20131009: Vision and Faith

“Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.” – Habakkuk 2:2-3

It started about two weeks ago, September 27 to be exact, when I decided to start doing this devotion. I read this Facebook status and thought that maybe God is the only person who could give me that thing I want. I started praying again, not those “popcorn prayer” type but the lengthy, conversational type. I read daily readings from the Bible. I went to attend Mass everyday. It was all good, or so I thought.

The very next day, I felt so gloomy for no apparent reason so I asked God why. After talking to God, I realized that I was doing this devotion all for the wrong reasons. I am seeking God because I want something from Him. Yes, God is a god who provides but I must seek the Giver first before anything else. I should forget about why I am doing this devotion and do it because I cannot not do it.

Habakkuk reminded me that it is only a matter of time before my vision, my goals, my dreams becomes reality. God is doing his thing into make all that happen. I have to be patient. I’ve been unemployed now for 5 months. Originally, it was supposed to be just 2 months to become “healthier” and then I would start working again, but I guess God had other plans. Right now, I have to believe that God is setting everything up for my big comeback in the worklife. I need to be patient. I need to be faithful. And for all of these things that God is doing for me, he deserves more from me. I need to devote more time and effort for Him. I’m not preoccupied with anything so I should be able to give Him all that and more.

Father God, I am sorry for failing you for these past few days. I know you deserve more from me and I will try to do and give you more. I know that you have something great planned for me. I just need to be patient and then one day, you will give me all the opportunities that I need where I could shine and do the things that I love. You are the great Provider and everything I ask in your name will be mine. I will be faithful to your promise. I will trust in you. All these I pray in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

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Be the blessing! It’s cool being spiritual!

Leaders: Humility and Desire

I joined my ministry back in 2004. Just after my first year, I dreamt of holding every position there is in our ministry, and they are:  YLSS/YE Class Shepherd, Team Head, become one of the Tricord (now Pentacord), Pastoral Shepherd, YE Facilitator, and Working Team Head. These aren’t just titles to me. I really love my ministry and I really want to be very involved, and through those positions, I believe I could do more for the ministry. Out of all those positions, the only ones I wasn’t able to get was being one of the Tricord/Pentacord and one of the Working Team Heads. Compared to some, I have attained a lot. Not very many were fortunate enough to hold that much positions within the ministry. But even though I was able to hold those many positions, I can’t say I was a very effective and good leader. Thankfully, God used those experiences, even those failures to teach me a lot. Probably one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned came from the time I wanted to become one of the 12 Team Heads so bad.

Summer 2006, YLSS 8SP — I was called to serve as a Shepherd for that year’s YLSS. I know that after that YLSS, a new set of Team Heads will be selected and being part of the Pastoral Team would make me eligible to be selected as one of the incoming Team Heads. I wanted to be one of the Praise Team Heads. At that time, only one out of 2 slots is vacant for the Praise Team Head position. The ministry had already someone in mind but I personally believe that he wasn’t the right person for the position. So, nagpaka-bibo ako that time. I was a member of the Praise Team so I tried to show everyone how talented I am and how capable I am, that I was the right person for the job.

Fast-forward to July or August (can’t remember which exactly), I wasn’t chosen to be one of the new Team Heads. The person, who was everyone’s bet in becoming the next Praise Team Head got my dream position. I became bitter, jealous, and very disappointed. I became more jealous because 2 of my co-lambs became Team Heads as well. Iniyakan ko yun and I even thought of leaving the ministry just because of that.

“God doesn’t call those who are qualified. Rather, He qualifies those who are called.”

God knew that nagpaka-bibo lang ako just to show everyone that I’m the right person for the job. Not only I was very proud, it wasn’t the real me. I mean, God knew that I was just showing off and if I were actually given that position, I might not be able to do my job properly. That I didn’t really have the necessary skills, knowledge, wisdom, and experience to handle that position. But even if I was qualified, a good servant is not proud and with that I am no longer suitable to be a head. A good servant and leader is humble and I wasn’t that at that time. So I tried to get my act straight. I tried to understand why that had to happen and what was God’s plan for me. What was the silver lining? Just after about 2 months, one of the 12 Team Heads decided to leave. To my surprise, I was chosen to fill the slot and I was assigned to be one of the Intercessory Team Heads and that is where I served for 3 years before I got my dream position as a Team Head, the Praise Team Head.

When I became the Intercessory Team Head, I had no idea why I was assigned in that team. I wasn’t a good intercessor. I actually didn’t pray a lot. Again, I was reminded that “God qualifies those who are called”. Sure enough, even though I am more of a musician than an intercessor, I can honestly say that I’ve learned more and done more as an Intercessory Team Head than as a Praise Team Head. It was actually more fulfilling. And I think I was more successful as a leader when I was the Intercessory Team Head. I was able to develop and use my gift of Faith and Healing back when I was in that team. All I was able to develop when I was the Praise Team Head was my stubbornness, hot-headedness, and being very strict.

End of sharing.

My point is the moment you think and feel that you’re the right person for the job is the moment you become the wrong person for the job. It takes a lot of humility to be that close to God and to serve God in a bigger way. When much is given, more is required — more of God and less of you in yourself and life. You can’t be your normal self and have that only-a-member lifestyle when you become a leader. You need to leave your old self, become better and be a good example for everyone no matter how tough and frustrating that can be. Some leaders make their “being a leader” a year- (2 or more in some cases) long fasting.

Being a leader is never easy. It shouldn’t be easy because it requires a lot of hard work and discipline. But just because it ain’t easy doesn’t mean we should never want being a leader. Being a leader brings forth challenges, and these challenges, like problems in life, are needed to help us become better servants and persons. We should all desire to improve ourselves. We should all desire to have responsibilities. We should all desire to become leaders.

God’s Authority

“Do not grow discouraged if a situation exceeds your competence & resources. At issue is your belief. Do you trust that Christ is able & willing to use your life to accomplish His work? When God sets an assignment before you, what you do next reveals what you believe about Him.”

April 11, Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby

Be The Miracle

God: The wonderful thing–no matter how filthy something gets, you could always clean it right up.

Bruce: There were so many. I just gave them all what they wanted.

God: Yeah. But since when does anyone have a clue about what they want?

Bruce: So what do I do?

God: Parting your suit is not a miracle, Bruce. That’s a magic trick. A single mom who’s working two jobs and still finds time to take her kids to soccer practice, that’s a miracle. A teenager who says no to drugs and yes to education, that’s a miracle. People want me to do everything for them. What they don’t realize is they have the power. You wanna see a miracle, son? Be the miracle.

Bruce: Wait. Are you leaving?God: Yeah. I figure you can handle things now.

Bruce: What if I need you? What if I have questions?

God: That’s your problem, Bruce. That’s everybody’s problem. You keep looking up!

[from the movie Bruce Almighty (2003)]

Devil May Try

Filled, Led, and Protected — Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit…was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. (February 24, Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby)

The first thing that came into mind, while reading this scripture, was the time I was baptized in the Holy Spirit at our ministry’s Life in the Spirit Seminar Proper back in the summer of 2004.

I can’t seem to remember any part of the proper except for the baptism and exhortation parts. During the baptism, when I was prayed over by my shepherd, I can still remember how cold it was in the room. It was raining outside with howling winds same as how the apostles experienced it during the Pentecost. Amidst the loud voices of other shepherds around, I can hear the quiet and calm voice of my shepherd, reminding me to give it all up to God, telling me to say Hallelujah over and over again to prompt the gift of tongues, and reminding me to ask for the Gifts that I asked God for. Little did I notice, I was falling into this relaxed state, as if I were in a quiet room, slowly drifting away. I never felt so peaceful and relaxed. I don’t even remember falling backwards. That’s how I felt being filled with the spirit. I became conscious of my surroundings a few minutes later. I could hear people speaking in tongues, people praying in loud voices, people singing in front. Later on, we were asked to stand up and join in on the worship.

Matthew 12:44-45 – Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Before LSS Proper, my shepherd warned me that after the baptism, we would be attacked by the evil ones, trying to convince us that we didn’t receive the empowerment of the Spirit. I found that to be true during the exhortation. I had a hard time focusing on the worship. I wondered why I wasn’t able to speak in tongues like my co-lambs. That thought bothered me till I got home. Later that night, I texted my shepherd that something’s troubling me and then he called me on the phone. He comforted me and  reminded me of the warning he gave before the Proper. So we prayed on the phone and I was able to rest peacefully somehow that night. The gift of tongues manifested 2 years later, just before I was called to be an under-shepherd.

The devil will try everything to make us feel unworthy, that we are not capable of great things, that we aren’t lucky or blessed, that we can’t change, that we can’t be good or we’re not good. The devil trying is not the problem but the moment that we succumb to him is. We have to remember the promises of God, that He will never leave us, that He won’t let anything bad happen to us as long us we put our trust and faith in Him. We should make God our foundation because He is firm and solid. If God is with us, who can be against us? But in case we give in, know that God is very forgiving. But let us not use that as an excuse to easily give in and sin. The devil may try to tempt us but we could also try to be better Christians–strong Christians.