Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Living in Faith

Faith Challenge Accepted

Lessons Learned from My Sickness – Part 18: Faith Challenge Accepted

walk your talk

“Pastor, I challenge you. Live what you preach!”

These strong words were passionately spoken by my doctor, right after he revealed to me my sickness.

To make his statement more emphatic, he looked at me straight in the eyes with fingers pointing firmly to me.

This strongly-worded admonition was used by God to make me courageous in facing my trials and to make me fully dependent on Him.

Without this frank and brave reminder from my doctor, I could have adopted a weak and defeatist attitude in facing my situation.

You see, when the doctor told me what I have to go through to confront my sickness, what possible treatments I can explore, what tests I should undergo, what opportunities are open for me if I am just courageous enough to face them, I replied rather unconvincingly, “What if I just wait for what will happen to me Doc”?

That earned my doctor’s ire. For him, to adopt a passive or negative attitude in the light of what I’m facing is an expression of faithlessness and it’s not the kind of response he expected from a pastor like me.

That’s why he stood up, with his fingers firmly pointed to me and said, “Pastor, I challenge you. Live what you preach”.

His words hit me very strongly. It was like God was using him to directly speak to me.

I realized indeed, he’s right.

I used to preach about courage in the face of perplexities, strong faith in the midst of adversities, and being open to God’s revelation in the midst of confusion and doubt.

Why then should I adopt a lethargic and pathetic attitude?

I was greatly humbled and brought to reality by that experience.

That’s why I assured my doctor, “Yes, Doc. With God by my side, I accept the challenge”.

I thanked the Lord that he has spoken his words of encouragement through my doctor.

Posted on FB: 10 March 2015 – 7:34 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces is the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He and wife, Martha have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he has lung cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny writes his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness”.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles. Please pray for Pastor Ronny’s healing.

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Posted in Determination, Lessons Learned from Sickness

If There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 14: If There’s a Will, There’s a Way

determination
“If There’s a Will, There’s a Way”

We often heard the proverb, “Kung gusto, maraming paraan. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan” (trans. “If you want to do it, you can always find ways to do it. If you do not want to do it, you always have alibis for not doing it.”)

This means that the accomplishment of something depends greatly on the intense desire of someone who wants to achieve the desired result.

I was able to affirm this truth in my sickness.

When my doctor was identifying a medication for my cough, he matter-of-factly remarked, “If we only knew somebody who can access this kind of medication in the US (he then mentioned a certain brand), then our problem can be lessened. You see, this brand is no longer available here in our country because it has been banned and regulated. You can only find this medication in the US but with all proper documentation”.

Mam Martha immediately replied, “Doc, we know somebody who can do it”.

The doctor then smiled and said, “Well, if that’s the case, then here’s the prescription. I hope that in the coming 3-5 days it will be here so that we can start dispensing such medication”.

Indeed, 5 days later, a big bottle of that regulated medication was standing at my hospital table, with my name on it, ready for the doctor’s final instruction.

The challenge of finding, purchasing, documenting, and delivering that medicine from the US to the Philippines ASAP was responded to by my youngest sister Lucy who’s working as a nurse in California.

With her deep concern for me, her intense desire and intention to ease my case, she did everything possible to deliver that regulated medicine in my hospital room in record time.

I thank God for her motivation, intention, and determination, three important elements of showing in concrete terms, her love and care for me.

Indeed, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Have a blessed Sunday everyone.

Let us worship our God with gladness!

Posted on FB: 8 March 2015 – 12:11 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces is the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He and wife, Martha have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he has lung cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny writes his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness”.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles. Please pray for Pastor Ronny’s healing.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Ant by Charlie Stinchcomb via Flickr Creative Commons License

Posted in Lent

Cancelled Without Prejudice – A Lenten Season Reflection

forgiveness of God

The phrase “Cancelled Without Prejudice” is used in embassy or consulate decision to changed the current visa for correction or change of status.

For migrants or those travelling abroad, having the phrase stamped on your passport means that your other visas in the passport remains valid and does not prejudice future visa applications.

“Cancelled Without Prejudice” signifies that you have gotten a new visa that might be better than the preceding one.

In this season of Lent, I see Jesus Christ, his suffering, death and resurrection as God’s living “Cancelled Without Prejudice” stamp for us.

If receiving a visa that would make sure indefinite stay on our chosen foreign land brings much joy, how much more when we’re getting a “Cancelled Without Prejudice” status from God and having the great assurance of infinite stay with Him in Heaven.

Yes, there’s more to life than just getting an earthly visa and probably, travelling round and round the world until you wear out and die.

As Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story would say, “To infinity and beyond”, let us take the chance to really travel to infinity and beyond with God.

While embassies need lots of documents and fees, God requires a contrite heart and commitment to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

It is free. No fees required for Jesus Christ has paid the price.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:22-24)

Come in humility before the Lord, confess your sin and express your need of the Redeemer, accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord.

Let your sinful life be “Cancelled Without Prejudice” before God and become an eternal citizen of heaven.

Posted in Hope

Visiting St. Kitts: Facing Fear and Overcoming Trauma with God

Testimonies of Hope
Kit Evans

A month ago I went back to St. Kitts.  I had not visited this beautiful island, a home away from home, in 5 and a half years. I had served as a community development worker here. 

However, five and a half years ago I was assaulted, strangled, beaten, robbed, and an attempted rape took place on my body, mind, and spirit.  4 years ago I went through a trial that sent my attacker away to prison for 46 years.

Since my assault I have fought through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, nightmares, anxiety, and fear to work to overcome the storm and become healthier and better.

My trip to St. Kitts was a big deal for me.  I had many positive experiences serving there, but my last encounter on the island was so hurtful, traumatic, painful. I thought that my visit to St. Kitts was primarily to have the courage to visit the prison and confront the man who assaulted me.  For different reasons that did not happen, but God knows!

I remember sitting in the home of my adopted family during my visit last month. On the local station they were showing a celebration on television of the men in prison.  I was confused.  People in the community where seeing on television a live party for men in prison. They had a live band, food, music, and the whole works. I was still confused. 

Yes, people could see their loved ones who were in prison via television. But, what about the people who were watching whose perpertrator’s were in that same prison. How did we as victims and survivors feel?  Did we want to see the rapists, attackers, perpertrator, and robbers who hurt us? 

Even though it was only television my heart raced.  What if I saw him, the man who hurt me? It had been years since I had an anxiety attack but I felt it coming. I took a deep breathe and was about to leave the room, but before I left I asked my adopted sister. “Could you please turn the station off? The man who assaulted me is in that prison.”  She quickly changed the channel and noted, “you should have told me.”  Deep breathe!

My trip to St. Kitts ultimately became one of the most restorative experiences of my life.  I revisited every place that had brought me peace at one point, but had also brought me fear at another point. I visited all of the girls I had taught and who taught me.  They are now working women! 

I went to the churches I had once taught and preached at. I reconnected with them, teaching and preaching again!  I walked down the deserted path where I had once seen my attacker.  Instead of seeing his face, I saw the sun, palm trees, and small monkey’s! I walked around the community and instead of being afraid, I received multiple hugs and cheek kisses from friends daily. 

Though I was afraid to walk alone at night, I slept peacefully.  No nightmares, no pain, and when anxiety came up I took a deep breathe, said a prayer, and talked to God until I fell asleep again.

Healing is a journey and sometimes it is a battle to get to the other side of a storm. But, it’s possible.  With God all things are possible.

Years ago my aunt told me to keep this scripture close. She was right.


Psalms 91:1-16 (NKJV) reads:

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.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. 14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

Amen.
 

Hope Writer: Argrow “Kit” Evans

Swahili (In English)

1 Yeye ambaye anakaa katika nafasi ya siri ya aliye juu Je kukaa chini ya kivuli cha Mwenyezi. 2 Mimi kusema ya Bwana, “Yeye ni kimbilio langu na ngome yangu, Mungu wangu, katika Yeye nitamtegemea.”

– Read more at: http://www.testimoniesofhope.com/

Posted in Faith, Inspirational, Lent, Living in New Zealand Now, Living in Timaru, South Canterbury living

Relevance of Jesus Christ in my Life

relevance of jesus christ

Recognising my sinfulness and the fact that I cannot do anything on my will and effort to cleanse me from all unrighteousness make Jesus Christ relevant and important.

As if my spirit was an old rusty and squeaky wheel in need of repair and replacement. And through the cleansing blood of Jesus, I am now redeemed, renewed and truly living.

Acknowledging my need for a Saviour, I found the answer to the question “How can the death of Jesus Christ be ransom for all?

The lyrics of “He Look Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need” express my sentiments so well that I’m always touched listening and singing this song.

Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise,
for it was grace that brought my liberty;
I do not know just why He came to love me so,
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.

Chorus

I shall forever life mine eyes to Calvary,
to view the cross where Jesus died for me,
how marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul;
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.

If you’re still wondering about the redeeming power of the cross, take time to reflect…see your sinfulness, repent, receive and believe that Jesus Christ is your only Saviour and Lord.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Old Rusty Wheel by Ross Waugh

Posted in Christ the Only Way Movement, Faith, Love

How Can the Death of the One Jesus Christ be Redemption for All?

Jesus Christ at the cross

How can the death of the one Jesus Christ be redemption for all?

Why the crucifixion of Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago has relevance and important impact in our lives today?

These are just two of the many questions surrounding the mystery of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Perhaps these questions might have crossed your mind and maybe the annual Good Friday celebration awakens and intensifies your wonderment.

As believers and followers of Christ, we can’t help but grapple with these two questions because we need to make sense of the crucifixion event.

Christians must not avoid dealing with these questions and easily attribute our Good Friday beliefs and practices as traditions that church leaders and parents handed-down to us.

We can also play it safe and say “the Bible tells me so” and just believe without questioning or searching for answers.

However, we are now living in an era where everything, both abstract and concrete, is examined, tried, or scrutinized. It is important that we address these questions so to strengthen our faith and most of all, provide firm faith foundation to the next generation of believers.

When our daughter started attending nursery classes at four years old, she would express her anxiety and nervousness. We would assure her that Jesus Christ is with you. She would say, “But I can’t see him”.

What made our child gain confidence was our assurance that we’re just a call away and we would be there to meet her when the class is over. Well, we can smile at the child’s honest retort but it made me think of how to make Jesus real for our child.

I’m sure that there are many Christians who are seeking answers for their faith questions. Our failure to discuss even the most innocent questions of faith would surely result to unbelief.

With the modern world offering varied answers to questions of life and faith, it’s not a wonder why many in our society today treat Jesus Christ as mere myth. So please tell me…

How can the death of the one Jesus Christ be redemption for all?

Why the crucifixion of Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago has relevance and important impact in our lives today?

READERS ARE REQUESTED TO SHARE YOUR ANSWERS TO THE TWO QUESTIONS ABOVE.
PLEASE WRITE THEM ON THE COMMENT FORM OR BOX AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST. THANK YOU.

PHOTO CREDIT: Toon Yong Meng Steven