Going home to die…

A person who has Christ as his Master is the master of his circumstances.

Is your situation pressing in on you?

Do not push it away, for they are from the Potter’s hands. You will learn to master them not by stopping its progress, but by enduring through its discipline. Your circumstances are not only shaping you into a vessel of beauty and honor, but also providing you with great resources of value. *
Peter

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power might be of God, and NOT OF US. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in this body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” **

For us missionaries, Paul’s confession becomes real life experience day by day, by His grace. Once they were “just facts” of the Bible, and received as God’s truth. But now, we are learning to reckon them as “His truth,” yet ours, for we get to experience them on a daily basis. NHS 3By His grace we can make this our own confession. Paul’s truth has been made personal to us through the difficulties that serve as His faith tests.

Reading through the end of chapter 4 and continuing on Chapter 5:1- 9, the truth that a Christian’s life is a “walk by faith and not by sight,” becomes a reality we share with one another in the mission field. It is a daily walk with our Lord Jesus, relying only on Him to provide everything that is needed to build “His house.”

Loving Him, so we may continue loving others.
ATC-harvest
In this we labor, going and telling the world that is lost in its faith translation, explaining to every man and teaching every man the Jesus who is both the Son of God and the Son of Man, the God-man who so loved the world…that He gave…”for the love of Christ constrains us.”

* L.B. Cowman in “Streams in the Desert”
**2 Corinthians 4: 8-10, 2 Cor 5:7, 14a

Press On

The 2014 spring classes are drawing to a close and reality has set in. As the Holy Spirit would have it, each class, He has interwoven with the next.Acts-class

The books the students got to study this semester include: The book of Acts, Gospel by Matthew, Isaiah, and Romans; other subjects offered are: Inductive Bible Study, Apologetics, OT Survey 1, English, and Lectures.

Yes! Quite a mouthful, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

“Holy Week” in this part of the world concluded without much incident. Depending on your perspective, that may be good, or not. Tradition plays an integral part of life in the Philippines, whether you’re from the north or the south, the status quo is something people are content in doing.
Pagan idols

Earlier, I mentioned that reality had set in; actually, reality is already, for those who minister to the Lord through the study and teaching of His Word.

There is no doubt that God has called us to not just proclaim His good news, and now, entering the second year as “Word-smiths” in the Philippines, the truth that it is He who opens and closes doors. Like His servants of centuries past, we find ourselves in unfriendly waters, or should I say “indifferent”.Penitents w text

The Apostle Paul, in Acts 20, in saying his farewell to the Ephesian elders this side of life, he exhorted, encouraged, and warned them. Reminding them of the calling he received and by extension you and me, given by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Throughout the book of Acts, we see the work of the Holy Spirit evident in His work. Paul went through seasons appointed by God, just as my wife and I are going through. In North America, Europe, parts of Asia and South America, and maybe even Australia, for the most part experience four seasons, spring, summer, fall, and winter.presidente-at-pari w text

The Middle East, Africa, Asia and Southeast Asia, do not have those four seasons. A running comment about the weather here in the Philippines is that it has three seasons, hot, very hot, and very, very hot.

Summer is upon the Philippines. If you’re not acclimated to the weather of a different country, it could take awhile before you get adjusted to it. The sweltering heat could drain your energy, mentally, physically, and yes, if we do not depend on His river of Living Water, spiritually.

Throughout his missionary assignments, Paul faced “summer” wherever he turned. The gospel of Jesus Christ and His teachings were met in a variety of ways, unbelief, violence, and as mentioned earlier, indifference. Paul faced these things head on; he had received his commission directly from the Lord Jesus.

His life had been threatened, he was beaten and jailed. When he set foot in Athens, he witnessed idolatry at its finest; arriving in Corinth, the practice of sexual immorality. Some commentator’s say that this point while in Corinth, what he had gone through and had seen weighed heavily on his heart. He kept “pressing on” preaching and teaching.
Women-of-Taal
And the Lord, who knows the heart, “… said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” Acts 18:9-10

The Lord has been gracious towards us that He has spared us the direct bodily injury the saints of old had endured for His Name sake. It is what we have heard and seen around us, with family, friends, government, the cities and towns, the culture of the flesh, these are the heavy weights pressed on our hearts.

To be witness to the indifference, the callous hearts, the truth of what the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah is evident here in Tagaytay:

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, while their hearts are far from Me, and their fear of Me is a commandment taught by men,”29:13

As if the onslaught of what He is revealing to us about the people we are called to minister to was not enough, He strengthens our faith and dependence on Him. The tent-making, the financial source He has used this one year and a half has been diminished drastically.
Encouraged-2
Only a few in California have received and shared the vision of teaching the Word of God here in the Philippines, we continue to hope and receive support from the churches. That they may, we may, all partake and lay up treasures in heaven and be part of HIS work.

God knows every fiber of our being, as husband and wife, and individually, He is faithful to bring us back to His word, which is life. The Lord God Almighty spoke and reminds in His Word, I always need reminding:

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the One who enlisted him.” 2Timothy 2:3-4

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” 2Corinthians 4:8-10

Jesus Christ is the Hope of Glory. Despite all that we have seen and heard, the seeming indifference towards the Word of God, He promises in Isaiah 29:14 the continuation of the earlier verse:
“Therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”Bike-gang
He will finish what He started, we get to be a part of that work.

What we get to do daily is to present ourselves to the Lord, as “a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship,” to entrust the day, all 86,400 seconds…our hearts, soul and minds to Him. Not to be tossed to and fro by the stormy waves of the sea, but to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.”
2Thessalonians 3:1-2
Encouraged-1
More on the fortnight.

What’s your story?

One student a year who hears God’s call would be sufficient for God to have called (My Father’s House, mine) Bible Training College into existence.Oswald Chambers

I find God truly amazing in the way He communicates with His children, in this case, me. I am known by Him as His “little one”, Nenita. That is what my name means or to put it exactly, little baby girl.

It used to upset me that my mother picked it from a movie, “Nenita, Ang Munting Koronel” (Little Coronel in English) whose main character was played by a child icon like Shirley Temple, Tessie Agana. Alone-againThis of course, is my mother’s story of how I came to be me. In college, my new found friend in Nursing School couldn’t properly say my nickname, Nenette. I became Nanette from then on, but at home with my family, it was still Nenette.

It will perhaps give you a smirk to know that there was nothing about my name, or me that I really liked. Neither was I fond of my own native origin, Biñan or for that matter, the Philippines as a whole. This my friends, is a subject best written another day but try not to judge me until you get to read Part II, the second installment. I simply wanted to give you a brief on how Nenita became.

Fast forward to today…I love me, I love my name and everything that it stands for. Little-girls-2I am joyfully my Father’s little one, and very proud to be. In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10:14-15, Jesus gently rebukes His disciples with this, “Let the children come to Me and do not forbid them for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Our way to heaven is born out of simple faith, that of a child.

Once upon a time, I was this egotistical, self- reliant and uber independent woman of the ’90s. I came, I saw and I conquered. I believed in me, myself and I. God wasn’t included in my life. But now I know that He was with me even then and will always be with me. He never lets me go too far that His hands wouldn’t reach me. He found me and saved me…from me.

Now that I am His, dare I say it…
Yes, I will shout it from the rooftop, I am nothing without His love.20131104-194140.jpg I exist because He is. I live, I breath and I have my being in God alone. Galatians 2:20 is so true for me, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

So what’s your story?

April Showers

At-Eternal-Gardens-3The life of separation may be a path of sorrow, but it is the highway of safety; and though the separated life may cost you many pangs, and make every day a battle, yet it is a happy life after all. ” CHSpurgeon

The hot summer is upon us and we are praying that God will help us settle in the new domain… I will be lying to you if I say that I am in my usual joyful self. “If God be for us who can stand against us?” But right now, it seems there is no end in sight, walking by faith truly takes on a deeper meaning when you are living this kind of separated life. So blessed that when I am in my weakest point, Rizty is faithful to encourage me.At-Eternal-Gardens-2

I wish I could indulge myself in vain musings about “could haves, should haves and ought to’s” with you all , if only to vent and have your ears as sounding boards…but I know that even this is authored by pride, and God isn’t pleased by such behavior. I covet your prayers my dear sisters…not to mention your financial gifts. God knows what we need and we all have been chosen to go through much tribulation with fear and trembling before entering the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22.
At-Eternal-Gardens
We have been to five wakes and burials of relatives, two aunts on my mother side, two first degree cousins and one nephew, who I met again after 25 years three weeks ago at the wake of the first aunt who passed. Does this make sense to you?

At the funeral of my second aunt, she died at age 98, God was pleased to have me share the Word to some 200 near kins and next of kins and by His grace confessions were made and salvation in the name of Jesus received. “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.Psalm 90:12
Nanay-Pet
Charles Spurgeon expresses it for me quite well today in his devotional Morning and Evening.

The now experience of being separated from all the creature comforts of our life in the USA have been a test in our patience and faith…Riz and I laugh about this one specific and really mundane pest of not having a refrigerator. Get ready to share our joy!

We bought a used one for P 6,500.00 plus delivery of P500.00 on the good advice of my brother. Mura daw (cheap he said)…and it was, because we have canvassed many times and the 12 cu.ft, 2 door that we got would normally cost P 28,000.00. I am writing this so you can laugh with us…sharing a joke here. That was over a month ago when it was delivered. It came to us dirty and we had to really fumigate it (there were remains of cockroaches and other critters in the rusty, not rizty, compressor area), and when we finally came to, after cleaning it for two hours and plugging it…voila! It didn’t give cold air.Wow!

So we waited, and that was 2 o’clock in the morning….we waited till the next day….nothing and the next….still hot air. The story continues…

After telling my brother, who was quick naman to drive again from Biñan to Tagaytay, he found the copper tubing broken and surmised that while transporting it someone might have held on to it and it broke, releasing the freon!MIA-Rachel

To date, we do not have a running refrigerator (ref for short) and this 2nd hand ref that we got, my brother took the fall and reimbursed me and still sits in the kitchen occupying space waiting to be picked up and fixed so he can sell it to another party!

Our number 1 son loaned us his old personal sized ref which has been kept in a bodega for years; and we got to use that for a week…then the freon also went out on us. It was fixed and after two weeks came back to us only to die gain after another week! So how do we thrive?

We go to Andoks (a chicken fastfood the likes of El Pollo Loco) for a P 50.00 meal every once in a while as a treat. Or we feed on pineapple, kangkong (a type of spinach), and buko(coconut) which we can buy from street-side vendors. There is also talbos ng kamote and malunggay (which I get for free anywhere I can find it), Skyflakes crackers and pan de sal and “Ques o” (a cheese brand that isn’t quite Tillamook, but it is still some kind of cheese) which we get at Robinsons or at an SM grocery, depending on the budget we have. Are you laughing with us yet? Oh please do….

Such is our separated life and what can we say?
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!” Phil 4:4
Malikot
Whatever pleases God, we will embrace in joy…Though we are caught in these petty but can be trying (sometimes, like lately?) nuances of this new adventure, we are reminded daily…

Even when it tries your patience, count it all joy…Even when it seems hopeless, count it all joy.

And in everything give thanks…

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.Philippians 1:3-11

Thank you for sharing a laugh with us even us we are separated by 3,176 aeronautical miles. We’d love to hear from you, try not to forget us if you can. SMILE!
Board-members-daw

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter And your lips with shouting.” Job 8:21

Arise…

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
1John 3:18

…in deed

In Colossians 1, I learned that it is Jesus who presents us holy, blameless and above reproach before the Father. So therefore, all we get to do every morning is disciplining ourselves to offer our body parts alongside His presentation. God sees Jesus in us. Isn’t this the grandest truth!

I get to partake of God’s remembrance during the teachers’ devotional time after school at CLC everyday. He reveals much to me…to each one of us. The children are children, each one seeking attention. I am in awe that it was the way of the children with Jesus.

Do you remember how Jesus is always surrounded by children? How He reminds you and me that faith must needs be like that of little children. I am so humbled, and because I now know each one of these 4th, 5th, & 6th Graders by name, I get to call them by their first names.

His ahavah(love) and shalom(peace) towards me overwhelms me.

“Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1b

…in truth

The Bible Study in Biñan got a kick start and I thank God so very much. I know it is an answered prayer…it just never occurred to me that I will be His sent one and that it would happen last Saturday (August 11). My honey needs to be here.

How beautiful it is to be discipling the family…my own brothers, their wives, their children and my own son partaking. Though my flesh suggests it is a toil to do, it is an hour drive is all from where I am staying, my Father tells me to go. He directs my steps continually.

Do place it in your hearts to pray for their “growing in His grace, being filled in the knowledge of His will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, and giving thanks to the Father who has qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1

Miriam suggests I should just stay through Sunday so that I may be able to give them some of my time. I see the wisdom in it but I will take it one weekend at a time and trust God to direct my steps. All in His care. I surrendered in peace and let go of the original plan to stay close to Quezon City.

He says let’s go to Dasmariñas on weekdays, let’s go to Biñan on Saturdays, I will wait and see how He wants to handle my Sundays. I was really blessed to be visiting the Church of God in Jabez last Sunday. Do pray for what God has planned in as far as the role of this local church in seeing to the building of My Father’s House Bible College in Tagaytay City.