Our Deepest Hunger

When I wasn’t yet a born-again Christian, my work was my passion. It was what defined me. My name was synonymous to it. My world revolved around it, not only because it consumed much of my time, but it also consumed my heart and mind.  There are many things in this world that can possess our whole beings and consume us, without us ever realizing it (though there are also people of the world who seek to be consumed by their own passions and be swallowed whole by them). But even the people of God are not immune to such passions.

I’ve been thinking much about it lately, that when we become passionate about things that steal our time for God, both in our hearts and minds and in our deeds, these things become idols to us. What could we be so passionate about that would dilute our fervent devotion to God? I can think of many things: work, business, relationships, hobbies, pastimes, material possessions, and yes, even the talents God gave when used inordinately. In the authorized King James Version of the Bible, a part of Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians reads like this:

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Col. 3:5)

Notice that it mentions inordinate affection, which I believe, very well covers our subject matter. The Free Dictionary defines inordinate as “exceeding reasonable limits; immoderate; not regulated; disorderly; unrestrained in conduct, feelings, etc. (for example, an inordinate lover of antiques); uncontrolled.”

I also thought about covetousness as the source of idolatry and analyzed that covetousness doesn’t only mean excessive desire of possessing worldly things, but also other things which we might not have given much thought, such as coveting the world’s admiration, or people’s approval, or men’s love and attention, or visceral happiness and sensual pleasures, etc. I looked up covetous in the dictionary and it is defined as, “marked by extreme desire to acquire or possess, for example, covetous of learning.”

One morning last week as I praised and worshiped the Lord, I was suddenly caught up in a strong desire to cry out to Him, “My Lord Jesus, be my life’s passion! Be my heart’s greatest desire!” I begged Him as He pried open my heart, saw what’s in there and whispered, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Rev. 2:4).

I pray that my deepest desire is to be passionate about Jesus. For He is ever passionate about us, though we have yet to grasp its depth. We just have to think about the cross, examine His words, and look at His works and enduring mercy in our lives, and we would know that God is passionate in His love for us.

May the Savior Jesus Christ be our deepest hunger and the only One who can satiate it. Listen, for He may just be knocking at your heart’s door and whispering, “I have somewhat against thee.”

My Lord Jesus, I just want you!

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Christian Discipline: When We Make Our Possessions Our Gods

No, this is not a heavy-handed sermon on idolatry (although I know that there a lot of people out there who have shifted their affections from the living God to things that give them pleasure). The Bible says that when we obsessively covet something, that is idolatry.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Col. 3:5, emphasis mine)

This is about my daughter Hannah. And I’m not writing this to put her down or embarrass her. I’m sharing this so we can all learn the lesson.

Before Hannah learned to use a cellphone, she had a beautiful, exciting life. When she was 5 or 6, she loved art. She still does today but she rarely has time. When I went to the hospital to give birth to Tim, she shoved a shoebox and a big brown envelop towards me filled with her arts and crafts she especially prepared for my stay in the hospital. “To remember me by, Mom” were her parting words.

She used to love to play, swinging in the park high up in the air or biking around the neighborhood, her long hair flying with the wind. She had an appreciation of nature – examining bugs and insects and flowers even the tiniest ones. And she never missed to bring me flowers from her forays around our village. If she didn’t see fresh ones from the stalks, she picked up fallen frangipanis from the ground. But she grew up and learned other things, things that are not necessarily beneficial.

She has a natural computer acumen, almost instinctive. Are children of this age born with it? Hannah coaches me in photo editing and in designing my upcoming book! Needless to say, she knows a lot that I didn’t know about. But her academic performance took a downturn when she wrapped her life around her gadgets. Being strictly disciplined by us in using the laptop (only school work), she maximized the use of her Android cellphone. I gave it to her last Christmas so she could call us when she was away.

But as I’ve said, she wrapped her whole life around it, neglecting other things. I believe this is the reason why she didn’t receive a medal in academic excellence this year, only gold and silver certificates. This summer, her obsession of her cellphone got worse. Of course, she still does the chores she’s assigned, but her consciousness is with her gadgets. She received a big case of art materials from her aunt and uncle from the states but she has not opened it yet. She has many unread  books in the library but they remain unread. After her successful piano recital 2 weeks ago, she has not sat down in front of the piano to play some tunes. I told her to research some praise music pieces to learn so we can give glory to God with them, but she chooses to hole up in the guest room tinkering with her cellphone.

My patience maxed out yesterday morning. I called her in the room and gave her a dressing down. I explained to her what was happening with her life because of her obsession with gadgets. Her cellphone was the first thing she reached for in the morning and the last thing she laid aside at night. I reminded her that she has been neglecting to pray and praise before bedtime. I told her how she has traded life with her cellphone which is impotent. Yes, I told her how she has made her cell phone her god. It hurt I know, but Proverbs 27:5 says, “A spoken reprimand is better than approval that’s never expressed” (MSG).

Everything that takes us away from the worship of the living God and steals our love for Him is from the devil. That is his main goal: to create gods out of our possessions.

I opened my Bible and brought her to Revelation 2:2-4:

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Emphasis mine).

I reminded her that the Lord Jesus Christ is our first love, our joy, our life! That He died on the cross to give us life, for we were dead in our sins. But He came to give us life and that life is abundant! Abundant in love and joy and excitement with our fellowship with Him, with the people in our lives and the gifts He gave us, like music, art, play, talents, etc.

With tears in my eyes and the hairs of my arms standing up, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as I implored her to renew her love for the Lord and enjoy the life He has given.

There’s more. When I told her gently but firmly that I needed to take back the cellphone , she was displeased. I told her that it was the enemy who has taken a foothold on her that was resisting. If it was the Holy Spirit, she should have humbled down and willingly surrendered her cellphone. I explained to her that. In the end, I knew my words found their way to her heart, by the grace of God.

 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

We must redeem our children from the gods of this world.

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The Vanity of Idols

Meditating on Psalm 135.

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
16 They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
17 They have ears, but they do not hear;
Nor is there any breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them. (Ps. 135:15-18)

The psalmist lamented about the worship of idols of the nations surrounding Israel, but the irony is that, Israel has also adopted it. Their fathers saw the mighty works and wonders that God performed in their midst; Moses taught them to worship only the one true living God, inscribing the commandments on tables of stones so they and the generations to come would not forget. Yet, the generation that came after soon turned aside from Moses’ teachings and followed after strange gods and served them.

I could utter the same lamentation for our country. The Philippines was colonized by Spain for more than 3oo years. The Spaniards’ arrival was described by Carlos P. Romulo’s I Am a Filipino, “…and my sire was the West that came thundering across the seas with the Cross and Sword and the Machine.” Tears pool in my eyes as I am brought back to 4th grade when our class and that of the 5th grade recited this in a program, an important celebration of sorts. This line has stayed with me all these years. When I came to serve the one true living God, I knew why.

The Spaniards brought their religion to us together with the worship of all their graven images . The Filipinos have embraced it ever since.

Most Filipino households have altars where they set up the graven images made of wood or stone. When I was a kid, my grandparents’ house had a built-in altar in the living room full of statues of different sizes and costumes. Every time I passed by the place, I turned my face the other way. Those images spooked me!

Until now, the adoration of images pervades the country. One can find them in public transport, parks, streets, etc. People offer sampaguita garlands to them. They adorn them with bright-clored fabrics and dust them regularly. When I was a kid, everyday during the whole month of May, we offered flowers to the image of Mary enshrined in the church. We would bow down our heads and pray before it. We knelt before the image of Mary! (How truly lamentable!).

During Lent, an image of the infant Jesus would be placed on the altar and the devotees would form a long line to bow before the stone baby and kiss it. I was one of the many who thronged that cold, unmoving baby made of stone. How crazy was that! Before someone would violently  react, I would like to remind you of this commandment:

am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God… (Ex. 20:2-5)

God lives forever! He speaks, He moves, He is mighty and powerful! He saves and delivers!

During calamities, the people carry their images to safety. The images of wood and stone cannot walk and save them, for how can they seeing they are non-living things! But the people cannot see that!

 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god [Satan] of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2 Cor. 4:3-4, annotation mine)

The Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, died for the country’s freedom. The country has gained its independence from the Spaniards, but it has remained in bondage to their religion. The parting line of Carlos P. Romulo’s I Am a Filipino still rings true today:

“I am a Filipino born of freedom and I shall not rest until freedom shall have been added unto my inheritance – for myself and my children’s children – forever.”

Amen. We will not rest until true freedom has been obtained through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Your name, O Lord, endures forever,
Your fame, O Lord, throughout all generations.
14 For the Lord will judge His people,
And He will have compassion on His servants. (Ps. 135:13-14)

(Photo courtesy of my cousin Bill Raras).

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The Headless Child King {An Apologetics Post}

I am now reading through 1 Samuel in my evening devotion and a few nights ago I came to 1 Sam. 5:4. It brought a memory which made me chuckle about the testimony of a preacher in our Church which I wrote on my blog Minister of Mercy. I will share that with you in a little while but first, the verse:

And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it. (1 Sam. 5:4)

After their victory against the Israelites, the Philistines took the ark of God and put it in the house of Dagon their god. In the morning when the people of Ashdod arose and went into the house of their god, the image of Dagon was fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the God of Israel. On the second morning, the above verse describes the fate of their god Dagon.

And “the hand of the Lord was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory (1 Sam. 5:6).

Before beloved Bro. Luisito Angeles received the Lord Jesus Christ and became an ordained preacher of Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry, this was his life:

During the day, Bro. Louie helped his mother in their vegetable stall in Muñoz Market. At night, he went to school to study architecture. Very early in the morning, they would wake up to open the stall and go about arranging and displaying the fresh vegetables delivered that day for selling. But before Bro. Louie could even begin his work, his mother ordered him to kiss the image of Sto. Niño perched on a wooden mantel in the wall and pray before it. Bro. Louie didn’t relish doing it but he didn’t want to offend his mother so he did it anyway. But the funny part is, Bro. Louie often had to grope in the dark and dirty floor of the vegetable stall for the head of the statue of the Sto. Niño. During the night, the mice that thrived in the stall became rambunctious in their feasting of the unsold vegetables and always managed to wriggle the wooden head of the Sto. Niño from off its neck. Or maybe the mice also delighted in nibbling the dirty head of the wooden statue?

When Bro. Louie found the head (probably been played with by the raucous mice), he set it atop the statue and kissed it. The ritual was repeated every morning.

Can you imagine the image of the god Dagon with its head and limbs strewn on the ground as described in the verse above? I can see the striking similarity with the story of Bro. Louie. Anyway, to continue with his testimony:

Bro. Louie finally graduated from college but when he applied for a job abroad, he failed his medical exam. He had leprosy. You can read the complete testimony of Bro. Louie Angeles here.

The people of Ashdod who desecrated the ark of God by putting it in the house of their god Dagon were punished. God struck them with tumors. Again, I can see the similarity here with the testimony of Bro. Louie.

I made a little research about the origin of the Sto. Niño in Google and was surprised to find out that it originated from our country the Philippines and it’s officially called Sto. Niño de Cebu! By the way, it’s translated as “boy saint” (that’s my own translation but devotees from the Catholic Church worship it as “Baby Jesus”). So anyway, the image is that of a very young boy with a cape, a crown, and a cross. The image has multiplied to untold numbers as crafters continue to make business out of it all year round. Almost all households of Catholics have the image sitting on a mantel or altar where some also make offerings. The images vary depending on where they are sold. Some are adorned with just a plain green cloth. These grace the poorer households, mostly small business establishments. Still some others are bedecked with red felt, gold threads, and precious beads.

It really makes my heart heavy to think about such paganistic worship of images and statues. The ever-living, all-powerful God and Savior who lives in the heart of the redeemed has been reduced by this zealous, blinded devotees into an impotent image of wood and stone (that mice can play with). But of course, no one can truly take away or reduce the glory and power of the one true living God no matter what idolatrous acts these people do.

But we continue to pray that God will open their hearts from their blindness and be saved, too.

 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’ (Mat. 13:14-15)

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Speak the Truth in Love {An Apologetics Post}

Meditating on Psalm 132.

Lord, remember David
And all his afflictions;
2 How he swore to the Lord,
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3 “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house,
Or go up to the comfort of my bed;
4 I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
5 Until I find a place for the Lord,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” (vv. 1-5)

Psalm 132 talks about David’s desire to build a house of the Lord. This dream was realized in the reign of his son, King Solomon. But even during the dedication of the temple, Solomon acknowledged that: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27)

The temple was dedicated to be a house of prayer. There, Solomon placed the ark of the covenant of the Lord and nothing more. There were no images graven by hands in the likeness of men, women, or “any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Ex. 20:4).

But the Catholic religion built churches and stuffed them with icons and graven images of the Lord Jesus and the early apostles and saints. They enshrine these images, put them in generously-embellished carrozas (floats), and parade them in lavish processions. The devotees offer sacrifices to these bedecked images; they worship them. Even in their homes, they build groves and shrines for Mama Mary. They had made her their god.

This is a timely post because just this week, prior to writing this, I had to heed the call to “speak the truth in love” to a friend. They inaugurated a guesthouse and she showed the photos on FB. I wanted to like the photos but one thing stopped me: in the front yard is a big glass shrine of “Mama Mary” adorned in gold clothing and crown. I searched my heart and listened to the Lord’s guidance on what I must do. I didn’t want to offend my friend by ignoring her post. So I sent her a private message telling her how neat and comfortable their guesthouse looks. But I also needed to tell her about the shrine being a drawback to born-again Christians, then I quoted two verses about the vanity of idols.

God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. (Acts 17:24-25)

The Bible says that those who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and born of the Spirit are the temples of the living God. The Lord dwells in their hearts.

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” (2 Cor. 6:16)

(Photo courtesy of JMCIM sister in Christ).

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Turn From Idols

Meditating on Psalm 129.

“Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,”
Let Israel now say— …
“The plowers plowed on my back;
They made their furrows long.” (Ps. 129:1,3)

(image source)

The nation of Israel had gone through a lot of tribulations. When Joshua died and all the fathers who had known and served the living God, the next generations of Israelites who had not known Him and His works turned to strange gods, the gods of the nations around them, and served and worshiped them. During the time of the judges, God would raise up to them a judge to deliver them from those who afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people went back to their idols, setting up altars for them and sacrificing to them. This would make God so angry that He would deliver them to their enemies to afflict and punish them. And their afflictions were so severe that they cried out to God in pain and helplessness.

As I pondered on these things, only one thing came to mind – the hapless state of our country Philippines. Philippines is considered as the only Christian country in Asia, and yet, the blessings [peace and prosperity] that are due it have been long withheld, and in their place are calamities, insurgencies, widespread corruption, and endless poverty. If it is called a Christian nation, why, then, does the Philippines continue to be battered by calamities that bring massive destruction, and corruption that bury the poor deeper into abject poverty? The answer: Because majority of the people worship idols (graven images). They set up altars in their homes upon which they put up images made of wood or stone, and to these they bow their knees and pray.

Some even offer food to their images upon the altar. Devotees all over the country celebrate religious festivals where they parade their images of different kinds, arrayed in diverse colors and adornments. They dance in the streets, toting and displaying them. But the people that do them will as soon go back to their depraved way of life – alcoholism, drug addiction and trafficking, corruption, adultery, gossip, and so on. Why? Because what they do are pagan practices. They do not worship and serve the one true living God. They don’t worship Him in spirit and in truth.

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

They are as unsaved as those who had not known the Lord Jesus Christ. These were the words of the Lord regarding them:

 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Mat. 7:21)

But we, the redeemed, serve as salt and light to the world, pulling down strongholds and preaching the true Gospel of salvation.

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Lessons From the Past

Meditating on Psalm 106.

Blessed are those who keep justice,
And he who does righteousness at all times! (Psalm 106:3)

Psalm 106 is a summary of Israel’s journey from the land of Egypt to Canaan, under the leadership of Moses, to their life beyond that – under the appointed judges and the reigns of kings.

Reading Psalm 106 reminded me of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians chapter 10. It was a grave warning. One that makes us stop in our tracks and let the words move powerfully in our being. The Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians of the Israelites of old:

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Cor. 10:11)

This admonition is for us, too. What are the lessons we can glean from the life and journeyings of the ancient Israelites as narrated in Psalm 106?

1) Being Unmindful of God’s Wonders, Miracles, and Mighty Deeds (vv. 6-7)

After witnessing God’s wonders that He performed in Egypt, plaguing the land to amaze Pharaoh and make him liberate the Israelites, the people forgot. God did not earn their faith and trust at all. When they found themselves between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s pursuing army, they raised their voices and complained to Moses.

Do you easily forget God’s goodness and mercy in times of distress and great trials? Our lack of faith and trust in Him displeases Him. But our constant remembrance of and thanksgiving for His works glorify Him.

2) God Performs Miracles for His Glory (vv. 8-12)

Despite Israel’s lack of faith and rebellion, He saved her and showed her His mighty power. God’s wondrous works that He performs in our lives are meant to exalt Him and give Him glory. Do we thank and praise Him for them, and declare them to other people? Or do we secretly think that they are products of our own strength and wisdom? Pride is a sin that usually ensnares a person, even a Christian.

3) Giving in to Lusts (vv. 13-15)

Though God fed them with manna, their soul began to loathe it, and they remembered the flavorful dishes that they used to eat in Egypt. They lusted for food.

This passage brings a tinge of conviction to my heart. It is not only food that we may lust for. There are myriad things that our souls may greatly desire, and in the midst of hard trials, don’t we sometimes loathe what is daily given to us and wish for something else? But what we think we lack and crave for may exactly be the thing that God is withholding, to give us something far better and more filling. Yes, in the very absence of the things we desire, in that very place, God could be filling us with so much more: the growth of our souls, the deepening of our faith and devotion to Him, and the expansion of our love.

4) Punishment for Jealousy and Idolatry (vv. 16-23)

God punished those who were jealous of Moses and Aaron. Their forming and worshiping of the image of an ox kindled His wrath so fiercely that He wanted to destroy the whole nation had not Moses interceded.

Don’t we also do that? Unconsciously? When we are on that place of waiting, desperately waiting, long and hard, don’t we sometimes divert our attention to temporary things that get us off of the presence of the Lord? Don’t we also sometimes create things that will bring us great pleasure, filling, as well as consuming, our hearts and minds and days? Don’t we also set up idols in our hearts?

5) Complaints and Murmurings God Hates (vv. 24-33)

God was pleased to give them Canaan, the Promised Land, but they despised it. God was so hurt and angered that He determined to destroy those people and did not let them see the land.

When we are disappointed and dissatisfied with what the Lord provides for us and we bitterly complain about them, we dishonor Him. Our unthankfulness greatly offends Him. Our constant complainings and grumblings turn away His blessings intended for us.

6) Be Separate (vv. 34-43)

God redeemed us from the sin and filthiness of this world. He made us “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Pet. 2:9). Just as He drew Israel toward Him to be His people, separate from the other pagan nations around her, He also wants us to be separate from the ways of the world. 

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God’s Jealousy and Anger

Meditating on Psalm 79

I know that such title wouldn’t do well specially with people who believe only in a loving God and not in the just, righteous, holy God that punishes iniquities. But one needs to speak the truth. I read Psalm 79 and though it tells of the captivity of Jerusalem (maybe this was during the time of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon who invaded Jerusalem, defiled the temple of God, and took Zedekiah the king), the following verse stood out and it’s what I want us to meditate on:

How long, Lord?
Will You be angry forever?
Will Your jealousy burn like fire? 
(Psalm 79:5)

Jerusalem was punished by God because of her consistent idolatry. He used Nebuchadnezzar as instrument to serve His purpose. In our present time, idolatry still doesn’t go unpunished.

Years before Bro. Louie Angeles came to know the one true living God and surrender his life to Him, he knew many gods made of wood and cast stone. Every morning, even before the sun rose, he would be in their market stall helping his mother. His mother’s number one instruction was for Bro. Louie to kiss a statue of a “young Jesus” with a crown and a cape decorated with gold stitches before he started work. (This icon is widely popular in the Philippines that its yearly feast is celebrated for days).

But before Bro. Louie could do that, he would first diligently search for the head of the statue which always went missing because the rats played with it during the night. When he had found it, he would fix it on top of the statue and only then could he kiss it. Bro. Louie worked diligently in their market stall to finance his college education. When he graduated, finishing Bachelor of Science in Architecture, he found out he had leprosy. To read more of Bro. Louie Angeles’ amazing testimony, click here.

******

How about the devotion to a black statue whose yearly feast is celebrated with so much fanfare and attended by millions of devotees, but also marred by disasters and tragedies? This Filipino Catholic tradition was analyzed in depth in this article Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo » Faith or Fanaticism? Click the link to read the essay.

The Bible teaches us to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)

Until the people come to the knowledge of this truth and worship the one true living God and not impotent idols made by hands, there is no real peace and the land remains captive and “desolate” [barren; lifeless].

New testimony post: Healed of Witchcraft: The testimony of Sis. Maria Fe Lible

Photo courtesy of Bro. Edu Cortez of extremedetails.com
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What Competition Really Is

I didn’t really know it then, how painful and destructive competition could become. I learned later in life, however, how competition really brings out the worst in the human animal.

When I was still managing our company, I had a client-friend who competed with her own close relative in the same industry. They had had a nasty history and from then on, competed with each other so ferociously one observer, also a client-friend, commented, “I’m scared to think what will come of these two, competing like that.”

I know too well how competition could be so ugly and scary. For the strong-gutted, they will thrive, but for the faint-hearted ones, they are in for a painful ride. But I do believe, both are bound for destruction.

When the relative inaugurated her new laboratory, this client-friend confided that she dreams of building her own lab. She said she must have her own lab! She said she couldn’t sleep just by thinking about it. She was consumed by it. The immediate effect of competition is peacelessness.

I knew where she was coming from. When I put up my own company, I also thrived in competition. But I could say it was a healthy one, as I aimed of leading the pack. I tried not to be diverted by competitors’ tactics as I worked to reaching my company’s vision.

But competition may come in different forms, like competing with neighbors and friends, reminding us of the old cliche, “keeping up with the Joneses”.

Competition breeds covetousness and vice-versa. It’s a vicious cycle.

To be consumed by covetousness is beyond scary. But its hapless victims don’t know that. They are as helpless as any other who are in the clutches of the enemy.

Covetousness is idolatry. It’s worshiping the things of this world. That’s what the Bible says.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry(Col. 3:5)

Did you know that if we love and embrace the things of the world the love of God is not in us? Read carefully:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2: 15-17)

But there is help for the covetous as there is help for the murderers, adulterers, robbers, and all products of sin. And that help comes only from the Lord Jesus Christ. He promises:

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

You who are powerless against the temptations of this world; you who are under the influence of the god of this world, consciously or unconsciously walking the path of competition and covetousness – come unto Jesus. He is bidding you. He alone can set you free.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

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(If you haven’t received the Lord Jesus Christ in your life and are not sure if you are saved and heir of eternal life, and you are so searching for true peace and happiness, know the keys of salvation here).

My weekly gratitude list ~ thankful to the Lord for:

  • birds gaily singing outside the window even before the morning sun bathes our home with its golden glow.
  • a luxuriating foot spa (with dead sea salts foot soak and lavender-scented scrub) assisted by my beloved husband; lavender doesn’t fail to soothe my senses.
  • cozy snuggles in my sweetheart’s arms.
  • our buffet table and display cabinets finally cleaned of clutter; a box full of old silver and glass dishes sent away to the province.
  • fluffy pancakes dripping with my favorite virgin honey from a bee farm in Tagaytay. I love its very distinct floral taste. It’s like eating a bouquet of flowers :).

Linked to Sharing His Beauty, Multitudes on Mondays, Titus 2sday, Domestically Divine, Encourage My Heart, Teach Me Tuesday, State of the Heart, Women Living Well, Women in the Word Wednesday, Proverbs 31 Thursday, Faith Filled Friday, Spiritual Sundays, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home