FILIPINO EXPAT ENCOURAGEMENT 63

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What’s in your hand?

Each of us has been given something in our hand. It can be work, a strength, a weakness, assets, liabilities. When we place these in the Lord’s hand, there is no limitation what blessings we can be and what heights we can reach.

The widow of Zarephath had nothing but a bottle of oil. When she obeyed the prophet Elijah in collecting pots to fill with oil, God multiplied the oil till all pots were filled and sale of the oil financially sustained her and her son during the time of her poverty. She xthe man of God with her hospitality. Kings 17-24

No matter how small a thing in your hand, the Lord can multiply it to bless others. Is it a little food, clothes, time, love, joy, strength? Even weaknesses can be turned positively in God’s hand. Have you given what is in your hand, to the Lord to experience His miracles?

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Nuggets – Christ in You, the Hope of Glory

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

The last six words of this text have been the theme of many sermons, and surely they are worth our study, for the concept is used throughout Scripture. They also are included in the final verse of “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners.”

Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find;
Christ in me, the Hope of glory,
I am His, and He is mine.

Christ does indeed live in each believer and fills and controls as allowed by the individual. But for those filled with His abundance, He provides the certain “hope” of glory. We have assurance of salvation, adoption, grace, Spirit-filled life, and eternal glory as we are in Christ. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Scripture specifically teaches that God loves sinners as they are and moves as a gracious “Friend” to pay the penalty for their sin. “If thou shalt…believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).

The words “believe” and “receive,” while not the same, can often be used interchangeably in Scripture. Once we truly believe, we can receive Him, for when we believe we simultaneously receive God’s forgiveness and salvation. And we can affirm, “I am His, and He is mine.” His sweet “friendship” will last for all time. JDM

                From Days of Praise

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FILIPINO EXPAT ENCOURAGEMENT 62

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Give me Faith

Everyday we pray. Do we believe when the answer is “Wait”? That is when our faith makes the difference to reflect our belief and action. What do we say? Where are You Lord, have You forgotten about me? Can You really do it? Lord I worry and am anxious that I will be the laughing stock in my family or among my friends? Lord, please let me see this issue through Your eyes, wait for Your timing and Your plans.

Hebrews 11:6  And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

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Nuggets – Guide and Keeper

“For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” (Psalm 31:3)

David wrote often about the trials of life, but he leaned on a wise and good Guide for deliverance. The next verses tell of the grave danger ahead and David’s resolve: “Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (vv. 4-5). “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” addresses that in its fourth stanza.

Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night o’ertakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

There was a time in the gospels when the disciples were overwhelmed by a tempest, but Jesus Christ, their Guide and Keeper, calmed the sea and rescued them. “There arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves….Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:24-26). This was one of their first indications He was more than a mere man. “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (v. 27).

Sailors know the value of a wise and experienced pilot who can guide their ship into safe harbor. In an analogous way, Christ and His Spirit can keep us from ruin—human, natural, or spiritual. Christ promised, “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). We are safe in His care.

The Old Testament contains the precious truth “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). We have the assurance that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). JDM

                From Days of Praise

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FILIPINO EXPAT ENCOURAGEMENT 61

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Mockers

We live among mockers who do not believe in our Christian faith and values. Often we find ourselves the minority among workmates and family. These who do not believe will influence us by their actions, words, challenge or debate, to adopt their faith and values. We must be alert to the evil one’s intention to replace our Christian values in us by influence of non-believers. It is not frontal opposition but subtle. They could sow seeds of doubt like – Was Jesus born? How do you know He was sinless? How can He save you? Everyone does it, it is OK for you to do it. Even the advertisements encourage you to do it. Why not, they would not spend so much on advertisements if it is not the right thing to do. Besides being alert we should know what the Bible says, understand, discern and be courageous to say “No” to that which contradicts the Bible and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We could mindlessly follow our non-Christian cultures in being superstitious or follow their practice of eating pieces of cooked blood of animals. Let us sanctify our bodies, our thoughts and actions by reading and knowing the Word of God.

Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Father in heaven, please help me be alert to the wiles of the evil one and keep me true and faithful to Your Word in my belief, faith and action. Thank You Lord, I am an overcomer today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Nuggets – A Help in Sorrow

“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10)

Christians have received great joy and hope for the future, but make no mistake, there are troubles in this life. Christ promised that even if we “weep and lament…your sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John 16:20). The third verse of “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” expresses this well.

Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Our text shows that even when Israel was about to be captured and exiled, Isaiah still anticipated their return and ultimate victory. “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11).

In this life He has not left us without comfort, for Christ promised His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Even when death and separation are imminent, “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

And in the next life, the “forever” life, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). JDM

                From Days of Praise

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FILIPINO EXPAT ENCOURAGEMENT 60

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Catch His heart

Humble yourself

Pray to the Lord of harvest in response to His call

Ask God to deliver you from your own ego and to see what He sees

Let Him change you from within

Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

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Nuggets – My Strength and Victory

 

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

“Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” verse two highlights His attribute of strength. David wrote of encountering and benefitting from it when he hid safely in Him. “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5).

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him;
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my vict’ry wins.

In times of opposition, we can go to Him for comfort and protection. In Psalm 23:4, we are comforted to read, “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.” We can likewise pass this along to bolster others in need, for “we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

When conflict comes, our Friend for sinners provides a way out. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Ultimately, victory is ours through His great strength and wisdom. In eternal glory, we are told that “now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10). Forever we will hide safely in Him. JDM

              

From Days of Praise

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FILIPINO EXPAT ENCOURAGEMENT 59A

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Nuggets – My Savior Makes Me Whole

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” (Isaiah 40:26)

The hymn “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” mentions the frequent failure of our friends and the persistent opposition of our enemies. Conversely, Jesus Christ, who loves us completely, never fails. “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.

The hymnist was not writing for believers only but also for those who still reject God’s gift of salvation. Jesus loves them and came to Earth on their behalf. A favorite Scripture reminds us “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Abraham was one of those who loved and believed God, “and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God” (James 2:23).

Christ taught His disciples that He would soon die, but they didn’t believe. Jesus taught them that “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), and “ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (v. 14). They were growing in the understanding that He was God Himself. “Henceforth I call you not servants…but I have called you friends” (John 15:15).

Later, John wrote they were more than friends. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). JDM

                From Days of Praise

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