FOCUS on 2015

Before 2014 ended, God impressed in my heart what should my focus be for 2015. And it’s really amazing how He confirmed it during the prayer and fasting week of CCF at the start of this year. It really assured me that it’s what God wants me to press on more this year.

What am I talking about? If I tell you, you might say that as believers we should be doing that all the time. It’s not just something you focus on for a specific year but on your day to day. And I would totally agree with you. It’s just that for the past years, I haven’t really been consistently preparing and even very intentional about it. And that’s why I believe God put it in my heart for me to really work on it as He enables me.

So, what am I talking about? I’m talking about “Evangelism”. As I’ve been reading the book of Bill Hybels entitled, “Just Walk Across the Room”, I realized I haven’t really been doing my part in the aspect of evangelism. I always pray to God to give me opportunities to share the gospel to people who haven’t heard about Him but I haven’t really been intentional in preparing for that opportunity. Even more, I don’t even depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit.

My biggest question to God was HOW? How do I share His Word in a country that has so much freedom and respect for each other’s belief? A country that values diversity of religion, culture and standards. HOW?

As I was going through the different stories in the Bible of how God used the apostles to share the gospel, I was reminded that the HOW should not be my concern. God will make it happen just like when God brought Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch for him to share the gospel (Acts 8:26-40). The only thing that God would require is “Obedience”. How far will I go? How willing will I obey? How immediate will I respond?

And to be honest, it’s easier said than done. With a lot of things going on, I can so easily be distracted that my focus on what God wants me to do will become blur until it will become a least priority. And that’s why my very reminder for this year are these verses in Colossians 3:1-2, Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

There is a lot of harvest in this country that would really need the body of Christ to be very intentional not just in sharing the Word of God but importantly in living out His teachings. Evangelism will never be effective if even your own life was never changed by the power of the gospel.

Pray with me that we will never lose sight of the thing that really matters to the very heart of God. May we have the boldness to make Jesus known, that people may experience Jesus to the fullest, so that when our Heavenly Father looks unto us He will say, “Kamukha niya ang ANAK ko (Christ-likeness).”

What is God telling you to focus this year?

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Throwing Off What Hinders (Giving Up TV)

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I am currently doing a year-long fast on TV series and movies.

It took a long time for me to acknowledge that I’m addicted. I need to take back control.

I actually do not watch TV at all. But sometimes, if I find a series that I really like, I get hooked. I would watch a whole season in one seating. I would do this until I finish all other seasons. After finishing the series, I would return to my normal life. Be responsible again, be faithful in my quiet time, and be a “good Christian.” Some time would pass before another good series will come out so I did not think much of it early on.

Eventually, God showed me the cycle. I identified that at the beginning of every period of discouragement or time of coldness towards God was a movie marathon. Watching TV series was Satan’s “beachhead” in my life. On one hand I thank God that it was something “small” like entertainment, yet this seemingly subtle form kept me from calling it sin.

“Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.” (Susanna Wesley)

I knew it was harming my relationship with the Lord. That was clear enough. I also felt that God wanted me to give it up. But I could not imagine doing that. I felt that it was too extreme. To do so is to stop being a normal person. Maybe I did not want to seem “too radical.”

Maybe I just need to limit my media exposure, I thought. So I limit myself to 1 movie per week. It worked for a while. However, as I have discovered, it is not a good idea to expose a recovering addict to the things they’re addicted to. I had the right intention, but my partial obedience did not help me.

God used a recent event to tell me loud and clear that if I do not shape up, I risk missing out on His plans for me. My “God’s best”- the life God wants for each of His children. When I finally surrendered my “favorite sin,” I felt His presence more, heard His voice clearer. I had not realized that I had been grieving the Holy Spirit that whole time.

Today is the 20th day since I made my commitment. It already feels like it’s the best decision I have made. Haha! It does not even feel like I gave up anything. I have become more productive and I perform better at work. I have time to help my cousin with his school work. Most of all, I know I am at the triangle of God’s blessing. I know I am obeying Him.

Come to think of it, TV shows, movies (& other forms of entertainment) are made to distract. And they are a welcome distraction from the stress of work or the boredom of life.

However, if I know my purpose, if I’m in a crucial mission (for which I’ll be greatly rewarded), and if I know Him who asked me to do it, DO I REALLY WANT TO BE DISTRACTED?

 

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” -2 Timothy 2:4

Thanks Ann San Pedro for sharing this story. A struggle that most of us are also going through. Such an encouragement!

Waiting Over

 

Yes, I’m back! I’m an employee again. 🙂

It’s been an amazing journey with the Lord as I entrusted to Him the work that He has prepared for me. I really prayed that I would be able to find a job within the first month that I arrived here in Vancouver. However, I never wanted to settle for just any job. I just had to trust that God would honor my desire to work for a role that I really wanted.

It had been in the third week of June and I still didn’t have possible job offers. All I got were initial interviews and emails. Then, no more follow ups. Until the right time came. I re-connected with a former colleague here in Canada and just mentioned that I was looking for a job. After that conversation, everything happened so fast. He spoke to his manager that I was looking for a BA role which they needed in their team because someone just left. I submitted my resume and went for an interview the next day. Then the week after, I got the job offer. The best part, they gave me a senior role and a pay which was more than I asked for.

However, these things were not really a surprise to me. I always knew that God would always do something amazing. He always does. Even if some people would tell me that a month is too short to find a job, I just trusted that God would provide within the month. As I reflected on this journey, I realized that my faith was much deeper during this time as I waited on God’s provision.  At some point in my life, I became very disobedient and I know that I have missed out a lot of blessings because of that. I’m just grateful that God is so gracious and loving that He gave me so many chances to become better. God showed to me the result of my obedience and that is His best plan for me.  I became more expectant in faith than I was before.  This journey was more of seeing how much I’ve grown in faith as I continue to experience God’s best.

Such faith excites me each day as to what could God possibly do. Experiencing God through obedience may always not be an easy path to take. However, taking a path that is outside of God’s plan for us will be more difficult in the long run. God’s way is always, always, always worth to take.

I’m looking forward to another journey of something that I’ve really been praying for. Waiting is over, another waiting starts.

To God be all the glory!

 

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Sweeter

In my quiet time this morning, God made me fall in love with Jesus much more.

My reading was on the latter part of Luke 5 and beginning of Luke 6 which talked about the Pharisees trying to question all the ways of Jesus – like eating with tax collectors and sinners, His disciples picking wheat on Sabbath and Jesus healing during Sabbath.

How Jesus responded to the Pharisees made me thank God more for who He is. I’m just grateful and very glad that Jesus did not come into this world bringing set of rigid rules and traditions but love, hope and forgiveness which allowed us to live a pleasing life for Him.

Just imagine a life full of strict rules and traditions to be followed so that we could attain perfection and be with God. One – it is very impossible, Second – it would be very exhausting, and Third -it is pointless and useless. We will never be with God for eternity.

God’s love is so powerful and compelling that once we accept it through Jesus Christ, there’s no other way but to respond to it, not out of force but of free will. Not that we don’t do the right things and follow His commandments, but we do it not out of striving for perfection but out of our love for God. It’s an act of obedience resulted from love and not from a scary thought of hell.

Indeed, life is sweeter and better each day when I walk with Jesus even if it gets tougher sometimes. True enough, it is only with Jesus that I am able to experience a full, complete and abundant life – full of hope, peace, joy and love.

Thank You Jesus for a sweeter life. 🙂

This is my song for today! 🙂