God's everlasting love.
"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." - Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
When God said He loves us with an everlasting love, He sincerely meant that, beloved.
Most of the times, we are faced with trials that comes in different kinds of packages. In the midst of those struggles, often times, we forget of His heart for us. However, God's love doesn't depend on our circumstances, nor does it limit the unconditional love He lavishes on us. No matter how bad our circumstances are, His love remains.
The very reason why we're alive and healthy, and why we're still breathing, is a clear evidence of His heart for us. He loves us so much that He never judges us with our mistakes, with our deepest darkest secrets, with our failure to meet His standards. He loves us so much that He is willing to pick us up in our failures, and that He is more than willing to restore us to our real blessed state. Regardless of who you are, where you came from, what you did in the past or even awhile ago, the love of God is for you.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
And so God is. God is patient, is kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, not easily angered, KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS, DOES NOT DELIGH IN EVIL, PROTECTS, TRUSTS, HOPES, PERSEVERES, NEVER FAILS.
Beloved, do you know how much your worth is? Look back at the cross, where Christ died for you. When he said, "It is finished!" he took everything with him. Now that we are in Christ, he becomes our righteousness.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Christ's death wasn't just a show, it wasn't just for people to see God's glory, it was a sincere sacrifice of God's great love for us. It wasn't a joke, when Christ laid his life for us to save us all from ourselves. It is when Christ died that we found our true worth, it is on the cross where God shows, "Beloved, this is your true worth."
A lot of things will get us discouraged, and these discouragements lead to another pile of other kinds of discouragements... a bitter cycle that never ends - unless we put our hands up in the air, and say, "I'm sick of this cycle, it's eating me up, it's killing me, Jesus, save me!" Beloved, Christ took your place. You don't have to struggle anymore because all these things was finished at the cross for you. Struggling implies that Christ's death was just some freak show, but no, it wasn't.
It defeated history, it defeated death, it defeated all the names: depression, anguish, hatred, bitterness, grief, loss, sorrow, loneliness, vulnerability, isolation, self-pity, emptiness, anxiety, lust, and all other kinds of things that are of this world that tries to ruin our blessed state.
What you can never do for yourself, Christ already did for you.
"And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins." - Hebrews 8:12
Beloved, Christ's death was a beautiful exchange. These problems we face today, were made especially for us, so we would be changed all the more, inside and out, so that we would have stories to tell, so that we would see more of God in our lives, so that we would know more of His different angles.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes." - Revelation 21:4
Beloved, you are loved dearly, when no one else would accept you, God is for you. If you are having a difficult time right now, hold on, pain ends. He will wipe those tears for you one day. And guess what? God sees your tears, He feels your heart. And as you cry, He cries with you. Don't give up, beloved.
God loves you with a love that you can rely on, in every kinds of situation. Christ rescued us so we can experience God's love.
I pray, beloved, that God would reveal to you this kind of love and as you allow Him to, in Christ you are assured, you will never be the same again.
Receive God's love as He lavishes it on you.
A world devastated by sin.
"A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." - says Christ in John 10:10 (MSG)
Out there is a world devastated by sin, lives tortured by it; sordid, broken, a world crying out in depression - seeking for life and love in the wrong places. It's an endless cycle of trying to stand up but stumbling again and again and again..... it never ends.
Each individual's life apart from Christ, is most likely similar to being trapped inside a snow globe, it may look attractive and happy on the outside but inside it's - cold, lonely, dull, in need of comfort - you find yourself trying to escape the vicious cycle of the wintery-like-atmosphere and the suffocating-space inside. Unfortunately, you'll find yourself ending up with bruises and injuries because the glass wall governing your snow ball is impenetrable; impossible to pass through. Thus, one becomes devasted, lets out a deep cry of anguish and bitterness, feeling helpless and has no more sense of direction.
Once upon a time, I lived in a snow globe like that. A place of my own, a lonely, full-of-self & empty little world I've created - so cold, so distant, and that no matter where you look or where you try to move, right or left, you're still caught in the same old suffocating space. I try to escape my snow globe, I started finding ways and planned my way out with my own vain efforts, only finding myself even more devastated than before. Not even a single plan worked out, I ended up just the same. What a disastrous cycle.
However, Someone was looking at me, carefully studying everything I've been doing, patiently waiting for me to break down from my self-centeredness and realize He was all I needed - inside that seemingly endless struggle I had inside my snow globe. Losing all of every ways I made up, nothing else worked out. Because of His great love for me, He couldn't just stand and watch me killing myself with methods that would just fail - He made His way towards the immovable, impenetrable glass wall and set me free. He carefully removed the strongholds, sorted out the bondages and chains, and started striking the wall off layer by layers.
Until such time, when He took me out from my own snow globe, then I realized the kind of life He wanted me to experience.
I can never break that wall if He didn't do it for me. I could've tried everything else, all the techniques and disciplines, the strategies and all the amazing and the most intelligent plan man could ever think of, but no... it would always sum up to one thing: I could've never done it on my own.
The impenetrable glass wall, in order to be broken down, required a God-strength and I was no God. I was only a human being trying to break it using my own Human-strength.
And just like that, we've all had similar experiences.
We've all been struggling hard to make our lives beautiful on our own but never really actually realizing that there's more to what He has laid out for us than what we imagined it to be.
The thief's goal is to steal our joy from us, to make us despise our lives, to rob us of our blessed state, to twist the Truth, to put negative thoughts in our minds until we give into them. I bet we could go on listing all kinds without even being aware that it's happening in our lives, too. The thief doesn't only want to cut off our joy, but he intends to actually destroy our true state. He wants to destroy us with sickness, with grief, with doubts, with unbelief, with loss, with self-pity, with impure thoughts - with SIN. He wants to destroy our purity, our ministry, our passion and even our own identity. He kills us with mind-poisonining-lies until we give up on ourselves.
And this is really happening somewhere out there, where sin devastates everyone else.
But Christ came, to set everyone free from themselves, to give everyone else a life they've never had before.
To your left, and to your right, someone else is suffering from the heartaches that is a by product of sin.
So beloved, take heart and don't lose hope, keep spreading the fire and don't dim the lightbecause someone needs it, someone needs you to keep on fighting the good fight of faith, someone needs a reason to believe. They need to know that the Man upstairs loves them, that they deserve more than their present state, that they were bought at a High Cost, that Someone went as much as dying for them to only prove his heart for them, that through him they can have a life that is so much more.
We have to keep running our race with consistency as we allow God to lavish His perfect love in all of our imperfections. We may not be perfect, but Christ already perfected everything else at the Cross, His blood justifies us. We may not be strong enough, but through Christ, we can do everything. We are favored by God through Christ, who lives and dwells in us, and who in return gave us a beautiful exchange - a life better than we dreamed of.
Beloved, never quit praying, never stop believing and continue pointing the lost world to Jesus, because he is the Way the Truth and the Life. - (John 14:16)
The storm became a beautiful rainbow.
|Prayer journal entry way back June 23, 2012.|
Focusing on John 15, (The MSG)
|"The sadness you have now is similar to the pain... |
but the coming joy is similar!"
I am not so sure where to start, but looking back, I know everything that happened from June to this point forward - all the details - were part of Christ's puzzle piece... and slowly, it is being unveiled; the Big Picture is gently being revealed right before my eyes. I have long been close-friends with three people from my class, and we've always been doing everything together - our projects, living out our dreams, and most importantly, campus ministry - reaching out to more souls for Christ. Everything went smoothly, the fruits were seen, until one day in May 2012, I received an SMS from one of them.
"Indi ko mag skwela this year, part. (I'm not going to get enrolled to the university this year.)"
I was like, what? I never heard from that friend for a month and then here comes May 2012, with her first SMS after a long time and she's like telling me that... she's not going to get enrolled? I can't seem to find the right words to explain how I was feeling that moment, but it was like, I felt a bit... lost. How was I supposed to get through the class days without her ever loving presence? That time, it was only me and the two other from our circle of friends. In that very same week, I heard one of them didn't make it to the course cut off.... I was, now it's only the two of us. Me and the only guy in our group.
I missed the two girls, it was different having them in class. Not that I wasn't friends with our other classmates, but it's just that they were family to me... and doing things we used to do without them seemed lonely. There were times when the only friend seemed not to comprehend my mood changes, I reasoned it was because he wasn't a girl, and it would take a girl in order to understand why a girl needs a girl "friend".
The last wave hit one night, I came across this verse John 15, while I was searching for Christ's voice in middle of our conversation. In a still small voice, I heard him saying, "John 15" and some lines from it. I read on to the whole chapter with tears dropping one by one from my eyes. It comforted me, but then when he said that, "I still have a lot of things to tell you but you can't handle them right now", I was a bit... confused. But when I reached, "Your sadness will develop into gladness."
I kinda got the whole thing and I knew it referred to the people in my life whose story ended during that particular season, not knowing that in the days to come... there will be MORE. Two weeks later after I received that word, something I never thought would happen, happened. The last and only person from our group, the one and only person who understood me the most in our class, the one who knew the most about me... my best friend - he dropped a bomb in my phone's inbox that shattered my heart into thin sheets.
I'm quitting school.
And after that, little by little, the tiny little world that I created - where were all so happy, where we ate meals together, where we almost lived in each other's houses, where we kept all our secrets, where we had all our dreams planned out, where everything was shared between us, where we all did everything together - that tiny little world was destroyed. Suddenly I had no one to share my happiness with... suddenly I had no one to pair up with during class activities... suddenly I had no one to crack my silly jokes with... suddenly I had no one to hug when I felt like I needed one... suddenly I had no one to share the things I learned from the times I spent with Christ... suddenly, suddenly I didn't have anyone to call "friend" anymore. Suddenly I was alone. And everything's never the same again - or so I thought it won't be.
For a week, I cried my heart out to Jesus every time I would remember them. It felt so difficult to do anything that has something to do with them in the past. I felt like I was going through the post-break-up stage of my life. During those times, I got an encouragement from a close friend of mine who lives miles away from me. He told me that grace to cope up is presently being provided by Christ to me at that very moment, and it was real, Christ truly was providing for me.
At the back of my mind then, I realized, this must be what He was addressing as "the sadness". I did, I experienced all the sadness. There was a week-straight moment where I never really got to really "talk" with someone aside from the casual "greetings" and "necessary questions" asked by some classmates. It was during the exam week where I always finished the exam first, and then I would go straight home, without even interacting with the people around me. Heartbreaking moments went on for a month. There were times when I never really went to school, because I was scared to feel that I really was alone, out of place, left behind...because everyone else in class had a clique where they belonged, and I had... none. As in, none.
Only Jesus, that is.
But he was enough and he was everything I needed more than anything else.
All I did during those tough times was to claim God's promises along with his comfort, favor and grace through Christ who is in me. All I held onto that time was the unchanging fact that I am loved by Jesus, that I am never alone, that I can go pass through the trial and the pain.
During this phase, I knew more and felt more of Christ's love and my vision from before made sense. I can remember in that vision, Christ was telling me, "you will be meeting a lot of new people." - and I saw their faces, however, I couldn't recall, unless otherwise, I would meet them. And it was grace. I really met new people, and new relationships... and today, when I look back, my life's consisting of a series of new people. (To give you a little overview, I said yes to Christ's call for me to move into a new church, a 20-30 minute drive from home for mission purposes, and the thought of not being with those people I've once been with in the ministry is really painful.)
Little by little, I knew I was really called for this, and it was confirmed when Christ started taking these people from my life... and sending me to new ones.
It was painful for me, but the joy that comes with obedience was something that made everything else worth it. God wanted to work through Christ that is in me to reach out more people for him and that meant new relationships.
Everything that happened, though they were painful, very painful to a point where I thought of quitting school, too - they happened according to the Big Picture of God's sovereign plan.
Lately, I had new friends who turned to Christ and my joy is unspeakable when I knew he worked through me to allow this plan to come to pass. It's amazing when looking back, I was alone... but today, I stand and say, it's all to Jesus that everyone in our class is already very very dear to me.
God was stirring something up during my hard times, but that's to show how great of a God he is and how much it all worked out because of his goodness. It's the goodness of God.
This is what he was saying that very night, June 23, 2012 - "but the coming joy is similar." Today is the joy of yesterday's tears! It's amazing, Christ indeed is the Truth! Not only that everything that I lost yesterday was doubled today, but I realized a whole lot of new things! If this never happened, I wouldn't be where I am today, sinking in God's grace and drowning in Christ's love.
I wouldn't be having this fire in my heart as a fruit of Christ delivering me from all those pain. But this joy, is really great!! I couldn't put into words how much God has transformed my stormy skies into a sky with a beautiful rainbow now!! He calmed the huge waves of my life, and I am here finding myself swimming into the ocean of his unchanging grace!! He strengthened my trust and faith in him, and all thanks to how he was sharpening me!
I can now stand with confidence and say that everything I once held dear I now count as loss and because of the grace God has given me, I am pressing on towards the goal, setting my feet in the right track and bringing Jesus to those who need him - and this is all because of Christ's work in me and not because of what I can or I will do for him.
Sometimes, things just won't make sense when they look ugly. But when it's God who's in control, trust Him that he will make everything beautiful in its time. Probably, this is God's time for me now that he is making things beautiful in my life now and it's all to Jesus who is in me that I am receiving all these favor from God.
It's not about my effort, it's about Christ's finished work in me that I can rest easy even in my stormy days. I am blessed to have met new relationships now, and it's about time I point them to God and to Jesus who did this awesome work in me. He will do that to you, too... because he promised to be with you not only in good times, or in bad times... but in both the good and the bad. Your pain will be a testimony of Christ's love and grace someday. In times when you have no one to run to, it's an opportunity given by God for you to draw even more closer to Jesus. People saw me as alone those times, but nope, they were wrong. I had Jesus with me.
And that's why I'm able to post this entry.
And now I'm much stronger, much better, much wiser, much loved... and that's all to Christ's work in my life.
Don't use a Band-aid when it needs to be Cured.
Jesus is the cure to all our sins, in fact, his death paid for it (past,present,future) that's why we have "grace" now, and he was pierced on the wrist altogether with all the symptoms (feelings of guilt, anxiety, condemnation, etc.) of it [sin] - and not the Law. Measuring up to it [law] will always make us feel not good enough and worn out, always tired and feeling empty afterwards, feeling inadequate and always undeserving of grace.
But if we keep focus on Christ and his Kingdom (Colossians 3:2), the less the law is being magnified and the more he becomes magnified as the center of our why's and endeavors, all the more we realize that by being soaked in Christ, the things written up in the Law is being done and fulfilled in us by Christ himself (Romans 8:2) and only Christ who is in us! (Philippians 2:13) We don't make the Law the savior of our lives, Jesus is! The Law is the manual, but Christ is the Savior!
The Law inspires us all the more to move towards Christ, not to take the place of Christ. Don't make a band-aid out of the Law, it's not the measurement of how good we are, of how much we've done, how great of a person we are and how righteous we are. Christ, who is in us, is the measure of our whole being. We were redeemed at a high Cost.
Thus, making us purchased in Christ's identity (John 1:12).
Regardless of our efforts in meeting up with the Law, without Christ as the center, everything is nothing but vanity. We can never cure ourselves on our own, what more then if we keep away from the Cure himself? Jesus is our righteousness, not ourselves, not even if we double our efforts in fitting up with the law! Therefore by all means, without Jesus we are not righteous!(2 Corinthians 5:21)
The sole reason why he calls the unqualified since he qualifies them all by being in them! We are being made righteous in Christ, therefore when found in him, all are forgiven, loved, blessed and favored and highly redeemed! Remember, grace is never earned - it is freely given - to those in Christ! So what do we do? We remain in Christ and if not yet, we come to realize that we need a Savior. Separated from him (John 15), we can never earn grace nor even produce anything but vain efforts.
God blesses us only through Christ, and only through Christ can we gain everything we need to survive (Ps. 23). And to us, who are in him, we have all access to God's unchanging grace! Because only then if we have Jesus in us can we claim the Truth (John14:6) that we are free (John 8:32), loved, blessed, favored, protected, anointed and most of all, redeemed (Ephesians 1:7) from the debt of sin!
Now, we don't need a band-aid to cure ourselves, we need the Cure, who is Christ. :)
My heart beats violently inside of my chest!
The first thing I noticed the moment I woke up was the gleaming sun rays that passed through the blinds. A warm feeling, more like being enveloped by God's love, sprawled all over me. What a great way to start the day, huh? More like, getting caught up in the grace of Christ's mercy early in the morning. A peaceful feeling surrounded me while I was gazing at the skies - what great breath-taking glimpses of His beauty!
Later on, I had a late-afternoon stroll with Christ, it's one of those wondrous moments where it will always be kept embarked in your heart - a memory that will always make your heart feel warm. What a beauty. I could feel like His love was being written all over me, such a great manifestation, I was in awe - thanksgiving overflowed.
Our conversation made my heart flutter.
It was almost like, a dream.
Him: I love you, my child.
Me: Thank you, though I can never love you back the same way. But, you see, I'm so amazed. It makes my heart beat so fast when you say things like this.
Him: Because what I say is always the Truth, the simple-straight forward Truth, and I never lie.
Me: You love me even at my worst, you always stick around, you always treat me like I mean everything to you.
Him: I do. That's why I died for you.You all mean everything to Me and my Father and to the Friend.
Me: You're making me cry again.
Him: I will make sure to wipe them for you, one day.
Me: It has been a wonderful day, thank you.
Him: Everyday is a wonderful day, my child.
Me: Uhm, Jesus?
Him: I know, I know.
Me: You know what?
Him: I want to hear it out loud.
Me: Well... I love you, too, in my own simple way... and thanks for walking with me.
Him: I love you, more. And oh, in case you don't notice, I walk with you... everyday.
This. I will always treasure.
Seek, and you shall find.
While I was meditating throughout this year, I sensed in my spirit that God was talking to me indirectly through the circumstances I see in our generation today, in books, in my devotions, in some of my Christian friend's circumstances, and even in my own circumstances.
It was like a gentle tap on the shoulder, a question suddenly popped out of my mind.
"Was my heart for Jesus, my desire for Jesus, really only for Jesus? Is it really pure? Or was it being overpowered, controlled, and overwhelmed by another desire, a desire for finding another kind of love? A desire for other things?"
It's true, it's been a very long time since I'm not in a relationship anymore, and I have learned a lot from it. I gathered a lot of wisdom since that time, my relationship with Jesus grown deeper, I've learned things I've never learned before, I have learned a lot from keeping my standards aligned with God, keeping my heart from danger, I was guarding it well enough.
Or was my definition of 'guarding it' a little bit... off? Was I really guarding my heart?
I started asking myself questions.
I was like, "I know I should only put up with a guy who loves Jesus more, a guy who is really mature in his faith and a guy who will always point me to Jesus. I know about these rules and I know how it should be done. I'm not gonna get my heart compromised again. So I pray for a guy like this and..." And finally it turned out like, "I want this kind of guy, I'm looking for characteristics like this," and even more worse, "Will I really have a share of a God-written love story", and even worser, "Can I just please know who this guy whom You have been preparing for me?"
Bullseye! Why was I even so crazy about it?! Was it even the right time for me to be even talking about it? Did I even truly know what it meant?
Did my words appear that I trust God?
Was I most satisfied with Jesus' love?
Was my desire towards love directed to Jesus' love?
Or did I have any other desire... aside from the love Jesus has for me?
I found myself throwing my hands up in the air and saying, "God, I know, I know, this - this one's Yours, I'm taking my hands off this!"
From that point on, I filtered all of my thoughts, my heart, my FB statuses, Twitter shoutouts - and I stopped obsessing over it and let Jesus' love take away all those desires that were supposed to be sleeping.
We can still get caught off guard even though we are not in a romantic relationship.
Am I in a relationship with someone? No. Was I guarding my heart? No. Was I desiring Jesus' love? I was... but... *insert all kinds of excuses here*.
There you have it! If I was truly, really, madly contented with Jesus' love... how come I still have these, "traumatic experiences" I've never let go of, these "I hope someday I can find...", and the "I get impatient with my feelings", and having all those sorts well-kept in my heart?
If I was truly, really, madly and sincerely contented, shouldn't my quality moments with Jesus consist more of "me-wanting-more-of-Jesus'-love"? Not, "me-wanting-more-of-the-future-I've-never-seen-yet"? Or "me-desiring-so-much-for-a-love-story-that-is-written-by-God"?
Well, praying for it is okay and even more - praying for it if you are in the RIGHT AGE, is really okay. However, is age really the criteria? Or is it more of the "are-we-contented-in-our-Master's-love"?
What I'm saying is, if most of our thoughts, our speech, our this and that consist of desperation and hunger for "this kind of love" - "this romantic love" - rather than Jesus' love - I'm saying, it's time for a heart check.
Our hunger for Jesus' love and our desperation for it should be the top priority - anything else that tries to climb the ladder will lead to idolatry, taking the place that's only meant for Him.
The more we talk about the love of Jesus for us, the lesser these things become our priority. Jesus' love should be our word-of-mouth. What's in the heart goes out of the mouth, what's in the heart shows even in our social networking statuses, even in our smiles, in the way we move - Grace and Love.
The more we talk about this kind of Love, Jesus' love - the more we are being made beautiful inside, being made more patient, being made more disciplined, being made more dependent on Him, being made more hungry for God's love.
The desire to meet and spend a life of love with "the one being prepared for us" should never overpower the desire to be growing more in Jesus' love.
More of Jesus' love in our lives. More of his grace and love.
It's always about "seeking first the Giver of everything" + "everything else being generously added" = enjoying the favor and abundance of a wonderful life of obedience in God.
Now now, until the day we're ready for it, it's time to be even more and all the more satisfied with the love of Jesus, beloved. :')
The love of Jesus, sweet and marvelous.
A friend once told me, "Continue to boast more of His love." and then it hit me, he was right.
The more I confessed of Jesus' love for me, the less I thought of myself and the more I thought of him, magnified he becomes.
There's power in confessing and boasting of his great love for I know I cannot boast about my love for him so I'll go all day telling people how much loved I am by him. His love never fails while my love for him is selfish, most of the time conditional, "me-first", self-absorbed - yet Jesus' love is opposite from that. His love never runs out, always sees the good in me. Unconditional.
Boasting about this kind of love overpowers every ill emotions.
Confessing his love for me might not change the situation in just a snap, but it gives me a different kind of energy inside to face more challenges.
Confessing his love releases so much grace that makes my heart beat so fast. There is so much power in confessing his love, there is so much more to than just what we know.
It makes me sing that kid's song, "The love of Jesus, sweet and marvelous... Oh oh, wonderful love."
This love, oh this love. I couldn't ask for more.
Hi guys! I posted a new message box! :)
Feel free to leave messages if you have a prayer request or something.
Okay? :) God loves you!
Happy 4th birthday, blog!
It's amazing how God prompted me to write an entry around 1130pm earlier and when I checked, it was July 7... then I remembered July 7,2009 - the first time I posted an entry! :) Happy birthday to my blog! 4 YEARS OF GOD'S FAITHFULNESS, and for 4 years, Battle Cry has accumulated 4,128 page views, with 68 blog posts! :) And with God's ocean of grace, it will keep on as more year comes!
This kind of Love.
It's been a long time since I've put my entries on hiatus, you guys might be wondering. Well, for those who are asking why I haven't been updating it's because I've started shifting my time on a prayer journal than to post it online. Lately though, I've had the burden to start a new Christian blog again, probably one of these days I'll put that up.
So, how have I been? I've been pretty much sinking in the ocean of grace - God's grace. To put it up, all the moments I haven't updated this blog, I was with God, digging in deeper. A lot has changed - I have seen this kind of grace that I've never met before, this kind of grace that is bigger than anything else... and I will forever be grateful because this grace will always keep my feet on the ground where I've been rooted.
This grace led me to this kind of Love that can only be found in Jesus. I love it. This Love never pressures me but it gives me peace, a sense of tranquility and contentment. This Love is so sweet, nothing sweeter than this.
This Love is so personal, that you have to really seek Jesus before getting into it. This Love is alive, it has amazing side effects: joy, satisfaction, wisdom, mercy, gentleness, and a whole lot of understanding and a little bit of every good side. It's amazing that I met this Love not when I was just waiting.
I met this Love when I started seeking
for it... and finally it was worth the wait.
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. - John 15:13 (NIV)
13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. - John 15:13 (NLT)
13 No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. - John 15:13 (AMP)
13 This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. - John 15:13 (THE MSG)
There's no Greater Love than this kind of Love.
Love that lasts forever.
I can feel my heart melting just by thinking of it.
I may fail a thousand times, but I know His grace is an ocean.
This kind of Love
will always give me reasons to fight for what I believe in - because I know Jesus has fought these battles long before I'm gonna be facing them.
REEL vs. REAL
A copy of the word I shared in the our smallgroup last Tuesday :)
REELationships, REALationships, relationSHIPS
Reel- go round, go round and round, whirl, spin, revolve, swirl, twirl, turn, swim.
Real- Authentic, Truth, True, tangible
Relate – communicate
From the range of 1-10, rate how great or how poor your relationship is with your...
The one who gets the lowest will always be God. Believe it or not. The one who will always get the highest will be our friends.
FACT: The more important the relationship is, the lesser importance we give to it.
Why? We always neglect those whom we think would always understand us.
…EVEN IF WE MISBEHAVE.
…EVEN IF WE REBEL.
…EVEN IF WE ABUSE.
1. Because we know that we can always abuse their love for us.
2. Because we know na ‘hindi nila tayo matitiis’
3. Because we know that when everyone walks out on us, they will still be there for us.
Last week’s topic: Getting to Know God.
Today’s topic: REELationship? REALationship? RelationSHIPS.
Ships = Vessel
Text: Luke 10:27
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength & love your neighbor as you love yourself."
We’re like ships made to relate to one another! =)
1. J.O.Y (Jesus owns you!) – Love the Lord your God w/ all your heart, your soul
First of all, why heart? Because it is in our hearts that we feel! God wants us to love him not only mentally or spiritually but also emotionally. See Psalms. David was very emotional.
What God says:
“Because I love you with an everlasting love.” – Jeremiah 31:3
“For you are my treasured possession.” Exodus 19:5
2. W.W.J.D (Walk with Jesus Daily) – With all your strength
Why strength? Not with all our wisdom? Because it is in our strength that we get to apply everything we know, everything we’ve learned, everything we feel. From singing songs, doing missions, and serving God!
What God says:
“As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.” – Isaiah 40:11
“I will never stop doing good to you.” – Jeremiah 32:40
3. T.G.I.F (Today God is First) – With all your mind
Mind because this is where all the knowing starts! This is where… the battle begins. The Lord knows us very well that’s why he said,
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” –Romans 4:8
What God says:
“I gave up everything I had that I might gain your love.” – Romans 8:31-32
4. CTC? (Care to Care?) – love your neighbor as you love yourself
We need to demonstrate care just like how Joseph cared for his brothers, just like how Moses took care of the Israelites, just how Noah took care of the animals and etc.
What God says:
“I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.” –Matthew 25:40
Let’s always ask our selves, WWJD? What would Jesus Do?
END POINT: The secret key to keep all our relationships going is to keep our hearts closer to God. God desires to lavish His love on us… God desires for us to lavish His love on others, too.
It’s all about God lavishing His love on people.
People lavishing their love on God.
And People lavishing their love, on people.
CHALLENGE: TELL SOMEONE YOU LOVE THEM TODAY.
Never in vain.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. - 1 Corinthians 15:58
I feel compelled to write about this verse.
You see my dear friends, I have witnessed how God can turn someone's failures into victories. I have witnessed and experienced how God turned my failures into victories. Let me tell you my testimony.
For 6 months, I have dimmed my light. For one semester at school. During the first two starting months of classes, I still had it. Little by little, little did I know that I was already being lured into a trap. It was a slow death. Problems after problems, struggles after struggles. Then came one time when I stumbled because of not fixing my eyes on Jesus. I started avoiding those people who hurt me so much, sadly, those were people whom I looked up to. It was a domino effect.They stumble, I stumbled.
Everything started crashing in when I began spending less hours with God. I lost spiritual strength. I said, "Hey, if Christians are like this, I might as well quit being one." Moments with God turned into moments with sin. Finally, I lost all my defenses when I stopped keeping in touch with God. I gravitated with my own strength. Believing in my own wisdom, I convinced myself I could do it without God on my side. I could excel, I could manage, I could gain esteem. I knew it was no longer me who was taking control but I ignored it. I liked it. I wanted it. I've chosen it. A choice for that matter.
I kept running in life with an empty heart. Henceforth, I conceded into substitutes. Apparently, these substitutes seemed to satisfy me for awhile. I kept on coming back to them from time to time, to gather a fake strength that I could use to comfort myself. I came to a point where I wanted to leave home when things weren't going any better. I came to that verge where I wanted to just take down my own life. I wasted my life on temporary things, on things that would eventually use me up more.
Despite the happenings, I was still being dragged to church at Sundays. However, there were Sundays where I missed attending, and when I didn't, I was just physically present. Worshiping God through songs... yes. I felt His presence. The songs, they convicted me. But I was in a very strong war. I was telling God, 'I want to be with you, but I can't give this up. I want to stay here longer...'
There were times where I would just cry my heart out to God, although I wasn't really communicating with Him. It was a cry of blaming, of anguish, of hatred, of confusion. I didn't want to come back to Him yet. I wanted to explore more of this life, to delve into deeper traps, to get myself tangled in the net of the enemy. And I did get what I wished for.
One evening, while looking into the mirror, I could see an empty girl with empty eyes. I could see her empty soul, and her empty heart. I looked like a living dead. A dead girl walking. I looked evil. Part of me wanted to cry, but a part of me argues and says it was better off this way. My hatred for those people who condemned me for lies grew even more. The anger consumed me. I was a monster.
This kept on for months.
But my friends, I am not here to tell you about how destroyed I was that time. I am here to tell you how much GOD turned my life around.
God was still faithful despite me being a rebel. He showed himself in a vision.
It was noon that time, Saturday. I went back to sleep because I was still sleepy. I had a vision in a dream. Exact scenario. Exact location. I battled with the enemy in my dream. He appeared as a very beautiful lady in my dream. In my dream, he was wearing a long black gown. Seducing. Pretty seducing. He was praying to the other side of the world for me not to escape from him. I was pretending to be half asleep. However, he knew I was playing with him. He walked to me, caressed my face. I caressed him back, I told him lies. I told him he was beautiful, I told him I wanted him. I told him I belonged to him.
But that's because I wanted to deceive him so I could escape after. I wanted to make him believe that I was already his. But came God's grace. The enemy shouted and he himself told me, "Liar! You still have Him in your heart!" I could remember escaping. He wouldn't allow me to. I was still in my room. After wrestling with him, I finally had the chance to get out. I went out of my room, directing me to thousands of stairs. It was spiral. I kept on going down, away from him. He was chasing after me. I was contacting a friend. I called her. I said, "I'm on my way to the cemetery."
That vision was purely God's word, speaking to me. I couldn't forget the line of the enemy there, "You still have Him in your heart!" - This is the perfect example of Christ's love. He never left my heart. He was still there even though I had a lot of attempts to completely erase Him from that space. He was still in my heart, residing. It brought tears to my eyes. I woke up with a heart that was ready to repent. A throbbing heart. I ran downstairs to tell some of my church friends about it, I told them in tears. There was a loud thunder afterwards. It was really a sure sign that God wanted me back.
My friends, I am here to tell you that we can never deceive the enemy. If you're playing with fire you should stop. You can never play with fire because it will always consume you. I have learned my lesson and now here I am to testify that God has turned my failures into a series of victories.
October 28, 2011 - I decided to re-commit my life to Jesus Christ. God made wonders in my life. He used my bad circumstances so He could turn something good out of it. He did. I have now started a campus ministry at school together with a friend of mine. I have shown my light to my classmates by confessing to them everything bad that I did and that I shouldn't have done. I talked to them, telling them that I am going to change. I changed. All because of God's grace. The most amazing part is, I have this friend who had turned his back away from Christ for some period of years now, and because of my failure that has turned into victory that I have shared to him, I believe that God has used it to make him think. Good news is, last saturday, he re-commited his life to Jesus! And yes, I am overwhelmed with great joy! I have been praying for him since first year college, and now he came back to Jesus!
Another good news is, I shared Christ's goodness during my 18th to everyone who were invited! They listened to God's word and some of my relatives who weren't saved cried. God has touched their hearts! There were friends who told me that they were blessed with the word I shared and that's because GOD IS GREAT! It wasn't me. It was God, using me! Now, my classmates know that I am a Christian. That I have Jesus in me. That God is great and good and amazing!
Another one is, I was invited to speak into a small group. All boys. I spoke about "DATING NON CHRISTIANS" and I thank God for using me in such new ways! I've never spoken to a group of boys before... and here He is, using me in another level because I've turned away from my sin!
And lastly, tomorrow will be another good news. I will be speaking in our small group, and I will be talking again about how good God is.
Thinking back, I am so amazed with His love, His grace, His unending mercy. If you think I'm righteous, no think again, it's my God who is righteous. If you think I'm strong, never, God is my strength. I am in no position to boast about anything because I wouldn't survive without God's hand that upholds me. Here's one thing I want to share, if you think you'll never be moved or shaken, think again... you can never tell. That's why we always need to stay on guard by keeping our hearts close to God. When our hearts are close to Him, we are always protected. We are always safe. Never compromise. Never play with fire. It will burn you. But if ever you are, and you had, God's the best Fireman.He's always on the rescue.
Repent while you still have the time.
I pray that God would use this testimony to bless you. Amen.
Taste and see. - Psalm 34:8
Life has its series of ups and downs, mine is not an exemption. 18 years of existence is equal to 18 years of God's faithfulness in my life - then double it twice. The open arms of my family and their warm appreciation gives me a fuzzy comfortable feeling of security. The laughter of my closest friends remind me how blessed I am to celebrate the first few hours of my birthday with them. God had been so great for blessing me with people who love me. Despite the barriers of distances, there are friends who remembers & who would never take me for granted. The love of friends and family. This kind of love gives me millions of reasons to get up every morning, to still keep up with life, this kind of love.. thank God so much for His love that radiates through the faces of those whom He's been using to bless my life. The beautiful painting of a life lived in Christ gives me enough reason to never stop singing for Him. The melodious beat of my heart is a proof that God cares. The wonderful tickles of the wind on my cheeks in times of refreshment is a sure sign that God sees. The warm, peaceful, secured feeling I have during the night is a witness of how much God protects.
A shot taken during the shoot :)
Me with my parents. :)
Me sharing God's word. :)
I spoke this message during my 18th birthday :)
- A brief experience of something, conveying its basic character [noun]
- Perceive or experience the flavor of [verb]
- Together with, along with, with,
as well as, in addition to, etc., [conjunction]
- Latin word, sequi ‘follow.’
- Perceive with eyes.
“TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD.”
This verse invites us not only to taste, not only to see, BUT -- to taste and to see that the LORD is GOOD.
It might be that you’re going crazy with what’s happening in your life right now, you can’t even see God’s care and love.
It might be that things are too complicated to understand that you just leave it the way it is right now and ignore it like nothing’s happening.
It might be that everything in your life’s wrong and nothings right anymore, that everything’s broken and it’s impossible to even fix the situation.
It might be that you’re losing it all, or it might be that the faith you have in God is gone now and that everything doesn’t make sense anymore.
It might be that you think everyone’s condemning you, that no one understands your pain, or no one recognizes your worth.
This is where the verse comes in. “TASTE and SEE that the Lord is GOOD!”
GOD cares about you. GOD sees what you’re going through. GOD hears the cries in your heart, even the deepest aches. GOD heals. Why? Simply because GOD is GOOD. You won’t be able to experience His goodness if you shut the door of your heart close to Him.
It clearly says, “TASTE.” This word is not only a noun, but a VERB. Try God. Try Jesus. Try to open up your heart to Him. Accept Him in your life. Accept Jesus. He offers EVERLASTING LIFE.
No, God did not promise that life with Him is easy. BUT He did promise that His grace is sufficient for each and every weaknesses that we have. He is the SOURCE of everything you need. Life’s hard? Smile! GOD IS GOOD. See it for yourself. Want to experience His goodness? Just take a step of faith, let go of all the lies of the enemy, because GOD is GOOD. God is great. He is faithful.
You’re asking me, “How can I even experience that kind of goodness when I’m not even worth His love and His attention?”
No. That’s a lie. We keep on trying to do all good things, everything else that we can just to EARN GOD’S LOVE… but that’s not how it’s supposed to be.
We don’t need to earn His love because His love is FOR FREE. Whether you like it or not, God loves you.
You ask me why?
Because He is GOOD.