The Journeyman’s Moments’ Grace-Filled 8 Years: A Sweet Anniversary

Nothing is sweeter than logging in on your blog and finding this among your notifications. Indeed,

“This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24

It’s such a great blessing to know so many wonderful people and read their amazing stories through this blog. It was God who made all these things possible so all glory belongs to Him always.

The journey continues, my dear friends, sisters, and brothers in Christ, and I am looking forward to more grace-filled blogging years through the WordPress community. ❤️

Always a journeyman who’s out on a spiritual adventure to complete the task set by the Master,

Blog Signature

Debunking Worldly Claims Through Godly Truths

I was having late lunch one early Saturday afternoon when these “nuggets of wisdom” crossed my mind. These ideas are no longer new, and yet I was briefly reminded how they are in stark contrast to one another.

Without wasting a single minute, I grabbed my phone, opened WordPress, and “scribbled” a few of the salient points. This, my friends, is what I love about WordPress.

You don’t have to log in on the internet to be able to write articles. You can write thoughts down the moment they come in, and they are automatically uploaded the next time you go online.

Sadly, gone are the days of a writer’s most famous companions – the pen and the notebook. But personally, I still prefer to keep a journal where I write Bible verses and prayer points during my daily quiet time. Let’s just say I’m a bit old-fashioned.

Going back to the “nuggets of wisdom” I mentioned earlier, what are they exactly? They are none other than the worldly claims debunked by Godly truths as explained further below.

How Godly Truths Can Debunk Worldly Claims

1. The world claims to have no place for the weak; Scripture glorifies human frailty and vulnerability.

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” – Isaiah 40:29

“That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

2. The world sees arrogance as confidence, power, and authority; Scripture encourages humility, gentleness, and meekness.

And He gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6

“God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.” – Matthew 5:5

3. The world celebrates the rich; Scripture exalts the poor as coheirs of God’s Kingdom.

“Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” – 1 Timothy 6:9-11

“The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity.” – Psalm 37:11

4. The world satisfies the eyes and the flesh; Scripture feeds the heart and the soul.

“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” – 1 John 2:16

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35

5. The world repays evil for evil; Scripture dictates repaying evil with good.

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:9

“But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – Matthew 5:39

6. The world idolizes many gods; Scripture reiterates serving only one true God.

“You shall have no other gods before me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.

You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.” – Exodus 20:3-5

7. The world offers security in material possessions; Scripture offers salvation through Christ Jesus.

No one can serve two masters: Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” – Matthew 6:24-25

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

Seeing The World Through His Eyes

These are my lingering thoughts for the past few months. The pandemic might or might not last forever. And yet it caused a massive paradigm shift, a complete turn, wherein the worldly ideals no longer provide the truth and the hope.

It removed the blindfold that has been covering the eyes of many of us and preventing them from seeing the true riches that God has prepared and is now offering to us. What people used to consider essential is now proven useless. And what was considered lowly was now elevated as a priority.

Money, Wealth, & Possessions

Money, though still a tool and a necessity to survive, cannot beat COVID-19. Regardless of the billions in our bank accounts, if we’re hit hard, this stash of money can’t save us.

Flashy clothes, cars, accessories, and some gadgets, are now seen for what they truly are – merely as wants satisfying our worldly cravings and fleeting desires. Now that everybody’s staying at home most of the time, they seem to have little use and of less value.

I, for one, am troubled by the fact that I have several cosmetic products (used and unused) that are expiring in less than a year. I stay at home all the time, and I don’t have Zoom meetings every day so I have no choice but to wear makeup while doing household chores (no kidding).

Essentials vs Non-Essentials

My wardrobe now has 60% of clothing that I won’t be able to wear since I no longer have any use for most of them – outfits for gatherings, social events, travels, etc. The same thing goes for shoes, accessories, and bags.

I’m still finding a way to make good use of my DSLR and capture something interesting here at home. But for the most part? It’s just lying in the corner of my work table eating dust and probably rusting away.

The typical city affairs at night where gambling, drunkenness, and immorality sometimes take place are also gone. The need for temporary pleasures dissipated. Things may resume slowly to how they were before the pandemic. But with the looming threat of COVID-19, which can still strike anytime and anywhere, the freedom to do things normally is never assured.

Now, everyone’s craving for the country lifestyle. Plants became the “Kings and Queens” of every household. From seemingly unnoticed wild grasses, they are now as precious as jewels. The farmer now becomes a celebrated profession, whereas, before COVID-19, it’s a non-glamorous career. The least in the list of professions, I must say.

For The Better 

I just find it amazing and ironic at one point how God can really turn things around in an instant by using only one weapon although it’s a powerful one. It’s as if I can hear God saying, “Enough already. This world has had too much.”

People groaned and demanded that changes must take place. And this is it. It might not be exactly the change we’re looking for, just like how the Jewish people have anticipated a different Messiah, but it did create the change that we all need.

This is the change that we are actually not honest enough to admit that we badly need. Because once again, we were all blinded back then. Now that the Godly truths have been revealed, what transpired in the first three quarters of 2020 can debunk the worldly claims that have made us believe we are living life the right way.

This is the reset. This is a step back from what was to what should be. The truths are already out in the open. Will we believe them or will we remain behind the shadows of the blindfold?

Seeing the Godly truths 20/20,

Blog Signature

Holabella’s “Dream Catcher” For A Dream-Filled Slumber

When it comes to beauty and skincare products, I tend to be very picky because I have skin asthma or eczema. That’s why when a good friend of mine recommended Holabella’s Dream Catcher, I was a bit hesitant to try it out.

What is Holabella’s Dream Catcher?

Dream Catcher is “a natural dreamy mist for restful sleep, muscle relief, and recovery.” It’s composed of 3 ingredients only – water, magnesium, and lavender oil.

And this is the reason why I decided to try it out – it’s 100% natural, plus the soothing scent of lavender never fails to calm my senses. No wonder this essential oil is popularly used as an aromatherapy during spa treatments.

What is Magnesium Chloride?

I’m not very familiar with magnesium chloride and how it works, so I did a little bit of research. Here’s what I found:

“Magnesium chloride, known by chemical formula MgCl2, is a type of salt used as a nutritional supplement. It is found naturally in seawater but is most readily harvested from the brine of salt lakes—such as the Great Salt Lake in northern Utah and the Dead Sea situated between Jordan and Israel—where the salt content may be as high as 50%.” – Very Well Health

“Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral. Magnesium is important for many systems in the body, especially the muscles and nerves.

Magnesium chloride is used to treat or prevent magnesium deficiency (lack of natural magnesium in the body).” – Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan

What are the benefits of using Holabella’s Dream Catcher?

“Why use Dream Catcher (Magnesium + Lavender Oil) after you work out?

– It replenishes the magnesium you’ve lost thru sweating

– It aids in muscle recovery

– It helps reduce cramping and muscle spasm

– It supports better sleep, aiding in recovery while you rest.” – Holabella

Yes, the benefits may be as simple as that, but they’re actually what we all need the most. A good sleep? I bet all of us look forward to this every single night, most especially during stressful days. Muscle recovery? We all definitely get tired muscles after a hard day’s work, and resting just won’t do the trick to relieve them.

How to use Holabella’s Dream Catcher?

It’s very easy to use. Just apply a few or a lot of spritzes on your desired area and then massage gently. The spray bottle makes it convenient to regulate the spritzes, and it’s also less messy to use. We usually place it on the bed during massages without having to worry about spills.

What are the side effects?

There are no known serious side effects except for a slight tingling sensation during the first application. This usually happens when there’s a magnesium deficiency, but it also subsides after several uses.

There’s a bit of sticky residue after application, but it’s not oil and you can wash it off easily with water. My husband and I usually take turns spraying our tired bodies with Dream Catcher before we sleep and wash it off the next day.

Because well, we just want a night of uninterrupted and dream-filled sleep. Believe me, if you have problems sleeping, this might help you solve it. Oh, and don’t forget to include prayers in your before bedtime regimen to complete that dreamy slumber. 🙂

Check out Hollabella’s Dream Catcher here:

Hollabella Beauty, Body & Soul

https://www.facebook.com/107755287443581/

Sweet dreams my loves,

Blog Signature

Chop, Chop Those Tresses A La Quarantine Style

I believe I’m not the only woman right now who’s faced with the dilemma of getting their hair trimmed and done since all the salons are closed. I have wavy hair, and I usually have it rebonded.

After some moments of deep contemplation (it’s a major life decision. lol), I finally decided to have my haircut from the comfort of our own home (thanks to my husband) because of the following reasons:

1. Use less hair products, save more.

I used to consume two bottles of shampoo and conditioner for my long hair in a month. But now, I use just one. I prefer hair products that contain natural ingredients because my hair’s been treated. They cost a bit more, however, than the regular shampoo and conditioner sold in the supermarkets.

2. You can save time and effort in managing your hair.

It became my habit to tie my hair in a bun without combing. Let’s just say I am too impatient to brush tangled hair, and it’s a bit painful too especially if you’re just going to brush them off without untangling the strands first.

There was one time where I got too impatient I brushed my hair intensely. The result? A huge chunk came off. Was it painful? I didn’t notice because I was so furious. 😂

3. I wanted to look my age.

Yes, I look like a high school student with my long tresses. Though looking young can be a compliment, it’s a disadvantage sometimes, let’s say, when you’re at work. If you want to achieve a professional look, a short hairstyle always does the trick.

The last time I cut my hair up until above the shoulders was back in high school. A shorter hair makes me look more matured, and I now look like someone in her 30s (I think). I still need your opinion on this one though. 😃

4. Less mane, less contact with COVID-19.

There are several instances that will make it easy for you to catch the virus if your hair falls everywhere. Like when you’re buying groceries and doing other errands, for example.

If your hair is long and untied, there’s a high chance your reflex is to tuck it behind your ear or brush it off your face. And this is what we all have to keep in mind while the COVID-19 situation is still ongoing – avoid touching your face at all times.

5. It feels light.

Ah yes, this is probably one of the best reasons why I chop my hair off down to half of its length if its long. It feels airy without that sticky feeling on your nape. My hair also tends to be greasy after a day.

No matter what our reasons are for keeping our hair short or long, it really isn’t the crowning glory. Go on and experiment with different lengths and styles. It’ll grow long anyway in a matter of months.

But what’s more important is how confident you are regardless if you sport a short hairdo or a long one. Beauty from within always wins the hearts more than what pleases the eye. ❤️

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.” – 1 Peter 3:3

“You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. – 1 Peter 3:4

Beautiful in God’s eyes always,

Blog Signature

P.S. Having a gentle and quiet spirit is what I’m currently working on. Let’s just say I came from a generation that breeds alpha females in the society. 😉

Rising Above Adversities: First Fruit, First Blooms

Dahil andito na naman ako sa moment na sabi ko kay Bri, susukuan ko na ulit si Kamatis. 😅 Dahil naabutan na sya ng rainy season, laging makulimlim at wala na silang sunlight na nakukuha.

Dahil wala ring araw, parang nagkaroon sila ng fungus at nanilaw at nalagas ang mga dahon nya. Natuyo rin ang ibang mga bulaklak.

Nagbabalak na akong palitan sila ng Poisoin Ivy at Aglaonema, mga proven na resilient kong plants, this week. Pero naisip ko na patagalin pa hanggang sa tuluyan nang matuyo ang mga kamatis. At hangga’t may green akong nakikita, patuloy ko silang didiligan.

When God’s Plans Prevail

Pag-check ko ngayon, nagulat ako na may bunga na pala ang kamatis. Sya ang kauna-unahang bunga at sana hindi rin sya ang huli. 😁

First fruit of Tomato and first blooms of Chili Pepper. 🙏❤️😊

Napa-smile lang ako at napasambit na, “Kakaiba ka talaga, Lord. Heto at gusto ko na i-give up ang plant na ito pero parang lagi na lang binibigyan mo ako ng reason to keep it kahit pa ang nakikita ko sa kanya ay wala na syang chance mabuhay pa.”

Parang tayo lang ngayon. Andaming adversities sa paligid natin. Pakiramdam natin ang hopeless ng mga nangyayari. Pero what if tulad kay kamatis, there is something good pala sa kabila ng mga ito na hindi natin nakikita sa ngayon?

The Start Of My Vegetable/Urban/Container Gardening Experience

Napaka-memorable sa akin itong first experience ko ng pagtatanim ng gulay dito sa condo. Dahil against all odds ang pagtatanim ko given na hindi ideal ang planting environment dito. Napipilitan ako to think outside the box palagi to keep my plants thriving.

When I got the first “tugging” na magtanim, alam ko na malabo kaya ‘di ko sinunod. And yet persistent din ang Dios at ang sabi lang Nya ay gawin mo what I asked you to do, all the rest ako na ang bahala. Aminado ako ang hirap magtiwala sa Dios lalo na kapag andaming problema na dumarating at wala kang solusyon na mahanap.

And yet, this is what faith is all about. Sabi nga sa Bible, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see“ (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith That Can Move Mountains

I believed, against all odds, na mamumunga si Kamatis. Although may konting doubts, but still, I held on to my faith. True enough, hindi naman ako binigo ng Panginoon which only shows na faith can indeed move mountains.

Kaya sa mga nangangamba ngayon, heto si Kamatis, una kong tanim, matagal kong inalagaan, nasa 30% ang survival rate as of writing. 2 months ago, muntik ko na rin syang i-give up. And yet she made it this far.

Ang aantayin na lang natin ngayon ay kung lalaki itong fruit at ma-harvest namin. If that happens, then ito lang ay patunay na God fulfills His promises whatever the circumstance that surrounds you. 😊

Kaya mga ka-urban gardener, stay tuned. Ia-update ko ulit kayo sa final phase ni Kam at kung mamamatay ba sya bago ko i-harvest o magagawa kong i-harvest ang bunga bago sya mamatay. 😃

In everything, let God’s will be done. 🙏

A faithful gardener,

Blog Signature

P.S.

Isa ding fighter itong si Labuyo. Kumulot at nanilaw ang dahon pero namulaklak pa din. Panibagong story din ito na aantabayanan natin. 😅👍🏼

Plugin Integration For Your Website: MailerLite Or Mailchimp?

It’s 2:35 am, and I’m still wide awake tinkering with my laptop. I was supposed to write a new blog post about a different topic today but found out that the Mailchimp widget for my subscriber popup form was disabled.

Why was it disabled? When I logged in on my Mailchimp account, it says I need to upgrade my website to a business plan to be able to place the code for the Mailchimp subscriber popup form on my website’s header. I’m currently running a free domain, so it no longer works for my site.

Mailchimp Subscriber Popup Form Website Integration 

There’s another way though for your followers to join your mailing list using Mailchimp and that’s through the Mailchimp block. This can only integrated, however, inside a particular post or a page.

Here’s how to do it: https://wordpress.com/support/wordpress-editor/blocks/mailchimp-block/.

Mailerlite Subscriber Popup Form Website Integration

But fret not if you find it difficult to integrate a Mailchimp block. We still have another alternative to create a subscriber popup form – MailerLite. Generating the codes using Mailerlite for your subscriber popup form is easy. All you need to do is create an account for free, then follow the instructions provided.

Here’s the guide to do it: https://wordpress.com/support/widgets/mailerlite/.

I was able to create mine in just a couple of minutes and integrate it with my website’s settings. This time, I opted for a simpler interface. My previous subscriber pop-up form contains a photo, but the problem with it is that it doesn’t show up when you’re viewing on mobile mode.

Mailchimp vs. MailerLite

If you’re going to ask me which one is better, I must say that both are great plugins for your site. They only differ according to where you want your subscriber popup form to appear. If you want it to appear on the whole site, go for MailerLite. If you want it to pop up on a specific post or page, you can use Mailchimp.

I opted for the whole site appearance, and this is how my new subscriber popup form looks like now. Make it simpler, but clearer.

Screen Shot 2020-08-15 at 2.09.10 AM

Tinkering with codes every now and then,

Blog Signature

 

Kwento Ni Kam, Kwento Ng Pagasa

I originally posted this as a caption of a photo on Facebook. It was supposed to be one paragraph long. But, as we all know it, writers often end up writing more than just a paragraph. Voila, it became an article. 😅

This is written in the vernacular, and once again, I am putting my hopes on Google to make a fine job in translating it for you, my dear readers.


Sa bawat bad news na natatanggap namin ni Bri, binabalanse ito ng Dios with good news. Na para bang sinasabi Nya an “patuloy kayong umasa sa Akin at huwag sa mga circumstances nyo sa paligid.”

Parang itong si Kam (kamatis). Umabot sa punto na nag-50/50 sya. Ilang araw nalanta, nanilaw, namatay ang ibang dahon, at natuyo ang ibang flower buds. Ni-try ko syang i-revive na may kasamang dasal sa Panginoon.

Pero sure ako sa nakikita ko na walang matutuloy na mga bulaklak at ‘di na rin sya mamumunga. Pakiramdam ko nga tuluyan na syang mamamatay at mauuwi sa wala ang halos 4 mos naming pag-aalaga sa kanya.

Pagasang Hirap Hagilapin

Ito ang aming “panganay” sa aming mga tanim sa pagsimula ng quarantine. May mga times na gusto ko syang palitan dati dahil wala naman akong makitang mga buds. Kasing tangkad ko na rin sya dahil indeterminate variety sya, ang hirap nya i-stake.

Gusto ko syang sukuan in other words. Pero mas pinili kong patuloy syang alagaan, hinanapan ng paraan ang stake nya, at habol ko na lang is dagdag sa clean air ang mga dahon nya kung sakali mang ‘di sya mamunga. At dahil nga sa nag-50/50 sya, parang mas gusto ko na talaga syang palitan ng iba ngayon.

Magandang Balita Sa Kabila Ng Lahat

 

Ngunit noong Sabado, biglang nagbago ang lahat. Ang asawa ko ang nakapansin na nag-open na iba nyang mga flower buds.

At ang kulay pala ng bulaklak ng kamatis ay dilaw (first-time tomato grower here 😃). The color YELLOW symbolizes HOPE.

Alam kong hindi coincidence itong lahat. Yaong sya ang una kong tanim, maraming hirap at sakripisyo ang binuno sa kanya, muntik ng mamatay, at nabuhay sya sa panahon kung saan napakagulo ng paligid.

God knows what we need at exactly the right time. He knows we need something/someone to encourage us to keep on hoping against hope.

Kahit pa sobrang labo at hirap ng sitwasyon natin ngayon. Pero ito ang hinihingi Nya sa atin – to wait and to trust Him completely. Nasa atin na lang kung gagawin natin ito o hindi. 👍🏼

A hopeful gardener who’s always willing to wait,

Blog Signature

P.S.

Napakahalaga ang discernment kung kailan tayo mag-aantay at kailan tayo kikilos kapag nag-utos na ang Dios. Dahil kung tayo pa din ang gagawa ng solusyon sa lahat, we end up frustrated, disappointed, at nabe-burnout. Parang ako kay Kam.

Ngunit hindi rin pwedeng mag-antay na lang tayo forever at walang gagawin. Ika nga sa Bible, “faith without deeds is dead.” It is finding the right balance between faith and deeds that makes what we do a success and a fulfilment.

And always, kailangan nakabatay ang ating mga ginagawa sa mga plano ng Dios. Not our will, but let His will be done. 🙏

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “These are plans to PROSPER you and not to harm you. Plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE.” – Jeremiah 29:11 ❤️

P.S.2

Do take note that “prosperity” in the Bible doesn’t always mean wealth and worldly possessions. Kasama ang mga ito. But it could also be prosperity o kasaganaan sa good health, sa peace, sa love, etc.

The Rice Farmer In 2020: A Business Outlook Amid COVID-19

Our rice fields are located in different areas of the town and a bit far from the farm. This is the reason why I have such great admiration for my Dad for his strength, patience, and wisdom to manage all of them and several teams of farm workers.

I believe it was somehow easy for Dad because he used to work as a Civil Engineer and Chief Superintendent at the National Irrigation Administration in our town. It was part of his duties as an engineer to monitor the irrigation system in the rice fields.

Rice Farming Through The Years

Back when I was young, we used to cook food for our farm workers during the harvest season. But as our parents got older and my siblings and I came here to study and work in the city, they had to let go of some of our usual practices in farm management.

Not a single day passes by though that I don’t include them and our agribusiness in my prayers. I have this dire need to go to the province now, stay there, and give them a hand with what needs to be done at the farm and the ricefields.

When God Dictates Your Timeline

However, my husband is tied to his job here in the metro, and he remains my top priority. The calling to go back to the province may be too strong, but God is asking me to stay for now.

I had my worries, my questions, and also my fears. But God assured me He got everything under control.

A Year Of Blessed Harvest

True enough, for last year’s palay harvest, Dad reported an all-time high yield. My parents said it was a miracle given the extended drought. Our province was also hit several times by strong typhoons last year but Dad was able to harvest the palay grains at just the right time.

My Dad’s rice fields were also selected to be the demo farms for the hybrid rice grains provided by SL Agritech. He was given an allowance for the land preparation and fertilizers and in return, a certain percentage of the harvest will go to SL Agritech.

The Good News Means God Is Everywhere Anytime

These were all the good news that will testify that indeed, God hears our prayers. I still have a little bit of those fears as to what could happen in the future.

But I know God will be there in every step of the way to guide us, provide for us, and strengthen us. I am sure every business owner out there has the same qualms about the future of several industries in the country given the economic recession.

Our Business Outlook In The Future

And yet not every “low” will forever be a “low” in the same way that not every “high” will forever be a “high.” The only assurance that we can get is that in every season of our businesses, God is with us always. That should replace our fears with faith, our worries with peace, and our uncertainty with hope. 🙏

Praying for all business owners out there,

Blog Signature

A Promise To Be Fulfilled: The Family Farm

A small portion of the 13-hectare property owned by my Mom and Aunt is allotted for coconut and copra production. My Dad no longer pursued the latter due to very low market prices. He decided to sell the coconuts instead as is right after harvesting.

Challenges That Farmers Go Through

The very strong typhoons that hit our province in the past years and the pandemic greatly affected the yield and the profit of coconut farmers. This made me ask the Lord what to do with any idle land that we have now. If we can’t use them for agricultural purposes, how else can we utilize them?

My siblings and I originally came up with a plan to use the farm to provide more livelihood projects in our local community. Given the situation now, however, farmers generate low income from their products due to travel restrictions. In other words, farming cannot be a reliable source of livelihood for the time being.

Seeking For God’s Guidance And Wisdom

I still can’t decipher what we can do, but I have a “tugging” that the livelihood projects will still push through in God’s perfect time. This goal can help thousands of residents from the metro who will be going to the provinces under the “Balik-Probinsya Program” of the government.

For one, they need land where they will build their homes. Second, they need to learn how to plant crops for their food while looking for livelihood opportunities. And last but not the least, sustainable projects are a must to make sure every family will experience that promise for a better life.

God’s Plans Are Better Than Our Plans

I was thinking maybe God intended our property for this purpose. What if God wanted to use our idle land to build a community, but guided by Biblical principles?

If this is a faith-based community, then first, there must be a church. Second, there must be a school that will teach all agricultural practices. Third, a mini-market for the residents’ daily needs can be set up and so on.

When my siblings and I were discussing these plans, our target is for the company to be a nonprofit organization. We never felt that God’s calling for us to utilize this property is to become millionaires. It is for the sole purpose of changing lives to a better one.

I can never be a millionaire by this world’s standards. I am not comfortable with the idea of hoarding wealth purely for self-enjoyment.

Imagine the cost of an original Louis Vuitton bag. With that amount, how many students from poor communities can you send to college on a scholarship? That $300 spent on a 30-gram bottle of caviar is enough to feed a family of 5 for 2 months.

A Christ-Centered Community As A Church

Imagine giving these families a chance to live life with meaning, purpose, and renewed hope. This is the very promise of Christianity, and sadly the false hope that is given by some politicians too.

Through Christ, the promise was already fulfilled. This will be the truest essence of being born again – a new life centered on God in a new community where they can experience God’s goodness and greatness.

Back to our end though, I know it is a very big responsibility. These may be our plans, and yet I know in the end God’s plans will prevail. And so, let His will be done always. 🙏

Still waiting for God’s instructions and His plans to unfold,

Blog Signature

Bearer Of Good News: Why Do Doves Signify Peace?

Ever wondered why doves were chosen to symbolize peace and hope? It’s one of the questions that sparked my curiosity ever since I was a kid. Thank God for technology and Google, all of the answers are on the internet (credible ones).

A Winged Visitor?

Yesterday (Sunday), I found this feather on our condo’s terrace. I thought an angel visited us. When I looked up, I saw several doves hovering and some were perched on the ledges of the other building. Oh, and by the way, I found some bird poop, too, along with the feather.

So yes, there was no angel, but only birds who visited our terrace either as a friend who brings “good news” or as a foe who destroys my plants. The latter, I would still have to find out. 😀

Was It Really Just A Bird?

This incident brought me back to my curiosity about doves as symbols of peace. The logo of our Protestant church in my home province also bears the figure of a dove with a branch on its beak.

I did my research, and here’s what I found out. There are several passages that mentioned the dove in the Bible. For one, it symbolizes the end of a long wait after the flood in the story of Noah’s ark.

The dove also represents the Holy Spirit as mentioned in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. When John baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove.

[and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in a bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”] – Matthew 3:16

You may find more cross-references in the Bible through this link by Bible Hub: https://biblehub.com/matthew/3-16.htm.

Why The Visit?

We are all having financial challenges right now. There are also looming threats of acquiring COVID-19 since my husband is also a front liner although not in a COVID-19 facility. There are also issues in our community that we are currently dealing with. Our country also has so many political and social conflicts.

I guess I might have silently prayed to God to give me the courage, the strength, the wisdom, and the peace to withstand all of these trials and the trials to come.

What Are The Trials In The Future?

What are these possible dangers? There is the possibility of another Martial Law being declared in the Philippines as more people oppose the Anti-Terrorism Bill. Some of them have already been arrested.

The economic recession is just starting, and some businesses might not even be able to recover from it. There are so many unemployed Filipinos, and the number will continue to rise in the following months.

Positive cases of COVID-19 also increase each day. There were many discrepancies in the data provided, and there’s no way to find out what info is reliable and what is not.

Across the globe, US-China tension is continuing to build up, and others assume that World War III is not impossible. All the looting and violence in America caused by racism have reopened a wound that’s supposed to be a scar already.

A Prayer For All

We don’t have answers why they are all happening, and yet all I know is that they will never go away and we all just have to get through them. I think all of us, at one time during this year, have shed tears praying for deliverance from all that is happening around us.

We all have groaned. I sometimes ask God how long will His people have to endure this suffering. Is this the “fasting, weeping, and mourning” He is talking about as we give our hearts to Him?

That is why the LORD says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.” – Joel 2:12

And I was reminded of my late maternal grandmother who passed away last year. She’s the first woman I know who’s a devout Christian and a Bible woman. Tears would always accompany her prayers every time she prays during family gatherings or even during the Sunday service as a church elder.

Every time my grandma prays this way, my cousins and I would glance at each other with that question mark look on our faces. It was only when I was born again and a bit older that I found out the reason behind her tears.

God Listens To Heartfelt Prayers

As a survivor of World War II, both my grandparents in my mother and father’s side went through extreme trauma losing not just possessions, livelihoods, and homes, but also loved ones. My grandma’s two brothers were drafted to serve the military during the Japanese occupation. We don’t know what happened to them after the war. My paternal grandma also lost a child (my Dad’s sister) during the war.

Meanwhile, my parents’ generation experienced the unfolding of Martial Law under the Marcos regime. Both generations of my parents and grandparents witnessed the horrors of crime, violence, death, fear, hunger, and loss at their peak.

Thus, it was with tears that my grandma prayed for her kids, grandkids, and the coming generations that may we all be guided and protected by the Lord. Because after how many decades, it is now our turn to experience them again. Only this time, the enemy has sent some of his most powerful warfares.

If my grandma’s still alive, I know these will be the Bible verses that she would share to us as part of her heartfelt prayers:

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you.

All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

– 2 Corinthians 4:8‭-‬18

You Promised, Lord

And because God always keeps His promises, He will always find ways to remind us to hold on to what He has already given to us – salvation. The present is in chaos, the future may be dim, and yet the light of God’s offering of peace and life in eternity remains.

I’ve mentioned several times here in my blog how Paulo Coehlo’s planner (my brother and sister-in-law’s consistent birthday gift every year) has played a huge part in delivering God’s messages. I know it is not a coincidence that the quote for this week is this:

And accompanied by the dove’s feather, all I can say is that God is really everywhere. You just have to be in tune with the Spirit to know when He comes.

Feeling God’s presence everywhere,