WHEN LIFE THROWS YOU A CURVE BALL

 

I met Danielle and her mom a couple of years ago in one of the services of Victory Fort. They were devastated to find out that Danielle was found to be with brain cancer. They asked for prayer for the upcoming journey they were about to begin from hospital visits to chemotherapy.

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? It all seems like a blur and you don’t even realize what hit you.

When David was faced with adversities that were overwhelming, he responded in Psalm 31:14,

“But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, ‘You are my God.'”

Danielle and her mom, Riza, trusted the Lord and watch how God moved as they kept their eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of their faith.

 

WHEN THE ANSWERS TO YOUR PRAYERS SEEM DELAYED

Blog Banners.001Just because things don’t go the way we had prayed doesn’t mean God is not answering.

Mary and Martha had asked for Jesus to come because their brother Lazarus was deathly ill. But on hearing the news, Jesus stayed for a couple more days in the place where he was. Was this deliberate? Was He being intentional in His delay? I believe so. He is all knowing. He did say, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)

Something was brewing.
What seemed to be a setback was actually a divine setup.

When Jesus came, Lazarus had already been in the tomb for 4 days lifeless. Martha brings in an accusation to Jesus and says, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21)

We are quick to judge God’s intentions.
Lord, You are not really in control.
Lord, I thought You were all powerful.
Lord, You didn’t come through on time. Maybe You’re not that mindful of us.
Lord, I thought You were a prayer answering God.

But many times, we need to elevate our perspective to see something beyond what our natural eyes can perceive.

If Jesus came 4 days early, surely He is more than able to heal Lazarus from his illness.
The thing is, they would only experience Him as a healer.
But because he came a few days later, they got to know Him as the Resurrection and the Life.

What we see in the natural is very limited to explain all that’s happening in the spiritual.

God wants to reveal Himself to you the different attributes of who He is.
Often, we just see a limited view. But through our experiences and how He works through those circumstances will allow us to see Him in a new light and from a different perspective.

And when that happens, watch out for it bring you to a new level of praise.

By faith, when you do something you’ve never done before, you’ll be able to experience something you’ve never seen before.

“YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU’RE SAYING”

Blog Banners.001“I don’t think you really believe in what you’re saying.”

Joe Kim (not his real name) was telling me today regarding his experience before he met Christ. He was in high school when someone shared the gospel to him in Korea. He felt that his friend had just come from an evangelistic seminar and he was his friend’s first “project.”

Growing up in a Buddhist background, Joe wasn’t all that interested. In fact, he challenged his friend’s faith by telling him that “he really didn’t believe in what he was saying.”

When his friend asked how come he said that, Joe’s answer was, “Well, if you really believed in what you’re saying, it would show in how you live.” Joe loved his friend. In fact, they were often together, even in parties and drinking sprees. But he concluded that what his friend declared didn’t really work.

“If you believed in what you are declaring, you’re life would be different.”

Joe’s statement hit me. In fact, it hit me quite hard.
I began to look at my own life to see if what I believed lined up with how I lived my life.

Jesus addressed the crowds and told them this about the religious leaders of his time,

“Pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach.” (Matthew 23:3)
What they taught didn’t line up with how they lived.

Our lives are sometimes the only Bible our friends will read. We can say one thing but if our life exemplifies something else, it will be difficult to believe. Does this mean that our lives need to be perfect? By no means. However, the important thing is that we’re progressing towards what God intended for us to go towards – to become like Christ. And THAT would be entirely by His grace working itself out in our daily lives.

LORD, thank You for saving me by Your grace. It is never by personal merit or deserved achievement. As I grow in the knowledge of Your grace and salvation, allow me to grow in greater Christ-likeness and holiness. May my life be a story of someone who was undeserving yet unconditionally cared for, fully known yet fully loved. And for that, I am forever grateful. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

WHEN YOU NEED WISDOM

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You can tell a person’s spiritual condition as you observe where he gets his wisdom and strength from.

David, together with his mighty men just lost their wives and children to the Amalekites. His men even thought of stoning him to death as a result. He cried so many tears that the Bible said that he no longer had any strength left to weep.

But he found strength in the Lord His God. (1 Samuel 30:6)

He later inquired of the Lord if they were to pursue the Amalekites.
God told him to go for it.

Right about the same time King Saul was seeking wisdom. But Saul looked for it through the witch of Endor. This was the beginning of a downward spiral spiritually.

Here is where you can observe one’s spiritual condition.
Saul sought wisdom through worldly means.
David sought it from God who knows all for He is the Alpha and Omega, knowing the end from the beginning.

When push comes to shove, who do you run to for wisdom and strength?

The Scriptures are readily available for us. His Word is our primary source for insight about life and living.

Let’s approach Him who not only knows everything but desires the best for us at will ultimately bring Him glory.

CLAIMING THE PROMISES OF GOD

Someone said that there are 3,000 promises written in Scripture for every believer. That’s more than 8 promises to claim per day! Other estimates go up to 7000 to 8000 total.

Now whether it’s 3,000 or 8,000, unfortunately many are unaware of them. And it is quite difficult to claim something you have no knowledge of.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:4 (NLT), “And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”

He has given us great and precious promises! May we discover them and claim them.

Watch how we can discover and claim the promises God has for us.

WHEN ODDS ARE STACKED UP AGAINST YOU

Blog Banners.001What do you do when life throws you a curve ball and are now facing an overwhelming situation?

Psalm 42 is a cry to God at a time of desperation. Many believe that it was King David who wrote this Psalm during the time of his very own son, Absalom, taking over the kingdom that God established for him.

In Psalm 42:11, the psalmist speaks to his own soul,

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?”

After his question, he follows it up with an imperative commanding himself to put His hope on the One who can rescue him from his situation.

“Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

The following video is a testimony of a man who had all the odds stacked up against him and his family and yet persevered not only in faith but also in praise.

Watch Joseph Carodan’s journey of seeing his son almost lose his life and the faithfulness of God to deliver Emman.

May this video bless you.

 

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WHEN GOD SEEMS SLOW TO ANSWER

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“No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God.” (Romans 4:20)

When facing a daunting challenge ahead, we have two choices – to press on with faith or to give up in unbelief.

I remember one of our pastors from Mindanao giving his testimony of God’s faithfulness. He and his wife have been praying for a baby for years. They wanted to enjoy the first couple of years of their marriage so they felt it was fine not to have a child yet. But as year 3 came, they realized that it wasn’t happening. Year 4 and 5 came and they were getting worried regarding what might be the concern.

Year 6 and 7 came and still no baby. At this point, when you go through this type of situation, what do you do? Do you accept that it’s the will of God or continue persevering in faith? For my two friends, they kept trusting God.

Similar to Romans 4:20, they stayed the course and allowed “no unbelief to make them waver concerning the promise of God.”

And here’s an important truth:
“A promise is only as good as the person who makes the promise.” (Dare To Believe Manual)

Because God said it, then that settles it!

If you have a promise from God, hold on to it. Don’t let go. Keep on keeping on because He who promised is faithful.

What happened after year 9? My friends got their answer to prayer. Baby Rania was born.

I can’t explain why Rania came on the 9th year of their marriage. Some answers to prayer come on the 5th or 9th or 15th year. But as you go through the journey, embrace the process for God is bringing about something you and I may not fully understand at the moment. But in time, we will realize that God makes all things beautiful in His time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

OUT OF THE OVERFLOW

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It is said that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Have you ever experienced a time when you said something and you realized it was coming out of an overflow from what’s on the inside?
Frustration?
Anger?
Disappointment?

Or on the other hand it could be something positive.
Faith.
Love.
Joy.
Excitement.

I remember a time when I was praying for provision for my family. I knew that God said that “He shall supply all my needs in Christ.” I knew that the Word tells me to trust in the Lord with all my heart. But the next phrase that came out of my mouth was “what if it doesn’t happen?”

What I had in my heart eventually came out. What I believed or didn’t believe was ultimately articulated.

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:13, “I believed, and so I spoke.”

As a result, I endeavored to fill my heart with the Word for the Bible says that faith comes from hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)
When my heart is filled with God’s Word, it will eventually overflow and influence my speech and ultimately my actions.

Lord, help me go to Scriptures each and every day to fill my heart with words of life not death, strength not weakness, and joy not sorrow. May your Word be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I mentioned yesterday that I will start a series on the miracles of Jesus.  However, due to the Prayer and Fasting week, I’d like to jump off from the devotionals given that can be found in Victory’s website.

TRIALS CAN EITHER TRANSFORM OR DEFORM

Blog Banners.001Difficult circumstances can either TRANSFORM or DEFORM us.
The outcome will depend on how we respond to it. 

Will we respond in faith or in unbelief?

The apostle Paul writes in the book of Romans:

“No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” (Romans 4:20-21)

How did Abraham keep himself from wavering in unbelief?

1. Grew strong in faith.

The Bible says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Coupled with hearing the Word is obeying the Word.

Abraham heard the word directly from God in Genesis 12. Not only did he hear, but he also obeyed. And as he obeyed, he saw that God followed through with what He communicated.

Our faith will grow as we hear and obey the Word. The book of James says that we shouldn’t merely hear the Word but also obey it lest we end up deceiving ourselves.

2. Gave glory to God.

Abraham’s eyes were fixed on the One who called him, not on the circumstances nor on the people around him. That didn’t mean he never had his moments. But because Abraham’s steadfast gaze was upon the One who holds his future, he honored God even in the difficult moments. God ultimately got the glory as a result of Abraham’s faith.

As John Piper would often say,

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

Faith coupled with contentment that we have all that we have in Him will evidently surface in our life if it’s there. We don’t even have to manufacture it. People will notice and consequently glorify God.

3. Remained fully convinced.

Abraham was told that he will have a son that will give birth to a nation. And when God did, his faith to trust in God’s word was tested. He was asked to sacrifice Isaac at Mount Moriah. While he was willing to sacrifice Isaac, God stopped Abraham from doing so and provided another sacrifice on Isaac’s behalf.

But whatever was in Abraham’s mind at that moment, he was fully convinced that God would either give him another son or raise Isaac back to life. He was fully persuaded that God had the ability to do either.

Being fully convinced doesn’t mean we will always know the outcome. But even in the midst of uncertainty, Abraham was certain of one thing: God is both willing and able to fulfill His promises.  He never turns back on His Word.

Author C.S. Lewis declared,

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

Will you continue to trust Him and remain fully convinced?

STEPH CURRY AND HIS FAITH

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A decade ago, the Golden State Warriors were regular cellar dwellers. 

These days, we hear that team often mentioned in ESPN. Coupled with the team is a name that is consequentially mentioned – Steph Curry

The son of a 16 year NBA veteran, Dell Curry, has made it big. But in spite of his athletic success, he forgets not the reason why he was given this platform. 

In the website of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he had this to share: 

I remember it like it was yesterday, the day I gave my life to Christ. I was in fourth grade, and I recall hearing and understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ and walking down the aisle to give my life to Him. My parents continued to pour into my faith from that point on, making sure I understood the commitment I’d just made. Starting in middle school I attended Charlotte Christian School, which allowed me to hear the gospel on a daily basis. Looking back, my childhood was filled with the Lord’s presence.

Some of us might have seen him thump his chest and point his index finger upward after making a shot.  In an interview with Decision Magazine , he explains that it was a trademark he and his mother came up with as an outward sign and internal reminder that God gets the glory for his success. 

Steph explains furthermore. 

“Obviously, there’s a lot of hoopla and fanfare that follows you wherever you go, but I know where my talent comes from.”

“I know why I play the game, and it’s not to score 30 points a night, but it’s to use the stage I’m on. I’ve been put here for a specific purpose: to be a witness and to share my testimony as I go through it.”

In a column last year for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes website, Steph wrote that he loves to point people toward “the Man who died for our sins on the cross. I know I have a place in Heaven waiting for me because of Him, and that’s something no earthly prize or trophy could ever top.”

“I love to play the game, and I love when good things happen,” he said. “But when I get home, it’s about my family and just enjoying the blessings in my life without letting [basketball] define my personality or my character.”

May of this year (2015), Steph received the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award.   He started his acceptance speech saying: “First and foremost I have to thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for blessing me with the talents to play this game, with the family to support me, day in, day out. I’m his humble servant right now and I can’t say enough how important my faith is to who I am and how I play the game.”

One Q&A session, Curry spoke in detail about his faith after one member of the media asked him about the meaning of the 4:13 that he made sure was placed at the bottom of some of the sneakers’ tongues. Inside the tongue reads, “I can do all things,” which comes from Philippians 4:13 which reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“It represents a Bible verse I wear on my shoe,” Curry explains to the press, according to Rapzilla reports. “Philippians 4:13. It says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ It’s also my mantra, how I get up for games and why I play the way I do.”

His life reminds me of James 4:6  that says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 

May we all be encouraged to use whatever platform God has given to ultimately bring praise and honor to His name and His name alone.