I would like to share a long but inspiring email that I’ve got from Bo Sanchez, a Filipino entrepreneur and religious volunteer. Just as his words lifts me up when I’m feeling down, I hope you’ll feel the same, too:
I’m a legendary artist. (Ahem.)
I’ve produced legendary artwork.
So legendary, in fact, no one remembers them.
Michaelangelo uses paint.
Leonardo da Vinci uses charcoal.
Me? I use my sons’ magic sketchpad.
Okay, it’s a toy.
But I love this toy.
My boys and I would sit on the couch and doodle for hours. Together, we’ve drawn literally thousands of sketches. We’ve created entire worlds and galaxies together. Roller coasters, spaceships, rockets, monsters, aliens—you name it, we drew it.
Here’s why I love this toy.
When I make a mistake, I don’t get angry. I don’t curse myself. I don’t condemn myself. I simply pull the eraser button and draw again.
Which is what we’re supposed to do in life.
I’ve met some people who think that just because they’ve made mistakes, just because they made bad choices, God won’t bless them anymore.
Hey, we’ve all made mistakes.
Perhaps you gave yourself to addictions. Perhaps you were a rebellious child and made your parents unhappy. Perhaps you married the wrong person. Perhaps you didn’t raise up your kids well. Perhaps you made poor financial decisions.
I want to give you hope today. Your future is brighter than your past. How do I know? Because God’s plan is bigger than your mistakes. Your mistakes are no match to God’s great plans to bless your life.
Have You Missed Your Chance
At A Happy And Blessed Life?
I’ve met so many people who think they’ve “blown” it.
People like Jordan and Cindy.
As boyfriend and girlfriend, they practiced pre-marital sex. Eventually, Cindy got pregnant. She was 18 years old.
They rushed into marriage. Both of them had to drop out from college. Cindy, being the eldest in the family, once dreamt of working in an office and sending her younger siblings to school. That dream was no longer possible.
Jordan had a dream of getting a job abroad. He gave that up too and took a low-paying job to feed his small family.
Today, they’re very poor. Everyday is a struggle to survive.
But when I talked to them, I realized that the lack of money was not just their problem. Jordan and Cindy had a lack of hope.
First, both of them blamed each other for the pregnancy and the foolish decision to get married. Cindy felt Jordan always forced himself on her. While Jordan felt Cindy manipulated him to get married to save face.
Deeper than that, guilt had never left their hearts. At the back of their minds, they felt they deserved their poverty as punishment for their sins.
They told me, “Brother Bo, we blew it. We missed our chance at a happy life.”
Meet The God Of Second Chances
I told them, “You’re wrong. God has a great plan to bless your life. And He has many ways to make this great plan a reality. You made a detour. But that doesn’t mean you no longer can receive His abundant blessing.”
Both began to cry. Cindy said, “I know that God forgave us. But I don’t know if He’ll ever bless us…”
I shook my head. I said, “Here’s what I learned about the mercy of God: No mistake you made can totally destroy God’s plan for your life.
I talked about a few not-so-perfect people in the Bible.
About Jacob—how he lied, deceived, and swindled. Yet God named an entire nation after him.
About David—how he became an adulterer and a murderer. Yet God still made him the greatest king of Israel.
About Elijah—how he ended up depressed and a coward before Queen Jezebel. Yet he was there with Jesus and Moses at the miracle of Transfiguration.
About Peter—how hot headed, temperamental, and out-of-control guy he was. Yet God made him the head of the Church.
About Paul—how he was a murderer of saints. Yet God made him one of the greatest apostles of the Bible.
I told Cindy and Jordan, “If you read the Bible, you’ll realize that the biggest stars were the biggest sinners. They’ve fumbled big time. But God’s love is bigger! And God gave them a second chance. And a third chance. And a fourth chance. He will never stop giving you a chance to live a life of happiness and abundance.”
I then shared a powerful Bible verse to them: Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
“God wants you to go to Him with confidence. With boldness.” I prayed over them. I told them to boldly pray for God’s abundance.
Believe me, it was such a moving experience to see the eyes of Jordan and Cindy shine with hope that they can actually live a happy life after all.
As happy as these 4 female friends of Jesus…
Do You Feel You’re Trapped?
Let me pick 4 of his female friends who failed big-time. They represent the crowd he hung out with.
The 4 female friends of Jesus were a demon-possessed woman, a divorcee, a condemned person, and a prostitute.
Let’s start with the famous Mary Magdalene.
According to the Bible, she had 7 demons in her.
The number 7 in Jewish culture is a symbol of perfection. That meant she was perfectly bad. Perfectly depraved.
Yet Jesus made her his friend—and she became a staunch follower of Jesus and a strong pillar of the early church.
Today, you may feel like Mary Magdalene.
Perhaps you’re trapped by your own demons. By your addictions. You’ve tried everything to kick the habit, but nothing has changed. Perhaps you’re trapped by your depression, your fears, your anxiety. You feel imprisoned.
So you feel you’re beyond repair.
Listen to me. God wants to repair you. God wants heal you. In the same way He drove out the demons of Mary Magdalene, so will he drive out all that’s holding you back from your freedom.
The next person was a divorce expert.
Have You Failed In Your Relationships?
Second on my list is the Samaritan Woman with 5 husbands.
Which is worse, having 7 demons or 5 husbands? One woman told me it’s worse to have 5 husbands, because one husband is equal to 3 demons. (My personal answer: Having 5 husbands is worse because you’ll have 5 mothers-in-law. )
Perhaps like her, you’ve suffered many failed relationships. Perhaps you cheated your spouse. Perhaps you have a broken marriage. Perhaps you come from a broken family. And you think you’ll suffer forever from your past mistakes. You may think, “I’ve blown it. I’ve missed the boat of happiness. I guess I’ll be miserable for life…”
That’s not true.
Friend, God loves you. He wants to bless you with great relationships and great people. Because His plan to bless you is bigger than all your mistakes.
The next person was caught with her hand in the cookie jar.
Do You Feel Rejected By Others?
Third on my list was the woman caught in the very act of adultery. They had no hidden cameras then, but they had full-proof evidence. Can you imagine being dragged into the street by a mob ready to stone you to death? Yet Jesus told those guys to take a walk. And he told her point blank, “I do not condemn you.”
Friend, you may have made a big blunder. And people look down at you. People condemn you for being foolish. People talk behind your back and reject you.
Yet God is saying these words to you right now: I do not condemn you. I have a plan to bless your life.
Receive this declaration in your spirit.
Believe when the Bible says, There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.
The next one was probably the worst of all…
God Doesn’t Focus On Your Past
Finally, the town prostitute. (Note: Some people think Mary Magdalene was this prostitute. But there’s no biblical proof to ascertain this.)
When Jesus was in a party, she gate-crashed.
The woman knelt at the feet of Jesus, washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Everyone in that party knew that the woman was a prostitute.
They started murmuring, “Hey, is this Jesus really a holy guy? Doesn’t he know that the woman touching him is a whore?”
But Jesus didn’t mind the talk around him.
Everyone else saw who she was yesterday. Jesus saw who she will be tomorrow. Everyone else saw a prostitute. Jesus saw a woman who loved much because she was forgiven much. Everyone else saw her past. Jesus saw her future.
Friend, here’s my message: Never define yourself by your mistakes. Define yourself by your destiny.
They Are Nameless
Out of these 4 women, only one was named—Mary Magdalene. The other 3 are nameless. The Samaritan woman didn’t have a name. The woman caught in adultery didn’t have a name. The town prostitute didn’t have a name. Why? Perhaps God is saying, “This could be you. My mercy will give you a new future.”
That’s the kind of God you have. I repeat: His plan to bless you is bigger than all your mistakes put together.
My Experience As A Father
One day, when my son was 5-years old, he said, “I want to cook pancakes!”
“Sure,” I said.
Immediately, I had a sense of remorse.
Because when he ran into the kitchen, it sounded like the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The banging of pots and pans was so loud, I bet you could hear it all the way to China.
When I walked into the kitchen, I saw the chaos mentioned in the book of Genesis. Like a tsunami hit our kitchen.
There were broken eggshells all over the place, flour on the floor, spilt milk on the table. He wasted so much ingredients. He made so many mistakes.
But then again, I expected him to make mistakes. That’s key.
Today, at 9-years old, my son still loves to cook pancakes, cheese omelette, and other simple dishes. Because he’s short, he has to stand on a chair in front of the cooking range. (It’s so cute.) I’ve noticed that each time, he commits lesser mistakes. Each time, there’s lesser chaos.
It’s not just in cooking.
I’m a father of two growing boys.
My sons have failed thousands of times.
But that’s okay. I still love them. They’re still the darlings of my life. And I still want them to grow up and succeed.
Why do they make mistakes? Because they’re still growing, they’re still learning, and they still have a long way to go. I know their mistakes are all part of their growth. Without those mistakes, their growth won’t be complete.
I love them—all their mistakes included.
God Expects You To Make Mistakes Too
I have a controversial belief I’d like to share with you: God expects you to make mistakes too.
Do you think God is surprised that you fall?
God has made room for your mistakes.
So in a sense, He has incorporated your fumbling, stumbling, and struggling as part of His over-all plan to bless your life. By His mercy, He even uses your mistakes to bless you. The Bible says that all things work for good to those who love God. Yes, even your mistakes. (More on this later.)
Friend, I’m not saying this as our license to sin. I’m saying this to give hope to those who think their lives are doomed because they have sinned in the past.
God Has Bigger Plans
Thirty years ago, my father had a young man working for him in his department. His name was Pio Español. When Light of Jesus began, Dad invited this young man to the prayer meeting but Pio would always find excuses not to go.
Why? Pio, though a married man, had a young girlfriend. In fact, he had a few young girlfriends in various parts of the country.
One day, Pio was in a restaurant, waiting for his girlfriend. But that day, he felt a deep emptiness in his heart. He felt terrible. He felt something was missing in his life.
And then something strange happened.
Suddenly, he heard singing. It was such happy singing. He got curious and walked towards the music. He found out that right in that restaurant was a prayer meeting—a prayer meeting similar to what his boss, my father, was inviting him to attend.
And in that room, he saw very happy people. All of them were smiling. In his heart, he began to desire that same kind of happiness.
Soon, he started joining the Light of Jesus prayer meeting.
Soon, he cut off all his extramarital affairs and won his wife back. He restored his marriage. He changed his life.
Fast forward 30 years later, Pio is our Elder Missionary to North America. Because of him, we have manyLight of Jesus chapters in Toronto, Mississauga, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Los Angeles… Today, Pio preaches to thousands about marriage and family life. He is indeed a walking miracle.
You may be like Pio 30 years ago. All you want is to be happy. All you want to do is recover from your mistakes. He never thought God had bigger plans for him.
But God did.
He will not only straighten you out. He will make you a blessing to the nations.
God Didn’t Give Up On Me
I give this message born out of my own experience.
God didn’t want me to be addicted to sex.
But I was. For many years, I was so addicted to porn, it literally ruled my life. It consumed me.
So God’s Plan A for my life didn’t happen.
But guess what: He had a Plan B for my life.
But my porn addiction lasted longer than it should have, and so I destroyed God’s Plan B too.
And Plan C.
And Plan D.
And Plan E…
I believe I stayed with my addiction for such a long time, He offered me Plan Z. And I rejected it.
What did God do?
He invented a new letter for me.
In fact, He invented a whole new alphabet for me.
Nothing I did could ever stop Him from offering me another plan to bless my life.
Today, I’m healed from my addiction.
I’m experiencing so much blessings, I sometimes pinch myself. Am I really living this charmed life? I don’t deserve this!
I Can’t Understand Why I’m So Blessed
I’m swimming in an ocean of blessings!
Today, I’m married to this wonderful woman for almost 12 years now—and we have an incredible marriage.
I’ve got two fabulous boys.
I’ve got the best family and friends one can ever wish for.
My businesses are growing.
And hey, I must mention this. I’m even good-looking. (If you disagree, I’ll pray for you less.)
Can you believe my “luck”?
And I’m serving God in such a phenomenal way.
Yesterday, I came from Vietnam and preached God’s Word. Vietnam, would you believe? So far, I’ve visited 36 countries, written 16 books, publish 7 magazines, and lead 9 non-profit organizations that are doing the craziest work for God.
Who’s doing this?
A former porn addict.
Why is this happening?
There can be only one reason: Mercy!
I’ve approached God’s throne with boldness and received His mercy.
God Even Uses My Mistakes
And here’s the crazy thing: God even used my failures as part of His plan to bless me.
How? Because of my failures, my preaching has become very different than what you hear from many religious people. Precisely because of my own mistakes and how God dealt with me.
Dear friend, God hasn’t given up on you.
So don’t give up on yourself.
And God hasn’t given up on your destiny.
So don’t give up on yours!
Some of you may say, “But Bo, I’ve messed up. I’ve missed God’s best plans for my life.” I say No. Believe that the best is yet to come.
And always remember, God’s plan is bigger than all your mistakes put together.
I wrote a special declaration for you to say below. Say it with all your heart. Confess your faith. Let your words define your reality:
“I may have messed up, but this is temporary. I may have made mistakes in the past, but my future is brighter than my past. Today, I come boldly into God’s presence to receive mercy. I reject condemnation. Because of God’s mercy, my best blessings are yet to come. Each day is a new beginning for me. Each day, I shall live a new life. Each day, I shall live in abundance. Each day, I shall walk in God’s favor. Amen!”
May your dreams come true,