You can't help everyone, but HE CAN and HE DOES!

* I am very much aware of Matthew 6:2-4, but I really felt the urge to share this experience. What I want to highlight anyway is how God tugs the heart of many, and His reminder for me and my realization afterwards. If you are to read this, please focus on those things. *

As I was taking my regular jeepney ride home tonight, I thought of buying a canned coffee for myself. (I'm sort of becoming a caffeine-lover again, I guess.) And so when I got off my ride and walked towards the convenience store, I walked past a mother with a baby asking for alms. I felt a tug in my heart to help them, but before I could even react, the man walking before me stopped. He fished some coins from his pocket, walked back a little to them, and handed the coins to the mother's cupped hand.

I felt my chest go warm and I smiled. I just witnessed an act of kindness in an instant. But I felt quite sad for I didn't get to do it before the man did. I was quite afraid to get my purse from my bag and hand them some money for someone might steal my purse from my very hands as I do it. I wished I had some food with me, but God comforted me with this thought: 

"Worry no more, young one. I already got someone to help them."

I smiled and obeyed, but when I took a step further, I saw in my left side an old woman sitting by the last step of a footbridge. She's staring blankly ahead, her right arm placed on her knee to extend her palm out. She's also begging for something but no one's taking notice of her.

I saw her, but I did not stop. I'm now only five steps away from the convenience store, and I said to myself, whatever food that I'd see first, I'd buy it for lola. Before I even entered the store I already saw big siopaos being steamed inside the store's food kiosk. Ah, there!

And so I walked up to the refrigerators first to grab my coffee, and then I headed to the siopao steamer. I was about to open it when a woman beside me politely asked, "Excuse me, pwedeng patulong?" ("Excuse me, but could you please help me?") She was holding a pair of tongs in one hand and a bag of groceries on the other.

I smiled--another opportunity to help! "Sure!"

"Kakagawa ko lang kasi ng nails ko, hindi ako makakuha ng hotdog sandwich. Baka pwedeng patulong kumuha ng dalawa?" ("I just got a manicure and it's already ruined but I haven't got any sandwiches. Can you please get two hot dog sandwiches for me?")

The hot dog steamer is just beside the siopao steamer. "Oh, sige po. Alin po dito?" ("Oh, of course. Which ones?") Here, she asked a small girl beside her which I didn't notice to be there before. I didn't get to look at the girl (for I was placing my coffee down first and readying a plastic for the first sandwich), but I heard her say "Kahit alin po." ("Anything's fine.") The woman then pointed to me two jumbo hot dogs and I placed them into their buns. I handed the sandwiches to the lady and she held them carefully, trying not to let her nails touch them. I smiled and she thanked me for more than three times, I think.

I was glad.

Then I proceeded to get lola's siopao now. I placed it on a plastic and headed to the counter. In front of me in the queue was the woman and the girl with sandwiches. It was only then that I noticed that the child had some grease and dirt all over her face and shirt. She was quiet, but she looked intently on the sandwiches that the woman holds. The woman spoke to her in a low voice, "Ilang taon ka na kasi?" (How old are you again?") "Four," the child replied. The woman just smiled at her and it was her turn to pay now. After she did, she handed the sandwiches to the girl and they walked out of the store together. I looked at them as I placed my items in the counter, and I saw the woman give the girl a pat on the head and off they went to different directions.

I smiled again. That's the second person that I saw tonight helping someone. And all of this happened within the last ten minutes or less.

I paid for my items now, excited to deliver the hot siopao to lola. As the clerk handed me what I purchased, I got my coffee out of the plastic and placed it in my bag. And so I left the convenience store and walked back to lola. When I got close to her, she looked at me with her blank stare. I smiled at her, leaned over, and placed the siopao in her right hand with its palm facing up. She didn't even look at it, but she slowly smiled at me. Then she looked at her hand slowly and used her other hand to feel what's inside. She smiled some more. "Thank you, anak," she said. ("Thank you, child.")

I talked with her a bit, asking if she's alone and where would she head home. She answered me and explained that she's living at someone else's place; not her own.

"Ah, naku uwi na po kayo. Medyo late na po." ("Oh, then please go home now. It's quite late already.")

"Oo. Salamat dito." ("Yes, I will. Thanks for this.")

I smiled again and she answered it with a weak one, but sweet. I felt glad. My heart felt joy... but I remembered the mother and child nearby again. My heart sank because I don't have enough money to buy a sandwich or siopao for them too, and though I've seen someone giving them help already, I cannot shake off my thoughts about them. My heart ached. So I got up and decided to take a peak at them before I leave.

To my surprise, I saw the girl with the hot dog sandwiches sitting beside the mother with the baby, enjoying a whole sandwich by herself while the mother is eating the other one.

My mouth literally hanged open for a few seconds. It took a few moments before everything clicked to me. And then I heard God whisper to me, "Didn't I tell you to stop worrying about them? I've already got them covered."

"But I was just..."

"I know, young one. But you know, I don't expect you to help everyone. Just help the ones that I point out to you. I have provided you enough to help one, and you did."

I was speechless.

"I have provided others to help the others. So stop worrying about everyone--that's my job. Your job is to obey and to trust me. I've already planned your life and their lives. I care for all of you."

And that is how God reminded me tonight that HE IS IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING and that HE IS MINDFUL OF EVERYONE.

That He is sovereign and that nothing is unplanned for Him.

That I am a mere tool for His glorious plans.

I didn't help anyone tonight--God did.
I didn't get to help everyone tonight--God does.


And to my surprise, when I got home, I have a siopao waiting for me. Apparently papa bought one for me this afternoon. I had no idea. It was God's idea.

When mama told me about my siopao, I felt in awe of how God blesses me. Agad-agad!
Iba ka talaga Lord!

Who's next?

Yesterday, Victory held its annual Leader's convergence: Discipleship 2014. It's a once a year gathering of all the Victory group leaders (and potential leaders, too!) to update everyone of the church's overall growth. But most importantly, this once a year event is being held to encourage the leaders to continue to strive for our ultimate goal and mission: to honor God and make disciples.

Last year's convergence was a great experience, but this one's even better! It was held in 15 different locations simultaneously all over Metro Manila (how awesome is that?!). Thank God for technology! Pastor Steve Murell (the founding pastor of Victory in Manila, Philippines) gave us a talk about what we are to do for the next years to come: to continue to honor God and make disciples. Basically, it's what Pastor Steve and her wife Deborah has been doing since they came to the Philippines 30 years ago, and they've cultivated this church with the culture of raising leaders that'll raise another leader to lead the next leaders. It's what's discipleship is: a never-ending chain of leadership with the goal of spreading the Gospel to more and more people. And we'll continue to do that for all the glorious days, months, years, and decades our Lord will bless us with.

I've come up with my own quote from last year's event, 'What wisdom do you have if you do not share it?' For this year, as we continue to live that passing on of the baton virtue, we're now asking, "Who's next?" Who's next that I'll engage with? Who's next that I'll establish the Word on? Who's next that I'll equip to be be the next discipler, just like how God has equipped me? And who's next that I'll empower to go forth and repeat this cycle with the next one, just like how God has empowered me to do to him?

My prayer now is to be able to meet the next person that I'll introduce to the greatest Lover, Teacher, and Friend... soon! :] I actually bought something from the event's special merchandise for my next disciple: this keychain! Ah, yes! I am this much excited for the next one, praying for her, buying her gifts, and all! *giggles*

[ Oh, and that book? It's Pastor Steve's latest one: 100 YEARS FROM NOW. It's not yet available here in the Philippines. Only the ones who attended Discipleship 2014 has a copy. And we got it for free! Can't wait to indulge this book! ]
Visit Victory's recap article about Discipleship 2014 here!

You may also go to discipleship.ph to get awesome Victory group materials for free!


This year, I've participated again in our church's prayer and fasting week. Our main topic for 2014 is to fight the good fight of faith. It focuses on the verses that chronicled the components of the armor and weapon that every Christian must wear--the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of spirit.

As we concluded the prayer and fasting, I've got a new-found appreciation for the Word. I find the last piece of our battle suit to be the most powerful above all: the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. I justify that conclusion with this simple thought that I had during the prayer and fasting: all the other pieces are from the Word!

I've already encountered these verses (Ephesians 6:10-17) on one of my personal bible reading sessions. I can't recall exactly when that was, but I remember being in awe of the Word--of how specific it can actually get and how beautifully written it actually is. I was just new with my faith then, and almost everything in the Bible either leaves me with a smile on my face or tears in my eyes. Up to this day, the Word still does that to me.

It's almost next to impossible not to be moved and be struck by God's word. If you aren't, then you haven't fully understood what you've just read. You haven't dug your Bible so deep that you got lost in the midst of God's glorious wonders. You haven't appreciated your Lord and Savior yet.

Without knowing the Word, we won't even know what we'll need to protect, how to be ready for the battle, and why we have to put this armor on all the time. Ultimately, it is only through seeking God can we equip ourselves to fight the enemy. And that is to be done through studying the Word. The Bible is our ultimate guide and most reliable resource in order to have a deeper understanding of God's true nature, His power above all, and His beautiful promises to us.

The word of God are so many things to us: it is our foundation, our daily bread, our life map, our virtue manual, our life coach, our companion, our weapon. It is our friend and companion. It is God Himself (John 1:1). By that alone, you can not not feel closer to our greatest Lover while reading His word. You are reading Him.

But you can't just read Him--you need to understand Him! Plant the Word deep into your heart as you read it and meditate on its message. Seek help if you're having difficulties interpreting it. It is a true delight to one's heart once he got to decipher God's messages of love for him, I tell you. It's one of the most intimate 'bonding time' that you could ever have with our Father. With praying, we let Him hear our hearts... but with reading His word, we let Him speak to our hearts.

Truly knowing the Word means truly knowing God. And truly knowing God means being truly ready to face and crush the enemy. Anytime, anywhere.

Let's get it on!


Did you pray and fast for this year, too? Share with me your experiences and reflections! You may also share your faith goals to me and I'd gladly pray for you and with you.

Special thanks to Victory for organizing our prayer and fasting week very well!
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