Marriage and the Love Between a Man and a Woman

RinaPeru's photo

It’s Bro. Edu Cortez’s fault, that very talented photographer behind the lens of Extreme Details Photography – glory to God! He posts these beautiful photos of brides and their grooms, their poses and bodies speak of a language only a man and a woman so in-love with each other know and understand. These evoke exquisite emotions that are not commonly felt – well, not by a wife in her mid-forties like me :)! But, alas! The hopeless romantic in me succumbs to wonderful thoughts about love stirred up by these prenup and wedding photos.

They definitely make me think about the love that captures a man and a woman and brings them to a place where they could give of themselves to each other – in mind, in spirit, in heart, in body – in the sanctity of marriage. It is almost magical; a spellbinding process that is beyond their control.

I can’t help but think about Jacob and Rachel. Jacob, upon seeing Rachel for the first time, wept. Could it be that the rush of emotions was like an avalanche washing over him he just couldn’t express it in words he chose to weep? A love so powerful it seized him in an instant and spurred him to kiss that beautiful young woman who had just captured his heart? The Bible tells that he “lifted up his voice and wept”. I imagine that there were actually no words that came out of his lips but maybe only a pained cry, the soul’s expression of an emotion so strong and wanting to be released. Doesn’t love do that? It moves you so much it hurts?

Without a doubt, the love between a man and a woman is beautiful because it was from God and created by Him. It was part of His design of things from the time of Adam and Eve. And though disobedience drove the very first couple out of Eden, God did not take back the gift of love that He had given them in the beginning. And so, it is what we know and have to this day.

wedding2

Man and woman were created for each other. They are bound by love that makes pure, sanctifies, and not defiles – only in marriage. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). The man honors the woman by giving himself to her in marriage, while the woman honors him by submitting to him. The husband is commanded to love his wife as Christ loves the Church (Eph. 5:25). The love of Christ sanctifies, nurtures, endures. It is a love that serves and suffers long.

So when I see a groom holding his bride with much love, care, and admiration, I am in awe of this wonder that God has given His creation.

I have been blessed with a faithful husband whose love holds in sickness and in health, in trials and in triumph. Often, the problem with couples, especially those who are still young, is that they are so idealistic. They look at other couples or spouses and compare. That’s where discontent, criticisms, complaints, fault-finding, and strife come in.

A year after our wedding, I experienced all these things with other marital problems. That’s why soon after, our marriage broke apart. (To read more of our testimony, click here).

When we received the Lord Jesus Christ and He restored our marriage and family, there were still problems and challenges we faced as husband and wife. But our Savior’s mercy and grace held us and taught us.

The world teaches women to be independent and self-sufficient, even to be independent (or defiant) from their husbands, thanks to the feminist movement. But this is in direct disobedience and rebellion against God’s commandment.

Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives [submit] to their own husbands in everything(Eph. 5:24)

For those who live and walk in the Spirit, we know that there is actually liberty in obeying God’s Word to submit to our husbands. Going into the marriage with reservations and holding back ourselves, and striving against our husbands could actually be a prison that we make for ourselves. When we willingly release ourselves in submission to our husbands, we usher in God’s approval, and hence, His favor, and everything flows easier.

This kind of submission doesn’t mean we must lose our voice. It means we honor our husbands by listening to them, respecting their decisions, opinions, and views, be led by them, and not usurp their authority.

This is God’s grand design for marriage.

I’m linking up with other blogs, please check the list at the side bar.

Journey with Jesus,

rina

The Precursor of Blessings

I’ve always mentioned that I thrive in drinking in God’s testimonies as much as I do with His Word. In my book Walking Along the Narrow Path, I used up a whole chapter discussing about testimonies. I am so blessed listening to testimonies after testimonies for hours each week in our church’s worship services. These are so precious that I created a blog to share just a fraction of everything I’ve heard. There are many amazing testimonies (we call them major testimonies) and just to have a taste of what I’m talking about, I invite you to visit Minister of Mercy.

Last Friday overnight service, I heard another extraordinary (aren’t they all?) testimony which reignited fresh new hope within me. That is what I want to share with you and by God’s grace, be able also to dissect the precursor of such wonderful blessings, the Lord’s answers to the prayers of faith.

Sis. Elizabeth C.’s only wish was to marry a man who is good and doesn’t have any vices. But she found out later that she did not only marry a man who was full of vices (cigarettes, liquor, women) but she also felt unwanted by her husband’s quite prominent family. And to add to her misery, she remained barren for more than a decade. She was “looked down to” by her in-laws. But she prayed to God to help her. This was before she came to know her Savior.

One day, her mother-in-law figured in a vehicular accident and sustained a broken hip. She needed to undergo surgery without delay, otherwise her badly fractured hip bone would rot and she would die. The problem was, she had heart disease. The doctors were in a serious dilemma: the mother-in-law may not be able to survive the grueling surgery. In either case, her life was at a great risk.

But the family gambled on surgery. Sis. Elizabeth was so afraid for her mother-in-law. But in that same hospital, she met a lady from Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry (these are the ones who visit hospitals to share the Gospel, give out invitations to the worship services, and pray for the sick). That Christian woman comforted Sis. Elizabeth and assured her that her mother-in-law would be prayed for by the beloved Hon. Pastor Wilde E. Almeda together with the prayer warriors and preachers in the Pastoral House. Sis. Elizabeth was greatly comforted knowing that there was a true servant of God who would be praying for her mother-in-law’s safety.

After surgery, the doctors were amazed at how the procedure went on smoothly without any problems. They couldn’t stop talking about it. But they said that they couldn’t assure a complete recovery for the patient and how long she would recover.

As Sis. Elizabeth had promised to the JMCIM sister, she and her husband attended worship service. She was so elated to have found that church. She believed she had found what she had been looking for. On that first day that she fell on her knees at the feet of Jesus, she asked three things in her prayer: first, her mother-in-law’s complete recovery; second, that she will bear a child; and third, that her husband will change.

Notice the arrangement of her prayer requests: she didn’t ask for herself first, but for her mother-in-law, a member of the family where she had always felt small. And this was even when she had been barren 11 years (I would think that should have come first). I think about Ruth, how she loved and clung to Naomi, her beloved mother-in-law (for Naomi had loved and accepted her completely). And God honored Ruth beyond her wildest dreams.

I pondered deeply on Sis. Elizabeth’s story and I arrived to this conclusion: the Lord honored her for her faith and humility (accepting Him without doubts and hesitation), and her love (she believed that this was the One who would accept and love her completely and make her happy, so she poured out her love to Him, for doesn’t the Lord marvel at the one who loves much? See Luke 7:47).

It is this:

…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Gal. 5:6 NIV)

And this:

With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful… (Psalm 18:25)

Her mother-in-law recovered completely in less than a month. But because Sis. Elizabeth continued to be faithful to the Lord, attending services regularly and praying incessantly, she began to notice that her belly was growing. She went to see an ob-gyne  but nothing could be seen through ultrasound. There was no baby growing inside. She went to different ob-gynes and clinics – the same result. They all concluded that her growing belly is caused by a myoma.

She sought counsel in church. The sister who brought her to the Lord told her to claim God’s answer to her prayer: she was going to have a baby. She was prayed over and laid hands on by the beloved pastor and was told that in nine months’ time, she was going to give birth to a healthy baby.

But because she didn’t have ultrasound result, her brother-in-law brought her to the Philippine General Hospital to be examined. The family’s cousin is a doctor there. She underwent ultrasound and other tests repeatedly, but they found nothing. NO.BABY.GROWING.IN.HER.WOMB. She was scorned by her in-laws and called her crazy for dreaming that she was pregnant. But Sis. Elizabeth held on to the words of the man of God.

We”ll pause and consider how God sometimes makes things so hard, complicated, and painful to test our faith: the words of the specialists against the words of the faithful. No baby was consistently seen, but doesn’t faith teach us to believe to something that is not seen anyway? At this juncture, I’m reminded by how the Bible defines faith. Read this:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen(Heb. 11:1, emphasis added)

On a glorious December day before Christmas, Sis. Elizabeth gave birth to a bouncing baby boy! Halleluiah! 

And it didn’t take long before her husband was completely changed by the Lord: a new man, born of the Spirit.

We read all four of the gospels and we learn that the Lord Jesus Christ operates through our faithBut without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

Might be linking up with A Holy ExperienceBetter Mom MondaysDomestically DivineRaising HomemakersBrag on God FridayEncourage My HeartSpiritual SundaysState of the HeartTeach Me TuesdayTeaching What is GoodTitus 2sdaysWomen in the Word WednesdayWomen Living Well

Widening Our Gratitude

Is unhappiness a frequent visitor? Unhappiness that comes from our practice of focusing on what’s lacking and what we think is wrong with our lives? Have our hearts been trained to pursue perfection (that is, of the world) rather than holiness? Eyes that see more of the world’s standard of beauty and success rather than the underglorified beauty of Christlike simplicity?

Maybe the scope of our gratitude has been growing narrower because discontentment has acquired broader territory, and we have missed many an opportunity to thank and praise God for the things that we believe are sparse and not worthy of our gratitude? Or maybe we have been living with more of “if only’s” rather than “even though’s”?

But what if we focus our eyes and hearts to Christ-beauty rather than to world-beauty? But Christ-beauty is entirely different from the world’s. They are exactly opposite and worlds apart, like two parallel lines that will never meet. For the beauty that is Christ’s —

are feet that walk the narrow and dusty roads bringing the Gospel of salvation to the poor, the sick, the outcast.

is a love that loves even the unlovable and the ones who count themselves enemies.

sacrifices willingly and serves joyfully.

If we train our eyes, minds, and hearts to focus on Christ-beauty, our gratitude will widen to even as far as uncharted territory. We will be thanking God deeply not only for the beauty and the goodness He brings to our lives but also for those things we wished to be better or to be changed or to do away with (but God put them there to prove us and teach us precious lessons). But what advantages us if our gratitude grows and expands?

True gratitude liberates the heart from discontent and ushers in pure joy. Joy that is unbreakable and remains. Gratitude honors God and a God-honoring life will be blessed.

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Linked to A Holy ExperienceBrag on God FridayEncourage My HeartSpiritual SundaysState of the HeartTeach Me TuesdayTeaching What is GoodTitus 2sdaysWomen in the Word WednesdayWomen Living WellProverbs 31 Thursdays

Discipline

Are you scared already just by reading the title (~ smile)? But seriously, we do need this just as much as our kids do. We bring out the letter of Paul to the Corinthians, dust it up, bring it under the light, and study closely:

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1 Cor. 9:24-28 NLT)

Highlighting these:

Run with purpose in every step.

Discipline the body, training it to do what it should.

Do it for the eternal prize.

In and after all your teachings, do not let yourselves be disqualified.

The danger is that, we may get used to doing those things that are not spiritually profitable, ways and practices that are unpleasant in God’s eyes, and our consciences may adapt to them and embrace them in the passing of time. The way we use our minds, eyes, lips and hands, and how we store up stuff in our hearts in everyday life – these will either lead us to a life that honors God or offends Him.

Here are just some of the things we may get used to practicing:

Being unable to concentrate in God during worship service or in private worship and prayer time. Letting the mind roam and focus on other things that distract communion with God. ~ (And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment – Mark 12:30)

Complaining, cussing, judging others, comparing, competing in the mind. ~ (Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things arejust, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things – Phil. 4:8)

Maintaining a thought life that glorifies covetousness, materialism, malice. ~ (But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints – Eph. 5:3);

Letting resentments, ill will, hurts, unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, pride be stored up in the heart and multiply. ~ (Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice – Eph. 4:31; Therefore, lay aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking – 1 Pet. 2:1; For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there – James 3:16)

Not making the practice of examining own motives. ~ (But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy – James 3:17)

Letting the eyes see and read things that make the heart and mind impure. ~ (…be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless – 2 Pet. 3:14; Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ – 1 Thess. 5:23)

Letting the tongue get used to speaking harshly, abrasively; snapping at the spouse, the kids. ~ (Let your gentleness be known to all men – Phil. 4:5; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness – Prov. 31:26)

Being carried away by an unsaved relative or friend to gossip. ~ (Do not cast off [your] first faith.  Do not be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which [you] ought not. … manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully – 1 Tim. 5:11-14)

Striving against the husband: criticizing, sermoning, not submitting to him or honoring him. ~ (Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives – 1 Pet. 3:1)

Spending too much time online and neglecting to spend time with God and reading and meditating on His Word. ~ (Continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers – Acts 2:42; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word – Acts 6:4)

Giving more priority to social networking, TV, phone, going out than to tending the home and the family. ~ (She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. – Prov. 31:27)

Giving more importance to fashion and how one appears to the world rather than on how to be a light to others, reflecting the Lord’s beauty and showing Christlikeness. ~ (Let others see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves – 1 Pet. 3:2-5)

 It is easy to read the Word regularly, yet, when this is not lived out in everyday basis, in every opportunity and situation, it will not have its mighty work in our lives. Walking in the Word and practicing all its teachings need our conscientious, diligent, intentional, steadfast efforts. We need discipline.

Linked to A Holy ExperienceBrag on God FridayEncourage My HeartPink SaturdaySpiritual SundaysState of the HeartTeach Me TuesdayTeaching What is GoodThe Beauty in His GripTitus 2sdaysWomen in the Word WednesdayWomen Living Well, We are That FamilyProverbs 31 Thursdays

Seek First God’s Kingdom {Solomon’s Choice}

(Photo source: Google images)

(Bible readings: 1 Kings 3:5-14; 2 Chron. 1:7-12)

When the Lord God asked Solomon in a dream what he wanted, he asked for wisdom and knowledge for him to be able to govern and judge God’s people Israel. The Lord was so pleased that Solomon had asked for these things to be able to administer justice, and not long life and wealth for himself, nor the lives of his enemies, that He promised to give him also what he had not asked for – wealth and honor.

King Solomon’s foremost desire was not for his personal welfare but for the welfare of his kingdom – God’s people – that he may be able to successfully accomplish the huge task that the Lord had placed upon him. And the Lord gave him more than he had asked for.

This is a classic and perfect example of the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise in Matthew 6:33:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Mat. 6:33)

All who have been taught the Word and have read the Gospel know this. Some of us even grew up singing it in Church! But many of us still do it the other way around – tend to our business first then seek God in our extra time. But when we do it this way, we find that we are mostly on our own. And even if we give it our all, in the end we may find that not all these things have been added unto us. That is, we may find that all our efforts have not produced all and exactly what we have been dreaming of.

To seek first the kingdom of God may mean a gigantic, life-changing decision to one or an everyday simple but wiser choice to another. A father may totally give up his work and profession to become a full-time preacher, trusting that the Lord will provide for his family and for the education of his children. Or a wife and mother would choose to seek the Lord’s face first thing in the morning and spend precious time in His presence before tackling the numerous chores that await her. Then she would find that the Lord has added these to her: renewed strength, inspiration and joy to face the day and its challenges.

The opportunities to seek God first may also come any hour of the day. When there is chaos in the family and we are near to breaking point, we may scream in total frustration and helplessness, vent out our anger at our spouse or kids, walk out, or we can sink to the floor on our knees, give honor to God, sing praises to Him, sing, sing, sing, until the heart quietens, and pray, pray, pray, until all the inner turmoil flies away and peace takes its place.

We then realize that by seeking the Lord in the midst of a problem, He adds all these: comfort, peace, strength, wisdom, guidance, solution.

When we seek God first and His kingdom, the principle that was applied to the life of King Solomon in which he received wisdom, wealth and honor  – this same principle will God use to operate in our lives.

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My gratitude list – I’m thankful to the Lord for:

  • The aroma of bread baking in the oven that fills our home. In photo is ham, tuna and cheese bread that we made.
  • The sweet fragrance of these lovely stargazer lilies.
  • Our hibiscus plant blooming proudly everyday.
  • The healing of my beloved husband’s sickness which lasted for a week, but the Lord is merciful!
  • The opportunity to give counsel to a friend which she sought.
  • Playing with my little Tim, the giggles and peals of rich laughter that we share!
  • Watching my daughter Hannah blossom into a lovely littlest woman.
  • My new praise and worship CD: You are Love by Darlene Zschech.
  • The gift of writing and the anointing, wisdom and inspiration that come with it.

Lessons from the Workplace

We make our very first ice cream in our new ice cream maker and I can’t help but be reminded of my second job (my first job was a 2-month stint in a thermoplastics plant) after I graduated from college and took the ChE Licensure Exams (this was over two decades ago :-)). It was a dream job for me – working in the Quality Assurance Department of an ice cream factory. A large food processing company, one where I also had my practicum during college (and where I met my husband), bought a local ice cream brand, and I was one of those who were deployed in the former owner’s plant during the transition period.

Being a newly-grad, I was overflowing with enthusiasm to do my job. The old ice cream plant reeked of technical problems that affected the quality of the product and overall efficiency of production. Because of these, I made several practical innovations in some of the processes, like stabilizing the cooling temperature and shortening the cooling time, etc. I also made improvements in the data monitoring and recording systems, and I discussed and taught these things to whoever was new and assigned in the production line.

I was also overly eager to make reports of all the observations and problems that I and my colleagues encountered, not forgetting to enumerate my recommendations. And thus, I did.

I had to learn at that early stage of my career the heartbreak competition in the workplace brought. Apparently, it wasn’t that easy to perform finely and be well-accepted by everyone at the same time. I learned painfully that it wasn’t only me who had big dreams in the field, and because of that, I encountered the “ugliness” of competition.

When I was in college, I picked up a line in a movie which goes this way: “Competition brings out the worst in the human animal.”

And I do believe that this is true in most cases. And there is also a well-known proverb in our country, one that speaks of “crab mentality”. We know the crabs, that if one of them is trying to climb to the top, another one would promptly come to pull it down.

Controversies, dishonesty, pride, ganging up, hostilities, unfairness… – all these affected me and made me cry. So I quit.

Looking back now, I know that if I were a born-again Christian then, everything would have been different, because I do believe that a life walking closely in the Spirit and guided by the Word of God is a different life altogether.

Well, I am talking about these things now not because I am still active in my profession, for fact is, I have prematurely retired due to my illness and have fully surrendered my life to the Lord. But I thought of sharing these things believing that I might impart some words of wisdom, so to speak, to one who is struggling in the workplace.

Wherever we find ourselves in – whether in relationships, in the community, in the workplace, or in the industry we do business in – it’s really hard to be alone, fully relying on our own strength, abilities, and intellect. But if the Spirit of the Lord is in us, we rely on its wisdom and guidance, and we learn to deal with the challenges that we encounter in our work with grace and courage.

One godly virtue that stands out in my mind now which I believe could change our whole situation in our work is – HUMILITY. If we have learned this and we truly have it in our hearts, we are out of the clutches of pride and competition. A humble spirit can dwell peaceably with any kind of personality.

There are rewards in embracing humility (and keeping the Lord’s commandments overall):

  • Obtain God’s grace

…Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (1 Pet. 5:5)

  •  Gain riches, honor, life

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. (Prov. 18:12)

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life. (Prov. 22:4)

  • Gain leadership and superiority

And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them. (Deut. 28:13)
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Continuing with the giving of thanks and exalting the name of our Shepherd and King – JESUS CHRIST!

I guess we’ve been so enthusiastic with our new ice cream maker that we made another batch – chocolate fudge ice cream. It’s a hit with the whole family :-)!

Ice cream before bedtime? But then again, I’ve been young and now an adult, but I haven’t known any child who doesn’t like ice cream. But more than enjoying ice cream is the love, joy and peace that dwell in our hearts and home, and I thank God everyday for that.
Banana and jackfruit spring rolls. I thank the Lord for strength to do simple tasks such as cooking for family. This is a snack that’s very simple to make but one that the whole family loves. If you’d like to get the recipe, it’s in my Homemaking page. Click here.

I thank the Lord for His Spirit – a constant, comforting Companion.

My little Tim singing Michael W. Smith’s Agnus Dei. Although lisping through the lyrics, he does it fervently.

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise… (Psalm 8:2 NIV1984)

For my blog followers, visitors, readers, and all of your heartwarming comments. I thank the Lord Jesus for the blessed opportunity to minister to you, and I do value the connection and friendship.

For flowers that continue to bloom in the garden. And although they are not in profusion, I still admire their beauty, one that only God could paint perfectly.

Related articles: To Be Christ-like: Meek and Humble; The Dove and the Serpent {To Be Gentle and Wise}

Participating with Multitudes on Mondays at A Holy Experience.

This post is also linked to Titus 2sdays, Domestically Divine, We Are That Family, Women Living Well, Raising Homemakers, Women in the Word Wednesday, Proverbs 31 ThursdaySpiritual Sundays

A Life of Love {A Tribute}

I know it would be hard writing about her and the life she lived. I don’t even know how to start. I know that one can never put to words a love that is true. But I will try…

If there is one word that I could use to describe her life, her walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, it would be this: LOVE. I didn’t meet her in person, but her teachings on the Word of God that were recorded on tape were my companions and encouragement, day and night, as I waited for God’s healing. And I came to really know her.

She was only in her twenties when she and the beloved Hon. Pastor Wilde E. Almeda started the ministry, through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And while they were starting a family, the demands of the young church were of top priority to them.

The love for the salvation of souls: this about sums up the life they lived in the Lord Jesus Christ. Even after barely two weeks of recuperation from giving birth, she would be in the banks of a river or a bay, baptizing those who came to the Lord.

They started with nothing, having given up all sources of worldly wealth. But as the Lord was with Moses, so He was with them, every step of their journey. They lived their days mostly on their knees, praying and fasting, beseeching the Lord to stretch forth His hand to save, to deliver, to heal.

And the people came to the Lord Jesus, multitudes of them, and received salvation of their souls and healing of their bodies.

One would listen to the beloved Assistant Pastor Lina C. Almeda, and one would marvel at the fervent, genuine love she had for the Lord Jesus Christ. The kind of love that is birthed by being full of the Holy Spirit. Before she would  begin her Bible Study in the pulpit, she would sing one or two songs for the Lord, urging everyone to sing and worship with all his/her being. And she would sing and worship, words of praise and thanksgiving would overflow from her lips, and tears of great awe and love and joy, would be flowing freely.

The Holy Spirit would descend to this humble servant, and she would be full of it, speaking in tongues for a great while. And it will linger, until the mighty sound of the powerful outpouring would resound to all corners of the whole congregation. And I have seen and heard such gripping and healing power. Yes, there is not enough words to describe the glory, the majesty, the wonder of God that He powerfully shows a glimpse of in His humble Church.

She was fervent in teaching about loving, obeying, and totally surrendering one’s life to the Lord. She was passionate about living and teaching a life of holiness. She wept in the pulpit, imploring everyone NEVER to be lukewarm in their love for the Lord Jesus Christ and for ALL He cares about. Alongside the beloved pastor, she prayed, fasted, worshiped, taught, counseled, admonished, rebuked, showed how to really love and serve the Lord, and how to walk before Him in a way that is pleasing in His sight.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Col. 1: 9-10)

If there was an embodiment of the woman in Proverbs 31, I would humbly say that it was the beloved Assistant Pastor Lina C. Almeda, our spiritual parent.

In October of 2003, about two weeks before I would be brought to the feet of Jesus, she addressed the Church for the last time. She loved until her last strength*. This was the love of the Lord. And she was the humble vessel.

So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. (1 Thess. 2: 8 NKJV)

All glory and honor and praise and thanksgiving belong to the Lord God Almighty!

Do we have a Laodicean heart? A lukewarm, partly-loving, partly-believing, partly-trusting, partly-surrendered heart? The Lord knows and sees, and His Spirit grieves.

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Rev. 3: 15-16)

Footnote: *One of the beloved assistant pastor’s grandchildren testified that the night before her grandma would be with the Lord, the little girl dreamed of angels coming to take her.

You might also want to visit our church’s website: www.jmcim.org

May God bless you more, beloved brethren-in-Christ and kind friends!

This post is linked to Women in the Word Wednesdays, Walk with Him Wednesdays at A Holy Experience, Spiritual Sundays