Our house or God’s house?


While reading through my bible this morning, I was reminded of a deep and moving message that Law, one of our connect group friends, shared with us a few weeks ago.

It was the story of how the prophet Haggai challenged the people of Israel who just returned to their own land Judea, with regards to setting their prioritities. Basically they all started building their own houses instead of building the temple of God who led them back to their land in the first place.

“Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.””

‭‭Haggai‬ ‭1:3-6‬ ‭NIV‬

As the story goes, their actions caused them to live a life of unmet needs and with shortage of provision.

I reflected on this in my own life and really challenged myself, “am I building God’s house or am I simply looking after my own needs”? This could be very confronting for many Christians especially those who are overflowing with provisions. Don’t get me wrong though, I believe God takes delight in blessing His people. But I also believe that He looks after us in higher ways than just to give us our daily bread. More than this, I believe that He is in a mission to make us more and more like Christ. And this includes encouraging us to look after His kingdom prior to looking after ourselves.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33 NIV

The comforting part of the story is that after the Israelites have had a change of heart and decided to put rebuilding God’s house first before building their own, not only did God strengthen them to do so, but also promised to pour upon them blessings that were far greater than what they had before.

“‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares The Lord Almighty.”

‭‭Haggai‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Today let us really look into ourselves and be honest, whose house are we building? Are we experiencing lack because we’ve been too busy filling it with our own efforts? Perhaps it’s time to examine God’s temple in our lives and start building it. God bless you.

Gold instead of Bronze

“Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. 

Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. 

I will make peace your governor and well-being your ruler.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭60:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A couple of days ago (the first day of 2016), I highlighted this scripture while reading the book of Isaiah. And since then I couldn’t stop thinking and reflecting about it.

I’m certain that it’s everyone’s prayer this new year to be blessed and abundant. Who wouldn’t want to be? With all the chaos that overclouds the world today, there’s nothing better to have than God’s favour on your side.

During our church visit on New Year’s Eve, I couldn’t count the number of times when I asked for Jesus’ blood to cover every area of my life, including all of my loved ones. I did this because His blood is the most potent protection that one could ever be covered on. And because His blood is the atoning sacrifice that exchanges our sinfulness with His heavenly abundance.

The next day however, after reading Isaiah 60:17, God revealed to me that His blessing goes beyond giving us what we ask for. He spoke to me about not just going from “strength to strength” but also from “strength to GREATER strength”. So while the world requires us to have a constant supply of bronze in order to survive, God promises us gold in order to thrive in His glorious abundance.

Therefore this year, my prayer is that God will extend His mighty arms of grace upon our lives (and upon all of our loved ones) and bless us exceedingly beyond what we ask for and imagine.

Because not only does He give us a crown of glory instead of ashes (Isa 61:3), He also turns our bronze into gold by magnifying our blessings to a point where our reaction suddenly becomes one of endless praises and worship.

An abundantly blessed New Year to all!

We’ll go for it later

Not too long ago, I was reminded of a simple yet very important lesson in life – to wait for God… here’s the story.

I was waiting to cross a major highway on my way home when a middle-aged man joined me in waiting for the pedestrian lights to turn green. He was with his 8-year-old-ish son who was merrily playing with his bouncy ball. His father had tried to warn him that his ball might slip off his hand but he was persistently playful. Soon enough, the child missed to catch the ball as it bounced off the ground, and it went rolling to the middle of the road – right smack into a small crater. 


With cars speeding at an unforgiving speed, I stared in anticipation of when the ball might get run over and crushed. In an instant, I saw the kid attempting to chase it despite the speeding cars in front of him. I tried to grab him but his father quickly reacted and pulled him back faster than I can move an inch. With tears welling in his son’s eyes, the dad gently said, “Hold it son, we’ll go for it later.”

As soon as the pedestrian lights turned green, the two slowly approached the ball and grabbed it, completely unharmed – both them and the ball.

It’s incredible how a simple event can resonate so deeply within you. At that same moment I was feeling deflated due to an opportunity that I lost because of circumstances outside of my control. In fact, minutes earlier as I approached the pedestrian crossing, I was asking God why He withheld something from me when it felt like I fully deserved it. The story of the child and his dad could not have answered my doubts any better. In my heart I heard God say to me, “Hold it son, we’ll go for it later”. Two months later, the same opportunity came knocking and I was able to grab it, causing me to give much more glory to God!

The bible says, 

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” 

Habakkuk 2:3

No matter how strongly we want to grab or achieve something, it is best to wait for The Lord. Because it is only in His appointed time can we cross the road in strength and safety. God could have been saving me from a serious disaster when He pulled me back from grabbing the first opportunity when it came.

Similarly, we may have let something slip off our hands due to our own own stubbornness, and has brought us serious regrets – so much so that we are willing to trade anything just to get it back. But just as Peter, after denying Jesus three times, had been re-instated by the resurrected Christ Himself as The Rock by which His church will be built, we too can have full confidence that He will give back to us what we lost. If only we fully trust in Him, and obey His commands to be still and patiently wait for Him.

“but those who hope in The Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬ 

When it rains, it pours. So just wait.

Tonight I went home slightly drenched with rainwater but soaking with an important lesson in life.

I walk a good half kilometer from my office to the train station. On normal occassions, I go home around 5:00, but tonight I had to stay back to work on my quickly growing to-do list. It was already dark, which was a first for me, I’m not used to having the sunlight escort me home.

As I made it halfway through my usual walk path, I felt a drop of water hit my face. I thought it was just the corner cafe’s exhaust system playing up so I carried on with not much of a hurry. A couple of steps later, I felt another drop, this time much bigger than the first, and then another. Because the sky was already dark, I couldn’t really tell if it was going to rain or if my mind was just tired from the day’s work.

Just when I thought that I was only imagining things, down came a sudden, heavy rain. Thankfully, I happened to be passing by a covered garage door where I immediately took shelter.

Moments passed and I was still standing there, waiting for the rain to stop. I knew I should have brought my umbrella with me.

So I waited for another five minutes, and then another… but the rain did not show any sign of surrender. And so with faith as bold as my urge to get home soon, I prayed for the rain to stop.

In an instant, the once raging downpour had become more gentle (God’s miracles are real!). Immediately I knew that I had to run, otherwise the rain might get stronger again. So I sprinted my way to the train station.

I was running so fast that I stepped on a deep puddle of water and soaked my leather shoes and pants. The rain was still gently pouring so my suit and bag were also starting to get drenched. “This is still better than battling through that really heavy downpour,” I kept convincing myself.

When I got to the train station, the rain had completely stopped. And it didn’t rain for another ten minutes. I felt that God was telling me, “You asked for Me to stop the rain, so I did. But you were expecting less than a miracle, so you have not fully received my blessing when it happened”.

Indeed, I could have waited for another couple of minutes until the rain had stopped completely, walked slowly as I would have on rainless weather, and arrived at the station completely dry. But my stubbornness had caused me to grab the early signs of the miracle as if it was the miracle, and tried to help God answer my prayer. Today I realised that it doesn’t work that way. Because when we ask for a miracle, we have to believe that there will be a miracle, not just a coincidence or an opportunity that we take advantage of.

“As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.” -Exodus 14:16

Like Moses, we all should do our part and believe that our prayers will be answered. But as God instructed him to wait and see the miracle unfold, we also should wait in anticipation of what is to come. Because if we try and pre-empt the miracle, we only get to enjoy its build-up, and miss the entire thing when it actually happens. Imagine the Israelites grabbing their duckie floaters and trying to float through the sea as it parted, it would have been a funny scene.

I could have gone home completely dry, if only I fully trusted that He will do what He says He will do. And He doesn’t need my help to make that happen!

This for me is Resurrection


It was the 7th of December 2014 when I received a call from my sister, a call that heralded my three-day journey of hope, faith, and restoration.

Having been roused from a much needed afternoon nap, I wasn’t in my best mood. Not in her usual condescending tone, she told me that papa was rushed to the hospital after he collapsed while Christmas shopping with my mom and sister; strong as I’ve always remembered him to be, he managed to get up and drove himself to the hospital. The doctors eventually found out that he had a massive heart attack and needed to undergo a major operation. The surgery was successful but the next 48 hours were going to be critical for complete recovery. Needless to be said, I felt that the world was slowly crumbling away at my feet. 

The first two days have been overclouded by anxiousness, worries, and sleeplessness. I was calling my mom and sister every half an hour to ask how papa was doing; I found myself waking up in regular intervals through the night thinking about him, dreadfully worried. I also had to take time off my work as I couldn’t get my mind to focus on anything else but on papa’s condition.

On the third day, he managed to speak to us. He said, “Buhay pa ako!” (I’m still alive!). My ate and I were both gleeful to have finally heard his voice. Hope welled up inside of me as I looked forward to flying back to the Philippines to see and care for him again. Knowing that my dad was already in a stable condition, I went to the gym hoping to pump in some much needed adrenalin. A quick half-hour later, I came back to my sister’s apartment gave our mom another phone call. She answered with a hysterical weeping and screaming. And that was when the event spiralled down to its most sombre state… My dad had another cardiac arrest, from which he was unable to recover.

He passed away. I was shocked. I was drained. I was petrified. My entire awareness had frozen to a point where all I could think of was, “Why now? Why him? Why this?”

Fast forward four months, I find myself still missing my dad. I grieved so much I could not even begin to count exactly how many times I cried, and when those times were: regretting that it could have been the first time that all of us would be spending Christmas together after five long years, remembering all the familiar things and traits that he and I shared, seeing the places where we both created wonderful memories, reflecting on the words of wisdom that he spoke to me as I was growing up, and missing the love that he sacrificially gave us so we can become who we are now. My dad is a true hero.

But above all these, I look back at the overwhelming amount of grace and love that my family and I received from our Heavenly Father, from Jesus, from the Holy Spirit. And from everyone whom God has sent to give us comfort through that period of great mourning. I have proven that it is when we are at our lowest point that we truly know and experience long, how high, how deep, and how wide His love for us is (Eph 3:18). I have seen with my own eyes how God has sent tangible and real miracles through our ordeal, which has enabled us to move forward with true confidence and hope (Mat 5:4).

Today, as we celebrate Resurrection Sunday, I know and believe that revival is REAL.
I know and believe that His grace is more than sufficient to take us through the darkest valleys onto the brightest mountains (Col 1:13).
I know and believe that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut 31:6).
I know and believe that only when we are pruned (sometimes by life’s toughest events) do we truly grow to become more and more like Him (John 15:2).
I know and believe that His promises will come to pass no matter what how dark our situation may be (Jer 29:11).
I know and believe that we are taken to the desert and back so we are able to help others endure through the same journey triumphantly (Romans 5:3).

But more than anything, I know and believe that Jesus has suffered, died, and resurrected so we can all live with Him for eternity – where I can once again see and be with my dad (John 3:16). 

This for me is Resurrection. On the third day, my dad may have passed away on to the next life (that is eternal), but God has given birth to a hope within me (and my family) that is much stronger than whatever we have felt before. Jesus has revived something in us that have been kept dormant for long: our full trust and surrender to His will and assurance that He is in control over everything.

I still miss papa. But I will always rejoice in the glory and majesty that God promises to those who believe Him – an eternity where there is no longer any suffering, tears, or death (Rev 21:4). We will be together, and there won’t be any more goodbyes.

Happy Ressurection day to everyone!

Jesus is risen and HE reigns forevermore!

The Long-term Plan

Today I resolved to stop being hasty and learn to savour every milestone of my journey.

I noticed that recently I have been running too fast to the point of being exhausted. Worse is that there often comes disappointment with it. It could be because the end state of who I want to become is very clear in my head, yet I have not really determined when I was targeting to reach it. Therefore I have treated every passing day as if it was my deadline to become my ideal me.

As Pastor Brian often says, “the best is yet to come”. I am a fan of this phrase of wisdom, but I think practically, we should set milestones along our lifelong journey to be our “best”. Simple things such as “next year I shall aim to have learned a new skill that will help up my game at work”, or “in three years I shall aim to become a corporate leader at any capacity”. I believe that it is when we do this that we truly start walking towards our goals. And our goal should not ever be to reach our “end state”, it should be to become better along the way, just as God has designed our lives to be: beautifully progressing.

Praise God for this wonderful journey of life.

My Encounter with Richard

I heard Richard Dawkins talk yesterday at a conference and as much as I would like to deny, his intellect and verbal skills are really to be admired. After listening to his well-constructed arguments against the Holy Bible and Christian doctrines for a good half hour, it led me thinking, “Why did I choose to believe the existence of God despite not having any clear cut evidence at my disposal?” Evidences that could be readily flaunted to anyone who wishes to oppose my faith. And then it dawned on me… I was starting to question my faith.

It was time for bed and I was still trying hard to keep my faith together. I realised that the moment when I started to question my faith was also when I started to demolish my own identity. My entire life was crumbling like a Lego structure being violently struck to the ground. There seemed to have been no reason, no evidence, no argument that was strong enough to go against the thoughts that Richard had planted in my head. I read the Bible but no mind blowing scripture jumped out. I felt that my prayers were not loud enough that night to reach heaven.

Finally, I asked God to do one last thing before I called it a day. I said, “God if You can hear me, please respond.” I turned my lamp off and fell asleep.

When my alarm went off the next morning, I was smiling. Because in my last dream sequence I was line dancing with a group of dear friends to the tune of “Buttercup”, choreographed nicely that was almost similar to Macarena. I was humming the tune and dancing the routine even in the shower.

I caught my usual train and managed to get a good seat despite the rush hour. I was ecstatic as that did not happen very often.

I came to work with a smile that just could not be erased through the day. It could not have been that Buttercup dream still, I thought. But my elated mood just went on until our company evening drinks where, for the first time, I chose to lead conversations and cracked jokes that caused loud laughter from everyone. I also found myself laughing hysterically with them – including colleagues whom I would have found otherwise annoying.

On my train ride back home, I started thinking about Richard’s talk again. But instead of being disturbed, I found deep peace in me. Peace that I could not explain, as if it was shielding me from distress.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4;7

To cap the Friday off, I had a nice Malaysian dinner with my girlfriend to celebrate our ten beautiful months of being together. Needless to say, she found me suspiciously joyful tonight.

It is now that I realize what has happened. God has been responding to my plea the entire day. But He did not want to speak in ways that I was asking Him to. He instead did it through what He specializes in: Making us feel loved, which then causes joy to overflow from us – oftentimes defying human logic.

“…God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:5

I still think I am nowhere close to reason with Richard, but I have resolved to leave that matter with Christian apologetics who would do a far better job.

As for me, I resolve to keep on believing that God exists. Not because I have clear-cut evidence or fool-proof arguments, but because of the love and joy that overflow from my heart. And it’s all because of Him.

He exists, my heart says so!

“…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” -John 20:29

*photo credit to http://www.americancatholic.org/.

When God says Yes

It was the 15th of December of last year when Virna and I decided to take the train to attend the 11:30 AM Hillsong service. We wanted to drop by Paddy’s Market on our way home, which was going to be difficult with a car (knowing how expensive parking could get in the city).

Being the skinny jeans fan that I am, I found it incredibly hard to fit my wallet into any of my “pockets” that day. Fellow fans would understand why.


A few disclaimers here:

  1. My wallet was stuffed because of receipts and other useless pieces of paper; the caption is by no means indicative of how much money I carry with me (or own thereof).
  2. I wear Bench skinny jeans. If this passes as Designer, then the world is not judgmental (this is hardly the case).

With the situation at hand I asked Virna to keep my wallet in her bag to keep it safe. We merrily chatted our way to Central station, but midway through we had to move to another seat to let a passenger get past us (he was sitting at the window side). We made it just in time to catch the free bus service from Central to the campus.

So we arrived at the Hillsong service all pumped up and ready to soak in the word of God. We sang the praise songs as loudly and lively as we always do (when we’re not hungry), and listened intently to the message shared by Pastor Brian via a live videocast. The message was about the common tensions in Church life: Comfort vs Calling, Inclusive or Exclusive, Grace-filled versus Condemning. It would have been a brilliant message if I actually heard it until the end. Unfortunately, by the time the message was being wrapped up, Virna popped the question that sent shivers down my spine (yes, shivers talaga).


I reached for my back and side pockets and found no sign of my wallet; I looked below my seat and hers, but didn’t find it there either.

And so I thought she was just kidding. I was forcing a laugh to at least make her feel I appreciated a good joke. But when I saw the panic on her face, I knew that she was in it for real.

Then everything was a blur. I remember watching Pastor Brian mutely fade away from the large video screen, still in denial that my wallet was now lost somewhere in the huge city of Sydney.

Before the crowd even stood up to exit the auditorium, we found ourselves already on our feet running towards the Hillsong bus, in hope that the kind lady driver found it and kept it in safety. And, as a real testimony of my multi-tasking ability, my right hand was at the same time also busy dialing CBA and NAB to cancel my cards.

Some 20kph sprint and a heart rate of 150 later, we confirmed that it wasn’t in the bus. The most likely case then was that we dropped it in the train, when we moved seats to allow a kuya get past us. We immediately headed off to the Central railway office but still to no avail; despite the massive pile of lost and found valuables that they were keeping, my wallet wasn’t there. As a side note, someone left in the train a backpack whose contents were a Macbook Pro, an SLR camera, a wallet, and a wi-fi dongle. It made me wonder what the poor guy was going through that caused him to forget half of his personal properties in the train. If you’re that guy, I was happy to bless you. 🙂

Finally giving up our search for the day, I was left imagining my wallet carried all the way to the far western regions of NSW, all alone, cold, and vulnerable. Inside were my credit cards, driver’s license, Medicare, ID /reward cards, a $10 and a P1,000 bill. I couldn’t do anything else at that time but to pray. In fact I realized that it should have been the first thing that I’ve done.

“Dear God, pakihanap po ang wallet ko. In Jesus’ Name”. Then suddenly I heard God respond with “In two hours”. I wanted to believe it was God actually saying “Yes” to my prayer. However, with me already on my way home, there was but a small chance of that happening.

A couple of weeks later, I had finally gotten through the entire cycle of acceptance (by getting all my cards cancelled and replaced). That two-week period gave me a strangely liberating feeling of being cash-less and credit-less. It almost felt like I was a grade school student again whose “baon” was counted to the last centavo. I also learned to be vulnerable and independent of money, and allowed me to cut back on my Christmas shopping expense as well (valid excuse for being stingy!). And capping off that cycle was a new wallet given by Virna as Christmas gift. A much better one than what I lost.

I then flew out for my Christmas holiday in the Philippines, which turned out to be incredibly AMAZING! Read the details here. What I didn’t mention though, was that a few days before the New Year, I received an SMS from my housemate (who stayed in Sydney over the holidays) saying that I received a mail from the police. My initial reaction was panic; all those times when I haven’t necessarily followed the pedestrian lights came flashing by. I asked my friend to take a photo of it for me and what I read sent shivers down my spine (yes, shivers talaga again).


Shock, disbelief, confusion, and incredible joy followed. Just when I had given up all hopes to find my not-so-long lost wallet, this was God saying, “I did say Yes to your prayer, didn’t I?”

As soon as I landed back in Sydney, I drove to the police station to claim my wallet that I’ve missed dearly. My wallet was in perfect condition with everything still inside, you’d see the P1,000 bill peeking out. 🙂 I asked the lady police for details on who returned it, but the kind stranger chose to remain anonymous. She did say though that the wallet was surrendered to them on the 15th of December, sometime in the evening. That same day when I lost it, around that time when God said it was going to be found.


I’ve seen miracles happen before my eyes, sometimes in the least expected ways. But this was the first time that God actually spoke to me about it, and it did happen. Was it a coincidence? Maybe. Although the odds of this being the case are too tiny. So I choose to believe that this was God’s mighty hand at work. Because when He says Yes, He really means Yes.

To God be all the Glory.


“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory.
-2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT)

Because the best is yet to come

Today being the eve of my birthday, I decided that I’ll do something different and actually do nothing. Right now you’d see me sitting alone in our dining room, staring blankly at our backyard, which I would usually just ignore but today I’m staring at in awe. It’s totally not normal for me to decide on something like this, but every once in a while I have to – for the sake of breaking life’s monotony and starting again with genuine excitement and appreciation.


From Valleys to Hills

My 26th year has not been easy. Looking back I imagine so many events that I wish hadn’t taken place. But the good news is that they have, and I’ve lived through them. It would be a daunting task to write all of those events down, and frankly I wouldn’t want to. Suffice it to say that I live to tell the tale, but only the first part; the tale goes on and now the resolution is slowly kicking in – but not in your fairy tale standards.

My 26th year has been rewarding. In terms that perhaps not everyone would agree with. Yes, blessings were abundant and favors were rampant all year round. But reality is, what the world considers to be blessings usually come and fade away. True blessings for me happen from within; they are positive changes brought forth by what has caused me grief and distress initially. Yes – they come in all forms and shapes, but the best ones are given by God in the most unusual ways, sometimes wrapped in undesirable trimmings.

Brought to Light

It is said quite often that we don’t necessarily remember the things said and done, but we always remember how they made us feel. And those feelings are what would live on to become the story teller of our lives.

In my 26th year I felt that:

…The more impossible it is to get out of a difficult situation, the more possible it is for God to bring me out of it.
…Courage and boldness would take me far, but humility is what would make me enjoy the ride and keep my pace.
…People will always disappoint and hurt me, but if I choose to love them anyway, the reward is doubled.
…Rumors never produce anything healthy, regardless of the truth behind them.
…No matter how hard I try, I sometimes give in to negative thoughts; but just in case I do, I should never allow them to manifest into negative actions.
…Forgiveness could sometimes be a long process, but we should never stop until it is completed.
…Everything is desirable from afar, but only a few remain that way up close.
…I can never get rid of a bad habit unless I replace it with a healthy one.
…I should be wise in choosing people whom I allow to mold my life.
…I need to make a stand and choose one place to get planted and truly flourish.

The Best is yet to come

What could be the end of an arduous year could perhaps signify the beginning of a year filled with overflowing wisdom and definition. And I intend to welcome it with anticipation of God’s many more promises coming to life.

Almighty God, please surprise me! I trust in Your goodness. In Jesus’ Name.


A Very Important Post


Last week I heard an astonishing (slash amazing slash wonderful) message about ensuring that your life is filled with healthy relationships. By the way, I heard this message at Hillsong Church and can I tell you, I heard a lot of astonishing (slash amazing slash wonderful) messages in the past but this one had definitely made a mark. I’ll do my best not to bore you, and by the end of this entry my hope is that something inside of you will get stirred up, and you too will be blessed.

[fast forward a bit]

So in summary (I told you I wasn’t gonna bore you)…

All the people who you are in relationship with (whether they be your friend, family, enemy, ex-BF/GF, terror prof, or your I-know-your-face-but-not-your-name neighbor) can be classified into the following types:

1. VIP (Very Important People) – They are the ones who you love unconditionally, and who love you back in the same, if not better, way. I won’t need to define this further, just think of your mom, dad, wife, or husband and you’ll know what I’m talking about. They inspire us, encourage us, challenge us, annoy us, and sometimes hurt us; but in the end our love for them never seems to diminish.

2. VRP (Very Resourceful People) – They are your mentors in life. It seems everything that they do/did is admirable and you constantly find ways to emulate their acts. They set your passions ablaze and encourage the best out of you. I had a teacher in Kindergarten (yes I still remember, her name was Ms. Malinao) who, at my then young age, set my standard of kindness. I still remember her defending me from bullies (or so I imagined, I never was the highly confident kid). She taught me the value of kindness and standing up for the oppressed (or against kids who snatch your kero-kero-keropi eraser because they think you’re too cool). I lost contact with her, but here’s hoping that our paths will cross again.

3. VTP (Very Trainable People) – They are the people who find you as their mentor. You don’t necessarily teach them Algebra, sometimes they just look up to you for your courage, patience, sense of humor, cooking skills, or good looks (I’m not insinuating anything). Day by day we  invest something into their lives (sometimes unknowingly) – they could be good or bad, thus this requires conscious awareness of their needs. In due time, they will possibly become our successor or trusted partner.

4. VNP (Very Nice People) – they watch from afar, possibly admiring you, enjoying your passion and adventurous undertakings, but does not contribute to them. Unlike VTP’s, they incessantly consume with no view of contributing anything in the long haul. You don’t want them to stay in this category – move them higher in the list by encouraging them with a constant outburst of enthusiasm.

5. VDP (Very Draining People) – In the interest of keeping the theme of this post positive, I don’t intend to elaborate on this last category. To cut it short, they drain you, sometimes discourage you, and even at times actively refuse your attempt at inspiring or encouraging them. The key here is not to move away from them, but to move them away from this category into any of the first three.

I’m sure you can easily think of one or two people who fit into each category. And my hope is that by now, you already know that in order for you to keep your relationships healthy, you need to minimize the last two categories from your life. I’m not talking about ditching them, I’m saying encourage them to become any one of the “Healthree” (this is a clever term that I’ve invented, thank you very much) – VRP, VIP, and VTP.

Now with as much importance, in order to call your relationships healthy, you need to ensure that the Healthree are well represented in your life. Here’s what happens if any one is lacking:

What if we have no VIP?
The world suddenly becomes a dull, lifeless classroom; an endless cycle of learning and teaching that eventually turns us into robots. Because we have no one to live for.

What if we have no VRP?
We laugh, love, but fail to fulfill our potential. Because to do so we need to grow continually – a process that is impossible without someone to inspire, teach, and encourage us along.

What if we have no VTP?
Life seems pleasant for a moment, but you soon realize that all those pleasantries are short-lived. Because we fail to teach, inspire and encourage people who look up to us, they won’t ever get the chance to keep our values, virtues, and skills alive. Ever heard of the saying “you learn twice as much when you teach?” Go figure what else you could be missing.

So now I hope the message is clear – your Healthree define how healthy your relationships are.

As a final note, I dare say that this message had personally challenged my norms and got me thinking (and listing) who to put under each category. I wish the same happens to you too. Think about who these people are, then invest time on them, enjoy life with them, laugh with them, and, most importantly, love them to the fullest. Because only when we have all of them fully represented in our lives do we truly live life to its maximum and see our relationships flourish like never before!

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
Proverbs 13:20