To each HIS own

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By Rianne Lim

Archie & I have agreed since day 1 that the standard for which we are going to lead and coach couples who are about to be married, are newly married, or are married for a long time already is the Word of God (period). It is true that our testimony or love story can also be of big help to others, but if it becomes the central message and the main story in our coaching sessions, I think there has to be some checking and balancing that should be done there. It can also get to a point wherein it becomes the standard you impart to or teach others, and if they don’t meet your criteria or the standards or practices that you uphold, God only knows what thoughts you have in your heart.

For me and my husband, every love story and marriage blessed by God is wonderful and beautiful… truly beautiful! Whenever we drive home coming from a wedding (which by the way feels like we have one going every week!), we can only speak in awe about what we just witnessed that day—a beautifully written, Christ-centered union. And we stand amazed on how God never runs out of ideas on how to uniquely give each story its own twists and highlights. Some probably got engaged after just 2 months of dating, some may have fully enjoyed years of dating and only after a while decided to pursue marriage, some even have longer engagement season than their actual dating season, some also may have been disengaged first before they finally got engaged to the person God has prepared for them, some may have been pursued for marriage in their early 20’s or mid 40’s. Nonetheless, each story is a masterpiece, well thought of and wholeheartedly written by God himself!

Let me get this straight, I am not, in any way, saying that you can go ahead and deliberately commit mistakes, after all God can repair it later. What I am saying here is that the moment one heeds to the standard of God in their lives at any given season, no matter how different and unique each story is to another, it is still part of the beautiful story God has perfectly written so that His glory may be known through their union! To look down on one love story and esteem yours is a mockery towards God, for He is the author of not just your story but theirs as well.

Why coaching with your story as the HIDDEN standard is unhealthy:

  1. You will never depend on the Holy Spirit as you lead the couple in their pursuit for a Christ-centered marriage.
  2. You will less likely be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as you minister to the couple.
  3. You will panic when the story of the couple is totally out of your league. And may end up hurting them instead of inspiring and helping them.
  4. Your pride grows and you forget that your story is still by God’s grace alone.
  5. When you find someone who has a “better” love story than yours, you pout and frown.
  6. You sow unnecessary seeds of insecurities and ungratefulness to the couple you are coaching.
  7. You can altogether dismiss a couple when they come to you not with your ideal story or standards, but with an honest heart that says, “We had a bad start. Can you help us honor God in this?” and you go on thinking “We told you so,” “See?”
  8. When you are a couple who has been tragically planted with seeds of insecurities and ungratefulness by people around you, you will forever remain silent about God’s story in your life and would only choose a handful of people to whom you want to share it with.
  9. You may be pushed to a point of convincing yourself that your added make-believe highlights and twists to the already complete and perfect story God has written for you is genius and inspiring. Thereby living a lie for the rest of your life.
  10. You will be hindered to celebrate other people’s stories on how God has been good and gracious in their love story.

And the list goes on…

I am glad you love your love story, it is actually a good thing. But I hope it doesn’t become a stumbling block to you and to the people around you, instead may it become a story that would keep on reminding you how good and faithful your God is, and how undeserving you are, but still….

Here’s to more weddings in the coming days, weeks, and months! And may you never be surprised to see tears brimming my eyes as the bride walks down the aisle (even if she’s completely unrelated to me!) in every Christian wedding I will be in.

Four Years

Today, I’m happily married for four years to the woman I can’t live without. Friends, it’s been four good years. I have been contemplating about our marriage the past weeks and I am just so glad we have the time for ourselves following some chronic busyness back home. And so tonight, I’m writing this on a very cold evening on a cross country backdrop with a congested ear slowly cracking to pop. My wife’s asleep with a double fleece blanket that’s serving her well.

True to everyone, our marriage isn’t a bliss. But I am glad I share this married life with someone who is equally committed to keeping a warm and fruitful marriage as I am. There isn’t a phone app that downloads husbandhood to anyone. Marriage is hardwork. And two pairs of hands working on it are better than one. I want to thank and honor my wife, Rianne for the love and sacrifice, for working hard for our marriage. It isn’t pure pleasure sharing a home with me, so I thank God for her audacity.

I did my first wedding last month and I made it clear to the couple that outserving one another can be a key in enjoying married life. My wife and I have been practicing it, and it (outserving/selflessness) works everytime! R. Zacharias even suggests that you have to be willing to “die” to yourself if you really want to get married. That equates to your willingness to die to your own convenience, interests, hobbies, pet peeves, traditions, routines, sleep, and even your favorite food. I’m blessed that this is a non issue in our home. And I believe this is birthed out of love for one another. Sometimes my wife serves to the extent of becoming a little “gentlemanish” towards me–securing my seat, carrying my stuffs, among others. It’s a little embarassing but I thank her for making me feel like a king.

I also love her heart of compassion. When we were dating, I learned that she always prays her favorite line from her favorite song that says, “break my heart with what breaks Yours”. That has been an everyday prayer. Thus, chances are, if you are poor, unheralded, and untapped, you do not miss the peripherals of Rianne. You are a topic for prayer over dinner.

And oh, if you see us driving around at 2am, it’s because we are extending the kindness to some of our four legged stray friends.

One thing marriage does to you is that it exposes you. And because of a compassionate heart that always chooses mercy and forgiveness, I’m just so glad that I’m loved just the way I was loved on our wedding day albeit my flaws.

That kindness of heart expresses itself in the most genuine love for people that I’ve ever seen. Sometimes I don’t mind being rude. I just have to cut short her long talks with people. That “long talk” actaully is usually just a 16th of a fraction only and the rest of the portion is all listening. She can listen to someone uninterrupted for hours. I.just.can’t.do.that. But that’s something I appreciate about her.

My wife is like a tender shoot. Through the years, her soft heart has allowed her to have an undescribable depth in her relationship with God. Her intimacy with the Lord allowed her to be still in troubling times. She can not hold up a life that displeases God. I deem it very important because that is humility, and humility extinguishes familiarity with God. And it allows her to lovingly obey the Lord, whatever it takes.

Four years into our marriage and it seems like we just exchanged vows yesterday. My wife is my darling. I miss her the moment I drive off our gates and I giddy-yup at the thought of going home. She is my best friend. I love picking any stories to start conversations with her. She is a companion and a partner, a woman I’d love to love again and again.

I remember the time when I stood nervously on the altar saying my vows. I have no idea what things are going to be like in the next years or decades. But the way I know my wife now, I’m confident that even if we meet a convergence of storms, we can count on what the Bible assures that we can be perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, and cast down, but not destroyed.

Let me share with you why I’m so excited for our fourth year.
Four is the number of creation. In the Bible, before the first ever nostril breathed its very first breath, all the “necessities” were already created in four days time. Everything necessary to sustain life have already proliferated before God created the animals and Adam. Adam didn’t have to contend with a DPWH concreting project or an untrimmed garden or a sea foaming up no waves. Things were readied in four days.

Four years of being married is like us learning the ropes. There’s been funny times of misadventures and mistakes. At times, it wasn’t funny any more. But our four years are like years of preparation for us individually and as a couple. This gives me the sense of excitement because I know the next coming years may not come in full bliss, but I know they are going to be times of receiving unmerited favor simply because God has already prepared things for us.

To the woman I took home as my bride four years ago, I love you now and forevermore, Mine!

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Money Talk

Why blog about money?

1. A lot of young people are ignorant about finances.
2. Many broken marriages point to finances as a major contributor in household strife.

In the Philippines, the name of the game is SAVINGS. Older folks teach you to save and save and save. If you are someone who want to retire in style, your lifetime savings might disappoint you. If you are convinced that your SSS pension and Senior’s discount is good enough for your life ahead come to think that you will still live a good 20 or so years after retiring.

When I graduated from college, I started a small business called Busogsilog. The money that was used to start the business was the small savings I pooled together with two partners. The business faired well but later on died down also.

Any way, since I am NO EXPERT on finance, I will not intend to speak as one on this blog. Instead I will just share the ways at which my wife and I are directing and handling our finance.
Because money is a real deal, we have invested quite an amount of time and money to learn how to manage it well.

Random thoughts about money:

I. Mentors

You have a gym instructor, a grammar teacher, a theology buff, a marriage guru, a K-pop god. If you have subscribe to mentors for every passion that you have, how come you don’t have anyone to teach you about money (savings, banking, investing, making money, business, tithing, charities)?

For me and my wife when it comes to faith and finance, I love listening to Ptr Juray Mora (You can catch him on podcasts) Dave Ramsey is a good pick on financial management and getting out of debt. When it comes to business, I always catch lengthy talks with my brother who has become well versed in the world of business. I’m not a person who’s into stocks, but we Iisten to people who’s good at it. A good friend, Migs Quirante is on it and I keep asking questions.

Surround yourself with achievers and not day dreamers. Day dreamers take you to the clouds to marvel at it while achievers take you to the same clouds to teach you how to make much of it.

Have someone coach you in the area of faith and finances. Trust me, you’re gonna love me for giving this advise.

II. Emergency Fund & Savings

That’s our ATM card on a picture frame and that is our emergency fund. My wife and I are still funding it until we reach the goal that we have set. I don’t bring the card with me to reduce the impulse to use it, but at the same time we don’t make it hard for us to withdraw from it in case we really need it. Thus the picture frame.

An emergency fund as its name suggests, is for emergencies. Meaning to say you use it only for emergencies and emergencies only. Promo fare is not an emergency neither is 50 % mall sale.

Emergency fund should be liquid. It will be used and replenished upon using. Ideally an emergency fund should have funds enough to sustain you for at least three months in case you lose your job or something bad happens.

Qualifying what an emergency is is also a good thing. We haven’t sat down and talked about that yet. Next time the tires burst or someone is hospitalized, you have stored enough for these rainy days.

Credit Card is a good companion during emergencies but it can turn against you when billing comes.

Regarding savings, BPI offers a Save Up account wherein your account is automatically debited to fund your save up account.

III. Debit Card over Credit Card

It’s simple. With a debit card, you do not get yourself in debt whereas a credit card gets you in one. I’ve gotten into debts with my credit card back in college and post college years. It stings hard. My wife and I both own our individual debit cards. That way, it helps us discipline ourselves to plan our spending well.

People say that they need credit cards for plane fare purchases. Your debit crad can do just about anything your credit card does. Another thing regarding plane fares, we have made it a practice to buy tickets online and choose payment centers in the payment options. I buy tickets at night and pay at Robinson’s the next day.

I own a credit card with a very minimum credit limit. It’s safer that way, at least for me.

IV. Investments

Savings is not really an old wineskin. But if you are keen on making your money grow at least bigger than how much your savings generate annually, then investments is a good option.

What do you do with your 13th month and bonuses? It’s great to reward ourselves with new gadgets and stuffs, but I would want to suggest something. Try setting aside an amount that you can INVEST.

My wife and I are just starting but we do not have to wait to be rich before we start investing. Investing is for everyone whether you are a student or single mom. We have invested a small amount in UITF (Unit Investment Trust Fund). UITF is simple. It’s pooling altogether people’s money and an investment expert does his thing. BDO offers low minimum amount for UITF. Mutual Fund is also a good option. My wife and I have tried Variable Linked Insurance wherein you pay for insurance that is coupled with investments. All these you reap years and decades from now.

When is the best time to invest? Now.

Magazines like Money Sense will help you get it right with your finances.

But nothing beats the Word of God in its timeless principles and promises.

OF COURSE if you are a tither and if you live a lifestyle of generosity, the blessings of God will surely overflow your cup and fill your barns. No practical tips from any sage will work unless you align your heart in the will and purposes of God for you. Jesus himself talked about money more than any other topic in the Bible. It clearly shows us that money can be such a god in our lives. The things that I shared above are mere practices that we do. Those pratices can help us become better stewards of God’s blessings in our lives. At the end of the day if we are good stewards of what God has given us, He always prove Himself faithful. If you are in a tight situation right now, I say unto you, Shalom. Peace is not found in your wallet, peace is found is
n the person of Jesus. Believe that He will cause you break through and prosper. Be in faith to believe, really believe God for greater things! My wife and I do not have our own car yet. Our faith is not hinged on the money we make, but on the goodness of our Father. Our faith is that we will get our car without us spending a peso for it.

This new year, I pray that God will bless you abundantly in the area of finances and provision!

Philippians 4:19 ESV
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

What I’ve learned from three years of marriage…

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When Beauty’s Beast turned to become a handsome prince it does not suggest prince charming lost all the beastliness in him. Understand that If a chapter or two were added to their story after the royal wedding, that cartoon would not gross. Thus, it’s always for the best to end every fairy tale story in a line that says, “and they lived happily ever after.”

In his book  I, Isaac Take thee, Rebekah, Ravi Zacharias funnels down marriage in one conclusion: Be willing to die to yourself.

True indeed.

After bullying the groom in every stag party I’ve attended, I always give my shot of advice on marriage relationship (Just my shot from almost three years of experience so it can be warranted or not). I always tell the groom to out give his future wife.

My wife and I found this really true in our marriage. It has served us well the past years and we know it would always be. When I say out give I’m talking about selflessness. Just this morning, my wife asked me to open the Christmas stuffers she bought for me. It’s not yet Christmas but she finds joy in seeing me so happy. I haven’t prepared one for her yet but she does not care. Please note that when I say out giving I am not pertaining to material gifts though that is an important part of it. Out giving is more than just giving out something like time, money, food, etc. When we talk about out giving it means out giving my partner with sacrifice, love, forgiveness, time and some more things in a sincerest and conscious manner. While I’m typing this my wife is asking me some questions. Out giving here means to stop typing and listen and answer courteously.

I raise my hand and bow my head in shame and admit that a couple of times I never got to say sorry to my wife when I have wronged her. Imagine this scenario: What if there had been an argument between us and I refuse to apologize and she also refuses to humble down and apologize. Can you imagine the disaster? Should we go on days not talking to one another? That is classic selfishness. Out giving here means it does not matter who is right or wrong, just apologize and grab a mocha latte. Sometimes I hear people say, “I’ll teach him/her a lesson on humility, He/she needs to be the first to apologize!” Do your part and leave him/her to do theirs. Do you realize that the receiving end is humbled when they realize they are wrong yet you did the first step to reconciliation? God is active in their hearts so don’t worry cause they accepted you as a husband/wife or a fiancé/fiancéé and not as a Savior.

Some older pals would tell me things will be different when the baby comes. It is no far from truth. And so that would mean my wife and I will both have to be doubly selfless when the time comes. You see I was told the same thing when I was about to get married. In fact before marriage we prepared for the worst. But because of understanding the importance of selflesness and demonstrating it to one another in small things and big things, I would say it has been a pretty funtastic ride.

For some of us reading this, maybe you are planning on getting married in the distant future or the near future. This might help.

Tick tock. Tick tock. Some of us hear this behind closed doors in our rooms. You might be getting anxious about it. Just remember if you get easily ticked and you can not hold your tact, then tick tock it is. You just can not marry if you are too selfish, self centered and self serving. Spare your partner in marrying a disaster. Selfishness can be a deep issue that can have a terrible repercussion. Unless you are a man, don’t twist the angles in your conscious time frame to make sure you will get there, that can be a mark of selfishness too.

If you are a student, enjoy your student life because it will prepare you for the life ahead. Do not be a damaged goods by the time you get there.

You might be asking where this might be coming from? Remember that no one in history has been successful in out giving God. Jesus laid down his life for everyone. That is an assurance that this will work. He has laid down the foundation for us—selflessness is out giving one another. Don’t feed on this Me world we are living in. Be different, be Christ like.

Marriage is not a breeze, it’s hard work. I am just plain blessed to have a wife who races with me in out loving and out giving one another. She usually wins and we both enjoy the prize.

All in a week’s work

First I have to say that I love my job and I don’t see myself doing any other thing in the distant future. Mondays have always been generous in giving me some moments for contemplations, breathers, and refueling. I tried reviewing what happened at work last week and I want to share it here:

Tuesday:

I had a meeting with a local businessman about the prospect of having a new center built for us. I had a good try at haggling and negotiating. Before the meeting I was googling the how to’s in business proposals but decided to just me during the meeting.

In the afternoon, I had an exciting 3 hour discussion with our church staff on our worship services. We have concluded that we will need to add three more service ministries in the coming months. We have reviewedthe critical points in the ministry that needs attention.

Evening that day my wife and I met with the couples and some other adults at church to discuss onour Sambang Gabi. I’ve never met the adults for some serious meetings and that expalins the jitters. But our discussion went well and we had a fun time together just marveling at the what-could-be’s of the ministry if we will work together.

Wednesday:

My goodness I can’t remember what happened that day! Rest assured I wasn’t lounging around. Ha ha

Thursday:

We heavily rely on volunteers. But since Volunteers Night will be Thurs Night our staff agreed we will be the ones who will work on all the preparations for the event. Volunteers Night is a time to appreciate all the volunteers in our service ministries namely the Ushering, Music, Technical, Kids, and Intercessory. So the entire day was spent on errands and preparation for the night.

Come night time, we had some endless fun! Ministries gave brilliant presentations of their own. And I together with our staff also had our turn. I impersonated the Pacman and my wife did a Charo Santos.It was a memorable night for everyone. I bet the number of volunteers will double next year.

Picture right ontop makes me emotional…

Night wasn’t over yet as it was my wife’s birthday. Some friends surprised my wife at Mc Cafe at for her birthday.

In so many aspects, my wife is just plain awesome!

Friday

I took the day off to be with my wife the entire day. We just went to the mall had snacks and late lunch. I was bugging my wife about what she wanted for her birthday. Her only answer is she just wants my time. I wish I could tell you how wonderful it is to be in the same home with Rianne. She brightens my day and lightens me up when I’m short fused, she is definitely one of the most generous person I know. She is more than what meets the eye. She packs wisdom
beyond her age. (I might as well blog about her)

Saturday

At 4.30am, we had our Sambang Gabi. I was surprised that there was a good number of people who showed up. We had some salu salo and gift giving afterwards.

At 10 Ptr Dawny and I met with the businessman I wrote about. From our meeting I’m tightlipped but all I can say is the future looks bright.

Sunday

Probably the most awaited day of the week. You know we have no idea what people go through during thee week and a lot of times they can not wait for Sunday worship. We had a good run yesterday. Worship team did great. Lately also I’ve been trying to change some styles on my preaching. Supposedly it is to better accomodate everyone so I’m trying my best to be more conversational. I’m adjusting and I could feel some nudge from people who gives me comments. I love it when people do that.

I dozed off past 10 last night.

Letter to Sam & Toni

Probably the longest blog I’ve written. I think it’s worth reading.

December 19, 2008

Dear Sam and Toni, Hi! How’re things going with you two? How’s school? You must be thinking I’m all too assuming with this letter. You reserve all the right to raise your eyebrows because yes, you don’t know me.Actually I’ve been longing to write you this letter ever since I’ve heard about you a year ago. I’m Archie by the way and I’m a friend, or to safely put it, I can be a friend. Well, my friends and I have been talking about you for quite some time now. Your case, that is – your relationship. I agree it’s pretty weird that you’ll have this coming from me, but I won’t be intruding in any part of it. More than that, put your guards down cause I promise you you’ll find me no better in both ends.

Lemme see. You must be altogether confused, doubting,convicted, or what. I would understand. And you needed help, right? Let me first personally connect with you on something palpable.

Ever scratched your head with these questions: What’s the real point of waiting? Is it not just being too idealistic? I would want to get off church if that’s the case, then. I’m created with the natural tendencies to love, what’s the score then? Does it make me less spiritual in that sense? Biblically speaking, clarify the point if you could. The love I may be having is real, it is. What’s the fuss about all of these things? Is this not a Victory disciple micro managing strategy? Lordship, they say. Or perhaps, that I-kissed-dating-buhbye Josh Harris conspiracy? I simply don’t get it cause it’s making things complicated, worse, horrible. And wait, is this supposed to be an issue in the first place??? Some pretty extremes right? But I know some of them could be real questions that are reeling the heck out of both of you. I didn’t come up with those, I actually have them in mine own mind years before. Yes, I had some of them. Sigh you go, hopefully that gives me a foot forward towards friendship. Shake hands. 🙂

Here’s my concern: If you don’t find those questions answered and they remain in you while you remain in the relationship, you could actually end up far away-far from friends, far from church, and far from God. I think that proposition makes this letter important. I brought no loaves of wisdom to answer all those questions, but I brought with me a story. Can I be seated? Thanks.

Alright. Rye was my college best friend. He was actually my brother’s friend back in grade school, and when I got into the same university he attended, I ended up as his dorm smally-turned good pal. It has been a very interesting friendship. I met her sister, Ree when she got in the same college a year after. Seven years after that, I’m now engaged to her. And it’s no less beautiful. In fact, I’m full of glee inside. I really am. You should see the ring! 😉

I remember the first time I met her when three of us had dinner at Shakey’s; she was exuding the gladness of young child secured in the warmth of her own smile. She has the ounces of that even more today. Not everyone’s just like that, y’know. She quickly became my little sister, someone I’d look upon to-a responsibility I shared with his brother. Our relationship evolved from that being casual friends to a family wherein I’d see her laugh and cry and at times make her laugh or cry. She was wonderful and beautiful, but with the purest of intent, she was my sister. You started out same way?

All three of us got in church on the same year; I was already on my third year in college that time. Though Ree had some Christian backgrounds already, everything was totally new for the three of us. One of the reasons I’m a minister today is because of these two siblings-I don’t know what was with them at that time, but both of them seem to simply love God. Though all three of us went through one to one, they were just different. I remember that love they had was so contagious that it actually brought their mom in the city with a cloaked mission to talk them out of it. She ended up broken before God, and was discipled herself. She is now my financial partner who’ll soon be my mom-in-law. Hehe.

Coming off from a broken family, Ree at one point shared to me, that when she was observing our pastor and his family, she was blessed by the evident wonder and incredible love they have. So she wrote a prayer in one of the leaves of her bible. The prayer simply says she wanted to be married to a pastor someday. And on that case, she is going to be – nonetheless to a handsome one. Hold on to that giggling, we’ll get back to stories a little later. Alright, I presume that both of are being discipled because if you’re not, this is a pointless conversation, right? You’re struggling with this simply because you’re aware there’s something behind it, which maybe at the recent moment you cannot really identify. The fact that we are giving careful thought about relationships is quite healthy. Sugar please? Thanks.

Let me just talk about waiting, and then from then on, we’ll just weave through some other stuff alongside it. There are a couple of realizations that I had during my college years. At times I thought I have no problem with this area because I’m really not into it as much as other people are. Wrong. When my small group leader got married, I realized he’s going to have a family of his own. And the fact is he’s not going to be with me for the rest of my life. Who I’m going to be with is my future partner that is my future wife, and therefore, I have to pray to God for her-for the future partnership that we are going to have. At that moment, I’ve always liked Ree, but the thought of it is something I would quickly shrug off. She was my sister and it was the dumbest thought that I could ever have. It was something I would not entertain, not until the day things were properly orchestrated. Did I hold it back? Yes. And I told you, I shrugged it off. Do I have to struggle about it? No. Both come from a vantage point of making a choice. I was made to understand that relationship comes as a gift. And to hold such gift entails responsibility. I’m not saying our emotions will always deceive us, but it can override us at times. My leader told me he does not believe in disposable relationship, to dispose it is to dispose a gift. Am not saying things end up being disposed, but it is a fact that there’s the responsibility and not just the commitment factor unto it. Responsibility in the sense of spiritual discipline, personal discipline, obedience, love…… We know how Adam and Eve messed things up. Sam and Toni, if I sound too radical on that, it is because I was made to understand that the level of conviction that we should have as Christians should give not a lick to our enemy. If God is to give good gifts, the enemy is to give a good fight to take it away. And take note we are not talking about school, friends, or scrapbooks, but relationship which has been founded way before Noah had grown beard. That’s how important it is.

Going back, I understood that my call at that time was to always prepare myself for responsibilities at that moment-school and my thriving relationship with God. Y’know what Sam? As a man, because the institutions are designed to be lead by us, I think our vision for ourselves should go beyond the current things that we have. If we succumb to just having our hands on it, we may miss the greater dimension of the panorama. Poetry aside, consider your greater call before you step out of clueless emotions. I hope I don’t sound assuming and arrogant, Sam. Tell you frankly, this are also realizations am sharing with you. Truth is, apart from God’s grace, I’m quick to admit I’m one big disgrace, man. There’s a lot God has for you right now. Try giving Him an undivided devotion. On my part I could tell you it has been so exciting. Not to mention, very rewarding – I have Ree.

Let me now move you on to her experience. I told you about the prayer in the bible, she still has it if you want to seei it! I was overwhelmed when I learned about that. I also told you about that thing she exudes, that beauty and gladness, wow. Actually it’s not just me who sees that. Her classmates do. There’s this guy, Mr. W, who was one of the smartest in her batch. Actually he was quite popular in the university. On his level though, not mine. He was incredibly attracted to Ree and he tried making his way to her. They were actually going out, and it’s needless to mention that Ree liked him too. 😦 hehehe. At that time, Ree was still new in church; she was being discipled. and she had a shed of light about relationships. Here’s what she encountered: She was being attached with Mr. W. She totally likes what she feels. You should know what I mean, Toni. She of course loves the attention she’s getting. But this is where the crossroads demands detours – she also knows that God was telling her to surrender the emotions. Toni, I know you know that’s not going to be easy. Was it easy for her? Not a bit. But Ree did surrender it. She later said that the best thing to do was to surrender it to God for reasons she doesn’t even understand at that time. She simply quips and tells God she loves Him and she’ll do it. You know how God honors decisions made for Him? Amidst the pain of surrendering her emotions, the irony was, there was an indescribable excitement and joy. And for Ree, it made her more excited to wait. She tells God to simply bring healing if that is what He wants. And he did. Years after that, she realized that she was imprisoned in a clueless emotion. During those times, I’m a witness among several others of the vibrant relationship Ree had with God. Both of them, Ree and God, they were just deep, Toni.

You see, if our view of waiting is about surviving the wait rather than enjoying the wait that makes waiting a silly idea.

When I was a kid, I would always pull my mom’s arm every now and then to ask her to buy me toys I wanted. She tells me the big no and that makes me so sad, sometimes hurt, sometimes I even rebel by making chores hard for her. But what drive me to excitement are the unexpected gifts they give me on rather simple occasions. I do anticipate that gifts are coming, but I wouldn’t know how it’s going to be wrapped, what’s inside, or how the surprise is coming. It’s just exciting! If God is actively involved in our lives, it’s the same way with Him. He knows gifts are exciting when they come as a surprise. He is a Father who loves us. And He would want to see us consumed by that love. He’ll give the relationships around us as gifts, and believe me, our Father knows best.

Toni, your value in the eyes of your Father is far greater than how you imagine it. Receive Him real, receive His love real. Be secured in His love and you’ll realize that indeed, you are worth waiting for. Sam, it’s going to be worth the wait, I promise you that. As you contemplate about these things, I want to assure you of the grace of God that is readily made available for us. There’s no story that can be labeled a standard or substandard, only ones labeled centered, that is, Christ centered. Whatever the beginning of that story is, when it finds itself centered to God, it is going to be beautiful.

I really covet your prayers for me and Rianne. Please stand with us. Thank you!

P.S. I’ll be writing about our engagement soon.

*Sam and Toni are characters we used in our case studies in the past two ENCM Visayas Regional Convergence. Sam and Toni are both students and are in a relationship. They brought quite a discussion among participating leaders.Interesting.

Boracay High!

Boracay isn’t overrated after all. My wife and I got to enjoy our first wedding anniversary last week  lounging, island hopping, snorkeling, biking, strolling, taking pictues and eating at Boracay Island. Doing all those things with my wife makes Boracay a paradise. Happy first anniversary, Mine! Thank you for a lifelong love. I love you!

archie and rianne at boracay