Where He dwells (Pt. 1)

(Part 1 of 3)

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For a true believer, God’s presence is everything. Spending time alone with the Lord enables us to feel His peace, joy, comfort and pure love. You feel complete in His presence; you feel security, satisfaction, and calmness you can’t get anywhere else. You don’t feel the passage of time when you’re with Him. His presence is like no other.

The Psalmist praises the goodness of where the Lord resides. This may refer to heaven, of course; but wherever the presence of God dwells, becomes like heaven. His manifested presence in our lives becomes our heaven on earth, and it’s only a tiny glimpse of the real thing!

The Psalmist hungers to enter His presence–he yearns for a communion with Him (v2), to stay in a place blanketed by His security and protection (v3).

And anyone who dwells in His presence worships Him and gives Him joyful praises inexorably because of His uncontainable beauty and grace (v4). It’s kinda like a sneak peek of our lifestyle in heaven, where we’d just speak and breathe worship all day long!

Have you ever been in His presence? Have you experienced the love and comfort God’s manifested presence brings?

Find some time alone with God daily. Just sit down and call upon His name, Jesus. Come before His presence with praise and thanksgiving (Psalm 95:2). You can even play some worship music, and sing praises to Him. Read the Word, and His in-dwelling Spirit will reveal His truth and glory to you. He promised that if we seek Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).

His presence makes us whole and vivifies our spirits. In His presence, there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Welcome Him in your room, in your household, in your workplaces, wherever you are. Believe that His presence goes with you everywhere you go.

#Hispresenceiseverything
#dirtybibles

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Why Trust God?

Let this be an encouragement for you today. I believe that the Bible has already stressed this enough, and the message is really simple: TRUST IN THE LORD.

Why? Because:

  • He is able (Ephesians 3:20)
  • He is sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)
  • He is wise (Job 9:4)
  • He is loving (Ephesians 2:4-5)
  • He is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9)
  • He knows you better (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • He always has, always does and always will provide (Philippians 4:19)
  • He is consistent (2 Timothy 2:13)
  • He makes it possible (Matthew 19:26)
  • He is true to His promise (Psalm 18:30)

If God has already taken care of you all this time, what makes you think that He won’t and can’t for tomorrow and the coming days?

It may look complicated and confusing, but that’s exactly the reason why we must trust a God that’s sovereign and loving. I’d rather cling to that Someone who I know cares for me and knows me, than rely on my own strength where I am sure to fail. And what’s the promise? A straight and sure path.

Pray that you learn how trust God in the middle of difficulties and trials, and of good and hopeful times.

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When Jesus Called Matthew

First, let’s read this passage from Matthew 9:9-13:

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me and be My disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

Later, Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ (From Hosea 6:6) For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Jesus met Matthew, a known tax collector of the time. And I mean, we know the track record of these tax collectors, right? But Jesus, surprisingly wanted to involve this man of questionable reputation in His ministry anyway.

On that same night, Matthew organised a dinner for Jesus and His mates, along with his own friends who were also tax collectors; and guess what, a bunch of other notorious folks! Like, what kind of party would you imagine this to be?

And so the “holy and clean” Pharisees, upon seeing this horrendous view were like, “What the heck is this Jesus, the self-proclaimed Jesus, the “son of God Jesus”, the radical nomad Jesus, doing with this bunch of societal riff-raffs? Is it not enough that He’s been blaspheming in the streets, now He just had to party with this pack of criminals?”

And Jesus had one thing to say to them: “The sick people need a physician. They need Me.”

This story reveals what Christ came to this earth for: to show mercy to sinners; to show mercy to people who know their lives are a mess and are in need of fixing. He came to show mercy to the ones who can actually be brave enough to admit they are a wretch, they’re miserable, and they’re lost.

Interestingly, Matthew had the desire for his friends, the people he belonged to, to meet this new friend, who, regardless of His political/societal status, chose him and trusted him enough to make him a disciple of His. 

You could not meet Jesus and not be moved and compelled to get others to Him, especially the ones that matter to you, and the ones you know need His help. Matthew wanted to share the hope that he received firsthand from Jesus, and tell his friends about it.

You can’t receive mercy if you think you’re good enough. You can’t receive Christ if you’re too full of yourself, and think you’re OK on your own.

Christ came for the sinners. He came to bring them hope and a new life. If there were no sinners, the Son of God wouldn’t have come.

Everyone is a sinner. You, who’s reading this, is not an exception. You and I need Jesus as much as these notorious people do. And He calls us to repent from sin, and submit our lives to Him and follow Him.

Let’s take some time to examine our hearts, our perspectives, our motives. Let’s check how “sick” we actually are, and ask the Lord for His help, for His mercy, for His deliverance from our sins. Let’s ask Him how we can follow Him and live for Him.

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Dirty Bibles

I got something special to share. There has been something (or Someone rather) burning in my heart for the past few months, and it has finally bursted out of me. Not a great use of figurative language.

I’ve been praying about it after God has put in my heart the desire to study the Word more frequently and persistently, to seek His Holy Spirit, and to share my learnings with others, as I gradually learn how to abide effectively in His Word, and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (I believe that it was Him who somehow inspired the name as well during one of our sessions together, because it literally just came into my mind while I’m conversing with Him!)

And so, recently I have activated a Facebook page called “Dirty Bibles”, a page where I share Biblical reflections, citations and insights from my personal study time with the Lord, which is persistent and ongoing. I call it the overflow of my “quiet time”, or “secret place” time with the Lord.

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The aim is to encourage the people within my spheres, and as many people as possible to to open up their Bibles and spend time to understand and meditate on the living and active Word of God–His precepts, promises, wisdom, teachings, stories. Bible says to keep His Word on our lips, and meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:8).

Just before I started, I had to check if someone already took that name anywhere online. And then I encountered a couple of other people coining the term, but none have actually taken it as an identifying label anywhere. And so I thought I’d take it upon myself to grab it and start off the project!

Then I heard a Christian minister saying that “the more you read the Bible, the dirtier it will get!”, which I just absolutely nodded exhilaratingly to. And then I thought, well the word “dirty” may have negative connotations. So in the About section of the page, I made sure I state that the adjective does not intend to mean filthy, immoral or dishonourable. But “dirty”, as in dirtied with fingerprints and tears; wrinkled, sometimes dishevelled, because of frequent use. The pages become dirtied with notes of revelation, of wisdom, of aha moments, of divine encounters. Every page marks and highlights the very Word of God for you and me. (Quoted from my About page)

“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 of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

I believe that the Bible is our only authority, and the Gospel is our only hope. And I believe that a dirty Bible is a mere reflection of a tedious and persistent search for God’s truth and wisdom in the pages of the Scriptures. Notice that I use the word “persistent” repeatedly, only because that’s literally the attitude I’m going for–being persistent.

A dirty Bible produces a clean heart, and helps you live a clean life. An open Bible keeps us close to God.

The Lord said that if we seek Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). I believe that. I stand firmly on that promise. And He never fails on this one, because now I’ve realised that the more I seek Jesus, the more I learn about Him and understand Him. The more I know Him, the more I hear His voice, and the more Jesus becomes personal and real to me.

“Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His presence continually!” (Psalm 105:4)

And so, make sure you Like this page, and I invite you to read the Scriptures together, and feel the presence of Jesus where you are reading and seeking Him.

Get them Bibles dirty!

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Be still

Someone needs to be reminded of this right now. God wants to remind you that He is still God.

No matter how bad things look and feel like, He is still the Lord whose name is above every name, whose power is unparalleled.

And you can put your hope in Him.

You can rest in His presence; and in His presence there is peace, there is fullness of joy, which you’ve tried your best to find everywhere else, but failed.

He has the answers; in His Word lies the solution.

In Jesus you are complete and made whole.

You are loved.

You are justified.

You are restored.

You are renewed.

(Photo from YouVersion)

I got surprised!

I think the people who really know me know that I’m not festive at all. And so I’m not into parties and social gatherings. And to be honest, I do not know exactly why. I’m the kind of guy who just prays through his birthday day for the most part. For me, it’s just a personal thanksgiving day, which I spend just looking back on the past year, and being grateful for how it had unfolded for me.

Yesterday was quite eventful.

Two days after my birthday, unbeknownst to me, a certain team of people have come up with a surprise birthday celebration for me. This cunning team of “suspects” apparently included some of my closest, closest friends, and, to my surprise, my family.

It was well planned out. And up to now, I’m still trying to put the pieces all together as to how it was all conjured up for as short as two weeks. Apparently.

As I try to wrap my head around it, I am feeling utterly overwhelmed by all of it (understatement). I am still in shock (understatement). I am tremendously thankful (understatement). And I am extremely happy (understatement).

But after it all, I got reminded that I am fortunate, I am blessed and well loved by these people who are collectively my family. They’re the “village people” who have helped raise me and shape me into who I am today. I thank the Lord for them. This memory will always be remembered and treasured.

And so here are some photos from yesterday.

25 Promises

What is one supposed to feel when he realised he’s just turned twenty five? Twenty freakin’ five. Right now, to be honest, I’m still in a huge state of denial. Because the reality is, this number carries with it some inescapable truths and implications that would just rock me to the core, for sure. And that’s for a different blogpost.

See, I was really keen to share something on my blog like I’d always do when there’s a special occasion. Maybe make a list of some personal stuff like “25 things to do before I turn 25”, or “25 facts about me”, or maybe “25 life lessons” (which I sort of already did on my 24th last year with this blogpost). But really, I didn’t feel like any of these would be useful or fun or engaging anymore.

And so I had to stop and reflect, “What is really in my heart lately? What matters to me the most in the last few months?”

The answer didn’t come to me like an aha moment or an unexpected mental surprise. The answer was simple. The answer can be precised in three letters: G-O-D.

The Word of God (His promises, stories, precepts, wisdom) has become my lifeline. In fact, now I read it like my life depends on it. And the more I get to read His Word, the more I get to know God; the more I get to meet Jesus personally. And I tell you, I can’t get enough of Him.

Now, the Bible records thousands and thousands of God’s promises He made known to humanity, in many different areas of life (i.e., faith, guidance, supplication, protection, family matters, etc.). And God’s promises are always a Yes and Amen (2 Corinthians 1:20).

I believe we need to cling to these promises, especially now that everywhere we look, there are horrendous things that are happening in our world, one after the other, because of people’s wrong decisions and evil choices. But in the middle of it all, let’s choose faith. Let’s choose to seek God, and trust Him and His written Word.

And so, I am citing 25 of the most inspiring and empowering promises that God has given us in His Word. He’s been faithful to me for twenty five years, whether I have been aware of it or not. I am making a choice to stand on His promises, and declare these over my life day by day, in any season, in victory and defeat, in my highs and lows, whether I feel good or when I don’t. I encourage you to do the same.

1) Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

2) Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they will run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.

3) Mark 10:27

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God, all things are possible.

4) Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

5) Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

6) Matthew 11:28

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

7) Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

8) Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

9) Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  

10) Deuteronomy 31:8

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. 

11) 1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

12) Galatians 5:16

I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 

13) Proverbs 1:23

Turn at My rebuke; surely I will pour out My Spirit on you; I will make My words known to you.

14) Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

15) Malachi 3:10

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts,“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

16) Proverbs 3:5–6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

17) Isaiah 65:24

It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

18) Jeremiah 33:3

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

19) John 16:13

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

20) Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself also in the LORD and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

21) Isaiah 40:29

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.

22) Isaiah 54:17

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.

23) James 4:7

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

24) Lamentations 3:22–23

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

25) Psalm 91:1-2

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD  “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

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alas dos y medya

rie-manaloto

Transitions. Quite a familiar site. A place I have known for so long, I have known too well.

And it feels like I have never left that area. Not that it’s my favourite place.

But it seems fixated within the fabrics of my being.

Every filament breathes out a different story, every crossway speaks of change.

Each endeavour, each hope meticulously interwoven with the fibres of time.

And I walk the tedious walk, along the perpetual intersections.

One transition after another.

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R.