My Source of Strength

My source of strength is Christ and His Word. Christ and His Word are one.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The King of kings and Lord of lords who came to dwell among us and died for our sins is called the Word of God (see Rev. 19:13). No wonder the author of Hebrews wrote:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and ofmarrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb. 4:12)

The Word of God is living and powerful.

You may have heard and read that countless times it has lost its effect in you. But that is very wrong.

God’s Word is light, strength, and life. And because it is living, it does. It acts. It moves. Because of the Word, God is not a distant, unapproachable God. We can know Him intimately through His Word, as intimate as it can ever be, like His very life courses through our veins. We are the branch, He is the Vine. We live in the Vine, being nourished by it every single day. And the deeper we are rooted in Him, the deeper we’ll know Him, the more our faith is strengthened, and the more we become bold and courageous to face the future, although now we may be in a difficult place. But we can see past all that, because we trust in the Word – God’s promises – and we hold onto each one.

My love story with the Word began when one of the beautiful children of our beloved pastor counselled me when I was still a baby in Christ: “Immerse yourself in the Word of God”. She spoke the words with so much intensity that I nodded vigorously and resolved to immerse myself in the Word beginning that day.

There were months when I was very sick and weak that I couldn’t hold my large KJV Bible let alone read it, so I would ask one of the house helps to read for me. If they read only in Tagalog, I asked for a Tagalog Bible and it was fine with me. By reading to me everyday, one of them fell in love with the Word, too, that she asked for her own copy of the Bible and read late into the night. Later on, that nanny received the Lord Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and was baptized in water in His name

I’ve been ill for almost 12 years now and long seasons of intense sickness and suffering had come and gone. During a particularly hard year, I discovered audiobible. And it was heaven! I would listen to chapter upon chapter, even whole books, until I would fall asleep.

Then there came a time just recently, in one of those hard seasons, that even listening made my heartbeat erratic and my breathing more labored. So, it became both hard to read and listen. It had come to that. Singing audibly was the very first one to go. So, I couldn’t count on that, either. But I could still pray. I prayed God’s Word. I declared them powerfully in my heart.

 A few months ago, I uploaded an ESV Bible to my Kindle. I thought reading on Kindle would be a lot easier for me. And the Lord met me where I stepped out in faith. I could again feast on His Word using Kindle. Then, I became bolder and more inspired that I ordered an ESV journaling Bible. Immerse in the Word, remember? I was excited to start using it, but to my great dismay, the words are so tiny I could hardly read them. Hannah helped out and put a magnifier app in my cellphone. Now, I’m reading my journaling Bible like focusing a laser on the words I love. That’s what I call relentless. All by His grace.

I pour out all my faith onto the Word like a drink offering. If it wasn’t for it, I would have succumbed to my body’s trembling in sickness and fear and shrunk into something that is uglier than death itself. I would have whittled away like a useless driftwood that could only be used for kindling.

But it’s the Word that nourishes me, gives strength to my flesh and bones and heart, sees me through every difficult day, and adds to my life. I declare the powerful words over my life throughout the day, especially during physical struggles, like an IV of a potent medicine, a lifeline, a supply of oxygen.

It should work. It shouldn’t fail – that cannot happen. God’s Word cannot be rendered powerless or impotent when applied with full faith.

At the factory Corrie Ten Boom was assigned in after she and her father and sister were arrested by the Nazis for hiding Jews during the Holocaust, she was asked if she needed personal care items like toothbrush and soap. She didn’t have them but she asked instead for a copy of the New Testament. She knew she could survive without a soap or a toothbrush, but she couldn’t possibly live through the horrors of her captivity without God’s Word. After a few days, she received a pocket-sized New Testament Bible, a toothbrush and a soap*.

*From her book Hiding Place.

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Pulling Down Strongholds

After morning prayer, I laid my back against the pillow and closed my eyes to rest awhile. I thought, “I don’t think I can resume today my Bible Study with the kids in the early evenings. I still don’t have enough strength to discuss and stress the lessons.” An inner voice answered me, “It’s important that you resume and that’s beginning today. Just open the Bible and the strength will be supplied.” I still didn’t know. And I didn’t have any clue what lay ahead of the rest of the day.

At sundown, I heard scuffling and screaming from upstairs. I knew the kids were in disagreement and were fighting again. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t run, couldn’t climb up the stairs, although in these instances, I always want so much to be able to do all those things. I sent  a maid to tell them to come down. There would be explanations, and in the end, always a showing of humility from both sides (with my urging and insistence), apologies, and reconciliation. The little one came without hesitation, face sullen.

I had to ask a maid twice to fetch the older. I was beginning to feel irked and frustrated. The older, she’s developing an independent disposition that is not always honoring as she’s entering puberty. Sadly, there had been many instances of her showing a rebellious heart which had caused me grief and drove me to more gruelling prayers. There are not so many things that puzzle me about life, but motherhood remains to be one of them. And I’m feeling it’s getting harder as my daughter and I are entering into her adolescence.

She came and I tackled first the problem at hand: Why couldn’t she come down at once? Why always the resistance? The exchange became more difficult and frustrating when I learned that the things she needed to do and had been daily reminded of for days remained unaccomplished. But that same afternoon, before the uproar, when she came to me for something she needed at the bookstore, I listened at once and did what she requested, as always.

There is no willing obedience without having learned honor first. As a mother, I do my best to model humility and honor. I sincerely ask for forgiveness from my children when I am wrong and have hurt their feelings. I tell them that I listen to their needs and act on them because I honor and care for them. We teach them to honor us, their parents, and one another, and in so doing, they are honoring God in their lives.

At dinnertime, when the daddy arrived from mid-week service, I hoped to unite the family around the table and, yes, resume our evening devotion reading the Bible. No, she wouldn’t come and didn’t want to eat. How much longer and more painful this “rebellion” would be! Rebellion dishonors the rest of the family and, ultimately, God. Rebellion must be rooted out. 

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4)

More furor. How can you turn ugly into beauty? I wept, I begged, I expressed my love. This love of a mother, I realized, is as durable as a diamond though the heart is many times broken. More efforts, yes. Parenting is like Jacob wrestling with God until you have obtained victory. My ailing and weak body was begging for rest, but when all had quieted and settled down, we found ourselves around our table, the daddy opening our NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible to chapter 2 which is Genesis 3, after his opening prayer. We listened to him reading how Adam and Eve challenged God by rebelling and disobeying Him. And how they lacked humility by not acknowledging and repenting of their sin, but instead, blamed another.

What Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden could still be occurring in our homes over and over:



Lack of humility (repentance)


With hearts pried open by aches, love, and the words of the Lord, these lessons were talked about, instilled, and hopefully digested to the inmost being. I saw bowed heads, faint nods. I saw a cold heart thawing. We prayed in closing. Around our dinner table, I saw the beauty of the Lord once again shining.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Cor. 10:4-6)

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God’s Presence Through the Word

Meditating on Psalm 119:81-112.

My soul faints for Your salvation,
But I hope in Your word.
82 My eyes fail from searching Your word,
Saying, “When will You comfort me?”

Unless Your law had been my delight,
I would then have perished in my affliction. (Ps. 119:81,82,92)

Psalm 119 essentially talks about God’s laws, precepts, statutes, and testimonies. In other words, and as we apply the psalm in the present, it talks about the Word of God, the words that proceeded out of His mouth which were faithfully recorded in both old and new testaments and became the Holy Bible. The psalmist, in his extreme need, hopes in God’s Word, in His promises, and not on anything else. He diligently searches God’s Word, looking for the fulfilment of the promise which is in it. By holding on to and delighting in God’s promises, he is delivered and doesn’t perish in his affliction. What great light, penetrating from long ago, does this bring us!

The psalms teach us that in everything, in all our trials and tribulations, may they be diseases of our bodies, problems that break our hearts, or great dangers we face – we can put our hope and trust in God’s Word, in His promises. This is the one thing that makes us wiser than the wisdom of the world.

Oh, how I love Your law [Word]!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation. (vv. 97-99, annotation mine)

The Word of God teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains us in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). It heals our diseases. He sent His word and healed them… (Ps. 107:20). But it is also a channel through which we can feel God’s powerful presence. We praise and worship God to enter into His presence and feel Him moving mightily in us. But we cannot always sing with strength, especially those of us who are sick and weak.

There are seasons in my illness that my abdomen becomes too weak to vocalize. For weeks, even months, I cannot sing praises in my private worship time, but I compensate that in immersing more in the Word, morning and evening. I honor and worship the Lord as I soak up His Word, verse upon verse, passage upon passage, chapter upon chapter. There are times that He grips me so suddenly in His presence as I plough through His Word, that my spirit is caught up in His embrace. And I would stop in the middle of reading, raise my hands and worship, and bask in His glorious presence, tears cascading.

One night many months ago, when my son Tim was suffering from an asthma-like cough and my husband was away praying and fasting, I felt, heard in my spirit, and saw in my mind, the Lord talking to me. In the early evening, I read Him between the pages, during the ministry of prophet Elisha. I was so in it – the places, His words, His power, His presence. As if I was there myself. When later that night, Tim sat up and told me that he couldn’t breathe, I raised my hand towards heaven and cried out to God. As I prayed and begged Him to help Tim, I saw Him in my mind (my eyes were tightly closed) and He spoke to me.

“You spent time with Me tonight. You delighted in My words and works. You know Me, who I Am, what I can do. I will not fail you. I am with you. See, I am here. Just so very near you.” (Choking back tears). I was weeping because of the Lord’s holy presence and His words. And when I laid my hands on my son to cast out his sickness, I saw in my mind that it was God’s prophet Elisha who was laying his hands on my son. Before the night was over, Tim began to recover. Hallelujah!

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path. (v. 105)

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A Quiet Place

The Spirit whispers, telling me to withdraw from the “crowd” and the busyness of daily “Internet” life. For we can easily get so engrossed with this sharing thing, thinking that the more we “socialize”, the more we can spread the Word of God and His testimonies. But we can also overdo it. No, not the sharing part, but the socializing part. So much so that we can neglect the weightier matters: reading and meditating on the Word, listening to God in the silence, or just giving our spirits space to breathe freely.

(image source)

After the busyness of last week (not so much with crowd gathering in our place because that doesn’t happen, but the “marathon-like” associating through FB), my soul is longing to escape to a deserted place where there are only trees, tall grass swaying with the gentle breeze, and the warbling of the birds as they call to each other. How refreshing would that be! But though I cannot go farther than our own garden (the discomforts from my illness hinder me to travel), that doesn’t stop me to seek solitude and be with my God in the quietness of my soul and surroundings.

And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. (Matt. 14:23)

The Spirit of Christ which is also in and with His very own (Rom. 8:9) is the same Spirit who draws us away from our own “multitudes” to resort to our own “deserted mountain” by ourselves to pray, ponder on God’s Word, and listen to His whisperings. Maybe we can escape to a quiet corner in the garden, beside a lake or a river, the beach, or in a deserted park where there is much grass and plenty of trees. The essence of the Spirit’s calling is to withdraw from the world and draw near to God. We can only find quiet and rest and more of God when we withdraw from the “multitudes”.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31, NIV)

The Lord Jesus has set for us an example. But sometimes, although our souls hear Him bidding us, we choose to do more of our plans and to-do lists or more mingling with the multitudes, and neglect to fill ourselves with God. It will not come as a surprise then when we feel like God is far. It’s because we’ve neglected to draw near to Him. The more we soak our hearts and minds with the things of this world (a cornucopia of plans and wants, insidious worries, or even selfish motives in the things we do or serve God that we don’t realize until we are in that quiet place), the more we draw farther away from His presence.

But it is in the silence, when our bodies, hearts, and minds are still and yielded to God like empty vessels waiting to be filled, that His voice seems louder and we hear Him clearer. 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you… (James 4:8)

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Journey with Jesus,

His Word is Light and Life

Meditating on Psalm 119: 17-32

Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law. (Ps. 119:17-18)

I can almost feel the psalmist’s agonized prayer to God through the passages of Psalm 119. Definitely, these are not ordinary utterances but ones that proceed from an afflicted, sorrowing soul. I remember the early days of my illness and suffering. One moment I was in the best of health, working, traveling, and doing the things I loved, the next moment, I was bound in bed, very sick and weak and feeling like I was drowning fast from the fears that accompanied my illness. During those dark hours, I strained to find comfort, strength, understanding, and deliverance from God’s Word.

I was desperately scrambling for light to understand what was happening in my life and I believed I could get that from God’s Word. In-between difficult eating and bouts of violent vomiting and struggling for breath, I begged the Lord to speak to me through His Word. How I desperately needed to know! And He didn’t fail me. He answered my very crucial questions through His Word, and I was greatly comforted and strengthened.

His Word was my light in the darkest hours.

My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.

My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word. (vv. 25, 28)

As I spent endless days in bed, I was nourished by daily servings of His Word. I devoured chapters upon chapters. Did I believe this would do me good? Absolutely. I believed the Word could bring me healing. I believed it could resurrect me and bring me new life, both physically and spiritually. Revive me according to Your word; strengthen me according to Your word, the psalmist begged.

As I stalked the Lord Jesus in the narrow streets of Jerusalem or along the seashore or on the mountain where He resorted, I desperately wanted to be sucked into the pages of the Gospels and be with Him where there’s no more pain, suffering, and fear. As I followed Him relentlessly with the multitudes and straining to touch the hem of His garment, I knew without a doubt that I would be healed. I did all this through walking and living in His Word.

…The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)

The words of the Lord are life. They give life and bring healing and restoration. He and His Word are one. The Word [is] God (John 1:1).

I love God’s Word. I have not gotten tired of opening it and walking through it, meandering through the beautiful, life-giving passages, and pondering on and wrestling with the hard teachings. That I may swallow them and be digested in my inmost parts that I may continue to live. To live, physically and spiritually.

It is my constant prayer to remain fervent in His Word.

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Journey with Jesus,