Embracing Suffering

By Pastor Leo Obra

2 Cor. 6:10 “Sorrowful yet always Rejoicing…”

Romans 8:17, And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.


Embracing suffering??? Who wants it?

It’s very, very rare to see somebody who would gladly offer herself to suffering. I haven’t met somebody who is really willing to go through any form of sufferings nor welcomes to go through it at all. As people, we shunned various kinds of suffering – No one would like to have a disease, no one would like to get a pay cut, No one would like to lose his job and career, especially if it’s the only source of income one has. No one would like to have a terrible boss, or maybe we don’t want to experience hardship in the ministry or maybe his/her child to be disabled – we don’t want to suffer. Suffering maybe the last thing a Christian would like to experience. Why? Because most people think that suffering connotes uncertainty, pain, out-of-control situation, loss of something or maybe sorrow – and we don’t want it. It makes us go out from our comfort zone which we don’t like it let alone get stuck for quite long.

Gloomy yet Glad

However, sufferings (not as a result of sin) are actually blessings according to the bible.  Blessing in the sense it leads to something – blessing in the sense that we belong to someone. In Romans 8:17 it said, “And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” So how can a mere man like Paul, declare joy amidst sorrowful suffering, how can he say sorrowful yet always rejoicing, in the eye of suffering? Although, there’s an unavoidable pain and sadness brought by his trials, but His joy surpasses those sorrows. It’s because his suffering was a sure indication of where he belongs – that He is a child of God – a more than enough reason to be joyful.

It’s hard to cheer up when you are really on a state of suffering. Perhaps in the worldview, being happy amidst suffering can be construed as craziness or maybe out of mine. But this is the irony of Christian suffering – is to be joyful amidst test and amidst storm. Amidst suffering, because of the hope that we have in Christ, because of the surpassing worth of knowing Him and being His child.

One of the things God taught me in my journey is that, it’s hard to embrace and accept something in which you are NOT really joyful or happy with. That’s why a lot of people embrace sin such as same sex or live-in relationship because they’re happy about it. On the other way around,  a true believer struggles to embrace back the way he used to be doing such as vices, wrong relationships etc,  because there’s no joy anymore in those sins. He was already changed by God. I got married and embraced to be with my wonderful wife because I felt joy and happiness out my love for her.

I believe the same thing with suffering, we cannot embrace it if we don’t see the joy behind its curtain. And that joy lies in the life-saving, joy producing and life-changing Words of God in Romans 8:17, because it’s only through this powerful Words of the Lord that we will be able to discover the joy in suffering…endure suffering.  Only then through this hope that we will be able to embrace suffering.


Rest in Jesus

by Sister Whymee Padero

Matthew 11:2828 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


I’ve been staying in Dubai for 7 years now and I must say that working here is not an easy breezy kind of life; this is something that you would have to take seriously. Why? It is because there’s no security with the jobs that we have. Anytime, our company might close. Anytime, we might be terminated. So it simply drives us to really work harder and work to produce quality service. In that way, we could keep your employer happy and that you could keep ourselves employed.

Working abroad helps me fully understand what hard working is all about.  I’ve literally experience how is it to be working for 10-14 hours a day to meet everything the job demands. How productive you have become, it seems that he job is endless and you would still extend more and more hours because you still have urgent things to do. In some cases, you just want to work extra hours to lessen your workload for the next day. Well, no matter how hard we try, work is work and it will always be there. There is always something to do and it doesn’t stop.

Our work is not the end of everything. There is a great help above who we can find peace and rest in times when we are tired and weary, that is in our Lord, Jesus Christ. For in Him, we find comfort and rest!  Jesus provides “rest for our souls” and that is eternal rest for all who seek forgiveness of their sins.

Though living in this world is very tiring, there is hope. There is rest in JESUS and that is everlasting. We don’t have to work for it as Jesus is giving it free. In Matthew 11, Jesus is inviting us personally to come. Come to Him! So let us all come! Come unto Jesus and find rest!

Discipline of Children

by Pastor Wallie Padero
Proverbs 13:24 – “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”


Children are awesome! One of the best things that has happened to me is having my two kids. However, it is also one of the greatest challenges I have in my call as a father. Well, it’s all fun when they are just a year or two and all they can do is smile at you and say their first words of “ mami” and “dada”. But wait till they run and learn how to express themselves and you’ll know what I mean. When the time these little cute creatures are starting to take charge, as if they are the center of the universe.

As an inexperience dad, child discipline is mind boggling to me whether spanking is right or wrong. I have read a lot of books especially from American authors discouraging this kind of discipline for some psychological reasons but in the long run my child is more and more running wild and out of control. Now I ask the Lord, how can I please you on this Lord? Yes I want to discipline my child but not up to the extent that I would suppress and wound her soul. Well, God being the greatest Father in the universe led me to this verse saying that sparing the rod for my children is like hating them. It’s unloving for me as a father not to engage my child if I see something is broken in their character. True love could be diligently express through discipline. As what the bible says about love in 1 Corinthians 13:4, love does not rejoice on wrong doings or we can say love does not tolerate wrong doings. So, loving my children is shaping them to follow the right path to God.

Well it’s funny to think that the greatest Father in the universe apply this to all of us, His children and who am I to make my own style to raise-up my children? This brings me back to all the spanking and pain of the discipline of God all throughout my lifetime. As painful and difficult as it was but the fruit of it takes me to depths and heights of seeing more of Him who strengthens my heart to love and trust Him. I will never be me apart from God’s grace of discipline. And I desire for my children to experience the same grace and love.

So, in every discipline of God, I should learn from it and not be afraid to express the same to those that I love. I should hopeful in all of these because there’s good news. All people can be changed because someone died for this. Through Jesus Christ everyone have a hope to overcome every pain of His discipline and see the beauty of what He wants us to be.

 God in heaven, may I welcome more of your discipline and be more loving to be part of what you are doing to these precious souls around me. Through your sweet Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

A True Follower Of Christ

by Bro. Ryan Golez

1 Thessalonians 2:1-4 – For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.


It is so encouraging to know how great God has touched the lives of the apostles and how Paul has boldly declared the truth in the midst of darkness in this world. Not even the toughest person in the world could endure without the leading of the Spirit.

I thank God that he has revealed to me the life of Paul, as I am so touched and inspired with his selfless courage to do what he must for the sake of pleasing God.

Here in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-4, Paul made known to the church of Thessalonica about his intention sharing the Gospel to the people. Paul had suffered greatly and was shamefully treated for doing the commission; this act was a selfless act of obedience and love for Lord. Paul has stated they have been approved by God to carry the Gospel. What I believe this means is Paul has been given the authority to share the Gospel of Christ. I see this as a big responsibility and somehow, knowing this I thought “wow! that is a big and hard responsibility, a task not easy to bear because the world as we know rejects anything that comes from God.” I am so inspired by Paul’s response to that responsibility which he Love God more, by pleasing Him in pursuing his delight. He became bold in sharing and endured the suffering because he wanted to please God alone and not man or himself.

Therefore, as followers of Christ let’s focus our hearts and lives to pursuing whatever delights God. There is much pain or happiness the world can offer but only by pursuing the right things for Gods glory can fill us with Joy and true happiness. Like Paul, I believe all the hardships he has encountered cannot surpass the Joy and satisfaction he must have felt in pursuing Christ.


Work Heartily For God’s Glory

by Sis. Yvonne Adraque


How are we when it comes to our jobs? Are we doing it well for God’s glory?

I remember before when I was working in Tomato boutique in the Philippines, I always wanted to be the best. In terms of doing my weekly reports to be submitted on time, receiving good feedbacks from our competitors, no absences and no late. I’m doing this all just to make my operations manager and the managing director  be proud of me. I’d work so hard for this because I want to be praise.

But as time goes by I felt so exhausted doing it again and again. Then suddenly I realized everything that I’d work for was useless! Because I just did it only for my own sake. I just did it just to make those people proud! I didn’t even think about God and ask for His wisdom during those moments because I’m just relying only on my own.

Usually, it is our tendency as humans that we tend to do things that make others  proud of us. Sadly, God is just secondary. That’s why Apostle Paul is encouraging us that we should always focus on heavenly things rather than earthly things. This is a reminder for us that we should work heartily in everything that we are doing, by reflecting God’s goodness in our lives, God deserved to be pleased in all things, it should be him only.


The Sovereignty of God

By Pastor Al Austria

What does it mean that God is sovereign?


Theopedia.com defines Sovereignty of God as the biblical teaching that all things are under God’s rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission.

In R.C Sproul’s article he entitled, “How would you define the Sovereignty of God?” it said, “If there is any element of the universe that is outside of his authority, then he no longer is God over all. In other words, sovereignty belongs to deity. Sovereignty is a natural attribute of the Creator. “God owns what he makes, and he rules what he owns.”

“He rules what He owns!”  This phrase touches every aspects of the meaning of sovereignty.  Which means, God’s control and rule are not only in creation and in sustaining all creation (Colossians 1:16-17), but also in salvation, which sadly being opposed by a number of professing believers (from another belief system) who emphasize more on the free will of man in choosing God, than on God being free in choosing those who will be saved.

The Bible explicitly talks about God’s sovereignty in salvation.   In Ephesians 1:4 and 11 which says, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,” We can see God’s sovereignty in electing those whom He will save according to His will.    Quoting from John MacArthur, he said,”Certainly He did not choose certain sinners to be saved because of something praiseworthy in them, or because He foresaw that they would choose Him. He chose them solely because it pleased Him to do so. God declares “the end from the beginning . . . saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure’” (Isa. 46:10). It means, He is not subject to others’ decisions. Furthermore, His purpose for choosing some and rejecting others are hidden in the secret counsels of His own will.”

Nevertheless, I don’t want to set aside the truth that the Scripture affirms both God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.  Man is responsible in how he responds to the gospel.  John 3:16 says,  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  But then again, it is God who grants the faith needed for man to believe as what these verses are saying. “No one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.” (John 6:65)“Nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him (Matt. 11:27). “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:” (2 Peter 1:1)

It is also God who grants or gives to the Son, who will respond and who will be saved, which is a combination of the truth about God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.  “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37).

In application, the truth about the Sovereignty of God if believed and trusted with full conviction, will greatly impact how one views life and all of the suffering that comes along with it. Preacher C.H Spurgeon once said, “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all.”

As a personal testimony, if I have not known the beauty of the sovereignty of God, I would have condemned myself and question the goodness of God. For the things that happened to me a few years back, when I lost my job, when my visa has expired and at the same time suffering from tremendous pain caused by ulcer.  Add to that, our resources are dwindling.  But amidst this agony, it is knowing and believing that God is sovereign, that He is in control (of why this is happening and the end and outcome of this), it puts hope in my heart and in mind that all things work together for good for those who love Him and called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

“God owns what he makes, and he rules what he owns.”  This amazing truth about God’s sovereignty is the truth to hope for, to trust on and to live by.

Trust The Father

by Sis. Kai Barnedo


Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

This is my short prayer to the Lord that He leads me in His path, to mould me and walk beside me in my everyday life.

People think that they can do almost anything. We are really dependent on our own strengths and capabilities. Often times in my life, I’ve been deciding what I want and what would be good for me, confidently thinking that I can manage it all alone. Yes, sometimes, I consider other’s opinion before I make a decision. But how about God’s opinion? Am I considering Him? Where is God in my priorities? These questions remind me and truly rebuke my heart that I just remember to pray if I am too burdened by the situation. It is easy for me to say that I have a big God but not really putting my faith in Him from the beginning. We under estimate the power of God, as if we could do better without any help from Him.

This verse taught me how to remember the Lord even in a simple way, whether I am upset, nervous, smirking, anxious, excited etc. We should always plead to God for guidance because only God can give us a reliable answer to our questions and doubts. And also remember that the Heavenly Father is glorified when we totally depend on Him, in every circumstance of our lives.

This is my encouragement to all. Like how kid’s pray, let’s imitate them! The innocence of their heart leads to a genuine prayer.  If they are scared, they will immediately tell someone. If someone gave them a gift, they can easily remember to say “thank you Papa Jesus!” I’d rather be like an innocent kid, (depending only God) than to be in my age right now knowing all things in this world but misleading my way to our Father.