Monday, December 28, 2009

Seven 2010 ReSOLUTIONs For LIFE 101

1 Continue sowing good seeds... little ones... biG ones... with a loving heart. Trust that GOD will grow them all. "Obey GOD and leave all the consequences to Him." (Pastor Charles Stanley). So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

2 Praise GOD for every thread He weaves in my Life 101 tapestry. It's all part of His creative design and ultimate purpose of making me CHRIST-like. For GOD created my inmost being; He knit me together in my mother's womb. i praise Him because i am fearfully and wonderfully made; His works are wonderful, i know that full well. My frame was not hidden from Him when i was made in the secret place. When i was woven together in the depths of the earth, His eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

3 Respect and love all children...every single child is a gift from GOD.

4 Remain in the VINE... for every branch that does not bear fruit is cut down and gathered for the fire. GOD prunes the fruit bearing branch so that it may produce even more... so be glad for the pruning, even if hurts! (John 15)

5 Don't judge -- everyone ripens in due season, according to GOD's process. Only GOD can rightfully judge for He is the only One Who is able to see the whole picture and all the inner motives. For with what judgment i judge, i will be judged; and with the measure i use, it will be measured back to me. (Matthew 7:2)

6 Be a ready vessel ... to be placed anywhere, anytime ... to be used anyhow by the Master Potter, as He so desires. As the clay in the Potter's hand, so am i in His hand. (Jeremiah 18:6b) Don't criticize or complain about the work He wants to do through me -- He Who has started a good work in me will finish it! Just keep cooperating, gladly waving the white flag of surrender daily.

7 thankful for all things -- for every thing, every event, is by GOD's perfect design and under His ultimate control.

i know that GOD causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) NO thing is beyond His almighty righteous right arm Nothing is impossible with GOD. i know that GOD can do all things; no plan of His can be thwarted. (Job 42:2) My peace is knowing that GOD truly is in control.

i know for certain that these reSOLUTIONs will become my Actuality for it's already my Reality that i am a child of GOD, indwelled and filled by SPIRIT. i myself cannot do anything of lasting value, nor can i continually do the good things GOD wants me to do. It is by the power of the Holy SPIRIT abiding within Who does the good works through me. Not by might nor by power, but by My SPIRIT, says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6) i am confident that these reSOLUTIONs are "done deals" for these are within the will of GOD, are Scriptural, and because JESUS has promised to His followers that anything we ask in His name, believing that we will receive -- will receive what we ask of Him, when these desires are aligned to His will and ultimate purpose -- to conform us to His likeness. CHRIST is Faithful and True -- whatever He sets His mind on, it will be done -- just like He finished His sacrificial work on the cross at Calvary, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16b)

2010 is but the continuance of the above Life 101 Solutions -- hence the reSOLUTIONs. GOD is not finished with me yet!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The GOOD News -- The Gospel of GOD

What is the GOOD News -- the Gospel of GOD? The definition, according to John MacArthur's Study Bible, is this: "GOD will forgive sins, deliver from sin's power, and give eternal hope." (Page 1691, Note on Romans 1:1)

Those who believe and follow the writings of the Bible, the Torah, the Qur'an (where all three books include the Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses) -- understand that GOD, as a holy and righteous Judge, hates sin, cannot and will not tolerate sin; and therefore, must judge the doer of sin. Because of man's gift of free will, sin abounds today as it has throughout history. Sin created enmity between GOD, the Creator, and His creation, man.

But GOD, in His omniscience and loving wisdom, provided a substitutionary payment to atone for the sinner through the blood of the sinless Person of CHRIST JESUS. In 739 B.C., the prophet Isaiah foretold this act of grace from GOD. (Isaiah 9:6,7 and 53:1-12) In A.D. 30, the Reality of the Gospel of GOD became Actuality -- payment was made for all mankind, on the cross, by the blood of the promised Substitute -- JESUS, the CHRIST... the MESSIAH.

GOD, the ultimate Judge, in His holiness and righteousness, requires justice for sin. JESUS, the GOD-Man, GOD's own only Son, was the ultimate payment that satisfied the Holy One's wrathful vengeance against sin. JESUS took upon Himself all of mankind's sins -- past, present and future -- and incurred the full brunt of GOD's unfathomable wrath against sin.

Can i even grasp this thought: the excruciating agony at the cross -- yet physical torture was "less painful" compared to the emotional, mental, soulful, spiritual anguish of total separation from the fellowship of One-ness which the Father and Son shared before time began. That moment when the Father executed His own Son at the cross -- venting His holy anger at the sinless One who became sin -- could that moment have been like a thousand years to JESUS? (With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2 Peter 3:8)

This is why believers in CHRIST throughout history have died for their faith and others have left all to do GOD's will -- their faithful allegiance to JESUS as the crucified CHRIST who took on Himself the sin of the world and as the risen Savior who has promised eternal life to those who trust in Him.

No other leader in all the world's major religions (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese and African traditional religions), has died and risen -- yes, risen!

Secular scholars and researchers who have diligently investigated JESUS' history and the Bible's accuracy have concluded to the veracity of the Bible and it's sacred writings about JESUS. (i.e., Simon Greenleaf, Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, considered by many to be the greatest authority on legal evidences; Josh McDowell, who wrote Evidence That Demands a Verdict to disprove the resurrection of CHRIST believed the evidence he found and converted; Frank Morrison, a British lawyer who went to Palestine to disprove the resurrection ended up writing the book, Who Moved the Stone? to prove the resurrection; Lew Wallace, wrote Ben Hur, to prove the reality of the resurrection of CHRIST -- from Faith Bible Institute workbook; C. S. Lewis, author, who questioned his own religious roots, re-embraced CHRISTianity after fully examining and taking it apart.)

No other Person has fulfilled GOD's Word as prophesied in the Holy Scriptures. No other Man has performed the countless (witnessed and documented) miracles that confirmed His deity... and the most outright visible sign from GOD to authenticate JESUS as His Son -- was the empty tomb... the fact of the resurrection.

CHRIST JESUS is the only way to receive GOD's forgiveness of sin -- to make peace with GOD -- to be justified before the holy Judge's blinding purity.

JESUS Himself said plainly, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

Only JESUS' own pure righteousness can withstand GOD's laser beam scrutiny. Only the CHRIST can stand between GOD's holy wrath against a sinner on Judgment Day. JESUS is the reason for the confidence of peace before GOD's holy and righteous judgment -- He is the believer's personal Defender -- the holy Advocate.

No religious leader, teacher or prophet -- past or present -- no man, can survive GOD's righteous and holy and perfect judgment. Only the totally pure and perfect, holy and righteous GOD-Man, CHRIST JESUS, has accomplished what no mortal ever could -- victory over death... salvation... redemption... atonement for the sinner -- so that all who believe in Him may receive His gift of eternal life and peace with GOD, the Almighty Creator.

GOD so loved the world, His creation, that He sent His only Son to be killed, as the Lamb to the slaughter -- and all that GOD asks of each sinner is acceptance of His most precious gift -- His very own Son.

GOD's promise is this: whosoever believes in CHRIST JESUS will be saved. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. (John 3:36)

Here is the $1,000,000 question: Will you go to Heaven when you die? Your fate is in your own hands. It's not your sin that closes up the gates of Heaven for you, but your rejection of the GOOD News -- the Gospel of GOD, which is the Revelation of CHRIST JESUS.

i have claimed the promise of the GOOD News from the GOD who cannot lie, who never ever breaks promises, who is ever faithful and true to His Word. i am saved...Hallelujah!

Have you claimed GOD's promise of the GOOD News of JESUS CHRIST?

Please donate. ALL donations will benefit the Naselesele Village school children in Taveuni, Fiji. VINAKA VAKA LEVU! 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

CLOUDS In Your CHRISTmas Season?

Behold, HE cometh with clouds. (Revelation 1:7)

Here in San Diego, winter clouds have rolled in...all beautiful -- whether dark greys or puffy whites, golden yellows or fiery oranges, blushing pinks or soft lavenders. Oswald Chambers wrote a fitting commentary about clouds in the July 29 entry of his classic devotional, My Utmost For His Highest.

In the Bible clouds are always connected with GOD. Clouds are those sorrows or sufferings or providences, within or without our personal lives, which seem to dispute the rule of GOD. It is by those very clouds that the SPIRIT of GOD is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were no clouds, we should have no faith. "The clouds are but the dust of our Father's feet." The clouds are a sign that He is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow and bereavement and suffering are the clouds that come along with GOD! GOD cannot come near without clouds, He does not come in clear shining.

It is not true to say that GOD wants to teach us something in our trials: through every cloud He brings, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in the cloud is to simplify our belief until our relationship to Him is exactly that of a child -- GOD and my own soul -- other people are shadows. Until other people become shadows, clouds and darkness will be mine every now and again. Is the relationship between myself and GOD getting simpler than ever it has been?

There is a connection between the strange providences of GOD and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of GOD. Unless we can look the darkest, blackest fact full in the face without damaging GOD's character, we do not yet know Him.

Is there anyone "save JESUS only" in your cloud? If so, it will get darker; you must get to the place where there is "no one any more save JESUS only."

Below is my journal entry on the same date for 2009:

"Rejoice indeed when i encounter a cloudy day -- for JESUS is with me, to reveal Himself to me in a deeper, more intimate way. Clouds are the means with which He makes me one with Him. All trials in my life are designed by my Father to make me see JESUS only!"

i was able to own this Reality at last, after a prolonged travail in the Valley of the Shadow of Death -- to thank GOD for everything, no matter the circumstance, good or ill, disturbing or pleasant, joyous or mournful.

i believe that GOD will remove every thing which competes with JESUS in my affections. If i don't willingly surrender these idols which vie for a higher priority in my life, GOD will get my attention with a whisper of His still small voice through His indwelling SPIRIT. And if i turn a deaf ear to His voice, He may resort to something louder and stronger, like a thunderous whirlwind with ominous clouds in tow. But if i truly trust in GOD as Omniscient Love -- truly knowing what's best for me and only allowing what i can bear, and that He will cause all things to work together for my good because i love Him (Romans 8:28), and that He will use even this tumult for His purpose of drawing me closer to Him -- then i can indeed rejoice as these clouds engulf me -- but not overwhelm me...for i have received (by faith) the privilege of walking with CHRIST, hand in Hand, through it all.

My prayer for you, my brothers and sisters In CHRIST, is that GOD will continue to bless you with inner strength and might through the Holy SPIRIT abiding in you, according to His almighty indescribable power (Ephesians 3:16) as you walk in step with CHRIST through your own personal clouds -- for He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ever ask or hope! (Ephesians 3:20) And if you are not In CHRIST, i pray that GOD may give you the gift of repentance so that you may receive CHRIST in your heart through your faith in Him as the risen Redeemer who takes away all your sins.

Salvation that comes from trusting already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, "The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart." For if you confess with your mouth that JESUS is LORD and believe in your heart that GOD raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with GOD, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. (Romans 10: 8-10)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

CHRISTmas Roots

As a child growing up in the Philippines, raised by Catholic parents who didn't know GOD, who did not read the Bible, and who went to church because it was the thing to do -- my memories of CHRISTmas past were warm, fuzzy pictures of warm bibingka (rice cakes cooked with fragrant banana leaves on charcoal fires) bought from street vendors, homemade paper decorations (some from the silver foil lining of cigarette packs), a meagerly decorated pine tree with very long needles, star-shaped paper lanterns alight from inside with candles (yes...they were fire hazards!), CHRISTmas carols, and very simple gifts of plastic toys or homemade clothes or a few pesos.

But no memories of the gift of JESUS.

i did not hear the story of the Baby JESUS being born in Bethlehem, though i knew the virgin Mary was His mother. We children (my older sister, younger brother and i) were not read any bedtime stories of Him being a carpenter's son, nor that He was of Jewish roots, nor that He was the Messiah...the Savior of the world. It never really registered that CHRISTmas was JESUS' birthday celebration. No one told me that the true reason for celebrating CHRISTmas was the birth of CHRIST JESUS. Duh! It was just about presents and sweets and attending the midnight mass with bibingka afterwards.

(The ShoppE at Rose's CHRISTmas merchandise)

That was a lifetime ago...and yet how current today. i wonder how many children today are as ignorant as i was then, more than 40 years ago, because today's parents don't take the time (nor have the inclination) to explain to their children that CHRISTmas is about JESUS. Here in the land of plenty, where department stores were open at 3 or 4am after Thanksgiving to usher in the CHRISTmas season -- how many parents taught their children, by example, that shopping for toys (adults' and children's) in that mad frenzy was what got them excited at CHRISTmas time? How many parents acquiesced to their children's demands for this gadget or for that widget -- whether they could afford it or not, adding on to their mounting debt, because to them CHRISTmas is about stuff? (Though at The ShoppE at Rose's, one may shop guilt-free, for the prices are ultra-low and every cent goes to missions and charities.)

i'm no longer an ignoramus about CHRISTmas. i'm not saying that i'm smart nor even wise, nor intellectually savvy nor even a crack wit -- i just know today what CHRISTmas is really all about.

CHRISTmas is about really is...and it's only about Love.

And it starts with GOD, the Father -- and ends with GOD, the Son.

For GOD so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NLT)

For GOD, the Almighty Father, Sovereign Creator of all the heavens and the earth, of everything seen and unseen, Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all anyone can ask or even think (Eph 3:20) -- out of His infinitely gracious heart -- gave to the world that He so loved -- His only Son, JESUS, as sacrificial atonement for our sin debt, so that everyone, whosoever believes that JESUS is the Son of the One True GOD, Who came down from Heaven, born of the virgin Mary, destined by GOD to be the Suffering Servant, Who took on the whole world's sin (past, present and future) in His sinless earthly body, Who satisfied GOD's holy wrath by dying on the cross, and Who was raised from the grave by the omnipotent power of the Holy SPIRIT, thereby defeating death -- will also grant victory over death and everlasting Life for those who trust in Him as their Lord, Savior, Messiah...the CHRIST.

The miracle of CHRISTmas is not so much the virgin birth...the bigger miracle of CHRISTmas is how GOD Himself -- Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent -- came to be contained in the most vulnerable vessel of all...the flesh of a helpless human baby. The true miracle is how the inconceivable SPIRIT of LOVE, the Word Himself, became manifest in the physical world -- so that we, the created, were able to touch and laugh and cry and eat and walk with The Creator. The Inconceivable conceived in the flesh... Immanuel... GOD with us! It's inconceivable and incomprehensible...yet GOD, in His almighty power and infinite wisdom, conceived this miraculous expression of His ultimate Love, through the humanity of JESUS CHRIST.

This CHRISTmas "present," this today, holds the most heartfelt and meaningful CHRISTmas of all for me -- because this year, after being so ignorant of the true meaning of CHRISTmas for so long -- i know that the cause for celebrations and festivities is the birthday of JESUS, my Beloved CHRIST. Whether or not December 25 is His actual birthday or what has become the traditional date (for some Bible scholars have proposed September as JESUS' month of birth, Willmington's Guide to the Bible), it doesn't matter to me, for every day is CHRISTmas -- every day i'm alive is a gift from GOD. And every day i receive this gift of life is another day to live for my GOD and Lord, JESUS CHRIST.

What would CHRISTmas be without the CHRIST? What would CHRISTmas be without GOD? Would it still be "merry"? And even if it's not December 25, what would any day be like without any presence of GOD at all?

For GOD is holy... love... mercy... peace... joy... longsuffering... kind... good... faithful... gentle... just... righteous... compassionate... laughter... light... almighty... wise... true... pure... creator... sovereign... eternal... forgiving. GOD are all these things and infinitely, indescribably more. Without GOD's presence, and all that He is, can you imagine the unimaginably horrific world it would be because of the utter absence of His loving presence? It doesn't take much stretch of the imagination to picture hell without the presence of GOD...but the Reality of it is unfathomable to the finite mind.

How can i not see JESUS as the ultimate CHRISTmas gift to be received? To be desired above all earthly gifts...those fleeting gifts that will lose their luster after a few turns around the block? JESUS is the gift that lasts forever, Who never fades but continues to radiate Love in and through that whosoever who believes and trusts in Him as Lord and Savior.

What is CHRISTmas but GOD's love made manifest? And what is CHRISTmas without JESUS? It would be a heartless joke played upon mankind -- fostered by that father of all lies, that wolf dressed in sheep's clothing, that angel of light fallen from heaven -- deceiving hardened hearts with political correctness... so right in man's sight, but ultimately abominable in GOD's eyes.

But GOD is GOD, and satan is most definitely not... he's just a wannabe... like many of the world who are puffed up with pride.

Then Job replied to the LORD: "I know that You can do anything, and no one can stop You." (Job 42:1-2)

Even my Lord JESUS in humble obedience said, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:39)

Because JESUS paid for my sin-debts by His atoning blood on the cross, i am free today and forever from GOD's holy wrath and righteous condemnation. Through GOD's abundant grace, i received the gift of the Kingdom of Heaven -- the ultimate Paradise -- through my faith in CHRIST. So is JESUS gift enough for all time? For me...a resounding Yes!

And you? What gift can you receive this CHRISTmas, this Holy Day, that could be worth more than Heaven itself, through saving faith in CHRIST JESUS?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Island Dreams -- Mere Shadows of GOD's Heaven

i have an ache in my heart. It's a longing to go back to the islands.

To me, this longing ache in my heart to go back to some island paradise is in Reality my being drawn closer to CHRIST's presence. I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. (Jeremiah 31:3) The perfect sun-drenched and idyllic tropical island paradise is but the physical representation of what JESUS' presence means to me. Today i fervently seek a closer, deeper intimacy with JESUS -- and sometimes the yearning for His Kingdom is so strong as to drive me to tears.

My deceitful mind would try to rationalize this soulful yearning as self-pity, or as a desire to escape earthly responsibilities, or as mere emotional homesickness for my other home -- that sun-kissed garden island, Taveuni -- imperfectly embodied as the island of my dreams.

But SPIRIT revealed to me that my deep longing for that unnameable something is not merely for Taveuni, but a crying out to GOD to be with Him -- in His presence -- for His tender embrace is comfort indeed, His perfect company is beyond words, His glorious presence an indescribable bliss!

In the presence of my LORD is unimaginable beauty, unsurpassed by any created thing on earth Yes, He is altogether lovely (Song of Solomon 5:16) -- for man has marred beyond repair the creation of GOD, physically and spiritually. There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. (Proverbs 14:12) There's no need to describe how humankind has adulterated GOD's pure intent of a paradisaical heaven on earth. There are still a few glimpses of paradise, but even these natural havens have been corrupted by man. But at least i can look at what's left of GOD's creation and still stand amazed in awesome wonder at His grand artistry -- the diversity, the minute details and perfect fit of everything -- i see GOD in nature...and i fall to my knees in worship and thankfulness that this infinitely wise, all powerful Sovereign Creator is my very own Father -- through my faith in the atoning blood of His Son, JESUS CHRIST.

In my Father's Kingdom is light -- all more shadows or darkness -- literally and figuratively. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of GOD illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. (Revelation 21:23) In His house is perfect harmony with all my brothers and sisters in CHRIST -- can i even grasp this joyful truth?! That amongst the innumerable personalities in heaven, we would all get along, no matter what skin, culture and idiosyncrasies clothed our spirits on earth. The nations of the earth will walk in its light, and the rulers of the world will come and bring their glory to it. (Revelation 21:24) That we would be literally walking on air because the joy in all of us would so make us so exuberant that we can't but float in effervescent, uncontainable lightness of being! He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever. (Revelation 21:4)

Even with my very finite mind, i can imagine this because the truth of GOD's Word tells me so (if anyone is in CHRIST, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. II Corinthians 5:17) -- that when i meet JESUS after this body has been used for GOD's purpose -- i will become at last in Reality what i've prayed for -- to be that likeness of CHRIST that GOD had always intended -- with my own individual personality, yet with all the perfection (wholeness) of JESUS. And all in heaven will be like CHRIST -- whole and in love! i can't explain this mystery, but i know that it is glorious truth -- for GOD purposed this before even His creation was made manifest. There is a happily ever after!

The world as it is today is sick -- literally ailing, like a man with a cancer. On his person, you can already see the symptoms manifesting as painful sores and unhealthy pallor. In his eyes, if you would look deep into the windows of his soul, you would see fear and desperation lurking behind the shutters of his earthly facade.

So when i long with such intensity for GOD's Kingdom, can you blame me? Can you understand? There is no escape from this earthly world that is full of ugliness and sin. It is what it is! Yet as a follower of CHRIST, knowing that this earth is but training ground and that the true Reality (real Life) is heaven -- i can live here with equanimity and can view this life with calm detachment because this is not all there is...and this world is not my real home. We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. (Philippians 3:20)

But there are times when i just want to be in GOD's Heaven already! Those times when i wish the Rapture were already Reality...It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. (I Corinthians 15:52)

So on the days i get impatient and antsy, i ask Him to enable me, to empower me, by His abiding SPIRIT so that i may continue to worship Him wholeheartedly, no matter what -- to wait for His return, standing firm on the Rock of Ages, immovable and steadfast in the palm of His almighty righteous hand; and to watch for His directives -- to be alert and ready to follow His be unattached to the things that grab at my be at all times holding on very loosely to the stuff of the be vigilant of my heart so that nothing may separate me from my fellowship with GOD as i walk in step with Him.

Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For GOD has said, "I will never fail you. I will never forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)

For to walk with GOD, with CHRIST JESUS, is the most wonderful GODventurez of this lifetime...and to be with Him in His presence forever is my Reality -- the Truth that allows my inner being to walk undaunted in this fallen world, with unfathomable peace and indescribable joy, which is in the Person of CHRIST JESUS -- my LORD and Constant Companion.
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy SPIRIT, who leads into all truth. (John 14:16-17a)