Thursday, March 13, 2014

Extravagant Love

I have a huge confession to make. And I am going to write it because I want to be reminded of this every time I slip.

You see, I have been a slack in my devotional time (my husband and I call it QT for quality time with the Lord) the past two or three weeks. Before, I used to wake up really early but now my body clock refuses to go alert unless and until it is six o'clock in the morning. And when I do not start my day with a quality time with the Lord, I usually mess up--when I have problems, I resort to talking with my sister or friends or my husband before even praying or talking to God and this would normally lead to more chaos. I can pinpoint many other illustrations but I would limit to just this one to save on time and space. But the end point is this: If I don't spend time with the Lord in a day, I usually make stupid and unGodly decisions.

But you might ask, "Hey, this post is about extravagant love. What's your point in sharing you slacking in your quality time with the Lord?"

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 Well, my friends...That exactly is my point here--the extravagant love of God. That no matter how many times I have fallen in this area, He still continue to shower me with unending grace and unconditional love.

But of course, this is not my license to slack or to sin.

My point here is this: I am extremely dumbfounded to wake up every morning and still feel myself breathing, still see and eat tasty meals, and still get to be able to dress nicely (ahem! I am claiming it! haha) and still think properly in the office and in my cases, despite my inadequacies and weaknesses! It is just so amazing to know how great, how deep, how expansive, and how perfect is God's love for me and I am just so thankful that I am not in control of my life.

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And I am so thankful that God is perfect and that He is not like me 'coz I would have given up on myself a long time ago. Really. If I were God (which, thankfully I am not and will never be and let me just put it on record that I neither have any desire), I would have punished myself severely for the sloth and all kinds of sin I do everyday. Every time I would sin or fall short, I would have my "payback time," so to speak.

That is, if I am God. Fortunately, I am not. And I am so much fortunate that my God is a perfect, holy, and faithful God. :))

Which brings to mind the need to deny the false belief some people hold on today that God operates the way we, humans, do--that for every sin we do against him, He will retaliate and cause us so much misfortune. While it is true that bad things happen when we sin, it is also equally important to stress that these supposedly bad things are just consequences of our bad decisions, actions, reactions, etc. In short, bad things happen as natural consequences of our sins.

But no matter how bad our situation may look to us, God's love for us never changes. The consequences of our sins may look bad to us but if we put our trust to the Lord Jesus, then He will make things turn out for our own good. Once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, His love will never let us go until the end, even if we sin or are in trouble. For it is written in the book of Romans, Chapter 8 therein:

 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Once we have Christ as Savior and Lord in our hearts, our salvation is complete. No one can no longer take that away from us. :)

This is the truth from the words of God, Himself.

And let me end with this picture that says it all:

Happy Truth Thursday, everyone! :)))

Thursday, March 6, 2014

An Answered Prayer: The Amazing Love

Last February 15, the Youth Group and Young Adults Fellowship in church co-sponsored a Post-"Valentine's" Activity dubbed as Amazing Love: The Truth About Dating, Courtship, and Marriage. It was a dinner-talk-show tackling the most discussed and sought-after topic among the youngsters today: love. Pastor Ianderson Balandang and his beautiful (inside and out) wife, Joan, were the guest speakers. They shared their so inspiring and so amazing love story, gave advice and tips founded on Biblical Truth and most of all, illustrated the true amazing love of Jesus Christ through their love story
Pastor Ian and Joan with the night's host, Irish Tan-Llorente, sharing that it is only by
knowing the love of Jesus Christ that we can truly enjoy a fulfilling earthly love story. 

The beautiful stage set-up collaborated by the Youth and the Young Adults. 

The Ates from the YAs making sure everyone has his/her sumptuous meal
of Payag's Chicken Inato or Pork Barbeque Meal. 
You know, looking at all these pictures makes me teary-eyed. You see, I have been praying for this event to materialize since 2012 and when it did not happen last year, I thought to myself that perhaps God's way of answering it was through the informal event we had at McDonald's during Valentine's of last year wherein we shared burgers, fries, and sundaes and talked about C and I's love story and ultimately, God's perfect love for all of us. I was not really expecting that the Lord will give me a very definite answer (actually more-than-I-can-ask-for) this year so this really shows what a sweet, sweet, Lord we serve! :)

For this year, the youth and the young adults joined forces together in prepping the stage, serving the meals, and in staging a contemporary praise and worship music. Each member was encouraged to invite at least one friend and to actually pay for the friend's meal to show illustrate to them the cost of discipleship. Imagine, there were 50++ youth who attended and heard the Gospel! We were not expecting that! One of the young adults hosted the show, someone from the women's group volunteered to train the youth for a dance-drama--and all these really show how amazing things work for His glory if His body will cooperate with each other and heed His will.
Some of the youth members doing a dance-drama of the woman who wept Jesus' feet with her tears,
used her hair to wipe it, and poured an expensive alabaster jar of perfume. 

The invited friends hearing the Gospel and being led to pray for Jesus to come into their hearts. 

The Youth and YA Worship Team

And I am sharing this because I want everyone to know that 1) God does answer our prayers and 2) His answers are always perfect in timing and in abundance! :)