Saturday, October 31, 2015

Conquer Your Fears, Failures and the Future

What is your Fear? Are you afraid of the dark?
Frightened to take risks because of the fear of failure?
Scared of the uncertainties of the future?

Darkness is oftentimes associated with nasty monsters, creepy villains, and scary demons. Fear of the dark frequently is rooted from childhood experiences.

Fear of failures is one of the major reasons why even a very capable employee would not volunteer for an upcoming Project. He would rather choose to be silent and would just go with the flow, hoping that someday his manager would just suddenly notice him and appoint him to lead a Project.

A saying goes like this, "No one knows what the future holds." That is an accurate statement! Really, no one could predict exactly what the future may bring. These uncertainties might cause anxiety and fear to creep into you slowly every day, if not addressed properly.

How should you respond to your Fears, Failures, and the Future?

Maloi Malibiran-Salumbides, a Radio Announcer of 702 DZAS (FEBC Philippines), wrote in her article in "Protips" on July 29, 2014 Tips on How to Conquer Your Fears, Failures and the Future.

1. The best way to respond to your fears is this: Face Everything And Rise. Napakaraming uri ng phobia. May takot maligo, ang tawag diyan ay ablutophobia. Alam mo bang mayroon ding may takot na yumaman ang tawag naman sa phobia na iyan ay plutophobia. Ang takot naman na matuto ay may sophophobia. Many of our fears are irrational pero may mga takot din naman na bunga ng traumatic na karanasan. Kung pababayaan mo ang iyong takot na ma-overpower ka, marami kang mami-miss na opportunities sa iyong trabaho. Maraming magagandang karanasan ang hindi mo masusubukan. Kaya, face your fears and rise above them. There are different kinds of phobia.
2. The best way to respond to failures: Learn from them and move-on. Marami na tayong inspiration dito. Nariyan si Manny Pacquiao na ilang beses ng natalo sa laban pero palagi pa rin bumabangon, natututo buhat sa kanyang pagkatalo at nagwawaging muli. Mistakes can be our best teachers. Conquering our failures can be our best accomplishment. Pagdating sa failure, learn from them, try again and move-on.
3. The best way to respond to the uncertainties of the future: Be still and learn to trust. Magtiwala sa Diyos na nakaaalam kung ano ang nasa hinaharap. Magtiwala din sa iyong team na makakatulong mo sa iyong trabaho. Magtiwala sa iyong sarili at sa mga karanasan at kakayahang ibinigay sa iyo ng Diyos. Sabi nga ng awit, "I don't know about tomorrow but I know who holds my hand." Kung ang Diyos ang iyong pinagkakatiwalaan, kahit ang mga bagay na hindi mo alam ay di dapat maging dahilan upang mangamba.

But don't you know that there is a healthy kind of fear?

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;    fools despise wisdom and instruction." - Proverbs 1:7

If you fear the Lord, the Creator of everything, you won't need to be afraid of any created thing.

Even if you fail, you know that "all things work together for the good of those who love God..."

And though you are not certain of what the future holds, you are sure who holds the future - the One who is the Beginning and the End, Jesus Christ, and He promised to never leave you nor forsake you.

God's amazing grace is calling upon you, lay down your fears unto Jesus, by faith acknowledge that you need Him. Turn away from your sins. The truth is, we all do need God.

© 2015 Erickson Ibana

 Image found using Google Image Search: "fear"

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What Satisfies You?

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” - Paulo Coelho

What satisfies you? What is your treasure? What is your greatest desire?

Will you really be happy when you attain these:

  • Money? (unending passive income)
  • Real Estate Properties? (luxurious house and lot)
  • Fame? (be a star in a movie)
  • Relationship? (the most beautiful/loving person in the world as your special someone)

Given the chance to experience each of the above, let's examine if it is indeed the endless source of joy in your life...


It was once said that it's "money that makes the world go round!" You use money to buy your basic needs: food, clothes, a decent house; and even for the not-so-basic ones like pleasurable moments watching the movie. What if you revolve your world around money? Will it really satisfy you? How ironic that a great number of depression and suicide cases are from the wealthy!

Real Estate Properties

Wouldn't you be happy if you have your own house and lot? You do not need to rent. You are secured both from the heat of the sun and the coldness of the storm. Imagine you have several world-class mansions on a thousand-hectare land! You sleep on the softest bed, with the most comfortable pillows. But really, could this make you satisfied? How come there were times that even the softest bed and the most comfortable pillows could not grant you the precious sleep that you desire?


Just within 24 hours, you gained a 39.5-million tweet popularity. From a common television watcher, you became the star - the actor to be watched at. Several commercial and movie contracts line up at your doors! But, would the applause and admiration of the crowd really satisfy your heart? Sadly, a number of movie and theater personalities committed suicide. Amidst the wonderment and appreciation of their myriad fans, they still felt lonely.


It really is a pleasure to have such loving wife! Your marriage is on a constant up-and-down, but you both still manage to make each other happy. Plus you have the most beautiful lady in your arms, it seems you are in heaven whenever you are with her, and you could not ask for anything more! Unfortunately, life turns in an unexpected event, you learned that she has a terminal cancer and she only have less than a year to live. Could you still say that you are satisfied and joyful?


My friend, most of the times, reality strikes in the most unexpected way. And the truth is that everything will soon pass away. Money could be lost in a one-day stay at the casino. Your house could be burned down instantly with a leak in the gas pipe. A simple act of scandal could ruin a reputation overnight. A one-night-stand causing an illicit affair could destroy a family.

It is interesting that the Bible, even if it was written thousands of years back, is still relevant to the modern age!

In John Chapter 4, there is this Samaritan woman who came to draw water from the well. Jesus asked for a drink. Then Jesus turned the conversation from the simple water from the well towards the "Living Water" that can really satisfy the longing of the heart.

Then Jesus asked the woman to bring her husband. Why do you think, of all He would ask, it was her husband? Because the deepest desire of that woman was to satisfy her heart with relationship. In fact, she already had five husbands, and the one she is with her now is not her husband!

Jesus Christ knows the deepest longing of the Samaritan woman's heart, and He knows yours too! Are you trying to fill in your heart with acquiring money, properties, fame, relationship, or any other things? Jesus said to the woman:

“Everyone who drinks of this water [the physical and temporary, things of this world] will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him [Jesus Christ Himself as the Living Water] will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” - John 4:13-15

Friend, only Jesus Christ can really satisfy your heart. Everything will soon pass away. Talk to Him today, surrender your life, and desire for Him. Treasure Jesus Christ in your heart, and find joy in Him.

"God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him." - John Piper

© 2015 Erickson Ibana

Image found using Google Image Search: "heart" and "treasure"

Monday, January 26, 2015

3 Things to Know About Passion

What drives your passion? Are you passionate on what you do? Or are you the typical just-go-with-the-flow guy who just wants to finish the day to go home and rest?

There is so much about PASSION that we oftentimes neglect, things that we might know already. For many, it is just a word to describe the feeling when you are so hooked into a television series, sports, or even the arts.

And when it comes to life-size Art paintings, perhaps the Sistine Chapel contains the best among all of the art works. As Wikipedia describes it:

"The composition stretches over 500 square metres of ceiling, and contains over 300 figures."

But what makes it more interesting is the person who painted all of the 300 life-size figures. While he was doing his work, he was asked why was he putting on so much effort on painting those images on corner parts of the ceiling where no one could ever notice them. His answer was remarkable:

"God will see."

The artist was Michaelangelo. HowStuffWorks describes his work as:

"Working on scaffolding was physically demanding, and Michelangelo created image after image on an ever increasing scale. He eventually exerted all the power of his mind and spirit, using themes and motifs from past sculptural works in his glorious fresco masterpiece. The four-year ordeal proved physically and emotionally agonizing for the reluctant artist."

How can a person do such a marvelous thing! Could it be that Michaelangelo found the secret to unleash his passion?

The Book of Colossians (Chapter 3; Verses 23 to 24) tells us to:

"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."

3 Things to Know about Passion

1. The Scope: "Whatever you do..."

This encompasses almost all of the things that you do - washing the dishes, reading a book, walking out on a cold morning for your exercise, etc. This also involves the work that you have - may it be as a teacher, an engineer, a housekeeper, a bookkeeper, a store owner, or a store keeper, etc. In short, the scope is everything that is on your reach to accomplish.

2. The Attitude: "Work heartily..."

In order to know how it is to work with all of your heart, first let us look at working halfheartedly. Have you seen someone do a task that you ask them to do halfheartedly? Isn't it that you feel that he could do even much more if he had just done it wholeheartedly? What would you feel if he did it with all of his heart? Great, isn't it? That's how to work with all of your heart. You give out all that you can, all that is from within, to complete the work. But this will be hard if you will not know the third secret.

3. The Source: " for the Lord and not for men."

The truth is, you cannot please everyone no matter how hard you try. Every person is unique. Every person has his own likes and dislikes. And that includes your boss, your workmates, your friends, your neighbors, your family. So instead of putting all of your effort to please men, focus on pleasing God.

But this will not mean anything to you unless you have a personal relationship with Him already. The Bible says that it is SIN that separates man from God:

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." - Romans 3:23

And with SIN, we will be forever be separated from God:

"For the wages of sin is death (into hell separated from God in eternity), but the free gift of God is eternal life (to be with God in eternity) in Christ Jesus our Lord (Jesus the only way, the truth and the life)." - Romans 6:23 (parenthesis phrases mine)

You will not understand how to work for the Lord unless you know the Lord of whom you will be working for. But the good news is: God longs for you to call upon Him and to surrender your life unto Him. Turn away from your sinful lifestyle. As John 1:12 says:

"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."

You call unto Jesus Christ, surrender your life unto Him and make Him your Lord and Savior. He will give you the passion that you wish to have.

© 2015 Erickson Ibana

Images found using Google Image Search: "passion" and "col 3:23"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

3 Remarkable Attitudes Leading unto Complete Obedience

I think you would agree with me that for something that you love the most, you would spend most of your time for it, right?

You would think about it most of the time.
You would not let it slip away from your attention.
You would do things, sometimes weird things, to nurture it.
You would cherish every moment being with it.
You would wrap your arms around it as tight as possible, to ensure that it is safe.

But what if one day, God would ask you to give it up to Him, to surrender it unto His feet, would you obey?

Abraham encountered this same scenario. After 25 years of waiting for a son, finally he and Sarah had a son - Isaac! Abraham was already 100 years old by that time. Imagine how joyful his heart might have been! Imagine how Abraham did everything to nurture him, to make sure that he would grow up into a great man.

But one day, God asked Abraham to surrender up his son, Isaac, and that would mean losing his one and only son! Here is what we could learn from Abraham's reactions.

3 Remarkable Attitudes Leading unto Complete Obedience

1. Total Surrender: Does not withhold what he loves most
When asked by God to give up his long-awaited son, Abraham obeyed. Abraham surrendered unto God's will for his life by not holding too tightly on to who he loves the most - his son. He did not question God for His reasons. Abraham just obeyed.

"Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.' 
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac." - Genesis 22:2-3

What are you holding on so dearly, that has already taken up the place of God in your heart? Have you been in a situation already that it seems your life is already revolving around it?

A special someone?
Dreams and Aspirations?
Hunger for Success?
Devotions to friends?
Craving for acceptance from others?
Desire to be loved by someone?

Please don't get me wrong, most on the list are not bad at all. But, if it has already been your "god", then you will be utterly ruined if it has been taken away from you - either by natural death or taken by someone else!

Do you know why did God want you to make Him the center of your life? It is because He will not die at all, or He cannot be taken away from you by someone else, EXCEPT for SIN. It is the ONLY thing that could separate you from God. But if you have surrendered everything unto Him, including those SINFUL things that you do, and accept Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life, He will come into your life and be with you!

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:38-39
2. Confident Trust: Trusts that God will provide
Abraham did have a confidence in God trusting that when He asked for something, He will provide for it!

"Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, 'Father?' 'Yes, my son?' Abraham replied. 'The fire and wood are here,' Isaac said, 'but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?' Abraham answered, 'God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.' - Genesis 22:6-8

Has worry eaten you up already? Have you been dragged down already by life's hardships and trials?

Abraham confidently trusted God for provisions, showing his desire to constantly run unto God for all and his every need. And you can confidently trust Jesus Christ too!

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

3. Expectant Hope: Believes that God keeps His promises
When Abraham was about to strike his son, Isaac, as the offering sacrifice, God stopped him.

"The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, 'I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.'” - Genesis 22:15-18

Abraham believed that, NO MATTER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN, God will keep His promise when He said that his descendants will be as many as the stars, even if it means that his son, Isaac, will be offered up.

And he was not forsaken after all! Abraham DID BECOME the FATHER OF ALL NATIONS through ISAAC!

Renew your hope on Jesus Christ and His promises, His love never fails!

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'' - Lamentations 3:22-24

© 2014 Erickson Ibana

Image found using Google Image Search: "cartoon Jesus girl with a teddy bear"

Thursday, November 13, 2014

3 Reasons Why Not to be Overwhelmed by Life's Storms

It is very relaxing to just look at the ocean from the shore. It brings back my memories when I would just sit back, with my feet dug down in the sand, watch as the waves go back and forth, and listen to the gentle noise of the sea.

It is quite interesting that these tiny waves could turn into monstrous ones when a storm comes, and it is not relaxing to see at all - it is overwhelmingly terrifying!

How ironic that we, most of the times, find it "amusing" to watch over those monstrous killer waves. How? We have been like Peter in the Bible. Matthew 14:25-30a narrates:

"And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink..."

What are these "gigantic waves" that could easily distract us, and eventually sink us into anxiety, depression, or fear?

Those are anything or anyone that we regard higher than God in our life's priority!

  • Career
  • Love Life
  • Family
  • Money
  • Success
  • Friends
It is very heart-breaking when the time comes that these things would fall right before your very eyes. It seems to you that you've completely lost it all.

But there is good news! Peter's story does not end there, Matthew 14:30-32 completes the story:

"But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, 'Lord, save me.' Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?' And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased."

These are something that we could learn from Peter.

3 Reasons Why Not to be Overwhelmed by Life's Storms

1. Recognize that God owns you.

When you've seen how sinful you are and have turned back from your sinful lifestyle, surrendered your life unto Jesus and accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, you have been "adopted" as a child of God! It is not based on your good works, or anything that you could give but it is based entirely on what Jesus has done on the cross. Jesus died, was buried, and lived again after three days, to prove that anyone who would put his trust on Jesus Christ will be saved - saved from his sins! From this point forward, you are His child!

May this truth sink deep in your heart - you are God's child, by His grace through your faith in Jesus Christ! If you have not made this decision yet, Jesus Christ is knocking at the door of your heart. Surrender unto Him, and let Him be the Lord and Savior of your life.

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

2. Acknowledge that God is in control.

Let's not forget that Peter is a fisherman. I think there is no fisherman who does not even know how to swim! But what did Peter do when he was starting to sink? He cried to Jesus for help!

When it seems everything is falling apart, be comforted in the truth that God is still in control.
Joseph, the Dreamer, said this unto his brothers (the ones who sold him to Egypt as a slave), even after experiencing so many evil and painful things. Joseph kept in his mind that despite every hurt and pain, God is in control!

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” - Genesis 50:20

3. Remind yourself that God knows best!

Instead of swimming away from Jesus and towards the boat, Peter cried out to Jesus to save him. Peter knew that Jesus knows best and only He can save him, especially at that moment.

It may seem unclear today, but always keep in mind that God knows the best! In the end, His great plan will prevail. So, do not lose heart!

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28
© 2014 Erickson Ibana

With special thanks to Pastor Willie Basilio, head pastor of Marikina Christian Fellowship, for the 3 points he shared with me. God bless you, Pastor!

Image found using Google Image Search: "overwhelmed by waves"