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Archive for May, 2006

                                                             

Monday afternoon. One of the days in the week when I do my prayer and fasting. And here I am in my one-bedroom flat, sitting in my living room as I read the book I am Not but I know I AM by Louie Giglio. It’s a nice afternoon. The music Lounge Worship is now playing at the background. From my flat, I can see the sunset reflecting on the residential buildings right outside my window. What a beautiful sunset!

As I got to the last page of the chapter, I encountered the very challenging question, “Are You for It?” At this point, I put my book down and meditate on that question. It took me a couple of minutes of reflection before I answered that question aloud as if I have someone with me. I said to myself, “Yes, I’m definitely up for it! Who wouldn’t?”

I have the best and greatest team with me — that is, our BIG GOD! I have everything I need. God and I…we are a team. I have all the resources I need for whatever He wants me to accomplish for His Kingdom. I have the best partner in God. Of course, I would love to work for and with Him. Of course I’m for it! 🙂

As long as God is with me all the way, who can be against me? And that’s the beauty of it!: God will never leave us alone. While we do leave Him  — forgetting our focus and forgetting Who our partner is — He doesn’t.

As human beings, we have the tendency to fall into the temptation of self-centeredness, becoming people pleasers. We become dependent on human performance that we forget our partner, the “Great I AM.” We forget that “I am not” in control but “the GREAT I AM,” God Himself. We should not forget that we are only His instruments — His mouth, His hands, His eyes, and the like.

We all fall into the temptation of self-sufficiency, making decisions on our own and forgetting to ask God for guidance or to involve Him in major and minor decision-making in our day-to-day living.

We fall into the temptation of arrogance and egoism, uttering statements “I am great”…”I can do it”…”I am smart”…”I am rich”…and so on and so forth that we start to take and wear the title that was meant for GOD alone. We become the ‘the great I am’ until we reach our limits and realize that, alas, we can’t do it alone. Without God, we cannot do anything.

God has to pull that imaginary leash from time to time for us to realize that we are going the wrong way. Sometimes the tug is gentle, but oftentimes, we ignore that gentle tug. That’s the time the Lord has to give us a harder tug so that we can feel it and run back to Him…back to the right path He has meant for us to tread on.

We always have to go back to where God is. It is vital that we keep Him in the loop of what is going on in our lives. Doing so will give us an assurance that no matter what the circumstances are, good or bad, we will always be up for it! Why? Because we have a big God, the great I AM, as our reliable partner.

There is victory when the team called “God and I” work hand in hand.

Friend, there are two questions we should always ask ourselves from time to time:

1. Do I really want God to be my partner?

2. If  “yes,” am I including Him in all the decisions that I make, be they minor or major, in my everyday life?

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Monday afternoon. One of the days in the week when I do my prayer and fasting. And here I am in my one-bedroom flat, sitting in my living room as I read the book I am Not but I know I AM by Louie Giglio. It’s a nice afternoon. The music Lounge Worship is now playing at the background. From my flat, I can see the sunset reflecting on the residential buildings right outside my window. What a beautiful sunset!

As I got to the last page of the chapter, I encountered the very challenging question, “Are You for It?” At this point, I put my book down and meditate on that question. It took me a couple of minutes of reflection before I answered that question aloud as if I have someone with me. I said to myself, “Yes, I’m definitely up for it! Who wouldn’t?”

I have the best and greatest team with me — that is, our BIG GOD! I have everything I need. God and I…we are a team. I have all the resources I need for whatever He wants me to accomplish for His Kingdom. I have the best partner in God. Of course, I would love to work for and with Him. Of course I’m for it! 🙂

As long as God is with me all the way, who can be against me? And that’s the beauty of it!: God will never leave us alone. While we do leave Him  — forgetting our focus and forgetting Who our partner is — He doesn’t.

As human beings, we have the tendency to fall into the temptation of self-centeredness, becoming people pleasers. We become dependent on human performance that we forget our partner, the “Great I AM.” We forget that “I am not” in control but “the GREAT I AM,” God Himself. We should not forget that we are only His instruments — His mouth, His hands, His eyes, and the like.

We all fall into the temptation of self-sufficiency, making decisions on our own and forgetting to ask God for guidance or to involve Him in major and minor decision-making in our day-to-day living.

We fall into the temptation of arrogance and egoism, uttering statements “I am great”…”I can do it”…”I am smart”…”I am rich”…and so on and so forth that we start to take and wear the title that was meant for GOD alone. We become the ‘the great I am’ until we reach our limits and realize that, alas, we can’t do it alone. Without God, we cannot do anything.

God has to pull that imaginary leash from time to time for us to realize that we are going the wrong way. Sometimes the tug is gentle, but oftentimes, we ignore that gentle tug. That’s the time the Lord has to give us a harder tug so that we can feel it and run back to Him…back to the right path He has meant for us to tread on.

We always have to go back to where God is. It is vital that we keep Him in the loop of what is going on in our lives. Doing so will give us an assurance that no matter what the circumstances are, good or bad, we will always be up for it! Why? Because we have a big God, the great I AM, as our reliable partner.

There is victory when the team called “God and I” work hand in hand.

Friend, there are two questions we should always ask ourselves from time to time:

1. Do I really want God to be my partner?

2. If  “yes,” am I including Him in all the decisions that I make, be they minor or major, in my everyday life?

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In August last year, God’s Gift Church (the church where I serve the Lord as a full-fledged missionary) was able to organize for the first time a summer kids’ camp without any foreign aid for some 100 Ukrainian children, 60 of whom committed themselves to Jesus Christ. Because of this overwhelming result, a Sunday School was suddenly ‘born’ the same month.

The children evidently enjoyed the whole summer camp experience. They loved the assembly meetings (lots of action singing there!), Bible lessons, handicraft sessions, outdoor games, and of course, the lunch breaks (who wouldn’t?). The G-12 group, led by Ptr. Sergey Sayenko, put in so much time and energy to make it happen, as inspired by God’s grace.

It was wonderful to see the sincere smiles on the children’s faces, knowing that the Lord had touched their hearts through our church’s summer camp program. I, together with the church’s core group, knew right then and there that these Ukrainian kids would never be the same again.

This coming summer, we would like to hold a similar camp activity for kids in need in Donetsk. We are currently raising USD1,500.00 to cover all the expenses to be incurred in the would-be camp. As of this writing, we have only managed to raise USD200.00. Please remember this worthwhile project in your prayers. We know that God will provide.

If you feel that the Lord is touching your heart to support the summer kids’ camp endeavor in kind (e.g., books, handicraft materials, shirts, food) or in cash, my churchmates and I would be very happy to hear from you! And should you wish to pay us a visit to render some volunteer services, you are, of course, welcome. 

In the meantime, enjoy the photos I posted here in my blog so you can have a visual reference of what we are doing in this part of Eastern Europe every summer.

Have a nice weekend, everyone! God bless.

(Note: Click here to view the Summer Camp ’05 slideshow.)

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Today, I’ve decided to start blogging my spiritual journal entries here. I know God’s Word will not return to Him empty but will accomplish its purpose in us. So here goes my first blog entry under the blog category “Devotional Snippets”:

“The real conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempted moment.”

This is very true. Most of the time, we say things that are better left unsaid. If we keep our mouths shut if we need to, that would save us a lot of trouble.

I believe that the Bible has something to say about this matter. Proverbs 25:11 (NKJ) reads: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold, in settings of silver.”

As I was thinking and meditating on this verse, I said to myself that this verse is packed with wisdom and we need to learn and re-learn it in our daily walk with Christ. By uttering unnecessary words, we save ourselves the trouble of getting in conflict with others. Most of the time, we talk too much (I know some people who really love to talk! Hehe). But it is for our own benefit to learn to listen more and talk less. Besides, we learn more by listening than talking. Do you agree?

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Those who are close to my heart know full well that I love taking photos wherever I go. I get a high snapping away with my reliable Sony digital camera (now a bit battered due to overuse, hehe).

During my trip to Manila early this year, I took the opportunity to take some pictures which I would like to post here in my weblog (they can also be viewed in my Flickr Pro photo gallery).

The pictures above are dedicated to those who have been faithful in supporting me in the challenging yet wonderful missions work the Lord has set out for me. I hope that as you view my pictures, they will give you much joy. Thank you from across the miles!

(Note: This is the first Shutterbug Gallery series to be featured in my blog. To view more of my pictures, please visit my Flickr Pro account here.)

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                       Spring has come! 

                      Spring has come in Ukraine! Just lovely.  

April had been an exciting month for me here in Ukraine. Aside from having secured a new Ukrainian visa, I had my birthday celebration as well on the 12th.

I celebrated my 38th year here on earth with my ‘family’ and friends here in Donetsk. You wouldn’t believe it, but I prepared dinner — yes, I do cook now 🙂 — consisting of lasagna, baked potatoes, and adobo (a hit among the Ukrainians here).

We all enjoyed the food that night (must be God’s grace at work, hehe). I received some gifts from them. Oh, they are such a sweet and lovely lot, the Ukrainians. I am always thankful to the Lord for having blessed me with family and friends in Ukraine.

Instead of having the usual “toasting” common during birthday celebrations here, I opted to take the opportunity to thank these special people for the love and goodness they have extended to me all this time. We then sealed the fellowship with prayer.

Truly, that was a blessed birthday celebration. Praise the Lord for making it a memorable one for me!

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