Paige Emmanuelle

August 24 was a day of shock. Marielle, Blake and I went to the hospital just for a regular check up. But because Marielle was having pre-term contractions, we were advised to be admitted instantly. Marielle almost gave birth that day but the doctors were able to delay it for a week.

August 31 was a day of great joy. Paige Emmanuelle was born. She was very beautiful and strong despite being 2 weeks pre-mature. A month prior, the doctors saw through ultra sound that she had dilated bowels. They told us the possible sicknesses, all of which could be treated. But on the day of birth, Paige scored high on a health test they give to babies and showed no signs of sickness.

Then came September 1. It was a kill-joy day. That morning, as we were filled with joy and excitement of having Paige with us in the room, we received news that through some x-rays done, they did see an obstruction in her intestines, one that did require surgery.

I lost count of the days since…

My baby girl who seemed strong going under the knife?!?

Prayers were prayed. Tears flowed and overflowed. The uncertainty became a pain until the certain came. And the certain only got worse.

After almost a week, the diagnosis was clear. Neuro Intestinal Displacia. A rare disease that makes it challenging for our daughter to absorb nutrients and digest her food. A disease that could cause death. Not even surgery and medicine can instantly cure. We were devastated to say the least.

Questions, fears, sadness, shock were almost ever present.

We always ask God to teach us His ways, we’re taught to know His ways, to walk in His ways and to trust in His ways… But how can we even do all that at this point?

As I write this, I still have a struggle to understand God’s ways in this. How can this painful experience lead to something great and big? But through it all, God made me realize that His ways really can’t be understood at times, let alone easily accepted. The Bible even describes His ways to be higher than ours, something we may never fathom.

But His character can be known.

He is good, He is faithful, He is loving, He is kind, He is generous etc… Also, His abilities are made known… He is the Creator, He is a Healer, He is a Provider, He gives wisdom and understanding, He gives strength, and so much more…

God is teaching us to trust, to find rest, to have hope in His character even more.

In the last two days as of this writing, Paige has shown little signs of improvement. She has been able to pass some poop, to feed a little and finally weaned off her incubator. All these, little as they seem, are miracles. Doctors weren’t sure when or if these things would even happen at all. God has healed. Not in our desired pace, but healed nonetheless.

Paige is still at the NICU, but we still believe that God is good and great. We’re grateful for the prayers and support of our family and friends. Most of all, we are grateful to God for the miracle of healing, provision, and for the grace to encounter Him and be strengthened by Him in the midst of all this.

Please continue to journey with us in this season of stretching by including us in your prayers. We believe that what the enemy meant for evil, God will use for the good.

God is and will be glorified through this and we will endure by God’s grace.


It’s all in the mind?

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 ESV

The mind knows the body’s limitations. And once those limitations are sent back to the brain, this causes the body to act upon those limitations.

But we are not just composed of the mind. The mind should not govern us, it must serve us to accomplish God’s will. The mind must be submitted to God. And His word renews our minds to act the way our God tells us to…to walk in the light! Even if the darkness tries to suck us in like a black hole trying to conform us with the world’s pattern we can wash away the dirt of the world’s pattern and allow Gods light to illumine our minds to see His word and act upon it.

Now when the mind is submissive to God and His word, not to the mind and to the world, a strenght will come. Unlimited strenght that comes from the Spirit. And you will see yourself win battles of temptation, depression, unbelief etc… and find breakthrough in your relationships, your jobs, and your ministry as you renew your mind with His word and His Spirit.

It can’t possibly be all in the mind…It’s all by His grace as told so in His word and as evidenced by the power of His Spirit.

“I already know what the Bible says…”

So do you do it? 

Some think that the teachings of God through the scriptures, through counseling or mentoring, through small group discussions and through preachings are stale. The argument is the fact that they already heard these things. But the question is, do you do what is being taught? Another question is, do you really think you know it all? 

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. Psalm 25:8-9

Here’s what God does with the things you think you already know.

1. He instructs – He points you towards the right direction. If you’re lost in an unfamiliar city and even if your map tells you that you must turn right, you’d still want to ask someone who knows the city well. God, like an archer, will aim you towards the right direction. He has the authority to actually do that.

2. He leads – He’s with you in this journey marching on, walking with, setting out. He’s not just telling you to go there. He’s going with you and He’s already gone ahead of you.

3. He teaches- Even if you think you already know the right thing to do, your simplistic understanding will be enhanced by the breadth and depth of His Word as you learn how this applies to your specific situation at the moment. As God teaches you, you will see the same old verse reveal fresh revelation to you. 

So, knowing is not enough. We need God to instruct, lead and teach us through  reading and mediating on His Word, actively listening to the preaching of His Word, getting biblical counsel, and by sharing the Word. 

But the scripture says that this applies only to the humble.

He leads the humble in what is right,…

Will you humble yourself to say…

“God, I actually don’t know it all.  I need you to instruct, lead and guide me”. 

The Trial of Waiting 

No one likes to wait. Not even the most patient person. In this age of “instant” waiting is even harder.

Waiting is inevitable. Just like the metro manila traffic is. Sometimes we can predict it, sometimes we can’t. Moments of waiting will happen.

But waiting is necessary. It’s the only way we learn how to be patient. To practice what the Bible teaches, and to have the fruit of the Spirit manifest in our lives. 

And waiting is good. It develops character. It has the potential to develop intimacy, trust and dependence in God. 

So don’t miss out on the benefits of waiting. No one likes it, but it is inevitable and it is good for your soul. Make the most out of it by building our faith and trust in God who’s timing is always perfect. 

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. – Psalm 40:1-3

God, Man and Work (Part 1) 

I had the privilege to speak in our church’s location in greenhills for a men’s meeting. The topic was on work. Here’s a two part blog based on the talk.

Many view work as just a means to an end or view work as a curse.

Another extreme will be those who view it as a way to exalt themselves. It becomes an idol and therefore allows it to shape their identity.

Work is neither a curse nor an idol. It is given by God and is not God. We will look at its original intent, its Creator, how did wrong world views come about, and its redemption. Scriptures will show us that…

God worked 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

It’s interesting to take note that the very first thing God did, as recorded here, was that He worked, and that working was expressed in creating. Do you know that your work is your daily canvas. You are given the creative gift by God to make something out of nothing. Work shouldn’t just be clock work. You are an artist gifted by God to create just as He did. 

God enjoyed work 

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. – Genesis 1:31

Now that you view your work as art, not just as obligation you get to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Not just the monetary fruit, but the fruit of higher purpose. True fulfillment comes when we do our best not for our fame, but for God’s name to be glorified. (We’ll discuss more on this on part two)

God commisoned man to work 

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. – Genesis 2:15

God did not just do it and enjoyed it, He gives us the privilege to share in it. Work is not a curse. It resembles the nature of our God. But it is not just and invitation, it’s a commission. The master tells us to work it and keep it. That means to work hard and to keep watch over it. Not just to mindlessly accomplish tasks, but to manage, to oversee, to do all you can excellently because you do this for Him. 

In part 2 of this blog we will talk about the Problem of work, it’s redemption and it’s purpose. 

1. What do you love about your job? Why do you find that part enjoyable?

2. Where have you experienced frustration in your work?

3. What motivates you the most about your job. 

Can ministry earn me favor and blessing? 

Many of us church volunteers and leaders, love to participate in God’s work to advance His Kingdom. But could it be that our purpose for doing so is to get more of God’s favor, blessing, and even His Presence? 

We probably know that the gospel offers forgiveness and salvation. But do we think for one second that when it comes to God’s favor, blessing or access to Him, we need to strive for it?

Think again. The Gospel in itself offers His provision and His Presence, too. 

And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. – Galatians 3:29

There is a tendency for us to forget this given the system of the transactional world we live in. We’re simply limited from comprehending this grace completely. It won’t even take our lifetime, not even an eternity to fully grasp it.  
If we can truly begin to understand this grace, we will feel compelled to serve God with excellence and dedication, to honor Him in every way as a response

If you’re in Christ, you are already favored, forgiven, and free. He is pleased with you, not because of the ways you seek Him out, but because of His Son who sought you out. Not because of the ministry work you do, but because of His ministry’s work on the cross. 

Lord, we repent if there’s any hint of pride in the work we do for You. Help us humble ourselves to meditate on the real assessment of ourselves–sinners saved by grace. May we always remember that we cannot gain Your approval, favor and Your Presence. Because once we are in Christ, we already have all these. In Jesus name… Amen.

Tips on How to Prepare for the New Year. 

Happy New Year! 

2016 was probably filled with epic memories. Now that 2017 is here, it’s time to make more. To reach new milestones, one has to make dreams come to reality. Here’s a simple process I suggest: Dream, Plan, Budget, Execute, and Review. Sounds like something you do only in the office. Well, I have news for you: This process will probably prove vital even in your personal life. So read on and I hope that this inspires you to as I share my thoughts on these principles. 


When I say dream, what I mean is ask yourself what your goal for the year is. When setting personal goals, do your self a favor by being very clear with what you want. Don’t drown yourself with the many things that you think you have to do. Choose one major goal then break it down to sub-goals that serve that one goal. So a good question to ask yourself is, “What’s my one thing for 2017?” Once you have that one thing, you can proceed to the next step.

And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. – Habakuk 2:2
We all plan one way or the other, but only some people document their plans. The verse above shows the importance of having plans documented. If your plans are put in writing, then and only then will they be clear to you. And when you get sidetracked along the way, you can always go back to the plan.

Some (if not all) of those plans will have a budget to it. My wife and I agreed that this year our goal is to give more. So, we set aside a budget for that. How about you? If your goal is to lose weight, start putting a budget to it. Find a gym that suits your budget or allocate funds for a nice pair of running shoes. Whatever it is, put your money on it. It doesn’t matter how much money you allocate. The point is that you put value into your plans by actually spending for them. 
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? – Luke 14:28

Plans remain cute if you don’t execute. Some people have a bias to planning, and it just so happens I’m one of those who have a bias for action. Of course, we’re all afraid of being ur plans failing, but isn’t it much better to execute, fail, then learn? So it’s important that even as early as the planning stage, you make plans that are attainable. And after planning, JUST DO IT!

Designate a time within the year to take a look back at your dreams and where you are with the plans. Honestly asses if you need to stop, continue, or improve the strategy. This will help you reach your goals quicker. I believe in “the speed of humility,” which enables you to be aware of the plans that you should keep, adjust, or simply do away with. Self pity and stubbornness will slow you down and prevent you from achieving your goals. 
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” – James 4:6 

Most importantly, commit time in doing these five steps. For you to have motivation, commit them to the Lord. Ask yourself, “How will these plans honor God?” This brings you a greater sense of purpose. 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. – Proverbs 16:3