“Consider the work of God…”

Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14

Consider, means…
1) To fix the mind on with a view to a careful examination
2) To look attentively; observe; examine
3) To have regard to; take into view or account; to respect

Praise the Lord for the semester that has been, a time of rejoicing and thanksgiving. Spring classes has just wrapped and it really is a time to “Consider the work of God…”

The Lord brought to the center this 2017 Spring semester: Marjorie, Cathy, and Ryand. Marj and Ryand join us for the first time, while Cathy has been with us consistently the past four years. Marj manages a small family business in the next town of Silang, she joins us with a heart to know the Word of God personally and deeply. Nenita is being again used by God to mentor this young woman. Ryand, on the other hand has been called by God via Negros Oriental, one of the islands in the central Visayan region. Cathy, a single mother of three, continues in her desire to be used by God in her Jerusalem.

L-R: Nenita, Cathy, Ryand, and Marj

Keep praying for these three whom God has sent that they “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2Peter 3:18

Jackson and Doy, serving God’s Word.

Prison Ministry
Doy and Jackson, our two brothers in the Lord who faithfully serve the inmates of BJMP in Biñan continue in their call to teach the word of God. They travel a long distance in obedience to the call God has put in their hearts, sort of like a Paul and Timothy, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them…” Hebrews 13:3. Praise the Lord for Armand and the whole brethren at the Rock of Refuge who comes along side us in the work of since my operation last year.

Bro-in-law Ricky and Armand

Speaking of last year…every newsletter/blog we get to publish is a herald of Praise and Thanksgiving to the Lord Jesus Christ for His work in us, for us, and through us, that includes you. Here is an excerpt from what God revealed of Himself to me a year ago, Praise Him indeed.

May 25, 2016
Philippine Heart Center, Quezon City
Last night was the straightest sleep I’ve had back here at the Philippine Heart Center since my re-admisssion last Thursday. After turning in at 9:00 pm, I took my ½ dose of diazepam, better known as valium, I woke up sometime between 10:30-10:45pm. My wife was sound asleep, so I tried to be relieved of the usual 2nd order of business of the day…no success. Once again almost by default, I found myself opening MUHH for the day. The Lord highlighted the coming day/s for me, beginning with… Matthew 6:25

Care from Errol, Cynthia, and Lorenza

“Jesus sums up common sense carefulness in a disciple as infidelity.(Oh boy)
Take no thought …”—don’t take the pressure of forethought upon yourself. It is not only wrong to worry, it is infidelity, because worrying means that we do not think that God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it is never anything else that worries us. I will not trust where I cannot see, that is where infidelity begins. The great word of Jesus to His disciples is abandon.”
After reading and ingesting these words, the main word amongst all those I listed, the Holy Spirit quietly whispers to me continually, “abandon.” What now? I turned the TV on for a half hour and watched tennis and only then did I fall asleep at 12:00am and awoke at 6:30am this morning.

Aunt Betty and Uncle Rudy

It was not till I literally abandoned myself to the caring hands of my Lord and Savior and God, Jesus Christ did sleep find its way back to me since last Thursday. There have been concerns on my heart that included escalating costs and my sanity of being confined to bed for nearly 4 weeks now. But as He whispered, “abandon” to my whole being, it spoke volumes that brought a quiet calm, bringing rest and peace for the day.

Mars and Neny Marasigan with caregivers.

Today He assures me in His word through Isaiah 30:15a “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” That is what He has chosen for me today.
This is a moment by moment practice that needs a lot practicing for me, even in the little and mundane things. Where do I start?

Visitors for the day: Auntie Betty, Uncle Ruding, Errol, Cynthia, Lorenza, May, Neny, Mars, Beth, Dina

My CABG operation took place late on May 28, 2016…The hours passed for how long I do not know…The first voice I heard was an unfamiliar but respectful one. I wanted to respond andsay something…but could not…I wanted to open my eyes…but could not, I had to be abandoned to His care. The hope of seeing or hearing a familiar face did not come till later, my beautiful wife.

It truly has been a time to consider the work of God. Every page written in my life, I ought to be consider as His. Am I quick to receive what He reveals? Praise Jesus for His patience towards us. Yes, it has been more than a year since that stretch of abandon. I have to exercise daily what He has already put in, it is to be abandoned in His grace…one baby step at a time.

Thank You Lord for watching over me, for bringing a throng of Your people to come alongside my wife and I, thank You for our children, dearest family members and friends…Beloved, Keep remembering us in your prayers.

“Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
2Timothy 2:7

Are you invested?

Just as the year started, we talked about making a resolve for 2017. Resolve as we apply it for the New Year or any time is: 1) to decide or determine firmly; and 2) to make up the mind. The opposite of having resolve may best be described as one who is double minded, in a manner of speaking one who cannot to decide to act one way.
psalms-1-1-2

In the Old Testament, we see in Psalm 119:13 the psalmist expressing his relationship with God’s word in this way, “I hate the double-minded, but I love Your law.” There is nothing more enduring than the Word of God. The Word will do what it has been set out to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). Which brings us to the next question, what will you…will we, invest ourselves in this 2017? The two listed definitions that best applies invest as it pertains to our relationship with the Word of God are as follows: 1) to devote; and 2) to lay out with expectation of profit.

We, the collective body of Christ at “My Father’s House” resolve to continue to be invested in 2017 and beyond, into the work God has called us, to “devote” ourselves in the teaching of His Word for the equipping of the saints, for the “profit” of all.

2016 was memorable in many ways…

– In May, the Philippines, elected Rodrigo Duterte as its new President; while the United States recently inaugurated its 45th president in Donald Trump. Though located miles and culturally apart, they are connected to each other more than both men will ever acknowledge. They both have love for their respective countries, each ran on unconventional platforms that many traditionalists frowned upon, and yet the majority of the people voted for them…pray for these two men.digong-donald-110916
– I underwent a CABG and mitral valve repair, in the common lingo, a quadruple bypass open heart surgery (can it be done any other way, than opening up my chest?). A reminder, I am no longer my own…1Corinthians 6:9
– There are many more events: terrorism continues, government corruption, media bias, attacks on law enforcement, celebrities pretending to know the plight of the common man, and so on…I note only these events only because they were personal to me.

Before leaving California, this question came up several times, “How do you feel about returning to the field? (The mission field)” Interestingly, I could not offer an immediate answer that was genuine. All I know is my wife and I draw our strength from the Lord. It isn’t a matter of how I feel but will I obey and follow our Lord.
hgcc-collage

What does 2017 hold for the Bible Center?
– We are anticipating five/six students to join us in Tagaytay
– “Off-Site” teachings are being prepared by the Lord, which may include these locations, Quezon City, Santa Rosa, Montalban, even in Dasmariñas and Magallanes in Cavite.
– The Lord’s ministry at BJMP continue as the faithful resolve to be invested in HIS work. (Matthew 25:36)

The two words we have examined today, resolve and invest, are qualities we see Jesus Christ practiced when He first came, qualities He exhibited to His disciples…He had resolve, (Matthew 16:21, John 4:4, wherein He was determined to accomplish to reach as many people with His word); and He invested His life teaching the disciples, Matthew 28:20; Mark 4:2, Luke 13:10, John 7:17…

It is only fitting for us to follow His lead…being always ready to go, just as Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me (us).”

Many of you resolved to invest your time with us in prayer along with your resources to further God’s work in Tagaytay and beyond…Let us press on!
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Cheers and God bless you.

Choices

Devil or the deep blue sea? Rock or a hard place?

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,  we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

An ominous combination if ever there was one, to talk about two cities I am all very familiar with. Charles Dickens, we are told, was making reference to Paris and London, in the years of great upheaval in that part of Europe, the French Revolution. Wherever and whenever we find ourselves to be, there is the least that principle of two at work.

During creation, “God made (two) them male and female…” Genesis 1:27; good and evil; the American Revolution, there were the British against the Colonies; Civil War that followed was between the North and the South; then in this world of economics, we recognize the have’s and the have nots; in the Bible? You have the Old Testament and the New Testament. So yes, it is often a matter of “a tale of two cities.”

Like Dickens, I sit as an observant of two cities, near and far. The first is Manila in the Philippines, the second, California, USA. One is the place of my birth, the other of my re-birth. One was where I learned to walk and talk, the other where I learned to run and speak.

Wow, the days are quickly unfolding just as the bible tells us. Well, for the next few weeks, we shall look at two cities close to me now repaired heart, the Philippines and the USA. Truly, each has a tale to weave. One like an older brother flexing muscles for display, which is all it is these days; while the younger sibling tries to emulate the older. Both are completely lacking the balance of strength and substance.  Lets take a quick look at the two cities, beginning with the younger one, the Philippines.

May 2016, two landmark events took place in my life. On the 1st of May, I learned my heart was doing a lot of things it wasn’t suppose to do. I had been overworking it, leading to an enlargement and causing me to experince shortness of breath. In the final analysis, God had me go through a quadruple bypass, a CABG (read about it in previous or upcoming issues), along with repairing my mitral valve. The thing was, other than the shortness of breath, I did not exhibit the typical symptoms of a man going through a cardio vascular problem. Maybe I did, just didn’t know it. If not for the insistence of my wife and daughter in law, who knows where I’d be today. Thank You God for those two women in my life. 

The man God used to repair my heart. thanks Doc!

The second event had nothing to do with me, or did it? On May 9, the Filipino people went to the polls to go through a national “bypass” of its own.

They were to elect the next man, or woman, who would lead a people of more than 110 million over the next six years. Five people vying for the top spot of President of the Philippines. Over the last 30 years, the country has been overworked with pronouncements  of all sorts of promises, all in the name of “justice,”but the truth is, the nation was, has been, hemmorhaging morally, politically, socially, and spiritually. Was I like that? Will the people, like I did, wise up after years of unhealthy living? Needless to say, the operation/election was a success. Now that God has given me another chance to honor Him, will I? As for the Philippines, will the people take stock, not just of the leaders, but of themselves. 

Philippine Presidentiables 2016

Cause you see, just because the doctor says “we’ve repaired you…take these medicines…etc…” What they also tell you is the required rehab, re-conditioning towards a healthier lifestyle so that I get to maximize the use of my new heart. It will take at least 3 years for me to feel the effects of the heart operation I went through on May 28. What does the nation and me have in common? The repair has been done, but rehab continues. By definition, rehab means “a course of treatment designed to reverse the debilitating effects of an injury; to restore or rehabilitate.” I am going through rehab. The nation needs to go through rehab, morally, socially, politically and most import, spiritually. 

I’m realizing for myself, that rehab isn’t accomplished with simply doing x number of sessions, then you see results right away. No! The old bodybuilding axiom, no pain no gain, holds true in every aspect of life, it holds true in the matter of my heart and the Philippine nation. I had to get repaired where I was produced, just like other products; but in my case, my warranty repair was covered by God.

With my lovely wife Nenita and rehab doctor.

As for the Philippine nation,God is willing, are you? He says to you, to us, “Come!” He also says, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2Chronicles 7:14

Will you? Think about it, see you next time as we talk more about the”two cities” in my life. You may have more than one city as well, selah…lets…

Grounded…What now heartache?

On July 20,  the 2012 Ford Fiesta a.k.a. our vehicle had to be towed to the repair shop. Two days before the tow, the car would not “start.” Like a “smarty pantsy” fool, I positted all possibilities why it would not start. These included hypothesizing the following: it was too hot, affected the computer, lets wait for it to cool down; it won’t start when its sunny, lets wait for early afternoon; and there were other thoughts that crossed my mind as to why the car would not start. Like I said, foolish.

Fiesta

Roy, the service advisor, did the intake at which point I tried to sound “technologically adept,” he listened intently to my narrative on the history of the “non-starting episodes” of the car. Looking back, I think he might have thought me a silly rather than smart, maybe a “smart-fool?” Over the next two weeks, none of my theories ever panned out. It was like waiting for a diagnosis in which the doctor is unable to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong without going through a battery of tests. For two weeks we were without a “reliable” car, but thanks be to God for my brother in law Ricky, he lent us his car.

Interestingly, 108 days have passed since “my service advisors” were equally confounded with my condition. My wife later pointed out the parallel between my experience and that of the car.
The Fiesta had been installed with an after market GPS system which turns out is not compatible with the original specs of the manufacturer. In other words, the GPS was not properly wired because it was an “add-on” that Fords computer system rejected. What’s the parallel? 

In Ecclesiastes 12:13, I am reminded of my whole purpose, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭12:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬‬‬; in the ESV translation, we are given of the same verse, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” How do I connect this verse to the car? Bear with me…The Bible tells me, tells you, that I am made in the image of God…you are made in His image and as we read in the preceding verse…I am to “Fear God and keep His commandmentsthis is the whole duty of man (what I get to do).‬‬ That is my purpose. Consder these words, When “… God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good...” As far as God’s creation is concerned, it was all good. ‬‬ 


But sin entered the picture, like that misplaced GPS, it was never part of the original‬‬ equipment and ever since, there has been an incompatibility problem, a shorting of the car. Some days it will start, some days it won’t. Kinda like the flesh and the Spirit, Romans 7:15-20 and 8:6. As for me, I want to do what I want, did so before the operation, still do. Friends, the “heart of the matter, is the matter of the heart.” Instead of that infernal GPS, I should have been running on the “eternal GPS” (God’s Positioning Spirit) as evidenced in John 14:26 & 16:13.

I had to go through a quadruple by-pass because my internal wiring was in disarray that it shorted out from all my “past feastings”, and boy did I love to eat; the Fiesta? its wiring shorted because of a “foreign” gadget, it too, had to be re-wired and put in order. My part in caring for the car is to properly “maintain” it, as I must with myself.

Does this mean my heart can be continually abused again and again, by me? As in, I can eat what I want when I want to? God forbid!!! Of course I must needs to be mindful that my body is no longer my own, it never has been, it belongs to God (1Corinthians 6:19-20). 

Rehab team beginning with my wife, and doctor

My corrective, next step, began in an emergency room (I had to be towed to it) in May, only to end up on an operating table several days later n May 28; since then, I have begun to go through cardiac rehab, which serves as a reminder to know my limits. Rather than exercising my “rights”, these days, I get to learn to exercise my “limitations” and let God be God in my life, and this leads to a “healthy life” in Jesus Christ, for Him, by Him, through Him!

Heart Beats…from afar

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 ESV 
June 15, 2016, two days after being discharged from the Philippine Heart Center (finally) here I am back home in Tagaytay. Altogether I had spent forty days and nights under the watchful of care of God. He used people who were more than willing to be used by His Spirit.

Those people begin with my wife, Nenita, our children, from our eldest son along with his wife, to our youngest. Friends and family from near and from across the Pacific. On May 1, my wife, along with our daughter- in-law insisted  I be taken to the ER “just to make sure it was nothing serious.”  This was all because I had looked ashen and had shortness of breath that evening. Lo and behold, it was serious enough that I found myself in an ICU for the first time ever. And so the journey of my heart began.
Reflecting back, it wasn’t really something I was pleased with. I mean, who wants to be confined in a hospital, its only for sick people, right? It was only later the truth spoken of in Jeremiah 17:9, about the condition of the human heart had meat and meaning to my condition then, before the operation, and even now.Dude, mine was sick to “da max.” I needed a major heart “overhaul.”

a visit after a month at the heart center. Thank you ladies and men.

It took more than a surgeon to rectify this ole heart of mine, I was under the care of One who had the steadiest hand of all when it comes to affairs of the heart.

Heart Beats by God

1-at-BDH
Nenita and I preparing for the angio-gram. Which translates into an ambulance ride to the Philippine Heart Center through the streets of EDSA.IMG_1262

Joining us for the angio, Errol and Jun at the Heart Center.
2-Errol-and-Jun-at-PHC5-all-in-the-familyGetting a visit from family, Errol, me, Cynthia, Lorenza, May, and Nenita

3-Internet-accessHaving to go to the Cafe to make use of the internet available there, thank you!

9-visited-by-old-friendsOld friends visit, Gene, Freddie, and Robin. Thanks guys!
then New friends introduced by my lovely wife…10-visited-by-new-friends

7-Nurse-stationThe ones given charge to look after me and other patients, gather at their station, the Nurses Station.

IMG_1422
My surgeon, Dr. Rommel Cariño joins Nenita after the operation. Thank you.

8-first-steps-post-opMy first steps off the bed since the operation. Praise the Lord!

6-reflectionsNenita takes me for a drive around the periphery of the 4th floor. Reflections of reality.

12-post-op-stance
Post operative stance at the ICU.
14-trail
My legs, where the vein was taken from for the quadruple bypass. Thank you Lord for the hands of Doc Carino.
19-field-trip-at-PHC
Nurses going off duty give us a ride down the elevator, good job!
18-visitors-from-afar
New found friends from Nueva Vizcaya visit post op.
20-lab-work
Lab work at Silang Specialists Medical Center for my Pro Time, the balancing act.
16-Fathers-day-date-2
Father’s Day out to Calaca, Lemery, back to Tagaytay!