For the longest time I’ve been focused so squarely on what a rough year 2020 has been. Volcanos, COVID-19, catastrophic weather, political strife, personal problems, the list seems endless. This is the first full year since 2015 I’ve spent away from The Philippines. This is also the first full year I’ve been out of full time ministry and in secular employment. I can’t say I have withstood the changes and the storms of life very well this year. To be perfectly honest, I don’t much like the person I see in the mirror nowadays.
My most recent studies and messages have come from Ephesians, and the last passages of Chapter 3, leading into chapters 4 and 5 are about being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ so that we are able to know and understand the riches we have in Christ in a higher, ever increasing way. Having this knowledge and understanding should compel us to actually live as children of light in a higher, ever increasing way.
I’ve failed miserably at that this year, because I’ve been focused on my problems and frustrations instead of on “Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”. Does any of this sound familiar, or am I the only one?
BUT while I’ve been busy complaining, feeling sorry for myself, and letting my frustrations affect others around me (especially at work), God has been working out His plan. My employment here has equipped me to be a better giver and supporter of the mission. God has encouraged other individuals and churches to continue in their faithful support too. The result is that we’ve been there to help in the calamities associated with volcanos, typhoons and COVID through the ministries we’re connected to in the Philippines over the past year. Those ministries – 5 churches spread over 4 provinces – have remained faithful to their calling of spreading the gospel in spite of their troubles. It’s amazing to me that, even in the face of all these things, more than 40 have been saved this year, and almost half as many have been baptized. Here in the US, we’ve been blessed to lead 2 weekly bible studies. We’re teaching in 2 different churches, and we’ve managed to help several individuals and families through their own personal and financial struggles along the way.
On top of all that, I am blessed in so many ways. My blessings are far greater than my problems because God is greater than my problems.
So my personal commitment is to end 2020 in thanksgiving and praising my God and Savior for His faithfulness, His mercy, and His grace. I want to move into 2021 with a better prayer life. I want to understand the breadth, length, depth, and height, and to better know the love of Christ, and more effectively experience the fullness of God. I want to walk worthy of my calling. Ephesians chapter 5 says we are light. Jesus said we are the light of the world. I want to live like it, not for myself, but for Him because He saved me and He uses me according to His purpose – even when I can’t see it.
Thanks and blessings to everyone who prays for and supports this mission.