Sanctuary

(Meditating on Psalm 84)

How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
(Psalm 84:1-2)

One of the many things that I love about our Church, JESUS MIRACLE CRUSADE INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY, is its offering of a 24/7 sanctuary. That is, a sanctuary for the weary soul and the sick body.

All over the country, there are outreach stations, pastoral houses and fasting houses where one could take refuge. These are not towering cathedrals, no, they are far from such. In fact, some outreach stations could be so bare with only curtains for walls, but these could be havens for anyone looking for rest, both for the soul and the flesh.

In these houses, the workers of the Lord’s vineyard praise and worship night and day, with fasting and prayers. Their soulful singing and worship invite the glory of the Lord, hence, though the place is not built with marble and hardwood or gilded columns, God’s anointing descends and imbues the worshipers with power from on high.

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah 
(v. 4)

I was one who ran to God’s sanctuary often. When my body was so sick and couldn’t seem to find the way to heal, I ran to this sanctuary. In fact, our whole family lived there for a season, in Pampanga Fasting House. I found great comfort in plunging myself at the feet of Jesus in His sanctuary, completely yielding myself to His mercy. I believed in His existence. I believed He sees and knows and moves among the children of men. I believed He heals. I had to believe and I did, with all my being. That’s why one afternoon when I thought I was breathing my last, I signalled for the one caring for me to call for the prayer warriors who were praying and fasting to pray for me. And even when I knew it could be my last breath, I was believing and surrendering, and He proved to me that He is real and true, faithful and unfailing.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. 
(v. 5)

They go from strength to strength… (v. 7)

One can trust God in His sanctuary which is filled with His anointing and power. One can run into this place, not to gaze at the magnificent paintings and murals on the ceilings and walls for these are only found in cathedrals and basilicas, but to find solace for the soul and healing for the body.

This is what sanctuary really means.

It was where Sis. Dina and her dying daughter ran to when the doctors in the hospital could no longer do anything for Janna. They ran to the fasting house in Sauyo, Novaliches in Quezon City where praying and fasting sisters awaited them. And Sis. Dina, the fraught mother, found solace to her soul, and Janna found healing to her body.

When Sis. Sarah was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and she was told by the doctor that only surgery could prolong her life, she refused it but instead travelled to the same fasting house to find strength and solace there. And when her tumor broke open while she was travelling in public transport and blood leaked out of her blouse, she was determined to reach God’s sanctuary. And she arrived there where sisters in Christ ministered to her.

Like what I did in 2004 when I lived in Pampanga Fasting House, comforted day and night by constant praising and strengthened by prayers with fasting, so did Sis. Sarah. She lived in God’s sanctuary until the day the Lord brought down His healing upon her, and she rose up from her sick bed.

And there are still many who run to God’s sanctuary to take refuge there, at any time of day or night. This is declared in their testimonies. I can’t possibly mention each one.

God is real and He makes known His power among men. The kingdom of God has come near to [us] (Luke 10:9). It is manifested through His amazing testimonies.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
(v. 11)

Read in full the testimonies mentioned above:

To read more of God’s amazing testimonies, click here.

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

Journey with Jesus,

A Deeper Understanding of “Resting in the Lord”

I had been reading Christian books and devotional blogs mentioning the oft-quoted phrase “rest in the Lord”, but it was just very recently that I had a real grasp of it. I mean, it is easy to say it but what does “rest in the Lord” really mean? After the truth has sunk in my soul, I realized that “resting in the Lord” could feel very risky and scary. These are the things involved: risk and fear. That’s because we had been taught to rely on visible things rather than on the invisible God. But to truly rest in the Lord is to spurn these, to let go of these in exchange of plunging oneself at the feet of God, trusting completely in His mercy.

I don’t know how deep or trying your reason to choose to rest in the Lord is, but as for me, I took inventory of the years that I “rested in the Lord”, and I came to realize that to truly rest in the Lord is to believe that He can help, save, and deliver in the MOST urgent need. It involves a REAL belief, so real you could almost touch and taste it. That kind of belief is the seat of trust.

Because you truly believe, then you can trust, and therefore, you can rest.

There is no true rest when there is a shadow of doubt in your belief of a true and living God, a breathing, seeing, moving, fast-acting God – an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God.

I had wrestled with death not just a few times, and I remember my beloved husband offering to bring me to the hospital or buy me an oxygen tank at least. It was truly scary but I had always chosen to rest in God instead during those fear-filled walks through the valley of the shadow of death. I believed that the commotion that would be brought about by calling an ambulance, transferring me into it, the nurses milling about, the panic, the anxiety-filled trip to the hospital and then the hustle and bustle of the emergency room would be more than enough to stop my breath altogether.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4, emphasis added)

So, I always chose to rest in God, keeping my body as still as I could as I trusted in Him to save me, to deliver me to the next breath and heartbeat and to the next, until He brings recovery. I would keep still as an electric fan blew hard on my face, thinking hard about the Lord Jesus. When things were better, I even sang praises in my mind. He is a VERY PRESENT HELP in times of great need.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

And though the flesh is weak and perishes, there is rest for the soul (Mat. 11:29). That is what resting in the Lord brings – rest for the soul.

When illness, suffering, difficulties, anguish, confusion, fear, weakness, worry overwhelm, I rest in His Word. His Word enlightens me, strengthens and comforts me. The Word is God (John 1:1).

To rest in God is His will for us. To be still in His presence and be confident in Him and His power are what He truly wants us to be. He has counselled us about this long time ago, that when we rest in Him, He will save and strengthen us (Is. 30:15). But the world had taught us to run elsewhere to get help. We had learned to rely on tangible things to quieten our souls and momentarily bring peace to our minds, not quite grasping the truth about God and what He is able to do. For with God all things are possible. (Mark 10:27)

Friend, are you looking for rest for your weary soul? Rest for your sick body or unquiet mind? The Lord Jesus is bidding you. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mat. 10:28)

Photo courtesy of my friend Myriss Torres.
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Working Out Our Most Important Relationship

When I read that part where the Apostle Paul told the Philippians to “work out [their] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12), I didn’t really understand then what it entailed. I didn’t know how to do it in a deep sense, in a very personal level. I heard a preacher in our Church exhort about it in general terms, likening our salvation with that of a precious gift, and doing our very best to hold on to it, to not let it be snatched away by the enemy. I understood that we should not be complacent but always be watchful.

Then I read what Ms. Darlene Zschech had briefly written (I think on the back of one of her CDs?), “Just work out your relationship with Jesus.” It stuck with me. For that was at a time when I was struggling to understand what was happening with my life, straining to see the light amidst the fiery trials. When you’re tested to the uttermost, you want to have at least an understanding of what is happening, where your life is leading to, if God is even with you.

Working out our own salvation as Apostle Paul implores us means as much as working out our relationship with our Redeemer. It is synonymous. When we received our salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, we entered into a relationship with Him. Our salvation then can never be apart from our relationship with Him. When we work out our relationship with our Savior King, we are working out our own salvation. (Even the quality of our other relationships is determined by how healthy or poor our relationship with the Lord Jesus is).

Why is there a need? I believe all of us who received the Lord Jesus and His salvation have experienced the struggle to maintain a fervent, faithful, and trusting relationship with Him in varying degrees. This struggle is most felt during a hard and prolonged trial. In my case, it was a combination of physical, mental and emotional suffering compounded with problems and challenges in our company and household, spelling out a F-I-E-R-Y | T-R-I-A-L no less.

During that long chilly season, my relationship with my Savior was one which ebbed and flowed, now and then marred with doubts and fears, and threatened by feelings of sullenness, discontent, disheartenment, bitterness, and a few times, even silent rebellion. It was like you want to confront the One who has control of it all and know why. Why? You just want to know why.

It was during this time that I got so intimately acquainted with Job. Talk about being kindred spirits by going through physical suffering and the mental and emotional anguish it brought. Oh friends, I know how it was to live between life and death everyday. Job wanted a confrontation with God so much; He longed to understand the meaning behind all his suffering. Oh, how I had echoed Job’s laments!

There were times that I wanted to go far away from Him just to let Him know that I was hurt by His seeming indifference. Yes, I had struggled with my relationship with my Redeemer King: sulking and having a pity party one minute, then running to His arms the next. There was battle of wills: His and mine. Why doesn’t the Lord just heal me so I can continue to manage our company seeing my husband grapples with the intricacies of a chemicals company? That was just one of my questions in the early years.

There is a struggle because our own will and wants, motivated by our own limited understanding, clash with God’s will, His thoughts and ways. Although we were called to a personal relationship with Jesus our Savior, calling Him our best friend, He is still God and there is a need for us to surrender to Him – completely. To yield ourselves to Him in total abandon.

I have learned that during trials, our relationship with our Lord Jesus is tested and threatened. Faith, trust, hope, steadfast love – all these that weave the threads of the tapestry of our relationship with Him become most vulnerable. It is during these times then that we really get to work. Work out our relationship with Him. How?

One of the keys is to know Him more. In the early part of my fiery trial and my relationship with the Lord Jesus was precariously tested (well, that was as far as I knew with my limited view of the bigger thing, but it definitely wasn’t the same with Him; He was holding me steadfastly all the time and never letting go, but I didn’t know that), my constant prayer was to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).

We can know Him more by spending much of our time reading and meditating on His Word.

Another way is to draw ever nearer to Him; seek His powerful presence through worship. My favorite worship song during this time was Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer by Keith and Kristyn Getty.

Do you struggle in your faith walk? Continue to work out your relationship with the Lord Jesus. This is one relationship that has utmost importance to us. He is our Bridegroom, we are His Bride. We look forward to His coming when we’ll be forever with Him.

Additional reading: First Love

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My gratitude list ~ the gifts I received from the hand of the Lord:

  • One whole week without maids; it was like a holiday for our family and the peace, joy and intimacy it brought were priceless.
  • Singing praises with heart full of faith and fervent love for the Lord bringing a gush of hot tears as Tim struggled to breathe due to asthma-like cough.
  • A fruit gift basket with a beautiful card.
  • Eating bunches of lanzones with family.
  • My vegetable garden coming to life now.
  • Pretty boxed cards, good pens collection, new friends, and lovely written words
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.
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How to Maintain Inner Peace

The morning of the day I planned to write this, a problem arose that would test exactly what I wanted to write about. This wasn’t the first time that it has happened – the testing before or after the writing. It is as if the real Author of all these Spirit-inspired written words are testing this writer if she could practice what she preaches, or walk in the way of what she writes about.

Early in the morning, my beloved husband learned that our company driver who was sent to the province with the delivery van was apprehended by the traffic police and without calling and informing his boss (my husband), he paid the police PhP2,000 just so, according to him, they wouldn’t impound the van and take his driver’s license. My husband at once got furious.

Why didn’t he call him about the problem and before he paid PhP2,000?
What exactly was the violation? Transporting a second-hand oven. (Huh?!)
Did he get a receipt for paying PhP2,000? No. It went straight to the hands of the enforcers. (What?!!!)
Did he get the names of the traffic enforcers who received the money? No, he did not.

My husband started to think that maybe the driver, who has been working for our company for eight long years, wasn’t telling the truth. He gave him PhP3,000 for gas and toll fees which was more than enough (the tank was more than half-full before the trip). Without going into much detail, he has reasons to think so. When he told me all about it, I myself was surprised. To be apprehended by traffic police for transporting a second-hand oven which sits inside a closed delivery van is very unusual. (We upgraded our kitchen and the old oven was going to a relative). And, being born-again Christians, it is our company policy never to give bribes for any reason at all.

The endless analyzing and discussing while temper is slowly brewing can sap one’s energy for sure. And I didn’t have my praise and prayer time yet! Which effectively brought to mind my topic for today. So, I told my husband this: “What has happened has happened and we can no longer undo it. If the driver is telling the truth, we have to accept it and move on (except of course, my husband has yet to discuss it again with the driver in person). If not, God knows it and He will be the one to do something about it. The thing is, there should be an end to all the angry talk and doubts.”

That is what I really wanted to write about today: Much of our problems are aggravated (if not triggered) by our incessant worrying, analyzing, judging, discussing, complaining, striving, and by often choosing the way of anger and dissatisfaction. This happens when we focus more our attention to the things around us – people, events, material – than focusing our eyes on God.

I remember the early days when the “new man” was a babe in Christ – fresh, yielding and with an undistracted, quiet spirit. We were on our way to a nearby province to attend a wedding where my husband and I were principal sponsors. We were traveling with a sister in Christ who was older than us, both in age and in years of serving the Lord. She and my husband were jovially talking about people and events, and now and then, joked and laughed at the stories they were sharing with each other. I sat quietly in my seat, not speaking a single word. I was revelling in the quiet of my spirit, soaking up in the peace that the Lord put in my heart. I would sometimes stroke the long strands of my hair while I looked out the window and gazed at the seemingly never-ending green fields and rolling hills in the horizon. Ah! What peace! What an invigorating feeling of fresh holiness! 

I have to be honest: I have lost much of that holy quiet and calm throughout the years as I wrestled with prolonged physical suffering and with the difficulties of trying to keep up with the daily grind, what with a body that easily gets weary and weak.

I grieve about losing much of that constant quiet glorying in the Lord, but I haven’t forgotten that day nor the feeling of basking in the Lord’s light, unmindful of the chaos in my surroundings, and I believe it is still possible. It is always possible.

Here are some ways to maintain inner peace:

  • Be mindful of the things we think about. Don’t let negative things play in our minds, endlessly and futilely wrestling with them.

Is there somebody in your life who hurts you with his or her rude or thoughtless behaviour? Don’t focus on it. It is not your problem. It has nothing to do with you. But you can pray for him or her.

  • Don’t weary yourself by endlessly thinking, analyzing, worrying, or discussing about things that you cannot change or have no power over.

Learn to accept the things that you cannot change. Hand all of them over to God. Let Him do the solving and fixing. He is a specialist in mending the broken, rearranging what has gone awry, and making all things work together for our good.

  • Fix your eyes on Jesus and stay under His light.

One day years ago, my husband walked into the room with the news that there was something wrong with the papers of one of our properties that we were planning to sell. I understood that I might not have transacted with the rightful owners when I bought it. When he left, my body at once reacted with the stress this news brought, but I raised my hands and prayed. I relinquished all control to God. I found peace also in releasing that material thing. Later in the day, my husband told me that there was just an error and everything was well.

Don’t let problems suck you up. But be sucked up in the Lord’s light. Under His light, we receive wisdom and the peace that comes with it. Away from His light, there are shadows and darkness and it would be easy to lose our way.

Additional reading: The Spirit Bids {Ways to Seek Holy Moments}

Giveaway Winners!

DaySpring “Blessed and Loved” mug with lid and Dayspring “Live, Love, Laugh” journal.

DaySpring mug with lid and journal: Bing Puzon

DaySpring journal (consolation prize): Marilyn Facton

Congratulations and thank you all for joining!

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My gratitude list – the gifts I received from the hand of the Lord:

  • My daughter Hannah lovingly offering to massage my aching legs; she did it well, inducing me to a sound slumber :).
  • Learning to photograph objects in motion
  • The peace that descends and covers my whole being after a heartfelt praise and worship.
  • The blessed celebration of my birthday: family, good food, love and laughter.
  • A nephew who helped me with all the preparations so that I was able to rest and relax.
  • Filled to overflowing for all the testimonies of God’s miracles that I heard in Church today during the 12th Victorious Mindanao Peace Mission Anniversary.
I’m linking up with other blogs, please check the list at the side bar.

To Have a Life

It was late Monday night, I sat at the edge of the bed to sing praises to the Lord and worship. After a few songs, I knew the Lord has ushered in a new day, and it was already the day of my birth. I began to sing spontaneously, singing that which my heart wanted to cry out. It wanted to shout to the Lord its deep gratitude for His mercies that endure.

When the need for God is deeper and more urgent – like the next heartbeat perhaps – and His mercies and rescue come like a gentle rain — gratitude is more profound.

So I lift up my whole being towards Him, trying my best to express my gratitude for all He’s done in my life, if that were possible. But truly, there are no words or songs enough to convey this.

I thank Him for my life and for the countless times that He has come to my rescue. He has never failed me. And during seasons of celebrations, I still strain to remember the times of great need. This helps me maintain a posture of being bent down low and stay in the path of humility and thanksgiving.

It was early 2005, my body was busy dying, but my spirit was busy believing, trusting, and hoping. When I rested from reading the Bible or listening to Bible Studies on tape, I counted the flowers on the wallpaper of my daughter’s room where I spent that first quarter. Or I would watch through the window the townhouse being built in front of our house, how each rivet was driven into the corrugated roof. Counting flowers on the wallpaper – one can’t avoid it when one is bound in bed like I was.

Later on, I found inspiration and enough strength to color children’s coloring books. I wanted to pass the time more enjoyably and my fingers were ready for the exercise.

Years later when I was already basking in God’s healing grace, I wanted to do something which would celebrate God’s mercy and goodness in my life. I wanted to make use of my regained strength which would make me remember constantly how God has raised me up from my sick bed. That was the time I wanted to prepare special snacks and meals for the family. And the table of thanksgiving was set up. It is now a fast becoming tradition of our family.

The weak hands and fingers that couldn’t be used to put food into my mouth and were later on exercised by making strokes of the crayons on the pages of a coloring book, are now the hands that knead dough to make bread or stir a batter or temper egg yolks to make a custard or scoop ice cream that I have made. The family gathers around the table and I don’t fail to think about the goodness and faithfulness of God. Every bread that I make and put on the table makes me think of Him who held the bread, broke it, and offered it for the life of the world. He is the living bread.

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

Faith has triumphed over flesh. The body that was bound in bed now lives a fulfilling life, a life the Lord has purposed when He called me to walk in His presence.

He is calling us to have a life in Him – a life redeemed, healed, and made whole by Him. Friend, are you in the dark and don’t know what to do and where to go? Jesus is calling. It is all possible for Him.

Know the keys of salvation here.

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A Pattern for Faith

Bible reading: Jeremiah 32, 33, and 38

After the prophet Jeremiah consistently proclaimed the word of the Lord unto all Judah that the king of Babylon would come to take the city and the Chaldeans would set it on fire and burn it, the Lord commanded him to buy a field. He immediately obeyed the voice of the Lord and went and bought himself a field. But after accomplishing this, he prayed to God for understanding. Jeremiah saw the Chaldeans come to take the city; the siege mounded; the word of the Lord had come to pass, and yet, the Lord commanded him to buy a field! Even the prophet Jeremiah couldn’t understand and see God’s purpose!

But Jeremiah’s buying of the field is a sign of God’s future plan for Israel. That after He has punished the people for turning away from Him and serving other gods, He will again cause them to return from where He has driven them. This is His assurance. His covenant with David His servant will stand.

But as the siege around the city mounded, Jeremiah couldn’t see beyond it.

‘Look, the siege mounds! They have come to the city to take it; and the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of the sword and famine and pestilence. What You have spoken has happened; there You see it! 25 And You have said to me, O Lord God, “Buy the field for money, and take witnesses”!—yet the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’” (Jer. 32:24-26)

If the prophet couldn’t see a bright future beyond the present chaos, how could have I seen through my suffering? As the onslaught of my illness raged, I could only see the present moment. As the battle with pain and suffering intensified, I could only think of the next heartbeat. But though I couldn’t envision a bright future full of God’s grace and goodness, I trusted Him with the next heartbeat, and the next. I knew and believed that He owned every breath and every heartbeat, and so I trusted. As Job had declared, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him” (Job 13:15), I did, too. 

And that’s what the prophet did. Though he knew that the city would be taken, he went and bought the field as the Lord commanded him.

When the Lord had started to heal me, and I could see a ray of hope into the not-so-distant future, I began to rest in His promise. About 2 years before I would give birth to my son Tim, twice I dreamed of holding a baby boy in my arms. I was still recovering from my illness then. Recovery was long and slow. When brethren in Christ interpreted the dream as me having a son in the near future, I was glad and rejoiced in the Lord, but I didn’t spend too much time imagining the future (it made me more hungry and that was painful) and didn’t try to speed up the days and weeks and months. I concentrated on my recovery, so that when the day finally came that I found out I was pregnant, we were so elated.

After I had given birth, twice I became ill again. The last one was after I had agonizingly prayed to God to completely heal and strengthen me and use me for His purposes. Instead of sending me outright to fulfil His purpose, I became very ill that each day felt like it was the last. When a praying and fasting sister in Christ came to visit and told me about her dream: she saw me high up on a tower writing on my laptop and the Lord telling her that He had given me a very important task, again I couldn’t see beyond my pain and suffering (remembering all these makes me sob).

Her dream brought gladness to my faint heart. Nevertheless, I didn’t understand it. A year later, I found myself blogging for the glory of God.

What have I learned from these experiences and from the book of Jeremiah? To believe God’s promises and strive to see beyond the suffering. As the storm of trials rages and it’s hard to see beyond the pounding rain – only believe: “buy the field” (in my case, I bought fabric for my choir uniform even when I was still sick in bed), entrust to God the realization of hopes and dreams.

This is a pattern for faith: Just as He had planned the future of Israel even before the fulfilment of her punishment, so He also has a perfect plan for us behind the trial. For even though the present situation seems hopeless, like in Jeremiah’s time, God declares:

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” 

“Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.” (Jer. 32:27; 33:6)

Endnote: (Old photo of me and Tim)

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My gratitude list ~ the gifts I received from the hand of the gracious Lord:

  • My friends in Dubai (upon my invitation) attending the worship service and 5th anniversary celebration of JMCIM-Dubai Outreach and being blessed by it.
  • The pure wonder in Tim’s eyes when he discovered the baby rabbits have finally opened their eyes. He was so excited he took a video of them and uttering in awe, “Their eyes! They have opened their eyes!” Thank You, God, for Your amazing grace – You have opened our eyes!
  • Looking at my beloved husband’s back as he left the room, body lean and erect – my heart surged with love and that old fire (wink).
  • Watching bel. hubby and kids relish the macapuno pandan ice cream I made for Saturday afternoon snacks. It’s funny how they compete for the scooper – ah, kids and kids at heart!
  • Watching the live webcast of JMCIM Sunday worship service together with our two new maids; sharing to them the testimonies of beloved brethren in Christ and telling them about the true Gospel of salvation. (This is just the start).

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