Struggling With Your Thoughts? Think SPOT

You opened your eyes only to squint them a few seconds later as the sun kissed you good morning. You shifted your view outside your window and smiled as the blue sky and a small maya waved hello. “What a wonderful way to start my day,” you said. “Hey that rhymes! Wow, God thanks!” You sat up, folded your hands, and bowed your head and spent the first few minutes of your day with your Creator. After uttering an ‘Amen,’ you checked your cell phone. Without warning, out of nowhere, they entered your mind. The thoughts. Thoughts of your fight with a friend over the phone flooded your mind. You called her emotional. She called you insensitive. What once was a bright and good morning suddenly grew dim and dull. All because of thoughts that “came out of nowhere.”

Do you struggle with your thoughts? I know I do. It has been my struggle since last year. My thoughts vary from time to time: swear words (even if I don’t swear; I think they come from the movies and books), false views of God, selfish motives, and even hurtful words against others (even if I don’t actually say them). If you’re like me, you’ve probably read this command from God:

“We are destroying speculations and every  lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

You’ve probably surrendered all your evil thoughts to God, asked to be freed from the enemy’s bondage, and claimed God’s victory. (If you’re like me, all of these things took place in a Christian retreat where the enemy and his minions seemed to be on leave from duty) After your bondage breaker, you successfully counteracted almost all evil thoughts with God’s truth. For a week you succeeded.

Then came week two. The battle was on again. Satan and his mini monsters resumed their positions. The awful past, a lazy present, and an anxious future clouded your memory. Your heart followed suit. Then your hands and your feet. From a confident, joyful, and strong Christian, you turned cranky, depressed, worried, and critical. What went wrong?

One of three things usually led to the pervasion of evil thoughts in my mind:

  1. Rationalization. I entertained a half-truth, half-lie, conformed it to my lustful desire, and attached an “it’s-okay-it’s-not-that-bad” string to alleviate the pain from the bump of my conscience
  2. Complacency. Similar to exercise. Couldn’t I let my thoughts wander for just a moment every once in a while?After all, my mind is the only place where my crush comes up to me to tell me he shares my sentiments.
  3. Selfishness and Pride. Why should I apologize to her? Okay, fine, she’s authority, but she’s wrong too! Am I the only sinner here?
One word sums up these three evils: Misalignment with God. Pastor Peter Tan-chi, our senior pastor, warned us against misalignment with God: it is the root of our sin and at times, our problems. In a preaching on overcoming discouragement and depression, Pastor Peter wisely said:
“To overcome negative emotions, you need to address the root problem then align with God.”
I believe that the same principle applies to overcoming evil thoughts. Emotions, after all, are products of our thoughts.
This morning, God reminded me that I am His mirror and that He is the Source; I am to reflect His glory. Along with this wonderful truth is the harsh reality that I am utterly self-centered. He wants me to change and He wants to change me. I know that I can do nothing of myself. After addressing the root problem of self-centeredness, God revealed to me 4 steps with which I am to counteract temptation. I called it the SPOT technique.
the desire and intention to do things for myself and all my expectations. God can’t work out my problem if I won’t give it to Him, and the longer I hold on to a temptation, its pull on me will only grow stronger.
that God will replace my evil desire with His desire; that He will show me a way out of that temptation (He promised this! Check out 1 Corinthians 10:13); that He will tell me what to replace with sinning. It’s not enough to just run away from temptation. I need to do something that will actually glorify God.
The wonderful thing about God is that He speaks. Maybe not audibly, but definitely clearly. In high-definition. I just need to lend Him my ears and my heart. This step becomes easy because it is God Himself who empowers me to obey His will. And lastly…
give God the glory–He alone deserves it. I learned that I should not miss this last important step because if I did, I will trust in my own power instead of God’s. Also, I should thank God even if  I encounter disappointments because I trust Him. He is God, He knows better, and He loves me dearly. 🙂
God holds me responsible for my thought life. You, too, are responsible with your thoughts. We should not let our minds wander and underestimate our thoughts’s power to control us. Next time those nasty, demonic ideas penetrate your mind, think SPOT. 🙂 And remember: this is all by God’s amazing grace. You and I will still fail and make mistakes, but when we let Him, God promises to pick us up, take us by the hand, and lead us to Paradise. The journey with Him is a struggling adventure, but you’d rather choose that over a depressing, miserable life. Right? 😀

On Faith and Focus

About two weeks ago, a new show was introduced in the weekend schedule of Fox channel. The program showcased the world’s greatest magicians and tricks that could be mistaken for miracles. I enjoyed watching the pilot episode, albeit several minutes late, because it was a show that needed only my eyes and awe and not my head for analysis (unlike Criminal Minds which followed right after). Magic tricks relieve stress, but when it’s my mind who does the tricking, stress and sin are written all over it.

Most, if not all, of the reasons behind my struggle for the past three months rooted out of erroneous and sometimes utterly repulsive thoughts which turned into beliefs which translated into actions.  Instead of walking in the Spirit day after day, I boarded the roller coaster and braved the loops, plunges, and lifts on my own strength and wisdom. Living with me, you won’t realize all the nasty things going on inside my head because I often kept mum about. I shared a struggle or two to my closest Christian friends and family members, but that tidbit of information was only the cherry on top; layers of sin lay beneath it.

Last Sunday, God spoke to me in a most personal and convicting way. I wasn’t going anywhere in my walk with Him because of two things I lacked: focus and faith. I leaned more on disobeying God rather than doing His will because I did not foster a high view of Him. To me, God was always gracious and forgiving. He is always gracious and forgiving, but He is also righteous and just. He established a rule called “sowing and reaping” through which I shall bear the consequences of my wrong decisions. Through Pastor Peter’s message last Sunday and a rebuking but redemptive quiet time session earlier this morning, God brought me back to basics: faith.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

– Hebrews 11:6

Faith is a requisite to pleasing God. I did not please God on a regular basis (somehow I was still good) because of my unbelief. Instead of believing God according to what His Word says He is, I formulated an image of God that suited my plans and desires. Dear reader, beware of thinking the same way I did! God simply requires you to believe in Him for Who He says He is–nothing more, nothing less.

The lack of a proper focus also contributed to my aimless living. Your life can really be simplified by sticking to one goal. “Lord, what is this goal? What do you want me to do?” This morning God made me realize that this prayer was an incorrect one. If David knew right on that his predecessor, Saul, would grow jealous of him and hunt him down, would he entrust his life into God’s hands? God sustained him day by day, moment by moment; He revealed His plan on a daily basis as David trusted Him on a daily basis. After realizing the error in my prayer, I asked God for forgiveness and His wisdom and understanding so I could make right decisions today.

Because of my gracious, just, and patient Father, my eyes are opened once again and I am breathing and living on a renewed focus:

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

At some point in my tumultuous journey, I discarded setting goals because I thought goals would just add to my confusion. How foolish was my mindset! Why should I quit planning when Father Himself is a Planner? I would be inexistent and condemned if it not for His plan to send His one and only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be the propitiation for my sins. 🙂

If you’re a Christian experiencing “theological confusion” right now, it’s time for you to go back to basics. Believe in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Humble yourself before your God and ask for His forgiveness, for “He is faithful and just and will forgive all your unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Be completely honest with God; cry out your heart to Him.

“Lord, I’m sick of going through this sin cycle. Help me love You more than I love sin.”

Recommit your life to Him and watch Him work. I know I will. 🙂

To watch the inspiring message last Sunday (it was CCF’s 27th anniversary, by the way!), click this link!

images c/o Outlaw Army and my Tumblr page

The Art of Being A Woman: What I Learned

I, along with thirteen hundred other women, braved the pouring rain and strong wind last Saturday to attend the single women’s conference titled, “The Art of Being  A Woman and Other Lost Virtues,” in CCF St. Francis. True to its title, the conference (or should I say, the God Who orchestrated the conference) helped me rediscover lost virtues that I once upheld and taught me how it is to be a single woman in today’s world. Surprisingly, the first lesson on womanhood I learned not during the 1st topic (which was delivered by none other than Pastor Peter’s other half, Mrs. Deonna Tan-chi), but at home. I awoke an hour earlier than I expected, and every time this occurs, I attribute it to God wanting to say something to me or to do a certain task that required a lot of my time. Instead of bright rays of sunshine illuminating my face, raindrops battering against our windows and opaqueness greeted me. Instinctively, I logged on Facebook to see if the event was cancelled. The administrator, being the optimistic child of God that she is, claimed in a status in the event’s page that the storm will be gone by tomorrow (that is, Saturday morning). To me, this goes to show that God can work mightily even through a heavy storm because He never loses control over nature. Ergo, the event pushed through.

Optimism was not my first lesson, however. That’s just the introduction. Womanhood 101 started when I checked my phone’s messages. A friend and a cousin of mine who registered for the event said that they were prohibited by their mothers to attend the retreat due to Falcon, the typhoon which soared high above Manila’s skyline. These two beautiful ladies happened to be the same girls I’ll be sitting with during the conference; thus I thought twice if I should prohibit myself from attending or not. During those moments that I contemplated whether to go or not go to planned event, I expected my Mom or Dad to peek in and tell me to keep calm and stay home and cancel whatever appointment I set for that day, but on that gloomy Saturday morning,  I was left to decide for myself. Well, not really because I have the Teacher with me. Calmly He introduced lesson #1:

Be careful how you are influenced. Never act upon something without My approval from My Word or my designated people.

The point He impressed upon me was not  in choosing right over wrong, but in choosing the best over what is good. By His  power vested in me through His Holy Spirit, I chose to do what is best for me.

An hour and half later, I was standing with thirteen hundred other women in CCF’s 5th floor auditorium. I’ve never seen the 5th floor so girly, even if it’s only for a day, in my 17-year part-time residence there. Just a few feet away from the elevator located at the “west wing” of the 5th floor, a large Shiseido mirror complete with its array of cosmetics greeted me. Walking further, I saw more advertisements of the different sponsors: San Marino corned tuna, Curves and Boudior Dolls. I knew I was in for a treat.

To say that The Art of Being a Woman Conference was inspirational is an understatement;  it was more than that. Convincing a woman (or at least, a woman in her own feminine eyes) to surrender her entire being to God, saying,

“Lord, whether or not marriage is part of Your game plan for me, I’m all in. Use me as you will,”

is no easy task, but because she was planned long ago by God, the conference spoke and inspired the participants  effectively. That day, I finally understood what the Bible calls “peace that transcends human understanding.” Statements of faith shoot out of the heart unnecessary worries and anxiety it carries.

Talks were divided into 6 parts, namely: The Art of Being a Woman in Today’s World, Pursue True Beauty, Pursue Purity, Pursue Modesty, Pursue Excellence, and Pursue Undivided Attention. Albeit all of the topics pulled my heartstrings and gave me deeper insight on true womanhood, I especially like the topics on purity and undivided attention. Impurity in my thought life has always been one of my toughest struggles. It still is, actually, but lately I am conquering it by God’s grace and power and through Him alone. 🙂 As for undivided attention, it is topic which compelled me to surrender my whole life to God–this time, for real–because I know and believe that He has my best interest at heart.

Here are some of the quotes and statements made by the beautiful women who shared their lives and testimonies, made us all laugh and think, and imparted to us, as well as verses from the Bible. If you are a single and you want to be all that God wants you to be as is, where is, then claim these statements, too! 🙂 God has a great, big, wonderful plan for your life too! 😀

“She [the virtuous woman] puts on strength and honor as if they were her clothes.
She can laugh at the days that are coming.

  • Proverbs 31:25

“If you catch a man with your looks, be prepared to keep him with your looks.”

“Purity has to be planned.”

  • Monique Ong on Pursuing Purity

“True beauty begins with the heart, with a gentle and quiet spirit.”

  • Joy Tan-chi–Mendoza on Pursuing True Beauty

“Being single is not being insignificant, incomplete, or in a holding position. The single life is a beautiful moment characterized by undivided attention to God.”

“GB [God’s Best] is not a guy; it’s a life.

“Spiritual maturity is measured by the span of time it takes one to respond to God.”

  • Cindy Soriano on Pursuing Undivided Attention

“There is no thing better than God’s best. He is your God’s best!”

“If you are not content in your current situation, you are NOT ready to get married.”

“Homosexuality is not a destiny; it’s a choice. You can change.”

  • Deonna Tan-chi on The Art of Being a Woman in Today’s World

“Save your beautiful body for one man!”

“Men want to see the good you do and say.”

  • Jenny Tan-chi on Pursuing Modesty

“When it comes to character, focus on your weaknesses, but when it comes to talents and skills, focus on your strengths.”

“The key to excellence is to have a full partnership with Jesus Christ.”

  • Cata De Jesus on Pursuing Excellence

🙂 Part 2 of Womanhood 101, the conference, and how I translated these priceless lessons into action shall come soon.

More stuff from my notes and Patrick Nuo’s “Beautiful”

Getting It

Reading a chapter or verse from the Bible does not automatically make you get it just as you can’t fly a plane after a 2-hour, one-on-one session with a professional pilot. Getting it, really learning it, takes time and constant practice depending on the subject matter. I remember when I was a little girl, about 7 years of age, I couldn’t read the clock properly. My knowledge was limited to hourly readings. I don’t think I really got it until I was ten or twelve. It took me years to read time–whether it be in quarters and halves–properly and correctly with ease. That was five years ago and the things I learned were simpler. Lately, things have been tough.

Growing up in a Christian home, I thought I already knew the Bible. I do know and understand Biblical doctrine (at least half of it) at the back of my hand and with conviction, but I didn’t know I haven’t gotten it just yet. How do I know? Well, for the past few months since 2011 started, I was compromising. A lot. I generalized one sin after another, saying it can be condoned because it’s not that bad. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into until I found myself in the aftermath of all my actions. Bitterness, ill-thinking, gluttony (it was still there all along), selfishness, and pride slowly but surely paved their way into my heart one compromise at a time. The effect was staggering. Since my temperament make-up tends towards the introvert side, I don’t throw wild tantrums or instigate quarrels with my family and friends. I find it more terrifying to be the silent type. Ika nga, nasa loob ang kulo ko. When I reach my boiling point, instead of whistling, I well up with emotions–sorrow, bitterness, anger–you name it.  This is the same girl who grew up memorizing all 66 books of the Bible by heart, singing Psalty songs, and teaching young kids in Sunday school. Saints can get pretty messed up, too.

What I was trying to “get” was totally unreachable. God Himself already said it:

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

– Isaiah 55:9

“Child, getting it completely is not the point. Obedience and love is.”

I can never fully understand God’s ways until I see Him face to face! 🙂  His love is unfathomable. In effect, I was trying to see if my knowledge can match with God. Obviously, my effort failed. He did not ask me to know Him completely in one sitting or in one year. For this reason, the Bible often makes use of the verb seek. “Seek and you will find.”  A stomach stops seeking food and water when it is full. The Bible says seek His face. Seek the Lord. Day in, day out. You can never be “full” with God that you have to pause and say, “I can take it from here. Thanks, God.”

” My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.”

– Psalm 27:8

A true child of God will hear and feel his heart cry this statement out: SEEK His face! A true child of God who has wasted plenty of time in worldly affairs will eventually hunger and thirst for true spiritual feeding. Getting it, coming to your senses, is the first step in true repentance. No matter how often you listen to Gospel sermons, unless you get it–unless the heart and the mind connect–there is no transformation.

Have you gotten it? God will wait. The moment you do start to go back to Him like I did, He’ll start running. Yes, God runs. It’s been a habit of Him ever since the first ear-piercing sound was heard: the crunch of a bitten fruit in the middle of  a beautiful and perfect Garden. And He’ll never stop running to you until you get it. 😉

The Art of Being A Woman

Calling all SINGLE LADIES! 🙂 

Dear Single Lady,

Something special is happening in June and you have to be there!

We request the pleasure of your company at

The Art of Being a Woman (and other lost virtues)

a conference on June 25, 2011, Saturday,
from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
at the Main Hall, 5th Floor, St. Francis Square Mall

We’ll have makeovers, a style show, and lots to talk about!
Talks on what it means to be a woman in today’s world,
how to complement a man’s masculinity,
and we’ll chat about what goes on in a guy’s mind.

Invite your other awesome single woman friends!
Let’s rediscover God’s design for women together!

A fee of P250 covers meals and materials
RSVP: Ana – 09178257884 or Eden – 09239534072

I just registered today in CCF. I am so excited! Anything that has to do with fashion, style and relationships interests me. Add God to the equation, and it automatically becomes the conference of the century (minus the distractions: boys)! 🙂 So please do attend! SLOTS ARE LIMITED so register asap.