2020…How’s your eyesight?


How’s your eyesight?

“…that our hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. ”
Colossians 2:2,3

It is 2020. The New Year’s message on the first Sunday of January from our Sta Rosa home church was based on Proverbs 16:3 and 9, relating to making plans for this 2020. It is good practice. We ought to submit/commit our plans for each day and the future, big or small, to God. It is He Who establishes (superintends) our steps. It begins with examining our vision of God and who He really is to us.

It is in surrendering ourselves according to His abounding mercy, grace, and will that the plans we commit are established in the heavenlies. The Lord does what He does all to His glory and the question is, do we plan and do these things for His glory?

This brings us to the question, how’s your eyesight? “20/20 vision, as most believe is synonymous to perfect vision. Yet it is just a measure of eyesight. It does not at all mean perfect vision. You may be able to focus your vision at 20 feet, but still lack the ability to see five feet in front of you.
(Hence the need for Opthalmologist and Optometrist care)

For spiritual eyes, the Lord gives us His Word, the Bible. Note the reminder on the description for 20/20, paraphrased it says”…you may see from afar, but up close, you couldn’t see a cobra if it were in front of you…” Such is the life of a Christian. I can say easily, “Oh, I can see …” but, what do I really see? Often, we only see what we want to see. Truth is, if I’m not personally invested in that person, I really don’t know him/her, do I?

It is the same when we say we know Jesus Christ. I can say for my part, that historically, I knew Him from a distance based on what other people said of Him. I was not intimate with Him, I knew of Him, not really knew Him. Paul in 1Corinthians 13 tells us that, “For now we see in a mirror dimly…“, that was where I was, all things Jesus Christ did was all I saw (dimly), I did not see Him personally…”but then face to face…” Is when He took hold of me, face to face with Him, when He opened my Spiritual eyes…”Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” I am getting to know Jesus Christ daily, more and more… all because of His goodness.

This is a reminder for me, for you, for us this 2020, let the Word of God examine our spiritual eyesight. We are called to examine ourselves, to test ourselves that we may continue daily in Him. In Genesis, the eyes play a part in the fall of man (Genesis 3:5-7), but God…the eyes also play a big part in man’s realization of his need to be redeemed (Luke 10:23,24)

In the first letter of John, the Lord tells us. “all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.” In the middle of the verse, the eyes are seen being between “the desires of the flesh” and “pride of life“. His exhortation, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Thus we are to be sober minded in all things, to be watchful, to keep ourselves unstained from the world. The Lord exercises His sovereign will not with punity or malice in thought as some have believed, He is the loving God, consistent with His attributes. This is a truth we ought to realize sooner than later, it begins by allowing God’s Word to examine our eyesight.

That leads us to the question, do we see ourselves through the lens of men, or of God‘s? Most importantly, on whom do you have your eyes fixed on this year… and every year? The world? or God?

“Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!”

Lamentations 3:40; 2Tim 4:5; 1John 2:16; James 1:27; 1Peter 1:13, 4:7, 5:8

Click on select verse links to take you to Blueletter Bible

Inductive Bible Study

Coming this Fall 2017…beginning the last week of August 2017…


Inductive Bible Study
The purpose for this class is to teach and encourage students to study the Word of God by observing, interpreting, cross-referencing, and relevantly applying the message of Bible passages to their lives.

In Luke 11:28, Jesus says “…Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!

“Come and see…”

Learn with us…

Visit http://www.mfhbc.org and contact us at mfhbcinfo@gmail.com, or go straight to…

New Student
Returning Student

Hebrews

In the Fall of 2017…starts on August 30…

Image by: thehiddenmanna.org

The Book is divided into two sections: first, the superiority of the Son in His person and work (1:1-10:18); and second, the practical application of the superiority of the Son in the lives of believers (10:19-13:25)…we study these sections, chapter by chapter, verse-by-verse, “with a true heart in full assurance of faith…” (Heb 10:22).

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Hebrews 13:20-21

Come and see…join us, take Jesus up on His Word:
Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:29

Visit mfhbc.org and contact us at mfhbcinfo@gmail.com, or go straight to…

New Student
Returning Student

New Testament Greek

Coming this Fall 2017…beginning August 29…

A general overview of New Testament Greek grammar and syntax…we begin translating from Greek to English…learning grammar, syntax, exegesis, and diagramming…little memorization required in this class…we use tools like Greek-English interlinears and analytical lexicons…let the Spirit speak to your hearts plainly; “…The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father.” John 16:25

English translation above is John 3:16-17 ESV

In Isaiah 55:11, God says…”So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

Visit mfhbc.org and contact us at mfhbcinfo@gmail.com, or go straight to…

New Student
Returning Student

Gospel of Luke

Coming this Fall 2017
The story of Jesus Christ is the most important and most captivating story in all of history. In this class, you get to study this story as told by Luke in his Gospel.

The focus will be on the time, place, circumstances, and people involved in the events of our Lord’s time on earth…students will attempt to grasp a deeper understanding of Christ’s works and words, in light of Old Testament history and prophecy.

The ultimate goal is that Jesus Christ will impact your life as He did those first generation followers, leading you to love, worship, and serve Him as you serve others.

In Isaiah 55:11, God says…”So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

Visit http://www.mfhbc.org and contact us at mfhbcinfo@gmail.com, or go straight to…

New Student
Returning Student

“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

“There was a man…”

From Jackson Sia

The sky was dark and gloomy as we drove to Biñan for the prison Bible Study. We were praying that the weather would cooperate. By God’s grace, the downpour did not occur until we reached our destination. Praise the Lord! God is in control. I was really blessed by His providence.

Heavy skies over the ‘Sky Way.’

Prior to the study, we handed out gospel tracts to the visitors already there. We had a short chat with a jail guard, we inquired what the inmate’s needs might be. He answered,“toiletries…tsaka pagkain (and food).” In addition, we inquired what their needs were, he and the members of their detachment. The guard seemed surprised by the question, but at the same time pleased.  He answered, “toiletries din (as well), tsaka (and) office supplies para sa (for the)office”.

The study we have the privelege of leading these men and women through is the book of John. On this day, we were wrapping up chapter 3, a narrative on Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus and being born again. 

Most of the inmates seemed to be listening and were saying “amen” to what kuya (older brother) Doy was teaching. One may not be entirely sure if that “amen” was a real  amen or a mockery. All we know is what Scripture has promised about the Word of God… “It shall not return to Me void,  But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11. We were just as blessed seeing them intently listening to the gospel. Kuya Doy told me he saw an inmate become teary eyed. Why? Only God knows. Pray he would truly repent and his hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and many like him, that they would truly “repent.” 

Read up, John 3:3-21

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Before leaving, we asked for their their prayer requests. Many listed down prayers for their families; and silently perhaps for themselves (as most of them feel lonely and neglected. ) As I read through their requests, it is hard not to have mixed emotions. It is a joy to read that they are putting their hope in God, but at the same time…they had to go to prison before realizing their need for God. Not religion and empty worship, but true fellowship with the Living God. “For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.” Luke 20:38

Pray for the inmates and their families, the jail guards, and for us. May people be regenerated. May God be glorified in this ministry.

P.S. Here are some samples of the inmates’ livelihood products.  The wallets, however, costs as low as 60 and as high as 150. The rags are not yet available. Any income generated from these is used to buy the needs of the inmates and the facility. 

Livelihood products made by the inmates: floor mats (top shelf) and purses.

October 8, 2016

…we just finished the Bible study at Biñan city jail, began by reading John 4:1-21. It was a wonderful scene seeing the men and women again closely listening to the Word of God. The study centered on the living water and worshiping in truth and in spirit. Both men and women gave their prayer requests and we were truly the one being blessed after the sharing. 

Like the rest of the country wherein prison facilities are impacted by the influx of surrenderees, the count at the BJMP in Biñan is at 576 inmates  occupying cramped quarters. Pray for these and those like them, God bless you all!

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God...” 2Timothy 1:8

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…

Press On To Know the Lord

As September comes to a close with limited fanfare it is with joy we get to report God’s work continuing in the lives of the saints here in Tagaytay and the Calabarzon region. The “ber” months have begun which is a signal for preparation for the arrival of Christmas here in this part of the world. All will soon be festive and “trafficky”.

After the blessed interruption the Lord allowed in late May, which is my heart surgery, it seemed like all would come to a halt when it came to ministry “activity.” It did not…

President Duterte of the Philippines

The Philippines at this point is the focus of attention from the rest of the world with President Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs. He may not have the sophistication of a high profile politician familiar with “p.c. speak,” however, he is a man of great conviction. He is after all, I believe, God’s appointed leader for the Philippines for such a time as this. Borrowing a statement from Pastor Chuck Smith, “All we get to do is sit back, pray, and watch God work.” That is what we have been doing.

Segue to the work the Lord began at BJMP in Biñan more than a year ago. When my condition dictated my limited activity for the remainder of the year, including that at the prison ministry, unbeknownst to me, the Lord had prepared men who would take up the mantle for the rest of the season beginning in July. Praise the Lord, as I was informed that the men and women at the prison were in prayer for me. As of this writing, they number nearly 500 in their small holding cell.

As the Lord revealed to Gideon (Judges 7:1-8), the men to be involved with the Bible study at the prison went through a similar screening process. What seemed like the ideal team at the start in my mind in July, was soon righted by the Holy Spirit by August.

Team in July: Nell, Julius, far right, Doy.

Good thing it’s HIS team. They are currently going through the book of John, with the inmates participating in the reading of His Word.

Team as of September: Jackson and Doy with BJMP officer

Praise the Lord! Jesus Christ is watching over His flock in the jail cells of Biñan. “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6, He never ceases. Tracts, Christian based reading, and Bibles have been distributed not just in the jail but in the town proper as well.

Bibles in Tagalog. More needed!
Doy distributing tracts in front of the old city hall.

The next narrative involves the on-going  work of the Lord to the women through Nenita. Before my confinement, the women began their study on the book of Ruth. Meeting at the center once a month, it seemed to proceed at a snails pace because of my surgery. As of late, they have been meeting twice a month and are due to wrap up by October.

“Ruthies,” l-r: Leilani, Grace, Cathy, Marj, and Lany.

I am blessed to have a godly wife who is faithful to her calling, to me and the people of God…“the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”‭‭ Titus‬ ‭2:3-5‬ ‭NKJV‬

Not only at the center, dear ones! During an out of town visit to a church family in Quezon City, Nenita was treated to a pedicure and a massage. The spitfire that she is, that in no time did the women working there find themselves drawn to this woman of God. Nenita was teaching the Word. They all were listening…“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:17‬ Amen!

All ears.

Pray for these whom you’ve just met, some you know from the past, others just now. Keep praying for the work of God here in the Philippines. As Isaiah had written, “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.”

Let us keep in and partake of the ministry of intercession by the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our intercession.

Less than a month away before we all get to be with family and friends in the West Coast. See you then!