10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.
I am truly blessed beyond measure. I never experienced having little (except probably when I was a kid and my parents were poor – so poor they didn’t have utensils or a bed).
I am blessed that I don’t have to contribute to the household expenses because I can never outgive my mom anyway. So blessed that even if I no longer have a job, I am still earning in stocks. So blessed that I can travel locally and internationally several times a year. That I have enough to support missionaries and NGOs. But mostly, I am blessed because, at an early age, I was taught to be wise with money.
I attribute everything to God of course. He alone provides not just the capacity to earn but the wisdom and opportunities as well. But I’ve never really experienced living by faith – that must be scary and exciting at the same time.
I know I have to give more but it’s also difficult to let go of money because money equals comfort, right? Actually, more than food, I am fasting from checking my trading portfolio. It’s the one thing I do first thing in the morning. I wake up and at 9am, I eat breakfast and watch the Bloomberg news for an hour, then watch another news late in the afternoon about the economy again. It’s what drives me. So fasting from this makes me uneasy because I know that there are opportunities this week to buy and sell stocks. But I also remind myself that what is one week of missing these opportunities? I want to show God that I trust Him to provide even if I don’t “work” this week.
So looking forward to 2018, I wonder where I should be giving more aside from the tithes? I have given more in 2017 than in 2016 but I know that I should just be giving more and more.
I am also learning it a habit, from Marc’s message, to immediately set aside whatever I get (even from the sale of the tandem bike).
Even though I am well provided now, it isn’t a guarantee that I’ll still have these things in 2018. So I’m still praying, fasting, asking for His provisions in 2018. To have the skills and wisdom in making business and financial decisions and ultimately to be satisfied and thankful for whatever He gives me this year.
Praise God for a God who provides all our needs and comes through just in time. He orchestrates circumstances and moves people to provide for His children.
It’s kinda difficult to think how much God loves me. I mean, I know of the cross. I know the sacrifice Jesus did and I know the beauty of heaven with its golden streets and gates of pearl. But I also know that I cannot limit God’s love for me on the cross. For if I say that that is the maximum and ultimate love, then it wouldn’t be an everlasting, infinite love.
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
Truly, it surpasses knowledge.
I see the deep love and sacrifice of the people around me. I know I am well loved by my family and friends. But I know it doesn’t compare a tiny bit to how much God loves me. I cannot try to put words to describe it. It’s like grasping into the thin air without grasping anything. Infiniteness is incomprehensible.
But perhaps I can share a glimmer of God’s love for me (other than salvation).
By my own choices, I set myself lower and lower for someone to keep him, bending at his whims and requests so he would stay for a while. My life is literally the song “I bought the world and sold my heart”. I did things I never knew I was capable of doing, for someone I thought was staying. But God, by his grace and love, took me out. In the midst of my stubbornness, He orchestrated all circumstances to make me broken and alone before Him. It’s the best thing that happened to me.
Philippians 1:3-11 talks about how the Philippian church supported Paul in his ministries. Few chapters later, he mentions that the church of Philippi is the only church that supported him. Looking back in Acts, Lydia was a new convert who took care of Paul and Silas after they were beaten.
In this chapter, Paul also encouraged the church to continue in love and grow in knowledge in discernment.
We can see two important things. First, it is our job to support the church selflessly so that gospel reaches other people. The Philippians supported Paul in his missions and as a result, the gospel was preached. Second, growth in Christ shouldn’t stop. A a church, we have to continue loving each other in real knowledge and discernment for the glory of Christ. That means we need to love based on Christ’s love.
It is a reminder for me that the money I give to God goes a long way in having the gospel heard. We all have parts in sharing the gospel, albeit some are called to be fulltime missionaries like Paul, some are like Lydia and the rest of the Philippians who through prayers and supplication, make the missions possible.
As I read Romans 9 and 10, I am reminded of Paul’s passion for those who have not heard of Christ yet. And I also saw how selfish my prayers are that all requests for myself.
He felt deep sorrow and unceasing anguish. Though he was persectured by the Jews, he loved them so much that he would rather be cut off from Christ if it meant that his brothers will be saved.
He also mentions that for people to come to salvation:
- Someone must go
- Someone must share
- Hearer must believe and call upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13)
With evangelism being the number one priority of my downline this 2017, I feel like this devo at the start of the year is even a stronger confirmation of our 2017 assignment.
I pray that I would have a heart for the lost and the same passion as Paul has. I hope that my heart wrenches in pain not for my broken past, but for the present people who are dying everyday without God.
Romans 10:1 My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.
Father, I ask that I desire this more than my personal requests. That I do not have a myopic and selfish view of the world. May I walk and reflect you in small and big actions. May I be able to preach the gospel clearly and as simple as it is. I pray for boldness and familiarity with the gospel. A heart for the lost that does not seek to win in logical arguments but to have a compassion for them. I pray that I see the reality of life, that eternity is at stake.
Scriptures: Job 1:4-5, 42:2-17
Job interceded for his children by sacrificing a burnt offering after the feast. This was how righteous Job was – he asked for forgiveness in behalf of all his children as a precaution that they might have sinned.
God also told Job’s friends that He is not pleased with how they have slandered God’s name. God said that he will only accept the sacrifice of Job and his prayer on their behalf. Job was kind enough to seek forgiveness for them in spite of them insulting God and him. Job’s prayer was the only prayer acceptable to God.
Are my prayers acceptable to Him? It’s always a heart check, making sure I am not angry with anyone, and there are no idols in my heart.
I should intercede for people more especially when they ask me to pray for them. It has to be immediate. I have to be bolder with praying with people instead of praying in the quiet.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11, 2 Timothy 2:8-13
Persecutions happen to do one thing – increase our dependence on God. Paul was whipped, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, constantly hunted down, experienced extreme hunger and cold – a life so different from his life as a Pharisee.
I am blessed to be in a country that doesn’t persecute believers. I drive to church every week. I’ve never been whipped (except by my dad’s belt), I’ve never been stoned. Life is easy, and comfortable for the most part, hence my independence from God.
Do I really want an uncomfortable life so that I’ll be passionate for him? Do I need to be shaken to the core? May it never happen. And may I open my eyes to the truth that the entire body of Christ has been suffering persecutions throughout the world.
I pray for a freer world, less pain for Christians and for all. I pray for everyone’s dependence on God even when things are super smooth and easy. I pray for every Christian who cannot even sing a hymn loudly. And for me, may I never take this for granted again. And may I never disown Jesus or be ashamed of Him even in the smallest of ways.
P99M or $5.5M
P99M, this is the Bureau of Customs’s audit and assessment for “various” penalties for 2014-2015 business transactions… as of this morning. This happens year after year and the amount would be haggled and reduced to a smaller, but still two digit number in millions of pesos. What’s important is they reach their “quotas” set by their supervisors – as if operating like a pyramid scam. They’d even issue a receipt for it – which means that the “penalty” is “legal”. The fact that the penalty can be haggled means that they manipulate financial reports to come up with an amount that the company is comfortable with.
P99M is the amount of our payroll for 3 years to feed 130 families. What if we are not able to pay the penalty and have to shut down? Will the government feed our 130 employees and their families?
Do government officials deserve to be prayed for?
Deserve, no. No one deserves anything. It is all by God’s grace. But need, yes.
Scriptures: 1 Timothy 2:1-8, Matthew 5:13-16, Ezekiel 22:30, 2 Chronicles 7:14
Paul instructs us to pray for all authorities so that we may live peaceful lives, in all holiness and godliness. When 1 Timothy was written, the psychotic Emperor Nero was impaling Christians and burning them as human torches. The P99M is nothing compared to the torture that they faced. Yet Paul asked them to pray for kings and all authorities – for this is good and pleasing to Jesus.
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