Prayer and Fasting Day 2: The POWER to Live a Life Beyond Normal

Victory Makati’s service last night was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Just when I thought I would finish the day without that “kaboom” revelation from God, God made it possible for me to attend the service which was Spirit-filled from start to finish.

Pastor Julius exhorted us with the great things about to happen in our lives during 2013. The series is entitled “Beyond Normal”, which will teach us that as we start anew this year our lives are not just going to be back to normal but beyond normal. We’re going to see God move in every areas of our life: finances, relationships, health and careers. We’re going to do great things for God this year and we will bring blessing to everyone around us. It made everyone in attendance excited for the coming year.

Pastor Jojo then prayed for the church. Before praying, he said that after hearing the message and going out of the church we should not make the mistake of forgetting what we heard and going “back to normal” instead of “beyond normal”. This is a good point because as humans we tend to forget. When the pastor is exhorting us while the worship team is playing we feel the enthusiasm to live beyond normal but when you go to the daily motions of your life we sometimes forget that we are meant to be awesome.

But thank God that He gave the Holy Spirit to us to empower us to live the “beyond normal” life destined for us.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.. ” –Acts 1:8

God sent us the power of the Holy Spirit because we are powerless. Before receiving the Holy Spirit, the disciples of Jesus were all hiding in a room, waiting for what happens next after Jesus left them. When the Holy Spirit came upon them, they received power and spoke the word of God boldly (Acts 4:31).

Peter, who denied that he knew Jesus a few weeks before, suddenly felt the power inside of him and began to speak boldly about Jesus. Before, he was afraid, but then the Spirit gave Him what He needs which is courage and in that day 3,000 people came to know God. Whatever we lack, the Holy Spirit fills in order to accomplish God’s work. God’s work will always be completed. When He called Peter “the Rock”, he really made him “D’ ROCK!!!” through the Holy Spirit. As it is said..

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” –Philippians 1:6

God began a good work in us when He saved us by making Himself known to us. But God isn’t satisfied with that, He wants you to live a life beyond normal. A life where we can experience victory upon victory and breakthroughs upon breakthroughs. God gave us the Holy Spirit to do this. The Holy Spirit is not just a force, but God Himself inside of us. Wow! Talk about enormous amount of power!

But this doesn’t work like Eugene being more powerful because Master Jeremiah gave him his spiritual power. This ain’t a fantasy stuff. This power is something real and practical. When you’re reminded of Bible verses when you’re feeling down and it made you feel better, that’s the comforting power of the Holy Spirit. When you’re reminded of Bible verses when you’re tempted and you were able to overcome a sin pattern as you obey everytime, that’s the changing power of the Holy Spirit in you. When the Holy Spirit whispers on you to approach a random guy in church and share the gospel and his life was changed radically, that’s power of the Holy Spirit to give us faith and take risks. As pastor Jojo said, the new spelling of faith is “r-i-s-k” 🙂 If we lay hands on the sick, they can be healed. The Holy Spirit also gives spiritual gifts like prophecy, discernment and speaking in other tongues to God’s people as He dwells in them. And the list just goes on and on..

No doubt each one of us can experience breakthroughs, victories in all aspects and do amazing things this year and live a life that is “beyond normal”. So go ahead and tap that power inside of you everyday. 

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Prayer and Fasting Day 1: Praying is God’s will for me

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessolanians 5:16-18

One of the reasons why we pray and fast every start of the year is for us to earnestly seek the will of God. We don’t just want a simple list of faith goals; we want goals aligned with the will of God because we know that the will of God is good, pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2). We fast for us to be more sensitive of the Holy Spirit which leads us to the wisdom and will of God.

One of God’s will which He lays to us clearly in the scriptures is praying continually. For a certain stretch you may not be leading a small group or you may not be involved in a ministry but one thing that you should do continually and that God clearly wills for you to do is praying.

We must take prayer as plainly as God lays it down for us. Prayer is simply talking to God. There’s no requirement on how long it should take and on how many Hallelujahs it should contain. There’s no criteria to determine whether or not God will hear it. You know why? Because God is not after the ritual, He’s after the intimacy prayer brings about. Sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings with someone produces intimacy and that’s what God wants in the relationship we have with Him. Our God is a relational God.

Let’s not forget that God’s will for us this 2013 isn’t just answered prayers but praying in itself. As a good Father, God does not want to give you your allowance for the week or for the year, He wants to sit down and talk to you, He longs for intimacy with you. Let this be a year of deeper intimacy with God as we pray continually. 🙂

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24 lines on my 24th :)

Thank You Lord, for twenty-four years of my life here on earth,
You’re the author of my life, You’ve loved me since my birth,
You have set a life for me that is more than I could ask for,
You’re my guide since I was a baby, up to now that I’m twenty-four.

Thank You because since I was a kid I have known You in Sunday school,
I have learned that the love of Jesus, so sweet and wonderful,
Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so,
Proven so sweet and true every year as I grow.

Thank You for Papa and Mama, who loved me and raised me well,
Through You they gave me a good life, instilled discipline and good character,
Thank You for my two brothers, to me they are such a blessing,
For all my dearly loved ones, I delight in the lives we are sharing.

Thank You for all the skills, knowledge and talents you entrusted me,
For the excellence from grade school up to the day I earned a degree,
You are the ultimate reason for being excellent in all I do,
Whenever I get tired and weary, as a child I can always depend on You.

Thank You for Marie Angela, my bestfriend, my inspiration,
She’s a princess in every way, yet serves and loves with compassion,
Lord as I look onwards, I know You will make me more of a man,
Building an awesome family, a career legacy, through Jesus I can!

Having this relationship with You is the greatest gift of all,
Without You I would not thrive or even be here after all,
My best years are still ahead, Lord God as You walk with me,
You’ll never let go of my hand from earth to eternity.

great-is-thy-faithfulness1

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A renewed perspective on Obedience

Worship time can get too emotional for me sometimes. I cry. Sometimes I cry because I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed because I sin, I’m disappointed whenever I have not been a good Christian, a good boyfriend, a good employee, a good friend. I know I could do better. And I cry it out to God. “Lord, I’m sorry for falling short, but you know I want to be good, you know that I love you..” I cry harder when I realize the price that was paid for my sin cause I get more disappointed with what I’ve done. Then I cry the hardest when joy sets into my heart knowing that God still loves me. That moment when God tells me He will never ever.. give up on me no matter what really blows me away.

Surely, it’s a blessing to be a child secured in God. To be constantly aware of His forgiveness and grace after falling short is a good thing. Based from my experience whenever I sin, having a fresh infilling of God’s love takes me into a high moment of spirituality. I feel so fired up and excited to a higher level of faith and relationship with Him as I envision myself overcoming a certain sin or shortcoming. But then I still end up falling short and receive forgiveness through His love, fall short and receive forgiveness, fall short and receive forgiveness and it goes on and on. I feel like I remained stagnant because of this cycle. I have not been a better Christian, a better boyfriend, a better employee, a better person! I have not moved to that higher level of relationship with Him that I’ve been desiring. Then God revealed to me the importance of this word: OBEDIENCE.

“But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in them.” -1 John 2:5

The word of God lays it down clearly: to experience fullness of God’s love, one must obey. But when the worldly passion sets in, obedience becomes hard. When the desires of the flesh consumes us, we begin to think of obedience as more of a “slave-master” thingy and that God is depriving us of our happiness. While it’s true that Jesus is our master, He seeks our obedience for a far greater reason. He wants to complete His love for us. You think you’re satisfied with experiencing his forgiveness whenever you disobey? That’s like going to Boracay without swimming in the beach, that’s like going to Enchanted Kingdom without enjoying the rides. It’s just not the complete experience! But God expresses the fullness of His love by changing us, not just by forgiving us. His love is complete in itself but He wants it to be made complete in you by making you a better person. Cause He loves u so much! But the keyword is OBEDIENCE. Everyday, by making one decision after another to follow Him from the moment we wake-up to the time we set ourselves to sleep, we are munching on a bigger portion of His love as he changes us.

Don’t settle for half of the experience. God wants you to experience the fullness of His love.  So choose to obey Him today!

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Whatever it Takes

July 7, 2012, our 28th monthsary, later that afternoon I was about to go to Angela’s house because we will attend the 18th bday party of her friend. Part of my heart wants to buy her flowers because it’s our monthsary. Another part of it doesn’t want to because I am carrying the clothes that I will wear in the party. Also, buying her flowers means that I have to go to Glorietta in Makati, though there is a terminal near my place in Pasay straight to San Pedro Laguna where she lives. 

How lazy and selfish my heart can be sometimes. But you know what, I went to buy her flowers anyway. In that moment I was able to love her beyond the sickness of my heart.

Me in the bus with the flowers and other stuff that I carried 🙂

I’m not narrating this story to boast of my ‘romantic’ love in that moment, but it is to boast of God’s love for me. 1 John 4:19 says that we love because God first loved us. I pursue my girl because God pursues me. I love her because God loves me. There’s no other way it works and it will ever work but through it.

When you are filled you overflow and what you overflow depends on what fills you. Everyday I’m learning how to pursue and be thoughtful because of God.

1. On pursuing

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home -Luke 15:3-6

God’s passion is to pursue me. This is the God who is willing to leave the 99 sheeps to search for His one missing sheep. Many times I have drifted away but He comes looking for me and would not stop until He finds me. As we are created in His image, that’s how God designed us men too, to pursue. There are times that I and Angela fight over something. But I’ve proven over time that the inner adventure of pursuing someone gives me true happiness and satisfaction rather than waiting to be vindicated. As a man my joy doesn’t lie in being pursued when we quarrel though I think I have a very valid point. But my joy lies in the adventure of looking for flowers though it’s late at night, in having to ride two jeeps, one train, one bus and a tricycle just to say I’m sorry and in the thrill of seeing her smile when I found a “just-as-romantic” alternative to flowers such as a Hello Kitty chocolate lollipop (her favorite character).

MEN, don’t let the devil blind you of your original design which is to pursue. The enemy will try to convince you that you have to be at the receiving end, unproactive and waiting to be vindicated as he tries to attack your EGO. But when the devil tries to do that, look to God and on how He pursues you everyday. Let Him set an example to you and move you. And when you overcome the lies of the devil you will prove that pursuing is really your original design and the adventure that goes along with it is your wonderful and valiant destiny.

2. On being thoughtful

17 How precious to me are your thoughts,God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand —
    when I awake, I am still with you. -Psalm 139:17-18

Reading this verse I imagine God beside me as I sleep, stroking my hair and having thoughts over me. He’s thinking of every details of my life. From the biggest detail such as my career path to the smallest detail such as making me catch the last jeepney trip to our home the next day cause I’m going home late. He’s after my success, my safety, giving me something to smile about on an ordinary day, He hears my dreams and prayers and evaluates if I’m ready to receive it or not, He’s after my faith and my heart, He is even conscious of my physical fitness. Every move I make, everything that will be best for me, He’s thinking of it. He’s the perfect example that we can look to when we think of thoughtfulness. For Him, thoughtfulness is not limited to bringing home a pasalubong, but for Him, thoughtfulness is thinking of what is best for others. Thoughtfulness is pondering on what your loved ones need and thinking of a way to be an answer to it. Thoughtfulness goes more than giving physical things, but thinking of how to make someone’s life better and drawing them closer to God.

MEN, if we want to be thoughtful, again let us look to God as an example. God’s vision of a man thoughtful to his girlfriend is not limited to a depiction of John Lloyd holding flowers with ballons on the side. It’s constantly thinking of your girl’s needs (physical, emotional, spiritual) and how to bring out the best in them. Be thoughtful to her just like how thoughtful He is to you.

To see her smile after receiving the flowers makes the sacrifice all worth it 🙂

“GOD, thank you for loving us. Sometimes going the extra mile, letting go of our pride to love is really hard.. But we thank You Jesus because Your love pursues, Your love thinks of others, Your love will do everything that You even died on the cross to reach for us. Thank You for empowering us and setting an example of love to us. A love that does whatever it takes is possible because of You.”

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Hello World!

Hello world is the default title of my first post. Well, Hello World!

I started this blog because this is really one of my passion. I love writing. I love to share my insights and experiences. When I made a decision to re-pursue Christian blogging, I felt joy in my heart. I know this is not gonna be stressful or obligatory because this will just be an outlet, my way of sharing my “God experiences”, the thoughts and the emotions flowing through my heart, giving back the praises to God in the process.

I believe each one of us has testimonies that we can share to others and pray that, they will find their own big or small way to help them. And those testimonies, those “God experiences”, are not just one-time big time experiences. If we only get to experience God once in our life, then this will be my first and last post. But I thank God that everyday of our life He is always there and is always at work. 🙂

Most interesting blogs today talk about lifestyle (food, travel, leisure, fashion). But you know what? A Christian blog is also a lifestyle blog because Christianity is a lifestyle! And this “Christianity lifestyle”, is not your ordinary lifestyle. In your ordinary lifestyle blogs, you can browse the most mouth-watering foods in the city, eat your hearts out as you try it, and after a few hours you’re hungry again. In your ordinary lifestyle blogs, you find the most fashionable clothes and shoes, and you can wait for a month or so then the clothes go out of style. But.. living a life in an intimate relationship with someone whose love is not a fad but an EVERLASTING love? Talking with the King of Kings who made those majestic places in the travel blogs you see while calling Him Father everyday? A life where you can eat the Bread of Life and not be hungry ever again? A life where you can find leisure in the presence of your God, experiencing Him everyday, His grace, His provision, His abundance and when you’re down He reminds you that “I will never leave you nor forsake you”? My friends, while the world says that having the latest shoes and clothes and travelling to the most beautiful places in the world is having a “high-end lifestyle”, these things look very ordinary and doesn’t even compare to the life we have with God. Living a life with God is living life to the full. That’s the lifestyle that a Christian has, and comparing it to the “high-end lifestyle” that the world defines, isn’t it more FABULOUS? 🙂 And isn’t it a beautiful thing to blog about? 🙂

“I come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” -John 10:10

“Lord I pray that you bless this blog, use this as an instrument for your glory. Less of me, more of You. I pray that this in a way could encourage, could build, could pierce one’s heart and could lead them to You. All the glory to you in this blogsite I’ll start. Amen.”

This is not my first and last blog, because just what I’ve said, a Christian life never goes out of style because it’s a walk with an EVERLASTING GOD, plus it’s FABULOUS 🙂 So this is just a Hello blog for me. Once again, Hello World! 🙂

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