“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good…in honor giving preference to one another…serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuingsteadfastly in prayer…” Romans 12:9-13
Yesterday is gone, you have today, set your sights on tomorrow…
“…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.
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
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 intowhat 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.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable…do notrun aimlessly…do notbox as one beating the air…But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
This class is a verse-by-verse study of the Gospel of Matthew with specific emphasis on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His claim to be the Messiah. Because this Gospel is directed towards the Jews, Matthew uses numerous Old Testament references to the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
A verse-by-verse study of the entire gospel with emphasis on the theology of the Gospel of John and an in-depth look at the work and person of Jesus Christ, focusing on His deity and humanity. In addition to learning the contextual meaning of the book of John, students will address the place Christ holds in their own hearts specifically and the rest of the world.
1 & 2 Samuel (Life of David)
King David holds the unique title in scripture by God of “A man after God’s own heart.” He was a shepherd, a type of Christ, a prophet, a warrior, a musician, a hymn writer, a notorious sinner, a lousy father, and yet one of the greatest leaders in the history of Israel.
In this class we take an in-depth look at the man with this unique title and learn what we can discover about God, about leadership, and about what it means be a man after God’s own heart. This will be an interactive class, combining lecture with spirited class discussion.
This is a verse-by-verse exposition on the book of Ecclesiastes. Attention will be placed on helping the student understand the book’s place in Scripture, discussing its author, the moral issues revolving around the meaning and actions of life, discovering and applying God’s greatest good to our lives.
The goal of this class is to deepen the student’s relationships with Christ while gaining an academic and devotional understanding through Isaiah, getting familiar with the form and structure of the book. The student gets to learn about the basic theology, purpose, authorship, and various historical accounts related to Isaiah.
Though Isaiah relates God’s judgment upon those who reject Him, some of the most beautiful and profound prophecies of the Messiah are found in this powerful book. This is a chapter- by-chapter, expositional study.
This class is designed to help bilingual native readers /speakers have a better understanding of the English language and help improve their ability to communicate and express themselves confidently. We will focus on developing conversational and writing skills through the study of English language fundamentals, primarily through grammar and syntax (language rules).
This class is a time of fellowship for couples and singles where subjects concerning the marriage relationship are discussed. Letting scripture reveal how a Christ-centered marriage is foremost in a covenantal union between a man and a woman, the course will include a biblical understanding of men and women and discuss matters related to courtship, engagement, and areas that make marriage according to God’s plan for the family.
“The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.” Ecclesiastes 12:11
Are the heart of your eyes ready for God’s revelation of Himself through His Word?
These are the books of the Bible, and other courses offered in our Spring 2020Off-Site Semester.
MATTHEW NT351 – 3 CREDITS*
The Gospel of Matthew presents Jesus as the long awaited King of the Jews. This class is an exegetical study of the gospel with emphasis on the authorship, context and content as written by Matthew. Discover why Matthew wrote his account, it is a defense for an early authorship of the book, and what the political, historical and cultural world of Jesus in the first century was that affected the writing of Matthew.
As students of scripture, you shall also examine how the gospel of Matthew fits in and compliments the rest of the Bible.
JOHN NT354 – 3 CREDITS*
The class aims to bring transformation to the student through a verse-by-verse study of John’s gospel; it is designed to bring an exegetical understanding leading to a Christ-focused passion through the text, for His glory. The book is recognized as the unique fourth gospel that gives us a unique portrait of Jesus Christ like no other book of the Bible.
ECCLESIASTES OT330 – 2 CREDITS
The course is a verse-by-verse exposition of the book of Ecclesiastes. Attention is placed on helping the student understand the book’s place in the canon of Scripture, authorship, ethical issues revolving around the meaning and actions of life, solutions to problem passages, and discovering and applying God’s greatest good to our lives.
I & II SAMUEL (Life of David) OT372 – 2 CREDITS
I & II Samuel gives an in-depth look into a time period in the nation of Israel when they moved from being a nation that had God as their king, to a nation that would be ruled by a man. These historic books give us a clear view of three individuals who played a major part in the history of the nation, King Saul, King David and the prophet Samuel.
You will learn much about God and the type of person that He chooses to work through from both the triumphs and the tragedies of these three men who helped shape the course of a nation and history.
ISAIAH OT332 – 2 CREDITS
The goal of this class is to deepen the student’s relationship with Christ while gaining an academic and devotional understanding of the book of Isaiah. Becoming familiar with the form and structure of the book, as well as its basic theology, purpose, authorship, and various historical accounts related to Isaiah. Though Isaiah relates God’s judgment upon those who reject Him, some of the most beautiful and profound prophecies of Messiah are found in this powerful book. This is a chapter- by-chapter, expositional study.
CULTS & WORLD RELIGIONS TH387 – 2 CREDITS
This class is a study of cults and world religions. As a class, we will first study the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, and then dive into the study of many religions and cults. With the goal being that of pointing out the differences between those belief systems with the divinely inspired scripture of the Bible.
The development and history associated with cults and other world religions, and how to share the truth with the spiritually lost people following these will also be studied.
BASIC ENGLISH ENGL101
This class shall provide students with the basics of English grammar, syntax, and composition using foundations that prepare you to communicate God’s revelation in writing, in a cohesive and understable manner. In this course, students will alsolearn and practice the strategies and processes that successful writers employ as they work to accomplish specific purposes.
These purposes include comprehension, instruction, persuasion, investigation, problem- resolution, evaluation, explanation, refutation and proper citation. In addition to preparing students for academic communication, this class prepares students to use writing to realize personal, professional, and ministry goals.
MARRIAGE TALKS CL335 – 2 CREDITS
This class is a time of fellowship for couples and singles where subjects concerning the marriage relationship are discussed. Allowing scripture reveal how a Christ-centered marriage is foremost in a covenantal union between a man and a woman. Click here for enrollment.
“…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. ”
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!”
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.“ Mark 11:25-26
“Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:36-38
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15
“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1John 1:9
“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
“…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
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
“…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