I can never understand it

I can never understand it. At most, the best that I can understand is what I experience from other people. Although what they are giving is still flawed and imperfect. We live in an imperfect world. Everyone has the capability to love but to be able to consistently and perfectly give unconditional love, for me, seems impossible. At one point, a person can still go with his or her own selfish desire. The question is, right now, how much do we really understand God’s amazing and perfect love?

I know we’ve experience it. We have come to know God’s love through what he has done for us in the cross, or we might have experience it first hand in the blessings he has given us. I believe it’s much more than what we think we know.

Ephesians 3:18

18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

How wide? How Long? How High? How Deep? It’s a rhetoric question that means there is no limit to it. I have fallen a lot of times, and I still see His love following me and chasing after me.

Falling Down

I’ve made a mistake and in a split second, I hear a voice speaking in my heart that He will forgive me. I wanted to run, but He was already ahead of me – not wanting me to wander from away from the truth. I can’t understand it. I can’t understand why He loves me that much. All I can do is give in and rest again in His embrace.

I want to give encouragement to you, I know life can be a series of ups and downs – sometimes, it’s mostly down. No matter what you are going through, God loves you. You might have turned your back from him. You might have failed Him. You might have sinned against Him. All I know is, He still loves you. Just come back. Come back to Him and talk to Him. He longs to be with you.

Finding Strength Through Prayer

I want to be strong. I want to be tough. I want to be unafraid.

Trying to be strong has a correlation with a particular fear that you may have. For example, you want to be physically strong. You try to build muscle through working out because there is a particular fear that you don’t want to be bullied by anyone. Another example, you want to be emotional strong. Your whole family is down due to financial problems, but you don’t want to be affected by it, so you try to encourage everyone and carry the burden of showing everyone there is still hope. Because if you won’t do this, you fear everything might crumble down, and your whole family might end up losing their faith.

There is a particular fear that is wrong, but I believe there is a fear that is right as well most especially if it’s  fear for the well-being of someone else. Fear is an emotion and I believe the best way, to counter this feeling is through prayer. Through prayer, we can find the strength that we need to battle fear or other emotions related to it.

Let’s look at the Prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in Mark 14:32-38.

32 They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” 33 And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. 34 And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” 35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” 37 And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

Garden of GethsemaneGethsemane means “oil press” and currently, ancient olive trees are still found in this garden. We have to understand that this is a place where He and his disciples commonly pray. In John 18:2, Judas knew where to find Jesus because he knows where he would usually go with his disciples.
In verse 32 when they arrive in Gethsemane, Jesus ask his disciples to sit here while He prays but it’s surprising to note that from His group he specifically asked Peter, James and John (verse 33) to accompany him.

Jesus is 100% God and 100% human, it was perfectly normal for him to desire companionship during this time. Jesus was under heavy emotions that he felt very distressed and troubled. It was a very heavy feeling. A feeling of terrified amazement; gripped with terror. And Peter, James and John was the ones who was with him in the Home of Jarius (Mark 5:37) and Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2).

I believe Jesus wanted to teach Peter, James and John a lesson also. The three are leaders who will be able to teach the other not to rely on their self-confidence during this time. They need to learn to be alert, not to give in the temptation and most especially pray. Jesus addresses that in verse 38.

Only in the book Mark will see how Jesus address the Father in his prayer.

35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father!…

 

Abba means “papa” or “daddy” and it showed his relationship and intimacy with His father. Upon starting this prayer, He understood whom He was talking. Because in times of weakness:

  • Strength is gained through knowing who you have beside you
  • Strength is gained through knowing who you have supporting you
  • Strength is gained through knowing who you have taking care of you

Jesus prayed in and said “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

We mustn’t think that the Lord feared death or that the physical suffering ahead was overwhelming for Him. It was the thought of being separated from His Father that was so intense that it was to the point of death because of sheer agony. In Luke 22:44, Jesus had such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. He knew would be made sin for us – 2 Corinthians 5:2. He would bear the sins of the whole (1 Peter 2:24) and the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). And because of this, he would experience being forsaken by His Father (Matthew 27:46). The cause of His overwhelming anguish and distress, but he said “Yet not what I will, but what You will.”

Jesus did not wrestle with the Father’s will. He willing submitted to it. That’s why in verse 35 you would see He “fell to the ground” as a sign of surrender. Three times He prayed this and three times He acknowledge His father’s will.

He saw his disciples sleeping, and this is what He said.

38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

He wanted to teach his disciples a lesson. They needed to be alert and sharp because a lot will happen in the next couple of minutes – Jesus will be arrested, disciples will be scattered (mentioned in the same chapter in Mark); Peter will deny Jesus, Jesus will be in Trial and then crucified. From Wiersbe Bible commentary – “Be alert as you pray! Keep your spiritual eyes open, for the enemy is near!” Judas is already coming with soldiers to hand over Jesus.

In times of weakness, the enemy will always target the flesh. How easy is it at times when we’re tired and emotionally down to get easily irritated. If we put our guard down, worldly pleasure or desire can easily lure us. Busyness resulting in physical deterioration can result in worrying and stress.

In this example, in the few moments the disciples will be scattered because their master will be arrested and crucified. They will abandon him and feel weak without a leader. But they are to be strong, alert and not give in to the temptation. They should remember the things Jesus taught them and remain spiritually connected through prayer.

That is our defence whenever we feel weak and vulnerable. Jesus modelled it. You may be going through a lot of problems and trials. Follow what Jesus did during this time of distress. He shared to His Father what he felt. He was Honest. He was connected with the Lord in prayer. He was Intimate. And He submitted to the will of the Lord. He Surrendered.

In the end, we find our strength in God alone. Remember you are HIS, and He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7 – Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

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Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my message in B1G South TOP (Time of Prayer) entitled “Finding Strength Through Prayer”. The B1G South ministry is the singles ministry of CCF Alabang. We have service every Saturday at 6pm at the 3rd floor of CCF Alabang. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit.

How I felt after my first speaking engagement for a company

It was almost a week ago since I spoke in a company for the first time. I remember getting a text a month ago that someone was interested in our love, sex and dating series for their office. It was exciting for me since I have always desired to start a corporate ministry. It was something that I envisioned B1G South would actively do as a movement.

I was nervous at the thought though that speaking in a company is totally a different audience than the people I usually speak to during our single’s service. I had questions in mind. How would I go with my message? How will my listeners react? Will they like me? Do I need to be as innocent as a dove and as wise as a serpent? How do I share the gospel?

While I was thinking about these things for a couple of days, I came into the conclusion that I just need to do what the Lord wanted me to do. Sometimes, as someone who delivers the Word we may get too caught up in desiring to be “liked by our audience,” and this maybe from your desire for them to understand what you are sharing. But in reality, if you understand that this is the work of the Lord and not you, you can only do so much. The primary goal is  not to be liked by your audience but handle the Word of God with care that you share the Word as is and not twisting it to be “liked” by your audience. Some may accept it and some may not, your responsibility though is to be faithful to God’s word.

I was scheduled to speak at 4:30pm in the afternoon and I arrived before 4pm. I usually want to be early to setup my PowerPoint, get a feeling of the environment and pray. I was assisted to the multi-purpose hall and was shocked to see how it was setup. I saw bibles and song guides in chairs. Then I realized; this is an organization that supported the spiritual well-being of their employees; a corporation that I was blessed to be speaking to. Around 200 employees were expected to come and as they went in, I saw the room being filled slowly. I gave my talk and even had a short Q&A session in the ending. After the talk was over, I was just blessed to realize that this was one of the talks that I felt I was able to engage the audience and  calmly deliver the Word. I was just very thankful to the Lord for the opportunity He has given and all glory should only belong to Him. I was  very nervous before the talk but as it started I know in my heart God was the one who empowered me to deliver a message that He has laid down in my heart.

M.Y. SanI know this is just the start of a wonderful journey for me. My next speaking engagement for this company is on June 24th for the second message of this series. I don’t have pictures to show because nobody was there to take them. Of course, it would be awkward for me to take a selfie in front of everyone just as a remembrance. Hehe. All I can share is this picture of the front of their building and the free cookies that they gave me.

Thank you M.Y. San for the privilege of speaking in your company.

 

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