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 

 

Love Never Gives Up

Today marks the world’s commemoration of our Lord Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. I was reminded of the scripture from 1 Corinthians 13 that love never gives up.

I was reflecting on these words and realized that Jesus’ loves for us didn’t stop Him on fulfilling the scriptures.

38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (NLT)

In Matthew 26:38, Jesus was in great distress and grief that He felt that He was almost at the point of death. But His love for us and obedience to the Father is greater than His grief and distress. I wonder what was going through Jesus’ mind at that time? I feel that at that time, all our names flashed through his mind and when He thinks of His love for us, it is what that kept Him for not giving up.

Jesus loves us enough for Him to endure the suffering and humiliation. His love for this world didn’t falter when all His creations shouted at Him to crucify Him. His love for us didn’t waver when He was hanging on the cross and being bruised and struck. His love for each one of us is unstoppable, unbreakable.

Lord Jesus, thank you for Good Friday. Indeed, you are a good God and that your love for us never falters nor it wavers. Thank you, Jesus, for dying on the cross for bearing my sins. Lord Jesus, this day I remember your goodness and love; teach me Lord your way so I could share your love with others. Thank you and I receive the full benefits of the cross.

Good Friday; Lenten Reflections; #GoodFriday #Lenten2019 #Lent2019 Passion Week; #passionweek

The Greatest Love

One would say, that all people have one great love. We often hear that cliche in movies, radio stations, books, and even blogs. A great love story would never be told like this:

A son of a certain man is so wicked. His thoughts, his ways, and even his breath are all about wickedness and his greed of fame, power, and money.

This man owns a number of farms around him. A certain farmer has a young boy working for the wicked son. One day, the wicked son burned up the village and the farms around him because he wanted to convert these farms into high-rise condominiums. A multitude of people was injured in an attempt to stop the fire from growing.

The fire was put down by the people with the help of the local police and firefighters. The police came and ask who was responsible for the arson that caused injuries to many people. Then the farmer came to the police and handed to them his young boy. The young boy was silent, being led by the police and verbally abused by the local villagers. The young boy was punished instead of the wicked man.

In this fallen and selfish world, no such story would end up where a loving father would give his son as payment for someone else’s wickedness. But our Abba Father is good, He gave his only Son for us as a ransom. Love came down and rescue us while we are still sinners.

One great love means someone is willing to take our judgment, not because we are nice or good or smart, but just because He loves us so much. Jesus became obedient even to the cross not because of our credentials, but because Jesus loves us. Jesus endured the suffering of the cross when He can actually cry out to God to take away all the pain and save Him, and yet He did it all just because He loves us. Jesus could have left us empty handed because we mostly choose ourselves above anything else, and yet He and the Father chose to leave the Holy Spirit to empower us because He loves us.

Prayer: Abba Father, thank you for your great love that you gave your Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross on behalf of my sins. It is with your great love that I am alive today. Jesus, thank you for your great love that you endured all those pains and suffering and even a short separation with the Father because of Your great love for me. Thank you also for the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit that keeps on revealing unto us your great love. Thank you, indeed you are a Good God. Amen.

#onegreatlove #lenten2019 #lenten #lent #reflections
In His Fullness
One Great Love

Weekend Worship – Hosanna (PlanetShakers)

Did you know that the Hebrew word “Hosanna” actually means “save now”? Today we commemorate the day Jesus entered Jerusalem seated on a donkey. Palm Sunday marks a significant truth that we all need saving and God did not disappoint us. He gave us His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to save us, redeemed us and give us new life, therefore, we can rejoice in this truth.

Zechariah 9:9 – Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

 

A Christlike Love

I was in fifth grade when I started to be acquainted with a slam book. A slam book is a notebook or something similar that has a series of questions passed around with friends. Some of the questions that were asked were personal information, hobbies, favorite colors, and subjects. There are also cliche questions and one of them is ”What is Love?”

Surprisingly, fifth and sixth graders have answers to the very question. Some answered, ”Love is blind”. Others answered that ”Love is like a rosary full of mystery”.

I don’t know whether those answers perhaps shape some of our perspectives today about the real meaning of love.

A few days back, a lot of people have posted how they have celebrated the Valentines day with their loved ones. Some are simple and some are extravagant. But what I like reflecting on Valentines Day is what true love really means and what does the Bible truly says about it.

In 1 Corinthians 13, Apostle Paul enumerated what true love really means.

Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving. 1 Corinthians ‭13:4-8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

How I loved the TPT version elaborate on the characteristics of what true love is. And thank you Abba Father that we have found our One True Love in Jesus Christ. The love of Jesus for us is what 1 Corinthians 13 is all about. And as Jesus’ believers and followers, we are to model how we love our family, special someone, friends, and enemies the way Jesus Christ demonstrated it. 1 Corinthians 13 is our model of what a Christlike love ought to be.

#valentines #Love #meaningoflove #Truelove#ChristLikeLove

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!

One Word For The Year

Every year, people do some sort of goal setting or New Year’s resolutions. It’s been a while since I stopped working on New Year’s resolutions – I think the last time I did it was when I had to write a composition writing on my last year in Senior High School. I still do some goal setting and guess what, at most times, I fail most of my goals set up for the year.

The only thing that didn’t fail me is God and my one word for the year kept me in check on the reality that I could never do it without God. Some people do the “one word for the year” to describe how they wanted to focus on their goals and what they expect the universe to teach them through their word for the year.

If you google “one word for the year”, the sites would give you a walkthrough on how to pick your “one word for the year”. However, for my case, I have a different approach in my “one word for the year”.

A week leading towards the New Year’s Eve and even after the weeks after the 1st of January, I always seek God what would be my scripture for the year. So here’s my step by step approach in case you wanted to pick your “one word for the year” if you haven’t had one yet.

Pray – seeking God in prayer on what will be my scripture for the year is my first step. Things I ask the Lord is what will be my scripture for the year to declare a blessing in my life, to overcome trials and to be able to stand firmly for my faith.

Next is singing about God’s goodness in my life. I find that engaging myself to praise and worship helps me to focus on what God will tell me through the scriptures.

Then, meditate on His words – seek Him in the scriptures. No, I don’t flip open my Bible when I asked God for my “word for the year”. I will tell God that Lord, I will seek you in the current book of the Bible I am reading. For 2018, I specifically told God that I will seek His word for me through the letters of Paul in Philippians, Ephesians, Thessalonians, and Colossians – until God spoke to me in Colossians 2:10.

Repeat until God speak to you through that scripture and one word. 🙂

How many days did I seek God? Some years, it took me weeks to get my “one word for the year”. Some years, took me only days. It depends on God’s speaking to me. I am sharing below what are my scriptures for the year since 2014 and it’s corresponding “word for the year”.

2014 – “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/59/isa.41.10.esv

2015 – And you shall be a blessing [a source of great good to others]
‭‭GENESIS‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭AMP‬‬
https://www.bible.com/1588/gen.12.2.amp

2016 – ”For out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift].”
‭‭JOHN‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭AMP‬‬
https://www.bible.com/1588/jhn.1.16.amp

2017 – “For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] “Yes.” So through Him we say our “Amen” to the glory of God.”
‭‭2 CORINTHIANS‬ ‭1:20‬ ‭AMP‬‬
https://www.bible.com/1588/2co.1.20.amp

2018 – ”When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭MSG‬‬
https://www.bible.com/97/col.2.8-10.msg

2019 – “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭90:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/59/psa.90.17.esv

I pray and hope this post helped you find your scripture and one word for the year this 2019.

In His Presence

inhispresence

I had an opportunity last Sunday to share some insights of God’s manifest presence at one church in Cavite, Philippines. The lessons and insights were based on my encounter with the Lord in July 2018 and Exodus 33.

Knowing that God is always present and experiencing God’s presence is not the same thing. Manifest presence of God is a tangible, clear or obvious experience of God in a person’s mind or eye.

1. We should crave God’s presence in our lives. Moses craved for God’s presence in his life.

Exodus 3 – Moses had an encounter and experience God himself in the form of a burning bush. Then in Exodus 13 – When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, God’s manifested His presence as a pillar of cloud by day to guide them and as a pillar of fire to give them light so that they could travel day and night. In verse 22 it says, neither the pillar of cloud by day or pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Exodus 33 happened after the Israelite asked Aaron to make them a golden calf while Moses was at the mountain of the Lord. Because of Israelite’s sin, God told them that He will send his angel to go with them.

Our sin causes us not to experience the manifest presence of God. Sin causes us not to hear from God. God is a Holy God. But Moses is audacious enough to say to the Lord that if God will not personally go with them, it is better for them not to leave the place.
Then again, still in Exodus 33:18 – Moses asked for God’s glory. Moses kept on craving for God’s presence and glory in his life.

We should be like Moses – crave for God’s manifest presence in our lives and surely, in God’s own bidding and perfect time, He will surely, surely give that desire of your heart.

2. Manifest presence of God causes us to repent from our sins. God’s manifest presence causes us to see who truly God is. When the Israelites learned that the Lord will not go with them, in verse 4, the Israelites mourned and stopped wearing adornment and fine clothes.

But do you know what amazes me with the manifest presence of the Lord? The manifest presence of the Lord purifies us. In Isaiah 6:6-7, Isaiah experienced the Lord’s purifying presence when one the seraphim put coal on Isaiah’s mouth and declared that his sin was completely atoned and forgiven. Manifest presence of God causes us to repent from our sins. God’s manifest presence causes us to see who truly God is and God’s manifest presence purifies us.

3. Manifest presence of God causes us to worship God. Moses has this heart of worship. Moses craved for the Lord’s presence in everything he does. It was a practice for him to always go into the Tent of Meeting.

Moses has the habit of meeting God. In verse 8-10 of Chapter 33, when the people saw the pillar of cloud which is the manifest presence of the Lord, they stand and bow down in front of their own tents. Experiencing God’s presence causes us to see who God is and because of that glory of His manifest presence, nothing and no one will be able to stop us from worshipping God.

Manifest presence of God causes us to truly worship Him for who He really is.

4. Goodness, mercy and compassion are evidence of the Lord’s manifest presence. Verse 18 – Moses again asked for the glorious presence of the Lord. Moses kept asking God for the affirmation that indeed His presence will go before him and the people of Israel. He wants more and more and more of God’s presence. In our lives, let us desire to be like Moses, to be bold enough to ask God, I want more of your presence. I want more of your favour. And surely, God will not disappoint us. He didn’t disappoint Moses before and God does not change. The more we ask for His presence, the more He will give. And where God’s presence is, there is a fullness of joy.

When Jesus came as Incarnate God (God’s manifest presence), wherever He is, there is healing, there is mercy and forgiveness, there is compassion.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.                 2 Cor 3:17 (NIV)

The manifest presence of the Lord frees us from the things that we can’t control, the situations we can’t change, to the addictions we can’t turn back. The manifest presence of the Lord allows us to see that God is good; He is faithful and He is our loving God.

Little Drummer Boy

I was like a drummer boy in the song. I gave and receive gifts from other people. But that drummer boy is way better than me. He was able to sing a song for Him – a song known by most people. But here am I thinking, what could I have done to give him something on His birthday. But I can never out give the greatest giver of all – God the Father who gave His Son for me to have an everlasting life. I can easily say Lord take my life this is yours, but there are times am taking my life back. But the good of it, God is generous to lend me back my life until I learned that important lesson. God is patient for me to say back again “Lord take my life this is yours”.

** This reflection was originally posted exactly four years ago – Dec 25, 2014 **