Why Discipleship is Relationship: Steffi X Ria

Nope, it’s not her birthday. I just really want to honour this woman today for how much I’ve been blessed by God through her life. This may seem a bit emotional, but let me take advantage of my emotions at this moment and use it for the right purpose. 😉

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Steffi, I’ll never forget the night we first

met, year 2015, in Valle Verde. That was the very first time I attended The Fellowship and you were my very first breakout leader then. I was at the peak of my sin and lostness during that time, struggling to let go of a relationship that is absolutely detestable to the faith I’d profess. Since that Bible study night, you immediately became a friend, though I was a complete stranger to you, though I’d cry a lot to you (looking back, feel ko super nakakapagod & nakakapikon ako i-lead), you never left, you were there the entire time I was struggling and weak about so many life issues. You were the perfect person to be my discipleship leader, you’d listen carefully, you’d rebuke me with love, you’d take time in sharing your godly advices and be very patient until I get the Lord’s wisdom. You were always Biblical and right but you never made me feel condemned when I make wrong decisions.

October of 2015, about a few weeks from the day we met, I was hospitalised due to dengue fever. We weren’t really that close yet, but you and Tasha came to visit me in the hospital. You brought doughnuts and prayed for me. You were totally unaware of how much I’ve been in awe on how you model Christlikeness to me since day one. I’m not sure if I’ve told you, but you were the one who taught me to have a burden for the sick, to visit & pray for them. I think one of the reasons why handling my own discipleship group wasn’t such a hard task for me (sometimes lang mahirap, when I’m overpowered by selfishness) is because I was imitating such a gracious leader, more than a leader, a friend & an evident Christlike follower. Glad to be a fruit of your labor! You are always so humble, you always check on us individually, you share your weaknesses with us but never burdened us, you say sorry when you have to, you encourage very sincerely, again, very sincerely!

Haiii Stwepi! You show me the kind of love that I’m sure could only be sustained by the work of the Holy Spirit. Remember John’s statement in John 3? “I must decrease, He must increase.” That’s how I’d constantly look at your life. And you know what’s more amazing? Now, you’ve already changed your status, you’re already married, while I’m here in the desert, you still check on me. I’m not demanding that you keep on doing it, but you just do. There were so many adjustments that you’d have to do, but doing your works for the Lord is never compromised. It isn’t perfect, never will be, but graciously incorruptible & honest. I’m blessed each time you’d ask for prayers, you never pretend as if you got it all figured out, you always point me to the Source of every strength and true wisdom, you never take the credit. You were never entitled, you’re just joyfully serving God. I really really praise Him for showing me so much of Himself through you. And when I tell you that I want to be like you when it comes to leading a dgroup, I mean it. Proverbs 31!!! Huhu. That’s why I praise Him for you😢 — because you fear and love the Lord so much.

We’re transitioning, adjusting to different directions/mission fields God is leading us to. But what gives me peace and confidence is that I know wherever He takes us in this world, that even our once a month catch up becomes a little less that the usual, when we all get so busy doing ministry works, we do have One Goal. Christ. Jesus. Always.

Thank you for being my spiritual momma. Thank you for not giving up on me & for showing me that discipleship isn’t boring and stiff, for teaching me that though it requires so much dying-to-self & sacrifices, in the end, it is worth it — because it is done with, for & through Christ. With all that you are & you are yet to become, I praise & give glory to our Maker. I love you, Steffi G.!

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31:29-31

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When Your Past Sins Hunt You

I’ve been consistently dreaming of my past sins for more than a week. I tried to ignore it but it bothered me until I finally saw myself again leading to a situation/scenario very close to it.

Lust, what goes with this sin? Adultery, immorality, fornication, maliciousness. These are sins that I find very hard to admit, especially because I think it’s very embarrassing, you sin against your own body when you commit it, but these were my sins and I cannot and shall not conceal them.

I’ve learned, through the help of my sisters in Christ, to get to the root of why these sins would mentally affect me again. If I’m truly a new creation in Christ, why would I still be bothered by it? They’re just dreams, but just like what my mentor told me, dreams are things I cannot control; most of the time it reveals things I may be longing for. I was able to point out that those lustful dreams would resurface because of my desire for affection, to be with someone, to be married, to have a “God’s Best” as we call it in church. I recently watched a love story movie, and that triggered emotions in me too. Now, I’m more aware of the things I shall be careful of watching for I tend to over romanticise fictitious matters. I realised that purity isn’t merely keeping yourself sexually inactive, purity is a pursuit of the mind & the heart too. Purity in protecting my emotions from wandering at ideas and thoughts that may ruin my sanity. I also had to admit (to my long distance accountability partners, Carla/Cherish and Dia/Divine) that I’d long to be affirmed, to be loved, to be wanted. Sin begets sin. My lustful dreams caused by my dissatisfaction in Christ led me to days of rambled thoughts and anxiety. I felt as if there were so many issues in my life that I have yet to deal with, that I have to fix, & I felt paralysed at solving them all at the same time, that it eventually frustrated & confused me even more.

On the week of my struggle, a verse from Psalm 51 kept iterating in my head: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation & grant me a willing spirit to sustain me”. I believe God would also speak to me through James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” What could be more direct than that?

After I read it, someone from the past all of a sudden sent me an invite to have coffee with him. I met that man at the peak of my lostness & I’d sin with him. I’m glad that the Holy Spirit in me is just too wise to recognize baits. I replied with: “sure ☺️” it was then that I also realised that I’m always just a tiny tilt closer to going back to my old self. But God won’t let that happen. I immediately became accountable to my friends in the faith, I told them to stop me from doing things I’m sure I would regret. I asked for prayers.

Before my flight to Paris, I was alone in my room, crying, confessing my sins to God, being sorry for all I’ve done in the past and during that week. I’d listen to sermons that gave me a fresh understanding of my identity in Jesus: that I am His coheir, that I am His bride, that I am His bondservant. I think part of my joy’s restoration is to get to this part all over again, Psalm 51 also says it is not in sacrifices that the Lord is delighted, but His sacrifices are a broken spirit, He will not despise a broken and contrite heart. Oh yes, I will never outgrow my need for the Gospel. I had nothing to offer, only my tears, my brokenness, my fear of losing my salvation (which by grace, will never happen), and my knees bent down and my hands up high, telling Him: “I’m sorry, forgive me, I’m tired, I surrender.”

My prayer before my flight to Paris was to spend time with Jesus as I get there. My initial plan after my afternoon tour was to go to a wine place at night and drink after a quick rest in the hotel. You see how contradicting my plans are with my prayer? But He cleverly didn’t wake me up, I set my alarm at 9pm and I didn’t hear it at all, I woke up at 12 midnight instead, where everything was closed, it was already dangerous to go out, my flying partner was asleep, I couldn’t even order for food — because what I needed that very moment was spiritual food. God has irresistible ways of getting my attention. He wins, always. I had a three hour quiet time with Him. He spoke to me through Exodus, which talks about the Israelites complaining to Moses and wanting to go back to Egypt. “Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness,” (Exodus 14:12 ESV). Many times in my life I’d be like that, unconsciously desiring to return to my Egypt out of impatience, because of the inconsistency of my trust and reverence to the Lord, & ultimately because of my lack of understanding on who He is that pollutes my confidence on His plans for my life. I wouldn’t look to Jesus, I was so focused at my sins that I’d forget the vastness of my God’s love for me.

You know what brought me to total peace after it all? Moses’ response to the Israelites: “And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”” Exodus 14:13-14

I will never ever forget that morning in Paris, God confirmed to me that it is finished. The sin of lust is done in my life, for Christ has delivered me from it. My longing for a husband, well, Christ is my future husband as I marry Him in heaven one day. My anxiety in serving people out of pride and insecurity, wiped away, for I am His bondservant. “For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ.” 1Corinthians 7:22 It can’t get any clearer than this. I am free in Jesus Christ. I am not going back to my Egypt.

I think, just like the Apostle Paul, I will always have my thorn in the flesh, sin/s that may hunt me, that may attempt to resurface. Thank God my salvation isn’t based on my emotions, neither the things I do for Him (cause I fail Him most of the time), nor any knowledge I’ve acquired, (for I am foolish & forgetful). I thank Him because even if I’m faithless, He remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. That’s what makes my God supreme, that while I am still a sinner, while I need to face the consequences because of what I did in the past, He died for me. While I’m still struggling, He already worked things out for me. He won’t ever give me any challenge I cannot carry, and even if there seems to be no way out, He will provide a way out.

Please continue to pray for me. I want to know & love Him more. I want to revere and worship Him better. May Jesus be glorified in my life. May I finish the race strong.

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Romans 5

Peace with God Through Faith

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.