Tag Archives: God’s love

[Persevering] Day 5: Sins No More

Reading: Psalm 40:11-12

You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me;                                                                     Your loving-kindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.
For evils beyond number have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see;
They are more numerous than the hairs of my head,
And my heart has failed me.

 Reflection: 

Failures, mistakes, wrong choices, bad decisions – all of us are not excused from all of these. But we don’t have to continue living a life full of these. Not that life will be perfect and we will never make mistakes, but it will be a life with less.

God has promised forgiveness once we have received Jesus in our life. “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more”. (Hebrews 10:17) And aside from the gift of salvation and eternal life, God has given us a Helper, a Counselor – the Holy Spirit. Once you start having a serious walk with the Lord, your life will never remain the same. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The role of the Holy Spirit is to help us each day to choose and obey God as our response of our love for Him, that we may become a new person.  “For Christ’s love compels us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14). The love of God is just irresistible not to love Him back.

God’s love and compassion is unconditional and endless. He is patient with you as you desire to become better.  You just have to depend on the Holy Spirit and listen as He convicts your heart when you are about to make wrong decisions. And as we desire a deeper relationship with Jesus, we also have to do our part to get to know Him more.

Here are the things that we need to start including in our day to day walk with the Lord.

1. Pray – This is our way of communicating to God. Our prayers need not be memorized or repetitive. You just have to pour out what’s in your heart to God. A format you can follow is the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Or, you can also do this simple format as you are just starting to learn how to pray (ACTS). Eventually, you can speak from your heart whatever the Holy Spirit is leading you.

  • Adoration – acknowledging who God is and giving Him praise (loving, kind,                               forgiving, etc.)
  • Contrition – confessing to God your sins and asking Him for forgiveness and to                       help you repent
  • Thanksgiving – giving thanks to God for everything that He has done for you
  • Petition – asking God for your daily need, protection and for other people

Every end of the prayer, we always say, “This we ask (or pray) in Jesus’ Name.” As Jesus said in the Bible, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14) 

 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. (1 Timothy 2:5)

2. Read the Bible – If we talk to God through prayer, God talks to us through His Word – the Bible. As you start your day in prayer, it would also be nice to start your day hearing what God has to say to you for that day. You can read the Book of Psalms for your morning quiet time and you can start with the Book of John as you learn more about Jesus. Just like in any battle, the Word of God is our weapon for any temptation that would come along our way for that day. It would also be nice if you have a journal notebook where you can write what God has been speaking to you for that day.

3. Be part of a community. God created us not to be alone. We are made for relationships. It is important that we also become a part of a community that shares the same belief. One way of being a part of is to be a part of a small group or a Bible study group. This way, you can also learn from others, pray for each other and be an encouragement for one another. You will realize that you are not alone in the journey that you are going through.  “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)   

Are you excited with this journey with the Lord? You can pray like this as you start on with this journey.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You are so loving and full of compassion. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness that you will remember my sins no more because of Jesus. Thank you for giving me another chance to become better as a person. Help me to become more dependent on the Holy Spirit as He leads me to do the right things. I am excited as I desire to know and love Jesus more. I ask that you would strengthen me each day, that I will always have time for prayer and reading of the Bible. I ask also Lord that you would bring me to a group of people who shares the same love for You. From this day on, I entrust my spiritual journey with you. This I pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Song:

Now That You’re Near by Hillsong

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[Persevering] Day 4: Go and Tell

Reading: Psalm 40:9-10

I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your loving-kindness and Your truth from the great congregation.

Reflection:

When something good happened in your life, are you excited to tell it to people?

I always share my victories to my family and friends because I want to celebrate it with them. But then just like David, I am more excited in sharing to them the love and faithfulness of God in my life. Since I came to know Jesus more, I can’t help but speak of His goodness and greatness. Words are not even enough to proclaim how awesome God is. I always run out with words.

Have you encountered Jesus in a way that you can’t help but tell everyone about Him? If you haven’t, I hope you won’t allow yourself to miss it out. Jesus’ very words, He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) The good news is, Jesus came to this earth for you and me, sinners.  And, He said also, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) That is a promise that will never fail.

How’s your life today? Are you living a life that is full of peace, joy and love even in the midst of your problems? Or, are you feeling empty and unsatisfied? Only Jesus who is loving, righteous, faithful and kind can satisfy you and make your life complete – as He promised. God loves you so much that He wants you to be part of His family. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

Are you excited to have a life that is full and abundant? Do you want to experience content, joy and lasting peace? Are you thrilled to proclaim to the world how much God loves you that He sent His Only Son, Jesus for you and for everyone? If you have sincerely received Jesus Christ in your life, do you know that there is a party in heaven for you? “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10) I’m excited on how God will continue to work in your life and how He will use you also just like David to proclaim His amazing love to others.

As you made a commitment today of loving Jesus, may this prayer guide you.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your sacrificial love that You have sent Jesus for all of us that we may be a part of your family. Thank you for your patience that it took me awhile to receive Your Son, Jesus in my life. I’m looking forward to an amazing journey with you as I desire to love you, know you and share your love to others. Teach me and guide me to live each day a life that will speak of your love to others. I pray that I will not restrain my lips or be afraid of proclaiming you to my family and friends who still do not have Jesus in their life. This I pray, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Songs:

Shout to the Lord by Hillsong

All of My Days by Hillsong

[Persevering] Day 3: God Made a Way

Reading: Psalm 40:6-8

Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”

Reflection:

During the time of David, they offer animals as sacrifices to the Lord but these are not what God desires. In the time of King Saul, Samuel told Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23)

The verses 7-8 speak about Jesus being the perfect sacrifice that is only pleasing to God. Because God was not pleased with burnt and sin offerings of men, Jesus had to come to do the will of the Father. In Hebrews 10:10, it says, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

God does not want us to show off to Him how good or best we are at something. What God desires for us is to see Jesus sitting at the throne of our life. Why? Because Jesus is the only pleasing sacrifice that God accepts as a payment of our sinful life. Our good works or good intentions will never be enough because our lives are stained with sin. The blood of Jesus is the only cure that when God looks into our lives, He will see the blood of His Only Son covering our sin. And that will be enough for God.

Have you come to that point in your life that you feel so tired of trying to be better or to have a good life? I have good news for you. Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28) All you need to do is to receive Jesus in your life and trust Him to be your Lord and Savior. Through Him, you will receive forgiveness for all your past, present and even future sins. And not only that, through Jesus you will receive the most precious give of salvation that leads to eternal life. Once you open your life to Jesus, your life will never be the same again. There will still be difficulties along the way, but this time, the yoke will be much easier because Jesus is walking with you to strengthen you and sustain you.

If you are sincere in your heart to accept Jesus, you can say this prayer.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your amazing love that you have showed to us through Jesus Christ. Thank you for making a way for us through Jesus so that our lives will become acceptable to you. Today, with a sincere heart, I accept you Jesus to be my Savior. I believe that you have died and resurrected that I will receive the gift of salvation and eternal life. I ask of you today to also become the Lord of my life. Forgive me for all of my sins and help me to turn away from my wrongdoings. May You take over my life Lord Jesus that I may live in obedience to You. This I pray in Jesus’ Name,  Amen.

If you have accepted Jesus, I would love to hear from you and would love to pray for you. Please leave a message here.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.” – Hebrews 10:18

Song:

May this song remind you of the sacrifice of Jesus for all of us.

God Is, Even When We Are Not

My parents taught us about God, going to church every Sunday, praying and other church stuff. I grew up with a knowledge of God. Until 10 years ago, I realized that wasn’t enough. 

As I read God’s Word, I realized that God is not just a “someone” that we have to learn in our Religion subject.  I realized that God is not just present when I go to a church building. I realized that doing church activities is not just what God really wants from me.

God, more than anyone else, is the most important. How important our family is to us, God is more. How important our friends are to us, God is more. God who created the universe that we can’t even imagine, who designed us in our mother’s womb that we can’t even fathom. This God, who after all, what He really wants is just for us to love Him first before anyone or anything. This God, who is Almighty and Powerful, after all, what He really wants is just for us to know and honor Him. This God, who after all, what He really desires is we go back to Him.

In 1993, my father lost his job in Cebu as the company he was working at that time shut down. I was very young back then, I really didn’t understand what was going on. I just knew then that we would move to Bacolod City as my father found a job in Negros Occidental. God provided for my family – a job, a home, a school. God was faithful even when sometimes we failed to honor Him.

In 1997, we got robbed inside our house. A lot of our relatives from abroad came home because of my grandfather’s funeral. My siblings and I all slept in the living room and it was a good thing no one woke up during that time. God protected us from those men. God was faithful even when we forgot Him at times.

In 2001, the portion of my grandparent’s house where we stayed got burned. The whole second floor were our room and my parent’s room where were turned into ashes. It was a nightmare as I saw the fire rapidly eating the whole floor. But, I was grateful that none of us got hurt. I was glad that my brother who was in my parent’s room sensed the fire and was able to get out. God kept us all safe. God was faithful even when we fail to make time for Him.

In 2006, this was a very painful year for us as a family. My mother was going in and out of the hospital for a month because of family issues that affected her health. Everyone in the family was coping on how to handle such painful family matter. And the most unexpected happened, my sister passed away because of hemorrhagic dengue fever.  During this time, it was only God who could truly see and understand the depth of our pain. God was our comforter. God was faithful even when we neglected Him sometimes.

In 2014, just this month, my father got into an accident which caused him to have his left hipbone dislocated. I was telling God how funny it could be, that if He allowed this to happen why not before I resigned from my work. My HMO could have covered the hospital bills of my father. But, I am grateful that my father is okay and the operations performed to him was just to align his hipbone and a minor surgery for his fractured ankle. This was an unexpected expense for us but God provided for our needs. And I know that He is at work at my father’s life that He allowed this. I’m grateful for this trial in Papa’s life. God is faithful even when we lack faith in Him and doubt Him at times.

These were not just the trials that God allowed to happen in my life, in our lives as a family. There were a lot. But these I highlighted are the ones I can clearly look back and be amazed of  how GOOD God really is. It brings me to tears every time I remember His faithfulness and goodness to our family despite the times that we continue to disobey Him and even ignore Him. He remained faithful and He got us through all of those.

You see, more than our good works, good performance, good looks – God wants a relationship with us through Jesus. Like a father to a child, that’s what He wants from us. Even if we forget Him, He has always been there, waiting for His children to come back, to the point of giving up His Only Son, Jesus. That’s how much God loves us.

Life is difficult.

Life is more difficult without Jesus whom through Him we can go back to God.

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:32

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:37-39

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One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than  these.” – Mark 12:28-31

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True Design

This week, I’ve been reading the first 2 chapters of the Book of Genesis as I prepare for a material of an upcoming event about life’s purpose. I just want to once again be refreshed and reminded of God’s design for man and there’s not better way to do that than to start on the creation of man.

As I was reflecting on the 2 chapters this week, (I’m really having a hard time describing what I felt, words can’t define) I was actually speechless, I got teary-eyed and just so amazed of who God is. I’ve read Genesis so many times but this week, God just really made my heart grew more for Him.

A human mind can never grasp the depth of God’s love even if He created us to be above all His other creations. God’s love can never be fathomed. His pleasure in us can never be defined. His longing for us can never be explained. The relationship of the Creator to His creation is very important to Him that we never even bother to understand or even realize.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27)

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7)

 “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” (Gen 2:8-9)

These verses reminded me not of who I am in the eyes of God but of who God is and that even in the passing of time, the way God sees us has never changed. Who God is never changed and will never will.

Our life was never about us since the beginning. It has always been about God that’s why He created us. But God made sure we will be His very important masterpiece. He designed us in His own image. He breathed to us the breath of life. He planted a garden for us. He made trees that were pleasing and good for food. And importantly, we are a creation that God allowed to make choices. Can an apple tree choose to bear an orange fruit? Can a dog choose to fly than run? But God never forced us unto Him. He gave us a choice. (You tell me an inventor who gave his invention the freedom to its own will?) Because that’s what a relationship is.  Because that’s what God wants from us. For us to choose Him over anything else.

In all our busyness in this life,  it’s always a good start of our day to day to ask our selves – WHAT AM I LIVING FOR? Why should I love my family more even if they cause me pain sometimes? Why should I love my enemies too? Why should I give my best at work even if I don’t feel like doing it? Why should I choose to stay quiet even if I’m so angry?

When we truly realize and understand that this life is never about us, then, we will feel the true sense of freedom from putting pressure on ourselves that we have to become this somebody, when actually all God wants is for us to be His child.

flower“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?” (Matt 6:30-33 The Message)

To my Creator and Father- Thank YOU. Unto You God be the glory forever!

A Facilitator’s Journal

 

When my dear friend, Rhodes, asked me if I could be a facilitator for an upcoming singles retreat, I didn’t have second thoughts of saying yes.  I have a great passion in reaching out to single women and sharing God’s love to them.  At that time (and even until now), I felt so privileged that God gave me the invitation to serve Him by allowing me to do something that my heart truly desires for.

A week before the retreat, I got sick. I didn’t have enough rest as well since I went home for my dad’s 60th birthday.  When I got back, I was working for the rest of the week on a 2pm-12am shift. But those things, I didn’t allow to get into all my preparations for the conference. I studied the material for module 1 with the available time that I have. I prepared the things that I need to bring 2 days before the retreat. And I just kept praying that I will not get a migraine on the event itself due to my lack of sleep. I was totally depending on God that He would sustain me for the rest of the conference.

The most important thing that I had to do before the retreat was to do a heart check. Days before the retreat, I kept checking my heart if my motives were still right for this retreat. It was really helpful for me because I didn’t want to do something for the wrong reasons. The reason why I was looking forward to the event was aside from being able to serve God, I was very much excited on how God will work in the hearts of the participants. I was excited on the souls that will be saved.

July 21 – Saturday

I arrived home from work 12 midnight, slept for 3 hours, and amazingly woke up with no migraine, no headache. Really grateful to God for giving me a good physical condition despite of my cough and coarse voice. I had been praying for a nice weather for the event but apparently, God had His own way. Just when we got into the bus, there was a sudden downpour of rain. But the rain really didn’t bother me. I was thinking that God can stop it if He wants to.

It was my first time in Rizal Recreation Center in Laguna. It was a nice getaway place from the busyness of Manila. Everything green. The first part of the activity was really a good one.  It woke up all our sleepy senses – with those animal sounds, mind-boggling puzzles and funny pick up lines.  Good job to those who prepared for it. 🙂

When I met the participants in the breakout group I was assigned to, and learned their reasons why they were in the retreat, I was really amazed. Some of them shouldn’t have been there because they got sick the night before the retreat, some have other important things to finish and even others just got off from work in the morning.  But because nothing can hinder God’s plan for them, even before they were in the retreat, they already took the first step of pursuing God. And that’s by choosing to go.

The topics for Module 1 were not new to me already.  They are the basic teachings of Christianity. But at that time, going back to the basic was what I really needed. I had been praying that the participants would just be open to all the messages they will be hearing. And that they will accept God’s Word with all sincerity in their hearts. But I didn’t know that God also gave me a teachable and humble heart. While listening to all the speakers, I felt like I was that person years ago who was just starting to seek God. I was like the participants, very hungry in knowing God more.  It is in the basics that we are reminded why we are doing the things that we are doing right at the moment. I just praise God for the speakers. Not just the ladies in my group, even I, was really blessed and refreshed in their messages.

The Date Night or  I would rather call it Socials Night was really a good way to show to the participants that being a Christian is not boring as it is stereotyped to be. That we also love doing fun things together that would strengthen the relationship and build up one another. And with everyone in their best attires, all would agree, that everyone really had a great night to end their day. And I might just not know, some might have found already their God’s best during that night. Hmmm.. 🙂 Great job to the organizers!

July  22 – Sunday

Just as I was very much overwhelmed (and still am) with how the ladies in my group responded to God’s love, I was also in awe during the baptism.  I don’t know most of the participants who went through baptism.  I may never know their stories, but that day, they told the most important story of their lives. It’s really amazing how God’s love could transform each and every one of us. That day, I felt the heaven rejoicing with us.

The theme of the conference is “Pursue Love”.  After learning all about God’s love in the first day, Mr. Glenn Yu’s message, I can say was the best way to end  the conference.  Pursuing God’s love does not end in the conference.  It was really good that he explained why do we need to pursue Love and even made a clear definition of what true love is. It was really a take home.

In those two days, God made me practice humility, total dependence, patience and grace in a different level. Right from the start, God had reminded me already that the event was not about me or about anyone else. It was about Him. It’s His work. And how He would want things to happen, He has the final say because He was the one who planned for it. No sickness nor rain nor technical difficulty nor even people differences can hinder any of His plans for the participants.

God’s plan. God’s implementation. God’s glory.

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. ” (1 Cor 13:1-7 TheMsg)

– Pepay // Beautifully Waiting.Pursuing Love.