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Resurrection: Mercy and Grace of God by Pastor Macho Barroga

Resurrection: Mercy and Grace of God by Pastor Macho Barroga

Let us rejoice for Jesus has Risen! Let’s celebrate for the salvation God has given through Jesus’ resurrection. For this special day, let us talk about what is REALLY the meaning of Christ’s resurrection.

In Luke 8:40, it tells the story of how Jesus raises a dead girl and heals a sick woman. There are two characters in the story that has one particular similarity with each other. Jairus, the synagogue leader who has a 12-year-old daughter who’s in near death and a sick woman who’s been bleeding for 12 years. With their situation, Jairus, even he is a well-respected synagogue leader is asking Jesus for help and the sick woman in humility and fear, seeks healing in Jesus. They are both desperate. As Jesus walks to the house of Jairus, the sick woman touches the cloak of Jesus and instantly healed. When Jesus knew about the woman, He said to her that her faith healed her. While proceeding with their walk, Jairus’ daughter was pronounced dead. But Jesus said, she was just asleep, and as He speaks the girl was brought back to life. We can say the sick woman represents our faith while the dead girl represents second life in Christ.

For us believers, death is just our spirit being asleep. Which is why Jesus said, the girl isn’t dead but asleep. What Jesus is trying to tell us is death doesn’t have the last say; death will leave its captives and He will give us our second life in Him. The incident with Jairus and his daughter is a precursor for us Christians today. It is supported in 1 Peter 1:3-5, which says praise to God and in His great mercy He has given us new birth into a Living Hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never, perish, spoil or fade. It is kept for us in heaven and through our faith, it is shielded by God’s power until the coming of salvation. Jesus’ resurrection brings about our resurrection in spirit. He has given us Christians, new birth that we may choose righteousness and pursue the path to Christlikeness. It is also mentioned in Romans 6:4 that we were buried with him through baptism into death in just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we may also live a new life. In our resurrection with Christ, the Lord will fix and will make sure that your life will be put together in good. God surely works for the good of those who love Him. Just when we are lost, God will make a way to get us back into the right path. He will pursue us until we came back to Him because that’s how much He values His children and what’s good for us.

Let us think about what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1, in transgressions, in pain, and in great sufferings, it is where God’s mercy and grace abounds. Through our faith, while facing these trials, our praise and glory to God are revealed. We must know that the resurrection of Christ is all about the mercy and grace of God. We do not deserve it but it was given to us, we are sinners but He gave us second life that is so great no words can explain.

God is talking to you this very moment, if you are in need of Christ, you just have to believe, you just have to have faith and act on that belief. If you want to be transformed, your faith must be accompanied by the right action and vice versa. Now you may ask, how can you do that? Surrender everything to Him and by everything, it means nothing left in you. The truth that you need to know is when you have Jesus you already have everything. Nothing can complete a man than the Lord. You must know that Jesus deserves the whole spot in your heart and soul; He cannot work in your life if there are still bondages that restrict you to fully embrace the Lord. Thank God for our salvation, thank God for the Resurrection of Christ.

My will or Thy will? by Pastor John Mateos Ong

My will or Thy will? by Pastor John Mateos Ong

If you go back to the book of Genesis, God’s original plan for man is to have dominion over all creation. This was His supposed assignment for His greatest creation. The man was put to the first garden mentioned in the Bible, the Garden of Eden where they need to cultivate everything, have dominion over everything, and can eat everything except one fruit which God himself forbid. We all know what happened next, a serpent appeared and deceived the man. The man fell and have lost the keys of dominion. Now, you may be confused if it is really the evil that holds dominion over the world. John and Paul describe Satan in the book of John and Ephesians as the “prince of this world” and “ruler of the kingdom of the air”—so yes, Satan took over the dominion of the world. Man disobeyed God and because of this, we lost what could have been a perfect life with God.

 

But the good news is God did not give up on us, He continues to pursue us because we are His masterpiece. Now the second garden, in the Garden of Gethsemane is where Jesus prayed and accepted His fate. He became fully man and is capable of feeling emotions and being hurt. Jesus even felt like dying because of extreme sadness. You can call it a spiritual war. Not like most of us thought, spiritual warfare is between man and evil not between God and evil. It is a battle we need to win over the forces of evil. Remember when sin entered our world? That was when God’s Son (Jesus) destined to become a man to fight on our behalf.

 

Jesus did a lot of miracles and fulfilled a lot of prophecies that are laid down to prove He is the Messiah. (1) He healed and delivered everyone who came to him. When the evil introduced sickness He displayed authority over it by healing and delivering every person who came to Him. (2) He lived purely; Jesus showed us there was nothing enticing about sin. Satan knew that Jesus came to get back the dominion of the world, which is why he offered the splendor of the world in exchange for Jesus bowing and worshipping him. But Jesus showed no value for sin and everything the devil is offering Him. (3) He served others. Jesus is 100% God but He used His authority only for serving others. He did not use His power only for Himself. (4) He did the unthinkable—He gave himself up to die for us. You may think it is a strange way to win a war but it was the only key. God is just and someone had to pay for our sins and we all know that only the unblemished lamb is enough to tame the wrath of God. Jesus brought salvation to humanity.

 

The most important thing we should know is that by God’s grace we are saved, Satan did not take Jesus’ life, Jesus laid it down himself for us.

 

Jesus left us but he did not forsake us, He said that the Holy Spirit will be with us, to guide and help. What Satan didn’t know is once Jesus died it will pave way for the Holy Spirit to dwell into every believer giving them power. If Satan only knew that the death of Jesus would bring him more enemies, he would not have him crucified and would kill anyone that will try to kill Jesus.

 

Satan is nothing equal to God—he does not have power over anything. The only thing he can do is to lie about what is given to us. All authority comes from God and God gave all the authority to Jesus when he died on the cross. Therefore we do not fight for victory but we fight from victory!

 

Now there are two options— your will or thy God’s will.

 

Our work is to (1) be like Christ. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit since Jesus left us. And because of this, we have to pursue to be more like Christ—we may not be unblemished but we pursue goodness and Christlikeness. (2) Be a worshipper, the devil is very afraid of a worshipping people. What Satan cannot take from people is passionate and genuine worship. (3) Bring others—for Jesus it is better to bring one lost soul than to bring 99 that do not need to repent. The heavens rejoice for this one soul that you bring closer to Jesus.

 

We must remember that only through Jesus we received the salvation, only by God’s grace we are saved.

Preach the Message by Pastor Peter Aguila

Preach the Message by Pastor Peter Aguila

Unbelievers lack the knowledge of what the Cross is truly about. Christians sometimes forget what is its message to humanity. Now let’s analyze why is this consistently happening to this day.

Paul said in 1 Corinthian that he is not sent to baptize but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence. God did not send him to collect a following but to preach the Message of what God has done. He wasn’t sent to utter senseless words regarding the Cross. He was sent to spread the Good News and collect a following for Him—Jesus.

The Message that points to Christ on the cross is foolishness to those who do not believe and on the way of destruction but for us who are on the way of salvation, it makes perfect sense. It is said in the Bible that this is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Preaching the gospel—unbelievers say that it is foolishness. But God was pleased through the foolishness that was preached to save those who believe. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

We become wise people who are foolish of what God has done because we do not hear the preaching of what we call foolishness. We condemn those who we think is not capable of presenting the gospel. Let’s take a good look of who we were when we are called—we are not the “best and the brightest”. It should be clear to us that God deliberately chose men and women that the society dubbed as “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of “somebodies”. We are to preach the truth and the truth is everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate, and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

How important is God’s heart for you? By Pastor John Mateos Ong

How important is God’s heart for you? By Pastor John Mateos Ong

When King Saul failed to obey God’s instruction, Samuel told him that God would have established his kingdom over Israel for all time but the Lord sought now a man after his own heart to rule His people.

This man was David, son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz. Samuel went to Bethlehem where Jesse presents his sons upon Samuel where they are all not chosen except the youngest, who was David. The Lord firmly instructed Samuel that he should anoint the one He indicated, the one who’s after his heart. Thus, David was anointed.

We may say that David was blameless and upright yet he has committed adultery with Bathsheba. Because of his committed sin, he immediately confessed unto the Lord that made God forgive him. The Lord then gave him the consequence of his sin. David knows that there is always justice, mercy, and grace with God. He may have lost his first son because of his sin, but he had another child, Solomon, whom the Lord loved.

Let’s examine David’s character, is he a perfect leader? Is he a perfect follower of God? No, he isn’t. Yet he was called a man after God’s heart. What do you think is his secret? Basically, David’s trust for the Lord was so great that he let God take over in his life. He trusts that God will fulfill His promise with him becoming a king, with him building an altar, with him being forgiven.

David was no son of a king nor anyone thought that he would be one, but he is destined to be. The moment he became a king that's when he started to learn and dive deep in having a relationship with the Lord. In the book of Psalm, we can read David’s journal. It was beautifully and honestly written from the heart of David for the Lord.

There we can see 8 resolutions that we can start applying to ourselves. This list can help us be more like David who very much values God’s heart.

1. I will give importance to worship – Have you ever cried during praise and worship? Have you ever felt like you really are in His presence? Your heart’s so full that you forget about anyone and anything around you. That it’s just you and Him. My prayer for you is to experience this, just like David who vowed to give importance to worship and who isn’t ashamed of how he worships the Lord. (Read: Psalm 101:1)

2. I will pursue holiness and walk with integrity – When David said that he will ponder the way that is blameless and will walk with integrity it emphasizes that even if he is now a king and is called a man after God’s heart, he is never complacent of pursuing God’s heart and will for him. He ensures that anything he says matches to what he does and most importantly what God wants him to do. As Christians, we must pursue this kind of character for it is crucial for us that what we tell reflects what we do. (Read: Psalm 101:2)

3. I will value my time and choose what to pursue – Do not waste your time on worthless things. God has great plans laid down for you, be wise enough to pursue these instead of worldly “good” things. In anything you may do, never settle and pursue what is “just good”. (Read: Psalm 101:3)

4. I will constantly check my heart – In your busy life, do you still have time for a heart check? Do you make sure that it’s still seeking what is right? What is not evil? My reminder for you is no matter how busy or hectic your day was, always remember to check your heart. To keep you grounded that it should seek the Lord’s will always. (Read: Psalm 101:4)

5. I will not tolerate sin – Christians are not blind for what is right and wrong. As a follower of Christ, you must not protect those who sin but correct through Jesus. (Read: Psalm 101:5)

6. I will be with fellow believers – Look with favorable eyes to those who are fellow servants of the Lord. Dwell with those who also believe, those who walk in the way that is blameless that you may keep them around and minister to you. (Read: Psalm 101:6)

7. I will not be with liars – In verse 7, David did not say avoid the liars, but he emphasized that these kinds of people shall not dwell in his house nor continue before his eyes. We cannot avoid encountering liars but the good thing is we have the choice not to dwell with them. (Read: Psalm 101:7)

8. I will purge evil every day – Purging evil is a daily task for Christians. Internally and externally we must destroy evildoers that do not give the Lord glory. (Read: Psalm 101:8)

Reflect on this: How important is God’s heart for you? The greatest gift of God isn’t our chance of entering heaven but his mercy and grace of giving us the opportunity to have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ after we’ve been separated from Him because of our sins. Pursue God’s heart. Pursue Him every day.

Obedience is better than Sacrifice by Pastor Alex Ruelo

Obedience is better than Sacrifice by Pastor Alex Ruelo

Back when Samuel was old, he appointed his sons to lead Israel but his sons did not follow his ways. They accepted bribes and perverted justice and so the elders told Samuel to give Israel a king that will lead them all. Samuel prayed unto God and He said that it is not Samuel whom Israel has rejected but the Lord whom they have been rejecting since the day He brought them out of Egypt. God told Samuel to warn Israel that the king that will reign over them will claim everything as his rights. Despite this, Israel still insisted on having a king. And so Samuel anointed a man named Saul, God himself chose Saul. It has been said that there is no one like Saul among all the people. As a child, some of us thought that King Saul is a bad king all along. But he started off as a man chosen by God himself. As time goes by, King Saul become full of himself, he became jealous and disobedient to the Lord. God instructed King Saul to kill all Amalekites along with its animals. But King Saul spared the life of the king of Amalekites as well as its animals. He thought that the Lord would be pleased if he sacrificed those to Him. Samuel said to King Saul that the Lord is more pleased with obedience than sacrifices.

Just like the great King Saul, us people, when we experienced power and privilege can become the very person God doesn’t want us to be. We can be proud of ourselves and do things on our own. We can come short on obeying God while thinking we are doing more for Him. Here are some ideas about why King Saul fail and fall:

1. Sin gives birth to another sin – People tend to make excuses when caught. From our committed sin, we give birth to another sin that makes the situation worse. Just like when Samuel knew that the king and animals’ life were spared, Saul began to tell lies. Trying to redeem himself, he told Samuel that it would be given to the Lord as an offering.

2. 99.9% of Obedience is Disobedience – Always remember that obeying God requires your full trust. You cannot bargain with God, obedience to the Lord cannot be chopped into percentages. It is to obey or disobey.

3. All who exalt themselves will be humbled – As sinners, we hardly avoid blaming other people for our mistakes. We try our hardest to appear blameless putting other people down. But the truth is those who exalt themselves shall face God’s judgment and will be humbled.

4. We cannot fool God – When God tells you to do something, you obey. You cannot offer him something better than full obedience to Him. For God, it is more important that we obey than to offer him worthless things in exchange.

Remember: No sacrifice or offering can compare to a heart that loves the Lord, obeys the Lord and trusts the Lord — it is our best gift to God.

How to hear God? By Pastor John Mateos Ong

How to hear God? By Pastor John Mateos Ong

We can admit, not all of us have that deep relationship with God. And that’s the saddest thing human can have—not having a personal relationship with the Lord.

 

Back when Samuel, the last judge was a kid, he had an encounter with God. But just like everyone at first, he didn’t know who is God. The, while he was sleeping, God called him by his name. He woke up and thought that it was Eli the priest who called him. This happened 3 times before Eli realized that it was God who is calling Samuel. He told Samuel to go back to sleep for it is God who is calling him, and if he hears Him again he must say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” Then the Lord told Samuel that He would do something in Israel that will make everyone’s ears to tingle.

 

In today’s time, it is a great privilege to hear God or to have an encounter with Him. As Christians, whether we’re new Christians or have been baptized for a long time now, we must desire to have a deeper relationship with Him through time. With our personal relationship, we can have the opportunity to hear Him.

 

If we want to know how to hear God, here are some ideas that may help us achieve it.’

 

1.   Long – You must desire to hear God. You cannot hear Him if you’re too lazy to desire it. Don’t expect to hear Him if you don’t do anything just to hear him. A very beautiful verse from Isaiah says, “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.” The very soul craves the word of God, day and night; don’t put “me time” first but your time with Him.

2.   Learn – We must master the art of waiting and keeping ourselves quiet. In some circumstances, waiting for God and keeping ourselves quiet teaches us how to hear God better. It is a total dependency on Him that no matter what the situation is our goal is to learn from His Word in order to hear Him. Which is why in Psalm 24:5 says, “Show me your ways Lord, teach me your path.”

3.   Listen – the difference between hearing and listening is our choice to understand what the other person is saying. We can hear for it is uncontrollable, but listening and putting your full attention to someone is by choice. It takes an effort on our end to listen to someone, so be wise in using your effort and listen to the Lord.

4.   Live – To be able to hear God, you must live His teachings. Remember Philippians 4:9! You must remember that you cannot hear God or experience Him if you only say and know his teachings but do not practice it.

 

Why some people don’t hear? It is because of three things:

·      Distraction – there are things around us that we put our focus, we get distracted easily and we tend to refocus ourselves. We get distracted to fame, money, power and other worldly things we thought is important.

·      Deception – People are deceived by the wrong teachings, heard wrong gospels, and worshipped false gods. With these, it keeps some people’s ears closed from hearing God.

·      Destruction – Simply because some of us are bound for destruction. 1 Corinthians 1:18 tell us, the death of Christ on the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but a Power of God to those who are being saved.

What is the Right and Biblical Discipline? by Pastor John Mateos On

What is the Right and Biblical Discipline? by Pastor John Mateos On

Discipline is one of the most debated topics between most of the parents. But one thing is true, it is biblical and holds a crucial role in honing your children’s character.

Disciplining your children can affect their future, positively or negatively. The same thing happened with Eli and his children, Hophni and Phinehas. His two children keep the offering for themselves and sleep with the women who serve at the entrance of the tent. He rebukes them but they did not pay attention to it for the Lord plans to put them into death. And so Hophni and Phinehas died on the same day at the battle between Israel and Philistines. When Eli knew about the gruesome news he fell on his back, broke his neck and died for he was old by that time.

Now, the root of all this is a lack of discipline. When you do not discipline your child as a kid he will grow up carrying a bad character that may bounce back not only to him but also even to you who supposedly disciplined him long before.

We said that discipline is biblical which means it has right purposes why it is a must; here are the 4 Cs of discipline so we can define and distinguish it from unruly punishment:

1. Compassion – our goal is not to take revenge on our children but to show compassion even if we are disciplining them. It is out of love, and not out of revenge or just to punish them for what they have done. Remember, never discipline with an angry heart, it should be an act of love.

2. Consistent – when disciplining, it should never be only when it's convenient, it should never be changing from time to time and should never be according to your emotion. Discipline should be consistent so that your child will differentiate what he did wrong and its consequences from things he did right. The same action yields the same result.

3. Clear – many people have been disciplined without knowing what they did wrong. Many parents tend to do this mistake, they let their child figure out why they are being disciplined because they thought the child already know and understand his/her bad behavior. Effective discipline is the one that the child knows and he accepts why he is being disciplined.

4. Corrective – This is the big difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline must have a purpose of correcting. Your child must know that saying sorry isn’t enough to make everything even. However, it should not be too harsh or too soft; the goal is to discipline them to correct them and not to condemn them for their wrongs. Discipline should have redemption and must be enough to be remembered.

The Church of the Living God: The builder of the church by Pastor Peter Aguila

The Church of the Living God: The builder of the church by Pastor Peter Aguila

When religion is being brought up into the conversation, usually the issue of the denomination and competition follows it. A lot of people argue who’s right and who’s wrong in belief, in faith; some argue, and some are lost thinking where is the right path in life.

The truth is, God is not looking by how big the church is but by how big is the heart of the church. What the world doesn’t know is God is not impressed if the church is filled with millions of devoted followers but He is pleased with a pure heart filled with faith in Him.

Heaven is not after the quantity but is after the quality. God is not after how huge and grand the church is, it’s the hearts of the people praising Him that matters. It’s as simple as, if the house is not durable enough, even how beautiful or grand it looks, it can be easily torn down.

The most important thing in building a church is the foundation. If the foundation and the builder of the church (the pastors, volunteers, and members) aren’t deep-rooted enough in Christ, the church can be destroyed easily.

Pray like Hannah by Pastora Monique Lopez-Ong

Pray like Hannah by Pastora Monique Lopez-Ong

In the book of 1 Samuel, it tells us the story of Hannah, the barren wife of Elkanah. Now, Elkanah has two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Through the years, Hannah had been trying to conceive a child with Elkanah but all attempts have failed. And each year, Peninah mocks her for not conceiving a child. This brings her great disappointment in herself and depression. One day, she went to the Lord’s house where she began to pray and call unto the Lord. There, Eli, the priest noticed her and thought she was drunk for she prayed with all her heart, while her lips are moving but her voice isn’t heard. Hannah prayed for a son and made a vow that she will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life and no razor will ever be used on his head. Eli blessed her and told her that may the Lord grant her the desires of her heart. And so, Hannah got pregnant and gave birth to a son, she named him Samuel and dedicated him to the Lord.

What we can see in Hannah’s situation.

• Sorrow

• Supplication

• Solution (Answer)

• Sacrifice

Hannah had been into a great sorrow but despite from her agony she turned to the Lord, wept and prayed unto Him. In bitterness she prayed, in her pain, she worshipped the King of Kings. God answered her prayer for she doesn’t only ask for what she wanted but she asked humbly for it, still honoring God almighty before asking what she desires. With God answering her prayer, she didn’t forget her vow to set her son apart for God.

Like Hannah, we all have our own versions of sorrow. We are not exempted from feeling pain, and sadness. But just like Hannah, we have our choice to turn unto God every time we feel that way. It’s good to cry, mourn, and grieve because of how bad your situation is but what I can assure you is there’s Jesus that can hear your weeping. I encourage you today to call unto Him. We have this easy access to Him called prayer. Pray like how Hannah prayed.

Pray unceasingly, truly I tell you, when you pray, pray unceasingly for it is Jesus’ will for us—to rejoice and pray without ceasing. (Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) In praying for your heart’s desire, pray for it continually and show unto God how much you need it in your life. And when He answers, accept His answer no matter what for His plans is better than ours.

Pray desperately, and by desperately it means with all your heart, mind, and soul. Humble yourself and pray like how Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. (read Mark 14:32-36) He’s heavily troubled and deeply distressed that he began to sweat blood, but what He did, He turned to His father and prayed desperately to take over of His situation. Hannah, prayed desperately to the Lord— in her pain she prayed for the will of the Lord to be upon her.

Pray truthfully. Sometimes our prayer becomes bargaining to the Lord. “If you give me this, I promise to serve for the rest of my life Lord!” God’s not playing games with us. When we pray, let’s pray truthfully. When we promise, we commit. Now, in our prayers let’s include only those we can commit and truly want to offer to the Lord. The Bible says, we shall not swear falsely but shall perform our oaths to the Lord.

Here are some guide questions to ask yourself about your prayer:

• Is this God’s will for me?

• Is it biblical? Or in this nature?

• Does it honor God?

• Does this benefit others?

• How is my heart on this?

God Works through our Faith by Pastor Alex Ruelo

God Works through our Faith by Pastor Alex Ruelo

The book of Ruth tells us a great love story, but this is not an ordinary story of a boy falling in love with a girl—it is much more than that.

The story begins with Naomi living for a while in the land of Moab and soon after being widowed to his husband. She was left with her two sons who were both married Moabite women—named Orpah and Ruth. Now, years after, Naomi’s sons died too leaving Naomi with her two daughters-in-law. Orpah and Ruth were told by Naomi to just go back home to their mothers for there’s nothing Naomi could offer to them anymore. But Ruth insisted on going anywhere Naomi would go, she refused to leave her no matter what would happen.

Ruth remained with Naomi and head back to Bethlehem where a relative from her husband’s side named Boaz resides. Now Ruth with her eagerness to find food for the both of them went to the fields and pick up leftover grains. There she met Boaz who turned out to be the owner of the field she was getting leftover grains at. Right then and there, Boaz knew that something from the Lord is about to happen for both of them. Boaz never took for granted the chances that he got to jump on to Naomi. He pursued Naomi in the right ways and in God’s will. Years after, they got married, had a son that they named Obed, who became the father of Jesse, the father of David and from their lineage is where Jesus came from.

In our lives, we may see our losses as life-long problems, but we must know that these are all temporary. Nothing is permanent when we remain in God. We need to see that in our faithfulness God works, He rewards the faithfulness we offer unto Him with His unending faithfulness to us. With our good deeds and unselfish acts, we may not see our legacy after but this is not important. What’s important is that we do what is right in the eyes of the Lord and what He can see through with our deeds. Just like Ruth who never knew that in her lineage, the great redeemer will be born, she never knew what legacy her love for her mother-in-law may result but it turns out to be the greatest legacy anyone can have—and that is to be one of the ancestors of the King Jesus.