Storm and Our Hearts

Bagyong Ompong

Storm Ompong landfalls around 1:30AM in Northern Luzon. It is signal number 1 here in Manila as I write but signal number 4 in Ilocos region. Many were sleepless because of the gust winds of 150KPH to 200KPH striking roofs and houses of Luzon. 

They say storm can strengthen us — I say no. 

Storms only exposes the conditions of our hearts. It exposes the fears and the worries of our minds. But storms can be an opportunity to practice our values and faith. In the midst of fear and worries, who do we really trust? What do we really hold on to? Where do we get help when we are down? What are we supposed to do while in the storm and after it has passed? 

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

Mark 4:39

Our faith and values should dictate our response through the storm, not the other way around. When storm and our practice of faith come together they produce character and strength. 
Pray, encourage one another, help those who are needy. 

I speak strength to you in the midst of this stormy day. 

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Hiding Place

Hiding Place
We all have our hiding place.
Men have their man-cave.
Women have their me-time.
People play games or go to clubs because we try to hide something. Our hurts and brokenness.
We call it diversion, we call it recharging or we call it as it is. But these are all our hiding place.
Psalms 32:7
You are my hiding place. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
The limitation with our self-made hiding place is that it only comforts our physical bodies but not really satisfies our soul. Our soul is not fully satisfied and secured until it rests on the One who made. it. That’s why David sang this song.
Where is your hiding place?

5 Questions Jesus Asked and How Our Answers Can Change the Way We Walk with Him

5 Questions Jesus Asked and How Our Answers Can Change the Way We Walk with Him

We usually have questions when we approach God. Our questions can come out of curiosity, or it can come out because we are in pain or we are experiencing challenges and we are looking for explanation why things are happening. God listens to our cries and questions. He is willing to comfort us in our pain.

But what if the scenario is reversed and Jesus had a few questions for us? As we are eager to hear answers from Him, God is also eager to hear the answer to His questions. I believe Jesus asks questions not because we lack information. I believe He asked these questions because the people He’s asking needs direction and change of heart.

I encourage everyone to read the whole chapter where I got the questions of Jesus. These questions were directed to specific people but I believe these still have significance for us today.

  1. Why did you doubt? (Matt 14:31)
  2. But who do you say that I am? (Matt 16:15)
  3. Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I command? (Luke 6:46)
  4. Do you love me? (John 21:16)
  5. Do you believe I can do this? (Matt 9:28)

Hope these questions challenge our hearts and grow our relationship with Jesus. Enjoy reading the Bible!

Famous Lies Satan Always Whispers to You

Famous Lies Satan Always Whispers to You

There is a saying that the mind is the playground of Satan. I believe it’s true that’s why Peter and Paul encouraged the followers of Jesus to be alert and to renew their minds. Everyday, our mind has the potential to be tricked by the enemy. If we are not aware of his schemes, we’ll be shocked how far we are away from God and lose our confidence in the grace and love of God.

So I listed the lies that I personally fought and am continually fighting by His Words. Usually these lies come when you’re weak, discouraged, disappointed or offended. I am hoping that by His grace this wisdom will help you be alert and be wiser than the schemes of the enemy. I categorized the lies into two: Condemnation and Compromise.

Condemnation

  1. God is mad at you. You might hear this when things are not going your way or a tragic event is happened to you. If you are in Christ, His wrath has been fully satisfied on the cross. The trials and challenges have turned from curse to refining of character. God wants to refine and prune you so that Christ will be revealed more in you.
  2. God is disappointed with you. Whenever you feel like God is not listening to you or answering your prayers, this lie might appear in your thought. His silence doesn’t mean he’s away or he’s ignoring you. I believe, God is working at the background of your situation and He’s preparing you for something great.
  3. God wants you to be “fixed” before you come to Him.  This lie can bring discouragement or pride in our hearts. Jesus’ heart always goes for those who are hurt and sick. He wants you to come as you are and let Him do his great work in your heart.

Compromise

  1. Nobody will know. Lie will cover lie, but in reality somebody knows what really happened. You. This lie usually works in us because we are deceived into the idea that we can get away from it. But reality says otherwise. We are burdened and haunted by the things of the past and the only way to get healing from it is to expose it into the light.
  2. Nobody will get hurt. This lie is famous in the context of sexual sins, but I believe it can be used in other areas of life. The truth is sin hurts people. Sin hurts relationships and divides it.
  3. You deserve to be happy. Wait, that’s true. But it’s half truth. We can only be happy when our legitimate desires are filled legitimately. Happiness is fulfilled when we are fully devoted to the one who created us.

 

The list gives us wisdom on how to fight at least half of the battle. The half of it is fought by faith through His words which act like a sword against the enemy and our own desires.

Are there any lies you feel like you have been believing recently? How do you plan to overcome it?

You Have to Tell These to Yourself Everyday

You Have to Tell These to Yourself Everyday

Your tongue has the power to set the direction of your day. And if we’re not careful it can set the direction of our weeks and months to discouragements and frustrations. A proverb said that

“The tongue holds the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

Your speech has the power to control your emotion and even the actions that comes with it. That’s the reason why when we hear bad news from the media we get affected by it and eventually the whole day gets defined by the news we get and vice versa. I believe God has given us the ability to speak encouraging words that comes from the Bible to empower our day and give a boost of encouragement for your work. Here are my personal declarations that I say to myself every single day.

  1. I am a new creation. This is like the Gospel to me in a nutshell. It reminds me that I am forgiven and renewed. Empowered to do His will and be excellent in my workplace.
  2. I am loved and accepted. This brings security in my heart. It reminds me that God is already proud of me and he is pleased with me even when I just woke up.
  3. I have a great purpose today. This declaration reminds me that I am involved in a very huge endeavor in the world and God is my director. It reminds me that there is more to life than my complains and petty issues.
  4. I am an overcomer. For a natural shy type person that I am, this one really enables me to see and do things differently. My nature would dictates that I won’t communicate, deal with people and preach. This declaration reminds me that His grace is made perfect for my weakness and in Christ I can do all things.
  5. God is in charge and in control.  At the end of the day, when all the work has been done, God is in charge and in control of the outcome. It removes the anxiety and worry of the results and gives me hope that God is in control of everything.

For me, it is best to declare this at the start of your day. It can give you a great sense of hope and can strengthen your faith as you go through your day. It’s like preaching to yourself in 1 minute.

What have you been telling yourself recently? How has it been affecting you lately?

 

The One Thing You Need to do When You Worry

The One Thing You Need to do When You Worry

I read a passage in the Bible about worrying found in Matthew 6:25-34. As I read it now, it speaks more volume to me than when I read it few years back. It seems like age is directly proportional to how many worries you have. But Jesus did talk about it in his time knowing that this is part of human nature and He wanted us to know what to do when it comes.

He said, But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

I believe Jesus was specific about the worries that people faced in their time. Basic needs like food and clothing, but I also believe that we can expand the application of worry to our careers, relationships and finances. Worry is a result of a misplaced trust. When we trust something and we realize that it will soon not deliver properly, we panic and we become anxious until we get frustrated. So Jesus’ solution is to refocus your trust in His kingdom and His righteousness.

  • His kingdom means his dominion or his control. God wants us to know that He is in charge and he is in control.
  • His righteousness means he will not wrong you and harm you. He desires to make you live the way he designed life to be. He wants you to live your life to the full.

And the bonus part to the solution is that God will show you how good He is as a provider and a Father. So when you feel worried, may you know and trust that God is in control and He desires to make you live life to its fullest. By His grace you will move forward from your worries and experience the best that God has for you.

 

My Top 10 Encouragements that Inspired Me Through the Year

My Top 10 Encouragements that Inspired Me Through the Year

2015 is about to end and one of the things I want to look back are the encouragements that I received and inspired me to move forward and do what God called me to do. Leaving the Philippines to do campus ministry in San Diego is really a leap of faith and just like anyone else, I need encouragement when I feel discouraged and don’t know what to do. I’m glad it came at the right time, sometimes from people I don’t expect. But whether I knew them or not – I’m grateful it came. This list is not meant to disregard anyone who prayed and gave me a message of inspiration. But these people came in where I needed a boost and changed the way I see my situation.

So here’s my top ten this 2015:

Sheryl Price (a nurse from Cook County) – she approached us and prayed for us as a family and said “Your ministry will be fruitful and you will be calling people from the dark…”

Nixon Ng – my pastor from Victory Malate. At the time I needed encouragement after being discouraged about my visa he said “We’re here for you.”

Gregg Tipton – Ten Days Director from Nashville, we met in an event in Florida. He told me, “I admire your faith going to one of the most expensive cities in the US. You need to be a man of faith for you to stay there.”

Robert Hern – my pastor in Victory San Diego, at one of our conversation he told me, “It’s always better to stay in the Philippines, but we cannot missed what God is doing here in San Diego.”

Joel Monsalud – one of our friends here in San Diego, a retired Navy told us when we just newly transferred to our apartment in San Diego and we practically have nothing but clothes, “It’s ok, we all started like this, just pray to God and He will provide the things that you need.” Indeed, it happened slowly but surely.

The woman in the grocery – I don’t know her, but she paid our groceries after the cashier encoded it. She just said “I got this.” It reminded me that God does miracles whenever he wants.

Joe Bonifacio – we just had a short conversation after they arrived in San Diego, he told me after I shared my ups and down experiences here, “You can do this.”

Dahlia and Lars Lone – they sent us gifts that helped us start here in San Diego and in the note that came with it says “Hope these gifts help you as you follow God’s calling. Isaiah 65:24”

My Wife – she always tells me that she’s proud of me. “I’m proud of you and we grateful that you lead us well. I love you.”

Jesus – Nope, I haven’t seen Jesus yet, but I get encouragement from His words when He said, “I am with you always…”

I know the list can be as long as how many friends I have. I am grateful to everyone who spoke life to me and to my family. It was a great 2015. I am excited what God will do this 2016.

Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. Proverbs 12:25