Your SEO optimized title page contents
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 Bro. Alex Ruelo

God Works through our Faith by Bro. 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.

The Real Strength is from God by Pastor John Mateos Ong

The Real Strength is from God by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord again, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of Philistines for forty years.

 

Now, the Lord raises another judge through the barren wife of a certain man from Zorah named Manoah from the clan of Danites. The man of God told the lady, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Judges 13:2-5

 

The boy was named Samson and has an amazing gift from God. With his gift of incredible strength and guidance from God, Samson had his calling to be Israel’s judge even if they are still in the hands of the Philistines. But every gift has its weakness—and in Samson’s case, he fell in love with Delilah. He has no self-control, no internal conviction, and no wisdom. Then there was his fall, through Delilah, he was captured, gouged his eye, shackled and set him to grinding grain in the prison.

 

Samson may have super strength but despite this, he had his great downfall when he forgot who gave him this strength. If we think of it, where do our strength really come from? Here are 3 points to know how and where do we get our strength and what lessons can we learn from Samson.

 

1.    Know Your Heart – We’re just normal people, and we sometimes confuse that our hearts should rule whatever we do in our lives. But in Jeremiah 17:9 it tells us that the heart is deceitful. It can show us the danger of some people and even things but it puts us into confusion through the emotions we feel. If we do not know the heart’s true purpose and how to manage it, it could cause us our great downfall.

2.    Know Your Enemy – It’s hard if your enemy lives with you but it is harder if it lives within you. The Bible proved us this through Romans 7:15, 18-20. God gave us free will and with this, we can choose to do what is right, but if we let sin to always dwell in us it will be hard for us to live in righteousness.

 

3.    Know Your Purpose – A clear purpose is like a map on your cellphones—if you set your destination, it may re-route some time but it will lead you to where you want to go. Now think of your God’s purpose for you. Why does He wake you up in the morning? What does He want you to do?

 

Yes, Samson had his fall, but in the end, he remembered his purpose. He got his redemption when he called upon God once again and with the Holy Spirit he regained his strength. On his last breath, he returned to God and God did not fail and turned his back on him.

Part 2: Gideon’s Army - Armed by Faith by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Part 2: Gideon’s Army - Armed by Faith by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Greatest battles aren’t fought and won by thousand soldiers but fought by few people that have God in their hearts.

One of the greatest stories in the book of Judges is the battle between Gideon’s 300 and the Midianites. His army started with the count of 32,000 but God told Gideon that his men are too many for God to deliver the Midianites in the hands of Israelites. So 22,000 men left while 10,000 remained. But the Lord said there are still too many men and commanded Gideon to take his army down to water and whoever drank from cupped hands will be separated from those who kneel as they drink. 300 men drank from cupped hands and the rest kneel and so God said, these 300 men will save you and give Midianites into your hands.

With only 300 men, Gideon went to the camp of the Midianites and strategized. Gideon grouped his men into 3 big groups and told them, “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.” Through the Lord, Midianites got into a great confusion leading them to turn into each other with their swords. Some of them fled away, scared for their lives and of the great 300 men of Gideon.

After the battle, the Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian. But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.” (Judges 8:22-23)

Here are some of the lessons we can take from the story of Gideon’s 300 that we can reflect to and apply in our lives.

1. Trust God’s Preparation – God is positioning us to what is the best for us, it may sometimes through tough times but the bottom line is there’s something good that God planned for us. James 1:2-4 encourages us to “consider it pure joy whenever we face trials”, for it strengthens our faith to Him, making us cling more to Him especially in our pain and trials.

2. Trust God’s Instruction – When God told Gideon to decrease in number, He doesn’t want them to lose but to win in His ways. Sometimes we are afraid of the problems we carry, this is because we do not see God in our tribulations. We doubt and grew anxiety inside us, but what we need to know is with God’s instructions for us, if we obey, He will end it in completion.

3. Give God Glory – As normal people, we tend to get the glory for ourselves. We sometimes thought that good things happen to us because we do good deeds as well. It is sometimes, “us”, that receives the praises. But in Judges 7:2B it tells us how God wants us to see Him in His miracles that happen in our life; that we may not see that it’s us who must get the glory but only Him.

Part 1: Preparing Gideon by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Part 1: Preparing Gideon by Pastor John Mateos Ong

After several judges that lead Israel, it seems like they still didn’t learn from their experiences. They fell into sin again and God gave them to the Midianites who enslaved them for 7 years. It’s like an unending cycle of Israel’s sin and God’s forgiveness.

 

Now, in Judges 6, we’ll learn about the judge next to Deborah—Gideon.

 

“The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

 

We can see that Gideon was just a very common person yet God chose to stand before the Israelites.

 

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

 

Despite being just an ordinary person, he was called by God to do his purposes through him.

 

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

 

And because Gideon was just an ordinary man, he doubted his calling. So Gideon asked God for signs that will prove He is really the one talking to Gideon.

 

Here in Judges 6:13 we can see what was Gideon’s problem why he doubted. “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

 

Three questions emerge from this passage, first is does God knows our current situation or problems? Is He still capable of doing such miracles? Does He still care for us? As ordinary people, we doubt, we sometimes test God’s capability but we must know that after these, God still proves He is God.

 

God tested Gideon in return, and it is to tear down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it then build a proper altar to the Lord your God. Gideon obeyed but because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.

 

How Gideon obeyed makes us think, is he really the one that God should be using? Is there no one else that is more worthy? And here are some points that tell us how did God prepare Gideon.

 

1.    Tear down the Idols – Idolatry has a great scope, it doesn’t end with images or statues of idols but it scales down to the most common thing we’re addicted into. People can be an idol, things, money, fame, and anything that we put first before God is an idol. You might be idolatrous if (1) you force yourself into spiritual disciplines, meaning you pray for the sake of not praying not because you really want to and (2) there are things in your life that you’re more excited about.

2.    Build an Altar – An altar is a place where you communicate with God. But as Jesus said before that the time will come where we can worship and pray to God without going to a temple or an altar. This means we can make ourselves holy for the Lord. Build an altar inside of you. Consecrate yourself.

3.    Sacrifice – There are two things we can give—glory and praise. And when we give sacrifice, it should have one focus, it is voluntary, it was given joyfully, there is a cost and is worthy. When God asked Gideon to tear down the idols, and build an altar and sacrifice He did it in reverse. He sacrificed first His only begotten son so he could build an altar in your heart and wait for you to tear down your idols.

Embrace God's Call by Pastora Monique Lopez-Ong

Embrace God's Call by Pastora Monique Lopez-Ong

In the Book of Judges, we have learned the Israelites’ Cycle of Sin, which made God raise Judges to be their leaders. Today, we are about to open the story of the 4th Judge named Deborah. She’s a woman whom God called to be Israelites’ Judge. It is unusual for a woman to be a leader but Deborah trusted and embraced God’s call.

The story began when Israelites fell into sin and idolatry again. So the Lord gave them in the hands of King Jabin of Canaan who enslaved the Israelites for 20 years. Desperate and struggling, Israelites cried to the Lord for help. (Judges 4:1-3) King Jabin has a commander of his army named Sisera, he has nine hundred chariots fitted with iron, enough to defeat anyone by that time.

Now, Deborah, a prophet and wife of Lappidoth was leading Israel. They came up to her to have their disputes be decided. So she called Barak, son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”

Upon knowing this, Barak became hesitant and told Deborah that he will only go if Deborah will go with him. Deborah then said, “Certainly I will go with you, but because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”

So Deborah and Barak went to with 10,000 men who went up in their command. The battle went on and Sisera, summoned his 900 chariots fitted with iron but the Lord has already given them by the hands of Barak. Sisera was forced to flee by his foot, which made him gone up to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber from the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law.

Jael went out to meet Sisera and gave him a glass of milk then let Sisera fall into sleep. When Sisera was asleep, Jael took a tent peg and hammer and drove it straight to Sisera’s temple and he died.

Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead. (Judges 4:22)

Sisera did fall into the hands of a woman just what Deborah told Barak. The lesson here is sometimes God is calling us to do something but we refuse to answer and obey. We are sometimes ruled over by our own fears and doubt. This very resistance to our callings makes us undeserving of every blessing that we could have got. To help you out, here are some points to embrace our own callings.

1. Step up in Faith – We don’t become a Christian just to look and observe what’s happening around us. As Christians, we should be the first ones who initiate that in the Name of Jesus anything could happen—that miracles exist in His Name. As Christians we are called to step up in our faith in Him, in His Name and in our faith we could be His medium to show His miracles.

2. Step out of the Normal and Usual – Romans 12:2(a) “2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Don’t be bothered if there are people laughing at your faith or mocking you when you praise, for these people are not against us but is against Jesus. We are called to step out of the norms of the world and make the Kingdom of God reign anywhere we are. Never stop doing what is pleasing to God.

3. Step Into His Will and Power – Believe and have faith in Him! And when you step in, be sure to (1) Hang on! Don’t lose hope on God even if you see no changes despite all your efforts to do what He has been telling you. (2) Dive in! Drench yourself in His power because if you’re still hesitant to soak in His power you’ll never experience His fullness. (3) Be empowered! Encourage yourself to step in and plug into God! Make Him your source of empowerment. Know that we are nothing when we’re apart from Him.

God's Grace Overflows by Pastor Peter Aguila

God's Grace Overflows by Pastor Peter Aguila

As Christians— faithful believers of God, we must welcome the year with a hopeful heart that this year given to us will overflow with God’s grace.

 

Luke 4:15-19 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[

 

Sometimes, our problem is we doubt what God has planned for us. We doubt His presence surrounding us, and we doubt His power that He can do miracles through us if we only put our faith and trust in Him.

In His presence we must soak our selves and we can guarantee to be showered with His blessings as well as we can bless other people. Seek His righteousness, and declare that you, as loving son and daughter of God, will minister to those whom God told us just what Jesus did in Nazareth.

This year, as we remain in His presence, He will give us the favor that we deserve. Our genuine relationship with Him will result into grace upon grace and blessings upon blessings.

Sambang Gabi Day 3 – Children Massacred by Bro. Daniel Cosico

Sambang Gabi Day 3 – Children Massacred by Bro. Daniel Cosico

As we talk more about the prophecies of Jesus from Old Testament to new testament, and how we can relate it to our daily lives we will learn that Jesus is the way and real messiah. And as we accept that Jesus is the savior sent for us, our Christmas will be more valuable than how we see and celebrate it.

In the book of Jeremiah, the Lord said, “A voice is heard in Ramah mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15) And in Matthew 2:16-18 it was fulfilled, 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18 “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more.”

No one’s exempted with problems; Israelites were in exile, and yet there is a prophecy that there will be killings of innocent. Imagine the great distress that Israelites are feeling.

In our modern generation, how do we normally cope up with our problems? There are three actions we tend to do whenever we struggle in life. (1) Escape—our initial reaction to every problem is to escape and “save” our selves; and escaping comes in different shape, it can be excessive drinking, vices, and worst—suicide. There is no man that is problem-free, even Daniel once said that if he had the wings of a dove, he would fly away and be at rest! (2) Ignore—we tend to deal with our problems a little later or not at all! We entertain our selves with nonsense delays just to forget or ignore our problems—it’s either we hang out with our friends, socialize or go out somewhere. But in the end, when no one’s around, there’s still our problem. (3) React—one of our most common responses to our problems is to react! To use emotions—we burst into anger, cry out loud, or throw tantrums at the world. To escape, ignore and react wrongly to our problems is what we normally do but what we ideally need to do in times of struggle is to (4) BE STILL. In every problem, be still and (1) think what God wants you to learn in your situation. (2) What God has given you—what options that God laid down for you? (3) What does God want you to do? If you are not still, you will only get tired of thinking about your problem.

Luke 22:44 “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

Just like you, and everyone else around us, Jesus also faced great distress. If you thought that He doesn’t know what you’re going through, believe that He knows because He had experienced worse. The difference is Jesus, in His most trying times; He became still and prayed more earnestly. And that is how He wants us to react in each trial we face. We turn to Him, pray intently and earnestly before anything else.

Psalm 46:10 [a] “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;”

Real Christmas isn’t about the holiday rush and the pressure of gift giving—it is Jesus being separated from God so we could go home to Him; it is being comforted amidst our trials and problems because we have Jesus.

Sambang Gabi Day 2 – Sojourn in Egypt by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Sambang Gabi Day 2 – Sojourn in Egypt by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Hosea 11:1, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”

Israel was brought out of Egypt, of their “comfort” zone, so they could come to the Promised Land and fulfill God’s will for them. Jesus was brought out of his simple life to fulfill his Father’s plan to save mankind. All of us will soon be brought out of our own self-built safe zones if God says so. It is not to put a burden on us or persecute us but so we can fulfill His plan for us and experience His blessings.

Here are some pointers on how to leave your comfort zone so you can fulfill God’s will for you:

1.) Connect with God – First thing is to stop giving excuses. Maybe the reason why you cannot experience God’s fullness is that you don’t make an effort to connect with Him. Give time for prayer, open your Bible and read the Word.

2.) Don’t confuse stepping out with recklessness – There will be instances wherein we will think that our risky actions are instructions from God. But never confuse your reckless actions with God’s instructions because not all of your “stepping-out” is what really God wants you to do.

3.) Don’t be afraid to do things differently – Since we settled with our safe zones, we never tried to look at a different perspective. We dealt with everything in the same manner but God’s way is better than our way. To get out of your comfort zone, don’t hesitate to be up for a change.

4.) Don’t let fear and responsibilities stop you – Lead, disciple, evangelize if you must. God is always with you to back you up so don’t let your fear intervene. Don’t be afraid to responsibilities that may occur because in those situations you will experience God’s provision and guidance towards His plan for you.

Sambang Gabi Day 1 - Emmanuel by Pastora Monique Lopez-Ong

Sambang Gabi Day 1 - Emmanuel by Pastora Monique Lopez-Ong

This advent season, excitement should fill our hearts—not for the gifts or the Christmas rush but for the coming again of Jesus.

Some of us may have grown tired of waiting, some may feel the Lord is unreachable, and some may feel that they don’t need the Lord in their lives. But the truth is God is always with us. He is always the one who calls us, trying to reach us but sometimes we are resistant to His presence. We are so important to Him that even if we drift away from Him he will always reach for us.

God is right here right now, and we can experience His presence by asking for it, focusing, and considering Him on our daily and hourly life. If we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us, which is why through worshipping, reading His Word and in our prayers, we can experience His presence.

God is never silent, He is never a snob, He is personally interested in each of us and wants us to feel His presence because, in His presence, we see miracles, blessings, and breakthroughs. If we only let Him move upon us, we can experience these. We may not know how but if we obey and let Him in our lives, He will be the one to show us His great miracles.

The Book of Judges by Pastor John Mateos Ong

The Book of Judges by Pastor John Mateos Ong

In the book of Judges, Israelites have forsaken the Lord again. They have served Baal and the Ashtoreths and followed and worshipped various gods of people. And because of this, the Lord gave the Israelites into the hands of the enemies, whenever Israel went out to fight the hand of the Lord was against them.

We are all aware that the Lord is helping us, but sometimes we forgot everything He did for us when we are in a great situation—worst, we tend to turn our backs on Him. There are also times when we are again in distress we blame everything to Him or that’s when we only come back again to seek Him.

Israel was in great suffering; then the Lord raised up Judges who saved them in the hands of the enemies. Israel called for the Lord, and the Lord made Othniel the first judge. He defeated the King of Mesopotamia and there was peace in Israel for 40 years.

Israel seeks the Lord again, and He helped them. If we see it, the story had a happy ending, but why is there 12 judges if the first judge brought Israel peace and back to the Lord. This is because Israel had sinned again. This is a cycle that people cannot seem to get out from. When we’re in success, we forget the Lord and when we suffer, we return to Him but then again we will commit a sin again until it repeats itself.

The power of the Lord came upon us when we give 100%. But sometimes we only give 50% of our trust in Him yet we expect to experience His 100%. Let’s reflect on this and ask ourselves, do we already give our hundred percent for the Lord r do we still have rooms inside us that are still locked for Him to enter? Are we bargaining our sins with the Lord? Are we still not ready to surrender every evil act we hide?

Application:

Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

God’s love for us is unending, it never stops, it never ceases. No matter how much you sin as long as you call on Him, He will embrace you in His arms. His great love for us is not a license for us to commit sin all the time but this is a license that whenever we commit sin but decided to return to Him, we are welcome.

Return, Repent, Receive by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Return, Repent, Receive by Pastor John Mateos Ong

All of us want blessings. But the question is, what kind of blessing do we want?

There are two kinds of blessing—the temporal blessing and eternal blessing, or in easier words, worldly and heavenly. Worldly blessings can be money, family, work, fame, and even health while heavenly is God’s favor for us. It may be hard to choose over the two blessings but the truth is we are easily drawn out to choose the worldly blessing because it is more tangible and deceiving for us humans.

In Matthew 6:19-24

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[c] your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Sadly, in our current era, only a few people are choosing God over money. There may be some who truly follow Jesus but there are also people who say they commit to following Jesus but turns out they serve and follow with the spirit of idolatry. Worse, they become fanatic of a religion that they miss out on God.

Let’s reflect on this verse: Jeremiah 2:5 What Injustice did your fathers find in me that they went far from me and walked after emptiness and became empty.

God is telling us that He wants to bless us with His eternal blessing—we just need to return to Him.

Jeremiah 4:1-2

“If you, Israel, will return, then return to me,” declares the Lord.

“If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ then the nations will invoke blessings by him and in him, they will boast.” 

The same way God asked the Israelites before, He is asking us today, do we want the real blessing? If your answer is yes, then obey to return to Him.

 

Here are the three points in receiving God’s real blessing: 

  1. Return – There is nothing worse than having a hard time deciding if you will return to Jesus. He is saying, my door is open for you; if you want to return, then return to me.

  2. Repent – Stop playing games with Him and take your relationship with Him seriously. Because if you truly believe that Jesus is God you will drop everything that hinders you in making Him #1 in your life.

  3. Receive – You may have an ideal blessing that you want, but know that this blessing might not the one you want but be confident that it is the only blessing you will need in your life. Accept it with arms wide open and you will see the blessing you never imagined receiving.

 

True Worship: Jesus Reigns by Pastor John Mateos Ong

True Worship: Jesus Reigns by Pastor John Mateos Ong

A Christian missionary once said, “When the heart submits, then Jesus reigns. When Jesus reigns, there is rest.”

How can you tell that Jesus really reigns in your heart? We know that we are all a work in progress when it comes to total submission, but what makes us true worshipper is when we strive hard to submit to the Lord completely, not 95% but a total 100%.

Jesus Reigns isn’t just another event; it is a current state of us Christians that there are people out there, surrounding us, worshipping gods but their hearts are not for Jesus. This celebration is here to unite everyone in the body of Christ, and reach the unbelievers and declare that there is hope in Jesus.

Why must Jesus reign? Here are the 5 Core Values of Jesus Reigns that will help us understood why we must let Jesus reign in our hearts and our lives:

1. Prayer – 2 Chronicles 7 tells us, no matter how bad you were before if you will humble yourself, pray and repent on your sins, God will listen from heaven and forgive you. God loves it when you call upon Him; it shows our dependence on Him for our life. It shows that we value our relationship with Him despite our state, we pray not because we need something, we pray because we want to talk to Him.

2. Anonymity – Anonymity means it is only Jesus that we need to lift. His name, be the only name to be known and us be the anonymous people lifting Jesus’ name so He will be praised, glorified and enthroned in His rightful place. John 3:30, “He must become greater, I must become less”, this is because glory is not for us, it is all for Jesus.

3. Unity – Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” As God’s people, we celebrate our differences by uniting in the body of Christ. We unite because we are the End Time army, in the coming of Jesus. We unite for the full release of God’s authority and for His presence to overcome the world.

4. Sacrificial Giving – 2 Samuel 24:24, “…I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” Bless are those who give not out of their own convenience but who give because they want it to be an act of worship and for the advancement of the kingdom of the Lord.

5. Excellence – All believers, we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood to the One True King, and a Holy nation. We are not just some people that believe in God, but we are the ones who will declare the praises Him. Since we are a chosen generation we are expected to do everything with our best for the Lord.

Joshua and the Gibeonites: Building Hedges by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Joshua and the Gibeonites: Building Hedges by Pastor John Mateos Ong

Israelites took down the land of Jerico and Ai, and the news reached the kingdom of Gibeon. Knowing that the land of Ai is a great empire yet it was taken down by the Israelites, Gibeonites tried to make a treaty with Joshua. But the truth is they only deceive them only not to be attacked. Israelites sworn before God which what happened, they did not kill the Gibeonites but they made them woodcutters and water carriers which they are up until today. Then the day came where 5 kings came after the Gibeonites for their trained men and wealth. And because Israel made a treaty with the Gibeonites they protected them and before the Israel Joshua said, “Sun, stand still over Gibeon and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on[b] its enemies,” Lord gave the Amorites to Israel’s hands before it ever began. It is true that no matter what happens, the will of God overpowers everything. If He can stop the sun for the Gibeonites what more can He do for us His children.

In the story of Joshua and the Gibeonites, it tells us that we still commit sin even we know that we depend on God. But why do we still commit sin knowing it is not what God wants? Why do we still stumble on our journey towards Holiness? This is because we do not build hedges and the story of Joshua and the Gibeonites is the best example why sometimes the enemy fools us. Hedges that will serve as our barrier and protector from the enemy that wants to penetrate us.

Here are 4 points that we can do to build ourselves strong hedges against the enemy.

1. Make God your first option not last – Joshua’s mistake is he depended on his own might and did not ask God first about the Gibeonites. That is a common scenario for us that we only remember to seek God when times are rough and difficult for us to deal with. Keep in mind that when making decisions always involve God and you will never be in enemy’s hands. In Proverbs 3:6 it says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.“

2. Always wear the full armor of God - Ephesians 6:11 tells us, “11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” The enemy is always up to deceiving us; it is on a stakeout to devour you into its evil works. So it is crucial for us Christians to be geared up with the full armor of God and always be ready to combat the forces of the enemy.

3. Get Accountability Partner – It is biblically true that two is better than one, for when one falls the other can lift him up. It is said in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” It is a lot easier to resist sin when there is someone reminding you to avoid it. Someone who truly care for your spiritual growth and won’t let you fall for the works of the enemy.

4. Put Allowances – 1 Corinthians 10:12 “12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” We may say that we are truly Christians and we don’t fall for sins immediately but it is important that we put allowances, and in that allowance is our hedge against the devil's schemes. We cannot lean on our own because no matter how strong and firm we are about ourselves we will need God as our protector and source of strength to finish strong.

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—”