Capture and Control

Capture and Control.  These words have to do with the manner of thinking and saying because letting it all loose would be chaotic.  They mean a lot to me because in my daily interaction with people, I might have entertained some ungodly thoughts or thought wrongly about some of them  OR said words that might have  brought people down,  instead of building them up.  I know this is a selfish behavior and I know that i need something that’s beyond me, in fact, Someone.  Sounds ridiculous but that is what the word says, I believe it can be done:

1.” .. we capture rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” ( 2Corinthians 10:5, NLT)

2. ” Take control of what I say, O Lord,  and guard my lips.” (Psalm 141:3, NLT)

But more than what I entertain in my mind and the words that I am about to speak, a heart-check is needed.  The prophet Jeremiah said it right-on-spot –  “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”  

Jesus said that “for it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come...” (Mark7:21a)  and that ” the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45b) .

What is inside my heart that makes me think of that way or wants me to speak of something that is not helpful at all?  What is the cure to this selfish behavior? It is a daily prayer to let God reign in my life , that includes my thoughts and my words.  Because  He is my maker,  He knows me – He knows my deepest need and strongest emotion. It is a decision to make my heart His home – always. Filter my mind, censor my thoughts and words. I will make each rebellious thought captive and obedient to Him.

Yes, I am flawed as a person, that is why I need you, Jesus.  YOU take control.

photo credit: fineartamerica.com

photo credit: fineartamerica.com

A Brave Awakening

If you are a mother  and especially if you have  (an equally?!) headstrong daughter, I recommend you both watch the Disney-Pixar 2012 movie, “Brave”.  We missed it in the cinemas last year so I haven’t thought much about it until last Tuesday.  My 12 year-old daughter, Dana dragged me to the seat , literally, when Star Movies  showed it that night. Because the theme was on mother-daughter relationship, I suspected it would be another Croods moment for this tearjerker – cartoon-movie-watcher.  And true enough, I have wiped an occasional tear or two throughout the movie! Haha! (Not again!)

It is Dana’s personal favorite because the fiery princess Merida is an ace archer.  She dreams of becoming one ,well, maybe more like Katniss of Hunger Games.  As to the former, well, she will always be my princess.  So the moment I stepped in the door at home from work, she immediately told me Brave’s scheduled for the night! I initially didn’t budge in to her request because I had a long day and wasn’t really feeling quite well but it was our appetizer, main course, and dessert for dinner, so what can I do? Plus, Dana’s last plea was “Mom, you really have to because the Queen mother is so much like you!” Hhhmm, I could be the heroine alongside Merida ( I found out later on that I am like her when I need to be “firm” about something),  so I joined them as they watched it for the 2nd time around.

It turned out Queen Elinor was the antagonist so that her daughter was willing to do anything just so her fate would be different , or so she thought,  out from the shadows and will of her mother.   In their heated confrontation scene when Merida said she will never be like her mother, I cannot help but wonder, will my child also think of me that way at a certain point of her life?  I know right now she just wants to be like me – she wants to sing like me, she wants to write like me, to be crafty even in some little DIY projects around home ,etc.  I know because she says it so. But I also know that my daughter is unique – she’s not the copy-pasted ME, nor my mini ME. But she is HER OWN ME.  God has made her so wonderfully complex  (Psalm 139:14), in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27) ,and not just an XX chromosomed – being.

Dana knows the boundaries we set for her ( that includes no Facebook account yet even if sometimes she doesn’t like the thought of waiting , but I was surprised to know that she was glad Google suspended her Gmail account because she is yet to reach 13 – she said Google protected her ) and has understood clearly the God-given authority that we have as parents.  I never ventured in asking her if she somehow felt like Merida – being in a situation where she’s helpless and longs for freedom.  I am glad the story ended in a way that Merida has found the true measure of bravery and the real meaning of family. I didn’t have to explain what true freedom means and end up being defensive of some sorts.

So where does this put me? I remember the scene where Merida hit 3 bulls-eyes, in a desperate move to take matters in her own hands.  Such craftiness and dedication to the skill of archery that had me think of Psalm 127:3-5:

“Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.
 Children born to a young man
    are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
 How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
    He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.”

Our children are the arrows in our hands. Although they are here, we do not own them, we don’t keep them. They don’t stay long in our “quivers”.  For if they do, it will entirely defeat the arrows‘  purpose. They are ought to be launched from the bows of opportunities that we set for them and believe that as they soar high, suspended up in the air, we trust that God will direct them to their targets, bulls-eye , into His will for each of their lives.

How’s that for a mom’s “brave awakening”?

photo source: joblo.com

photo source: joblo.com

 

Pray for Your City

In mid-week, we are witnesses to 2 tragedies in opposite parts of the world – the Boston marathon bomb blast and the Iranian 7.8 magnitude earthquake.  Both claimed lives and injured hundreds and perhaps traumatized thousands.  While I do not dwell on the gory details of tragic news ,  a decision that I have made because  it doesn’t help me as a person, I have committed to pray for those who are affected and pray that the God who comforts us, will also comfort them in these troubled times.  I pray that the evil and terror that were sown in the land will be replaced with goodness and love. That justice will take place, knowing that there is a Just One who takes account of everything that happens here on earth.

Reading Psalm 101 this morning, I appreciate how David prayed for his leadership over the kingdom that God has entrusted to him. This led me to pray for our leaders and our city, our province and our country.  In the Philippines, we will be electing our local officials in the towns/cities, provinces and the representatives of our districts and senators come May 13. May David’s prayer be our leaders’ prayer. Wherever you are in this world, you can start praying – for your home, your city, your province/district and your country. Election day is not a requirement! 🙂

Psalm 101

A psalm of David

I will sing of your love and justice, Lord.
I will praise you with songs.
I will be careful to live a blameless life—
when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
in my own home.
I will refuse to look at
anything vile and vulgar.
I hate all who deal crookedly;
I will have nothing to do with them.
I will reject perverse ideas
and stay away from every evil.
I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.
I will not endure conceit and pride.

I will search for faithful people
to be my companions.
Only those who are above reproach
will be allowed to serve me.
I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house,
and liars will not stay in my presence.
My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked
and free the city of the Lord from their grip.

It is my prayer that our elected officials and leaders will start leading from their homes, will strive to live a blameless life, will be surrounded with godly advisers and workers , be faithful in their commitment to protect the city, province, district and country  that they were called to serve in… Long list and hard stock. That is why when they take oath of office, they end it by saying, “So, help me God”.  It starts and ends with Him. And when bad things strike, it is my prayer that it will turn out for good for God is able to accomplish everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).  This is an invitation to pray for your city today and let God move in the hearts of our leaders and men.

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photo source: bejoyfulalways.wordpress.com

How Do I Miss Thee?

Today is my husband’s birthday! And he’s celebrating it in a different timezone. We miss him terribly but God has given him a wonderful birthday surprise for his birth-month (read here to know more about it ) so we rejoice with him!

I’m sharing this poem that I’ve written for him (edited some lines that were meant for “his eyes” only! naughty me 🙂 Don’t worry this went ahead to his email before the world can see!

***

How do I miss thee?

Let me count the ways –

I miss the way I touch your hair when I snuggle in your arms just before I wake up in the morning

I miss the way I make your coffee even when Boj insists he does his way better than mine!

I miss the way we talk about our plans for the day over breakfast

I miss how we pray together before we start the day.

I miss how I check on you ever so often in the middle of the day – and vice versa –

Thanks to SUN – we can do ‘”unlimited” checks and howdys

I miss how we all call you down for dinner so we can all eat together

And how Dana teases you of the extra pounds you have ‘amazingly’ added!

I miss even how the Coke bottle poses stately in the dining table,

Now replaced by the healthier,  H2O bottle ( so that we didn’t mind at all).

I miss how Mr. Chips tries to take away my attention

Never mind, we all enjoyed him anyway!

I miss how we all dive into bed for the evening prayer –

Never mind what happened between dinner and bed  🙂

I miss how warmly I embrace you throughout the night

Never mind if you insist YOU are the one embracing me 🙂

And so my day goes just missing you

But I am comforted with  Everlasting Arms, knowing He does it you, too.

So we wait ‘til we are both into each other’s arms (and necks ?!? hahahaha!) again-

Until that day , I am missing you….

Love you most , my lovest!!!

photo credit: pinterest.com

photo credit: pinterest.com

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Tackling a Traveling Husband

This title is inspired from a book that my daughter has, Tackling Dad. So we were having a nice talk with my husband one fine afternoon and we remember how God has always been faithful each time He brings us to new places that entail bigger responsibilities and challenges. That each time He does it, He also brings us all to a new level of relationship with Him. Not that I didn’t quite experience it before the way I do so now, but as we grow in our walk with Him, He continues to discipline us, refine us, prune us, so our goal is to let Him accomplish His purpose in our lives , not only as individuals but also as a family. And the bonus is, there are always wonderful surprises along the way!

Funny in that talk, we also remembered how God has granted our desires for travels. I am glad, we both love to travel , knowing that it is the best teacher not only for geographical and cultural appreciation  but more so in our dynamics as a family “team”! The preparations don’t come easy (budget is a primary concern), we sometimes had petty arguments on where best to eat or if I’d rather be spontaneous and just go by what I fancy without sticking to the plan. Clearly, my husband’s leadership is cemented in times like this! But I am glad he always does, though he occasionally gives in to what I “suddenly” like (as long as it is reasonable – read – within the budget and time-frame). But generally, we are the backpacker type of tourists – we choose to have fun over the fancy. (But if you can have both, praise God!). I’d like to think that we have mastered the art of traveling light – both in our physical and emotional baggages!

In my husband’s simple prayer that he has written down in 2007, he asked God to let him be able to see all the continents before he turns 40. Just a whimsical thought, one can say, but true enough, in His perfect timing, God has been granting my husband’s desire, one continent at a time. Left to be discovered are the opposite continents of the world – Antarctica and Africa!  I am with my husband in this wonderful adventure. I had only been in 1 continent , traveling in the region, but I don’t dismiss what my husband tells me – that he prays he can also take me to where he has traveled and maybe someday, we can go together in those 2 left.

So let me go back to the title of this post – how do i tackle a traveling husband?  I have friends who have OFW spouses but this one’s for a short-term , momentary separation. In our case, 2 weeks to a month.

Here are some notes:

1. Cover him in prayer. Everyday. If you are a wife reading this, and haven’t started to seriously pray for your husband , there is a guide to a daily prayer for him in this previous post . More so with the physical distance that separates us, I pray that he will always be guarded in his thoughts, words and actions. He will be deeply rooted in prayer and will enjoy his quiet moments with God so that all his plans and tasks for the day will be successful, his burden lightened and each will turn into a delight.  Pray he will firmly say No to temptations – thoughts or actions that will not edify our marriage and honor God. There will always be a way out.

2. Make use of technology. If he’s traveling to a foreign country, mobile phone roaming service may be activated . Just make sure you will know all the details from your provider such as their partner-telecoms in the foreign country and the other charges for incoming and outgoing calls and incoming SMS. Most offer FREE outgoing SMS. But to us, Gmail and Skype are our ever-reliable partners.   FB has just entered in the scene but since we aren’t Apple users, we don’t enjoy Facetime. Make the social network your ally . 🙂

3. Plan. My husband does all the planning for his trip – what to bring, what to wear and other tiny details that I am glad I don’t have to think about. My only role would be to ensure all his medicines, emergency drugs will be in full supply so he doesn’t end up in ER , God forbid, due to a foreign drug that he has taken. Our bodies are attuned to certain types of Paracetamol, Mefenamic, Antihistamine and even Vit C brands.  What else do I do? I study. I google  and pitch in whatever I can to make the travel (at least, look) easier – the people , the weather, just about anything! My husband loves it when I give him ideas , because I care. My daily household plan is in place too, knowing he will be gone for a certain time.

Lastly,

4. Don’t get comfortable with the separation. This may come negative, but we have discussed this beforehand. There was a time in our lives that the traveling comes easy. The momentary separation becomes the norm, and we almost feel comfortable and okay with the set-up.  We know what we value in the family. Don’t get me wrong, I have full respect to those who have OFW husbands, I have several wife-friends whom I truly admire for they were able to hold fort and manage home on their own.  I respect their choice, but if there’s a chance to speak to them, we tell them to have at least, an “exit ” strategy for the husband so they be reunited soon.  To us, it is a decision because we are careful in fortifying the wall of protection for our marriage and our family. That is why, we keep in touch , if possible, daily, making use of technology so we keep the connection.  Our kids don’t love it when dad is always traveling. Yes, we rejoice when opportunities like this comes, we get to appreciate the scenery and the wonderful people that he has met and work with in other parts of the world, but we still all miss the physical connection.   Don’t give the enemy a chance to steal, kill and destroy what God has built in your marriage. Since most of his travels are work-related, whenever there is a chance to go with him, I go. And I am praying for that!

And so tomorrow , he will turn 38. In New Zealand. Didn’t I tell you God has given him a wonderful birthday surprise?

My Captain Jones Sparrow!

My Captain Jones Sparrow!

“But forget all that—    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.  For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? …” Isaiah 43:18a

Choose to Think of the Good!

How to counter bad thoughts? Bad memories that try to pop up? By thinking of the good ones! This morning has truly been a wonderful walk with the Lord – literally. Told by the doctor to put off running until May (a 6-month break is what I needed) , the best exercise I can do is to walk. And so this morning, I did – past through neighborhood houses, view of the forest ,with nature’s music of the chirping of the birds. Thank you, Lord for this wonderful experience! Gratefulness is beyond words, but I remember what the psalmist said ,

” I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts, I cannot stop thinking about them.” (Psalm77:11)

Next time when the temptation to think of the bad is strong, remember ALL the good things the Lord has done. And yes, the psalmist was right, they will be forever in our thoughts. Today, start thanking God of the wonders He has displayed in your life. That even after some occasional hurts or deep sorrows, He will always put back the joy. And, you will look lovely from the inside,out!  🙂

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(photo credit: quotablelife.com)

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ” – Philippians 4:8

A Wife’s Daily Prayer for Her Husband

 This is the 13th yr of our marriage and up to this time, we are still God’s work in progress – our marriage, our individual lives, our roles as a husband and wife and as parents to our growing children. Lately , as my husband has been out of town , I have never been more resolved to pray for him everytime i think of him (which is almost every minute! :-)) , and for our marriage. I pray that God will fortify the walls of protection in our marriage and our family and that there will be no back doors and holes where the enemy can easily go unnoticed (for this is where he is good at).  Even in clearly defined roles, I am constantly inviting the Holy Spirit to work in my heart so that submission comes easily (read more on “submission” here).  I never thought of it as the “art of submission” because it tells more of MY effort in practicing it to perfection, but it is the daily invitation and acknowledgement of the lordship of Christ that’s at work in me so that I will submit joyfully and willingly! I’m doing it not only for my husband , but for the Lord!

I am glad I chanced upon this blog that details a daily prayer for my husband in every area of his life. And while the separation is temporary, the days seemed eternity. I will be counting the days, yes, with thoughts about him, but more importantly , with prayers for him – not just for the next 31 days but everyday, as long as we both shall live!

***

31 days

    photo source:  pinterest.com

31 Days of Praying for Your Husband

by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

“She does him good . . .” (Proverbs 31:12a)

Bless your husband by praying for him! The Apostle Paul instructed all Christians to pray for one another (Ephesians 6:18). This includes wives’ responsibility and privilege to pray for their husbands. Earnest prayer for your husband is good for him, for you and the spiritual health of your home (Proverbs 31:11-12).

Satan desires to destroy your husband, especially his character and his leadership in your relationship. Trust God through prayer as you daily surrender your husband and marriage to the Lord’s wise, loving care.

Day 1
Pray that your husband will grow spiritually and consider his accountability before the Lord. Pray that he will guard his heart by developing spiritual disciplines—Bible reading and study, prayer, meditation, scripture memorization, etc. (2 Peter 3:18Prov. 4:23)

Day 2
Pray that your husband’s relationship with God and His Word will bear fruit in his life. Pray that he will be a man of wisdom and understanding, fearing the Lord. (Prov. 3:79:10Ps. 112:1)

Day 3
Pray that your husband will be humble and quick to agree with God about his sin. Pray that his heart will be tender toward the voice of the Lord. (Ps. 51:2-4Micah 6:8)

Day 4
Pray that your husband will grow in leadership skills in your relationship—protecting and providing for you. Pray that he will lead you wisely and love you sacrificially, so that God will be glorified in your marriage. (Eph. 5:25-29Col. 3:19)

Day 5
Pray that your husband will be faithful to his wedding vows. Pray that he will have a desire to cultivate your relationship as a sign of his loyalty and commitment to you, and as a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. (Prov. 20:6Gen. 2:24)

Day 6
Pray that your husband will love righteousness and hate wickedness, especially the evils of the culture. Pray that he will recognize and avoid wickedness in his own life, and if necessary, take a clear, strong stand against evil. (Prov. 27:12John 17:151 Cor. 10:12-13)

Day 7
Pray that your husband will safeguard his heart against inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Pray that his heart will be pure and undivided in his commitment to you. (Prov. 6:23-2426;Rom. 13:14)

Day 8
Pray that your husband will work hard to provide for your family, to the best of his ability. Pray that the character qualities necessary for a successful career and ministry will be a growing part of his character—persistence, decisiveness, strength, an analytical mind, organizational skills, positive relationships with people, determination, etc. (Rom. 12:111 Cor. 15:58)

Day 9
Pray that your husband handle finances wisely, will have discernment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord’s work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family. (Prov. 23:4-5Rom. 12:13Heb. 13:5)

Day 10
Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Prov. 20:71 Tim. 1:53:7Eph. 6:10-12)

Day 11
Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit and a servant’s heart before the Lord. Pray that he will listen to God and desire to do His will. (Prov. 15:33Eph. 6:6)

Day 12
Pray that your husband will yield his sexual drive to the Lord and practice self control. Pray that your sexual intimacy together will be fresh, positive, and a reflection of selfless love. (Prov. 5:15181 Cor. 7:3Song of Solomon 7:10)

Day 13
Pray that your husband use practical skills to build your family and make wise decisions for your welfare. Pray that he will serve unselfishly. (Gal. 5:13Phil. 2:3-4)

Day 14
Pray that your husband will speak words that build you and your family, and reflect a heart of love. Pray that he will not use filthy language. (Prov. 18:21Eph. 4:29)

Day 15
Pray that your husband will choose his friends wisely. Pray that God will bring him men who will encourage his accountability before God, and will not lead him into sin. (Prov. 13:20Prov. 27:17)

Day 16
Pray that your husband will choose healthy, God-honoring activities. Pray that he will not live in bondage to any questionable habits or hobbies, but that he will experience freedom in holiness as he yields to the Spirit’s control. (1 Cor. 6:1210:312 Tim. 2:4)

Day 17
Pray that your husband will enjoy his manliness as he patterns his life after Christ and strong men in the faith. Pray for his physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual strength. (Eph. 3:161 Peter 2:211 Cor. 10:11)

Day 18
Pray that your husband will have an eternal perspective—living in light of eternity. Pray that he will reject materialism and temporal values and put God first in his life. (Matt. 6:33Deut. 6:5Eph. 5:16Ps. 90:12)

Day 19
Pray that your husband will be patient and a man of peace. Pray that he will not give in to anger, but will allow the Holy Spirit to control his responses. (Rom. 14:19Ps. 34:14)

Day 20
Pray that your husband will yield his mind and thoughts to the Lord. Pray that he will not entertain immoral or impure thoughts, and that he will resist the temptation to indulge in pornography. (Prov. 27:122 Cor. 10:5)

Day 21
Pray that your husband will learn how to relax in the Lord and, in his greatest times of stress, find joy and peace in his relationship with God. Pray that he will submit his schedule to the Lord. (Neh. 8:10;Prov. 17:22Ps. 16:11)

Day 22
Pray that your husband will practice forgiveness in your relationship and with others. Pray that he will recognize any roots of bitterness, and yield any resentment and unforgiving attitudes to the Lord. (Eph. 4:32Heb. 12:15)

Day 23
Pray that your husband will be a good father—disciplining his children wisely and loving them unconditionally. If he is not a father, pray that he will find a young man to mentor in the things of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4Col. 3:212 Tim. 2:1-2)

Day 24
Pray that your husband will have a balanced life—that he will balance work and play. Pray that he will fear God, but also gain favor with people he knows at work and church. (Luke 2:52Prov. 13:15)

Day 25
Pray that your husband will be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, and that he will stand for the truth. Pray that he will protect you and your family from Satan’s attacks. (Ps. 31:24Eph. 6:13Ps. 27:14)

Day 26
Pray that your husband will discover and live his God-given purpose. Pray that he will offer all his dreams to the Lord, and pursue only those goals that will bring God glory and count for eternity. (Jer. 29:111 Cor. 10:31)

Day 27
Pray that your husband will understand the importance of taking care of his body—the temple of the Holy Spirit—for the glory of God. Pray that he will practice self-control by making wise food choices, and get sufficient exercise to stay healthy. (Rom. 12:1-21 Cor. 6:19-209:27)

Day 28
Pray that your husband will be a man of prayer. Pray that he will seek and pursue God in purposeful quiet times. (1 Thess. 5:17Luke 22:46James 5:16)

Day 29
Pray that your husband will surrender his time and talents to the Lord. Pray that his spiritual gifts will be manifest in his career, at church, and in your home. (Eph. 5:15-161 Cor. 12:47)

Day 30
Pray that your husband will serve God and others with pure motives. Pray that he will obey the Lord from his heart, and glorify Him in everything. (1 Cor. 10:13John 7:17-18Col. 3:23-24)

Day 31
Pray that your husband will recognize the lies of the Enemy in his life. Pray that his attitudes and actions will be guided by the truth as he brings his thoughts into captivity to the Word of God. (John 8:442 Cor. 10:4-5)