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Stumbling Blocks by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Stumbling Blocks by Pastor John Mateos Ong

The story begins with Achan, the son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, who took some of the things that God forbids them to take from Jericho because it was all meant to be destroyed. So the Lord’s wrath came upon the Israelites.

Near the Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, Joshua sent men to Ai and told them, “Go up and spy out the region”. When the men returned they said to Joshua that only two to three thousand soldiers are needed to take down the land of Ai. So, three thousand men were sent to Ai, but they were easily routed by the men of Ai and about 36 Israelites were killed.

Joshua called upon God, fell facedown before the ark of the Lord and asked why did He let them pass the Jordan if He will only let them get destroyed by the Amorites. God answered Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction” (Joshua 7:10-12)

God told Joshua to consecrate the people and surrender what they took. He told them that Israel couldn’t stand against their enemies until they remove them. So Joshua called Israel by tribes and Judah was chosen. In Judah’s tribe, Achan was chosen, and right there he confessed what he has done. Joshua told him, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today.” And on that day, he was brought to the valley of Achor where he was stoned to death and burned with all his possessions.

In life, we thought it would be a smooth walk in the park where everything will go according to what you had planned. But there will always be an Achan or stumbling block that will trip and make us stumble. A stumbling block can be something, someone or even you yourself who forbids you to progress, an obstacle that forbids your plan to succeed. If ever you discover that you are someone’s stumbling block try to change and never be anyone else’s obstacle again. Here are three points you can do so you can prevent being a stumbling block:

1. Don’t Give Excuses – Stop making excuses because sometimes these excuses are the stumbling blocks in your life. Just like in the parable of the great banquet, where Jesus invited people to come to His home but each of them has their own excuses. Despite Jesus’ offer of a great banquet they chose to refuse for some petty reasons, their wealth, their work, and their own personal lives.

2. Watch Your Actions – Sometimes the littlest actions that you thought isn’t doing any harm can be your stumbling block. And some of it is littering in public places, loading, and unloading in no loading and unloading areas, smoke belching, and even the wearing/doing what is trending. These things may not matter to you but it has consequences that can make you stumble.

3. Double Check Your Beliefs – As Christians, we spread the gospel of love of God. But sometimes, we became so passionate about our belief to the point that when we meet someone that does not share the same belief that we have, we easily judge him or her. This unintentional act can be our downfall, so it is important for us to double check our belief.

The Great Faith in God by Pastor Peter Aguila

The Great Faith in God by Pastor Peter Aguila

A new Christian is expected to elevate his relationship with the Lord in time through his personal bible because faith comes from hearing and knowing constantly the word of God. But there are some Christian that lack the knowledge about the bible, which hinders him/her to level up from being just a Christian to a faithful one.

In Matthew 8:5-13, it tells the story of a centurion with whom Jesus said is a man with great faith. When the centurion said, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus was amazed how great is the man’s faith to Him knowing he is a high-ranking centurion but with Jesus and His word, he knows he is under the authority.

If you are a Christian you know that Jesus is enough, His word is enough, and His power is enough for you to have faith in Him. Because a true Christian, don’t just settle for a belief, because they know God deserves faithfulness.

Matthew 6:33 said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Surrender yourself to the Lord, have a total faith in Him, remove your doubt and anxiety of what could go wrong and all things that matter will be provided for you.

White Washed Tombs and Skeletons in the Closet by Pastor John Mateos Ong

White Washed Tombs and Skeletons in the Closet by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Many of us believers are still struggling to show the real us. We have this fear that forbids us to tell all the truth about us. This makes us have either of these two, a whitewashed tomb or hypocrisy, and skeletons in the closet or too many hidden truths. Hypocrisy comes when we cover up our sins while secrecy of sins comes when we hide the truth that needs to be addressed.

As true believers of Christ, we’d rather be exposed in the light of truth than to hide our sins in the dark just as the evil wants. And to help us clean our own skeletons in the closet here are some points as our guide:

1. Be Real – God can’t bless what you hide. It is very simple, first of all, you need to accept and be true to yourself. It is said that no one’s perfect, everyone has his or her own weakness but what can you do about this weakness? Do you use it to paralyze yourself or you expose it so God can help you with that part? God wants to heal you, He wants to forgive you, and He wants to bless you but first, you have to be real and admit that you need Him.

Proverbs 38:13 “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

Some things you need to be real about:

• Financial Situation

• Emotions

• Love for the Lord

• Capacity

• Sickness

• Reality

• Sin

2. Repent – God can’t set you free from what you don’t confess. Repent and do not go back to the sin that you admitted. If you do not give up your sins you will just be in a cycle of returning to something that holds you from being free. Sometimes we want to clean up our closet of skeletons but we do not give repentance to our sins, which is why we tend to be chained with these sins.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

3. Put Your Identity in Jesus – When you don’t know who you are, remember whose you are. A true Christian is identifiable. They are the ones who proudly say that they want to be clean and set apart for the Lord. A believer of Christ is the ones who do not think of what others will define them because they already define themselves as for the Lord.

John 1:12 “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—”

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Christian Life and Witness Course

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The Wall of Jericho by Pastor John Mateos Ong

The Wall of Jericho by Pastor John Mateos Ong

The book of Joshua presents a character named Rahab, a prostitute living in Jericho who holds a vital role for the success of Israelites in invading the land of Jericho. She was the girl who let the two spies of Joshua into her house and who hid them from the soldiers of the King of Jericho. Continuing the story, Israelites was now in front of Jericho when the soldiers closed the gate so that they can’t enter the land. God then told Joshua that He already gave the land of Jericho in Joshua’s hands. God gave instructions to Joshua, and with God’s help and faith and obedience of Joshua and the Israelites, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

We can see in this that first, God uses the lowest of the lows to fulfill His promise to Joshua. So if you’re thinking, can God use you? Yes, God will use each one of us for His plans for everyone. Second, if God promised you something, consider it good as done. Third and most important, we have to act and persevere; we have to continue the plan even if things seem impossible to be done.

Here are three points we get in the story of Joshua, Rahab and the wall of Jericho.

1. Faith Requires Action – If God just gives us commands that are easy, then how can we show that we have faith in Him? What kind of faith do we give to God if we want Him to show us a sure success beforehand? Sometimes, our problem is we say that we commit to the Lord, but when the time comes that we need to act according to His plan we doubt or worst we do not obey. This means our faith doesn’t only need to be announced, it also needs and requires an action regardless of the success and blessings that God may give afterward. It is said in James 2:14, faith without action is dead. Just like Rahab, she acted on her faith, which leads her from being labeled a prostitute to an upright woman.

2. God has won your Battle – Before the battle of Jericho has started, God already told Joshua that He gave the land to his hands. It shows here that even if we haven’t seen God’s action to our battle, He already won it for us. And the other thing that He needs to win is the battle inside of us. We are sometimes get overwhelmed by our worries because we have a huge problem in front of us. We have our own wall of Jericho that hinders us to claim that God already won our battle for us. But take heart, no wall or hindrance can stand against our God who is willing to empower us to break down our walls.

3. Do it Anyway – This is how perseverance works. You do it anyway, even if you see no progress yet. Even if it’s not yet clear but God told you so, you do it anyway. Because time will come that every perseverance and faith we give for His plans will pay off. Just like the Israelites who put their effort for 6 days, without knowing the reason why God’s instructions need to take that long but they do anyway, and on the 7th day God fulfills His promise to Joshua and He bring the wall down.

The Rise of a Leader by Pastora Monique Lopez-Ong

The Rise of a Leader by Pastora Monique Lopez-Ong

Who among you are leaders? The truth is, every one of us can be a leader or is already a leader— you’re already a leader if you’re a parent, or simply assigned by your teacher to lead your group, and even in work if there are people under you. In the Bible, one of the most known leaders is Moses; and when the name Moses was raised to conversation it was always followed by the name of Joshua. Today, we’re going to tackle about Joshua, the leader next to Moses, and how God reminded him to be strong and courageous.

Moses was very old by the time of their journey towards the Promised Land, but after his disobedience to God’s clear command, he was told that he cannot proceed to the Promised Land, and so God called him to the top of a mountain to just show how wide and beautiful it is and then there died peacefully, no one knows what happened to Moses by that time but as God’s promise, he was personally buried by God in a place that up until now no one knows the exact location. In Deuteronomy, before Moses died, he already passed the legacy, the leadership and the reminders to Joshua before the Israelites. The story continued by God telling Joshua that Moses already died, and so he must be ready and the Israelites to pass the Jordan river towards the land He had promised. God, provided everything for them and promised that He will guide Joshua just as how He guided Moses.

In Joshua 1:6-9, we see that God said three times to Joshua to be strong and courageous, and not deviate from the word, because He is the next leader of the Israelites. God knows that His plans for Joshua is difficult but God also promised that He would always be with Joshua, He just needs to be strong and courageous.

It is true that it’s hard to lead, mostly when no one’s going to follow you. There are instances when the leader’s gone, the group tends to forget the teachings and reminders and become disunited. But how can we overcome these? How can we become strong and courageous just what God wants us to be? Here are three points that can help us to grow stronger and more courageous leaders of God:

1. Read it Aloud – Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth. Some of us are guilty of falling asleep while reading the bible. Which is why it is more ideal to read the Bible aloud, in this case, it sinks into our minds more making us remember and understand more the Word of God. There is power in tongue, when we say the word aloud we are already declaring his Word.

2. Keep in Mind – Meditate on it, day and night. The Holy Spirit raises verses that really strike you, when this comes, you can highlight it on your bible, write it on your journal, and you will read it several times asking the Lord what He really wants to tell you. And while we meditate on these verses, we must keep it in our minds. How? Ideally, we can create a tune out of it so it is personal, and we can memorize and remember the Word very well, this fills us with the Spirit again making us strong and courageous.

3. Apply It – So you can be careful to do all that is written in it. This means God’s promise in order to prosper us is to apply His Word. There are some people that suppress God’s plan because they are too afraid to apply His word in their lives. They know God, they believe in Him but they do not want to move for His Word. But God empowers us to move, to apply His Word and to be leaders that will show the people that he’s willing to be strong and courageous for the one true King.

The Great Big Question by Pastor Peter Aguila

The Great Big Question by Pastor Peter Aguila

The world is in between left and right chaos. Local and international turmoil is disturbing many. Questions are popping all around, why are we experiencing these? How worse these suffering and danger could get?

In Matthew 24 Jesus tackled how the earth will be destroyed and that no stone will be left on another, deceivers will come to Him calling Him the Messiah, wars, and rumors will arise as the end times will come. And in John 16:33, in this world we will experience trials and sorrows. It is long ago prophesied that the world will be shaken and will be in tribulations; now we’re experiencing these because the so-called worldwide chaos is nearly here. But God said all of these so that we may find peace in Him.

Take heart, because I have overcome the world. – Jesus said. In times like these where everybody’s questioning why all of these are happening? Will we be saved? Who is saying the truth? We must be glad and put our trust in Him because only the ones who believes and has his faith in Him will be saved. As soon as the world crash down in wars, crisis, calamities, and unbelievers, He will save those who are His child for He said HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD.

Waters of Meribah by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Waters of Meribah by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Israel had finally reached the banks of the Jordan River after their deliverance from Egypt and the long march through the wilderness. God was ready to fulfill his promise to Abraham and give his people possession of the Promised Land. God was ready, but Israel was not. They believed the faithless report of the 10 spies and were afraid to enter in, so God turned them around and allowed them to wander in the wilderness for another 40 years until a new generation could grow up to become his chosen nation.

38 years later, a whole new generation of children of Israel was born and raised; they were only 2 years away from coming to the Promised Land. The problem was they began to be like their fathers who doubted God. The new generation knew of the miracle-working power of God, of the guiding hand of God and of the promises of God, but they were still a rebellious nation. They would not trust God and they were constantly murmuring and complaining.

We quickly forget what God has done for us in the past. If we would only remember how he healed us before, how he delivered us before and how he has provided for us all along, perhaps we could have greater faith and trust that He will do it again. But no matter how many promises God fulfills in us, we still doubt whether he will fulfill the next one. No matter how many times God provides our needs, we still wonder if he will supply our next need.

This was proven when the new generation of Israel grumbled upon Moses and ranting about their thirst. In fear of his life, Moses appeals to God that leads to God telling Moses, 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” Moses did what God said, he took the staff, gathered the assembly but he struck the rock twice that caused the water to gush out from it. God said to Moses, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

In our lives, we see some of our sins as too small to anger God, but in His eyes, a sin is still a sin no matter how small or big it is. Because of Moses’ distrustful act, God’s holiness vanished in the eyes of Israel. God’s Holiness is what sets him apart from us to let us know He is our powerful and capable God. And as His children, He also wants us to be holy because we are His chosen people. God was disappointed to Moses because He chose Moses to lead, he set Moses apart but he failed to trust God.

Here are 3 points how to remain set-apart for God’s use:

1. Believe His Word – when God said something, he means it so you need to trust it. Disobedience makes you forfeit His promise. Promises that are shown to you through Word, visions, and prophesies. We are set apart for God’s use but sometimes we are used by other means. And through those distractions, we forfeit God’s promise to us.

2. Know your Destiny - to what are you set apart for? Before anything else, we should know where we’re going. Each of us has own destiny that awaits us. God wants you to achieve something, which is why it is important for you to know it because, if not, it will be just another nonsense achievement. When you knew the plan God has set for you, then work with all your heart and avoid these 3 distractions.

a. Lust of the Flesh – ways of the world, addiction, wrong relationships

b. Lust of the Eyes – no contentment, comparison

c. Pride of Life – fame, money, achievements, applause of men

3. Respond in Obedience – why do we need to respond in obedience? Because sometimes we thought God will always wait for us to be ready for His plan. But what we need to know is that despite any circumstance, we must trust and obey God like how Moses obeyed and trust Him after being told he cannot go to the Promised Land.

As it is in Heaven by Bro. Ron Jaworski

As it is in Heaven by Bro. Ron Jaworski

According to the Lord’s prayer, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven”. The will of God is to have Heaven here on earth. The question is, why is there sickness here on earth? Why are there killings, addiction, calamities and heinous acts of mankind? Is that what heaven looks like as it is said in the prayer the will of the Lord be done on earth as it is in Heaven. If it’s God’s will to bring his will in heaven here on earth, what is happening to our world?

We are aware that God wants the earth to be like heaven but we are far from being like Heaven. Is there poverty in His kingdom? Sickness? Death? None! His will is to make the heaven and earth alike but His will is not being done here in our world. The problem is the dominion of the earth has been given to man and man sinned. We have normalized bad things being the will of God to us, but it is a misconception that leads the mankind to sin more. It all started with one sin of a man, Adam, the sin that gave dominion to Satan. It brought death, sickness, and disease. This caused sin to rule over many— blinding the minds of those who don’t believe. The good news is God has corrected it through the death of His Son Jesus Christ. We have been freed from the works of evil the moment Jesus Christ died on the Cross.

Now, it is up to us, the kingdom of God is within us. We’re now in charge of bringing a piece of heaven here on earth. It is not God’s will for us to suffer in the hands of evil; he doesn’t want us to be destroyed because it is only the devil that kills. God has no pleasure in destroying or seeing anyone die, God simply wants us to repent and be healed. The truth is God gave us the solution not the problem and the solution is Jesus Christ.

He paid for your healing with His life. Your life has been paid for you to be healed. There are two kinds of healing—the gift of healing and healing received by Faith. Not all people have the gift of healing but everyone can still be healed. How? By faith. Believe that Jesus paid for your healing and believe that it is not dependent on God but it is up to you to receive. Receive it, believe it and you will be healed.

How come not everyone gets healed?

Remember that as far as God is concerned, healing is already fully paid for by the blood of His Son Jesus. To be healed is to believe 100% and have no doubts that God is able to do what He promised. If your faith has 1% doubt it is now equivalent to total unbelief. We must know that our healing depends on our faith that we will receive God’s grace. Sometimes we don’t get healed not because of God’s sending problem but our receiving problem, our faith. Just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it is not there.

Remember: There is no sickness in Heaven. The kingdom of God is within you. Jesus paid for your healing. Sometimes, not everyone gets healed, but it is not God’s fault. It’s not a sending problem it’s a receiving problem. In our faith we receive healing, and in our faith, we bring Glory to him. Mostly, believe God’s promises 100% and do not doubt no matter what.

Romans 4:18-24 “In hope, he believed against hope. He did not weaken in faith.”

Blessings and Curses by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Blessings and Curses by Pastor John Mateos Ong

The story of Balaam, Balak and the Israelites is an exciting story. It tells how God guided the Israelites in their sojourn in the plains of Moab. The Israelites have defeated two kings already which alarmed King Balak; and so he sent his men to Balaam, the one who give blessings and curses through God, to curse the Israelites. God showed Himself to Balaam through a dream and told him to say and do only what He says him to do. Balaam obeyed but his error and the source of his wickedness came from sabotaging the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land. He tipped the king how to get the Israelites to commit sin by enticing them with sexual immorality and food sacrificed to idols. The Israelites fell into transgression due to these traps and God sent a deadly plague to them as a result (Numbers 31:16).

As humans, we still don't know how blessings work and received. We cannot expect to receive a blessing if we are still slaves of sins. In order to be blessed, we must first know how to be in a position of blessing.

  1. Be Righteous – Blessings are important for us but we ignore the importance of being righteous for God. We can ask ourselves, how important is holiness in our lives? Are we ready to give up things that are not pleasing to God? Take a heart check and see if being right in God's eyes is more important than following our own desires. Keep in mind the verse in James 5:16 which says that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

  2. Bless Others – In Proverbs 11:25 it says that the one who blessed others is abundantly blessed. Blessing others doesn't just mean telling them "God Bless", it is the affection and pure thought of really praying for them to be blessed by God. In fact, the most beautiful blessing we can do is wholeheartedly and selflessly blessing our enemies.

  3. Bounce Curses – There will be people who will curse us but we can always cancel curses in Jesus name. As the Genesis 12:3 say, "and whoever curses you I will curse." Let God do the punishment and judgment, don't revenge because God will be the one who will avenge for you. Continue to do good deeds and just bounce back the curses thrown at you.

Know God by Pastora Monique Lopez-Ong

Know God by Pastora Monique Lopez-Ong

Moses was called by God to go to the top of Mount Sinai, so he assigned his brother Aaron to lead while he’s gone and he was gone for days. Israelites start to get confused again, they asked Aaron to make them a god that they can worship. Out of pressure and lack of belief in God, Aaron collected all the gold jewelry of Israelites and there form a golden calf which the Israelites worshipped. Moses got angry with the idea of the golden calf; mostly about the fact that Israelites turned to be forgetful and ungrateful about the one true God that brought them out of Egypt. It’s just a proof of how shallow their knowledge and relationship with God is.

We cannot tolerate the attitude of Israelites, as a true Christian, we should build a strong relationship with Him. But how can we know God better? Here are some tips to improve our connection with our Father:

1. Make it personal – there’s a huge difference between knowing God and just attending church. You got to make a relationship, the intimacy of your personal relationship with God is way a lot better than just hearing preachers and making it to Sunday services. He wants to know you, not just what you want to pray for, He’s more interested with his child more than anything else.

2. Trust Him – We are guilty of being impatient with God’s promises. Sometimes, we question if He would really fulfill those and there are also times that we make compromises and do it ourselves. God is never late nor early, He is always at the right time that is why it is important for us to trust Him and Him alone.

3. Talk to Him – Moses talked to God like how two friends talk to each other. God wants a tireless and intimate conversation that builds a strong foundation of faith in one’s heart. He wants you to know him more by talking to Him in prayer. He is alive and he can hear your words if you just choose to make a pure conversation with Him. Tell Him how you feel, how grateful you are that you are still alive, how excited you are for His return. Drop those meaningless prayers comprise of a long wish list, he wants to hear what your heart says.

Let’s not be afraid to turn to Him— always. Forget the unnecessary fear that He will punish us, because he tends to do it until we clearly see that He is the only one we need to seek. We must create a relationship with him because if not, we will just worship deceitful false gods.

Be Positive! By Pastor John Mateos Ong

Be Positive! By Pastor John Mateos Ong

No matter where we are in our journey there will always be circumstances where we forgot that God is watching over us and will definitely guide us to the right path; but this must not be our mindset, we must claim God’s promise to us and be positive about it.

The Israelites did reach the Promised Land but before then, Moses was given an instruction to choose a leader from the 12 leaders of the 12 tribes to be in command of their journey towards Canaan. On their journey, the ones who observed the Canaan said that the people who live there are so much stronger and bigger than them which made the Israelites think of unnecessary thoughts. They began to doubt and hesitated to go. Two of the leaders, Caleb and Joshua, on the other hand, remained positive and encouraged the Israelites.

Do you have encouragers in your life? Someone who says “yes there are oppositions but it’s worth it!” These people who push us to do something that we are afraid to do because we let our fears eat us are the ones who we need in life. Unfortunately, there will still be people who discourage. These people who think negatively 24/7 are the very people we need to avoid. Among the 12 leaders, only two of them saw the opportunity and the rest just saw the threat. Sometimes in life, we saw ourselves smaller than we actually are. We are afraid of things that aren’t even real. This is where we need the encouragers, like Joshua, who told the Israelites not to be afraid because God is bigger than the mountains and He is with them.

We see here that being positive adds value not only to you but with the people around you. Yes, there are negative thinkers but the good news is we can train ourselves how to think positively and here are some tips on how to think positive!

1. Keep eyes on God – Peter walked on water, yes, but he sank when his focus on God redirected to the fact that he is walking on water. People sometimes have the wrong focus on life, which is why they keep on sinking withal their negativities.

2. Journal God’s Goodness – some of us hates to write, but what we don’t know we are forgetful people that need to be reminded once in a while. One way of glorifying God is to write every grace and goodness of Him to always remind us that He fulfills every little thing He promised us.

3. Set Life Goals – achievement is something you worked hard for. Dream big with God and make that happen! Strive for it until you get it. And most of all, don’t stop chasing it just because of some problems that go in our way for we must always remember that fulfilling God’s plan for us is what glorifies Him the most.

Moses: Where Grace Abounds by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Moses: Where Grace Abounds by Pastor John Mateos Ong

For most people, rules are just a set of things that forbid us to do some things we might want to do. For some, these are just restrictions. And the more rules the more they want to disobey. Why? Humans tend to see disobedience to rules/law makes us look and feel cooler than anyone. We feel like we are above everyone else because we are above the law that everyone is obeying.

In the journey of the Israelites to the Promised Land, God gave them commandments through Moses; 10 commandments that will guide the Israelites to be better followers of God. In Christian life, we are expected to obey God’s commandments. But we turned to be sinners for we sure have violated the law once, twice or too many times in our life. A lot of people have committed blasphemy, adultery, robbery, and murder. Too many have coveted, lied, dishonored their parents, forgot to attend to church, and have worshipped false idols. We must know that in the eyes of God, there is no ranking of who committed worst than whom, sin is a sin no matter how big or small it is in our perspective. One commandment disobeyed is equal to disobeying all commandments. If this what it takes, then who do we think can go to heaven? Let’s reflect on this thought because as Christians, we must act accordingly to God’s design.

Truth is, there is no sin too small not to hurt God, and too big for him not to forgive. God may give chances. We have sinned, yet God’s grace abounds. He seeks those who are scared, lost and holds grief to other people. He wants to reach the broken to use them for His glory. God gives another chance to the sinners; he wants to transform them as sinners to God’s people again. For in our sins, God’s grace abounds. We may think, 10 commandments is too difficult to obey, but there is two most important rule in the law as said in Matthew 22:36-40—“Love God, Love Others”.  Remember, if we love God, we will learn to love our neighbor for we do not want to hurt God through our disobedience. As Christians and out of love for the Lord, we must be stewards of righteousness and obedience to lead those who were misled by sin. We will do this to give Him back all the Glory and to give thanks for His grace despite everyone’s sins.

The Journey of Faith in the Wilderness by Pastor Peter Aguila

The Journey of Faith in the Wilderness by Pastor Peter Aguila

There’s a big difference between BELIEVING and FAITH—believing is just mere accepting something as true while faith is having complete trust and confidence on something. Something you cannot see, you cannot touch but you hold on to, that is Faith. And in the journey of our faith we will experience ups, downs and sometimes we will be shaken. But that is just the enemy trying to mislead us from the right path to God.

There were many types of confusion and deception that the enemy was using to get us out of the light; to take our faith away. The society itself was one of the tools that had a huge impact on trembling us. The evil whispers in our ears that we are what the surrounding’s telling us—we are who the earth labeled us. But that are all lies to make us fall to the ground gasping for our very little faith to God to save us.

Here’s the good news: prayer is power. We can use our authority in the name of Jesus to compel the evil surrounding our journey towards His kingdom. We can save ourselves through Him inside our hearts, minds and souls. We must remember, all these efforts of the enemy will be powerless when we take a stand over it.

Remember: If God is with you, you are at peace; even when the tides are rough, and everything seems to be just a huge mess around you as long as you remain in His presence you are as calm as a summer breeze, joyful and warm.

Moses: The Land in Between by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Moses: The Land in Between by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Last time we learned that Egypt represents our “comfort zone”, but the land in between Egypt and the Promised Land is the land of DISCOMFORT. It is where we experience problems, unforeseen circumstances, and sufferings. And while we’re in the phase of discomfort we might think that we are not getting anywhere, we might not be where we want to be, but the good thing is we’re not where we used to be.

The land in between is a fertile ground for 6 things:

1.    Complaints – God provided food for Israelites all throughout their journey but instead of giving thanks to the Lord they give complaints. The land in between is a fertile ground for complaints and rants, and once we’re in the land in between our hearts are in danger. In danger with complaints not only with our physical needs but rants to our Lord.
2.    Depression – Moses grew tired of all the complaints, rants and cries of the Israelites, so he pleaded unto God; he cried upon Him, asking why is God doing that to him. Moses did become depressed and asked God to just kill him. In the land in between we are prone to voices telling us we did everything yet this is what I get in return. In this land, we lose faith when we let our focus for God redirect to our depression that only eats us.
3.    God’s Provision – aside from our complaints and depression, in the land of discomfort grows God’s provision. We must know that God provides in times of need. Despite of our unending protest, God assures us that He will provide things we need as he teach us to be contented as well.
4.    Doubt – when we are in the state of discomfort, even though we know that God will provide, we still tend to doubt His power; but we must always remember that nothing is impossible with God. Let us throw our doubts away and receive God’s assurance.
5.    Discipline – Israelites became querulous, which made their journey to the Promised Land longer. God disciplined them through their journey, and in His discipline there’s redemption. We should know that whenever God disciplines us it is not to bring us down but to build us up to be better followers of Him.
6.    Change – For the longest time, Israelites had been watched over by God. They experienced depression, doubt, they have been disciplined and received God’s provision. And after all those situations, they have been changed. God want them to be changed from Egypt’s slaves to God’s People until they reach the Promised Land.

God’s goal is to not let us be separated from Him. He ensures that us Christians are transformed to Him, changed into better followers of Christ and be always reminded that we are not slaves anymore of any sin but we are now God’s People hat trusts Him most in difficult situations.

Moses: Leave Your Egypt by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Moses: Leave Your Egypt by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Similar to the Israelites, God is telling us today to LEAVE YOUR EGYPT! What does Egypt represent? It is our comfort zone—our tradition, something or someone that we had been used to; it is either an old friend, an old relationship, even our old life. One thing that makes it our Egypt is that it is not where God wants us to be anymore. God has a promise waiting for us to be fulfilled and He wants us to leave those traditions for the real thing; because as long as we don’t leave the things that slow us into getting closer to God’s promise, we will not be blessed.

Here are three things God wants us to do:

1.    Obey – Some of us are in the eternal state of waiting. Waiting to be ready, waiting to be qualified, and all that excuses for us to convince ourselves that we need more time to think and decide. But like Moses who thought that he wasn’t ready for God’s command, we should OBEY. Even when we think that we’re not ready, even when everyone’s telling us that we’re not qualified soldiers of God. Because delayed obedience is disobedience. We must remember that being ordinary people, we are in the best position to be used by God.


2.    Let it Go – We tend to cling on to things that are just slowing us down. The excess baggage is just a mere effort of the enemy to drag us away from the Lord.  But God is telling us to LET IT ALL Go and know that as we let go, we must let go completely because the devil has the capability to compromise.


3.    Believe – God is the God of the impossible so we must BELIEVE. Believe that there is actually a promise waiting for us. That God is going to save us from our “comfort zones” that forbids us from getting His great blessings.

When you take the step towards obedience, let go of whatever it is that’s holding you back and just believe that you are setting yourself up in claiming the promise.

Moses: The Holy Discontent by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Moses: The Holy Discontent by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Moses is one of the most powerful and popular patriarchs or leaders mentioned in the bible. Probably what makes Moses such a great leader is his clear vision. God gave him a vision and he went after it. He used his vision to be able to do what is God’s will for him, and because of that, he became one of the great leaders in the bible. Having a clear vision is crucial for leadership. No one would follow a leader that doesn’t know or even see a goal, right? But if the vision is the most powerful weapon of a leader, how do we obtain it? Is it automatic like it just pops in our minds one morning? Similar to Moses, we obtain a clear vision out of something we cannot tolerate anymore. Moses grew tired of seeing the Israelites suffer in the hands of the Egyptians. That is his clear vision, his goal, to free his people from Egyptians. God saw everything and felt the same as Moses, and from there, their hearts and spirits aligned to achieve one similar goal. God uses Moses’ discontent to get His people out of Egypt.

We all have something that makes us say, “This has to stop!” But what are those things that pushed us to our limits? That is our Holy Discontent. Our holy discontent makes us move and do an action to stop what we cannot bear. And whatever our discontent may be, we must not just ignore it, because it may one day give us the vision. So how can we do this?

1.    Not every burden is a Holy Discontent – we are looking at something that binds us; something that crushes us to the point we cannot stand it anymore. And God is telling you that you are made to overcome that problem. But we must remember that we should confirm this burden if it’s really our discontent so we can make an appropriate action to it.
2.    Find it; don’t lose hope! – If you still don’t know what your discontent is, don’t lose hope! Expose yourself and heart to every circumstance. Get out of your house, socialize and listen to stories. You may find your discontent to someone that you thought is okay but deep inside is not. His/her life problem may be your discontent.
3.    If you found it, fan it! – When you already know your discontent and the vision is clear to you, fan the flames! Give your all to it, and be on fire. Because this gives birth to Godly visions and we are catapulted to leadership. And we all want to be led by a leader that knows first thing in the morning what is his vision and goal for everyone.

When we work through our discontent, we may get discouraged. There will be times that we will be disheartened by trials that forbid us from achieving our vision. We may give up and surrender but no matter what happens we must now that nothing is impossible with God. So DO NOT LET YOUR HOPE DIE. Failures are part of the process, so do not let the discontent that was given to you die because God entrusted you that. Look upon God; focus on Him because the very moment we are losing hope means we start focusing on people.

The Life of Joseph Part 2 by Pastor John Mateos Ong

The Life of Joseph Part 2 by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Joseph has been very obedient and dependent on God. When he was sold, had been wrongly accused, and even put in jail, Joseph remained his faith and so everyone who knows and sees him says that God is with Him.

He devoted all his life to God; which is why He never left his side. God knew that Joseph wasn’t after all the life’s riches and bounty. Joseph seeks only God’s guidance and glory.

We may think, how can we be as faithful as Joseph? Are there any steps on how he remained with God? We can do a heart check, what do Joseph keep in his heart all throughout his journey to remind himself that whatever he does, he will do it for God.

Here are 4 things Joseph kept in his heart that may help us get through our day-to-day living now:

1.    The world is not our world – We cannot deny that we are obsessed with deceitful things the world has to offer. We are easily attached to things we thought we needed in life because the world has many ways to entice us in wanting it. But, what we badly need to know is first; we cannot love everything in this world. Second, we must not be immersed deeply with the life’s misleading promises. Third, let’s all not forget that there’s still second life in heaven with God where, fourth, we will be experiencing the true blessings and riches we can never find here on Earth.


2.    Importance of Godliness – As we continue to live here on earth we are exposed to different ungodly things, circumstances, and even people. We are all guilty of committing sins, may it be small or big; and as we are all stained with our own sins, we must help each other to turn into better followers of God as early as today. For there is no sin too small not to hurt God and too big for Him not to forgive.


3.    Total submission to God’s will – We don’t need to be prophets nor we acquire special gifts for us to know what is God’s will. But the question is if we seek God’s will for us and He showed it, but it turns out to be something we don’t want, will we still be obeying and submitting to it? Are we ready to entrust everything to Him? Are we in total submission to be used for God’s will?


4.    A Sovereign Loving God – We knew that no doubt, God could do impossible things. But we are also wrestling with our thought if will God do it to your life? What Joseph kept in his heart is that God is a sovereign loving God. He is in control of everything. We must know like Joseph that God will be in control of our lives and the lives of the people around us as long as we kept this in our hearts.

My Behavior, My Testimony by Pastor Sam Evangelista

My Behavior, My Testimony by Pastor Sam Evangelista

How can we glorify God? What’s the best way to show that we are His children and we are reflections of Him? We are very conscious about our physical image but that’s not how people see us. Everyone observes— they tend to watch your behavior and judge if you, who claims to be a child of God, holds wrongdoings that contradicts the teachings of the Lord. In times of trouble and problems, God wants us to stay upright because it is what people observe, and in our excellent behavior, we glorify Him.

1 Peter 2:12-17 “12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

Here are four points why and how can we keep our behavior excellent.

1. Submission to every human institution – Nowadays, we find it hard to submit to authorities; and we have our own reasons why we tend not to—it’s either they are cruel to us or unworthy of the position. But that is not what God wants us to do. As followers of God, we must submit to those whom God ordained. We must submit not because it is convenient or it is what others do but because it is the right thing to do. We will submit to the authorities and we will do it for the Lord.

Romans 13:1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

2. Honoring All People – As mortals, we have adapted many mindsets as we grow up. Good behavior, bad behavior, even bad assumptions and judgments to other people. But God wants us to realize that we cannot assume one’s capability to serve the Lord. We might be surprised that the poorest community will be the first to lend a hand to help the Lord’s people who are in need. We are setting our own expectations and creating scenes that are merely true. But these people who we judge are the first ones who gave themselves to the Lord, in order to follow the will of the Lord to selflessly serve others.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 “And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy, and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.

3. Loving the Brotherhood – One way of glorifying God is to love our brotherhood. In James 2, it tells us that with our faith we must show our action, hence, faith alone is dead. We can pray for our brothers to overcome their problems, but our action and behavior will truly show that we care for our spiritual brothers in Christ. We must not get tired of helping and proving that God is moving through you, for in time, the one who lends will be abundant with blessings too.

James 2:15-18 “15 suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

4. Fear of God – Nowadays, the name of the Lord has been used in many inglorious phrases and things; and as children of God, we must not be guilty of this evildoings. Other must see that we are the ones who uplift the name of Jesus in the highest and not the ones who forsake it just for fun. We will do this because we fear the lord, the most powerful and highest. We will do this for His glory and not for our own nobility.

Exodus 20:7 7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

 

No one’s obliging you to behave excellently for Jesus, but as Christians, it is one of the most glorifying things we can do for Him. For all His sacrifices and endless love for us, this is one great way to show everyone that life is better with God. And in time, we will see the fruit of our behavior, by the grace of God and through us, His children, more and more people will turn away from their sins. Through our excellent behavior fueled by our love for the Lord, we can encourage more people to praise Him, and believe in Him. As Christians, we will do this for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Life of Joseph by Pastor John Mateos Ong

The Life of Joseph by Pastor John Mateos Ong

As we go through the book of Genesis, we can list down a lot of remarkable followers of God and one of them is Joseph. Who is Joseph? He is one of the twelve sons of Jacob and his favorite one. There are distinct and noticeable characteristics that only Joseph has, including his constant dreaming. Aside from being their father’s favorite, Joseph’s dreams also became one of the reasons why his siblings grew hatred for him. His siblings plot a plan of killing him but one of them said why not just put him in the well, then another suggested to sell him instead. So Joseph’s siblings decided to sell him, which brings him into different unfortunate circumstances. But despite all the danger and struggles that are thrown at him, he stayed faithful and remained his trust to God. Aside from it, he always does his best in everything, which is why everyone sees that God is always with him.

When Joseph faced trials and even temptation, he chose to focus on God. Why? Because he knows that God is in charge of everything, and will always provide options and solutions for escaping the trials. He knows that God is God of all, and He will never leave His true followers. Here are 3 points we can relate with the life of Joseph.

1.    You always have a choice – When we face problems, God will give you strength and if you really don’t have the strength, he will give you a way of escape to save you—a way that will lead you to better situations.
2.    God is a God of All – He is not just a God of beautiful sunrises but in times, He is also a God of rough tides. We should not expect that God will just give us good times but He will bring bad times to show us that we need to trust in Him because He is in charge of any circumstances. These bad times are just His trials to strengthen our faith, our trust, and also to mold us to be better Christians.
3.    Focus on God – During bad times and struggles, when you reach the point of giving up and you’re losing all your hope and trust to God when our downfall and those people who are putting us there is all we see, those are the times that God wants you to focus on Him. We must know that the moment we focus on people we will be disappointed, so we need to just focus on God.

The promise is not prosperity, the promise is “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. We must remember that when the tides are rough and we seem to cannot escape the trials, we should put all our trust in God because everything that is happening to us is well planned by Him.