This is it

It took years before I finally made this choice. It wasn’t easy. It was a series of events that lead me finally to decide this is what I have to do. I’m going to write how it all came together but not for now. This will take time and a lot of effort remembering each moment – some of which are still fresh in my mind.

I hope you’re ready to read that long story. For now, I just want to savor this moment that it is really finally happening. I will now work full-time in the church.

contract

It’s a big responsibility. I feel it’s even bigger than the past positions I have been entrusted with in the corporate world. But the Lord has always been reassuring me that He is with me each step of the way.

I hope you’ll always remember me in your prayers. I’ll be writing again soon, and hopefully that will be my first entry as a full-time worker in our church.

Lots of changes will happen. Lots of exciting possibilities await.

I’m writing it all down to help those who want to go full-time understand what they will experience and how they will be able to confirm this calling in their life. Some will be able to relate to me while some may not. We all have a role to play in building up the church. Mine is shepherding the ministry that He has entrusted to me – the B1G South Ministry.

I hope you connect with me and follow my post. It will be a wonderful journey for me and I want to share it with you.

Living in light of Jesus’ Return

A lot will say time flies. I agree. I am in my late twenties and this is a season in my life where I see people getting engaged, married and starting a family. Some of my friends being new moms and new dads. That made me think, how would it feel actually to be a dad?

Baby Waiting for DaddyWhile thinking about this, I tried searching and saw a cute picture of what it would be like for your son or daughter actually to wait for you to come home.

 

It such a wonderful picture to ponder upon. If you would relate yourselves to this picture. How do you feel about Christ’s return? Do you have same Joy and Excitement? Do you anticipate the return of Jesus Christ? Are you living in light of Jesus’ Return?

When we look at 1 John 2:28 – 3:3 we would see that this should be our hope. His return is what we should joyfully hope for that we prepare for it.

 

28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

When we look at these set of verses, we will see the return of Christ commonly being talked about. The word “appear,” appears in Chapter 2 verse 28 and Chapter 3, verse 2

When verse 3 said, “And everyone who has this hope” John was referring therefore to Christ appearing again or His return – the hope that should we anchor ourselves into, which produces Christ-likeness.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

Perhaps you’re thinking, why it is important for us to understand that this is the hope that we need to have to be able to go through the process of becoming more like him.

To become more like Him means to be unlike the world. To become more like him means to bear His image and not the image of the world.

When John wrote this letter one of his focus was to help believers understand how they would know if they are in the faith (in Him) and not the world. We would see this in the previous chapters of the book: Living in the Light (Chapter 1), not loving the world (Chapter 2) and the evidences:

  • Obedience (2:3-6)
  • Love for Fellow Believers (2:7-11)
  • Moral Likeness (1:5-7)
  • Not loving the word for “the world is passing away, and also its lusts” (2:17)

This is what separates you from the world. This is what bearing His image means. This is what a Child of God looks forward to – not the things of this world which passes away, but what is ahead for us upon his return.

That’s why if you would ponder upon that picture again do we bear the same hope and desire? Are we excited and expectant of his return?

We may not have that attitude and joy because we have been exposed too much in the world. We might have invested too much of our time, effort and love for things that have no eternal value?

The child of God will look forward to His return – His Abba or Papa. That’s why verse 28 start this way.

28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

 

Take note how verse 28 started. It mentioned “little children.” There is a relationship being mentioned here.

John is saying. You as a child of God should abide in Him because one thing is certain there will come a time where you will see your creator face to face and the last thing that you want to happen, in that glorious moment, is to be ashamed of the things that you have done.

We will all face the Lord someday upon His return, so be careful – abide. Abide that you will not give in to the temptation, lose your eternal focus and be drawn in by the world. Abide that you may not lose sight of what is ahead of you

What does Abiding mean? John has constantly been using the word abide.

  1. But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. - 1 John 2:5-6
  2. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. - 1 john 2:10
  3. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. - 1 john 2:24

Abiding means remaining. It is remaining in fellowship. Remaining in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ and remaining in fellowship with God according to the truth. That’s why it says in Galatians 5:16.

  • Galatians 5:16 – So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
  • John 15:5 – I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

You need to abide. You need continuously to be connected. I see the connection as a cross – remaining connected vertically (God) and remain connected horizontally (believers).

In verse 29, John was again answering the concern how would you know if you are in the faith (in Him) and not the world;

29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

 

That’s why is important to understand why you are address as “little children” because as a child everything that you will be doing will reflect the Father that you have.

Since you are a child of God, you are, therefore, responsible for bearing his image, his righteousness in this fallen world. And the key to help you desire to stand in confidence when you face him and not be ashamed is to know that He is righteous.

What a joy it would be to be able to stand that day with confidence in your heart that you’ve run the race well and you’ve shown His righteousness in your life.

That the Lord was seen and not you. You became more like him, that “Marc” can no longer be seen.

So fix your hope on the return of Jesus. Desire to see him face to face with confidence. That is possible through abiding and remaining in fellowship with Him, but also understanding that He is righteous and you are to bear His image (His righteousness) in your life

And may all of these things be motivated out of love. That’s why John suddenly shifts his tone in Chapter 3 verse 1 and really focuses on your sonship.

3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

 

See how great a love or behold what manner of love contains heavy emotions that John is saying: “what is this kind of love?”

  • This love is hard to comprehend
  • This love is out of this world
  • How can we be called a child of the creator of the universe
  • How can we be called a child of the God of everything
  • Such wonder is hard for me to comprehend

It’s really hard to grasp this love that the Lord has given you, when you understand your sinfulness but…but…such as we are.

That’s just it. You didn’t deserve this. You didn’t deserve to be called a child of God, but the Lord, in his great love, choose so.

And because you are a child of God. He will finish the work. Just like in Philippians 1:6 and in 1 John 3:2

  • Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
  • 1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

This is part of your hope that when Christ returns for his Church. He shall conform every believer to His image. In view of His return; In view of the hope that we have, we should keep our lives pure, clean and righteous. Striving daily to become more like him and abide in Him

3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

But it starts first with the Hope that you need to anchor yourself into.

You may be enjoying life right now and everything looks great. Don’t lose what is ahead of you. Don’t hold on tightly to the things that you are enjoying right now in this world. Let the hope of seeing Him face to face, move you in love not to desire sin in your life. Serve the Lord so you may stand in confidence upon his return that you used your time, talents and treasure for his kingdom

Or you may be suffering in life right now and everything is problematic. Don’t lose sight of what is ahead of you. Don’t focus on your problem – it will be but a blink in the eye. You have eternity to look forward to. Let the hope of seeing Him face to face, move you to respond well in this situation. Despite the pain and problems, trust God and wait on Him. And even in your darkest hour, serve the Lord – He deserves it. Let is all be motivated out of love

If I’ll leave you with one thing to remember this is it: More like Him through Hoping in Him.

I know it’s easy to lose our focus that there is eternity to look forward to. Maybe you can help give suggestions how we can keep our focus on the hope that we have? Let’s desire to Live in light of Jesus’ return.

Note from the author: This is an transcript of my message during one of the Mid-year Fasting and Prayer Night Service in CCF Alabang.

My Reflection on Psalm 63

Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! Psalm 63:3

Psalm 63

A psalm of David, regarding a time when David was in the wilderness of Judah.

O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
    and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
    lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
    I will praise you with songs of joy.

I lie awake thinking of you,
    meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
    I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your strong right hand holds me securely.

But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin.
    They will go down into the depths of the earth.
10 They will die by the sword
    and become the food of jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God.
    All who swear to tell the truth will praise him,
    while liars will be silenced.

David had that longing that longing to be with his God. He first acknowledges God when he said “you are my God.” He acknowledges he only has one God and that his Lord is his personal God. Above all else, nothing can compare to Him. He has gazed and seen Him in His sanctuary. And with what He has behold, David is ultimately asking again for him to see the Lord’s power and glory. Such is a desire that we need to cultivate in our lives. Do you desire the same right now? Or are you wondering aimlessly in life without the pursuit of God?

To be able to say that your love is better than life means that only your love will satisfy me. Not the riches of this world. Not the good things I have in this world. Only your love. Your love is better than the good things in life or life itself, if it was good to me.  Because of your love, I am satisfied more that than greatest party or feast that there will ever be. Because of your love for me, I can take my refuge in the shadow of your wings since you are there to help me. Because of your love for me, I can cling on to you with my dear life and I cling you to your strong hand which holds me securely. All this things as I realize will make me praise you with songs of great gladness and joy. Will you be able to say with deep conviction in your heart that your love is better than life?

Do you think during times of adversity you will desire God the way David did or will you find yourself desperate for the temporal solution?

We want out immediately. We don’t want to go through the process. It’s hard. I know these are the thoughts that you have whenever you have a problem or trial. Who wouldn’t want to get out of hardship immediately?

But I know whenever these moments of trials come along our way it is there to be develop a Christ-like attitude in us. You shouldn’t desire to get you immediately. What you should desire is to learn how to be thankful despite the situation. Getting out immediately is the easy solution but there is a satisfaction in being able to cultivate discipline in your life to thank God despite your wilderness moment. I know it’s not easy but when the trials has already passed by and we are able to go through it with a thankful heart – we begin to thank God and realize that it is only because of Him that we can show this kind of response. And so, we begin to delight and pleasure in Him. John Piper said:

Satisfaction comes from God to those whose passion in life is to know him in the struggle to be like him in the world

 

My Prayer:

Lord, I thank you. I know, at times I have lost my focus and I tend to look more in my problems rather than in you. You know everything that is going through in my life right now. There are just so many things to do. I am overwhelmed at times. And at times, I just want to get out and let it be done with. I know I’m not responding well and I ask for your forgiveness. Help me to desire you God during times of adversity and not try to take control of the situation. I can only do so much, but I know you can do all things. You know that I want of these things I desire to happen and happen successfully. But I leave it all to you to work it according to your great plan and love for me. Right now, I just know that I want to be able to say what David said “Your unfailing love is better that life itself.” Thank you for your unfailing, steadfast and never changing love. Praise you alone.

How about you? What’s your thoughts on Psalm 63?

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