The Practice of Remembering God’s Wondrous Works

This photo courtesy of my friend Myriss Torres.

(Meditating on Psalm 78)

There is a spiritual practice that we could all benefit from. Both David and Asaph had shown it many times in the book of Psalms. I learned it in the Church where the Lord has put us. It is the practice of recalling God’s mighty deeds that He has wrought in His Church, among the brethren, and in our own lives. The other word for this is testifying.

Here in Psalm 78, Asaph once again contemplates on all the wondrous works of God that He has done in Israel. Line after line, he tells of the journeyings of God’s people and the many proofs of God’s faithfulness toward them.

In my own spiritual journey, I have found quiet contemplation on God’s mercies to be a very helpful tool in strengthening my faith and keeping my love for the Lord constantly burning. We can either shout out our testimonies in the pulpit, share them with the unsaved, meditate on them, or sing them out.

Yes, sing them out in our private worship time. In this way, they remain fresh in our minds and the overflow of thanksgiving to God happens easily. If you sometimes find it hard to concentrate in singing praises to God by singing songs you’ve learned, then sing that which naturally and spontaneously comes from your heart. Sing to Him with your own lyrics of love and thanksgiving. Sing to Him recalling all His tender mercies and marvelous deeds. In my case, I think back on the days that I was bound in bed, very sick and weak and to the point of death, and how He had mercifully raised me up from my sick bed and showered me with good things. It doesn’t take long before I would feel His touch and then I would be enveloped in His sweet, powerful presence.

Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. 
(Psalm 78:4)

Last Friday, I shared with you a brief retelling of the victorious Talipao (Mindanao) Peace Mission which God had wrought in JESUS MIRACLE CRUSADE INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY. Once again, the prayer warriors who had experienced the horrors of being in the constant presence of the Abu Sayyaf and the military assault that followed – a three-month ordeal – recalled how the Lord had delivered them mightily day and night.

How the high-powered guns and weapons of the Abu Sayyaf did not have power over their bodies.

How they would be down on their knees praising God as the bombs from the military planes bombarded the area.

How they would be running at night with the Abu Sayyaf in complete darkness, on the rugged mountains of Talipao, Jolo, Sulu, in danger of wild beasts and falling into deep ravines.

One memory after another, they recalled God’s mighty deeds, shouting out their praises and thanksgiving. Below I share more photos of the 12th Victorious Talipao Peace Mission Anniversary held on October 7 at the Amoranto Stadium, Quezon City, Philippines.

I would also like to share with you this amazing testimony of a brother in Christ that I wrote over at Minister of Mercy entitled Double Miracle. Now, some would be cynical about it and would refuse to believe. But if, through reading the Bible, you can believe in a God who is all powerful and works miracles, how can you not believe in His present-day miracles wrought in His Church and experienced by the redeemed? If you believe that God never changes – “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8) – then you must also believe that He still performs wondrous works and marvellous deeds to this day. To read testimony, click here.

Endnote: All JMCIM photos courtesy of Bro. Guetz Febrer.

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

Inside the Enemy’s Camp {A Mission That’s Worth a Thousand Crusades}

(Meditating on Psalm 77)

We’re in Psalm 77 in our Journey Through the Psalms Friday, and how very timely to be discussing about it now that our Church, JESUS MIRACLE CRUSADE INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY, had just celebrated the 12th Mindanao Peace Mission Anniversary last October 7.

This is all I could remember about it. I was resting comfortably on our new bed in our new townhouse watching the evening news. I caressed my bulging tummy; I was about 5 months pregnant with our first baby. I saw in the news how these emaciated prayer warriors together with their beloved pastor were battling and struggling against all the hardships they were in as their stay in the Abu Sayyaf camp was prolonged indefinitely. What little I can remember of it (because I didn’t really focus my attention, there were other things in my mind then that were more exciting – how selfish I had been!) was that, those Christian men were staying strong in their faith amidst all the perils around them. I remember thinking, “Why would anyone want to go to that hellish place?”

It would be three years later when my memory would be refreshed about that news, when I was brought to the feet of Jesus at JMCIM, dying and shaking from unexplainable fear. It would be months later, as we continued to serve the Lord and hope for His healing, that I learned that the Church where the Lord had mercifully brought us to was the one who bravely entered the Abu Sayyaf camp to pray for the 21 Sipadan hostages and help with their release.

Every year as the Church celebrated this victorious peace mission in Talipao, Jolo, Sulu in the island of Mindanao, I would hear about the amazing – A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! – testimonies of the 12 prayer warriors who had experienced the horrors of that place in the presence of the fierce Abu Sayyaf. Just a few weeks prior to JMCIM’s entrance to the camp, a Catholic priest, Fr. Gallardo, was captured by them. They extracted all his nails and plucked out his eyes before they brutally chopped off his head.

I cannot now write all the testimonies of God’s mighty deliverance during their three-month ordeal inside the enemy’s camp and the military assault that followed. How could Bible-wielding, weak and emaciated (from daily fasting up in the cruel mountains of Jolo, Sulu) Christian men escape the fierceness of the Abu Sayyaf and later on, the canons and bombs from military planes (for the government had declared an all-out war against the Abu Sayyaf but they (Abu Sayyaf) insisted that the JMCIM Christians would stay close to them)?

I cried out to God with my voice—
To God with my voice;
And He gave ear to me.
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing;
My soul refused to be comforted. 
(Psalm 77: 1-2)

The bombs would drop from the military planes, cutting off trees and spattering the earth. The Abu Sayyaf would be fleeing to wherever they could escape, but the faith-full Christian men, always anticipating God’s mighty deliverance, would be on their knees, arms raised up to heaven, yielding their bodies to God’s protection WHICH.NEVER.FAILED. (Sobbing now).

And God delivered them triumphantly, all thirteen of them. They were not hurt by the Abu Sayyaf nor the bombs and canons of the military assault. HALLELUIAH!

But the beloved pastor suffered much. Due to prolonged fasting (he had fasted 40 days and 40 nights before entering the Abu Sayyaf camp and continued it during much of their stay in the mountains), his body weakened so much that he could hardly walk and talk. He is still recovering until now. I remember the apostle Paul’s words: I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus (Gal. 6:17).

As the years passed and the Church continued to wait for the beloved pastor’s full recovery and as it travailed still in heartbreaking trials (the passing away of the beloved assistant pastor, Lina C. Almeda, among other trials of faith), some despaired (I was one of them) if the Lord’s eyes and miracles were still on His Church, JMCIM. But we were wrong in even letting that thought enter the mind. For God again showed His amazing miracles – healings, lives changed, deliverance – and let His powerful presence felt in the congregation every worship service.

I read Asaph’s laments and I can imagine the beloved pastor (and the beloved brethren) awake in the night, meditating on God and His wondrous works.

You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I have considered the days of old,
The years of ancient times.
I call to remembrance my song in the night;
I meditate within my heart,
And my spirit makes diligent search.

Will the Lord cast off forever?
And will He be favorable no more?
Has His mercy ceased forever?
Has His promise failed forevermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah (vv. 4-9)

I hold these precious words close to my heart. They serve as lamp in the dark, wisdom in weakness and confusion.

Last Sunday, October 7, the whole Church gathered together again to remember God’s goodness and celebrate His mighty deeds that He has shown. Once again, brethren, specially the prayer warriors of the victorious Talipao peace mission, shouted out their praise, testimonies, and celebratory messages in the pulpit. Human strength is not enough to shout out God’s wondrous works to the ends of the earth.

And I said, “This is my anguish;
But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the works of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will also meditate on all Your work,
And talk of Your deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary;
Who is so great a God as our God?
14 You are the God who does wonders;
You have declared Your strength among the peoples. 
(vv. 10-14)

Below, I share with you photos of this blessed event. I pray these will be a blessing to you.

Congregational singing – joyful. These were those on the grounds.

The beloved brethren with their umbrellas to fend off the heat of the sun.

The Children’s Choir

Youngsters in worship (Children’s Choir)

The Adults’ Choir (brothers’ side)

Youth and Singles’ Choirs combined. Those on their knees were being filled by the Holy Spirit.

The musicians

A sister worshiping.

Beloved workers in the vineyard of the Lord (preachers, prayer warriors, pastoral workers).

The Jesus Finest Generation Choir

Up close

Hands in praise

The beloved JMCIM mimers

The Adults’ Choir (sisters’ side)

Our dearly beloved Hon. Pastor Wilde E. Almeda in the pulpit. He was in the verge of tears remembering how God had mightily delivered him and the 12 prayer warriors.

The altar call

Endnotes:

  • I thank beloved Bro. Edu Cortez of ExtremeDetails for providing the beautiful photos. God bless you so much more, Bro. Edu! (Lord willing, I hope to get some photography lessons from you in the coming days :)).
  • I was blessed to have browsed the manuscript of the book written about the Talipao peace mission by an American (CIA) who had studied and followed through the whole event. I hope and pray that it will be published soon.
I’m linking up with other blogs, please check the list at the side bar.

The Power of God

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(Meditating on Psalm 49)

Hear this, all peoples;
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
Both low and high,
Rich and poor together. (Ps. 49:1-2)

We are now in Psalm 49 and while I was reading and pondering on it, I couldn’t help but think about the testimony of a sister-in-Christ which I had written recently. It is about the great miracle that happened in her life not too long ago. But as I was thinking of writing this and sharing her amazing testimony (now, testimonies are supposed to be always amazing, right?), I had this sadness settling in my heart, for I know that there are people – including Christians, most unfortunately – that are skeptical of such stories. Could it be that the words of the Prophet Isaiah are happening to them?

Make the heart of this people dull,
And their ears heavy,
And shut their eyes;
Lest they see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart,
And return and be healed.” 
(Is. 6:10)

I have also observed how some Christians would revel in “enticing words of man’s wisdom” but would be skeptical, or worse, unbelieving, in God’s miracles. Could faith still be called faith when it can only believe what is humanly possible? Shouldn’t we be believing in Godly possible? On those things that could only be done by the mighty hand of God? For if we cannot believe in miracles, in impossible things that are only made possible by God, and believe only those things that usually and naturally happen in life, aren’t we reducing God to one who has weak power?

If we say we believe God created the vast universe with the astounding Milky Way and that He holds the world in His hands, couldn’t we believe when a true Christ-follower testifies that the same hand held an aircraft and stopped it from crashing to earth?

For the ones who are poor – poor in wealth, in worldly wisdom, in honor, in everything that gives one pride of life – are really the ones who are rich in faith (James 2:5). For they count nothing in their life that they could glory in except in the Lord Jesus Christ. And because of the pure Gospel of salvation this one Christian has received, just like the one that the Apostle Paul wrote about, all the passengers of the plane were saved together with her who had great faith.

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. (1 Cor. 2:4)

For the redemption of our souls is costly, wrought by the power of God. Such power that gives us eternal life! I can imagine Sister Mary-Ann, standing full of faith and honor and worship to the Lord God Almighty – glory to Him! – as I ponder on these words:

Why should I fear in the days of evil,
When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?
Those who trust in their wealth
And boast in the multitude of their riches,
None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
Nor give to God a ransom for him—
For the redemption of their souls is costly,
And it shall cease forever—
That he should continue to live eternally,
And not see the Pit. 
(Ps. 49:5-9)

Friends, I invite you to read the following testimony and it’s my earnest prayer that God will touch your hearts today:

In late-2010, Sis. Mary Anne and her employer traveled from Jeddah to London. On December 3 of the same year, a day Sis. Mary Anne is bound never to forget, they left London for Jeddah…

The passengers, who were mostly Muslims, were standing up, calling and crying out to Allah. When Sis. Mary-Ann felt that the aircraft was already going on a nose dive, she also stood up and with all the strength in her, shouted “Halleluiah! In Jesus’ Name! In Jesus’ Name!” many times. She was crying out and shouting as loud as she could… Read full testimony here.

Linked to Faith Filled Friday, Spiritual Sundays, Sharing His Beauty Titus 2sday, Women in the Word Wednesday, Winsome Wednesday