Our Tremendous Hope – Nothing Can Separate Us From God’s Love

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What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Let us draw strength from these Bible verses as we go through trials, such as death of a loved one.

The promises are powerful. It’s beyond time and space – NOTHING will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And therein lies our tremendous hope – for those who have gone before us, maybe a son, a daughter, a sister, a brother, our loved ones.

Thank you Lord God for your absolute assurance – not sickness, not depression, not suicide, not a broken heart, not grief – NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

Father and son walking thru the fog

SOURCE: Ross Waugh’s reflection


Remembering Miss Daisy

faith in God

Daisy Basiliano 2

“Amo na abilidad mo sa rural church ka lang naga-pastor?” was Miss Daisy’s statement I can’t forget when we met in May 2002 at La Carlota Evangelical Church.

We were attending the annual assembly (now biennial) of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC).

The statement means “With all your abilities you are pastor of a rural church only?”

If you don’t know Miss Daisy Basiliano, you certainly will have a lot of negative things going in your heart and mind.

I’ve known her as a brazen woman. She says what she thinks is true about you.

She could be “rough” at times but she had the best intentions for you. The tenderness and kindness are always there.

I met her when I was a teenager going with my father who was pastor of Astorga Baptist Church, Dumarao, Capiz. That was in the 80s.

All I know that her family supports the church and the pastoral work as well.

I learned through the CPBC community that Miss Daisy became a pastor, chaplain and teacher. She trained for Clinical Pastoral Education in the US.

We never had any close encounter until that day in May 2002.

After telling me that statement, Miss Daisy didn’t stop.

A few months later, I got a message from her that she had recommended me to speak at New Testament Baptist Church, Iloilo City in September 2002. This preaching assignment developed further.

On 20 October 2002, I started my work as interim pastor of New Testament Baptist Church, a city church.

Miss Daisy had a way of making people think outside of the box. Her statement to me made me think, “Why not?”

Actually, after that meeting in May 2002, I opened myself to working with city churches.

In fact, I got a call as associate pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Manila starting December 2002. I was already committed to work in Manila that’s why my interim appointment.

When my father suffered stroke on 16 November 2002, I decided to stay and continue working with New Testament Baptist Church for three years.

Our family and Miss Daisy became closer because we found ourselves pursuing together what is right, just and pleasing before the Lord God.

While teaching at the College of Theology, she came to live with us at CPU Campus for almost two years.

Those were blissful moments of hearing God’s miracle and goodness to her like her victory over cancer, near-death experiences and other life-changing experiences.

Finally, on 6 June 2012, she laid to rest her earthly body and be with the Lord Jesus Christ, her master and friend.

Love of God

Days before leaving Iloilo City for New Zealand, we took time to visit Miss Daisy at Roxas City. We were hoping it wasn’t our last. It’s not for we will see her beyond the sunset someday soon.

We will always remember you, Miss Daisy!

Had He Ever Lived?

Had our brother, Ivan ever lived?

In our memories perhaps…  Thinking of our brotherly fellowship, helping him grow, sharing and supporting his dreams, listening to his good singing voice, arguing, fighting, reconciling, forgiving, thoughtfulness, and knowing his struggles and frailties, we can say that our brother, Ivan, indeed had lived.

Memories will forever remind us of his existence, but for how long?  Memories fade!

Still had he ever lived?

If I could turn back time during whenever I’m clean, I thank the Father above because when I yearn for something more in my life but I cannot identify what it may be, I know you are the answer” Ivan wrote on his short journal dated November 22, 2009.

He continued to write: You renew my spirit so that I am aware of You and aware of myself as whole and holy person—spirit, mind, and body.  As I commune with You in prayer and as I observe Your presence everywhere my spirit is renewed.  The renewal of my spirit enriches my mind and body.  I am wise and healthy, strong and SECURE.  Ivan.

So with his life filled with purpose he became a good friend, perhaps to everyone, if time had been generous.  He was a passionate leader…even if it means taking risks and compromises. 

He was a soul with an inner struggle striving to go somewhere.  He was a person who grew up with faith in God, patience and perseverance—to win the test of time but his inner struggles would often overpower him like a dark cloud enveloping his being.  Through all these…Ivan had indeed lived!

And his early death surprised us and his friends.  It was so sudden, so unexpected.  We were all praying and waiting for God’s miracle on him.  He was still at his prime when he died; his life a great loss?

Now think had he ever lived?

Ivan was in a moment in the hearts of those who knew him.  We mourned his passing, expressed our moment of sorrow, our bereavement for the loss of a friend, a brother, a son. 

Yes, in a moment he had lived.  He was in a moment amidst us and little did we know of his understanding of life.  “Returning to the simple truth of my divine nature, I appreciate life anew” – this was Ivan’s opening statement he mentioned in his December 10, 2009 reflections.

This was his last entry on the short life journal that we found among his things.  Reading through his reflections gives great comfort and assurance to us that after all that he had gone through,  he is holding on to his faith in God.

Ivan’s complete December 10, 2009 journal entry says: 

After two days of joyous celebrations, I still survived the obstacles and hindrances that came.  As I quiet my mind, I become aware of the here and now moment.  I breathe deeply relaxing as I exhale.  Then, I smile, enjoying the miracle of being alive.  I appreciate the new surroundings taking in every vibrant sight and sound.

I enjoy consciously being a part of life, instead of being distracted by mind’s endless list of things to do.  For now, breathing and smiling are the only things on my “to do” list.  In these moments of renewal, simply being alive with the spirit of God is enough.  I pause now, aware of my nature as a living, breathing child of God, and I smile as I enjoy life at the purest level of being.  Ivan.

AFTERTHOUGHTS

For those who don’t know, Ivan had epilepsy.  We learned that he had it when he was nine years old.  Despite his illness, he tried to live a normal life.  He finished AB History and Public Administration at Central Philippine University. 

He was active in sports.  He was a high school varsity athlete in the long distance running event.  He joined the college soccer, softball, and basketball teams.  He had skills in organizing events, like sports and camping. 

He could cook for a large group.  He had a good singing voice and he could enthrall one’s feelings by the way he sang.

Ivan had his last pause on the evening of June 22, 2010 at the beach of Concepcion, Iloilo, Philippines. 

There is no doubt that he had lived indeed and he is now smiling and enjoying life at the purest level of being.  ‘Til we meet again, Bro.