Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Continuing on What You Have Learned

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When you continue on what you have learned on God's Word, you will ex-
perience peace of mind, worship Him for what He has done, and gain wisdom
to help you in your daily living.
Having a relationship with God does not make you storm-free. In fact, there will come a time that you experience something worse than your situation before you accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. There will be more persecutions that may come even from your family, your friends. You will experience more trials that will test your faith in God.

The Apostle Paul experienced all of that, even worse than what we may experience. The former persecutor became the persecuted. He experienced the worst from the same people who was with him when they persecuted the early believers. Yet, he did not regret knowing God and making Him Lord. In fact, he even shared the secret for him to endure all of them to his disciple Timothy in Paul's second letter to his protege.

The secret: "...continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of..." (2 Timothy 3:14b, NIV). Paul encouraged Timothy, who was not sure if he can lead a church at his place in spite of being too young to preach and fearful of rejections and persecutions, to continue living based on the Word of God. God's Word, the Bible, has everything we need to make us "wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (v. 15b, NIV)

Paul even told Timothy that "All Scripture is given by...God..." (v. 16a, NKJV). Meaning, it was God Himself who gave us the Bible. We can find all of the answers to our questions to the Lord in the Bible. The Bible is also God's instructional guide for us to make us understand the scenario we're into and get through it. It can also be used to help someone in need, whether for "teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness..." (v. 16b).

To continue on what you have learned means to hold on to what God says about the current state of our lives. Why not grab a Bible and start reading it?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What Should a Son of God Do?

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Now that you experienced freedom through Jesus Christ, what should we do
to fully optimize that freedom?
One time, I read a tweet from my comedian/blogger friend Stanley Chi. I presumed he is now working on the third installment of his Suplado Tips book series. Here's what a suplado (someone who snubs often) should shout out according to him, "I'm a son of God! I can do whatever I want!" We all know that he's a comedian, but instead of laughing too much (it made me laugh in a way), I began to wonder, "Can I really do whatever I want as a Christian?" Then I remembered what Jesus Christ said in John 8:11b, "Go now and LEAVE your life of sin."

The highlighted word is not spelled L-I-V-E. It's L-E-A-V-E. To leave means to depart, to go away, and to stay away. It's very clear that the Lord wants us to step out of our old lives and live according to what we are now in Christ: new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). So how can we maximize the freedom Jesus gave to us?

There are so many ways so that we can fully optimize the gift God gave us through His Son. First, buy a Bible and read it. The Bible is our guide on living according to how the Lord wants us to live. You can also find there how Jesus took the punishment we deserved for our sins and brought all of our sins to the cross. Prayer is also a powerful tool in our relationship with Him. Because we are now children of God, we can ask whatever we need and even want, and be assured that He is willing to give them at the proper time. If He says no, however, be assured that He has another plan for you, so keep in faith. The best way to have a good communication with God is to allot a certain time of the day (and place if you want) when you can seek God and listen to what He wants to say.

But of course you can't do it all alone. Along the way, you will encounter trials, questions, and schemes Satan, our sworn enemy, will do. We need the help of fellow believers of God. The best way to do so is to join a cell group (in our church, we call it a Victory group). There, you can share what you learned, how to apply it, ask questions, and encourage one another if there are concerns. I'm happy to be part of one.

Simply put, don't shout "I'm a son of God, and I can do whatever I want!" But shout "I'm a son of God, and I will do whatever He wants!" He wants us to have a constant communication with Him and fellowship with other believers. Do what is according to His will, and He will meet us at our faith.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


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Sa Legend o sa Youtube Sensations? Sa'n Ka? Kampihan Na!
Last night was one of the most confusing nights I have on Twitter. It started when a fellow blogger tweeted that Rodolfo Quizon, more popularly known as the Comedy King Dolphy, passed away at 8:34 PM. "It came from an anonymous source," I said. "Maybe he received a hoax." Then a tweet from ABSCBN newscaster Karen Davila came. "We will miss you, Manong Dolphy." Now we became sad. That came from no less than a renowned broadcaster. Then Yahoo Philippines stunned the Tweeps (Twitter People) when they tweeted, "Don't believe on the tweets. Dolphy's still alive!" Kim Atienza, another ABSCBN newscaster, told his followers not to believe on the feed of a fake ABSCBN Twitter account. Karen reiterated that she got the news from Dolphy's wife Zsa-Zsa Padilla. I didn't know what to do. Should I finish up my new The 10 Electrifying post on my sports blog? I waited for GMA's news instead (with Dolphy affiliated to ABSCBN and TV5, I would rather get the official news from GMA, a neutral side). Then it was official. Dolphy Quizon died half a month shy of his 84th birthday.

But it so happened that it was Michelle Linggayu and Jam Sebastian's 50th monthsary (Wow, ah!). The real-life couple, popularly known as Youtube sensations JaMich, posted that it was a mere coincidence and said their condolences to the Quizons. Curiously, instead of getting sympathy from their fans, it created a buzz because many thought that's unethical for a tweet. Some even called the pair famewhores.

I don't stand here to support JaMich. I'm here to tell all of you, from the newborn haters to even the likers since the start of their road to fame, that you should have not taken the coincidence as a big deal. Of course we all mourn Dolphy's death, but should we even get to a point where you want JaMich dead too? OK. Maybe they're wrong to include the coincidence there; I also understand that you (mis)interpreted the tweet in that way, but that doesn't mean you turn your sadness to anger. In fact, there are other occasions nationwide that coincided with Quizon's death--birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Of course they would tweet about it. They might also say, "Sad day. My (occasion) coincided with Dolphy's death." Would their friends rant about it? More likely, nope.

Here's Jam's latest tweet: "If we think about worldly ways, we would have been so upset. We lift them up to You, Lord. I hope they will know You." They admitted his fault on not further reiterating his tweet, but he, instead of throwing back words at the commentators, he let go and let God. Sebastian let the Lord enlighten the haters. The actor, a Christian like his girlfriend, kept the promise of Philippians 4:7 (And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus).

If you think this is all about JaMich, I also have a touching story on Dolphy. I attended a church service 3 years ago, and his son, Rodolfo Jr., aka Dolphy Jr., was the guest preacher. The younger Quizon shared his story from a riotous showbiz career to how God transformed him. But the conclusion moved me, even now that his father gave his final bow. It was at a restaurant somewhere in Quezon City, according to Dolphy Jr. He brought his dad along, and the younger Quizon was the keynote speaker. He shared the Gospel along the way, and the best part was about to come. Dolphy Sr. was touched with the Word, and right there Rodolfo Quizon Sr. came to know God. Right now, I'm pretty sure Dolphy Sr. is up there together with God. THNKS FR TH MMRS, Pidol. See you there!

PS: Do not judge others. Try always to encourage them. If you rebuke, rebuke in LOVE! Be gentle with them as Christ is with you. Love one another. -Jesus#Followers (@Jesusfollowsu)

Another PS: It's not an accident that someone's death came at the same time as another's celebration. God allowed such events to coincide so that we could realize that we need to live our lives to the fullest. Dolphy lived his life to the fullest by using his acting skills to make us laugh.

Here's one of the greatest Dolphy scenes. Grab your popcorns, and prepare to laugh out loud.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Jesus Asks: Me or Them?

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As early as three years ago, an indie rap track was released on Youtube, and it became viral among the youth. The song tells of DOTA players to choose whether the game or their girlfriends. Here's the video of the song (Warning: Explicit Content).

Then teen rap artist Aikee (if he sounds familiar, he's the kid rapper in the cast of former GMA sitcom Idol Ko Si Kap) released a DZRH Radio on TV (simply known as RHTV) exclusive track entitled DOTA vs. GF It also became a hit on Youtube that it reached more than 13,000,000 views as of today. Oh! Have I mentioned already that the video was uploaded just 10 months ago?

Before you think this is a sequel to GG-Gaming and God, I am telling you that this falls under another topic. OK, maybe count this as GG Part 2, but this post is about prioritizing. Choosing between online gaming and being with your loved one was somehow the similar case when Jesus came to the house of Mary and Martha (read Luke 10:38-42). Although they are sisters, the girls chose different tasks. Martha, the older sister, decided to do her chores, but Mary (different from Jesus' mother) sat down with Him and listened to His Word. Overwhelmed with her tasks, Martha asked the Lord to bring Mary to her so that she can help. Christ's answer, however, touched the heart of both Mary and Martha and I hope will touch yours too. "...you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed--or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her. (Luke 10:41b-42)"

In this time that errands are too much for everyone, Jesus is extending His help to us. Although she had to help her sister in preparing stuffs for the Lord, which was their guest then, Mary decided to listen to Christ. His Words energized her and will energize us as well. Martha, on the other hand, realized that she was focused too much on her work rather than being with God, that's why she got tired, overwhelmed, and upset. In the end, of course, Mary and Martha would finish all their errands, but now with full of energy because they listened to Christ.

If we allow Christ to speak in us, He will rejuvenate us. In fact, He even told us, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:27)" Also, He already won the battle against haggardness as quoted in John 16:33b, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." And the biggest battle that Jesus won is the war against our biggest burden, sin. When He died on the cross, Christ brought all our sins with Him there. Now, we have the opportunity to surrender our chores, whether easy or hard, to God because our relationship with Him is restored. Let's pray to the Lord that our minds will be renewed, that we and our friends will be seen based on His perspective, and that all our burdens right now will be surrendered to Him. Let's allow the Lord to bring us to His promised victory. To end this, true joy comes from prioritizing Jesus before Others and You. Don't just put Christ first; make Him the center of your life. So if Jesus comes to you and asks, "Me or them?", which will you choose? Here's what Pastor Ryan Tan has to say, "Prioritize/value the presence of God more than wealth, properties, comfort, achievements, title, reputation, etc."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Starting to Seek God

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A pastor went to a barber shop to get a haircut and have his beard shaved. The barber and the pastor had a good conversation until they reached the topic of God's existence. "You know what? I don't believe God exists," the barber began. "If He really existed, then everyone would have been rich. Everyone will have food in his house. There will be no war. But why are there still starving people? Why are some homeless? Come on, sir. There is no God." Then the pastor replied, "What if I tell you that barbers and hair stylists don't exist?" "I'm a barber," the earlier uttered anew. The pastor asked, "Then why are there still people out there with long hair and long beard as if they haven't got a cut before?" "They are not coming to me," the barber again. The pastor cited, "That's the point! Many still suffer because they don't seek the Lord. If they seek God in faith, He will truly bless them." The barber was inspired with the conversation and believed in God.

The story above tells that everyone can actually seek God. Jeremiah 29:13 gives us an inspiring promise from the Lord. "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. (NIV)" If we begin to seek Him, Jesus Christ will meet us in our faith. So the question is, "Where do we start seeking Him?"

All you need is to grab His Word, the Bible. It contains everything you need to build a strong relationship with the Lord. Many suggest for new Christians to read Mark or John first. I encourage you as well to buy a devotional book. A good start is Our Daily Bread. The contributor's notes there are very insightful and will inspire you to read the Scriptures listed there. Come to Him in prayer as well. He delights every time we're praying. God will answer our prayers according to His will. All we need is to wait and read the Bible. Also, try connecting with a cell group. It may come in different names (our church has its own name for it), but there everyone of you will share your thoughts about the Bible lesson being taught and will encourage one another to apply the Word to their lives. I'm proud to be part of one of them.

You see, it's not that hard to seek the Lord. All we need is to come to Him. The Lord has another promise to us if we seek Him. "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33, NKJV)"

Remaining in the Vine

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I'm done with the first of three devotions that I'm meditating on as I start a mid-year prayer and fasting. I believe the Lord has a powerful Word for me when I read these Scriptures: Psalm 73:28, John 15:4-10, and Hebrews 12:2.
  • (Psalm 73:28) As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my Refuge. I will tell all of Your deeds.
  • (John 15:4-10) "Remain in Me, as I also remain on you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither you can bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; Apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commands and remain in His love."
  • (Hebrews 12:2a) [Fix] our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
All these verses tell us that we should hold on to Jesus Christ. In times when we think there is no solution to our problems, all we need is to remain in the Vine. The Lord tells us to still be in faith. He is encouraging us by telling us that everything is under control. All we need is to keep His Words and fix our eyes on Him. If we continue to be faithful, rest assured that God will provide a breakthrough to answer our needs. To summarize it all, continue to get a grip on Him, and He will make us bountiful. Without God, everything is impossible, but the Lord makes all things possible (Matthew 19:26).