A CHILD-LIKE FAITH

By: Ma. Lourdes Sanchez

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

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“I really wanted a hair clip,” thought my then 6-year old Burmese friend Kusheewah. By faithfully and patiently claiming God’s promise ‘Ask and it will be given to you,’ she finally got what she really wanted. She then bragged about her new hair clip to her friends at play the next day. But while playing, she lost it. Remembering the promise ‘Seek and you will find,’ she again faithfully claimed to God, and thus her hair clip was found through the help of a friend. It took quite some time for Kusheewah to find it so she was able to go home past her curfew. Knowing she would be punished and shut out for not going home at six for worship, she then faithfully claimed ‘Knock and the door will be opened to you.’ Lo and behold! The door was opened when she tried knocking because her father was delayed for some important work and the worship hasn’t started yet.

My friend memorized Matthew 7:7 in Kindergarten Sabbath School and it became one of her favorite Bible texts since then, enriching her faith as a child.

The Bible says, “…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Matthew 18:3)

We often tend to worry than put our faith to work. How can we pray ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ and fret what to eat just after prayers being said? Let go and let God. Let us put aside our worries and fears and be able to let [all things] be done according to our faith(Matt.9:29).

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Stand Up!

By: Jennifer Bante

To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! Proverbs 15:23

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You’ll never appreciate a kind word more than when you badly need it. Isn’t it good to hear a word in season? I have tasted its goodness!
It was a bad day for me. I was still on the period of adjustment on my first month here in Korea. My Middle School students were so naughty and disrespectful. Worse, I had to teach nine hours that day so my patience was pushed to the limit. Homesickness, physical exhaustion and negative thoughts started to creep in to me as I got in the taxi on my way home. I never thought that my desire to serve this group of students would turn out to be like this. I was trying to stop myself from breaking down so I took deep breaths, not minding the driver.
Just then the taxi driver tried to talk to me. I understood a little Korean so I just kept on listening while giving slight nods. Then he handed me a piece of paper with a Korean song written on it. I didn’t understand anything but then he went on singing the song. I felt so much comfort in my heart that I could not explain. I cried silently before I drifted off into sleep in the taxi’s backseat due to exhaustion.
When I reached home, I immediately asked my “samonim”, the pastor’s wife, to translate the song for me. The song is entitled “Stand Up” and I’d love to share the translation of the lyrics;
“In this time that you cannot stand, the Lord is working.
Even though others faint because they are tired, still stand up.
Only you stand up, cheer up, because the Lord is holding your hand!
If you believe the Lord is with you, you can win any difficulties.
Don’t complain why these sorrows came to you.
Only thank God you have more grace than what you’ve lost.”
I couldn’t help but praise God for this amazing song! I was brought to tears once again. However, this time I felt at peace because I know God spoke to me in an unexpectedly wonderful way. That song came from a person who didn’t know my struggles, yet he was used mightily by God in a simple way. You see, I have kept that song until now and I could not forget my experience on that day. This piece of music will serve as a reminder for me to extend kindness in words and in deeds to others.
Let us not neglect every opportunity to speak a word in season and share inspiration, encouragement, and comfort to the people we encounter in our mission field. We can never tell how God could possibly use us.

God Is Enough

By: Lorilei Flores

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto Thee,into Thine holy temple.” Jonah 2:7

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Reaching another mission field where I would be serving for a year, a bothering thought crept into my mind, “Am I ready for this?” I felt so unworthy to be in my new mission field in Korea because I knew that my heart and mind weren’t completely prepared for it. And besides, my parents disagreed with my decision due to the increasing tensions between North and South Korea. They said that it was too risky and it would be better if I just stayed in the Philippines. I knew that God was calling me so I earnestly prayed for my parents. I asked God to let them understand His work and be assured that He won’t forsake me especially in times of troubles. I asked God for the Holy Spirit to empower me and give me the same passion as I had when I was serving in my first mission field in the Philippines. Though I already entrusted everything to Him, negative thoughts still bothered my mind like the denying or blocking of my visa at the immigration. But when we got there, everything went smoothly and I reached my designated mission field on the set date.

At first, everything seemed so difficult. As I mentioned, I was emotionally unprepared and the language barrier even made the situation worse. The feeling of loneliness and pain soaked my bed with tears. Sometimes I thought of giving up but then I decided to cast all my cares to God in prayer. And from then on, I have found relief.

Indeed, it is when we are in difficult situations that God reveals His power and wisdom as an answer to our prayer. I may not have my friends or loved ones to comfort and encourage me but I have God’s words written in my heart and there I find solace. It was during the difficult times in my life when I came to realize that God is indeed, enough.

Fair Play

By: Peter Joseph Patricio

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10 

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I am easily attached to children who show good character and right attitude, children who know how to respect and follow what is right. These children are easy to deal with, especially in the classroom. You will like them or love them. Who wouldn’t? They give you a stress-free day, right?

My heart found no compassion and favor to students with unappealing attitude; not that I hated them, but I found myself snapping at them when I ran out of patient. It had been a struggle for me to find connection with these students since I could not discipline them my way. I felt that my heart was hardened and they barely got my attention. But that was totally change.

Around 6:45 PM, after dinner, I went outside to watch my students playing ‘tag’. I was about to wear my shoes when my one-on-one conversation student called me, “Teacher, English study.” Our class was supposedly at 4:00~5:00 PM. He was late and I didn’t mind him not attending our class. But I was surprised when he called my attention. In my mind, “Wait, seriously?” He was new to my schedule but he’s not a stranger to me. When he eats, his food is wasted; he’s a naughty kid and doesn’t respect his elders. The moment he called me, I was petrified for a while. The tone of sincerity struck me; his words were simple yet so powerful to make me realize how I acted wrongly. In a snap, I was certain that I was wrong to have unjustly treated him and the others.

I thought it would happen only in one session, but he keeps on surprising me every day. Tony (his English name) proved me wrong. The sparkle in his eyes manifests the eagerness to learn. And our English session gives me an opportunity to discipline him not with stick or with heavy hands but with attention and care. His improvement gives me a constant realization where I lack and how unfair I was to play favoritism. He opened my eyes to see that those whom I thought have unfavorable attitude actually just needed attention, care and love.

I may struggle still, but this has been a constant reminder for me that God is just: He treats His children equally; spends much of His attention to those who lost their way; uses those who are faithful to be instruments for them to know Him and to channel the blessings to those who need it.

“This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

My Flesh Shall Rest in Hope

By: Jean Venus Alqueza

…My heart rejoices, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:26-28 KJV).

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There was once a girl who had been a victim of sexual abuse by her own father. It started in her early years as an elementary student. She could still recall how her father threatened her if she would tell anyone. “I will kill you and your mother!” Those words kept her mum about the situation. She hated her father so much that it came to the point of wanting to kill him. But when she started to go to church with her grandmother every Saturday, she slowly realized that killing is a sin.
The influence of the church gave her a new light and hope; a light that would give her peace and hope and a brighter future. She knew that God had a greater plan for her, and she did not lose that hope.
The abusive act lasted when her mother knew it. She was in third year high school then. She was so thankful because there were a lot of cases like she had that resulted to prostitution and suicide, but in her part, she was fully aware that it was just one of the challenges she would eventually get through.
After high school, her cousins helped her to get a degree. She studied to one of the Seventh-day Adventist schools. There she received much greater light that gave her a heart to accept Jesus as her Savior and was baptized. But the past haunted her, she couldn’t sleep at night because of the horrible experience she had—it was a nightmare.
The school has a prayer garden that paved way for her to have a better and closer relationship with God. The school’s atmosphere influenced her bothered mind to have a positive outlook in life no matter what. Her years spent in that school gave her a clearer vision of God’s purpose in her life.
After she graduated from college, she decided to join the 1000 Missionary Movement. She wanted to dedicate her life to God and to influence people to be hopeful and to do the same thing—to submit their lives to God. And one of the main reasons why she joined the movement was for her to be able to forgive her father completely. Unfortunately, while on training, her father died.
“I was longing how to be loved by a father; I was ready to give him a second chance, but he died. I lost the chance to say that I forgave him and that I love him. When I learned about God, I didn’t doubt His love that filled the love I longed since I was young. He’s a Father of all fathers: a father who offers His love to the unloved; and gives hope to the hopeless.”
Yes, that young girl was me. I learned to face the giants of life when I knew that God is bigger than those giants. He gave me peace of mind that blocked my nightmares; He gave me a quiet heart to forgive my father; and He granted me loving people to accept my past.

Going Back Through Christ’s Blessings

By: Elsie Mae Pastrana

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

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During my previous year as a missionary teacher here in Korea I could say that our God really molded me to grow in spirit. I could feel His presence with me as my Provider and Comforter. When I decided to serve Him for another year, I knew that He would never leave me; I was ready to face the challenge.

March 4, 2013. I had to fly back to Korea after my two-week vacation. As I entered the airport, everything ran smoothly until I reached the tax booth.

The letter that I presented to them and my visa didn’t work; I had to pay the regular tax and my money was not enough. Panicked, I tried to call my aunt but her phone was unattended. The persons in the tax booth felt so sorry for me. I tried to calm myself as I was looking at the clock. I only had one hour and a half left.

I sat at the corner and talked to God. “LORD, you know what’s happening to me right now. The money that I have in my hand is not enough. I really need your help. If it is Your will for me to go back to Korea and if you still have a special purpose for me there, please help me.”

After a few minutes, the supervisor talked to me. He told me to wait for other Filipinos who are also going to Korea and borrow money from them.

My initial silent reaction to his suggestion was, “What?” But it seemed like it was the best, if not the only option I had.
Then I spotted a guy who seemed kind. I came to him and explained to him everything. While I was still talking, a person near us handed me some money. Then the guy whom I was talking to also gave me some money to reach the exact amount I needed.

I really wanted to cry at that moment. I couldn’t stop thanking them for their kindness. I was very happy and thankful to God for touching the hearts of those to individuals.

That experience reminded me of the apostle Paul when he was longing to visit Rome. “In my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.” (Romans 1:10).

That time, I was longing to go back to Korea even if it meant living far from my family. Because by living as a missionary, you learn how to be content in life; the happiness and the joy that you feel is different. If you are in a mission field, God’s presence seems closer because you depend on nobody else but on Him alone, every minute, every hour and every day.

Stop Complaining and Start Thanking

By: Verdiebon Codoy

Do all things without complaining and disputing. Philippians 2:14 (NKJV)

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The 11th chapter of Numbers is an awakening story that will enlighten and remind us how the Lord is saddened and displeased with our complaints, for it shows our ingratitude and distrust towards Him.

Apostle Paul call upon Christians to do all things without complaining, but as I try to assay myself, I couldn’t end a week without grumbling about various stuff. Moreover, it’s so ironic how some of us whine about the things which others longed to have. Certain complaints show our discontent about the things that God has provided. Here are a few:

● “I only have few students which makes me feel useless and disheartened at times.” —- “I got a lot of them which wore me out everyday.”

● “My pastor monitors me every time and it chokes me.” —— “Mine doesn’t care or even check me at all.”

● “Our church doesn’t have any program and it’s so arid and boring.” —- “Ours has a bunch of activities, that even Sundays we go outside; consequently, I don’t have free time.”

How can you say life is not fair when everyone experiences its unfairness? I used to think that people complained for they have lots of problems. But I’ve come to realize that they have those difficulties for they always complain. Complaining doesn’t change anything or make situations better; it only amplifies frustration and intensify discontent and discord which God detests (Prov. 6:16-19). In fact, it gives way to our opponent to cause havoc in our lives.

It got through my head that I spend so much time complaining and that I had been so blind of the real blessings that have been bestowed upon me. Let’s cut off this awful tendency. We must learn from the past experiences of Israelites that due to their complaints, they lost sight of the wonderful things that God provided them.

We, Christians should be people of faith filled with gratefulness and thanksgiving. Try to live each day without complaining and at the same time start thanking. It is by then you’ll realize how loved and blessed you are by Him. Life is more amazing than you think when you recognize every blessing that a magnanimous God has bequeathed in you.