Grace Changes Everything Series

Grace Changes Everything Series

The grace of God can change not only a person but also an entire community. In this series, we will look at how an encounter with Jesus—even in the most broken situations—transforms a life and impacts a community.

Here are the topics for each week:

  • Week 1: Jesus Raises the Widow’s Son
  • Week 2: Jesus Forgives the Sinful Woman
  • Week 3: Jesus Heals the Blind Beggar
  • Week 4: Jesus Changes Zacchaeus’s Heart

May the grace of God and the power of the gospel transform our lives and our communities!

See you at our worship services across the Philippines!

Whatever It Takes, Wherever I Am

Whatever It Takes, Wherever I Am

Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations that seem impossible to get past. In this article, Joanna shares how God turned her seemingly hopeless situation around and used it for His glory.

I am an overseas Filipino worker in the Middle East. I started working here in 2009, and it was here where I came to know Christ through an Every Nation church. In 2011, I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior and have since experienced His protection and grace, but His love has never been more real to me than two years ago.

In 2017, upon returning to the Middle East (after spending my vacation in the Philippines), I was held and interrogated at the immigration office. I was told that I had a case filed for issuing unfunded checks for a loan of eighty-five thousand dirhams (or more than one million pesos). I was sentenced to imprisonment for seven to eight months. Knowing that I did not do anything wrong and never borrowed money from anyone, I felt afraid, depressed, and devastated. I even questioned God for what happened.

While trying to make sense of everything, I saw a Bible verse on social media. It was Romans 8:28, and it spoke to me. Reading it made me realize that I am God’s child, and He loves me too much to leave or forsake me. With His guidance and grace, I filed an appeal and won the case. I felt vindicated! I asked God to help me forgive and forget.

However, just a few months after that decision was released, I got a call informing me that the case filed against me had been escalated to the civil court. Hearing it was like being dragged back to a battle I thought I had already won. But instead of feeling depressed over it again, I sought God in prayer and read the Bible. His Word from Deuteronomy 31:6–8 spoke to me and reassured me that there was no reason for me to fear.

When the decision came out, I was told that I had lost the case. I was apprehended and locked up for the second time. Upon being brought back to jail, I waited for the old feeling of fear and depression to come back, but they didn’t. I felt different. I felt at peace.

In jail, I began praying and sharing Bible verses with the other detainees. I ended up gaining new friends because of that. The whole experience turned out to be the exact opposite of what I had in mind. But just when I was beginning to build relationships there, an order came that I was to be transferred.

On my way to the other jail, I continued praying and quietly sang praises to God. I sought Him earnestly and asked Him to reveal His purpose for bringing me there. When I arrived, I saw a group of women doing Bible study. I approached them, testified to them, and prayed with them. After that night, I realized that God had a purpose for allowing everything to happen—I was on a mission to share His message.

I then started sharing the Word of God with my fellow detainees, most especially to those who were going through depression. I invited them to join our Bible study meetings and taught them praise and worship songs. I reminded them that we have a great God and there’s still hope despite our situation.

Soon, God started moving in our lives. Those who had been waiting for hearing schedules for many years suddenly got a schedule and a verdict. Though some got a verdict worse than what they were expecting, they remained in faith and had peace knowing that God is with them. A lot of people who received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior were also set free. Despite our different nationalities, God made a way to unite us all. From four people, we grew to more than 40 individuals gathering each week to fellowship with each other and with God. And it is still growing until today.

After seven months and three weeks in jail, God did a miracle. I was set free, and the authorities are now actively seeking the actual people involved in the case to clear my name. I knew it was God working in my midst. He had a purpose for every painful situation I experienced. The whole thing was beyond difficult, but it allowed me to share His Word in a way I never thought possible. I’ll be forever thankful to God for that.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Whatever it takes and wherever we are, God can use us to boldly share His powerful message of love and salvation. Our circumstances should not stop us from being a witness of His grace. 

It Doesn’t End with Me

It Doesn’t End with Me

Ian shares how seeing the gospel lived out by his Victory group leader inspired and encouraged him to preach the good news to others. Read his story here.

 

I was 18 when I first heard the gospel. My college professor, who happens to be a Christian, reached out to me and the other young men in our class. He offered to treat us to a meal—all 12 of us—and slowly planted seeds in our hearts.

At first, we were scared of him and even found him strict in class. But as we got to know him better, we realized that it was because he wanted to guide and lead us to a path pleasing to God.

He started ministering to us through a tool called THEGODTEST. At first, I thought I knew everything and even responded to it with pride. But God slowly broke all the wrong mindsets and used my professor—who is now my Victory Group leader—to set my heart straight.

On July 31, 2013, I decided to become serious with my discipleship journey. I humbled myself and finally surrendered everything to Him. I prayed and accepted Christ in my life.

Slowly, I began to change in how I lived my life and treated other people. As I became more interested in knowing God, I also grew in compassion and generosity to others. In 2016, I went through Victory Weekend to know more about Christ, and it helped me realize that I would have to deny myself over and over again so He could work in my life.

The love of Christ that was demonstrated to me by my college professor and the whole church community in Victory Metro East eventually inspired me to reach out to others. And though I was nervous and feeling unworthy at first, God gave me the boldness and courage not just to show His love but to declare His promises, too.

Early this year, I started doing ONE 2 ONE with two other men I met in church. One of them is attending Victory Weekend next month, and I couldn’t be any happier. It is a blessing and a privilege to preach the gospel to them and to continually pray for them as well.

Through sharing the gospel, I started to grow as a person and mature in my faith. And it is all by His grace. Like what my Victory group leader always tells me, everything that I have or I’m able to do comes from God. That’s why there’s no reason for me to stop. The gospel simply doesn’t end with me. I have to do something so other people will hear it, too.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes . . . ” (Romans 1:16)

 

It is by showing the love of Christ and boldly declaring His Word that we inspire others to do the same. Let us not allow the preaching of the gospel to end with us. We must do our part, and let more people come to know Christ.

 

Jesus As Lord

Jesus As Lord

MANY CHRISTIANS are still being persecuted in some parts of the world today.

Say I was stranded in one of these nations and a police approached me for he discovered I am a pastor proselytizing the locals and said, “I am cutting off your tongue.  And before I do, you may say one last sentence.”

Jesus Is Lord!” is what I would say.

Now, if he would allow me a second sentence then I will surely say, “Please don’t kill me!” At least I had already declared the first one!

Jesus Is Lord

This is the capsulated version of Christianity’s statement of faith, “Jesus is Lord.”  The Fathers of the faith in church history went through such great lengths just to be able to separate truth from the prevailing falsehood, help believers get a good grasp of their faith in a manner that they can easily understand, and be able to share to others. They are what we know today as (besides the Chalcedon Creed and the Nicene Creed) the Apostles’ Creed.

Do or die

Declaring “Jesus is Lord!” in the Philippines today would cause people to give you a religious label. But during the time of Jesus, it would mean martyrdom. With Rome as the prevailing empire at that time, the word ‘lord’ has an imperial usage. There’s only one lord— Caesar. On the other side of the coin, among the Jews, it had a religious connotation. Only Jehovah is Lord. So for them, to insinuate that there’s another Lord is incomprehensible.

Perfect Righteousness

When someone says, “Jesus is Lord“, that person is declaring two inseparable natures of Christ: perfect righteousness and unlimited power.

1 John 1:5 says, “In him there’s no darkness at all.” He takes charge of the universe with perfect righteousness.

His perfect righteousness, though, without his unlimited power to carry out that righteousness would render him not worthy of worship. And people of the earth could not be guaranteed justice.

Unlimited Power

While on the other hand, unlimited power without perfect righteousness would make the center of all things to be unrighteousness. And no one, as in no one, could do anything to change that. It would render Christ as tyrant and abusive in his leadership.

But thanks be to God that while in his humiliation he was named ‘Jesus’.

Matthew 1:21: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

He accomplished that through the cross.

That’s what we call the gospel.

The Gospel

My good friend Rice Broocks has this to say to summarize what the gospel is. (I hope I can write it out of memory.)

“The gospel is the good news that God became a man in Jesus Christ. He lived the life that we should have lived. And died the death that we should have died. After three days he rose again from the dead proving that he is the son of God. And offering the gift of salvation to those who will repent and believe the gospel.”

In his exaltation, he was declared by the Father as ‘Lord’.

Philippians 2:9-11: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Seriously, if I would be given a chance to speak again before the police would cut off my tongue, what would I really say?

I would just repeat my first statement.

“Jesus Is Lord!”

_____

ferdie-cabilingFerdie Cabiling is the director of Victory Metro Manila, and a member of Victory Philippine’s Apostolic team. He is married to Judy, father to Elle and John Philip. You can like his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.

For more information on #myVictoryStory, click here, and to read other responses to this week’s question on Lordship, please click here.