Weekend Worship: Till The End of Time (City Harvest Church)

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭46:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What are the things or circumstances that we are afraid of? Earthquake scare, end of the world apocalypse, loss of job, singleness, lack of security. All these things at one point of our life scare (or will scare) us – but what is so wonderful with God is that He will never leave us until the end of time. We may not see Him working, or not felt Him just what had happened to Job, and yet, God says in Isaiah that He will be our God until our lifetime. He will carry us until the end of time. I hope in this love song to our God, we come to acknowledge and accept the truth that no circumstance will ever make God abandon us – because He is our Faithful God.

#WeekendWorship #CityHarvestChurch 

 

Unshakable

“He shakes the earth from its place, and its foundations tremble.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭9:6‬ ‭NLT

For the past three days, we have been literally shaken by the Lord God Almighty.  Luzon Island was jolted last Monday with an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 and has recorded about 500 aftershocks. The next day, one of the islands in South Philippines experienced a 6.5 magnitude quake. And just as the country is still assessing the damage done by the two quakes, at least three quakes have been recorded in Mindanao (an island south of the Philippines).

My mom, sister and I were out when the Monday quake happened. We were in a public utility vehicle (PUV) when it happened. I thought that someone is playing a prank on us; that someone is shaking the vehicle. When we looked outside, other PUVs were also shaking and a realization came to us that it’s an earthquake. We saw people from afar, running into safety from a nearby high-rise construction. The earthquake lasted for about a minute.

I never thought that I would experience an earthquake again as it’s been a while since the last time I experienced an earthquake that strongly shook me (1999 to be exact). This caught me by surprise and physically, my knees shook when I saw how many people are outside of the building waiting for an update. But even if my knees were shaking, I was pretty much calm; because of the truth that whatever happens, God Almighty is in control. Just as what was written in the book of Job, God shakes the earth in its place and its foundation trembles. God is just showing to us His might and who can ever deny it?

These last three days have been an awakening for both secular and Christians. Some have been sharing some scary post about the Big One. The Philippines have been anticipating the Big One for quite some time now. According to studies, the Big One is an earthquake that will have a magnitude of 7 and would displace a number of buildings and people. With all the happenings for the last three days, there was a constant effort from the secular side, the government and the NGOs to be on the lookout for the Big One and to ensure the every Filipino family is prepared with a survival kit. With this in everyone’s mind, it also cultivates fear and panic to everyone. But as a Christian, God has prepared us for such circumstance. He gave us the truth that we will have troubles in this world. But we do not need to worry, nor live in fear and panic because we know that Jesus who overcame death, has overcome the world and all of its troubles. 

One of my favorite verse in the Bible gives me and my family an assurance in all of this earthquake scare is that the Almighty God will hide us in the shadow of His wings to those who dwell in the presence of the Lord (Psalm 91:1). He will be our rock, our fortress and He will never be shaken (Psalm 62:6). And because my God is in control, a rock and mighty fortress that is unshakable, therefore, my faith and hope in God are unshakable. 

#TheBigOne #Earthquake #UnShakable #EarthquakePH #Faith 

You Can’t Hurry Love

I first heard that song when I was in university – my friends and I had a long break so we decided to watch the movie Runaway Bride. You probably have seen the movie and it’s a bit funny and there is a hint of truth that, when we view love from the worldly perspective, truly we can’t hurry love.

But what if I tell you today that someone is in a hurry, to love you? You must probably say, “Nah, that is too good to be true!”.

We know how to love because He first loved us. Do you ever wonder when did God first loved us?

Even before the foundation of this world, God has loved you and me already. He has chosen us, to be His sons and daughters even at the beginning of the age. It was because of His great love, He has ordained us, so that we may be holy in His eyes (Eph 1:4). Even before we are formed in our mother’s womb, He has loved us. What an assurance we have in God’s love.

That brings me to the story where the Author of Love didn’t shy away rushing towards us. Perhaps, you know the story of the Prodigal Son – we are all too familiar with the story that we forgot that the core of that story is that, when we truly acknowledge and humble ourselves before the Lord, He will stop whatever He is doing and He will run towards us and shower us the affection that is overflowing in Him. Can you imagine the God of heavens, the King of Kings, running towards us? Sometimes, most of the men will have difficulty understanding such display of overflowing emotion – men felt that only women are emotional. God’s immense love for you and me are not defined by our hormonal structures, nor by our biological X and Y chromosomes.

And you say, you can’t hurry love? No, God is in a hurry to love you because God is chasing after you – wanting to love you despite the ifs and buts we have in our lives. As I end this post, I am sharing to you one of my favorite song growing up – I pray that this song will touch the core of your heart and realize just how much He loves you and me.

Photo and video credits from Youversion and Youtube respectively.
PS: this blog post was originally posted last August 15, 2018, and believed that it is timely for the month of February to remind each and every one of us that God first loved us.

#valentinesday #lovemonth #GodisLove #love #february14

My Heart is My Mirror

Our heart is a fountain. As the Proverb says in Chapter 4, springs of life flow from it (Proverbs 4:23). In Proverbs 27, it also tells us, we can know the person by looking at their heart. Whatever is in our heart – issues, frailties, even our spiritual journey, it will surely show up for the world to see; then the world would see the real us.

Just as Solomon reminded us, guard your heart with all diligence. While we are still in a sinful world, there will be times that we will still be enticed to the things offered by this world. It is not easy to guard our own hearts; as the scripture has been reminding us, our flesh is weak. But we don’t need to do it alone. Jesus Christ has given us the Holy Spirit to empower ourselves to overcome the things that are not align to His will. Also, seek the Holy Spirit to empower us in keeping with His words so we could guard our hearts diligently not because of our own strength and might but by the power of the Holy Spirit that is in us.

Prayer: Lord thank you for this truth. I pray that you give me the strength to be able to guard my heart diligently. I pray that my heart reflects Your goodness and the character of Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit empower me on days that I am weak – remind me of His words and strengthen me so I could overcome the temptations of the world and that His character will be reflected in my life. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen!

Star – A Christmas Symbol

Can you feel that soon it will be Christmas? Few more days and the most anticipated day of the year will be here soon!

People may already already have a calendar when Jesus was born; to us, our guide to Christmas is our calendar; but to them, despite having the calendar that time, their guide to Jesus was the star. Christmas season is everybody’s favorite season – there are so much cheer and love and kindness.

Matt 2:10 is my favorite Christmas verse in the Holy Bible and it says:

”When they saw the star, they were filled with joy” – NLT

I find it amazing for God to use a special star to guide the kings to Jesus. As Christmas approaches, I pray that I will be like that star shining for Jesus for all the world to see!

Does God Care?

Does your mind ever doubt if God really cares for you? Are there any circumstances that you don’t understand why it had to happen?

I had a couple of rejections two weeks back and somehow, those circumstances left me in puzzled why that has to occur. I actually ask God,

“Lord do you know the implication of that?”.

Of course, God knows. That is why He brought me to the verse that He is my creator and He cares for me.

As cliche as it may seem, God cares for me. I know that God cares, from the depths of my inmost being, I know that whatever circumstances I am right now, God does care for me as what He said in Isaiah 44.

I have been nursing my broken heart for the past week, but God never left my side. He kept on reminding me, that I may have these rejections over rejections, but God is for me. He will never reject me when I call on for His help (Isaiah 58:9). When I call, He will answer me, “Here I Am”.

If God is my creator, He knew what I needed today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

God cares for my feelings. When I felt sad, He comforted me. When I felt broken, He made me feel whole because I am whole in His care and love. When I am happy, He is happy for me.

God cares for what I need. He is my Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide. He will give each day my daily needs. He is my Great Shepherd.

God cares for my loved ones. He said in the scripture that “If I believed, my family shall be saved”. He is my salvation, therefore, He is my family’s salvation too.

God cares when I am sick. He died on the cross so that I can be healed.

God cares when my faith is weak. He is my strong tower, my refuge so even if my faith falters, He will strengthen my heart to have faith again, to persevere again. And when we are weak, He is strong, His grace is sufficient for us. (2 Cor 12:9-11). God’s grace and love are new every morning, His faithfulness never ends.

When my mind cannot fully understand why some things I did not perceive happened to me, I trust that God is my Creator and He knew my needs and He cares for me. God wants to help me in ways I might not be able to comprehend. But I know that My God is for me and that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

 

 

God is Faithful Even If My Faith Tank Is Low

At times, I feel that my faith tank is running low. I have been honest that at times, I get anxious.

As my last day at work is nearing, I had mixed emotions causing me to be anxious. I am sad that I am leaving my current job; I am happy that I am looking forward to something new from God; being worried about coming out of my comfort zone and the worst, me getting my brain overworked because of the waiting.

Many times, God has put us into waiting. And to be honest, I am a person who is not really good at waiting. I remembered when I was in college if a friend of mine is late by few minutes, I would leave her and would send her a message to catch up at school. Two weeks back, I was in Manila and living in a country where convenience is a necessity, I find absurd to stay in the queue for 30 minutes only to get an answer as No. I have been tested on waiting, again and again, and most of the time, I failed the test. And God is putting me again on another waiting season in my life. I wonder how other people do it; do they get anxious too? Do they overthink? At times, I wonder why I can’t wait gracefully and faithfully. I wonder why my brain acts up and kept me awake at night over the things that I have already placed in God’s hands as if I have any control over those things.

Then last Sunday, the preacher brought us to the scripture in Hebrews 11:11. Sarah, though she had struggled at her own faith, she was considered to be a person of faith. Not by her own merit; not because she has her faith in full-tank but because her faith rested to God who made the promise and she considered and judged God as ”Faithful”. This encouraged me to go on and wait upon the Lord, to have more faith again; to fill up my faith tank again by celebrating His goodness and mercy because my God who is the author and perfecter of our faith, is Faithful. I will keep trusting God that He will answer me in His perfect time; not on the time, I deemed fit. For indeed, God has made everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Joy In Evangelism

I grew up in a Christian family. My mom and my dad would buy two Bibles, one for me and one for my sister so that we have something to use for our Sunday schools. My sister and I would end up with no Bible after a few months because my mom and my dad would give our Bibles to people that they have invited to church. I also remembered our summer school holidays, my mom and dad would ask us to answer some Christian booklets so that we could get free Bibles and give it to people who will surrender their lives to Jesus during one of the street evangelism in our area. As I grew up, the mission to share the gospel was instilled in my mind. I was always part of the “back office” of the mission up until last year. I thank my parents for teaching us to be generous in this ministry and for encouraging us to obey the Great Commission at our best effort.

But this year, I asked God that I wanted to be part of the “front office” of going into the mission field. I started praying in February and I praised God that He sent me twice already to two short-term mission trip. As I study the book of Acts and how God used the apostles, I am being encouraged all the more to be in the mission. Despite that I am an introvert by nature and most of the time, it is difficult for me to initiate conversation, but God’s love for me is overflowing that I couldn’t but help to desire to go for street evangelism. No, I am not always brave – days before the street evangelism, most of the time, I get nervous. During my last mission trip last Saturday, a few hours while waiting for my flight to that city, I got so nervous that I had to walk and keep praying to God to empower me. Truly, when we asked the Holy Spirit to empower us, He will not fail us especially if we are doing the work of God.

The crowds were eager to receive[a] Philip’s message and were persuaded by the many miracles and wonders he performed. Many demon-possessed people were set free and delivered as evil spirits came out of them with loud screams and shrieks, and many who were lame and paralyzed were also healed.[b] This resulted in an uncontainable joy filling the city! Acts 8:6-8 (TPT)

Acts 8:8, is my “mission vision” – for me to share the gospel and make disciples so that the city (my harvest field) will encounter the joy of our Lord. So I keep trusting that the God who started this mission work in me, will carry it to completion until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Weekend Worship: Do It Again – Elevation Worship

I am not a Super Christian – there are circumstances that my faith also falter and I was eaten up by worries of life.

There are instances that keep stacking up and that instead of my faith keeps getting hyped, my anxious mind gets in the way. But when I start singing to our God, God keeps on reminding me on one of verse that I kept holding on whenever I felt that the struggle was real.

I was once young, but now I’m old.
    Not once have I found a lover of God forsaken by him,
    nor have any of their children gone hungry. – Psalm 37:25 (TPT)

This verse was one of my life verses that I have been holding on since I am on my teen years. Up until now, God has been keeping His promise that no righteous man will be forsaken and will beg for bread. At this time, when I am about to lose a job that I have been in for the last nine years, God has reminded me that I was never in need. He always provide me a good and a better job. If He is able to do it last time, He will be able to do it again. Sometimes, some good things must come to an end, so that better things can come and stay.

PS: I will be having my second interview on Tuesday, and I am claiming that this new job is the one that I have been waiting for over a year now. Truly His goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life as long as I make my God my refuge and my stronghold.

Taking Refuge in His Words

Have you ever been at the receiving end of encouragement; when people tell you to take refuge in Him? But when you are all alone, you didn’t even know how to do it?

When I was a child, I usually hear and sing along to the song while at the church:

He that dwelleth in the secret place of Most High; shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

And I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, My God in whom I will trust.

I know the words and the melody, but at that time, it was only a stock knowledge. I don’t even know how to make God my refuge. Until my grandfather was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1996. I have been praying to God and that is the time I have started to apply in my life to dwell in God’s words and promises. At that time, I didn’t know yet, that being in God’s word, meditating it, praying the psalms to God, is actually an act of taking refuge in Him.

As different circumstances come into my life, from one season to another, I have been learning to trust and abide in His words. Proverbs 30:5 says: ”Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him”.

In the scriptures, God has been emphasizing that His words are trustworthy. He said that He is not a man that He should lie (Number 23:19). Even if the grass withers and the flowers fade, the Word of God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8). And what can be more assuring than this:

Thus says the Lord: “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

In Psalm 19, David listed down some of the benefits when we abide in God’s Word:

  • God’s word revives our souls (v7)
  • It makes the wise simple (v7)
  • Gives joy to our hearts (v8)
  • Gives light to our eyes (v8)
  • God’s words warn us from sins and dangers (v11)
  • Following God’s word will give us a guarantee that we will succeed

We can take refuge in God’s word because God’s word is perfect in every way (Psalm 19:7). Each of His commandment is right (Psalm 19:9), and nothing He says ever needs to be changed (Psalm 19:9). Because of all these reasons, we can be assured that God will be there for us as our refuge and shield, covering us with His mighty wings despite the storms we are in right now.

Note: This is a continuation of my reflections and God’s impression on my word for the week Refuge.