Day 1. Love beyond the cross

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.

Ephesians 3:18-19

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.

 

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2017 Recap

2017 has been a pivotal.

Half of the year was spent at home because my mom and I didn’t have work , after our company was acquired. I still don’t know what I am supposed to do the rest of my life – or at least the next chapter. I am still praying for the next steps, but my heart is leaning towards social entrepreneurship, or something like urban agriculture that should ease poverty and be environmentally sustainable.

On April 7, he stepped up and laid down his intention for marriage. On June 7, I gave him a yes to courtship. On December 7, he told me he loves me with his eyes red from crying (we had a big fight).

The admin team has grown after much prayer, then it dwindled again as I struggled to intentionally build a relationship with each member. Conflicting schedules on Saturdays and the lack of initiatives both from me and the members have strained the initally growing ministry. And also my lack of firmness, I suppose. But I found a friend in Regine, who is so much like me.

Joy and Nej stepped up and have started discipling. And they couldn’t be happier, especially Joy who I feel is more like Ef with how she takes care of her group. Jamie, Grace, Chart have all stepped up in their ministries as well.

Here’s the view from my lounge seat at Belle Maison in Hoi An. But never really finished writing this until January 8, 2018. Hehe.

Serving God is a Privilege

While I was coordinating the reg booth manning this morning from Tagaytay, Joy’s mind seemed so scattered. She didn’t know where to get the cashbox, reg box, keys. I already cascaded all these info repeatedly on Viber and email. Annoyed but restraining myself, I asked her, “You seem to be all over the place today. Are you ok? šŸ˜¦ Are you going through something?”

Before our company was acquired, I held a key role that allowed me to tap CCF’s Workplace Ministry and start a Bible Study. I was able to distribute Bibles, books and bring people to church.

Now that the company is not ours and I am unemployed, I realized how God has opened another door for me when He tasked me to be the ministry head of the Registration Team a few months ago. So while I lost one area of influence, He has opened another.Ā For some reason and out of His grace alone, God chose me to serve in B1G South in this manner.

My leadership position allows me to influence the lives of six beautiful women and contribute to the direction of B1G South – affecting the lives of 100 regular attendees and their own circles of influence.

In the past months, I have been serving God with a mental checklist. I focused on perfecting tasks to the detail and creating efficient schedules that would help them not get burned out physically. But I know that I could have been more intentional in discipling, serving and loving them.

Joy answered me, “Yes, I am going through many things at work, in my family and I am not okay. I am overwhelmed and tired.”

Had I taken time to check up on her, I could have helped her and prayed for her sooner.

So while I am in this leadership position, I will exert more effort to love and serve them and impact them spiritually.

I came home tonight from the Core planning with a renewed sense of passion and joy in serving God. It is a privilege to serve Him.

When Bad Counsel Achieves God’s Good Will

2 Samuel 17:14

For theĀ LordĀ had determined to frustrateĀ the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disasterĀ on Absalom.

When David’s son, Absalom, was pursuing David to kill him, David’s friend Hushai was spying for David. In an effort to kill David, Absalom asked for two counsels: Ahithophel’s and Hushai’s.

The advice of Ahithopel was wise: gather 12,000 soldiers and Ahithophel himself will only kill David. There would be no collateral damage. And he will bring all the people of Israel to Absalom peacefully.

The advice of Hushai was the opposite: they needed more than 12,000 soldiers. In fact, Hushai wanted to gather all the Israelites as numerous as the sand, and Absalom himself needed to join the troops to kill David. An appeal to his pride.

Though Ahithophel’s advice was wiser and easier, Absalom chose Hushai’s advice.

Why? Because God answered David’s prayer in 15:31: “O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithopel into foolishness.”

2 Samuel 17:14 says that “theĀ LordĀ had determined to frustrateĀ the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disasterĀ on Absalom.” Ā In other words, even the good advice was doomed for a reason – God himself had already determined to defeat Absalom through Hushai’s bad advice.

When my ex’s parents forced him to break up with me because of weird reasons, I questioned why he would even listen to the dumb reasonings. Looking back, I know that God has used his parents and those influencing them, to achieve God’s purposes in my life.

Know that when people make bad choices and you are at the receiving end, God’s hand is upon you and He is working behind the scenes to achieve His purposes.

God delights in blessing us

ā€‹ā€œThe LORD will again take delight in prospering you.ā€ (Deuteronomy 30:9)

And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.  (2 Samuel 12:8, ESV)

While I was having dinner with my mom, she shared how she never expected our business to grow. When my dad passed away 10 years ago, my mom had to handle a business she had no idea how to run. Every night, she would pray for wisdom and ask for the next steps. She didn’t aspire for the business to boom, just survive. But God has proven faithful to our family.

Indeed, God is a God who delights blessing His children. 

Almost everyday, I pray for wisdom for God to direct our steps. I always tell God that the business is His, not ours, and allow Him to do whatever He wishes to do. 

While I hate the prosperity gospel theology, I also cannot dismiss how God delights in blessing us in various ways – mercies, faithfulness, grace, love, peace, health and even material things. 

The verses above which I read today and last night, are reminders of God’s character:

  1. He delights in prospering us
  2. There is no limit to what He can give
  3. He is the source of all blessings

David and Bathsheba – From Peeking to Killing

How easy is it for a Christian to fall into sin?

Very easy. 

For David, it started with not joining his men for war, walking on his rooftop, seeing a beautiful woman bathing, sleeping with her, and eventually committing a murder.

David spins one lie after another to cover up his previous lie. By law, he should be killed for his adultery, instead he used his power and position to get away with it. He called Uriah to Jersulem to encourage him to sleep with his wife, even giving him a gift. When that did not work, he got him drunk, hoping he would go home to his wife. But that didn’t work either so he sends a letter to Joab, by the hand of Uriah, commanding Joab to put Uriah in a dangerous position to be killed.

It is important to note that Uriah was one of David’s mighty men. His father and grandfather were also influential people. David might have fought with Uriah in the past.

I believe there were even collateral damage from what David did. Joab made a “foolish” strategy and many people were killed so that the murder of Uriah would not be obvious. When the news of Uriah’s death came, David marries Bathsheba and does not even repent from what he did.

It seems that from the start, David has been walking with God and living out being a man after God’s heart, then his walk suddenly crashes and spins out of control. Up to this point, he was a king who had riches, territories, wives, children. He had peace from his enemies. He had renewed his covenant with God – then this.

No one can really tell when you’ll fall into sin so we should not always be watchful. And if we do, we should stop, repent and run back to God instead of trying to cover our dirty tracks. 

Nejjybells

Dear Nejjy,

As you read this, you have probably already arrived in Dumaguete where Jaja awaits her older sister. 

I wanted your last night in Manila spent with me because I am clingy. And though I have only planned to attend vesper with you, I thought of taking you out for dinner and bringing you back to where #AldubMolitoChapter all began.

I remember our first dgroup with Joy because I also blogged about it. I taught Ephesians 5:1 to both of you at Bo’s coffee after I ordered super dry chocolate and lemon muffins… grr.. 

Tonight, we come in full circle in the very same table where we first had our dgroup. Only this time we only went inside Bo’s Coffee to take our photo and not order anything hahaha.

Since March last year, I have seen you grow not just emotionally, spritually but also physically… hahaha. Love you. I am proud of you and even more grateful to God because He has allowed me to mentor you – even if I am very unworthy of this calling. I remember the nights when you don’t sleep because you are so addicted in studying the book of Daniel. Now you are so addicted in studying Leviticus, Deutoronomy, Numbers, while people asked me to pray for them because they find these books boring. (Also, sleep is for the weak). I watch you volunteer in ministries and not just take passive roles but really give your everything in it and be blessed by your leaders becaus of your servant heart (what is unliserve).

In a span of one year, I saw you become more prayerful, more faithful, more clingy, more generous, become more Christ-like, become more extrovert.. Thank you so much for being my accountability partner, prayer warrior and the person I discuss the Bible with. Thank you for crying on my behalf because I am so manhid.. thank you for never judging, for always listening, allowing me to rant. Thank you for being the only person who reads this blog. Hahahaha.

I thought about how relationships come and go and I pondered on our friendship/sisterhood. I realized that you may be far and time and busyness might pull us apart but the promise of heaven remains. Time is never enough when we are together but we have eternity together too because of Jesus. And that gives me comfort knowing that #MayForever (Please note, this is not a eulogy).

I am excited for what’s in store for you. I know your heart is for discipleship, church planting and evangelism and I know that God has a purpose for bringing you to Manila then changing your heart and putting that desire for you study Med. Please don’t forget to teach me micropara because I need to renew my scam medical license hahahaha. Thank you so much for consistently praying for my PM1, for talking with me til 2am in the morning, for cooking for us, for always lending a listening ear. I love you Nejjy.

So much has happened in one year, and though it’s heartbreaking for you to leave, I know your mission in life and I fully support you. I am proud, blessed, happy to be your discipler. šŸ˜šŸ˜šŸ˜

You are an answered prayer to my faithful, available, teachable, servant-leader disciple request from God. Now go and make disciples (and plant CCF Duma)!!!

Love lots,

Assumera Rich