There’s a storm, after the rainbow

Storm and Rainbow

I know what you may be thinking. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around, “There’s a rainbow, after the storm?” Allow me to explain where I am coming from.

Life is filled with ups and downs. The Christian walk is always a battle.  There are cases where we are defeated. There are cases where we are victorious. And when we are victorious, the more that we should be on guard, else we fall. I’ve realized in my Christian walk that temptations and problems normally come after a moment of victory.

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt I was victorious. I preached for 4 services yesterday. Speaking for 4 times is not an easy task. That’s why we really need to value and appreciate our pastors who have been doing that for years already. It was a moment of joy for me to know that I was able to speak for 4 services, without losing my voice and strength. It was a time of joy for me, most especially because I know deep within my heart I was able to depend on God all throughout the day. Lots of people approached me after each service to let me know they were blessed with the message. Hearing their feedback was not a moment for me to boost my ego, but to merely be encouraged that indeed the Lord is working through me and I am just his vessel. Every preacher should desire that their message would always point to Jesus and not to themselves. So I was in a position to go through the day with joy in my heart and sleep soundly after a very tiring day.

I know yesterday was the moment of victory. So today I should be vigilant, and careful not to put my guard down, else I fall into temptation. Indeed, just as expected you cannot be complacent – the battle continues.

My girlfriend and I intended to watch a movie today so I can relax. She said that she was willing to watch whatever movie I wanted. I was willing to watch either “The Intern” or the “The Martian,” whatever has a good schedule and location. If you know me, the only thing that I really want when a watch a movie (aside from the actual movie) is good popcorn. So we were driving around Makati, and Power Plant was the only mall we saw that was still showing “The Intern.” My girlfriend really wanted to watch this movie and I was good either way as long as there’s popcorn. Nonetheless, she told me that the popcorn there wasn’t that good so I decided that we watch “The Martian” in Greenbelt instead. Plus, my favorite popcorn can be bought there. After I mentioned this, she expressed her sadness towards my decision. This made me a little bit (just a little bit, hehe) frustrated; I thought she wanted to watch what I wanted, but here she is, expressing her discontent towards my decision. To make the long story short, as small as the issue seems for some of you, it led to an argument.

There was a moment where we were both quiet. While I was thinking, I know God was already talking to my heart asking me to ask for forgiveness for how I reacted. However my pride was still there. I wanted her to realize her mistake so I was really planning to cancel our plan to watch a movie and just go home. But God was still there, speaking in my heart not to let this petty argument grow bigger. I know I need to ask for forgiveness. I know I need to humble myself. I still drove to Greenbelt and parked the car so we can talk.

In the parking area, I told her why I got so frustrated. I told her that I was frustrated because she mentioned that she was willing to watch whatever movie I wanted. Then she told me that her moment of sadness was just to express what she felt but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t want to go to Greenbelt and watch another movie instead. I guess this is really the part where we say, “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus.” I asked for forgiveness and she did the same. Later on, we prayed and everything was fine again.

What’s my point? You have to always be on your guard. Whenever there are moments of victory you should praise God, but never put your guard down. Never be complacent. Keep watch and pray.

1 Peter 5:8 - Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

 

Whenever there is a moment of victory or joy, the more that you should pray and the more that you should be on your guard, else you fall. It’s not easy. Sometimes we would like to think when would the battle end. It will not. As long as we are in our flesh, there will always be temptations and we need to keep fighting. The battle goes on, but remember the war is already over.

Keep walking in the spirit and keep abiding in Christ. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. That’s why I praise God that he was speaking in my heart and he did not allow me to make our argument blow into proportions.

Keep fighting the good fight my friend. Let’s run the race well and finish strong. It’s going to be a long marathon, but the Lord has promised us that will He will never leave us, nor forsake us.

—————————————-

P.S. By the way, we still watched “The Martian” and it was a good movie. We enjoyed our time together even though we had an argument. This is just one of those moments where we need learn from our mistake and move on. Indeed we have, which led to us enjoy our time together, and thanking God for his goodness and grace.

Wow, it’s been one year already?

I guess it’s true that you will never feel time passing by so quickly when you are doing the things that you love. A couple of days ago a friend of mine reminded me about something. I totally forgot about it. I wasn’t even counting the days. He just simply reminded me that it’s already a year since I began working full-time.

 

One Year as a Full Time Church Staff

My first day as a full-time worker in the church was September 1, 2014. I remember during that time that it didn’t feel different from what I was doing before. This time though, I was no longer a volunteer and I will have more time to really focus on working for the Lord. But there was tremendous pressure on my shoulders. The pressure did not really come from external factors. It was just mainly because of my own expectation and what I really want to see and happen.

God is good. He is always good. Little did I know that all the pressure that I was experiencing was just his way of making me depend on him more and just rely on Him. Deep within my heart, I just really want to reach out to more people and share Jesus to them. I just want to listen to stories of singles being transformed all because of the grace and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So many things happened that I couldn’t even try to write them all down. If you’ve been following my posts, I haven’t even been able to write a blog entry for the past couple of months due to so many things. Last August was one tiring, but fulfilling week for me. Every week I was preaching. Last August 23, 2015 was my first time to speak in our Sunday morning services. It was a great experience and I learn a lot. Heard from people as well that they were blessed with the message and I give the glory all to the Lord.

What I’m just really trying to say is that I enjoy what I am doing right now. I needed to sacrifice my career and even take a lower salary. It was all part of losing my life and saving it for something greater in return. It’s been a year since I went full-time. I thank God for calling me into his service. I am excited for another year to become part of His work. I’m really looking forward to planning for 2016, and what the Lord will be doing in and through us. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Three things I learned from my 21k NatGeo run

natgeo 2015 start 21k marc sorongonIt’s been more than a week since I finished my first 21k marathon run. Unlike other runners, my only goal was to finish the race within two to three hours and not get injured.  Even though I only trained for 6 weeks, I was able to accomplish my goal.

The experience was worth it.  I remember as I was running during the marathon, so many realizations were coming into my head.  I was able to relate my physical marathon to my spiritual marathon. In the Bible, we would see a lot of verses talking about a Christian’s marathon.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 - 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self- control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

 

2 Timothy 4:7 - I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

 

Acts 20:24 - But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2 - 1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

The Christian’s life is a marathon. It is a race. Paul mentioned twice about finishing the course or finishing the race. Here are 3 things that I have learned from my 21k marathon run.

(1) It’s not how you start the race but how you end it well.

I started my race very slow. I know I can’t exert too much effort in the beginning. I can exhort my full effort and energy in the first 5 kilometers but that wouldn’t do me any good since I have 16 kilometers more to go. I know I just needed to pace myself. I praise God that for the first 11-12 kilometers I was able to jog without stopping, and just maintaining my pace.

finish-the-raceIf you would read what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7 and Acts 20:24, never did he mention or focus on how he started. What you would clearly see there is finishing the race well.

I have seen Christians who have started well but suddenly lost their way. They were on fire for the first couple of years. Serving the Lord here and there, and so in love with Him. But as the years go by and as they start to experience the troubles of life, they begin to slowly drift away. It’s really not how you start your walk with Christ. The real test is enduring the race and finishing well. If you didn’t start it out right, there is nothing wrong with picking yourself up, continue running and aim to finish strong.

Don’t give up. Finish the race. The battle is not with other people. It has always been with yourself, which is the second thing that I have learned.

 (2) It’s not about competing with other people but competing with yourself

natgeo 2015 after run marc sorongonOne thing nice about running a marathon is you get to push yourself to run, and not quit when you see other people running with you. I can still imagine my view while running my 21k marathon. There were just so many people in front of me.  I was thinking to myself, I couldn’t stop. People who were ahead of me kept going, I should do the same.

The people you are running with are not your competitors, they are your motivators. Just like in the Christian marathon, you are not competing with your brothers and sisters in Christ. They should be your source of encouragement and strength. The real battle is just the battle inside of you.

Look at what Hebrews 12:1-2 said “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us.” It was directing the problem with you. We should be focusing on our own run and not the run of others. We should stop and think if there is any thing that is hindering you from running my race well? Do I have a relationship that you are unwilling to give up, which is suppressing your relationship with God?  Or do you have sin that you are cherishing and unwilling to stop?

Lay aside those things that are weighing you down. The Lord wants you to run free from these hindrances. He doesn’t want you to just finish the race. He wants you to finish well. Aside from sin that would weigh us down, one thing that we need to battle inside of us is our endurance. Look at how Hebrews 12 mentioned it as well – run the race with endurance. It is a marathon. I only ran 21 kilometers, which is half a marathon. I cannot imagine what running 42 kilometers will be like. You have to have the proper endurance to finish the race. This is the same with us. We need to have endurance while running the race. Meaning, no matter what trials and problems come our way we need to endure them. No matter if your legs are already hurting, you need to endure. No matter if you are already losing your breath, you need to endure. No matter if are already behind the race, you need to endure. Fight the battle and run the race with endurance. Battle your flesh. Finish well.

(3) It’s not really about the perishable wealth but the imperishable

The one thing that kept me going during the last couple of kilometers was the thought of reaching the finish line. I have to be honest that the final kilometer was the hardest for me. Most of it was done walking rather than jogging. My legs were hurting and my hamstrings are getting stiff already. Nonetheless, I know the finish line is already there, so I just pushed myself to finish the race and try to jog as much as I can.

finishing the raceIdea of reaching the finish line is what kept me going. This should be the same for us running the Christian marathon. But our finish line is not a banner, which has those words in it. Instead we should aim to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Our focus should be set on our faith that someday we will be with Jesus. But the question is, what will Jesus say when you reach the finish line. Did you endure the race? Did you finish well? Did you remove everything that is hindering you from running the race? Did you focus too much on other people?

Finishing the race is not about rewards or what tangible (perishable) thing we will get. It is about pleasing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is about finishing well and having the confidence to meet Him face-to-face someday because we know we have fought a good fight – we have finished the race well.

O, may we desire to run the race well. Let’s focus our efforts in ensuring that we finish well. Let’s fight the good fight. Let’s focus on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

  • Check my Top Posts & Pages

    What is Spiritual Perseverance?
    Trust God. He is in Control.
    One lesson we can learn from Jesus washing the disciples’ feet