What is your response to the truth that sin is our greatest problem and Jesus is our greatest hope?Christ’s Commission Fellowshiphttps://www.ccf.org.ph/live/
This was the suggested small group discussion questions after the Sunday sermon yesterday. Due to pandemic, all church members can only watch the Sunday Service online. That is where we gather as believers, singing and listening to God’s Words together. Somehow it gives me that feel good feeling that I belong. That I am accepted for who I was and who I am. The small group is a break away group from the big congregation of CCF of thousands upon thousands not just in the Philippines but across the globe. This is where I can choose people I want to be with, most likely same gender, same status like all of us are single ladies, gainfully employed and somewhat have the same interests. Interest not just with godly men, in marriage and even in trivial girl things like make ups and vanity salons. “Who wants to answer first?” My group leader asked. A moment of silence. Then I said, in that small hesitant voice… let me go first…
It is easy to slip back into worrying about tomorrow, dwelling on the “what ifs” and the “if onlys.” Each day brings a host of things we cannot change; there will always be circumstances beyond our control. We must also face the reality of who we are – human beings confined within the slice of life we call today. It is tempting to deny the present, but escaping reality is part of the insanity of our addictive way of life.The Life Recovery Bible, Read Matthew 6:25-34 commentaries
Christianity for me, learning from church, learning at a deeper personal level with my God. Well Christianity is two fold, one, I need a Savior. Two, now I am Saved by Grace, I need to Honor my Savior and my Lord. Yes the need of a Savior, that I am helpless in my sin, I need a Savior to save me from my own self. Getting saved is one thing, choosing who to serve now is another thing. Choosing who to serve, who to prioritize first, who to please first, who will be my God? Who will be the Lord of my life? Who has authority over me? Who will I obey from this point forward? Getting saved is one time. Jesus paid for all our sins once and for all. Jesus was and is enough. It is finished.
But what if we realize that there is a second fold to this one time event of getting saved by Jesus. Christianity is a process. Many times I ran after the approval of men. Spoiling my so called boyfriends who were half my age. Affected when I don’t meet the so called political standards of my British boss. When I prioritize helping the needs of my siblings than my own, even if they already have their respective families. Giving into pleasure and post everything on social media – all the lies of everything is a perfect life. No, Christianity is a process, I am a work in progress. What’s the use of pleasing all people, even pleasing my own self – looking for love in all the wrong things, in all the wrong people and in all the wrong places? What’s the use of getting temporal pleasure of buying things, getting things, grabbing things – I want that, I want this, I want what they have, I don’t have what they had? What’s the use if God is not pleased? Ultimately the goal is to honor the Lord. I can no longer be the god of my own life – nothing good comes out of me. I am tired. I am weary. So out from the pit God held me with His right hand. It is time for me to walk, to take a step from where I have fallen. From taking a step back, even if I rise one time and fall down many many times over, even if I take a step forward and get back many many steps behind, even if they say that I am left behind and they all go ahead. I know now the One Who delivered and continues to deliver me every step of the way is Mighty to Save. He created the heavens and the earth. Yes the Mighty One loves me with an everlasting love… whom shall I fear?
Escape. Addiction to worry and fear is an escape. Because many times it is easy just to panic and worry rather than facing reality with ownership and responsibility. That I am accountable for my actions. That no one can decide and act for me except my own self, no one can and no one will. No, no one can decide for me, no one can choose for me, no one can walk for me, no, no one can fight for me. No one can go down by the pool side to do yoga for me. No, no one can arrange my calendar so I won’t cram first thing at work. No, no one can save money for me, no one can prepare for my retirement except myself. No, no one can chase my dream for me – to have my own simple wooden house in the middle of a vegetable and fruit farm in a far away province… no, no one can reach out for all my dreams… except myself.
Jesus said, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?… don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:27, 34). The prophet Jeremiah said, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Since God’s grace comes in daily doses, that’s the best way to face life.The Life Recovery Bible, Read Matthew 6:25-34, commentaries
“…your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.” I love this Words in Matthew 6 verses 32. God understands my thoughts from a far. God knows my sitting down and my rising up. Even before I open my mouth, He knows what I am about to speak. God saw me before I was born. Even when my mother was confused in her teen age years when she had me. Even when my mother was in sin when she had me from my father who already had his first family. Even when my mother was so emotionally and mentally unstable when she had me and then my brother after a couple of years in between. Even when my father had to fake his real complete name in the hospital registry. Yes, I saw that, I had to have several birth certificates in all the names do not tally. Only after 27 years when my father asked for forgiveness in his death bed. Only then I was able to put the pieces together. My heavenly Father knows my every need. Yes even my greatest need. The love of a father. It is now time for me to forgive. Not just once, but seventy times seven. Every day of my life I need to forgive. Forgive not for Kevin and all the boys I have loved before, for my parents, for a friend I treated like my own sister who betrayed me and use me for money, even for others who just befriended me because they thought I had a lot of money, for all those at the office for power tripping, for all the security guards and administration of this condominium where I stay for violating my right to privacy, all those little things from trivial circumstances – no, not for them, forgiveness is for my own self. Forgiveness to release me from this pain in my head that keeps repeating over and over again. Forgiveness from all these bitterness, to release from this cage I have built, from this prison. Freedom from anger and hate. If Jesus sets me free. I am free indeed.
““Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34 NLT
“Remember how far you have gone from your teenage life of nervous breakdowns. Remember how far you have gone to where you are now….” Hearing this old deep soft voice from my Psychiatrist. As I sit in a sofa, cuddling a throw pillow where I cried a river before I started to say a single word. In the middle of an exclusive village in Makati City, the business district of Metro Manila – the capital of the Philippines. The building was surrounded by tall Chinese bamboo trees. Beside the Psychiatry clinic of old wood and concrete two storey building was a Catholic Church. A bit creepy but at the same time nostalgic, the scene takes me back in time. In the 1980s where life was simple, plain and simple, not aware of all the pain and suffering my mother went and going through with my father. Back then I was happy with just cheap cocoa small tablet called “Ricoa”. Life was simple then, it only takes simple things, simple life to be happy. How far have I become? I do not know to be honest. One way is to lift my own chair and cradle into my own victories and say look where I am now? No, it is but a humbling experience how God took me this far. God was with me before, He will be with me today and future is certain not because of my own strength and wisdom but because God have my best interest at heart. If this is His way to call me back to Him, if this pain and longing will teach me to find my purpose and true happiness in Him. Let Your will Lord. In You Lord I trust. You are the Lord of my life and I pray in this fragile, vulnerable state of mind, in this broken and shattered world… I will not fear. For you have given us not a spirit of fear and timidity. But of love, power and of sound mind.
We need to ask ourselves at every turn of life, Am I accepting this present moment, or am I pretending – trying to escape into the past or the future? Each day there is something to find joy in, and there is strength promised for the troubles of that day. The psalmist wrote, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). We, too, can choose to find joy, strength, and sanity when we accept each day’s realities.The Life Recovery Bible, Read Matthew 6:25-34, commentaries