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Welcome 2013! With the traditional fireworks and noise came also the barrage of SMS, Facebook and email messages with common aspirations: new beginnings, good health, fresh hope, stronger faith, deeper peace, genuine joy and lots and lots of love!

When I got these well-meaning wishes, all I can reply is: “Thanks. I pray that you receive the same blessings, too.”

It is important that we wish back to people the positive messages we receive. And aside from this, learn also to claim what they wish for you.

Sometimes, we thank a well-wisher but we don’t really believe totally that what they wish for can happen to us.

Could it be a traumatic experience you’ve had? Are you blinded by the negative events around you?  Or can it be that your current difficulties make you think nothing great will happen or improve this year for you?

If we allow doubt, fear or maybe cynicism to eat us up, it will indeed be hard for us to boldly claim that we CAN have new beginnings, good health, fresh hope, stronger faith, deeper peace, genuine joy and lots and lots of love this year.

But God called us to escape complacency, doubt and fear and claim the blessings He wants us to have through the wishes of other people. God’s plan is to prosper us in all ways. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” He said it through the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 29:11). And what God says WILL happen. But again, we need to claim them, too!

But with all the negativity around us and inside us, how do we claim the good things to happen to us? One word: FAITH.

God simplifies this by saying three words “Ask . . . seek . . . and knock. . . .” from what He said to His apostles in the gospel of St. Matthew: “Ask and it will be given to you ; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

These verbs are spoken in the present tense and they indicate continued, sincere, and earnest petitioning.

We need to sincerely ask, continuously seek and knock hard. And though we don’t see anything happening, the eyes of Faith will make us believe we will have what we ask, seek and knock for. It is Faith that will make us claim even what seems to be impossible to happen.

God moves things for people who have the greatest faith in Him. If we timidly ask, seek and knock, it’s doubtful we’ll claim the blessing. Worse, if we don’t do anything and just wallow in self-pity and cynicism, we nullify any chance of good coming our way.

The difficulties we have now or the weaknesses we think we have can be daunting, yes, but these should not hinder us from moving forward positively.

Abraham Lincoln was poor but ran for public office anyway and became the President of the US.

Beethoven lost his mother and brother and could no longer hear, yet took to the role of caring for his brother’s widow and nephew seriously despite the difficulty. He overcame all these to become one of the world’s greatest musical composers.

In our home shore, Arnel Aba, Godfrey Taberna and Isidro Vildosola compose the Wetshop Para Tri Team in last year’s 5150 Triathlon event in Subic and completed the Olympic distance—1.5-kilometer swim, 40K bike and 10K run—with a time of 2 hours, 31 minutes and 30 seconds.

But they were not ordinary triathletes. Arnel swam with only a left leg, Godfrey rode the bike with a clubbed right foot, and Isidro ran with only a left arm. They rose above pain, obstacles and disability to provide an example of hope for those who are like them.

When you’ve spent the most significant part of your life overcoming near-impossible obstacles, whatever mountains facing you now should look like molehills. The fact that you’ve been surviving all these years shows that there is always something great after a difficulty.

I like what my nephew Alexcie Mae posted in Facebook last week: An arrow can only be shot by pulling backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep on aiming.

Satan will always place obstacles to stop us from seeking God’s blessings. He’ll even accuse you of not being worthy of God’s blessings.

But I believe that we can’t claim God’s blessings if we don’t look past our difficulties—arise, and seek for them. All God’s blessings come through faith and grace and we must claim them regardless of the circumstances.

2013 has come. Pull back our arrows so miracles and blessings can be launched. Continue to aim, focus and claim boldly and positively in faith!

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Tags: 2013 , New Year's Day

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