Do you want to be sure?

Waking up on a Monday morning, feeling yucky with colds and cough was nothing when I read the news that my brother shared to me very early in the morning. Another shooting happened in US (Las Vegas) which killed 50 people. It is always heartbreaking to hear this kind of news. More heartbreaking for those families who lost their loved ones.

Just very recent also, the father of one of my best friends passed away. Such event in someone’s life reminds us that death is indeed inevitable. I, myself, experienced also a lost when my sister passed away 11 years ago. And, there are still days I would cry because of longing. But, after those tears is a comfort when I remember God’s promise of eternal life in heaven someday.

I’m not sure how you take the reality of heaven. As for me, I can never take it lightly. The reality of heaven also means there is a reality of hell. When someone passed away, the automatic thinking of people is the person who passed away will go to heaven. Who doesn’t want to go to heaven, right? But if we think heaven is “always” the destination of those who died, what is the purpose of hell, then?

I desire that all my loved ones will go to heaven. God desires the same thing for all of us. 2 Peter 3:9 says, that the Lord is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. However, it is very important to base our statement from Biblical truth and not just declaring it because that’s what we want to believe.

God gave us the assurance of our salvation and eternal life through His Word. It is a life that we can look forward to and a promise that gives us hope that indeed, our life here on earth is temporary and the best is yet to come.

How can we have that assurance? How can our loved ones have that assurance?

From the words of Jesus, Himself…

John 14: 2-3 –  “ My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” 

John 14:6 – “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

Some of us might have known Jesus since childhood, through our parents, going to church or even at school. Some of us might have not known Jesus at all. Whatever we know or not know, the truth remains the same that it is only through Jesus that we can go to the Father and to the place that He has prepared. The question is what to do with that truth? Do we explore or do we take it lightly?

The word “believe” that is used in the Bible is more than just accepting truth.  BELIEVE – PISTUEO – to trust in and rely upon, commit to the charge of, confide in, have a mental persuasion. God wants us to have a relationship with His Son, Jesus. He wants us to believe that Jesus died for our sins and rose after 3 days, and anyone who believes will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). And by having Jesus in our life means we will have the Holy Spirit who will help us live a transformed life – turning away from our old sinful ways. There is so much to know about what it means to live a life for God when we read the Bible.  But we have to take that first step – believe in Jesus. Allow Him to transform you. Let Him take charge. Have a relationship with Him.  That is how we get to heaven! Through Jesus alone.

And, what about hell? The Bible also speaks a lot about hell –  a place that will keep someone eternally separated from God.

Revelations 21: 8 – But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Matthew 25: 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Physical death is not the end. Second death or the spiritual death is. It is the death that we don’t want to experience. (Luke 16: 19-31)

I wish I can fit in one blog everything the Bible talks about heaven and hell. But, it is a truth worth exploring. At the end of the day, all of us want to be assured of one thing. Our life after this lifetime. And God is so loving and gracious that He gives us promises and warnings that we may know, hope and believe based on the truth of His Word.

As I think about those 50 people who died, it made me ask the question, did they believe in Jesus? Are they saved? Will they go to heaven? For that person who shot them, it made me ask a question – what if he had a relationship with Jesus?

Death is only scary when you are not sure where you go after. Heaven or Hell?

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And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12)

 

 

 

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I want to say something also…

It’s interesting to read and see ongoing reaction of people about Manny Pacquiao‘s statement few days ago about homosexuality. It’s comment after comment on different social media posts. I can’t even wait to talk about this  with my family on our Saturday night video call (Something we can talk about aside from the upcoming Philippines election!).

I’ve been thinking, should I also say my piece about it? Well, it’s not like anyone would read or care about what I say. And, I’m dead tired from work today that I just want to stop my brain thinking about work. So, why not express myself, kill my boredom tonight and write something.

I’m not going to talk about homosexuality or same-sex marriage. I’ve said my piece about that one already months before – (Not Keeping Silent in Love). What really caught my interest and made me realize as I was reading the different views of people is on how we are a bunch of people with so much contradictions in life. We are so contradicting in the belief we try to uphold just to fight for the things we think we deserve.

“Life is not fair.” It is not just a cliche but a reality. A reality that all of us can never accept that is why there are so many laws passed about having equal rights, if possible equal rights in all aspects of life. And I believe that’s our human nature. We want to be treated fairly in wherever we go or whatever we aspire and do. I, myself have my own personal sentiments about it.

However, we fail to realize that what we are fighting for sometimes contradicts the standard that we claim we believe in and stand for. I remembered what our senior pastor said of what are the two types of people in this world. One who believes in God- the Creator, the Author of Life, the Author of the Bible and the other one who does not believe in God at all.

If we believe in God, the basis of the kind of life we want to pursue is what He commanded us to do in the Bible. If I consider someone an enemy, I just can’t ask to pass a law that any person I consider as an enemy even if that person is not doing anything to me, must not go near me within this distance just because I don’t want to see that person. This contradicts to what God said that I should love my enemy. It’s not love. It’s being mean to the person.

We can’t say we believe in Him but consciously accept and do the things that He does not approve of. There is a huge difference between compromising and overcoming sin. Compromising is you know that God does not approve of such act but you still do it and has no intention to repent. Overcoming sin is having the desire to turn away from it but you struggle and fail at times but you allow God to help you overcome until you totally turn away from it.

If we do not believe in God, then, we can choose what ever standard we want to base our life on. A life without God has really no distinction of what is acceptable and not, of what is good and not. A life without God is a life without laws. We can fight for whatever equality we want as nothing can contradict what we are fighting for.We get to choose how we want to live our life based on our own standards – which is based on what? I really don’t know.

So what am I really trying to say? That in this lifetime, we will always have that desire to fight for what we think is right and fair in our own standards even if it contradicts to God’s standards. To compromise is never okay with God. God’s truth is a truth that we can never dispute and argue with Him. We can all argue about it in social media or in our conversations with other people. But it will never change  God’s mind about it. It’s a done deal. We will be judged according to His standards  when the time comes.

But despite of, what is still amazing is God’s standard of equality and fairness.  There is love. There is grace. There is mercy. There is forgiveness. Because He knows that no matter how much He shortens the greatest commandments from ten to just two, we will still fail Him.  That’s our nature. We just want to follow the easy commandments and break the other ones. And because we are bunch of contradicting people who can never save our self from His judgment someday, and because He is a gracious and just God, He gave us a chance to be able to meet His standard. He sent Jesus  who alone can satisfy the standard of righteousness we can never meet. If we believe and love and follow Jesus with all of our being, we just don’t get to meet God’s standard, we also get a bonus of a transformed life. We can never have Jesus in our life and not be changed. He is just too amazing not to be able to do that.

 

 All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness.” Romans 3:23

” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

“When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new!” 1 Corinthians 5:17

 

I didn’t expect this to be a long writing. I hope you didn’t get bored reading.  I just hope that as you finish reading this, you will appreciate more the goodness and grace of God. I pray that you will see that the love God is giving to you is in all fairness and equality. In Him, there is no favoritism, nothing less, nothing more. His love is just enough. Hope you meet Jesus today!

Have a great night!

Sending love,

Stifany (Princess Pepay) ❤ ❤ ❤

Let praying be a cliché

Last night, while waiting for my friend at the mall, I was reading the news about the attacks in Paris. Just by reading it, you can feel the anger, fear and mourning of the people. And being in the mall, you can see the exact opposite of it. People went on with their shopping, strolling, chatting happily. 

Then, thoughts and questions came in. How much of these people I see at the mall are aware with what’s going on with the rest of the world? How much of these people even care? How much of these people even know how blessed they are to have so much freedom? How much of these people know about God’s Word about the end times? How much of these people know Jesus? 

Then, later in the night, I saw more people in Facebook sharing posts to pray for Paris. And even today, profile photos were updated with the shades of France’ flag. 

Then, more questions popped out again. How should we really pray? What should we really pray for? Do we just pray for Paris? Or, do we also pray for all victims of persecution, terrorism, abuse and slavery all over the world? 

To be honest, when I was praying today, I did not even know anymore what I exactly I should be praying for. When God is very clear in His Word that all of these are expected to happen. And even worst in days to come. Can we pray to stop terrorism? Can we pray to stop killings and persecutions? 

Then, God reminded me to first be thankful because all of these will pass away. However, we should never cease praying. Praying that more people will come to the light of the gospel through all of these happenings. Those people at the mall, the victims, even the terrorists, our friends, our families, our co-workers, our neighbors, our government leaders. That through the gospel, people will realize that in the midst of trembling and fear, there is a lasting peace and joy in having a relationship with Jesus. We may not experience it in this lifetime but in the promised time to come. 

We may never understand all of these things today, but there is only one thing we can always be assured of. In Jesus, we are already victorious. 

I pray that as we all desire to pray for Paris, may we pray not just for Paris but for all the victims of terrorism, persecution and slavery as well all over the world. I pray that praying will not just become a trend just because something bad happened. I pray that we will pray to the point of weeping and breaking of our hearts for those people also who are so lost and deceived by their own beliefs. 

Let praying be not just a one time thing but a constant call out to God in every moment of our life.  

    
   

The Suffering Servant

Isaiah 53

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
    Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

2-6 The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
    a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
    nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
    a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
    We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
    our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
    that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
    that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
    Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
    We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
    on him, on him.

7-9 He was beaten, he was tortured,
    but he didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
    and like a sheep being sheared,
    he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
    and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
    beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
    threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul
    or said one word that wasn’t true.

10 Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
    to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
    so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
    And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

11-12 Out of that terrible travail of soul,
    he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
    will make many “righteous ones,”
    as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—
    the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
    because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
    he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

Just one thing…

Last night in our weekly small group meeting, we studied one of the attributes of God which is being merciful.

Upon pondering my take home last night…

Justice – you get what you deserve

Mercy – you don’t get what you deserve

Grace – you get what you don’t deserve

Just imagine if God is only just but not merciful and gracious…

How will we be able to live?

There’s no even point living because we will totally be separated from God – eternally.

Why?

Because God being just means all of us are bound for hell forever. We will never be able to live up to His standards.

But because God is merciful, He sent His Son Jesus to take the penalty of our sins.

And because God is gracious, He gives us salvation and eternal life through Jesus even if we don’t deserve it.

Do you want to live not just for now but eternally with God?

Just one thing…

Believe, have faith in Jesus. Let Jesus not just be your Savior but also the Master of your life.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

Isn’t it amazing how one decision can totally impact your eternal destination?