Thursday, September 30, 2010

Second chances

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

This was where the Lord lead me in my quiet time a couple of days ago.  He reminded me that He is the God of second chances. I also realized that when a person is given a second chance, the person is called to leave his/her life of sins behind and live according to His ways because He's the Lord of his/her life from then on. And the person, who has turned to the Lord-- now a Christian, is assured that:

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." -Romans 8:1-17

On another note, I'm very excited for the study on October 16, one of Connect's growth group- Care To Diall I - has been going through a series study on the Book of John and we will be studying John 8:1-11 then... If you can join it would be great! We meet up every 4pm in GCF Ortigas, at the Singles Room (ground flr lang yun, the room right beside the prayer room, you can also ask the front desk for info). Hehe.

So to you, dear reader(s), God bless you and I pray you will seek Him with all your heart... He loves you and He died for you and me-- for your sins and mine... Let's live for Him and Him alone!

"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 4:10

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hugged by the Lord

I was crying when I woke up early morning, yesterday, I texted John about it so he could pray with me and then went on with having my quiet time...

I was listening to the song "Your Grace Still Amazes me" and really weeping and pouring out my heart to Him until He spoke, encouraged and "hugged" me through His words:

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

** Please pray for me and with me... **

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Faithfulness of a Third Party

*this photo was taken on Sept 21, 2008, the day I said "I love you too" to him. wink-wink*
September 21, 2010

You read it right-- THIRD PARTY and yes, FAITHFUL.

If it weren't for the third party involved in our relationship we would have parted ways a long time ago... But the third party kept us together through and by His mercy and grace, with His unending and unconditional love as the source of our love for each other... He faithfully remained (and enabled us both to allow Him to remain) at the heart of the equilateral love triangle causing us to love each other more as we get to know Him and love Him along the way...

And with that we are so grateful to Him-- our faithful third party in the person of our Lord and Savior JESUS CHRIST!

"If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us.." -1 John 4:15-19

Happy 2nd year anniversary to us my Beloved John!
To God be all the glory...

(to be updated with pictures and more reflections...)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good and Faithful Sevant

*I can't help but cry and miss him while typing this entry...I know it's been two weeks already...*

(above pic: Gave welcome remarks during the Singles Conference last year)

Sharing a few but memorable encounters with Pastor Luis Pantoja:

-I gave him a note, encouraging him after he preached James 1:19 as the message was very timely for me. (Well halos lahat nman ng preaching nya nag-speak tlaga si Lord eh).

-One Sunday morning, before the worship service would start, he would take time to greet the people seated (as many as he could) and since John and I were seating then at the 2nd row from the stage he approached us first. Our relationship then was just starting (can't remember if we were 2 months old then or more) and then Pastor Luis told us (while shaking our hands): "Hello, how are you? You look good together!" And both of us, ni John, said "thank you". Nakaka-bless di ba?!

-One Wednesday morning, after my discipleship with Teacher Carol, she asked me, and I mean, pinilit nya ako, to go to Pastor Luis' office and pray for him and encourage him. Ayoko sana, kasi nahihiya ako dahil hindi naman ako close sa Senior Pastor namin (hehe) pero ikaw ba naman ang kunsenyahin ni T.Carol at sabihan ng: "Sige, pag ikaw ang nangailangan ng encouragement sana hindi ka mawalan ng encouragement from the people" (something to that effect), so kahit hiyang-hiya ako kumatok ako sa office ni Pastor Luis.

When he opened the door (take note: kagagaling ko lang nun sa pagiyak sa aming naging usapan sa discipleship) I greeted him:"Hello po, T.Carol told me to pray for you!" He smiled (oh, i-imagine nyo na yung signature smile nya. Hehe). I also told him: "When I saw you last Sunday, I wanted to hug you. Na-miss po namin kayo dito eh." Kagagaling lang nya nun from Canada, he was away for a couple of months, and so he hugged me and said na natuwa "para na kitang apo"... And then I prayed for him naiyak din ako when I did! I don't know why, siguro emotional mode kasi ako nun. Haha! Tapos after ko magpray he also prayed for me and for the ministry that I'm involved with...

Sobrang nakaka-bless yung moment na yun! And I thank God for giving me that privilege, and for using T.Carol para itulak ako to do so... It was a few months later that I understood why he was in need of a lot of encouragement...


Nakakamiss sya...

But I'm glad that he is with the Lord now...

And I'm very sure that he was welcomed by the Lord with these words:

"Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Memorial Service

I only have two Christian Memorial service in mind:
  • Pastor Kevin and Tita Belle Alamag's, way back in 2007
  • Pastor Luis Pantoja Jr, last September 11, 2010
Yes, the people cry... Just as Jesus did in John 11:33-35:
"When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. Jesus wept."

But behind all those tears, the people of God are at peace and rejoicing... Yes, mourning but at peace and rejoicing! Because we are sure that the one(s) who left us went home to be with the Lord in heaven!
At sobrang nakaka-bless talaga yung memorial service last Sept 11... Nakakagulat at nakakatuwa rin na marami pang iba ang nag-blog about Pastor Luis' sudden death, these are few that I found when through google:

by Growth Revolution Magazine
by Straight from the Pastor
by Clueless Church Planter
by Southern Baptist Texan

At marami pang iba, I'm sure!

Sa Christian memorial service ko lang din nararamdaman at nakikita na ino-honor at ginoglorify si God at celebration of life and of God's faithfulness ang tawag... at syempre shine-share pa rin ang Gospel!

Here are just few photos:

Good thing we got in there early!

The Balcony was jam packed with lots of people

A handful of ashes...

Wesly and Tita Li Pantoja

Pastor Luis' ashes

The family

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sick Leave

From August 27 to August 31, right after turning 26 years old, I was admitted at The Medical City due to severe ear pain...

How severe?

Imagine a needle travelling through your ear canal back and forth, ganung level.

No amount of pain killer (even arcoxia 120 mg did not help), nor trying to calm down nor trying to sleep eased my pain then. Hindi ko tlaga sya matolerate na nanghihina na ako at lahat kakaiyak, tapos gutom na rin ako, at dumating na rin sa point na wala na akong luhang maiyak, to the point that I was screaming sa the emergency room covering my mouth with my panyo pero malakas pa rin daw ang sigaw ko (according to John who was my companion then) pero wala pa rin, napaka-super-duper sakit pa rin...

My text message to my Supervisor was like: "I'm experiencing an agonizing pain in my ear, I'm sorry that I can't come to work."

Kasi talagang agonizing, excruciating (walang exaggeration ito)..

John and I arrived at the emergency room around 6pm...

To be continued...

Eto muna:

Two-way: for the pain-killer and antibiotic

I'm bored!

#2 is the infected left ear of mine. With holes and fungi. Ouch!

More pictures and refelctions... Next time! :-)