Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva’s New Year Greetings

But how can we truly receive all these heavenly blessings? Well, we must remember the condition found in Matthew 6:33 (NKJV): “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” God gives us the very simple formula. If we decide to seek first His Kingdom, which means making Him our first and highest priority, we are on the right path towards experiencing an open heaven in our life as well in the life of our loved ones. We must never forget the truth that our Almighty Father is a generous God whose desire is to bless us spiritually, physically, mentally and even financially!

Hence, I invite you to respond to the challenge to believe in His power to give us all that we need. John 16:23b-24 (NKJV) says, “…Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Our Lord Jesus Himself issued this challenge to His first disciples, and it is also passed onto us, born again believers. As children of God, we are entitled to God’s wondrous blessings in Christ Jesus, and we can claim them by activating our faith through earnest and unrelenting prayer.

Brothers and sisters, this 2015, let us take hold of His promise, remember His condition and respond to His challenge so that we might continue to experience His miraculous move in our life.

Again, an exceedingly victorious, blessed and glorious New Year to all of you!

To God be all the glory, honor and praise!

Savior of the World

On that still and silent night, our Savior Jesus Christ came near to this fallen humanity to lovingly whisper this timeless truth, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life” (John 3:16 MSG).

A whole and lasting life… This is what our Savior came for – so that we might experience the life which God has destined for each one of us. A life that is not ruled by sin that leads to danger and, ultimately, to eternal separation from Him. By drawing near to us, He has given us the real antidote to hopelessness and despair. And in His life, death and resurrection, He has given new meaning to this once pointless existence.

Hence, the invitation is clear for all of us – we are lovingly urged to entrust our life to Him who became willing to be homeless so that He might become our shelter…our refuge…our home.

Will you choose to believe in the one true Savior of the world?

This is the perfect time. Put your faith in Jesus Christ! And forever, stay safe in the shelter of His loving arms.

A life in Christ

God looked at sinful man and pitied him. Instead of creating a new earth with a new race of people to replace the humanity He did not need, He forsook the splendor of the heavens and came to us in the form of a helpless baby for the express purpose of suffering for us and dying for us. And yet our Heavenly Father sent His only Begotten Son to pay a debt He did not owe, that the debt of misery here on earth and in eternity we owe to sin, that we can never pay, may be paid in full. As Romans 5:8 states, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

How then should we respond to this revelation of God’s undeserved and incomprehensible love for humanity? The answer is simple yet profound: we must put our faith in Him. In Him, we find the true meaning of this gift of life given to us by the Father. For only in entrusting our entire beings into His Hands can we attain the abundant and eternal life in Christ.

With this abundant life, let us then seize every moment! We are called, not to waste time on worldly pleasures that carry no eternal significance, but to grab hold of every one of them and spend them in knowing, loving and serving our Loving God. In turn, with the life we live in Christ, we become gifts of joy that the people surrounding us partake and share.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we joyfully celebrate this wonderful season, let us embrace the true meaning of the life that we have received in Christ Jesus. Let us look at the wonder of the manger and see the birth of the Messiah as the supreme expression of grace by the Holy God towards us, sinners. From there, let us look further on and appreciate His passion as He spent His life and went through the most horrible and barbaric death so that He can complete the plan of redemption for us.

With this perspective, we can now look back on this year that is soon to pass with full appreciation of all its blessings and challenges. In the same way, with this perspective, we can now look forward to the coming year with anticipation of His miraculous move in all aspects of our lives. In this season of the joy of God’s gift of salvation to us, let us choose to experience His promise in John 10:10b, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Again, a truly blessed and glorious Christmas to all of us!

Jesus the Lamb of God

No doubt, guilt disturbs our entire being and leaves us struggling within.

This inner chaos caused by guilt is even greater when we come to think of our sins against the Holy and Just God. We are haunted by the truth that we can never hide anything from Him. We pierce His heart over and over again. Guilty beyond reasonable doubt. And His Word affirms that the entire humankind is a bunch of guilty rebels who deserve punishment.

Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

And what can we do to make amends before the Righteous God? Truth be told, nothing. We have nothing to offer to God that is sufficient to pay the price of all our transgressions. No matter how hard we try, we fail to please God completely. Hence, we are doomed to eternal punishment – everlasting separation from the Loving God. Hopeless and helpless we truly are.

This is where the mystery of divine love enters – out of His abundant mercy, the Almighty sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to become the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT). And because of this, guilt has no more power over us. Reconciliation with God has been made possible. No additional offering necessary.

Hence, at times when guilt tries to bring us down – when the evil one condemns us of our past sins, may we listen to this hope-filled declaration: Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

TRIBUTE Message for Dr. Myles Munroe

Also, remember that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

So stand firm in the faith. And be assured that the Living God—and the prayers of the whole Christian world—is backing you up.

Shalom,

BRO. EDDIE C. VILLANUEVA

Spiritual Director and International President

Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide

DEFENDER OF THE WEAK

  Yet… even as she closed her eyes and readied for the stones to come and slowly kill her, there He stood. He had been writing on the ground with His finger but He straightened and said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And for all those “just accusers,” that was the end of that. Not a stone was thrown; the woman lived.

  Woman, where are they? How many of us, at least at one point in our lives, wished for someone to defend us and pick us up from where we lay prostrate on the floor of misery? We know full well that we did wrong. We know full well what the consequences are. We know full well that we deserve the pain that is coming. But what we would give to have one hand squeeze our shoulder at that moment, one arm wrap around our shoulders just for a little while, one quiet voice to say, “You are not alone.”

  Jesus did more than that. Rather than give His hand to squeeze our shoulder, He gave His hand to be pierced by a nail. Rather than give His arm to wrap around our shoulder, He used it to carry the wretched cross to the site of His crucifixion. Rather than whisper, “You are not alone,” He raised His eyes to the heavens and pled, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” We deserved death in eternal fire and for that, He gave us His life.

  Jesus. He looked down from heaven and instead of seeing a world deserving of punishment, He saw a world filled with people who needed saving. He saw the sick that needed healing. He saw the imprisoned that needed freeing. He saw the weak that needed defending.

  He is your defender. In your weakness, He is your strength. You only need to come to Him.  

  Come.

BREAD OF LIFE

   Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) Simply put, our souls hunger and thirst, and the only nourishment that can fill that painful emptiness is, yes, Jesus. As St. Augustine wrote in one of the most original and famous works in religious literature, Confessions, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can rest in You.” He, himself, had sought to feed the hunger and quench the thirst of his own soul through various pleasures and intellectual pursuits only to find himself crying out those immortalized words, echoed in every human soul, “How long, O Lord, how long?” How long must I chase after every remedy this world recommends so that this emptiness may be filled, so that this heart may find rest?

   We have this assurance: “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37) We, at last finding that we cannot save ourselves, that we cannot fill our own emptiness, need only… COME. We need only come to the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. “I will never drive away” or, in other translations: “I will never reject them,” “I will never cast out,” “I will never send away.” What does that really mean? It means that, however great my past sins are, if I come to Jesus by faith, He promises to look upon me with mercy. It means that, however great my present binding vices and wretchedness, He promises to look upon me with compassion. It means that, however great my cursed doubts may be, He promises to take what tiny kernel of faith there is and stoke that kernel into saving grace. 

   In satisfying the hunger and thirst of our souls, there is only one food that satisfies, only one appointed food – bread from heaven. That bread is the BREAD OF LIFE: JESUS. Taste and see… and… be satisfied.

SUFFERING SERVANT

old exclamation of His children, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4)

 God understood the narrowness and shallowness of humanity so He designed the plan of redemption to go beyond what man thought he had to be redeemed from. God understood that there was no other way to save mankind that is why He – Jesus – came “to serve and not be served.” (Mark 10:45). 

 To become a first class Christian is to follow in our Lord’s footsteps. To follow in His footsteps is to subject one’s self to first class Christian experience. First class Christian experience was, is and always will be fraught with sacrifice, pain and danger. Why? It is not a contradiction to say that God takes no joy in seeing His faithful suffer even if walking closely by His side requires a lot of suffering. It is just a given. It’s just that… we can fully share in the triumph of Christ unless we embrace the experience of the cross. (Philippians 3:8-11)

 But take heart! Although the first class Christian experience comes at a high price, that price is nothing compared to the lasting joy that our relationship with our Lord during it all brings. For it is only when we accept the necessity of this type of experience that we can experience the mystery of having a fulfilled life, of joy unspeakable and of unlimited success. After all, it was only when our Lord Jesus Christ chose to become a man and suffer for humanity that we received eternal life. 

 Do you want the best from Jesus? Then be prepared. 

 The best from Christ comes on His terms; we must accept the responsibility that accompanies it. 

 That is true victory.

Significant Victory

These are the precious moments when they can finally say with confidence, “I have proven myself right! I can do it!” Truth be told, we all have our share of experience with this feeling. Experiences such as this, in a way, was our initiation to that encouraging belief that nothing can stop us from reaching the proverbial top of the world.

Yet, it also pointed us to certain harsh realities in this highly competitive world. We need to win – in every way possible. A life of victory means succeeding in every endeavor and receiving the most prestigious titles. The most celebrated athlete. The most famous artist. The youngest manager. The first owner of a newly-released gadget. In a nutshell, victory simply means getting ahead of everyone else.

Sadly, at the top where all these superlatives are, we find that something is missing. And it seems that what we are looking for is the most important one – significance. After all the battles waged and won, we suddenly realize that life is more than just winning and getting ahead of others. In reality, what is truly important is for us to understand and to attain significant victory.

The Apostle Paul leads us to the right direction in his oft-quoted words, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” His statement is more than just a declaration of triumph over competitors. It is a profession of faith that empowers us to accept the reality that life is fraught with hardships and trials.

And at one point or another, we will fail and suffer defeat, yet that same faith will carry us through. Our hearts will still be staunch believers of the truth that God’s miraculous Hand is at work in our lives. This is significant victory – to anchor our life deeply on this faith in the God of victory! 

And so as we continue to journey in this life, may this same faith lead us to leave the life of indifference and apathy to the plight of the suffering humanity. It compels us to share in the sufferings of our fellow human beings – to be their loving companions in facing the cruel realities of life.

We pray that we may see this powerful declaration founded on Apostle Paul’s poignant words, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (Philippians 4:12).

The Apostle Paul expressed it crystal clear: significant victory goes beyond all kinds of experiences in life. It is living for God and God alone…fighting a good fight of faith day by day until we finally kneel before Him on Judgment Day – the incomparable moment of ultimate victory.

Fellow victors in Christ, let us join hands in living a life of significant victory, as we confess our faith, “…we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)


 

I Am His

See, Lord? I used to blow up when this happens. I’m taking the time to pause and think now. That’s a step in the right decision, isn’t it, Lord?

See, Lord? I haven’t thought of that secret sin for a whole hour now. And I feel like I’m about to go crazy! Help me, Lord! I need Your help! Let my mind not slip. Let my heart not hesitate. Let my hands stay resolved. Let my feet stay firm on You – You are my only hope!

See, Lord? I am Yours. There is no uncertainty in my mind. There is no doubt in my heart. Let my thoughts reflect this. Let my words prove this. Let my decisions… my every act testify this.

My hands are clasped, Lord. My every breath is a prayer. When anyone asks, let me able to answer them without fear or shame –  

“I am His.”