Counting the Cost of Discipleship

Luke 14:33, cost of discipleship,

What does it cost to follow Jesus?

The Lord revealed the initial response of my heart when He instructed me to proclaim His work in my life to the whole world:

“Yes, Lord, I’ll do it. But first I need to be stable with my new work so I can provide for myself and the task you want me to do.”

Sounds familiar?

In Luke 9:57-62 we can read some responses of people who wished to follow Jesus.

As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”

He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”

The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”

But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”

Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Previous passages tell us about Jesus and His ministry. He preached the Gospel, taught about the Kingdom of heaven, healed the sick, fed thousands, cast out demons, did miraculous signs and wonders. And a large crowd had followed Him.

Jesus’ conversation with these 3 people is one of the many passages that teach us there’s a cost to following Him.


1. It requires us to give up comfort and convenience

Someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.

Matthew 8:18-22 states this someone was a scribe. A scribe is one learned in Jewish Law; a religious teacher. They were highly educated and among the wealthier citizens. Scribes were generally hostile to Jesus. Many times, Jesus opposed and corrected their legalistic teachings together with the Pharisees and other religious leaders.

And here we see a scribe calling Jesus as Teacher and saying he would follow Him wherever He would go.

But Jesus knew what was in his heart. So He replied even animals have their own homes but He, the Son of Man, doesn’t have a place to lay His head. Jesus was functionally homeless; He and His disciples stayed in homes of those who would take them in.

In Luke 9:1-6, Jesus sent out the Apostles to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. They stayed in houses where they were welcomed. Then in verses 51-56 of the same chapter, a Samaritan village didn’t welcome Jesus so they went to another village. Such was how Jesus and His disciples lived.

Jesus didn’t reject the scribe’s desire to follow Him. Instead, He wanted him to count the cost so he would understand what he was committing to. Wherever Jesus would go was definitely not a place of convenience or comfort. It was as if Jesus was saying, “Are you sure you want to be homeless with Me? Are you willing to face the sacrifices? Are you prepared to accept a lower standard of living for my sake? Are you sure you’re willing to give up your comfortable and convenient lifestyle for Me?”

For some people, it comes down to what’s in it for me?  That’s the wrong way to proclaim the Gospel.  It’s not about self-satisfaction, it’s about self-denial.  It’s not about what do I get when I get Jesus; it’s about what am I willing to give up. It’s about the level of desperation that says, “Look, I don’t make any bargains at this point. My condition is so desperate I want forgiveness and I want grace and I want heaven and I put no conditions on it.” – MacArthur, John. Sermon: “Barriers to True Discipleship”  Grace to You.


2. It requires us to give up earthly priorities

Then Jesus said to another person, “Come, follow me.”

The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”

In Jewish tradition, burial takes place immediately after death. The body is washed and not embalmed. There’s no public viewing of the body which, for them, is a sign of respect for the deceased. The end of the funeral signifies a transition of mourning for the immediate family. During the first seven days following the funeral, the mourners generally stay at home.

Jewish burial custom would allow us to understand that this person’s father wasn’t dead and needed to be buried. If he was, this son wouldn’t have been there with Jesus because they would bury their dead immediately and a time of mourning follows. Rather, he was waiting until his father died then he would follow Jesus.

It seems right that this son wanted to fulfill his responsibility to carry out the funeral arrangements of his parents. And he may have wanted to also obtain his inheritance from his father.

But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”

What does “spiritually dead” mean? The Bible says we’re dead because of our sins. Physically we’re alive but our spirit is dead because of our rebellion against God. This means when we die, we will be forever separated from the love of God and experience His unending wrath.

But because of God’s love, He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, as a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins so that by the grace of God through saving faith in Jesus Christ alone we can be saved. When we truly repent of our sins and trust only in the saving work of Jesus then God would make us alive with Christ, and forgive all our sins. And the Holy Spirit would dwell in us. 

The spiritually dead are those who still live in rebellion against God. They can’t understand the things of God because they don’t have the Spirit of God. They can’t preach about the Kingdom of God because this is foolishness to them. Only those who are part of the Kingdom of Heaven can proclaim about it.

Let the people in this world who are outside the kingdom of God take care of the dead. Leave temporal things to temporal people. Leave the matters of the temporal kingdom to the people who live in that kingdom. You are called to come into the Kingdom of God and for the rest of your life to go and proclaim the glories of that Kingdom. Let go of the kingdom of this world, even its good elements, even its noble responsibilities. –MacArthur, John. Sermon: “Barriers to True Discipleship”  Grace to You.

This doesn’t mean that God is indifferent to family relationships and responsibilities. But the man’s request would have involved putting tradition or his own desires ahead of serving Jesus. It reflects his commitment to Christ was a matter of only secondary importance.

Sometimes we may find ourselves in a decision to choose between right and right. It’s good to fulfill our duties but should we choose it over God’s calling for us? Would you choose what is good in exchange for what is best?


3. It requires us to give our whole heart

Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”

This man simply wants to say goodbye to his family which seems completely reasonable.

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus is talking about a farmer using a plow on a field. The man put his hand to the plow to start plowing. The goal of the farmer is to make straight rows in the earth. He does this by looking at a distant object. Jesus creates a picture of a farmer who rather than looking straight ahead at a distant object is constantly looking back at things. This would result in a crooked and curved plow line. If that happens, the field he is plowing will not yield a full harvest.

But why would he become unfit for the Kingdom of God?

Jesus’ reply uncovered the nature of this man’s problem. His heart was back home, not with his Lord.

Putting our hands on the plow means we have decided to commit our lives to God. When God calls us to Himself, we are expected to give our whole heart and complete devotion. We are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

The description of a farmer who keeps looking back shows he’s distracted with other things. We cannot follow Jesus wholeheartedly if we’re distracted with things of this world.

There was no way that he was fit for the Kingdom of God because he was holding on to the kingdoms of this world.

When Jesus invited someone to come into His kingdom, when Jesus invited someone to receive His forgiveness and salvation, He asked that person for the rest of his life. He didn’t want a moment. He didn’t want the emotion of a moment. He wanted the carefully thought out, understood, commitment of a lifetime. Repentance from sin, confession of Jesus as Lord, obedience from the heart to the Word and the Spirit was for life. And there was always that emphasis in the ministry of Jesus. He disdained the short-term disciple. He made things so difficult for many would-be disciples that, for example, in John 6 it says, “Many of His disciples walked no more with Him.” The standard was just too high. What was required was too demanding. – MacArthur, John. Sermon: “Barriers to True Discipleship”  Grace to You.

Are there things we’re allowing to hinder our service to the Lord? Jesus calls us to give our unreserved commitment to Him. And just like what Paul said in Philippians 3, let us forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead, let us press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.


Who do I love more?

Growing up in a family that values hard work, it became the center of my pursuit. I was driven and didn’t want anything to hinder me from achieving my goals. Until the Lord stopped me in my tracks, changed my perspective, and made me realize the importance of relationships. My family became my priority and my work had become only a means to help and provide.

But now the Lord wants me to reflect: Which is my priority? To whom is my allegiance? What is the utmost desire of my heart? Who is at the center of my pursuit?

Leaving my work means more than literal unemployment:

  • It means leaving any residual desire to achieve and pursue professional growth
  • It means being unable to provide for myself which challenges self-sufficiency
  • It means humbling myself down to ask for help and even depend on my family for provision
  • It means forsaking my family — a result from being unable to help them
  • It means separating myself from the responsibility I’ve always enjoyed doing

Ultimately, it signifies detachment from everything I value.

Jesus said, “Those who come to me cannot be my disciples unless they love me more than they love father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and themselves as well.” (Luke 14:26)

Do I love my family more than I love the Lord? Or do I love myself and my work more than I love the Lord?

My work cannot give me anything I desire except provision for my family. But the Lord promised me, “I will take care of your family.” His emphasis on I, meaning He will; it’s not for me to do. My family needs the Lord, not me. If the Lord has been taking care of them, what other concerns do I have? My duty is to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the purpose of my existence.

Jesus made His leading clear, affirmed me many times, corrected my priorities and enabled me to see the bigger picture. But there were times I hear myself ask Him: “Why can’t I be generous to my family? Why do You want to remove my joy of helping them?”

These examples in Luke 9 allowed me to understand this is the cost of following Him. The cost Jesus requires of me is to leave the people I love to proclaim the Gospel to people I do not know. Should I choose the joy of serving my family over the greatest joy of serving the Lord?

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:33)

Read the whole series about my “Unconventional Calling”.

Proof of God’s Stubborn Love

Vanessa Hernandez Edaño,

Vanessa Hernandez Edaño

My Stubborn Heart

Before I came to know Christ, I was shy and timid. One of the many reasons I lack self-esteem was because I did not grow up with a father. My dad works as a seafarer, so most of the time he’s not around.

I was “the good girl” in the eyes of my parents, relatives, and peers. I was good in school and was a teacher’s pet. But I was quiet and afraid to get close to anyone. I was rejected and bullied until freshman year of high school, so I lived a life fearing rejection. I became more quiet and unforgiving. I held grudges against those who hurt me.

Then I befriended boys because I found them more truthful than girls. At 10, I had my first boyfriend. It seemed innocent until it became my lifestyle. I thought happiness and security comes from relationship with boys until I got heartbroken over and over again.

I rebelled against my parents when I was in high school. I would come home late from school and frequently fought with my mom especially because of the relationships I had. I thought of my home as hell. I wanted to get free. I wanted to escape.

I was often angry and easily triggered. I hated corrections from people who love me. My life was school and my room. And it was essential for me to have a boyfriend because they made me happy, or so I thought.

God’s Stubborn Love

Growing up, I only had a religion. Our family went to a Christian church but we weren’t committed. Eventually, we stopped attending altogether.

Many years later, the pastors in our church reached out to us again. They offered to conduct Bible study in our house. My mom accepted and opened our home to them.

At first, I didn’t want to participate in any religious activities. I’d slam the door going out of my room every time they’d call me for Bible study. But I get interested when I hear stories and lessons from the Bible.

Our head pastor continuously conducted Bible study when I was in high school through college — the season of my rebellious teenage years. They were committed to visit us regularly.

When I was about to go to college, my parents went bankrupt. The bank evicted us from our house. Everything crumbled. No more trucks. No more grocery. No more house. No more friends.

But our pastors were there during that season. They comforted, encouraged and prayed for us. We moved to a different house but they persisted in visiting us regularly and encouraged us through God’s Word.

My parents forced us to go to church during this low point in our lives. Hearing the preaching of God’s Word every Sunday for 3 months and seeing the love that our pastors have for us, God opened my eyes and my heart. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I realized He loves me and I need Him. God showed His stubborn love through the persistence of the leaders of our church.

As a new believer, I knew very little. My life went on having some changes. They correct me whenever they see my faults and weaknesses. Oftentimes I would rebel against them because I didn’t want to be corrected. But later on I realized they love me; they want to keep me from harm.

Vanessa Hernandez Edaño, personal testimony,

From faceless and nameless, now God’s child.

Love Always Prevails

I’m glad of the changes God made in my life. They weren’t instant, but day by day He changes me. From a shy and timid girl, I’m now able to stand in front of people and minister through songs and exhortation. God also enables me to share His Word with other people.

From having a religion, now I learned that having a relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important treasure in life. He is the Way to the Father and to heaven. Jesus isn’t just a story, He is alive!

From being a lustful woman, who went from one guy after another, I now have a husband of 10 years, by God’s grace. I learned the value of commitment in relationship and how God reserves that one special person for you.

I’m no longer afraid of befriending women. My hatred for women has changed to being accepting and loving. I have girl friends now.

From getting even, I now let God do His work because He said, “Vengeance is mine.” God enables me to release forgiveness because He has forgiven me first.

From being rebellious, I learned to respect my parents. I don’t hate them anymore. Instead, I pray for them and share God’s Word with them.

Knowing Christ and having a relationship with Him gives me hope. Everyday as I read the Bible, I realize I fall short of His glory. Until my last breath, He will continue to change me from glory to glory. I’m not going to be frustrated of my shortcomings, the Holy Spirit will help me overcome them. I want to be the version of myself that God wants me to be. I am still learning to be patient and forgiving of myself; if Jesus did that for me, why wouldn’t I? The journey isn’t easy, aside from myself, we also have an enemy who wants us destroyed. But I know Christ is in me and He will not leave me nor forsake me. As I walk with Him in faith, I know my future is promising. He has done the difficult part, I just need to obey as He leads.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Vanessa Hernandez Edaño, personal testimony,

A personal testimony of Vanessa H. Edaño, Tele-Interviewer at Sun Life Financial. She is a wife of 10 years to Richard Edaño. She serves in the music ministry while her husband serves as assistant pastor at United in Christ Christian Ministry.

Responding to the Most Important and Urgent Need

Revelation 22:20,

The Gospel is important and urgent

The Lord led me to tell my story for His glory through blogging. But I got derailed from that path and thought it was wise to attend to my physical needs first. By God’s grace and mercy, He brought me back on track and taught me to prioritize things that have eternal value.

Wanting to further understand His instruction, I asked, “So how do I go about my daily activities?”

He replied:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)

“Of course!” I laughed at my silliness.

“Is not life more than food?” echoed in my mind.

Having my basic needs secured, I was concerned with my secondary needs. But how about the spiritual needs of others? Is not eternal life more important than the needs of the body which will eventually turn to dust? It’s not that physical needs are unimportant but which is more vital? Which should be prioritized? Even if God takes everything from me in this life, my eternity with Him is secured. But how about those who have everything in this life yet doesn’t have Jesus in their lives? Is not life more than any of my concerns?

Then He reminded, “Urgency of the Gospel.”

I froze as I took in what He just said. “I’ve forgotten its urgency?!”

“Because you’re busy with trivial matters.” He reasoned bringing me to my senses.

Is my work and providing for myself more important than proclaiming the Gospel and testifying for Jesus to the whole world? Is the purpose of my existence primarily to make money that I would even set aside the Gospel and consider it of secondary importance over my work? Did God ever lack provision for me and my family that I would do such a thing?!

I regarded my responsibility to “work for an income” as more important and urgent than the Gospel. I allowed world values and social norms to dictate which I should prioritize. I considered what is central as peripheral and peripheral as central. And didn’t even notice it! How foolish can I get? Indeed, the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God. What I thought as wise and right thing to do, out of the best of my human reason, is ultimately foolishness. Only God’s grace and loving correction enabled me to understand which is truly wise.


It’s high time to be awake!

One of the many passages that talk about the urgency of the Gospel:

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11 NIV)

I’m always amazed whenever I check the original Greek text and meaning of keywords because it gives more context, depth, and clarity. I would like to share some of those with you.

The Apostle Paul said, “And do this, understanding the present time.” Understand (eidó) here means to see in order to know or perceive which bridges understanding. And present time (kairos) means not just time in itself but time as an opportunity, the fitting season, the suitable time, the right or favorable moment. Seeing with our eyes for us to be aware and understand so as to take full advantage of the opportune time. Knowing the time.

And what time is it? The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber. It’s time to wake up from sleep.

“Immediate action is called for; it’s time for us to act. It’s a call to understand there’s something we’re supposed to be busy doing. It’s a call to take a look at priorities. It’s a call to see what you’re doing with your life. This is not the time for sleeping and slumbering and loafing. This is the time to be alert; time to wake up, time to get your priorities right. There are some pressing, demanding things at hand in the light of the imminence of the dawn.” – MacArthur, John. Sermon: “Time to Wake Up” Grace to You.

Why is Paul urging us to be awake? Because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 

“We as Christians are nearer to the return of Jesus Christ than when we first believed. Paul is making reference to the return of Christ for His Church and to the return of Christ with regard to judgment. In light of the fact, it’s time to get your priorities right. It’s time to wake up. This is no time to be slumbering and sleeping. This is a time for alertness. In other words, you’ve got to live in the light of the return of Jesus Christ.

The urgency of that moment should compel us to wake up and get out of the night of this era of man’s day into the sobriety, the sober-minded establishment of the priorities that matter eternally.

There are things in life we must do by way of necessity but our lives need to be filled with the comprehension of the priorities.

This is intended to have a two-fold effect on us, to make us urgent in our service to Christ and urgent in our evangelism of the lost. And I really believe it’s the key to holy living. People who don’t live in the light of the return of Christ don’t have the most compelling motivation. We must live in the light that Jesus Christ could come at any moment.”  – MacArthur, John. Sermon: “Time to Wake Up” Grace to You.


Responding to the need

Would there be a change in our activity if, for example, we knew that Jesus would be coming back today? No doubt! There’d be drastic changes; we would all prepare. But He told us to always be ready and to keep our lamps burning because the Son of Man will come at an hour we do not expect. Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” What we do know is He is coming soon. And now is the opportune time He has given us to proclaim the Gospel and to live according to His will.

I remember stories on how the Lord used the period of Hellenization and the invention of the printing press to spread the Gospel and how Christians took advantage of those fitting seasons. Now we’re in the season of the Information Age and New Media. I want to be one of those who takes advantage of these opportunities to spread the Gospel.

Though many question the wisdom and even Biblicality of my decision to leave my work for blogging, I’d rather be called foolish than be a slave to empty pursuits. The Lord has given me freedom to do what He has placed in my heart to do by opening my eyes and allowing me to understand His truth. Should I not choose that freedom to obey?

“For the sake of Your Name, Lord, and for the sake of those who will believe, I will do as You told me. You’ve given me an opportunity to proclaim Your Name to the ends of the earth even in the comfort of my home, while others sacrifice their lives, employment, and family, who am I to say no to You? Because You made it clear to me, I will do this. Your affirmation is all I need because You have the first and final word in everything.” This is the cry of my heart.

As I finish my devotional (a personal time for reading and studying the Bible, praying, and journaling), God gave a practical answer to my question. He reminded me of what He taught me to do in 2014. How wise is the Lord! He has prepared me for this a long time ago.

I’m also grateful for my very supportive family, though they’ve yet to understand what I’m doing and the message I’m writing. Through this experience, God is enabling me to see and appreciate their efforts and language of love.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Revelations 22:20)

Stick around for more of this 6-part story series: Unconventional Calling

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Work for Food that Doesn’t Spoil

John 6:27, rice field,

Seeing only perishable food

Managing a blog is not an easy task especially for a newbie like me. In addition, I started a new work in a new field. I had a lot on my plate. But I was excited and determined to learn both in the shortest possible time. Soon I realized I was sacrificing quality and efficiency for either task. I had to choose which to prioritize.

I shared in the previous post how the Lord led me to tell my story for His glory through blogging. Though certain of His leading, I got derailed with what I thought was more important and urgent.

I considered work as a responsibility that shouldn’t be neglected, therefore should be prioritized. I decided based on practicality, reason, social expectations, and some advice from Christian friends. After all, this is just blogging; I can continue it once I’ve acquired the skills I needed to be more effective and efficient at work. Yet all the while my heart yearned to write and tell the whole world the glory of my God.

It was only when the Lord allowed me to draw the line by checking my motives, goals, social expectations, and intention of well-meaning friends that I distinguished which is from the Lord and what He wants me to prioritize as opposed to what I thought was the right and wise thing to do.

It’s written in Proverbs: listen to wise advice, listen to godly advice. I didn’t realize I misunderstood it as: listen to “Christian” advice. The modifier is not Christian but “godly and wise”. Godly advice often comes from godly Christians. Therefore, it doesn’t necessarily follow that every advice from believers is ultimately from the Lord because true wisdom comes only from God.

So how do we distinguish which message is from the Lord? Paul commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” John commanded the same in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Bottom line: Test everything to see whether they are from God.

We are commanded to practice discernment not only to distinguish true from false, right from wrong, but also “the primary from the secondary, the essential from the indifferent, and the permanent from the transient. And, yes, it means distinguishing between the good and the better, and even between the better and the best.” – Ferguson, Sinclair. “What is Discernment?” Ligonier Ministries.

I asked God to affirm me from the Bible whether these realizations are from Him.


Perceiving also eternal food

At last, the Lord spoke, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?”

This verse is from Matthew 16:5-12.

When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?”

The purpose of my decision and the advice to me was to have “bread”. So the Lord asked me, “Why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?”

Jesus continued speaking:

“Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?”

Jesus reminded the disciples of His miracles:

  • With only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, Jesus fed about 5,000 men plus women and children.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up 12 basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
  • On another occasion, He broke 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish and fed 4,000 men plus women and children. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward, the disciples picked up 7 basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

In the same way, Jesus reminded me of the lessons He has taught me:

1. It’s not about my family’s capability to provide for us.

“God provides” was only a concept for me. I’ve seen and heard many times the perseverance and determination of my parents, aunts, and uncles which brought them from having nothing to eat during their childhood to providing us comfortable lives. This tells me we cannot and should not blame our circumstances. Instead, we need to work hard in order for the Lord to provide.

But when my sister and I lived independently from our family, that concept became a reality. My sister was in college and I provided for the both of us. There came a time when my income wasn’t sufficient to pay for my credit card balance and I didn’t want to pay for interest. It wasn’t a big deal, but the Lord showed His power even in that small detail. He provided month after month. This proves it is indeed the Lord who provides. His power is not dependent on man. I’ve seen His work and learned the last thing I should worry about is provision.

2. It’s not about my capability to provide for myself.

The Lord told me to wait. I waited for 8 months not knowing what I was waiting for. But since it was temporary and I was prepared, I wasn’t worried. I enjoyed my extended devotional time, long hours of study, ministry opportunities, lessons from equipping classes which are invaluable in my study of the Bible, and lessons the Lord taught me. In the end, I realized it was exactly what He wants me to learn — to wait on Him. He taught me to live one day at a time and to depend not on my capability to provide for myself but on Him.

These experiences taught me it’s not about man’s strength but God’s strength. Apart from God, we can do nothing. He has been teaching me to unlearn self-sufficiency and instead learn dependence on Him in everything.

“Don’t you remember these occasions? Don’t you remember how I provided for you and your family? Have you forgotten the lessons I taught you? Do you still not understand?” He asked.

“How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The disciples understood only when Jesus clarified that He was not talking about yeast used in bread but the yeast — which meant influence — of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

“How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread that nourishes the physical body but the soul? Work for bread that gives life to the soul.” This is the work God was telling me to prioritize all along.


Understanding further

John MacArthur’s sermon on this passage “Dealing with Spiritual Blindness, Part 2” gave it more depth. Below are some important points I got from the sermon:

The disciples were concerned because they had forgotten to take bread. This’ll tell you what level they functioned on. The basic physical level. Here they are in the presence of God Himself. They have just seen massive miracles of reproduction of food. They get to the other side and they say, “Oh, we don’t have any bread.” Really on the physical level. Seeing only the physical need.

So the Lord just takes this opportunity with their preoccupation with not having bread as a point to teach them profound truth. Verse 6, “Jesus says to them, ‘Take heed,'” orahtayin the Greek meaning to see. “Open your eyes and beware.” That implies danger. “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

“Don’t be concerned about bread bread. Be concerned about the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” In other words, “Get up on a spiritual level. I mean we are facing a tremendous crisis.” Christ now is months from the cross, and He wants them educated spiritually. One day without food isn’t a major problem. “Get off that mundane level of the physical.”

Yeast or leaven (in the same way that it affects a batch of dough) means to influence, something held over from the past applied to the present. That’s why, when Israel left Egypt, they weren’t allowed to have leavened bread. God was saying to them in simple form, “Don’t take anything you knew in Egypt out and put it into your new lifestyle. That’s in the past. Don’t bring any influence from that part of your life.”

Don’t let the world influence you.

Jesus was patient with them. He took them where they were and He taught them. He comes right back and repeats the same lesson. “I’m talking about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. I’m trying to get your focus on the spiritual dimension.”

But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of His approval. (John 6:27)

Before going to bed that day, I again reflected on God’s message. Then I said to Him, “Lord, I understand what You want me to prioritize but how do I go about my daily activities?”

I understand but was still thinking on the physical level. 😅 Thank you, Lord, for your patience. ❤

To be continued next week… 😊

Proclaiming God’s Glory Through Life Story

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story

In December 2016, I wanted to digitize my devotional journals to make it easier for me to search and read previous entries, and be reminded of lessons the Lord has taught me. As I typed my notes on the computer, the Lord impressed on me to write it on a blog.

“No way!” I said to myself, “I don’t want to publicize my personal life.”

All apprehensions and excuses ran through my mind. It never occurred to me that the Lord would want me to share even the deepest thoughts of my heart with strangers; this was the most difficult for me.

But God’s prompting was persistent and it became more prominent as weeks passed. I prayed and pondered about it. I asked the Lord to make His leading clear by affirming me through the Bible. Aware that when He does, He will compel me to obey; I decided to prepare for it.

I created a free blog and wrote posts but didn’t publish them. I waited for God’s affirmation. Otherwise, I’d keep my writings to myself.

In February of 2017, I found myself crying out to the Lord, “Father, please allow me to speak. I have to speak. I want to speak of Your glory; I can’t contain it anymore!”

It was time to publish my drafts. With that, Uncontainable Musings was created.

It’s funny for me to think about it now. There I was crying and begging the Lord to allow me to write when I refused it in the first place. Through His grace, He took away my apprehensions and allowed me to tell of His glory through my life story. This is one of the many instances the Lord changed my heart to desire what He desires.

I waited for the Lord to affirm me from the Bible forgetting He had made His instruction clear. Before Jesus was taken up to heaven, He said to the apostles:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

This command is not only for the apostles but for everyone who believes in Jesus. He commissioned us to proclaim the Gospel and to testify about everything the Lord has done for us. This reveals God’s heart who desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. If you would like to know more about this command, you can read or listen to this 2-part sermon at Grace to You: The Making Disciples of All Nations.

As I followed God’s leading, He continued to affirm me during my Bible reading when He spoke through Psalm 107:2a “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.”

How about you? What’s your story? I would love to hear from you. 😊

Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. (Psalm 107:2)

From Altar Boy to Altar Call

Thon Esguerra, testimony,,

(In Kapampangan language with English translation)

Anyang cayanacan cu, mengarap qng maging sacristan, cabang pagsilbyan que ing pari queng banal a misa. Pane cung isipan na metung qng cabalyerung magsilbi qng Kristung Guinu, kapamilatan na ning pari. Anyang ca labing-aduang qng banua, mica oportunidad qng macapacyabe queng awsan dang ‘Knights of the Blessed Sacrament’. Asna qng cagalac at catula queng panaun a iti, pauli na ning pangarap qng maging metung a cabalyeru, ampo sacristan, mitupad nala. Careng anggang Sabadu at Domingu, pane qng atiu queng pisamban, magsilbi queng banal a misa.

Mirinan cu naman oportunidad a pagaralan ing Catequismu na ning Catolico Romano. Buung lub cu yandug iti angga queng miras qng kolehiyu.

Manibat anyang canyancan ku angga keng meging bayung tawu, inandug ke ing sarili at oras ku neng Sabadu at Domingu, panigaralan deng catecismu kabang magsilbi keng banal a misa at deng sablang sacramentu.

makanita pa murin, madacal ku pa murin cutang tungcul queng casalpantayan cu bilang metung a Catolicu, atin cu pa murin tacut at pamagduda. Mitatacutan qng ecu miras banua, pauli na atin lugar a pamalaguan dang purgatoriu. Amanu da pin, metung yng lugar a caralumduman, na agyang ginawa qng kayapan anyang mabie ca, oneng micasala ca, queni ca miras.

Milabas yng mapilan a banua at pane cu pa murin a e isip ing macanining cutang. Anyang dinatang mu rin ing casaquitan queng bie, isipan cu pa murin iti.

Menintun qng tawung malyari qng acasabi, at mangadi para canacu. Minawus cu queng 700 Club, pauli na ning pamanintun qng tawung buri qng acasabi. Ini na pala ing pamagumpisa na ning pamagbayu qng canacung bie.

Itang tawung casaba cu queng sumangid a linya, casaba que angga queng pamangailangan cu. Inumpisan que caring canacung casaquitan queng bie, abed a reng anggang suli na malyari qng isipan. Cabang casabi que iti, yapin nap ala ini ing maging maragul a pamagbayu queng canacung bie. Inambus ne ning canacung casaba ing mayap a balita na ning Apung Guinu. Iti ya ing pecamasanting a dulut a tinggap cu manibat queng Apung Guinu. Mengadi cami at tinanggap que e Cristu queng canacung bie, bilang canacung Guinu at Talapangabus. Mecaramdam qng labis a catiwasayan at cayapan queng panaun a ita. Panandam cu ing pangayatyu na ning Apung Guinu, mebating queng isip cu ing alang casiguraduan.

E miglambat, me cumbira ku queng metung a Bible study. Anyang minuna, mag adua qng isip maquiabe, pauli na ning ecu sane careng macaniti. Pamakilaban que iti pauli na ning capaniwalan cu bilang metung a Catolicu, salungat la queng tuturu da queng Bible study a liban cu. Oneng king pamamunta cu quening grupu a ini, mibuclat cu caisipan queng catutuan na ning Biblya, ampon nung macananu yang magagamit ing Biblya queng pamanuru da.

Mapilan a bulan caibat cung tinagun queng Bible study, tinagun na cu mu naman queng ‘worship service’ da at caibat me binyag na cu mu naman anyang banuang 2013. Meca pacyabe na cu mu naman queng ‘Men’s ministry na ning church. Carin ku mirinan pamikatagun a manimuna mu naman queng bible study para careng lalaki. Ngeni, magsilbi cu naman capamilatan na ning pamanuru cu careng anac edad 8, queng Sunday School. Mipnu cung tula at galac cabang magsilbi cu queng Apung Guinu, capamilatan na ning gagawan cu.

Metung cu pang tawung macasalanan, cabang atiu cu queng catauan a iti. Oneng meging malinis cu queng arapan na ning Apung Guinu, at micabus cu careng casalanan cu, capamilatan nang Hesukristung cacung talapangabus.


“From Altar Boy to Altar Call”

During my childhood, I wanted to become an altar boy who serves priests in the Mass. I used to imagine I was like a knight in front of the altar serving Christ through the priests. When I was 12 years old, I had an opportunity to join a religious group of men called Knights of the Blessed Sacrament. I was very excited as my dreams of becoming a ‘knight’ and an altar boy was finally fulfilled.

Being part of this group also gave us an opportunity to study about the catechism of the Roman Catholic faith.

From grade school all throughout college, I dedicated much of my time during weekdays and most especially weekends in studying about catechism and serving in Eucharistic events and other Sacraments.

Despite my devotion, service, and everything I learned about my faith, I still had fears and uncertainties. I was afraid I might not go to heaven. We were taught that even if you lived a good life but had unconfessed sins then you would go to a place of total darkness.

Even as a young professional, I still pondered on this. Until came a time when I was at my lowest. I needed someone to talk to and someone to pray for me. It was late at night and there was no one I could speak with so I tried calling The 700 Club hotline just to look for someone to talk to.

The person on the other line talked to me for as long as I needed. I told her about my struggles at work, at home, and every problem I could think of. I also told her of my fears and uncertainties about the afterlife. This became my turning point. She shared the Gospel with me and I prayed with her over the phone as I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. It became a calm and peaceful moment.

Shortly after, I was invited by a friend to attend a Bible study. At first, I was hesitant since I was not fond of attending such gatherings. It was a struggle especially that some of my Catholic beliefs were contradicted causing me to question our facilitator’s doctrine. But due to persistent attendance, my mind was opened to Biblical truths. I became convinced of the truth because of the logical, reasonable and systematic way Bible passages were taught. Also with how the Bible was used as a reference in all of the teachings.

After several months of attending a Bible study, I started going to Worship services and was eventually baptized in 2013. Afterwards, I became involved in a men’s fellowship which gave me an opportunity to lead a Bible study group. Currently, I am serving in Sunday school where I teach kids aged 8. It is a joy that I could serve the Lord through this ministry where we can express our love for God by meeting the needs of others while doing what we enjoy.

I am still imperfect as long as I am in this earthly body and I still experience struggles but I am made righteous with God because of Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)


This life testimony was written by Thon Esguerra. He has been working as an IT consultant for 13 years. He is married to Michelle Esguerra for 2 years and they are both actively serving as Sunday School teachers in Greenhills Christian Fellowship, Ortigas.