None But Jesus by Grace

Minsan struggle asikasuhin ang ibang tao pag ikaw mismo hindi makafunction nang maayos on your own. Pero kasi… we are all called to take care of each other –most especially during these times. I always need to be reminded that Jesus always has my back. It gives me courage pag nakakaiyak na. I hope this song brings you comfort as much as it hugs me. Goodnight. Or good morning. Whenever this may reach you.

– Grace A, 061320 21:13

#SongReflections #WorshipSundays #ServantsDiary

Love Actually

People that we love will hurt us.
Yes, and believe it or not, we will hurt them too.

We all dream of a happy relationship.
A couple that laugh together, eat together, the cuddle and the pecks.
Weekend dates, morning walks, midnight talks, sweet gestures.
The “I love you”, the “I miss you”.
The grand proposal and of course the perfect wedding.
And Oh! We can’t miss the “Grow Old with You” theme song!

Well, these are called dreams for a reason.
Dream is different from reality and to achieve a dream, it takes hard work. A lot of it.

When the expectation fades. Reality kicks in.
And that’s when the true love test begins!

LovingKindness

If you really think of it, it is not every day “I love you”.
It is deeper my friend, and much harder than you think.

Married people, to be fair after honeymoon, pretty much argue on everything.
As simple as where to put the frame, the shoes not on rack, dirty clothes everywhere, leaving the toilet seat up to big stuff such as money, sex, vices, working late, infidelity, different goals, different perspectives, kids, quality time, chores, jealousy, in-laws, business, and a lot more.

80% you argue, 20% you make love.
Some quit, some just bite a lip.

It has only been 3 years since we got married. So new.
But we had a point where we almost quit.

Personally, I find married life difficult and very challenging.
I have no regrets but this stage of my life is where I am hurt the most.
Hurt not by my partner but the situation I am in.
My single life was a walk in the park, free, independent, chill and easy.
But now I have fears, I feel vulnerable because I am not the only one in control.

Maybe that is the point.
God leads us to our life partner not for comfort but for character-building.
Being with someone is not easy but it makes us a better and stronger person.
Yes we are hurt, we fight but we learn, we forgive, we compromise.

Love actually is a sacrifice.
We love not because but despite.

It is painful yet beautiful.

 

By Meredith Gray

 

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Purpose of Sacrifice

Sometime last year I was overwhelmed with personal struggles and challenges. It felt like nothing was happening in my life and prayers remain unanswered. While I was aware of how blessed I was in many ways, I couldn’t help but feel kind of depressed due to a mixture of some issues happening at the same time. My career was not progressing and the promotion that was promised to me didn’t happen. I was not receiving returns from my investments. I had a traumatic dating experience. My friends got busy and had different priorities. I was alone and lonely. At that moment, I felt rejected and abandoned. I was crying to God in pain. It was that point that no matter how naturally positive and strong I was, I still broke down. A part of me wonder why. Why I was going through all of these? Why were my goodness and efforts have not been rewarded? Why was I waiting for like eternity?

Purpose Sacrifice

I did not get the answers to these questions but with God’s grace I was able to control how I handled my emotions and bounced back. Not everyone really understood what I went through and what I really felt. But like a heaven’s sent, He has a way of sending an angel on earth who showed genuine empathy, someone who sincerely understood and who listened without judgement or preaching and made me feel that I am valued, loved and I am not really alone.

And on Christmas day I was reminded of the real essence of rejection, pain and sacrifice. The Holy Family was refused a couple of times and the only place that was offered to them was a manger. And a manger was not a comfortable place. But in this humble place, on a quiet evening the savior was born.

There is a purpose beneath the pang of rejection, pain and sacrifice.
There is a gift waiting to unfold.

By Violet

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Blessings & Prayers

Welcome 2020! What a great time to look back on our blessings and look forward to another year with hearts full of hope and trust that God walks with us through our journey. Sharing some of the thanksgiving & dreams of the FAB family:

Sis Josie

I cannot thank God enough for His goodness, kindness and mercy to me and my family for 2019. Praying that this 2020 my family and I will give back more His goodness and kindness to His people in every way we can. – Sis Josie

 

Bro Dave2019 was my year of taking chances! Serving in Kerygma Conference made me realize that dreams do happen when we say YES and believe! With this, my heart is grateful! For 2020, I pray for a braver and greater version of myself, may God fully equipped me so I can serve more in the community and show my love more to my family! – Bro Dave

 

Sis Jenifer

For 2019, it is a rollercoaster ride. I received good favor from my job but was challenged in my personal life. I learned a lot and got to know Mama Mary more.
Before the end of the year, my prayer for 2020 is to receive the sacrament of marriage and to get promoted but come January 1st, during my prayer time, there is a prompting in my heart that what I wanted for 2020 is to love more, pray more and be more forgiving…I wanted to be a good person to be the best version of myself and the rest will follow. – Sis Jen

 

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Let Go and Let God

Four years ago, my friends and family have been telling me to let him go. They were referring to a guy best friend of mine. Our friendship was one of a kind and he was the last person whom I thought would hurt me. Then I decided to go to Dubai and after 5 months, he followed me here.

Everything was okay for a few weeks until we both hit rock bottom — I was not getting paid by my company and he was having difficulties in finding a job. After a month, I got terminated as my company couldn’t afford to pay me anymore. We didn’t have money to pay our rent and everyday was a struggle to find food to eat. Then he found a job and met new friends while I was just home and waiting for my Labour Ban to be lifted so I could start working again.

Our friendship started to deteriorate until we felt nothing but hatred towards each other. A lot of painful things happened that I still couldn’t believe would happen to our friendship. People told me to let him go but I was scared to be alone in a foreign country, I was scared that he’d left me behind. I was crying out to God every single night to make things better, to take away my pain, and to give me more strength. I did not have a job and money to pay rent. My dreams were shattered and my best friend in the whole wide world left me.

My only strength that time was my faith in Him — I didn’t know back then that it was more than enough. My best friend & I parted ways but it took me a while to let him go but when I finally did, I started making new friends, I appreciated my old friends even more, I started fixing my life again one step at a time. My relationship with my family got stronger and we welcomed the New Year of 2016 with good news — my Labour Ban was lifted! I got hired in a stable company where the salary never gets delayed — in a company where I met a man who was so quiet and gentle that I am now blessed to be called his wife.

LetgoLetGod

You see, had I not experienced all these, had I not emptied myself and let go of what I needed to let go — God would not have a chance to fill my life with better things, people, and blessings. So to you, who is going through a very tough time right now, do not give up. Let God work on you. Let God fill you with His grace and blessings. Let God love you even more. Let God take care of you. Let Him guide you. Let Him plan for you. Let Go of what you need to. Let go of what is hurting you. Let go — and let God!

By Camille

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Your True Worth

How do you really measure your worth? Is it by the amount of money in your bank account? The cities you’ve travelled to? Your job title? The number of likes on your new photo? The amount of people who wants to date you? Growing up, I thought that the richer, wiser, and prettier, I can be, the better. I spend loads of time trying to perfect myself for the approval of the people around me. I crave to be noticed. After all, in a population of millions, the approval of some means that I exist. It means I have left my mark to be remembered as someone people look up to. Each time someone would compliment me, I would feel my pulse thrumming.

In the long run, things got out of hand. I was measuring people’s worth based on what they look like. I kept thinking, they deserved attention, but not from me. I was better than them. I got into fad diets to look better, bought more expensive clothes, travelled more, and earned more. Not that all of these was wrong, but I was merely doing it to be the envy of many. As vain as I could be, I thought that as long as girls envy me and guys liked me, I was better than most people. There came a point where I asked myself why I was really doing it, I was tired of trying to be perfect. The approval that I seek are from people who don’t even know my story, they don’t see me for who I really am.

Suddenly, I felt that my life was empty. I was leading a life needing validation but that never seemed to be enough. I was at a point where I felt happy because my life was going great, but I was empty. There’s a void in my heart that I didn’t know how to fill. My mom suggested a dozen of meditation and self-help videos which I thought was a waste of time to listen to, but that’s where I was wrong. The first time I listened to those, I immediately knew why I felt empty— I was never thankful. I kept chasing my dreams but never thanked God when I reached a new feat. I only reached out to Him when I needed Him but forgets Him the moment He hears my prayer. I never appreciated the things and people around me, that’s why I kept seeking satisfaction in things I didn’t have.

True worth

The moment I started to be thankful, I started to appreciate what God has given me. I started serving God again, using His gifts to give my praise, this time, not waiting for someone else’s approval. It doesn’t matter how loud or soft I sing, how eloquent my writing style is, or how good I dance —what truly matters is that I do it for God. While a nice comment would bring a smile, I realized that He already loves me the way I am. In fact, He has given me more than what I asked for. I still have a long way to change my old ways but I know that the moment I let God took control of my life, I was already in good hands.

By Freyja

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World Youth Day

Last Feast, we learned about the Pope. I was only 8 years old when World Youth Day was held in the Philippines. I did memorize & learned “Tell The World of His Love”. I saw Pope John Paul II as he passed by in his cool Pope mobile. But that’s basically it. It was only now that I’m 32 yrs old that I really immersed myself with what World Youth Day was all about.

After visiting Holy Land, I registered for World Youth Day Panama. I wanted to learn more about my faith & my church. Meeting a lot of new friends has been an amazing part of the journey. Mostly because we’ve had a lot of struggles even before reaching our destination. And it didn’t stop when we reached Panama. We constantly reminded each other to be extra patient & kind and to always keep in mind the real purpose of why we joined the pilgrimage –to experience Jesus. Is this not what life is all about? We sometimes forget how to be good when we are pushed to the edge by our circumstances. We forget why we are here in this world in the first place, and that is to tell the world of His Love.

WYD also got me closer to the Pope. Not literally, but I got a sense of His importance in my walk towards Him. As I listen to Him, and as I see his effect on people, he reminded me so much of Jesus. He is so humble. He loves Mama Mary and is full of so much hope and love for humanity. When asked in Poland last WYD if he can make it to Panama, Pope Francis said he is not sure but he is certain that Peter will be there. I was reminded that Pope Francis is the descendant of Peter, the rock from which God builds his church. The church that is us.

By Grace

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Super Mario

One early Friday morning, my brother woke me up with an anxious expression in his face. Mama was calling from Manila. I got up in bed, trying to absorb what caused the panic – my father was rushed to the hospital, unconscious due to stroke. Taking all emotions aside, I focused on knowing the facts and getting updates on everything that is happening. I even remember talking to a friend, who happened to be a nurse, about the possible physical therapy needed after his recovery. He will be paralyzed for some time, but the therapy will help him get back to his old active self. I knew a few who had undergone the same and was able to recover.

Two days later, on my way to the office, I got another call from my mom. It’s time for me to go home. My father suffered from another stroke. He was no longer responding to his senses unless inflicted with pain. I rushed back home and booked the earliest flight to Manila with my brother.

Unable to sleep during the flight, I pondered what to ask Jesus during this hard time. Should I pray for Him to keep my dad alive? Or will He take his life away to alleviate him from his sufferings? Am I even ready for it?

It was a constant struggle to see my dad’s body deteriorating each day. Neurologists and all sorts of specialists came from time to time to talk to the family. More often than not, we had to absorb painful developments that we battled to accept. As the eldest child, I bore the unenviable task of updating my father’s state to every family member and friend. The worries and sleepless nights almost took its toll on me, yet I had to be the firm decision-maker and thus managed to stay strong through it all.

On the 7th day in the hospital, the battle was over.

It was my most painful heartbreak. I couldn’t describe, let alone write about, the agony of losing a parent. But since Day 1 of my painful journey, I never questioned God. Never in my prayers did I blame or bargain with Jesus. I kept my faith and surrendered to His will and prayed for more strength and wisdom to accept His will.

Mario.jpg

I have my mother to thank for the faith she instilled in me until this day. Painful as it may seem, Jesus walked with me through the storm.  He entered my world of agony and lifted me up in my darkest trials. By fixing my eyes on Him, I never felt alone in this experience. Acceptance came easy. Blessings overflowed.

And just when I thought that life will remain dark for so long, here I am sharing my story hoping that it will bless your life the way it has blessed mine.

By Lia

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Bruised to Blessed

It was nearly 4am. My body is exhausted.
And I still feel dizzy as a result of who knows how many shots of alcohol I took.
My mind was awake, actually floating and wandering.
But my heart was feeling the pain. The guilt.
I knew I am in trouble. I knew I am in deep sh*t.

I was in my room. Not alone. But so lonely.
I was with a man, I don’t even know.

He left after a while and said goodbye.
I returned in my room and stared on the wall.
I felt nothing. I felt empty.

The following day seems normal.
After work, to the club I go.
That night, I did it again.
The next night again.
And the next…

For almost three years in Dubai, I only knew 3 things – Work, Alcohol & Men.
I have friends but I stopped seeing them.
I have family in the Philippines, but I seldom communicate with them.
I isolated myself from everyone who cares.

I was trying to prove to myself that I can do things my own.
I had a good-paying job, met new people, traveled to places and experienced new things.
I thought I needed no one anymore because of my independence and new found environment.
It was already late when I realized I was drowning – I became workaholic, alcoholic and a sex addict.

I was so scared and helpless.
The guilt that I was feeling was killing me day by day.
I look ok on the outside but I was so broken and weak inside.
I knew I needed help.
But I had no one. I was ashamed.

Hand Covering Flowers at the Garden with Sunlight

THIS IS HOW MY LOVE STORY WITH GOD STARTED.
I started praying.
The addiction was still there but I kept on praying.
I knew then only God can help me.
I believed in His powers.
I believed He can do miracles in my life.

It took some time before I can finally fight my addiction.
Then I started to reach out to the people who truly loves and cares for me.
And I met new people. New friends.
God used them to redirect my life for good – I ended up attending THE FEAST.

I know God saved me from my years of misery, darkness and sin because I BELIEVED.
I was in my hell and He literally pulled me up.

I was bruised and now I can say, I am blessed.
And for that, I am forever grateful.

By Anonymous

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Believe and Remain in Faith

I remember that day when I was called in a meeting room after I came back to work from an amazing vacation. There was no meeting invitation so I thought it must be a new project and I was chosen to participate. But I was wrong as I got the unexpected surprise of my life. I lost my job and I had to pack my stuff and leave the office within 1 hour. It was harsh and I was in shock as I was not given the chance to bid farewell to my colleagues.

I didn’t waste any time and I started to look for a new job right away. I was so positive and I had the mindset that God will provide. But the thing that I didn’t realize was that the job market in the UAE was very challenging and competition was tough. I attended all the interviews no matter how near or far it was. I kept on applying every single day. I kept myself busy as well to retain my sanity. But as days & weeks passed by it got tougher and tougher. Instead of getting a job offer, I kept on receiving rejection letters. Back when I was working in Manila I used to be headhunted and work always landed in my lap swiftly. So it was more difficult for me and I was starting to lose hope.

bible-verses-faith-lead-1557978925

But at those moments when I was doubting and thinking of giving up, friends came and kept offering me help in different ways and forms. One friend taught me how to apply effectively via LinkedIn and in various job websites. Other friends asked for my CV and shared it to their networks. Some friends treated me for lunch/ dinners and invited me in some activities. Some friends offered to pray for and with me. Months went by and waiting felt like an eternity. On some days, I wondered if there was really something that I was waiting for. But still, I continue to believe that God has something great in store for me. And just in the nick of time before my visa was cancelled, I was contacted by a headhunter and I got a job in a great organization. It came in God’s perfect time.

This was one of the most challenging experiences I ever had. But at the same time, it was in this season where I learned so many things. It was a very humbling, character and faith building experience. It was in this journey where I learned that the most important relationship that I have is “my relationship with myself and with God”. I learned to never underestimate the power of prayer, hope, faith and love, and that miracles happen to those who believe in them.

By Juliana

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