No Sin Too Great

No Sin Too Great

No one is exempted from God’s grace. There is no sin too great that God cannot forgive. Deo’s story of redemption, from a seemingly hopeless situation, shows that God has the power to rescue and deliver us from whatever is holding us captive.

I am a former drug user.

And I am not proud of that. But I am proud of how God extended His mercy and grace to me—regardless of who I was and what I had done.

I actually prayed to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior several decades ago, but my journey with Him was never a straight line; it was a crooked one. Most of the time, it was because I chose to wander off to somewhere far. I intentionally walked away from Him.

I started taking drugs when I was in college. I wanted to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. I thought it was normal. I thought it was exactly what I needed. I held on to it like a security blanket, thinking it would never fail me. But it did. It had been, in fact, failing me right from the very start.

Drowned in my addiction, I would always brush aside thoughts that were trying to convict me of my sin. It came to a point where I was no longer just dishonoring God with my body; I was dishonoring Him in all aspects of my life. I entered a job and a business that were not pleasing to the Lord and repeatedly hurt Him with my actions. Though God kept on pulling me back on the right path, I constantly tried to wriggle out of His grasp.

Three years ago, however, something happened: my wife left me out of frustration. I felt like God was telling me, “Enough.” Conviction filled my heart; I had never felt the gravity of my sins until that very moment. To my surprise, my wife returned after seeing my willingness to repent, and she earnestly prayed for me. Through her, I had a renewed encounter with God.

Since then, God has freed me from the bondage of my addiction and replaced it with a desire to know Him more. He took away the stigma of my past and released me from any condemnation. He allowed me to come freely to Him, regardless of what I had done. I found freedom in Him.

In 2016, out of God’s overflowing mercy and grace, I started reaching out to people who had a similar past. I kept reminding them that it is never too late to go back to God—that there is hope in His grace.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,

according to the riches of his grace.

(Ephesians 1:7)

No matter how big or ugly our sins are, God is able and more than willing to redeem us. If we empty our hearts to Him, He can fill us with His overflowing mercy and love.

Deo is now serving in Victory General Mariano Alvarez. With his loving wife, he continues to minister to people who have struggled with substance abuse.

Renewed with a Purpose

Renewed with a Purpose

When you find yourself plagued with anxious thoughts, will you keep them all to yourself and retreat to a dark, lonely pit? Or will you turn to God and ask Him to silence all your fears? In this article, Franz shares how he accepted Christ in his life and allowed Him to replace his negative thoughts with overflowing joy, peace, and a renewed purpose.

Before I met Christ, I thought I was living a good life. I was an average student, but I managed to land a good career. I had the means to go to different places and live a life of reckless adventure. I should be happy. I should be okay, at the very least.

But I wasn’t.

For years, there had been a big hole in my heart. I tried to fill it with so many things, but each time I did, the hole would just grow bigger—until I could no longer ignore it. It engulfed me and brought me to a dark, lonely place.

Feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy kept creeping up inside me in spite of everything I had. It seemed as if something was terribly wrong with me. I kept comparing myself to others, feeling completely helpless over something even I could not understand. Before I realized it, I was already isolating myself and allowing the lies in my head to steal the remaining joy and peace in my heart.

After four months of constant battle and struggle, I consulted a psychiatrist who told me that I had clinical depression. I took several medicines that were supposed to make me feel better. But along the way, I just felt more sad. I could no longer sleep the way I used to, and more anxious thoughts filled my mind.

Just when I was about to lose hope and give up, my sister reached out to me. She, along with other relatives, encouraged me to step out of my isolation shell and helped me find another doctor who gave me the psychotherapy and medication I truly needed. After months of praying for and with me, she also convinced me to go to church with her and join a Victory group.

At first, I would just listen to the preaching without taking everything to heart. I would even raise my hand to acknowledge that I receive Christ as my Lord and Savior without meaning it at all. But as I continued to hear God’s Word, something different happened. I did not know that God was gently planting seeds in my heart. He was, bit by bit, taking away the clutter, removing the things that were blocking His light. Soon, I realized that I was not alone in that dark, lonely, chaotic pit. He was there all along, trying to reach my hand.

All my anxious thoughts were slowly replaced with His overflowing joy, peace, and love. Despite all my insecurities and self-doubt, God accepted me just the way I was. He had accepted me wholeheartedly even before I made a decision to receive Him in my life. There was nothing more humbling than that.

God’s love allowed me to see how precious I am in His eyes. It must have crushed His heart to see me give my negative thoughts the power to dictate my value and purpose. That was never His plan. His mercy and grace revealed to me that I am more than my fears and anxious thoughts. I am more than my insecurities. I am more than my depression. I am His.

With the help of continuous medication and psychotherapy, I am now close to full recovery. I am thankful to my family who helped me get the medical attention I needed, but I am more grateful that I got to know Christ. Now, I have a renewed passion to live—with a greater purpose—and serve my God.

I am currently serving in Victory Alabang as an usher. God’s grace has changed me from someone who spent days and nights wallowing in unhappy thoughts into someone who is ready to give out smiles to people. Every day, He continues to fill me with so much joy and peace.

There are days when I feel lonely and all the negative thoughts resurface, but God always silences my fears and assures me of His love—of my identity in Him. He also surrounded me with a church community who never fails to encourage me and point me to the Lord. He is my safe place, and my true refuge.

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

(Psalm 91:2)

Indeed, only God can fill the emptiness in our hearts. Only He can quiet our restless thoughts. Our purpose does not lie in how we feel or what we think about ourselves. Our purpose lies in how God sees us. We are His, and He values and loves us more than we or other people do.

Trusting God Without Limits

Trusting God Without Limits

God displays His might in seemingly impossible situations. He can use our dire circumstances to reveal His glory. See how Lea trusted God’s limitless power even after her son was diagnosed with a rare liver disease.

I have been a Christian for seven years now. One of the things that I learned in my walk with God was to always believe for the best even if things are hard. I knew in my heart that God would always see me through.

Two years ago, things became extremely hard for me and my family—especially after I gave birth to my son, Don. He was only a few weeks old when he began to exhibit jaundice-like symptoms. The doctors initially thought it was Hepatitis A. But when months of medication did not work, a specialist recommended a liver biopsy. Through the procedure, we learned that the yellowing of his skin was caused not by Hepatitis A, but by a rare liver disease called Biliary Atresia.

According to the doctor, Don’s condition was fatal if he would not undergo an operation. In order for my son to survive, he needed a liver transplant that would cost two million pesos if done in India and five million pesos if done here in the Philippines. It was painful news for me. The idea of losing my son broke my heart.

Yet, in all these things, God is still good. Despite our predicament, He surrounded me with fellow sisters in Christ who never got tired of reminding me of His immeasurable power and might—of His ability to move in impossible situations. After earnestly praying, I kick-started a fundraising campaign for Don and sought help from the church and different government offices. I was determined to do everything to help my son get the medical treatment he needed.

After more than a year of waiting, Don finally had a liver transplant in India through the help of an international foundation. It was my husband who gave 30% of his liver to Don. Seeing them both hovering between life and death tore me apart, but I refused to lose hope. I kept reminding myself that it was God who made a way for Don’s operation; He would certainly find a way to make the impossible possible.

After weeks of praying and believing that God could work in our situation, Don’s body slowly adjusted to his “new” liver. Even the amount we had to pay for his extended days in the hospital was—beyond our belief—waived by the facility’s management. We were simply lost for words. We just knew it was God working miraculously in my son’s body. It was all Him.

We finally came back to the Philippines in April this year, and since then, God has continued to display His glory. There was surely a greater purpose for everything and what happened to my son is a great testimony that I would also hope to hear him share someday.

Don is on his way to full recovery, and I believe that it only became possible because of God. He redeemed my son from what seemed to be an impossible situation because He has greater plans for him—a future that will glorify Him even more.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,

plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

(Jeremiah 29:11)

God is limitless and He is all powerful and gracious. He created us for a purpose and to reflect His glory.

The Story of Us Series

The Story of Us Series

This series is about our creation, fall, and redemption—the story of God’s love for humanity, the story of us. And while there are different views on who we are and what we should be, we can only know the truth about our story from the One who made us. In the next three weeks, we will understand that we were made in the image of God, by God’s design, for a specific purpose.

Here are the topics for each week:

  • Week 1: Creation
  • Week 2: Fall
  • Week 3: Redemption

Let us all look to the One who created us as we uncover His real story for mankind.

See you at our worship services in Metro Manila, or at any of our churches in more than 90 provinces throughout the Philippines!