DEVO 002 | Think Again

Devo

Have you heard of the saying, “you see things as you are, not as they are”? This has a lot to do with your mind. If you’ve thought negative on things or on people lately, you probably should think again… but now, towards yourself.

How you see things or people starts within. If what’s inside is rubbish, everything else outside may seem that way. And maybe you’ve wondered why everything seems to be going against you. Well, maybe you’re going against you & what’s inside needs general cleaning.

It says in His word, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—PUT IT INTO PRACTICE. And the GOD of PEACE will be with you.(Philippians 4:8-9)

Today, pause, do a self-check, renew your mind through laying it all down at His feet, allow God to do what only He can- transform you. And start to think of whatever is… With that, may His peace embrace you.

When You Are A Volunteer

Lifestyle

When you are a volunteer… what does it mean to be a volunteer? To be a volunteer in the ministry, to be specific.

I have been a volunteer for as long as I can remember. Started out to be part of the children’s ministry, did musical plays of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. Part of a ladies group singing Joy William’s I Surrender & some songs of Barlow Girl, Mary Mary & a lot more in high school, involved myself in different fellowships- youth, young adults & at present, by God’s grace leading worship in the Sunday afternoon services of Citichurch in Cebu, Philippines.

So here I am today thinking about VOLUNTEERISM in the ministry.

For the past years, here’s what I’ve come to realize.

 IT IS A CALLING

 Being part of a ministry is never by force. Not because your parents or siblings are serving in the ministry, you should. Not because all of your friends are serving in the ministry, you should. Involving yourself in the ministry, full-time or being a volunteer is a calling from the Lord given to us by His grace.

 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Romans 12:6-8

 YOU ARE SERVING GOD

Since being a volunteer in the ministry is a calling from God, you’re in service to God. Whatever work you do, procedures you follow, standards to attain, you serve the King of kings.

Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace. Anyone who speaks should speak words from God. Anyone who serves should serve with the strength God gives so that in everything God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

 IT IS A PRIVILEGE

Because you are serving God as you do volunteer work in the ministry, it is a privilege. To fully understand this, you ought to know WHO you are serving. Getting to know Him through spending time with Him- reading the bible & meditating His word, listening to His voice, allowing Him to move in every second of your life, helps you to fully embrace that it is truly a privilege to be serving Him.

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11

You are serving God, the King of kings, Lord of Lords, the Great I AM, the Creator of the heavens & the earth, the blood of the Lamb, I could go on. HE IS GOD. And it is a privilege to be serving Him.

 IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU

The moment you feel entitled, is the moment you should check your heart.

 Who says you are better than others? What do you have that was not given to you? And if it was given to you, why do you brag as if you did not receive it as a gift? 1 Corinthians 4:7

Being part of the ministry as a volunteer requires a lot of time, effort & sacrifices but it has never been & will never be about you. Go back to number 2 or the 2nd point.

Some people think that because they are serving in church, they ought to be treated special because they are giving to the church. NO, go back to number 2. Special than probably those who are serving full-time or special in such a way those things around them ought to be adjusted because they are volunteers. The moment you commit yourself to being a volunteer, you commit yourself to God through the ministry you are in.

 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

 LET YOUR YES BE YES & NO BE NO

As a volunteer it is understandable that you’re are not full-time, meaning, you have other priorities but you are given the question CAN YOU…? And once you say YES, much will be expected from you & when you say NO, that won’t be taken against you.

 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

 HONORING AUTHORITY IS HONORING GOD

You are serving God, it is for God through the ministry you have committed yourself into who have leaders in authority.

 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.  So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Romans 13:1-5

Truthfully, who wants to be told? to be corrected? When you are a volunteer, you have to swallow your pride, be humble & honor God by honoring the authority.

You have to understand that as a volunteer, you serve God not only through the talents & gifts that you have, honoring authority is a big part of that. Honoring authority in systems, procedures, standards & etc. God is a God of order. Without order, things will not fall into place & there wouldn’t be any direction to move forward to. Leaders have been placed by God for a purpose. You being a volunteer have to submit yourself to the person God has called to be on top of you. And just a thought, if you were in their shoes, don’t you think it’s challenging to handle volunteers… because they are volunteers? Think about that.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:3-8

 EVERY ROLE IS OF GREAT VALUE

You have to understand that every part, small or big, is of great value to God. You, doing your part in the best way, whether you’re arranging seats, attending meetings, brainstorming for the events, doing display, greeting people or leading worship is a great deal because, it is for the Lord. Which leads us back to number 2, YOU ARE SERVING GOD.

 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 12:4-5 

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27

 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

 ENJOY THE PROCESS

When you volunteer, you may not automatically do what you love to do or be in the position where you love to be. As a worship leader, I started singing in choir & understood why I had to be there. The process is all part of God’s mighty hand moving through each volunteer. Through the process, not only your talent or skill will be stretched but more importantly, your character. Enjoy the process, learn in every situation & position so that when the time comes that you are rewarded with what you love to do, you are able to truly give back the glory to God.

A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great. Proverbs 18:16

 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.  1 Corinthians 4:2

 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. 1 Corinthians 14:40

 TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN MUCH IS REQUIRED

Some people think that being a volunteer or being in the ministry is a having a glamorous life. Being a volunteer, as what I’ve said, requires a lot of time, effort, sacrifices & so much more. So before you answer to His call, pray hard about it because it will cost your life. It’s not glamorous but it is glorious because you know that what you’re doing is for God’s glory.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:7

WHAT IS DONE IN LOVE IS DONE WELL

As you get to know God, you get to know His heart. He loves us deeply that is why He sent His son Jesus to save us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

 You doing ministry work should be an outpour or an overflow of His love. Because of this, every time you serve, you think of His love for you, your love for Him & for His people.

What is done in love is done well. Let His love be the air that breathes you to move forward for His glory.

JESUS IS MORE THAN ENOUGH

As a volunteer, you do a lot of things, make a lot of sacrifices & human as you are, you may think you need people to notice, to give you words of affirmation but JESUS IS MORE THAN ENOUGH.

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

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Photo taken from Citichurch 

These things I have learned & gathered today & I am excited with what God has to reveal even more in the years to come.

Are you ready to answer His call?

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Production & Intune (Music) Volunteers of Citichurch during UN1TE Team Night (Photo from Felmar Caranzo)

Having A Broken Family Doesn’t Mean A Broken Life For You

Lifestyle

A couple of weeks after getting married, I posted a gazillion of photos at my social media accounts & each photo had meaningful captions about how the dream of marriage started, a glimpse of the proposal, the preparation & the process of getting to the BIG DAY & the day itself, along with the people who were, are & will continue to be part of our journey.

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Every beautiful soul that were supporting us all the way & God’s masterpiece as our backdrop

And then, a person sends me this message…

… I don’t believe in marriage because I grew up from a broken family & there are a lot of playboys around. I remember, you came from a broken family. I just want to know how you turned out to be someone who believes in marriage.

 So here goes my answer.

Having a broken family doesn’t mean a broken life for you.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

MY IDENTITY IS IN CHRIST

I am a child of Christ more than anything else. I identify with Him. This has got a lot to do with knowing your Heavenly Father first. He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great I AM, the Prince of Peace, the one who died for you & me. And identifying yourself with Christ gives you the hope that’s like the sun that shines every morning, gives you joy that’s overflowing, peace that surpasses all understanding & love that’s everlasting. You’ll be so full of Him that you can’t help but give the same to the people around you.

But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind. Psalms 33:11-13

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:7-9

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5

For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? {33} It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. {34} He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 2 Samuel 22:32-34

These are just some of the verses about God. Continuously read about Him, then you’ll be able to identify yourself with your Heavenly Father.

YOUR SECURITY & CONFIDENCE IS IN HIM

This also means that your security & confidence is in Christ. Having Christ doesn’t mean the absence of challenges, we live in an untamed world. But it only means having Him go before you not only in battle, also in victories & every part of your life, every fiber of your being. That should enable you to be secured & confident.

When you have Christ, you have everything.

 One of my favorite verses- She is clothed with strength & dignity; and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. Psalms 48:14

 O my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. God will go before me and will let me gloat over those who slander me. Psalms 59:9-10

 My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. {8} Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah Psalms 62:7-8

 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deuteronomy 20:4

 LISTEN TO HIS VOICE & TAKE THINGS INTO HIS PERSPECTIVE

Anybody can influence you to his or her perspective & talk you into it then you’ll grow up believing in whatever they say, good or bad but the best one you’ll ever need & listen to is His. When people think that you’ll just be like your parents or they’re just waiting for you to fall & their voices are too loud it’s getting into your head…shut your ears but leave room for His still small voice. Don’t let the negative things & words get to your heart. Look at things with faith, everything happens for a reason, for His glory.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalms 73:26

GET INTO THE WORD

The only way to know yourself more is to knowing Him more. And the only way to hear Him & have His perspective is to read His word.

Faith comes from hearing & hearing the word of God. Romans 10:17

He has a lot to say to you & He loves you too much for you to just waste your life. Know His gifts, promises & teachings. And after knowing them, live by them & experience the wonder of His love for you.

“If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.” Exodus 15:26

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5

 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 1 Corinthians 4:20

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

FORGIVE

Forgive your parents & yourself. Stop thinking & living like the fault of your parents are yours & that the consequences have to be yours. I’ve heard it a couple of times & along the way, I might have said it while going through rough stuff, “I’m like this or am going through this bad situation because I came from a broken family”. You know you have a choice? You have a choice to respond positively every time the going gets tough. Growing up, by His grace, I made my situation a motivation to never give up on His promises in my life. He said in His word, He has fashioned the days for me & that I have a hope & a great future. And I was willing to do everything to claim that. It wasn’t an easy road given the circumstances, never. But I go back to Him then He tells me Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength. I am not saying all of these things because life was easy, you will have more challenges because life is a beautiful struggle. But I can confidently say all of these things because I went through a lot & now I testify of His mercy, grace & love. Continuously move forward with God’s promises.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

GET WISDOM & ACT ON IT

From reading His word, you’ll get a lot of wisdom but you have to act on it & be wise. Apply what you learn.

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26

BELIEVING I MARRIAGE

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I have found whom my soul loves. Song of Solomon 3:4

With all of those things, I then believed in love… in marriage. My faith in Christ kept that alive in me. Although I made wrong decisions in relationships, I let go & let God. That was the case in everything. He took the wheel & one day He led me to the man He has for me.

Psalm 139:13-17

 13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, Andskillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there werenone of them.
 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

God is a God of order. Graduate, meet friends that speak life to you, establish your career, get Godly counsel, have fun & the Lord will just give you the man he has for you somewhere in the middle of you living your life in accordance to His will.

Seek Him first & He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

So about immature guys around you… first of all, pray for the person for you & don’t keep guessing every time a guy tries to pursue you. Ask God, ask your Daddy! And if the guy doesn’t love God, has no plans nor a direction in life, leads you to do wrong things, He’s obviously not the one. Don’t play the role of an angel & say you can change him. If he is God’s will for you, God will change him, not you.

Do not awaken love until it so desires. Song of Solomon 8:4

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5

And if everything seems to be great- He loves God, has a plan & direction & leads you to the right things… that’s good but that’s not enough, you need His confirmation. And when He confirms, the one will definitely date you with a purpose, with a goal of eventually marrying you. Sadly, this is not very famous. Most people just date & say “we’ll see”. I was riding on the same boat, you can try & learn or you learn from others or let’s say… a familiar one, learn from the experience of your parents.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Marriage has been in our hearts when my husband & I were dating. By His grace, after a year, my husband now, boyfriend at that time, asked me my hand in marriage. We had a wonderful marriage, not because of the venue, lights, decorations, dresses & flowers but because God was with us.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

I believed & now that I am married, I will continue to believe in marriage. It is God’s gift to me & my husband & we fully accept it. And we believe for a God- given family someday.

I end this message with a piece of my wedding vow.

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Handwritten with love

#travelwithtara #taraforreel #Marriage #Love #Life #Jesus #Family #Relationships #Testimony

 

Confessions of a Voice Talent

Lifestyle
 Written July 24, 2016

Tonight, after my last event of the month, marks my official vocal rest. So help me God.

It has been almost 2 months since my voice was A- ok. It has been really hoarse. But I have to admit, I haven’t been a good steward of God’s blessing. After resigning from my full- time job, I was booked with a fairly good number of gigs & have been given the privilege of serving God through becoming a worship leader. Despite that, I did not do preventive measures, I still drank 3- 4 cups of coffee per day, which I reeeeaaaaaaaally love, also eating spicy food, eating & drinking a lot of dairy & sweets & slept less than 8 hours, I kept talking & talking. I could go on. I wasn’t listening to my body. I wasn’t worshiping God.

And so, here I am having a lot of thoughts about this situation. And Ministry Sunday is coming up (The biggest event of the year in Citichurch) but I had to drop it because of the condition that I have. Thus, this is not just simply a confession of a voice talent, it’s

CONFESSIONS OF A WORSHIPPER

With this, I remember Ate Jesse (one of the leaders in the music ministry) recently asking me “what is worship?” This was in preparation for ministry sunday. Well, God has allowed me to be in this situation to, not just know, but experience worship in a different way, I could say in another level.

The Battle

The battle goes beyond consciously resting, not drinking coffee, eating sweets, drinking meds & home remedies, not being able to sing, to host, to talk & all the other physical challenges that comes with it. The battle is SELF.  The battle is self emotionally, mentally & most of all, spiritually. It is not being able to be who God wants you to be & not maximising yourself to your full potential & what God has designed you to be.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, o present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.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 12:1-3

Yes, I am in pain. My throat is in pain, my heart is in pain & worse, God is in pain because He wants the best for us & has a purpose & great destiny for us. Most of the time we only think of ourselves especially when we are in success & in pain. Most of the time when everything is going great, we tend to take all the glory & think highly of ourselves, which results to wasting away ourselves. And whenever we are in pain, we go to God & ask so many questions, some even blaming God. But the truth is, when we are victoriousm our Father in heaven is & whenever we are in pain, God our Creator is in pain too. But He has to let us go through the pressure. To learn, to mature, to be better, to move forward, to grow.

A diamond is a coal made under pressure.

Grace

But God doesn’t waste any pain. I look at this as a lesson & a season of building spiritual muscles for His glory. By grace I am able to move forward, I believe not just with the talent or skill that He has given but with a heart full of hope that I will be completely healed & by grace I will lift up his name through this little story of mine.

Worship

Before when asked what is worship. I simply say “It is a way of life”. It is, but to experience it? You could go on. In this situation, worship is resting, is going through the process of healing, is supporting the team in any way I can whether I sing with them or not, is lifting up a prayer, is rejoicing with my teammates…

Worship is the absence of self for God’s glory. IN EVERYTHING.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith. Romans 12:6 

#Confessionsofavoicetalent #Confessionsofaworshipper #worship #Jesus