Jesus is Lord over my FUTURE

Jesus is Lord over my FUTURE

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

What lies ahead of you?

When the road ahead seems bright and promising, say, “Jesus is Lord.” Because it is He who has paved the way, has removed every roadblock, and has brought you to this new path.

When the road seems cold and daunting, say, “Jesus is Lord.” Because it is He who will walk with you, keep you company, and carry you through the entire journey.

Whatever you see before you, say, “Jesus is Lord.” Then add, “So the end point will surely astound me.”

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Tatay Rene: Journey to Greatness

Tatay Rene: Journey to Greatness

Being a father is more than a role. It’s a calling, and it’s a tough one. As the head of the family, he must be strong, even amid difficult situations. He must be a role model to his children. He must work hard, even to the point of neglecting the strain of it on his body. And most importantly, he must be wise in his decisions because one mistake could cost him and his family everything. Fatherhood, indeed, is hard enough. But imagine how much harder it would be if a father also takes the role of a mother. Tatay Reynaldo “Rene” Sarmiento of the Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Church Manggahan Chapter in Rodriguez, Rizal became a widower 17 years ago when his wife died due to a kidney disease. From that moment on, he had to take care of the needs of his six children by himself.

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The Heart of a Mother in Faith

The Heart of a Mother in Faith

There is always that one woman who knows us so well – oftentimes more than we do know ourselves. She is our mother.

She knows us so well that she recognizes the difference between how we look at a plate of vegetables and a cup of ice cream. And before we can even have our desired ice cream, she would make sure she’d put first the vegetables right in front of us. She has her ways.

It is also heart-warming to remember the times when we are sure that we are loved in our great or down moments and when we are zealous or frustrated. Love naturally flows from her heart. A mother’s love, that is.

We celebrate this incomparable love this Mother’s Day!

However, this day is not just for our biological Mommy, Mama, Mamshie, or Mudra. It is also a day to appreciate our mothers in faith in the church: our Life Group leaders, our Ministry Heads, and most importantly, our Pastors. We appreciate because we are blessed by their efforts, encouragements, and support to us while they are also very occupied with work on the expansion of God’s Kingdom. Indeed, it is only fitting for us to acknowledge all that they have done for us.

One example of a person who has mothered and mentored many workers in the church is Ptr. Beng Magallanes, Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Church Regional Pastor of JIL Central Operations Region 4, which covers Pasay, Paranaque, Las Pinas, and Muntinlupa. While she does not have biological children, she would always be heard saying with pure joy, “The Lord has blessed me with many children in the ministry.”

For her, being a pastor is a big blessing, but it entails tough challenges that could sometimes test one’s faith, endurance, and courage. Praise be to God for His abounding grace!

Fair mother

Just like in any family where conflicts arise among siblings, there are also disagreements among her “children” in the ministry. The number of workers in the ministry is equal to the number of different personalities she handles. Dealing with these individuals’ differences is never easy. Thus, as a pastor and a mother to all of them, it is always a must for her to observe everyone’s strengths and weaknesses in order to always render a wise and proper judgment in times of conflict. She sees to it that she doesn’t fail to be a mediator whenever differences tend to create conflicts.

“It’s a must to give both sides the chance to be heard. Mahirap din naman ang one-sided,” Ptr. Beng says. To her, listening to all sides is indispensable.

Her principle whenever individual differences clash inside the church is: First, there will be a warning given by the Life Group leaders. If the problems still are not solved, it will be dealt by the Ministry Heads. She makes it a point that no leaders will be by-passed before she deals with the issue. Ptr. Beng believes that the proper process should be followed to be able to come up with a good decision or judgment. Ptr. Beng is a true mother to her children – a listener, a mediator, and a peace-maker.

Mother faithful to her calling

Ptr. Beng is a good example of serving the Lord’s calling in her life. In the midst of many challenges in the ministry, she is always inspired to serve the Lord. She says that she is grateful everyday to God for His grace. This grace is what makes her stand in the face of many trials in being a pastor. “Many are called but only few are chosen,” may be a common Bible verse to many Christians but Ptr. Beng believes in this. That is why she always says that she will always be beyond grateful to be chosen by the Lord and Bro. Eddie and Sis. Dory Villanueva to serve God in the JIL ministry.

There are days when a pastor has to deal with her personal concerns. But for Ptr. Beng, she always makes sure that her own trials would not cause any of her children to be discouraged or disheartened. Yes, there are low moments, but Ptr. Beng values her calling and always trusts the Lord she serves.

“The Lord is my motivation and it is a great privilege to be called and be chosen by Him,” said Ptr. Beng. “And of course, Bro. Eddie and his principles have inspired me also. Kung si Bro. Eddie nga mas grabe ang pinagdaanan, sino ba naman ako para sumuko?”

Multi-tasking mother

Moms are always great multi-taskers. The same is true with Ptr. Beng. Although she is a full-time pastor, she also has a family to take care of. Ptr. Beng and Ptr. Jeric Magallanes recently celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary.

How could she handle both? Her answer is time-management. She sees to it that she allots time for her own family and for the ministry.

“Our family is a ministry as well. Kung nagagawa nga nating paglingkuran ang ibang tao, hindi ba’t mas kailangan nating paglingkuran ang sarili nating pamilya?”

For Ptr. Beng, her family is a living testimony of God’s salvation. And she’s doing her best to take care of both her biological family and her family inside the church.

“It is a must to have a balanced life, a balanced Christian life,” she said. “Time-management could also mean stewardship. Because they both contain your whole life, all aspects of your life. And to be a good pastor, one needs to be a good steward as well.”

Ptr. Beng Magallanes’ message to all the people she worked and is working with and have considered her as their mother in faith: “Regalo kayong lahat sa akin ng Diyos.”

To her, everyone has their strengths. Everyone has their weaknesses. But everyone has their purpose. “Dahil sa kanila, natututo ako. Nahuhubog. I value relationships. Dahil pinalalago ako nito at tinuturuan. Hangga’t nariyan sila, I’m being equipped to maturity,” she explained with utmost sincerity.

“To all the families I have inside or outside the church, you are all important to me. You are all a gift to me.” – Julia Ramos

Knowing the true God overcomes spiritual deception – Bro. Eddie

Knowing the true God overcomes spiritual deception – Bro. Eddie

In the face of rising spiritual deception worldwide, people need to personally know the True God.

This was what Bro. Eddie Villanueva drove home in his message during the 39th anniversary thanksgiving of the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Church Worldwide in front of multitudes of JIL pastors and members, and other guests gathered before the Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park.

“Many government leaders, spiritual leaders, and even members of the police worldwide are being deceived, so we urgently need to know our God, and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ,” he stressed.

“So many nations are in complete disorder this why we need to know the True and Living God,” the JIL Spiritual Director declared, referring to the anniversary theme based on Daniel 11: 32, which says “…but the people who know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (KJV)

He also recalled one of his major principles in Christian ministry: “The greatest and noblest achievement of a man/woman here on earth is for him/her to be able to know his/her Creator truthfully and personally. To love Him passionately and wholeheartedly, and to serve Him faithfully with integrity and excellence until he/she stands before Him on Judgement Day.”

Near the end of his anniversary message, Bro. Eddie shared an anecdote with then Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte on April 30, 2016 — 10 days before last year’s May 10 presidential election.

“I was asked by then Mayor Duterte to pray for him, and I agreed on the condition that there would be no media around to witness the occasion,” he recalled of the event. “So we went to meet him.”

The JIL spiritual head then led Duterte to a prayer of acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior “and felt compelled to release the kingly anointing by laying hands on him. Ten days later (on May 10) he became our elected president.”

Bro. Eddie then reminded the President of the promise he made to the JIL leader that “he (Duterte) was willing to die for his country,” even as he expressed dismay in the thousands of reported extrajudicial killings in the national government’s all-out crusade against illegal drugs.

“Public service is a public trust,” he said because “ang tunay na may-ari ng Pilipinas ay ang sambayanang Pilipino.”

Bro. Eddie then asked the Christian leaders to each offer a prayer for the Filipino nation, among them Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo, Dr. Michael McKinney, president of the California-based Promise Christian University, Broadcaster-pastor Alex Tinsay, and Bishop Leo Alconga, Biblica East Asia Director and National Vice-Chairman of the Philippines for Jesus Movement.

He ended his anniversary message by allowing the JIL pastors and workers to minister to the JIL members present during the gathering, closing it with his pastoral prayer and benediction.

Bong Pedralvez

The ‘new’ begins

The ‘new’ begins

Vision Casting 2017

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“God will dwarf everything He has done with what He will do in this season of new beginnings.”

That has been the declaration of Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Church Worldwide President and Spiritual Director Bishop Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva since JIL’s 38th anniversary celebration last October 2016. And he is right, because God has already started doing just that.

Last January 14, over 8,000 JIL pastors, leaders and workers who attended the Vision Casting in Camp Praise Valley, Norzagaray, Bulacan experienced the palpable presence of the Living God. Both lively and heart-felt songs were offered unto God, bringing the delegates jumping to their feet and, even, down on their knees.

“Pagpasok ko pa lang po dito sa Camp Praise Valley, damang-dama ko na ang presence ng Lord (Even upon entering Camp Praise Valley, I have already felt the presence of the Lord),” Ptr. Jovi Villanueva-Binalla, CYN Director and International Operations and Youth Affairs Director General said.

Camp Praise Valley, which is one of the “golden places” of JIL Church’s formative years according to Bro. Eddie, will once again be opened for the training of faithful and committed pastors and leaders of JIL Church. Now renovated and given a modern look, Bro. Eddie envisions it to be also an international training center, where leaders from all over the globe could be equipped and empowered.

In conjunction with that, the Administration Building, Camp Praise Valley’s very first building, was dedicated that day. The building was named after Engr. Jun Manzano, a respected and trailblazer structural engineer who “served JIL significantly… without fanfare,” Bro. Eddie said.

The event was also peppered with testimonies of JIL pastors and leaders like Rev. Alex Garcia, Rev. Virgie Hernandez, and Sis. Menchie Tobias, to name a few.

With all the wonderful things God has done during the Vision Casting, Sis. Dory Villanueva, JIL Church’s Vice President, admonished the delegates, “The vision has to be kept in prayer.”

Because as God is indeed creating a new wave of His blessings and anointing for the JIL Church, so must JIL people remain steadfast in Him.

THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

Greetings of joy to all Filipinos and all Philippine-loving people!

With all the bright lanterns, colorful decorations, and cheerful carols filling the streets, it is undeniable that we are in that season when hearts are warm even though the air is cool.

Christmas. That time of the year when we seem to be most generous–not just in giving gifts but, also, in giving a smile, a pat, or a hand. And rightly so, because Christmas, in its very essence, is a story of giving:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NKJV)

Take note that God gave not just any son, but His only Son, His most beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who, in turn, also gave:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45, NKJV)

God gave His Son, the Son gave His life, for all of humankind to be rescued from the pit of death we ourselves dug. What a gift it is: freely given but expensively bought! Dare we waste it?

Therefore, this Christmas, more than any material gift we could buy from stores, let us not forget to share the gift we received from God. Let us tell that boy on the street, that woman who weeps, and that man who drinks his problems away that they need not beg or weep or drink, because God so loves them to the point of giving His Son for them.

But aside from sharing God’s gift to others, let us also not forget to give to God: our thanksgiving and praise, love and devotion, even our very life. For, doesn’t His lavish gift deserve such a lavish response? Aren’t our lives little compared to the gift He bestowed? And don’t we owe our very lives to Him?

Finally, in conclusion, let us make this spirit of giving our daily living, not just a Christmas tradition. May we not wait for bright lanterns, colorful decorations, or cheerful carols before we give–just as Christ did not wait for us to be perfect before giving His life to us.

Shalom! Shalom!

Declaring His RESURRECTING POWER, exalting Jesus

That which is powerful to render a person lifeless, that even the mention of it silences a noisy crowd and subdues a festive atmosphere: death.

Everyone’s inescapable end, death is dreaded by most. But we need not fear, because there is Someone who has the power over death: Jesus Christ.

Look at these three instances where death and Jesus met, and see what happened:

Jesus’ power over dead bodies. If Lazarus had been proclaimed dead for four minutes or, even, four hours, we could easily dismiss the miracle—maybe he just passed out, or maybe the medical person just missed his pulse. But Lazarus had been dead for four days. Already at this state, and yet, when Jesus called out—just called out—Lazarus did come out, with no lesions or lacerations or any sign of having been dead, at all.

Has a disease eaten up your body and sapped your strength? Have you been declared by the doctor to be beyond cure? Do you have a relative in a state of coma? Think of Lazarus. He was not just dying; he was already dead. But Jesus Christ was able to resurrect him. If He could do that, what else could He not do?

Jesus’ power over dead hopes. Imagine the situation of the widow of Nain who lost her only son. In a society where women’s worth depended on men, a wife who lost her husband was bound to live a life that was as good as dead—that is, if she did not have a son. So the widow of Nain did not just lose her only son, she also lost her only hope at societal redemption. Jesus knew that, and His heart went out to her, causing Him to raise the son back from the dead and the widow, back from desolation.

Are you in a situation where you feel that all hope is lost? A dream beyond reach, a business beyond recovery, a relationship beyond repair—whatever it is you are facing right now, think of the widow of Nain. She was at that point of helplessness when Jesus’ help came—and she didn’t even ask for it! So hold on, help is near.

Jesus’ power over dead souls. You would think of someone who resurrected Lazarus and the widow’s son to be a person invincible from death. But Jesus Christ died, literally. His death, though, was different: it was a death that lasted for only three days! Just as He resurrected Lazarus and the widow’s son, He Himself rose from the dead—yes, Jesus slayed death. As a result, all who would believe in Him would have life everlasting.

Are you afraid to face death? Think of Jesus. Not only has He experienced death, He conquered death! For you. For us. Because He wanted all of humankind to be able to face death with all certainty. Because He wanted all of humankind to live for all eternity, with Him.

In sum, in all three instances, whatever kind of death it may have been, Jesus won. Because He is the Giver of Life. He IS life.

“In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

STORMS

STORMS

Devastating. That is probably the word that would best describe what storms are. With their violent winds, deafening thunders, and hard-pouring rains, we can easily foretell the destruction they bring—overwhelming floods, damaged crops, and, worst, ruined lives. They linger for days and their impact, for weeks, even months. And when one finally ends, another one comes. Storm after every storm.

Don’t we have this same season in life? The season when we feel like we are standing in the middle of a storm—tossed by worries, swept by struggles, and drowned by failures. We strive, boldly. But still it lingers… for days, weeks, even months. And just as the storm is finally over, a new one comes. Storm after every storm. Because of this, we are left exhausted… desperate… hopeless.

It is during these moments that we search for a sanctuary… a shelter that may provide us rest, comfort, and peace.

For some of us, that shelter could mean music to appease our aching hearts, alcohol to forget our piled up bills, or pills to shut off the worries plaguing our minds. But we know that all these are temporary. The music will end, sobriety will come, and medicines will lose their effect.

But there is Someone offering us a shelter that actually lasts. In fact, all along, He has been inviting us, beckoning us: “Come to me…” (Matthew 11:28).

Our Sanctuary. JESUS CHRIST. He has been waiting for us with open arms, ready to warm our cold, sleepless nights… ready to soothe the surging pains of our hearts… ready to protect us as we go through the battles of life. What is more, He promises us peace beyond human comprehension (Philippians 4:7) and a lifetime of companionship (Matthew 28:20)!

What kind of storm are you in right now? Overwhelming debts? An immedicable disease? A broken relationship? Death of a loved one?

Then run to your Sanctuary, find shelter in JESUS, and allow His strong arms to be your refuge, His sweet presence to give you comfort, and His loving embrace to fill you with peace. Storm after every storm.

Declaring His RESTORATIVE HEALING, exalting Jesus

With his body beaten and bloodied and lacerated, with his face unrecognizable from the bruises and cuts and wounds, and with his hands and feet pulled and stretched and pierced, he cried. A cry that echoed throughout the land and shook the entire universe.

TETELESTAI.

The battle against pain and sickness and death and sin is over. It IS finished. All because “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

This means that—

Our sick bodies are now cured. From colds to pneumonia, joint pain to paralysis, mild stroke to aneurysm—any sickness and disease—is within the healing power of Jesus, regardless of what the doctor might have said. For our ultimate medicine is not made with masterfully-concocted chemicals, but with the excruciatingly-received cuts, lashes, and punctures of Jesus Christ.

Our broken hearts are now healed. Yes, even the wounds that lie beneath our skin, more agonizing than the sting of alcohol on a fatal gash: an investment worked hard for but went a-dwindling, a friend most trusted but went betraying, a daughter much expected but went expecting. These heartaches and pains, no matter how deep, will be swept away in Jesus’ loving embrace. For He Himself was a “man of sorrows,” familiar with our sufferings.

Our dead souls are now revived. Our hearts may be pumping blood, but the blood that courses through our veins is the blood of one who fell into sin… into death. The descendants of Adam, we are doomed. Dead. But we have a hope. We can be washed clean and made new. We can actually live for all eternity! For the very reason why Jesus Christ willingly shed His precious blood, the very reason why He willingly embraced the Cross and all its horrors, was us: His blood for our forgiveness, His death for our life.

Therefore, be it an ailment of the body, of the heart, of the soul, or all three, in the midst of our every pain and every anguish, we cry:

TETELESTAI!