Sunday, February 24, 2013

Page 55 of 365: Two Temptations by Winn Collier

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For 25 years, Irmela Mensah-Schramm has walked the streets of Berlin, Germany, cleaning away the racist propaganda of neo-Nazi groups. Since 1986, Irmela has painted over graffiti and scratched away stickers (36,000 in the past 4 years). She believes she can overcome neo-Nazi ideology one street at a time.

When God placed Adam and Eve in Eden, all was theirs to enjoy, “except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17). They couldn’t handle that knowledge, and eating its fruit would lead to death. The serpent arrived with the cunning suggestion that God was not to be trusted, however, and Eve listened. She was tempted in three distinct ways—temptations we all know: “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16 NKJV).

Sadly, Eve yielded, and humans have yielded ever since. There is One, however, who did not yield. Just before Jesus began His public ministry, He was in the wilderness fasting for 40 days. And, again, the Tempter arrived. He used the same tactics, suggesting that Jesus take matters into His own hands. Satan suggested to Jesus:

• “Tell these stones to become loaves of bread” (Matthew 4:3).

• Toss Yourself from the pinnacle of the temple (forcing God’s hand to rescue Him before the right time, Matthew 4:6).

• Take over Jerusalem and imagine ruling over all the kingdoms of the world! (Matthew 4:8).

Jesus was tempted with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. But He didn’t yield. Jesus overcame the temptation that has ruined us—what we could never conquer. In every way, He does for us what we could never do on our own.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Page 52 of 365: Abstinence is Never an Excuse

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The student council election period is here again. Many students, from grade school to grad school, will exercise their right to elect the people who will be their voice in their respective academe. But here I am, pondering if I will vote. This is the first time that I think of abstaining. I only know a few of them personally. The others, "Who the heck are they?" Feeling that I might leave blanks for the first time in my life as a voter (I did not even leave any blank in the 2010 National Elections), I told my friend and churchmate, "Hey! I'm dead considering abstinence," especially after seeing one of the groups running for the student council posts doing a kinda (IMO) awkward way of campaigning (I'm not saying I don't like their style). And then she rebuked me, "You need to vote. If you want change, then show it by electing. (non-verbatim)"

Then I realized after reading "Contempt" by Foh Pang Chia, "Hey! Voting is also a way of worshiping God!" God wants change to our society, so even if He is the One who is placing the right people for the job, He gave us the power to place them there by allowing us to elect them. If we decide not to vote, then we just show contempt to the Lord. Contempt means a deep anger toward someone. During the Old Testament times, the people of Israel saw God's contempt toward them, all because they did not worship Him, did not serve Him, and disobeyed Him. Now, because of Jesus Christ, His anger over us is gone. However, He feels sad every time we do contemptuous things on Him, like abstinence from the good deeds, and He will make it feel to us.

As children of God, our votes bring change. Abstaining should not be a consideration. If we vote, we also glorify the Lord. The Lord wants revival in our schools, our offices, our community, our country, and the whole world, and He wants the change to start in us. Let's vote for the Lord!

PS: The only things that we should abstain: all appearances of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV).

Read Malachi 1:6-14, 1 Corinthians 15:58, Galatians 6:9, and 2 Thessalonians 3:13.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Page 50 of 365: Failure Isn't Final by Jeff Olson

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Credits: Our Daily Journey

Failure isn't final. A man in the Bible who experienced that firsthand was John Mark—an assistant to Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5). We don’t know all that his role entailed, but it likely involved doing behind-the-scenes work like buying supplies and cooking meals, along with some public ministry. He handled some of the day-to-day responsibilities of life so that Paul and Barnabas could focus on their mission of proclaiming the good news of Jesus.

Shortly into their journey, however, John Mark bailed on Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:13). We can only speculate as to the reason he left. Maybe he got homesick. Maybe he got sick of being simply a helper. Whatever the reason, it's clear that when Paul and Barnabas were counting on him, he let them down.

Some time later, Paul and Barnabas planned to go back and check on the new believers they had led to Jesus during their initial missionary journey. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark again, but Paul would have nothing to do with it. He was against the idea because of John Mark’s past failure. The two men disagreed so strongly over the issue that they parted ways. Barnabas took John Mark with him while Paul asked Silas to join him (Acts 15:36-41).

It must have been tough on John Mark to see the relational fallout he had caused, but he chose to minister faithfully with Barnabas. Even Paul later changed his tune. In a letter to Timothy, the apostle wrote, “Bring [John] Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11).

Earlier, John Mark clearly failed to come through. But his life shows us that just because he had failed in the past didn’t mean God couldn’t use him in the future.

In God’s eyes, failure isn't final.

Read Acts 13:4-13 and Psalm 51

Thursday, February 14, 2013

God Wants to be Your Number 1

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That guy sitting near the door, that's me!
I was one of the actors in Segatron's latest hit music video "Magnum". The song is about courtship. The story is of a guy's plead to be the girl's number 1 in her heart even if he has a bunch of competitors. It was a star-studded music video as the mini-movie was graced by actress Francine Prieto, Giniling Festival's drummer Marco Ho, more popularly known as the Youtube sensation Bogart the Explorer, and the most handsome sports, Christian, and now travel and events blogger right now, me! Just joking.

Kidding aside, though, a revelation from the Lord came to my mind after watching the video on Youtube (Segatron, a band composed of newly-graduated UPLB alumni led by Silver Alcabasa, uploaded the MV on the video sharing site more than a week after it made Myx's OPM hitchart). I think "Magnum" could be what God is singing to us. He's telling us that your wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend should be just your number 2. I'm not saying that you should break up with him/her and find a new one. It's God Himself who is singing, "Gusto Kong magnumber 1 sa puso mo. (I want to be number 1 in your heart.)" God showed to us that we are His number 1 when He gave His only begotten Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Even if we all have sinned and have fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23), He died for us (5:8).

All God wants for us is to make Him number 1 in our lives; not just first but the center of everything. This love season, if you still not show your affection for Him, do it by making Him our personal Lord and Savior. If you already did it, thank Him through your prayers for loving you unconditionally.

Colossians 3:17-And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

PS: Check out the music video of "Magnum" here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Page 44 of 365: Get Rid of Sexual Pests

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True love is not what the world says about it, but what God says.
When you hear everything about love, you know Valentine's is in the air. However, most, if not all, of the concepts you hear about Valentine's, and love are what the world says about them. Be aware that these could be spiritual pests that Paul warns us not to tolerate.

This season of love, don't let the world dictate their definition of love to you. Some would say, "This is trending," or "It's OK to do this," or "What the heck is that statement? It's already an old cliche!" But remember that in a relationship, the Lord should be the center. Our definition of love should be based on what the Bible says. The sexual pests, like premarital sex, friends with benefits, etc, should be completely eradicated of our mindsets and let the truth of the Scriptures fill our wisdom. This Valentine's season, be different. Love your loved ones the way God loves us.

Read Galatians 5:16-26, Colossians 3:5-17, and Ephesians 4:25-32.

Remember the Reason for Valentine's

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A relationship should be Christ-centered, and they should love Him more than
they love each other.
I read this book by Stanley Chi entitled "Pogi Points", and I skimmed to this part about scoring some pogi points at the girl you're courting while at church. Being a comedian, we should find Chi's tips funny. However, for those who will follow his tips, I'm gonna add one more thing.

For boys, if you're sincere in trying to win her heart, it's OK if you escort her to church, attend their cell groups, and even join her ministries, but ask yourself this: "Am I gonna glorify God here?" In a relationship, whether it's friendship, dating, or marriage, everyone should make sure that it's a God-centered one. If you're courting her but you're not putting Him at the center of your relationship, reconsider first. Ask the Lord if He chooses her for you.

For girls, ask the Lord for a revelation about his intents. Make Him be your decision-maker before saying that word called "yes". If he's not yet saved but is serious on courting you, have the initiative to introduce him to Jesus Christ. Also, help him grow in his relationship to Him.

This season of love, let's remember the true reason why we love: Because God "loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10b)" So we should show our love to each other the same way God does.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Page 32 of 365: Not by Mouth

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Page 32 of 365: Not by Mouth
Being a Christian should be shown, not declared.
I was at a certain business meeting in Tagaytay City when the boss of the hotel who is also presiding the meeting found me not "UP-ish". When he asked my blogger friend, "Who is he? Does this guy even finished grade school?" my friend introduced me to who I really am: "He's Ivan, a UP student." My friend told me that he, who graduated at Harvard (that Harvard) and tends to befriend only those of the so-called Big 4 (i.e. UP, Ateneo, UST, and La Salle), was surprised.

After hearing it, plus what I learned during my quiet time earlier in the morning, it's also possible that like what happened earlier, many could not notice that you're a Christian at first. Maybe because you tend to do things that are concealing your relationship with Jesus Christ. Being an athlete, I at times get to be emotional in the game, whether it's basketball, ultimate, or even Warcraft and Counter-Strike, especially when things go out of hand. After a very bad spiritual birthday "celebration" two weeks ago, I am making a resolution to keep composed even if I'm losing and just have fun.

I hope as well that I will not be like the sluggard the King Solomon described in Proverbs, who because of fear and not doing anything got into trouble. I pray to God as well that He will continue to teach me how to be a Christian not by mouth but through actions too. As the old saying goes, "Action speaks louder than words."

Read Proverbs 12:27, 19:24, 22:13, 24:30-34, 26:13-15