A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:13 NIV)
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:13 NIV)
How I managed to help my parents to study bible even though I am living overseas.
I believed that every disciple has a dream to be able to reach out to our families and that was my dream since I became a disciple way back 2011.
However, since I am presently residing in Singapore, I do not have much faith that I will be able to reach them out because I am far away from them. And they don’t see me. The only way I can communicate with them is to make use of the technology which is through online messaging and through phone calls. So, there are times that I will send my quiet time to both of my parents using facebook and even though they don’t reply to my message, I will still continue sending them my quiet time. My mom already visited our church here in Singapore for the first time when I was still studying the bible. So, that time, my mom already met some of the Christians in our church, though she finds it really uncomfortable talking to them at first. Then, last year, I went back to the Philippines to celebrate my birthday. Because it has been 3 years that I am celebrating my birthday away from my family. And it happens to be that my birthday falls on a Sunday. So, I went back, I made a request to my parents that we will go church together because it was my birthday. When I told them that, they just keep quiet. They never say anything. So, when I went back to my room, I was praying to God that He will change their hearts and they will decide to study the bible. The next morning, I was surprised when I saw all of them, both my dad and my mom together with my aunt and my niece were already dressed up ready to go church with me. I was really surprised and totally amazed by God that He immediately answered my prayer.
We were not really those typical family who were very close, in fact I only told my parents that I love them and hugged them when I became a disciple. And especially for my dad, I am not really close to him but seeing him going together with me in the church really felt encouraging. When we went there, my niece went to the kids kingdom and the rest of us were listening to the preaching. I can glimpse my dad tapping his hands on his thigh whenever we sing worship songs. That gives me a hint that, perhaps he likes the worship songs. And then after the service and the fellowship, we went home and I asked them how was the service. My niece told me that she wanted to come back again because she enjoyed making bracelets at the kids kingdom while my parents and my aunt say that they liked the lesson that was preached. I really felt so convicted when I heard that from them. I asked them to come to the service again next Sunday, however I will be back in Singapore on that day.
When I went back to Singapore, I keep on contacting the disciples in our hometown in Pampanga to contact my parents and invite them to church. That Sunday, when my parents were about to go to church, they told me that they waited outside the church for few hours but nobody was there to open the door. We didn’t know that there is an outdoor service because we were not informed. When my mom told me about this, I felt sad and started to think negatively that my parents won’t join the service anymore because they waited for few hours and nobody even informed them about the outdoor service. Then, I made a plan. Since my dad’s birthday was coming soon, I talked to some disciples there to surprise my dad and asked them a favor to buy my dad a cake. When my parents went to the service again, the disciples surprised him with cakes and even gave my mom a flower too. They felt really encouraged and loved by the disciples. After that, they started to study the bible.
I realized how God used people to touch a person’s life, regardless of what the character the person is. And truly, all were made possible because of God. It is not because of me, but everything that happened was all made and planned by God. I never thought that my parents will really study the bible, my faith was not that strong. But I still need to trust God that He is in control and that everything is possible through Him.
August 18 2014, my dad was finally baptized in our church in Pampanga. I can’t describe to you how incredibly amazing the feeling was when my dad decided to make Jesus the Lord of his life.
Brothers and sisters truly God is so powerful that to him nothing is impossible. Even though I’m overseas, God can still use me… let’s not give up believing that God has a plan for our dear parents, no matter what situation they are in right now. To God be the glory!
I was reading the book of Ruth and just want to share some insights that I have learned from this story.
Ruth was the daughter in-law of Naomi. Looking at Naomi’s life, she experienced a lot of challenges. First, her husband passed away. After that, her two sons died. The wives of her two sons were with her, however, she told them to go back to their own home. Honestly, if I will put myself in Naomi’s shoes, I would feel abandoned by all my loved ones. And it would be too hard for me to continue living. But Naomi did not think of her own misfortune. Instead, she thought of the future of her two daughters-in law. She still managed to think of the happiness of other people despite of her difficult situation. That really strucks me. How many times in our lives we think of others first before ourselves especially when something bad things happen into our lives. For myself, I will tend to dwell on the negative things and become focus on my own misery. But I learned from Naomi not to dwell on my own misery and start thinking of others instead.
Ruth, one of the daughter’s in-law and a Moabites, was the only one who choose to stay with Naomi.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me. – Ruth 1:16-17
I got convicted by the response of Ruth to Naomi. It reveals her character, that is a faithful, loyal person and she was also described as a noble woman (Ruth 3:11) wherein all the towns people known her for having that kind of character.
Ruth did not choose to focus on herself. She also think of Naomi. Perhaps, what moves her stay with Naomi was also because she understand Naomi’s situation that Naomi will now be alone and no one will take care of her.
Both Ruth and Naomi have something in common: They think of others before themselves.
It really hits me big time. As I go through my struggles in my own personal life. I tend to be self-focus and to forget about others. I have the habit of thinking, ME rather than THEM.
This is also called sacrificial love. And God demonstrates this kind of love to all human race. When God gave His one and only son, Jesus Christ to redeem us all.
I know that showing care for others first than ourselves is challenging and it is really not easy to do. But it is possible. The more I focus on caring and loving others, the less I focus on my own selfish interest.
And at the end of the story, God, bless Ruth by providing for her a husband named Boaz. God knows the best for us and when to give it to us. God allowed all of the misfortune of Naomi and Ruth not because He don’t love them but because God is preparing something for them that is far better than what they have before. God knows best.
I really want to thank God for this time that He is always being there for me and for allowing different situations into my life for me to grow in my character.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:27-31 NIV)
When the disciples saw Jesus walks on the water, many of them doubt if it is really Jesus. However, despite of the doubt, only one of them step out boldly and asked Jesus to let him come to him on the water. And we all know that this disciple is none other than Peter. While Peter was walking on the water, let us draw ourselves to the disciples who remain inside the boat. What do you think are they feeling when they saw Peter walking on the water towards Jesus? For me, I believed that the remaining disciples also desire to go to Jesus however even though they have this desire in their hearts something that stops them from doing so is fear. Do you know that doubt is a type of fear? They initially doubt if it is Jesus and because of their fear, it stops them from being bold just like Peter. We all can relate to these disciples. A lot of times, we also prefer to be inside the boat. We are afraid to try. We want to do things on a safe mode. Fear stops us from doing great things for God. This is one of my weakness that I need to grow in my walk with God. Sometimes we want to do so much for God but we just don’t have the courage to do it. There are so many fears inside my heart. So many what if. In fact, we don’t doubt God. But what we doubt is ourselves. We know that God loves us but we doubt ourselves if we deserve to be love by God. And we are afraid to try, afraid to make mistakes, afraid to fail. Now let us go back to Peter. When Peter saw the wind, he was overcome by fear and that cause him to sink in the water. But you know what Jesus did? Jesus reach out his hand and help Peter who was drowning. You see, though we failed a lot of times, God assures us that He will never let us go. And that God will stretch out His hand for us because He loves us. That He will constantly be with us no matter how many times we fail. But we need to step out from our faith and keep trying. In my life, I cannot count how many times I’ve made a mistakes. Sometimes it’s tiring because it feels no ending. But I realize that’s how God prunes my character and that is how He trains my heart. I just need to keep on trying and not giving up. Peter made a lot of mistakes in his life too, but he did not allow those mistakes to stop him from doing great things for God. I was so convicted. I need to learn from him.
Do you know what activates doubt? It is through waiting. We don’t like waiting. As much as possible we wanted the results/answers right away. And I honestly struggle in waiting. However, our awesome God has its own time table. For God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. God sees everything. And He knows everything. God allows us to wait to see whether our faith in Him is genuine and it is for our faith to be refine. When we wait, we need to be patient. And I learned that patience is not the ability to wait but it is the ability to act while waiting.
When God promised Abraham to make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, despite of his old age, Abraham was able to conquer his doubt.
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, (Romans 4:20 NIV)
How did Abraham did that? I’ve learned that when our minds are filled with doubt, we need to open our mouth and start praising God.
I need to apply this principle:
If I’m in doubt and my mind is telling me that no body loves me.
I need to open my mouth and say:
“God’s love for me is unconditional and that nothing will be able to separate me from the love of God.”
If my mind say:
“I am struggling again. I am not sure if i have the strength to carry out this battle.”
I need to open my mouth and say:
“God I know that you won’t give me struggle beyond what I can bear.”
I learned that I should not allow fear and doubt stop me from responding to God’s call. I need to keep trying no matter how many times I fail. And I should not stop. And I am so grateful for the grace and mercy of God towards me.
Do u believe that God speaks to us through people, bible, other books, event or circumstances? For me, I do believe that.. Even though u try to run away, God always find a way to find u. Even though how much u wanted to harden your heart, God always find ways to soften it.. And no matter how heavy the burden is, God always find ways to carry it.. Im sure that all of us have different struggles. And God allows those struggles to refine our faith in Him… Im sharing this not because I want people to know that Im struggling nor because I want to justify myself.. But im sharing this because I want u to know what God is doing into my life. Im still in a work in progress.. And Im grateful that God never let go of my hand no matter..
Just want to share to you what God spoke to me this morning thru this book. It may be long but i appreciate the patience for reading it:
Molded into Godly Character
Your character is essentially the sum of your habits; it is how you habitually act. God uses his Word, people, and circumstances to mold us.
All three are indispensable for character development. God’s Word provides the truth we need to grow; God’s people provide the support we need to grow; and circumstances provide the environment to practice Christ likeness.
If you study and apply God’s Word, connect regularly with other believers, and learn to trust God in difficult circumstances, I guarantee you will become more like Jesus.
Many people assume all that is needed for spiritual growth is Bible study and prayer. But some issues in life will never be changed by Bible study or prayer alone. God uses people. He usually prefers to work through people rather than perform miracles, so we will depend on each other for fellowship. He wants us to grow together.
In many religions, the people considered to be the most spiritually mature are those who isolate themselves from others in mountaintop monasteries, uninfected by contact with other people.
But this is a gross misunderstanding. Spiritual maturity is not a solitary, individual pursuit!
You cannot grow to Christ likeness in isolation. You must be around other people and interact with them. You need to be a part of a church and community.
Why? Because true spiritual maturity is learning to love like Jesus, and you can’t practice being like Jesus without being in relationship with other people.
Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. (Ephesians 4:24 NLT)