Thursday, June 16, 2016
The Video Below. Is. Really. Good.
One thing I learned throughout years is that, yes, personal testimonies are very encouraging to listen to, but they do not compare to the encouragement I get upon hearing (or reading) the Word of God. In fact, I could learn a lot and be encouraged from the lives of those in the Bible.
I had my fair share of listening to pastors reading a verse in the Bible, followed by their anecdote and how their experience related to that Scripture portion. But what a great difference it made when I started working for RBI*, where my boss would always begin the week with a Bible study and group prayer. We'd study the life or Apostle Paul or of Joseph, the Dreamer, or of John the Baptist for weeks -- just going through the Bible, knowing these people, and thereby, knowing the GOD whom they worship. Nothing strengthened my faith more than knowing that I am worshiping the same God that they did!
I am blessed that God led me to a new church (Harbor Of Grace Reformed Church) that does the same -- where my pastor is so careful and passionate to properly and correctly teach the Scriptures. And I know he does this to honor God, in faith that the preaching of the Word will not return to God empty, but will accomplish what God has purposed.
I pray that all preachers would be faithful in doing the same -- that they would not water down the Gospel of Christ, which is the Good News, just to make it more attractive to the world, or just to save their faces from society's onslaught. We are commissioned to send the King of king's message throughout the whole world. We better send the exact message, not the edited/modified version of it, or else... ;)
2 Timothy 3:16-17) "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
*RBI (Resources for the Blind, Inc.- a non-profit Christian organization catering to the needs of those with visual impairments in the Philippines)
* Video downloaded from https://vimeo.com/169115626
Thursday, November 19, 2015
If you have been truly born again, if you are truly God's child, He WILL change you and make you holy. The Holy Spirit will convict you of your sins, reveal to you your spiritual depravity, He will break you. And as you look up from your nothingness, you will see the very essence of the Cross, the redemptive work of the Lamb of God. And on that Cross, in Christ, you will find your hope! If you are truly God's, He will change you! He will sanctify you. He will not share you with this world. He will prepare you for eternity. He will make you holy for He is holy.
As I witness some great men fall as a consequence of the bad choices they've made in the past, I thank the Lord for keeping my hands from wrongdoings, for not letting me walk in the way of the wicked, for keeping me from the love of money. I thank the Lord for the many things He didn't allow me to do. I thank Him for giving me grace to swim against the current of this world, keeping me from bringing shame upon His Holy Name.
I praise You, O Holy One, who owns me.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NASB
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.” Psalms 1:1-6 NASB
"Each one of us has been commissioned to see to it that Christ's banner is raised on every distant hill in every faraway land. If we are not called to go, we are called to stand behind those who do, with equal sacrifice." - Paul Washer
I've been reading and hearing so many news on persecution of Christians worldwide, specifically of missionaries being tortured, beheaded or crucified for the Gospel of Christ. May we, who are in our comfortable homes, always be FAITHFUL in PRAYER for them and SUPPORT them in every way we can.
I've been guilty of these two things -- because of my ignorance of the Scriptures (1) I embraced every teaching of the pastors I grew up listening to, took their words as truth without checking if their teachings align with what the Scriptures say; and (2) I shared the Gospel as I've "heard and read" these preachers present it, inviting people to repeat the "sinner's prayer" with me and "declaring" them saved/born-again in the end, not knowing that these aren't found in the Scriptures at all.
I praise God for my friend who replied, "I don't know" when I asked him if he believed he's saved after my erroneous gospel presentation. I thank God for the fear that the Spirit has brought upon my heart, leading me to question my own faith and salvation. I praise God for drawing me to seek Him. I praise God for being true to His promise that those who wholeheartedly seek Him will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). And I praise God for the True Gospel of Christ -- that has shown me my sins and led me to repentance (and continues to do so), and has given me unwavering assurance, faith, hope, and joy. To God be all glory! He is so good!
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
On my way to work this morning, reading the Bible and silently praying, it reminded me of what I'd call my "Adam and Eve" days as a young, carnal Christian. When I sin, I hide. In my guilt, I couldn't come to the Lord. When my spirit knew that I've sinned against my Lord, I would sort of voluntarily bring myself to a penalty box where I'd sit guiltily. I would try to be a goody-goody until I'd feel "worthy" to go to the Lord again and be accepted. Oh how small my faith was and how minute was my knowledge of the Lord back then!
God's unconditional, everlasting love. The Blood of Christ and His grace. The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and His dwelling presence. These have become so precious to me. That when I sin, even in my shame, instead of hiding, I now find myself running to the Lord and clinging to Him as my only lifeline. Clinging in faith that His Words are true -- that I could come because my sins have been paid for by Christ on the Cross, that I could come to Him because I've been justified by the Blood of Christ, that there is no longer condemnation to those who truly belong to Christ, that I could come boldly in repentance and be certain I will be forgiven, that I would not be judge in wrath but rather be disciplined as a child whom the Father loves. And Oh! How He truly loves!
I praise and thank God, the Holy Spirit who continues His transforming work in my life. He is making the Word of God true and alive in me. He pointing out my sins, stripping me off my wordliness, and changing the desires of my heart, aligning them to God's will. The process is sometimes excruciating but He is also my Comforter. He is the breath of life that resurrected this dry, dead bones. He has made my heart secure that I am truly God's and He is mine.
All glory to my Triune GOD, Who Was, Who Is, and Is to Come!
This is my praise. This is my thanksgiving! Amen.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I once dated a man who seemed to be very godly and I thought he was really into me. He'd text and call me several times a day, follow and like my posts in Facebook, etc. He was kind, sweet, caring, and seemed to be concerned with my spiritual growth and would even pray for me. He made me feel special. He awakened emotions from me until I came to a point that I knew I've fallen for him. And then he stopped. The text messages and calls became seldom - from once or twice a day, until it became once or twice a week. I asked him about it. He apologized, saying he was just busy with ministry and work. I forgave. But nothing changed. It actually became worse.
Confusion. Hurt. Doubt. Depression. Bitterness. Fear. Insecurity. All these negative thoughts and emotions came crashing in. For months I've emotionally struggled and prayed to God for wisdom. As I felt this chapter of my life was about to end I began to ask -- there must be a purpose for this pain.
That's when my prayer changed, asking the Lord to not let me leave empty-handed, but rather with lesson learned and character changed. "Teach me what you want me to learn from this, Lord." And that's when the Lord graciously gave His answer:
I am most confident when I KNOW I am loved. I felt what I did towards this man because his "love" (or at least his attention or attraction) was inconsistent, wavering, unreliable, or worse, unreal. I felt insecure because I found no security in his affection towards me.
"Hey graceless heart," I preached to myself, "you do know of a much greater love than this!" That God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that whoever believes in Him and what He had accomplished on the Cross, will not perish but have everlasting life (paraphrasing John 3:16). This love is eternal, consistent, and unwavering! This love was what I am unworthy of as a sinner but was unconditionally bestowed upon me, through Christ, not because of anything I've done to acquire it, but because love is who God is! It is by this holy love, with the precious Blood of Christ as its seal, that I have the right to be called a daughter of God, the right to come boldly to Him in prayer and have fellowship with Him. It is the love that accepts me for who I am and changes me -- regenerates and sanctifies me through the work of the Holy Spirit, preparing me for eternity to come.
Through Christ, I am certain that I am loved by the Lord! In God's love there's fullness. In His love I am secured. In His love there is no fear. And in His love there is healing. Yes, I am confident in This Love!