heart-breaking experience is unique to each of us–male or female, young or old, never had a boyfriend or have always been in love.

But regardless of our unique stories, heartbreaks in general bring a certain pain we cannot underestimate.

This pain, when not dealt with carefully, can either turn you into a bitter person or a person who thinks love is not for everyone.

Dealing with pain does not guarantee we won’t experience heartaches ever again. But it’s important to process it in a way that will make us feel better about what happened or even thankful for what is happening. Not because we’re any better than the person who have hurt us or we’re greater than the situation we are in, but simply, we trust that God wouldn’t place us in a journey without creating something beautiful from it. And so we wait in the Lord.

In the midst of our heartbreaking experiences, it’s extremely hard to keep silent. But even so, His still small voice will resonate if we just try, even just for a second, to listen. 100% of the time when He’s telling us something, He is bringing us closer to His will. He fights the silence with His rock-solid Word.

“And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

30 indescribable years gave me some many realizations, and most of them came from those chapters I would call, “Potter Moments.”  Times in my life when God mercifully molded me the way He knows best. I may have gotten hurt or sad in the process, but He never leaves me undone. I am the clay, He is my Potter. And I am forever in His hands.

If you’re fighting a disease or wanting a cure for your illness, know that God is in control of the intricate details inside your body.  Make Him your Great Doctor. Your Healer. Your Deliverer. Trust His timing and His ways. He knows what you are going through.

If you’re getting failing grades in school or feeling left out, move forward. Don’t give up the fight because you are not fighting the battle alone. Like David who faced and defeated Goliath, God will give you that single shot you need to succeed. It may not be the kind of success the world dictates, but it’s a triumph that would make you honor and praise the God you serve.

If your heart is aching because he or she doesn’t love you back, cry it out. Yes, those tears won’t hurt. Acknowledge the pain. Give yourself time. Pray. And feed your soul with God’s Promises. You can depend on Him, take refuge in Him while you’re heavily disappointed about that person or yourself. Let it go–let the person go, let your feelings fade away, let your emotions cool down. Let God take care of it ALL.

It’s easier said than done, I know.

The struggle is real. I’ve been there.

BUT, remember the Potter moment?

Never forget that you are that clay and you are in good hands with Your Potter.

Hang in there, will you? Soon, you’ll be helping others, too if you just hang in there. 🙂

 

Carmela Ann Santos, TLW volunteer
Mel is a lover of written words, kids, and education. She values her faith, family, and her personal time. She dreams of writing a book, doing an interview with Mike Shinoda, and building her bookstore someday. Her favorite topics are faith, love, and others. She finds happiness seeing her loved ones happy. She wants to retire as a mobile teacher and spend the remaining days of her life in Batanes. Read more about her Writing Life at http://carmelameyla.wordpress.com

Calming the Storm

Calming the Storm

How can we be of help to our hurting friend without compromising our Christian values and faith? It could be a dilemma! Doubts can cloud our mind. In our lifetime, we deal with experiences and stories about love and situations gone wrong. Same story, but each has to be dealt with differently.

Pain comes in different shapes, sizes and colors. Hearts suffer in different degrees and each person responds individually. It’s a struggle within. Our hurting friends have to reconcile the turmoil deep inside.

Caring and supporting our friends who are going through such difficult circumstances should not materialize from our own human knowledge. Rather, it must depend on God’s timeless principles. Remember to prayerfully place it in the hands of the One who perfectly knows how to heal the hurt and pain.

 

How Do We Help?

A. The power of listening

The first key to be a helping hand to a hurting friend is to be a good listener. Putting ourselves in the shoe of someone can be challenging. It is the right time to let go of our needs. Specially as human, we tend to draw in a conversation that only relates to us. Listening comes with great compassion and a whole lot of patience. Validate your friend’s state of pain. No need to have all the answer, like what James said, ” be quick to listen [and] slow to speak” (James 1:19).

B. In God we trust

“In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.”-Proverbs 3:6 ”

Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” -Luke 22:4

Bring the word of God into the matter. Pray for them. Pray with them. Always consider what God says on the issue. Pain open up the eyes to reality. It will never stop until we learn to to surrender. Let the pain find its place in the hands of God. Let the pain lead you and your friend in the presence of God.

Even though you are there as someone who offers help, your friend needs you in the process. In that very moment of pain your friend only sees the things that matters to him/her, but you, you see a better picture of the situation.

C. No sugarcoating

“Faith matters if coincides with the truth.”

This can aid several areas. Help the friend to recognize and understand his/her issue. If asked to speak, don’t be in a harsh tone, but rather be gentle. Encourage your friend and lead him/her friend towards Jesus. Your friend must come to a point where he/she acknowledges the pain and the source of it.

“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” -Proverbs 16:20

It is the best time to hear the voice of the Lord. As a friend you are there to help your friend gain understanding about the situation. Comfort him/her with God’s promises. A revolution within must take place in the heart of your friend. Help him/her acknowledge the beauty of today and the newness that can be found in God alone.

D. One step at a time

“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” -Isaiah 58:8

Healing is a step by step process. Quick fix is not at all advisable. As a friend, we are there to help but not to decide for them. In the rebuilding process, friends are not tasked to pick up the broken pieces. The job is intended for the Master Builder, let him rebuild the pieces and have its foundation within His presence. Let Him fashion your friend’s life according to His original design. A temple of God that shows His glory for all.

In this lifetime we are overwhelmed by changes that leave us confused and hurting. Nobody is an exemption. Though experiences can be a good teacher, the best lesson can be found in God’s promises and principles. Storms may take you by surprise, but “this too, shall pass”. Learn to ride the storm and know that you are safe because God is in control.

 

*****

Jhoanna Mharie Valdueza, TLW Volunteer

Jhoanna is an AB Political Science graduate who’s advocacy is to share the truth of Jesus Christ to the youth through True Love Waits Philippines. She loves reading and most of the time immerses herself reading the works of Elisabeth Elliot, Corrie ten Boom and Leslie Ludy. You can check out her thoughts in jhoannavaldueza.wordpress.com

The Journey of Singlehood

The Journey of Singlehood

This is one of my hated season. One of my best friends is married for six years now and my other best friend who’s been single for the 28 years already has a boyfriend while me, who used to jump from one relationship to another is single for almost three years. I know for some three years is JUST three years, but, you have to understand that coming from a lady who’s not used to being single, it is way too long. But then, as Ecclesiastes 3 says, “He makes all things beautiful in His time” and that gave me the peace that I needed.

As time goes by, from the time I’ve been single up to now, God has been faithful and patient on me in continuously moving and teaching me lessons I never knew when I was still on the phase of having one boyfriend after another. That there is more to life than being in a relationship and that singleness is really not a season that needs to be avoided or neglected. Singleness is good, a gift and a season that needs to be treasured.

Singleness is a season to grow, to nurture and to be the person that God wants us to be. It is a journey that each of us needs to take. As I always believe in, no one can be complete in the arms of someone else when he himself isn’t complete and happy as an individual. We cannot find satisfaction in a relationship if we base our identity as a person on it. A relationship isn’t something that can make us whole as a woman, it is not something that we should dwell in with our being and it is not something to fill the hole of loneliness or an escape goat. Rather, a relationship is a gift from above that needs to be unwrapped piece by piece, it is the preparation for one of God’s greatest gift in human kind and that is marriage. These things, I didn’t learn in an easy way, and it didn’t happen in one snap. As a matter of fact I am still learning and still taking one step at a time and still on that journey.

As I study the Bible, Paul gave much light in singleness as he was himself single much of his life and he spoke in a very radiant manner how Singleness is good, and is a gift from God (1 Corinthians 7:7–8). Paul dedicated his life in serving God and His people, he didn’t waste his time whining on being single but rather he made the most out of his time. As it is written in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”, let’s continue seeking God – His will and righteousness, let’s continue focusing on Jesus for He is the ultimate lover of all. Let’s continue loving and seizing the season and phase that we are in, for when the right time comes, if it is His will, the things that we desire will be given to us.

Remember, single or married, our ultimate goal is to always seek and have a wholehearted devotion to Christ and His gospel, and that our marital status can and will never define us because our real identity is in Christ. He has already bought us with a price and we are no longer our own (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). Marriage and Singleness are two different gifts, gifts that is given to us by God who would never give us something less than what we deserve. Married or not, know that we are not on our own and alone. Look around you, look up! Love is everywhere.

**********

Patricia Aidyl A. Santiago, TLW Volunteer

Trish is an AB Comm graduate who’s passionate in reaching out kids and youth to find true love in Christ. She usually detached herself from the world with her books, pen and paper where she write the words that she can’t utter. You can check out her thoughts in thegirlnamedtrish.wordpress.com

In Courage

In Courage

It takes courage to encourage.

How to be an encourager in a world full of problems? As humans, we are vulnerable to all kinds of problems and trials in life. And most of the time we find ourselves discouraged, weak, broken and depressed because of our shortcomings and flaws in life.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I, too, am not excused on these things. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…” This Scripture gives us encouragement especially in times of trial. It does so by directing our focus to the absolute Supremacy and Sufficiency of Jesus Christ in our life.

Unless we personally know, understand, and experience God’s mercy, grace and great love towards us, we will not have the right courage to encourage one another especially in a time of need and trials. It takes courage to encourage. Also, let us not neglect the importance of always meeting together, not just every Sunday in church or during special occasions. Let us make it a habit to meet so that we can always encourage each other through our works, words, and actions.

*******

Leo Dominic Lumabi, TLW Volunteer

Leo is a TLW volunteer for almost five years now. As a volunteer, he helps in marketing tasks in the social media pages of TLW and is one of the facilitators of workshops and talks. He is the team leader in Kids Ministry Primary Department in Victory Metroeast, and a Values Education teacher in Alternative Learning System in Marikina. A 4th year Accounting technology Student in Fatima Antipolo, he joined TLW because he wants to be an instrument in sharing truth regarding sex, love, and relationship.

Shut Up – A Book by Christy Pierce

Shut Up – A Book by Christy Pierce

Shut Up – Part I

The phrase “Shut Up” doesn’t sound like something very loving. So why is this blog titled with these word? Let’s begin with the idea that authentic love is hating evil and pursuing good. Romans 12:9

I know,… you’re still wondering “What about the title” Well, in 2017 the True Love Waits Philippines Team is working on bringing several U.S. authors along with their books to Manila. The topics include Finding A Spouse, Same Sex Attraction and a great book on issues surrounding depression. Wait!! Can Christians be depressed? Great question. The truth is that there is much to be joyful about but there are seasons that we might hit some emotional lows. Here are some passages from God’s word-

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Christy Pierce Headshot PhotoOne author is Christy Pierce, author of Shut Up, Silence The Negative Thoughts In Your Head.   It’s important to know that Christy’s book isn’t for older people; it’s for teens and college students. It will benefit adults but it’s written for the youth. I agree with Christy when she says that adults in this generation don’t get it. There is no way that parents, teachers, counselors, coaches, and other adults can really understand the pressure facing your generation today. If anyone pretends that they fully understand what it’s like growing up in today’s world, and if anyone pretends that they have all the answers about what you should do to feel better, then they really don’t have a clue what’s going on.

The book begins with a true story of a 16 year old boy and family friend who committed suicide. You might be thinking “Suicide is a western problem and Filipinos are the happiest people on earth or we Filipinos know how to smile even though our lives are difficult. But that is part the challenge. Often the difficulties in life are covered by smiles but that doesn’t mean that there is not great pain going on in the hearts of people. According to a July 25, 2016 Inquirer article by writer Joel Ruiz Butuyan, there are 7 Filipinos who take their lives every day. Butuyan wrote that academics was the biggest factor followed by family issues and relationship problems.

Filipinos often say we are a family oriented culture and we care about our children but that is a broad statement that needs defining. Filipino Youth often feel that their family doesn’t understand what they are experiencing. But it’s also important to say that youth don’t know the work it takes in being a parent. In the Inquirer article the author quotes to ways of intervention. One is biological and the other is intrapersonal. But there are actually three ways. The third way is when God intervenes. In Shut Up – a boy takes his life by jumping in front of a train. Six months later his father died of Cancer. We might be quick to say that the boy’s life could have been saved by intrapersonal methods and the father could have been saved by biological methods.

It’s interesting that God’s word says “God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us” It appears that God somehow missed both the biological and the intrapersonal. But then it goes on to say – “how will God not also with Jesus graciously give us all things?” God accomplishes the first two ways by intervening though spiritual means.

This book covers all of the types of statistics that we might find at the U.P. Population Institue, The Office of the Solicitor General and the National Statistics Authority here in the Philippines. The book details the medical and psychological aspects of what goes wrong in the lives of youth. Because sometimes it’s hard to tell, Christy clears up the confusion by instructing youth to consider four questions:

  • Which thoughts are my own feelings?
  • Which are negative messages from other people?
  • Which voices are dark and dangerous?
  • What is the loving voice of God and how can I hear His voice more?

Christy asks the important question – Do you know what the voice of God sounds like? Do you understand when thoughts inside your mind are negative messages that are tearing you down? Do you know when the thoughts in your mind are actually lies from the Enemy? God wants to show you what messages are good voices and what messages are tearing you down. It’s very important for you to know how to identify the different thoughts going on inside your head. You have power when you understand which messages are from God, which are from your own pain, and which are from the Enemy. Once you clearly see and understand these voices, you have even more power to shut them up.

Each chapter of Shut Up ends with questions that can be used for small groups. We can’t give you all of the book and all of the questions but here are the Chapter One questions for small groups –

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

  • Do you know friends who are suffering from anxiety, depression, or are hurting right now?
  • Do you think people in your generation feel safe talking to other adults? Why or why not?
  • If you’re facing a problem, who are you most likely to tell?

This is a great resource with tools to create discussion in an intimate setting. And we know that there is strength in numbers from God’s word –  “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Chapter two is titled “Your Voice Needs To Be Heard” and she explains why this is true. In each section of the book there are lots of statistics and survey results from youth. In this chapter there was one statistic that I have always been aware of and it continues to bother me. When surveyed about who they go to when they have problems, youth responded in this order –

A friend, Parents, No one, A favorite teacher or youth leader and lastly a counselor. For youth, friends often come before parents.

We will be posting a follow up blog titled Shut Up – Part II within a few weeks of this blog. We will also be posting some video blogs and doing some surveys of our own on Facebook. One of the key survey questions will be “Do you know someone who is contemplating suicide now?”

In Chapter Three “Tell Your Story” of Christy’s book are testimonies from 5 people.

In the Philippine version of this book we will be adding statistics on Filipino youth but we are also adding stories from Filipino youth and parents. If you have a story to share or questions, please email us here [email protected] or share our email address with someone you know. If you need to text us, you can do that at 09178627335 and we can pray for you.

Chapter Four is “Your Feelings Matter” with a parallel to the movie INSIDE OUT and the idea of understanding depression is highlighted here by describing how we are all different. At the end of this chapter are survey questions including overeating and no appetite, failures and pressure to succeed, falling asleep, not being able to sleep and anxiety. There is so much to tell in this book that we cannot fit into a blog but you can probably sense that it is a great resource. This chapter ends asking what you most identify with – “Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, or Disgust?”

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  • Chapter Five “What Are The Bad Thoughts In Your Head?”
  • Chapter Six What Does Your Enemy’s Voice Sound Like?”
  • Chapter Seven “What Does God’s Voice Sound Like?”
  • Chapter Eight “Tell That Lying Enemy To Shut Up!”

Most of the time when people see a snake, it’s always bigger in their memory than the actual snake. In Chapter Eight of Christy’s book she tells a story of her sister being bitten by a poisonous snake. Personally I was in Kenya when I was 18 years old and honestly I saw a snake that was at least 8 meters long. I promise! But it was dead when I saw it because it was run over by one of the trucks. The truth is that we have all be bitten by a poisonous snake and his name is Satan. But there is good news as well and that’s the news that we want to tell. Both Satan and the snake I saw don’t have much life. But Satan is alive now and he is telling lies about who we are now and who we will be someday. Christy challenges us to Drag The Enemy’s lies into God’s Light.

Christy encourages readers to do what Jesus did. Tell the enemy to Shut Up! You might be thinking that there is some reality to the junk in your life that Satan is reminding you of but is also true that God can heal you and remove any garbage in your life.

Chapter Nine “Find Safe People Who Will Shut Up And Listen” is about just that, finding people but it’s about finding the right people.

hotline-for-depression

A professor in a communications class asked a question “Who wants to be a Speaker?” and a great number of people raised hands. Everyone in the class wanted to be the one holding the microphone. The professor went on to say that in communications, everyone wants to be a speaker when there is a class on communications but how many people would sign up for a college class on “Being A Listener”. Exactly… no one wants to listen. We all want to talk. This chapter is about not just finding people but SAFE people who will listen. The first two people on the list are in this order PARENTS and then YOUTH of LEADERS. It’s important to note here that sometimes it’s the case that it’s a possibility that in your case that one or both of these people in your life are unsafe. But in general these people might be the best choices. The list of safe people ends with friends and you might be thinking that you feel closest to your friends which is great but keep in mind that what attracts you to your friends is that they understand. And the reason they understand is because they are experiencing the issues in life that you deal with each day. There is still a great value in the wisdom of your parents or youth leaders. It’s great advice to be a part of a small group where you can share with your friends of others of your same age but there is also something important about safe people like your parents or leaders.

hope-hotline

Join the True Love Waits staff and volunteers in sharing about this wonderful resource coming to the Philippines in 2017. We will need lots of help promoting the book which will by its proceeds, support the work of True Love Waits Philippines our S.E.C. Registered NGO. If you would like to financially support this event, donations can be made at True Love Waits Philippines, Inc. Metro Bank Acct 7-035-527253.

Bakit Nagkakamali Ang Tao?

Bakit Nagkakamali Ang Tao?

Habang sinusulat ko ito, alam ko na marami na akong naging pagkakamali sa buhay. Mas madali rin kasing tandaan ang ating mga pagkakamali kaysa sa ating mga nagawang tama. Mas madaling bigyan ng pansin ang mga hindi natin nagawang tama kaysa sa mga nagawa nating mabuti.

Ang tanong ko ngayon ay: Bakit nga ba nagkakamali ang tao? Teka, Ano ba’ng mga pagkakamali ang ating tinutukoy? May mga mali tayo sa ating mga pagsusulit, hindi ba? Hindi naka-perfect sa exam kasi may mga maling sagot. Mayroon namang mali gaya ng maling paggamit ng isang bagay. Maraming klase ng pagkakamali ngunit ang nais kong bigyan ng pansin ay ang kasalanang moral. Ano nga ba ang mga dahilan bakit ang isang tao’y nagkakasala? Ilan lamang ang mga puntos na aking itataas.

  1. Dibisyon

May mga pagkakamali na ginawang tama ng ibang dibisyon o sekta. Iyon bang depende sa kanila kung ano’ng tama at mali. Mayroon tayong tinatawag na ‘black and white’ na pagkakamali – iyon bang alam mo na mali ito kahit hindi mo mabasa sa Bibliya. Isa rito ay ang pagpatay ng tao. May mga relihiyon na nagsasabing iyon ay hindi mali. Ngunit sa tingin niyo, kailan ba naging tama ang kumitil ng buhay ng tao? Pati ang pagkakaroon ng maraming asawa, kailan ba naging banal ang gawaing ito? May mga bagay kasi na mali na ginagawang tama ng iba.

  1. Depensa

May mga mali kang ginagawa na sasabihin mo na maliit lang naman kaya okay lang. Ang mga halimbawa nito ay ang pangongopya tuwing pagsusulit, pagkupit ng limang piso, pagmumura, paninigaw, pagsasabi ng mga ‘green jokes’, at marami pang iba. Ang isang klase ng depensa ay ang pagmumukhang tuwid sa halata namang mali. Halimbawa nito ay ang pakikipagtalik habang hindi pa kasal. Sinasabi ng iba na okay lang iyan dahil hindi ka naman nakakasakit ng iba o hindi kaya’y pakakasalan naman din o dahil iyon na raw ang uso. Kahit anuman ang gawing depensa, ang kasalanan ay kasalanan pa rin.

  1. Desisyon

Para sa akin, ito na ang pinakamatinding dahilan bakit nagkakasala ang tao. Maraming nagsasabi na wala nang ‘choice’ kaya iyon na ang nagawa. Masakit man isipin, anuman ang ating sitwasyon, mayroon tayong kalayaan na mamili para sa ating sarili kung ano ang nararapat na gawin. Maaaring isang kahig isang tuka o hindi kaya’y may hinahabol na grado o malamang inutusan lang o maaaring natukso lamang, anuman ang iyong dahilan, mayroon kang pag-iisip kung tama ba o mali o pipiliin mo.

Tao lang ako, nagkakamali rin. Ito ay isang sikat na kasabihan nating mga Pilipino. Ngunit bilang isang tao, mayroon din tayong kaalaman sa anong tama sa mali at kalayaan upang piliin ang una. Anuman ang iyong dibisyon, depensa o desisyon, nawa ay matuto tayo sa ating mga nakalipas na pagkakamali. Tandaan natin na may katumbas na gantimpala o parusa ang bawat desisyon na ating gagawin sa buhay. Higit sa lahat, may Diyos tayo na pwede nating lapitan sa lahat ng oras — karunungan sa pagpili ng tama at kapatawaran sa nagawang kasalanan.

At kung inaakala ninyong masama na maglingkod sa Panginoon, ay piliin ninyo sa araw na ito kung sino ang inyong paglilingkuran; kung ang mga dios ng inyong mga magulang na pinaglingkuran sa dako roon ng Ilog, o ang dios ng mga Amorrheo na ang lupain nila ay inyong tinatahanan: nguni’t sa ganang akin at ng aking sangbahayan ay maglilingkod kami sa Panginoon. -Joshua 24:15

Honey Diane Angeles, TLW Volunteer

When Google Doesn’t Have The Answer

When Google Doesn’t Have The Answer

What is wrong with social media?

For lack of an immediate answer to this question at that time, I succumbed to the instinct of a true-blooded millennial and went to Mr. Google. What he gave me was a list of blogsites that feature psychologists trying to answer questions from concerned parents who are claiming that their children are getting addicted to social media. One sad story leads to the next, one question similar to the other. There were too many answers given but what I really got was an affirmation of the alarming exposure of our generation to social media, and how technology is being overused, if not misused by many. It happened too fast. I remember having a friendster account when I was in college, which I only get to access during my vacant time in school from a Windows 97 computer. Years later, smartphones were the next thing, people started editing photos using apps, and Yahoo Messenger had been forgotten. Facebook boomed like crazy, Instagram followed, not to mention Skype, Viber, Facebook Messenger and a whole lot more. All that is required is an iPhone or Android Phone and you’re good to go. Everybody “stays connected,” as Facebook puts it. It has always been technology’s role to make things easier people. Entertainment just comes next. These days, connecting with people is a must. This is probably why in a world that’s becoming bigger and more complicated, we run to technology to secure our own space in the circle. We want to be in the motions, right on top of the waves of changing trends and culture, trying to stay afloat for fear of being left out on the shore disconnected and alone. Or maybe we found a friend in technology itself, so dear a friend that we retreat to it for comfort after a bad day, we desperately search for it when we feel alone, and we plug a big part of our lives into it as if it has our ticket to the world. But could it be that we have made technology THE world and instead of getting connected through it, we get lost IN it? If you ask me, I’ve had many of those moments that made me realize I have gone too far and got lost.

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The countless times when I bring my phone with me on the dining table, stealing precious moments that should have been for my parents.

Those times when I’m creating memories with friends but instead of conversing with them, my head’s busy thinking of a perfect status to post #AtTheMoment.

Those mornings when I give in to the urge of checking my Facebook account without realizing I’ve spent more time scrolling my newsfeed than praying.

And many more times when I missed precious moments, ignored many people, and dismissed more important things for some few–or many taps on the phone. Yes, I am guilty. Maybe in one way or another, we all are. Let me clear though that we might have different stories. This is not to say that everyone is a slave to technology, but I believe we are all prone to being one.

Now what is wrong with social media? I still don’t have a ready answer. It might even be acceptable to say that there is nothing wrong with social media or technology in general. “Acceptable” because it all depends on how we let technology work for us. After all, cellphones wouldn’t even function without batteries. Technology is a product of this modern world, but it will never be useful–or misused– without a user. So maybe the problem is not the phones or the stylish tablets in the market. It’s not a matter of whether we have social media accounts or not, or whether Mark Zuckerberg made a good decision of inventing Facebook. So where then lies the answer? Perhaps we can find it in a place Google can never reach–our hearts.

heart

In one of his sermons, Pastor John Piper regarded the human heart as a thirst factory. We all thirst for many things: affirmation, attention, recognition, the need to feel accepted and loved. We thirst even for tangible things. With technology, we can share our lives to the whole world including our deepest longings and hurts, and find consolation in knowing that we are not alone. Sometimes we regard it as a space where we can create our own happiness or where we find short term entertainment. But in relying on something so temporary and perpetually changing as technology/ social media/ virtual friends to satisfy us, we might be losing sight of the true source of joy who promised to quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger. We might be forgetting that even if most of the time we feel alone in this world, Someone actually stays with us and will never abandon us and we can connect to Him anytime without getting rejected, ignored, seenzoned. We might be failing to see what He is giving us by grace each day because we’re busy measuring up our lives with bucket lists. We might not realize how the relationships He has blessed us with could suffer everytime we settle for virtual interaction than warm conversations in flesh. We might lose precious time with loved ones who would have known Jesus more if only we were more present in the real world and more sensitive of their needs. That person in front of us could have even brought us closer to His feet if we were just searching for joy at the right place. Somewhere between the real world and the world inside our phones we might be losing many things including our view of what is truly significant in light of eternity, and overlook to the point of ignoring the incomparable relationship we have (or could have) with Christ. We couldn’t afford to lose these things.

As God’s stewards, where we invest our resources–our time, talents, and possessions matter. It tells where our treasure truly is and where our heart goes. If I did a quick treasure check a few years back, I would probably not like where my heart followed. It would definitely not be on the things of God, at least not the whole of it. Yes, its not always easy to accept the truth about our tainted hearts. But in repentance, we can ask and trust God to create in us a pure one. We can ask Him to prune and cut off branches that do not bear fruit and to fill us in. For nothing and no one can satisfy more than Jesus. “I am the bread of life,” he says. He has given us–and we can take this literally–His all: He offered His own blood to redeem us from sin and gave us a new life and eternity. And that Day will come when all of us will stand before His judgement seat, each of us giving an account of ourselves to God. Believing in this truth, we find a more important question: Are we investing and making use of our time, energy, talents, wealth, possessions in light of that Day? Are we becoming good stewards of technology for the One who gave His all for us? What does our heart truly desire everytime we pick up our phones and gadgets?

Randy Alcorn, author of the book The Law of Rewards, points it well: “What you do with your resources in this life is your autobiography. The book you’ve written with the pen of faith and the ink of works will go into eternity unedited, to be seen and read as is by the angels, the redeemed, and God himself. When we view today in light of the long tomorrow, the little choices become tremendously important.”

As millennials today and reward bearers in the long tomorrow, may the choices we make in our lives and with our gadgets lead us, point us, and bring us always to Him.

For where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. (Matthew 9:21)

Carmela Ann Santos, TLW Volunteer
Mel is a lover of written words, kids, and education. She values her faith, family, and her personal time. She dreams of writing a book, doing an interview with Mike Shinoda, and building her bookstore someday. Her favorite topics are faith, love, and others. She finds happiness seeing her loved ones happy. She wants to retire as a mobile teacher and spend the remaining days of her life in Batanes. Read more about her Writing Life at http://carmelameyla.wordpress.com

#GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday

Be a part of this years Giving Tuesday.

Today is Giving Tuesday, a social movement to provide a way for people to give back by donating time, treasure or talent.

True Love Waits Philippines is a mission for Filipino Youth and Families to Connect to God’s plan for Absolute Purity. To know more about this mission to Filipinos go to Strategic Plan

To help this mission from right where you are or joining this mission in Manila contact Derek Ross [email protected]

To support this mission to Filipinos go to https://www.paypal.me/RossFamilyInManila

Mission Partners:

From the Co-Founders of True Love Waits

From Richard Ross –

Student Ministry Leader,

I want to ask you to prayerfully consider ways you might come alongside True Love Waits in the Philippines. You might sense a call to go yourself, or to send several core youth, or to cast the vision, to some adult groups in your church, or to place financial support before some believers with resources.

I place my full confidence in him. He will be a stellar partner with you. The TLW Team at LifeWay considers Derek one of the most strategic leaders for TLW in the world. You may contact him directly at [email protected]. If you have a heart for the nations, a heart for purity, and a heart for evangelism, all that can merge during a project with Derek.

Pray hard, then respond.

Blessings,

Richard Ross, PhD

Professor of Student Ministry
Southwestern Seminary
Box 22446 l Fort Worth, TX 76122
www.swbts.edu
www.RichardARoss.com

From Jimmy Hester –

True Love Waits Philippines is a vital part of the international focus of True Love Waits. From its beginning in the 1990’s, it has grown to become a voice for sexual abstinence in the Philippines and throughout the greater region of Southeast Asia. Under the leadership of Derek Ross, God is using this gifted and committed staff of Filipino young adults in a mighty way to impact lives and model for other countries an effective approach to carrying God’s plan for sexuality to students.

Jimmy Hester

Co-founder & Coordinator, True Love Waits
Retired Senior Director Student Ministry Publishing Lifeway Church Resources

From Randy Alcorn –

I’m happy to donate a copy of The Law of Rewards to supporters of the ministry of True Love Waits in the Philippines. True Love Waits is reaching out to the young and vulnerable with the message of sexual purity through the love of Christ.  Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” May you look forward to your eternal reward as you place your treasure in the Lord’s work in the Philippines.

Investing in Eternity,
Randy Alcorn

My Story, Your Glory

My Story, Your Glory

‘Sometimes, God redeems your story by surrounding you with people who need to hear your past, so it doesn’t become their future.’

-Jon Acuff

 

 WRITE THE SADDEST STORY YOU CAN USING ONLY FOUR WORDS.

Any average internet user (which according to most recent study on internet usage spends 13 hours online per week) must have come across this mini challenge that first landed on Twitter and soon adopted on Facebook and given it a shot. Ring a bell, folks?

I have read some responses online and some took it easy scrawling ‘Netflix account has expired.’ ‘The wifi doesn’t work.’ but some put their hearts on it and wrote ‘She loved, he left.’ ‘We are a mistake.’ ‘There was no us.’ among others. And these three sound sad to me.

If you have participated on this online exercise, do you mind sharing what story you have come up with? What writer have you turned yourself into? Have you written a sad, a really sad or a staggeringly sad story? I would love to hear them so feel free to keep them coming on our comments section.

Were this social media writing challenge given to 1800 poet John Greenleaf Whittier, he surely has something unbeatably sad to tell us. He wrote a poem called Maud Muller that tells about a young lady and a judge who are greatly attracted to each other to the extent of wishing to be together. Maud dreams of marrying the judge because of his gentleness and integrity and ultimately get rid of the impoverished job on the fields and be a wife of a rich and influential man. Same goes for the judge yet for totally opposite reason. He is exhausted of his career and simply wants to marry a simple and compassionate woman like Maud and live a prudent country life. But none of these happened. They do not speak up about their feelings- both unwilling to defy the extant social classing. Maud soon marries a man who does not make her happy and the judge gets into a loveless marriage. Both of them are miserable.

Two lines from final verse of the poem left us something to ruminate. No wonder this excerpt remains apparent generation after generation. Whittier wrote: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” Take note, that is four words: IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN! Whittier got Twitter and Facebook instructions right.

‘It might have been!’ does not sound saddest to me right away. I keep on asking myself, pondering, listing reasons in my head. Believe me, it took me three countries before answers shine on me. I left Norway thinking about it, arrived in Denmark still asking God what made that statement painful. Left Denmark still clueless and arrived in France praying to figure it out soon. Coz I have a deadline to beat, not to mention, I am missing it.

Please do not get me wrong. I know exactly why the remark ‘It might have been!’ is saddest in the case of Maud and the judge. It is clearer than clear, it falls on the category of Love Unsaid. They did not try AT ALL. And forever, they would have to stand that unsettling voice in their head, ‘what if I tried?’

What I am fervently praying to God is to have me see how this four-worded story relevant to us-CHRISTians. And of course, He does answer prayers, in timing He knows best.

For you to see a vivid picture, there has to be a context. I got a message on Facebook in August from a dearly loved friend and it broke my heart. After just a week, there is another message from a church mate and it left me stunned. Then came the third message from a neighbor of mine who is six years younger than I am and this time, I am sobbing, pleading this is the last. The three messages seem to have been copied and pasted read: ‘I am pregnant Sads/Ate Sads. Please tell me, what will I do? I can’t go to church anymore’. Other details came, how things end up as they are, explaining here and there- in the atmosphere are remorse and confusion.

‘It might have been better if I didn’t enter in such premature relationship. ‘It might have been better if I held my guards and waited for marriage.’ ‘It might have been better if I didn’t disobey.’ Over and over, their hearts recite these with anguish.

‘It might have been’ may just be four words; but inside it are emptiness, shame, emotional torment and REGRETS. No one is novice to this feeling. At one point in this life, we found ourselves running away from God, taking over the captain’s seat and sailing on our own. There are nights of weeping, blaming oneself, feeling filthy and pathetic, regretting our disobedience repeatedly.

Committing pre-marital sex is just a single picture of disobedience; there are tons of ‘how’ we are disobedient to God. Yet, while there is nothing good about disobedience, God is always good. Undeniable how disobedience breeds only regrets and destructions but we should not overlook how disobedience magnifies God’s unfailing love and forgiveness. How amazing that God does not call us by how we disobeyed to Him rather by the holiness we have in Christ, all the time.

I see no other reason. I could find no other name for it. God’s GRACE is the sole thing that transforms our disobedience to happy endings. It is the only provision that turns our filthy stories to fresh beginnings. It’s love, mercy, hope and good future put altogether.

‘It might have been’ is not just a story of regret. It could be a story of repentance, of new walk in Jesus and a testimony of His glory. Our sins when kept in our hands are forever against us. They will forever taint us but when they are brought at the feet of the cross, our sins could speak of the greatest LOVE one could ever know, a love that forgives, saves and renews.

We do not encourage disobedience. This is to tell us that one disobedience could never turn right by committing another disobedience. It is what we do to our waywardness that would make a difference. We have to choose which direction to run. Shall we run away from God, carry the weight of our sins and self-destruct or shall we run towards God and let Him break and mold us? Every story in this universe can depict our triumph and His glory. It is never late to let God write your story. He awaits you to hand Him the pen.

Sads Mesalucha, TLW Volunteer