Unfiltered ramblings

“…Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” John 2:24,25

Since that weekend of March 13, 2020, the world has spiraled for the worst; getting a heaping of obfuscation here, paranoia there. These things can easily side-track us. “…fear not, be of good cheer…”. Jesus Christ has overcome the world! Our prayer is that as you read, you will be encouraged you, all to the Glory of our God and Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

As you flip through these pages, that these are “one mans” thoughts and observations through the lens of Scripture, the standard we all ought to live by. God’s truth becomes personal when I read and apply what His Word says to my everyday. What you have is our continuing journey for “such a time as this.

Leaving 2019, great hopes were in the horizon for the new decade, 2020 started with promise for my wife and I. This is our report…as of June 30, 2020.

The New Year was welcomed with at the home Errol (our son), his wife Cynthia, their children(Nathan, Anya (Nathania), and Nicolas) in their home. Nenita and I spent 2019 Christmas and New Year with them as in previous years.

1st On January 1, 2020, we drove up to Baguio (summer capital of the Philippines). Joining us were Lorenza, (Cynthias mom); coming along were friends: May, her husband Mike and their two children; and Boni, his wife Judith and their two kids.

Baguio City, family & friends January 3, 2020

That was how we kicked off 2020.

2nd …entering the second week, we settled in. But then, a passenger jeepney ran into us, a rear-right-end collision. The cost of the damage was not cheap, for parts and labor, however, the Lord provided the funds through two of the brethren. No one was hurt, thank you Lord.

3rd. Those were followed by the eruption of Taal Volcano near Tagaytay on January 12th. Portions of Northeast Calabarzon received a pungent dose of briny ashfall. You remember that Tagaytay was where MFHBC started the Lord’s work in 2013.

4th Spring Semester started the second week of February. Classes were held at Kingdom Ministries in Silang, Cavite. As you might recall, Pastor Sandy Molo had gone home to be with his(and ours) Lord earlier in December, the relationship the Lord forged between Bro. Sandy and MFHBC continues to this day.

5th The last week of February found us alongside the saints of Fortify on the island of Palawan, in Puerto Princessa, southwest of Luzon. Fortify, God’s vision received by Pastor

Team FORTIFY 2020 in Palawan

Rod Thompson, builds partnerships through the equipping of independent churches in the Philippines. Fortify first came to the Philippines via Tagaytay, the week my journey for a CABG4 bypass began in 2016.

We arrived from Palawan March 3, to continue the semester in Silang. The following week, Nenita celebrated her birthday, a Tuesday, March 10. The remainder of that week is as we say, shaped into what is now history.

6th The events we’ve witnessed and endured since that week truly is unfathomable. How that one weekend in March was transformed into a Sping nightmare in the Orient, and a Fall ordeal in the west. You don’t need me to rehash what we’ve all been through these last three and a half months, or 108 days beginning at March 13…but God.

Our students continued to stay in touch the first few weeks since that weekend in March. Thinking the “shut-down” would be short and temporary, we gave the students “homework” to keep occupied. They were to apply what they had learned in the past semesters, IBS/ Hermeneutics.

As circumstance would have it, most of the students faced limitations in distance learning. They all thrive on learning collectively and not individually, like a competition; in addition, they were faced limited WiFi and financial capabilities.

The first month, two of the students made the effort of submitting their assigned work. Demands of family along with other effects of the “quarantine” mandate from government, homework added to their already stressful days. The semester came to a grinding halt. The Lord has directed us to smoothly reboot the semester in August.

As we wait, I urge you pray our students. God has allowed this “interruption” all to His glory. For His body the church, that we may stand fast in His Word. This was something Nenita and I got to do. In addition to personal time with the Lord, we also found ourselves fellowshipping via the internet with other saints. These 112+ days showed me that I must needs to avail the much more of God’s grace from Jesus Christ, by His Spirit, thoughtfully and purposefully.

March, April, and May are normally the summer months. Curiously, when the government imposed the Philippines version of a “lockdown” and “ECQ (enhanced community quarantine)”during those months, we did not experience the anticipated heat. These were the months new words, acronyms, and phrases were introduced into our vocabulary: ECQ, flatten the curb, DOH, social distancing, CDC, virus, WHO, mask, and so on.

Another noticeable result due to shutdown of factories, minimized movement of motor vehicles, and people, pollution was also on a hiatus. The air we were breathing was cleaner, the sky was bluer and clearer, walking outdoors was conducive to everyones health, then government imposes limitations on such a “healthy” activity.

Nenita further reflected how the Lord has used the shutdown to bring revival, restoration, and rest to weary lives.

1) give earth time to heal from our reckless attitude toward it (Psalm 60:1-5);

2) allow families to be restored to Him, and to each another(Galatians 6:1-5);

3) remind His body, the church, to remain faithful (Jude 20, 21);

4) call attention to a Christ rejecting generation to God’s gift, His love, His Word to be received (Acts 2:38,39, 4:12; 2Corinthians 6:2).

Our dependence on the internet became evident these nearly four months. Again, an instance where evil meant to use for bad, God has used it for good: the Gospel reached the once unreached; Christian fellowship continued online; bible studies became more accessible; Church became a reality for many, no excuses; and many more.

On the ground was a little more challenging as we had more physical face to face, up close and personal encounters others (security guards, neighbors, soldiers, community enforcers, and so on). Regardless of how I view this “_demic,” which I believe to be a ruse, my main duty is to exhibit Christ in me to all men (Roman 13:3). Did I always succeed? No. But because of the grace of God, I am always able get up each time I fall.

Because we do not have a television, Nenita and I were more tuned to reports coming from the USA through the various “non-msm” information outlets off the internet. As Oswald Chambers calls it, we got to exercise the “ministry of the interior,”prayer, as the Lord brings to our remembrance those He reveals through the news, President Trump, our nation, Rodrigo Duterte, the saints around the world.

All in line with what we are called to do, “…seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace…”; “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving thanks be made for all men…kings…all who are in authority…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life…”

The months rolled in and out, we welcomed the new days as we experienced breathing room, for everyone. These days of isolation, the Word in Jeremiah comes to mind. The prophet was told by God to limit his social and personal activities; that was what the Philippines did the first three months of the _demic. This country is a people who loves to celebrate, looking for any and every reason to do so, during the days of ECQ, no celebration or mourning of any kind was allowed.

However,we got to celebrate; on May 28, the arrival of Isadora Jr., youngest grand-daughter to date; then in June feasted on God’s blessings for the birthday’s of Nicolas (11) and Cynthia; on the 21st of June, twenty-eight years of love and grace, our wedding anniversary.

Where we go from here is in His hand. We’ve committed the remainder of the year to Him who called us, which includes a planned sabbatical. Thank you for your faithfulness in coming alongside us through these last seven years.

God bless you and your house, Rizty & Nenita.

Fortify Palawan…and beyond!

Draw your water for the siege!

Fortify your strongholds!

Go into the clay and tread the mortar!

Make strong the brick kiln!

Nahum 3:14

A message for God’s workers regardless of the position, from pastors, teachers, deacons, administration, missionaries, musicians, etcetera…this evening as Rod led the 2020 Fortify – Narra, Palawan team in a time of prayer, the Holy Spirit brought me to this verse. My initial thought was that I would speak this singular verse to the team. But I could not muster myself, to get up, and by the time I did, it was too late, P Rod had begun the last minute reminders for the team for the next two days, had I missed my moment?02/25/2020

Yet the Lord allowed this verse to stay with, He wanted me to consider the truth encapsulated in this word in scripture. At first, the word ‘fortify’ stood out as it is the theme of Cross Culture’s missions ministry. I searched and found the word six times (NKJV). In a way, it reminded me of the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25.

Though this part in Nahum was a warning for the Assyrians in Nineveh to ‘prepare’ for the siege expected from the Lord, it may very well be a warning likewise for the body of Jesus Christ, His church against the apostasy that was, is, is to come.

Breaking it down, thus the Lord’s revelation to me:

The siege is the Field God’s workers scatter seeds on; plow in; and reap from. It is a picture of the battle the missionary faces, which is all part of the ‘job description.’ Paul gives Timothy the reminder that he is like a soldier, enlisted by the Lord, there are dangers from without and within the church. Hosea 10:12 spoke of fallow ground as does Christ when He gave us the parable of the sower of the four kinds of soil.

The water we get to draw from is that which is given by the Holy Spirit… ‘out of him will flow rivers of Living Water’ (John 4:14; 7:37,38) The battle begins by drawing water, so we are not weakened/dehydrated/thirsty spiritually, we are called to ask Him to fill us with His water to allow us to stand fast against the onslaught perpetrated by the enemy (Ephesians 6:13-20). Therefore, be filled with His Word, being in prayer in the Word.

Fortify strongholds…the church…the body of Christ…in the ESV, strengthen your forts…the congregation, the assembly of believers. The call is to not neglect coming together so that we get to build each other up in the Word in word and in deed.

The Bible is full of warnings/reminders against apostasy, Paul spoke of it, Jude was passionate warning the church of certain men who creep in; the old testament reminded the nation of Israel through Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Elijah, and the prophets…don’t go far from the Lord!

Go into the clay…(the people that make up the church, teach the Word wholly) strengthen it, tread…clay needs to be molded according to the Potter, mortar is “a mixture of lime with cement, sand, and water, used in building to bond bricks or stones.”

Jeremiah 18:6; Isaiah 64:8, spoke of the clay being in the Potters hand; then in the NT, Paul reminds us that we are God’s workmanship created unto good works…Ephesians 2:10…which is why his call to us in Romans 12:1,2 being able to present ourselves, a living sacrifice, not because of us but because of Him Who called us.

Make strong… as we go through the siege, the Lord Jesus tells us that in this world, we will have tribulation…but we are to strengthen one another because He has overcome the world… we are to encourage one another…1Thess 5:11; Hebrews 12:12; 1Peter 5:10; Revelation 3:2 we are called to fortify each other and ourselves…in the Word, in prayer asking as we ought…2 Timothy 3:16,17

The picture we have is that of man who is made of clay is strengthened by the three-fold elements of water, straw, and baking through heat under the sun.

This is the church of Jesus Christ being built up, Peter uses an Old Testament reference of being living stones; the other is that the Lord is molding us to the image of His Son (Jeremiah 18:4; Romans 8:29, 9:21)that is done by those three elements mentioned in this last paragraph…a picture of the Triune Godhead working on a vessel honoring God, God’s masterpiece(Poiema)… are you surrendered?

Is the Potter having His way in you?

Are you being…?

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

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

Follow Me!

Highways & Byways Update!

Praise! For the month of November, Nenita was used by God once again, seven people made a confession of faith and received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.Pillow case vendor Nanay Linda chooses to follow Jesus

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
John 12:24-26

The Lord speaks volumes, always, in both intensity and content (as in volumes of books). It is simply a matter of how close our ears are to His heart. Consider Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11,12, do I really take the word of my Lord for all that He says? If He tells me to stand on a mountain top, am I alone? I am not, He is there. We must be so close to the beat of His heart that we do not even miss a whisper, a still small voice, when He says something to reveal Himself and to teach us.

Such was the case this morning. It actually began Sunday morning while meditating on His word. Friend, I was racking my brain on what the verse was saying that I asked a brother at church if He had any insight on what God was saying on that verse. The Holy Spirit told me to move on, I did.
Lost? Not anymore!
Today, He showed me these in John 12.

What is a grain, a kernel of wheat; this is what the Lord compared His physical life to. You go out to the rice field, wheat field, wherever, there is hardly anything but land, waiting to be cultivated and be used. When the grain or seed is planted into the ground, it breaks forth and produces something that will sustain those who harvest it.

Shall I, who profess Jesus Christ as my Master and Lord, not desire to be planted where His pleasure is? Like a grain, I can be blown in the wind, broken, grown where I’m planted, die, and let the Word of God be my sunshine and the Holy Spirit my Living Water.

This is what our Lord addresses in v.25, if we continue to love our life on this side of eternity, I, we will lose it in the next; the opposite holds true to those who do not allow the things of this world be their security and considers this life as nothing compared to the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ and making Him known.

Jesus did not stop there, He gives us a choice, “If…” we serve Him, we must follow Him and if we do, we will always be with Him and He gives us this promise, “If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor…” How wondrous a promise is that? The Father does so not because of anything I did, but because of Jesus Christ.

The reminder is clear dear friends, not all who “serve”, follow Jesus. Think about that for a moment, Matthew 7:22. When we serve the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, we must do so out of a willing and joyful heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Once we do that, we follow Him closely. How many instances do we hear the Lord say “Follow Me” in the Gospels? When He called Levi, Philip, John, Andrew, the other disciples, the young rich ruler; when Jesus says “Follow Me” you should only do one of two things, either you do or you don’t.

Luke 18:22-23 is an example of one who preferred the luxuries of this world, and Jesus was saddened by the young mans choice; and there is that of the sheep, John 10:27, who hear and know His voice and they follow Him. At the end, as the Lord says to Peter, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You (Rizty) follow Me.” Two words that has turned the world upside down, simply because those who heard “Follow Me”, followed the King of Glory!

Imagine yourself following Jesus so close that you can hear the beat of His heart, you can smell the sweetness of the very Breathe that brought you life, as you follow Him, He is in front of you. On the day of judgment, or any day, accusations are hurled you way, your name is called. As you stand before the Father, He only sees one Person, Jesus Christ, the Son who took the penalty for all our sins. Did you get that? We follow Jesus so close, that as He prayed in John 17, we become one with Him, as He and the Father are one.

Honor is received by grace and humility, and not by coercion and pride, take care that you follow the way of your Lord Jesus.

A flower, grain, or any plant once it has gone through the entire process of being built up, there will always be a scent that is unmistakable, you immediately know that the smell comes from this fruit or that flower. Do you follow our Lord so closely that people can easily smell Jesus in you? In the darkness, does the Light of Jesus shine in your life?

Do not waver, follow Him!!! 1Kings 18:21.

O woman, great is your faith!

“Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire…”
Matthew 15:28

Do you remember the mother of the baby with hydrocephalus who came just in time of my arrival at Yakal in Biñan the past Saturday?

Aleli Santiago and the other families who live in Kaingin, Santa Rosa apparently do not get relief or any type of help from the government. Perhaps there is not even a church that has gone to do compassion services.

You recall her witness, she wasn’t supposed to be there but her feet brought her back in that street. It was appointed by God that she will come to know who His Son truly is, the One True God who can forgive sins and bring salvation. Praise His Name!

Now Aleli knows peace because of Jesus. You should have been there to see the witness of the new born spirit in her. I saw His peace on her face. Her whole countenance was changed. You must know that she waited for me to get settled at least, she could have decided to leave. In the noon day sun!

That was the first day the sun came out after almost 10 days of rain. I saw a sense of urgency in her. Of course we didn’t have a clue what the Holy Spirit had in mind.

Do you know that I almost missed that opportunity because I was focused in my own comfort? I was barely out of the Avanza and here she is begging for mercy because their house was flooded and they have no food. But for the love of God, I couldn’t just shoo her away because she was quietly persistent. And now we all know why! God wants to save her and show His miracle.

I believe that Angelica is miraculously healed from hydrocephalus even whilst we were praying.

Over the next three days His Spirit led me to pray and believe that she is healed. So when He led me to fast and pray for her, the Lord was also leading me to pray for the teachers here who are always thrown darts to doubt that Jesus is our Divine Physician and that they can run to Him first!

He gave me Isaiah 65:24, “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.

How to pray begins in praying.

The unreached-reached peoples of the Philippines await the gentle love of the Father in Jesus. Won’t you pray for their awakening…

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3John 1:2

  • Our health insurance is God. We ask that we be kept from all manners of physical attacks.
  • For our bones to be strong, our muscles to be flexible and our nerves to be steady and stable.
  • For our emotions to keep joyful, our minds to be peaceful, our ears to be alert, our eyes to stay bright, and for our hearts to be pumping at steady pace always.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” Jude 1:24

“…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…” Phil 1:6

That the Christ life may be exhibited in us, through us and for us in all things! That whatever we do in word and deed, it will be done in in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him….EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Vision

The vision is to see the Philippines as a true Christian nation of devoted followers of Jesus Christ, the One True God… One Church…One Message.
“For God so loved, that He gave..” Jn3:16

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”
Habakkuk 2:3

The Gospel

The Reason

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:16-18

The Promise

“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction…for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Romans 10:9-13

The Response

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:3

“…Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
John 3:5-8

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Romans 1:16