Thriving in Lockdown

Thriving in Lockdown

In God, what may appear as a setback is actually a setup. He will always guide us to the right path. Here is the story of a man who realized that when God told him to give up his only means of income, He was in fact preparing him for the lockdown. 

 

Two years ago, one of my closest friends invited me to attend a Victory group meeting. Though I didn’t want to have anything to do with it, I attended eventually because he was very persistent and gave me the assurance that it’s okay to walk out at any point during the meeting. To my surprise, I enjoyed it. I did not only stay; I kept coming back. Even if my life was very different from those who were there, I felt at home with them. Through the group, I started to get to know God and His purpose for my life. The desire to live for Him started to grow in my heart. 

But I soon realized that my newfound faith was not that strong. I found it hard to give up the things I knew I had to give up to follow God. I left my job and started to work as a tattoo artist. For more than a year, I travelled to different places. It was financially rewarding, but there was no sense of fulfillment. I felt empty. I kept thinking about the time I was involved in church and how I was much happier and at peace then. After more than a year, I decided to go back to church last December. 

In February of this year, I had to face some issues regarding my job. I sought counsel from the leaders in church and prayed about it. I asked God to give me wisdom on how to respond to the situation. Somehow, I knew that the right thing to do would be to quit. If I started travelling again to go to different events and beaches all over the country, I believed I would be taking steps that would bring me far away from God. I knew that God was challenging me to trust Him and believe that He has something better for me. By God’s grace I made the difficult decision to let go of my job and trust that He will provide. A couple of weeks later, the lockdown was announced. If I had left, I would have been stranded somewhere in the country without any source of income. I was not only relieved to find out that I made the right choice; I felt secure knowing that God was guiding me and making sure that I would stay on the right path. 

I held on to God’s word that He has something better for me. Although it seemed impossible to get a job during the lockdown, I kept praying and trusting that He will lead me to it. Then one day, I just suddenly thought of tie dyeing. Although I hadn’t done this before, I thought that since God had given me a measure of creativity, I may be able to use it in this craft. I spent several weeks studying tie dyeing, and now, I can say that I have a thriving business. The orders have just kept coming in.

God did not only secure a source of income for me during this lockdown, He also made sure that I would grow in my faith. Since day one of the lockdown, my Victory group has been meeting online every morning for our group devotions. It’s helping all of us go through the challenges brought about by this pandemic. It enables us to keep our focus and hope in God. 

When God calls us to obey and trust Him, He will surely reward our obedience in ways we cannot expect. This pandemic may appear like a major setback for all of us. But just as I have experienced, I believe that if we trust and obey God, we will see that this is actually a setup. He is putting all of us in situations where we can see and experience His goodness. 

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Psalm 34:8

Criss is part of a Victory group in Victory Bulacan. He is currently being equipped as an intern and is helping in the church’s pastoral ministry. He hopes to lead a Victory group soon.

God First

God First

Are you willing to put God first in your life? Will you be willing to sacrifice the things that you want for His glory? Be inspired as Dolly shares how God gave her the courage to trust Him with everything she has.

 

I have been an active member of Victory Cabanatuan for several years now. My family is not rich, but God has blessed us with a small retail business. He has been so faithful to me and my family right from the start.

When I became a Christian, I heard inspiring testimonies from people who—without hesitation—gave their hard-earned money to advance God’s kingdom. Those stories stayed with me; their testimonies spoke to my heart. Though I knew at that time that I had no means to give in that capacity, I promised God that I would do the same one day and believed that He would give me the privilege to honor Him that way.

A few months ago, my business did surprisingly well. I was able to save up a hefty seven-digit amount in my bank account. We had been renting for years and my family had always dreamt of having our own house. I thought of using that money to buy a piece of land where we could build our future home, but for some reason, I didn’t feel at peace with that decision.

While looking for a lot, I heard about the building project of Victory Cabanatuan. I immediately remembered my long-ago promise to God, so I made a 24-month pledge. However, even after doing that, I felt that He wanted me to do something more. I knew He wanted me to trust Him like never before.

As each month passed, I kept failing to fulfill my pledge. And every time I would plan to use the money I earned from our business to buy a new lot, something unexpected would happen. Knowing that God was trying to tell me something, I prayed and asked Him for wisdom and guidance.

Prompted by the Holy Spirit, I decided to give the amount I was setting aside for a new lot to our local church’s building project instead. I thought I would feel bad or regret it afterward, but I did not. In fact, I was filled with so much peace. I soon realized that I was at peace with my decision because it was not really my money from the beginning; it was God’s. The message was clear to me: His house first, then my own.

Not long after, God provided me the amount that I needed for my lot. I was able to purchase a land twice the size of what I originally planned to buy—at a price that was also a lot cheaper than what was originally quoted to me. God’s ways are indeed higher than ours!

Currently, I serve God through our local church’s family ministry. I also partner with our missionaries and hope to be used by God in planting a new church in Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija. Wherever God will take me, I know that I can find peace in my heart because He is always faithful and His plans are good. All I have to do is put Him first—in all areas of my life.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

May Dolly’s story give us the courage to put God first in our lives and trust Him with everything that we have. He knows our needs, and He will surely bless us with what we need according to His will and for His glory.

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.

Why Trust is So Important in a Discipleship Relationship by Joey Bonifacio

Why Trust is So Important in a Discipleship Relationship by Joey Bonifacio

In this mini message, Pastor Joey Bonifacio talks about the importance of trust in a discipleship relationship. There are universal principles that bring relationships together, and trust–which is another word for faith–is the foundation. Like the building of a relationship, trust doesn’t happen overnight. It has varying degrees, which is why it needs to be grown and nurtured. When we disciple someone, we establish trust and help them grow in their faith in God.