What’s so good about Good Friday?

What’s so good about someone dying?
What’s so good about being nailed on a cross?
What’s so good about being humiliated in front of hundreds, if not, thousands?

I met Tim the other day. He didn’t grow up religious and never went to church. But as I’ve realized through the years, the gospel is the most logical solution to the problem of sin.

Good works won’t work because we’ll never know how much is enough to make it.
Punishing ourselves won’t work because we can only tolerate pain up to a certain extent and give up before it’s ever enough.
Merely saying sorry is also not enough for a holy and just God requires payment for the penalty of sin.

When the first Good Friday happened, Jesus declared in Mark 15:34 “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Why did Jesus feel forsaken by the Father?

It was at that circumstance that all of the sin of mankind was placed on Him. “God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus felt forsaken for at that moment, it seemed that there was a separation from the Father for sin cannot be in the same presence of a holy and rigtheous God.

Thus, to the person who trusts Christ for salvation experiences a miracle. Our unrighteousness was placed on Christ and His righteousness placed upon us. This work of imputation is nothing short of miraculous. At that particular time, the greatest exchange happened – an unfair yet amazing one.

All these I explained to Tim. His response?
“Wow, it all make sense to me now! This is indeed good news! In fact, it’s great news! My sin upon Him and His righteousness upon me. Who doesn’t want that? Quite an amazing deal if you’d ask me.”

As a result, after an understanding of the gospel of Jesus, he responds by turning away from sin and fully surrendering his life to Christ as his Lord and Savior.

And to all who hasn’t surrendered their lives yet, today can be your day of salvation. What’s so good about Good Friday? His death provided a way for us to gain life. The Great Exchange occurred on Good Friday – His righteousness upon us and all our unrighteousness upon Him as we respond in faith by trusting Christ for our salvation.

If this is the desire of your hear, you can pray this prayer by faith, receive His forgiveness and experience the new life He offers to everyone who believes:

Lord, thank You for coming to die on the cross. I understand that You died so that the penalty of sin can be paid for. I repent from all my sins and trust Christ for forgiveness. He died so that I may have life. Today, I respond to His love for me. I surrender my past, my sins, my unrighteousness and by faith receive the righteousness of Christ offered to me through His work in Calvary. Help me to live for you from this day forward, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life that would please and honor God. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Does God intervene or is He at work all the time?

I had a conversation with Joey Bonifacio the other day. He is mostly in Singapore these days and I get to see him for a few days every month when he is in Manila. And when he is, I make sure I get some time with him for he always challenges, inspires and pushes me to keep levelling up, innovating and keep thinking of ways to make things better.

He asked me during our lunch, “Does God intervene or is He at work all the time?”

I had to think long and hard for I catch myself say the phrase “God intervened in my situation.”

In Genesis 50, Joseph is reunited with his father and siblings after decades of being in Egypt. His brothers mistreated him and sold him into slavery. He was falsely accused by Mrs. Potiphar and thrown into prison. But what seemed to be a bad situation, God used for the good. He met a baker and a cupbearer who had dreams Jospeh interpreted. This opened a door for him to do something similar when Pharaoh had a dream. As a result, it earned him the spot of being second in command over all of Egypt.

Because of this, his family found intervention to their situation due to the famine they were experiencing in their homeland.

But when Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers were afraid that he would take revenge for all they’ve done to him. Wha was Joseph’s response?

“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19-20)

Somehow, Joseph saw the hand of God through all that he had gone through and trusted that God had a plan. And indeed He did. He was setting something up for Joseph though he didn’t see it.

We can only see the full extent of what God is doing through the rear view mirror.

The Bible says in Psalm 121:4, “Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”
When we’re asleep, God is still
at work.

When we wake up, He continues to work all things together for our good but ultimately for His glory.

We will realize that the hand of God was at work the whole time only after everything’s been said and done. He is in charge. He is in control and nothing surprises Him.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank You that You are at work the whole time and that nothing escapes your attention. You are Lord of heaven and earth. But You are also Lord of the circumstances of my life. Elevate my perspective to see Your hand always at work and to trust You that You have my best interest in Your mind for Your honor and glory. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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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.

 

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.

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.

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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.