“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
The scorching summer heat pierced through my skin as I moved toward the pool to position myself in the best spot for taking photos. I was assigned by our Victory group leader to take pictures that day for one of our members who will undergo water baptism. The searing heat did not douse my excitement for my friend who will be making a public declaration of her faith and love for Jesus.
As I took snapshots of MR and the other participants of this quarter’s Victory Weekend, I remembered myself feeling the same excitement after making a heartfelt decision to truly surrender my whole existence to God in May last year.
I participated in Victory Weekend just a few weeks after coming out of a challenging episode that wounded my heart as much as it wounded my soul. Back then, I already had my mind set that God would lead me out of the dark pit soon and that He has given me the grace to overcome the obstacles that He allowed in my life. I saw baptism as a first step into ‘sealing the agreement’ with God that He would deliver me from the pain and that I would come out of it polished and better in many aspects.
It has been a year since the challenge and God has been faithful with His promise of healing and restoration. Not only did I come out of it better off than I thought I would, there were bonuses and perks along the way. God is more than amazing. I wish I could illustrate how many times ‘He showed up in my life’ to comfort me and to assure me that I am loved. God ‘hugged me ’ several times through His word and through the loving words spoken by some friends.
Interestingly, God has increased my friends too. Truly, the Lord has several ways to make sure His plans will come to pass.
Victory Weekend is a two-day seminar or retreat that includes worship, Bible teaching, prayer, and personal ministry. One2One is the prerequisite for the Victory Weekend. One2One is a six-lesson discipleship guide that includes discussions on salvation, the Bible and Prayer and repentance. Water baptism is a public declaration that God now lives inside us and that we have allowed God to have control in our lives.
As MR descended into the pool, two Victory group leaders prayed over her prior to her water baptism. I am especially proud of Kai, who was one of the people who baptized MR. Kai has turned into one of the most innately beautiful persons I have known. Young as she is, Kai’s maturity in emotions and in the spiritual aspect inspires me.
MR and I are in the same Victory Group that gathers every Sunday to pray and encourage each other. Yes, we also talk a lot about girl stuff. (^_^)
I almost became emotional when it was MR’s turn to be baptized because I remembered my experiences last year.
At a time when I was still hurting and coping from the pain of a failed love, I saw Victory Weekend as the most logical and most important decision I have to make if I want to move on happily sans anger or emotional baggage.
After the leaders prayed over me and I was dipped in the pool, I imagined myself rising from the pain and receiving God’s healing, restoration and blessings. Back then, I was already certain that the day will come when I will be completely healed and restored. I knew in my heart that God will use my story to serve Him - that someday, I will help people who are going through the same dilemma.
Here is my photo after my baptism. I believe my smile made me look like the happiest girl in the world. MR, I also think these are our best photos - second to our future wedding photos. (^_^)
**if you have a twitter account, I’d like to connect with you at @I_will_flourish <3
(Image from tumblr)
Have you ever been squeezed into a really busy week that you keep putting off some tasks for the weekend? I would not even recognize I had fallen into this situation until I realized I have several backlog articles for my blog. My weekday evenings are now largely spent on watching TV (which is unusual for me) and then my quiet time with the Lord before I sleep. I suspect the daily pressures of work could be creeping into my system turning me into a TV-watching person which I no longer am.
Today, I have taken a few minutes to share with you a wonderful news that I have received from the mother of the boy that we were able to bless last December. Here is an excerpt of the SMS she sent me recently.
“kamusta na po? Nag-normal na po yung 2d-echo ni Lemuel…Sobrang miracle po yun…pakisabi po sa lahat ng tumulong marami pong salamat sa inyong lahat and God Bless (How are you? Lemuel’s 2D-echo is now normal…it is truly a miracle. Thank you to everyone who helped and God Bless).”
If you are interested to read Lemuel’s story, click here.
Aling Nenita’s text message was the best message I received that day. It truly shows how God is at work in our lives even though we don’t see it in the natural.
What are you asking God for? Do you have the patience to wait for His timing?
I recently watched a show that featured people who are living victorious lives despite their health conditions.
There were three of them that were featured in that particular episode but one teenage guy with a medical condition on his spinal cord easily won my admiration.
Patrick was almost a year old when he was run over by a car leaving one of his legs paralyzed. However, it seemed that Patrick had no room for the words ‘pity’ and ‘misery’ as he strives to live a normal life. He religiously attends his physical therapy sessions and even finds time to bond with his friends. He also spends some of his time by surfing, through the help of the Life Rolls on foundation. When I saw him on TV, I saw a teenager who is full of hope and expectancy in life. How I wish everyone has the same attitude in whatever battle they face in life.
It is a few days away before the New Year. Have you done some spring cleaning in your closet?
(image from tumblr)
Remember what they say: if you have not worn it for six months or so, give it away so other people may enjoy it. Of course, it goes without saying that you should also be mindful of what you give. I think tattered clothes should be relegated to the trash bin. Those that are missing one sleeve or are torn beyond repair are good candidates for rags.
But there is another type of cleaning that we have to do before the New Year sets in. We must also rid our minds with past hurts and worries.
In the coming year, I encourage everyone to forgive people, make new friends and dream new dreams. Rid yourself of negative thoughts and emotions and stay positive and hopeful. Do a ‘spring cleaning’ of your mind. Mentally note the people you need to forgive, the things you need to work on in yourself and the worries that you have kept in your system for the whole 2012. Remember what the Bible said in Matthew 6:33-34: “Seek first God’s Kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
In the recent seminar conducted by wealth and life coach Chinkee Tan, he clearly pointed out the role of possessing a positive mindset in order to live the best life.
“Everything that is happening on the outside is only a manifestation of what is happening on the inside…For every problem there is a solution. One thing I learned, you may have a bad experience, a bad past, you may have no supportive parents, and they may have said hurtful words instead of encouraging you. One thing I learned, we cannot change our past mistakes but we can change our future by making a right decision today.”
In his seminar ‘The Power of Mindset’, ‘Mr. Chink + (Chink positive) clearly enunciated how we can rid ourselves of the ‘victim mindset’ because we have a choice in life.
“Do you know that our life is a product of choices. We have a choice what to do and a choice what we feed our mind. Nobody inside this room is actually a victim. You can become a victim once but you can never be a victim forever. People can treat you…they may say hurtful things to you but you have a choice to stay away from them,” he said.
Chinkee Tan emphasized how we should stop entertaining bad thoughts because it wears us down. He also offered four ways to stay positive all the time.
“Choose the people you associate with. The attitudes of people are very infectious. Stop going around with people who always talk at the back of other people…Choose the entertainment you watch. Choose the seminars you attend, the books you read. Not every information is good information. Choose and you process. Choose to focus on the positive and not the negative. Let us be careful what we feed our minds every single day because we will withdraw what we deposit.”
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