Sunday, November 5, 2017

One Year Older, Wiser?

To be honest there are moments when I start dreading the months of November. Didn't imagine that I'd come to a point feeling BER months could be festive and tragic at the same time. Festive for CHRISTmas season but tragic for adding another year to my age. Pardon me for sounding pessimistic in my post, but this is reality, it's not everyday that you feel like you're on top of everything.

But in my momentarily journey of drifting away feeling lost, there will always be golden flashes of connection with God, where He would gently tap you at the back and shift your perspective 180 degrees from your self-centered desires to God's perfect plans. Praise God for His tender reminders.
Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
While there are times I regret growing older, shouldn't I feel gratified for another year of life given to me. Precious time that is often denied to few, unfortunately. What reason do I have to be apathetic at all. So thank you November for arriving deliberately this year. Like blissful seasons of spring, let the flowers bloom to its fascinating colours. As the brilliant greenery of grass and trees proclaim life and new beginnings.
"Gratitude not expressed is like wrapping a present and not giving it." --William Arthur Ward
As I celebrate my birthday this year, a massive shout out to my dearest family and beautiful friends who spare time to make me feel loved on my birthday. Guys your gestures made me look more popular than I am actually are. #kidding

Out of 25 #gratitude tagged blog posts, let me to express my appreciation through some of my favourite posts:

2016: 50 Reasons to be Thankful
Latest inclusion to my annual regimen of keeping a record of at least fifty reasons to be grateful for the past year, no matter how big or small. Every year I am writing this post I thought I have exhausted the list, what else should I write for next year, but every year the Lord never fails to amaze me of greater things I should be thankful for. I couldn't be more excited for this years entry :)

Ten Things I am Thankful for my Birthday
Because birthdays are meant to be celebrated. In spite of the gloomy fact that it makes you  a year older than usual, birthdays are privilege that is withhold to some people, so celebrate your life. Birthdays is relative to new years. It gives us second chances, it comes with hope and opportunity to reflect and recognise yourself better.

God's Grace Pursues Us!
My current state of mind and soul now, by God's grace is GRATITUDE. It's important to regularly remind yourself of the times how God leads you and put everything in place beyond your capacity and control. Not to dwell on it too much but to have enough boost of faith that He is the same God who can again make miracles in your current circumstance.

One year older, wiser? Hopefully yes but on top of this, one thing I intend to pursue, become more grateful.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Music: Stone by Cyrus

Cyrus Villanueva, 21 year old Filipino-Australian singer, musician and artist from Wollongong, New South Wales has no doubt rose into a famous pop rockstar.

On the video is Cyrus' winning song and first single entitled "Stone" after being crowned the winner in the seventh season of X Factor Australia back in 2015 when he was still nineteen. His X Factor journey includes performing a cover of Earned It, Dancing On My Own, Wicked Game, Hold Back the River, Rumour Has It, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Jealous, Don’t, Love Me Like You Do and In the Air Tonight. His self title album "Cyrus" released by Sony Music Australia in December 2015 with carrier single "Stone" has captivated the hearts of Ozzys and has been dominating the airwaves of Philippine top charts. 

Stone

I should've known from your voice alone
That you were gonna mess me up
Too much pleasure like a sugar rush
I should've guessed from your cherry lips
That you were gonna leave your mark
Never had a kiss that could hit so hard

And I feel you driftin' over me
Yeah, you got this hold on me
Rooo-o-oo-ooow
And you, yeah you make it hard to breathe
But it just don't bother me
But it just don't bother me

I'm a stone in your river
Rolling to wherever
I drown just a little
I drown just a little
I'm a stone in your river
Every night I'm with you
I drown just a little
Deep down in you

I should've known watching you dance alone
That I could never get enough
Of your body looking like that, love
I could've guessed from your silhouette
That we were gonna ride real fast
Oh, baby we can make it last

And I feel you driftin' over me
Yeah, you got this hold on me
Rooo-o-oo-ooow
And you, yeah you make it hard to breathe
But it just don't bother me
But it just don't bother me, bother me

I'm a stone in your river
Rolling to wherever
I drown just a little
I drown just a little
I'm a stone in your river
Every night I'm with ya
I drown just a little
Deep down in you
Aye-yeah-aye-aye, yeah-yeah
I drown just a little
Deep down in you
Ooh baby, ooh
I drown just a little
Deep down in you

I'm a stone in your river
Rolling to wherever
I drown just a little
I drown just a little
I'm a stone in your river
Every night I'm with ya
I drown just a little
Deep down in you

I'm a stone in your river
Rolling to wherever
I drown just a little
I drown just a little
I'm a stone in your river
Every night I'm with ya
I drown just a little
Deep down in you

I drown just a little
Deep down in you
I drown just a little
Deep down in you

Deep down in you
Deep down in you

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Music: This is My Now

What a comeback? After being rejected three times during the Bootcamp, Six Chair challenge and Judges' House elimination in "The X Factor UK" Alisah Bonaobra returns as a wildcard contestant. This 22 year old Filipina singer is definitely back stronger and more mature to defend her spot in the Girls category under judge Sharon Osbourne. Her cover of "This is My Now" performed during the first Live show is slamming the social media with the most number of views, more than 1.3 million hits just in three days.

Found more reason to watch this television reality talent search - "The X Factor UK 2017."
Soar high Alisah, hoping you all the best in this competition. You will always have our hundred percent support!

Credits to X Factor UK channel for sharing the video.


Original: Jordin Sparks

There was a time I packed my dreams away
Living in a shell, hiding from myself

There was a time when I was so afraid
I thought I’d reached the end
Baby that was then
But I am made of more than my yesterdays

[Chorus]
This is my now, and I am breathing in the moment
As I look around
I can’t believe the love I see
My fears behind me, gone are the shadows and doubts
That was then, this is my now.

Had to decide was I gonna play it safe
Or look somewhere deep inside
and try to turn the tide
Find the strength to take that step of faith

[Chorus]

[Bridge]
And I have the courage like never before, yeah
I’ve settled for less but ready for more
Ready for more

[Chorus x2]

This is my now

Sunday, October 29, 2017

CCF: Prayer Walk and Talk

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. -- 1 John 5:14-15
It was a humbling privilege to be part of CCF's Prayer Walk and Talk last Saturday at Singapore Botanic Garden. The weather alone is already an answered prayer, as few days before the event, the weather forecast for Saturday was scattered thunderstorms but on the actual day itself it shifted to mostly cloudy. Isn't God amazing? Like a modern day Jesus-calms-the-storm miracle. What an encouragement, not to mention the influx of almost 50 CCFers who allied as one body of Christ spending Saturday afternoon in seeking and spending time with God.




The event was commenced by Kuya Marco's message about the importance of prayer. Followed by the some rules and guidelines to follow through out the activity. We were divided to seven break out groups and organised to visit four prayer stations.

Station 1: Pray for the Church

  • Leadership
    • Sensitivity to God's leading
    • Personal spiritual growth
    • Raising of new leaders
  • DGroups
    • Growth in quantity and quality
    • For love and healthy fellowship
    • Faithfulness and availability of members
  • Pastors/Missionaries
    • Keith and Jeanette Shubert(EAST)
    • Caloy and Suzette Pena (US)
    • Jay and Faith Jackson (Bugkalot)
    • Joseph and Lorraines Tanchi (Bugkalot)
    • Alvin and Candy Lagamon (South Sudan)
    • Chye Foong Yong (OMF Philippines)
  • CCF Singapore
    • Seafarer ministry
    • Project Canaan-Our own church place
    • GLC 1 and 2
    • Christmas Party
Station 2: Pray for the Country
  • Philippines
    • President Rodrigo Duterte and the rest of government officials
    • Integrity, wisdom and protection of our leaders
    • Personal salvation of officials
    • Peace and order
    • Improvement of traffic situation
    • Marawi recovery
    • Testimony as a Christian nation
  • Singapore
    • PM Lee Hsien Loong
    • Integrity, wisdom and protection of our leaders
    • Personal salvation of officials
    • Spiritual prosperity of the nation
    • Favour and protection for foreign workers
Station 3: Pray for our Family and Friends
  • Who to pray for:
    • Family(immediate and extended)
    • Friends(current and previous acquaintances)
    • Housemates
    • Officemates
  • What to pray for:
    • Personal salvation and intimacy with God
    • Good health and safety
    • Blessings for their careers, finances and different pursuits
    • Good relationship with them (and restoration if needed)
    • Allow us to be blessings to them
Station 4: Pray for our Individual Concerns
  • To love God(intimacy)
  • To love others
  • To become more Christ-like
  • Personal discipline in spiritual growth
  • Career, professional and/or business growth
  • Healing for physical sickness, stress, mental and emotional wounds
  • Discipline with physical exercise, healthy eating and proper sleep
  • Holiness in body and mind; purity in thoughts, motives, intentions and actions
  • Opportunities to serve God
  • Opportunities to be a blessing to others
  • Other personal concerns
Our break out group - Me, Ate Ethel, Kuya Marc, Kimi and Josh

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. -- Philippians 4:6

In the midst of fast-paced, active and demanding city life we have in Singapore it is beneficial to be reminded that it is not in the intense, go-getting moment that we accomplish much but in the quiet, consistent moments of prayer and pouring of our hearts to the Lord who knows what is best for us and always, always have our best interest.

There is power in prayer. Even Jesus prayed.

Let's make prayer a daily appointment with God.





2XU Run Singapore 2017

This post has been sitting in my drafts for more than six months now, it can even be classified as antique, until some blog posts inventory has to be done from my side. Before it even pass 2017, let me gather my memory(if there's left) and information while it's still available and complete this article.

Almost 30,000 runners registered in 2XU Compression 2017 Singapore which transpired last April 2, Sunday at F1 Pit Building.  There were three running distances - 21.1km, 10km and 5km both for women and men categories.

PB for 21km
Aside from beating my personal best record for 21 km run, this half-marathon run is extra special because I run with one of my favourite people in Singapore, my discipleship group sister Belle who run her first half-marathon in 2XU. Yey! Belle has been an inspiration to me since start, her tenacity and discipline during her training is exceptional. Actually the moment she decided she will try 21km run is already admirable, to reach the finish line is just an icing of the cake.

With Belle
With April

Off we go! Let your heart set the pace!

Bumped into Visa colleague and my SCM
marathon coach / former colleague / friend
Aftermath of 21km run!























Cheers to many more trainings and run!

Enjoy this video courtesy of Pink Apple.




Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Australia: Wildlife Safari

In our attempt to pet koalas, we found ourselves in Cohunu Koala Park where you can find variety of animals freely wandering within this 14 hectares wildlife sanctuary. We were able to interact with kangaroos, swans, cockatoos, pelicans, parrots by touching or feeding them. Cuddling a koala though requires additional charge.








Don't screw with a kangaroo!
Herd of kangaroos

Koalas will remain our favourite because of its adorable face, soft and thick fur. Interesting facts about koalas:

1. Koalas are not bears but marsupials, which by definition - a mammal of an order whose members are born incompletely developed and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother's belly.

2. Koalas are mostly nocturnal. Nocturnal animals sleep during the day and active during the night. They often sleep for up to 18-20 hours each day.

3. Baby koalas are called "Joeys"

4. When the Joey is born, it’s only about 2 centimetres long, is blind and furless and its ears are not yet developed. The Joey stays in its mother’s pouch for about 6 or 7 months, drinking only milk.

5. Younger breeding females usually give birth to one Joey each year, depending on a range of factors.

6. On average, an adult Koala eats about half a kilogram to one kilogram of leaves each night.


Monday, October 23, 2017

CCF: So That You May Know the Joy

John 16:16-33
Pastor Jay Jackson

“Jesus performed many other SIGNS in the presence of his disciples, which are not RECORDED in this book. But these are WRITTEN that you may BELIEVE that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have LIFE in his name.“ -- John 20:30-31
The Gospel of John was written with a purpose. John wanted you to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Promised One, at the same time believe that Jesus appeared on earth as God in human form. The author wants you to have LIFE through Jesus Christ and live it to the fullest.

Image courtesy of principlesforlifeministries.com

Chapters 13 through 17, five full chapters of the book of John were dedicated in the upper room. The upper room represents the last few hours of Jesus spent with His disciples. Jesus is using these last hours they have together to speak powerfully into the lives of His first followers.

John will devote more of his Gospel to these few hours in the Upper Room than any other single event of Jesus. In His last moments with His disciples, Jesus warned them about further persecution, told them where, when and why he was going, and assured them that they would not be left alone but that the Spirit would come.

“A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” – John 16:16
In verse 16, as Jesus was telling His disciples that He is going away for a little while, He was referring to His death which is only a few hours away that time and His resurrection three days later. That even though the world is rejoicing while the disciples go through grieve and difficulties, Jesus is telling them to rejoice and trust in the promises of God. Jesus is talking about a new relationship between every believers and God. While previously, people approached God through priests, His death and resurrection enables believers to approach God personally and directly. Not because of our own merit but because Jesus, our great High Priest, has made us acceptable to the Father. We can boldly ask the Father and have confidence that He will listen to our prayers in the same way that an earthly father listen to his dearly loved child. You have that privilege right now but have you really spend time with Him? You can share with Him the deepest desires of your heart. You can ask Him for wisdom, guidance, protection or help. In fact God is waiting for you to ask Him.

There is power in the name of Jesus, power to meet our deepest needs and fill our deepest longings.

“In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father; I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” – John 16:26-28
Jesus doesn’t want us to think that our relationship with the Father is second rate or even second tier. Jesus was telling them that although people will nail Him to the cross the next day. He will rise from the dead on the third day. He will once and for all establish an unbreakable relationship between you and the Father. This is the depths of His plan, but He is not telling them everything at the moment not because Jesus don’t want them to know the truth but because the disciples were not ready for it, yet.

Jesus is prompting them to take their eyes off of themselves and focus on Him instead.

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Jesus does not say that He will overcome the world. He says that He has already overcome the world. We don’t have to die to overcome the world, we can overcome the world by the way we live. Jesus have to say ‘No’ to the world, so He can say ‘Yes’ to the Father.

Transcribed by:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Music: Dancing on My Own

One of the most sensational and most viewed audition in Britain's Got Talent 2015. Calum Scott auditioned after his sister Jade failed to make it in the cut. He may looked nervous but this did not crushed his spirit as he gave a total different vocal experience performing a rendition of Robyn's Dancing on My Own.

His performance was tremendously received with four standing ovation from the judges. Making it more memorable when Simon Cowell pressed the golden buzzer sending him straight to the semi-finals.


Cover by Calum Scott


Somebody said you got a new friend
Does she love you better than I can? 
And there's a big black sky over my town

I know where you're at, I bet she's around 
And yeah, I know it's stupid 
But I just gotta see it for myself 
I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh oohh 
And I'm right over here, why can't you see me, oh oohh 
And I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the guy you're taking home, oohh 
I keep dancing on my own 

I just wanna dance all night 
And I'm all messed up, I'm so out of line, yeah 
Stilettos and broken bottles 
I'm spinning around in circles 
And I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh oohh 
And I'm right over here, why can't you see me, oh oohh 
And I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the guy you're taking home, oohh 
I keep dancing on my own And oh no 

So far away but still so near 
The lights come up, the music dies 
But you don't see me standing here 
I just came to say goodbye 

I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh oohh
And I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the guy you're taking home, oohh
And I keep dancing on my own 
And oh no Said I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh no 
And I'm right over here, why can't you see me, oh no 
And I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the guy you're taking home, oohh 
I keep dancing on my own 

So far away, but still so near 
The lights come up, the music dies 
But you don't see me standing here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Music: Somewhere

This year Singapore got a chance to experience the critically-acclaimed Broadway musical of all time, "West Side Story" - a theatrical masterpiece of song, dance and drama released in 1957. West Side story is an award-winning adaptation of the classic-romantic "Romeo and Juliet."
The musical brought us on the west side of Manhattan, New York City during the mid 1950's, when many Puerto Ricans moved to NYC.

I am not so much into musical but the ten Academy awards won by this musical film earned its spot as "worth checking out" for me.

Few of the songs that stood out includes "I Feel Pretty," "Maria," "America" and "Somewhere." The latter being the most popular(at least for me) and inspirational for most. A song with a lyrics of hope for the future and the melody of holding on.



Someday
Somewhere
We'll find a new way of living
We'll find a way of forgiving
Somewhere

There's a place for us
Somewhere a place for us
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us somewhere

There's a time for us
Someday there'll be a time for us
Time together with time to spare
Time to learn
Time to care

Someday
Somewhere
We'll find a new way of living
We'll find there's a way of forgiving
Somewhere
Somewhere
Somewhere

There's a place for us
A time and a place for us
Hold my hand and we're half way there
Hold my hand and I'll take you there
Somehow
Someday
Somewhere

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dear Belle

By the time you read this, your plane might have reached Manila. The truth is, a month ago we knew you got the job offer, yesterday we threw a send-off party for you and today you left Singapore but it's still not sinking in to me that you are now moving(back) to Australia. For real. Maybe I am still in denial, in denial that you are leaving us more than this place.

We praised God the author of our lives for making our paths crossed here in Singapore even for a limited time. Four years seems to be insufficient. As single ladies living far from our families back in the Philippines, you have this warm and welcoming aura to every member of our growing discipleship group. Thank you for making us feel we are not alone. You have this all out smile and inviting personality who makes everyone feel at home in the dgroup. Your servant heart is an encouragement to us, for you are always willing to volunteer to any activity in the church. I remember you inviting the dgroup to attend every talk or bible study available even outside CCF.

Whenever our dgroup have a special occasion to celebrate like birthdays, bridal showers etc -- you always make time to help in organising and making it possible.


For almost two years, our discipleship group have been praying with you on His will for you in Australia. But even though we are aware of the possibility that this may happen anytime, why is it still difficult to comprehend someone moving away.  My heart find it the hardest to reconcile the shift. Maybe this is just me being comfortable of routines and being clingy -- that you will just be there always ready to help, prepare home cooked meals for the dgroup, facilitate in our discipleship group even with short notice, assist in Sunday school, offer winter scarfs or jackets when travelling and simply for being available.  It makes all the difference.

But thank you for sharing your heart with us and not giving up on prayer. At the same time doing your part in terms of job application and interview preparations even if there were few disappointments along the way, we were all reminded how powerful God can work in the lives of His seeking children.

I praise God for your steadfast heart and full dependence on the perfect timing of our Lord.
Judges 6:14-16 
The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” He said to Him, “O Lord, [how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” But the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”
I will miss your sinigang. I will miss our runs and training together. I will miss hearing you sing during praise and worship plus various church events. I will miss our shopping time together, though most of the time we are just window shopping(haha). I will miss our travels. I will miss planking with you 😆 I will miss tagging along with you when buying perfumes. I will miss hearing you share on our Tuesdays IDG and Wednesdays DG group sessions.

We will all miss you for sure, but at the same time we are more excited to witness how God will unfold His grace and blessing in your life as you conquer more borders for His glory.

How do you say goodbye to someone who is like a sister to you more than a friend. I can't. Or maybe you just don't. But if there's one good thing about parting, that is the hope for reunion.

So see you in Brisbane!

High Tea @The Courtyard, Fullerton Hotel
Farewell dinner @Our Village Colombo
Ang saya ni kuya!!!

IDMC 2016 here in Singapore

Perth, Australia

Dgroup bowling

CCF church event

Dgroup goes to Tioman, Malayia
Buwis buhay skydive experience @Australia
Archery ala Katniss Everdeen
Radical Love CCF Retreat 2017
Radical Love CCF Retreat 2017 with Carlo's dgroup

Adore CCF 2016 Christmas Party
Belle's #wokeuplikethis photo! Ganda pa din 😉

CCF: So That You May Know the Servant

John 13:1-17
Bro. Popit Aragones

John chapter 13 accounts Jesus’ upper room discourse with His disciples on the night before His death. He gave final instructions to prepare them for His death and resurrection, events that would change their lives forever. In this chapter Jesus modelled servanthood by washing the feet of His disciples, one of the lowliest task reserve only for slaves during their time.

The act of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples exposes the heart of the disciples. Jesus wanted them to realise that they have heart issues and that is PRIDE. The kind of pride that stems out from self-righteousness. 

PRIDE. Nowadays, the face of pride changes from a vice or wickedness to a face of virtue. 
Pride resides in each one of us in varying degrees. Pride hinders us from seeking God. Most importantly, it takes away the glory due for God. While the sin of pride is often overlooked by our society, God takes the sin of pride very seriously.

Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished. - Proverbs 16:5

“Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one,” Declares the Lord God of hosts, “For your day has come, The time when I will punish you. “The arrogant one will stumble and fall With no one to raise him up; And I will set fire to his cities And it will devour all his environs.” - Jeremiah 50:31-32

Satan fell because of pride because he desired to be like God and not a servant. It was through pride that the devil became the devil. 

Pride Paralyses. It cripples us from loving and serving one another truthfully. It removes our focus on God and others and imprisons us from our own selfish desires. Be very careful not to rob the glory that is rightful to God alone.

Got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. - John 13:4-5

It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” - Matthew 20:26-28

So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realise now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” - John 13:6-8
Genuine Humility Enables. It allows us to go beyond our borders, to love and serve others unconditionally. Despite of Jesus’ deity, He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant so He can serve His disciples. Genuine humility is not a sign of weakness but strength. An expression of God’s grace through us, His children.

Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. - Matthew 23:12
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” - James 4:6
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. - Matthew 16:24

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. —CS Lewis

Jesus gave emphasis on the difference of bathe and wash. Similarly for people who accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour, they are totally cleanse by His blood but still needs the continuous cleansing of their feet daily. Because as we continue to walk in this world, we make actions, decisions and thoughts that make our feet dirty again. 

As Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He taught us that we are ought to do the same for other people as well. To love and serve in humility for the glory of God.

Pride paralyses but genuine humility enables.

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