The Promise

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

 I read this verse during last Sunday’s worship and it never left me since. I spoke to the congregation during the service and I told them that we are all soldiers, members of God’s army.

And like soldiers who are constantly at war, we get – figuratively – wounded, scratched, handicapped, and at times defeated.

But then God is always there, ready to catch us when we fall, give us hope when we feel defeated, heal our emotional or spiritual wounds, wipe the tears from our eyes.

 He promised that he will never leave us. He never said that it is going to be easy, but He promised that He will be right there, beside us, no matter what happens. He will wrap His arms around us when things are difficult, worst, or just in between. He will tell us, “My child, everything will be alright.”

Then I thought, what if somebody tells me that he is not that wounded, that he’s not really so down or hurt or anything? What if everything around him is working well (or so he thinks)? It made me think, maybe he was not doing that much fighting. Maybe he preferred to be at the back lines where he will face relatively less risks, less assaults.

Life is not easy, I guess it will never be. The only we way we can get through it is when God is right behind us.

The promise that God gives us today is the same promise that He gave Joshua thousands of years ago, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31 : 6)

Currently, I’m listening to Mercy Me’s song The Promise and I’m telling you if I had not been here in the office, I might have cried. Lol! I created this simple (very simple) video and I’m sharing this to you and I’m praying that you will be encouraged to “fight the good fight of faith”.

I also pray that this will encourage you to stay in the front rows, to look life in the face and be assrured that you (including me) have a God who loves you more than anything in this world and Who will fight with you until the end, until you achieve the victory.

Be blessed!

Suddenly it made real sense…

What's So Amazing About GraceIf you are checking my Currently Reading page, you will notice that Philip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing About Grace, has been there since… forever, I think. Haha! This day, I finished the book. Yey! This book revolutionized my life and how I view the people around me. Embarrassing as it is, it is the only book that helped me understand what grace really is, and how God has loved me, all of us, more than anything else.

It also taught me that, as God has forgiven us, we should forgive other people. Extend to them the grace that God has showed to us. In this world full of ungrace, we, Christians should be the vessels of God’s grace into this world.

 There are lots of points I learned from this book  that are worth noting. But I want to share to you this one point that really struck me. Suddenly, it all made sense to me.

This is what Yancey wrote… 

For a long time, C. S. Lewis reports, he could never understand the hair splitting distinction between hating the person’s sin and hating the sinner. How could you hate what a man did and not hate the man?

But years later, it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life – namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.

Christians should not compromise in hating sin, says Lewis. Rather we should hate the sins in others in the same way we hate them in ourselves: being sorry the person has done such things and hoping that somehow, sometime, somewhere, that person will be healed.

In this paragraph, Yancey was talking about the saying, “Hate the sin but love the sinner.” But along these thoughts, another quote came to mind, the very quote Jesus Christ spoke about…

“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

 Suddenly, it all made sense to me. When Jesus Christ said this, He meant that we should think well of others, treat them well the way we wanted to be treated. But not only that, He also meant that we should be able to forgive and love other people, no matter how harsh, mean or threatening they have been to us, the way that we will love ourselves even if we think we are so mean or harsh ourselves. We should be able to separate the sin that the other person have done to us to the person himself, the way we move on and forget our own flaws.

Knowing the best person who has exhibited this trait of love and grace, we Christians should be able to exhibit this as well, especially to people who have been rejected by the world. Easier said than done, right? But if you will look around, you will see how this world, your own society needs grace. And you could be that person that God may use to show grace and love to other people.

Here is the story Yancey wrote at the beginning of the book. The very reason that moved me to buy this book. I hope that it will make you think and be moved as well, not to buy the book (hehe!) but, more importantly, to start living in grace and share that grace to other people, in this world of ungrace.

A prostitute came to me in wretched straits, homeless, sick, unable to buy food for her two-year-old daughter. Through sobs and tears, she told me she had been renting out her daughter – two years old!- to men interested in kinky sex. She made more renting out her daughter for an hour than she could earn on her own in a night. She had to do it, she said, to support her own drug habit. I could hardly bear hearing her sordid story. For one thing, it made me legally liable – I’m required to report cases of child abuse. I had no idea what to say about this woman.

At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naive shock that crossed her face. “Church!” she cried. “Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.”

Isaiah 40 : 28 – 31

The Lord is the everlasting God,
      the Creator of all the earth.
   He never grows weak or weary.
      No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

He gives power to the weak
      and strength to the powerless.

Even youths will become weak and tired,
      and young men will fall in exhaustion.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
      They will soar high on wings like eagles.
   They will run and not grow weary.
      They will walk and not faint.

Amen…

Lake House Goosebumps

I was able to watch Lakehouse, starring Sandra Bullock and KeanuReeves, last night. I’ve been regularly checking if it’s available in VideoCity near the office and, luckily, last night was my night. I find some inconsistencies in the movie but, generally, I love it.

The Lake House

I love Sandra Bullock, although she looked old in the movie, i don’t know if it’s the hair, but she’s still as stunning as ever. I liked the parts in the movie where Kate (Bullock) leads Alex (Reeves) to her whereabouts during his time, which was 2 years ago. They had been acquainted all those time and Kate didn’t realize that she is, presently,  exchanging letters with that same person. It was genius. lol! But what really blew me away was the soundtrack. Ahh! How I wish I will be able to buy one, soon. I will definitely recommend the movie to anyone I know.

Okay, that was the “Lake House” part of the post. The goosebumps part?

For the past few days, my head is filled with thoughts about death. I don’t think it has something to do with the All Saint’s Day. Some of the people I talk to are, in some ways, able to insert death in our conversations. Then a friend once told me through text, “You’re crazy. You look like you’re dying. Haha! Lagot ka sa’kin if you die.” Spooky, right? It’s like a foreshadowing or something. Lol!
But I know that, sooner or later, we are all going that same direction. We don’t know when or how but it will happen. While I was having my quiet time, the day I started to have these thoughts, I was reading the part where Jesus predicts His death (John 12:20-36). Jesus knew that he is going to die, soon and in a horrible way. But he knew that this task, that was given to Him by God the Father, must be done.

27“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!”

All for the glory of the Father. Like Jesus, I don’t want to worry about death. It will come at the right time and place. I might die soon or I might stay here on earth for quite a while. But before that, I still have a task to do. And until then, I will be working hard to accomplish that task, until the last breath. So that when I get there, my Father will tell me, “Well done, Arthur. My good and faithful servant.”

Do Not Lose Heart

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (New International Version)

Does God Always Answer Our Prayers?

This is a question that mostly filled our minds when it comes to prayers. I remember discussing this same question with the young people in our Church. We were taught that God answers prayer with either a “Yes”, a “No” or a “Wait”. But when I read this devotional by A. W. Tozer (thanks to James for the influence), my whole perspective about God’s answer to my prayers changed. Read it below and tell me what you think about it.

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Does God always Answer Prayer?
by A.W. Tozer

CONTRARY TO POPULAR OPINION, the cultivation of a psychology of uncritical belief is not an unqualified good, and if carried too far it may be a positive evil. The whole world has been booby-trapped by the devil, and the deadliest trap of all is the religious one. Error never looks so innocent as when it is found in the sanctuary.

One field where harmless-looking but deadly traps appear in great profusion is the field of prayer. There are more sweet notions about prayer than could be contained in a large book, all of them wrong and all highly injurious to the souls of men.

I think of one such false notion that is found often in pleasant places consorting smilingly with other notions of unquestionable orthodoxy. It is that God always answers prayer.

This error appears among the saints as a kind of all-purpose philosophic therapy to prevent any disappointed Christian from suffering too great a shock when it becomes evident to him that his prayer expectations are not being fulfilled. It is explained that God always answers prayer, either by saying Yes or by saying No, or by substituting something else for the desired favor.

Now, it would be hard to invent a neater trick than this to save face for the petitioner whose requests have been rejected for non-obedience. Thus when a prayer is not answered he has but to smile brightly and explain, “God said No.” It is all so very comfortable. His wobbly faith is saved from confusion and his conscience is permitted to lie undisturbed. But I wonder if it is honest.

To receive an answer to prayer as the Bible uses the term and as Christians have understood it historically, two elements must be. present: (1) A clear-cut request made to God for a specific favor. (2) A clear-cut granting of that favor by God in answer to the request. There must be no semantic twisting, no changing of labels, no altering of the map during the journey to help the embarrassed tourist to find himself.

When we go to God with a request that He modify the existing situation for us, that is, that He answer prayer, there are two conditions that we must meet: (1) We must pray in the will of God and (2) we must be on what old-fashioned Christians often call “praying ground”; that is, we must be living lives pleasing to God.

It is futile to beg God to act contrary to His revealed purposes. To pray with confidence the petitioner must be certain that his request falls within the broad will of God for His people.

The second condition is also vitally important. God has not placed Himself under obligation to honor the requests of worldly, carnal or disobedient Christians. He hears and answers the prayers only of those who walk in His way. “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight . . . . If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (I John 3:21, 22; John 15:7).

God wants us to pray and He wants to answer our prayers, but He makes our use of prayer as a privilege to commingle with His use of prayer as a discipline. To receive answers to prayer we must meet God’s terms. If we neglect His commandments our petitions will not be honored. He will alter situations only at the request of obedient and humble souls.

The God-always-answers-prayer sophistry leaves the praying man without discipline. By the exercise of this bit of smooth casuistry he ignores the necessity to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, and actually takes God’s flat refusal to answer his prayer as the very answer itself. Of course such a man will not grow in holiness; he will never learn how to wrestle and wait; he will never know correction; he will not hear the voice of God calling him forward; he will never arrive at the place where he is morally and spiritually fit to have his prayers answered. His wrong philosophy has ruined him.

That is why I turn aside to expose the bit of bad theology upon which his bad philosophy is founded. The man who accepts it never knows where he stands; he never knows whether or not he has true faith, for if his request is not granted he avoids the implication by the simple dodge of declaring that God switched the whole thing around and gave him something else. He will not allow himself to shoot at a target, so he cannot tell how good or how bad a marksman he is.

Of certain persons James says plainly: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” From that brief sentence we may learn that God refuses some requests because they who make them are not morally worthy to receive the answer. But this means nothing to the one who has been seduced into the belief that God always answers prayer. When such a man asks and receives not he passes his hand over the hat and comes up with the answer in some other form. One thing he clings to with great tenacity: God never turns anyone away, but invariably grants every request.

The truth is that God always answers the prayer that accords with His will as revealed in the Scriptures, provided the one who prays is obedient and trustful. Further than this we dare not go.

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This was taken from his book “Man: The Dwelling Place of God“. For more devotionals from this book click here.