Monday, August 30, 2010

Freedom within Prison Walls

It's really weird to see how God closes doors right in my face. Several job opportunities came and most of the time I was under-qualified (despite my educational standing and work background). God closed them all and twice He showed me the reasons why in my dreams. IKR, weird. But I'm really amazed how God has spoken to me during these "prison years." Yes this is how I call my years of waiting, months of seeking and days of sitting behind the bars of my window.

Being in prison, I couldn't get out and work like my fellow batchmates. I sat pretty and observed how my friends go by and pass through life's important milestones. This made my time of waiting even more torturous.. especially to a restless busybody girl like me. I've mentioned in my previous blogs that I love to do something with my hands. I love to get busy. I enjoy the stress. I even thought that sleeping was a waste of time.

God made me realize that my time in prison however was not a waste. He intended me to be here for the exact number of days, months and years, no more and no less. God has used this time to work in me, to calm my restless soul and to build my character.

On my first prison year, I tried all sorts of things (baking, cooking, card making, gardening, etc) but all had seemed to be meaningless. I couldn't see the purpose or the meaning behind them, that's why after a few months of being engrossed in an activity, I stop. On the second year, I asked God to use me, to teach me something new and make me a blessing to at least one person everyday. Ergo, I started this blog.

I had never been a writer. With my low grades in English, I did not dare write anything for anyone (except if it was a school requirement or a birthday card). I have just started writing (faithfully) this year and through it I discover that it is God's gift to me. I am greatly amazed when God grants me wisdom and insights, and uses my hands in ways more than what I have asked or imagined. I just write what God wants me to write, say what God wants me to say, and the results are overwhelming. Sometimes, the least people I expect to read, would come to me and tell me how they are blessed by an entry. I would be reminded then that God is the one speaking, the one moving, the one pulling people to click the link to this site, and I am but a weak vessel being used by Him. What an honor it is!

Being a branch connected to the vine (Jesus Christ), the blessings you receive from the vine must flow outwardly to the other branches you are connected with. God's gifts are meant to be given or shared to others. If you keep it to yourself or use if for your own personal gain, then God may deem it to be useless. You should use the gifts for His purpose! Ergo, I am writing these learnings for you!

Remember the parable of the talents? The master rewarded the first two servants who had multiplied the talents given to them and he punished the third servant who had simply hidden his talent in a hole under the ground. I'm not sure if you are as lazy as this third guy. Or if you are swamped with work that you don't have time to utilize it. Or you are just too afraid to use it, you see too much risks and the unending costs. Know your priority. Better pray about it. Not only is it a waste if you don't acknowledge your gifts, but you might also be punished for not using them wisely.

I'm not sure if you are in a waiting stage or in a tiring marathon where you see no finish line. It is about time that you seek God first. He is the one who has a great, pleasing and perfect plan for you. So before you make any plan for yourself, ask Him first. Remember, He was the one who made you -- and called you -- for a reason. Moreover, since He created you in His image, He has also set eternity in your hearts. Nothing can fill this "eternity" hole until you know Christ who alone can satiate it.

Sometimes the silence and solitude in prison can be the most conducive place for you to know Jesus Christ. Get to know the Lord there. He may just open Your eyes to new gifts, new insights and new passion. Let Him mold you and prepare you as He takes you to the next adventure of your life.

Frustrated with the Current Events?

I'm supposed to be minding my papers now since it's our finals week in school. But I just can't concentrate with all these serious horrific life-threatening events happening outside the four walls I'm contained in. It happened when I was in camp last Monday. My mom called me up saying, "Do you know there was a hostage-taking in Quirino Grand Stand?" I told her "no" and thought what about it, it has happened before. Massacres rise here and there. They happen anywhere and everywhere. Little did I know that this mishap had several after-effects, numerous lessons and humongous hidden truths.

I saw it on TV just today that Hongkong is really angry with the Philippines, against the Philippine government. They are rallying in the streets at this very minute. There are Hongkong employers showing their rage against the country by hurting Filipina domestic helpers living under their roof. Some even burnt these helpless females with acids on their faces.

I know there are a lot of people to blame. Probably its the Manila local government, headed by Alfredo Lim, who unreasonably arrested the brother of the gunman. It could also be PNoy who was not able to exercise his power in negotiating with the suspect. Or the head of the NBI or the SWAT team that failed to train our cops well. This list could go on and on, but what good is it for you and me that we continue blaming them? Will it soften the friction between Hongkong and the Philippines? Will it improve the state of our SWAT team at this very minute? Will our anger change the government overnight? No. Our frustrations won't lead the country anywhere, except down. I'm not saying that we should start thinking positively and forget about the event, nor am I saying that they did not do any wrong. What I'm saying is that THERE IS NO USE FOR THE BLAME AND THE SHAME, for the FRUSTRATIONS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS. Will they bring back time? Will they change your citizenship?

There's little that our hands and mouths can do at this point in time. And this "little" can result to a pretty big result if we remember to do it. You know what it is?


Pray for our president, that he be given the wisdom to handle this trial and deal with the Hongkong government. The greater the power of a person, the greater his responsibility, the greater the intensity of prayers and support needed.

Pray for the Philippine leaders, that light will reveal darkness, that good will overcome evil in the system.

Pray for God's forgiveness (and also that of the Hongkong nation).

Pray for the unity of the Philippine nation to repent, desire change and seek the Lord.

May God have mercy on this country.


I will listen to what the Lord will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints -
but let them not return to folly. Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
- Psalm 85:8-9

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Colorful Plates of Sakae Sushi

It was one of those Saturday night exercises when my family would walk for a km or two along the sunset blvd outside SM Mall of Asia. Unlike other forms of exercising, brushing off unwanted calories this way is a breeze. In every step, we get to enjoy the peaceful beauty of the boundless ocean and in every breathe, we are able to inhale the gentle cool breeze blowing in our faces. There are also some live bands at the oceanside playing fun upbeat songs that add an oomph to our exercise. I guess walking there is a favorite exercise of mine.

There is just one problem. After an hour of walking, we would then decide on a place to eat. And usually we eat more than what we burn. Just last night, my family decided to try this newly opened Japanese eat-all-you-can restaurant at the 2nd floor of Mall of Asia (near Kultura and Delifrance).

Sakae Sushi is a modern Japanese sushi place infused with the family-oriented Filipino culture. It has a conveyor belt carrying colorful plates of maki, sushi and other beautifully carved mouth-sized pieces for families and barkadas who come in groups. This originated from the classic Japanese sushi train concept that transports fresh sushi appetizers for motorists (who usually come alone) to pick their selections from a steady stream.

The final bill can be based on the color of plates. Or you can simply avail the "All day Sushi Buffet!" Their choices are not that pricey. The prices for individual plates range from Php 39 to 99. Most of their offerings are set on the yellow (Php 59) and green (Php 79) plates.

If you opt for the buffet, feel free to get as plenty of plates as your taste buds desire. However, most of them have heaping spoonfuls of rice that is quite heavy, so remember to have mercy on your tummy. Take a look at the eye-popping, mouth-watering array of colors, sizes, tastes and ingredients. Isn't this a culinary work of art? Munch. munch. munch.

Who would have thought that we'd have our own version of Tower of Babel. Gee. Where did all the sushi go?

Until our next Saturday night exercises again. Probably we should be doing five hours of walking by then.

There you go guys, Sakae Sushi. Try it and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

AZCOP Young Pro Camp 2010: ITune with God

This is one of the best camps I've attended. It was packed with a series eye-opening messages,
relevant workshops, wisdom-filled activities, and fun kwentuhan (bonding) sessions with dozens of old and new friends.

The theme of the camp was "iTune with God." I honestly thought it would be a very corny camp where I'd get nothing out of it. But no. To my surprise, God has used this camp mightily to knock at the hearts of many young professionals (including me). I'll be sharing with you the gist of the learning below. If you were able to join the camp, read on and be reminded of the lessons you've gained once upon a time in 2010.

Our speaker was Rev. Harg Ang, a very dynamic, animated pastor from United Evangelical Church of Malabon who was able to keep the people (who slept for only 4 to 6 hours) wide awake in all his five speaking hours.

What I learned here was that we should chew our own food! We cannot always depend on the pastor in the Sunday Services, the Bible Study group leader every Wednesday or the Daily Bread to chew the Word for us. What they do is that they prepare the food by chewing and taking most of the nourishment, and giving us the processed food. This is what Rev. Harg termed as Fast Food. Even the sermons you watch on Youtube is Fast Food. We should chew our own food... and experience God personally. Others may help us understand, but we should go and learn it on our own.

Knowing the truth will affect our direction, our behavior and our life. In order to know more, we should expand our capacity for truth. I forgot his illustration, but from own experience, time and time again, God would speak to me when I am ready to listen. I know it's weird, but it's true. I remember when my grandpa was about to die four years ago, I asked God, "Lord, what should I do? I'm the youngest in the family and I don't know how I can be a blessing and a light to them. I want them to know you." He then led me to Gideon's story. Faith indeed grows when we experience more and more of Him. And we experience Him when we Know Him.

There are three way that make us sound off-key, when our: ears are blocked, eyes are blinded and hearts are hardened. Sin can become the earwax that blocks our ears. Distraction of life also keeps us from listening and remembering God's message. When we are most busy, that's when Satan can just come in and tempt us. This is the time that we must find a quiet place early in the morning, listen to the Lord and come with an expectant heart. Oh, he also said, we should not talk too much. God speaks in a still, small voice. Rev. Harg demonstrated to that voice in a funny manner, and we got the point instantly. He whispered in front of the stage, and all of us became silent and focused 100% on him.

Eyes are blinded when we are disobedient. To see is not to believe, rather, to see is to know, and to know is to believe. He asked "Do you believe that I have a Donald Duck card in my wallet?" Nobody of us said yes, until he showed it to us. But not that we've seen it, we KNOW that it is there. The more that we know this person is trustworthy, the more we believe. The more we believe, the more we see. With God however, the cycle starts with believing. If we do not believe what He says and choose to disobey Him, then, we cannot see.

Hardened heart is like a calloused heart. Callousness is caused by pressure applied on the surface again and again. This is not a one time ordeal, but a slow and subtle drift away from the Lord, from fellowship with believers. Sin repeated again and again slowly pulls you away until you become calloused.

If you are standing firm, if you are a leader of a church, be all the more careful. Satan will try to make you fall so that others who know you may also fall.

Once we become in-tune with God, there are three relationships that are restored. First is the relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ which is the vertical relationship. Prayer is the primary way of communicating to God. This is not a means to change Him, but to change us, not to tell Him what to do but to attune our desire with His desire. We should come and understand God's heart.

Second is the horizontal relationship we have with fellow believers, our community. If we look at the word community, there are two important parts: Communication and Unity. It's so ironic that now that we have plenty of means to communicate (i.e. Instant messaging, SMS, email), the quality of communication is not improving. Odd street talks like "jejemon" sprout once in a while and by no means do they improve the level of communication amongst the people of this generation. In order to have "unity" or a genuine relationship with one another, we should have a genuine relationship with the Father.

Third is witnessing to outsiders. It's hard to tell something if we haven't experienced it. I remember my friend who sells Herbal Life drink. She used it for a few months and testified that she lost 20 pounds, and many of her sicknesses were gone. Because of this, many of her friends bought the same product.

Do you know that reading the Bible can be addicting? Life can indeed be delightful if we tune it to His sound. And sadly, many times we rob ourselves from that delight as we substitute it with prestige, relationships, work... all of which overshadow the true delight.

For believers, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Why? Because when we die we'll be with Christ! For others, to live is for Jaguar, and to die is to lose it. Or to live is to work, and to die is to leave it. Let's not substitute anything for Christ, for anything and everything else on earth will be lost.

Also, there is joy in walking with God. If you do not have relationship with Him, then obedience becomes legalism. You have to be early, rather than you want to be early in church. You have to head the Sunday School, rather than you becoming excited to serve the Lord. Tasks become easier when you walk with God.


High Potency + Close Proximity + Clear Communication = Maximum Potency

High Potency: shine as light of the world. You live out what you learned. The more connected you are to the source, the more powerful you would glow.
Close Proximity: get close to those you want to share. Infect them with the song in your heart
Clear Communication: be ready to share anytime. Write your life story. Who you were before Christ and who you are now that you have Christ. Don't worry if you think yours is too normal and not exciting. This means that more normal people would be able to relate to your testimony.

When Jesus said "Go and make disciples..," He did not mean that you should go to Africa or to Zimbabwe or to Timbuktoo to make disciples. You can, if that's really your calling, but most often than not, you don't have to. Go here means "as you go through your life, your daily living," be a witness. Share what you've experienced (seen, heard and tasted) to the people you meet who have not experienced along the way. Woe to you if you if you keep the good news all to yourself. Sometimes good news when given too late become bad news.

1 John 1:1-10
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our joy complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Just a short story board featuring a few photos taken in camp..

Many times, we cannot decipher God's purpose, we cannot see why we have to put our hands up, why we have to kneel down, why we have to face this way and walk that way. Following God may seem unreasonable or illogical, but that's only because we cannot see the fine blueprint.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. You are part of the big and beautiful picture He is currently painting on earth and in the heavenly realms.

Oh, the joy of knowing Jesus...

Wake up! Let's go out and share it!

We can also unite with other brothers and sisters in Christ!

Although a photo speaks a thousand words, I will end this blog with a photo that speaks of only eight words, "God Loves You so get in-tune with Him!"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Very Important Ingredient for Church Growth: SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE

I came to realize recently how "speaking the truth in love" is so important and how it has been used, misused, and most often than not, neglected by families (in blood and even in Christ) causing disunity, hatred and bitterness. Someone I know never spoke to her relative again after this relative said a metaphoric, ambiguous line she did not really understand. She didn't dare confront her relative nor clarify the meaning of what he meant. What she did instead was to rely on her own understanding and this nurtured the bitterness that silently crept through her veins.

When we were discussing the importance of "speaking the truth in love" last night, one person shared "Well, I told the person that he's annoying. I guess I've already spoken the truth, and this is better than not telling the truth at all." The question is, is your "truth" really true?

Speaking the truth in love is a very, very, very important ingredient in building the body of Christ. Take it from Paul in Ephesians 4:

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

What does "Speaking the truth in love" mean? What is the "truth"? The only Truth, with a capital T, is one that is infallible and one that is God-breathed. It is not derived from the limited capabilities of our forefathers or the geniuses of the present time. The truth can NOT be based on the biases or mere feelings and thoughts. This will only result to several subjective truths as they vary from one person to another. The truth that must be spoken of comes from the Bible. This is the sword that is used to teach, correct, rebuke and train others in righteousness.

In order to "speak the truth in love," one must not use the truth as a club to bludgeon people into acceptance and obedience. It must always be presented in love. The truth leads Christian to maturity, which is defined here as "grow up into him who is the Head." As head, Christ leads, directs, and guides the body.

Love is a very important aspect in speaking the truth. If we do not love, we cannot speak the truth effectively, and therefore we cannot grow and build each other up in Christ. I've found a sort of like a "formula" in the Bible for love. Flip your Bible open and go to 2 Peter 1.

Peter says that you must make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It says here that LOVE should be attained once we possess all the other qualities in increasing measure. It starts when God illumines us (allows us understand His Word) and gives us the gift of faith in Christ. Through this we have salvation, an abundant life and a changed self. However, we should not be contented with being saved and doing nothing. We should make every effort to do good, to study His Word (in order to KNOW the truth), to obey Him, to persevere in living a sanctified life, to be kind as we keep the unity of the family and last but not the least, to love. The vision of a family must not be limited to teaching (knowledge) or providing financial means to others (goodness), it must always be to LOVE. Love is the reason why we should speak the truth to one another. Love is the reason why we preach the gospel. Love is the reason why Jesus lived and died on the cross. Love.

"Speaking the truth in love" does not mean that we should not say anything that is not nice to people. The Truth can be painful, ergo, for many "ignorance is bliss". An example of this was when Jesus advised a young businessman, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." The guy probably expected a different answer because he went away sad. Probably he even regretted approaching Jesus and asking for what was true. (This shows that building up the body of Christ is a two-way street, there must be (1) spoken truth and (2) obedience. Anyway..)

I can't hardly recall hearing messages in the church that is as fearless and powerful as this recently. I've heard of speakers with very soft messages that fit perfectly to what the "itching ears" are dying to hear. They dwell on "God is good all the time" or "You have been saved through faith" but never on "leave everything and follow Christ." The gospel has become a comfort food to the audience, rather than a call-to-action for God's purpose.

I have also observed that the line between a God-pleasing church and a people-pleasing church is diminishing. The messages and the programs are slowly becoming more people-centered. They felt that if messages are striking or convicting, people tend to leave. Because of this, messages have been softened and mashed, seasoned to fit the taste of the audience. Once the church has become a pure people-pleasing church, once the Truth has been replaced with sugar-coated half-truths, then at this point in time, Satan has already won the battle.

Read your Bible. Know the Truth. Speak the Truth in love. Pray for God's leading. Be bold.
Start now before Satan successfully topples your church.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

MUST-DO on a Sleepless Night

Many times we lie restless in our bed tossing and turning, thinking and pondering, until we fall asleep. I’m not sure what your reason is. It could be confusion (as you plot a never-ending T-square analysis to aid you in your decision-making), worry (when you desire change and you don’t know where to go and what to do), fear (of not pleasing other people in your presentation tomorrow), anger (that rose from broken relationships), frustration, regret or even emptiness. There are a lot of causes, and sadly many brush them away thinking that their sleeplessness is simply a case of ‘insomnia’.

I know some people who prefer to tire themselves in the wee hours of the morning, rigorously cleaning their cabinets, staying online until severe exhaustion strikes them so they may fall asleep within seconds once they hit the sack. When God seems silent, we are restless.

I know how it is to be restless. Believe it or not, there had been times when I’d reorganize my cabinets until 3:00 am just so I’d be able to sleep. That’s why based from experience, I learned that there’s something more effective than sleeping pills or even counting sheep!

This is the REMEMBERING BACK method.

In Psalm 77, the Psalmist was also tossing and turning in his bed, crying out to a seemingly silent God for help. What the Psalmist did was he took comfort by deliberately turning his thoughts in the past, remembering what God had done for him and his people. He remembered how God divided the sea with His invisible hands and led the people to safety. His might was (and still is) incomprehensible. And this is just one of the many attributes of God that leaves us with no reason to lose our beauty sleep. When God is silent, it doesn't mean that He's absent.

Is there a particular time-frame or experience in your life that you can turn to when God seems silent?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Classic 1,948 Years Old Fashion

For the past two days, I've been reading a letter over and over again. Although it was not originally meant for me, I got to devour it and was really blessed by it. The letter is approximately 1,948 years old. Don't ask me how the letter managed to stand through time and fly to my hands, I don't know. It is most likely God's will for me to have it. And it is also God's will for you to know about it. Let me share a few bits of this historical piece with you.

This letter was written by Paul - an apostle (disciple, student, mentee) of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself - for the saints (believers, church) in Ephesus. (Go to and look for Ephesians.) What struck me was the ever popular "Armor of God" in Ephesians 6. Even though, I've heard and read about it before (so many times for the past six years), I got to appreciate this protective clothing even more.

The top part of the armor is the helmet of salvation. A helmet is a protective covering for the head. I realized that salvation has to be the "helmet" because we have to be reminded each and every day that we were once dead to sin. And it is only through Jesus Christ that we now have life. This means that the purpose, the mission, vision, tactics, strategies decided upon by our brains must be centered on the life that we now have with Christ. Are you more concerned with your work? with your love life? with your school work? with your church ministries... than having a relationship with God? Are you more anti-gay, anti-intermarriage, anti this and anti that... than having a relationship with God? It's possible to be a Christian by name and works, and still have no idea who we are serving. This is the helmet of salvation. Wear it everyday.

We are also given the shield of faith. This is not the ordinary shield we see in the movies by the way. It's not the one that we hold with one hand. It is an invisible shield that surrounds all the four sides of our body. This reminds me that it's not what we can do or how we can cover ourselves (through good works) that would lead us to victory. It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved, faith that comes from God.

Then there's the sword of the Spirit which is His Word. This reiterates that we are to memorize Bible verses! It's not enough that we take 5 minutes off our precious time to read the Bible. No! We have to memorize the verses. You know why? So we may counter Satan when He attacks. For example, you are driving and suddenly you get hit by an extremely rude bus. And the driver keeps on insisting that it's your fault (even if all the evidences are saying otherwise). I don't think you'd be reading your Bible before talking to him right? You probably feel like punching him already. This is when the verses come into play. The Holy Spirit would remind you of verses that you've memorized in the past. This would allow you to fight against Satan's tempting whispers ("Kill this stupid driver, go on it's okay, you have the right to be angry." with God's Word ("Be angry, but do not sin.."), keeping yourself safe from Satan's foothold.

These are just the three (out of six) parts of the armor. The others are the belt of Truth, breastplate of righteousness and feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Now, why do you think they're important? Take the challenge and share your thoughts. :)

Do wear the Armor of God everyday. It will never run out of style.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The End is Coming : Current Events in the Light of Bible Prophecies

Just recently, I attended a talk entitled Current Events in the Light of Bible Prophecies. This topic ,"end of the world," is usually shunned by listeners due to its terrifying images and complex plot. An Israeli man who happened to look like Sabretooth from Xmen (according to my friends) stood courageously onstage and hit the topic head-on. His name is Captain Amir Tsarfati, the captain of the Israeli Army Reserves and a former deputy governor of Jericho. He is from the tribe of Judah.

Prophecy, as he defined, is not the thought of people. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that moves people. So all the things that you will be reading are possible (not actual) interpretations of the revelation written by people moved by the Holy Spirit in the Bible. See how the current events make sense.

He first gave us a brief background on how the nations and deception came to being. Once upon a time, every person from the four corners of the world was speaking one language. They all gathered in the land of Shinar and decided to build a city with a tower that aimed to reach the heavens. (Satan was already deceiving the people, insinuating that they could reach God's status.) Their strategy was of course condemned by God and He decided to confuse their speech. When they couldn't understand each other anymore, they went on their own separate ways and built their nations.

Israel, if you know is God's chosen people in the Old Testament. God formed the first covenant with them through Abraham, making him a father of many. "I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you" (Gen. 17:6,7). Satan, the father of deceit, withheld the truth from other nations and opted to say opposite info to them (i.e. Israel would be a curse, they are such ugly, loathsome people). This could be why all the surrounding nations of Israel are fighting against this little country.

At the very moment when I'm typing this, nations are fighting over one small piece of land called the Gaza Strip. This is a city north of Israel that had been taken over by Philistines, Ashkalon, Arabs and many other nations in the past. This is a very strategic location such that whoever gains this land has a great advantage towards Israel. It allows enemies to kidnap Israelis and launch missiles everyday. Israel countered then with a naval blockage.

The nations, particularly Turkey, Iran and Hizballah decided to create these "Peace Flotillas" and deceive Israel (and possibly the whole world). Flotilla is basically a boat that would travel from point A to point B. Who were inside these boats? There were the peace activists (which were okay), the journalists (also okay) and jihadists (definitely not okay). When Israel tried to see who and what were inside, their soldiers were killed (approximately nine of them). That was why Israel decided to kill all the terrorists inside the boat. True enough, they were not "peace"-ful. What they discovered inside were knives, guns and ammunition. The ironic thing about it was when United States heard of this news, they said Israel was at fault in killing the "civilians." Talk about deception.

Another headline news. Last June 8, 2010, a new friendship has risen between Russia, Turkey and Iran. The purpose was to pose test for United States of America. It actually sounded scary to me. As one economic, even political giant, in the whole world, whatever happens to the States would affect the rest of the world. When recession hit them two years ago, numerous countries likewise felt the after effect. And if this new friendship "tests" US, then I don't even want to think about it anymore. (Lord, I know nothing will happen out of Your plan.) Based from my research, the three new bestfriends are fighting against the tight sanction over Iran's Nuclear Program.

This is a very weird friendship according to Captain Amir, because these nations had never been allies before (the most would be two out of three, but never three). They were even considered rivals! These, according to Amir, are the three nations mentioned in the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 &39. Go on, open your Bible (or go to It's a severe war between Israel and Gog, in the land of Magog. When would this be? In verse 14 it says, "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it?" Living in safety... The migration of Jews back to Israel was ongoing until just half a century ago. On May 14, 1948, Israel was declared as an independent state.

The three nations are among the six mentioned in the chapters. Magog pertains to Russia, Persia pertains to Iran, Meshech and Tubal pertain to Turkey. The others are Libya, Sudan and other Turk-speaking people. If you read on to chapter 39. You'd see what basic necessity Israel would have when the time comes. FUEL. "They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel."

Another news coming right here. Last June 16, 2010, three trillion cubic feet of natural gas was found right in the land of Tamar at the heart of Israel. If there is natural gas, there is fuel. More than that, a few days later, another nine trillion cubic feet was discovered! What surprised me was that the one who discovered all these was a believer of Jesus Christ! He would be included in the 2% of the Israeli population who believes in Jesus Christ. This blessing is indeed part of God's plan!

Will you not take notice of it? (v.14) Israel’s natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean just keep getting bigger, based on research, reserves are currently pegged at around 25 trillion cubic feet. Their drilling is already threatening Lebanon "Conflict over natural gas reserves on the northern border heated up Friday as Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri responded to threats by Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau to forcefully defend Israel's offshore drilling, worth billions of dollars" (, June 2010). Moreover, since Russia is currently the largest contributor of natural gas in the world, and if there's a rising competitor, then of course they would take notice of it!

(photo taken from a Lebanon News site)

The pictures presented in chapters 38 & 39 are very vivid. When Gog attacks, the whole earth will tremble, every person and animal would feel it. There would be hailstones and acid rain on the troops. Every man's sword will be against his brother. God's purpose: "And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD." At the end of the day, Israel will be saved by God's mighty hand.

I'm not sure though if this prophecy equates to the end of the world. Captain Amir comforted us by saying we shouldn't be afraid when all these things happen. We, by choosing God, escape the revelation of the anti-Christ and his terrors here on earth. By believing in Jesus, we will meet him on His second coming and He will take us to heaven, while others would experience the wrath of war, fire, quakes and plagues.

We do not know when He'd return and when the world would shakes with terror. These are mere intellectual speculations. It could be on the dreaded 2012, next year or even tomorrow (whether you are post-trib, pre-trib or mid-trib). Better prepare your hearts. You, a mere sinner, cannot go to heaven with your own might. Believe in God who sent His own son to die for your sins. Make Him your Lord and Savior today. Today is the day of salvation. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Praise God in the Lowest Valley

Two nights ago, a brother shared with me a "malupit" (literally translated as "cruel", but is also often used to describe"extremely good") real-life story of Horatio Spafford. He was a rich New Yorker, a prominent businessman, a devout Christian and a loving father. In 1871, he invested heavily in real estate, particularly in the Chicago lands. Little did he know that on October 8 of that year, a Great Chicago Fire would sweep through the city and destroy almost everything he had owned. What's worse was that his only son died of Scarlet Fever, also in 1871.

Two years later, Horatio decided to take his family somewhere in Europe for a vacation. But because he got bombarded with some business matters, his wife and four daughters went ahead of him. He expected to follow in a few days. While his family was crossing the Atlantic on the steamship Villa du Havre, their ship was struck by an iron sailing vessel and it sank within 12 minutes. Anna, his wife, floated on rough seas and was the only one rescued. When she was taken to Wales, she sent a telegram to her husband saying, "Saved alone." Two hundred twenty-six people died on November 22, 1973 including Horatio's four daughters Annie 11, Maggie 9, Bessie 7 and Tanetta 2.

Horatio joined his wife immediately and sailed to the area where the ship sank. When they were near the scene of his daughters' tragic death, he went to his cabin and wrote these lines..

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

~ 0 ~

The night when I learned of this story, I received a shocking news. The mother of my brother in Christ got into a car accident. While walking down a narrow street, she got hit by a big and sturdy car. In a matter of seconds, she lost consciousness and suffered from a ruptured spleen, punctured lungs and broken ribs. Although she's not a blood relative, I'm deeply affected knowing that a brother is suffering. And I'm sure our other brothers and sisters feel the same way and would be very willing to grieve with him.

We still don't understand God's timing. We think "it's way too soon." We don't know why she had to say goodbye so suddenly like Horatio's children. I remember what our Boksuniu (reverend's wife) told us before. She was sharing about the life of Joseph. She said that all trials must be agreed to and allowed by God for them to come to life. Even the number of our days are calculated, no more, no less. The sea billows may roll but God has set the limits to how high, how fierce the waves would be. I realized these happen because God, the infinitely smart God has planned them all. We are too minute to understand and foresee His grand purpose behind them.

Our finite minds and wavering emotions may dim this truth. We may start thinking that God's plan is not right, it should have been this way or that. We may start questioning God's existence. I hope that before doubt creeps in, we would embed His truth deep within our hearts. We can fight more effectively against these tempting thoughts when we are equipped with God's truth, as you know, Satan also has his ways (read Job).

All of us need to remember that who God is does not depend entirely on our experience of or with Him. Who God is, primarily, depends on who He said He is. And this is in the Bible. Oftentimes we try to understand God based on how we interpret our experience, but what we should be doing is interpret our experience based on our understanding of who God is.

In order to make God happy and Satan angry, we are to praise Him even if we are in the lowest valleys of our lives. We let Satan know that we are not going to give up the faith anytime. We are God's followers and not his. Furthermore, if we step back from our magnified circumstances and see the great God of wonders behind our lives, sulking can be turned to praising, and sorrows, would you believe can be turned to joy! Try it. This shift is only possible with God.

This is how Horatio praised Him, "My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!" I agree. No pain, no loss, no tragedy is comparable to the blessed assurance we have in Jesus. Praise the Lord indeed!

Praise God on the highest mountains. Praise God in the lowest valleys. Everything that has breath praise the Lord!