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Category Archives: Life Lessons

The Importance of Training

This Sunday, we’ll witness one of boxing’s biggest fight in history:

Mayweather-Pacquiao

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Boxing Analysts say that this will be the richest fight in boxing and thinks that the event on Saturday will rank among the top 5 greatest matches of all time. All the hype and excitement are building up for this fight. For the past week, I’ve already seen three promotional videos about it. Check them through these links:

Mayweather-Pacquiao: AT LAST (HBO Documentary)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF76dlQt23c

Mayweather-Pacquiao: The Legend Speaks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5gEjs5jfHw

Inside Mayweather-Pacquiao
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiO6-5Qj4Zs

Watching these documentaries gives me an understanding of how these two fighters arrived to their level of supremacy today, what happened to the negotiations the past 5 years and how intensive their training camp has been in preparation for the fight.

They say that professional boxers train for 8-12 weeks for a fight. For some, even longer. That’s how much time, energy and dedication is needed to prepare for a 12 round boxing match-up.

Athletes aren’t the only ones who do training. Musicians, Public Speakers, Businessmen, and people from other fields also train as well. They do this to get better at their craft having a specific end goal in mind. They train because they want to be able to achieve something.

Training in the Bible
Last week, I read a verse in the Bible that also talks about training. Apparently, during the apostle Paul’s time, there were already athletics back then and Paul saw how athletes would train hard in order to win competitions.

1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

I find it amazing how the apostle Paul was able to use the the concept of sports as an illustration on how we are to live this life. This is the verse that I read last week:

1 Timothy 4:7-9
…train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come

According to him, we are to train ourselves in godliness. I first heard and understood the concept of training for godliness from John Ortberg’s book: “The Life You’ve Always Wanted.” The author explains the difference of trying to become something vs. training to prepare for something. Just like the upcoming fight of Mayweather and Pacquaio, they can try their best to win and beat the other opponent; however if they don’t set apart those 8-12 weeks in training camp then they will most likely fail in beating their competition.

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The same is true in life, the apostle Paul exhorts us to train ourselves in godliness. In life’s most critical moments, will we be ready? Will we be prepared to act in a Christ-like way whenever a situation calls for it? Will we demonstrate and bear the fruits of the Spirit i.e. (love, peace, patience, kindness… etc.)? The key here is not to “TRY OUR BEST” whenever those moments come. The key is training and preparing when those moments arrive.

So what does that mean? What does training myself in godliness look like? Just like how a boxer prepares 8-12 weeks for a 12 round match-up, our training lies in our everyday lives. Everyday is an opportunity to practice the fruits of the spirit in little ways. I’m sure that whenever we encounter people, our fruits will always be tested. We have a lot of times where our patience can get tested, right? Just line up in a grocery store and wait for a long line to get finished before it ticks of your nerves. Dealing with difficult people is always an opportunity to test our character. Will we choose to say kind words today or will we just say whatever is on our minds not worrying about the feelings of other people? Every moment and every minute is always a battle for self-control. Will we choose to say no or will we choose to succumb to our appetites?

These little things are our training ground to godliness. These little things build up so that we can be a more patient, loving, peaceful, self-controlled person. These little momentes in our lives that we take for granted are actually opportunites for us to get trained in godliness. If we maximize these little moments in our lives… when the going gets tough… when the biggest challenges of life come then by God’s grace we will be ready. 🙂

Now if you’re reading this blog, I hope you won’t take this for granted. I feel like some people may think that this is a “nice” idea but won’t really take it seriously. We all do that sometimes, however let’s look back and consider what the Apostle Paul said once again:

1 Timothy 4:7-9
…train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come

Paul says, people who train for sports, music or whatever those things may be. He says that those things are good and nice. They have value! They provide us with entertainment. However, boxers like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather trains intensively 8-12 weeks for something of temporal value. It has value but nonetheless temporal. For us however, I believe that the training that God’s calling us to do is way way more important and has so much more value in this life and the life to come.

It has value in this life because we can demonstrate to the whole world what it means to be a disciple of Christ. It has value in the life to come because training ourselves in godliness makes us more Christ-like and sanctified, which after all, is more important than any temporary success we can get.

Everyday is our training ground for godliness, let’s not take it for granted. Maximize every opportunity! God bless!

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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Life Lessons

 

Preparing for Finals Week

Finals week is fast approaching for trimestral schools like DLSU and CSB. While every other student from other campuses is enjoying their vacations (thanks kuya Andrew ha! HAHA), those who are part of a trimestral system still have prepare and work hard for the upcoming exams.

With this, I’d like to encourage and hopefully inspire those students who still needs to prepare well for the upcoming GRACE WEEK. Here are some tips and advices to help you ready yourself for the battle ahead. 😀

dino

1) Do everything for the Honor of God

1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

You just can’t have any other motivation that’s better than this. This is the purest and the best motive that we can possible have. So in preparation for the finals week always remember these things:

  • You’re not doing this to win the favor of your parents
  • You’re not doing this so that people will admire you for your high grades
  • You’re not doing this because you’re afraid of what people will think of you if you fail

You prepare well for finals week for the glory and honor of God. Entering finals week, recalibrate yourself and have this vision in mind.

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2) Work Hard (JUST DO IT)

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Now that you’re recalibrated to do all things for God’s glory, know this: HARD WORK HONORS GOD. God is honored every time you’re diligent, God is honored everytime you work hard in reviewing your notes, books, and the lecture of your professor. Contrast this to someone who procrastinates…that’s just the opposite. Procrastination is not honoring to God, it’s just another fancy way of saying laziness.

Just remember, everytime you feel lazy, everytime you feel like bumping off the things you need to do remember what NIKE said: JUST DO IT. No more excuses, time to start studying. 🙂

Two weeks of hard work and tiring yourself a bit is nothing compared to the grades you’ll receive after finals because you were diligent.

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3) Use your time wisely

Ephesians 5:15
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,

You have 2 weeks left, part of not procrastinating is using your time wisely. Don’t cram. Cramming won’t do you good, it’s always best to pace yourself for the coming weeks. Look at your schedule and commit to do the things that are important. When you cram, you will not learn anything for the long haul, it’s just short term memory. Plus, cramming is not very effective. You have to give some time for your mind to process the information that you’ve learned.

Based on my experience, preparing early and making sure you have a good night’s sleep before the day of the exam will prove valuable. Study in advance. Pace yourself. Use your time wisely.

Action Plan: Plot your schedule wisely now for the next 2 weeks. I’m sure that for some of you, you’re still not studying in advance for the exam am I right? 😀

time

4) Go the extra mile

Matthew 5:41
And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Have you ever heard someone before say: “I gave it my best… But my best wasn’t good enough”? Yes? It’s because the best of that person isn’t really good enough! Reality check, your university has standards that it has to uphold. A world class university will not accept a mediocre student with mediocre grades. This is the reason why the phrase: “I’ll give it my best!” is not a good phrase sometimes. The reason being: what we think of as the best doesn’t match the standards the the university set.

I’ve had students who came to me during grade consultations before saying: “Sir binigay ko best ko” etc. Well the reality is that won’t do them well if their scores did not meet the required minimum passing mark.

Here’s the key: if you’ve been giving it your best lately and sometimes you still fail certain exams, DO MORE than your best. “GO THE EXTRA MILE.” What do I mean by that? Well maybe you’ve just been allotting 30 minutes of study time (real study time) to prepare for an exam. No reason you’re failing! Go the extra mile. Study 2 hours next time (real study time). You’ll definitely see your grades improve. If by the next time your grades significantly improve to a passing mark, GO THE EXTRA MILE again. Now, from 2 hours of study time make it 4, 6, 8 and so on and so forth. I guarantee you that your grades will significantly improve.

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5) Trust in the sovereignty of God

Proverbs 21:31
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.

Once you’ve done numbers 1-4. You’ve resolved to honor God, you’ve worked hard and given it your best, you’ve managed your time wisely and have gone the distance in preparing for finals week… you now leave the results up to God. You’ve done your part, the rest is up to Him.

You may be at the point where you need a score of 80% to get a passing grade. You did numbers 1-4 this 2 weeks consistently, however the results will be all up to God. Trust in Him and Trust that his grace will be sufficient for you.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God bless in preparing for the finals week! 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Life Lessons

 

Living life to the fullest

Happy Monday to you! I just turned 28 last week and am thankful to God for the privilege of living this life for his purpose and glory. The past 28 years had been wonderful but more so during the past 7 years when I surrendered my life to Jesus. ANDREW BDAY 2 Who would’ve thought that if we surrender our lives to Christ then we can actually live life to the full? Yes it’s true! That’s his promise. John 10:10 says:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

God never meant for us to live a boring life. He desires for us to live an abundant life! So who says Christianity is boring? It’s a wrong mindset. After turning 28 last March 2, it made me reflect and remember the things God taught me to live this life to the full. Following are 10 I’d like to share and impart:

1) Live for the Honor and Glory of God

Our ultimate motivation, our starting line, plumb line, and finish line should always be about the Honor of God. Theologians and even our early church fathers figured out that man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. One of my life verse says this:

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Even with the little things in life, these things should be done with the glory of God in mind. 🙂

2) Read the Bible everyday, and don’t just read it… Love, desire, delight and be consumed by the word of God. 🙂

If our ultimate motivation is the Honor of God, if everything that we do should be for his honor and glory, then we should start knowing and discovering things that will honor Him. We don’t live in a vacuum, God set his standards for us to obey so that we may glorify him. It’s written in his word. 🙂

Psalm 1:2 but his delight is in the law of the Lordand on his law he meditates day and night.

God’s word isn’t boring, it’s one of the most amazing reads that we can ever find in this world. Why? One of the things that make it unique is that it’s the inspired written word of God. Not just any ordinary book, that’s why when we read it. God speaks to us directly.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

I have MANY MANY MANY MANY more things to say about his word but maybe I’ll just write another blog about that. 😀

3) Love God

Life is NOT primarily about achievements, our status, power, riches or fame. It’s primarily about our relationship with him. At the end of this life, God will not focus on those things. He’ll be more concerned if we’ve loved him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. That’s why it’s the first and most important commandment:

Luke 10:27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’;…

LOVE GOD with everything. I believe this is the primary way that we can honor Him.

4) Love Others

The second most important commandment God tells us is to love others. Life is primarily about relationships with other people as well. One of the most beautiful things in this world is our relationship with others. God commands us to love them second to loving him.

Luke 10:27 …and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

 Let’s live this life for the service of others. 🙂

5) Discover God’s calling for your life

People usually ask, “What’s your dream in life?” I’ve been in that conversation as well before. However, after growing more and more in my relationship with God, I realized that’s not the best question to ask. The more important and better question is: “What’s God’s will for my life?” God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect. Yes we have dreams of our own but those dreams do not compare to what God has in store for us. God has a specific calling, destiny and purpose to every human being. It’s exciting, it’s an adventure, it’s going to be awesome. He didn’t create us all the same, we are unique in our attributes, personalities, and the path we’ll take in this life.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

The Bible says there’s a race already marked out for us. What’s God’s race for you? You’ll discover it as your grow more in your relationship with God. 🙂

6) It’s Not About the Money

I’m guilty of this before I became a Christian. One of my life goals was just to be filthy rich. I just planned to save and invest all the money I’ll receive and hopefully earn at least PHP 50,000,000 in this lifetime. I realised that that wasn’t a very good goal. Again, I have a lot of things to say about this, but to simplify this blog just read what Jesus had to say about this:

Matthew 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

It’s more worth our time to invest our treasures in eternity than in the now. 🙂

7) Don’t waste time

Every second, every minute is a gift from God. Hopefully we’ll not waste what he’s given us. Again, we are to live this life for his Honor. How are we spending the time he’s given us? Once a second, a minute, an hour, or a day has passed us… we’ll never be able to get that back again. We will live an average of 70-80 years in this life… how will we live it? Will we live it to the full or not? Hopefully yes. Let’s make good use of every opportunity.

Ephesians 5:15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Paul concludes this statement by discovering God’s will for our lives. That’s how we best maximize our time. 🙂

8) Work Hard

Hard work honors God. Period. It all goes back again to honoring God. Working hard is not for the achievements, riches, or position we’ll get in this life. I realized that Christians should be the most hard working and excellent people in all of society. As they see more and more excellent Christians other people will be more interested with the God that we serve. 🙂

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

9) Share the Gospel and Make Disciples

His last command is our first priority. One of the very last instructions of Jesus to his disciples is to go and make disciples? It’s like a last will and testament. He must have said that because it’s really really important. Need I say more?

Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

In everything that we do, even in the midst of God’s calling in our lives, we should always share the gospel. We are placed wherever we’re at for a reason, one of those reasons is to share the gospel. If we don’t live a life that continually shares the gospel, then we’re basically missing the point.

Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

10) Live for the next generation

Like what I said above, we’ll all be gone after a few years. It’s our job to pass everything we’ve learned from God to the next generation. Success without a successor is a failure as they say. If we’re not able to train and raise up the next generation to be better than us, then we’d failed to do our part.

2 Timothy 2:2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

I’m really glad that I was able to spend most of my birthday celebrations with these world changers. I know that one day they’ll do an ever better job than what God has called me to do. Really excited to see that moment when I’ll step down from all these campus activities and see a generation who’ll do far greater things than what we did. 🙂

 ANDREW BDAY 3 ANDREW BDAY

Lastly, all of these things would not have been made possible without the cross of Jesus Christ. I thank God that he sent his one and only son to die and pay for my sins on the cross. Indeed it’s all by his grace that I’m living life to the full right now. Where would I be without you Jesus? 🙂

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

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Want to start living life to the full? Start with Jesus. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in Life Lessons

 

A quality that will help us in this race called LIFE

Life can be likened to a race. There’s a starting line. There’s a finish line. There can be many obstacles. And so on and so forth. Wouldn’t you agree with that? Yes! In fact the authors of the Bible often compared our life to that of a race. One of my favorite verses below says:

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

The author of Hebrews says here that there’s a race marked out for us. Every time I encounter this verse, I always get excited about life because I’m reminded that God’s made this life for us to be an adventure. What lies in the adventure he prepared for us though, no one knows. However, we can be sure of two things: 1) It’s going to be the best adventure of our lives and 2) There’ll be many challenges and obstacles that will lie ahead.

The second point tells us that getting to the finish line of that race will not be that easy. I believe that this is one of the reasons why the writer explicitly said to run with “PERSEVERANCE” the race marked out for us. The writer didn’t say: “Go and take your time with this race, it’s going to be easy… Chill… Relax and Enjoy”. No, the writer emphasized the word: “PERSEVERANCE”.

Last week, I was reminded of that word: PERSEVERANCE because I happened to stumble upon another one of my favorite passages of scripture:

James 1:2-3
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

perseverance-poster

This verse reminded me about the importance of developing perseverance in us. If there’s one attitude in life that will help us face all the challenges and difficulties we’ll face in the future, I think that attitude would be an attitude of perseverance. I like how vocabulary.com defines us the term perseverance for us:

Perseverance is not giving up. It is persistence and tenacity, the effort required to do something and keep doing it till the end, even if it’s hard.

The key phrases there are: “not giving up” and “even if it’s hard”. Perseverance is an attitude of not giving up even when hard things come our way in life. That’s it plain and simple.

Perseverance

This kind of attitude will help us finish what the writer of Hebrews said as the “race marked out for us”. Perseverance is an enduring spirit that keeps on pushing forward even when life gets tougher and tougher and tougher and tougher. Perseverance is an attitude or a characteristic that sets apart the people who’ll finish the race from the people who won’t. I believe that this is one quality that we should have if we have any hopes of wanting to reach the finish line of the race marked out for us.

The question now is, how do I get that characteristic? How do I develop perseverance? Is it just something that people are naturally born with or is it something that can be developed? The good news is perseverance can be developed in us. If you go back to James it says there:

“…the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

It’s clear from that passage of scripture that perseverance can be produced in us. How is it developed? The answer is: whenever our faith gets tested through the trials and challenges we face.

In summary:

God has already marked out a race for us. The race is exciting however, it’s full of challenges and obstacles. The writer of Hebrews emphasized that if we’re going to run this race, we should run it with perseverance. Perseverance can be developed, it’s not something that we’re just innately born with or without. Perseverance is developed whenever our faith gets tested through the trials and challenges we face.

Whatever situation you’re in right now, I hope you would see that as an opportunity to develop a persevering spirit. The key is to not quit, not give up in the challenges you face right now. Don’t quit on the little things. If you’re a student, maybe that’s the drive to study for an exam or maybe it’s deciding today to honor your parents. For most people, it’s about not giving in to a temptation. While for others, it maybe something really serious that tests their faith in Christ. All of those things, all of those trials in our lives summed up are opportunities for us to develop perseverance. Always remember this:

Perseverance does not get developed in a day’s time… Perseverance gets developed daily.

God bless and happy Monday! 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Life Lessons

 

The First 40 Days

Today marks the 40th day of 2015! Surprise surprise! Almost 40 days have already passed! The first month is already over and that means only one thing:

Either we’ve stayed true to our resolutions during the start of the year OR just like any other year, we’ve lost focus of them already.

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One of my goals when I started the year was to aim for a cumulative run of 600-700K kilometres. In order to do that, I have to run at least 15 kilometres a week to attain that goal. Here’s how I’ve done so far:

Week 1: 14KM
Week 2: 2KM (Fasting Week)
Week 3: 15KM
Week 4: 12KM
Week 5: 12.5KM
Week 6: 8KM

During the first three weeks, I was so inspired to reach my year end goal by meeting my weekly goal of 15KM a week. That means I have to set aside at least two days a week, one 10KM run and another 5KM run which adds up to 15KM. However, as you may notice, during the 4th, 5th and 6th week I’ve been slipping a little bit. My 15KM a week was reduced to 12KM, and last week I only manage to finish a mediocre 8KM.

Maybe you’re reading this post and you feel the same thing. You said that you will study X hours a week so that you can get the most out of your education, ace your exams and make your parents proud. Maybe you said that you’ll read the Bible everyday for the whole 365 days of  2015, but now you have already missed several days. Or maybe it’s a diet plan that you know your friends, family members and God has been telling you to do; the first week of January went great but shortly after the 2nd week, you’ve lost control again.

GOAL OF THIS BLOG: To encourage us to stay back on track and regain focus on our goals during the start of the year.

The start of the year always seem to be the time when we’re most inspired to achieve our goals. Everything seems to be going right during the first few weeks of the year! Why is it that as the weeks pass us by and as we head on to the next few months, we tend to lose sight of our goals once again? Will this year, once again, be the same cycle of losing sight what needs to be done and just hit the RESTART button come 2016? I hope not!

Red Reset button

As I noticed this cyclical pattern, I observed a few things we do differently during the start of the year. I hope to share to you in this blog a few insights that can help get us out of this rut. My prayer is that we can all get back on track and get us one step closer to the goals we’ve set last 2015. Here goes:

1) Take time to reflect

We have to take time to reflect. I believe that this is one of the few things we do differently during the start of the year compared to any other time of the year. During the Christmas Break, we’ve got a lot of time in our hands to write down our faith goals or resolutions. It gives us the time to reflect on the things that we did wrong during the past year and things that we want to do differently for the coming year. We have 1 – 1 1/2 weeks during the Christmas break and have a lot of time to spend time with God. I believe this is one of the keys why we start the year so motivated!

Now, the thing is, for the rest of the year, we don’t have the luxury of time to do this but we do have our SABBATHS or DAY OFFS. We should take this time to reflect on our goals and the specific things God called us to act upon for 2015. God did command us to “Remember the Sabbath”. I wrote a blog on this which can hopefully help you maximize your Sabbath:(https://andrewwee05.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/remember-the-sabbath/).

Also, another thing that can help us is to set aside A DAY OF SOLITUDE once a month. This can either be towards the end of the month or the beginning (whichever you’re most comfortable with). I wrote about this during a blog I did last December so I won’t write it here anymore: (https://andrewwee05.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/make-the-most-of-your-christmas-break/).

Check out number 2 from that blog. It’s good to have those times with God every once in a while. Jesus did say in Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

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Let seeking God’s kingdom always be a priority in our lives. Jesus did say that as we do this, then all of the other things in life will be added unto us as well. 🙂

2) Just do it

This very popular nike slogan has been very helpful with me in terms of accomplishing the things that I need to get done. If we’re really honest, the only reason we’re not doing the things that needs to get done is because we’re lazy. That’s one of our fallen human conditions. We have to fight of laziness. We have to NOT make excuses and just DO the things that we know are important. Stephen Covey, in his book called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said this:

—“The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.” “They don’t like doing them either necessarily, but their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.”

I like the phrase “their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose“. This is why the previous point “Take time to reflect” is important. However, after we’ve been refreshed by seeking God’s kingdom first, now we have to act on it. JUST DO IT.

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Looking back at last week’s run. I realized that the only reason why I settled for 8KM is because I got lazy getting up in the morning to meet my target. This morning, by God’s grace I was able to get back on track.

Week 7: 12KM and counting

Everytime we feel lazy, we have to subordinate those feelings and do what Nike tells us to do: “JUST DO IT”. Let’s work hard in achieving our goals. Did you know that the Bible says a lot of things about working hard?

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Proverbs 12:24
The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.

WORK HARD! JUST DO IT!

Again, two things that will help us accomplish the resolutions and goals we set for 2015:

1) Take time to reflect – this will help you be reminded of the reason or the “MOTIVE” why you set your goals last 2015. As you get refreshed with your MOTIVE, then that’s where you’ll get your MOTIVATION. Then after doing number 1,

2) JUST DO IT. NO MORE EXCUSES. DO IT. WORK HARD ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Life Lessons

 

Dealing with Failure

Failing is something that nobody wants to happen in their lives, ever. No one, as in NO ONE, just wakes up one day and thinks of creative ways of failing. Right? However, as much as we tried to avoid failing, everyone have experienced failure at some point. It’s pretty much inevitable.

Failure

There are two extreme type of people who battle failure from a unique vantage point. Maybe you can identify yourself with one of the two. The first set of people are the perfectionists (this is where I identify with), these are the people who are scared of failure. For them, just thinking about the possibility of failing sends chills to their bodies. In defining moments, thoughts of failure or not wanting to fail consumes them. However, since we know that no one is perfect, failure will face them in the eye at one point. The problem in being a perfectionist is when failure hits these type of people, it paralyzes them. It makes them insecure. It deals a blow to their confidence and their perfectionism actually works against them.

How-can-I-be-a-perfectionist-2

The second group of people are those who have who have resigned to the fact that maybe they’ll never do anything significant in their lives. Maybe when they were little their parents have told them that they are a nobody, leading them to have that mindset. Maybe there was an event in their lives where they failed massively and because of which weren’t able to get back up. Because of that event probably it lead to a life of mediocrity. Of course, we know that even though sometimes being too much of a perfectionist is wrong, it’s also wrong to accept failure in our lives as part of the norm. We need standards in this world in order for us to live by.

So how do we deal with failure properly? It seems like both extremes aren’t desirable to be in. The problem is if you go on the extreme of being a perfectionist, it consumes your life, however, if you go the other side it leads to a life of no standards. What’s the proper balance and tension here and can this be actually resolved?

Failure vs Success

I believe that there are many ways to go about this, I don’t have all the answers, but I’d just like to share what realized from my devotion last week. While I was reading God’s word. I was reminded of a famous verse written by the Apostle Paul:

1 Timothy 1:15-16
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

If you know the Apostle Paul, many people regard him to be one of the most influential figures in Christianity, probably next to Jesus Christ. He wrote most of the books in the New Testament. His passion and zeal for advancing the gospel is second to none. God made him to be the Apostle to Gentiles, taking the gospel to places where no man has ever gone before. He was willing to die for the sake of the Gospel. When Christians would talk about the Apostle Paul, Christians would recount many of his achievements and see his life as a successful one.

However, when I read the verse above last week. I was quick to remember about the Apostle Paul’s dark past. He was a pharisee of pharisees, regarded by many as the enemies of Jesus Christ. After Jesus resurrected from the dead, the Apostle Paul went on an operation to kill as many of the earliest Christians as possible. Most notable of which was Stephen from the book of Acts. If you’re a Christian living in those early times, the Apostle Paul was the enemy. He was definitely a man who did not do the will of God. Yet, in a remarkable turn of events. God chose the Apostle Paul, not counting all his failures to ensure that the good news of God’s kingdom is advanced.

Failure is not final as they say and it definitely was not for the Apostle Paul. God used his life for his glory no matter what he’s gone through. I believe that the implications of this is huge especially for those who may have deemed their lives as failures. If you feel like that when you’re reading this, remember there’s always a SECOND CHANCE. Even if you felt like you’ve failed, or maybe will continue to fail so many times in your life, never fear. God can turn your life around and use it for his glory. Don’t lose hope, in this life you always have a shot to turn it around for God’s purposes. Just remember to always trust in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

“…But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”

Failure-Is-Not-Final1

Now for the perfectionists, here’s what I realized. We will always fail at some point that’s why it’s useless to put our security in our successes. When that becomes the ultimate thing for us failure will hit us hard at some point. It will shake our world and make us lose our self confidence. In my opinion, I realized that the key to dealing with failures is to accept the fact that we are all sinners and remind ourselves daily. That means that we deserved absolutely nothing. We were, at one point, failures who had no hope in this world. Left on our own our lives are pretty much useless. However, we shouldn’t end there because if that’s all, then we’d be like the other group. The next step is to put our trust and faith not on ourselves and our accomplishments but only in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The truth is only in the gospel can we find true success in life. The beauty of the gospel is that gives us the power to live a life the will honor God. Also, whenever we fail, the gospel gives us a reboot, it always gives us a second chance just like what it did with the apostle Paul. Not only does the gospel give us a second chance in life, but it always gives us the strength and fuel to move forward and face all the challenges and problems that this life can bring. Left on our own we can’t, but with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, indeed nothing will be impossible for him.

Have a great day ahead of you! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Life Lessons

 

What to do when OTHERS are more TALENTED than YOU

Today marks the day that Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list in the NBA. Now, Kobe Bryant is top 3 all-time 3rd only to Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Only time will tell if he’ll be able to take over the number 1 spot. Based on my computations, he needs to finish 3 more complete seasons at his current average. 🙂 Now don’t get me wrong, don’t think that I’m a Kobe Bryant fan (nothing against all the KOBE fans out there 😛 ). I’m still convinced that Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever to play the game. HEHE 😀

kobe-9-scoring-michael-jordan-mamba-moment

A lot of people have had huge admirations for great athletes like Kobe Brant or Michael Jordan. If you’re not a basketball fan, it may be another athlete in a different sport like Manny Pacquiao or Roger Federer. Or maybe if you’re not a fan of any sports then maybe you’re more into the arts such as music, dancing or theater. I play the guitar and have been following prominent guitarists like John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan and Joe Satriani. Whatever field you may have an interest in we’ve had superstar celebrities we’ve looked up to. I’m a big fan of the names I mentioned above. I watch their videos on youtube for fun and relaxation. 🙂

The athletes and artists I mentioned above are the most talented athletes and artists in their respective fields. They are the BEST of the BEST of the BEST of the BEST. No one in their field today can match to their level of greatness. However, because of these celebrities it may lead us most likely to think how small and tiny we are compared to them. It may lead to a lot of wrong mindsets. We may think that the talents God gave us are pretty much useless and worthless because there’s always somebody out there who’s better.

For some people it leads to a bunch of what ifs: I’ve had a lot of people I’ve had conversations with that told me: “If only I was smarter”… “If only I was more handsome”… “If only I had amazing talents”… “If only I was better at this or that” and so on and so forth. The downside of this way of thinking is that it leads to a negative response on how we should use the talents that God gave us.

Every time I’m in a discussion on talents, I’m always reminded by the parable of the talents which Jesus talked about. I believe that this parable gives us a lot of insights with regard to the talents God has given us. You may read the whole story at Matthew 25:14-30. Following are five things I learned from the Parable of the Talents which I believe is the right perspective on how we should maximize the talents God has given us.

1) God DETERMINES how many talents we START of with

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

God is the author and sovereign ruler of the universe. He specifies how many talents is given to people at the onset. He determines where we’re born, who are our parents and so on and so forth. Hopefully we’ll accept it like that. For some reason I wasn’t born as Michael Jordan. It’s God who pre determined that. We can’t do anything about it. Let’s just accept it. Once we accept and are settled with this fact, it will be easier for us to progress and move on to what we should actually be doing with our talents. Questioning God on why some people have more talent than us will lead us nowhere.

Will you choose to accept that fact that God has given more talents to some people as a starting point?

2) It’s our RESPONSIBILITY to develop our talents

He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.

Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

It’s our job and duty to do so. This is what the Bible says. All of us have been given talents. There are no exemptions. Our talents vary in degree, but the point is that we all have talents! The parable tells us the we will be held accountable to our talents. God will check and see if we have been faithful in doing so. The first and second servant doubled their talents of Five (5) and Two (2).

What will you do with the talent God has given you?

3) Honing our talents requires diligence and faithfulness

But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.

But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant!

Contrary to the first and second servant. The last servant didn’t do anything with his talent. He didn’t put it to good use! The Master of the parable called him wicked and slothful. LAZY is the word. Developing our talents requires diligence and hard work. HARD WORK is HARD WORK! However, just like what NIKE says: Just Do It! As we try to develop our skills and talents, we’ll be amazed to the level we’ll be able to bring it. We just have to be faithful and diligent.

Everytime you see Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, just remember this: they didn’t start of that way. Both of them carved in a lot of hours in practice in doing so. Manny Pacquiao trains for months before entering a boxing match. That’s just insane! I believe that as we train and put in the number of ours in training and practice then our talents and giftings will definitely improve as well.

*There’s a concept of this in a book called “Outliers” about the 10,000 hour rule. Read more about it to get more information when I’m talking about carving hours of training and practice

Will you work hard in honing the talents God has given you?

4) We SHOULDN’T COMPARE our talents to other people’s talents. Instead remember: Our GOAL is to please God.

And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’

And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’

Enter into the joy of your master.’

If you noticed the second servant, he only got two talents but he didn’t complain and asked the master: “Why did you only give me two?!” No no no, he was faithful and diligent with the giftings and talents he received. He developed and doubled it. The key is to not get distracted and envious of other people’s talents. Focus on yours! Looking at others, comparing and being envious will not help. It only makes things worse and you’ll only get discouraged. However, watch out as you just focus on developing your own sets of talents. Let’s see where that will go!

Also, to keep us from comparing our talents with one another. Keep in mind that our goal is to please God. He’s our audience of one! Not the people watching us, not our friends, relatives, even loved ones. Always remember that to keep us from being caught in a comparison syndrome. Always live for the Honor and Glory of God. If we get this right, the habit comparison will become lesser and lesser in our lives.

Who will you choose to please? Others of God?

5) God will give us more opportunities as our talents get honed

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.

Talent comes from God but also opportunities. In this parable, because God saw the first two servant’s faithfulness in developing their giftings and multiplying them, then he gave them more responsibilities. More responsibilities is good because it gives you more avenues to use your giftings and talents and hone it even more and further. As we develop our talents, more opportunities will arise. Just wait and be patient as he entrusts us with much. Remember again: be faithful with what you have and has been entrusted to you.

As you wait for the opportunities will you choose to continually develop your talents?

Lastly, it’s good to keep in mind that as much as we would want to think that we’re the first and second servant. The reality is we’re not either! The truth is, we are the last servant who was not able to meet the responsibility and task of developing the talents to its full potential. Really? Yes! We’ve failed so many times in our lives, just like what I said earlier. We have a huge tendency to compare. There are a lot of moments that we have been unfaithful in maximizing our talents. Diligence is not a word we’ll associate with ourselves most of the time (for me this occurs a lot). There’s so many times I’d fail. Just like that servant in the story. Although the title of the parable is: The Parable of the Talents, the story primarily talks about the KINGDOM of GOD and just using talents to make a point.

The story talks about judgment and how God will judge us and hold us accountable when that day comes. It’s true! Look at the last part of the parable:

So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

See, I’m not joking. It’s a scary parable if we really think about it. This parable is a warning for all of us. However, we don’t have to be afraid anymore, because the KINGDOM of God brings the good news of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The good news tells us that God is the one who saves us from all our short comings and failures. That though we know that one of our responsibilities is being good and faithful stewards of his talents that he’s given to us. We can never meet and reach his standards. That’s why he sent his one and only son Jesus Christ to die and pay for our sins on the cross 2,000 years ago. Where we have failed, that’s where he stood in the gap and was the one who was judged for us. The good news is, in the cross of Jesus Christ, in the gospel, there’s also that grace to be able to now maximize the giftings and talents that God has given us to live this life to the full. 🙂

Last question: Will you continually rely on the grace of God to develop the talents God has given you? 🙂

God bless you as you use your talents and giftings all for the glory of God.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Life Lessons