One evening, a man was walking in a dark jungle.
Suddenly, he saw what seemed like a tiger running towards him. Horrified, the man ran away as fast as he could.
But alas, he didn’t know, he was running towards the edge of a high cliff. Below him was a thousand meter drop–and sure death.
He was able to stop and turn around. In the darkness, he saw the tiger moving towards him.
Instantly, he made a decision. He said to himself, “I’d rather die by falling than by a hungry tiger!”
So he closed his eyes and jumped off the cliff.
But instead of falling a thousand meters, he landed just a few meters down on a hanging vine! It was actually a root of an old tree that was jutting out of the cliff.
He was saved!
But suddenly, from out of nowhere, he saw a big rat crawl out of a little hole. It ran to the base of the vine he was holding–and it began to eat through it! At anytime, the vine will snap.
He was a dead man for sure.
From the corner of his eye, he saw something red. It was a strawberry. A little strawberry plant was growing in the side of the cliff.
What should he do?
He plucked the red fruit.
Placed it in his mouth.
Closed his eyes.
Licked his lips.
It was the most delicious meal he ever had in his life!
God Gives Strawberries Every Moment
I can hear you now.
“Bo, what happened to the guy? How did the story end?”
That’s the point. There is no end.
We don’t know what happened to the man.
But this we know: He enjoyed his strawberry.
You and I are like that man.
We hang onto life by a vine.
Actually, our life hangs by a thread.
At any moment, that thread can snap.
You can die anytime. (My 31-year old cousin died this way. A vein burst in his brain and boom, he was gone. Last night, he slept strong. The next morning, he was dead.)
The rat eating the thread you hang on is time.
Every single day that passes is one day closer to your death.
Every single step you take is one step closer to your tomb.
Our lives are short. Very short.
I love what Fulton Oursler said: We crucify ourselves between two thieves: Regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow.
Friend, protect yourself from these two thieves.
Surrender your regrets and fears to God.
Live in your “Now”.
There are three kinds of people.
First are people who focus on tomorrow–waiting and waiting and waiting. (More on this later.)
Second are people who focus on yesterday–on how bad or how good it was. Some people are fixated to the past, they pine for the “good ol’ days.” They don’t see the blessings of today.
Be the third kind of person who lives in their “Now”.
Enjoy God’s Blessings Now
Right this moment, you’re swimming in an ocean of blessings!
Miracles surround you.
But here’s the problem: Sometimes, you can’t even see the blessings. So we end missing them. (What a waste.) And we even end up complaining, “God doesn’t love me.”
Why are we blind to our blessings?
Because we’re not awake.
We’re not mindful.
We’re not aware.
We’re not grateful.
Because we don’t live in the “Now”.
My big message for you: If you want to be happy, you must live in your “Now”.
Live in the present moment.
Embrace what’s happening now.
Enjoy your blessings now.
Embrace God’s love today!
You Can’t Live On Yesterday’s Manna
One day, Jack and Poy met on the road.
Jack noticed that Poy looked very sad, almost weepy.
He asked him, “What’s wrong, Poy?”
Poy cried, “Three weeks ago, my aunt died and left me an inheritance of P100,000.”
Jack was surprised. “Well, that isn’t too bad.”
Poy shook his head. “That’s not the end of the story. Two weeks ago, my uncle died and left me an inheritance of P500,000.”
“My gosh, I’d like that,” Jack said.
Poy wailed and said, “That’s not all. Last week, my grandfather died and left me an inheritance of P2 Million.”
Jack was blown away. He said, “That’s fantastic! Why are you so sad?”
Poy cried and said, “Because this week, nothing! No one died!”
What’s the problem of Poy? He got fixated with his past blessings. But you can’t live on yesterday’s manna. God gives different blessings each day. Learn to appreciate what God is giving you today that may be different from what He gave yesterday.
But there’s a third group of people who live in their “Now”.
These people enjoy each moment that God gives to them.
These people enjoy the strawberries of God.
Strawberries are found only in your “Now”.
In your present moment.
Make a choice today to enjoy the strawberries of life!
Are You A Human Being
Or Human Doing?
Do you want to be happy?
One key to happiness is mastering the Art of Being.
We’re supposed to be Human Beings. But we’re so busy, we’ve become Human Doings.
We’re not present in the here and now.
So let me give you now the golden rule of living in the present moment: Wherever you are, be there.
Even during the difficult moments of your life.
Do you get annoyed when…
o …you get stuck in traffic?
o …you wait in the doctor’s clinic for a long time?
o …you’re rushing and then receive a phone call?
o …you stand in a long line in the grocery?
o …your kid asks you for something while you’re resting?
o …your friend drops by when you’re busy?
Instead of being annoyed, I suggest you receive these interruptions as a gift from Heaven.
I also call these the “Gift of Pause”.
I repeat: Wherever you are, be there.
This may sound strange, but I’ve come to enjoy traffic.
When I’m in traffic, I’m forced to do nothing.
So I focus on God.
I reflect on my blessings.
I become deeply grateful.
Every time I’m stuck in traffic, I’m given a wonderful opportunity to practice the art of being.
To live in the present moment.
I can hear you now.
“Bo, you’re nuts.”
Then the next story may change your mind.
Where You Are Now Is Exactly
Where God Wants You To Be
One day, survivors from the 9/11 tragedy had a small gathering. On that day, they shared the reasons why they were still alive. They were alive because of small, insignificant interruptions.
One man was late for work because his son started kindergarten that morning.
For another guy, it was his turn to bring donuts for the staff.
Another guy put on a new pair of shoes that morning. But along the way to work, he developed a blister. So he stopped by a drugstore to buy a band-aid.
And that’s why he was still alive.
Interruptions are not so bad after all.
Friend, next time you’re annoyed because you’re stuck in traffic. Or you have to answer a phone call. Or you have to repair your car. Or any other little thing that may annoy you…
Thank God for that Gift of Peace, the Gift of Pause.
Remember: Where you are now is exactly where God wants you to be.
Enjoy Life Wherever You Are
One day, I was in the airport for a 12noon flight for Cebu.
And then I heard the dreaded announcement come. “There will be a delay for our flight to Cebu. Projected time of departure is at 7pm.”
You should have heard the uproar.
People went wild.
Everyone rushed to the counter.
I pitied the airline staff. They faced an angry mob that was ready to lynch them.
Hey, I totally understand them. Some of them had meetings, appointments, etc.
One guy in that mob broke the Guiness of World Records for the number of curse words a human can say in one minute.
The other guy beside him was multi-lingual. He cursed in 7 different languages. English, Tagalog, Cebuano, Waray,…
I waited on my seat until everyone was gone.
I stood up and approached the hapless, frazzled young woman behind the desk.
“I’m happy the flight is delayed,” I smiled.
The girl couldn’t quite understand me. “Excuse me?” she asked.
I smiled again, “I said I’m happy the flight is delayed. I’m sure there’s a good reason for it. And thank you very much for doing a good job despite what happened.”
She smiled back, “Thank you, sir.” I thought she wanted to hug me.
I went back to my seat and I felt like a little boy on Christmas Eve. Because I had this giant gift in front of me: 7 hours of doing nothing. I felt so happy.
I prayed. I read. I wrote. I talked to the people beside me. I walked for my exercise. I ate. I had a mini-vacation right there in the airport!
Sure, I had a talk in Cebu–and I might come late.
But I told myself, I am where I am because God wants me to be here.
My talk in Cebu was supposed to be 7pm.
I arrived at 9pm. I was two hours late.
But when I arrived, the church was still full. People didn’t leave. While I wasn’t there, our local leaders preached to them. And I gave my talk. So people told me, “We didn’t have a prayer meeting. We had a recollection!”
They were blessed.
I was blessed.
Get rid of hurry from your life.
John Ortberg said, “Hurry isn’t just a disordered schedule but a disordered heart.” I agree. Because of this, he says that our society is rich in things but extremely poor in time.
We don’t have time for family, for people, for relationships.
We don’t have time for ourselves–to reflect, to pray, to breathe, to rest, to enjoy God’s blessings now.
The solution? Learn to slow down.
Here are tips (some from me and some from John Ortberg) on how to remove hurry from our lives.
1. Deliberately drive in the slow lane on the expressway.
If you do this, you’ll arrive home perhaps ten minutes later. But you’ll be less angry, less stressed, and less tired. Here’s what you can do: Pray for all the cars that go ahead of you. Sing a song to God. Imagine God seated beside you.
2. Deliberately park at the farthest spot available in the parking lot.
Result? You won’t have to fight over the nearest parking spots; You won’t have to circle around for hours; and you’re giving your body exercise by the extra walk.
3. Deliberately choose the longest line in the grocery.
We usually look for the shortest. Do the opposite. Look for the longest line. You can be sure no one will fight you over it. Enjoy. Pray. Smile. Bless the people around you.
4. Deliberately chew your food slowly.
As my friend says, “Food is God’s love made edible.” So enjoy your food. Relish it. Savor the taste. It’ll help your digestion. More importantly, it’ll calm you. You’ll appreciate your food more. You’ll be more grateful to God for your food.
5. Deliberately put people before things.
“Waste” time with your loved ones. Laugh, play, and do nothing together. Learn the “art of being” as a group. Last week, I brought all the top leaders of Light of Jesus to the beach for three days. We played charades together. We looked pretty insane. It was wonderful. People ask me why Light of Jesus has remained strong after 30 years. One reason: We play a lot. We have 4 vacations a year!
6. Deliberately take time to enjoy God’s Presence alone.
Each day, spend ten, fifteen, or thirty minutes hanging out with God. Just simply be with Him. Just rest in Him. You can sit before the Blessed Sacrament. Or go under a tree or take a walk. God says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
7. Deliberately stop watching TV.
People watch an average of 4 hours of TV everyday. That means when you reach 65 years old, you would have spent 9 years of your life watching TV. You wake up one day and ask yourself, “Where did my life go?” Remember that failure is not an act but a habit. Instead of watching TV, read a book instead. Or hold an entertainment night as a family. Or sing together. Or take up a hobby. Or play a musical instrument. Or volunteer and serve God in a ministry.
8. Deliberately take lots of vacations.
People work non-stop all their life, retire at age 65, and take a long vacation. Usually, they drop dead after a few years. Because they lose their purpose. I’ll teach you a better way, and I’ve been practicing this for some years now: Take lots of mini-vacations now and never retire! I take about 10 small vacations a year, usually with family and friends. And I can’t retire because I’m not working. Both my ministry and business is just so much fun.
Don’t Ever “Wait” Again!
A lot of people just wait.
When we’re 8, we wait to be 13.
When we’re 13, we wait to be 18.
When we’re in school, we wait to get a job.
When we’re single, we wait to get married.
When we’ve got babies, we wait for them to grow up quick.
When we’ve got teens, we wait for them to mature.
When we’re working, we wait for our retirement.
But if you really live in your “Now”, you’ll never wait again in your life. We enjoy where we are.
When someone is late and says to you, “So sorry to keep you waiting,” you should say, “I wasn’t waiting. I was enjoying life. I was breathing in God’s love. I was living and happy and blessed.”
Of course, if you say that, people will think you’re kookoo or had shabu for breakfast.
But that is essentially what living in your “Now” is. You don’t really wait. Because waiting means you’re attention is focused on your future.
Not you. You’re attention is focused on your “Now”.
And you’re grateful for that “Now”.
If you’re single, don’t “wait” for a husband. Enjoy your singleness now. Embrace your freedom. Breathe in the blessings of God. Embrace His peace. Love His presence.
If you’re still childless, don’t “wait” for a baby. Enjoy your marriage now. Embrace your life today. Be blissful where you are.
If you’re still financially hard-up, don’t “wait” for prosperity. Be grateful for the prosperity you have now. And because gratitude attracts what you’re grateful for, this will attract more prosperity.
Enjoy Your Imperfect Now
After my talk, a woman came up to me and said, “Bo, my husband passed away 3 months ago.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that,” I said.
“Can I ask a favor? Can you give this message to all the wives out there?”
She closed her eyes as tears rolled down her cheeks.
I didn’t speak. I let her cry.
She went on. “My husband wasn’t perfect. But I’ll give anything to hold his hand again. I’ll give anything to sit beside him now. I’ll give anything to hear him laugh. I’ll give anything to serve him again. But I can’t. It’s impossible. So please Bo. Tell the wives to enjoy their imperfect husbands while they can. Because it won’t be forever.”
“I will tell them,” I said. I prayed for and gave her a hug.
To this day, I tell her story in my talks often.
Enjoy your imperfect “Now”–your spouse, your kids, your parents, your in-laws, your friends.
Rest In God
I love it when the Bible says, “But Jesus would go away to lonely places where he prayed.” (Luke 5:16).
I love it because if it’s good for Jesus, it must be good for me too. In fact, Jesus also invited his friends to do exactly the same thing. “There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his disciples didn’t even have time to eat. So he said to them, “Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest for a while.” (Mark 6:31)
I have two last things to say to you.
First of all, you will never be alone.
Jesus says, “Let’s go off by ourselves…where we will be alone.” That means He’ll bring you there. He’ll meet you there. He’ll accompany you in your trials. He’ll never let you go.
Second, I believe that “alone” place doesn’t have to be a geographical place. That “alone” place is actually within you.
In the middle of noisy traffic, you can go to your heart.
And breathe in God’s love.
Enjoy your “Now”.
May your dreams come true,
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