A Happy Birthday!

After worshipping together this morning at the Milpitas Community Center, we had the privilege of celebrating the 65th birthday anniversary of a fellow servant of the Lord!

Witnessing her tears of joy calls to mind God’s goodness, for in our pilgrimage as believers in Christ, we can all attest to the wonder of how our Heavenly Father helps us.

Indeed, if we take the time to look back as to how the Lord has patiently led us; and, as we take the time to renew our mind with His Word, recognizing His sovereignty and grace, we can heartily testify like the Psalmist, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7 NIV)

 

 

Bibiolata Missions

Cedar and Joy Picture

Meet Pastor Cedar Bibiolata and his wife, Sherryl Joy. Lord willing, they arrive this evening, 3/4/16, from the Philippines!  We are so grateful for our Filipino brethren who were willing to lend them to us for a short-term missions trip to our city of Milpitas, California.  As you will find in the 2010 census, Asians constitute 62.2% of our city’s population, with Filipinos as the largest Asian group!

We do look to the Lord for courage and open doors as we try to reach out to the Filipinos and the various ethnic communities in our city, and do thank the Lord of the Harvest for the prayers of His people!

Pastor Cedar and Joy’s return flight to the Philippines is 5/31/16, just one day short of 90 days with us.  As much as they were willing to lend Pastor Cedar and Joy to us, we’re sure our Filipino brethren are as much excited to have them back, counting the days for their return!

 

Revelation 7 (Part 1)

Revelation 7 describes those whom the Lord has saved–the sealed of God, a great multitude that no one could number from all tribes and peoples and languages, who cry with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:1-9).

By way of introduction to this marvelous chapter, let me go back in time– to the beginning:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (1:14).

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:10-13).

If you have believed in the name of the resurrected Christ, whose death in payment for your sins has satisfied the wrath of God, yours is not only the new blessed relationship with God as your Heavenly Father, but also the assurance of being His child permanently, for all eternity (Romans 8:35-39).  By grace through faith in the finished work of Christ who died, was buried, and rose again, you have been rescued–saved–from everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. Yours is a great salvation–that is sure and complete.

In this great salvation, we see the magnificent, comprehensive and unified work of the Triune God, just as it had been displayed when He created the heavens and the earth! See Genesis 1:1-3 and John 1:1-3; then, ponder upon the following:

  1. Apart from God the Father’s sovereign choosing and drawing of a peculiar people for Himself, there is no redemption. See Ephesians 1:3-6 and John 6:37-44.
  2. Apart from God the Son’s finished work on the cross, having died to pay for the sins of the world and resurrected from the grave, there is no salvation. See John 3:13-18, John 14:6, and Romans 10:9-13.
  3. Apart from God the Holy Spirit’s work as the agent of regeneration, sinful man cannot come to an understanding of the truth. See 1 Corinthians 2, John 15:26, and John16:7-11.Oh, that man would pay much careful attention and not neglect this great salvation found only in the One true God who eternally reigns over all things as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

The Triumphant Lion/Lamb

I am the Alpha and Omega slide

Text: Revelation 6:1-8

In chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation, we read of Almighty God, seated on the throne, and of the triumphant Lion/Lamb, Jesus Christ, who alone was found worthy to open “the scroll and its seven seals.”   John wrote, “I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!’

The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

Read Revelation 6 (compare Zechariah 6:1-8) and you will be introduced to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The first rider was given authority to conquer; the second, to take peace from the earth, that men would slay each other; the third was holding a pair of scales in his hand, referring to a great famine; and the fourth, “power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” 

In view of the authority given the Four Horsemen, we understand that God, Holy and True, has inaugurated judgment upon the earth by the breaking of the first four seals. “Throughout time, Christ has allowed conquest, warfare, famine, and death to ravage humanity but he limits their power” (Easley, K.H. (1998). Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 106). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers).

Let us, therefore, view history and current events in light of God’s Sovereignty.  By doing so, we begin to understand the question behind disease, famine and death. The apostle John himself was no stranger to tribulation. Consider the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the persecution of the church in 64-68 AD.  Move forward and there is the famine in Judea in 45-46 AD and the earthquake that destroyed and leveled cities in Asia Minor in AD 17; then, remember the suffering of millions under the hands of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, and the terrorism of Bin Laden, the Taliban, ISIS. To be sure, there is “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray” (Rev. 12: 9); but, read on and the message is clear: “the devil . . . is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Rev. 12:12). He knows he is a defeated foe!

Ponder. Be still. Know that God Almighty is seated on His throne! This fact cannot be changed. From the viewpoint that John has been granted to see, there is not one event in history that escapes the control of the reigning, Sovereign King.

Consider the words of the Song by Eric Shumacher, “The Lord is Sovereign.”

 

You Shall Not Make Any Graven Image

 Statue pic 2

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)

In God’s second commandment, Israel was commanded not to make any type of idol or carved image that will become their object of worship (Exodus 20:4-5). At the time Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, neighboring nations commonly practiced idol worship. It was the “norm.” Communities worshipped images and idolized heavenly bodies, nature, and even creatures.

Sadly, Israel became guilty of idolatry, as seen in Exodus 32, just a few chapters after God appeared to them at Mt. Sinai giving them the Ten Commandments. Israel had been delivered from polytheistic and syncretistic practice. While in the wilderness, Israel made a golden calf. Historically, idolatry has been an issue for Israel (Joshua 24:2, 14).

Idolatry became the root sin for Israel and Judah, resulting to other detestable sins (Jeremiah 2:28; 11:13; 32:32-35; Ezekiel 8:5-11). According to the warning of the Lord, Israel and Judah were punished because of their outright rejection of the Almighty (Deuteronomy 8:19; 11:16; Joshua 24:19-20; Habakkuk 1:1-11).

Simply put, idolatry is a person’s clear and outright rejection of God. When a person rejects God in his life, what follows is the embracing of a different god of his liking. People intentionally discard God because of not wanting to give an account to Him (Cf. Matthew 12:36-37). Paul clearly explained that godless and wicked people are recipients of God’s wrath because of their suppression of the truth (Romans 1:18). The act of giving them up to their sinful passion and desires is actually God’s judgment upon them (Romans 1:18-32).

My friend, I urge you to cease from rejecting the Lord. Instead, come to Him and humbly acknowledge that he alone is worthy of your worship and devotion. In the end, whether you like it or not, it is Christ Jesus who will receive all the honor and glory (Philippians 2:9-11).

Marriage

marriage slide

Marriage is not a man-made institution. For this reason, to redefine it is to go against the God who instituted it. Jesus said, “Haven’t you read…that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?” (Matt. 19:4 NIV)
If we are to truly understand what marriage is and should be, let us look into God’s Word. God, our Creator, did not leave us without a clear definition. He not only defines marriage, He also gives provisions for the role of those who enter into it.
Consider the following articles by http://www.gotquestions.org/:

1) What is the Definition of Marriage?
http://www.gotquestions.org/definition-of-marriage.html

2) What does the Bible Say About Same-Sex Marriage?
http://www.gotquestions.org/gay-marriage.html

Sadly, our society has been departing from the wisdom of our Creator. Even those of us who proclaim to know God are failing to follow Him wholeheartedly. Instead of depending on the God of the universe, we as a society have chosen to depend on our flawed human wisdom and finite understanding. We have failed even at the most basic need of seeking Him in prayer and in diligently studying His Word to know Him and His will.

Consider Romans 1:18-32 NIV:, portions of which are quoted below:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…. For although they knew God…they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images…. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity…. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another…. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind…

In view of God’s wrath, let us respond to, live and proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let every believer in Christ remember Jude’s exhortation: “‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 18-23 ESV).