One phrase that is often said to me whenever I counsel someone is “I feel far from Jesus.” or “I don’t feel God anymore.” …or some other statement along those lines. Let’s establish this before anything else: God IS with us. If we have put our trust in Jesus’ work on the cross, His word says that God is within us. So the next question becomes, “If God is with me always, how come I don’t feel Him?”

Here, let’s take a look at these verses in Matthew 28:18-20 (which is the GREAT commission by the way, the last words of Jesus to His disciples). We would notice that Jesus promised that SURELY He IS with us ALWAYS, to the very end of the age. He didn’t say, on good days He will be with us, or perhaps if He’s in a better mood or if He’s less busy He just might drop by and hang out with us— He said SURELY He IS with us ALWAYS.

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

But again, to answer the question, “But how come I don’t feel Him?,” let’s go back one verse. “Therefore GO and MAKE DISCIPLES….” This precedes “And surely I am with you always.”  And this comes right after Jesus declared that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. This means that the answer to our yearning of God and His presence is directly tied to our obedience to His command, “Go and make disciples.”

This also means that our experience of God’s power is not for our amusement, but for the advancement of His kingdom and His purposes. When we look at all the miracles in the Bible, when we look at all the times that God showed up in a tangible way in the Bible, it was when His people were exercising their faith by going, witnessing, and making disciples.

In short, Jesus’ solution for us to “feel God” or experience more of Him and His power is by thinking less of ourselves and going out of our comfort zones— so others can experience more of God and His power through us. I say this is a pretty fair deal. We go, He does. We go, He shows His power. We go, He will be with us. We go, He will use us. We go, He will amaze us. He has promised, where ever we go, He goes with us. He is with us. His power is made available for us.

And the amazing thing thing about this power is this: it is his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 1:19-20, NLT)

I say this is a VERY good deal. Now go.

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Don’t play favorites. Don’t compare. Appreciate your child’s uniqueness. Every child is special.

We all know these things. And as well-meaning parents, we do try to guard our hearts from comparisons. As loving parents, we remind ourselves that our children are different from one another, and that each of them will bloom and develop at their own pace.

And then there’s a party. Or we have guests over. Or our schedules are tight and we are behind on our lessons or homework. Or we talk to other parents and they tell us how wonderfully-behaved and how “advanced” their children are. Or we see for ourselves how well-behaved and “advanced” that other kid is, and then we turn to see that our child chooses to act up at the most inconvenient time. We try to talk some sense into him/her, but he/she just won’t listen.

Perhaps we are doing it all wrong.

Or maybe my child needs a little motivation.

Don’t compare. Every child is unique and special.

But they’re just too different.

Maybe a little pep talk won’t hurt.

And because we are too caught up in our desire to make them act the way we want them to act, or accomplish what we want them to accomplish, we think, “Maybe if I give my child a point of reference or an example, he/she would get the point more….”

And then it comes out.

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“Look at *insert name of other kid here* o, he/she is obeying his/her mom.”

I know it is good to find examples for our children to emulate. But there is a way to communicate this to them– that we can all learn from each other– without giving our children the feeling that they do not measure up, or that one kid is better than the other.

 

“Wow *insert name of other kid here*! You’re such a good boy/girl for *insert the thing that your child refuses to do*!” (Saying this right in front of your child)

Like I said, it is good to find examples we want our children to follow, but if it is with the heart that says, “Oh how I wish you would start shaping up and acting that way, too!” — it will come out in our tone of voice (our words, even). Our children are more discerning than we think.

 

“You know, when *insert sibling’s name here* was your age, she/he was already able to do this.”

Children develop at their own pace. Just because the books say “At this age, your child should be able to….” doesn’t mean we could go around pressuring our children of what they should already know how to do.

 

“You know what would make me reeeeaaallllyy happy? If you *insert child’s performance here* . And you know, every time you __________, it makes me reeeaaalllyyy sad.”

It’s good to be honest about our feelings, but it’s another thing to put the burden of making mom/dad feel okay on our little ones. We are responsible for our own feelings. Our responses are completely in our hands. Besides, we don’t want to give our children the impression that our acceptance of them is based on their performance.

 

“You’re already _____ years old. You should’ve known better/ you should know better.”

Most of the time, they don’t know any better. That’s why we are here to teach them. Or sometimes, they do know it in their heads, but emotionally, they are unable to translate what they know and apply it.  We want to be careful not to shame our children for not knowing any better.


What we say is important. But more than what we say, the spirit and heart behind the things we say matter more.  In our efforts to motivate our children, we have to be careful that we don’t manipulate them by comparing them to someone else, or to some accepted norm. We want  to be careful that what they hear is our unconditional love and acceptance, not our frustration.

So help us, God.

 

 

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photo: www.redthreadmagazine.com


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Here’s a guest blog from my husband Dennis for today’s post (Weee!!!). Insular Life got in touch with us and I thought, “Who better to talk about financial planning than the author of Rich for Life himself??” (Hehe… You didn’t see that shameless plug coming, did you?)

rich for life thammiesy.com

 

One of the challenges we face as parents is to save up for our future. We live in a generation that loves to consume rather than produce. What that means is that most of the money we earn, we spend.

Let me share to you three tips that I shared in my book Rich for Life:

1. Give every peso a name.

All the money that goes in our family has a designated assignment. Whether it is grocery money, insurance, or education. In our family, there are no surplus. Every peso feels right at home.

2. Don’t try to get rich, BE RICH. 

The world tells us to acquire more money. Get rich quick, get rich whatever it takes. When you read the Bible you see that God doesn’t want us to get rich, God wants us to BE RICH. Our being is more important than just getting rich now. Those who are really rich are not controlled by money. They actually control the money.

3. Prepare for your future.

Have a plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

The problem with this is that a lot of families are not able to send their kids to school because they are not prepared.

One of the things we value as a family is our kids education. Thammie and I decided that education is a premium in our family. Both Thammie and I are products of families that value education.

Early on, our parents saved and invested so that they could send us to the best schools in our country. I am grateful to have parents who had the foresight to save up and share with us what they valued  by sending us to school.

Now as a parent, I am seeing the sacrifice one parent must make to send their kids to school. With the high rise of tuition fees, it is no small matter to send our kids to school. And with the recent positive change in our education system (k12), parents have to all the more have a financial plan so their kids can get quality education in the future.

Thammie and I were so glad when we heard that Insular life was offering an Education Package that is K12 ready. By availing of Insular Life’s Education Package, parents are able to partner with a very reputable and solid company life Insular life to guarantee their kids’ future. As an Insular Life customer, you have the confidence of being protected by a company with a consolidated asset base of P89.6 billion, revenues of P18.1 billion, net income of P3.2 billion and total business-in-force of P219.2 billion as of year-end 2012.

Final Training Material for IL Educ Packages _Somoms_ Confidential-page-001

Here are some of Insular Life’s Product Support:

1. Disciplined savings

Plan for your child’s future in a systematic way. It is designed to help you save up  regularly whether annually, semi-annually, quarterly or monthly. In the case of windfalls,  add to your policy to build a much bigger fund.

This is something I shared in my book Rich for Life. Every time money comes; you need to give it a name. No peso should be unnamed. Since we had our first daughter, we decided to set aside a certain percentage of our income to our kids need and later on to their education.

2. Flexibility

Insular Life’s education packages provide various paying period schemes. You can choose to save significantly over a short period, spread out your savings longer  or continuously save into the policy until your child graduates. After all, any amount  left in the policy is still yours to use for your child’s further studies or other financial needs in the future, such as your retirement funding.

3. Fund growth

This plan gives you the opportunity to gain better yields, depending on your risk appetite.

4. Continuing education

This provides a death benefit equal to the sum insured plus the fund value. The sum insured is at least 500% of your annual premium. This provides the assurance that whatever happens to you, your child’s education can be provided for, regardless of  market performance.

 

To know more about Insular Life’s Education package you can contact them:

Telephone No.: (02) 582-1818

Fax No.:?(02) 771-1717

Email: inquiry@insular.com.ph

Website: www.insularlife.com.ph

This is a sponsored post by Insular Life.

 


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Since we have been fortunate enough to be part of Oreo’s #bettertogether campaign, we’ve been enjoying a whole lot of Oreos at home. The kids have been getting Oreo “surprise treats” in between their schoolwork, and our guests have been getting a taste of Oreo’s newest Prime berry flavor whenever we invite them over at home.

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Our pantry’s current contents– ang saya!!!

Two weeks ago, Oreo invited us to watch Transformers 4, where they launched their new flavors, Prime Berry (blueberry ice cream flavor) and Action Fruit Creme (orange ice cream flavor). Since then, Alyanna has been claiming that Transformers is her new “most favorite movie”. I guess you could say that this particular version was the more kid-friendly one. I could imagine the previous Transformer movies were much too exciting for her age.

New oreo flavors

We love these  new flavors! :)

Anyway, this weekend, we decided to do a family activity that revolved around Oreos and Transformers. Part of the Oreo #bettertogether campaign is the #OreoTransform project, which is a challenge you and your family can do together using the Oreo DIT (Do It Together) App. Not only will this be a fun bonding activity for the family (who doesn’t like having an excuse to eat AND play with Oreos, right??)– but you may also get a chance to win movie passes for two (for any movie) PLUS an Oreo gift pack! I will share the mechanics at the end of this post, so do read on, my fellow Oreo-lovers. :)

Alright, let the pictures do the talking first.

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Halata bang we haven’t even taken a bath yet?? Heehee!  It’s all good though– no ligo for a more “breakfast activity” feel!

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Ready…Get set…

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Go!!!

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A family that eats Oreo together…

….gets sugar rush together! :)

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We learned about Pablo Picasso for art class this week. I think it’s brilliant that Mika chose to do a Picasso-inspired “cubist” collage– using the colors of the Transformer robots.

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Here’s her inspiration.

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And here’s her finished work.

Uh….the Oreo is supposed to represent a robot’s eye daw– Picasso style!

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Alyanna decided to make an Optimus Prime truck.

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Dennis took this activity quite seriously, he wouldn’t even let me borrow the scissors ha! :)

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This was Dennis and Alyanna’s #bettertogether attempt to make Bumblebee’s face with Oreos. The Prime Berry Oreos were perfect for Bumblebee’s eyes! (Too bad we didn’t have black markers here where we were staying for the weekend.)

Finally, here’s evidence of Isaiah’s contribution in this activity:

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Just for fun, or for something to do with the family over the weekend, why not join the #OreoTransform project and potentially win movie tickets and Oreo gift packs?? Here are the mechanics:

  1. Download the Oreo DIT (Do It Together) app on iTunes or Android. (Registration on the app is also required.)
  2. Create a Transformers-related activity with your family. (Example: Build a robot/trucks with Oreos, reenact a scene, strike a Transformers pose….anything! The kids were actually better at coming up with original ideas!)
  3. Add and save the activity you created in the memory book of the Oreo DIT app.
  4. Add a caption, share it on Twitter and tag @thammiesy and @OreoPH, and use the hashtag #OreoTransform. (Please make sure your account is set to Public so your entry can be viewed.)

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  • You may submit multiple entries. However, each Twitter account may only win once.
  • The six most creative valid entries (chosen by the Oreo team) will win two movie passes each (no expiration date and valid for all Ayala cinemas, for any movie) PLUS Oreo gift packs.
  • All winners will be notified by @OreoPH through Twitter mention. (If you’re one of the chosen ones, please send a direct message to the @OreoPH account with your complete name, mailing address, and contact number.)
  • This contest is open to all, and runs until August 15, 2014.

 

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http://www.oreotransformers4.com/ 

oreo transformers


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Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.

One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”

“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?”  He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.

Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!”

Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”

Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before.  So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy.  So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.

And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

(1 Samuel 3)

Here are some reminders/notes we can get from this passage as we parent our children.

“Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.”

“….Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”

This sounds somewhat like the world we live in now. It may seem as if compared to all the other things that compete for our attention (and that of our children’s), hearing God and seeing what He is doing presents a bit of a challenge.

But God is at work among our young people and our children, and He desires to show himself to them. The question is, are we making it easier for our children to know God?  Are we preparing them for those “suddenly” moments when they would encounter God?

“Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before.”

When God speaks to my child, will I be keen enough to discern it and sharp enough to help him/her identify God’s voice?

“Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”

“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?”  He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!”

Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

Am I training my children to be ATTENTIVE to God’s voice?

The best way to train our children in this area is by training them to pay attention to our voice. When we speak, do they know they need to stop and listen? Do they know what it means to honor God and others by paying attention?

Am I training my children in FIRST-TIME OBEDIENCE?

First- time obedience requires us to first be attentive– and then respond joyfully, immediately, and completely. Getting up and obeying or responding only when we feel like it is not obedience as the Bible describes it. We don’t obey only when it’s convenient for us. In the same breath, delayed obedience is disobedience.

Samuel could’ve easily given an excuse that he was too tired, or that it was past his bedtime already– but he honored Eli (and God) by having an attitude of obedience that was shown in how he quickly responded…even if he had to get up over and over again.

And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

Do our children know how to respond to God’s call? In a world that cries out “Look at me! Listen to me! I want this! I want that!” ….Do our children understand that ultimately, we are all here to honor God and fulfill His purposes for our lives?

More than teaching our kids to respond this way, do they see us responding this way? Do we know how to listen– really listen? Do they see that we are willing to forego our agenda and embrace God’s plans?

Our ultimate goal in training our children in attentiveness and obedience is not for our own convenience. It is not so that we will not have a hard time in getting them to finish their schoolwork or so we can order them around. The reason why we put a premium on attentiveness and obedience is for them to learn to pay attention to God and obey Him.

 

Lord, help us to pay attention and have hearts that are submitted to you. We know that we cannot impart what we do not have–and that even if we try to teach these things to our children, if we ourselves are not paying attention to what you are saying and doing– it will be fruitless. Lord, we acknowledge that ultimately, it is you who holds our children’s hearts. Please reveal yourself to them and speak to them. And please give us the ability to be quick to recognize your work in their lives, and the ability to teach them how to respond immediately…and respond well. May it be that in our homes, your word will be a common thing that we constantly listen to and hear. 

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photo credit: biblecartoon.blogspot.com


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